Yesterday, Mr Kouchner urged the international community to force the reclusive Burma authorities to accept outside help, under the UN's "responsibility to protect" civilians when governments are unable or unwilling to do so.
Gosh this in an interesting political situation unfolding in Burma. The US are contemplating some helicopter drops of provisions without permission from the Burmese government.
So many different things wrapped up in this. The world has stood by and not done anything in the past. The English had intelligence as to what was happening in Auschwitz but chose not to bomb the gas chambers and instead bombed political targets not more than a few kilometres away. That same day, Auschwitz set a record for the number of Jews it killed in any one day. Many many times we have watched as governments have abused and neglected and punished their people, in order to retain contol over them. Surely, as global citizens, it's our responsibility, our duty even, to help the Burmese people. The environmental damage that has been inflicted upon these villages is beyond comprehension. A death toll in the 100 000s is beyond my own comprehension. And now people have gone without food and water, and presumably are living in contaminated water, for 6 days and still their government says they are handling it.
At what point do we stand by watching and watch no more? At what point do we say, no, you are hurting your people, we must act if you cannot?
I can't help remembering though, all those camera sweeps over New Orleans and all those small groups of people standing on houses or broken bridges with signs that pleaded for someone to help them. What would the US have done if other countries had taken it upon themselves to decide to stand by no longer and to now take action? I always remember those Australians who were in the stadium and the Channel 7 news crew who went in and found them and drove them to safety whilst Alexander Downer stood by and wrung his hands, tied by red tape.
The world's not fair I guess. And there are different rules for everyone.