After spending time with refugees, political exiles and religious leaders I’ve managed to come up with a few stories that shed more light on the current state of affairs that get ignored or washed under the bridge. Fresh from refugee camps along the Thai/Burma border the Karen brought epic tales of survival that staggered the imagination. Others who’ve traveled to Burma recently have not seen change in regions that were destroyed by Cyclone Nargis. I saw many recent photos and listened intently as I was described in detail the total devastation that exists today.
The Center for Public Health and Human Rights at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Thailand Based Emergency Assistance Team are woefully inept or simply lied about the progress in humanitarian aid and human rights in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. Granted, this caused an uproar from other humanitarian aid organizations who struggle to bring a semblance of sanity to the regions within Burma that were hardest hit. After interviewing survivors and Humanitarians who’ve recently returned from Burma I have a few choice words for those morons as well;
“How far beyond stupid are you, or is the junta lining your pockets as well??”
Last week I was invited to the Thingyan Celebration by my friend Ashin Thila Nanda. Along with the preparation for this event I chatted with many refugees. On one occasion I was told of how the devastated region was haunted by the dead. In an eerie tale areas still denuded of life echoed the sounds of cows in the fields and children playing in the grass. When daylight returned the sounds of life would disappear and as the morning sun spread across the land it would expose a barren wasteland. When the dark of night fell, the sounds of life returned.
It was common knowledge the junta deliberately excluded people and townships from humanitarian aid who voted NO on the Constitutional Referendum last year. They were left to fend for themselves and dine on bloated carrion then drink from putrefied streams filled with decaying human remains. It should also be noted the military junta arrested people who bothered to clean these streams and offer a burial for the deceased. Trees that still stood were decorated with the lifeless forms of men, women and children. Now only their bones remain and still dot the countryside. Is this a photo-op for Than Shwe so he can pander the dead for more humanitarian aid? I believe so since he’s done the photo-op scam before for the press and UN Observers to prove aid was reaching the people. The villagers know the reality of Than Shwe’s bold faced lies. Than Shwe prostituted the dead and built a golden Pagoda with his ill gotten gains.
More Nargis aid was sold on the black market then was distributed to the suffering of Burma, there is no question. Both Than Shwe and his general’s coffers are filled with aid money. The black market is flourishing with donated commodities meant for the stricken. Rape, slavery and ghoulish death awaits anyone who makes mention of his crimes against humanity. His kangaroo courts are arresting everyone who poses a threat to his elaborate money laundering scheme and the criminal junta.
Only problem is, there are millions of witnesses to the atrocities of Burma’s military junta. For the most part they are not trusting of westerners since many westerners are gleaning a profit from the junta. Another aspect of some westerners is the fact they run their mouth and spill the beans whence a Burmese person tells them something. There are prisoners who’ve been accidentally snitched off by loose lips in motel rooms. People do not realize that tourists and journalists from the free world are monitored, even when they go to the restroom. One tiny misspoken world from a westerner will send a person to Insein Prison or even killed. For a person to think for one moment all is well in Burma is naïveté in motion. Burma has become a paranoid society where every aspect of their lives is being monitored by a ruthless dictator. Only now that many witnesses are in American is the truth being told and I’m all ears.
Your Devil’s Advocate