Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Walking a Thin Line


There were about 150 activists there tonight. But I didn't know how many spies were present. It was supposed to be a vigil to mark the one month anniversary of the largest protests in Burma in almost 20 years and the 12 years that Aung San Suu Kyi has been held under house arrest. Today was Aung San Suu Kyi Day. It was a sea of red, which represented the saffron robes of the monks who led the protests. I saw a couple of All Burma Students' Democratic Front/NLD fighting peacock headbands as well. One participant was wise enough to cover his face with a red bandanna.

I instinctively was on my guard. Not so much for my own protection, but that of my coworker's.

As there were camera crews snapping away, as well as a lot of personal cameras clicking, I tried to stay low.

I thought it was a shame that an opportunity to show solidarity and further network with fellow activists was overshadowed by my security concerns.

A couple of associates were talking openly about our work after the vigil, and one was especially vocal and injudicious about dropping names. Although they were more senior than me in experience (not by that much, though, in my opinion), I didn't think they were being very prudent.

I asked my co-worker after we left, "Do you think there were spies tonight?" "Naja mi" was his response. Which translates into. Probably, or Most definitely.

He's used to it. I am not.

While I develop my networks and get deeper into this work, I am steadily realizing to what extent I have to be cautious. By no means am I a big fish, but then again, better safe than sorry.

Trying to get my photos posted, but the USB port is electrocuting me. Sorry.