This article yesterday in the Seattle times tells about the struggle refugees are having making ends meet in the recession economy and how the budget cuts are impacting them here in Washington State. I took some time to read the comments that followed the article, and was made aware of how great some of the hostility is that people hold towards not just illegal immigrants, but also towards those our government has invited to be here. While I understand their financial frustration, and fear that their piece of an ever-shrinking pie will somehow disappear, I am also aware that my friends who are refugees have faced things beyond my comprehension. The link here is to an article from the Bangkok Post, written by a friend of a friend, highlighting the situation these folks needed a refuge from.
While oil revenue goes up and you build a brand new capital, you plunder your nation and send the people deeper and deeper into poverty; health care is neglected, rebuilding after the cyclone is a shell game, and education gets next to nothing…only the generals get rich……this commentary in Mizzima news explains the shell game of the Burmese generals and international aid….so FULL of contradictions!
World Water Day is today, this year highlighting transboundary water, the places in the world where ownership of water rights and the need for access to clean water can mean the difference between life and death for you and your kids. Check it out. According to the Irrawaddy, drinking water is still a crisis in the delta area where Cyclone Nargis devastated parts of Burma a year ago. One of the organizations working in creative ways in Southeast Asia is Thirst Aid.
Thailand is sending refugees out to sea in boats with no motors so they will die somewhere else. Bad politics…..see article. Defying the UN is common practice for many countries. The desperation that drives refugees to risk everything…..beyond words.
How does the world respond effectively?
- Advocate for a universal arms embargo to go through the United Nations (US Campaign for Burma)
- Advocate referral of the SPDC (illegal government of Burma) by the United Nations to the International Criminal Court to bring the generals to justice for crimes against humanity
- Support the democracy movement’s current campaign for a credential’s challenge in the United Nations to challenge the idea that this illegal regime has the right to represent the people of Burma (UN Credentials)
- Campaign for increased humanitarian aid to Burma, particularly to the areas where hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people are struggling with very little humanitarian assistance (Free Burma Rangers)
- Increased awareness and international response to the famine in Chin state caused by a plague of rats which have destroyed the food supply of 200 villages leaving at least 100,000 people close to starvation (Chin Relief)
A google search of “crisis in Congo” returned 2,120,000 hits. It’s not like the world doesn’t know there’s a problem, a big problem. Harper McConnell, of Heal Africa, explained that while many international organizations have pulled out of Congo, they are still working in the midst of the conflict. Their web site tells of the ongoing life changing and life saving work they do.
Several ACTION STEPS that we can take are listed on their web site, along with the following explanation: “Through much of the media, the unrest is presented as a tribal conflict, but it is a conflict rooted in control for resources. Resources such as coltan (in latops and cell phones), diamonds, gold, tantalum, minerals which drive the global economy. It is the people of DR Congo who are suffering for the extraction of these minerals which are sold to multinational companies. Write your senator using this letter to tell them to support Senate Bill 3058 and enforce multinationals to follow strict extraction and purchasing guidelines. ” (There’s also a link to a letter to write to companies using coltan to check their sources, a link to a petition to print out and gather signatures on, and a donation link).
The video linked here shows another report done by the Pulitzer Center on Coltan and the Congo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OWj1ZGn4uM