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Arab Spring or Tornado?

Editorial by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, from the June 2013 issue of The Word:

Since the so-called Arab Spring began in Libya in 2011, we have seen the devastation and destruction of that Arab country by Libyan and NATO forces. This Arab Spring has since spread to Tunisia and Egypt, the most populated Arab country. This fire has burned relentlessly in Gaza and all of Palestine since 1948. It is spreading into Jordan, Bahrain, and Iraq and has caused the most devastation in Syria, where many of us have ancestral roots. Unfortunately, the American and European news outlets are not reporting such stories to the world, neither through the written word nor graphic photographs like the ones you see in this sad issue of The WORD magazine. The WORD has been able to obtain these pictures and information from reliable sources. Syria has been most victimized and experienced the most devastation by this seemingly endless war. The WORD believes that the only country that can bring peace to this most explosive region of the world is the United States of America, because America has leverage over Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Europe.

For more than two years, a savage war has been raging in Syria. It has consumed more than 100,000 Syrians and left thousands of refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Canada, and Australia, to name a few. Billions of dollars have been lost in the properties of cities like Damascus and its suburbs, Dara'a, al-Kousyr, Homs, Hama, Aleppo, Deir al-Zoor and others in Northern Syria. Our distinguished President, Barack Obama, and our Secretary of State, John Kerry, have been calling the world to arm the rebels (the Free Syrian Army) to continue the fight and topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. We do believe that there must be a peaceful solution to this war in Syria; if it continues, however, it may burn the whole Middle East, including our American interests in the region. Therefore, one might ask what the solution is. Surely it is not more arms for Syrians to kill each other. What Syria needs is a peace conference between the Syrian regime and the opposition, supervised by the United Nations.

Syria does not need more arms. Syria needs more financial aid, more relief to millions of Syrians who have lost everything and more relief to thousands of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and other countries. The war in Syria is also shaking the political situation in Lebanon. This is precisely why the Lebanese have not been able to form a government or agree on a new parliamentary law. No, Mr. President, and no, Mr. Secretary of State, arming Syrians against Syrians will not bring peace to Syria; instead, more war and bloodshed. What Syria needs most of all is peace, "for blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called children of God" (Matthew 5:9).

Lastly, it pains us beyond measure that two of our venerable Orthodox archbishops have been kidnapped while on a humanitarian mission in the suburbs of Allepo and have yet to be found. We ask all peace-loving people to pray for their release from captivity, because in our liturgy we always pray for captives and for their salvation.

May Christ, who is our Peace, grant our leaders wisdom and understanding, and to all our victims and martyrs of this so-called Arab-Spring, rest and eternal life.

His Eminence Metropolitan Philip