UN: Cyclone ‘worse than 04 tsunami’

UN: Cyclone ‘worse than 04 tsunami’

 TUESDAY, MAY 20, 2008

The devastation in Myanmar from Cyclone Nargis could create a humanitarian crisis worse than that of the 2004 south Asian tsunami, the UN’s secretary-general has said.

He said at a press conference in New York: “This is a critical moment for Myanmar.  Continue reading

China Shows the SPDC Generals How to Mourn

China Shows the SPDC Generals How to Mourn

By Wai Moe May 20, 2008

The Burmese military junta has belatedly called for three days of national mourning for those who died in Cyclone Nargis, beginning on Tuesday.

The announcement on Monday of the period of mourning and the visit made by the junta leader, Snr-Gen Than Shwe, to refugee camps in Rangoon and the Irrawaddy delta demonstrated that the regime leaders are trying show a human face. Or are they just following the lead of China? Continue reading

Senior General and his PA (in Burmese)

Senior General and his PA

ဗိုလ္ခ်ဳပ္မွဴးၾကီးနွင့္ သူ၏ ပီေအ

“တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး ဖုန္းလာတယ္ခင္ဗ် ”
“ေဟ ဘယ္ကဖုန္းလဲ”
“ ဘန္ကီမြန္း ဆီက ဖုန္းပါ တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး”
“ဟာ ဒီ ေခြးမသား ေလာပန္ ျပန္ေျဖလိုက္ ငါမအားဘူး ေတဇနဲ႔လႊဲထားတယ္လို႔ ေျပာလိုက္”
“တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး ဘန္ကီမြန္းက ေလာပန္မဟုတ္ဘူးခင္ဗ်.. ဟို..ဟို”

“ဘာ လဲ ယူနန္ျပည္နယ္အုပ္ခ်ဳပ္ေရးမွဴးလား ေျပာလိုက္ အဲဒီေကာင္လဲ တင္ေအာင္ျမင့္ဦးနဲ႔ ေျပာလိုက္လို႔”
“ တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး လက္ခံစကားေျပာမွျဖစ္မယ္ထင္တယ္ မုန္တိုင္းတိုက္လို႔ ဒုကၡေရာက္ေနတဲ့သူေတြကိစၥ”
“ ဟ .. မင္းတယ္ခက္တဲ့ေကာင္ပါလား ၊ ေျပာလိုက္အဲဒီတရုတ္ကို မင္း အပူမဟုတ္ဘူးလို႔ ငါေတာင္မပူဘူး”
“ တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး .. ဒါဆိုဘယ္လိုျပန္ေျပာလိုက္ရမလဲ”
“ ငါ့ေျမးနွာေစးေနလို႔ ေက်ာင္းမသြားနိုင္ဘူး ဒီေန႔ သူနဲ႔ ငါ တေနကုန္ဗီဒီယိုဂိမ္းကစားရမယ္ မေနွာင့္ယွက္နဲ႔လို႔ ေျပာလိုက္ မင္းတို႔ ဒါေလာက္မွ အသံုးမက်ဘူးလား ေခြးမသားေတြ”

“ဟုတ္ကဲ့ တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး … ဒါဆို အေမရိကန္ သေဘၤာေတြ ျမန္မာ့ေရပိုင္နက္ထဲ ေရာက္ေနျပီခင္ဗ်”
“ေဟ…ဟုတ္လား ဒီေကာင္ေတြ ပါမစ္ မပါပဲ ငါးလာဖမ္းရင္ အကုန္ ဖမ္းခ်ဳပ္ျပီး ဒဏ္ရိုက္လႊတ္လိုက္ ေခြးမသားေတြ”
“ မဟုတ္ဘူး ခင္ဗ် …. ေလေဘးဒုကၡသည္ေတြအတြက္ အကူအညီပစၥည္းေတြလာပို႔တာ ”
“ ရာရာ စစ… ငါေတာင္ မကူဘူး ဒီေကာင္ေတြကဘာေကာင္ေတြမို႔လဲ”
“တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီးဆီက ခြင့္ျပဳခ်က္လိုေနပါတယ္ သူတို႔ေတြ ၀င္ကူဖို႔”
“ ဟ… ဘယ္ေတာ့မွ အေမရိကန္ ဆိုတဲ့ေကာင္ေတြ ကို အလကားမတ္တင္း ငါ အသက္ရွင္ေနသမွ် အ၀င္မခံဘူးကြ မွတ္ထား”
“ဟုတ္ကဲ့ နိုင္ငံျခားေရး၀န္ၾကီးကို ျပန္ေျပာခိုင္းလိုက္ပါ့မယ္”
“ေအး ဒါန ဲ႔ ထိုင္းက ႏွာျပားလာတုန္းက ငါ့အတြက္၀ယ္လာတဲ့ KFC ၾကက္ေၾကာ္ေတြေႏႊးထားစမ္း ၾကားလား”
“ဟုတ္ကဲ့ ေလေဘးကယ္ဆယ္ေရးအတြက္ အေမရိကားက လွဴထားတဲ့ အခ်ိဳရည္ေတြပါ ထည့္ထားေပးပါ့မယ္”
“ေအး … မင္းေတာ္တယ္ ေခြးသား ”
“ေက်းဇူးတင္ပါတယ္ တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး ခု ကုလသမဂၢက ေနာက္ထပ္ ကိုယ္စားလွယ္တစ္ေယာက္လာေတာ့မွာျဖစ္ပါတယ္ ဘယ္လို ကိုင္တြယ္ရမလဲ ”
“ထံုးစံအတိုင္းေပါ့ မင္းေတာ္ေတာ္ညံ့တဲ့ေကာင္ပဲ ေခြးမသား ၊ ေက်ာက္စိမ္းေတြ ပတၱျမားေတြ ဘာလုပ္ဖို႔ထားတာလဲ”
“ အားလံုးေကာင္းသြားမွာပါ တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး အားလံုးျဖစ္ေစရပါမယ္”
“ ေအး… မင္းေတာ္တယ္ ေခြးမသား ၊ မင္းဘာဆက္ေျပာဖို ့က်န္ေသးလဲ”
“ ေနာက္ဆံုးတခု တင္ျပခ်င္တာက..အေမရိကန္ သေဘၤာေတြက အေမရိကန္ေရတပ္က စစ္သေဘၤာေတြ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္တပ္ခ်ဳပ္ၾကီး”
“ကိန္….”

တာတီဘိုး

 


တာတီဘိုး

 

After Nargis, security dilemma

After Nargis, security dilemma

Article by Josh Hong on May 16, 08 in Malaysiakini

The real tragedy in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in Burma_

  • lies not in the scale of the damage
  • and the number of lives lost,
  • but in the utter failure of the military junta to respond to the catastrophe,
  • practically creating more deaths through its inaction.

Despondent at the inertia of the Burmese authorities, a friend of mine asked: Is Burma now a failed state?

I had no clear answer to that, but this question did prompt me into deeper thought on the issue.

Foreign Policy and the Fund For Peace publish their joint index of failed states on an annual basis, and in their latest publication, Burma ranks as the 14th country on the alert list.

The index defines a failed state as_

  • one in which the ruling authorities are no longer in a position to maintain the state’s territorial integrity,
  • set to lose the monopoly of regular and legitimate forces,
  • and incapable of collective decision,
  • causing the general population to resort to underground economy for survival.

Which is weird because Burma, or Burma Proper at least, is not a state that is being confronted with territorial disintegration. While there are pockets of conflicts posed by secessionist, ethnic rebels, most notably the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), military wings of the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIA) respectively, the notorious Burmese military, known as Tatmadaw in Burmese, remains undefeatable.

While it is true that black market economy is booming, especially in the areas bordering China, India and Thailand, economic participation, legal or illegal alike, by the Burmese population at large is still insignificant, as the militarization of the socialist state has ensured that only the military-linked elites are in control of the economy.

 

Four critical responsibilities

Going by the criteria provided by Foreign Policy and the Fund For Peace, it seems to me several countries are clear-cut examples of a failed state: Somalia, Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo and, of course, Iraq.

While I am skeptical about the failed states index, another report, the Index of State Weakness in the Developing World, prepared by Susan E Rice of the Brookings Institution and Stewart Patrick of the Center for Global Development, has caught my attention.

In this informative document, the two authors define “weak states as_

  • countries that lack the essential capacity
  • and/or will to fulfill four sets of critical government responsibilities:
  1. fostering an environment conducive to sustainable and equitable economic growth;
  2. establishing and maintaining legitimate, transparent, and accountable political institutions;
  3. securing their populations from violent conflict and controlling their territory;
  4. and meeting the basic human needs of their populations”.

 

Accordingly, the world’s three weakest states: Somalia, Afghanistan and the Congo, are also failed states, while another 25 countries are “critically weak states”, including Iraq (4), North Korea (15) and Burma (17).

The document also finds that some of the critically weak states have experienced longstanding violent conflict, such as Burma and Nepal. Meanwhile, five of them have seen military action by the United States in their territories: Somalia, Afghanistan, Haiti, Liberia and, needless to say, Iraq.

It is not entirely coincidental that these failed or failing states have tasted war waged by the US. In fact, tackling weak or critically weak states has become a core part of the revised military logic of the successive US administrations since the end of the Cold War. Over the years, the CIA and the National Intelligence Council have consistently argued that state failure and ungoverned spaces are among the international security threats to strong states such as the US. Pre-emptive strike or other forms of international action would therefore be legitimate.

Due to its geopolitical strategic values, Nepal, a Himalayan kingdom sandwiched between China and India, once received substantial military assistance form the US to drive out the Maoist rebels. Thousands of Nepalese died since 1996, partly thanks to the arrival of American M-16 submachine guns at the disposal of Kathmandu. ()

Back to Burma. Washington’s recent focus on the military junta cannot be simply explained as a will to “do good”, hoping to find a way out for the suffering Burmese populace. As the case of Iraq has taught us, there is no such thing as just war.

Since 2005, the Bush administration has been actively lobbying international organizations, ranging from the United Nations to other human rights groups, to apply greater pressure on Rangoon, the recruitment of child soldiers by Tatmadaw being a favorite issue raised by Washington time and time again.

But is the military junta the only one exploiting children in this manner?

Mistrust aggravated

Last year, Human Rights Watch published a detailed and excellent report on the recruitment of child soldiers in Burma. It is telling that the several major ethnic insurgent groups, including the United Wa State Army, the KNLA, the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S), are all implicated in this dirty and evil business, alongside the Burmese junta.

Other sources meanwhile reveal that the US has provided financial support to the KNLA and the SSA-S in the past. Such action is indeed perfectly in line with the US’ attempt to manipulate the failed state concept to its own advantage.

It is worth reminding here that, in the 1970s, thousands of ethnic Hmongs in Laos – including minors – were lured by the CIA to fight against the communists, and abandoned to their fate after the adventure failed.

I have just finished reading The River of Lost Footsteps: Histories of Burma, by Thant Myint-U, grandson of former UN secretary-general U Thant, after whom Jalan U Thant is named.

Weaving family stories into the grand narrative of a country steeped in history and tradition, the author seeks to explain that Burma has never been a functioning, well-defined nation state, not even in the pre-colonial times when the country was ruled by warrior kings and characterized by incessant wars with its neighbours.

The British creation of a modern Burma by incorporating territories and nations that had never shared a common history with the Burmese kingdom has only aggravated the ethnic mistrust, and subjected the minority groups to decades of oppression alongside the Burmans. The civil war in the border areas has also been open to exploitation by outside forces, ie. China, India and the US.

Thant goes as far as to suggest no amount of foreign pressure will change the behavior of the military junta, who sees itself nothing but a reincarnation of the past warrior kings.

This, perhaps, explains the hesitation of the ruling authorities in granting permits for foreigners to enter the country on humanitarian grounds. After all, the Burmese warrior kings hardly had the welfare of the people at heart.

I certainly hope rational will prevail in Burma, and aid be sent in to help the victims of Cyclone Nargis. However, without understanding this unique history of Burma and the hostile international climate, it is impossible to make sense of the intransigence of the Burmese military junta.

Cartoons: SPDC’s ‘helping’ hand robbing the Myanmar Cyclone Nargis victims

SPDC’s ‘helping’ hand

robbing the Myanmar Cyclone Nargis victims

This cartoon is not mine. Forgive me for copying this, which Saiwm e-mailed me. Sorry again for not searching the origin before posting. (I hope I could find later and try to acknowledge the original Cartoonist.)

TQ

SPDC’s partners-in-crime, Swanarr Shin and Kyant Phuts selling the donated aids at black market.

thanshwe118.jpg

Theif Than Shwe exploiting the cyclone aids for personal benefits

 

thanshwe115.jpg

Negligent & Shameless Voters, ignoring the plights of people

 

thanshwe110new.jpg

“Wait! Let me put my name on them ”

 

deadyees500.jpg

“Than Shwe Takes Advantage of Cyclone Victims ”

flight1.jpg

 

 

 

Gone with the wind in Myanmar

Gone with the wind in Myanmar

Residents rebuilding a house near Bogalay, Myanmar on Friday. (Agence France-Presse)

“I have nothing,” she said, shuffling in a state of shock. “Everything is gone.”

Six days after a cyclone churned through the coastal plain of Myanmar, it is clear the damage is great and that little aid has made it to the thousands of villagers along the sea south of the commercial capital, Yangon.

The smell of rot and death is in the air here, part of a single district where the military government says 10,000 people have died.

Yet it is difficult to assess the actual human toll, even in a landscape of toppled trees and houses and bloated farm animals that resemble the devastation of the 2004 tsunami that killed 181,000.

Tzu-Chi, AirAsia, Rohingyas and Fujifilm offer help for Myanmar Cyclone victims

Tzu-Chi, AirAsia, Rohingyas and Fujifilm offer help for Myanmar Cyclone victims

(1) Rohingyas: Help our countrymen

Saturday May 10, 2008

JOHOR BARU: They may be hard-pressed for money, but Myanmar refugees want to come forward to help their compatriots back home after the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis.

Myanmar Ethnic Rohingyas Human Rights Organisation Malaysia president Zafar Ahmad Mohd Abdul Ghani said it was time to show their solidarity, regardless of religious beliefs.

“We have asked our people to donate whatever they can afford, regardless of whether they are Muslim, Buddhist or Christian.

“Any problem that affects our brothers and sisters back home affects us, too,” he said, adding that it had been extremely difficult to contact their loved ones in Myanmar as communication lines were down.

He hoped the international community would come forward to provide long-term assistance to help Myanmar get back on its feet again.

“Please don’t come today and leave tomorrow. Thousands have died or been made homeless,” he said.

Rohingya Islamic Refugee Community Pro-Democracy Organisation chairman Mustafa Kamal urged the Myanmar community in Malaysia to donate RM1 each towards aid efforts.

He said there were as many as 14,000 Rohingya refugees in the country who were registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“We hope the aid organisations will hand over the money directly to those affected as we are afraid half the money may be swallowed by the military junta,” he said.

He also urged donors to ensure that the aid was channelled through credible avenues and organisations.

 

(2) AirAsia ready to fly global aid to cyclone-hit Myanmar

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia is coming forward to offer air assistance to transport aid to cyclone-hit Myanmar.

The assistance includes sponsoring flights for aid workers and freeing up cargo space for aid materials, said the budget carrier in a statement yesterday.

“This will be a collaborated effort from the AirAsia Group and AirAsia X across more than 100 destinations, utilising its extensive network in all the Asean countries including China and Australia,” said the airline.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and aid and humanitarian agencies as well as members of the public from around the region, can send in their requests to transport aid to helpmyanmar@airasia.com.

Each request will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and is subject to seat availability, the airline said.

AirAsia has five flights daily to Bangkok, while its Bangkok hub currently provides daily flights to Yangon.

 

(3)Fujifilm proves that ‘saving lives’ is not merely a tagline

PETALING JAYA: Fujifilm (M) Sdn Bhd became the latest corporate company to contribute to The Star Myanmar Relief Fund, as donations continue to pour in for the victims of Cyclone Nargis.

Fujifilm senior executive director Paul N. C. Ho presented a cheque for RM50,000 to Star Publications (M) Bhd executive director and group chief operating officer Datin Linda Ngiam here yesterday.

“We appreciate the fundraising initiative by The Star to help those in Myanmar, whose people and country have been devastated in recent days,” Ho said, adding that the contribution was in line with the company’s message, From Saving Precious Moments to Saving Lives, derived from its medical systems business. (Fujifilm Malaysia’s medical equipment line includes radiography and X-ray devices.)

In IPOH, the Lions Club of Ipoh Host made a “spur of the moment” donation of RM20,000 to The Star Myanmar Relief Fund.

 Aid for Myanmar: Ngiam (right) receiving the M50,000 cheque from Ho at Menara Star in Petaling Jaya on Friday.

“We were having lunch when we decided to donate,” club president Justin Koo Sau Foh said when dropping off a cheque at The Star office here yesterday.
Koo said that reading about the sufferings of the Myanmar people in The Star had prompted the board members to act.
“We knew we had to do something to help the Myanmar people,” he said, adding that the club had ready funds to help those in need. 

A total of RM191,716.63 was collected by The Star yesterday. More than RM100,000 came from cheques received through the mail.

 

(4) Tzu-Chi sends recce team to Yangon

PENANG: A nine-man reconnaissance team from the Tzu-Chi Merit Society will be deployed to Yangon today to determine the feasibility of providing medical and humanitarian assistance to cyclone-affected victims.

The team, which departs from KLIA at 10 am today, will be in Myanmar for a week.

Team member Lee Chong Hoo, 38, said the team and a Thai national would carry out an assessment of the situation on the ground in the devastated nation.

They will bring 65kg of instant rice and 100kg of instant noodles to distribute to victims.

Lee said some 50 volunteers, comprising pharmacists, doctors and nurses, had been put on standby, ready to be mobilised at any time.