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Aiding Myanmar

| Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Perhaps humanitarianism can trump totalitarianism in Myanmar.

A Saturday cyclone has left more than 22,000 dead in the former Burma. More than 40,000 more are missing. Up to 2 million people are said to be homeless. And the numbers could keep climbing.

The brutal and repressive four-decades-old ruling Myanmar junta did nothing to warn the populace of the approaching storm. It is not unfathomable to wonder if it was by design to stifle a burgeoning dissent movement.

And despite the government's mistakes, the world is begging to respond. Not to aid and abet thuggery, mind you, but to attempt to ease massive suffering that easily could unhinge a nation, if not a region.

Those rushing to aid the Myanmar people are not so foolish as to send millions to the military government to siphon off for its own use. The United States, the European Union, the United Nations and others have pledged their assistance through recognized humanitarian agencies. They are urging others to do the same.

After some initial resistance, the Myanmar government appears ready to accept it -- even with doses of well-placed criticism for its myriad failures, even from a normally apolitical U.S. first lady.

Still, if civility begets civility, here's the test case to prove it.

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