Brang Aung fled Burma years ago as a refugee. Now a Canadian citizen living in Halifax, Aung is not allowed back in the country. He’s spent recent days worrying and trying to contact his sister, who lives near the cyclone-ravaged region of what is now called Myanmar.
She finally got through on Sunday long enough to tell him she was OK, but some other relatives are not doing well. Then the connection cut out.
“It’s very difficult. I want to ask a thousand questions but there’s no chance to,” says Aung. “I’ve been really frustrated and really worried for everyone.”
He’s angry at the Burmese government for not allowing enough emergency aid workers into the country. Aung said people can’t criticize the military government in Burma or they will be beaten or arrested. He believes the rulers are trying to use the crisis as legal clout to legitimize their power, and that means hiding their abuses from other nations.
“At this point, forget about politics. No one wants to play politics. People are dying. People are starving there,” he says.
“The military reaction has been way too slow. They don’t really care that people are dying. Honestly, I’m really speechless how they’ve (treated) the victims of the cyclone.”
Aung once wanted to go back to Burma to shoot a documentary, but was not allowed in. Now he hopes to get his sister out of Burma and into Canada, but expects it to be a hard process. But for now he says he can only wait and nervously watch news reports.
“Even though we know what’s going on, what can we do right now?” he asks. “We can’t really do anything.”