Trip in MyanmarTravel in Myanmar
3 ) I would like to see some of the most important sights during my brief visit, e.g. some of the lovely temples/pagodas and of course some of the marvellous locals - what would you suggest during this period? But can you tell me what I need for Myanmar?
5) What is the "fastest" way from Great Britain to Myanmar?
Journey to Myanmar and Bangladesh may put Francis' diplomacy to the test
At the end of November, Francis will make one of his papacy's most obvious overseas policy missions, visiting the minorities of Myanmar and Bangladesh, as "worldwide awareness has been directed towards the prosecution of several hundred thousand Rohingya Muslims by the Buddhist Myanmar majority". Whilst the Holy Father has demonstrated a unparalleled capacity for threading strong embroidery pins during his travels abroad - his September trip to Colombia, for example, was commended for the cautious way in which he supported a largely infamous guerrilla warfare treaty - the forthcoming 26 November-December 2 Asia stay can even test his skills.
MYANMAR' s de facto Premier Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has been asked by Francis to discuss the Rohingya's situation in her state. According to the United Nations, about 537,000 of the minorities have escaped the violent events in the west state of Rakhine for neighbouring Bangladesh.
However, the papal leader has counseled the Papacy not to mention the Rohingya by name for the fear of repression by Myanmar's army, which still has complete power over the people despite a proces of democracy reform that began in 2015 after half a hundred years of war.
Analysts said in testimonies that Francis' best opportunity to make a difference in Myanmar's Rohingya care could be to use his speeches and personal gatherings in the land to resort to common European Catholic and Christian shared moral norms of sympathy and benevolence. Myanmar expert David Steinberg, who has authored several volumes on the land, said that if the Holy Father focused on the converging value system of Christians and Buddhists, "this would open the way for him to say things that would force him to be worried about the Rohingya's plight".
" A prestigious local psychoanalyst, Lynn Kuok, who reported on Myanmar in 2014 for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said she hoped that the Pope's trip could "increase the pressures on the government" to tackle the issue of the Islamic population. Myanmar's army says it started operation against the Rohingya at the beginning of the year after the rebellious raids in Rakhine.
UN Chief Representative on Enforcement of Fundamental Freedoms, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, said in September that the army actions were "clearly disproportionate" to the insurgents' initial attack and provided "a book example of ethnical cleansing". "The Vatican heralded Francis' August 28th in Myanmar and Bangladesh before all the facts about the military's action against the Rohingya became known.
It was first seen as a way for Francis to begin full diplomatic ties with Myanmar in May, following a Suu Kyi mission to Rome, in order to help the country's democratic transformation. Myanmar's Rohingya has been the subject of special mention by the Holy Father.
Thus, after his Sunday prayers in St. Peter's Square on August 27, he said that he had heard about the "persecution" of the "brothers and daughters Rohingya" and asked for the prayers that they would "receive their full rights". "But Myanmar Cardinal Charles Bo said to Reuters in early November that he recommended Francis not to say the Rohingya term while he was in their land because the administration considers it insurgent.
"At least we asked him not to use the word'Rohingya' because that is a controversial term that is not accepted by the Myanmar army, the Myanmar administration or the Myanmar people," Bo said. A Bo staff member said to NCR that the country's pastors had agreed to comply with a demand from the police not to make comments on the possible effects of Francis's stay before his return and to ask the Catholics of the laity not to make comments either.
She said she realized that Myanmar Catholics are at risk of retaliation if they spoke too vociferously about the Rohingya treatments, but found the notion of not naming the group "disappointing. "She said, "I do not understand how the Holy Father cannot discuss and name the Rohingya without approving the Myanmar government's stance.
The Vatican figures of 2015, the latest available, show that Myanmar has about 659,000 Catholics among a total of about 52 million and Bangladesh about 375,000 Catholics among a total of about 159 million. Burma is thought to be about 90 per cent Buddhist, Bangladesh about 90 per cent Moslem.
Francis' Myanmar diary is relatively easy in comparison to his previous travels abroad. He will begin his formal visit on 28 November with talks with Suu Kyi and the country's other leading politicians. He will then hold a mass for the country's small Roman Catholic congregation on November 29 before joining the Sangha Maha Nayaka State Committee, which supervises the Myanmar Buddhist school.
He' s leaving for Bangladesh on the 30th November mornings. Kuok and Steinberg both voiced the greatest hopes for the Pope's encounter with the state-controlled Tibetan Buddha School. Steinberg, a respected lecturer in Asia at Georgetown University, proposed that any concern Francis voices about the Buddhaist rulers could "trickle away" to the army command.
"Every administration in this land must trust Buddhism for its legitimacy," Steinberg said. "This is important for the army if the hierarchies are strong enough. "Steinberg proposed that the Supreme Pontiff would not say such a thing in public, but he could say: "Look what happens.... destroys the military's call as leader of the land and as Myanmar on the international stage".
" However, she also said that the commission does not represents some of the right-wing Buddhist groups in Myanmar that see the Rohingya as an ethno-nationalist threaten. "She said that the Holy Father can certainly discuss the importance of non-violent relationships with the counsel. "However, the issue is, how much can the State Councillor affect the more right-wing extremist Buddhist groups?
" A Bangladeshi born Ali Riaz, who is now an Illinois State University policy and administration teacher, said Bangladeshis are expecting Francis to talk "very clearly and loudly" about the Rohingya state. He said that his own nation expected the Holy Father "to talk to the Myanmar authorities in very clear, specific terms":
" Francis will be in Bangladesh on 30 November after the plane lands in the capitol Dhaka to see President Abdul Hamid. On December 1, the Holy Father will hold a gathering with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, after which he will talk to the local pastors and participate in an inter-religious and eco-religious peacemaking session.
St. Francis returns to Rome December 2 after meeting with youngsters, clergy and nuns from Bangladesh. Riaz, who has authored several volumes on Bangladesh, among them a story of his policies since his 1971 victory, said that the Pope's trip would be an "important event" for his homeland.
Said he hopes that Francis would take up the issue of the integration of minority religions and races during his stay in the land and ask politicians to concentrate on supporting the paupers while the land is continuing its recent economical upturn. "Bangladesh's experience of global warming must be shared," Riaz said.
"and when it comes from the Holy Father, it will have an immense effect on society."