Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Help the monks help cyclone survivors

At Large fans are a generous sort — I can tell by how often people click on that little "Make a Donation" button on the right of the screen. Oh wait, no one ever does that.

But I do know that even if you don't want to send me your hard-earned cash, you’d want to help out in Burma, where more than 100,000 are feared dead in the wake of the recent cyclone. But how to get the aid to that country when it’s common knowledge that the government there is brutal, corrupt and not particularly interested in helping its own people? I have one word for you: monks.

So says the independent global campaigning organization

Humanitarian relief is urgently needed, but Burma’s government could easily delay, divert or misuse any aid. Today the International Burmese Monks Organization, including many leaders of the democracy protests last fall, launched a new effort to provide relief through Burma’s powerful grass roots network of monasteries—the most trusted institutions in the country and currently the only source of housing and support in many devastated communities. Click below to help the Burmese people with a donation and see a video appeal to Avaaz from a leader of the monks:

Giving to the monks is a smart, fast way to get aid directly to Burma’s people. Governments and international aid organizations are important, but face challenges—they may not be allowed into Burma, or they may be forced to provide aid according to the junta’s rules. And most will have to spend large amounts of money just setting up operations in the country. The monks are already on the front lines of the aid effort—housing, feeding, and supporting the victims of the cyclone since the day it struck. The International Burmese Monks Organization will send money directly to each monastery through their own networks, bypassing regime controls.

We now return to your regularly scheduled humor blog, already in progress.

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