The images from Burma take me back nearly two full decades. Those incredible days as the '80s wound down, when huge numbers of ordinary folk took a stand against repression in China and the old Soviet bloc. Who would have thought it possible? They tore down a wall, they tore apart an entire ramshackle country, they reunited another country. They wiped out certainties an entire generation had grown up on. Hannah Arendt reminded us once of the "enduring power" of protests by resolute ordinary people, that could eventually destroy repression. That's what we saw in those days. Incredible days indeed.
(Sure, China stamped out the Tiananmen protests. But there was this small silver lining: at least the world learned the true nature of this China regime. Maybe we will again see that resolution, Arendt's "enduring power", in China).
Myanmar is smaller and more inconsequential than any of those countries, but that doesn't take away from the power of what is happening there. It should certainly be familiar to us Indians, especially on a day we remember a certain man whose initials are MKG. This was our struggle once, and sixty years ago it won us something very precious indeed: our freedom.
In Burma, they are asking for nothing less. They deserve nothing less.
Dina Mehta has more, including:
Amnesty International: Release Myanmar protestors.
US Campaign for Burma.