ASIA/MYANMAR - Easter amidst fear, violence and hope in Mandalay, where innocent civilians die

Wednesday, 12 April 2023 violence   easter   war crimes   wars   civil war  

Mandalay (Agenzia Fides) - "Christ is risen and we are working to remove the sepulchral stones that threaten to bury our hopes. We strive for justice, peace and the healing of our war-wounded land. We trust in God that, with his help, a new era of peace and prosperity may return to Myanmar", says to Fides Father Dominic Jyo Du, parish priest of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in the Archdiocese of Mandalay.
The priest tells Fides about Easter and talks about the situation in the diocesan territory: "In Mandalay we celebrated Easter with the churches always full of faithful. There was an atmosphere of great fear and tension, but the situation was calm. In other areas of the diocesan territory, however, there is suffering and continued death. We prayed intensely for people in distress, tribulation, displacement. We are close to the destitute and displaced and, as a local community, we continue to organize works of charity, thanks to the coordination of the diocese. We lived Easter between fear and hope", he notes.
In the territory of Mandalay, the Sagaing region is affected by fighting and violence. Yesterday, April 11, 80 civilians, including children, were killed following a morning air raid conducted by the Myanmar Army in Kantbalu municipality. According to local sources, the army wanted to hit people who had gathered with some representatives of the "National Unity Government (NUG, the democratic government in exile) that the ruling military junta has designated as a "terrorist organization." A fighter plane and military helicopter targeted the gathering of about 150 people, killing women, children and elderly people who had also gathered to celebrate the beginning of "Thingyan", the traditional Burmese New Year. A second attack, with the killing of other civilians, occurred in the evening of the same day. The NUG condemned "the heinous act by the army, another example of the indiscriminate use of violence against innocent civilians, which constitutes a war crime".
Father Dominic Jyo Du concluded: "The Lord is the Prince of Peace. He hears the cry of his people and their suffering. Easter reminds us of God's mercy for the suffering humanity. At Easter we celebrate the victory of life over death, of hope over despair, of light over darkness. All the stones that oppress our hearts - stones of hatred, revenge, resentment and despair, the boulders of our anxieties, tribulations and fears - we hand over to the power of love of the Risen Lord. He is the only one who can relieve them and overcome them. Today our hope is only the Risen Christ who is always with us, comforts us and gives us new life". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 12/4/2023)