Steal big, steal little

(Latest roundup of some Burmese language news reports on Cyclone Nargis)

(ลักเล็ก ขโมยใหญ่)

International groups in Burma are reportedly acknowledging that the army is “diverting” or “pilfering” aid (euphemisms for thieving) to Cyclone Nargis victims but are declining to give details for fear that they will be locked out completely.

Much of the concern is rightly with the army stealing big at the top end of the chain. But there will be theft at every level and among all agencies. An article by Yoma 3 has an example of stealing little in Kyimyindaing, just across the river from Rangoon, where village council officials are allegedly taking relief supplies being sent for homeless villagers. According to one,

“On the 14th, there was donating through the Red Cross for refugees at Dalechaung village. When the donors were present, there were 17 mosquito nets, yet when given by raffle to the villagers there were only 10. Where’d the other seven go? When the villagers investigated they found that the three-village chairman U Kyaw Soe took two, and fire brigade chief Aung Min, Tin Oo of USDA, then fireman Sein Hlaing took one each. The other [two] couldn’t be located.”

According to the villager, U Kyaw Soe is refusing to allow aid to be distributed to the villagers from outside without his involvement. A donor told Yoma 3 that 44 houses in Dalechaung were washed away as the river rose during the storm. The others are without rooves and the villagers are staying in an old rice warehouse but have been told that they will be thrown out. Maybe they have to go and vote.

To be sure, under the circumstances this is a very small theft, and the families of the officials may themselves be in need, but as this sort of behaviour will be repeated everywhere, the question for international aid groups is, if 10 out of 17 items delivered to the local level (from an unknown number originally) reach the people who really need them, is that enough?

The New Light of Myanmar of May 16 has a headline, “Legal action for any relief aid embezzlement; National Disaster Preparedness Central Committee releases announcement”. The announcement cannot be opened but it is in The Mirror and the fourth and closing paragraph runs roughly as follows:

“Whoever witnesses dishonest hoarding, trading, use for individuals and organisations, or misappropriation for other purposes of donated money or materials for cyclone victims from within the country or abroad can report and complain. Be informed that it has been organised for effective action to be taken in accordance with the law upon receiving reports and investigating.” [UPDATE: Full English text is on the Myanmar Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva website]

This sounds familiar. The May 17 edition of the New Light of Myanmar adds that:

Witness[es] may inform about misappropriation of internal and international relief funds and supplies: Nay Pyi Taw, 16 May-Anyone may inform the Head of Office (Ph: 067 404021, 067 404022) or Deputy Head of Office (Ph: 0986 01002) of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement if he witnesses or knows that the cash assistance and relief supplies donated from abroad and at home to the storm victims are kept for self-interest, traded, used for particular persons and organizations, or misappropriated for other purposes.”

Good luck getting through.

Maybe DVB has tried, as it has many stories about stuff allegedly getting sold, including sacks of rice brought from abroad and allegedly taken to the Sanpya Market of Thinkangyun in Rangoon. Previously scarce Thai products are also reportedly turning up in markets and on stalls around the city, including “Two Shrimps” cooking oil and plastic cartons. According to DVB, traders are waiting at night and buying these things off the back of army vehicles. Mizzima and The Irrawaddy also have related articles.

A staff member of the communications ministry speaking to DVB also said that

“Thai Prime Minister Samak came and gave 50 satellite phones. The military took 30 of them. That’s legal, ok. Then, the military just yesterday also took the 10 laptops that the Chinese came and gave. That’s exact. As for the satellite phones, they took all the instructions as well as the battery chargers.”

Meanwhile, Yoma 3 also reports that cyclone orphans may be forcibly recruited into the army. According to someone who went to Laputta to give relief supplies,

“On the 5th and 6th, over 300 orphaned children, mainly boys, were put in army vehicles and taken. That’s what the locals said, and that they were going to recruit them.”

The day before, army officials reportedly announced by megaphone that they had arranged for “special care” for the children, and that they were preparing a register to place them with foster families. Although nobody’s name was put on the register they took children anyway.

And meantime, according to the New Era Journal, Nargis VCDs are now on sale under the counter in Rangoon, with video and photos of the damage in Laputta and Bogalay showing the real extent of death and damage and the lack of assistance received, according to a person who bought one for 500 Kyat (around 40 US cents). For anyone wanting to buy one, apparently they are available at the traffic light intersections in Myaynigone, Hledan and Mayangone, and Hsinchayhpone Market. But before buying, consider what happened to some of the people accused of having a certain wedding video in their houses.

NEJ says that private journals in Rangoon doing their best to cover the disaster have also been selling well. Among them, the May 9 edition of Bi-Weekly Eleven is at last online and it has a lot of candid photos that are worth a look even without reading the text. Its first 10 pages are taken up exclusively with the cyclone, including the obligatory government propaganda alongside its own much more informative stories.

Bi-Weekly has done a great job of getting back on its feet and reporting, although it has had to cut pages and increase cost to cover electricity outages, rising expenses and a shortage of paper. It says that the cyclone severely disrupted businesses in Rangoon and industrial areas also have faced problems due to a lack of electricity and water and fears that there will be serious inflation. The cost of a bag of charcoal, for instance, jumped 60 per cent in a single day on May 4, while the cost of a sheet of galvanised iron doubled. Some rice shops had closed their doors, while the costs of all forms of transport had jumped dramatically. Meanwhile, companies trying to meet export contracts had run out of materials with which to do the work.

An unnamed expert (neatly quoted directly above of a photograph of Prime Minister Gen. Thein Sein, pictured above, meeting affected villagers on page two) said that the situation was unprecedented and that in his more than 70 years he had never seen such disorder.

Elsewhere in Bi-Weekly, Maung Su San writes in an opinion piece that he was watching a Korean drama when news scrolled underneath about the cyclone, whereupon he opened a radio and listened to BBC and VOA in full. (Whatever happened to the “sky full of lies”? Have the censors all gone home to check on family?) And many of the photographs are interspersed among a 48-hour storm diary of the editor. His closing remark at 10pm on May 6 is wonderful:

“While starting work on Biweekly I watch CNN. A CNN reporter has reached Bogalay. CNN gets everywhere, no matter what. We still need to try to be like this. We still need the chance [right]. Who can say that one day we won’t be like others?”


9 responses to “Steal big, steal little

  1. Obviously the junta and it’s cronies aren’t human. People are dying and all they can think about is holding onto power and profiteering. And UK, French officials are saying what the junta is doing is bordering on crimes against humanity?! Get this into your thick skulls: It’s way beyond the point of crimes against humanity already. It went beyond that point back in 1988.

  2. Not Much Aid Reaching Laputta Victims
    By MOE AUNG TIN / LAPUTTA, Monday, May 19, 2008, The Irrawaddy

    Despite all the aid pledged to Burma’s cyclone victims, many supplies dispatched to Laputta are still not being delivered to those in need, according to residents in areas where refugees are sheltering.

    A resident of Laputta said, “The military government’s trucks have arrived with international aid in Laputta, but most of it is being kept at the football pitch near Su Taung Pyate monastery. The refugees are receiving nothing from this convoy.”

    “We passed by a convoy from the Max Myanmar company, which was carrying assistance to Laputta Township,” said a private donor from Rangoon, who volunteered to distribute emergency aid in Laputta on May 14. “I asked the drivers what they wee carrying and they told me sacks of rice, generators and batteries donated from Japan. When I arrived in Laputta and went to the monasteries, they said they hadn’t received any batteries or generators.”

    Nonetheless, some volunteers, monks and refugees in Laputta—one of the areas most devastated by the cyclone—said they had received some international assistance from the United Nations Development Project (UNDP), the World Food Programme (WFP) and other international non-governmental organizations, in the form of food, shelter, water purification equipment and free medical services.

    The abbot of Lay Htut Kyaung monastery, U Nivarana, who is co-ordinating the most crowded refugee facility in Laputta, said, “Since the day after the cyclone, the first of some 2,000 people began arriving to take refuge at the monastery. In the first days after the disaster, the Township Peace and Development Council delivered 22 or 23 sacks of rice and 7 sacks of potatoes. Then, I believe, the UNDP started assisting the refugees and the local administrative officers stopped distributing aid some three or four days ago. Another NGO came and distributed some plastic sheeting. That’s all. We received nothing else.”

    Other monasteries in Laputta are providing temporary shelter for cyclone victims, such as at Tha Yet Taw monastery and Sasanaw Daya monastery, where monks are coordinating an aid effort with donations and assistance from UNDP and WFP, volunteers and camp managers said.

    Meanwhile, in Rangoon, residents report that some department stores and shops are openly selling high-energy biscuits, canned fish and meat, and insecticide-treated mosquito nets labelled as US or Japanese donations.

  3. Documentary VCDs on cyclone on sale
    Mizzima News, Tuesday, 20 May 2008 19:42

    New Delhi : Documentaries on VCD of the devastation caused by deadly cyclone Nargis hit areas in Laputta and Bogale in Irrwaddy Division are selling briskly in Rangoon.

    The VCD has footage of the collapsed buildings, floating corpses and carcasses, inundated paddy fields and interviews with storm victims. The VCDs have been available in Rangoon traffic junctions for Kyat 1,500 per copy since last week.

    These VCDs are being shown in teashops, restaurants and bars in Rangoon for public viewing.

    “I feel sad seeing corpses floating in the flood water. The corpses are piled up. I was moved when I saw the corpses under the rubble and debris, some with crushed heads, some family members were tied with a rope, some corpses were floating in the water, some were dead with their heads buried in the shrubs grasping whatever they could,” a local resident who bought and saw the documentary told Mizzima.

    Besides the collapsed, buildings uprooted trees, debris and rubble and the dead the documentary also portrays the suffering of cyclone victims in makeshift shelters and in the open air.

    “Some storm victims seem to be in shock, some are traumatized, some have found their lost sons. I saw storm victims chase and surrounded donors when they came with relief supplies,” the local resident added.

    But the state owned TV station MRTV did not show these pictures and news but only played out the regime’s propaganda of transporting and distributing relief supplies by the army and some shots of rubble, local residents said.

    “There are stories related with the storm and sufferings of these victims and interviews with them in the VCDs,” another local resident said.

    “The people want to buy and see the documentary as an extraordinary event. They bought the VCDs showing corpses and carcasses floating in the flooded water, collapsed houses. The scenes only bring on sadness,” he added.


    Weekly journals ordered not to cover “destruction”, but cover “reconstruction”
    Min Khet Maung, Tuesday, 20 May 2008 22:04, Mizzima

    Rangoon – Private weekly journals in Burma have been ordered by the press scrutiny board not to run any story that depicts the destruction but to cover the reconstruction exercise undertaken by the authorities in the aftermath of the cyclone that pummeled Rangoon and Irrawaddy delta areas, according to local journalists.

    “We were told by the scrutiny board not to cover the news of destruction. But, were told to cover the reconstruction they are doing,” an editor of a weekly told Mizzima on condition of anonymity for fear of junta’s reprisal for telling the outside media.

    The authorities are reportedly angry with the head of the censor board, Major Tint Swe, for having passed some cyclone stories that described the damage to buildings and loss of property with pictures.

    The head of military junta Senior General Than Shwe flared up when he found a front page story from the Bi-weekly Eleven news journal that said, “The plight of storm victims should not be exploited.”

    “As Myanmar [Burmese] readers are clever enough to read between the lines, they immediately realized that the story did criticize the junta that has been showing how kind they are in helping the victims by using international aids as theirs,” said a journalist.

    An editor said that the censor board cannot control Weekly Eleven or Bi-weekly news journals since there are some generals behind the scenes. Which is why, Major Tint Swe tried to tell the boss of Eleven Media group this is a direct order from the ministry of communication for all weekly journals.

    “We were also warned that we must not describe how people are starving for lack of food,” one senior journalist, who has five years experience in reporting, told Mizzima.

    The Burma Media Association, a Burmese press freedom watchdog, condemned the junta for the restriction imposed saying it not only violates press freedom but also violates and suppresses the peoples’ rights.

    “The Burmese government is trying to conceal the sufferings of the people and making false claims that they are conducting rescue and relief missions,” Son Moe Wai, Secretary of the BMA said.

    A journalist, who returned from the worst hit areas, said she found nothing being reconstructed there by the junta.

    “So, what should we cover under the title — ‘reconstruction phase’?” she asked, “They [soldiers] haven’t even finished clearing the towns yet let alone undertake the reconstruction phase.”

    “Journalists are meant to tell the truth so that people will know of the situation in Burma. Suppressing the press at this time is outrageous and shameful,” Son Moe Wai said.

  4. National Disaster Preparedness Central Committee issues News Release No. 6

    NAY PYI TAW, 20 May-The National Disaster Preparedness Central Committee issued News Release No. 6 today.

    The full text of the announcement is as follows:-

    News Release No. 6

    1. Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Than Shwe, accompanied by officials, has inspected relief and rehabilitation tasks around Yangon and Ayeyawady Divisions since 18 May.

    2. After comforting the victims, the Senior General gave guidance on collection of precise data and figures and effective implementation of rehabilitation works after laying down plans systematically. He also gave guidance on compilation of the list of orphans in the storm-hit areas and opening of orphanages in Pyapon District and Labutta.

    3. For the time being, the collected storm-victim children are under care according to a special programme in Maubin and Myaungmya, and plans are under way to comply with the guidance stated in para (2).

    National Disaster Preparedness Central Committee
    Date: 20-5-2008
    Place: Nay Pyi Taw


    Children of the Cyclone
    By SAW YAN NAING, Wednesday, May 21, 2008, The Irrawaddy

    Maung Myo Min Thant is a changed boy. Until Cyclone Nargis tore into his village in Rangoon Division’s Kawhmu Township he was a normal three-year-old, who enjoyed playing with his pals in all winds and weather.

    Now he’s afraid to venture out in the rain, and he cries if he hears thunder.

    His mother, Khin San Win, 35, said on the UNICEF web site: “My son is talking now but he hasn’t recovered. He used to play and bathe happily in the rain, like all children here. Now he refuses to go out when it rains. When the thunder comes, he cries.”

    Yet Maung Myo Min Thant is comparatively lucky—he still has his parents. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children were orphaned by the cyclone, and the regime has announced it is setting up orphanages to accommodate them.

    Junta leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe ordered the orphanages to be built after visiting the region, the government newspaper New Light of Myanmar said on Wednesday.

    UNICEF’s representative in Burma, Ramesh Shrestha, said the agency believes the number of children left without guardians is more than 600 and could rise.

    “We have no idea as to how many there are, but from the bits and pieces that we have, there are more than 600 or 700 unaccompanied minors so far,” Shrestha told The Associated Press. He said they included infants and children under two.

    A volunteer relief worker in Laputta estimated that more than 1,000 children under the age of 13 in Laputta Township alone lost their parents in the cyclone.

    According to The New Light of Myanmar, orphanages will be opened in Pyapon and Laputta, in the Irrawaddy delta. The newspaper did not say how many orphans the government estimated survived in the disaster, or how many orphanages would be built.

    UNICEF estimates that 40 percent of those who died in the cyclone and its aftermath were children. Children who survived are now threatened by disease and starvation.

    Diarrhea is the most prevalent disease. Aye Kyu, a Burmese doctor in Laputta, said hundreds of children there were being treated in temporary mobile clinics.

    “Normally, four or five patients come to my clinic every day, but about 15 came to my clinic on Tuesday,” he said. “Most of them are children, suffering from diarrhea.”

    About 20 children sheltering in a school in Gantkaw are suffering from diarrhea, he said.

    The relief worker in Laputta said disease was spreading because of a lack of health education, insufficient sanitary arrangements and crowded living conditions.

    “There are not enough shelters and toilets for refugees. It is very easy for disease to spread.”

    Shantha Bloemen, a UNICEF communications official, told The Irrawaddy that apart from suffering illnesses like diarrhea, children were traumatized because of experiencing the cyclone.

    She said UNICEF is working to secure continued education for child survivors after the cyclone destroyed their schools.

    The British-based charity Save the Children estimates that 3,000 schools were destroyed by the cyclone, disrupting the education of half a million children.

    Save the Children also estimates that 30,000 children under the age of five living in the Irrawaddy delta region were already malnourished before the cyclone and thousands of them now face death.

    UNICEF workers are setting up “child-friendly” areas where children can play, paint and draw—a relief program that is intended to help them cope with the trauma of experiencing the cyclone or losing parents and other family members.

  5. 8 Burmese Journalists Arrested in Laputta
    By SAW YAN NAING, Wednesday, May 21, 2008, The Irrawaddy

    Eight Burmese journalists who were trying to cover the cyclone disaster in Laputta Township in the Irrawaddy delta were arrested on Monday night by Burmese soldiers and detained for one night, according to sources in Rangoon.

    Those arrested included journalists from The Voice journal, Yangon Times and 7 Day News journal.

    A Rangoon-based colleague of one of the detained journalists told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday: “Soldiers came and arrested them at their hotel about 11 p.m. The soldiers accused the eight reporters of failing to inform the authorities of their presence in Laputta and then arrested them.

    “The soldiers deleted all the photographs the journalists had taken,” the source said. “The soldiers threatened the journalists and swore at them.”

    The eight journalists were interrogated all night by the soldiers, who were reportedly assigned to Light Infantry Division 66, said the source.

    The journalists were released the following morning at about 7 a.m. after signing an agreement with the authorities that they would not return to cyclone-affected areas again without military authorization.

    Since the cyclone of May 2-3, the Burmese military authorities have further tightened their strict code of censorship and restrictions on journals and publications in Burma, said the source.

    “Only positive stories are allowed. Photos about refugees, victims and children are always rejected,” said the source in Rangoon. “The censorship board will only allow propaganda stories and photos, such as reconstruction projects, to be published.”

    All publications are banned from printing the rising death toll from Cyclone Nargis, added the source.

    Meanwhile, owners of guest houses in Laputta and Bogalay have been ordered to submit their guest registers to local authorities and report any arrivals of strangers, foreigners or persons from organizations that could be aid-related.

    The Burmese military government announced on May 9 that it would permit supplies and aid from the international community to the affected regions, but that no foreigners or persons without permits could enter the cyclone-affected areas in the Irrawaddy delta and Rangoon Division.


    Nine Burmese journalists released after interrogation
    Nem Davies, Thursday, 22 May 2008 18:36, Mizzima

    Burmese military junta authorities on Sunday released nine Burmese journalists, who were in the Irrawaddy delta to cover the devastation wrought by Cyclone Nargis. They were detained briefly and interrogated.

    The journalists from four different Weekly journals in Rangoon were rounded up by local authorities while they were inside a house of a local resident in Hlaine Bone Kyi village, in Maw Gyun Township, Irrawaddy Division on Saturday night, sources in Rangoon said.

    “They were picked up from a local resident’s home not from a hotel, a few hours after they arrived in the village but were released after being interrogated briefly. They were made to sign a pledge agreeing ‘not to come back to the village again’,” said an editor from a Rangoon based weekly journal, who did not want to be named.

    The authorities accused the group of not reporting their trip to the village to local authorities.

    “They [authorities] asked who they were, the purpose of coming to the place, and which organization they belonged to and asked to leave on Sunday morning,” the editor added.

    “They reached on Saturday evening and were called by military officials the same night and were asked to leave on Sunday morning after signing an agreement,” the editor said.

    The Burmese Media Association (BMA), a Burmese media freedom watchdog, lambasted the government for imposing restrictions on local journalists in covering the devastated delta region, saying it not only violates freedom of journalists but also violates freedom of expression.

    “By restricting journalists from visiting cyclone hit places, the authorities are trying to hide the actual situation, which is unnatural,” said Son Moe Wai, Secretary of the Burma Media Association (BMA).

    “The government should rather hold press conferences, and release statements on the real situation of the cyclone victims and shortage of relief material in rural areas in the delta, instead of unnecessarily restricting journalists,” he added.

    The Burmese junta had announced on May 9 that it would allow aid supplies from the international community to the cyclone affected regions, but imposed restrictions on foreigners or persons without permits to enter the Irrawaddy delta and Rangoon Division.

    The Burmese Prime Minister has also reportedly told private companies which are assigned to do the reconstruction work in the cyclone affected Irrawaddy and Rangoon divisions that no one will be allowed to carry cameras.

  6. warofillusions

    Very much business as usual. This is the same dictatorship that massacred 3000 of its own people in 1988 for wanting to assert their rights. The same dictatorship which uses the people for slave labor to build facilities for Pepsi and Chevron. Nothing has been done for 40+ years. What will happen is what will happen in America’s Hurricane Katrina. Little aid will be given to the people and the country will be bombed back to the Wood Age if the US/UN comes in. Read this to understand what I mean better.

  7. ลักเล็ก ขโมยใหญ่
    แปลโดย “อ้น นิลแดง”

    กลุ่มนานาชาติในพม่ารายงานว่าทหารทำการ “ยักย้าย” หรือ “ยักยอก” ความช่วยเหลือ (พูดให้ถูกก็คือขโมย) ที่ให้กับเหยื่อไซโคลนนาร์กีส แต่ปฏิเสธที่จะให้รายละเอียดเนื่องจากกลัวว่าจะถูกเนรเทศอย่างถาวร
    คนส่วนมากกังวลว่าจะมีการ ขโมยใหญ่ เกิดขึ้นในกลุ่มเจ้าหน้าที่ระดับสูงของกองทัพ แต่ก็มีการลักเล็กในทุกๆ ระดับและในทุกๆ หน่วยงาน บทความที่เขียนโดย Yoma 3 ได้ยกตัวอย่างเหตุการณ์ลักเล็กๆ ใน Kyimyindaing ซึ่งอยู่คนละฝั่งแม่น้ำกับย่างกุ้ง เจ้าหน้าที่ในระดับหมู่บ้านถูกกล่าวหาว่า ยึดเอาสิ่งของบรรเทาทุกข์ที่ส่งให้กับชาวบ้านที่ไร้ที่อยู่อาศัย จากคำบอกเล่าของชาวบ้านคนหนึ่ง มีใจความว่า

    “เมื่อวันที่ ๑๔ [พฤษภาคม] มีการบริจาคผ่านสภากาชาดไปให้ผู้อพยพที่หมู่บ้าน Dalechaung ตอนที่ผู้บริจาคยังอยู่ มีมุ้งอยู่ ๑๗ หลัง แต่เมื่อตอนสุ่มแจกให้กับชาวบ้านเหลือแค่ ๑๐ หลัง แล้วอีก ๗ หลังหายไปไหน? เมื่อชาวบ้านสืบสวนดู จึงพบว่า U Kyaw Soe ประธานสามหมู่บ้าน เอาไปสองหลัง Aung Min หัวหน้าดับเพลิง Tin Oo จาก USDA แลละเจ้าหน้าที่ดับเพลิง Sein Hlaing เอาไปคนละหลัง อีกสองหลังที่เหลือยังหาไม่พบ”

    จากคำบอกเล่าของชาวบ้าน U Kyaw Soe ไม่อนุญาตให้มีการแจกจ่ายของช่วยเหลือจากภายนอกโดยไม่ผ่านเขา ผู้บริจาคบอก Yoma 3 ว่าบ้าน ๔๔ หลังใน Dalechaung ถูกพัดหายไปกับสายน้ำในขณะที่เกิดพายุ ที่เหลือก็ไม่มีหลังคา และชาวบ้านซึ่งต้องไปอาศัยอยู่ในโรงเก็บข้าวก็ได้รับแจ้งว่าอาจจะถูกไล่ที่ และอาจจะต้องออกไปลงคะแนนเสียง

    ในสถานการณ์เช่นนี้ เหตุการณ์ดังกล่าวอาจถือเป็นเรื่องเล็ก เพราะครอบครัวของเจ้าหน้าที่เองก็อาจมีความจำเป็นเช่นกัน แต่หากพฤติกรรมเช่นนี้เกิดขึ้นในทุกๆ แห่งแล้ว คำถามสำหรับกลุ่มนานาชาติเหล่านี้คือ ถ้าของที่ส่งไปยังท้องถิ่นถึงมือประชาชนที่มีความจำเป็นจริงๆ แค่ ๑๐ อย่างจาก ๑๗ อย่าง (จากจำนวนแท้จริงที่ไม่แน่ชัด) แค่นั้นจะเพียงพอหรือไม่?

    New Light of Myanmar ฉบับวันที่ ๑๖ พฤษภาคม พาดหัวข่าวว่า “ดำเนินคดีผู้ยักยอกสิ่งของบรรเทาทุกข์; ประกาศจากคณะกรรมการศูนย์ป้องกันภัยพิบัติแห่งชาติ” ประกาศนี้ไม่สามารถเปิดได้แต่หาอ่านได้ใน The Mirror ย่อหน้าที่ ๔ และย่อหน้าสุดท้ายมีใจความว่า

    “ผู้ใดก็ตามที่พบเห็นการกักตุน ซื้อขาย ใช้เพื่อบุคคลหรือองค์กร หรือใช้อย่างไม่เหมาะสมเพื่อจุดประสงค์อื่นใด ในเงินหรือสิ่งของบริจาค เพื่อผู้ประสบภัยจากพายุไซโคลนจากภายในประเทศ หรือต่างประเทศสามารถรายงานหรือร้องเรียนได้ ขอให้ทราบว่าได้มีการเตรียมมาตรการที่เข้มงวดไว้รองรับ ตามกฎหมายว่าด้วยการได้รับรายงานและการสืบสวนสอบสวนไว้แล้ว”

    เสียงประชาธิปไตยแห่งพม่า (DVB-Democratic Voice of Burma) อาจจะได้พยายามทำแล้ว ดูได้จากหลายเรื่องราวเกี่ยวกับสิ่งของที่ถูกกล่าวหาว่าได้นำไปขาย โดยรวมถึงกระสอบข้าวที่ได้มาจากต่างประเทศและถูกนำไปส่งที่ตลาด Sanpya ที่ Thinkangyun ในกรุงย่างกุ้ง สินค้าจากไทยที่เคยหายาก ก็มีรายงานว่ามาโผล่ตามตลาดและแผงลอยทั่วเมือง มีทั้งน้ำมันตรา “กุ้งสองตัว (Two Shrimps)” และกล่องพลาสติก ตามที่ DVB กล่าว พวกพ่อค้าแม่ค้าจะรอกันตอนกลางคืนเพื่อซื้อองพวกนี้จากท้ายรถทหาร Mizzima กับ The Irrawaddy ก็มีบทความในเรื่องคล้ายๆ กันนี้

    เจ้าหน้าที่คนหนึ่งของกระทรวงโทรคมนาคมเล่าให้ DVB ฟังว่า

    “นายสมัคร สุนทรเวช นายกรัฐมนตรีของไทยมาเยือนและมอบโทรศัพท์ดาวเทียมไว้ให้ ๕๐ เครื่อง ทหารเอาไป ๓๐ เครื่อง ตามกฎหมายแล้วทำได้ ก็โอเคไป จากนั้น เพิ่งเมื่อวานนี้ที่ทหารเอาแล็บท็อปที่จีนนำมาให้ไปอีก ๑๐ เครื่อง สำหรับโทรศัพท์ดาวเทียม พวกเขาเอาคู่มือการใช้และที่ชาร์ตแบตไปด้วยหมดเลย”

    ในขณะเดียวกัน Yoma 3 ก็รายงานว่าเด็กกำพร้าจากพายุไซโคลนจากถูกบังคับให้เกณฑ์ทหาร จากคำบอกเล่าของผู้ที่ไปมอบสิ่งของบรรเทาทุกข์ที่ลาบุตตา มีใจความว่า

    “เมื่อวันที่ ๕ และ ๖ [พฤษภาคม] เด็กกำพร้ากว่า ๓๐๐ คน ส่วนใหญ่เป็นผู้ชาย ถูกต้อนขึ้นรถทหารและพาออกไป นั่นคือสิ่งที่ชาวบ้านบอก เด็กพวกนี้จะถูกเกณฑ์ไปเป็นทหาร”

    วันก่อนหน้านี้ เจ้าหน้าที่ทหารประกาศทางโทรโข่งว่าเด็กพวกนี้จะได้รับ “การดูแลเป็นพิเศษ” และกำลังเตรียมการลงทะเบียนชื่อพวกเขา เพื่อส่งต่อให้กับพ่อแม่บุญธรรม เด็กพวกนี้ถูกนำตัวไป ทั้งๆ ที่ไม่มีการลงชื่อแม้แต่คนเดียว”
    และในขณะเดียวกัน จากรายงานของ New Era Journal ในย่างกุ้ง มีการแอบขายวีซีดีนาร์กีสที่ เป็นวีดีโอและภาพความเสียหายในลาบุตตาและโบกาเลย์ แสดงให้เห็นถึงขอบเขตความเสียหายและความตายที่แท้จริง รวมถึงความช่วยเหลือที่ยังขาดอยู่ จากคำบอกเล่าของคนที่ซื้อแผ่นมา ราคาอยู่ที่ประมาณ ๕๐๐ จ๊าต (หรือประมาณ ๔๐ เซนต์สหรัฐ) สำหรับคนที่ต้องการ ก็หาซื้อได้อย่างง่ายดายตามสี่แยกไฟแดงใน Myaynigone, Hledan และ Mayangone, และตลาด Hsinchayhpone แต่ก่อนที่จะซื้อ ขอให้ชั่งใจด้วยว่าเคยเกิดอะไรขึ้นกับบางคน ที่ถูกกล่าวหาว่าครอบครองเทปบันทึกภาพงานแต่งงานไว้ที่บ้าน

    NEJ กล่าวว่าสิ่งพิมพ์เอกชนในย่างกุ้งที่ทำงานอย่างเต็มที่ เพื่อรายงานภัยพิบัติก็ขายดีเช่นกัน ในจำนวนนี้ Bi-Weekly Eleven ฉบับวันที่ ๙ พฤษภาคม ซึ่งในที่สุดได้มีการเผยแพร่ในเวบไซต์ มีรูปภาพมากมายที่น่าสนใจแม้จะไม่ต้องมีข้อความอะไรเลย สิบหน้าแรกเป็นเรื่องเกี่ยวกับพายุไซโคลนโดยเฉพาะ แต่ก็ไม่ลืมที่จะลงโฆษณาชวนเชื่อของรัฐบาล ควบคู่ไปกับเรื่องราวที่ละเอียดกว่ามากของตัวเอง

    Maung Su San เขียนลงในส่วนแสดงข้อคิดเห็นของ Bi-weekly ว่าเขากำลังนั่งดูละครเกาหลีอยู่ในขณะที่มีข่าวเกี่ยวกับพายุไซโคลน เป็นตัววิ่งอยู่ด้านล่าง จากนั้นเขาจึงเปิดวิทยุเพื่อฟังข่าวๆ เต็มๆ จาก BBC และ VOA นอกจากนั้นก็ยังมีรูปภาพมากมายประกอบอยู่ทั่วบทความ ไดอารี่เกาะติดพายุ ๔๘ ชั่วโมงในบทบรรณาธิการ ข้อความปิดท้ายตอนช่วงเวลาสี่ทุ่มของวันที่ ๖ พฤษภาคมช่างกินใจเหลือเกิน

    “ในขณะที่เริ่มเขียนให้กับ Biweekly ผมดู CNN ไปด้วย นักข่าว CNN ไปถึงโบกาเลย์แล้ว CNN ไปทั่วทุกที่ ไม่ว่าจะเกิดอะไรขึ้น พวกเราจะต้องพยายามทำให้ได้แบบเขา พวกเราขอเพียงโอกาส ใครจะรู้ วันหนึ่งเราอาจจะเป็นเหมือนคนอื่นๆ บ้างก็ได้”

  8. Pingback: “Steal big, steal little” - in Thai

  9. Censor bans journals from reporting on cyclone
    Nem Davies Thursday, 29 May 2008 21:25, Mizzima

    New Delhi – Burma’s censorship board, infamous for its stranglehold on the media, has denied permission to Rangoon based weekly journals from publishing stories on the cyclone devastation. In depth stories focussing on cyclone devastated Irrawaddy delta were cut by the censors, said an editor of a weekly journal.

    “At least one-fourth of the cyclone related reportage was censored by the board in this week’s journal. It was the same in last week’s publication,” said the editor, who requested not to be named.

    “We are also not allowed to cover the possibilities of a rise in prices of rice in the near future due to the cyclone’s impact that destroyed seeds in the delta,” he said.

    Nearly all news coverage on the cyclone’s impact and the lives of the victims including – urgent relief for villagers in the remote delta, the need for domestic animals for cultivators, and cyclone survivors’ living conditions – were cut by the censor board.

    “They [censorship board] only allow publishing the work of the government in reconstruction and resettlement programmes in the delta,” he added.

    The Burmese junta has restricted both local and foreign correspondents from going into cyclone affected zones and imposed a restriction on carrying cameras into the Irrawaddy delta.

    But several local journalists as well as foreign correspondents have sneaked into the Irrawaddy delta and filed stories, which are so far the only information that reveal the picture of the cyclone’s devastation for people outside.

    A local journalist working with another weekly publication said, “Our publication this week was filled with cyclone stories but all of them are related to the government’s work on reconstruction and resettlement.”

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