Cardinal highlights ‘blood and tears’ of innocent Burmese people
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo has condemned Burma’s ongoing violence, and encouraged religious leaders to raise their voices in protest.
According to UCA News, five civilians were injured during an artillery attack in Rakhine on 1 October. A Buddhist monk, novice, teacher, and two students were harmed.
Bo criticised the government, asking, “Where is the mercy?”
He said the military forces are not concerned with protecting people and regularly use heavy weapons.
“I served as the priest and bishop in this area for almost 20 years. Most of these people are extremely poor and innocent people,” he said. “Striving for basic needs is their daily unending struggle. A ferocious conflict rages in around them, forcing them to flee. With pain and sorrow, I have been witness to their tears, their blood and their brokenness.”
Beginning in late 2016, the Rohingya, a Muslim minority group who have mostly occupied Burma’s Rakhine state, faced a sharp increase in state-sponsored violence in their homeland.
It has resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands of people, whilst the military has been accused of rape and murder.
Bo expressed disappointment with the lack of response from the Buddhist and Christian communities. He said that in Burma the Buddist population has 500,000 monks and 70,000 nuns, and the Christian community has over 1000 pastors and 2000 Catholic nuns.
“[I was] pained by the silence of religious leaders,” he said in a statement released on 1 October.
“Some silence can be criminal. The war pursued is unjust and unholy. Our prayers and rituals are nullified by the blood and tears of innocent people.”
“Myanmar people are peace-loving and follow the guidelines of their religious leaders. There is a huge potential for peace through religious leaders. Kindly raise your voice against this mutilating war,” he said. “Kindly speak out. Peace is possible, Peace is the only way,” he added.
Burma is also known as Myanmar, a name which is opposed by many nations due to the country’s military dictatorship having illegally imposed the name.
Since 2018, conflicts between the Myanmar military and Arakan Army have displaced 33,000 people in Rakhine and Chin states, according to UCA News.
This statement is the latest in a series of comments expressing Cardinal Bo’s views. In August, he said the country is wounded and bleeding and highlighted the challenges faced by the people of Myanmar.
“In recent years, very dark clouds have appeared again, overshadowing the flickers of light that had begun to emerge. Continuing conflict, continuing abuses, and the spread of religious and racial hatred threaten the hopes, freedoms, and dignity of people throughout the country,” he said.
The cardinal said the suffering felt by the Burmese people would have lasting consequences.
“Their blood and tears will cry out from the grave,” he said.
Picture: Police officers detain a student taking part in a rally demanding peace at the war-torn section of Yangon, Myanmar. (CNS photo/Reuters)Tags: Burma, Cardinal, Cardinal Bo, catholic, Catholic Church, Myanmar, UN, Vatican, Yangon