Tree of Life Review



AIRMAIL: Bodhi Blues — A Year in India: Questioning The Maitreya Project by Jessica Falcone

COLUMN: Storiedmusic — The Night I Walked Out by DJ T’challah

NOVEL EXCERPT: In a State of Partition by Aneesha Capur

UP THE CREEK: Editor’s Notes — Art, Yoga, and Abu Ghraib

Burma and Iraq —

For D.C. Poets Against War

Believe it or not — Burma and Iraq are
connected. If you stretch far enough, Everything is
connected to Everything. These days you
don’t have to
very far.

As there has been, much more than the first
Burmese deaths from AIDS, in the early 1980’s, now
there has been, the first
Burmese-American death
in Iraq.

It was the grandson
of a famous professor
of Physics.

The professor was Rector
of Rangoon University.
When the junta — decided
there would be no more
“student disturbances” — if
“the student body was all
relocated” and distance learning
set up — this professor made
correspondence courses, a success.
But the government-run university pulled
the courses back
central control. It could not
allow that.

An architect was drawing a house
design for a client. To save money the client
took off the verandas — the architect put them
back on.

Another architect had a modern design, for a new
hotel, in Bagan, ancient city.

He took off the tiered roofs — to have low modern lines
unobstructed views.
The general put — the pyathats back on.
On/off on/off
so it goes. When he won, an international
design prize, they gave the prize,
to someone with, the same
name. He left shortly after.

To learn how dictators behave
I read about Saddam Hussein, c. 1993.

At a Burmese dissidents’ meeting
December 2002, before the second Iraq War
I put on a free button, that said
“Don’t go to war, in Iraq.”

A Burmese man, looked at me
sideways, said
“Be careful with that!”

A Burmese poet — supported publicly
the war in Iraq —
but I think that is because he does not
read much in English and doesn't know
about modern warfare
daisy cutter bombs just
used in Afghanistan
blanket bombing
cluster bombs
smart bombs
and such.

A hit man does a cleaner faster job.

What I can’t figure out
is how U.S. officials expect
someone to stay put in one building
for hours — while a bomber is called
in. Seems a moving target, by force of habit
will keep moving.

The man who draped
the U.S. flag over the face
of the statue of Saddam Hussein — just before
it was toppled
was Burmese.

The Burmese expert last Friday
said — the Burmese people expect/
want? A U.S. invasion. They say
“After the diamond, the gold.” “Sein”
“hu-sein” means “diamond”
“Shwe” in General Than Shwe, the present dictator,
means — “gold.”

At one time Saddam Hussein and the Burmese junta
Used the same P.R. firm
in Washington, DC.

If you stretch far enough, Everything is
to Everything.

Kyi May Kaung

Kyi May Kaung

Kyi May Kaung (Ph.D.) is a specialist on Burma and oppressive systems. She has worked in international radio and as a senior researcher and analyst affiliated with the Burmese democratic government in exile. Since 2005 she has been writing and painting full time. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in WRR. She now divides her time between Washington, DC and S.E. Asia.


POEM: Burma and Iraq: For DC Poets Against War
PROFILE: Kyi May Kaung — Activist, Artist, and Poet in Exile
SPOTLIGHT: Shrimp Shelling & Tuna Canning in Mahachai, Thailand — Part 1