ASIA/MYANMAR - Third anniversary of the coup: "silent strike" and prayer

Thursday, 1 February 2024 civil war   prayer  

Yangon (Agenzia Fides) - Some Catholic faithful of Myanmar are spending the third anniversary of the coup carried out by the military junta on February 1, 2021 in silent Eucharistic adoration, praying the Rosary, placing the affliction and precarious situation under the protection of the Virgin Mary and ask for "a time of peace, justice and freedom for the nation": this is what some Catholics, who in Yangon - as in other Burmese cities - together with thousands of other citizens took part in the silent protest "from below" report to commemorate the tragic event of the coup that interrupted the democratic process and triggered a civil conflict that is still dramatically ongoing. As the lay Catholic Joseph Kung reports, in the morning mass in St. Mary's Parish in Yangon they prayed "for those who have been unjustly arrested, for those who have fled persecution, for all internally displaced persons who live in distress or have lost contact with their family members". The local community entrusted to the Lord "the innocent people who have lost their lives throughout Myanmar from the day of the coup until today" and, above all, prayed to God "for the war to end and for peace, justice, the rule of law and the respect for human dignity according to the Gospel". On the third anniversary of the coup, people "remember the hopes that arose in the 2020 general elections, the plans that young people made back then that spoke of prosperity and peace, and the efforts to contain the pandemic through national solidarity ", says Kung. People remembered all this and took up the silent protest: while the streets are deserted in many cities, "silent dissent is making noise and reaching the ears of the military, who are harming their own people," he notes. "The prayer chosen today is that of divine mercy: Jesus, I trust in you, your will be done," he notes, reporting that the Pope's call to live a "year of prayer" in preparation for the anniversary Myanmar has taken the form of a special and continuous "prayer for peace in our beloved nation". Meanwhile, the military junta - seeking to contain the ever-growing rebellion, launched an offensive last autumn called "Operation 1027" (see Fides, 23/11/2023) and conquered parts of the national territory - extended the state of emergency for another six months, arguing that this measure was necessary "to lead the nation to a normal state of stability and peace." In the three years since February 1, 2021, the social scenario in the country has changed. In the first phase, the Burmese population took to the streets peacefully to express their discontent, and the army responded with harsh repression. The protest gradually turned into an armed rebellion with the formation of the "People's Defense Forces", composed mainly of young people from the Bamar, the country's main ethnic group. This gave rise to a civil conflict that still continues in the country today and which worsened when the resistance groups joined forces with the ethnic militias that have historically been active in Myanmar's border areas. In three years, the civil war has forced more than 2.5 million internally displaced people to flee their homes and created a serious humanitarian situation, preventing international organizations from providing assistance. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 1/2/2024)