Friday, May 16, 2008

Deep in the Irrawaddy Delta of Burma (Myanmar), the Knights of Malta Render Aid to Nargis Afflicted

Today we have a most interesting story for you, which involves knights of long ago, charitable aid to the poor and afflicted, and Burma, the Union of Myanmar. If you have been following the news, you know that most of people who work for the international aid organizations are cooling their heels in Bangkok, spending their time in meetings, trying to get visas to enter Burma, and desperately hoping to help the victims of Cyclone Nargis before it is too late.

Not so with the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, the Order of Malta (Malteser) whose knights have been in the business of patching up the sick and wounded for the past 900 years. Dating back to the time of the Crusades, the Order of Malta delivered their life saving services to pilgrims going to Jerusalem both through religious orders and through the Knights, the legendary noblemen who also enjoyed jousting at tournaments and going into battle. Today, while other charitable NGO's are trying to gain entry to Myanmar and find ways to deliver relief, the Knights Hospitaller have been helping in Burma (Myanmar) almost from the moment that the Cyclone struck. Maltesers have already penetrated deep into the devastated Irrawaddy Delta offering medical help, water purification tablets, and rebuilding materials.

Many years ago, these Knights of Malta, whose international humanitarian arm is known as Malteser International, updated their old-fashioned model of noble birth and Catholic allegiance. They added orders in countries that had become Protestant, dropped their requirement of nobility, and further opened their ranks to women. Malteser has been providing daily reports on the situation they are encountering in Myanmar as well as a number of photos.

Malteser established a presence in Myanmar in the 1990's working on small scale health projects, and was able to gain the trust of the Myanmar regime as well as the support of Catholic bishops. In the heart-renching picture that has emerged from Burma, the noble mission of the Knights of Malta, through Malteser, remains a beacon of hope. So the next time someone says "Chivalry is dead," do tell them that you beg to differ.

3 Comments:

Blogger JB Powers said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 21, 2008, 3:22:00 PM  
Blogger JB Powers said...

Great post! It has circulated all around to people interested in the Order of Malta and Burma.

JBP

May 21, 2008, 3:22:00 PM  
Blogger Publia said...

The post isn't as great as the relief that the Order of Malta is providing. The story has not achieved wide circulation in the press, but with so many people wanting to help Burma, it needs to be told.

May 22, 2008, 9:51:00 AM  

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