What We Feel on the Eve of the One-Year Anniversary of the Military Coup

By Joseph Thang Ki

We are very worried because the suffering of the people even after one year after the military coup is growing enormously. The lives of our people is like walking the path of suffering. It was transformed from a beautiful garden of Eden into a Calvary massacre. Some Church leaders are with the people and trying to provide humanitarian assistance as well as urging all parties concerned to follow the path of peace and reconciliation but Majority of Church leaders still remain silent and that’s why the faithful in Myanmar are not very much satisfied with them and are questioning the stand of Catholic Church Leaders on the suffering people of Myanmar.

Actually we are in an unacceptable situation. People’s lives have been devastated by intense conflict and devastation. Towns, Villages and houses are often burnt down by the military. According to the World Food Program (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) the number of refugees has risen to 300,000 and that around a million innocent people are finding it difficult to get even the basic needs such as food because the whole country is really at war.

Even the Churches were bombed and destroyed. The number of refugees in the Christian- majority areas such as Chin state and Kaya state and some regions of Mandalay and Sagaing has also increased significantly. The people of Myanmar are going through a life of destruction as all unjust violence is happening day to day.

The Military Coup and People’s Uprising in Myanmar, and How Asian Religions can Support and Promote Solidarity Interreligiously

Webinar The Military Coup and People’s Uprising in Myanmar, and How Asian Religions can Support and Promote Solidarity Interreligiously

Organised by ALL Forum, NCCP, LAMIN

On the 26th of March 2021, Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum, NCCP in Philippines, and RTRC in Thailand jointly organized an immediate online webinar to consider how we as followers of religions together can support and have solidarity with the Myanmar people. This webinar was organised on the Zoom platform and was also streamed live on YouTube.

For this webinar we had two actors; one is a well-known Buddhist activist monk Ven. Bhikkhu Mandalar Zan and another Ko Htwe a Lay Activist and Project Manager of Lay Mission Institute from Myanmar to share vivid stories about the current situation there and discuss how peace-loving religions in Asia could unite and support.

Bhikkhu Mandalar expressed the situation in Myanmar and the active of role Buddhist monks in the civil disobedience movement and concluded with the immediate help required for the Myanmar people. Following Bhikkhu’s presentation Ko Htwe elaborated on the responses of Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and Hindus Religious Institutions in Myanmar and also the Catholic, Diocesean, Religious Sisters, Catholic Media and Lay responses to the military coup in Myanmar. He concluded with many points on how we can help Myanmar. Subsequently the Discussion panel consisting of Rev. Irma Mepico Assistant Program Coordinator of the Christian Unity and Ecumenical Relations (CUER) -NCCP, Philippines; Prof. Francis Lee / Executive director of JusPeace, Korea; Fr. Vinai Boonlue, SJ/ Head of Euro Burma Office Foundation; Shared their critical views and opinions enriching the discussion during the webinar.

Participants from 7 countries namely Pakistan, India, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines and South Korea joined in this webinar and took back valuable input after experiencing the presentations, Panel discussions as well as the open discussion.

The webinar concluded with a plan to draft an interreligious joint statement addressed to the FABC to motivate the CBCM to join with the other religious institutions of Myanmar and actively participate in the protests against the military coup.

Webinar The Military Coup and People’s Uprising in Myanmar, and How Asian Religions can Support & Promote Solidarity Interreligiously

An Urgent Webinar:
The Military Coup and People’s Uprising in Myanmar, and How Asian Religions can Support and Promote Solidarity interreligiously?

On February 1, 2021, the Myanmar’s military staged a coup that detained several high-ranking government officials, including Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint on the same day. General Min Aung Hlaing refused to recognize the election results held on the 8th of November, 2020, calling it a fraudulent election and took power hours before the new National Assembly opened and declared a state of national emergency.

Myanmar, which had been ruled by the military regime for a long time had transferred its military power to a civilian regime through elections in 2015. The country which had just begun to take a step towards democracy is now in danger of returning to a military dictatorship once again. In response, Myanmar’s people have taken to the streets again despite the horrible and harrowing memory of thousands of people massacred in the “8888 Uprising,” which was a huge resistance against the military rule on the 8th of August, 1988. More than a month into the present coup, the situation in Myanmar is getting worse, with the number of deaths and injuries increasing as the military crackdown intensifies.

In Myanmar, where the majority of the people are Buddhists, the Catholic Church, being a minority religion, lacks a strong influence; but earnestly hopes for solidarity of Catholic churches in Asia and the world for that matter.

Therefore, Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum, NCCP in Philippines, and RTRC in Thailand are jointly organizing an immediate online webinar to consider how we as followers of religions together can support and have solidarity with the Myanmar people. For this webinar we will invite two actors; one is a well-known Buddhist activist monk from Myanmar and a Diocesan Priest from Thailand situated near the Myanmar border to share vivid stories about the current situation there and discuss how peace-loving religions in Asia could unite and support.

Schedule: March 26, 2021 (Friday) 7:00-9:00 pm Philippine time
● Flow:

  1. Presentation by both the Presenters
  2. Discussion – after presentations by both the Presenters the talk is open for the online participants.
  3. Audience in online zoom and in real-time YouTube broadcasting if possible.

● Presenters:

  1. “Military coup and Buddhist response – more solidarity is needed!” -Ven. Bhikkhu Mandalar Zan / mandalarzan@gmail.com
  2. Religious response to the military coup in Myanmar-Ko Htwe/ Project Manager of Lay Mission Institute, Myanmer

● Discussion Panel:

  1. Ms. Norma Gonos / Director of Apo Governance and Indigenous Leadership Academy, Philippines
  2. Rev. Irma Mepico / Assistant Program Coordinator of the Christian Unity and Ecumenical Relations
    (CUER) -NCCP, Philippines
  3. Prof. Francis Lee / Executive director of JusPeace, Korea
  4. Fr. Vinai Boonlue, SJ/ Head of Euro Burma Office Foundation

Jointly Organized by ALL Forum, NCCP, RTRC

Join this webinar

Solidarity With the Students and civilian leaders of Myanmar

Solidarity With the Students and civilian leaders of Myanmar

Solidarity Statement by International Teams of IMCS Pax Romana and ICMICA Pax Romana

It is with a great sense of duty and concern that we the International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs and the International Movement of Catholic Students condemn in strongest terms the recent attacks on due process, justice and democracy in Myanmar.

Eleven years ago, the nation moved from military rule to democracy after ruling the country for decades. On early hours of Monday, 1st February, 2021 the military organized coup took place and the elected leaders of the people, especially the top echelon of the NLD leadership have been arrested and Aung San Suu Kyi taken to unknown locations for detention, under unsubstantiated charge of the violation of the country’s import-export laws.

It is important to alert the military that the world is watching most especially the young people of Myanmar whose future and destiny they are toying with.

We strongly advocate for a round table dialogue between the military high ranking officials, led by the commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing, and the Civilian Leaders, to return power to the civilian leaders and call on the Civilian Leaders to address the concerns of the military if any.

We appeal to the students, youth and women of Myanmar to maintain peace and harmony as their plight is a global concern and we won’t rest until normalcy returns to Myanmar.

We call on the international community to intervene in this constitutional violation of the rights of democratically elected leaders so that participatory democracy is returned to the people of Myanmar.

Sign:
International Teams of IMCS Pax Romana and ICMICA Pax Romana