Swept away by sorrow

14 May 2008

Cyclone Nargis is reported to have swept away more than 100,000 people. Its survivors are on the verge of "being swept away" by yet another kind of "cyclone" that has been looming in their lives: the "waves of inhumanity" by the junta.

Day after day, such "waves of inhumanity" by the junta have built up one after another, silencing us with utter disbelief at the possibility of them ever happening. It all started with the junta failing to inform the people about the imminent danger that the cyclone could bring. Neither did they carry out any emergency plan to cushion the impact of the cyclone.

Even when the junta realized the level of devastation left by the cyclone, all they did was to make a fake heartfelt appeal for an international aid. When the international community pledged aid in terms of millions, the junta dropped yet another bomb and said all aid must go through them. While thousands of people were starving and thousands of corpses were left to decompose to unsightly conditions, the junta went ahead with the referendum and shamelessly declared the high percentage of "yes" votes. As the TV media in Burma showed people voting at the polling stations, in places like Irrawaddy delta, the people were barely surviving from the lack of water, food and shelter.

The aid agencies, being left with little choice, finally had to relent and hand over their supplies of aid to the junta. There has been numerous reports in the media about how those aids are being appropriated by the junta and not reaching to the actual victims.

When Indonesia was hit by tsunami, the Indonesian government appealed for help and opened its doors widely to all the humanitarian organizations. But what has the junta done so far? They are practically putting a blockade in front of the international aid agencies by asking them to apply for visa and not allowing them to move freely in all affected areas in Burma.

It is simply beyond my comprehension as to how heartless the junta can be. During the Saffron revolution, we could not believe the atrocities that were committed against our revered monks. Now, the junta has done it again by showing its utter lack of compassion for the states of its own people. Just like during the Saffron revolution, I find myself being swept away by a sense of helplessness at not being able to do more than just blogging about it or donating money for the victims. Similar to the time during the Saffron revolution, we have raised many online petitions. We have written to the relevant authorities in the international community. Many prominent Burmese groups have issued statements of appeal. Nothing ... absolutely nothing has returned any result.

Day after day, only accounts of suffering, misery, death, and inhumanity keep trickling out of Burma in news media. There has been no visible improvement. In fact, lives just seem darker for the victims inside Burma as they keep waiting for help that seems miles away from them. Imagine how hopeless they would feel at being left alone by everyone after such a disaster. When a person has lost everything, sometimes including the whole family, HOPE plays a very important role in helping to keep him alive. But where is their hope?

As the international community, including UN itself, keeps on just condemning the actions of junta, lives are beginning to wither away in Burma. The lack of basic necessities is starting to take its toll on the victims. Many aid agencies have also warned that if help did not reach the victims on time, they, especially children, would succumb to death amidst the devastations of the cyclone's aftermath. Reports by aid agencies and news media all point to the same thing; Humanitarian intervention has become a necessity in Burma.

UN has agreed previously that "they would intervene, forcefully if necessary, if a state failed to protect its own people [1]". What more evidence is needed to prove the junta's lack of concern for its own people, let alone to protect. Will UN be convinced only when the death toll rises further and more lives are wasted unnecessarily?

By that time, beyond doubt, a similar impact of genocide would have occurred in Burma.

[1] FRED HIATT, Myanmar needs more than good ideas


Incognito said...

The world is praying for you!!

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