Burma is in the midst of a terrible national disaster. At least 100,000 people may have died as a result of the cyclone, with many, many more in dire straits. It appears that 1.5 people are homeless. Rotting corpses are everywhere. Massive outbreaks of disease are days away. Starvation is imminent. Even if the illegal ruling junta hadn’t destroyed the economy, it would impossible for the Burmese to take care of their own.
If there was ever any question that the junta has no concern for the people of Burma – and, okay, there’s never been any question, but just say there was – it would be answered by the way they have prevented help from reaching those who need it. The world has come to Burma’s aid. Relief is on the doorstep.
Why should the UN have to beg to save lives? The US military, at the expense of the American people, is waiting to fly in with relief supplies. The broke off military exercises with Thailand to help, but even the negotiating help of the Thai government, the junta budged but then backed off.
“They were very suspicious that the Americans would do more than just distribute relief supplies, but we helped convince the Burmese to allow the Americans in,” Boonsrang Niumpradit, Thailand’s military chief, told Reuters. Then the Burmese junta changed it’s mind again. What do they think the Americans will do?
What it appears to come down to is the junta’s pride. They are refusing help from governments like the US which have criticised their policies. Since that means most of the first world, as well as the UN, they are cutting off their collective noses to spite their collective faces. It is only places countries like Indonesia, which have been careful not to be to critical in the past, which have been welcome to send in supplies.
Pride goes before destruction. It’s too bad that it is not just the proud who are destroyed by it.