Friday, May 16, 2008

Remember the Mistral?

From the Annals of Burma Relief

Remember the Mistral?

That’s the French naval ship that Bernard Kouchner announced would deliver aid to Burma whether the Burmese junta liked it..or not!

The Mistral was supposed to arrive in Burmese waters the middle of this week on its unilateral mission of mercy.

But it’s not there.

What happened?

This unintentionally hilarious English-language video on the France 24 outlet (look for the clip French Ship Ready to Help) and reports from the French embassy provide the answer:

The Mistral has been steaming around the Bay of Bengal in circles...because it didn’t have any rice in its hold...which it has to buy from India...and is only now completing loading at India’s port of Chennai...and it hopes to reach Burma Sunday...on the two-week anniversary of the cyclone.

That's not a spectacular improvement over the relief efforts of the Myanmar junta.

I particularly enjoyed the insouciant Gallic resignation of the quartermaster guy (note how the camera zooms in on the evocative hand gesture addressing the profound irony of a modern French warship needing rice to make it to its destination) on the Mistral, who says:

We have no choice but to wait. The rice hasn’t arrived yet. When it comes, we have to load it up pallet by pallet, bag by bag and make sure it’s ready to be delivered...properly. The delays are incredible!

C'est incroyable!

Yeah, well somebody tell Bernard Kouchner.

Next time you order up a humanitarian invasion...don’t forget the rice.

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