Letter from the Maronite Archbishop of Damascus, Msgr. Samir Nasar, to our Dicastery
1) GUILTY SILENCE: The more talk there is in Geneva II about peace in Syria, the more the war becomes violent and the suffering great… We‘re talking about a typical game, in which each side tries to improve its position on the ground before reaching the final solution. This scenario does not take into account the poor people caught in the crossfire… We are in the third year of this global conflict, sinking into ever greater misery, in the face of the impotence of the United Nations. This heavy ordeal is crushing THE FAMILY, the basic cell that has withstood the violence… Weakened by the war and by insecurity, the family can neither save nor protect. The Syrian family looks with sadness on the hesitant silence and the indifference of the international society faced by this cruel unending tragedy.
2) LIKE A BEETLE The father of a family, who has lost everything, came to the church complaining loudly: “I no longer have a home. I’ve lost everything. My family is living scattered with different cousins. I no longer have a job. I‘m hungry. I‘m sick and without medication. What does the Church do for me? You are not able to protect me, to find me shelter, and you can’t get me a visa so that I can leave the country…” “I‘m like a beetle that’s in the bottom of a cup and can’t get out; it goes around in circles until it dies at the bottom of its hole. That’s what I am”, he said this man as he left the archdiocese with deep anger. Many Syrians are like this man. They go round and round at the bottom of their hole. All the doors are closed. They face their fate, immersed in accusing silence.
3) THE BROKEN HEART OF A MOTHER A mother, fleeing the bombing of her village, with four children, was forced, after five hours of walking in the mountains and valleys, to abandon the two youngest on the street. When she got to Lebanon, exhausted, to a place of a refuge, with the two oldest children, she was crying over her two youngest abandoned ones, because she was not able to bring them. She had to choose between the death of all and the survival of only one part. A terrible choice and a cruel situation. How long will this war last? How can we imagine the pain of this mother, forced to abandon two of her children in order to save the other two? Who would better comfort this broken heart than Our Lady of Sorrows? This harrowing scene joins that of Mary at the foot of the Cross.
4) ECUMENICAL SUFFERING At a meeting of the Bishops of the Middle East, listening to the pain of all these countries, the Apostolic Nuncio evoked ecumenical suffering that unites all Christians of the Orient in the same ordeal. A difficult, painful and providential path of unity. And the disappearance of our two bishops, since April 22nd, 2013, leaves us aghast. The long list of refugees in the Middle East, which gradually joined by over six million Syrian refugees, is becoming longer. Ecumenism of the exiles without labels, Christians and Muslims… Could this suffering lead to reconciliation between the religions and the peoples of the Middle East? IS IT POSSIBLE TO SEE LIFE AND PEACE WITHOUT THE CROSS?
June 2013 + Samir Nassar Maronite Archbishop of Damascus