Allan Campbell – Thursday April 8

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Oir tha ghaoth sna craobhan pailme,
Is glagan theampaill, le chèil’
A’ glaodh “till air ais, a shaighdeir Bhreat’naich,
Till air ais gu Mandalay!”

Bha mi riamh measail air bàrdachd, agus bha na ceathramhan as dòigheile de Mandalay aig Rudyard Kipling air fear de na pìosan a dh’ionnsaich sinn anns a’ bhun-sgoil. Chòrd ìomhaighean na bàrdachd rinn aig an àm, ach a’ coimhead air ais chan eil mi cinnteach carson a thagh an tidsear a bh’ againn seo, mur e dòcha gun robh i a’ faotainn cofhurtachd air choreigin às leis gun deach a h-aon bhràthair a chall san Ear Mheadhanach san dàrna cogadh. Cha b’ e cianalas làithean m’ òige a thug seo uile nam chuimhne idir ach na naidheachdan air an làmhachas-làidir brùideil a tha mòran de shluagh Myanmar, anns am bheil am baile Mandalay, a’ fulang fo riaghladh mì-laghail arm na dùthcha.

Ged a nochd an sluagh an rùn riaghlaidh ann an taghadh coitcheann chuir ceannbhairean an airm sin an dàrna taobh agus ghabh iad smachd air an dùthaich is chaidh an ceannard Aung San Suu Kyi, a bhuannaich an taghadh laghail, a chur an grèim is caochladh chasaidean na h-aghaidh. Fhad ’s a bha i fo ghlais aig arm na dùthcha fad chòig bliadhna deug choisinn Suu Kyi cliù eadar-nàiseanta, agus Duais Sìth Nobel, le a cuid strì airson riaghladh deamocrataigeach ann am Myanmar. Chaidh sgleò air a h-ìomhaigh ri linn droch dhìol a dh’ fhuiling mion-shluagh Rohingya na dùthcha a tha gam meas mar choigrich mhì-laghail. A rèir aithris tha saighdearan air ceudan a mhurt thuige seo, clann nam measg, airson an cuid taisbeanaidh an aghaidh mar a chuir an t-arm cùl ri toradh an taghaidh, agus ged a tha mòran de cheannardan dhùthchannan an t-saoghail air cronachadh a thogail chan eil fianais gum bheil leasachadh dol a thighinn air cùisean a’ chiad ghreis.

Air uachdar sin uile tha Covid 19 a-nise a’ sgapadh tron dùthaich, agus theagamh nach iongnadh cuid a bhith ag ràdh gum bheil cunnart gun tig seo chun na h-aon ìre ris an sgrios a dh’fhuiling leithid Syria thar nan ochd bliadhna a chaidh. Chunnaic sin dòrainn sluaigh a’ feuchainn ri teicheadh bho sgrios an-iochdmhor cogaidh, agus dòrainn cheannardan an t-saoghail a dh’iarradh cobhair a dhèanamh ach nach eil ag iarraidh blàr saoghail eile a thòiseachadh.

Soirbhichidh olc tro dhìomhain dhaoine matha! Ged a tha an seanfhacal sin fìor bha briathran a bhiodh tric aig mo sheanair pailt cho glic, gun dèan amadan sam bith cogadh ach gur e duine glic a ghleidheas sìth! Agus gu mì-fhortanach tha faiceall a’ mhòr-chuid de cheannardan ciallach an t-saoghail gus cogadh mòr a sheachnadh, gu ìre a’ dìon aintighearnas far an nochd sin!

Tragic events in Myanmar brought a poem of my early school years to mind but while Rudyard Kipling’s Mandalay describes a soldier at peace, brave Burmese people face shameful brutality daily campaigning for the return of their democracy watched by an apparently helpless world.