SYRIA: getting it wrong
Perhaps the western nations are supporting the wrong side in the Syrian war?
Bishop Antoine Audo, bishop of Alep, spoke to the news agency Fides on April 10, of the precarious situation of the inhabitants of Alep, who can be seen in the streets with plastic bags, searching everywhere for a bit of food.
Hundreds of Catholic families have had to leave the Cheikh Maksoud quarter after the arrival of the rebel militias in early April.
The fate of two priests, an Armenian Catholic and a Greek Orthodox, kidnapped by armed men two months ago on the road between Alep and Damascus, is still unknown.
Some city-centre streets are already closed. “No one can travel on them anymore because snipers fire on any moving thing.”
In Cheikh Maksoud, Christians used to make up the majority of the population. In the last few years, the Kurdish population became the majority, but there remained many Christian families, grouped around the Armenian-Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches.
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Archbishop Samir Nassar, Maronite archbishop of Damascus, reported on April 13 the crucifying dilemma of the Syrian Christians, “forced to choose between two bitter chalices: death or exile”, which is “another, [slower] way to die.”
In the city, there are bombings, trapped cars, starvation, and a lack of medication and care. “233 hospitals have been closed and the doctors are fleeing,”
The parishes have “become a wailing wall to which the Christians turn every day to find protection and help in their attempts to obtain a visa to leave.”
“The indifference and silence of the international community before their long, sad Calvary” is oppressing for the Syrian Christians, who, “abandoned,” find themselves “condemned to death and unable to flee,” continued the prelate. “The consulates have been closed for a year and a half.”
The more wealthy have been able to leave, but the poorer Christians do not understand why they must die in a senseless war.
“Today, the Church is the only resource for these shipwrecked souls.
The pastors, too, are confronted with a dilemma: to tell their faithful to stay is to condemn them to death. “But helping them leave means emptying the Biblical Land of its last faithful Christians,” said Archbishop Nassar.
The Syrian Christians celebrate Mass every afternoon with the refugees and those who are able to come and we recite the Holy Rosary for this intention. Everyone sings the litany and the final hymn to the Virgin with great emotion. They ask Mary for the gift of peace, turning to her as the only one who can still help them to keep hope alive in the terrible situation that we are living through.
sources: apic/fides/afp – DICI#275 May 17, 2013