A reader writes:
What people may not realize is that the brutality of the Burmese military regime extends back not merely to 1988, but to 1962. That was the year General Ne Win seized power, after which troops stormed the Rangoon University Student Union--a center of anti-colonial struggles in the 1930s and 1940s and a center for protests against the military coup--dynamited the building, and massacred between 100 and 150 students.
I should mention that I am taking all this quite personally. My great-grandfather emigrated to Burma (from India) around 1910, and his descendants lived in Rangoon for 50 years--even during the Japanese occupation. My father and all of his siblings were born there. Being "foreigners," however, they were all kicked out when Ne Win took power. So we have been nursing a decades-long grudge. I suppose I should thank the Burmese military--I would not have been born in the US without them.
Although I despise Bush, I have to confess admiration for his unequivocal statements against the junta and in support of the protesters. It's more than can be said for Russia, China, and India. One should expect this kind of thing from Russia and China I suppose, but India, the nation which invented modern civil disobedience, should know better.