Burma: A story of fear and power
I want to address the situation in Myanmar/Burma as I see it from the outside. Having witnessed Sidr and the damage it wrought on Bangladesh, and noting the obvious differences between what is reported and the actual effects of the disaster. The story itself is surprisingly clear. A cyclone made land-fall on the Iawaddy coast and destroyed huge swaths of land and killed thousands in a country whose poverty level is high, and whose political freedom and transparency is possibly the tightest in the world. I will try and explain some of the complexities surrounding this issue. None of these are hidden, but some are often forgotten about.
Problem: Burmese citizens are in desperate need of clean water, food and shelter.
Solution: Somewhere between unilaterally entering the country to help and not doing anything because the government is not welcoming.
Firstly, I have a sinking feeling in my stomach just thinking about the victims of this disaster. Not only were they the victims of a terrible storm, but they are the victims of the Junta, of unpreparedness and poverty. This story is made ever more poignant by the fact that the world stands by and watches while people die, and a leadership based on fear and power maintenance does not have the capacity to make any headway. (excerpt)