Sunday, September 30, 2007
Of mother's milk and monks
Another Sunday and the posting choice is difficult. I've been following the monks on march for democracy in Burma, was going to be a bit lazy and and post about a study that proves that women prefer pink. Actually, the prefer the red side of the color chart, thus everyone's favorite color, blue, becomes pink or lilac for women. The authors of the study think that this might be so because women gathered fruit, which is red when ripe. I can think of a more sanguine reason... In any case, I opened my LA Times e-mail alert and was jolted out of complacency by the Bush administration's utterly irresponsible caving in to pressure from the baby formula industry and weakening public health ad campaigns promoting breast feeding, which has many more life-long health benefits than does baby formula. Once riled, I figured it was time to post about Burma (currently called Myanmar by the military junta; while US news sources state these facts the other way around, i.e., Myanmar, formerly called or also known as…the French continue to call it Burma and the capitol city Rangoon, rather than the junta-redubbed Yangon). Protests have been going on since August over unannounced and unexplained hikes in gas and other prices and, as anyone who’s been following the news these past weeks knows, Buddhist monks have been leading massive demonstrations (10,000 monks, 20,000 total people in the biggest demonstration last week), even managing to stop and pray before the home of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. But the junta finally cracked down violently, even killing a Japanese journalist and cutting cell phone and internet connections to stop information from getting to the outside world. The UN envoy was finally granted a visa and was able to meet with both Suu Kyi and junta leaders, but few have great hopes for the outcome. While things are clearly at a turning point, without the help of China (Burma’s biggest trading partner), the rest of the world seems powerless to get the junta to democratize (or at least end Suu Kyi’s house arrest) and China, while calling for restraint and peaceful settlement of the situation, will not join the international movement for sanctions or boycotts.