Burma Cyclone


Videos: BBC reporter captures horrifying state of cyclone survivors by carpediemdg

Here are some images from a BBC video of survivors and the cyclone aftermath. Reporter, Natalia Antelava reports on the horrifying condition on the ground. A human disaster is fast turning into a man-made one…

1) Here is the image of a cyclone survivor who said government helicopters did come for rescue but somehow missed them because they might not have seen them.

2) Here is a picture of a mother and child, huddled along with several others in a dark room – one of the few standing buildings in the area but without any electricity.

3) Here is the picture of a young boy who lost all his family in the cyclone. He said he clung to a tree for 14 hours before help could arrive. By then, it was too late for his family members.

4) Here, he points to what remains of his home.

5) Here is one of the only standing buildings where a few dozen survivors are taking refuge. 400 people lived in this particular village. 20 survive.

6) Here, a child eats a bit of rice – the only food available in addition to rain water.

Watch the entire video here.

–Divya

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For Burmese Nationals in the U.S., the First Cyclone Came from the U.S. Departments of State and Justice

Students of Burmese history will tell you that the current regime, neither derived power from, nor the admiration and respect of the population most severely affected by and at greatest risk of perishing from what is essentially a natural disaster. It should be noted that the regime has been at war with and targeted, both for persecution and worse, a significant percentage of its population since coming to power, particularly those whom the international community now seeks to assist. The regime regards this natural disaster as a nothing short of supernatural blessing. What it could not do and hide as an act of commission – Genocide as defined by Article 2 of the Genocide Convention against those within its borders whom it detests, it has come to embrace the long awaited hand of nature to do for them, with its acquiescence.

To appreciate the underlying motivation behind the regime’s acts of omission, focus upon their response, both to the effects of the cyclone, international community now at its door step, and the net effect resultant from what they are not doing. While their technique may appear novel, their objectives remain anything but.

In light of the fact that the High Contracting Parties to the Genocide Convention have yet to find merit to intervene to prevent Genocide, as mandated pursuant to Article 1 of the Convention when premeditated acts of commission (delayed action in Bosnia and Kosovo, none whatsoever in Rwanda, and little more then rhetorical gymnastics regarding the issue of national sovereignty in Darfur, to name but a few), any serious student of history will tell you that there is no hope for those ethnic minorities whom the Burmese regime has long regarded as inconvenient, persecuted, and written off as disposable. Now sit back, listen to the silence and observe the inaction our respective governments.

Headline: White House Throws a `Hail Mary Pass,’ Calling in the One Remaining Vestige of Morality it has Left – First Lady Laura Foregoes Another Reading of `My Pet Goat’ to George W., Jeopardizing Timely Completion of First Daughter’s Wedding Plans, Steps to the White House podium to Decry the Burmese Government’s Inaction on Behalf of its Cyclone (political and otherwise) Victims.

While the U.S. Department of State expresses difficulty securing landing rights from the Burmese Government for the delivery and dissemination of life saving humanitarian aid and visas for aid workers to distribute it, the U.S. Department of Justice’s refoulement agreement (forcible repatriation of refugees to the country from which they fled persecution into the hands of their persecutors) with the regime remains intact, uninterrupted, on schedule, and is given priority over humanitarian assistance.

According to the Burma (April 2007) Profile of Asylum Claims and Country Conditions Report (designed with intent to undermine the plausibility of all meritorious asylum claims involving Burmese nationals), authored (authors names and credentials withheld) and disseminated by the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor to any U.S. asylum officer and immigration judge gullible enough to buy it, the Burmese regime, while somewhat eccentric, respects and defends the human rights of its people. Omission of references to `persecution’ coupled with State’s peddling the regime as one on fast track for and the inevitable attainment of Jeffersonian Democracy (note the post-cyclone impromptu national elections, distribution and sale of western emergency aid items to the regime’s ethnic kinsman, and political supporters), proves the Department of State no less effective in achieving through rhetorical gymnastics and historical revisionism regarding the status of human rights in Burma, what the cyclone achieved to the immutable strategic benefit and advancement of the regime through `natural means.’

Where the need presents, but the regime is unwilling to accept material assistance to save lives, the Department of State stands prepared to intervene to spare the regime’s reputation and defend its signatory status to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

In its conditional ratification of the Convention, the regime maintained that, `with reference to Article VI (of the Genocide Convention), the Union of Burma makes the reservation that nothing contained in the said Article shall be construed as depriving the Courts and Tribunals of the Union of jurisdiction or as giving foreign Courts and tribunals jurisdiction over any cases of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article III committed within the Union territory.’ Translation: no prosecution of a Burmese Government official for genocide unless they themselves opt to prosecute them.

p.s. Anyone ready to the take to the streets over the price of milk and whole wheat bread?

Michael Pellerin
Political Asylum Research
and Documentation Service (PARDS)
Princeton, New Jersey 08542 U.S.A.

Comment by Michael Pellerin




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