Monday, May 12, 2008

How we can respond to the situation in Burma...

FWBO News readers will be aware of the recent terrible floods in Burma – and of the appallingly inadequate response to them by the country’s military Government.

We are very grateful to Jan McHarry, a mitra from the London Buddhist Centre, for suggesting a very practical and appropriate way we can all respond – donating via the International Burmese Monks Organization, who have linked with internet activists Avaaz to respond to the present crisis. She says “Avaaz is a credible organisation linked to many social justice and environmental campaigns”. Avaaz themselves say -

“Humanitarian relief is urgently needed, but Burma's government could easily delay, divert or misuse any aid. Today (May 7th) the International Burmese Monks Organization, including many leaders of the democracy protests last autumn, launched a new effort to provide relief through Burma's powerful grass roots network of monasteries--the most trusted institutions in the country and currently the only source of housing and support in many devastated communities.

"Click below to help the Burmese people with a donation and see a video appeal to Avaaz from a leader of the monks:

“Giving to the monks is a smart, fast way to get aid directly to Burma's people. Governments and international aid organizations are important, but face challenges--they may not be allowed into Burma, or they may be forced to provide aid according to the junta's rules. And most will have to spend large amounts of money just setting up operations in the country. The monks are already on the front lines of the aid effort--housing, feeding, and supporting the victims of the cyclone since the day it struck. The International Burmese Monks Organization will send money directly to each monastery through their own networks, bypassing regime controls.

“The monks are unlikely to receive aid from governments or large humanitarian organizations, but they have a stronger presence and trust among the Burmese people than both. If we all chip in a little bit, we can help them to make a big difference.

"Click here to donate:

“With hope, Ricken, Ben, Graziela, Paul, Iain, Veronique, Pascal, Galit and the whole Avaaz team”

PS: Here are some links to more information: To learn more about Avaaz's work to support the Burmese people, click here: For more information about the cyclone, the humanitarian crisis, and the political dimension, see these articles:New York Times: "A Challenge Getting Relief to Myanmar's Remote Areas." 7 May 2008.BBC: "Will Burma's leaders let aid in?" 6 May 2008.India's Economic Times: Indian meteorological department advised junta 48 hours in advance, 6 May 2008.BBC: "Disaster tests Burma's junta." 5 May 2008Times Online: "Aid workers fear Burma cyclone deaths will top 50,000." 6 May 2008.

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