The house is quiet except from the mellow sound of Leonard Cohen. Outside is covered with a blanket of white. The temperature is slowly dropping—making me happy for a good supply of dried wood. Peace. Not much could make my life more peaceful than it is right now. Maybe if all the dishes were done I would feel an even deeper calm. But still, it is pretty nice to be alive.
But my thoughts cannot dwell here in the quiet corner of the world. All day they have traveled to the border of Thailand where thousands of innocent people are fleeing across the river—away from shootings, away from fighting, away from violence and oppression.
There was an election in Burma and it was supposed to be the beginning of democracy. Funny. I think the Burma generals have misunderstood the meaning of democracy.
Because here we are, two days after the election. The Government-backed party, not surprisingly, seems to have gotten the majority of the votes. The army has been guaranteed 25% of the seats in the Parliament. No international observers were allowed to the country because, as one of the government officials said: We have a lot of experience with elections so we don’t need any help from the outside. A lot of experience? An election every 20 years is what we are talking about. The election was dogged by accusations of fraud and voter intimidation. But victory has been secured, say the leaders of the party who won, the pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).
And the victims are, as always, the innocent civilians. When fighting broke loose, they were the ones who had to run. And here they are:
And, you know what else is weird? For a day, or perhaps two, Burma was in the news. But on the third day after the election, it is no longer news-worthy. Last I checked on the biggest news site here in Norway the headline: “Why other people’s farts smell worse than yours,” was higher up on the news feed than the tragic situation in Burma.
My world is peaceful. But the world is not peaceful. Not for the 10,000 to 50,000 new refugees who have just joined the hundred of thousands of other refugees from Burma.
In my heart there is a struggle of feelings, the feeling of thankfulness for what I have gotten, the feeling of something like guilt for having so much, when they don’t even have an assurance of life tomorrow, and the feeling of: What am I doing here, listening to Leonard Cohen?