The Burmese generals who misrule their country are a superstitious lot. Long-time dictator Ne Win reportedly ordered everyone to start driving on the right (drivers were using the left side in the former British colony) after his astrologer told him to “think right.”
Ne Win is long dead, but the autocrats who succeeded him apparently also look to the stars for guidance. And the signs are not good.
It cannot have pleased Myanmar‘s ruling family: the collapse of a 2,300-year-old gold-domed pagoda into a pile of timbers just three weeks after the wife of the junta’s top general helped rededicate it.
There is no country in Asia more superstitious than Myanmar, and the crumbling of the temple was seen widely as something more portentous than shoddy construction work.
The debacle coincides with the junta’s trial of the country’s pro-democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, after an American intruder swam across a lake and spent a night at the villa where Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for most of the past 19 years.
After two weeks of testimony that began May 18, the trial has been suspended as the court considers procedural motions – and as the junta apparently tries to decide how to manage what seems to have been a major blunder, drawing condemnation from around the world.
The superstitious generals may be consulting astrologers as well as political tacticians for guidance. That would not be unusual for many people in Myanmar, formerly Burma.
I’ll save the thugs a trip to the astrologer. The stars say they should stop killing and imprisoning people who only want to be free. If the generals did so, the stars further promise that Burma would benefit from the same opportunities enjoyed by free societies around the world.
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