Written by Bennett Guess
The UCC/Disciples' Global Ministries has issued the following statement of support for Buddhist religious leaders in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, where their witness for peace and democracy has been met with brutal violence:
Our prayers of support and concern are with the people of Myanmar, the country once known as Burma. The hopes and democratic aspirations of thousands, inspired bravely into peaceful witness by Buddhist religious leaders, once again swell against the cruelty and repression of their government. Their mounting demonstrations this week beckon a change in political leadership, the end of abduction and torture of dissident and minority voices, and the release of political prisoners such as Nobel-prize winning opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, confined to home arrest for nearly seventeen years. Yet the world watches as the military government meets the prayers and protests of their people with bullets, batons and scores of arrests. More violent reprisals are sure to come.
The United Nations has dispatched a special envoy to the country and the United States and others in the international community have called for restraint from the Government of Myanmar, the "State Peace and Development Council". We welcome added pressure on the nation's leaders to find peaceful pathways to reach the dialogue and democratic participation necessary in this ethnically diverse land. Global Ministries encourages its friends and partners in Myanmar in their faithful determination to seek freedom and reform in their beloved land. For all the people of Myanmar—Burman, Shan, Karen and others—we will continue to monitor and pray for their struggle for freedom and human rights, and for the Government we pray for an end to their violence and that their hearts, hardened by fear and repression, will be softened to the petitions of its people.