Some years ago, the king of Thailand ordered that his subjects make lots of origami doves. These doves, symbols of peace, were to be airdropped into the southern portion of Thailand, a place called Pattani after an older, Islamic kingdom.
Fifty Thai aircraft distributed one hundred and twenty million paper doves, in an attempt to demonstrate good will to the people of that restive province.
Did it work? Of course it did not. The local insurgents passed a rumor that the doves were coated with contact poison, and that it was all a plot to kill off the Muslim population. Whether or not the local peasantry believed the rumors, peace still has not come to Southern Thailand.
Yet we can admire the spirit of the thing, even if in practical fact it did not work. It was a nice try, a fine and a romantic deed. Perhaps a few of those doves fell on a heart ready to receive the message; perhaps someday we may yet see a wild crop grow out of that good soil.
I feel much the same way about the Swedes who recently piloted a single small plane into the forbidden airspace of Belarus, and air-dropped teddy bears on parachutes with messages of freedom. (Thanks to Tom for passing this one along).
The stiff hand of tyranny is not so easily moved, but it was a bold and romantic gesture. Perhaps a few of the messages will resonate. Perhaps we may yet see a crop grow out of the rare seed that fell on good ground.