We are the future!
What Do Aramean (Syriac) Christians in Syria Really Want?
The Aramean (Syriac) Christian people in Syria are watching the earth crumble beneath them. Their once safe, traditional and peaceful lives are all but a distant memory, as the 19 month battle for power in Syria reigns unprecedented terror on the Christian community. While the Aramean Christians plead their case to world leaders and others of influence, it appears that new so-called “Christian” groups are being formed and trying to hijack the discourse on Christian rights and beliefs in Syria.
Founded in 1983 as a global umbrella organisation to represent the Aramean (Syriac) people, the World Council of Arameans (Syriacs) (“WCA”) is their only United Nations NGO. It enjoys worldwide recognition and support from all its Aramean (Syriac) National Federations and Local Associations as well as by the leadership of the Syriac Orthodox Church, the second largest Christian group in Syria.
Recently we have seen press reports stating that Syriacs support the Muslim Brotherhood or that Syriacs support the “toppling” of President Assad. This could not be further from the truth. Most Christians from Syria do not support such statements and instead hold a more impartial, democratic and peaceful view towards the conflict. While there are Christians on either side of the battle, it is clear that the majority of Christians in Syria are simply playing a waiting game and they have not joined rebel groups in order to overthrow President Assad or his Government. Least of all through violent means.
With the city of Homs almost completely evacuated of Christians, similar reports have come in from Aleppo that bombings and killings have become commonplace. The local Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Hanna states worriedly: “Every day there are deaths, funerals are celebrated in all Christian churches.”
The Christians are in a quandary. Although many of them possess arms, they do not use them to fight in the war, instead they seek only to protect their families in self-defence scenarios. Those of fighting age are called to the Syrian Army and many others are equally being forced to join the armed rebels. There are few Christians who act independently and wish to fight on either side of the battle lines.
Then there are many people who just seek to escape the madness and the WCA has evidence showing that the number of Christians leaving Syria is growing exponentially. The refugee problem has become systemic and there are larger issues at stake now, including the WCA’s calls for EU support of Christian refugees crossing their borders, the right of return to their lands, humanitarian assistance for those in need and a concerted campaign of safety so that Christians don’t feel like they need to leave Syria at all.
In the meantime, given the close connection between the WCA and local Christian communities, especially the local Church leaders, the WCA wishes to put forward precisely what the majority of Aramean (Syriacs) stand for in Syria. This is as follows:
The above recommendations highlight the primary matters of concern to the Aramean Christians in Syria and the Diaspora. Other opportunist organisations, including paper organisations, have joined the debate and seek to change the discourse in favour of war and terror. Their voices reflect a more divisive form over real substance.
It is clear that global media, politicians, human rights organisations and others of influence should really ask such organisations claiming to speak on behalf of the “Syriac Christians”, who they truly represent and where they get their support, funding and legitimacy from?
Date, For Immediate Release: London, 12 October 2012
For further information please contact: Mr. Daniel Gabriel