Militant Relief Force

Plotting my upcoming journey, Im looking at a map of Thailand, seeking the cities or towns that I will want to visit in my short time there.  Among other places, the Burmese border has my interest.  The internets tell me that I could normally take a day trip from one of these border locations, into Burma for a quick look around.  As a person who is critical of the government there, and concerned for the state of its people, naturally I’m interested.

Meanwhile I’m listening to radio netherlands’ The State We’re In, and my friend Jonathan is talking about Burma and the aftermath of the terrible Cyclone Nargis. The theory they’re discussing, as millions of people have been affected by the aftermath of the storm, is that it is the responsibility of UN members to provide aid to victims.  Furthermore, according to his guest – Jan Egeland (former relief coordinator of the UN) the Burmese junta does not have the right to block aid or decide if people can be helped or not.

On the one hand Im thinking about how it may not be possible to get into Burma with all this going on. And more importantly, on the other hand, I’m listening to Egeland and I’m thinking about the fact that there are governments who actively block their people from getting essential help after a disaster. Like when the US rejected doctors from Cuba and food from the EU, after hurricane Katrina.  Or when China says no to foreign aid workers on their soil (but yes accepts money and other donations).  Yet on the same hand we live in an era where military forces are used to change governments and bring what is referred to as freedom and democracy by force. It is seen by many as a legitimate way to do things.

Imagine they felt the same way about aid?  Wouldn’t it be something to behold, a NATO force that feels so strongly about feeding starving victims of a hurricane or US marines pulling out buried people after an earthquake. And even if a government told them no, imagine they would still arrive, in an organized and determined fashion, in numbers and efficiency that the government could do very little to stop.  Militant relief, there’s a doctrine for a future president or prime minister.


  1. May 18, 2008

    “Militant Relief”!!!!!! clever, but,,,uhmm… for sure more violence… ????? 🙁

    I´m sick of it,, I have been living with it all my life.. and I have seen few results… but then, I think,

    Power feds government’s ego, and ask for help (specially to their “enemies”), is not an option , in spite of people misery….I can´t live with that neither.

    So, this is not finally a good reason to use it??.

    Nice report!

  2. May 18, 2008

    JFC! Do you realize what you advocate?

    I have little doubt you are not an advocate for increased killing, but watch this and get a clue:
    and then read this:

    You are ultimately advocating, whether you realize it or not, is nothing less than world domination by those who already own most of the world and seek total control by unlimited force and the breakdown of national boundaries by the strongest against the weakest–all under the guise of supposedly spreading democracy and helping others–a pretext for domination while stealing natural resources.

    Is that what you really want?


    • bicyclemark
      May 20, 2008

      “get a clue” — not a very productive or cordial way to speak with someone. Right away Im tempted to not put too much thought into my answer.

      The only thing Im advocating is people be as passionate as they are about war, for helping victims of disasters, regardless of where they are. Everything else is words put in my mouth.

      • May 26, 2008

        I have to agree with Mark. There is something to be said for having military convoys of aid trucked in with overflights of helicopters. Letting so many people suffer is a crime. We are not talking invasion, simply “forced aid”. I also have the same fears about “world domination”, but starving children are starving children whatever our political beliefs.

        Mark I don’t recommend going into Burma. I’ve been to Thailand many times and have been tempted to visit Burma. They have enough going on without thoughtful people visiting and any visit is in a sense helping the corrupt leaders. My recommendation is to visit Cambodia if you want to help out a struggling country.

        Enjoy you travels!

      • bicyclemark
        May 28, 2008

        Thanks Mark… after some reflection, i will do just that.

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