I met with a representative of the US State Department this morning in Bangkok to discuss the Shan refugees in Thailand, and he told me that his office’s officers are all in Myanmar and Bangladesh now, dealing with what he described as unimaginable suffering. The ethnic Hill Tribe people of Shan State, and the Karen, are suffering too due to food insecurity, but not on a scale as is occurring in Bangladesh. All of the UN/government and NGO resources now are being directed to Rakhine State and Bangladesh. I am very upset that the Karen and Shan are being abandoned, but understand how this catastrophe in Rakhine and Bangladesh is seizing so much attention and resources. A terrible, terrible situation. The gentleman I met with stated that there is such a refugee crisis now globally that the hundreds of millions to billions of dollars committed to refugee issues (via the UN, country aid, and NGOs) is not enough to address the refugee crisis globally.
Thanks so much for the update. While the resources and commitment of western governments is far too low, the workers in the various offices and departments are trying the best they can. I don’t envy their situation, knowing they have to make decisions affecting the lives of thousands, while not being supported by their home country.
The marginalized peoples along the Myanmar border have suffered so much for so long, it is really a terrible thing. It’s just not sexy news, so somehow the longer you’ve suffered, the less interesting it is.
(As just a detail you may be interested in, in a recent post Ven @anon61506839 posted a book by Ven Dhammasami of Oxford. Ven Dhammasami is Shan, and when I met him in Bodhgaya many years ago he was involved in meeting with and supporting his people there.)
When these human catastrophes hit the news, we have to keep on reminding ourselves: this is just the beginning. There will be many, many more refugees very soon. A recent Cornell University paper by Charles Geislera and Ben Currens, Impediments to inland resettlement under conditions of accelerated sea level rise (Land Use Policy, Volume 66, July 2017, Pages 322-330), estimates up to 1.4 billion climate refugees by 2060, or 2 billion by 2100.
Bhante thanks and your comments regarding the refugee issue are very prescient. The gentleman I met I met with this morning had experience in Africa as well which qualified him for the Post dealing with refugees in Myanmar and Thailand. The potential for a catastrophic Refugee crisis due to food shortages flooding and other catastrophes is just so imminent that it is unbelievable. And to top it off China right now has its claws in Myanmar mining coal and just about everything else that will only further contribute to global climate change. The whole situation is unbelievable
One of the theories floating around the place is that this is the real reason for the crisis. China wants to push the Rohingya out of their lands so it can build its roads and ports there. According to the theory, this is why the Myanmar govt is pushing right now, and why Aung San Suu Kyi has been so quiet on the issue. Do you have any thoughts on this? I haven’t seen it confirmed in any reputable sources.
One of the benefits of jet lag was that I was awake for much of the night and was watching some news documentaries on China’s activities in Myanmar. They have a number of significant activities including dam and hydropower projects Mining and road construction and they are essentially turning parts of Myanmar into a Chinese satellite territory. This is also happening in Laos where the Chinese took over a large part of some forested land and built casinos for Chinese Tourists and when the Venture was no longer profitable they cut off the power to the territory. I think China is absolutely the dominant player and very little of what they’re doing is positive and none of it is going to benefit the people of Myanmar other than the military generals who control the contracts with the Chinese
The Great Nutrient Collapse
The atmosphere is literally changing the food we eat, for the worse. And almost nobody is paying attention.
" Across nearly 130 varieties of plants and more than 15,000 samples collected from experiments over the past three decades, the overall concentration of minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron had dropped by 8 percent on average. The ratio of carbohydrates to minerals was going up. The plants, like the algae, were becoming junk food.
What that means for humans―whose main food intake is plants―is only just starting to be investigated. Researchers who dive into it will have to surmount obstacles like its low profile and slow pace, and a political environment where the word “climate” is enough to derail a funding conversation. It will also require entirely new bridges to be built in the world of science―a problem that Loladze himself wryly acknowledges in his own research. When his paper was finally published in 2014, Loladze listed his grant rejections in the acknowledgements."
Even though the Rohingya are Muslims, aren’t they ethnically relatively the same as Burmese Buddhists, in terms of having the same blood? If you go back far enough genetically, aren’t Burmese Buddhists persecuting people who are genetically related to them?