Reply to the Message of His Eminence Cardinal Charles Maung Bo to the People of Myanmar and the World Following the Coup

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, 8 Feb 2021

Prof. Hoosen Vawda – TRANSCEND Media Service

A  Time for Reflection

Professor C.S. Rosa
The Editor
TRANSCEND Media Service
Submission of Publication

4 Feb 2021

Dear Professor C.S. Rosa,

Greetings of Peace and Harmony to you from Durban, South Africa. In God we trust and pray that you are well and Corona free.

Greetings for the new decade and indeed the Gregorian New Year.  Pray that the Lord’s Grace and blessing are upon all of you.

I am in receipt of a document dated 4 February 2021, highlighting a message from His Eminence[i], Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, the Archbishop of Yangon, following a coup in Myanmar. The good Cardinal calls for calm, release of prisoners and urges the West to avoid sanctions against the oppressive military regime of Myanmar. The powerful and passionate message to the people of Myanmar, the military that has seized power, the imprisoned civilian leadership, including the 1991 Nobel Laureate[ii], protagonist of freedom, the State Counsellor, Ms Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her political party, and the international community is indeed commendable in these times of global disharmony and His Eminence needs to be lauded, for his efforts.

The message was widely circulated by numerous local and international organisations, globally, including an appeal to various governments who are intimating sanctions against the Burmese Military Government[iii]. There are several points which need to be highlighted for reflection by the numerous religious organisations that have distributed the letter with no disrespect to His Eminence Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, nor the Catholic Church he represents in Myanmar:

  1. It is interesting to note that when the Rohingya Genocide[iv] was initiated in 2016 in the Rakhine State, where was His Eminence Cardinal Charles Maung Bo and his wide-reaching appeals which the good Cardinal has generated, presently? I respectfully request any organisation to show me any evidence of his criticism of any Burmese official during the sad and darkest period of Burmese history when babies[v] were thrown into burning homes, men and children were executed, women were raped and indescribable atrocities were heinously committed by the Burmese Military with not only lack of criticism but absolute silence of the very leaders who are under house arrest today, in Myanmar.
  2. Where was the voice of Cardinal Charles Maung Bo when State Counsellor, Ms Aung San Suu Kyi was summoned to the International Court of Justice in The Hague [vi], where the Honourable State Counsellor, the de facto ruler, has been condemned for her refusal to intervene and protect the Rohingya, shamelessly defended the Burmese Military in the court proceedings and was literally obfuscating the excesses of the military[vii]
  3. Presently, His Eminence Cardinal Charles Maung Bio is appealing to the military to release the very prisoners who supported them in their genocidal campaign and His Eminence is now calling for international governments not to impose sanctions[viii] against Myanmar, stating the detrimental effects on the Burmese economy this would have.

I leave the reader to reach their personal, righteous conclusions and sincerely appeal to the various organisations, including individuals in South Africa, who denied the Rohingya genocide and who are now supporting His Eminence in his appeal, circulated internationally. I further urge those who have expediently distributed His Eminence’s appeal, through which he pleaded with the international community not to impose sanctions but seek a solution through dialogue[ix], to be cautious with the propagation of such ill-conceived and selective support, so aptly demonstrated, for reasons best known to the distributors of the document.

The question which begs to be raised as to what appeal did His Eminence make to the Burmese Army when 6700 Rohingya were executed, in the most inhumane manner, including at least 730 children under five were killed in Myanmar’s Rakhine state between August and September 2017[x]. These grim figures are likely to be a conservative estimate and are far higher than Myanmar’s official death toll of 400. The humanitarian agency also revealed the brutal way people have been murdered. The same organisations which are publicising and supporting His Eminence, presently, were conspicuous by their profound silence at the time.  Is this what the essence of humanity all about or is it “climbing onto the band wagon when it is making the most noise” for self-glorification and publicity?

You are invited to communicate with the author by e-mail[xi] or phone[xii], if there are any disagreements on the above viewpoints expressed. I humbly appeal that let us agree to disagree with civility and seek justice for the oppressed and persecuted communities wherever in the world they are, without using religion as a prejudicial factor, for we, as members of humanity, must not be hypocritical.

The above in stated without prejudice or bias against His Eminence, The Cardinal and in the best interests of justice for all, irrespective of their ethnicity, religious following, or status in the society, uplifting and upholding the very essence of humanity.

All the best, have a wonderful and productive day as well as the year, ahead. With blessings, in God we place our complete trust and seek His mercy for our ongoing transgressions.

Kind regards and respectfully yours in friendship,

Hoosen Vawda
Mobile: + 27 82 291 4546

NOTES:

[i] Message of Cardinal Charles Maung Bo to the People of Myanmar – Religions for Peace Asia (rfpasia.org)

[ii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aung_San_Suu_Kyi

[iii] https://www.dfat.gov.au/international-relations/security/sanctions/sanctions-regimes/Pages/myanmar-sanctions-regime

[iv] https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/09/1046442

[v] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/11/world/asia/rohingya-myanmar-atrocities.html

[vi] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/14/war-crimes-judges-approve-investigation-violence-against-rohingya-icc-  myammar

[vii] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/14/war-crimes-judges-approve-investigation-violence-against-rohingya-icc-myammar

[viii] https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2021/02/03/myanmar-coup-aung-san-suu-kyi-cardinal-bo-239918

[ix] https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2021/02/03/myanmar-coup-aung-san-suu-kyi-cardinal-bo-239918

[x] https://www.statista.com/chart/12279/6700-rohingya-have-been-killed-in-myanmar/

[xi] vawda@ukzn.ac.za

[xii] + 28 82 291 4546

___________________________________________

Community Health and Indigent Programme Services – Social Outreach, Medical Programme
(Not for Profit Organisation)
Professor  Hoosen Vawda, BSc, MBChB (Natal), ATLS, ACLS (NZ), PhD (Wits)
Lifestyle Change Management – PR:1501305, MP: 0193801
 P.O. Box 51252, Musgrave, 4062 KwaZulu-Natal,  South Africa
e-mail: vawda@ukzn.ac.za


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 8 Feb 2021.

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