Matters India reporter
Yangon, October 1, 2019 — In a statement released on 1st October, eve of 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi the apostle of peace and non-violence, Cardinal Charles Bo archbishop of Yangon has appealed to the country’s religious leaders to speak out against the atrocities committed against the innocent civilians in Myanmar.
“I am more pained by the silence of religious leaders of this great spiritual citadel. [There are] 500,000 Buddhist monks, 70,000 nuns nearly 1,200 Christian pastors, more than 2,000 Catholic nuns, countless other religious leaders. Some [times] 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,” wrote the cardinal in his statement to religious leaders.
“Not a single day passes without the heart wrenching news of innocent civilians being displaced or killed or maimed by the ongoing conflict in Lashio, other Northern regions and Rakhine State,” said the cardinal who had served as the pastor and Bishop in the area for almost 20 years.
“Most of these people are extremely poor and innocent people. Striving for basic needs is their daily unending struggle. No group had done any economic development for these people,” the 71 year old cardinal lamented.
Further explaining the situation he said, “A ferocious conflict rages in and around them, forcing them to flee. With pain and sorrow I have been witness to their tears, their blood and their brokenness. Those who claim to fight in their names never cared for their safety. Parties in conflict have never shied away from using heavy weapons including aerial bombing.”
Making an appeal for peace the cardinal added, “I ask all the armies – State and Non State: Are these innocent, poor people your enemies? Are they not your brothers and sisters? Why are you merciless to these people? How many people have died because of your chronic war? How many women and children languish in forsaken camps? Have you not seen their anguish and unending tears? Where is the mercy? Does this make you happy? Have you got a clear plan where is painful war is going?”
In a final appeal to religious leaders he wrote,”There is a huge potential for peace through religious leaders. Kindly raise your voice against this mutilating war. Innocent suffering will never go away. Their blood and tears will cry out from the grave. Kindly speak out. Peace is possible, Peace is the only way. Let the scorching words of Dr. Martin King Junior be a warning to us : “This Generation will weep not for the bad deeds of evil men. But for the appalling silence of good people”