BURMA: a jump in the past

BURMA: a jump in the past

Author: Anonym/Tuesday, February 1, 2011/Categories: News, Viaggi

There are places on Earth that are like legends, stories of the past. One of these is Burma, officially known today as Myanmar.

The Golden Country, as it was called by old inhabitants, because of its architectonic and naturalistic wonders; it is one of the last countries in Asia that has not gone through westernization.

The landscape is enchanting: giant flatlands are painted with vivid colors, the transparent air surrounding them is a sign of the total absence of pollution. Western coast, covered with white beaches, is washed by the waters of the ocean, hosting mammals of the sea and dugongs. In the eastern part of Myanmar there are tropical forests where there can be found rare species of animals like leopards, the cat of the jungle, the bear of Himalayas, the black Asiatic bear and the tiger.

Myanmar lives in a world of myths. Visiting those places is like going back in time. The majority of the population is composed of farmers living in thatched huts. Electricity and drinkable water can be found only in urban centers; in the countryside there prevails the law of nature and the daily life is determined by the sunlight and by the mutating humors of the rivers.
Domestic animals are essential for working in the fields, but also as means of transportation. Streets are dusty with the exception of the great cities. For this reason the most suitable way to transport the goods is the Irrawaddy, the most important river of the Country.

With few dollars one can buy the ticket to jump on board of one of these ships traveling up and down the river. The navigation is slow and uncomfortable, but it still remains the best available transportation mean and offers an extraordinary view: antique Buddhist constructions, pagodas, temples and monasteries but also the picture of the daily life of the population living along the river. In clear sunny days, women come across the river in order to wash and dry their clothes and sometimes, taking advantage of the stops of the ship, they jump in to sell some fruit, while men put on carts drawn by ox the goods brought by the same ship.

Many places are to be visited in Myanmar: Yagon and the Shwegadon pagoda, one of the most beautiful religious construction in the world, Bagan, the old capital city with its hundreds antique temples, Mandalay, the most important commercial city, but also Ngapali beach, for sea lovers. Among the different touristic attractions there is one particularly interesting because of a strange similarity with Venice: it is lake Inle, the second lake in Myanmar, 22 by 11 kilometers inhabited by the Intha population. This little world emerging from the water hosts something like 17 villages. Around the houses constructed on pile dwellings, float some little islands where there are cultivations of fruits and vegetables. Close by the lake there are monasteries, schools and also artisan factories of cigars, textiles and lacquers.

Myanmar remains among the poorest countries in the world but its population is one of the kindest of our planet. This is due to the Buddhist philosophy wrapping every moment in the daily life.

Great part of the population is represented by monks. Usually parents in Myanmar want to have at least one son to become a monk: they believe that this is a good way to gain benefits in the following life, but also in order to have basic instruction for their sons, at least reading and writing. A monk survives thanks to the offers of worshippers and has very little personal objects always with him: a little bowl to collect donations, a blanket where to sleep and a pair of pieces of cloth to get dressed with.
His day starts at the very first sunrise, with meditations and prays; then it goes on getting out to raise offers: rice and fruit. At 10 in the morning they meet with each other in the monastery in order to eat the last meal of the day. After midday it is no more allowed to eat until the following day. The afternoon, is then dedicated to the study and to the writings.

The depth of the religious thought can be perceived everywhere and it creates a magic sensation also for non-believers.

The question coming naturally after having seen all these aspects: why is the contrast so strong between the immense inner richness of this population and the misery in which it lives? To which extent did the belief in the karma retarded the development of this country?

Looking back in time, before second world war, Myanmar, with its Buddhist philosophy, was one of the most developed among Asian countries, in which there were freedom of thought, independent press, a literary culture. Nowadays, in stead, this same country is on the list of the poorest countries in the world, with a great amount of illiterates.

In 1962 with a coup d’etat it was established a military dictatorship in Myanmar and from that moment on the Country remained excluded from the rest of the world, from wealth, from legality. The military government was not changed neither in 1990when for the first time in 30 years there had been free elections and Aung San Suu Kyi (Peace Nobel Price in 1991), with the party National Democratic Legacy, won with the 80% of the votes. The SLORC (Council for the restoration of the law and of the State order) declared the election non valid and arrested the leader Augun San Suu Syi; since then for the following 20 years, the leader of the opposition has spent his life under house arrest.
Each and every attempt to turn the Country to democracy is brutally cut as it happened recently with the Buddhist monks.

On November 7, 2010 after 20 years of waiting in Burma were held new elections that were supposed to give the start to the so-called Roadmap for Democracy the process of transition to civilian rule of the junta.
It is now clear that under the facade of democratic elections, the new government aimed to gain the approval of the international community.
Defined, however, "not credible" by the authority of the UN, the new elections, most likely, like last time, they're going to consolidate dictatorial power.

Augun San Suu Kyi could have been the only chance to change things, but her candidature was not accepted because she was married with a foreign citizen. An article in the new Constitution was conceived and applied against her.
In Myanmar dictatorship is still on power with its unacceptable election laws, the employment of forced labor and the continuous violation of civil rights bottle up the development of the country.
Probably the only way out in those desperate conditions of living, is the faith to reincarnate in a better life, gained with the sufferings of the previous one.

Photos by Olga Gomenyuk 

Copyright 2013 MyAyroraTag e Aurora - The World Wide Interactive Journal
Vietata la riproduzione anche parziale dei presenti contenuti

Number of views (41193)/Comments (0)