By Eddy Ruble
Myanmar’s military junta has been increasingly ruthless in their attempts to overwhelm and defeat the peaceful civil disobedience movement (CDM) protesters who stand united for democracy and a civilian government in Myanmar.
Saturday marked the deadliest day of the peaceful resistance movement, with 107 people being killed by the military junta, including women and children. The death total of those killed by the military since the coup d’état began February 1, now stands at 462, with over a quarter of those dying from a single gunshot to the head. After the November 8 election which saw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party win 83 percent of the Parliamentary seats, the military generals called the election fraudulent, declaring a one-year state of emergency – effectively giving the military full power and control of the country. They refuse to cede power and control to democratically elected leaders, enacting a 3:00 am military coup d’état.
The Baptist World Alliance recently held a Zoom coordination call to discuss and strategize means for a Baptist response to the unfolding atrocities in Myanmar. Several Myanmar Baptist leaders were able to connect and give eyewitness updates on the situation from Myanmar.
They described the situation as being similar to the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia in the 1970s – where the military had complete control and acted with brutal and ruthless tactics in their use of force and intimidation. They describe a scene of military anarchy, where there is no longer any rule of law, only brutality by the military which is beyond description. Snipers aim for protester’s heads when they shoot at protesters, intending to kill. Soldiers conduct night raids, making arrests in the dead of night, often looting and burning homes and stores as they go. The air force has now been activated to utilizing fighter jets to conduct bombing raids for the first time in 20 years on ethnic minority groups along the Thai-Myanmar border who have been in decades long protracted conflict with the central government.
Baptist leaders as well as civilian reports indicate the will of the people is steadfast and unwavering in their demand for democracy. Day after day, the civil disobedience movement resistance continues – but they desperately need global attention for support and to put political and economic pressure on the military rulers, in their struggle for democracy.
The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is coordinating a two-pronged response to the tragic situation – humanitarian aid for those suffering from the military oppression and a global advocacy response to raise awareness and political pressure on the military junta.
Notably, Myanmar’s Ambassador to the United Nations, addressed the General Assembly in late February to urge the international community to use “any means necessary to take action” against the military and restore democracy. BWA is urging Baptist Conventions around the world to write to the Myanmar Ambassador in their respective county to voice support for democratically elected leadership in Myanmar and to end the military control. Political, economic, and military sanctions are needed to shift the needle of justice. More information about Myanmar and these advocacy efforts can be found on the following links:
Baptist history in Myanmar (formerly called Burma), began with America’s first and most prominent Baptist foreign missionary, Adoniram Judson, who arrived in Burma in 1813. After 40 years of dedicated language study and service in Burma, he and his collogues had translated the Bible into Burmese and established several churches.
Today, there are 1.7 million Baptist in Myanmar, many of whom are among the ethnic minority groups (Karen, Kachin, Chin, Mon) who have been in protracted military conflict with the central military government since the 1962 coup. Hundreds of thousands of Myanmar citizens have been forced to flee their homeland, with a sizeable number of refugees having been resettled in America over the last few decades.
CBF field personnel are currently engaged with an educational empowerment program for Myanmar refugee children just inside the Thai border and multitudes of CBF churches have been involved in refugee resettlement programs and/or host Myanmar Baptist congregations within their church.
The people of Myanmar need your prayers and your support now more than ever.
Financial contributions for the humanitarian and advocacy needs can be sent to CBF Disaster Response. You can give online here, or if you prefer you can give by mailing a check payable to “CBF” to:
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
P.O. Box 102972
Atlanta, GA 30368-2972
*please include “Disaster Response – Myanmar” on the memo line
Eddy Ruble is a CBF field personnel living and serving in Malaysia alongside his wife, Cindy. He is also CBF’s International Disaster Response Coordinator, engaging with our global response partners as the Myanmar crisis continues to unfold. You can learn more about and give to support the Rubles’ work at www.cbf.net/ruble.