Not long ago, the U.S. was outraged about the lack of aid and quick relief to one of the more vibrant regions of our country. I’m talking, of course, about Katrina and New Orleans. Rebuilding is still going on there, and though the eager life of the city is revitalizing itself, there is till work to be done. Of course, one of the things that made the area unique was its diverse and strong community, which remains, despite natural disaster. What happens when such a disaster strikes and area that is not so visible, that is not so well known, or that is already recovering from previous injury or adapting to increasing need?
We have one example in Myanmar, where the strong arm of the military junta has oppressed various groups of people (such as the Karen) and regions for decades. Now that oppression has been exacerbated by tornadoes in the delta region, killing tens of thousands and causing flooding, bridge damage, and crop loss. People are being left to rot on the ground, as fuel is limited – the living need everything they can get to survive. What’s more, due to the junta’s fear of international criticism, they aren’t allowing any aid workers or volunteers into the country. They have only let one plane bearing food in, though arrangements are being made for others. Worse, as flooding continues, even aid within the country is having a hard time reaching those in need.
While the international community has been very outspoken against the actions of the junta, now could be the perfect opportunity for reconciliation. Let’s help people. Let’s help people, regardless of what country they’re in, or who they’re governed by, or how. Let’s make a start at differentiating between control and genocide, between political expediency and political necessity. Let’s at least try and move ina different direction.