Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Everything Is Broken!

The title was stolen from 'Everything is Broken : A Tale of Catastrophe in Burma' by Emma Larkin.  This excellent book was published by THE PENGUIN PRESS - New York - 2010.  ISBN:  978-1-59420-257-5.  While this article is not intended to be a book review.  I do however; want to make the suggestion that Ms. Larkin's critical work has not been read, or at least not understood by many in political power. This assumes that those in political power operate with good motives; alas this is doubtless a bad assumption. Nevertheless. The book is organized 3 major parts.

I   'A Sky Full of Lies' discusses the Burmese government's efforts to keep the truth about the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis when it made landfall in the Irrawaddy Delta on 2 May 2008.  The scope of damage is unfathomable.  According to official figures, 84,500 people were killed and 53,800 went missing.  Many sources who were on the ground in the weeks following claim that the actual casualty figures were two to three times higher!  More incredible was the reactions of the Burmese government.  U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert M. Gates accused them of criminal neglect.  He was only one of many who made similar statements.   Larkin suggests that paranoia may be one explanation for their bizarre refusal to accept aid followed by their conniving attempts to make the relief workers tasks as difficult as possible. Perhaps they were afraid the United States and other western powers would see the post Nagris period as an opportunity to invade and topple their regime.  One thing is certain:  In an environment where information is blocked rumors are ramped, take on a life of their own and often serve as the only news available.  Certainly this was true after Cyclone Nargis.

II  'No Bad News for the King' points out that bad news NEVER goes up the chain of command in Burma.  The lengths they go to keep any negative news from reaching the highest echelons of government are truly flabbergasting.  One has to ask just how informed can Senior General Than Shwe really be when subordinates are terrified of presenting anything other than good news for his consumption.

III 'Everything is Broken' presents a summary of the facts, the denials, the corruption and the horrible results of the government's reaction.  Cyclone Nargis killed and injured so many people and created so much psychological , economic and physical damage that relief under the best of circumstances would have been extremely difficult.  The Burmese government displayed a behavior that under no circumstance could be classified as acceptable.  To prevent relief from reaching the victims of Cyclone Nargis was proof of just how inhumane and self serving the Burmese generals can be.

This book is highly recommended for anyone who is interested in a well written book on Burmese politics, events or recent history.  There are many other well written accounts of the on goings in Burma. My assumption is that if I can find them so can the United States Central Intelligence Agency, the British Intelligence Agencies and any other government with a modicum of interest in international affairs.

Know This!  Senior General Than Shwa rules Burma.  He commands the Burmese Army and the Burmese Army Generals are extremely loyal to him.  Those who have demonstrated possible opposition, real or imagined are dead! The current constitution  requires that the Army hold enough seats that it is impossible for any law to pass without the blessing of the senior general. President Thein Sein has limited power and is paraded out for ceremonial purposes as evidenced in the last link below. Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's long time political prisoner and hope for democracy, is now a member of parliament.  However, her opposition party can do little without the support of the international community.   Almost all of their political clout was stripped from them by the United States and the European Union when the sanctions were lifted.

The international community KNOWS the truth about the Burmese junta.  So why do they cow tow to the corrupt generals? The simple answer is that we have lost our moral compass, or to quote Emma Larkin "Everything is Broken". Is it really as simple as greed and corruption?   I think not.  While it is true that there will be massive fortunes made from the rape and plunder of Burma's resources it's more complicated than that.  

Forbes magazine published an Article entitled 'Myanmar - The Last Frontier?'  November 9, 2012.  Being a business journal it discusses business opportunities. Not one word was written about human rights violations, not one!  Frankly it's not worth reading but in fairness I've provided the link. 

Posted at Small WarsJournal is an article entitled ' Sharing the Wealth:  Burma's Post-Military Rule and Natural Resource Governance'   The article is interesting though I doubt the veracity of any writing that talks of post-military rule in the present tense.  Further, I find it noteworthy that in the bio's provided for the three authors there is NO MENTION of Kirk Talbott, John Waugh or Douglas Batson having ever actually been to Burma.

North Korean Involvement - Perhaps a year ago, I was on the outskirts of a conversation that I mostly regarded as empty bravado.  A man who claimed to be a journalist was telling a story about being refused a visa to Burma because he had let it slip to a Burmese embassy official that he knew about Burma's nuclear dealings with North Korea.  He is full of it, I thought. A simple trip to google would have proven me wrong. A quick search for Uranium in Burma reveals some very scary information including photographs.
Areal Photo of possible nuclear plant under construction near Mandalay
Japan confiscated contraband cargo of North Korean metal pipes and specialized aluminum alloy bars that were bound for Myanmar in breach of international sanctions.  These are essential components for building nuclear reactors.  The BBC reported that 'Burma may be building missile and nuclear sites in remote locations with support from North Korea, according to secret US cables released by Wikileaks".
Burma Democratic Concern wrote "Wikileaks cables have also made evident that the U.S. regularly lies in its public statements about international issues. The government isn t even close to being open with American citizens and the people of the world. For Burma, the Obama Administration is obliged under the Tom Lantos JADE Act to disclose publicly what it knows about the SPDC s nuclear program. The State Department has refused to publish the Act s Report on Military and Intelligence Aid, even in the face of our Freedom of Information filing..."  They went on to point out several specific cables including:

  • China revealing that Burma s North Korea relationship includes a nuclear component and that the North is providing hardware and Russia software and training - 09Rangoon502 
  • China promoting the idea that Burma-North Korea cooperation is acceptable - 09Rangoon732 
  • An offer to sell uranium to the Embassy in Rangoon - 08Rangoon749
  • Burma named as a WMD proliferation risk - 09State80163 (This alone might have made the Burmese generals paranoid).

The China Factor - It's a safe bet that as incompetent as the current United States administration is, they must be concerned about China.   Projects include a major copper mine near Monywa, oil pipelines from Burma's coast to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan.  There is also the huge Myitsone Dam project worth some $3.6 billion; it has been suspended until the end of Thein Sein's term as president.    I recommend the article 'China Didn't See This Coming' which appeared in the Atlantic on March 15th, 2013.   The United States, the European Union and others are fearful of China taking all the cherries from the Burma bowl; so afraid that they have lifted sanctions pretending that all is well in Burma.  Is keeping the truth on the table so difficult? Will denial continue to be the order of the day?  Will they say that there are no human rights violations to report?!   The United States is now offering military aid to the junta.  With more weapon technology they can kill more Karen, Rohingya, Kachin, Shan and any other ethnic group they choose to annihilate!   Of course the United States will play innocent, denying any knowledge of the carnage. How stupid do they think we are? They might even give the junta a wink and a 'solemn warning' to behave.  I'm ragging on the United States simply because that's where I come from and the behavior of my government is a source of great shame and frustration to all who care about human rights.  I'm pretty sure the European Union is no more pure.

Human Rights Violations As I said earlier, as incompetent as they are, these governments should be able to find unclassified documents.  Certainly they would argue that they are smarter than me and I have found many, far too many include in this article. Perhaps I should define them as inhumane rather than incompetent.  Herer is a small sampling of what I have found:

  • License to rape: How Burma’s military employs systematicsexualized violence  The author of this article points out that the "The 2008 Burmese Constitution places the military outside the purview of the civilian courts and includes an amnesty provision which precludes the prosecution of military perpetrators of crimes, including sexualized violence; raising global concern, including from the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar..."
Barack Obama, against the advice of top advisors, and human rights organazations around the globe, went calling on the president of Burma sending a clear message that anything he said about human rights was nothing more than political white wash.  This short video is well worth seeing:  Obama in Burma:  AMilestone for Reform or Groundwork for Oil-Friendly Junta Rule?
Two of a kind
President Thein Sien was given, given not earned, the ICG'S Peace Award.  Why?  I personally think it all has to do with greasing the slide through which the coffers of the west will be filled at the expense of the Burmese people.  While he does't  directly address the possible motives behind the award, Guy Horton definitely articulates the valid arguments such praise.  Please read:  Burma's Shame: Why the ICG's Peace Award froThein Sein is Unconsionable.  To me, it's more evidence that everything is broken when it comes to the grab for the resources of Burma. 

There will be presidential elections in 2015 and Thein Sien will be replaced, at the pleasure of Senior General Than Shwa.  His replacement will be toothless unless there is a revision of the Burmese constitution. Such a revision cannot happen without Than Shwa's blessing.  Not likely!

In the United States there will be another presidential election on Tuesday November 8, 2016.  This of course assumes that the current president and his cronies don't succeed in totally destroying the United States of America, where almost Everything is Broken!

If Everything is Broken, why do I bother?   If enough people know what is actually happening, then perhaps it will be possible to repair many of the wrongs that are now being committed.  My Quote Action for today reads:  "Truth, like surgery, may hurt but it cures" writer Han Suyin - Your action for today is to see if you are avoiding telling someone the truth.  What do you think it's costing them and you?  Please share this article with everyone !

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

When your only goal is to die by Oddny Gumar

Gentle Reader,

One of the brave people I've had the honor of meeting through my association with The Best Friend Library is Oddny Gumaer.  Oddny and her husband, Steve, are the founders of 'Partners Relief & Development', an organization that is made up of brave people who go and actually make a huge  difference in the lives of the oppressed people in Burma. As many of you know, I am always suspect of organizations who want contributions but are less than forthcoming with their financial information. Partners Relief & Development has an extremely refreshing philosophy.  If you want to see their financial statements down load them from their website.  They have become one of my favorite organizations!

Oddny is the author of two excellent books about the people in Burma.  Displace Reflections and Picking Flowers on Dusty Roads.

This morning I received a blog article posted by Oddny on 23 April.  I thought you might want to read this extremely moving article and she commented that passing it along would be appropriate, so here you go.

When your only goal is to die.

by oddnygumaer on April 23, 201


When your only goal is to die.

I have been putting it off long enough. As I am sitting in my living room, contemplating what to make for dinner, and how to get the house clean, the media is full of stories of politicians sexually assaulting minors, of lone rangers making bombs that they intended to use for killing many, of financial crisis and of other stuff that I really wonder if many are interested in reading. But people surprise.

Nobody talks of Mosuda. Her story has not been shared world-wide. It is upsetting, but not surprising. The world wants Justin Bieber and glamour. They don’t want to hear stories of women who sob. Especially not Muslim women who sob. Especially not Muslim women who sob that belong to a despised people group.
My blog is not an arena that gets visits from thousands. But perhaps you who read the story can share it. Perhaps Mosuda’s story can challenge the world to think about different matters.

Mosuda was wealthy. Not wealthy in money, but wealthy because she was the mother of many children. She had eight daughters and sons. And she was blessed with 18 grandchildren. All of them full of life and energy. The voices of her family members could be heard all over her village. Her life was full.

On October 24, 2012 her life ended.
There had been rumors of attacks for a while. They had heard of other villages being attacked, of other Rohingyas being killed, brutally and violently. She knew that her Buddhist neighbors did not appreciate hers, or her people’s, presence. But what could they do? Could they change their skin color? Could they change the fact that they were born into a country that wanted them gone? Where were they supposed to go to? And, besides, her village was the only place she had ever called home.
Her neighbors in her village walked anxiously around, not sure what to do to protect themselves if an attack happened. Mosuda talked to her sons and daughters, and together they decided to get away while there was still time. Better to escape before it was too late.

Their village was by the water. There were many boats, and they got four middle-sized boats to take them up the river, to a safer place. One hundred of them crowded into the four boats, and at 11.00 a.m. they were off with a few of their belongings. Mosuda thought that the most important thing was that she had her whole family close to her. It would be sad to lose all their belongings in the village, but at least they had each other.

At 1.30 p.m. they spotted a boat approaching them. It was a lot bigger than their four boats. Mosuda’s heart sunk. She had a bad feeling about the people on the boat. She recognized one man on the boat. He was the owner of the biggest hotel in town, the Noble Hotel. He shouted to them to go to a village near by. “Go to the Rakhine village,” he urged them. But why would they go to a Buddhist village, when it was the Buddhists who wanted to kill them? They did not do as they were told. Instead they tried to make the boats move faster. Instead they tried to get away from the hostile people on the big boat.

But it didn’t work. When they did not obey the commands, the big boat rammed into Masuda’s family’s boats, causing all of them to capsize. As the people fell into the water, it was like they were considered fish to be killed. With spears and swords the Buddhist rebels started killing them one by one. To make sure nobody would get away, they called their friends over to come and help finish them off. Soon more boats arrived, all of them full of people intent on killing the desperate people who were trying to save their lives. Some of them managed to swim to shore, hoping they would be safe there. But they were not. On the shore were others waiting with swords, spears and knives. All the villagers were all hacked down.

Mosuda held on to a plastic container that had ended up in the water. It worked as a floating device. Her daughter and daughter in law held on with her. They waited for the final blow. It came. Mosuda was stabbed in her neck and in her side. Right before she passed out she saw her daughter and daughter in law getting dragged onto the enemy’s boat.

She woke up many hours later and did not know where she was. Desperately she hoped she had just had a terrible dream. But then she felt the pain, and she noticed the blood. As by a miracle she made it to shore where friendly Rohingya cared for her. But there was no joy in her survival. She soon found out that all her family members, her children, her grandchildren and her sons and daughters in law had been killed. 29 of them were gone. Of the 100 people on the boats, only three survived. She was one of them.

There was nothing else she could do. In a haze she let her neighbors from her village take care of her. They put her on a new boat. This time all the villagers, 70 boats all together, had decided to leave the village to escape attacks and more death. They went the same way Mosuda had gone the day before. As they got closer to the place of the massacre Mosuda, to her horror, saw that the bodies of the dead were still floating in the river. It was like the most terrible nightmare. Her neighbors wanted to take the corpses out of the river and give them a proper funeral. This was the least they could do for their fallen friends and neighbors. But even this was denied them. As soon as they tried to pull a body up, the navy officials told them they were not allowed to. In fact, they were told that they were not allowed to move further. They would have to stay in their boats, at the exact same spot until they got permission to leave.

So surrounded by corpses and hostile government officials they started their long wait. They were all so afraid that they could hardly contain their fear. What if they were waiting for a new massacre? The children cried. The adults tried to act brave, but it was not easy.

Some of the village leaders took up their mobile phones and called some of their Muslim friends in the capital and begged for help. “Whatever you can do to help us!”
The next day they were allowed to leave. But they heard that their Muslim friends had given a considerable bribe for their release.

When Mosuda was done telling her story she just looked blankly into the air. “I cannot sit down. I cannot do anything anymore. I cannot sleep. I just want to go to my children,” she said. “Sometimes I walk down to the river and there I hear the voices of my grandchildren calling me.” “Why did I not die with them? What is the point of me being alive any more? There is no point in my being here.”

Then she broke down and sobbed.

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Best Friend Burmese Library - Just my Opinion

As you probably know I’ve shifted my focus from elephants to the displaced people, especially children, along the Thai / Burma border.   At the present my efforts are directed toward two very different organizations, The Mae Tao Clinic and The Best Friend Burmese Library, specifically especially the Chiang Mai branch.   In fact, one of the ongoing projects is helping to raise funds for the Best Friend Library.   Why these two, I’ve been asked.   Understanding that what is written below is just my opinion let me try to answer in brief:

The Mae Tao Clinic sees 300 to 400 people a day.  They are underfunded, primarily because big donors have rushed prematurely to put their donations on the Burmese side of the border.  The people seen by the Mae Tao Clinic are from Burma.  Some are migrant workers and some come from Burma for the day to seek medical treatment.  In Burma they would have to pay for any medical services, and then the quality and quantity would be lacking.

The Best Friend Burmese Library is much more than a library that contains the best collection of books and videos about Burma in Thailand; a favorite location for researchers to congregate and study.  The Best Friend Burmese library is much more than a friendly place that offers free English language classes; a place where many Burmese come to improve their chances for a better life through language training.  In my opinion, The Best Friend Burmese Library is an organization dedicated to informing and educating people about the situation in Burma.

Big governments and big business are lining up, walking over each other and with amazing regularity ignoring their own statements about the importance of human rights so they can slop from the trough of resources that Burma has become!    One recent example, some 7 hours ago, is the posting of conclusions on Myanmar / Burma  by the Council of European Union.  Mark Farmaner commented on Twitter that “EU Conclusions on Burma reads like it could have been written by Thein Sein's office: “. I toally agree with him.  Please Judge for yourself, the document is linked here:
EU Conclusion on Burma

One thing that I am trying to do with this blog is provide as many relative links as possible.  I invite to spend some time at the various sites in my link lists to the right of this page.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Dangers of Decency

Gentle Reader,

I'm working on an article about the apparent lack of willingness on the part of the media to report what is really going on in Burma and along the Thai / Burma border.   The problem is much deeper and much more complicated than it appears on the surface.  Some of the points that are coming to mind include:

  • In a letter to the editor of the Nation, one reader wrote "People can and should be able to debate on the role of the monarchy, specifically Article 112 (the lese majeste law), without ending up like Tob Jote's host Pinyo - ostracised".  People living and writing in Thailand are aware of the possible consequences of violating this law.  
  • On April 1st, Burma saw the publication of privately owned newspapers for the first time in about 50 years.  Four different papers were were made available in Rangoon.  Does this mean that the Burmese government has suddenly evolved to the point of accepting freedom of the press?   I am skeptical to say the least.  
  • Are we to believe that the big money players are not manipulating the news media?  Are we to believe that the news media does not manipulate situations and file reports at the whim of their masters?   Who are the masters?   China?  The United States?  The United Nations?  Big Business from all around the globe? 
  • Back in November an article by Muang Zarni 'Obama Must See the Dark Side of Burma's 'Reforms' appeared in the Irrawaddy News.  Personally I don't think Obama has one single ounce of compassion for the people of Burma.  The only interest is that of big government and big business.  The eradication of these people is just a cost of doing business.  May I suggest you read the article and decide for yourself?  It's linked above.    
On April 10, 2013 The Irrawaddy published another article by Muang Zarni entitled 'The Dangers of Decency"  Personally I think the lack of understanding of Asian cultures and languages plays at least as large of a role as decency.  Excellent food for thought, the article is re-printed below.
The Dangers of Decency
By MAUNG ZARNI| Wednesday, April 10, 2013 |

Who would have thought that decency would be a bad thing in a journalist, intellectually and professionally speaking? But when it comes to Burma, that certainly seems to be the case.

There is no such thing as unbiased reporting or scholarship. That much is settled among those who know the inevitably biased nature of interpreting the world, whether it be through scholarship or journalism.

So I don’t fault journalists for their biases and editorial and publishing slants.

However, when it comes to reporting Burma, the coverage has been beyond biased. It is generally horribly inadequate, or downright incorrect.

From a Burmese perspective—especially from the perspective of those who have borne the brunt of the half-century of military rule under various and evolving disguises—the way Burma is being reported is like adding insult to injury.

Take, for instance, the media’s standard framing of the violence against the Rohingya and now the other Muslims of Burma as “communal” or “sectarian.”

Otherwise decent and intelligent international publications continue to get it all wrong. The Economist, for instance, recently published an article about “Communal violence in Myanmar” that came with this subheading: “Sectarian violence was not supposed to be part of Myanmar’s bright new direction.”

Empirically speaking—not that one should hold any mass media coverage to the standards of empirical research—there is absolutely nothing sectarian or communal about the violence that has been unleashed in waves and phases by the organized Buddhist mobs and executed with “brutal efficiency,” as the UN special envoy for Burma, Vijay Nambiar, put it. The violence against the now terrorized and permanently displaced populations of Rohingyas and other Muslims in 15 towns across the country is one-way, organized, and state-backed.

Overwhelmingly, it has been one single community that has borne the death and devastation wrought by all this violence: the Muslims, including the Rohingyas and Muslims who are ethnically Burmese.

So why has the media kept getting even a rather straightforward story—that organized Buddhist monks were killing Muslims in broad daylight before the presence of armed security personnel—wrong?

Why has it failed to connect the two simple dots between local security troops’ inaction and Naypyidaw’s central command?

Burma’s security troops were reportedly ordered to “do nothing,” as evidenced in a local investigative report published in the New York Times. The same observation was made by UN Special Rapporteur Tomas Quintana in an AFP report that was released on the same day.

Further, the state-organized and controlled fire department also put out fires only in Buddhist homes, while it let Muslim houses, shops and mosques burn to ashes, as local eyewitnesses told the EU-funded NGO, the Euro-Burma Office, while the pogrom in Meikhtila was still unfolding from March 20-22.

Whatever their editorial stances or slants, one major problem that keeps the journalists from reporting intelligently, professionally and realistically about Burma is that journalists are decent human beings who think, feel and view things from a human perspective, informed by their own human decency. Burma, on the other hand, is ruled by sociopaths and psychopaths who will stop at nothing to defend their power, wealth and delusions.

This means that journalists end up trashing reality-grounded views as “extremist” and “incredible” and dismiss any analysis that suggests a central role of the state—from President Thein Sein’s office down to local security units—in the waves of violence against Muslims.

Unable to read Burmese social media sites and other online forums, the journalists miss out on open-source Burmese-language materials such as the Facebook page of the President’s Office or Myawaddi News, the Defense Ministry’s main propaganda organ, where neo-Nazi messages and posts, official and unofficial, are disseminated.

Instead, international journalists go with their own pet narratives and paradigms. Consequently, they get their Burma stories horribly wrong, identifying trees but unable to see the forest that the trees make up. Thus the state-orchestrated anti-Muslim terror campaign degenerates into “communal violence,” and the man with no integrity becomes “a pursuer of peace” and a sincere reformer.

In short, the international mass media has proven itself incapable of connecting the dots in its coverage of Burma. The reading and viewing public of the rest of the world is thus ill-served by the humanity of foreign journalists who fail to see what is abundantly clear to most Burmese observers.

When reporting about Burma, it helps to be able to see the world through the eyes of sociopaths and psychopaths. From the ruling generals to certain elements of Burmese society, Burma has both in abundance. Without taking their mindset into account, one is bound to end up with half-baked analyses that don’t do justice to our attempts to understand the twisted world of Burmese politics.

Maung Zarni is a Burmese activist blogger (www.maungzarni.com) and visiting fellow of Civil Society and Human Security Research at the London School of Economics.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Burma's Burning Issues - "Hidden Genocide: The Rohingya of Burma"

Gentle Reader,

This is the 2nd article about The Best Friend Library’s event “Burma’s Burning Issues” which was held on March 28th at the Documentary Arts Asia, Chiang Mai.  I’ve been a bit slow to write this because I wanted to make sure I knew how I felt.  My research and my thinking have led me realize that this will be a gap filler; a more in-depth piece is being prepared.   Trying to understand the situation in Burma is like trying to peel this magic onion.  Peel off one thin layer and two more layers grow, likely undetected , deep within!

The Al Jazeera documentary “Hidden Genocide: The Rohingya of Burma” was the 2nd film shown that evening.   I would hasten to comment that Al Jazeera is a most credible network, their reporting has, in the eyes of many, elevated them in status to the leading network in the free world.  A couple of years ago a colleague commented that most of the really talented people have left the BBC and now work for Al Jazeera.  They are a privately held network which is headquartered in Doha, Qatar.  Obviously they are pro Muslim. 

I invite you to watch the documentary and then draw your own opinions.

In my view the documentary largely paints the situation as Buddhist against Muslim.   Perhaps it’s really the Burmese junta against the Muslims.   In the Al Jazeera documentary Inside Story: “Why is the World Ignoring Myanmar’s Rohingya?” it was pointed out that Thein Sein, President of Myanmar said “We will take responsibility for ethnic nationalities but it is not at all possible to recognize the illegal border-crossing Rohingays who are not of our ethenicity.”   The historical truth is that the Rohingya have been in Western Burma for centuries.

Is it possible that a large portion of the current situation in the Rakhine (also known as Arakane) state was actually instigated by the government who should be protecting them?  There are Burmese intelligence units who have been known to do all sorts of treacherous things including committing acts of violence while disguised as Buddhist monks.   It is well reported now that in some instances government forces have joined in the violence against the Rohingya.  In other cases they have observed the violence and done nothing to prevent it from spreading. 

The Rohingya people have been described as among the world's least wanted and most persecuted minoritiies.  In 1982 Burma enacted a citizenship law which denies the Rohingya citizenship.  They are requred to sign a commitment to have no more than two children.  The Rohingya are banned from owning land, often the land of their ancestors, and they are not even allowed to travel without official permission. 

One question that needs to be asked:  Why does the international community tolerate this situation?  Is there a connection between inaction on the part of the United Nations and the desire of certain western governments to participate in the plunder of Burma's natural resources?  Is it magic or is it just old fashioned greed coupled with a gross lack of respect for human life? 

Abundant Blessings, 

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Generosity and Compassion Noted

Gentle Reader,

Spending a little time with the marvelous people at the Best Friend Library, I'm reminded that while there are real, very real indeed, challenges surrounding the refugees and displaced persons along the Thai / Burma border, there are many kind and generous people who are stepping up to make a difference.    Here is a note from Garrett Kostin, the manager of the Chiang Mai branch of the Best Friend library.

Dear members and supporters,
Although Chaa Nay Choo remains in critical condition in the Intensive Care Burn Unit, we look forward to the day when he will know of the incredible, swift outpouring of generosity and support that has followed the devastating fire at the Mae Surin Refugee Camp on 22 March.

The Best Friend is very happy to share details about the amazing response we have had to date to our fundraising campaign in support of Chaa Nay Choo and the other Karenni refugees from Burma affected by the fire, and we would like to take this opportunity to recognize some of very compassionate individuals, organizations, and companies that have mobilized in support of the refugees.

Please read the full post on our website at this address:
May you all have a wonderful weekend!
Very best wishes,

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Update on Chaa Nay Choo

Gentle Reader,

Please know that our young friend, 14 year old Chaa Nay Choo, is doing pretty well in hospital.  Garrett Kostin, the manager of the Best Friend Library in Chiang Mai has taken on the task of coordinating with the hospital, visiting Chaa Nay Choo every day, and keeping the world informed about his progress. 

Details about his progress can be found at www.thebestfriend.org  I now make it a point of visiting this critical website on a daily basis.  There have been at least two updates posted since I posted the original article about Chaa Nay Choo on Saturday March 30th.  Those interested in the progress of Chaa Nay Choo and the plight of the refugees and displaced persons along the Thai / Burma border are encouraged to visit THE BEST FRIEND as often as possible.   Having said that, there are two points I would like to emphasize:

1. If you want to visit Chaa Nay Choo, please respect the hospital staff and the rules they have established.   The sign below nicely explains the gravity of the situation.  As you will read at THE BEST FRIEND website,  Chaa Nay Choo is making progress but with skin grafts come an increased  threat of infection.  Besides, if you don't personally know him your presence might add to his stress. Further, like me, most people who read my blog do not speak Karenni.  For these reasons, I have chosen to not impose my self into his personal space.

The small print on the sign above reads "If you would like to discuss Cha Nay Choo's current condition please email chiangmai@thebestfriend.org.  Donations for Cha Nay Choo can be left with the ICU Burn Unit nurses, taken to the Best Friend Library at 302/2 Nimmanhaemin Road, Soi 13, Chiang Mai or sent via PayPal to donate@thebestfriend.org".

2. Please continue to be generous with your thoughts and prayers and please make a donation to help Chaa Nay Choo as he fights for his life!   Donation details are always available at THE BEST FRIEND website.  Online donation instructions are:
"Donations can also be made online through PayPal. Simply go to www.paypal.com and send a donation of any amount to donate@thebestfriend.org. Again, please include a note explaining if you would like your donation to be used for Chaa Nay Choo specifically, for the Karenni refugees in general, or for whichever need is greater."

Abundant Blessings,