A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!
Yesterday daughter Liz and I spent a couple hours on the lakefront. But we weren't there to watch the kites. We were there to join an interfaith community's silent demonstration against the violence and repression in Myanmar.
Joining the Buddhist Peace Fellowship of Milwaukee were Quakers, Unitarian Universalists, the whole gamut of Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox Jews, believers in peace but not God -- and a few Tosans, too.
It was an unusual event: a couple hundred people walking silently in single file procession from the marina toward the War Memorial. Some carried signs with pictures of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Buddhist monks, Aung San Suu Kyi (Myanmar opposition leader), simple words. Many in the procession wore red, as had the Buddhist monks who protested peacefully in Burma and were met with violence by the military junta.
We were met by smiles, curious stares, ignoring. But no weapons or even rude remarks.
The wind blew warm and hard, the sky and lake were brilliant, and inline skaters kept rolling by.
You won't find any coverage of this event in the Milwaukee media. I guess it's not as newsworthy as a local women's fantasy football league.
But what's not interesting here, where we often take for granted the great freedoms we have of speech and assembly, is interesting in Myanmar/Burma. Images of the Milwaukee march are being smuggled into that country. Just knowing that people in such distant places are watching and caring might give a little strength to the people there. And a little discomfort to the junta: repression thrives where no one's watching.
We may not be as important as the UN, finally calling for the release of political prisoners, or Japan, beginning to impose economic pressure. But the power of witness is great, and political action doesn't happen without it.
Witnessing and telling what you've seen. . .sounds like a good job for a journalist. . .