Hell Hole

The bodies floated.

They were part of the aftermath of last month's Cyclone Nargis that cut across the Irrawdy Delta of Myanmar. The sawing vortex of wind and rain, and the storm surge that followed killed 23,000 people and left a million homeless. Nature's worst is child's play compared to the atrocities committed by the government.
Myanmar used to be called Burma when it was a British colony. Independence came in 1947. A leftist military coup in 1962 instigated "The Burmese Way of Socialism," kicking off more than 40 years of steady economic decline and periodic outbursts of ethnic cleansing. In 1989 the ruling generals changed the name of their killing fields to Myanmar. The current strong man is General Than Shwe.

After refusing foreign aid to victims of Cyclone Nargis, Shwe's State Peace and Development Council allowed show displays of humanitarianism. Among them was a tent city put up and supplied by the United Nations. When the reporters left with their sound bites and footage, the refuges were sent packing and the food distributed to Shwe's soldiers.


I know two people whose names I can't mention because they are returning to Myammar to continue whatever they can do. In the past they set up home churches and brought money to buy food and medical supplies from the regional thugs. Bringing material directly into the country is vorboten because there is less chance for profiteering.

The churches they help shepherd no longer exist. The people fled to a town above water. There the military conscripted males over the age 12, and put the elderly, women and children into boats. They boats, they were told, would take them to a refugee center.

None arrived.

A medical missionary has video of the bodies that floated. They were bloated and pierced by bullets.