Sunday, May 11, 2008
Killings Fields in Retro, Burma 2008
Sunday morning, Mothers Day for Americans, but 10,000 miles away in the country formerly known as Burma and now calling itself Mynmar, a natural disaster is turning into a tragedy that portends to have the capacity to approach the scale of death not seen since the The Killing Fields of Cambodia in the late 1970's.
Currently over 250,000 people are estimated to be in mortal danger of loosing their lives for lack of immediate aid. The long term consequences of this disaster will unfold as the Monsoon season begins and the window to plant rice is lost.
The naval oriented blog Information Dissemination has a post today 7th Fleet Focus: Monsoon Season Looming As Myanmar Dithers, that begins to ring the world's fire bell. As the UN stands by wringing it's collective hands, the fire brigade made up of elements of the U.S. French, and Indian Navy, wait down the block, as the Junta rulers block most aid from being landed.
The blog comments:
It is also now clear that next years rice crop will not be laid down in time. This is a critical aspect of the discussion of the Myanmar tragedy that we have not observed analyzed in the media reporting or public statements, but it may explain the behavior of the junta in Myanmar. While the rice not being laid down will not create an immediate food shortage, it will create a massive food shortage next year, as 40% of the rice grown in Myanmar is grown in the devastated areas. While no one is saying it out loud, the strategy we observe unfolding appears to be to allow as many people as possible die, thus fewer people to feed next year when shortages will occur.
We believe there are many more dead than is being reported, for several reasons. First, aid has only reached half a million people. The UN numbers the population of the heavy disaster region to be around 2 million people, with around 3 million people under flooded areas. In other words, as many as 2 million are in regions that have been wiped out by the Cyclone, but 3 million more are threatened due to living in a flooded region as the weather turns to more rain. It takes about 5 days by truck to drive to the southern affected regions from the capital, and there is no evidence of daily convoys. Another problem, on Saturday military forces involved in the humanitarian relief efforts were pulled off that duty so the government could run its sham election.
To further illustrate the gravity of the situation in Burma, is a series of links in the 11 May SWJ News, Op-Ed, Events & Blog Roundup by SWJ Editors.
Burma’s Cyclone Children Facing Wipeout - Harry McKenzie, London Times
Burma Starts Vote As Aid Trickles In - Washington Post
Bodies Flow Into Hard-Hit Area of Burma - New York Times
Less Aid, More Show for Burma's Junta - Graeme Jenkins, London Daily Telegraph
Children Starve as Aid is Blocked - Sydney Morning Herald
Burma Set for Political, Economic Shocks - Associated Press
Sporadic Aid Trickles into Burma - BBC News
Risks Stop US Riding Roughshod Over Junta - Swain and Baxter, London Times
Burma's Generals Take Aid Credit - Richard Ehrlich, Washington Times
Voting Proceeds in Myanmar - Los Angeles Times
Referendum in Burma Likely to Solidify Junta's Power - Associated Press
Junta Hands Out Aid Boxes with Generals' Names - Associated Press
No Time to Hesitate - We Must Get Aid to Burma - London Times editoria
Flexible' Aid for Burma - Toronto Star editorial
Shared History of Britain and Burma - Thant Myint-U, London Daily Telegraph opinion
Why Can't UN Be More Forceful? - Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer opinion
Burma’s Dying Cry Out to be Saved - Simon Jenkins, London Times opinion
Invasion Burma - Richard Fernandez, The Belmont Club
Burma Clears US Aircraft To Deliver Relief - Kazmin and Lynch, Washington Post
Burma Seizes UN Food, Blocks Foreign Experts - Seth Mydans, New York Times
Burma: 'I Stopped Counting the Bodies' - Kenneth Denby, London Times
UN Launches Appeal as Burma Refuses Aid - London Daily Telegraph
Burma Exports Rice as Cyclone Victims Struggle - Los Angeles Times
Burmese Junta Seizes UN Relief Aid - The Australian
Burma Warned Over Cyclone Delays - BBC News
UN Halts Burma Aid in Seizure Row - BBC News
Burma Presses on with Voting - Richard Ehrlich, Washington Times
Is it Time to Invade Burma? - Romesh Ratnesar, Time
Burma's Blockade - Washington Post editorial
Kick Burma Out of the UN - Wall Street Journal editorial
The Case for Invading Burma - Shawn Crispin, Asia Times opinion
Burma: No News Is Bad News - Roby Alampay, New York Times opinion
Time to Invade Burma? - Gordon Chang, Contentions
Re: Time to Invade Burma? - Abe Greenwald, Contentions
Note that several leading publication have editorials calling for a military response to allow aid to reach those in need. Unfortunately the chance for that occurring is slim to none given the current conditions. Any chance for a UN sanctioned intervention would likely be vetoed by China. One would note that China, is silent beyond sending money, seems to be content having countries on her borders who are so despotically bad, Myanmar, North Korea, as to act as an insulation against free ideas leeching in to pollute their own ideology.
So the World watches and waits as the ruling Junta of Myanmar follow a diabolical Machiavellian plot to consolidate power and lower the population to a level it finds more manageable by waiting for people to die. Sadly, this is another example of the UN's completely neutered ability to protect anything, except the expense accounts of it's ambassadors.
The United States, and most of the Western Nations are no longer willing to take action out of fear of offending political correctness, brought about by the legacy of a post colonial mindset and the recent observation of American unilateral responses to failed states, in the examples of Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many of the themes on this blog have been on making our world a better place. Almost every favorite in the blogroll, is to a site where the author has, or is actively devoting their time and effort in making our world better and safer. It is worthwhile on this special day to take a moment and reflect on what would your mother do, if she saw such a travesty occurring down the block? Then act, by urging our Representatives to come together to put pressure on everyone involved to do the right thing and respond to this disaster before it becomes a holocaust.