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Anyone with a heart for Syria pray courageously

HONG KONG (SE): “Rebuke the beast of the reeds… O God, scatter the people who delight in war,” a group of Cistercian nuns wrote from their convent in the predominately Maronite village of Azeir on the Syrian side of the border with Lebanon when asked about plans of the government of the United States of America to organise a strike against Damascus.

The nuns are seriously questioning the motivation of anyone who wants to drop bombs on them.

“The problem is that it has become too easy to pass lies off as noble gestures, to pass ruthless self-interest off as a search for justice, to pass the need to appear (strong) and to wield power off as a moral responsibility,” the nuns wrote on August 29 in a letter published by the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, Avvenire.

“There is something wrong and it is something very serious, because the consequences will be wrought on the lives of an entire population. It is in the blood that fills our streets, our eyes, our hearts,” they write.

The nuns say that each day they look at the day workers, who appear to be suspended or stunned.

“Today we went to Tartous… we felt anger, the helplessness, the inability to formulate a sense in all this; the people trying to do their best to work and live normally. You see the farmers watering their land, parents buying notebooks for the schools… unknowing children asking for a toy or an ice cream… you see the poor…,” the nuns write.

They say that the area is full of internally displaced people, as life is relatively quiet in the village. Some have smiles on their face and a young man off to join the army gives them a few peanuts as a gesture of togetherness.

“Then you remember that they have decided to bomb tomorrow. Just like that,” they say. “Because it is time to do something!”

The nuns are cynical about the way important and powerful men talk and remember that they will be sipping their coffee as they watch the result on television.

They say, that for an entirely different reason, the local people are peering at the television to get a word from Barack Obama.

“A word from Obama! Will the Nobel Peace Prize winner drop his sentence of war onto us? Despite all justice, all common sense, all mercy, all humility, all wisdom?” they continue.

The nuns say, “The pope has spoken up, patriarchs and bishops have spoken up, numberless witnesses have spoken up, analysts and people of experience have spoken up, even the opponents of the regime have spoken up…. Yet here we all are, waiting for just one word from the great Obama! And if it weren’t him, it would be someone else. It isn’t he who is the great one. It is the Evil One who, these days, is really acting up.”


However, they say that a whole society has now been destroyed. “They are trying to kill our hope too, but we must hold onto that with all our might,” they conclude, asking anyone who has a heart for Syria to pray—a heartfelt and courageous prayer.

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