Sunday, February 25, 2024
HomeNewsFeaturesChristmas time during an anti-coup revolution in Burma

Christmas time during an anti-coup revolution in Burma

By Naw Noreen


December is usually a time for people around the world to celebrate Christmas. But this year in Burma, just like 2021 following the military coup, families come together to celebrate Christmas in Chin, Kachin, Karen and Karenni states. These communities are fighting for their lives against a brutal military that stops at nothing to destroy their livelihoods and culture. Around 200,000 people are displaced from their homes in Karenni State, according to aid groups. The Karenni State Refugee Assistance Network is organizing Christmas festivities at the displaced peoples’ (IDP) camps to make the children happy. “We give them Christmas presents,” a spokesperson said. Although most people are unable to visit their places of worship this Christmas, they gather to pray at designated spaces but fear what may fall from the skies, as the airforce targets the most vulnerable. “Before we gathered at the church and celebrated all together. It doesn’t feel like Christmas with those fears. We can even have fun for a short time in a day if we didn’t hear those aircraft sounds. But not for the night time. We don’t even make campfires in case they find the light of fire,” a person staying in the IDP camp said. 

It has been over a decade for many displaced people in Kachin State who’ve had to celebrate Christmas without knowing if they’ll ever be allowed to return home. People in Karen State who’ve fled war don’t know if they’ll be celebrating Christmas at all this year. Even the Catholic Archdiocese of Mandalay has said it will not host Christmas mass in order to show sympathy for the people in Magway and Sagaing facing relentless attacks from the Burma Army for resisting the military coup and demanding a return to democracy. The Burma Army has destroyed thousands of homes in Sagaing region, including in the hometown of the Archbishop of Yangon, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo. Although people all over the world host Christmas celebrations, in Burma for the last two years, Christian communities have been focused on survival. Those displaced from war and conflict want to return to their homes and spend Christmas with their families, but their hopes are still far from reality in a country where the Burma Army, and its latest junta, continues to commit atrocities and war crimes against peaceful people who refuse to follow its rules.


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