So imagine the anger over a wedding video that just hit the internet…a wedding last July for the daughter of one of the ruling generals. The online magazine Irrawaddy.org, run by journalists exiled from Myanmar, came up with some staggering estimates… That the wedding costs 300-thousand dollars…and that gifts to the bride and groom totaled 50-million dollars.
I'd suggest taking those numbers with a large grain of salt.
Here are some numbers you can trust: Myanmar is one of the most destitute countries in the world…the per capita income matches that of North Korea. It is a place with plenty of beauty…amid plenty of poverty.
So when people in Myanmar who can get on the internet saw this they were outraged.
Buy in Myanmar, there is no good way to turn outrage into action, because of the iron-fisted control by the generals. And part of their control is to keep one of Asia's most ardent proponents of democracy locked up.
Her name is Aung San Suu Kyi – in 1990 her party won a landslide victory and she should have become the country's freely elected leader. Instead, the generals took over. She stayed to fight on…occasionally allowed to roam free, but more often under house arrest. In 1991, her courage won her the Nobel Peace Prize.
Not that her world recognition caused the generals any real concern…they still rule supreme. And by some reports, they have 11-hundred political prisoners in jail.
In 1995…supporters smuggled out a video speech by Suu Kyi, played at the global women's conference in Beijing…where she promised to work for the freedom of women and men in her country.
So you can see why inside and outside Myanmar, this is more than wretched excess. How about calling it…just plain wretched.
By Barry Petersen