Burmese church leader calls for intervention

Burmese church leader calls for intervention

By: Toby Cohen

A BURMESE Christian leader has appealed for a United Nations military force to intervene in Burma (Myanmar).
The Rev Maung Doe, the principal of the Holy Cross Seminary, Insein, on the northern outskirts of Rangoon, said: “We hope the UN will invade with US support and EU support. We cannot do anything.

“The democratic leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, won the election [in 1990], but she could not do anything when the government did not hand over power. We had demonstrations, thousands of people came, and still no change.”

The Principal saw his seminary crushed by trees and ripped apart by winds when the cyclone hit Burma on May 2. So far, 25 people on the campus have died. On May 14 he traveled to London for 10 days to encourage more pressure on the Burmese military junta, who only allowed in medical workers from neighbouring countries on Monday May 19, after weeks of delay during which the fatalities increased.

The Principal said: “One General, when he saw many corpses lying in the river and people asked him what they should do, he just said ‘Oh, let the fish eat them’.

“We have a number one General, Than Shwe, who lives in the middle of Burma, where the cyclone did not hit. Even he does not know the real situation because the people below him will not report everything.”

In an address to the members of the General Assembly on May 16, the Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, said: “I want to emphasize that this is not the time for politics. Our concern right now is to save lives – to help the Government of Myanmar and its people.”

The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes, has delivered a third letter to Burma’s leadership to discover how the world body can assist the government’s immediate and longer-term relief effort.

The Rev Maung Doe admitted that the Chinese earthquake had deflected international attention from the emergency in Burma. He is pleading for help in supplying food, the shortages being particularly chronic due to the delta where much of the rice was grown being destroyed.

Despite reports of government forces sabotaging deliveries of international aid supplies to the people, Mr Maung Doe insists it is currently the only option. He said: “The only was is through the government. Even the Burmese people cannot go to the victims.”

As Christian and Burmese communities join together to help repair the country from the damage wreaked by the cyclone, the Burmese church leader reported that the government was intent only on securing the approval of its new constitution.

“People are scared, people are terrified and hoping the government will help them. But the government only sees this as an opportunity to put pressure on people to support the constitution.”


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