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?
The International Herald Tribune's report
The Voice of America'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.