Protesters make the three-finger salute while taking part in a candlelight demonstration against Myanmar's military coup in Yangon's Tamwe township on April 3. (Photo: AFP)
Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon has called on the citizens of Myanmar, which is witnessing merciless killings by security forces, not to give up hope as their struggle will succeed.
“The Way of the Cross of Myanmar will never go in vain. It will end in the resurrection of freedom, democracy and peace and prosperity to all,” he said in a homily at Easter Mass on April 3.
“Hundreds have been killed. A bloodbath has flown on our sacred land. Young and old and even children have been mercilessly killed.”
The Southeast Asian nation has seen daily pro-democracy protests following a Feb. 1 coup that abruptly ended a 10-year democracy experiment and has seen it become a pariah state.
At least 557 people including 44 children have been killed and over 2,600 arrested since the military takeover, according to a rights group which monitors casualties and arrests.
Cardinal Bo said the Resurrection is a reminder of hope and this Easter must start the process of healing the nation.
“The war against our youth, killing them in the streets, is a war against human dignity,” he said, adding that “torture, abuse, merciless killings made it the 21st century Calvary.”
He added: “The coup is a shattering catastrophe. Dreams of our people became a nightmare. Let the dreams of democracy buried for the last two months in the graves of oppression be resurrected.”
The 73-year-old cardinal has lauded young people’s determination in the fight for democracy and justice as the struggle has drawn huge support from all men and women of goodwill.
“In a poignant show of humanity, those who died young, donated their body and blood to the future of others, shaming cowards who celebrated every killing,” Cardinal Bo said.
He added that youths' struggle is not only for democracy but for humanity. “This struggle has awakened a huge wave of humanity and fellowship among all people.”
The outspoken prelate has called on young people to adopt non-violent methods and not to die unnecessarily.
“If you live long, democracy is strengthened, the evil is weakened,” he said, adding that the enemy knows only the language of violence.
“Let a new Myanmar of peace and prosperity rise from the grave of hatred and darkness,” he added.