Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Political Opportunity amidst the Human Tragedy

What is happening in Burma/Myanmar is a tragedy. Unofficial reports suggest that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of protestors – including many Buddhist monks – have paid the ultimate price in their fight for freedom from Myanmar’s military regime.

The news, pictures and videos of the atrocities in Myanmar which appeared on the Internet quite liberally in the first few days appears to have slowed to a trickle. Other reports are more disturbing (but perhaps not too surprising) i.e. that soldiers are arresting those recording these images with cameras and handphones.

In the absence of corroborative information, we can only pray that our fellow netizens who have bravely shared these images and stories with us are safe from harm.

Indeed, many groups here in Singapore have turned to the divine for intervention. Buddhist worshippers have reportedly gathered by the thousands at a temple near Balestier, and I understand that some Catholics also held a service to pray for peace.

The less religiously inclined have resorted to petitions and some even – heaven forbid here in Singapore – protests!

It was reported that the Singapore Democratic Party staged a protest in front of the Myanmar embassy. A youtube video features some rather hapless plain-clothes policemen advising the protestors – who had stuck notes on the embassy’s gate – to leave, and subsequently being jeered.

Personally, I find it appalling that Dr Chee and company are leveraging on the situation in Myanmar to bring attention to their own vendetta against the Singapore government.

Sure, all is fair in love and war (and some say politics) but getting Myanmar nationals – who are genuinely worried for their own relatives and friends back home – involved as proxy participants in issues what fall between SDP and PAP, is unfair to them, and also belittles the cause for which the Burmese people are fighting for.

Pray, petition and protest but please, leave out the politicking.

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