Things got stale; things got flat - stand still too long and the mental rot sets-in. But Donkey's back on the road, and back in the tropics where he belongs. Mrs Donkey's on board, of course, but this time it's all a little different; for starters we've two wee-ones in tow, and this time our new locale features fantastic food - affordable French champagne's a nice little added extra. Bring on the high life, but rest assured the low life will remain an unwavering feature
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The power of metaphor
The Populous Security Bureau bugging devices must’ve been popping like cherries at a B&S ball the other night as I sat in one of the world’s highest restaurants discussing the history and current political situation in Burma with my high-altitude colleagues.
You can imagine the freedom I felt after a week (and in their case, a lifetime) of being careful about everything one said and did, so as not to openly express any opinions or attitudes at odds with the government, openly discussing in a public place the activities of an undemocratically appointed, unlawful military regime, imposed upon the people, and which restricts religious, political and social freedoms, whilst deliberately and systematically culling huge swathes of the population, from the urban intelligentsia to the rural peasantry.
You might also imagine what was going through the minds of these colleagues as they lapped-up information about events and government processes in this neighbouring country; happenings which, although having never heard about them before, must have seemed so very familiar. Occurrences such as the systematic and aggressive persecution of monks, violent military responses to peaceful protests, restrictions upon the populace in terms of their freedom to worship according to their religion, lengthy incarceration of citizens without charge or trial, the unspoken and unexplained disappearance of generations of loved ones.
It is no surprise that they were so interested in asking questions and listening to what I knew of the happenings in “Burma”. I wonder if they wondered why they’d never heard this before?
I also wonder about the poor drone up there in the communications control tower who was deciphering our monitored conversation, and writhing in anguish and indecision as to whether they should bring the discussion to the attention of their superiors; whether they would be praised for their diligence, or chastised for wasting the time of their betters on a conversation about another country’s irrelevant activities. Being a bureaucrat cog must suck.
We all thought it would lead to change - again this sounds oh, so familiar. Pic: www.apheda.org.au