I started reading about the cyclone in Myanmar and it first said 300 dead, then 4000, then 10,000 and now they are talking about 22,500 dead and 41,000 missing. This number is incredible. I was looking at other death toll figures and the people killed by this cyclone are more than all the US soldiers dead in Irak, plus all the people who died in 911, plus all the Palestinians and the Israeli killed in their wars for 40 years. All of those are less than 15K dead compared to 22,500 and probably 50K dead from this one cyclone.

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homo viator on May 7, 2008  · 

horrible incident. frightening how natural desaters strike the world so hard. The Great Tsunami in 2004 killed more than 200.000 people, the earthquake in Pakistan in 2005 more than 70.000 people. Both desasters were soon forgotten in the western media landscape and our minds.

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peter on May 8, 2008  · 

now media talk about 80.000 victims; and the regime still is blocking much help. really sad!

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dustin on May 8, 2008  · 

Homo viator? What do mean Western?
I live in the 3rd world and let me tell you something, the press in non-western world forgot these things too? In some cases even in the countries where the event occurred. The fact is not dwelling on the negative is a human truth. It is so easy to point to the west but the fact is, my friend, Myanmar is backward. The west has lined up to help. Even the hated USA! And yet they let more and more of their people die out of spite and the fear among a tiny number of super-wealthy will be taken down the instant the general public sees that there is another way.

What the world needs is transparency and truth, not just complaining and pointing at the rich west and their supposed lack of care about world. Buddy, the United States – that great evil empire – provides 48% of the worlds food aid. If those American butchers cut food aid a 1/6 of Africa would starve in 6 months. And they’ve they rebuilt they’ve re-built their entire warning system in the pacific to increase the response time during the next Asian Pacific tsunami and they are working with their partners to build and fund it. I could go on and on.

I know it pains you to acknowledge this but Is that not caring? Or forgetting the problems of the world? No, those are real things that no one talks about because they don’t fit in their negative narrative that is the west, and they fail acknowledge that most of the problems of any country are not caused by some action of an outside force but are brought on ourselves and the poor leadership of our governments.

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homo viator on May 9, 2008  · 


I have also spent three years living in the developing world and i understand what you mean. I assume you are American and wonder why you took my post as an attack against American aid policies. I was not referring to any of the points you made after your first three lines.

So NO, it does not “pain me to acknowledge” that there is some truth in what you say. Not at all. But your agressive undertone makes me wonder why Americans are so insecure about their political stand and often go on full-blown defense mode of their policies, even in cases when there was no preceding attack on American policies, as was the case with my comment. As you know: Europe is considered the West in the developing world and when referring to Western Media, I was referring to Europe as well.

And my post had nothing to do with Aid policies, but with the media coverage of different types of catastrophes, making implicit comparison to the types of catastrophies that Martin, too had compared: terrorist strikes, wars and conflicts (where America is either directly involved: Iraq, Afghanistan or indirectly involved: Israel, Palaestina) as wel as natural desasters.

I say American-led wars here, because not all wars get the same amount of media attention. When have you read the last headline about the genocide in Darfur, the war in Kongo or the slaughtering in Kenia?

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Concerned on May 12, 2008  · 

Hi, I’ve lived in the north of Thailand for 5 years and I know how the Birmese are exploited on both sides of the border especially the different tribes. I support the French aproach where they just said we’re going in to help them in the Irriwaddy delta. The Birmese governement is no match and the Chinese will think twice before they would stop the French just before the Olympics.
I know Thai cyberlaw is very restrictive to the level that it’s stupid because most people ignore it, but is it not possible to setup a lot of fonera hotspots with 25 dbi antenna’s near the border with Birma so more people can access a more free internet than the Birmese? And perhaps also set up strong hotspots near the refugeecamps in Thailand? I know this sounds crazy because these people already strugle to survive in these camps, but now they are not allowed to work outside the camps and are victim to trafficers and these camps already exists more then 20 years. If they have wifi it would enable better education in the camps and perhaps also enable artists in the camps to sell art made in the camp. Secondhand pc’s in Thailand are available for 100 USD and up. These people are also not allowed to learn in their own language (Karen, Mon, Chin, Tai Yaai, etc.) in Birma. I think wifi and e-education could improve this.
I would like to see these people made wanted workers and not unwanted refugees and exploited illegal immigrants.

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jack hidary on May 12, 2008  · 

I hear that the final toll may exceed 200,000 people. Many are perishing now due to lack of supplies and food. The world should use this tragedy as an opportunity to force change in Burma.

btw- the FT correctly uses the term Burma. The WSJ and NY Times are using the term imposed by the military junta – Myanmar – which no Burma supporter uses.

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Gail on May 15, 2008  · 

No matter how hard we try, it seems we are powerless in comparison to nature…
50,000 here, 225000 from the 2004 tsunami – Only The second world war tops these numbers…. over 6000000 alone from the hands of Hitler, without counting what the actual war did.

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Vadimas on May 18, 2008  · 

One death is a tradegy, 1000 deaths are the record in statistics.

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