International Campaign for Food and Freedoms of Burmese People

30 May 2008

Burmese democratic forces and friends of Burma around the world, calling for an immediate international intervention for food and freedoms in Burma

May 29, 2008


Burmese democratic organizations – along with Burma campaign groups – around the world are calling for an immediate international intervention in Burma, reminding the international community that this is the time to bring a change in the military-ruled country.

And they call for formation of a “coalition of the willing” among like-minded counties such as U.S., U.K., French, Canada, and Australia, in order to advance a collective interest in ensuring safe and unhindered humanitarian access, as well as for promotion and protection of fundamental rights and freedoms for Burmese people.

They strongly criticize the United Nations and Association of South East Asia Nations (ASEAN) for their repeated failure to live up to the international community’s expectation in providing food and freedoms for Burmese people, and for falling into trap the Burmese military junta set.


Burmese have suffered again and again under repeated ASEAN and UN's good intentioned but ill fated mediations. ASEAN and UN are simply no match for cunning and cruel Burmese generals who think nothing of breaking their promises. In the past, the end result of the ASEAN and UN failures were only imprisonments of thousands of political activists including our leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Some of those prisoners died in custody. However, the number of deaths from the current crisis will be a thousand times larger than previous crises.

Five days after an apparent agreement by the Supremo General Than Shwe, there is no concrete result on the ground. There are even more restrictions for Burmese donors let alone foreign donors. Even Burmese ex-pat physicians who are planning mercy medical missions using their own resources are subjected to a lengthy visa process.

The regime is using police and armed forces not to help those cyclone victims but to force them back to their villages without any assistance. We know how the regime is going to play the game. There will be more meetings and open up a bit each time just to string along the UN.

More people are dying everyday. This is time for ASEAN and UN to admit its failure and let French, EU, US navy and international aid agencies handle the situation. At this time, the junta has extended the house arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi illegally after they exhausted the five year period. They have not shown any goodwill towards their own suffering citizens, political prisoners or the world community. There is no reason to believe that the junta will start to change as a result of more negotiation. Concrete effective action, whose time is way overdue, is the only recourse left.

We demand that UN and ASEAN stop the mediation NOW.

All the current available information from the international experts indicates that thousands of the cyclone victims are facing the second wave of death due to the outbreak of diseases. UN and ASEAN have clearly demonstrated the world that they were unable to persuade the Burmese military regime to save the lives of cyclone victims. As such, we request the Nations of the International Community willing to act upon the principle of “Responsibility to Protect (R2P)," to proceed with their noble intention to save the thousands of lives before it is too late.


Undersigned:

Dr. Cynthia Maung (Burma Medical Association) Thailand
Win7@loxinfo.co.th
Tel: 66-55-544495

Dr Khin Saw Win (Alice) (Burma Medical Association) Canada
Alice.khin@ualberta.ca
Tel: 780-4924547/780-9529877

Tin Maung Htoo (Canada)
Canadian Friends of Burma www.cfob.org
Tel: 613-237-8056 tinmaunghtoo@cfob.org

Dr. Raymond Tint Way (Australia)
Concerned Burmese Physicians and Professionals www.cmpp-burma.blogspot.com
Mobile 61 0416220208
E mail jostint@hotmail.com

Dr Ko K Lay (UK)
Concerned Burmese Physicians and Professionals www.cmpp-burma.blogspot.com
Tel: 00 44 07790 427271 drkokolay@yahoo.co.uk

Dr. Soe Naung (Jamaica)
Concerned Burmese Physicians and Professionals www.cmpp-burma.blogspot.com
Tel: 876-995-2875 soehtwe@cwjamaica.com

Dr. Aye Min (USA)
Concerned Burmese Physicians and Professionals www.cmpp-burma.blogspot.com
Tel: 804-512-4669 radiomin@gmail.com

Moe Thee Zun (USA)
Democratic Federation of Burma
wefightwewin@gmail.com

Ar Kar Soe (USA)
Anti-Dictatorship People’s Freedom Movement www.adpfmburma.com
arkarsoee@yahoo.com Tel: 301-213-0605

Yin Aye (USA)
Democratic Burmese Students Organization (USA)
yindbso@hotmail.com Tel: 301-905-7591

Tin Maung Thaw (General Secretary) (USA)
Committee for Restoration of Democracy in Burma
703-723-4855 tinthaw@yahoo.com

Min Yan Naing (Burma)
Generation Wave
gwbobmarley@gmail.com

Ko Ko Aung (Japan)
Democratic Federation of Burma (Japan)
Tel: +81-9015062893 kokoaung_dfbjp@yahoo.com

Kyaw Kyaw Soe (Japan)
League for Democracy in Burma (Japan)
Tel: +81-9060314394 sayarkway@hotmail.com

Khin Sandi (USA)
Women on the Move for Burma
Tel: 917 445 9222 freeassk@yahoo.com

Ko Thant Zin Myint (USA)
International Campaign for Burma (New York)
Tel: 347-229-4309 icbnewyork@gmail.com

Ko Myo (USA)
88 Generation Students (Exile)
Tel: 347-668-5046 http://www.pbase.com/komyoe88
E-mail: komyoe_art@yahoo.com

Aung Sa
Oversea Burmese Patriots (Singapore)
aungsayapyi@gmail.com Tel: +65-9487-4413

Taw Thar Gyi (Burma)
Democratic Front of the Patriots (HQ)
Mindfulness07@gmail.com

Shwe Htee (USA)
Nonviolent Empowerment Organization
shwehtee@yahoo.com Tel: 571-235-4035

Dr. Thi Ha (USA)
Burmese Democracy Forum (Fort Wayne - Indiana)
Tel: 260-602-1876
Dong Khup (USA)
Chin Freedom Coalition
Tel: 443-629-3329

Athein & Zaw Min Htwe (88 Generation) (USA)
Walk for Freedom
Tel: 971 285 7399
Athein168@msn.com
Thurasoe2005@yahoo.com

Aung Nyaw Oo (Canada)
Burmese Students Democratic Organization
Tel: 416-262-5447 Aungoo205@yahoo.com

Thway Ni
Burmese Bloggers without Borders (http://bbwob.blogspot.com/)
thwayni@gmail.com

Aung Tin (Canada)
Chairman (NLD-LA Canada)
Tel: 647 343 7871
uaungtin@yahoo.com

Yin Htway (Thailand)
Joint Secretary
Burma Political Prisoner's Union (http://bppuweb.bizhat.com/)
yinhtway@gmail.com
Tel: 0845755416

Guiding Star (Burma)
Contact: nikayman.niknayman@gmail.com
www.nikayman.blogspot.com


Ko Myat Soe (USA)
Justice for Human Rights in Burma ( http://www.jhburma.org/ )
msoe9872@aol.com Tel: 260-615-0575

U Than Aung (Canada)
Burma Watch International
Tel: (780) 439-7555
Cell:(780) 953-9877 www.burmawatch.org

Dr. Win Naing (UK)
Burmese Democratic Community
Tel: 0208 2067340 walaynaing@aol.com

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Helpless and Stranded

27 May 2008

By MIN KHET MAUNG / DEDAYE, IRRAWADDY DELTA
[Source - Irrawaddy]

The look on Lei Lei’s face is one of hopelessness.

She takes no notice of the school uniform that a private donor had left for her. Instead, the 12-year-old girl stares ahead at the vehicles passing back and forth along the highway. On her back, her sick sister coughs relentlessly.

Every time a car passes by, Lei Lei raises her hand and shouts, “Please give us some food!”

Children line up to receive water from a local donor on the outskirts of Rangoon. (Photo: AP)
A truck stops a bit farther ahead and Lei Lei’s head swiftly turns in its direction. She sets off running, her baby sister bouncing up and down in the sarong over her shoulder.

Some of her friends are already waiting with hands scratching the air toward the truck drivers. They push and jostle their way closer to the back of the truck where two men are throwing packages down to those desperate souls below them.

After a struggle, Lei Lei emerges with a small pack of steamed rice. She shares some with her sister and eats the rest greedily.

Today was the 19th day that Lei Lei had spent begging for food on the highway—some three weeks since Cyclone Nargis destroyed her family home in Bogalay and killed her father.

She said she does not feel self-pity as all the survivors have to queue in lines all day to get a handout of food and drinking water.

“I feel sad when I hear that other children will go back to school next month though,” she says.

“But for now, I need food, not schooling.”

According to a recent government announcement, all schools in Burma—except in the areas devastated by the cyclone—must reopen on June 2. In the Irrawaddy delta, schools are still a long way from being rebuilt.

UNICEF says up to 90 percent of the schools in the cyclone-affected areas have been damaged or destroyed, totaling some 3,000 primary schools and affecting more than 500,000 students. The academic year for those areas will be delayed at least two months.

In the meantime, the Burmese junta is bargaining with the international community to leave all matters of aid and reconstruction in its hands.

“This time last year, my father took me to Rangoon to buy text books and stationery for school,” Lei Lei recalls tearfully.

She lays her small hand on her sister’s forehead to check her temperature.

“My sister has got a bad cold,” she murmurs. “She has been out in the rain for so long.”

Though they have plastic sheets for shelter at night, they have no protection from mosquitoes.

Like other traumatized survivors, Lei Lei also dreams about the fatal night that swept her father away.

"I cry out at night," she admits.

"My mother cries in her sleep,” she says. “When I ask her in the morning, she says she was thinking about my father.”

"Sometimes, I get involved in quarreling and fighting with other girls my age,” she says. “We are all trying to get as much food as we can.”

On May 16, flocks of cyclone victims rushed to a field where a helicopter was about to land. Fights broke out. Lei Lei says she was pushed aside by the crowd and fell over. Her baby sister was almost trampled.

In the end, no one got any food. The helicopter had only landed to take on more gasoline. The crowd’s fighting had proved futile.

When asked what she expects of the future with regard to education or her dreams, Lei Lei frowns and shakes her head.

"I must be on the side of the road from dawn to dusk every day," she says solemnly.

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UN, Please stay away from Burma

26 May 2008

UN and ASEAN deterred all possible means of genuine relief and aid efforts. In the same time, they aborted hopes of million of Burmese people.

let ASEAN be stupid as usual. They are just the breeds of monarch with modern dress.

What's the UN stand for?
Even UNDP staffs from Yangon were suspected to hiding the letters from volunteer groups, which reported the testimonies of real cyclone victims.

Let's get back to recruitment system of UN staffs in Burma. Most of them are cream of society living their life with UN status and hard currency earnings. People who want to work in UN have to pay for lump sum fees to elite local agents, who may have close contacts with UN office or on-job staffs themselves.

So, how can UN staff be able to correct the injustice events?
Then, who dare to expect that UN head office in New York might help out the world from crises. They all , probably may be hypocrites coming from all over the world just to grasp social status and nothing good in their spirits.

Burmese people don't believe either UN or Ban Ki Moon. I, myself don't believe them at all. Now he perform as the greatest cheerleader for fund raising fair for Junta.

So many questions in my mind.
Do they believe that Junta will act on their words to allow all aids in without conditions?
Do they think that they are helping Burmese cyclone victims ?
Do they have confidence enough to be represent world population to do a good deeds?

I burst out .
"UN, go away from Burma "

I cry out.
" Nobody can help Burma without diplomatic words, without meetings, without broken pledge, without self... .. without UN"

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What else is there apart from "messages of hope"?

25 May 2008

I refer to the commentaries "Don't hold your breath" by Yeni and "Save the people; Don't protect Generals" by Kyaw Zwa Moe.

Though the news of the junta agreeing to allow "all aid workers" to enter Burma is very encouraging, having seen the kind of deceit and lies that the junta is capable of, I feel reluctant to put faith into such promise from them. If the junta had genuinely wanted to allow "all aid workers" to enter Burma, the implementation would have been swift and immediate as the aid workers have been on standby for the past few weeks waiting for the green light from the junta. However, a day has passed without any visible improvement.

It is also disappointing to note that in the latest remarks to press, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has been too quick to paint a rather rosy picture of the likely collaboration between the junta and the international community in the near future [1]. Has he forgotten what happened during the Saffron revolution in September 2007? During that time, when Gambari was having a series of meetings with the junta and releasing public statements about how he felt encouraged by the positive outcomes of his meetings with the junta, the arrests of the monks and the raids at the monastries continued. UN, ASEAN and the various leaders of the international community condemned the junta for their brutal methods of suppression during the Saffron revolution. However, their words failed to put a stop to Than Shwe and his lackeys from having their own ways.

After every uprising in Burma, as time passed by, the atrocities committed by the junta and the images during the uprising would begin to fade in the minds of the international community and the people in Burma were left to continue to struggle on their own for survival. Words without actions from UN and ASEAN have provided little solace for the Burmese people.

Ban Ki-Moon said in his latest remarks to press that "the world is watching, and that the world is with you". How true! The world only keeps on watching and the world is with us only from a distance. Over the past twenty years or so, the world seemed to have given us nothing but just "messages of hope".


References:
[1] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's remarks to the press at Hotel Sedona, Yangon, Myanmar (http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocus/sgspeeches/search_full.asp?statID=248)

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Process of distributing aid materials to the Nagis Victims

(source)

Shwe Sea Sar (Yangon)

The victims of the cyclone Nargis in the delta region, Lower Burma are facing problems of lack of food, water, shelter and clothing. They do not receive aid materials sufficiently. Neither do they get treatment for cyclone-borne injury. Also they are suffering from disease relevant to contaminated water resulted from delaying of removing and destruction of the human corpses and dead animals.

Although it is desperately needed to save the people, to cleanse the water by removing dead bodies – or it may effect harmfully the environment – to distribute relieve materials from both national and international communities to the victims, the Junta is deliberately disturbing local aid volunteers and blocking international relieve experts.Not only that Burmese Junta is trying to delay the process of receiving international aid and aid workers, but also that China is opposing in the UN Security Council Meeting against the plan to invade Burma to distribute necessary aid to victims effectively.

Whereas, China received international aid for their victims of recent earthquake that shook in Sichuan Province, central China, only one week after the cyclone Nargis. We are wondering why China is trying to hamper the world’s humanitarian effort towards Burmese people who are under horrendous catastrophic disaster. Why are they supporting inhuman military Government without any regard, any sympathy and any empathy to the Burmese people? What is benefit to them for such evil doing? It is humiliation to our people. Also I think it is a criminal.

Yet they are not shy in the face of international community.Now we have learnt that relieve teams from the UN, US, Britain and France are standing by in the Thailand water that shares border with Burmese territorial water. They are waiting for permission to enter Burmese water. In such a situation of catastrophic disaster, does it necessary to get permission from such useless and illegal Government, the Junta? I think saving peoples’ life is more important than the Junta’s approval.Is the UN a nominal organization without practical work? Is it not a trusty-worthy and dependable organization for all people of the world?

In stead of being an organization to observe justice among member countries and to assist necessarily with humanitarian aid to all people of the world, it is now just hesitating and wavering to walk along the right way. The UN and international community are negotiating with Burmese authority – just time consuming – to save the people while the death toll increasing day by day due to lack adequate aid materials. Useless organization!Objection by China in the UN Security Council Meeting against such a humanitarian relief effort is shameful.

Its donation to Burma is just a couple of million US$ worth; a paltry sum; at near base in the donation graph. Why do they want to interfere into other country’s internal affair which does not concern with politics? All of our people except the malignant Junta and its colleagues want invasion of the US, the UN and international community into the country to save victims.They always use the word “internal affair” over Burmese issue. This is just a pure internal and humanitarian affair. Why did they object the international relief efforts for Burmese catastrophe while accepting donation from abroad for their earthquake disaster? Ridiculous! Two situations are completely contrary. This is Chinese policy revealing low morality, low attitude of it. We accuse the Chinese Government of killing our people together with Burmese slaughter Generals. The Chinese Government also must pay back later for it a lot like Than Shwe and his followers. Who can say there will not be a overwhelm boycott of the world to their 2008 Olympic? This will be under nature’s process. Bad deed begets misery and ruins.

Now, it was more than two weeks away that the cyclone Nargis hit the Delta region. Since then, a considerable amount of relief aid from abroad could not arrive at the hands of the victims. Victim’s situation is deteriorating; more and more people will die under insignificant change of international relief policy. Death toll will, according to the UN and other organizations’ prediction, swell over 220,000 – more than that of Bangladesh cyclone that hit in 1991 losing just over 138,000 lives – and it is the worst devastating situation in Burmese history.

We, Burmese people, ask international community for urgent relief efforts including relief experts and workers to enter Burma so that they can distribute necessary aids effectively and save our people from extremely dangerous situation resulting from a lack of food, clean water, proper treatment, medicine, shelter and clothing. Otherwise, great tragedy will happen in this civilized world because of irrational beings, the Burmese Junta.

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Rotten general must be brought to justice for crime against humanity

Mike Carlton
May 24, 2008
Source : The Sydney Moring Herald

If hell exists, there ought to be an especially fiery corner set aside for Senior General Than Shwe, the pudding-faced thug who heads the junta which controls Burma, or Myanmar as he would like us call his wretched country.

You might have seen him on television this week, ostentatiously dispensing neatly wrapped gift boxes to grateful victims of the cyclone that left who knows how many Burmese dead, injured and homeless. It was a grisly propaganda charade. Sleek in elevated heels and a tailored uniform encrusted with enough medals to embarrass even an old-style Soviet marshal, smiling like an alligator, he posed as the bountiful father of the nation.

The reality is rather different. The medals, we can safely assume, were won waging war on his own people. Than Shwe is a mass murderer. The regime's paranoid refusal to accept vital foreign relief for Burma is a crime against humanity on an epic scale.

To read full article: Click Here


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The Cyclone Story ( Local witness)

22 May 2008

( source)

Actually I havn't seen much at Bogalay as the Thidagu monestry is located at the entrance of Bogalay.But it's not on the main road that we have to go about 15min towards the river.The monestry is built on the bank of the river that they distribute all the materials with boats to the affected villages that cannot be reached by cars.

he route is like Nyaung Done---Ma Au Bin---Kyeik Lat----Phyar Bone---Bo Ga Lay. After we passed Kyeik Lat, there are lines of people on both sides of the road hoping for some donations by passing by cars until we reach Bogalay. I think there will be more than 10,000 people.Those people previously lived in the paddy fields on the left and right side of the road. Now their homes were destroyed and the fields were filled by water that it is not even possible to walk through.

So, they move to the road side and some of them could built small tents but some cannot that hv to stand or sleep in the bare land.I saw 6,7 family members tightly sitting under a roof not larger than 4'x4' plastic sheet with 4 posts. Most of their accommodations are not worth to call a tent, it's barely a shelter with a roof with 4 sticks. I can't imagine how they would live when there is rain. Most of them are women and children. They are not begging for money but they are standing there with full of hope who will donate basic needs like food, water, clothes, etc...

I had a chance to ask one of them.The man said they are ashame to stand and hoping for donation while they are still strong and healthy. He said they have no choice cos the whole delta area biz is only farming. Since all seeds for rain crops were destroyed and so no farm owner hire them again. These people are hidden victims of the storm. That means almost all the people in delta region going to be incomeless if we cannot support them to resume farming.

I am wondering how many days we still can donate to those people. After donation ends, how they can live.Some of them will become robbers, some will thieves, some will baggers, women become prostitutes, children will be trafficked and only minority will get a job in town areas. They don't even know they should go to camps so inhumane gov didn't listed them as victims. There are still a lot of people like this around Yangon area like Hlaingthaya, South/North Dagon, Shwe Pauk Kan, Kun Chan Kone whose home and biz were destroyed.

It is not possible to rebuild their home and biz without effective help. And you know I saw so many schools destroyed along the road and they are not repaired yet. So how schools will reopen and even school reopen, who can go to school in such situation. We cannot go further down from Bogalay as it is dead end of the road.We heard there are several camps opened by gov that we are not willing to go there. Thidagu Sayadaw is trying to send those helps to the areas that no gov help can reach. I believe there are still many people surrounded by water who still can't escape who will be dying if no supply reach them.

I saw some victims living near Thidagu camp said water level is higher than the coconut trees and coconut trees are the highest point they can climb up. And there's very high tide coming like a big wave drag drowning all the people. You can hardly find a man who still left his all family members. As you know all villages are built along the river and costal line, you can imaging how those people die similar to tsunami.One of the monestry at Phyar bone, I saw gov officials driving away all those storm victims that the head monk was angrily opposing for what officials did to those people. I regret that I didn't take my camera with me.

Ok, I am planning to donate around the Yangon region and so will post you more abt the worst lifes on the earth. If possible please post above situation on yr blog or anywhere else on the web. You can edit or re-write as you like.(you can left political parts).I would like the world know that the problem is not just simply dying by the tide but there is much much bigger hidden problems ahead concerning with millions of people.

Rgds,
MYO THAW AUNG,YGNCC/AA

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Permit to mourn

Thursday, 22 May 2008
Aung Naing Moe
( source)

THE TAXI, carrying the four of us, had just turned into St. Martin's Drive when the three plain-clothes police officers tried to flag it down. It was almost 6:50pm on Saturday, 17 May 2008."Don't stop," shouted by the four of us almost simultaneously. I was sitting in the front passenger’s seat while my wife Han Thu Lwin, Myo Myint Maung and another Burmese friend were in the back seat, all of us holding flowers in our hands.

To our dismay, the Singaporean taxi driver pulled the taxi over to the roadside gently."Whooi…a long way to go," I sighed. I then started to realize the extent of police dominance in Singapore and the level of obedience shown by the ordinary citizens here. Nowhere else in the world would you find a taxi driver stopping at the flagging of non-uniformed police officers so easily against the wishes of the passengers in his taxi.Showing his badge, one of the three policemen asked, "Are you residents here, sir?"I was secretly amused by the question wondering how a person like me wearing cheap shirts and taking a cab, not driving a good car, could inspire the police to think that I might live in such an affluent district. But, I simply replied, "No, we are not.""Where are you going, sir?""To the Burmese embassy."“Sorry, sir, you can't go there because the Myanmar (Burmese) embassy is already closed.”

I must admit that I was particularly proud to be a Burmese citizen at that moment because our embassy was extraordinarily effective in communicating with us, citizens of Burma, by keeping Singapore police to answer on its behalf about its opening hours at the entrance of St Martin's Drive. Or perhaps it was just that the police underestimated my ability to think for myself. So, the sudden, mistaken pride that came to me out of thin air vanished immediately.

Hey, do you think I am a moron? All Burmese in Singapore know that our embassy is normally closed on Saturdays.Don't worry, please. We are not going inside the embassy. We just want to go in front of the Burmese embassy to mourn for our people who died in the Cyclone Nargis. Anyway, thanks for your information."“No, Sir. You can't go there. We advise you to leave this area immediately.”Oops! Was it because the Cyclone Nargis was now passing through the St Martin's Drive, too? I was starting to worry about the safety of the residents living there.But just in time, to quell my unwarranted anxiety, our old friend Mr Deep Singh from Tanglin Police Station came to the scene and chanted the very much familiar police mantra to our impatient ears.“You can't assemble without a police permit. You are advised to leave.”“But....please wait, wait! There are only four persons on this taxi excluding the driver. How could this become an illegal assembly?”He didn't answer our question.

But he said, “As long as you have intention...”"Oh, my god! Intention to do what? Our intention is just to mourn for our people who died because of the cyclone.”Then he suggested that we should go to the temple to pray and mourn.Please note that these were just advice and suggestions only; they didn't amount to warnings. So, why should we be advised and suggested repeatedly for so long without being allowed to get through? We appreciated his advice and suggestions, of course, because they were free. But, whether we took them or not was solely our own choice. To force us to accept his advice and hamper us from going in was too much for us. It was utterly outrageous.

Myo Myint Maung, who was sitting in the back seat, told the police officers that the only one piece of land in Singapore where we, Burmese, truly had the highest sense of belonging was our Burmese embassy.At last, Mr Singh asked for our particulars, even though the three of us – my wife, Myo Myint Maung and myself – had given our particulars to his department on a few occasions in the past. At first, we argued for some minutes on why we needed to submit our particulars for just going to our embassy and mourning for our people.Then, to our great astonishment, the extremely considerate Mr Singh said, "Please don't waste the time. The taxi driver will lose his valuable time to earn money. Please be considerate."At first, I didn't believe my ears.

During the whole conversation, the taxi meter was ticking and needless to say it was me who had to pay for the fare eventually. The driver was earning his fair income in the whole episode. Furthermore, I can swear that this delay was not caused by us. We were the one who wanted to arrive at our destination as soon as possible.

At last, as it seemed that the police was not going to allow us to go in without showing our particulars, we gave them to the police and proceeded to the embassy where we found a couple who arrived just before us. But, they said that they didn't have to show their particulars. Why was the law applied selectively to us instead of being applied equally to all?Later, I came to know that about 50 Burmese who also came to mourn at the embassy gradually started to gather at the entrance of St Martin's drive. At first, police were busy advising them to go back.

When they refused and continued to hang around there, the police asked them for their particulars. As the crowd gradually grew to about 100 people, the police at last agreed to let us go in groups of four persons to the gate of the Burmese embassy to mourn there for five minutes each. However, it was not before a series of negotiations as well as heated exchanges between the police and the three of us.At the end, the police told us not to hold any hard feelings and apologized individually for the embarrassment caused earlier.

Of course, we forgave them because we understood their position. They were police officers just carrying out their duties. They too are human beings with kind hearts; we believe that. But, we still hope the law will be applied equally to all races, nationalities, and religions, not selectively. Moreover, it should be applied fairly and correctly.We wish Singapore a more vibrant society with more freedom and openness where every resident has the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

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DVB - Interview with survivors

20 May 2008

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The Perfect Storm

17 May 2008

By Aung Zaw
[Source - Irrawaddy]

A friend of mine in Rangoon called me this morning. “It’s depressing and upsetting—people in the delta region are desperately scavenging for food and aid,” he said, having just returned from a charity mission to the devastated area.

But he added: “The survivors are coping as best they can. They are very resilient and are putting their own lives back together. They haven’t lost their dignity.”

I was relieved to know that in spite of all the heartbreaking reports and horrific images coming out of Burma, the only one who had lost his dignity was Snr-Gen Than Shwe.

In spite of the woefully slow response from the Burmese military authorities—and the heartless blockade and misappropriation of aid and supplies—the people of the delta are taking matters into their own hands, standing strong, taking care of each other, determined to survive.

The generals are unyielding; the United Nations pathetic.

John Holmes, the UN’s under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, whimpered: “The biggest problem we have at the moment is that international humanitarian staff are not being allowed down into the affected area in the delta.”


On Wednesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held an emergency meeting with select countries, including Asean, India and the five permanent members of Security Council.

Briefing the media afterward outside the UN headquarters in New York, Ban said, “There was some concern expressed that, while this will be a humanitarian crisis, if we are not able to address this issue in a proper way—reaching those people in need—then it may create inevitably some kind of political issue. Therefore, we need to be careful about that.”

The UN, by nature, is careful—often timid in its language—and takes a gentle diplomatic approach to each of its myriad concerns. It has no intention of picking a fight with Burma’s generals. Ambassador after ambassador at the UN emphasized that they didn’t want to politicize the issue.

That’s why, to me, this humanitarian crisis has now become a man-made disaster.

Than Shwe and his clique have failed in every regard—to issue cyclone warnings, to plan an evacuation, to allow aid workers and supplies in, even to the point of stealing the food and water marked for those victims who are dying without it.

Then he turned his back on the horror in the delta and stole the referendum as well.

Rightly so, Than Shwe is now accused of committing crimes against humanity.

Like it or not, this crisis is a political issue and the UN has failed again to grasp its own impotence.

The UN huffs and puffs and “ums” and “ahs” as warships containing hundreds of tons of aid sit unsolicited in international waters, not a day’s sail from the delta. It sits on the fence while its leading members cry out for humanitarian intervention.

With the United Nations apparently unable to move, the spotlight again turns to Than Shwe and his diplomatic chess game.

After declaring a massive turnout and a victory in the referendum, the former psychological warfare officer is now preparing to go on the offensive.

In approving visas for aid workers from Bangladesh, China, India and Thailand, Than Shwe shows he plans to again hide behind his neighbors and allies.

“Even though Burma’s military regime is denying aid to 2 million people facing death, efforts at the UN Security Council to invoke the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ doctrine are dead as a doornail, mainly because of Burma’s ally, China,” said Aung Din, Executive Director of the US Campaign for Burma.

“It is time for countries to stop waiting for the [UN Security] Council to act—which it won’t—and commence immediate delivery of aid to thirsty, starving and homeless Burmese now facing imminent threat of disease in the Irrawaddy Delta,” he pleaded.

But Than Shwe is—if nothing else—consistent. He will not buckle, nor see the light or the error of his ways. He will continue regardless, callous and deceitful as always.

Meanwhile, the so-called civilized world will keep on talking, “moving the process forward,” expressing their concerns and deep frustration.

Thankfully, the brave people in the Irrawaddy delta are not procrastinators by nature. They are survivors. And their dignity will not allow them to sit back and wait while their leaders and the rest of the world abandon them.

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‘Humanitarian heroes’ reach out to fellow cyclone victims

16 May 2008

[Source - bostonherald.com]

YANGON, Myanmar - From shopkeepers handing out free rice porridge to medical students caring for the sick, ordinary people in Myanmar are stepping in to help cyclone victims as the military regime severely restricts international aid.

Taxi drivers, factory owners, college students, teachers and other Yangon residents - many of whom lost their own homes - are among those organizing grueling trips into the Irrawaddy delta, the hardest-hit region.

“They are true humanitarian heroes,” said Bridget Gardner, International Red Cross representative in Myanmar, after touring an area where volunteers were giving first aid to the injured.

They are taking up collections at businesses and donating food, clothes and water. Some who are too poor to give money or supplies are offering their labor to help clear debris and rebuild villages leveled by the May 3 cyclone.

“We feel sympathetic to the cyclone victims and want to help them in our own way,” said Daw Mya Win, who runs a small grocery in a northern Yangon suburb where many bamboo shanty houses were destroyed.

The 49-year-old woman cooks rice porridge every day to feed anyone who comes. She also sends pots of the thick viscous mixture of rice, water and seasonings to some of the thousands of homeless who have sought shelter in the country’s Buddhist monasteries.

The U.N. says up to 2 million survivors are still in need of emergency aid. The military junta has restricted most foreign aid workers from entering Myanmar.

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Contacts to Help Cyclone Victims


(click to enlarge)


LOCAL CHARITIES & NGOs

Save the Children (UK)
Contact Number: 241208, 241210, 241211, 248193, 513257

Medecins Sans Frontier’s (MSF (NL))
Contact Number: 534679, 524379

Malteser
Contact Number: 549001/7/710304

Merlin
Contact Number: 511675, 537321

CESVI
Contact Number: 534790

Care
Contact Number: 224647/224507

World Vision
Contact Number: 525191, 527502, 706255, 511265, 510148

International Federation of the Red Cross
Contact Number: 383686, 383682

GRET
Contact Number: 540694/545912

PACT
Contact Number: 538669

OXFAM
Contact Number: 248192 or 525001

Hope
Contact Number: 546829/514650

PSI
Contact Number: 524166/524177

Burnett
Contact Number: 248194/248195

Paung Ku
Contact Person: Justin Corbett
Contact Number: 660446, 241208, 241210, 241211, 248193, 513257

AFXB
Contact Number: 502178

MSI (Marie Stopes International) they have youth centre in Thingankyune and Tharkayta tsps. Contact Number: 544423, 705657

ADRA
Contact Number: 240900, 380419

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Generals whose power near absolute

15 May 2008

National Post
Published: Thursday, May 15, 2008

Burma's secretive military junta is the inheritor of rule by the armed forces, which has predominated since 1962 when General Ne Win led a coup d'etat. He was replaced by the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). In 1989, SLORC declared martial law but allowed free elections in 1990 for the first time in almost 30 years. It reverted quickly to type, annulling the results that would have brought the National League for Democracy of Aung San Suu Kyi to power. In 1992 SLORC was replaced by the State Peace and Development Council in which three men wield almost absolute power.

Senior General Than Shwe, 73

Junta head. Career military man who controls the army. Most hardline leader, strongly opposed to allowing any role for Aung San Suu Kyi. Rumours of his ill health are common and were fuelled last year when he spent two weeks in hospital in Singapore. Although he was supposed to retire at 60, he simply changed the rules and is now expected to rule for life. He was embarrassed when video of his daugher's lavish wedding was leaked to the media. The footage outrage Burmese as it showed the bride dripping with diamonds and pouring champagne beside an ornate gold bridal bed. The day after the cyclone hit, the street in Rangoon on which his wife was staying was cleared of debris and electricity restored. Than Shwe is said to be superstitious and regularly consults astrologers. The capital was moved without warning from Rangoon to Naypyidaw on Nov. 6, 2005, at the astrologically auspicious time of 6:37 a. m.

Vice Senior General Maung Aye, 70

Another career soldier and the second most powerful man in Burma. Believed to have strong ties with drug lords in the Golden Triangle, which led to clashes with then prime minister Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, who was concerned about the rise of ethnic armies outside the junta's control (Nyunt lost his job). He is reported to be a hard drinker.

General Thein Sein

Replaced Lieutenant General Soe Win (who died in November of leukemia at age 58) as prime minister. Soe Win was a close association of Than Shwe who helped crush the democracy party in 1988 after its elections victory. Represents the country on rare trips abroad, usually to neighbouring countries.

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Time for Humanitarian Intervention

Myanmar military rulers do not hesitate to sacrifice its citizens over their iron-fist policy against US. Even the offer of US President, Bush, to help the people of Myanmar using US navy ships deployed near Thailand was left unanswered. It is out of question that generals in Myanmar are currently living in fear and dilemma. Their confusion and delay over the interest of victims from Cyclone hit areas might further lead to unnecessary death in Myanmar already happening humanitarian crisis. While Foreign aids workers are still waiting to get their visas to reach out to victims, the dying crowds in need of food, water, medicine and shelter are also desperately longing for the International aid. Sorry to the victims. The Junta is blocking their way.

In Myanmar newspaper, government mouthpiece media, it was clearly stated only foreign aids will be allowed and not the foreign aids workers. The helping nations might wonder how the Junta would honestly and effectively hang over the aids to their people. It is still a big question mark following the red tape and mismanagement by Myanmar government. It is the government that turned once a prosperous nation into one of the poorest countries in the world with many people living under poverty line. Again, they are now committing a biggest crime in history by not letting in the International aids workers to help the victims from cyclone-hit devastated areas.

Mostly affected region, Irrawaddy Delta, is the rice bowl of Myanmar and other countries consuming exported rice from Myanmar. Rice prices have been increasingly hike in the World. Myanmar, one of the rice exporting nations, is now facing a crisis in the region of growing rice. Myanmar crisis is no longer an internal problem used to be claimed by the allies of Myanmar. It is the humanitarian crisis where International aids were stopped to distribute to the needy timely.

Thousands of people were dead, millions are homeless and their lives are at stake in Myanmar. Yet, the Junta is giving their priority to their nationwide referendum to approve the constitution. It is not the time to repeat the history again as happened in Rwanda. UN must promptly carry out the “responsibility to protect” doctrine which is to protect the citizens of a country when the government of its own could not able to do so. I strongly support French Foreign Minister urging UN for force aid. UN must not wait for approval to assist the Myanmar disaster from the Junta who care more to hold on power than the lives of its own people.

Let me again urge UN to save Myanmar people from the hands of devil and inhumane government of Myanmar. As our democratic leader, Aung San Su Kyi, once said, “Please use your liberty to promote ours”. We, Myanmar people, are living in the dark. Humanitarian intervention is the only hope and ray of light for hungry souls if the Junta continues to block and delay the International aids. Every dying second counts for the victims in Myanmar. It is now the time for Humanitarian Intervention to Myanmar.

May God bless Myanmar. Those departed may rest in peace.

-Written by Nyi Nyi [thanlwin]

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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.

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

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Are the generals still indifferent?

By AUNG ZAW
[Source - Bangkok Post]

Whenever Burma faces a political or humanitarian crisis, Burmese and foreign observers monitor the reclusive military leaders from a distance, trying to gauge their reactions, guessing what shapes their decisions and where possible conflicts within the leadership lie. The question Burma watchers are quietly asking this time is: has the cyclone managed to instil fear in strongman Senior General Than Shwe and his hard-core military cronies? Are they trembling or are they standing firm?


It is easy to imagine the pampered generals running from the storm, boarding themselves in their collective bunker and curling up in terror as the cyclone whipped through the southwest of the country. In the wake of the cyclone, the ordinary people of Burma are braving the elements and starting to put their lives back together. Meanwhile, the cowering junta has been oblivious to the calls to help survivors and allow aid into the affected areas.

Despite the junta's long history of perfidy and brutality, many observers were taken aback by the regime's refusal to allow international aid and foreign aid workers to tend to the cyclone victims in and around the Irrawaddy delta.

Then, over the last week, cracks of dissent within the leadership were detected. Gen Than Shwe and his deputy Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye reportedly have been at loggerheads since troops opened fire on Buddhist monks and activists on the streets last September.

Now rumours have surfaced that Prime Minister Gen Thein Sein has drawn the ire of the top general for showing a soft side after witnessing the tragedy first-hand while overseeing the delivery of aid to cyclone victims from a helicopter. Apparently distressed by what he saw, Gen Thein Sein urged his boss to permit international aid into the area as quickly as possible.

Reportedly, Gen Thein Sein filed a situation report and was immediately stonewalled. At an emergency meeting in Naypyidaw, Gen Than Shwe is said to have told council members that the country's armed forces could handle the humanitarian crisis and that he would rather concentrate on the referendum.

Gen Thein Sein backed off and returned quietly to Rangoon to oversee the relief effort, which was already falling apart _ ill-prepared, ill-equipped and mismanaged. To his and everyone else's frustration, the doors to large-scale international aid remained closed.

The prime minister reportedly began suffering from stress and told his subordinates that he was looking forward to retiring soon.

This time around, sources in Rangoon say Gen Than Shwe and Gen Maung Aye are hanging tight together. They both were seen on TV at polling stations casting their votes last Saturday.

With Gen Than Shwe determined to focus on the national referendum, calls from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to postpone the referendum, and pleas from the international community to allow aid into the delta, fell on deaf ears.

Then, a rumour started circulating among dissidents in exile that Gen Thura Shwe Mann, who is being groomed to take over the armed forces, supports the line of Gen Thein Sein, the prime minister.

Sources say Gen Shwe Mann wanted aid flown in immediately. However, he was apparently unwilling to confront the commander-in-chief, Gen Than Shwe.

Gen Shwe Mann may be acting out of personal concerns. Two of his sons run Ayer Shwe Wah Company, selling fertiliser to farmers in the Irrawaddy delta. They also own a rice mill. Among the Burmese businesses on the United States' sanctions list, the Ayer Shwe Wah Co has approximately 30,000 acres of rice fields in the Irrawaddy delta and is a leading exporter of rice.

Reports from Naypyidaw suggest that Gen Than Shwe doesn't want to hear about the death toll and missing persons in the delta. Some senior officials in the capital have let it leak that Gen Than Shwe's subordinates are afraid to brief him on the horrific figures.

It is a sad irony that it has taken a disaster of such proportions to unmask the true depth of the inhumanity and darkness that resides within the brutal strongman Gen Than Shwe. Perhaps the military leaders closest to him will look into his heart of darkness and see the truth for themselves.

Aung Zaw is Editor of the Irrawaddy magazine covering Burma and Southeast Asia.

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Support Volunteer Groups

13 May 2008

A week passed already after Cyclone Nagis in Burma. But aids and relief agency forecast that less than 30 % of victims were reachable and less than 10 % of foods and aids have been distributed. And the rest of the world is still waiting in the gate to donate money and stuffs.

In the mean time, millions of survivors are also still waiting in the flooded swamp with diseases and starvations. More people are dying on the deserted lands, rescuers hard to reach out.

Local volunteer groups are becoming the effective way of helping cyclone victims in such a critical condition. They may be groups of 5 to 6 people. They may small network of friends. They may passionate housewives. They may group of earnest doctors . They may group of celebrities and stars. They may group of teenage Rappers. They are strolling with a bunch of rice pack, cloths and medicines along devastated area. They will be there until the time of effective international aids and rescue teams landed these areas.

We need to support them.
Here is the very new weblog of one volunteer groups working in the ground.

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Myanmar needs more than good ideas

By FRED HIATT
First published: Tuesday, May 13, 2008
[Source - timesunion.com]

When a parent abuses or neglects a child, government steps in to offer protection. But who steps in when government abuses or neglects its people?

Nearly three years ago, the United Nations announced an answer to that question: It would.

At a summit celebrating the organization's 60th birthday, 171 nations agreed that they would intervene, forcefully if necessary, if a state failed to protect its own people. The action was seen as both a sign of remorse for the failure to stop genocide in Rwanda and a rebuke to the United States and its unilateral ways.

"I'm delighted that the responsibility to protect, a Canadian idea, now belongs to the world," said Canada's prime minister at the time, Paul Martin. "The United Nations will not find itself turning away or averting its gaze."

Since then, the United Nations has averted its gaze as Sudan's government continues to ravage the people of Darfur. It has turned away as Zimbabwe's rulers terrorize their own people. Now it is bowing to Myanmar's sovereignty as that nation's junta allows more than a million victims of Cyclone Nargis to face starvation, dehydration, cholera and other miseries rather than allow outsiders to offer aid on the scale that's needed.

In light of America's troubles in Iraq, the pendulum in the United States has swung toward multilateral solutions and international law. All three candidates to replace President Bush have promised to restore alliances and put more faith in allies.

But the stalemate in Myanmar, also known as Burma, shows how difficult it is to translate "responsibility to protect" into action.

It's hard to imagine a government more deserving of losing the national equivalent of its parental rights; yet it seems more likely that hundreds of thousands of people will die needlessly than that the United Nations will act.

Dr. Chris Beyrer, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has spent years in and around Myanmar. What he has learned, as he said last week, is that "the regime does not have the interest of the people as its fundamental concern."

Almost all its actions before the storm and since can be understood in this light: The junta cares about its own survival, not the survival of its people.

So even before the devastating storm swept in around midnight May 2, the people of Myanmar were vulnerable. One-third of children younger than 5 were undernourished. With 3 percent of government spending going to public health, compared with 40 percent to the military, there was a dearth of doctors and clinics. In many areas, malaria and tuberculosis posed severe threats.

The government failed to warn people of the approaching storm and has failed to help them since. It apparently does not want to risk whatever benefit might rebound to Western countries for deploying the "soft power" of assistance.

On Saturday it deployed its army northward, to beat and browbeat people to vote yes in a phony referendum intended to make military rule permanent, rather than southward, where 1.5 million people were homeless and 65 percent of territory was under water.

Yet when France reminded the United Nations of its "responsibility to protect," China, Russia and their ever-reliable voting partner, Thabo Mbeki's South Africa, slammed the door. So tons of aid float just offshore as Burma's generals sleep comfortably in their remote jungle capital and China's rulers can proudly, once again, take credit for defending the principle of national sovereignty.

Meanwhile, the people of Myanmar themselves do not give up. Small teams of aid workers from persecuted dissident groups are making their way south, offering what little assistance they can, though soldiers at times confiscate their goods.

And in the delta, one Myanmar managed to inform a friend outside, "many people keep looking up to the sky -- literally." A week and a half after the cyclone, they are waiting for helicopters, which for many will appear too late or not at all.

Fred Hiatt writes for The Washington Post.

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Is it time to invade Burma?

11 May 2008

Is it time to invade Burma?

Referring this article from Time magazine, we clearly answer this question that YES, Please invade Burma. Invasion is nothing good for one country. No countrymen even think about to be invaded their territory by others.

But things have horribly turned up and down. We can't stay any longer in our own country with our own rulers. It is more obvious now under Nagis Cyclone attack.People didn't get enough warning or evacuation but authorities can manage to move its aircrafts in safe place somewhere . Are they intentionally commit it to let people die under the storm raging between 150 mph to 190 mph ?

Again, cyclone victims are still waiting food and rescue in the midst of flooded water and more people are killing everyday within these 8 days after storm. It seems regimes intentionally commit genocide to its own people. We can't take heart any longer to seeing and hearing these plight and tragic. We have no other choice to rescue millions of helpless people.

We strongly urge you to invade Burma in any channel.

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Rumours in Naypyidaw

Source: Ko Moe Thee

Rumours are rife in Naypyidaw that US armed forces are going to bomb the administrative capital.

Some of the residents (Naypyidaw was once a village named Kyat Pyay) and civil servants have been seen leaving the city. The source of the anxiety? A deathly pale General Than Shwe who was seen casting his vote on National Television at his first public appearance in serveral days. He was said to have looked so ill that he could barely walk. This had led the civil servants to conclude that he was hysterical about an impending attack by the US armed forces, one civil servant reportedly said. He himself had left Naypyidaw for his safety. In Naypyidaw though, there are nightly parties giving the impression that everything was normal.

People have taken to comparing the current situation to that of the era when Burma was invaded by the British. Prior to the invasion, King Sibaw, the last king of Burma, ordered his advisors killed; they had warned him of the invasion. Instead of planning a defence, he had then arranged for parties and festivals in order to distract the population. Shortly after, Burma fell to the British.

For the original article in Burmese, please click here.

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My friends are starving, says a survivor

Source: Mizzima

Days after Cyclone Nargis destroyed the Irrawady Delta, aid has yet to arrive in the most devastated regions.

One survivor from Laputta township told Mizzima, "My friends have nothing to eat or drink. They're starving." Laputta is situated at the mouth of Bay of Bengal.

According to the man, most of the suvivors are now taking refuge in the town of Laputta, in monasteries and schools. He himself made his way to Yangon to in the hope of getting aid from friends there.

He informed Mizzima that survivors themselves have had to carry out rescue operations, including retrieving the bodies of victims. However, constraints in resources meant that many of the bodies are still left in the water. Some villages are also still submerged in water.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, added:
"We had a small ceremony for my friend's family who perished. But we couldn't find their bodies. I doubt we'll ever find them."

He is one of the luckier ones who managed to escape the cyclone. His whole family survived. The residents, many of whom have lived along the coast all their lives, could not anticipate the magnitude of destuction that the cyclone brought upon them.

"We didn't even have time to run."

He told Mizzima that most of the villages were simply swept away by the cyclone, and many people were still unaccounted for. While he could not gave an accurate number of how many villages are in the area, he estimated that the number could be anywhere from 24 to 50.

"In the next village, only about 200 remain, out of a population of about 5000."

He said that most of his villagers survived the cyclone. However, the cyclone destroyed not only their houses, but also water wells, forcing the survivors to move into nearby towns such as the town of Laputta and Myaung Mya.

"There are corpses in the water wells, so the water is contaminated. And since we have nothing else to eat or drink, we had no choice but to move to the towns."

As the military government is refusing to let foreign aid workers enter the country, international aid agencies are still unable to get a clear picture of the extent of destruction or the aid required.

"We are still trying to see what is needed. We have not started distributing anything yet",said a Burmese aid worker who wished to remain anonymous.

The man, who had just recently returned from the Irrawady Delta region, added that the government was not allowing any foreigners to enter the area.

"They're only allowing local people to go in."

While the international community has sent hundreds of thousands worth of emergency supplies, as of Friday night, any of it has yet to reach the delta, the worst hit region. Distribution channels are already in place in some of the affected regions in Yangon state.

World's Food Programme Spokesman, Mr Paul Risley, told Mizzima on Friday that WFP will distribute 7 tonnes of high energy biscuits.

For the original article in Burmese, please click here.

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Collection of interviews/ experiences of Cyclone survivors - Translated from Burmese

10 May 2008

(Translated by Burmese M. Python - BBWOB)

Mizzima reporter interviewed three surviving victims, Ma Eh Lay, Ko Khin Maung and an anonymous person. Here are some snippets.

Ma Eh Lay (12 years) said that she has walked ten miles to Laputta for about 5 days. Both of her parents were dead. She was hung on a tree when she became conscious. She saw a lot of dead bodies on her way to Laputta. She couldn’t even remember her own village because of the flood. The food was scare on the way. She had to eat coconut and drink its juice. When people cooked rice, they had to use coconut juice. The rice was also wet. She felt very sad because her family members were dead.

Ko Khin Maung (40 years) said he was the only one left in the family. Nine of his family members were dead. He did not get the cyclone warning. He said he did not think the cyclone would be this devastating. Cattle from the village were all dead. He arrived in Rangoon on the 8th. He did not see any rescue teams along the way. About 300 villages out of 365 were hit by the cyclone. He heard that 126,000 people died according to the statistics from some people in Laputta. Drinking water was scare along the way, too.

An anonymous Laputta resident said there was acid rain with the storm. He said the acid rain caused a lot of skin problems for many people. The biggest problem right now is not having enough drinking water. He also said the psychological damage was also having an impact on the survivors. In the surge of current, some people lost their family members after the torrent broke their holding hands. The survivors were left with psychologically affected. Laputta’s monasteries and schools were all crowded with survivors. Some people had to sleep on the platforms. The authorities and soldiers were sending survivors to other towns as soon as they arrived at the ports. They were sent to places like Myaung Mya, Bassein and Wah Kher Ma.

.......................................................................................................................................

(Translated by May - BBWOB)

A resident of Laputta town talked to Mizzima about acid rain and the psychological damage that seems to have been inflicted on the survivors as a result of the disaster.

"The acid rain came with the cyclone. Many people had their skin burned by the acid rain. The acid burned through the outer layer of skin. You could see the patches of adipose tissue on their bodies. We tried to drink rain water, but it was salty. So there was no drinking water. It was terrible. There must be hundreds of people who suffered burns as a result of the acid rain."

"The rain water was very acidic. When the rain hit bamboo, we could actually see sparks. Many people are ill. Some are in a daze. They lost their families and it makes them feel helpless because they couldn't save them. Also, they have nothing left, so they are at a loss. They're very traumatised by the experience."

"When the survivors reach the jetties, they're immediately herded up the lorries by the 66th Battalion, to be sent to other towns. They don't let them enter the town of Laputta. They're being sent to Myaung Mya, Basein, and WahKhaeMa."

"Laputta can't accomodate any more people. The 30 monasteries are completely full. People are occupying the moasteries, and some are filling up the roadside platforms. In some places, there is no shade at all. But they have no villages to return to."

For the original article in Burmese, please click here.

................................................................................................................................

(Translated by May - BBWOB)

Firsthand accounts of Cyclone survivors:

Source: Mizzima

Survivor: Ma El Lay, age 12
Chan Tha Gyi Village No 1, Laputta Township

"It took me 4-5 days to reach the town of Laputta. I had to walk about 100 miles. No rescue team came. They wanted to send me to Myaung Mya. The soldiers from Battalion 66 told me they will send me there. They said they would kill me if I tried anything funny."

"I've only been in Yangon for 2 days. So many people perished in one night. It's shocking, and very frightening. Both my parents died. The cyclone whipped off the roof of our house in the middle of the night. I ended up on a tree. When I came to, I saw many corpses in the rice fields. I picked my way around the bodies. The village was beyond recognition. There were only a few trees left, and even those trees had no leaves left."

"I didn't eat anything on the way. There were no shops. The shops along the way were very expensive. Those 4 days were very difficult. I ate coconut and drank the coconut juice. There was no water in the village. I had to use coconut water to cook the damp rice that was left."

"We lived with our extended family that numbered 40. My immediate family has 10 of us. Now my parents and siblings are gone, and I'm very sad and frightened."

Survivor: Ko Khin Maung, age 40
Chan Tha Gyi Village No. 1, Laputta Township

"It's horrible. Our whole village was flattened. I'm the only survivor in my family of 10. We tried to hold on to each other, but we couldn't. They were all taken by the cyclone. I couldn't even retrieve any of their bodies. End of story."

"I have no more relatives in Laputta. They were all swept away by the waves. I have nothing left. We have never had such a storm in this region. We're not in the habit of listening to the radio. The authorities should have warned us, but they did nothing. And now we have all suffered."

"We only knew about the cyclone when the wind picked up. It's never happened before, so we didn't expect things to be this bad. We gathered at houses which we thought could withstand the wind. We also didn't expect the waves to be so high. The waves were too strong. Everything is gone.. the houses, the animals.."

"We arrived in Yangon yesterday, the 8th. We didn't receive any aid along the way. No rescue teams, no help. We had to help ourselves. Laputta township has 56 village clusters, comprising 365 villages. The cyclone destroyed about 300 of them. According to the list compiled by the Traders Association in Laputta, up to 4th May, the death toll is about 126000. It's not complete. There was no aid at all; I didn't even get to drink a drop of water."

"Some of the people in town have donated rice. So we survived on porridge. But water and other food supplies were scarce. The conditions are bad. I had phone contact this morning, and I was informed that three children have died from cholera."

For the original article in Burmese, please click here.

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(Shared by Burmese M. Python - BBWOB)

From Interesting Times blog at the New Yorker.

An account after a tour of the capital:
[In a Hindu temple] there are eight hundred people camped out with less than satisfactory sanitation, diminishing clean water supply, and very little other than rice porridge in the last two days. We headed over to Hlaing Thaya and before we even got to the monastery where we helped outstopped in an elementary school that had around three hundred homeless people with a broken water pump. Across the way, in another temple, another two hundred and fifty or so from the same village where thatch houses had been totally smashed by cyclone Nargis. We then went to the opposite side of the city Shwebaukan to the 11th and 12th quarters. Up to five hundred people in one school being threatened by the local Army guy swinging weight that they could not stay there for long, and further a village of people with NO building for shelter, no clean water, and a foot of flood water beneath/in each more or less roofless house. The regime is busy chopping up fallen trees on roads mostly in rich areas in town and is beginning to work on electric poles in rich areas of town. Survival for the poor or communication with citizenry is not its forte. It even neglects its own As I passed some soldiers cutting trees yesterday, I asked if they’d eaten breakfast. Of course not! So I went back home to get them some bread.

An expatriate living in Burma:
The malevolence of the Burmese government toward its people is incomprehensible. The junta is making it very difficult for foreign relief agencies to get desperately need medical assistance and other supplies to the hundreds of thousands (more likely millions) of victims of the cyclone. International media report that foreign relief workers are not being granted visas. Even if aid personnel can get into the country, existing government regulations are likely to make it difficult for expatriate relief workers to travel very far outside Rangoon. Both the Burmese government restrictions and U.S. economic sanctions make it very difficult to give money to local N.G.O.s directly, but it is possible to support their work by donating to the international groups that have longstanding partnerships with local N.G.O.s and community-based organizations (including churches and monasteries).

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Translated News for the day - 10 May

(Translated by May - BBWOB)

Updated Figures - 10 May
Source: Mizzima News

Death toll released by an international agency:
http://www.mizzima.com/images/Nargis/INGO_Death_Toll.png
Meanwhile, junta gave much lower estimates:
http://www.mizzima.com/images/Nargis/Death_Toll_tn.png

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Source: Democratic Voice of Burma

Pyi Khaing Kyun and Kyaik Ka Thaung, situated two to three hours' boat ride from Haing Gyi, were also badly affected by Cyclone Nargis, according to a resident from Pyi Khaing Kyun. Kyaik Ka Thaung alone was estimated to have a death toll of about 4000. She told DVB that the cyclone victims were in dire stratis and that no aid has been received so far in these areas.

In an interview with DVB, the source said:
"The situation is terrible. I heard that the death toll is very high, especially in Laputta. In the coastal areas, there are salt farms. Each employs about 1000 people. Out of that 1000, 800 plus perished. Entire families have been wiped out."

"The coastal villages were engulfed by the sea. So the survivors have come into town. The town itself is largely unharmed. But the shop owners have not dared to open their cafes as their business will collapse in one morning since they have no paying patrons."

"Apparently, they received rice for lunch. But in the evening, they were only given porridge (as supplies ran low). But it wasn't enough to fill their stomachs, so I heard they were scavenging for coconuts and mangoes."

"Haing Gyi is about 3 hours away on boat. But we can see them from here. I know for a fact that a navy battalion is stationed there. There must be about 2000 to 3000 houses."

"I also heard that there were corpses floating in the water, with many of them entangled in the undergrowth. People told me the smell is foul. In Kyaik Ka Thaung, there has been an outbreak of diahhorea."

"In one place, the whole village was submerged under water. In another village, the entire population was wiped out save for 3 people. I don't know which one... there are so many little villages here."

"Never in my life, has there been a disaster like this. We had never had a problem with floods, but now, the water level is waist high."

"Some people who came back from Laputta told me that those people seem to be very traumatised by what has happened. They look dazed, and scream if someone touches them."

"They are not only homeless, but they have nothing to eat. Some are taking shelter under trees, without adequate clothing or even footwear."

DVB: Has no rescue teams reached the area?"

"Not to Pyi Khaing. Maybe they are already in Haing Gyi. Maybe they don't know about this area as we are rather remote. Perhaps they will come tomorrow."

"There has been some help (for the victims). This morning, one lady gave out packets of instant noodles. In Kyaik Ka Thaung, I heard that rice was being distributed. Kyaik Ka Thaung is a big village, about 2 hours away. I heard that 4000 people perished."

For the original article in Burmese, please click here.

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Are you also going to kill Cyclone victims ?

UN secretary Ban Ki Moon warned again and again to Burma Regime. We heard that he tried to call directly to Burmese notorious General Than Shwe.

Then what ..

We haven't heard yet any outcomes nor green light ( even a shade ). This morning, Mr Ban again said referendum should be fair and just.

What for ...

We all know that they are taking advantages over cyclone crisis. They can make it any of their likeness. People are powerless, foodless, waterless, speechless and even lifeless. We don't need referendum. We just need to live.

France proposed to act " responsibility to protect" in UN Security Council. It was instantly rejected.

By whom ..

Does it means they don't need to rescue these millions of life? Or they still want to protect these wicked Generals. Or they don't want West to influence their territories.

This is not the matter of national sovereignty. This is not the matter of power polarization. This is not the matter of diplomacy war. This is just the matter of life and death.

LIFE AND DEATH for millions of people.

Surprise that why UN, US, NATO, ASEAN and others are just standing and waiting their permission. Are you still negotiating with these dumb head? Are you still mulling over how to solve it ? Minute by minute, people are dying.

Are you also going to kill these innocent victims ?

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DIY

Photo from LA Times: the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis

LA Times said: MAKING DO: Using basic hand tools, two men in Yangon, like many Myanmar residents, are performing much of the cleanup work themselves for lack of foreign or domestic assistance.

DIY Way of Life

We, the Burmese, are used to solving problems on our own because we all know our government does not care about us. Almost everything in Burma is DIY (Do It Yourself), to borrow a geeky terms.

Electricity

In our town in Southern Burma, the electricity from the government is not reliable at all (We honor Thomas Alva Edison every day by staying in the dark) Guess what the solution of the community is? A well-to-do family would buy a generator and install power line -- only the home-quality one -- to each house in the street, who wants the electricity. The family runs the generator, let's say, from 6:00 PM till 9:00 PM. The family then collects the fees every two weeks, based on the number of fluorescent lamps you have agreed to install in the first place. How democratic and market-oriented our community is! :)

Telecommunication

Burmese migrants in Thailand have been using the family-run telephone exchange in the border area to call their family back home. Here is what you do. You dial a Thailand registered number of the family-owned telephone switch in the border and tell them the number in Burma you are trying to call. The exchange having several phones registered both in Thailand and Burma, can route your call from Thailand's phone system to Burma's. You have just dialed a telephone number in Thailand and yet you are talking to your family in Burma. They collect the fees at the end of the month based on how many minutes you talked (or hours if you talked to your sweethearts :). Well, the Burmese have just installed a home-made telephone switch without any investment from governments or businesses.

Survival of the Fittest

We have learned to survive and live with inefficiencies, thanks to our government. The educated Burmese also acknowledge that this is not good in the long run. But what else can we do, except to live with it? To fight the mighty guns pointing at us is an insurmountable task (at least for me).

Back to Nargis

If the government does not care about the victims, and relief experts cannot get to ground zero in time, we will have to do what it takes to survive. Not a good solution, I agree. But what else can we do? What would you do?


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Hope is a floating corpse

By Ko Hmway

Rotten dead bodies are floating under the sun, ears and hands of some dead bodies were cut off and still lying on the wet ground and no one is going to cerement or bury those. I wonder, their souls, weak and helpless in uncertainty, might be wondering in search of God.

At this very moment, hundreds of thousands of people with empty-stomachs are suffering from fever, diarrhea and various diseases and for those ill-fated fellow countrymen of mine, who once had human dignity, they have been reduced to the states of having no proper place to sleep, having no food to eat and having no hope to pray, but having just a roof called saddening sky hovers above them.

This is not the brilliant production of Hollywood producers. This is not the animal planet Cable TV channel. This is not actually good-to-be true reality TV show.
Indeed, this is really happening in my country.

Without warning, the victims have died helplessly in their sleep while some families were awake and were able to tie their hands together with a rope ensuring themselves that if we must die we will die together before killer typhoon swallowed and blew them away and left their dead bodies shamefully and inhumanely by the curse of demon.
tie their hands together with a rope ensuring themselves

Though international aid groups are humanely seeking to rescue, feed and cure those helpless victims, there has been no plausible progress and the victims have become new victims of another man-made disaster.

What is humane society?What is the meaning of civilized mankind?I doubt there is such things existing for the people of Burma.Burmese people have been ill-treated by military regimes since 1962 and are still suffering badly and will continue this painful reality unless the divine intervention emerges out vigorously for them to escape out from this madness.

Meanwhile, international aid groups have been banned and harassed viciously by Burmese military and members of USDA. In most places, the donations have been seized and taken forcefully by Military and USDA for their own selfish gains of enjoying a good meal using international aid packages.

Other Burmese are also trying to help victims. In Rangoon division, a group of donors have been forced to leave their donation at one local USDA office.
The ration of donations is 200, 00 kyat and a basket of rice for each victim family.
But USDA only distributed 150, 00 kyat and half basket of rice to the victims and the rest have been pocketed and for the USDA members and Army officers, this method is latest get-rich-quick scheme on top of the rotten innocent corpses.

Similar incidents are happening everywhere in Rangoon division, still there is no hopeful news from Irrawaddy region. While, SPDC is kicking out and turning down all well-equipped skillful aid workers and US Navy, they are still insisting that they will only accept money, supplies and foods only.

On the other hand , the ugliest and shameless attempt by the military regime is that all relief packages arriving at Rangoon airport were stamped with the stickers stating: “ "The donation of lieutenant general Myint Swe”". What a shame?Cleary, I remember two particular movies from Hollywood called the planet of the apes and the Independence Day.


In the planet of apes, human are enslaved, tortured, humiliated by apes, in the case of Burmese people human are degraded, tortured, killed and neglected by hyenas and other human being around the world including leaders of the great countries and the leaders of United Nations. All those big powers in the world seem rather powerless in this case and is only able to comment, appeal and say sorry but nothing else and no action have been effectively taken by them for God sake.

On the other hand, in the Independence Day movie, mankind is being attacked and planet earth is badly invaded by alien assault-aircrafts.

In the end, led by veteran president of the United States himself defended for the mankind and the whole world followed his step and won other powerful aliens and the planet earth is saved.

Sadly, even the fate of the Burmese people is still worsening day after day and there is no one with the victory of cigar to save Burmese from this madness.


http://hmway.blogspot.com/

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Care2: Help the Burmese People Receive Aid in Cyclone Aftermath

09 May 2008

Sign the petition here

The crisis in Myanmar is growing, and we need your voice today to help get international aid to the Burmese people. Please sign our petition today, and then ask your friends to do the same.

Up to 100,000 people may have been killed in last weekend's cyclone in Myanmar. At least 1.5 million people are homeless or "severely affected." Yet the military junta ruling Myanmar is dragging its feet on allowing international aid and workers into the country to deliver desperately needed food and supplies to the suffering Burmese people.

We can't stand by and watch more people die because their government refuses to act. Urge the Embassies of Myanmar to do everything in their power to allow international aid to reach the Burmese people immediately.

Rebecca Young,
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

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Hungry Survivors

I talked to a friend from Burma on gtalk this morning. He said he was fine, but people in his neighborhood were going hungry. He lives in Shwe Pyi Thar township, a poor suburb north of Rangoon.

Mizzima confirmed that some survivors are going hungry with the following news report.

Hungry survivors scare off aid workers

Several aid workers, who went down to Burma's cyclone-devastated Irrawaddy Delta to conduct a needs assessment survey, were forced to flee after they were surrounded by villagers who might have been seeking food, an aid worker said.

The aid worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said the assessment team was in Laputta Township, nearly half of which was submerged by water, when a hundred or more villagers approached.

"The villagers looked pale and hungry," he added. "They might have wanted to ask for food, but the assessment team thought it was dangerous, so they left."

The assessment team returned to Rangoon.

The aid worker, who did not want to name the assessment teams organization, said no material aid has yet reached the Laputta region.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), 92 percent of houses in Laputta Township were destroyed by the Cyclone Nargis, which swept through the region on Friday and Saturday.

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Myaung Mya Helps Cyclone Victims

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma

Myaung Mya, though in the path of Cyclone Nargis, was not badly affected. The town is currently providing food and shelter to about 15,000 cyclone victims from Labutta. Schools in the town have been converted into temporary shelters for the victims.

For the original article in Burmese, please click here.

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Will SPDC show their courage for the sake of people?

08 May 2008

By Yebaw Nyein
Translated by Burmese Bloggers w/o Borders

[Source in Burmese - komoethee blog]

SPDC does not dare to accept the help from the international community and US for the victims of Nargis cyclone.

SPDC is being a coward by doing that. Moreover, there seems to be some other underlying reasons as to why SPDC dares not accept the offer of help from George W. Bush.

If they accepted help from US, the US military would send its troops to carry out rescue missions in Burma. And the timing for all these actions would coincide with the voting of referendum.

If the Burmese people were to feel a glimmer of hope in the presence of the US military in Burma, SPDC feared that the people would become daring enough to protest against the repressions. If such were to happen, SPDC definitely would be cornered by the people as well as by the presence of US military in Burma. They would no longer be able to carry out their brutal acts of suppressions against the people. As such, their control over Burma would be shaken. Knowing this, SPDC hesitates to allow US to enter Burma to provide humanitarian aid to the victims.

Even after Burma has been hit badly by Cyclone Nargis, which happens to be on the scale of worst natural disaster in South-East since four years ago, SPDC seems to be taking things lightly and keeps on putting their emphasis on persuading the people to vote for them in the referendum.

On the other hand, SPDC is also making use of the people’s sympathy for the victims to divert their attention from SPDC’s underhand means of getting votes in the upcoming referendum. Hence, we, Burmese people, should also be aware of such SPDC’s attempts to manipulate the current situations for innocent victims in Burma to their advantage.

This is simply my two cents’ worth of analysis. I am sure that SPDC and its followers would have done a much more thorough planning on this.

Lastly, I would like to ask and urge SPDC with the following:

If you are not cowards who wear the military uniforms just for show, you should also dare to accept the help from the international community and US.


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WHO IS REAL CHICKEN ?

[Source]

Than Shwe and SPDC insulted and spat on US president Gorge W. Bush’s face and challenged the whole United States and its sympathy by denying US ‘s humanitarian offer for the victims. Apparently, over 600,000 human lives have been wasted by deadly typhoon and the lives of survivors are still at stake.

Will the US president George W. Bush ignore Than Shwe’s bitter insult and just wipe off the spit on his face and walk away or else ?

by Ko Hmway

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‘We are being Prevented from Talking about Burma at UNSC’: French Ambassador

From the Irrawaddy:
China and Russia—the two permanent members of the UN Security Council that regularly veto resolutions on Burma—on Wednesday blocked a French move to initiate a discussion on the current humanitarian crisis in Burma following the devastating cyclone last week that killed tens of thousands of people.


On Wednesday morning, Ripert [the French ambassador to the UN] requested a meeting of the Security Council on the subject of Burma and a briefing on the issue from John Holmes, the Emergency Relief Coordinator of the United Nations and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.


The French ambassador wants the security council to have a briefing from Holmes because the Burmese government hasn't issued visas for many relief workers who are waiting in Bangkok in neighboring Thailand.

As always, China and Russia vetoed the move. Shame on them!

If you have a choice, please do not buy Chinese products. The Chinese leaders like to dance with wolves and their businesses would do anything to gain profits.

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