Dear My Brothers and Sisters of Myanmar,
COVID is waging a war against our people with a ferocity unknown to our people. Thousands are infected, hundreds are buried unwept and unsung, hurriedly buried in crowded cemeteries. Day and night our people wait for oxygen in crowded streets. Sorrow.
Today, July 19th, is Martyrs’ Day. Their blood was shed to make this country a great country. As the COVID spirals out of control, inflicting fear, anxiety and death, the only way we can pay homage to the Martyrs’ sacrifice is to come together as one nation against the pandemic. This is not the time for inflicting wounds. This is the time to heal.
Myanmar has seen too many tears recently. Please, please stop all the conflicts. The only war we need to wage is against the lethal invisible virus, which proved to be invincible even to superpowers of the world. Can we afford war and conflict and displacement now? It is time to raise an army of volunteers, armed with medical kits to reach out to our much suffering people.
We faced the first two waves in the past with a united front; the graceful Myanmar people reaching out to their neighbors, reaching out to people in need, our youth generously offering their service to care centers, and the heroism of our frontline health workers moved us to tears. It is time to come together to celebrate our unity in service. We are capable of doing it again.
I appeal to the authorities to facilitate the secure participation of all the health workers and the youth in fighting the existential threat to us as a nation. United we save lives; divided we will bury thousands. History will be the harshest judge if we fail in compassion.
Let us come together. We have faced many challenges as a people and as a nation. We will face this challenge together. Maybe this is a call for all of us to forge a fellowship that will usher in the ultimate peace and reconciliation.
We pray that God may give us that courage. We can defeat this enemy together.
With Prayer and Hope,
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo., SDB
President of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar (CBCM)
President of Federation of Asia Bishops’ Conferences (FABC)
Patron of Religions for Peace Myanmar and Co-President International (RfP)