Friday, May 23, 2008

UN Secretary General visits Myanmar junta's Potemkin Village

France will push for a United Nations resolution authorizing the delivery of aid to Myanmar's cyclone survivors "by all means necessary" if pressure from the U.N. chief and neighboring countries doesn't work, France's U.N. ambassador said Thursday. (NY Times)
Why should there be any further delay?

Because ASEAN is in the midst of putting on a big charade to appease Myanmar, that's why. And the Secretary General is putting on a show of visiting a Potemkin Village* on the Irrawaddy Delta. Here's a description of the mock camp the UN Sec General Ban Ki-moon toured. The above-quoted NY Times article continues:
The 68 blue tents are lined up in a row, with a brand-new water purifier and boxes of relief supplies, stacked neatly but as yet undelivered and not even opened. “If you don’t keep clean, you’ll be expelled from here,” a camp manager barked at families in some tents. . . .

He called the blue tents a short distance away beyond the rice paddies a “V.I.P. camp” — hastily constructed and occupied by villagers tutored to receive visiting junta generals or envoys from the United Nations.
BBC similarly reports:
On Thursday, Mr Ban flew over flooded rice fields and destroyed villages and visited a government relief camp in the Irrawaddy delta.

A UN official privately called it a "show camp", says the BBC's Laura Trevelyan, in Burma with the secretary general.
* "Potemkin villages were purportedly fake settlements erected at the direction of Russian minister Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin to fool Empress Catherine II during her visit to Crimea in 1787." (Wiki)
Map: NY Times.

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