Fr. Dominic: I, a Burmese priest, in exile with my people (VIDEO)
On Holy Thursday, the day of the priesthood, the testimony of Fr. Wun Kyaw Htway, a priest from Kengtung who joined the protests immediately after the military junta's coup and is now a refugee in Thailand. He asks the international community for help and points the finger at China for the protracted civil conflict. His appeal to the world: "Enough words, we need concrete actions".
Yangon (AsiaNews) - Fr Dominic Wun Kyaw Htway led the simple life oa a parish priest before the Burmese junta's military coup overturned Myanmar. Now he finds himself a refugee in Thailand, from where he asks the international community for help: "Please, please, please don't limit yourselves to words, concrete actions are worth more".
The 34 year-old of Akha ethnicity has been a priest for five years, and was carrying out his ministry in the parish of St. Anthony of Padua, in the diocese of Kengtung, which is located in the eastern part of Shan State, when his life, like that of all Burmese, on February 1, 2021 was overwhelmed by what turned into a brutal civil conflict: "our dreams, our hopes and our future have been taken away from us. Our lives were destroyed by terrorist and murderous soldiers," Fr. Dominic tells AsiaNews.
It was inevitable, therefore, that he too a priest would join the pro-democracy protests: "On February 8 I was protesting. The next day I received a warning letter but I continued to protest. On the 10th I received a final warning but I didn't stop." On February 11, 2021 they were going to come to arrest him but, having learned about it in advance, he escaped and for about 6 months he hid in the town of Tachilek on the Thai border. In late August, he crossed the border posing as a cross-border coffee plantation worker.
"Now I am in a parish in the diocese of Chiang Rai, where I help a Thai priest," he continues. "My work here is useful because most of the parishioners are also ethnic Akha." Fr. Dominic has returned to administering the sacraments and giving catechism lessons, but his activities have been joined by collecting donations for Myanmar refugees. Food, clothing, money - whatever is donated and brought to the border,
In the rest of his time Fr. Dominic denounces the violence of the army: "I explain the situation in Myanmar, I tell how people are tortured, raped and burned alive. There is no more security for the population," he continues, because those who should take care of them have become executioners. "We want to see at least the right to life as human beings recognized. Myanmar's should not only be an internal problem, it should be an international issue because these are crimes against humanity. We have asked for help from the United Nations but so far the international community has only looked on and said they are concerned. Thank you for standing by me, but we need more than that."
He points his finger above all at the regional power that he considers responsible for the continuation of the conflict: "It is China that controls the military junta, it supports the murderers from behind because it wants to manipulate our country, but it cannot control the elected government. China doesn't care about our lives, it only cares about business."
"I don't mean all Chinese people," Fr. Dominic points out. "But Beijing is a Big Brother that controls several Asian countries. That's why only you can save us and that's why we hope you will help us. Please, please, please take action now against the Myanmar military."
PIME IS COMING TO THE AID OF PEOPLE DISPLACED BY THE WAR IN MYANMAR WITH THE CAMPAIGN "MYANMAR EMERGENCY". CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND SUPPORT US