As of today, 536 citizens have been killed by the repressive forces under general Hlaing, the Burmese dictator, who seized control of the country on February 1, three months after his party had been soundly defeated at the polls the preceding November 1st.
General Hlaing did not have the decency to respect the will of his people.
But his people, undeterred, have continued to protest the general’s repressive actions in a huge civil disobedience movement.
The courage and sacrifice of the Burmese people are heroic.
You have to wonder what goes on in the mind of the general. How does he justify the killings of men and women, young and old? Just what does he say to himself in his private moments?
Does he say to himself that he is better than the protesters?
Does he look at the pictures of the men and women killed by his soldiers?
He probably does.
Only to then justify his actions.
We are left to imagine the poverty of soul of the general. His profound lack of humanity. His absence of compassion.
And we are left to wonder, how could a man like that ascend to a position of leadership?
But he did.
He did because others around him lacked the courage to confront him as he rose in the ranks while sharing in the belief that, as a class, they were better than the citizens of their country.
What ghastly spectacle is taking place in Myanmar today.
And the butchering of a people goes on while the military enjoy the support of the governments of Russia and China.
What does that tell us about the dictators that rule those countries?
That they are just like general Hlaing. And were Russia and China to face an insurrection in their respective countries, their people would be treated equally ruthlessly, equally brutally.
That’s what the people in Russia and China have to look forward to.
The price of silence.
Just this past August, in the republic of Belarus, rigged election results were vehemently contested by the people, but the president of the country, Alexander Lukashenko, violently squashed the protests and refused to step down.
Of course, he travelled to Moscow to meet with his master, Putin, and get instructions.
Putin would know. He has over three decades of experience in silencing people. Three decades of experience in devaluing his fellow citizens.
Meanwhile, as fear reigns in Russia and China and other parts of the world, the deaths keep mounting in Myanmar.
And the majority of us keep watching. Shrugging it off.
But the unchecked butchering of a people does something to us.
It degrades us.
In New York City a Filipino woman was shoved to the ground and kicked in the head by a man who shouted she didn’t belong in America. There were bystanders who watched the action and said nothing.
I hear that some governments, including our own, have placed sanctions on general Hlaing, other officers and businesses owned by the military. But that’s not enough.
Is there anything the rest of us can do?
In this age of high internet connectivity, surely there is something we could possibly do.
Talk about it. Yes. That’s a start. Not let it just pass. Not simply change channels. But pause for a moment to think, how is it affecting us?
How does it affect us that the Butcher of Burma carries on with near impunity?
Should we not feel the anger?
Should we not write something about our anger at the killings? Write to our governments, to the United Nations, to the Russian and Chinese people, even to their leaders.
Could we do something… something… instead of being silent.