Blinking Over Burma

As posted on the other blog, there are numerous reports today saying the military dictator of Burma has agreed to allow foreign aid workers into cyclone-devastated areas. Don’t believe it until it happens, however.

The Wall Street Journal has an article today on the underground network of relief in Burma run mostly by monks. It’s a subscriber-only article, but if you can find the article through Google News you can read the whole thing. Some Buddhist organizations and private individuals have been able to get money and supplies directly to monks, bypassing the junta. Meanwhile, food and other supplies from the big aid organizations are showing up for sale in Yangon markets. Apparently soldiers are confiscating the supplies and selling them.

There’s a news story circulating on right-wing blogs about the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) supplying condoms to Burma in response to the cyclone. At least, it looks like a news story. It seems to have originated on an anti-abortion site called LifeSiteNews. However, this same anti-abortion site claims

UNFPA’s response to the deadly earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, that affected some 5.7 million people, was to “provide reproductive health supplies” as well as to ensure that pregnant women “receive proper emergency obstetric services (that is, abortion) when necessary,” according to the UNFPA website (

If you actually go to the URL provided, you find —

Accepting the Fund’s offer of assistance, the Chinese Government has asked UNFPA to provide reproductive health supplies, including clean delivery kits for primary health centres and hospital equipment needed for Caesarean deliveries and blood transfusions. UNFPA assistance also includes hygiene kits for displaced individuals and funding to address immediate shelter needs.

Chinese authorities estimate that the earthquake has affected some 5.7 million people, and that many may stay in temporary camps for up to one year. In such situations, the risks normally associated with childbirth are often heightened for displaced women.

Can we say that the folks who run LifeSiteNews are a pack of sick, twisted, lying bastards? I believe so.

I searched the UNFPA web site and did not find anything about sending condoms to Burma in response to the cyclone, which of course is not absolute proof they aren’t sending condoms in response to the cyclone. UNFPA does have an ongoing program of supplying condoms to Burma, however, mostly for the purpose of slowing the spread of HIV infection. This has been going on for a few years and has nothing to do with the cyclone.

At Lulu’s place, SeeDubya writes,

If any one story sums up what the U.N. has become, this is it. It’s at once so clueless and out-of-touch to be darkly comical (Hey, you know these people rebuilding their lives amid the bloated corpses and amoebic dysentery and famine really need? Some condoms!) while at the same time being sinister and malevolent, and redolent of Margaret Sanger’s eugenics movement. Somewhere poor brown people are multiplying, UNFPA notes with alarm, and primly resolve to help them stop.

They’re a very C.S. Lewis sort of villain, thoroughly dangerous and yet still laughable, especially because of the deadly seriousness with which they take themselves. If you’ve read The Screwtape Letters or especially That Hideous Strength, you’ll know what I mean. What is the United Nations but the National Institute for Coordinated Experiments writ large?

SeeDubya may not be lying, as I suspect he believes the condom story is true. But “sick” and “twisted” still apply.

2 thoughts on “Blinking Over Burma

  1. Barbara, this is the only debunking of the “UN sends condoms to MyanMar” story I have seen on the web and deserves greater exposure…

  2. There is a recent article by an Indian commentator in the Japan Times, complaining how the Bush administration’s insistence on not even talking to governments they don’t like (in this case strongly aided and abetted by Laura Bush, who for good and doubtless beautifully sincere Christian reasons takes a very personal interest in the Burmese predicament and who almost certainly has a visceral dislike of condoms) – how this insistence has been, in this case as in all the others, wholly counter-productive, has increased the suffering of the Burmese people, has strengthened the junta, has driven Burma into the arms of China, and is contributing to making the region even more unsettled than it is already. The article is well worth reading.

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