Lingkawas, Myanmar: A Mindanao-based initiative in support for peace in Myanmar
Since February 1, 2021, Myanmar has been in political, socio-economic, and cultural turmoil given its leaders' detainment, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and other leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD). This brought threat and fear among its citizens as the military took over the authority to rule Myanmar. Civil disobedience and active non-violent protests were held all over the country, expressing the citizens' contempt against the military coup, the plea to free their leaders, and the call to honor the national elections' results in November 2020. However, local state leaders and citizens were captured and silenced, protesters were harassed, and communication and internet lines were disrupted, blocked at a certain period of the day.
As Mindanaoans and as global citizens in solidarity with the plight of Myanmar, we desire to make more Filipinos and our neighboring South-East Asian friends, socially aware and responsive to this issue. Our Myanmar brothers and sisters expressed the need to be heard at this time when news and documentaries have been tilted or manipulated. So, as one human family, we become one with them in their hope and prayers for the truth to prevail, democracy to be restored, and peace in all our countries to reign, not hatred, not violence, and not war.
About Lingkawas, Myanmar
Mindanao is no stranger to conflict and the complex realities of militarization and inter-ethnic relations. The events unfolding in Myanmar, the Land of a Thousand Golden Mountains, resonate with us here.
Lingkawas is a Bisaya word that means to break free. We named this initiative Lingkawas, Myanmar! to send our support to Myanmar's journey to regain its freedom and peace. We aim that through this, we will be able to connect with them despite our distance and our differences; we are one with them.
This is the message of Mindanao to Myanmar.
We hope to use this platform to bring together our communal efforts to support a peaceful resolution to the crisis that deprived Myanmar citizens of their democracy and peace. Specifically, we hope to create a network with Filipinos and Southeast Asian friends who also have the same goals in support of Myanmar, communities that also believe that:
1) Myanmar citizens have the right to express themselves non-violently without being seen as threats to public order
2) The way to restore freedom and democracy is through peaceful resolution, active non-violence
3) With our joint efforts, we can contribute to the global movement to end junta and any physical forms of oppression and violence.
What we will do
An Interfaith Prayer
On February 18, 2021, we are organizing a virtual interfaith prayer for Myanmar. This inclusive prayer for peace will be participated by our Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu brothers and sisters in Myanmar and here in the Philippines.
This brief gathering online will allow the space for us to connect spiritually with our brothers and sisters in Myanmar, and send a message of light and hope amidst the fear and turmoil surrounding them.
As we formally launch our initiative by then, we go back to our Source of goodness and pray together for peace to prevail.
A Photo Campaign
As part of our initiative to raise awareness of the state of Myanmar today, we invite people to express their sentiments and hopes for peace in Myanmar through a 3-finger salute. This three-finger defiance salute is a "symbol of resistance against the 2021 Myanmar military d'etat and for the release of the detained Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The symbol was first used by medical workers in Myanmar against 2021 Myanmar military d'etat and was later adopted by the youth protestors."-ARFA JAVAID (2021)
Our Ways Forward
We will continue to advocate for peace.
“Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.” - Dalai Lama XIV
We desire to build a peaceful connection with our fellow Filipinos and South East friends so that together, we can amplify the voice of our Myanmar brothers and sisters.
We hope to listen to them more and stand with them in their peaceful resolution to this national crisis.
And finally, we pray that someday, Myanmar will be liberated from its present political situation, and relieved from anything that draws away its democracy and peace.