2011-06-11 11:56:17

Lombardi editorial: Syria’s Suffering

Weekly editorial by Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J.: For months now the unsettling situation in Syria has reflected that of other countries in the Arab world. The persistent violence and apparent lack of solutions, however, makes the situation in Syria especially worrisome. Syrian Jesuits recently published an important text in which they express their great affection for this country which they describe as “a living and beautiful mosaic”, in terms of its great tradition of unity in diversity.

Syria is a country where the social and political demands being made are aimed at creating a higher level of civilization, but where the present confusion has also sparked violent reactions that are in turn promoting subversion and conflict between religious communities that risk provoking the disintegration of Syrian society. The appeal for dialogue, for free expression and participation, and for the rejection of violence, is one that is addressed to all parties, therefore. National unity is a condition of life for Syrian Christians. They must, and they want to, actively assist authentic and serious national dialogue.

The Pope’s discourse to the new Syrian Ambassador clearly defines the context and point of reference for this dialogue by basing it on the dignity of every human person.

The Pope speaks about the “need for true reforms in political, economic and social life”. He speaks of changes that must not come about “in terms of intolerance, discrimination or conflict – and even less so, of violence – but in terms of respect for the truth, for the rights of peoples and communities, of coexistence and reconciliation”. The Pope also insists on the constructive role that Christians can play in Syrian society, on their positive relations with Muslims, and on their shared concern for the common good. He asks Syrian authorities to consider the aspirations of civil society, along with international requests, and he stresses the need to seek global solutions for the people of the Middle East. It is important to oppose the disintegration of this region and to speak out against the conflicts that force people to flee from one country to another: from Iraq to Syria, from Syria to Turkey…
We must convert to dialogue, reconciliation and peace.

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