Every day I feel compelled to monitor the international news to see how circumstances here are perceived abroad. I am often frustrated because, while it is true that the situation in Myanmar receives a good deal of coverage, none of the articles or reports successfully convey the extreme gravity of the situation.
We are constantly in shock, incredulous that so much of the world is sitting back watching these events unfold and doing so little, or nothing at all, about it. Partly I understand, because unless you have actually lived through something like this and experienced the attendant emotions, then your comprehension is merely intellectual. If there were some way that I could convey not only the events, but also the feelings that coexist with these events, then no one would ignore the situation. Everyone in the world would jump up and shout, “STOP! Enough is enough! We cannot accept this kind of brutality for another minute.”
Even as the media fail, so in large part do I. Each time I sit down to write, I try my best to convey not only the events as they occur but, equally important, the emotions that people have to face and deal with every single day. If I cannot convey those feelings, then you will not be able to feel what we are going through.
How can my words possibly reach into the depths of another being? Pulling at your heartstrings is not enough; I would, metaphorically, have to tear your heart out. Even that would probably be inadequate.
How can I begin to describe the feeling of having to crawl through my apartment on my hands and knees because soldiers outside are shooting at anything that moves, and throwing stun grenade after stun grenade?
How do I adequately explain my friend’s terror when she was trapped beside a drainage channel because police and soldiers had burst into our quarter unnoticed?
How to explain my alarm when all I could do was send her text messages encouraging her to be strong?
Or what it was like to walk out my door and have three high-powered sniper bullets scream by my head?
Or what it feels like to watch helplessly as women and children flee frantically down the street, their eyes wide with panic, as they try to escape the oncoming police and soldiers who are tossing stun grenades and firing rifles and tear gas canisters?
I cannot even describe the lesser fear that I am experiencing at this very moment, not knowing whether soldiers will appear out of nowhere before I have time to whitewash my data, close my devices and conceal them. I am behind two steel gates and a solid wooden door, but if they cannot force an entry they might use a grenade to gain access. They have already done so elsewhere.
Because I cannot adequately describe the feelings attached to any of this, I wonder again, What is the point? Knowing that my words alone are not enough, I do what I do almost every day: I give up, feeling guilty and in total despair. Yet, if there is the tiniest chance at all that I can be of help, then I know that tomorrow I must try again.