Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Aung San Suu Kyi

Today is the Nobel Peace Prize winning, democratically elected leader of Burma's (Myanmar) birthday. She will be spending it in Insein prison.

Other then signing petitions, going to actions and giving money there seems to be very little more I can do. Any of us can do.

It's so frustrating and heart breaking to sit here in my Manhattan apartment so helpless to affect change. So angry at our own leaders for their inaction.

The reality is that China wields tremendous power over Burma and works hand in hand with he military Junta that rules the country. And China doesn't care.

It's interesting to note that when you look at the history of SE Asia, a region that has come to mean a great deal to me over the years having traveled their so extensively, that it was China that supplied the Khmer Rouge with guns.

The Khmer Rouge enlsaved it's own people and forced them to work day and night, literally starving them to death to grow rice, so they could in turn use it to sell to China in exchange for weapons. Which in turn were used by the Khmer Rouge to enable them to control and kill 1.7 million Cambodians. Of course not all of them were shot, bullets were expensive, so other means, like starvation, where utilized.

When the Vietnamese liberated Phenom Penh Cambodia was in the midst of one of the worst famines of our time. They say the city was without bird song because even the smallest sparrow had been eaten.

Funny how all these years later we see a similar situation in Burma: a cruel and insane military leadership selling it's soul to China for weapons, while stealing children away from their families to fill the ranks of a military of child solders who are brainwashed to do what ever the despots require; like killing monks. Causing harm to a monk is something so unheard of in this part of the world as to seem absurd by its very suggestion. Yet, tragically that is what is happening as is so incredibly documented in Burma VJ. A country sunk deep into isolated despair and madness.

I ask you to spend a moment today to raise a glass and think about Aung San Suu Kyi, the plight of the people of Burma, to wish her a happy birthday and let her know the world has not forgotten her.

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