The Archbishop of Yangon addresses a letter to the pro-democracy movement, asking them not to choose civil war as the path for justice against the coup d'état and the ongoing killings of young people and protesters. “Violence brings greater violence”.
Yangon (AsiaNews) – Card Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, released a letter today in which he asks the pro-democracy movement, which emerged after the military coup, not to “go down the path of violent struggle”.
Due to the daily casualties caused by the military’s violence and contempt, with mostly young people shot in the head, pressure is mounting to take up arms and start a civil war.
The cardinal, while “unconditionally condemn[ing] all acts of violence against unarmed civilians” by the junta, urges the people to remain “grounded in the values of democracy, non-violence, equity and solidarity” and seek “to bring justice to all”, as they have done so far. Only this way will they maintain the support, goodwill and admiration of the international community of the last two months.
According to the Association for Aid to Political Prisoners, the military have killed so far at least 275 people, including many teenagers.
Archdiocese of Yangon, 24th March 2021
I would like to extend my greetings and blessings to all the young people and all citizens across the country.
I have great admiration and appreciation for your historical contribution to and sacrifice for the greater good of our country and our people.
Yours is a nation-wide movement, grounded in the values of democracy, non-violence, equity and solidarity, and seeks to bring justice for all. Your movement has gained the world’s admiration for its spontaneity, creativity, orderliness, massive organization[al] skills and non-violent approach.
As with all historical movements, you are facing a great many challenges:
On one hand you are doing your best to survive in very difficult circumstances: Brutal violence against the people that makes it increasingly impossible for peaceful gatherings; fear, depression and anxiety about the course of future action; finding safe places and living in existential anxieties.
Heartbroken and frustrated by the violence that you face and by the rising death toll, you wonder if armed struggle may be the better response to the daily repression and brutality that you face.
I acknowledge your pain, anger and trauma. However, I caution you from going down the path of violent struggle and appeal to you to remain determined and disciplined in non-violence. Your impressive movement has gained world-wide attention, solidarity, admiration and support because of its peaceful nature so far.
Myanmar’s struggle is already too long and bloody. There are no easy solutions. Hate cannot be dispelled by hate but only by love; darkness is never dispelled by darkness but only by light.
All faith traditions adhere to non-violence because all violence is intrinsically evil. Violence brings greater violence. I unconditionally condemn all acts of violence against unarmed civilians. The path of violent struggle will initially excite a section of the population but in the long-term, it will alienate the majority, losing all support and goodwill not only a home but also with the international community.
Again I appeal to you to be peaceful and strategic to avoid confrontation and loss of life. I continue to support and remain available for all non-violent and peaceful efforts and interventions. I am fully committed at all levels to reduce violence in the streets and for the protection of lives.
May God bless each and every one of you.
Charles Cardinal Bi
Archbishop of Yangon