Little jingles capture the pathos of the oppressed.
The Burma Slaves
by Fred E. Foldvary,From 1925 to 1963 there used to be signs along American country roads advertising " Burma shave." The Burma-Vita company sold a shaving cream, which it advertised with a series of highway billboard signs where a rhyming humorous message was read one sign at a time. For example:
with lots of fuzz
but man's no peach
and never was.
Don't take a curve
at 60 per
we hate to lose
The country of Burma is in turmoil. Its dictators changed the name of the nation to Myanmar, just like the Congolese dictator changed its country name to Zaire. After the dictator was deposed, the name was changed back to Congo. Likewise, when the present dictators of Burma are finally overthrown, the new regime will probably restore the previous name. We don't want to call Burmese cats "Myanmar cats." The people are proudly Burmese.
There are reports that the government of Burma has used slave labor. In 1994, the Associated Press
wrote that Burma's military rulers used thousands of enslaved workers to build a railroad. Another report on August 2007 stated that thousands of Burmese workers in one of the Burmese islands are prohibited from riding motorcycles and using mobile phones, and they may not go out after 8 am unless accompanied by their employer.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel forum had some Burma-Shave type rhymes about the "Burma slaves" of today. The military dictators have enslaved the entire country, and recently brutally repressed protests led by Buddhist monks. There were previous protests by students that were squashed. But this time, I think the regime is doomed to failure. When a regime shoots into crowds, it is a signal that its demise is coming soon. When the people are so angry that they have lost their fear of the regime, the game is finished. That's what happened in Romania, Iran, Russia, and other countries that deposed the autocrats.
The Santa Cruz "Burma slave" rhymes were criticized in the forum as bringing a serious problem - people in Burma getting killed - down to the level of Burma Shave ads. But often people who are oppressed have themselves used humor as a tool of coping with the pain. With sympathy, respect, and admiration to the people of Burma, here are some signs that could appear on the road to Mandalay:
Shooting into crowds,
of a lying,
have lost their fear.
will squeeze the rulers.
The end is near.
A nation marred.
It burns with fury.
The Burmese cats
Will be the jury.
-- Fred Foldvary
Copyright 2007 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.
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