Burma Cyclone


Opinion/Editorial: The real reason Than Shwe declined U.S. assistance

As news about the Myanmar cyclone and it’s aftermath recedes into the background (including in the media), an op-ed in the Burmese news magazine, The Irrawaddy, sheds light on why the junta refused assistance from the U.S. military. And I quote,

“What the generals truly fear is that if they allow US warships and foreign forces to come to the aid of cyclone survivors in the Irrawaddy delta, people will soon rise up and the regime would be overthrown. That fear prevented the Than Shwe regime from allowing the US to come in and help.”

As the fate of more than 2 million remains unknown, local Burmese sources such as The Irrawaddy are good to remain tuned in to what’s happening on the ground.

Some of the it’s top stories include:



Opinion/Editorial: Madeleine Albright ponders on “The End of Intervention.”

In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, former U.S. secretary of state, Madelaine K. Albright offered three reasons why the world didn’t intervene more forcefully in Myanmar.

The introductory excerpt to the piece:

“THE Burmese government’s criminally neglectful response to last month’s cyclone, and the world’s response to that response, illustrate three grim realities today: totalitarian governments are alive and well; their neighbors are reluctant to pressure them to change; and the notion of national sovereignty as sacred is gaining ground, helped in no small part by the disastrous results of the American invasion of Iraq. ”

Read the full op-ed here.

–Divya



Opinion/Editorial: When natural disasters turn state-sponsored: Time Magazine

This article is about Zimbabwe and Mugabe’s dictatorial ways that are proving all too self-destructive for his own country. It raises an interesting point for humanitarian relief, however, particularly in the wake of the Burma and China disasters, and I quote…

“Zimbabwe is in the midst of a slow-motion, man-made disaster. It is as if the cyclone in Burma and the earthquake in China were state-sponsored tragedies.”

Read the full article here.

— Divya



Latest News: Junta reneging on promises to UN chief: Economist

A month of misery
(First para of the article)

WHEN the United Nations’ secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, met Myanmar’s reclusive leader, General Than Shwe, on May 23rd, he secured a promise of free access for foreign aid workers to the millions of victims of cyclone Nargis. But more than a month after the cyclone, many have still not been reached. Access to the devastated Irrawaddy delta is only slightly freer.

Read the full article here.

–Divya



Death Toll and Missing: 134,000 dead or missing, half-a-million people left their homes: International Herald Tribune

Aid agencies trying to help cyclone survivors in Burma (Myanmar) are increasingly bumping up against what appears to be a coordinated government drive to close temporary relief camps in towns and send villagers back home, sometimes by force, to fend for themselves.

Read the full article here.

–Divya



Opinion/Editorial: To intervene or not to intervene?

This week’s New York Time’s Magazine carries an article by writer and political analyst, David Rieff, entitled ” Humanitarian Vanities.” The question he poses is a simple one – What does the urge to intervene amount to?

One of his main points seems to be that there is a “law of unintended consequences” operating when a country or set of countries decide to intervene in another on humanitarian grounds. Regime change is never just that – it comes with baggage and unforseen challenges that the intervening country/countries have historically seemed ill equipped to handle. Case in point – Iraq.

Read the full article here.

–Divya



Latest News: US Navy assistance snubbed by junta: AFP

AFP reports that four U.S. Navy ships that were stationed off the coast of Burma are returning to resume normal duties, after being rejected by the Burmese junta to assist with relief.

Read full article here.

–Divya