The ruling generals of Myanmar try the world's patience with their cruel indifference in the face of the country's humanitarian crisis. In Myanmar, formerly Burma, the...
The ruling generals of Myanmar try the world's patience with their cruel indifference in the face of the country's humanitarian crisis.
In Myanmar, formerly Burma, the house is on fire and international firetrucks are being held at bay.
Four weeks since TropicalCyclone Nargis howled ashore, hammering the low-lying Irrawaddy delta, the military junta in charge continues to block aid carried by U.S. and other foreign naval vessels. Sluggish approval of visas for aid workers further slowed efforts to reach cyclone victims.
The United Nations estimates 1 million people have not received any type of assistance; 40 percent of them are children, many separated from their families. The military has also begun forcing cyclone victims from shelters and refugee camps and back to their devastated villages with virtually no aid supplies.
Apparently, the junta is too fearful of losing its death grip on power to face up to what the rest of the world sees clearly: 136,000 people dead or missing, and millions more at risk of disease and famine.
Inexplicably, the regime's response has been more political than compassionate. Leaders extended the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate who has already been detained for more than a decade. A mental stretch beyond the boundaries of sanity would be required to understand why the regime chose the worst natural disaster in its history as a pretext to pile on Suu Kyi.
The world should not be distracted from the necessary mission of delivering aid. Four U.S. Navy ships are in the Bay of Bengal waiting to unload supplies. Adm. Timothy J. Keating, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, echoes our frustration when he speaks of sailors' and marines' growing frustration and warns U.S. ships may leave for other duties.
The junta is needlessly playing with lives.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.