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4 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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Pope’s call for reconciliation

Pope’s call for reconciliation

The Pope came to Bangladesh after a visit to Myanmar at a time when these two countries are at the middle of a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. In the last three months, about a million Rohingya people from Rakhine State in Myanmar fled to Bangladesh after an indiscriminate military crackdown by the Myanmar Army.

Bangladesh is not a new recipient of the persecuted Rohingya and has been harbouring displaced people within her own territory for almost three decades. Yet, this time the enormity of the problem plus the sheer wave of humanity that came to Bangladesh has made the Rohingya issue a global one.

We were honoured and heartened by the visit of the Pope, the accredited spiritual leader of Christians and an outspoken champion of peaceful co-existence. At a time when so many people are living in another country in fear of being maimed or killed, it’s morally and spiritually correct for the Pope to step in and try to provide his spiritual guidance for a harmonious approach towards swift reconciliation.

The term Rohingya is not recognized in Myanmar and the identification of the displaced masses is one of the key areas of dissension. While the Pope refrained from using the word in Myanmar, in Bangladesh, he shared a platform with Rohingya people who told the pontiff their experiences of persecution.

From a practical angle, the Pope does not have the political might to exert pressure on any nation and since he is a spiritual leader, making sensitive statements can also be deemed appropriate.

However, in a time of human suffering, the world expects the Pope to use his position to foster understanding and counter intransigence.

In Bangladesh, the Pope sent out calls to the international community to work together not only to get the displaced people back to their homes but also to ensure that they are treated fairly. At this point, this is the most urgent requirement since an agreement is already in place which may trigger a return soon.

For the Rohingya crisis, a visit by the Pope and words of solace and comfort may not bring immediate tangible results but the mere fact that a religious leader has been here catapulted the Rohingya crisis to the top of global news items.

In the long term, this will galvanise public opinion, which in turn will hopefully inspire major world powers to unite and ensure that once the Rohingyas are back they get the chance to live with some degree of safety and freedom.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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