The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar: the true danger.

Cyclone Nargis swept through the Irrawaddy delta, in Myanmar, killing a confirmed 22,500 people, leaving 41,000 missing and hundreds of thousands homeless and hungry.

That seems bad enough and is assuredly a terrible humanitarian disaster - but what is, in fact, the greatest danger to the people of Myanmar: a cyclone or the state itself?

There is a greater danger, here, than might be apparent, at first. Myanmar's military junta is famously secretive and famously uncooperative with the international community. Yet, now, at this time of great need, they need to drop their usual ways - they need to open up and cooperate with the international community. What will happen if they don't? Well, those hundreds of thousands of people without food and shelter are presently roaming an area filled with rotting corpses lying randomly about devastated fields that once grew rice. The danger of disease - of malaria, dengue, cholera and untold other infections is very present. Without assistance, the death toll for this disaster could dwarf its present total. Indeed, more people could die from the consequences of the cyclone than directly from the cyclone itself. This is the danger of Myanmar's style of government - for they are behaving, to an unfortunate degree, in their typical style. Aid agencies are reporting that the Burmese government is attempting to attach too many conditions to any incoming aid. Basically, they are telling aid agencies: "Give us money and we will distribute it." Yeh, right, sure they will. A government that wants to be aided with money, rather than food and medicine is a government that has another agenda other than the security of its people. That money, unless exchanged for useful goods and equipment, in the situation, is utterly useless. It can, however, enrich the wrong people if it is not, in fact, distributed (as no doubt it wouldn't be).

The government of Myanmar is doubly culpaple in this disaster. Firstly, they failed to warn their people of the incoming cyclone - something any state could and should do. A simple warning could have saved many lives. Secondly, they are not cooperating in an optimum manner with aid agencies - they appear to be trying to use the situation to benefit the ruling elite in other ways, rather than directly assisting the endangered people.

It is abundantly clear, that the present government of Myanmar does not have the best interests of its people at heart. Perhaps more of the people of Myanmar will realize this now that they see the behaviour of the government in its biggest crisis in many years.

There is a price to be paid for a closed society. A society which is not truly open to the wider world is also more vulnerable to any disaster that might befall it. It is a more fragile and brittle society. Myanmar is discovering that in these trying days. I only hope that the Burmese government begins to think of its people and allows the aid agencies free and unimpeded access - and that it drops aspirations of cashing in on the situation.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and five months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and ten months, and Tiarnan, twenty-seven months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind, niño, gênio criança, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:39 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The death toll has hit 100,000 and counting, not 22,000.

1:40 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

That's appalling.

6:12 AM  

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