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The coup in Myanmar brings back painful memories of the past

Why the military coup in Myanmar has left the nation in crisis, and brought back painful memories of the past.

Andrew Horton | 23 Apr 2021

Police crack down on the crowd with tear gas protesters in Yangon, Myanmar (credit: Maung Nyan/Shutterstock)

Police crack down on the crowd with tear gas protesters in Yangon, Myanmar (credit: Maung Nyan/Shutterstock)

The people of Myanmar fear history is repeating itself, as a military coup shows no signs of ending soon. For some of Tearfund’s small team in the country, the current crisis brings back painful memories of a similar military coup in 1988 where they witnessed so much pain.

On 1 February 2021 – the day a new parliament was about to be installed – the military seized power and announced a state of emergency for one year. Those behind the coup claim national elections in November 2020 were flawed.

For the first few days of the coup, it was quiet. But then, on 7 February, demonstrations took place across the country.

Curfews were introduced and maintained with force, with violent crackdowns on protestors. Since then, hundreds of people are reported to have been killed with more than 2,000 arrested.

Across Myanmar, banks are closed. Living costs have rocketed and there are food shortages in the larger cities.

Not forgotten

A Tearfund staff member, who can’t be identified for security reasons, told us: 
‘The emotional effects are far greater than the physical effects.

‘Seeing terrified children in our families, the killing of innocent protestors, the grief of those who have lost their family members, and the news about the arrests of our close friends continues to raise anger, fear, hatred and hopelessness in all of us.

We are tempted to ask God, “Why me and why again?”

But despite having all these challenging situations, we keep on staying close to each other, praying together, listening to each other’s stories, encouraging each other.

We always find the things to be thankful for in the midst of this chaos.’

Not alone

We thank God for letting us know that we are not alone and we are grateful that we have people who are constantly praying for us. 

I can confidently say that these prayers work powerfully in our lives so we can still have hope and joy.

It encourages us to remain in God, to put our trust in him, and to continually look for ways to positively contribute to a peaceful outcome for this situation.’

Our team in Myanmar has asked us to pray. These are their prayer requests.

Please pray

  • Pray for the people of Myanmar, particularly the emotional wellbeing of children, who are heavily affected by the tragic stories and images related to the coup. 
  • Pray for those who have had to flee their homes because of the escalation of violence and fighting.
  • Lift up to God those who have lost their family members and those whose family members have been arrested.
  • Ask God for a peaceful solution to this current crisis. Pray for God’s intervention, like in Moses’ time, which made the Pharaoh change his heart and finally let God’s people go.

Andrew Horton

Andrew is Online News and Film Editor for Tearfund. This involves finding and writing up inspiring articles for the website, and capturing compelling stories on video.

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