Rohingya between MDGs and SDGs

Rohingya between MDGs and SDGs

Joining IMCS Summer School 2017 which was hosted by PMKRI which took place in Flores Island, give me some new insight to see the world from different perspective. Special thanks to International Team Edouard Karoue and Evelina Manola who invited the well versed international speakers. We the participants learnt a lot of things which are very important for our movements.

One of the unforgettable sessions is from Stefanie who delivered about MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) and SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). In this session, she said that MDGs  failed to end the poverty and as  we know, until now there are many poor people around the world. By 2015, after the failing of the MDGs, now we have SDGs which has similar objectives with the MDGs, which is to end the poverty through sustainability.

In MDGs we have 8 goals, as listed here: (1) eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, (2) achieve universal primary education, (3) promote gender equality and empower women, (4) reduce child mortality, (5) improve maternal health, (6) combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, (7) ensure environmental sustainability, (8) global partnership for development.

Why the MDGs failed? With this interesting question which been asked by Stefanie to the participants, made me think more deeply even up to today.

In SDGs we have 17 goals, as listed here: (1) no poverty, (2) zero hunger, (3) good health and well-being, (4) quality education, (5) gender equality, (6) clean water and sanitation, (7) affordable and clean energy, (8) decent work and economic growth, (9) industry, innovation, and infrastructure, (10) reduced inequalities, (11) sustainable cities and communities, (12) responsible consumption and production, (13) climate action (14) life below water, (15) life on land, (16) peace, justice, and strong institutions, (17) partnerships for the goals. Those new goals are just the same with the goals of MDGs.

Now let us see the recent situation in the world. The crisis between Israel and Palestine still continue and we never know when the two countries will find the peace between them. The ISIS made people lives under the terror, we never know when this terror will come to us and which will send us to heaven. Currently the issues of Rohingya are in front of us, as we see in our television, our communication gadgets and devices are full of this news.

In 2015 the whole world knows about Rohingya refugees when thousands of people stranded in the boat in the middle of the sea. This happen when the Rohingya people from Myanmar flee out of from their country in despair by using boat and traveled to Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 25.000 people have been taken to boats from January to March in 2015 by human traffickers.

Recently the issue about Rohingya appear again, in form of a deadly fighting between Myanmar’s security forces and a militant group known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. We got many information from various medias, real and fake media. The wrong information tends to make people react too emotionally without knowing the true situation. Many people think that this is conflict between two different religion, but that’s totally wrong.

On behalf of humanity, the crisis in Rakhine, Myanmar, it should get the world attention and humanitarian support should be given to the refugees by giving place to sleep, food to eat and water to drink.

Back to Stefanie’s question, “Why MDGs failed?” and to my opinion it failed as there still extreme poverty in many countries and the people in power do not have the political will to address the root cause of poverty, which is greed.  and power.  by rulers and corporations. The point I am making here is, with the issue of Rohingya people and SDGs which being discussed extensively, I am saying there will always be “’Rohingya’s” who will be victim of greed and power of rulers and corporations nationally and globally. And it further worsen the situation when other root causes such discrimination, inequality and exclusion of people which is systemically done by the state. As far if there no political to address these root causes, extreme poverty, under development, inequality and marginalization, there will always be the other “Rohingya’s”. In the issue of Rohingya people, the article 16 of SDGs is been violated and to resolve this issue, it not only the government of Myanmar need the political will but also need political will globally which is discussed in the article 17 of SDGs.

The recent situations actually tell us that we still have a lot of work to be done; we have to work hard to make the world a better place to live. By the existence of the greedy people who don’t care about the life of others, where someday this situation may be experienced by other marginalized or minority community such as tribes or people of other religion/culture/belief who are vulnerable, if we don’t stand up now to speak for justice and peace.

As a member of Catholic University Students or any Young People Movement, let us hand in hand do our best to make it real at least by our small action locally. Study hard, analyze critically, learn some important skills that could improve positively our life, and use our heart. Someday, if you become a decision maker in your country, make the decision that worthwhile for common good of everyone, not only for yourself or your group.

Now, on behalf of humanity, let us pray for the better future for our Rohingya friends because No One Deserve to be Left Behind. #SaveRohingya

By Tomson Sabungan Silalahi | Presidium of Foreign Relations of National Board of PMKRI, Period 2016-2018

A Reflection on IMCS Spiritualty

Session on IMCS SPIRITUALITY
By Ruki Furnando, Lay Chaplain, IMCS AP

A Reflection on IMCS Spirituality by William Nokrek, BCSM

The session on IMCS SPIRITUALITY was held at CBCB, Mohammadpur on 1st September organized by Dhaka Archdiocesan BCSM. The session was held to let the students know about the IMCS and spirituality that are followed by IMCS. Ruki Fernando who was the former Asian coordinator of IYCS and the present lay chaplain of IMCS AP did this session.

According to Ruki, IMCS has its own spirituality. There are three identities and three major concerns. On the identity, the movement is a part of student milieu (at the tertiary education level), part of church and part of society. We need to reflect as Catholics what are impact that we have on society. We should be concerned about what is happening in Bangladesh, irrespective whether they are Catholics or students. All the student movements have their uniqueness.  There are many pros and cons in involving other communities in the Catholic movements. Impact of politics on different movements and all were discussed.

Catholic Social Teachings (CST) and other gospel teachings should be politicized and also we should spiritualize the politics. Christianity is about doing the difficult tasks. The path to heaven is not that easy, we need to suffer a lot. Forgiveness depends on the context and relationship; and it is a two way passage- the person forgiving and person asking for it. Forgiving is not an act of weakness, it’s an act of strength. Reconciliation should be done and the person should think about the wrongdoings he has done and acknowledge it. Later he should confess and thus reintegrate back to the society and aim for getting back a new life. The idea of imprisonment is not revenge rather rehabilitation. The highest law is the God’s law. The spirituality should be at the heart of the issues pertaining to politics, society and law etc. We should work with other community of students. Dialogues with the poor, the people from other cultures and people from other faiths/religions are major concerns of Federation of Asian Bishop Conference (FABC).

IMCS AP’s objectives includes student’s responsibilities in Church Mission and the world, working for justice and peace. This is done by witnessing Christian faith, methodologically integrating the Christian faith, building just society, promoting multi-cultural realities in Asia Pacific. IMCS is spiritually inspired by CST and the Gospel and it believes in the spirituality of action which says, “Faith without action is dead”.  We should live up to the social teaching by practicing it. Implementation should be done in our life through our actions. Jesus came to proclaim good news for people and freedom to captivated people. The three main message is Love your God, love yourself and love your neighbor including loving the creations of God, where we should not harm the creations. The way to enter heaven is to serve the people in whom God resides. Working for the people is to work for God Himself. We need to care for them as it says in Matthew 25:41-46. There is no point in just being religious and sharing the offerings and do no good works and serve justice. We need to be just full and righteous and Treat everyone equally as all of us are children of God.

The session ended by asking ourselves, how to build ourselves? Nourishment to spirituality comes from prayer and community who supports us. IMCS preaches the justice and preferential option for the poor. Preferential option for the poor means the equality in the eye of the laws. The people should get equal rights. The session on IMCS spirituality which was conducted by Ruki Fernando was very informative and encouraging to the students. The president of BCSM, Mr. William Nokrek and Secretary Mr. Shoshi Peris were present in the session along with other EC members of BCSM and  45 Members from 3 units of Dhaka BCSM were present here.

 

Hope to see a Non-communal, Developed and Humane World

Hope to see a non-communal, developed and humane world

By William Nokrek – BCSM

Indonesia is the darling child of a nature-a country filled with lush greenery, a variety of flowers and scenic beauty. An assortment of different communities, languages, and culture has made Indonesia diverse. According to my opinion- diversity, unity and tolerance are the components that make Indonesia beautiful. In fact, the Constitution of this country has introduced it in this way. The theme of Indonesian constitution is “unity is beauty”. I really like this saying.  Another wise man has aptly said, “Diversity is a beauty.”  I have been fascinated by this beauty of Indonesia. I am in love with it.  Truly, I am in love with Indonesia.

I never thought I would be able to go to Indonesia and then all on a sudden, this opportunity landed on me through IMCS Asia Pacific. Asian Youth Academy and Theology Forum, taking the theme “Asian Youth, Champion for Building a New World: Centering on Peace, Sustainable Developments, Ecological Justice” organized a summit with the participation of 13 countries in Jakarta, from 22nd-31st July. I felt a huge jolt of excitement when I heard I would be able to participate this time as well since this would be my second time. Got to meet many old faces and be friend many new ones! Was able to meet and interact with Alban, John and Neilan from IMCS India, Thomson, Mathilda and Ekarista from IMCS Indonesia and Ashique from IMCS Pakistan and was able to learn so much from everyone! This opportunity is a blessing for me, my family and my nation. Because once the program is over, I have to back to my roots. And when I do, hopefully, I will be able to translate the lessons from such experiences into my work.

Asian Youth Academy and Theology Forum organizes this outstanding training every year. This event is led by a former member of IMCS, Dr. Paul Hwang. The way he is dedicating himself to work for the growth of Asia is surely praiseworthy. We are undoubtedly grateful to him for his contribution. This event plays a vital role in grooming the future leaders of Asia. Another person whose name must be mentioned and without whom this event would not have been a success is Ms. Felicia Dian. We first met in 2012, in Dhaka, at the Asia Pacific Council of IMCS. This wonderful woman always wears a smile on her face, despite our constant disturbances. We keep bothering her for this and that and she, selflessly, keeps catering to our needs like a candle that burns itself to enlighten others.

I was not supposed to attend this event although I am the President of the National Executive Committee of BCSM.  Shoshi Sylvester Peris and George Lincoln Roy were supposed to represent Bangladesh. This opportunity came to us through the current coordinator of Asia Pacific Bangladesh, Mr. Ravi Tiserra, the man who is constantly fighting to rebuild IMCS AP. He gave me the opportunity to represent IMCS AP, I am grateful to him. Salute to you boss.

21st July 2017. My heart was racing with excitement. A day earlier, I came back finishing exposure with the Youth Commission at Kolkata. I was mentally prepared to gain new experience. As usual, at the airport, I stood in the queue to get my boarding pass. Transit was in Malaysia. Many Bangladeshis travel to Malaysia in search of work. Saw a teary eyed son, bidding farewell to his father there- a scene that broke my heart. I couldn’t help thinking about that guy, how he is journeying towards the unknown, how he doesn’t know what awaits for him there. Even after such uncertainties, many people take this path. I have read in the newspapers how many people sell off everything just so they can make this journey; they do so hoping better future, a little bit more happiness for them and their families. But do they really find? We learn about their situation and struggle from daily news- when their unlucky dead body comes back to country, fugitive by terrorists or when they rot in jails at abroad for being “illegal”. While waiting in the queue, I observed that the man gives boarding pass was misbehaving with these people. He was yelling at them every now and then. Although the hard work of these so called “petty” laborers are the source of his salary. I guess this is how the powerful always oppress the weak.

We discussed on many issues in the program. Sustainable development was one of the vital issues that we have discussed. We discussed a lot on this topic. We all are human being. But till today we couldn’t be a complete human. We are still holding inequity, that inequity is devouring the world. If this inequity persist, than sustainable development is not possible. One will have better share, while another would’nt even get the slightest amount- this inequity should not exist in the society. The world should belong equal to everyone. I don’t know the present condition of that person, last i met at airport. Let us pray that migrant workers like that brother might live well, may they get their right salary. Let their family smile like the brightest star in the sky. The persons who are working day and night for these migrant working people is none other than former IMCS coordinator Adrian Pereira. Salute to you guys. Best wishes for you and your work. Let the deprived working people earn, what is right to them.

After reaching Indonesia we stood in immigration line for the visa.  The duty officer asked what the purpose of our arrival was. After knowing that I have come to attend a program, he asked me about the type of program. After all the interrogation they made us wait in a room. The room was filled up with Bangladeshi people. Only one or some else were from other Country. The others, who stood in the immigration with us was from Argentina, Brazil. England. But they didn’t have to face any sort of interrogation. I do believe that, every country has their own laws if there is a necessity for questioning anyone for the security of the country they must do it. The law should be equal for everyone irrespective of caste creed nation. But people from other Country didn’t have to sit in the waiting room, this rule is only for the Bangladeshi people. There’s a song of Vupen Hazarika that states, “can you give me a white person with white blood or a black person with black blood?” We are all from the same world. But Alas, till now we could’nt  be one/ rules and laws are not same for all.

We discussed sustainable development, human rights, women rights, world peace, environment and all. But untill discrimination doesn’t end, world peace can never be introduced.
Novelist Samaresh Mazumder, in one of his novels, stated that “The routes are much better than the destination.” The reports of different countries and sessions of many intellectuals, made me realize that we are still on our route. We still need a lot of time to reach our destination. I believe if the youth of all nations work together for the overall development, then we are not far away from our destination. Then, the word DISCRIMINATION would vanish from the world some day. Because youth are the representatives of positive change. It is said, the darker the night becomes, the closer the morning comes. A new sun will start a new day. Let’s hope for the bright day to come soon.
Durring exposure, we realized the true beauty and diversity of Indonesia. We went to Temangung for exposure. Their we gather knowledge on a project of 4 social entrepreneurs. They built up the environment-friendly farm, bamboo bike, wooden radio mill and organic coffee garden, organic agriculture farm. They are now socially established by dint of their hard work. Bamboo bike and wooden radio have huge public demand. They have become self-sufficient by arranging a social market where they meet every 4 months, have traditional foods and enjoy among themselves. They are protecting their own culture with a strong hand, which is a very hard task to do. I was amazed to see the organic farm and organic coffee farm. Everyone except them uses insecticides and fertilizers. They use the organic process to grow their products. School going students learn these techniques of farming from them. Inded they are preparing their future generation for this project. While visiting these projects I felt the necessity to do something like this in my native land. Though this is quite challenging in a country like Bangladesh, I am trying my level best to do something. If not successful, at least I can say, “I tried”. I discovered a new self, found a new energy.

We have discussed sustainable development, human rights, women rights, world peace, environment, future youth leadership and all. We thought about how to build a new better world combining the youth all over the world. Because the word DISCRIMINATION is devouring us. Human Rights activist and columnist, the indigenous leader Sanjib Drong often says a word while discussing about discrimination, “Would the child born in Kandahar in Afghanistan and the child born in Amsterdam in Netherlands have the same facilities to grow up?” after United Nations took the plan of SDG 2030, a slogan has become quite popular –“Leave no one behind”. But this is the thing happening in the world, But we want to see non-communal, developed and humane world, where everyone will live in peace and harmony enjoying equal rights. There’s a song to the God, “make me your messenger of peace”. We the youths being united can work with this motto together and build the world full of love and unity.

 

A LEARNING REFLECTION OF IMCS SUMMER SCHOOL 2017

A LEARNING REFLECTION OF IMCS SUMMER SCHOOL 2017

The International Summer Camp’17 organized by IMCS, was held in Flores Ende, Indonesia from 7th to 17th of July 2017. Being one of my first International exposure, I was excited about the camp, where I could meet people from other places of the world and share a dialogue with them.

Never enough words to could be framed about the beauty of the island-Flores. As well as the traditional warm welcome from the gates of Kupang to our last destination Labuan Bajo. The Indonesians enthralled a feeling of love, kindness and brotherly warmth. The training sessions were indeed insightful, from which we could share a lot of input and all the participants took active part in all group discussions and exposures which were being organized. The camp included training about Human Rights and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDG 4 which was Quality of education: We were given the task of building a local high school and also for painting it. Whereas, on SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation: We were taken across for field visits to engage with the local community to learn about their water sources and help raise awareness on the waste crisis and recycling. On SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth: We had to visit a small village where the victims of human trafficking resided. We acknowledged their experiences and studied them so we could use these case studies to advocate and give a hand in preventing this from happening in the future. The best example which I witnessed was the exchange interfaith dialogue between Catholics and Muslims by taking part in building the local mosque to promote peace among the locals of the island.

Being a part of the media commission I was able to imbibe few skills such as photography. As media is the tool used for communicating among people living in different parts of the world. Therefore, during the training programme Social Media’s like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram were used as a medium to share what’s happening in the summer school.

Cultural night was one of the most gala event of the Summer School as various cultures were being represented on stage! Participants from various countries were dressed in their traditional attire. Meanwhile we got to see different dance forms of Indonesian culture. The tunes of the song ‘Mogie’ still echo in my head.

I believe future is in the hands of the youth and youth have the capacity to bring the change in the society keeping in mind solidarity among them and youth can promote peace and harmony in the society.

As our friend Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt says, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, But We can build our youth for the future.”

ALIDA RODRIGUES
AICUF-INDIA