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60 Churches Bombed or Burned: Kachin Christians Facing Genocide in Burma

60 Churches Bombed or Burned: Kachin Christians Facing Genocide in Burma Read Transcript

(dramatic music)

- Have you no shame, sir?

That's how the United NationsHuman Rights Chief responded

when a Myanmar diplomatrecently told the UN

his government was committedto the defense of human rights

and those who follow the plight

of the Rohingya and theKachin know differently.

Here with us, to give usmore, is Pastor Bob Roberts

of Northwood Church in Keller, Texas.

He's part of the Faith Coalitionto Stop Genocide in Burma.

Pastor Roberts, we've reportedregularly about the Rohingya,

the refugees there, persecuted Muslims,

chased out of Burma, nowliving in Bangladesh.

And I know you visitedthem, so how are they doing,

and what did you witness?

- Well, in October, Iactually went to Cox's Bazar

and saw the Rohingya andwhat was going on there.

Me and the former Ambassadorfor Religious Freedom,

David Saperstein, alongwith Majid Mohammad.

David is a Jewish Rabbi, bythe way, and Majid Mohammad.

So together we went and we looked

at what was going on there,

and obviously were shocked by what we saw,

but I got back home and Istarted having people say,

you know, you're anevangelical, you're a Christian,

what about the Kachin?

And I'm sorry to say,

I didn't know that much about the Kachin.

And begin to hear a lot ofstories about what was going on,

that it was difficult,that it was challenging,

and so I went and I wasthere for about a week.

I was able to get into the Kachin state,

and I was able to visitwith many of the IDP camps,

and a lot of the thingsthat were taking place,

and I was frankly prettyalarmed by what I saw.

And what alarmed me even more so,

I was curious how well theKachin actually understood

what had happened in theRakhine state with the Rohingya,

and how similar thebeginning of what's going on

in the Kachin state was very similar

with what was going on with the Rohingya.

So I'm very concerned, morethan just a little concerned.

I'm very concerned aboutwhat I see taking place,

and I think now is thetime to respond to it.

For the most part, there's not a lot

that can be done anymore,

with what's taken place with the Rohingya.

Obviously, you still got maybefour or five hundred thousand

that are left out of the1.3 million that were there,

but you see the exact same things

taking place with the Kachin now.

So I'm very concerned about it.

- I want to ask you about,first about the Rohingya,

'cause I know it's thelargest mass migration

of a people group in recent history.

So what do you think it's gonnatake to get them back home?

- They don't wanna go home.

You've gotta understand,

they had 450 villagesthat were scorched earth.

Basically, I was able tovisit with some people

with our American Embassy there,

and the Rohingya that arethere are, frankly, afraid,

but it's increasinglydifficult for them to leave

and get to Bangladesh,so it's quite serious.

The conditions at the camp that you see,

the largest one in the world,the conditions are horrible.

Open sewage, and nowthe monsoon is started.

I had the privilege of getting to visit

with Ambassador Brownback now,

along with some other groupsthat are working there,

and the great tragedy is,

when the people went inthere, what they did, Gary,

they started cutting allthe wood down for firewood

and they ran out of wood.

So the next thing they started to do

was digging the roots out of the ground.

And so it's not just the monsoon,

now they're concernedabout serious mudslides

because there's nothingto hold the ground stable.

And so, they're literally preparing

for hundreds of thousands to die,

because there's nowhere for them to go,

and they're afraid to go back home.

- Wow, what a tragedy that is.

I guess the reason forus as believers to pray

and also do what we can, but of course,

as Christians we havecompassion for the Rohingya,

but also, our audience hasconcern for the Kachin,

so tell us some more about the Kachin.

What did you witness when you saw them?

- Well, let me just, justa little bit of background,

if I could, on the Kachin.

Believe it or not,

it's a state where 95% ofthe people are Christians

and they're primarilyBaptists, believe it or not.

And so, what happened is,they're a minority group.

They're in the Kachin state,

representing about amillion point four people,

similar to what the Rakhinestate was with the Rohingya,

and so the first responsethat the Burmese have had is,

it's more of an ethnic cleansing issue,

and over 60 of the churchesthat have been destroyed,

they've put Buddhistpagodas on top of those,

to reclaim it and so forth.

And you've gotta understand,

these people have a rich heritage,

goes all the way back to the early 1830s

when Adoniram Judson first came.

These were some of thefirst to accept the Gospel.

- I don't know that thepresident, that Aung San Suu Kyi,

the woman they call the Lady,would be complicit in this.

Don't you really think it's the military

that's behind all this andreally in control in Myanmar?

- I do, that's my opinion,

but I don't know that, I'm guessing.

So I can't say for sure, butI'm prone to agree with you.

She took such a strongstand throughout her life,

and frankly, when I talked tomany of the Burmese Baptists

that I visited with,that's what they said.

They said they felt like she was unable,

because of the military.

Here's something elsethat alarmed me, Gary.

The same units that were doin'all the military destruction

down in the Rakhine state,

they've moved those upto the Kachin state.

Now the problem is, when you radicalize

and you create suchviolence among soldiers

that have been raping and murder,

you just don't turn that switch off.

I'm seeing the same thing.

I'm seeing 450 villagesthat have been destroyed

and they're pushing all of these refugees

towards the churches inthe two major cities.

It's gonna be easypickin's for the military

if they were to chooseto go in and destroy--

- [Gary] Well, what canour viewers do, then, Bob?

- The number one thing I would say

is talk to your Congressmanand your Senator,

but the problem is,

as Westerners, we can't getthere for the most part,

we can't go volunteer.

So the biggest thing that you could do

is to send money and resources

to the Kachin Baptist Convention,

because they're there andthey're trying to do something.

Third, I would say,

and this oughta be thefirst thing, is to pray.

They're staying strong in their faith.

I mean, they're not compromising,

they're not giving up, butit's a very serious issue.

This is not a minor thing.

- Okay, faith, prayer, action.- Yes, sir.

- So Bob Roberts of the Faith Coalition

to Stop Genocide in Burma,

thanks so much for joining us.

- I'm grateful for you takingthe time to have us, Gary.

Thank you.


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