Tuesday, May 13, 2008

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.)

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Blogger Karridine said...

Great distillation!

Thailand IS doing what's right, dealing with 'the secretive military government' trying to get those thugs to do what's RIGHT instead of dawdle along doing what HELPS THEM, in their twisted thinking...

Videos newly returned from Burma are playing on Thai TV, and they show the HORRENDOUS extent of devastation; show MANY discolored human corpses STILL out in the sun; show ragged refugee camps in need of clean water and latrines; and the Thai (eyewitness) narrators spell out the diarrhea and rashes and infections consequent to lack of clean water, tens of thousands of corpses in the fields, streets, trees (tidal surge killed them and retreated, leaving them dead in the trees); and lack of sanitary facilities 12 days after the typhoon destroyed their shelters/homes!

Thailand does what it can, and God bless it in that.

Bangkok expat, out.

11:36 AM  

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