The world was a (limited) witness to the havoc of tropical cyclone Nargis that killed at least 22,000 citizens in Myanmar last week. However, it is obvious that the real, greater tragedy now is the kind of handling being done by the Burmese junta, whose mandate and human rights record have incessantly been questioned and critiqued.
The United Nations has announced that it is suspending relief operations to Myanmar, following reports that relief goods have been seized by the Burmese government itself. The junta-led state has kept an even tighter grip on information about the extent of damage, and has barred countries from the United States from sending aid.
The world has always questioned Myanmar about its human rights record, its system of government — and ultimately, its mandate and moral ascendancy to rule. With its latest actions, its government has just proved all the more that it is totally bankrupt of any ascendancy. It is more than 100% evident now that its government rules just to preserve the junta, while totally neglecting its role in governance.
State reports indicate that about 22,000 were left by the cyclone. But other sources fear that as much as 100,000 have been left dead. Incidents of diarrhea and malaria have been reported, and a widespread medical crisis is feared.
It is only fitting that the United Nations take more drastic action against this immoral government.
Hopefully, the international community, starting with the ASEAN — which only wishes to help — would apply more and more pressure on the Burmese government. There is no crime in helping. And at this point, the concern is simply giving immediate aid. The junta should at least have the decency of worrying first about its constituents, rather than fear of losing its grip by allowing relief aid to enter. Where’s the logic there?
This government is not just paranoid. It is totally delirious.