Have you ever put your hands on the keys of a piano? Settled them there, got them on the right notes? Have you ever, instead of playing brightly or sadly, simple increased pressure slowly, slowly until you pass the point they should have made noise, they naturally sound out, but haven’t because of the slowness of your movement? And then you keep on pushing, because they couldn’t make any noise anymore, it’s past the point where noise was viable. You push, until you hit the wood.
It works this way most of the time. Who knows why you started pushing instead of playing? Maybe it was that one damaged note which didn’t play at the right pressure and so you had to increase pressure on just that note. But there was little harm (and it was certainly easier) to increase pressure on all of the notes rather than just that one. Or maybe the idea of making a piano silent sprang fully formed into your head one tired day of practicing.
Sometimes, even if you have done it a dozen dozen time, a rogue note sounds. It may be an F flat, or a random C sharp, but a note which should never have been sounding does. So you press harder. It sounds louder. So you isolate it, press softly and slowly on it and then those around it until it subsides. And then you can play your silent piano.
Well, last week, the piano played. It rang out and people all over Burma called Myanmar heard it. That rebel note, Aung San Suu Kyi was that note, under house arrest for years held by the Military Junta of Myanmar has been sounding faithfully. And some heard her, for many years she could be heard. She received a Nobel Peace Prize for being heard. But when the protests came in 1989, when her party won a landslide in 1990, the Junta slaughtered protesters and the political powers of the world (read: China, India, US) did not have a coordinated response.
But last Friday, Buddhist monks marched. The Economist calls it the “Saffron Revolution”. The cover story of this week’s edition is of Buddhist monks praying. Last week it reported that the monks had essentially excommunicated the Junta by refusing to take alms from the military and their families. A brave move by all accounts. And there have been street protests, marching. I have rarely seen images more powerful that of thousands of Buddhist monks in their famous robes in a long peaceful line protesting with other citizens of Burma.
Sounds like the beginnings of music to me.
“Fear is a habit”. Aung San Suu Kyi