Maung Thura (Zarganar, or tweezers in Burmese) is a comedian who makes his living sending up the Mayanmar Military Regime. Before the regime, Zarangar spoofed Gen. Ne Win in the 1980's. The comic is fearless, heroic.
He's probably not in Myanmar at this moment or it's likely he'd be in jail. But they say he's there, still telling jokes.
Zarangar was in dental school when he realized he was just too funny to be a dentist. And he HAD to speak out politically. The Al Franken, I suppose, of Asia.
You might remember the rebellion last month, Burmese priests and throngs of people marching in defiance of bans imposed by Myanmar’s ruling military junta. Between 300 and 2ooo people have been detained (depending upon your news source) and hundreds are said to have been killed. I was under the blissful influence of media-deprivation, busy in the synagogue and the succah
In 1988, it was students, brutally crushed, who protested against the Myanmar Junta. Over 3000 are thought to have been killed, many more tortured.
I tell you all this to keep you honest, to keep you grounded. We think we have problems and we do, we do. I'm not minimizing. I'm relativizing.
Here's Zarganar's little joke, straight out of Christopher Rhoad's front page article.
George Bush, Hu Jintao (China's president) and Than Shwe (Myanmar's military leader) went to visit God.He has funnier jokes, of course.
Bush asked God, 'When will the U.S. become the most powerful nation in the world?'
God replied, 'Not in your life,' driving Bush to tears.
Mr. Hu then asked when China would become the richest nation in the world, which drew the same "not in your life" answer from God and tears from the Chinese president.
Finally, Myanmar's ruler asked when his country would have enough water and electricity. This time it was God who broke into tears, saying, "Not in my life!"
It's so hard to fully comprehend such poverty. Perhaps, rather than visiting Washington for class trips, or where ever it is the children go these days, the more privileged of our nation, those who have parents who can afford it, should be visiting Mayanmar. Or some less dangerous poverty stricken country.
Just a thought. They could send the message home, write about it, work for a cause. It might be good for all of us, that sort of relativism.