Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Burmese then and now. Hope.

Two strong things came together today.
No, I don't refer to Iron Dome intercepting a Grad missile.
Instead, the two things were in my mind.

One was the traumatic memory of the month and a half of being bombarded by Saddam Hussein's huge Scud missiles, the ones he threatened to arm with poison gas, during the 1991 Gulf War. 

It was a Shabbat morning when my employers called my home and said, "Dina, please come quickly. Our office was hit by a missile and we must salvage our equipment and move before the next barrage!"

This was when my family lived near Tel Aviv, the city that  was being targeted by Iraq.
The office where I worked for several years  was an old house in nearby Ramat Gan which was housing  the Embassy of the Union of Myanmar.

His Excellency the Ambassador, in suit and tie,  kept busy all day giving interviews to the countless foreign reporters in the yard while the First Secretary, the other two Burmese staff members, their wives, the Israeli chauffeur, and I salvaged things from the rubble and packed the old typewriter, fax, china, files, etc. into boxes.

My son, who was home from the army that weekend, collected small pieces of the Scud as souvenirs.
We worked without stopping until the kind Japanese ambassador came to visit, bringing Hawaiian pizza with pineapple on it. Bless his heart.

On the day I completed the two-year post-grad course in Translation Studies at Bar-Ilan University, the ad appeared in the paper: "Hebrew-English translator/interpreter wanted for small embassy."
That is how I came to work for the  embassy of a country under a military junta.
It was right after Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest in Yangon.

So imagine how thrilled I am today, November 19, 2012, to see President Obama visiting Burma, the first sitting American president to do so.
And to see him welcomed by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, now free, now a Member of Parliament!
What a woman, so noble, so humble, so strong of will!

The long-imposed and self-imposed isolation of Burma/Myanmar is easing up.
The world seems ready to welcome Burma back. 

See CNN's  beautiful pictures from the visit today.
And watch  Aung San Suu Kyi's acceptance speech for the Congressional Gold Medal.

What I learned today, even as Israel and Gaza are under fire, is that true leaders can eventually emerge and change their nation, and that change is actually possible in this world.
There is HOPE.


Robert Geiss said...

Comes close of being a prayer.

Cloudia said...

YOU have shown more heart and inspired more inspiration today under bombardment than you can ever know dear Dina. Our hearts and souls are loving you always.

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

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Reader Wil said...

Thanks for your words of hope, Dina! Anything and everything is possible! Who would have thought that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would ever be a free person again and respected by everybody, and able to receive the president of the USA! This is what the free world wanted.
Take care , Dina and shalom!

Spiderdama said...

This is a very moving post Dina..
Thank God that hope is still free and that can not be taken from people

VP said...

Troubled places, and I am not meaning Israel...

Catholicgauze said...

Wow, great post.

Kay said...

What an amazing history you have, Dina. I didn't realize you were working for the Myanmar/Burma embassy then. We have good friends who are Burmese and had been hoping for the longest time to return for a visit. Now they are unfortunately too frail and in ill health and cannot travel. The whole story of Aung San Suu Kyi is just incredible. Her family were very self sacrificing as well. I love it that the Japanese ambassador brought over Hawaiian pizza! Gracious! You have Hawaiian pizza in Israel!