Thursday, December 30, 2004

What's Going On In Burma?

Of all the countries affected by the catastrophic earthquake and tidal waves we have the least information from Burma. This is not at all surprising. The thuggish military junta there has a long history of evasion and doublespeak. The Democratic Voice of Burma website notes: "The media and newspapers of Burma’s military junta, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) are still refusing to acknowledge that [the] recent earthquake ever affected the people of Burma". Earlier in the week, the junta-owned newspaper, The New Light of Myanmar, featured messages of sympathy from the SPDC leadership to neighbouring countries. But it remained resolutely silent about the scale of the tragedy in Burma itself and what is being done to help victims. There are even reports of another strong earthquake in Rangoon yesterday. But today's online version of the New Light of Myanmar contains absolutely no news of this or of the bigger disaster - just endless propaganda pieces on the "developmental successes" of the regime. It's all rounded off with this execrable piece of doggerel that would be funny if the regime were not so bad:
The nation free from harm
Peaceful and pleasant
For its development, beloved citizens
Do your best
Look around Myanmar nation
Beautiful scenery
Roads and bridges variegated
With budding flowers
When the dew uncovers the dawn
Our era’s seen
So what's really going on in Burma? It's difficult to say. Two days ago international rescuers said that 90 people are known to have been killed, mainly in the
coastal regions of Tenesserim and Irrawaddy Divisions. Descriptions of the damage, however, point to a much higher figure. What is known is that the junta has refused all international aid. Instead, the superstitious generals indulge in "evil warding-off" ceremonies because because an earthquake is an omen of a change of government.

For many years now no news has been bad news in Burma. Even in this bleakest of times the evil of silence speaks to us.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The evil of silence has is hard to imagine that a government can act in such a cruel way... What might be the intention of denying facts of such a catastrophe? Is it a better life in isolation? Trying to prevent the people from what is happening?

Is it not that psychologists & sociologists sometimes argue, in fundamental aspects, e. g. showing empathy, all human beings are the same? Yes, sure there is a difference among how empathy is expressed, but still it is shown. The refuse of the facts of the catastrophic earthquake for sure is not an expression of empathy. Propaganda won't help the one's who have lost their loved one's. It's only causing further harm. - A nation free from harm? How to appreciate the beautiful scenery if people in Burma are even patronised when mourning?


7:02 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home