Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Monday, February 04, 2008

Incidental IO... Rambo

What flopped mightily in the US has grown legs and become a much needed source of nationalism among anti-junta, Burmese ex-pats.

Here in the United States, the recently released Rambo hasn't gotten the best reviews; it scored a lowly 35 on Rotten Tomatoes's tomatometer. But among Burmese nationals, it's a huge hit—and inspirational, to boot. Yesterday, a Rambo screening in Singapore, organized by the Overseas Burmese Patriots Group and packed with Burmese expats, sold out all 600 tickets.

In the movie, everyone's favorite former Green Beret, John Rambo, takes on Burma's military junta in an effort to rescue Christian missionaries who have been taken captive. Burmese moviegoers at yesterday's screening broke out in loud cheers and applause at the movie's climax when Sly Stallone saves the missionaries and slays their captors. "Just like Rambo is in the movie, Burma is waiting for a hero or someone to lead the revolution," one audience member told AFP.

The junta has banned the film from being shown in Burma, but that hasn't stopped pirated DVDs from flooding Rangoon. "People are going crazy with the quote 'Live for nothing, die for something'," one Burmese told Reuters, in reference to one of Rambo's gems of wisdom from the film.

There's a lesson to be learned here. One comfy, pillow ladened critics trash is another IO irregular's treasure. American projection of influence isn't limited to naval vessels and boots on the ground. That Rambo has excited a Burmese base in a most jingoistic fashion should serve to be a footprint for a facet of future American IO. Now, how about a Rambo who joins a Sunni resistance (i.e. Awakening) and lays waste to AQ in Iraq?