Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Monks and Comedians

The military generals who currently rule Burma (Myanmar) showed the world that they are ruthless dictators via their crack down earlier this year on peaceful Buddhist monks who were simply protesting the dictatorial rule of their country. At the time of this crack down I said to a friend -- "clearly the ruling junta has zero legitimacy to govern" -- but last week's news via the Wall Street Journal wire service perhaps surpasses the beating of monks!! Apparently the junta's police force arrested Burma's most popular comedian - Zarganar - last week which suggests his comedy routines ridiculing the junta made the generals very uncomfortable.

Political satire (and the resulting oppression) of Zarganar's variety dates back to at least ancient Greece (according to Mel Brooks' "History of the World - Part I " anyway!!) so it is great to see the junta's modern day paranoia on display as they move to suppress another advocate for democratic change.

As evidence of how technology has transformed our world - the same use of communications technologies that helped dissolve the former Soviet Union (fax machines in those days) can help bring political reform to Burma -- let me close with this weblink to the You Tube video service which features one of Zarganar's comedy acts --

While I don't speak his verbal language the body language does provide me with some hints regarding his political messaging.

Stand up against juntas :-)


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