I had just come to Burma in hopes to expose the British for their injustices here. I arrived in Burma at the Mawlamyine Railway Station in Moulmein and headed out to a local tavern. My job was clear, “report the truth.” It is never so easy I have learned. I turn onto the path that the tavern is on and find it damp, dull, and dismal. “Ugh” I remark, “well, at least this time I’ll be on a bed” I say looking down at Rufus my traveling dog. I pet his head and he wags his tail happily barking. I walk up to the tavern. It had damp steps leading up to a porch that wrapped around the front and down around the side away from view. The second floor hung over it supported by columns taken from the roman architecture of old. The white-wash had worn away long ago and a smell of faint mold hovered in the air like the warning of hidden monster’s breathing waiting to threaten the entire building. I walk up and open the door. Inside was a warm welcome of fresh food, warm air, and cool drink. I look around and spot the barman and walk over and rent a room.
I sit at the desk in my room working on what questions I plan to ask the constable for my first day of reporting when I hear a noise. I shrug it off as many noises that have no source happen around this town. It happens again and this time it includes men and woman screaming. I rush out of my room with my parchment and quail, through the hall, down the stairs, and out the door. I look around pausing for my breath. I notice many people running around. I stop one of them asking what is going on, “an elephant and elephant is lose in the village.”
“An, an elephant?” I ask, “What do you—?” he runs off, “hey wait come back what do you—?” but it was too late, he had already run off up the road.
I decide to head toward the commotion but the increasing numbers of people made it difficult to orient myself to the original commotion. I stop for a moment to look around me. Men, woman and children were scrambling in every which way. I look to the left and notice a body face down in the mud squashed from a large force. It was disturbing to say the least.
I look back ahead of me and notice a policeman riding a pony and think what a ridiculous sight. I decide to follow this man hoping that a story will eventually come out of it.
After dodging several crazed people and avoiding many overturned fruit stands I start to realize the damage that this elephant was starting to do on the status quo of the people. Not to mention the physical damage to the town. After another turn around a corner I arrive at a clearing and a large gathering crowed. The police officer had since gotten ahead of me due to the multiples of people but I was able to ask around to find my way to him. Ahead of the crowd I see the elephant eating some food in a lower terrain than where I stand now. The police kneeling with a gun pointed at it. I thought at first this was a good thing but as I look closely at the great best I see it as calm quiet cat or dog minding its own business. I have seen this kind of thing before in Africa; man shooting for sport. I knew I should protest but I fear for my life if I do. These people have not eaten for days and to deny them potential food is to end your own life.
As I look onward time passes, I start to wonder what the policeman will do. He looks young, too young to be in this situation. He probably hasn’t even finished his schooling. Yes I defiantly see a story in this but a sad one in any event; the boy that shot the elephant to be dammed if he did and dead if he did not.
It happened as I suspected it would. It took what seemed a long time for the boy to make up his mind. I do not envy him for his choice he had to make; for he had given the people what they wanted but he lost his innocence when he shot an innocent animal.
Reported by Daniel Pecoraro
Burma news outlet
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