Friday, September 28, 2007

A Lack Of Burma In All The Wrong Places

(Mandalay Gazette/EPA)

What's happening in Burma is an atrocity. The Guardian has a chilling timeline of the day after government forces opened fire on protesters, killing nine people. They also have a Q&A page that covers what the protests are about, why the involvement of the monks is significant, and basic information about the military regime.

I link heavily above to the Guardian for two reasons. First, they are deeply covering what is quickly becoming a mass violation of human rights. Second, and related to the first, there isn't that much coverage in the US media. Yahoo News currently has a link to a slideshow and is reporting about Myanmar's internet service near the top of their page. The violence is pushed toward the bottom of the CNN scroll.

There is also slim to no posting on Burma at progressive blogs. Jon Swift notes that bloggers on the sane side of the aisle have been as muted on Burma as they were on the racism in Jena (discussed here and here):
the monks might as well be filling the streets of Jena, Louisiana, for all they care.
I agree, but the silence on the two topics is for different reasons.

On Jena, it seemed bloggers were a) afraid to comment on a racial issue (for reasons discussed at length in the first Jena link above), and b) which is much more nefarious, they were afraid of conservative bloggers pointing to any perceived support for the Jena 6 and screaming, "Sharpton lover, Sharpton lover."

With Burma, I'm guessing the A-List progressive bloggers are reluctant to align themselves with conservative bloggers who are blogging about Burma (see John Swift).

I'm not a mind reader though, so I really don't know why Jena and Burma aren't being blogged about. I'm hoping it's not because of "audience appeal" reasons. It's not too progressive to hold back posting on major civil rights stories because they're not the right kind of political stories.

Or maybe Dennis Perrin is right. Maybe expecting the president, American citizens, the press, or progressive bloggers to care about these issues is just ludicrous. After all, the massive mainstream media coverage of Jena had little to do with the racism underlying the incidents and everything to do with hanging on the words of black leaders that people seem to love to hate.

Maybe if the Monks of Burma posted some crazy, off kilter YouTube videos, the A-listers might post about them on a late Friday night.