A couple of weeks ago I reprinted portions of a speech given in the Australian Parliament by a politician who had secretly travelled into a rebel-held region of Myanmar (Burma).
Luke Simpkins, a member of Australia’s ruling Liberal Party (which is actually a conservative party), attended a military parade and Revolution Day ceremony with rebel fighters and presented them with an Australian flag.
In his parliamentary speech he reported on a continuing series of atrocities by the Myanmar military against the rebels, including this:
“Two Kachin girls were raped and killed on 19 January 2015 by troops of the Burmese Army. The girls were named Maran Lu Ra, age 20, and Tangbau Hkawn Nan Tsin, age 21. They were Kachin Baptist volunteer missionaries working in northern Burma along the Kachin-Shan state border. The rape occurred in the KBC church compound in northern Shan state. On the night of 19 January, Burmese Army troops came into the church ground where the girls were sleeping, raped them and then beat them to death.”
I later got a reader’s comment on my blog: “I try to keep abreast of what’s happening regarding Christian persecution, but I was not aware of this. Thank you for this report. I will be praying for this situation.”
I suspect many, many Christians are not aware that – despite some recent talk of liberalization in the country – the Myanmar Army has quite brutally and systematically been persecuting the country’s Kachin people, many of whom are Christians.
For example, in a report of the rape and murder of the two young Baptist women, the Christian Daily website noted that over 70 instances of sexual violence by Myanmar Army troops in Kachin and other ethnic regions have been recorded in recent years.
Yet Myanmar ranks just 25th in the Open Doors 2015 World Watch List of the 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution.
It is another sign that the persecution of Christians is escalating around the world. And, with the eyes of most of us focused on horrific events in the Middle East and Nigeria, it is too easy to forget about Number 25.
We sometimes hear references to compassion fatigue – a kind of burnout from having to cope with an ever-increasing influx of grief. I wonder if some Christians are afflicted by persecution fatigue.
It is fortunate that we have a God who knows intimately all His suffering children. He has already wiped the tears from Maran Lu Ra and Tangbau Hkawn Nan Tsin, and He holds them safely in His arms.