Thursday, May 28, 2009

"God asked me to warn her"

What: The actual event is old news (Mormon John Yettaw from Missouri is plunged into the international spotlight when he swims across a lake and enters the home of Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate and political prisoner on house arrest in Burma). What's new is his explanation to the trial court that he was motivated by a premonition to warn the pro-democracy leader of an impending attempt that would be made on the woman's life.

Quote: "John Yettaw, a Mormon, told the court that God asked him to travel to Burma from his home in Missouri to warn Ms Suu Kyi that terrorists intended to kill her and then place the blame on the junta."

Reaction: Yikes! One seemingly-lunatic man has thrown a heavy wrench into one of the most delicate political standoffs in the world. While I do believe in inspiration, all signs point to this guy as being one of "those" Mormons. It just goes to show, however, that one person really can make a difference (as long as that person is willing to travel halfway around the world, swim across a lake, sneak into a home guarded by security forces, and jeopardize years of efforts to relieve the oppression of a foreign people by its government).

Afterthought: When this story initially broke, I thought it was too bizarre to be taken at face value. Surely this guy had to be a CIA operative who was told to blame his actions on personal and religious motivations if he was caught? After all, after his arrest he was visited by a U.S. diplomat. That scenario would make for a way cooler story, but . . . I don't see it.

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