soldiers


Bloggers who risked all to reveal the junta’s brutal crackdown in Burma – Times Online

The realities of political oppression made life difficult. A blogger who posted a photograph of a demonstration found herself arrested, questioned and her computer seized.

On domestic blogs, they were able to express themselves only indirectly. The blogger nicknamed Sun, for example, posted quotations from a famous Burmese memoir of the Japanese occupation during the Second World War, full of observations about how to live with dignity under a brutal regime.

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The regime responded, first by blocking individual Burmese blogs, then, last Wednesday, by blocking all of them. But the overseas sites were beyond its reach, so on Friday it switched off the internet altogether. Now e-mails can be sent only within Burma; the only pages that web browsers can view are those of the official websites.

The only solution now would be to dial up ISPs overseas but the cost of international calls makes this prohibitive. As Superman puts it: “Now Burma is like the Stone Age.”

You can watch it from the TV but these people are living with the oppression in Burma and taking the risk of reporting it to the world. I admire their tenacity and bravery.

They make the rest of us look trivial – and we are.

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NPR : How Do Washington’s Monuments Measure Up?

Another NPR “Story of the Day” that caught my ear. I live just minutes from the Air Force Memorial pictured above. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not against the memorial in principle. I just don’t think it’s a very good one design-wise. It reminds me of elephant tusks.

The podcast also mentions the World War II Memorial on the Mall and the Goddess of Democracy nearby. I must say that the WWII memorial looks like it would be at home in Rome (or in Berlin had the Germans won the war). I would have preferred something that reflected an American (or at least a more modern) perspective.

The World War II Memorial

I also prefer Maya Lin’s design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial – it’s one of the most moving, truly awesome memorials on the Mall. It’s simplicity is startling and the viewer becomes part of the memorial through their reflection.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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Amid the Chaos of War, Gifts of MusicSteve Baker, a Vietnam veteran, and his wife, Barb, run Operation Happy Note, which has sent hundreds of musical instruments to troops.

Amid the Chaos of War, Gifts of Music – washingtonpost.com

This is a great story I stumbled across while reading the paper earlier this week. I truly can’t imagine what it’s like to be a soldier in Iraq but I know what a solace music can be. Kudos to Steve and Barb Baker from Fergus Music, in Fergus Falls, Minn!

http://www.operationhappynote.com/index.html

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