Monday, June 20, 2005

The Good a Few People Can Do

Last Friday night I went to a lovely little ice cream parlor in one of the smaller towns outside Boston - I think Concord. The ice cream there is aparently a local brand, which was utterly scrumptious. There's a lot to the theory that New Englanders know ice cream better than the rest of us. Rich, creamy, flavorful, tasting like all-natural, even though I doubt it was. Watching G and his dad scrap over the last bites of banana split is priceless. The two of them revert to about age 10 when they are together. They keep each other young. His Mom and I roll our eyes and enjoy the show.

At some point, a candle-lit procession passed by the window of the ice cream shoppe. When we had finished our treats, we went to see what was going on. It was just a bunch of normal people in normal clothes. I had been hoping for a historical re-enactment of sorts, but instead these folks were holding a simple candlelight vigil. We found a group of about 20 or so gathered in front of one of the many memorials in that town, holding up photos of an Asian woman, speaking very quielty, talking about Myanmar (Burma). I did a little Googling and found this article:

"The NLD -- which scored a landslide victory in 1990 elections but was never allowed to take office -- said the party had standing orders not to accept any gifts for her but to donate them to the families of the other more than 1,300 political prisoners here.

Aung San Suu Kyi's latest incarceration -- her third stint under house arrest -- began in May 2003 after her convoy was attacked in what was seen as a botched assassination attempt ordered by the junta.

Her birthday has proved a lightning rod for international criticism of the regime, an international pariah for its human rights abuses."

We were witnessing some of that international criticism. G's dad asked what good it did, and everyone seemed to feel that it did no good to the cause at all - it just made the participants feel as though they were doing something good.

Well, I beg to differ.

That woman in the photo was awarded the Nobel Prize. What good did that do?

Irish Musicians - famous for political righteousness - are writing songs about her. What good does that do?

England's report

The International Herald Tribune's report

The Voice of America's report

Scotland's report

Even the Californians pulled their heads out of their asses for this one

What good do all those newspapers do?

They raised awareness. A New Yorker with a website (that, granted, nobody reads, but still) did some Googling and learned about this issue, having known nothing about it just three days ago. Some people who care did the only thing they could do - they made me curious enough to find out why they would stand in public with candles on a chilly evening, talking about it to whoever walked by and asked. They made me give a damn, and I put it on my website. And now you're reading it.

But really, what good will that do?

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Meade

It's up to us to decide what good is done in this world. Thank God people are at least trying.

Frank reminded me of an important detail I left out: At the delightful ice cream parlour in Concord, New Hampshire, I had one scoop of Peppermint Stick and one scoop of Mocha Chip. In the same dish. And I ate them so fast, they didn't melt together. And I did NOT get a headache, because I'm just that good.


Eric said...

Damn straight!
Keep up the good work:)

ruggerjohnnyd said...

I used to live in suburban MA... there are some great local creameries in small towns all over MA. I think I heard once the MA residents consume more ice cream per capita than other state.

Pua; Bakin' and Tendin' Bar said...

You're SO right D! And this Californian thanks you for helping to perform some much needed head-out-of-assectomies around here!

Frank said...

But what kind of ice cream did you have?