The Tragedy of Syrian Emigration

Protocol 495/ 2015 D

The tragedy of emigration:
A pity for the Arab world!

I am writing these thoughts with tears in my eyes of grief and anger at the tragedy of emigration! And I turn to Arabs before the Western states, exclaiming, “What a pity for the Arab world!”

Migration is consuming everyone, whether Christian or Muslim! And takfirism is winning over hearts and feelings and serving as an incubator for hatching and fostering criminals and murderers!

Do you want especially Christians to emigrate? Do you want peaceful citizens to emigrate? Do you want to decimate Christian and Muslim communities, whose co-existence binds the region together in good times and bad? Do you want to destroy Syria and elsewhere, imposing migration on everyone? Every day seeing buses loaded with migrants? How long will the war and fighting last, which is the main cause of migration?

I say this after having browsed the social media images, showing European Christians at train stations in various large cities, particularly in Vienna (Austria) and Munich (Germany). We see them greeting displaced people, especially Syrians and others, with words of welcome, kindly cheering them and bringing tons of aid: food, clothes, medicines, clothing and toys for children … all for free!

O Arab world! See how those so-called infidels receive their fellow human beings, with generosity, love, respect and delicate humane sentiments!

Yet, O Arab world, you Arabs are erecting barriers on borders, closing borders to people and goods traffic and people’s livelihood, from your own religion, country and nation! … Yet you waste millions or rather billions of dollars killing one another!

Have you forgotten the precious Qur’anic verse: “O mankind! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female and We made you nations and tribes that you may know one another,” or forgotten the holy verse, “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it!” And the Gospel verse, “He (Jesus) came to gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.”

And to my beloved fellow leaders and Arab peoples, I quote an appeal by Jesus to the holy city of Jerusalem, “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! That kills the prophets … how often would I have gathered thy children as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but ye would not. Behold your house is left unto you desolate.” And Jesus said, “Every Kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation.” This is the case of the Arab world and the Arab League!

O fellow Arabs! Learn a lesson, my brothers, the leaders of the Arab States and peoples and hear the word of Almighty God. Seek peace! You should know that Arabism is honour and authenticity, proud generosity, solidarity and love.

I raise my supplication for the Arab world which I love, for its countries, people and leaders to be worthy of the Beatitude uttered by our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Gospel, “Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

In that I echo what the Kuwaiti journalist, Ahmad Sarraf wrote on 2nd September 2015 in Al Qabas newspaper, “Muslims of the Middle East, imitate Christians. We need to imitate Eastern Christians and learn from them something of love and a great deal of tolerance. We have had enough of mutual hatred, which has caused the displacement of millions of us. And we loathe all calls to slaughter and arson and demolition. We are tired of seeing all this bloodshed and vandalism. And our tears have dried up through weeping over the hundreds of thousands of our dead. We have lost our homes. We should give peace and love a chance and take care over the correct education and special needs of our children, now that they have been filled with self-hatred and hatred of others. You will lose nothing by trying to imitate your Christians, be it for but a day.” And I echo what was said by the same journalist already in the same newspaper in July 2014 when he wrote so bitterly and sadly, “Send away the Christians of Mosul, because we want to get back to the deserts! And we want to exchange their civilization for the art of grave-digging.”

And I echo what Dr. Wafa Sultan said about Christians in Syria. Here are some extracts: “Christians are our salt and sugar, flour of our bread, our flowers and gardens. Without them, life in Syria would be very ugly and very barren. Nomadic hordes destroyed their heritage, language and history, and tried to replace them with the culture of the desert, which adopts the principle of: Do not use charity toward them. But they have remained faithful to the teachings of their God: unreciprocated love of enemies. And they do good to their enemies and do not hate them, but bless their enemies and do not curse. They are certainly loyal…they forgive and do not hold grudges … they give and do not ask for anything in return … They remained faithful to their homeland and to their brothers in humanity.”

I certainly do not say this in order to boast. As the venerable Qur’an says, Christians are not a proud people. But my reason for writing this is to call upon my fellow Arab citizens of all spectra to solidarity and co-existence and living together in mutual respect, and to charity, which is the bond of perfection, and the most beautiful relationship between God and man, and man with God and his fellow man.

I ask with sincerity and warmth for Christians to love Muslims with sincerity and trust, and Muslims to love Christians. I also call on Muslims to defend the Christian presence and say to their fellow citizens, “We need to keep you with us.” And for Christians to tell their Muslim fellow citizens, “We’ll stay with you and for you, to remain together and build a better life together, together building a civilization of love.”

+ Gregorios III
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East,
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
Of the Melkite Greek Catholics