Song of the 8888 Revolution in Burma

Huffington Post with my Friday morning cereal. Boyfriend was running in and out of the bathroom, rushing to get to work. You see, Boyfriend really likes the idea of getting into work at 9AM… as a concept. What he doesn’t like all that much is waking up before 8:30 AM. So I stay out of his way on weekday mornings. I sit at my desk, eat my granola, and read the news. Or read the Huffington Post, depending on my mood.

I saw an article on the 25th anniversary of the 8888 (or Four Eight) Revolution in Myanmar (then Burma), and started reading it. (I got distracted for a little bit, of course – right next to the article was a link to a video in which a decapitated snake bites itself. Incidentally, this is why I love the Huffington Post. HOW can you not watch a video of a decapitated snake biting itself? It’s like the Universe tells you it’s fucking with you, then actually goes ahead and fucks with you, and then laughs in your face.)

Oh, you think the Universe is fucking with you? Yeah, that's cute.

Oh, you think the Universe is fucking with you?! Yeah, that’s cute.

Anyway, I digress. I read the article on the 25th anniversary of 8888, and as Boyfriend shuffled in the various drawers of the dresser, trying to find the right belt, I said, “Oh, it’s been 25 years since the student’s revolution in Burma.”

And just for a few seconds, Boyfriend stopped shuffling.

“Did you know the song that marked the 8888 revolution is set to the tune of Dust in the Wind?”

I didn’t know, but I looked it up.

For the uninitiated, on August 8, 1988 (hence 8888), scores of Burmese citizens – a majority of whom were students – came out on the streets to protest General Ne Win’s harmful and completely arbitrary policies, and to demand the restoration of democracy.

And like every revolution, this too needed a song.

Kabar-makyay-bu (We won’t be satisfied until the end of the world) was written by Naing Myanmar, a Burmese composer, and set to the tune of Dust in the Wind. The song became an anthem for the 3000 people the Burmese Tatmadaw murdered, and for the millions who continued fighting for their country, for democracy, and for a better life.

I only found one recording of Kabar-makyay-bu on YouTube. Never again will I be able to listen to Dust in the Wind without thinking of it.

“Same old song
Just a drop of water in an endless sea.
All we do
Crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see.”

Dust in the Wind, Kansas, 1977.

Want to know more? Go here. And here. You could also listen to this.

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