Friday, May 09, 2008

Orwell's Burma

Random surfing has its perks - I was looking for information on the cyclone in Myanmar and ended up with a hanging.

Latest reports say that over 80,000 people would have died after Cyclone Nargis hit the Irrawaddy delta last Saturday. There is still no news from our friend DKK Oo in Yangon. So I was just looking up the net when I stumbled on some accounts of George Orwell, from his days as an officer with the British Burma Police.

His essay, “A Hanging”(1931), was particularly moving. The thoughts that cross a man’s mind when he sees a nameless convict being walked fifty yards from his jail cell to the gallows. Thoughts that momentarily reflect empathy, humanity and guilt; sentiments that are so easily obliterated in another moment by the prison-routine, black humor and a shared bottle of whiskey.

Another good one - Shooting an Elephant.
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