Spanish Pundit (II)

mayo 29, 2008

Burma after the Nargis

Burmese villagers had little, and lost it all – International Herald Tribune
“(…) for those who live in the isolated, outlying hamlets of the delta, putting their lives back together after Nargis has been a sad affair – and a struggle that international aid workers have largely been unable to help ease. The Myanmar government, critics say, is distrustful of outsiders and does not want the villagers to meet foreigners. Meanwhile, the ruling junta is unable or unwilling to provide adequate help on its own.
‘I don’t expect anything from the government. I never have and I don’t now,’ Then Khin said. ‘I heard on the radio about foreign help on its way, but I haven’t seen any in the past 20 days. It’s the same as before, nothing changed.’
The only government help Then Khin has received was a small packet of rice, which she won by the luck of the draw. The village authorities came only once, with some rice, blankets and other relief from the central government. The supplies were distributed by lottery because there was so little. The rice packet was not enough for even one meal for the 20 surviving family members who now crowd her hut.
The village of That Kyar lies near the mouth of the delta’s Pyapon River, downstream from Pyapon, a major delta trading town about 100 kilometers, or 60 miles, southwest of the principal city of Yangon.
A motorboat that left Pyapon carrying several visitors to That Kyar reached the village after more than two hours on the river, navigating around capsized ships and broken jetties.
Upon reaching a point in the river where the sea air finally smelled of salt and where gulls could be seen, the boat moved into a tributary and chugged upstream for another 40 minutes. Once a picturesque hamlet lined with coconut trees, That Kyar is now little more than a heap of rotting debris.

Unlike the cyclone victims who live near roads and receive help from private donors bringing supplies from the bigger cities, villages like That Kyar have been left to fend for themselves.

Three weeks after the cyclone came and went, the United Nations said that aid had reached less than one-fourth of the two million survivors in the hardest hit areas of the delta.
In what many observers hope will be a breakthrough, Myanmar’s generals finally told the United Nations last week that they would allow workers of all nationalities to go into the devastated areas to assess the damage. So far, virtually all foreign aid workers have been banned from the delta.
And it remained unclear how much access relief workers and aid agencies will have to those areas.

Many people there did not even know that Saturday was the day they were supposed to vote on a new Constitution, a document designed to prolong the junta’s grip on power.”

You can read more about Burmese situation after Nargis in 1972. Most of Enzo’s post is in English so there will be no problem, via Wind Rose Hotel.
And in this context UN continues to proof itself very useful, so it’s going to send 250.000 condoms because Burmese people needs to continue its contraception’s policy. They are not worried about lack of food, lack of clean water, lack of housing… no, they are worried about condoms. And there will also send contraception pills in special airplanes to Burma. Right. Good to see the priorities.
In related news, several National League for Democracy (NLD)’s members have been arrested some hours before fighter for freedom and Nobel Prize winner Aung Suu Kyi’s sentence has been extended.
Don’t know what happens but the link does not go well (at least for me). That’s why I have included the capture of the Irrawady’s daily mailing.
Burma Campaign UK has already sent a message to Facebook denouncing the extension of the arrest of Suu Kyi:

Yesterday, the regime extended Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention again. No formal announcement was made, but reports say the detention is for at least another six months. She has now spent over 12 of the last 18 years under house arrest. Her current period of house arrest began in 2003. The regime is once again breaking its own laws by extending her detention for a total of more than five years. The State Protection Law 1975, under which she is held, only allows the regime to detain her for a maximum of five years. Around 20 members of the National League for Democracy were also arrested yesterday as they marched to her home to call for her release.

The detention is for at least“… Welcome to the security of the citizens under the Burmese law… Not only the law is not fulfilled by the Government (the maximum is five years of detention period and Suu Kyi has been detained for 12 years), but she is going to be detained for at least, so for the time the Burmese junta wants. 

Oh, that legality under dictatorships…
La situación en Birmania empeora día a día sobre todo porque la ayuda internacional no llega a los damnificados. Sobre todo, la ayuda no llega a los pequeños pueblos del delta, a los que la Junta Birmana no quiere en especial que vayan los cooperantes internacionales. Es cierto que la Junta militar ha permitido que entren a evaluar los daños causados por el ciclón, pero lo cierto es que no se ha señalado la extensión de dicho permiso.
La situación en muchos sitios es desesperada, pero la ONU parece estar interesada sólo en una cuestión: los anticonceptivos. Muchas personas están sin comida, sin agua potable y sin vivienda, pero lo que va a mandar la ONU son un cuarto de millón de condones y unas 78.000 píldoras anticonceptivas. Esta decisión, que la ONU sustenta en que no quiere que los birmanos interrumpan su política anticonceptiva, es cuando menos curiosa si pensamos en la cantidad de gente que ha muerto (en especial niños) como consecuencia del ciclón.
El domingo pasado, además, se votaba la nueva Constitución con la que no cambiará nada, si no que la Junta aún aumentará más su poder. De hecho, una de las primeras decisiones ha sido la de detener al menos a 15 miembros del principal partido opositor, la Liga Nacional por la Democracia (NLD) y extender el arresto domiciliario de Aung Sang Suu Kyi, su líder, Premio Nobel de la Paz. Esta extensión del arresto incumple la ley birmana que no permite un arresto superior a cinco años (Suu Kyi lleva 12 de los últimos 18 años arrestada en su domicilio) y encima se le arresta durante al menos otros seis meses, permitiendo así tenerla arrestada el tiempo que la Junta quiera.
Eso sí, el resto del mundo callados, no vaya a ser que la gente en general se den cuenta del calvario birmano. El ser humano, en su máximo esplendor…

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