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Archive for January 2nd, 2009

Restless Souls of the Irrawaddy Delta

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Restless Souls of the Irrawaddy Delta


By SAW YAN NAING Friday, January 2, 2009

A chilling sound reverberates these nights through many of the villages of the cyclone-devastated Irrawaddy delta—the metallic clang of an iron bar beaten by soldiers to drive away the spirits of the drowned that many believe roam through the region.

Soldiers stationed in Laputta Township said they had been assigned to strike iron bars after dark to reassure villagers who claim they are seeing the ghosts of people who died in Cyclone Nargis.

A typical scene of destruction in the Irrawaddy delta (Photo: AFP)

Burmese Buddhists traditionally hold two religious ceremonies—Yat Lae Hsun and Thet Pyauk Hsun—to ensure the release of the souls of deceased family members.Mass ceremonies were held for the thousands who died in Cyclone Nargis—yet villagers in many part of the devastated delta claim seeing the restless ghosts of cyclone victims.

“Villagers told me they heard ghosts shouting almost every night around midnight,” said a visitor to Laputta Township.

She said that during her stay in one village people claimed they were being visited by the spirits of dead relatives and friends asking for help.

A report on the Web site of The Seattle Times, quoted a 30-year-old Laputta woman who described how she had seen her dead husband.

He appeared to her one evening as a blurry image on the path he had normally taken home from work, she said. The image waved to her.

“The hair on my arms stood up at once,” she was quoted as saying. “That’s my husband.”

The Web site said the woman wiped away her tears as she said: “I could only go to a monk to save his soul so his next life will be a good one.”

Even soldiers assigned to reassure nervous villagers are reporting strange encounters.

One, attached to the 66th Light Infantry Division, said he heard a woman’s voice crying: “Help me, please, help me… I’m here, Ko Pe Than!”

Another said he heard the voice of a girl who died in the storm cry out: “Mother, I’m here! Please, help me!”

Soldiers report seeing mysterious lights flashing and hearing voices around the isolated seaside village of Konegyi.

The “ghost sightings” are attributed by some NGO workers and medical personnel working in the delta to the mental trauma suffered by cyclone survivors, who lacked proper post-disaster counseling.

One inhabitant of Mondinelay village, in Bogalay Township, one of the hardest-hit areas, said: “In the evening, if there is a heavy wind or rain, some people start crying, while others begin laughing. They are like mad people.”

Copyright © 2008 Irrawaddy Publishing Group | http://www.irrawaddy.org

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–>NB. This post is specially for those who cannot visit the Irrawaddy website.

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

January 2, 2009 at 4:36 pm

World focus on Burma (2 January 2008)

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President George Bush To Meet With UN Secretary-General Ban Ki …
RTT News, NY –
… Burma, Somalia, and peacekeeping in Darfur. The President will stress the need for a United Nations that can act effectively to promote freedom, …

Senator Feinstein Reflects on Legislative Accomplishments of the …
Media Newswire (press release), NY –
authored legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal – the nation’s highest civilian honor – to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Burma’s democratic …

Leading saffron monk’s memoir
Mizzima.com, India –
Unconditionally release Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners 4. Hold dialogue with the democratic political opposition representatives in …

Burma: life behind bars
Radio Netherlands, Netherlands –
… recently recognized by the New York based Human Rights Watch and accredited with their Human Rights Defender award. “Burma is a silent killing field. …

Sheikh Hasina seeks Suu Kyi’s release
Mizzima.com, India –
by Siddique Islam Dhaka (Mizzima News) — Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister in waiting has sought the release of Burmese democracy leader Aung San …

A wish list for 2009
Socialist Worker Online, IL –
April: Aung San Suu Kyi is released from house arrest and assumes her rightful place as the democratic head of the government of Burma. …

Myanmar frees 19 North Korean defectors
United Press International –
The defectors were sent to neighboring Thailand, the Voice of America reported, quoting authorities in Myanmar, formerly called Burma. …

Restless Souls of the Irrawaddy Delta
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
Mass ceremonies were held for the thousands who died in Cyclone Nargis—yet villagers in many part of the devastated delta claim seeing the restless ghosts …

New Year’s Resolutions for the NLD
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
Take, for starters, the case of the 2100 political prisoners languishing in Burma’s jails—234 of whom were arrested during or after the nationwide protests …

Weekly Business Roundup (January 02, 2009)
The Irrawaddy News Magazine, Thailand –
Thirty new company names were recently added to the so-called dirty list compiled by the human rights activist organization Burma Campaign UK, …

Myanmar releases North Korean defectors
CNN International –
(CNN) — Nineteen North Korean defectors have been released from detention in Myanmar and sent to Thailand, Burmese officials told the US-funded Voice of …

Just one more year to go of the dreaded Oh-Ohs
BCLocalNews, Canada –
In 2008 a cyclone in Burma killed 78000, while a Chinese earthquake killed 50000, but those disasters were pushed from many minds when financial chaos …

Darfur enmeshed within Sudan’s broadening national crisis (1)
Sudan Tribune, Sudan –
… around the actions taken by the Burmese junta in severely restricting international humanitarian assistance in the wake of Cyclone Nargis this past May, …

The Year 2008 at a Glance: An Overview of the World’s Important …

Senegambia News, Gambia –

As the world mourned the death of over 100000 people in the powerful cyclone that devastated Southern Myanmar, a pro-European Coalition won Serbia’s …

THE YEAR 2008: BEST & WORST by JEFFREY LAURENTI: 01/01/2009 …

MaximsNews Network, NY –

Burma cyclone heightens country’s misery and isolation. Myanmar’s rigid military rulers, whose violent suppression of Buddhist monks’ protests in September …

Year 2009 will see end of terrorism

Ceylon Daily News, Sri Lanka –

Then years ago in countries like Burma and Thailand similar economic crisis occurred. We too had to suffer. But the situation gradually improved. …

Unprincipled discrimination and dignity

Mizzima.com, India –

Yet, Burma today is an ancient world in which human relations are defined by status. Respect for the dignity of women is a prerequisite if we want to build …

Burma: The ongoing tragedy next door

เดอะ เนชั่น, Thailand –

… the UN and the rest of the world should yield to Burma if they want to see the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and 2000 political prisoners released. …