Genocide may affect more than 1,6 million Christians
While the world is talking about the massacres suffered by the Muslim minority community of Myanmar, called Rohingya, Christians are dying in a “forgotten war.”
As the whole world is protesting against the atrocities committed against the Rohingya- a Muslim community of Myanmar, about 1.6 million Christians have died in the northern part of the country. They too are victims of genocide.
This phenomenon is called the ‘forgotten war.’ It is, in reality, the genocide of Christians in the state of Kachin because these people refuse to accept Buddhism — the official religion of the country.
More than 400 towns and 300 churches were destroyed
The state of Kachin is far away from Rakhine, where the Rohingya were routed, after the authorities burned their houses last year. Kachin is a mountainous region on the border of India and China, rich in natural sources as amber and jade.
The inhabitants of Kachin used to trade their goods with their neighbours for textile, and nourishment. Now they exchange them for arms.
The representatives of the Independent Army of Kachin told Sky News that they had been persecuted for years by the Tatmadaw, the army of Myanmar.
The conflict is as confusing as it is violent. Some people say that the government wants to eradicate the inhabitants of this state because 95% of them are Christians.
According to the site ‘The Crux’, the Myanmarian army, in the last seven years, have burned more than 400 villages, most of them Christian and 300 churches in Kachin, thus uprooting 130.000 people. The ‘Christian Post’ informed us that more than 7,000 people had left their homes since last April when the situation worsened radically.
Tang Seng is one of those Christians who suffered from the government’s violence. When shots were heard near to his village, his grandmother begged him to kill her. Instead, Tang Seng escaped from their house and went to a refugee camp, carrying his grandmother on his back. It was the fifth time that they had to leave their home for safety reasons.
According to San Htoi, the representative of the Women of Kachin in Thailand, this problem is unknown in other parts of the world. She said that the Security Council of the UNO recently visited Myanmar but left the country without monitoring the conflicts in Kachin. “It is an invisible war,” she said.
Church: Hope in the middle of the genocide
Myanmar is a Buddhist country. It occupies the 24th place on the World Watch List of Persecution of the Christians of Open Doors.
In the Christian states, like Kachin, the people suffer from frequent attacks. According to Open Doors, Buddhist monks take over properties of the Christian Churches and build Buddhist sanctuaries in their place.
An anonymous local source told the ‘World Watch Monitor’ that the churches in Kachin “do their best to help those who had to leave their homes because of the wars.” They donate food to them because food prices have risen due to the current situation.
The people who are displaced look for shelter in the churches of Kachin. But unfortunately, in recent times, the churches have become targets for armed attacks.
According to Sat Nau Ndayu, the president of the National Kachinian Organisation in the USA, the government mainly attacks the churches, because they are the “nucleus of society.” By destroying them, the soldiers destroy the hope of the inhabitants.
David Baulk, an expert of human rights in Myanmar told the ‘The Guardian’ that these assaults are part of the government’s “peace plan.” “This is the violent conciliation of the nationalities.” he said.
Who are the Kachin?
The Kachin is the only Christian community of the eight principal nationalities of Myanmar. About 95% of this tribe belongs to the Christian church. Among the Kachin, the Christian religion spread in the nineteenth century, owing to the work of occidental missionaries.
For many centuries, the Christian Kachins have had to tolerate atrocities in this Buddhist country and on many occasions were frequently impelled to deny their faith.
In 1960, when the Prime Minister of the country, U Nu declared Buddhism as the official religion of the nation, the Tatmadaw began persecuting Christians in Myanmar. Thousands of people from Kachin took up arms and started to fight against the authorities to protect themselves. The government treated them as agents of the West who act to destroy the Buddhist unification of the country.
Despite the fact that the military regime has ended and there is now a democracy in Myanmar since 2011, the Kachin still suffer harmful discrimination. They are deprived of their fundamental rights and are victimised for being a religious minority.
Source: Notícia Cristiano
Translator: Ildikó Ungvári
Photo: Action against hunger