Thailand: Doing The Right Thing
Sherman Oaks, California
Once again, the people and government of Thailand did the right thing. Once again, no one noticed.
In the wake of Cyclone Nargis, the Thais did everything they could to provide aid to their suffering Burmese neighbors. Putting historical animosity aside, the Thais allowed their country to be used as the staging ground for the United Nations, the Red Cross and dozens of non-governmental organizations. The Thais granted permission for foreign troops to operate on their soil, with U.S. military aircraft flying a relief mission out of U-Tapao Airbase. The Foreign Ministry provided back-channel communications between Western nations and the reclusive Burmese generals. The Royal Family’s foundations donated more than 10 tons of water purification tablets, foodstuffs, tents and clothing. A former prime minister led a delegation to Burma, seeking to persuade the generals to open their country to disaster relief. If the worst happens, Thailand will – as it has consistently done in modern times – suffer refugee camps on its borders. And all of this information is available because every major news organization on earth can and does operate freely in Thailand.
No one has commented on Thailand’s role, because people gossip about the bad neighbor who leaves trash on the lawn, not the good neighbor who clips the hedges every weekend.
So, to the Thai government and the Thai people: Thank you.
(Pictured: Royal Thai Air Force C-130 cargo planes, like the ones used by the Thai and U.S. militaries to deliver relief supplies.)