Sunday, September 30, 2007
Cat got your tongue?
Time magazine describes the reasons that India is so silent on the saffron revolution that is threatening the power of the dictators. Here are the geo-political reasons why.
Delhi's strategy is threefold. Its initial overtures to Burma's military leaders came as India faced a growing insurgency in its northeast. Many of the rebel groups in that region are based and train across the border in Burma. As India has grown friendlier with Burma's generals the two countries have worked together — with some limited success — on eradicating the northeastern insurgents.
Like China, power-hungry India is also keen on exploiting Burma's huge oil and gas resources. This month it signed a production deal for three deep-water exploration blocks off the Rakhine coast. It is also searching for gas in two other blocks. Access to Burma's resources will help boost India's power supplies but it is important for geopolitical reasons as well. The new production deal comes only months after Beijing beat Delhi on securing a deal to build a pipeline through to Burma's gas fields. The race for resources has helped make Burma the frontline in a larger struggle for influence in Southeast Asia. The threat of unfettered Chinese influence in Burma is one of Delhi's main ripostes when western allies question India's ties with Rangoon.
Will such a stance hurt India's democratic credentials? India's former Defense Minister George Fernandez, a longtime supporter of Burmese democracy activists, thinks so, calling such quiet diplomacy "disgusting." "This government is not concerned with what is happening in its own neighborhood," he says. In one of the few Indian newspaper opinion pieces to question India's stance Karan Thapar asked in the Hindustan Times last week whether a "Cat got our tongue?" "Indian democracy has shrunk because of its unwillingness to speak out," he wrote.Modern Love section in the NYT has a funny story about a family that a woman thought she was part off, but then wasn't.
NOW, I wished that my East Coast parents would adopt some aspects of my Western parents’ infuriating impartiality: search for balance, look at it from my point of view. I felt like a squalling sibling, tugging on their sleeves, crying: “Not just my fault! Not just my fault!”
When a friendship ends, you start to measure time by what your friend has missed. In the two years that have passed, I broke up with some boyfriends, I was mugged at knife point, my sister married. I wrote one unpublished book review, then another.
Through all of the changes that a couple of years bring, both monumental and ridiculous, I missed my friend. I missed her sarcasm, her insight. Her mother. Her father. Oh, how they would have worried about me. How they would have laughed at my stories. How they would have understood my frustrations, fed me potatoes and tortes to assuage my boy-grief, expressed indignation at the rejection slips that kept piling up next to my computer.
Without my East Coast family’s Mafioso loyalty, my achievements seemed less shiny, my disappointments more foreboding.
I thought about sending them a card: “Have you sat shiva for me yet?”
I worried that they would not think it was funny. I worried that they would not answer. I imagined dinner parties, trays of canapés being passed. I imagined someone bringing my name up at the table. I could see my friend’s mother stop chewing, narrow her eyes. A wagging finger: Not in this house.
It was too much; I never wrote. In the end, I realized that I adored my friend’s parents for the exact reason that I would not hear from them: because they loved their daughter so fiercely, so actively, so unswervingly. Theirs was a glaring and glorious spotlight of love with a sharp, defined edge.
And I had stepped out.
A simple idea teach where the kids are at..