Burma, Unchanged

A reporter in Rangoon, Burma examines the situation:

The Burmese Minister for Planning and Development read out a speech in which he said the government was in control of the situation, that aid relief and money from abroad were welcome but that it would only be distributed by the military.

Nargisbodies1 So nothing had changed after all. That doesn't surprise the Burmese lawyer whose flat at the edge of the city has turned into Rangoon's true news center. Burmese journalists and regime critics meet here, as do a few Western journalists. They had already come here five months ago when thousands of monks demonstrated in Rangoon. The lawyer shows us photos from corpses in the delta taken by Burmese photographers. He's forbidden to publish them.

He says the cyclone chose a good time to strike Burma. Now the world is looking at Burma, and not just Tibet. We have a chance too now, he says -- what the Olympic Games are doing for Tibet, the failure of the junta after Nargis is doing for Burma, cynical though that may sound. We just have to seize the opportunity, he says. We ask him how. He shrugs his shoulders, and looks as exhausted as he did last October, shortly after the junta stopped the monks' protests.