The monks in Burma have resisted the oppression with grace and immense selflessness. I am reminded of a poem The Dictators by Pablo Neruda that captures the hollowness of arbitrary rule and violence that haunts our collective conscience..

An odor has remained among the sugarcane:
a mixture of blood and body, a penetrating
petal that brings nausea.
Between the coconut palms the graves are full
of ruined bones, of speechless death-rattles.
The delicate dictator is talking
with top hats, gold braid, and collars.
The tiny palace gleams like a watch
and the rapid laughs with gloves on
cross the corridors at times
and join the dead voices
and the blue mouths freshly buried.
The weeping cannot be seen, like a plant
whose seeds fall endlessly on the earth,
whose large blind leaves grow even without light.
Hatred has grown scale on scale,
blow on blow, in the ghastly water of the swamp,
with a snout full of ooze and silence

(available online)

An online petition by Avaz can be found here. This group is now placing ads across the global newspapers to raise the pressure on Burmese authorities.

3 Responses to Remembering Neruda on Support Burma Day

  1. bhupinder says:

    >The delicate dictator is talking

    Wow ! Delicate indeed dictators are…

    I have often wondered why dictatorships elsewhere have not produced literature on the same scale and quality that Latin America has. Russia produced some fine literature during both the Czarist as well as the Soviet regimes and Pakistan had Faiz and Faraz, the former certainly of the same stature as Neruda. Perhaps there are other contributing factors like literary and strength of literary traditions, which are lacking in case of Burma.

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  3. Sidhusaaheb says:

    Here is one poem of Neruda’s that was a part of one of my school textbooks: http://judithpordon.tripod.com/poetry/pablo_neruda_ode_to_clothes.html

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