The remaining days of the rotten-to-the-core Burmese military junta can be counted in single digits. The drug dealing thugs trying to pass as legitimate rulers in Rangoon are finished. If they escape the government compounds with their lives there will be no hiding place on earth safe enough. The International Criminal Courts will probably never even get a chance to put these mass murderers on trial.
International pressure is rising on the junta. World leaders need to move beyond negotiating with this gang of armed thugs. Even a pack of wolves only takes what it needs from the elk or buffalo herd.
Each day the current militant trash heap is allowed to remain in power is another day of genocide by proxy. The generals are simply using disease and starvation to eliminate a voting bloc that interfered with their plans to rig the latest so-called elections.
I worked in a nation where this happened once before. In Haiti under Generals Prosper Avril and Pétion I saw people left to die en masse not only after storms but also routinely, month after month, while the Generals and their puppet ministers lived in luxury. The poor Haitians themselves eventually uprooted Avril's bad excuse for a government. In Haiti they call it déchoucage or pulling up the roots of a morally-bankrupt government. The U.S. government was left to take care of General Pétion, the criminal who seized power after Avril.
I know first-hand how much and what kind of efforts are required in order to clean up after deposed despots. It can take years before a totally devastated nation becomes self-sufficient again, if it ever does.
The current leaders of Burma are no different. They lack one iota of compassion for their own countrymen. Even now they are stealing the aid they are forcing other nations to leave at the doorstep. What kind of sickening human garbage do they consider themselves to be?
They have already demonstrated complicity in this crime of epic proportions. Since Cyclone Nargis made landfall fifteen days ago, on May 2nd, thousands of innocent survivors living the Irrawaddy River Delta have died simply for lack of aid.
1,000 Burmese citizens are dying needlessly every day for lack of water, food, proper medical treatment, and basic shelter. Unlike those who died in the initial storm surge, these deaths represent a humanitarian disaster that could have been prevented.
Earth and nature always take over when man fails to act swiftly enough after major storms. Disease and starvation are not new phenomena but rather as old as the earth itself. Every existing species has faced possible extinction and evidence of vanished species lay all around us
The diseases quickly spreading from rotting human and animal flesh will not simply stop at the international borders. Thailand, India, and Indonesia must now be prepared for widespread epidemics. Because of the delays in crucial aid inflows, potent tropical diseases including typhoid fever and dysentery will spread much greater distances than normally would be expected.
The total number of deaths from storm and disease combined will certainly number more than 100,000 and will likely exceed the death toll from the Tsunami that struck south Asia in 2004.
There may be 250,000 total deaths when the natural catastrophe deaths are combined with the far greater number of deaths from pandemic, starvation, and exposure to the elements. Many of those deaths could have been prevented if the international aid workers were simply allowed to perform the jobs they know how to do.
The medical requirements to combat diseases that have been given a week's head start are triple that which a rapid initial response would have required. Western nations are going to have to provide these treatments anyway. The question is how many people will get sick and die before enough overseas aid is permitted into the country?
Even if the Burmese leadership was deposed tomorrow that would be too late for possibly another 10,000 victims.
Giant new refugee camps must be created on dry ground in order to save the largest number of victims. The rice harvest from the land in southern Burma is crucial to even those parts of Burma relatively unaffected by the cyclone. The starvation caused by the loss of the rice crop will impact millions of additional people. This at a time when rice is in short supply all over the world.
The junta must go. This is not a time for bickering over doctrines or treaties. Any compassionate person on earth can hear the Burmese storm survivors crying out for help, despite the closed door policy of their genocidal rulers.
At some point very soon the rest of the world must wake up and unite against these brutal murderers. It is only a matter of time. The only question remaining is, will it happen in time to prevent a global pandemic?
New York Times article (05/17/08)
Washington Post Article
French call it Crimes Against Humanity - BBC article
Guardian UK article
Doctors Without Borders site