Nov 9 3 Comments

Peace in an unpeaceful world

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.

The fantasy of God revealed in a winter landscape around our house.

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.

Democracy the Burma Army way. Here is the xenophobic ruler, Than Shwe.

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:

Fleeing across the border to Thailand. This photo was taken by Partners staff.

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.

It's not a joke. This was an article on the news, after the news about soccer and the weather, of course, but before any news from Burma. I would have named the article: Why our world smells of indifference and self-centeredness.

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.

Running to an uncertain future. Today Partners has been trying, along with other organizations, to get aid to these people.

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?


  • Mary Ann Dawkins says:

    This is very touching, very nicely said. It is difficult to be so far away from those people that are in need of so much love, care, compassion and all of their other spiritual/mental/emotional needs that need to be met. And here we sit in our warm comfy houses and sleep in our warm comfy beds. It saddens my heart what these people have to go through. I wish more people in the world knew what was going on over there. It has not been in the news in the states at all. I think that is ridiculous.

  • Kris says:

    I have been scouring the internet over the past few days to find any news on Burma…so disheartened that there is none, save Partners and a few other NGO’s sites. These innocent, beautiful, proud people are suffering in a world that is not heartless, but simply unaware. I hope to make even a tiny difference by posting this on my own blog and Facebook pages.

  • lynnie says:

    Where is the news of a small, beautiful country that is killing it’s people? NONE HERE…..THAT is not a good thing at all. Seeing this picture of a mean and evil power hungry general rushing to show U.S. and others that they are democratic (???)
    Seriously Oddny I was so sad when Partners mentioned one of the camps that I went to when I was there, where are these poor people going to go? I am so sorry for your own disapointment, HOWEVER YOU are doing it right. Your heart must be heavy.
    I wished God would wipe out the evil, just a few minuets without tears of sorrow. It’s ok to listen to Cohen, I hope you are knitting and trying your hardest not to “feel” despair as I cannot imagine the load you carry. You all try to help SO MANY people, I feel sad tonight. I hope there is a better tommorow for these people. And I hope you can listen to your music knowing that you certainly are doing every single thing that you can. Our Savior hears the crying. That is all that I know about Burma, no news here where it should be shouted. Here in America many of us are just glad the electricity is still on, and there are literally thousands and thousands of homeless people in our country now. Many people do not know where there next meal is coming. Some have homes that they cannot even afford to keep. America is messed up, and it certainly did not happen in the last year. This is a long time coming with bad stupid mistakes and people are suffering here in a different way. I am glad that you have a fireplace……… So glad that you and and Partners are still working hard at it for the refugees. Thank you.