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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

372: "they can kill me, I am not standing up until they give their promise not to crack down"

Updated: Mar 24, 2021

Day 372: Tuesday March 23rd: Myanmar suffers.

"I told them that they can kill me, I am not standing up until they give their promise that they will not brutally crack down on protesters"

This dramatic photo of a Catholic nun kneeling in front of Myanmar police pleading to spare the life of some children and to end to violence has been circulating in social media platforms Facebook and Instagram for the last two days.

Sr. Ann Rose Nu Tawng has been seen wearing her white and black habit with arms spread as if on a crucifix but begging on her knees on the streets of Myitkyina, northern Myanmar to stop shooting the children and instead offers them to take her life.

A member of the St. Francis Xavier Congregation, the 45-year-old Tawng said to UCA News that she was working in a clinic run by the church when she saw on the street military personnel attacking on protesters who carried home made shields and wore hard hats. She then went outside the clinic and ran outside to confront the police with the conviction to "give my life for the Church, for the people, and for the nation."

"I thought today is the day I will die.

I decided to die," she said

Tawng then knelt down and, in separate interviews with the The Guardian and Reuters, told the police she begged them "not to shoot and torture the children" and "not to hurt the protesters, but to treat them kindly like family members".

"I told them that they can kill me, I am not standing up until they give their promise that they will not brutally crack down on protesters.," Tawng told Reuters.

Pope Francis appealed for an end to violence and the start of dialogue.

"Once again, and with much sorrow, I feel compelled to mention the tragic situation in Myanmar, where so many people, especially young people, are losing their lives for offering hope to their country," the pope said at the end of his weekly general audience March 17.

Without mentioning her name, the pope recalled the iconic gestures of Sr. Ann Nu Thawng, who made headlines when photographs were published of her kneeling before police seeking to shield peaceful protesters and of her extending her arms begging police not to shoot or hurt anyone.

"I, too, kneel on the streets of Myanmar and say, 'Stop the violence,'" Pope Francis said. "I, too, spread wide my arms and say, 'Make way for dialogue.'"

Bloodshed "resolves nothing," he said, repeating his call for dialogue to begin.

The United Nations, human rights groups, bishops and Catholic organizations have condemned the actions of the Myanmar military, which has continued to crack down on protesters since its Feb. 1 coup.

According to the U.N. Human Rights office, as of March 16 at least 138 people, including children, had been killed since the coup began, and more than 2,100 civilians have been detained, according to the agency, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Christine Schraner Burgener, the U.N. special envoy on Myanmar, condemned the continued bloodshed as the military defied international calls, including from the U.N. Security Council, for restraint, dialogue and full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

"The ongoing brutality, including against medical personnel and destruction of public infrastructure, severely undermines any prospects for peace and stability," she said in a statement March 14. "The international community, including regional actors, must come together in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and their democratic aspirations."

She said she had heard from contacts in Myanmar heartbreaking accounts of killings, mistreatment of demonstrators and torture of prisoners.


the calling of the disciples

some Jesus has come on me

i throw down my nets into the water he walks

i loose the fish he feeds to cities

and everyone calls me an old name

as i follow out laughing like God’s fool behind this Jesus

by Lucille Clifton

I'm sure we will all keep Irene, Tom and the rest of the Bachelder Family in our hearts at this very sad and difficult time.

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