Enote 45 – Cyclone NargisJune 01, 2008
The picture on the right is a satellite image of Nargis on May 2. It shows the eye of the storm just before it passed over the Irrawaddy delta region of Burma. (The thin black line shows the outline of the country, with the delta region protruding into the Andaman sea rather like the toes of a foot.)
Some of you, dismayed by the loss of life and disgusted by the regime's tardy response and reluctance to allow others to aid, have spoken to us asking what can be done. Sadly rather little. As I write the rulers have begun to allow more aid helpers in, but they still deny access to the most severely damaged regions.
Those of you who have never before encountered a government which seeks actively to deny its people access to basic human services such as education, health care and emergency aid, find this hard to believe, but it is true. The military government just doesn't care. Not all is good for them however, because many of the army's rank and file come from the delta region and still have family there, and they are not happy with the current handling of events.
We, as you well know, are concerned with longer term issues. In 2000 the United Nations adopted eight "Millennium Development Goals" to be achieved by 2015. Goal number 2 is "Universal Primary Education", which is to ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling by the year 2015. We like to think that in our own small way we are contributing to that goal, and doing so in a situation in which the government is diametrically opposed to our work. That remark by the commander whose troops had just destroyed a Karen village, "If you don't want any more trouble from us, don't rebuild your school", says so very clearly.
The litany of suffering of the Burmese people continues, and many people are trying to help. Please keep the natural and the man-made tragedies of these people in your minds and do what you can to help.
May 1 to present: Received agreements from and sent money to about 150 students.
May 1 to 15: Preparation and mailing of our Newsletter with donor list and annual report. Those interested in a copy please send us your post address.
May 15 to present: Preparing a talk to accompany the video of our work. Anyone interested in having us speak, please write and ask, almost anywhere in the US.
Jun. 3: Giving a talk and video presentation on the Fund's work at the public library in Hamilton.
We hope this note finds you all happy and healthy. Please write with comments or questions. We are always happy to hear from you and respond.