Desolation in Myanmar

In the aftermath of a major natural disaster, the ongoing tragedy that is playing out in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is unnecessary and criminal.

The military junta, which had initially withheld relief aid from reaching the majority of the population most negatively impacted by the cyclone, has reportedly stolen much of the goods and have blocked people’s access to them.

Even today, a month after the cyclone struck, over 2 million are still homeless and hundreds of children have become orphans without steady caretakers. Early on, a peculiar relationship between the junta, U.S. political figures and business interests became quickly evident. Most notably Sen. John McCain’s political adviser, Douglas Goodyear, and Doug Davenport, another lobbyist linked to McCain and Myanmar, have played major roles in seedy dealings.

Another disturbing connection to the regime is energy company Unocal, representing another outrageous wrong wherein human rights and social justice are secondary concerns relative to wealth extraction, civilian exploitation and overall profit motives. Yet, few people outside of Myanmar seem aware of this association and the general populace in the country dares not contest the arrangement for fear of backlash.

Meanwhile food, drinkable water, clothing and shelter remain acutely needed, along with medicine and health care provision. All considered, the Buddhist monks have been doing their best under extremely difficult conditions involving desperate people and a paucity of lifesaving supplies. However, their attempts are being greatly curbed by the junta, which just this past weekend forced large numbers out of the refugee camps. These inhumane and imprudent maneuvers display an extreme disregard for humanity and a total indifference towards ethics even at a most basic level.

At the same time, U.S. ties to the military junta in Myanmar have gone mostly unreported or underreported by global mainstream media.

Brian McAfee, Muskegan, Michigan