Myanmar (MNN) — The Karen people of Burma have been fighting for independence for over 60 years. Far from gaining freedom, though, the Karen people have instead become the victims of massive genocide.
Many of the Karen people are Christians, and it has become apparent that the ethnic cleansing taking place at the hands of the Burmese government is a direct attack against Christians. Patrick Klein of Vision Beyond Borders says once the military has finished off the Christians, they will likely move on to Buddhists.
"We could see, in the next couple of months or a year, a huge genocide of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people slaughtered, because the government wants to present this image that everybody in Burma is supportive of the military government; that is not true," says Klein. "The only ones that support it are the military."
Klein says reports show that over 500,000 have already been killed either as a direct result of military violence or from lack of medical care afterward. 150,000 Burmese refugees wait anxiously in Thailand while another million are stuck at the border of Myanmar and Thailand.
Thailand has not been keen on housing Burmese refugees in the past and has previously attempted to push them all back to Myanmar, where cleansing strategies await. However many refugees simply have nowhere to go after watching their villages go up in flames.
"UN employees reported that over 3,300 villages have been burned to the ground," says Klein. "It's surpassing what happened in Rwanda and Darfur, and yet nobody seems to notice."
Despite the nearly unprecedented conditions, the Word of God continues to permeate through the region. Klein says that even children in the Vision Beyond Borders orphanages pray for the soldiers that killed their families. Klein says the Lord is in fact using this time to draw many away from witchcraft and animism, and instead toward Christ.
"Even in the midst of [so many] horrific things going on, the Gospel is going forth, and many people are coming to faith in Jesus Christ."
Klein is excited that the Gospel is moving forth, but he urges the Christian world to do something for their suffering and ignored brothers and sisters.
"A lot of these Karen people feel like they've been abandoned. They wonder where is the world? Where is the Church that's standing up for them and trying to stop this genocide?"
There are two major things to be done to bring safety to Burmese believers. The first is to pray and ask the Lord to intervene. The second is to start calling senators and representatives to make them aware of the massive genocide going on in Burma. Klein says they are often unaware that anything is taking place, as are most of the people in Burma due to a media block.
"The Karen people just want to go back to their villages; they want to serve God in peace; they want to raise their families and provide for their families. Instead, they're living as refugees, a lot of them in Thailand. There's no hope for them as refugees."