So many people have written to ask about Myanmar: what’s really happening?
It’s just absolutely horrendous, friends.
Myanmar has been faithful moving toward democracy and working toward free and fair elections in 2010, 2015 and again in 2020. At midnight, the day before they were scheduled to take office, all the top government officials—newly elected and incumbents—were arrested, detained. Again.
(Do you know the history? This happened already. In 1947, all the top government leaders were assassinated as a newly independent government was forming. This led to decades of civil war and coups and arrests and illegitimate detentions. And then, in recent history, they’ve been moving forward. We were seeing the the hope of democracy. But now this.)
Since these arrests on 1 February 2021, peaceful protestors have taken to the streets in a beautiful testimony of the power of people, of voice, and of determination. Thousands upon thousands of people have entered the streets, all over the country, in the cities, in the most rural areas of Myanmar. And around the world, in refugee camps and in countries where they’ve repatriated as refugees.
(Because this isn’t the first time this has happened. There are still refugee camps all along our border and others from the years of civil war.)
And in response to the most peaceful, creative, beautiful protests I’ve ever seen, the military is responding in violence.
Men, women, and children are being shot, in the streets and in their homes. Children, babies. Every day in cruel ways.
Unlawful arrests are in the thousands; murders are in the hundreds. Refugees are pouring over the border in the thousands.
Air raids have begun. The military is bombing across the country.
And while the bloodiest day of the coup was happening on Saturday, the military dictator was having a party, and used drones to make an image of himself in the sky.
It’s unbelievable. But it’s happening.
Friends here are asking when the US or the UN will step in, and I’m not sure what to say. Because I’m not sure they will. I’ve read about the Holocaust. The Civil Rights Movement. The genocide in Rwanda.
We—as a world—are too good at looking back to see that we should have done something. We see that it was atrocious; that we should have known.
But now we know.
But we also have a video of George Floyd’s death, and I’m still waiting with bated breath as his trial unfolds. We boast equality, and yet I’m scared to bring my AAPI son and our mixed family to visit right now.
I’m not sure what is right in each situation that surrounds us. The brokenness is the world feels too great for me to present a solution.
But, Church, can we pray? Can we be faithful people who pray against violence in every land and every culture and every color of skin?
And friends, can we give? Can we send money for those losing loved ones, for those starving, for those standing up for injustice in Myanmar? Can we send money to organizations fighting for justice and equality?
And community, can we love each other well?
Can we let ourselves be broken that we might all be made whole?
If you’d like follow along with the situation in Myanmar, here are some people I follow on Instagram.
@thethtar_thet is poignant and honest.
@patrickslh takes stunning photographs.
@mohingamatters gives daily updates.
@br_randall gives updates and practical ways to get involved.
If you’d like to give to those within the country, I’d recommend mutualaidmyanmar.org.