The past week has seen an interesting string of events in some of the destinations for Ariontheroad 2004/05 tour:
- THAILAND has shown the painful excesses of military might. In the south 78 Muslim protesters suffocated due to heavy-handed tactics in trying to break up a riot. It is hard to believe that police could so monumentally misjudge the effect of their actions as to allow 78 to die, without there being some malicious intent. Violence in the south has become disturbingly common and Thailand wrestles with a large Muslim minority.
- SOUTH KOREA has gone onto a frenzied military alert after a holes was found in the wire fence at the DMZ border with the north. The fear? North Korean agents entering the country, seeking information, assassination, or possibly even a filling meal. It is a sign of the heightened tension and paranoia that exists between the two sides that such a fairly innocuous event can put the country on edge. Still, with Colin Powell in town and NK having some 'form' on political assassinations, it's not surprising.
- In MYANMAR, there has been a changing of the guard within the ruling State Peace and Development Council (it used to be State Law and Order Restoration Council, but the guys in marketing thought that SLORC would be a tough sell). The previous Prime Minister Khin Nyunt was ousted due to ruptions within the military, and the new man is Lt Gen Soe Win. A step sideways in the long struggle for democracy in Myanmar, if this quote is any guide: "Soe Win, thought to be about 56, is believed to espouse a hard line in dealing with the pro-democracy movement led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi."