Scaling Mt. Revolution
It’s been more than a year since the irruption of the Burmese Spring Revolution. It all unfurled slowly, but a lot has changed. Through tears of sorrow and joy, through despair and hope, the recent turn of events have left us all exhausted. But one thing’s for certain; the revolution is yet to be finished, and this is why we need to forge ahead. When it will all end and what lies ahead–these are questions for which we have no answers. So we must each remain as determined as ever. But how can we muster up this determination? Read on ahead, dear comrade.
I would liken the revolution to the act of climbing a mountain. When we departed from the base of the mountain we made the decision to climb all the way to the top, and now we find ourselves in the middle of our fateful ascent up the treacherous slopes. Some of us are already exhausted from the journey. Some of us thinking of calling it quits. But here the analogy ends. This is not actual mountaineering. The fact of the matter is that we do not have the luxury to abandon our journey half way. We can all fathom the disastrous consequences of doing so. What then is the point of the analogy in the first place? As a matter of fact, the principles of mountaineering serve to highlight the ways in which we can marshall the determination required to keep on pushing forward in the revolution.
Mountaineers already have a set of objectives in mind that they want to accomplish by the time they begin their climb. These objectives can be anything from reaching the desired peak to setting up base at a particular location. It is the same way in the revolutionary situation we are in. The objective of our revolution is to abolish military authoritarianism and we will settle for nothing less than federal democracy. Are these not the goals we have collectively agreed upon on the eve of the revolution?
In her poem “To the Top”, the poet Ngway Tar Ye, beseeching a weary hiker to take break, writes
having thus started
one day the end will be reached
to not lose the will, no turning back
rest, the mind fatigued
soothing slivery cold of the lake
senses attuned to birds’ hymns
once more a form renewed
oh lovable man
So what do we do when the revolutionary struggle begins to take a physical and mental toll on us?
Take a Quick Time-out
Here taking a quick time out means putting on hold temporarily whatever projects you’re working on, shutting your mind off to stressful thoughts and news media, or eating well and having plenty of sleep
Do Something To Take Your Mind Off Things
This is the next step in the process of taking a break. When a hiker reads Ngway Tar Yee’s poem, the latter’s imagery of the lake’s cold, silvery smooth water, birds’ hymns, etc. is bound to evoke a sense of respite. So what about someone who is actively involved in the revolution? The revolution has generated a lot of songs, poems, novellas, comics and other audiovisual and digital media that can keep the revolutionary partisan entertained for a time being while they rest and recover. Actually, even recreational hobbies and activities that have nothing to do with the revolution can help one relax. Some people like to cook, others like gardening or knitting. Find out what works best for you.
Take Care of Your Mind and Body
The mountaineer takes a break to enjoy the scenery. They drink, eat and do some stretching before they can continue on with the journey. In other words, they take time to re-energize. So is the same with many of us who are contributing to the revolution in one way or another. Here we have to distinguish between two kinds of fortitude–mental and physical. While common sense tells us that one can train the mind by acquiring theoretical knowledge through for example, getting acquainted with revolutionary literature and the body by doing physical exercises, we have to keep in mind that the mind and body are also inseparably intertwined. On top of maintaining a balanced diet and a healthy sleep schedule, and moderating drug and alcohol use, there is also a need to improvise and adapt. The thing is that the mountaineer had plenty of time to prepare for their journey, whereas our partisans did not have such a luxury. This is why in strengthening our mind and body now we should try our best to attend to the needs that we did not have time to prepare for earlier. Again, these preparations involve keeping both the body and the mind active by opening one’s thinking to new ideas about federalism, democracy and racial justice by one’s comrades.
Don’t Neglect the Present Situation For Too Long
The mountaineer takes a break because they are tired and need time to recharge. They aren’t taking a permanent break. Neither have they forgotten about the journey at all. This is why they eventually pick back up where they left and resume the journey after a period of time. Likewise, the revolutionary partisan enjoys a well deserved rest but they cannot forget about the present predicament. They cannot lose their enthusiasm to inertia. They have to spring back into action with a renewed determination. Otherwise, our revolutionary journey will be stranded half way.
This is straightword. Danger can befall a mountaineer from anywhere anytime. So is the same for the revolutionary partisan. So always take caution. To be specific, to exercise caution doesn’t mean to abandon whatever project you are working on. The mountaineer and the partisan both know that the road ahead is treacherous but that they must keeping moving forward cautiously.
Many hikers don’t usually go on mountaineering alone. They cheer each other on and enjoy each other’s company in their journey up the slopes. This way they can better manage the fatigue and stay in good spirits. Even when a brave individual should go on hiking alone, they bring a trekking pole for convenience’s sake. In the same way, the revolutionary partisan should prefer to link up with kindred spirits than operating alone. But of course, they must make friends with only those who can be trusted.
The mountaineer knows when they’re tired, thirsty, in need of rest, and when they’ve taken adequate rest and when there is danger ahead and they need to avoid the road and keep to the shadows. The revolutionary partisan too should strive to always monitor themselves and their surroundings so they can plan their next move.
In brief, let us remind ourselves that our journey up the Mt. Revolution is not one that we can afford to abandon halfway. Use the mountaineering’s sense and keep a steady pace until we reach the peak.
Author : DAH
Translated by Old Mole