Monday, 13 August 2012

The River of Lost Footsteps

by Thant Myint-U

i have just finished reading 'The River of Lost Footsteps' by Thant Myint-U.
i bought the book a few months ago because i realized that i knew next to nothing about Burma's history, and felt rather ashamed of it.

as a child my father's job with BOAC saw us briefly stationed in Rangoon, and i have very fond and quite strong memories of it; going to the Shwe Dagon Pagoda with my shoes off, the smells and lights, the hugeness of it. i remember the little bungalow we stayed in, the kitchen with its charcoal oven that you fanned to get it going, the plants in the garden.
as a 5 year old i didnt  really know what was happening in the country.

It is so important, i think, to learn about a country's history and culture before we decide to condemn or ostracize. 
i have felt this for a long time, and am sometimes a bit hesitant in signing petitions online - a nagging feeling in my mind that without the whole story i will not really understand what i am signing.
and i know it is important. 

recently, feeling supportive of the campaign for democracy in Burma, and having had this short sojurn in the country so long ago i felt i really wanted to learn about the country's history.

i found Thant Myint-U's book.
I recommend everyone to read this book, it is beautifully written, fascinating and informative, and a good example of why it is important to understand each other's cultures and histories.