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  • ivanildotrindade 3:52 pm on April 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: christian persecution, , fire in thailand, hill tribe people, mae surin camp, minorities in thailand, refugee camp fire, suspicious fire, thai-burma border   

    Questions About the Mae Surin Camp Fire 

    Refugee fire 5
    You may have heard the news. It’s already over a week old now and in the age of fast short news cycles, this is an eternity. But there is an angle to the story about the fire at the refugee camp in the Thai-Burma border that has not been explored. Most of the people living in that camp are Christians of different denominations and stripes. The evangelicals have been there for the last 10 years, having been reached by some indigenous pastors who are Karen.

    Refugee fire 4The Karen are a minority group in the northern part of Thailand. They, along with many of the so-called “hill tribe” people, are often despised and discarded. They are called “monkeys,” among other terrible names. Many of them do not have proper Thai I.D. cards and thus are not even considered citizens of Thailand. Without proper papers, they can’t work, go to school or get medical cards. They are displaced people, literally without a country.

    Refugee fire 1The Thai government does not officially recognize these refugee camps so that makes it a little more difficult to help these people. So when the Christians say that they have reasons to suspect that the fire was intentional, I tend to believe them. But, of course, the cause of the fire is still under investigation so we have to wait, but the fact that the police chief who raised questions about the investigation has been removed from his post raises even more questions…

    The good news is that there are at least three relief organizations inside the remains of the camp now. The bad news is that a lot of the Christians, for one reason or another, are not receiving much help at this point.

    I have two friends who have been inside the camp in the last week or so. One is Jay Milbrandt. I have written about him here in connection to his book Go and Do. Jay works for Pepperdine University and he happens to be in Thailand right now. He wrote recently about his trip to the refugee camp here. Please read his article. It is very informative.

    Refugee fire 3My other friend is Karen. She is the one who supplied me with the pictures, which she took during her last trip to the camp. She works with an organization inside Thailand which helps rescue orphan children. She has made two trips to the refugee camp. She has a special permission to get in because of her connection to some of the officials in charge. She is heading up an effort to bring relief to the Christians. In fact, in a couple of hours she will be heading back to the camp for a third time, with four pick up trucks loaded with supplies. She says that her people need everything, from pots and pans to shoes to Bibles to food. Let me know if you would like to help. I will have more information soon. Please e-mail me at ivanildoctrindade@gmail.com.

    Like I said, this is old news already, but I beg you not to let it leave your mind too quickly. These people are suffering. They deserve a break and most of us who live in this part of the world are able to do something to help. Please find an organization with a good track record, especially if you know the people who are running it, and help. There are multitudes of way you can help now. Don’t wait too long. Soon this will be so ancient no one will remember.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

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  • ivanildotrindade 5:07 pm on September 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: attack in libya, bridges to cross, christian persecution, evil in the world, innocence of muslims, jesus' wife, Libya, Mary Magdalene, , religious persecution, the last temptation of christ, the problem of evil, violence in islam   

    The Muslim Across the Street is NOT My Enemy 

    I disagree with those who are saying that the recent deadly attack on the American Embassy in Libya was the result of protests gone awry. There is no question that some radical militants have seized the opportunity afforded them by the anti-Islamic YouTube so-called movie “Innocence of Muslims,” but to say that this was the reason for the attack is a bit of a stretch.

    Some Americans still need to wake up to one simple reality: there is, after all, good and evil in this world. Now I am not saying that we are good and everyone else is evil. That would be ethnocentric and arrogant. But to recognize that there is evil is like saying that the sun is hot. Let me say it then as clearly as I can: every day there are people who wake up in some dark corners of this earth and go about one and only one activity — devising ways they can inflict the most extensive damage and cause the greatest possible pain against the United States of America and what this country stands for.

    Actually, I should revise that statement: there are people who do that 24-7. They have taken a secret vow to bring destruction not only to a country but to an entire civilization.

    Now I don’t think anyone knows how many people like that are out there. And no one can say what they look like or when they are about to strike. We can’t even say which religion they belong to. They may not belong to any religion, even if they claim they do.

     

    This is not to say that we don’t know what the biggest threat to Christianity and Western Civilization is — a radical strand of Islam which is uncompromisingly violent and unashamedly zealot for the destruction of Israel and the church.

    Just one simple fact will suffice: it is undeniable that today whenever a Muslim fundamentalist group ascends to power Christians starting running for their lives. Their churches are burned, their families are decimated. Persecution against Christians and other religious minorities is still a fact of life in about 60 countries around the world, the vast majority being those dominated by a radical Islamic ideology.

    Muslims who disagree with this form of Islam are embarrassed. The media is usually cornered into silence for fear of violent retaliation. Muslims in the West who would protest fear for the lives of their loved ones still living in those countries. Blasphemy laws are still prevalent in so many Muslim countries and Christians can be put on trial and get stiff sentences, including death, for any perceived violation of such laws, however small the “offense” might be.

    Some brave miniscule weeklies dare to publish cartoons containing images of Muhammad that   are considered offensive by some in Islam (by the way, some of those pictures are offensive). Though I don’t agree with vacuous provocations, I do think that if no one dares challenge this violent strand of Islam in the media, we will eventually find the muzzle nearer out mouths than we wish.

    Religious people in the U.S. are by now used to having precious symbols of their faiths vilified and trampled upon. Whether it is an “artist” who depicts the Virgin Mary with human feces or a movie about a Jesus Christ who was having an affair with Mary Magdalene, we have grown accustomed to this kind of abuse. We get outraged by this and stage a few anemic protests and meaningless boycotts, but in the end we go home and sleep quietly in our own beds, sad for the insult, but glad that the world didn’t go up in flames and neighbors who disagree can still say “good morning” when the day is new.

    You may not like the system and it certainly is brutal at times for those who chose to believe (and it is brutal as well for those who chose NOT to believe). But in the end, I would rather contend with those who sit behind cameras and keyboards than with those who would make bombs.

    I don’t know about you, but I personally yearn for the day when evil will be no more. Meanwhile, I ask God to give me the ability to understand that the person across the street, though from a different country and a different faith, is not my enemy by default.

    I still have bridges to cross. Thanks for leaving them standing.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

    “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Words of Jesus).

     
  • ivanildotrindade 12:52 am on October 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: christian persecution, coptic christians,   

    “Coptic” is not the name of an alloy 

    On July 30th of this year, as I watched the events unfold in Egypt, I tweeted the following: “christians and other minorities, brace yourselves, time to collect the bill in egypt and the payment might be in blood.” This was in reference to an article I had read about how radical Islamists were beginning to show the true face of the so-called “Egyptian revolution.”

    Now I am not a prophet, I even work for a non-profit :), but today, as I read the news, I was made aware of the brutal accuracy of that two-month old statement. The 10% Coptic Christian minority is under renewed attacks in Egypt. They are being physically harassed and killed by mobs (and now by the police) and it seems that the “revolutionary” government of Egypt is not doing much to protect them. If you don’t believe this, take a look at the following story by the Telegraph.

    In this most recent clash, according to a today’s LA Times, 3 policemen and 19 protesters were killed. The people protesting are Coptic Christians, unhappy with the recent burning of a church building that was recent renovated. The potential for more conflicts is there as elections near in this “new” Egypt, but the question remains: will this new government fail where Mubarak, with all his flaws, succeeded?

    In other words, in spite of the tyrannical nature of Mubarak’s regime, he was by and large successful at curbing the excesses of radical Islamic groups. Now I will grant you, his methods were not exactly commendable, but some are beginning to ask if that is not what it takes to combat the kind of lunacy masquerading as religion that you see with some factions of Islam. Could it be that this new government will not do much because it houses the forces that are behind the opposition to the very presence of Christians in Egypt?

    As Jesus said a long time ago, “A house divided against itself cannot survive.” This may explain the attitude of the new government toward the minority Christian population.

    I will not be silent about this and I hope you won’t be either. If you are, don’t come crying when it is you, and not some Coptic person living far away that they are coming after. And I would speak for any other minority religions that are under attack by governments around the world, such as the Sufi Muslims in Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia, the Falun gong in China, etc.

    Finally, I am absolutely surprised that the Christians in Egypt are actually taking the initiative to protest. For too many years they were forced to be silent. So to the extent that this may already be the result of some changes in the new government, I would certainly say this is a positive, though dangerous step for the children. May God protect them as they move forward with the task of letting the world know of their plight.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
    • Rob Miller 8:35 am on October 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I liked your non-prophet joke!

      • ivanildotrindade 11:05 am on October 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        i heard that one a long time ago, so can’t claim ownership, but i love puns so i remember the good ones…

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