Archive for December 31st, 2004

Tsunami: the politics of relief..a request for the bloggosphere to check out some disturbing rumors..

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    From     Dan Gould
    Subject:     Tsunami regions
    Date:     December 31, 2004 4:20:55 PM EST
    To:       Jim Moore

Jim–

I’ve appreciated your work on the Passion of the Present; you’ve done
hugely important work in getting media attention for desparately
important issues.  I don’t have a blog myself, but I’m emailling
you and a very few other relevant bloggers in hopes that you can help
inject some news into the blogosphere that is similarly important and
not being reported on in the major papers.  Moreover, the world is
paying attention to the tsunami-affected regions right now and a little
bit of attention may go a long way in stopping some absuses that may be
similar in numbers to the Sudan crisis.

My girlfriend is from Sumatra (though inland, away from the directly
affected regions); I’m sure similar things are going on elsewhere, but
that’s where I’m hearing reports from.  If you’ve followed the
news reports, you’ve probably run across the perplexing question of why
Indonesia has been drastically underreporting the casualities from the
Earthquake and Tsunami, particularly in the Aceh region.  When you
see the papers discussing the fact that Aceh is a “politically
troubled” region, there is a lot to this story, and only bits and
pieces of news are leaking out, just like in Sudan or World War Two
Germany.

Much of Aceh is controlled by Islamist rebels; as such, the government
is not acting to help people affected in Aceh.  Instead, their
attitude is that “the next generation of potential terrorists has been
killed off.”  They are purposely moving slowly and in a limited
fashion to provide aid.  So, while some terrorists were killed
off, far more innocent people are suffering

Also, a substantial number of children have been left orphaned in the
Chinese regions of Aceh.  Since the Chinese population was willing
to put up with the required bribes and ransoms to the local Islamist
rebels, the Indonesian Army considers them tacit supporters of the
rebels.  Because of that, now that the army has enter Aceh, there
have been rumors of mass rape of the young Chinese teenagers in the
refugee camps.

Singapore Airlines was generous enough to fly a number of the children
who weren’t being let out of the area by the government to the former
WWII refugee camps near Medan.  However, they are beginning a “no
questions asked” adoption of those children.  Some will certainly
find good homes, but without any monitoring, a substantial number will
likely be sold in to servitude or prostitution unless someone pays
attention.

As I mentioned, I only know dribs and drabs of what’s going on. 
Because these regions all speak local languages, there is almost no
news available in Western languages.  But, a few reporters shining
some light on the situation could provide enough attention to stop some
of the worst of the actions with relative ease.  So, I’d certainly
appreciate it if you could spread the “let’s check this out” meme.

Thank you,
Dan

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