UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: January 10, 301 AP.

Debate rages over international crisis help

As Feniz, Ordland and Bowdani send medical experts and staff, field hospitals, water purifiers and boring equipment for well-making, Utanian politicians are deeply divided on whether it was at all necessary, while Chiquiti are under no such illusions.

Parliament opened on Tuesday not to debate over the Death Penalty bill, instead debate over the offer and acceptance of international assistance from Bowdani, Feniz and Ordland for the crisis / no-crisis in the Chiquiti region. Concerns raised by the opposition revolved about three main themes: the absolute necessity of calling in outside help for an essentially internal problem; the possibility that the personnel sent, particularly the army, are foreign intelligence officers planted in the emergency response crews to spy on Utania; or the lack of response from the Utanian government. On the latter point, President Okarvits has since sent three army medical companies to the stricken camps.

Regarding the first, and most contentious reason for debate, the split in Parliament is between those who see the move as "insulting to the self-sufficiency of the Utanian nation", and those who see the Chiquiti situation as a "humanitarian crisis demanding urgent attention". Boiled down, said one MP on condition of anonymity, the divide is between the "east-coast and Utani MP's, the former living in the land of milk and honey, unable or unwilling to see the poverty and deprivation in the rest of the country. They consider it an affront if doctors are forced to work in the west and south of the country, away from the modern world."

Minister for Health Philip Stanton has been on the defensive not only from opposition MP's unhappy with the arrangements, but from members of his own government parties who are unhappy with the "low key" manner in which he made the plea for help. Many in the government, however, have been supportive, by far the overwhelming majority.

Chiquiti, however, are grateful for the international community's assistance. "It will save lives", says Horon Tumakti, the Peoples Party's Chiquiti voice, "and that is all the matters. Not whether Ordland or Feniz are spying on us. Chiquiti has nothing of military value to anyone, so I see no reason for the opposition's complaints."

©UPA, 301 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)