The Philanthropist is NBC’s new hour long action drama on Wednesday nights. It follows a mega-rich man who has found a passion for personally acting positively for his causes. I was pretty excited to see it last week and tuned in last night to watch the episode set in Myanmar (or Burma). I had wondered aloud to friends whether Aung San Suu Kyi would be mentioned.
Well, she was actually a featured part of the story. However, the scriptwriters inexplicably changed her name. I can’t imagine why they did it. That was the least of my concerns – the story treated her plight as kind of a lame side story. The protagonist snuck into her home – the one she’s been imprisoned in for more than a decade – and asked her if his company should do business with the ruling junta. Then he ran away. This is just weeks after an American man snuck into her home in real life and condemned her to another five years in prison. My hope is that some people were inspired to look up her story, but my fear is her cause was trivialized.
U2 are promoting her story as well. They’ve set up a mask you can download, print, and wear to their concert or on the bus or in the pub. Their song, “Walk On” was written for Aung San Suu Kyi. The site says, “Use your liberty to promote hers. And the liberty of the people of Burma.” I’d love to see photos of people who have done so. Send them to me and I’ll post them here. Click on the photo to download the mask.