I’m currently in a cybercafe in Mandalay, Myanmar. Internet access is slow and painful so this is just a quickie to let you all know I’ll be back online properly around Thursday next week once I get to KL.
It’s very unlikely there’ll be any posts here for the next 14 days or so. I’m about to head to Bangkok Airport and fly to Yangon (Rangoon to the rest of the world) for 13 days in Myanmar / Burma. From what I’ve been told, internet access there is not that great so if I do post, I’ll be concentrating on the Travel Blog.
My flight back to Bangkok is booked for the 23rd. I go directly to the Hualamphong train station and from there overnight to Butterworth. Then it’s onto another overnight train… or a bus… or staying overnight and getting transport to Kuala Lumpur.
Either way I’ll be in KL on the 24th or 25th in a hostel with free wi-fi for a day or so before my flight to Perth, Australia.
I almost sound organised.
Please keep your comments coming, and check out the other blog for the duration. I’m really looking forward to this country as it has relatively little tourism and I’ve heard fantastic things about the people.
I’ve avoided commenting on this story because it covers so many bases that get me riled: politics, human rights, children, foreign aid… It’s the Burmese / Myanmaran disaster caused by Cyclone Nargis. I just need to get a lot of things off my chest and also – amazingly – tip my hat to our foreign secretary for his very public statement today that perhaps we should use military force to help those in need.
Frankly, this whole story is making me more angry than sad; more helpless than I felt during the aftermath of the Boxing Day Tsunami. The scale of this natural disaster is being compounded hugely by the uncaring attitude of the fuckwit bunch of ******** who are apparently running this country. Ideas have been bandied around of dropping aid directly onto the country. Unfortunately, these ***** in uniform would see it as an act of war, most likely. Because that’s what countries at war do. Drop food on each other.
Each time a relief aid worker gets a visa, it’s a major headline. For ****’s sake, the embassy in Bangkok was shut for a ******* holiday at the start of this week, so no visas could be issued. People within the country who have money have been told to give it to government offices if they want to make a donation – only they’re not that stupid. Those with cars are having to make umpteen return trips in small groups to ferry helpers around – large convoys of Burmese people, let alone foreigners, are being prevented from moving around to help their fellow citizens. External nations have been told to send supplies, not people, and that the government would deal with things.
Problem one – they don’t have enough resources and people to deal with the distribution. Problem two – who here is retarded enough to believe that those supplies wouldn’t go directly to the cunta…. sorry junta in charge, while the poor got **** all?
David Miliband‘s argument is to use the UN charter that we and other nations have signed up to. It’s designed to allow our military forces to “invade” (for want of a better term) where we have evidence of war crimes, genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Refusing to help well over a million people from dying certainly classes as a crime against humanity – and I would be very easily persuaded to see it as effectively passive genocide. They’re killing their own people by refusing to be helped, for no good reason other than they’re frightened that they might lose some of their own, pathetic grip on power.
If any good comes of this horrendous mess, I can only hope that the people will rise up and crucify these greedy ********. It seems they have 400,000 troops. But how many of these have lost family as a result of this tragedy? And how many of them could have been saved? I bet nobody in power, or their families was harmed as they would have acted on the intelligence they received far in advance of anyone else.
I still want to visit this country. I so wish I could do something to help. I so wish we were allowed to. And for once, I’d fully support an army involving our troops “invading” a country to provide aid. This isn’t Iraq or Afghanistan with a fortune in oil reserves. Let’s see how the Western governments deal with it.