This, I suppose, is a rather half-arsed way of saying that I've felt a combination of pessimism and impotence over the violent crackdown against peaceful pro-democracy protests by monks and civilians in the South Asian backwater now officially known as Myanmar.
Pessimism because I don't believe any amount of outside pressure for increasing sanctions, let alone imprecations by that humanitarian lightweight, George Bush, will sway Burma's thuggish military junta in the near future, and impotence because I feel like there is damned little that I can do.
China, chief trading partner and supplier of arms to Burma's generals, and Russia, the second of its three main trading partners, have no interest in joining calls to turn the screws. This is because both countries mirror Burma in troubling respects.That so noted, there is an aspect of the story that bloggers do have a role in: Foreign news media is barred from Burma, so supporting its citizen journalists in defying the junta by using the Internet and cellphone cameras to tell the world what's really going on is important, as is being mindful that their involvement can carry the heavy price of arrest and years in imprisonment if they're caught.
India, the third big trading partner, could fill the void left by America's diminished world standing, but will not. India comes in for special scorn because it presumes to be an emerging world power but behaves like the self-absorbed backwater that it was not too many years ago when push comes to shove.
The thirst for democracy in Burma is unquenchable, and sooner or later -- probably much later -- the junta will fall and there will be free elections.
It is a small consolation, but nevertheless important, that this revolution will be televised.Meanwhile, check out Burma NewsLadder, an aggregator of current stories.