This article belongs to With a Grain of Piquant Salt column.
Everybody is clutching at straws, bellowing at China, India, ASEAN, Japan, Mongolia, and Nicaragua to do something about Burma. But why would they help and what makes them think that the Burmese Generals will even listen to them? I am a simple man who gets easily confused. So this is the analogous situation as I see it. You have a wife-beater goon living on your street. Recently, you heard the wife screaming and crying in pain from the beating that her husband has was administering to her and has been doing so for the past twenty years. She has been beaten over and over and she has been progressively starved. Now let us follow the analogy.
So you go and ask China to help and go talk to Burma, because China is one of the big chaps. China is another wife-beater beating the hell out of the wife many years ago in Tiananmen Square in the full public gaze. And nobody did anything. And while China no longer beats the wife that much, she is now cowed and busy earning money for China anyway.
Then you have a bunch of other men, who have formed this club called as ASEAN and who themselves are also a bunch of low level wife-beaters. None of them have clean hands and all have slapped around their wives, are drunkards and are self-righteous to boot. In any case, they are weaklings and cannot do anything to help either.
India is another big chap, who used to spend his time bellowing at others to behave, but for the last few decades, has learnt to keep his nose out of other people's business. He doesn't beat his wife, but his wife isn't very happy, she isn't looked after very well either. The couple is very poor, their children are ratty and snot nosed, and India has major issues in his own household. So he is happy to accept couple of bowls of sugar from Burma and sometimes thanks even him for keeping his north eastern children in line.
There is another big chap on the other street called Japan. He buys and sells from Burma and his idea is that if you have constructive discussions with Burma, it will get better. But Burma keeps on taking the money and trading happily, and still beats up his wife.
There is also a big club called the United Nations, which is on the other side of town, and it is mainly a talk shop. The UN sent one of its men to go speak to Burma the wife-beater, but he was given the run around. The UN envoy very briefly saw the battered, bloody and bruised wife, and has now gone back to the UN to report, in triplicate, filed in twenty bureaucratic windows. That report is now buried under zillions of other similar reports. There are also some other big guys in another town, such as the USA and UK. Right now, both are busy and have their hands full. They took action against a few other wife-beaters called as Taliban and Al Qaeda and chased some out of their houses. But they are now trying to get back into these houses and trying to batter Afghanistan again, so the USA/UK are still trying to stop them.
They also removed and hanged another wife-beater called as Saddam Hussein who beat up his wife called Iraq. Now unfortunately, Iraq is getting beaten up by herself, USA/UK and some other husbands who have popped up and laid claims on her. There is another club called Europe, but they are also busy, talking about whom to appoint to talk to other clubs about what to do with Burma.
Right now, a huge number of people in different streets are protesting against Burma, but Burma has barricaded his doors and windows, stopped people from peering inside his house, while continuing to beat his wife and break her bones. What the poor wife actually needs is a policeman to walk in, tell Burma to stop it immediately, otherwise he will get his backside kicked. But without the actual threat of violence against him, he will keep on beating his wife. He gets his food, clothing and drinks anyway (from many of the very same other wife beaters on the street).
It is a very simplistic analogy and I am sure you can poke thousands of holes into it, but who is going to act like the policeman? And more importantly, if you don't have a policeman, why would the wife-beater listen to you? So I am afraid I cannot see anything happening in Burma without that much needed policeman. And when the world ignored the three million dead in Bangladesh, the other millions in Sudan, in Darfur, in Rwanda, in Congo - all those women beaten up, and zilch happened. Remember the last time when three thousand lives were lost and nothing happened?
You know what will work or rather the only thing that can work? A full fledged revolution! An internal revolution, which needs litres of blood to be shed and hundreds and thousands to die. The wife herself has to gather her remaining strength, scrap up her courage to fight back against her abusive husband. She has to pick up her knives and saucepans and refuse to cook the food. She will get beaten more and more. Do not assume this will be a velvet revolution like in Georgia. No way! This will be bloody, gory and full of bloated bodied floating down the rivers. Go for thirty thousand martyrs, or go for three hundred thousand killed. Just how much is your freedom worth?
The poor wife will have her bones broken, but she has to fight back. She should not rely on the neighbours, because they are the same, and this neighbourhood is a nasty place to be in. So forget about outside help, rely on yourself, fight, bite, kick or even murder your husband! That is the only way to win your freedom!
All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!