Burma disaster worsens

Everyday I sit and both watch and listen in horror to what is happening in the East.
I feel helpless in the thought that I personally cannot contribute to help. I also consider

1. The situation in China – Firstly, the need to find survivors of the Earth quake and secondly a need to reconcile that many of the buildings could have been built stronger.

2. The situation in Burma – with the continuing apathy of the regime.

With regard to the latter, days are passing and disease is beginning to take hold. Although some aid is now getting through it is still slow.

Last week I suggested that we all lobby our political representatives and post physical and electronic messages to all Burmese embassies around the world to make them realise that the world demands greater effort is made to ‘save the people’.

Interestingly, is it only I that has noticed that the press/media have deemphasised the story?

Back in September 2007, a NY based BBC correspondent reported:

Energy Resources
It is Burma’s energy resources – oil and off-shore gas fields – that make it such an attractive partner for Russian, Chinese, Indian and even South Korean firms.
The scramble for Burma’s energy resources make it almost impossible to isolate the regime.
Indeed, over time, as US and European ties to Burma have declined, those of China, Russia and India have increased.
China, then, is very much the key player; but Beijing faces conflicting pressures.
It has to match its energy and strategic interests – access to the Indian Ocean for example – with its desire for stability and its concern for its own reputation abroad, especially with the Beijing Olympics fast approaching.

This is a fact that I was unaware of. The irony here is that a country that is so rich in resources has not yet benefited from it. The same could also be said of a country like Angola, the latter embroiled in civil war for many years.

The death toll in Burma has been quoted as 78,000 with 56,000 people missing.

Today 3 days of mourning have started. This could be viewed as the military junta recognising that the crisis is real. However Burma is not allowing British, US and French navy ships located just off its coast to deliver aid supplies. Nor is it allowing foreign experts, employed by the UN aid agencies, to travel to the Irrawaddy Delta.

Nothing much has really changed for those without food or shelter. Should a more radical approach be to simply ‘drop’ the aid direct to the people? Maybe there needs to be a few ultimatums stated ? In the case of the Iraq war mobilization was fast and furious. Maybe another route is to convince China to lead the effort, widening its own relief efforts.

Or, is it just a case of gate-crashing the planned donor conference on 25th May and suggesting that ego needs to be put aside.

Categories: 2008, Anti-Fascism, Anti-Poverty


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