ASIA/THAILAND - After the coup, Bishops and religious leaders become mediators between the warring parties

Friday, 23 May 2014

Bangkok (Agenzia Fides) - The Bishops and other religious leaders of Thailand will play a role and offer their contribution to mediate between the warring factions and find a political solution to the crisis: is what His Exc. Mgr. Joseph Chusak Sirisut, Bishop of the diocese of Nakhon Ratchasima in Northeastern Thailand, and President of the Episcopal Commissions for interreligious dialogue and for missions says to Fides Agency, in the aftermath of the seizure of power by the military. The Bishop explained that after the proclamation of the martial law, there was a "soft, without bloodshed" military coup. "For more than six months a serious situation of instability and the struggle between the two factions was registered. There seemed to be no way out and the whole country was suffering.
The intervention of the military is essentially to restore peace. The people accepted as a positive move, people are instead almost relieved, after so much tension".
The Bishop adds: "In the coming weeks a plausible way out for the country to put an end to this stalemate has to be found. We know that a coup is always considered negatively at an international level. Thai people have a profound desire for peace, justice and transparency". In this delicate phase, the contribution of religious leaders can be crucial: "As Catholic Church – continues Mgr. Sirisut - we took the initiative and in recent months, we have had big interfaith gatherings, with the presence of leaders of the five main communities, engaged in a solemn and intense prayer for peace. We will continue to do so, and in the next few days we will arrange a new meeting: the spiritual leaders get together to set an example and show a way of reconciliation to politics and to the entire nation".
The Bishop reiterates that "the religious leaders want to promote an initiative of arbitration and mediation. The parties must sit at a table and urgently find a way out of the crisis. In this way, even the military intervention will be temporary and the democratic process will soon be able to resume. Once an agreement is signed, the army will leave the scene and new elections will be held".
The Bishop is convinced of the goodness of this roadmap: "Political leaders will have to listen to us, because religious leaders represent the wishes, hopes, desires, values of the entire population of Thailand. Dialogue is the only way possible. We are convinced that this is the time: religions can commit themselves. To Buddhists, who are sometimes skeptical about this type of action, we say: this does not mean to go in politics, but help a process of dialogue and act on the conscience of our political leaders".
The political and institutional crisis worsened in December, when the Prime Minister Shinawatra dissolved parliament and called for early elections. The Supreme Court ordered for the removal of the prime minister for abuse of power. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 23/05/2014)