Myanmar’s prominent Catholic Church leader has invited the country’s citizens to reconciliation and rebuilding the nation by fighting chronic poverty and suffering affecting the people, especially the youth, without resorting to hate speech. Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon has issued an appeal in which he also urged the international community to understand the situation of his country that is facing multiple challenges in its long journey towards peace and justice after 6 decades under harsh military rule. “No religion promotes hate speech,” the cardinal particularly reminded the religious leaders, inviting them to use the Buddhist concepts of "Metta" ("loving kindness) and "Karuna" ("compassion for others").
Below is the text of the appeal of Cardinal Charles Bo:
Return to Reconciliation and Rebuilding in Myanmar
My Dear Country Men and Women, Greetings.
The world attention has been focused on the sad events of September 2017.
We have requested that the world community to understand the multiple challenges Myanmar has been facing and the need for supporting our long journey towards peace and justice to all our people.
We are gladdened by the efforts of our government in implementing the Kofi Annan’s recommendations, the formation of the verification committee. We are glad to see everyday the national verification Cards issued to people in Rakhine state. Our government has promised to collaborate in the return process of refugees. The dialogue between Myanmar and Bangladesh in the repatriation process is encouraging. Our government needs our appreciation and support to a very challenging process. Democratic forces need support and understanding.
We, as a nation need to turn our attention to some of our great challenges : poverty of the majority of Myanmar citizens, the suffering of millions of our youths ( citizens) but treated as modern day slaves by nearby countries in dangerous tasks, the unresolved conflicts in other areas, the mutilating menace of drugs in border areas. Myanmar youth, full fledged citizens of this great nations, is expecting all of us to provide them quality education and employment opportunities. We need to hear their silent cries. We cannot divert our attention from issues and chronic problems of this long suffering nation.
I urge industrialists, academicians, politicians and other professionals to construct a future that promotes peace and prosperity to our young generation. We suffered for sixty years. Enough is enough. Hatred must give way to dreams. Hate speech frightens tourists, investors and even our friends who supported us all through these years. We need them in our journey.
I see a great moral obligation on the part of religious leaders. No religion promotes hate speech. Religious leaders need to be extremely cautious in this country. As human beings we share a common destiny. Our tears are same, our blood is same. All of us must avoid all hate speech. Lord Buddha said every human being must feel the oneness of all life : even a death of a leaf shall shatter a human heart. For a compassionate heart there is no “other”. Every one is part of me, and I am part of every one. This nation was nourished by such great teaching of the great leader. We cannot condone death of human life in any way. Hate speech can poison the minds and help only merchants of death. Let this nation choose life.
Let us join in the conversation of reconciliation. Let us join in the conversation of rebuilding this golden land. Let Metta and Karuna be our two eyes. Let our tongue proclaim love to all living beings and things. Let the journey of healing start now.
Time for all of us to stop all hate speech.
War and conflict would only further chronic poverty and suffering of all our people, citizens and others.
Let us collaborate with the government in rebuilding this nation. A New Myanmar of peace and Prosperity is possible.
+Charles Cardinal Bo, Archbishop of Yangon.