Christian band spared death by Myanmar general
A popular Christian band cheated death recently through the intervention of a Myanmar general after they had illegally sneaked into the country to perform in a concert, according to CNN News.
The Irish Christian band Bluetree cheated death when they slipped into Myanmar through Thailand to sing for the Karen Christians, CNN reported.
Bluetree’s popularity soared in the United States last year when Chris Tomlin covered its praise song “God of This City” and videos of American Idol winner Kris Allen singing the tune were posted on YouTube, according to CNN.
After the concert for the Karen Christians, the band became the point of dispute between high ranking members of two different military units, both of them screaming, yelling and pointing at one another.
The band’s interpreter fell silent, and Jim Jacobson, president of Christian Freedom International (CFI), the NGO that had brought the band there said, “This is bad. This is really, really bad.”
It was only when they were back in Thailand that the band members were told it was their fates that was being debated by the troops. “We were told later their general said ‘we’re not even going to waste our bullets with them, we’re just going to slice their throats,’ ” Boyd told CNN.
In Myanmar, Christians are targeted and killed. The conflict between the government and the Karen and other ethnic groups such as the Karenni, Mon and Shan is considered to be the longest-running civil war in the world.
CFI’s Jim Jacobson is a wanted man in Myanmar. He and Bluetree chose a time when the riverbeds dry up to slip into Myanmar. They brought food, clothing, Bibles and whiskey–to bribe the militia that, according to Boyd, threaten to burn down Christian villages and kill the men.
They gave the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) the booze and food in exchange for access to a refugee camp where Bluetree sang and listened to the children sing some songs, Boyd told CNN.
They could only stay a few hours, lest the Myanmar army detect them, label them as spies and execute them. But the DKBA general who had allowed their safe passage asked them to come up to his office and demanded that they sing for him, CNN reported.
“They didn’t ask politely,” Boyd said. They were on a balcony and even before they could sing, members of the Myanmar army saw them, and the screaming match between the generals occurred.
Boyd believes the DKBA general offered the army troops part of the bribe to dissuade the military regime’s general. Later the general even showed Jacobson the school where his troops’ children were being educated, according to CNN.
The general “asked Jim for his help in bringing up his kids,” Boyd said. ”This, from a guy whose mission in life is to kill Christians,” CNN reported.
Jacobson and the band members left as quickly as possible, driving the five hours back to Thailand in silence.
The trip was recorded and will be released in July as a DVD documentary, Boyd said. An audio recording of the Karen children is also an added track to a live album the band recorded in Belfast in March.