Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Listen closely

kids by fence
Burmese boys, Palong Village, Shan State 1997

I can't understand why so many people would be hurt at one time, how the horrendous earthquake in Sichuan Province can happen even as Burma still reels from Nargis and reports of contemptible corruption and inhuman politics roll in.

Our hearts are very big. The responses I've received, the direct support that's gone to PACT, have been deeply empathetic - people desperate to help, eager to be of any service...So much compassion.

One of the cruelest things Burma's ruling junta has done is to shut the Burmese people off from the world's compassion. Reports from China are harrowing, but they are reports. In allowing foreign journalists simply to be there and report individual stories, the Chinese government has done a two fold good for its people: the world knows the extent of the damage and so can help in kind, and the Chinese people are being heard and this very basic human right to a voice is bedrock in this time of unbelievable crisis.

The Burmese people not only do not have a voice, but they have, largely, no sense at all that the world is aware, is caring.


An unnamed (for his safety) BBC journalist in Burma's delta region yesterday reported that the Burmese were resilient, few complaining and those that did warily, they were friendly but went about their business, resigned to surviving. He warned that the more serious trouble still lay ahead for the country - the aftermath so much worse than the storm itself - malaria, dengue, the loss of some enormous percent of Burma's rice paddies and so starvation...But he also said, with a still severity I was surprised by:

"There will be some reckoning."

Please continue to follow the news from Burma and in whatever way you can, find a means of hearing its people.


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