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Philippine Jesuits stand with Myanmar's suffering people

Sacred Springs Dialogue Institute is joined by Catholics elsewhere to send letter of compassion and support

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: May 29, 2021 05:38 AM GMT
Philippine Jesuits stand with Myanmar's suffering people

Protesters hold up placards in Dawei on May 28 with images of killed protesters and blank outlines of protesters representing those killed since the February military coup. (Photo: Dawei Watch/AFP)

Religious people from across the world have joined a Jesuit-run institute in the Philippines in sending an open letter of support for the people of Myanmar.

The letter was signed by Carmen Valdes, president of the Sacred Springs Dialogue Institute at the Loyola School of Theology at Ateneo de Manila University.

“Our hearts go out to you. Global news and personal friends who are in Myanmar tell us first hand about your extreme plight — we feel your pain,” the letter states.

“A Myanmarese sister texted us: ‘My mind and body are in illness … Myanmar situation is very terrible day and night. Myanmar army are arresting in public people every day … pray for us … Thank you for your kindness and concern.’”

Among the signatories were people from the Institute of Formation and Religious Studies, Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, AWARE and Maryknoll Sisters, Cambodia.

“Friends, we are ONE with you. You do not deserve the disrespect and cruelty you are now experiencing. We are deeply saddened,” the letter added.

You have borne the burden of ruthless military rule for too many years

“We condemn the cold-blooded brutality of the military. We are standing with you as you fight for your freedom and join in your cry that your human dignity be respected — absolutely. We honor and acknowledge the more than 800 courageous, mostly young people, who have sacrificed their lives in the name of the struggle … some cruelly murdered in their homes for doing nothing at all. They were simply freedom-loving people.

“You have borne the burden of ruthless military rule for too many years; it has been too long, especially since the coup of 1962 to the present day. To all the courageous defectors from the military, although you are still very few, we pray that your example will encourage others to do what is right and bring to a conclusion these decades of military oppression.”

The letter praised Myanmar nun Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng, who became a global peace icon by twice kneeling in front of security forces and begging them not to shoot civilians.

“It seems public officials will stop at nothing to hold on to power, such as [coup leader] Min Aung Hlaing who said, ‘There is nothing I dare not do.’ And General Ne Win exclaimed, “Soldiers do not shoot at the sky, they shoot at the point [the people].’ It is the young people who are bearing the brunt — they are the seed out of which eventually freedom, justice and democracy will grow,” the letter added.

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“Our sisters and brothers, you are not alone. We wish we could do more but know that deep in our hearts we are with you. We have not forgotten you. Please let us know if there is anything we are able to do on your behalf. Our prayers coming from the silent centers of our heart together with our communal prayers rise above to the Son on the cross. His resurrected power is with you.” 

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