Burma is a collection of many small nations with diverse
histories, languages, cultures and aspirations. It is difficult if not
impossible to say how a consensus would emerge in the event the military leaves
the scene. General Aung San showed a way toward a solution. So it is possible.
As for Yugoslavia or Iraq, the analogies may not hold. Analogies work better in
science and literature than in politics where the dropped glass always breaks in
a new and novel pile of debris. From this distance, it appears the military has
managed to unite these diverse groups in a common cause.
They say hardboiled
comes down to a tough perspective on life but there
out of the howling silence in dark back streets some good can be found. There is
a crack of light and if you follow it, then you might just keep your life and
one or two small dreams. Noir
is a locked room with no way out. No matter how hard you
try, there is no hope, no chance of getting out, and no helping hand offered
will mean a damn thing.
The Burmese are in the middle of a large crime
fiction story. There will be more than one broken heart, more than a few monks
clubbed or shot, and more than hurt and tragedy than any one story can ever
In the streets of Rangoon and dozens of small towns in Burma,
monks, students, shopkeepers, and the mass of people have hard choices in the
few days. Do you bolt the door and hide under the bed; or do you take to the
streets? What would you do? Unless youíve spent time in Burma, you canít really
understand how desperate it is for most people. We are talking about lack of
electricity, fuel, and food. This is about basic necessities to live. Climb up
the hilltop and look down and see nothing but hunger, repression, and
hopelessness. Would you stay under the bed or take to the streets?
world is waiting to find out whether the horror of repression is only the first
act of a hardboiled drama or the third act of a noir drama with the curtain
falling hard. Itís the difference between getting knocked down and getting up
from the floor and finding a way out. Thatís hardboiled. But sometimes when a
man is knocked down, he stays down. Heís finished. That's noir. When a noir
ending happens to an entire country, that scales crime and tragedy beyond what
most of us can comprehend.
My only regret is that Iím not in Rangoon.
If you want to keep up on the latest about developments in Burma, here
are some websites: New Mandala Asia SentinelSiam
SentinelThailand Jumped the Shark