Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sign of a Sick Society

One of the things that supposedly makes humans "superior" to animals is that we bury our dead - or burn them and offer them up to the heavens where burial is not feasible. But in Burma, dead bodies are being left to rot because they are "strangers" while isolated villagers wait for help that will never come. From The New York Times Bodies Flow Into Hard-Hit Area of Myanmar By THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: May 11, 2008 THANAP PIN SATE, Myanmar — The bodies come and go with the tides. They wash up onto the riverbanks or float grotesquely downstream, almost always face down. They are all but ignored by the living. In the southern reaches of the Irrawaddy Delta, where the only access to hundreds of small villages is by boat, the remains of the victims of the May 3 cyclone that swept across Myanmar are rotting in the sun. “These people are strangers,” said Kyaw Swe, a clothing merchant who said he expected the tides to take away the six bloated bodies lying on the muddy banks near his collapsed home. “They come from upstream.” Villagers here say it is not their responsibility to handle the dead. But the government presence is barely felt in the serpentine network of canals outside Bogale and Phyarpon, devastated towns in the delta, one of the areas hardest hit by the storm. Rest of story.

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