Monday, August 13, 2012

The other side of the story in Syria

Patsy McGarry, "Media coverage of Syrian violence partial and untrue, says nun" (The Irish Times, August 13, 2012). Excerpts:
A NUN who has been superior at a Syrian monastery for the past 18 years has warned that media coverage of ongoing violence in that country has been “partial and untrue”. It is “a fake”, Mother Agnes Mariam said, which “hides atrocities committed in the name of liberty and democracy”.

... When it was put to her this suggested the whole world was out of step except for Syria, Russia and China, she protested: “No, no, there are 20 countries, including some in Latin America” of the same view.

... Christians make up about 10 per cent of Syria’s population, dispersed throughout the country, she said. The Assad regime “does not favour Christians”, she said. “It is a secular regime based on equality for all, even though in the constitution it says the Koran is the source of legislation.”

But “Christians are less put aside [in Syria] than in other Islamic countries, for example Saudi Arabia,” she said. “The social fabric of Syria is very diverse, so Christians live in peace.”

The “Arab insurrection” under way in that country included “sectarian factions which promote fundamentalist Islam, which is not genuine Islam”, she said.

The majority of Muslims in Syria are moderate and open to other cultural and interfaith elements, she said. “Wahhabism (a fundamentalist branch of Islam) is not open,” she added.
[Hat tip to New Catholic]


Mercury said...

All Syrian Muslims I have met are wonderful people, and Syria has a fascinating cultural history, and one that has been especially welcoming of Christians. Most of the ones I met are believers, but hardly fit the "pious fundy Muslim" stereotype we're used to seeing of the fundamentalists.

Although I do wonder how well Christian converts would have fared at any time - not so well, I suppose, but the country has long accommodated monasteries and the like and allowed its Christian citizens to be treated like real citizens and not an underclass.

Unfortunately that has resulted in many Christians being loyal to and therefore "implicated" in the Asad regime. Asad is a monster, and I'd love to see him go, but not like this. Not to fall to even greater beasts.

Worse off than the Christians though will be the heretic Muslim Alawis, the religion of the Asads themselves. May God have mercy on them.

I always wanted to visit Syria - Damascus, Aleppo, Latakiya, Antioch.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Hi Mercury,

I agree with the above. I have a daughter-in-law born in Jordan, whose sister has spent a number of years studying further Arabic in Damascus. She would say the same. Our foreign policy is not helping there. Oddly enough, the Russians may be helping the Syrian Christians more, though they are too uncritical of Assad's abuses too.

Mercury said...

Yes, it is odd that the Russians and the Chinese, who are really only interested in the stability of their own links, may be helping in a way that the stupid, stupid, multiculti, "democracy = automatic good" modern West is, with its uncritical cheerleading of a bunch of terrorists.

It's funny how we like to divide every conflict into "good guys" and "bad guys", when it is never so simple - look at the 30 Years' War (in which "our side" acted as horribly as "their side"), or WWI (the Brits were arguably more horrid than the Germans there), or even some of the things we did in WWII (atomic bombs, firebombing, etc.).

Or the most famous example of this kind of thinking - the Spanish Civil War, in which the Republicans are universally hailed as the "good guys", even though they plotted to turn Spain into a Stalinist puppet (the dictator Franco may have saved more lived by default).

But with third-world rebels vs. tyrants, it's always a "devil you know" kind of situation.