Myanmar has been hit devastated by Cyclone Nargis and tens of thousands are dead, tens of thousands more require food and medical aid.1 The Myanmar regime is accused of blocking and delaying aid to its people.
The Myanmar regime is not a regime that I will defend. It is a militaristic clique that has seized power and rules by force. Nevertheless, much the same can be said about the US regime. Unlike the US regime, however, the Myanmar regime, basically, confines its perfidy to within its own borders.
Of course, whenever humans are in trouble, a responsible government will see to it that those humans are attended to, fed, and cared for.
The Myanmar government is accused by western governments and western media of negligence and worse towards its own citizens.
UK prime minister Gordon Brown declared: “It is being made into a man-made catastrophe by the negligence, the neglect and the inhuman treatment of the Burmese people by a regime that is failing to act and to allow the international community to do what it wants to do.”
“Man-made catastrophe.” Isn’t that what the UK engineered in Iraq as junior partner (poodle) to the US? Over a million excess Iraqi civilian mortalities estimated since March 2003 (and there is no reason to ignore the US-UK supported UN sanctions that killed another million or so Iraqi civilians after 1991).2 That is genocide, and genocides are always man-made.
Brown added, “The responsibility lies with the Burmese regime and they must be held accountable.”
Fine, and to be fair and honest, at the same time, Brown and erstwhile prime minister Tony Blair must be held accountable for their role in the murderous carnage in Iraq.
If being accountable is to have any meaning, then Britain must, at long last, also be judged and do penance for its crimes, among others, in the Chagos archipelago, on the Indian subcontinent, against the Indigenous peoples in the western hemisphere and Oceania, throughout the Middle East, particularly its complicity in wiping of Palestine off the map.
The Plank Stuck in the Western Eye
The Europeans are calling for a forced intervention, and some US members of the House of Representatives are imploring president George Bush to intervene in Myanmar.
The Europeans, US, and Canada are complicit with Zionists in the starvation of Palestinians. This is in addition to demolishing homes, carrying out assassinations, withholding money transfers, destroying vital utilities, etc. in Gaza,3 and yet they are calling for an intervention elsewhere.
French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert called for immediate action in Myanmar: “We are shifting from a situation of non-assistance to people in need to a situation that could lead to a true crime against humanity if we go on like that.”
One might wonder why the British and French “leaders” wail and moan about disaster-stricken Myanmar but are silent about disaster-stricken New Orleans. Almost three years after Hurricane Katrina struck the coast of Louisiana, people in New Orleans are waiting on assistance.4
The 43 US representatives calling for intervention in Myanmar are apparently unaware of the tardy US response to the victims of Katrina5 or that the US regime rejected aid from certain countries, such as Cuba. 6
Venezuela, which contributed generously to the victims of Katrina, was reportedly rebuffed initially by the Bush administration.7 An excuse proffered by a senior State Department official, according to the Washington Post, was that “unsolicited offers can be ‘counterproductive.’”8
And, where are the voices of British and French government figures about the genocide Israel perpetrates against Palestinians? Obviously, these western government figures are selectively speaking out on man-made catstrophes and crimes against humanity.
Corporate Media Deluge on Myanmar vs. Silence on Palestine
A sampling of corporate media headlines reveals an animus toward the Myanmar government:
“Aid stymied off Myanmar shores and borders,” International Herald Tribune
“Myanmar Neighbors Seek Ways To Press Country on Cyclone Aid,” Wall Street Journal
“International Pressure on Myanmar Junta Is Building,” New York Times
“Diplomats tour cyclone zone, but Myanmar still refuses aid,” Euronews.net
That the corporate media would go into a frenzy over Myanmar while ignoring the man-made catastrophes in Palestine and in Iraq is telling.
In the case of Myanmar, the western corporate media is behaving as it should: criticizing a non-democratic regime and, supposedly, putting the interests of the Myanmarese people front and center.
But one must ask: why is this same media falling over itself to celebrate 60 years in power by Jewish segregationists who contrived and meted out a catastrophe (al-Nakba) to the Palestinians? Why has this same media remained so quiescent over the travails that still bedevil the citizenry of New Orleans? Why does the same media collaborate in the ultimate international crime of aggression-occupation against Iraq?
The contrasting response to cyclone-ravaged Myanmar with other contemporary disasters — whether man-made or acts of nature — scathingly exposes the nasty double standards of western governments and their corporate media.
- In this fluid situation, there are reports of 78,000 dead, 56,000 missing, and an estimated 2.5 million survivors. The Red Cross reported that the total cyclone death toll may be as high as 127,990, and that up to 2.5 million people are in urgent need of food, water and shelter.AP, “Red Cross: Myanmar death toll as high as 128,000,” newsday.com, 15 May 2008. [↩]
- Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, Shannon Doocy, and Les Roberts, “Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey,” Lancet, 368: 21 October 2006: 1421-1428. Gideon Polya, “Two Million Iraq Deaths, Eight Million Bush Asian Holocaust Deaths And Media Holocaust Denial,” Countercurrents.org, 7 October, 2007. [↩]
- Saleh Al-Naami, “Darkness, starvation and imminent death,” Al-Ahram Weekly, 24-30 January 2008. [↩]
- Bill Quigley, “Half New Orleans Poor Permanently Displaced: Failure or Success?” Dissident Voice, 4 March 2008. [↩]
- Julian Borger and Duncan Campbell, “Why did help take so long to arrive?” Guardian, 3 September 2005. [↩]
- Hector Carreon, “Bush accepts aid from Mexico, silent on Venezuela but rejects help from Cuba,” La Voz de Aztlan, 8 September 2005. [↩]
- Duncan Campbell, “Bush rejects Chávez aid,” Guardian, 7 September 2005. [↩]
- Cited in Cleto Sojo, “Venezuela Offers $1M, Oil, Food and Equipment for U.S. Victims of Hurricane Katrina,” Venezuelanalysis.com, 1 September 2005. [↩]