MYM, 4 February 2021 -- Since the morning hours of February 1, 2021 the Myanmar situation has been making headlines all around the Globe and many Salesian Family members from the other 22 countries of the EAO region and beyond are asking: 'How is situation in our seven Salesian communities on the ground there?"
Yes, our confreres in Myanmar were still able to communicate via internet during the day (Feb 1): "Thank you so much dear confreres from the EAO region. So far, things are quite OK and people are calm. Thanks for your support and prayers. Please give our greetings and thanks to the Rector Major. Yes we are challenged but moved by Hope, thanks to the Strenna 2021."
Some communities are putting their Eucharist adoration online , some confreres requests for prayers online and here is one reflection on the evening of Feb 1:
"The first day of the military coup is almost finished! There were no significant events in the City of Yangon. About hundreds of people gathered in the city center to approve the coup. No supporter of Aung San Suu Kyi came out on the streets as directed by her. It is to avoid any clashes and violence. People remained in their home only. So far, no bloodshed nor violence anywhere in the country. We do not see soldiers in the city nor showing of power like tanks, and trucks...
All phone connections were off till 3PM. But we were able communicate through the internet service. Although it was not strong enough it enables us to keep in touch...
The situation is not the same from one region to another. We heard that the traffic to/from our northern city of Myitkyina (NB the most distant community from Yangon) is not possible. Also today it was announced that all flights and the airports are also closed until May 31. And also the express road from Yangon to Mandalay (NB: near SDB provincial house) is closed.
So far, all our communities are functioning as usual. We have to keep ourselves ready for more challenges."
Our confreres however are living in a rather unpredictable situation and they also keep a fresh memory of the past 50 years of military rule:
"There are rumors that the internet connections will be turned off soon. If it is true, Myanmar will be once again outside the planet Earth. We will not be able to see and hear each other... We will be in constant anxiety like before... But we are not giving up: We love freedom and respect the dignity of a human person. And the real freedom is, as our leader said, "the freedom from fear!"
The true courage is the courage to suffer and not to cause pain to others...As darkness hovers over the sky of our Nation we will keep the flames of hope alive...We believe that for us to see the Sun and it's shining rays once again!"
NB: The Salesians of Don Bosco have been in Burma - Myanmar since 1939. At present there are 7 Salesian educational presences in Yangon, Mandalay, Myitkyina, Anisakan, Pyin Oo Lwin, Thibaw and Kalay Myo. The vice-province of Mary Help of Christians (MYM) has 60 confreres with 3 novices, not counting the two SDB bishops (Lashio diocese and Yangon archdiocese).