A Prayer for Myanmar

A prayer for the nation of Myanmar, or Burma, as it cautiously tries out democracy and we have hope for the millions of oppressed people there. In this image, children from the Kachin ethnic group, living in a camp, had no shoes when it started snowing earlier this year. Partners was pleased to be able to supply these terrific boots for them. Read more about that story on the Partners blog.

 

Last month, the newly elected Parliament of Myanmar chose Htin Kyaw as the country’s first non-military President since 1962.

It was another step towards democracy, and a happy one, but Myanmar’s path to recovery is likely to be long and windy. The military still controls much of the government and has veto power over constitutional changes. They could take the country back at any moment or trash any reform they don’t like.

For an in-depth analysis of the current state of the nation, you may like to read this article from the Guardian newspaper, or this window into the world of Karen State, where Partners works.

All the staff and volunteers at Partners Relief & Development take turns contributing posts for the Partners blog. When it was my turn, I was a bit stumped at first, since my job description at the moment is just learning Thai. But words I can do, so I decided to write a prayer for Myanmar, for people who want to wish this country well – whatever kind of spirituality is up your alley – but may not know quite what to say.

 

A man from the badly persecuted Rohingya ethnic minority, in a concentration camp in western Myanmar. Read more of his story on the Partners blog: blog.partners.ngo | And learn how to pray for this precious country at Sacraparental.com

A man from the badly persecuted Rohingya ethnic minority, in a concentration camp in western Myanmar. Read more of his story on the Partners blog.

 

Perhaps, like me, you are accustomed to praying more for or thinking more of the victims of oppression than for their oppressors.

I was reminded, when thinking about all the people of Myanmar who need our support, of this brilliant 1970 essay by Pat Mainardi, addressed to women, on how to go about evening up the division of labour at home:

 

Participatory democracy begins at home. If you are planning to implement your politics, there are certain things to remember.

1. He is feeling it more than you. He’s losing some leisure and you’re gaining it. The measure of your oppression is his resistance.

3. It is a traumatizing experience for someone who has always thought of himself as being against any oppression or exploitation of one human being by another to realize that in his daily life he has been accepting and implementing (and benefiting from) this exploitation

[The whole essay is wonderful. Read the rest here.]

 

Do you see what I’m getting at?

The problem of oppression in Myanmar is enormous. Huge numbers of ordinary citizens have been benefitting, directly or indirectly, from the subjugation of people of the many ethnic minorities. The military has enriched the government coffers by killing people or otherwise driving them off their lands. People from the majority Bama ethnic group have lived at the top of the food chain with a great many people to serve them or stand behind them in the queue for social services and money-making. All this is going to be hard to give up.

 

 

Children from the Kachin ethnic group, living in a camp, had no shoes when it started snowing earlier this year. Partners was pleased to be able to supply these terrific boots for them. Read more about that story on the Partners blog: blog.partners.ngo | Sacraparental.com

Children from the Kachin ethnic group, living in a camp, had no covered shoes when it started snowing earlier this year. Partners was pleased to be able to supply these terrific boots for them. Read more about that story on the Partners blog.

 

If there is to be lasting change in Myanmar, we need to pray for and support the oppressors as they decide whether they can sacrifice their position for the sake of equality.

 

A prayer for Myanmar

 

God bless Myanmar.

As the light of a new day
Peeks over the mountains
May God bless those who fled
From burning fields and the sound of bullets.
May our God of Refuge and of the refugee
Fill the rice bowls of the hungry
And make a straight path through the jungle
Back home.

As the light of a new day
Shines in all colours on the spectrum
May God bless those who have benefitted from oppression
The privileged majority, the military, the powerful
With the courage to see the strange neighbour
As an unfamiliar jewel.
May our God of justice and mercy
Give comfort to the rich as they open their hands to share.

As the light of a new day
Offers to wash Myanmar clean
May God bless all law-makers and power-holders.
May our God, All-Wise
Fire their imaginations
And help them plant a garden where all may flourish.

Amen.

 

You can read more about Partners and our work with them here:

Partners Relief & Development website

An introduction to the current political situation in Myanmar and Partners’ work there

Announcement that Partners is going to start working in conflict zones in the Middle East

Why our family has moved to Asia

How we can each make a difference in Myanmar

As always, you can connect with Sacraparental conversation in other places too. You can follow the Facebook page, see what I’m squirrelling away on Pinterest (mostly raw cookie recipes right now), and exchange nerdy links and political rants on Twitter. Please say hi :)

 

A prayer for the nation of Myanmar, or Burma, as it cautiously tries out democracy and we have hope for the millions of oppressed people there. In this image, children from the Kachin ethnic group, living in a camp, had no shoes when it started snowing earlier this year. Partners was pleased to be able to supply these terrific boots for them. Read more about that story on the Partners blog.

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