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Yangon – “Today, July 19, 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”: with these words Cardinal Charles Maug Bo, Archbishop of Yangon and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar addresses all citizens in a heartfelt appeal, broadcast on July 19, when Myanmar traditionally remembers and honors the many generations of those who died for a just cause, especially in the struggle for independence.
The text asks the nation to regain unity and abandon conflicts and divisions and reads: “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”. “Covid – notes Cardinal Bo – 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.
The appeal recalls that the country faced the first two waves in the past with a united front, in the spirit of national solidarity and solidarity exchange with neighboring nations, while “our youth generously offered their service to Care Centres and the heroism of our frontline health workers moved us to tears”. Now, says the Archbishop, “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 to participate in 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” , urges Cardinal Bo. And he concludes: “Let us come together. We have faced many challenges as 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”.