Praying Together for Myanmar
The coup d’etat on Feb. 1 halted Myanmar’s tentative steps towards democracy after nearly 50 years of military rule, and had drawn condemnation from around the world.
The power grab plunged Myanmar into chaos, drawing hundreds of thousands of people on the streets of cities and towns across the country as doctors, teachers and other civil servants stop work in protest against the coup, known as the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM)
However, the violent crackdown by the military did not deter the protests despite more than 700 deaths and more than 3000 arrested. Even children were not spared.
Our immediate concern is our members and friends who are battling daily with an increasingly brutal regime and face danger not only on the streets but also while being in their own homes, however innocent and non-violent they may be. We cannot but worry and ask what we can do to help.
Since Feb 2, Fondacio Asia started a weekly online prayer via zoom open for everyone. We have around 50 people every Wednesday night joining from all around the world for an hour of solidarity and prayer. We invited our members and friend in and outside Asia. Each week, friends of friends continue to add to the number of people who would like to pray for Myanmar.
Despite the challenging situation of our Myanmar members and friends, they still find time and energy to prepare these prayers with some of our other members.
Each night, we start with sharing news and updates on the ground to understand the situation there. This is also to help our participants to connect to the people of Myanmar and keep these intentions as we pray together. We did simple vigils, Stations of the cross, Divine Mercy Prayer, and sing Taize chants and meditation songs.
Sometimes, we also take time after the prayers to hear how our friends are doing during these trying times. With the chaos in their homes, it helps to have a space to speak their hearts. Some of them shared:
“I feel like the whole country is under darkness…I feel hopeless”
-Fondacio Myanmar Member
It has been really hard to hear and see the TV images and news capturing the military coup in Myanmar. Personally knowing and loving the members of Fondacio Myanmar has made it all the more real and frightening. The weekly prayer sessions organized by Fondacio Asia, where we hear news of the Civil Disobedience Movement from the community members and Myanmar refugees has really helped me to be present to the pain and suffering that our Myanmar friends are experiencing. Listening to their stories and their fears and anxieties and anger helps me to unite with them in solidarity. I am in awe of their peaceful and creative protests, of their courage and persistence and I pray that the situation has a radical turn-around and the freedom and democracy that they have strived for over many years returns and that the lives of all Myanmar people are transformed yet again. I send them my prayers and love.
–Maddy Edwards, Fondacio volunteer for Myanmar