One against a million. That is the story of how the Military Intelligence sent out their best troops, their best trackers, their best resources to track down one journalist when he reported on the cyclone Nargis. It is interesting to see the lengths that a government can go to protect its “image” when more than quarter of its population is dead, floating around in pools of tidal water, starving, living on the streets and sitting on a mountain of risk of contracting diseases. Interesting is an understatement, it is fascinating.
China is no better, it has almost the same restrictions in place after the 7.9. the difference is they were able to cope at some level without outside aid in dealing with the aftermath. The military has been efficient, and quick and the response timely. With stories of hoarding of aid by the military in Burma and the absolute neglect of people in many places and the threat of another cyclone, what should the world be doing?
The UN passed a resolution called the Responsibility to protectdoctrine. Under the doctrine, if a state fails to protect its citizens, the international community can be authorized after a vote in the security council to intervene in the state to prevent and or control humanitarian disasters. The doctrine gained importance after Kosovo, Sudan and many other instances when the state was absolutely incapacitated and/or lackadaisical about the protection measures that every citizen was legally allowed. The debate now is: Should the security council vote to allow a military intervened humanitarian rescue mission in Burma?
It is not an easy descicion. There are 400,000 burmese troops on ground with whom the UN might have to enter into combat to distribute aid. The military Junta in power is unpredicatable and the consequences of such an action might escalate into more than just an aid distribution. As neighbours, India, China and the rest of the Asian subcontinent have a lot to risk. The other solution is to get China and India to talk or intervene and Enable the distribution of aid that is sitting around Burma right now. The aid is not being distributed more out of fear of persecution than anything else.
I guess what is admirable in this situation is the risk that journalists and aid workers take. The situation they find themselves in is not a very comforting one. Risk being exposed, deported, killed and or ‘disappear’ from the face of the earth. It should be understood that this is no tehelka. These are grim situations where the need to inform weighs more than the need to expose. The reporters on ground are more interested in showing the plight of a million people and the effect that a repressive regime can have than putting the focus on the regime itself. It is a thin line and a very subtle difference and yet lives are on the line just so we can get 24 hr news sitting in the comforts of our chair.
I just pray that the ones who have died, the ones who are dying and the ones who live carrying these gruesome images can all be in peace someday.