Business as Usual in Burma

When Cyclone Nargis struck the Irrawaddy Delta in Burma leaving more than 130,000 dead and two million homeless, we knew the response of the rulers of Burma – “business as usual.”  Nations around the world, aid agencies, NGO organisations and countless individuals were ready to act.  We were naïve if we thought the Burmese rulers would relax their control over Burma. Compassion is not high on the agenda of the government.

With so few aid organisations and journalists able to reach the Delta, with so few pctures reaching the rest of the world, the world’s media found itself focussing itself almost exclusively on the determination of the government to minimise international access to the area. For compassion to arise, our hearts have to be touched. We need illuminating stories, photographs, film and a real sense of the horror and nightmare when a force of nature descends with catastrophic effect upon millions of people.

Fear determines control.  The mindset of control seeks to determine what others can think, speak and act in their daily life. Nothing is allowed to challenge the desire to maintain control over circumstances. In the control, there is the lurking fear that everything will get out of control. The ‘outside world’ threatens the fear that haunts the inner life of the Burmese Government. 

Political and economic control belongs to an ideological belief system.  The belief system is so intense that it resists a momentous force of nature such as a cyclone. The people in the cyclone probably remain unaware that the international community were ready to offer aid and take steps to help those who survived.  The ‘Buddhist’ government of Burma cannot develop loving kindness and compassion until it realises how powerful the hindrance of control is to the hearts awakening.

Nevertheless, friends of Burma like David Arnott and Hal Nathan tirelessly work on behalf of the people of Burma. I also hear reports of the precious efforts of countless numbers of poor Burmese citizens making their way on foot, cycle and motor transport to help in whatever way possible men, women and children, plus animals, to get back on their feet.  Natural kindness and compassion lies at the heart of the Buddha’s message to humanity.  The force of love moves people who have little control over their lives!

Scroll to Top