Civil Society and Its Pragmatically Grateful Children (A POEM)

Brother, leave your revolution behind, and junk your jailed comrades.

Icons are best dead. So, forget about (Aung San) Suu Kyi the Lady.

Ideals are for idiots. Resistance is futile. And another world is not possible.

Get it?

Our Generals’ Elections are good for you.

How dare our ASEAN neighbors call them a “travesty” (the Indonesians)

And a “farce” (the Fillipinoes)!

Politics is bad for your health, but projects feed your babies.

Hone your (project) management skills, sell your soul and go commercial.

But don’t forget to keep your receipts, or file ‘reports for donors’.

Dissidents are out. Development is in.

Civil Society is good for you, and for “socially responsible” Big Business.

So, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride

As the Free Market prepares to penetrate your ‘virgin’ economy

While “Scums of the Earth” look on,
(That is, dishonest diplomats, cynical UN careerists, dull developmentalists, sinister humanitarians, rational policy ideologues, and our local pragmatic proxies),

In their cozy Conradian ‘Outposts of Progress’
With bottles of political snake-oil in their hands,

And certified Voodoo Expertise of In-Human Development in their heads

Waiting to discharge their “International Class Burden”

Of saving us Kipling’s half-childlike Natives

From our real “Three Diseases” of Poverty, Conflict and Oppression

All singing the chorus of their cure-all mantra:

“Middle Class the Savior is coming.
Middle Class the Savior is coming.
To save you, it is C-O-M-I-N-G!”

We now know there is no society as we, the natives, know it

But only their manufactured ‘Civil Society’, born via project-assisted delivery

Sirs! Madams!

Thank you for your Snake Oil, and for your Voodoo Midwifery.

Now we welcome you to our brave new world of Myanmar’s Civil Society.


Zarni, Bangkok, 7 Nov 2010, on the morning of a national mourning day called “The Generals’ Election”.  This was my gift to "Myanmarese" voters.  

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