CBF-SEA BA Link 2008 No. 10
My dear Friends in the Word,
Here is the long awaited letter from our friend in Myanmar:
Dear Friends, I left Yangon on April 30 to renew my visa and planned to go back on May 2. After many difficulties, finally I was back at Yangon International airport on May 6. It was a shocking scene to see all big tress, the pride of Yangon were all down, uprooted everywhere except some coconut trees and young trees standing. On the way, people were busy clearing the roads, repairing roofs that were blown off by the cyclone. When the CBCM procurator saw me, he told me to see my office. The roof of the building where my office is located was blown off and the water from above leaked down to my office, it softened the glue that held the wall so it was detached from below leaning towards the other office next door. Thank God, the 1,720 Burmese Bibles, the computer and the copying machine were spared from getting wet.
Desperate situation: The cyclone began on the early morning of 2nd May at 12:00 A.M. and ended at 12:00 noon which means twelve hours of battering of wind and rain. People were frightened because never in their life they experience such a thing. It was a blessing that the cyclone started and ended when all people were indoors or else, there would have been loss of lives in Yangon if they were caught outdoors since they never knew even typhoons and cyclone is worst. There were two reports of deaths as far a I know, a child was pinned to death when the tree fell down on top of their house but all the rest of the family were safe. A man was slashed to death by a flying sheet of zinc. When the cyclone ended, people were in awe to see the destructions around. But all of these destructions are nothing compared to the number of deaths, missing persons and desperate survivors waiting for help as you saw on TV. The sad of all is the different approach China dealt with the earthquake victims compared here. If not because of BBC and CNN, we would not know the real situations here but there are many more stories that are not on T.V. that need to be heard. I am sure there will be books written to tell true stories from the victims themselves.
People who are in the camps with the Buddhists, Churches, NGO’S are well taken cared off but with the authorities, they are like prisoners, no one is allowed to visit them and God knows how they are treated. Hundreds of people were taken to unknown location there are fears that that they are killed. People who are affected by the cyclone are mostly Karens and they are hated by the authorities because the Karen rebels have not yielded their arm struggle. Many of them are Catholics but mostly Buddhists. It is no surprise that the authorities did not make any effort to rescue them. One diocesan priest was missing and later his decomposed body was found. Life for the authorities is nothing, all they care is themselves. Instead of helping the people they take advantage of the aids sent for the victims, some of the goods are sold in the markets, other goods are changed with poor qualities, some goods bear the names of the leaders. There is an opening, as promised, to allow foreign aid workers to enter the country but to see it happening is still a question. Being here in this situation is not easy. International pressures have been exhausted. What’s next?
We are very grateful for your concerns and prayers for Myanmar people who are suffering for many years. What is worst is that families, who have lost members of their families who were killed like the 1988 student uprising and the September 2007 incidents where monks and ordinary people were killed, have no way of knowing the missing loved ones out of fear. The people here are not united, their ethnic identity is stronger than their own National identity. They don’t want to be called Burmese or Myanmarese as others coined the word. When you ask them their nationality, they would say: I am Kachin, Karen, Shan, etc. Some people here do not like the democracy that USA is advocating, which most of us can sympathize.
I mentioned that I saw some photos of destructions and casualties brought by the recent natural calamities that hit Myanmar. It was awful to see dead bodies of people and buffalos bloated floating on the water; bodies pinned down by concrete blocks (concrete buildings) people rescued by small and big boats and brought to Refugee centers, destructions of buildings, and trees. Thank God, it is not harvest season so no farm crops are destroyed. I showed the VCD to the local sisters last night with whom I am staying with, the SFX Sisters and they told me, the photos were taken in some areas only and many of the places are not there including the badly hit town of Bogale, which was hit by a tidal wave. It was estimated just that place alone, 100,000 people perished. What BBC and CNN as well as the photos I saw were nothing compared to other places that were not documented.
As you have heard human aids from abroad are now in the capital, this is one of the good things the UN Secretary general did in his recent meeting with the authorities. The affected areas belong to the Archdiocese of Yangon, in Pathein diocese. Archbishop Charles Bo opted not to go to Rome for the Myanmar Bishops ad limina visit to the Vatican. The Bishop of Pathein is in Rome now together with the other Bishops, but Archbishop Charles Bo left for Pathein yesterday to visit the affected areas and the refugee camps.
This is all for now. Our hearts and spirits are untied with the people of China and Myanmar for these terrible tragedies that hit the two countries as we pray for the dead, for the survivors and for those who are out there to lend a hand to help rebuild the lives of the people who are in daze and shock, wounded physically and emotionally. May God be merciful to them at this time of crisis in their life.
Thank you for your prayers offered for us especially, for some of you, not knowing our whereabouts due to lack of communication facilities.
United in love and prayers,
Here are some letters of solidarity with the cyclone victims in the Philippines and the terrible earthquake in China .
Thank you, Alexander, Claudio, Fr. Ayoub Chahwan and Fr. Gabriel Naranjo Salazar.
Dear friends in the Philippines,
It fills me and indeed all our friends in the CBF with great pain to receive the news of another natural catastrophe which – after Myanmar and China – has struck the Philippines now! The loss of possessions, of dear ones and of lives evokes our deep feelings of sympathy and solidarity. In the name of our entire Federation be assured of our unceasing prayer!
May you be able to experience the hope expressed in the words of Psalm 139: If I say “surely the darkness shall cover me and the light around me become night” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.
With deep sentiments of solidarity I remain
Yours in the Risen Lord,
Alexander M. Schweitzer
Thanks for the mails, I was really shocked by the pictures and I am praying a lot for the victims of this terrible earthquake. Let us pray that the damaged dams will withstand the waters.
I stay speechless in front of such captures. What a disaster!
We join our hearts, souls and prayers to yours, and raise them to God.
We praise Him also during such tragedies, because we trust Him, and trust his plan for us; He knows better what is good for those people who are suffering.
God also be with all those who sympathize with someone in his grief, meaning tender-hearted people like you are.
Fr. Ayoub Chahwan,
Me has golpeado con el adjunto. Las fotografías muestran una realidad inimaginable y tocan el corazón de cualquier ser humano.
Este mensaje es una especie de Corpus Christi para quienes hemos celebrado hoy en la Iglesia católica este misterio eucarístico de fe.
En la celebración dominical de esta mañana he compartido con un numeroso grupo de fieles los que nos comunicas y hemos orado por todas las intenciones que nos propones; veremos cómo podemos hacer más efectiva nuestra solidaridad.
You have struck me with the enclosure of your mail. The pictures show an unimaginable reality and they touch the heart of any human being. This message is a symbol of Corpus Christi which we have celebrated today in the Catholic Church with the Eucharistic mystery of faith. In the Sunday celebration of this morning I have shared with a numerous group of faithful the information you communicated and we prayed for all the intentions that you proposed to us; we will see how we can express our solidarity even more effectively.
Gabriel Naranjo Salazar,
We are very sorry that due to the cyclone in Pangasinan, Philippines, our website https://cbfsea.wordpress.com has been paralyzed for sometime, Fr. Doms is trying his best to connect himself to the web with a desired speed to maintain this website.
In the Lord,
yours Sr. Emma Gunanto, osu.
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