‘Don’t Forget Burma’ urges authorApril 24th, 2009 - 3:14 pm ICT by ANI
Karen State (Myanmar), Apr.24 (ANI): The humanitarian situation in Myanmar remains desperate a year after cyclone Nargis slammed the country, the author of a new memoir of Burmese life has warned.Prominent campaigner Zoya Phan, 28, told Sky News that locals were struggling to rebuild their lives following the devastating storm, which hit Myanmar on May 2 2008, leaving nearly 140,000 people dead or missing.
“It has been a year since Nargis hit Burma, but when we spoke to the local people who were affected, they told us there hadn’t been any international humanitarian aid in many parts of the area,” she told Sky News.
“They said when some aid organisations were delivering aid into Burma, the regime just made a show - building up temporary shelters and asking people to come, then taking pictures before they left,” she added.Aid and food from international agencies found its way onto Burmese markets after being seized by the regime, while survivors were forced into unpaid construction work, she said.
Cyclone Nargis saw Burma make headlines, but while media attention on the country has since waned, Zoya warns that everyday suffering continues for many Burmese.
She hopes the release of her new book, Little Daughter, will help counter that by raise awareness of the country’s ongoing crisis.
Little Daughter is a memoir of Zoya’s early years growing up in Burma and subsequently fleeing - first to refugee camps and later to Britain.Mixed in with warm anecdotes - of her smuggling mangoes and creating mud slides - are the grim reminders of the horror that begins to invade her young life.
She recalls vividly the episode in which she and her siblings discover the body of a man beaten by the Burmese army floating lifelessly in the river where she played.
The book tells of Zoya’s unique position as the daughter of guerrilla soldier (her mother) and a freedom activist (her father), both of the Karen tribe - who have opposed the Burmese military junta for decades.
Following in their campaigning footsteps, Zoya knows the danger of speaking out so publicly against the military regime. (ANI)
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Tags: anecdotes, burma, burmese army, burmese military junta, campaigner, construction work, cyclone, grim reminders, guerrilla, humanitarian situation, international humanitarian aid, karen state, little daughter, mangoes, media attention, memoir, mud slides, nargis, refugee camps, sky news