May 8, 2008
When you get hit with a cyclone, and a hundred thousand people die and another 1.5 million face starvation, you want a government that isn't too proud or too ashamed of itself to let in outsiders. The Burmese people, however, are not so fortunate as that. It occurs to me that the government in Myanmar has 47 million people living in an area smaller than Texas (that's about twice as many as actually live in Texas) so maybe they're cynically hoping for some relief from the population front. Fewer mouths to feed, fewer children to not educate, fewer Buddhists to repress. This is as graphic a demonstration as anyone needs into the tragedy of dictatorships. The entire world is beating on Myanmar's door, trying to offer food, building supplies, medical assistance -- and the government there won't let outsiders in for fear of losing control.