06 December 2017
Keeping the door open: The Tablet's Rome correspondent travelled with the Pope on a sensitive visit to south-east Asia
Papal visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh
Inside a large, colourful tent erected in a garden oasis just off from Dhaka’s crowded and dirty streets, a group of Rohingya Muslims sit waiting for Pope Francis to arrive.
In the front row is 12-year-old Shawkat Ara, from a village in Rakhine State, in Myanmar. The military killed her parents in September, just one atrocity in a brutal campaign that the United Nations has described as a “text book case” of ethnic cleansing.
“They shouted ‘You Rohingyas, you Bengalis’ and then they killed everyone,” she recalled, breaking down in tears. “They killed my aunt, my uncle and others in the village. They killed my whole family: my four brothers, my sister and my parents are dead. I have no one left.”
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