Drying rubber gloves drying in the window of this Kingston butcher shop, closed on a quiet Sunday morning, tell a story of the busy, no doubt bloody, week.
Hardly 45 minutes west of Kingston, past depressing urban sprawl, nostril burning slash and burn agriculture, and the quickly browning hillsides during this Jamaica’s dry season, Fort Clarence Beach goes a long way toward adding balance to the noise and unpleasantness of the capital city.
An evisceration of the State Department’s finances, backing out of America’s obligations to the United Nations? Of course! Reduce the amount of blood and gold being spent on military activities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, however, or hold back some of the billions dumped into the bolstering of Israel’s military defenses? Forget it!
The budget proposed by a Republican budget plan goes in that direction, according to the AFP, slicing the State Department Â budget by about 8% from the previous year.
Consular work has given me an insight into the startling (to me) presence of a Burmese diaspora here in Jamaica. They are for the most part very well educated medical doctors, arriving in Jamaica for internships in local hospitals, most of which seem to quickly turn into jobs. Some of these migrants open practices here on the island, some move on to third countries, entering even more developed medical markets; unsurprisingly, I have not talked to a single Burmese now in Jamaica who intends to move back to Burma to take up their inevitably junta-assigned desperate provincial medical center.
The Burmese diaspora here sparks interest in following the developments back in Burma. The democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, the loudest voice of dissent against the ruling military regime, was interviewed live on the BBC’s World Have Your Say program this morning, and is worth listening to.