Regarding David Burleigh’s April 3 review of Emma Larkin’s book “Everything Is Broken: the Untold Story of Disaster Under Burma’s Military Regime”: I have just returned from my homeland Burma, where the people praised the military government for preventing hardware stores from taking advantage of Cyclone Nargis’ victims (May 2008).
The Burmese are known for their Buddhist compassion, even toward enemies. Their remarkable kindness was captured vividly in Michio Takeyama’s book “Harp of Burma” — about Japanese Imperial Army soldiers in a British internment camp. Burmese villagers secretly fed the prisoners of war at great risk.
It’s shocking how narratives about Burma, penned mostly by ignorant Westerners, differ from the reality on the ground today. Current books on Burma remind one of the cruel and distorted writings by early 19th-century American missionaries. It’s a shame that Larkin is walking in their footsteps.
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