بيانات صحفية / مواقف

Habib Afram, Friday. Sept. 28, 2012 , St. Charbel – Detroit - USA   05/10/2012

As we gather today, there are another 200 Christians fleeing SYRIA. This is the average number of those escaping, daily now, their homes and villages.  As we speak, fifty of those already in Lebanon, will have been granted refugee visas to some country in the West. Of the some 2 million Christian Iraqis in 2003, now, only four hundred thousand remain. At any given time, a Copt in Egypt might be massacred for something as simple as ruining a shirt in a laundry. This did happen a few weeks ago in Egypt, and instigated the uprooting of a whole suburb of Cairo inhabited by Copts. Events leading Maronites , Assyrians, Syriacs, Chaldeans, Armenians and Orthodox to seek a life away from their homelands in  Middle East do not have to resemble each other from one country to the next, but one thing is solid: there is a Christian exodus taking place.

Let me make one thing clear: FREEDOM for the countries of the Middle East is a MUST, but this new-found freedom should be entitled AT THE COST OF the liberty of human beings, the equality of citizens, the acceptance of diversity and difference, the respect for every opinion. These are the magic words. Either WE WILL HAVE A FAIR Middle East or another THAT IS governed by extremism, and vengeance, and elimination.

What the Middle East will look like; will determine how this world OF OURS will become.

What are the 5 most dangerous challenges and threats to Christians of the Middle East.

  1. 1. Denying the existence of a Christian issue in the Middle East. Old regimes and new revolutions both deny the fact that there is no equality in citizenship and rights. The Copts in Egypt have close to no political representation in government or local administration, although they ACCOUNT FOR about 10 million of Egypt’s population. Despite attacks on churches, displacements of whole COMMUNITIES of Copts, and the use of spiteful language towards them in the media and some religious circles, authorities still deny the EXISTENCE OF A problem.
  2. 2. Our People are tired.  Christians have succumbed to the diseases of war AND TURMOIL AND SO THE LEADING MEMBERS ARE picking up and leaving. They have also come to take for granted that their lives in hometowns like Turabdin, Qamishli, Homs, Akkar, or Ninewa WILL BE always worse than their lives in Detroit or Stockholm. Many have come to accept leading a PHYSICAL life without rights and equality, always HOPING for salvation or even miracles from some foreign country. Awareness must be re-instilled among Christians of the Middle East that our message in our homelands is that WE DESERVE innate equality.
  3. 3. Brands of Islam that want to obliterate every other, taking this religion into a clash with the other components of the region national, ethnic, religious or sectarian . This in my opinion is the biggest challenge for Islam, Arabs and the world. “Buko haram” which has been openly attacking churches in Nigeria is one form of Islam. Will al Qaeda and Taliban become the future of Islamic POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY AND thought? How about those who have killed the American ambassador and diplomats in Benghazi –Libya in response to a stupid film belittling Islam? What human beings can live with those who attacked churches in Alexandria, Kirkuk, and Baghdad? Some forms of violence do not only intimidate Christians, but all people alike.
  4. 4. There is indifference from Middle Eastern Christians in Diaspora to playing an effective role in helping those back home cling to their roots. Where is efficient lobbying in THE capitals of power? Where is the economic back-up? Your role is not finished by moving here. On the contrary you have much to achieve in changing your government’s stands, or lack-there-of.
  5. 5. This eerie silence from almost all Western governments despite all That is happening in front on their eyes, as if the values of freedom, equality, and diversity should not be promoted where they are most needed OUGHT NOT BE TOLERATED BY ANYONE, LET ALONE THE CHRISTIANS OF THE MIDDLE EAST TRANSPLANTED TO THE WEST WHO KNOW THE CONDITIONS BEST OF ALL. People in the Middle East are plagued by the West’s unconditional support for Israel without any thought to Palestinians and refugees, by the unconditional support to the dictatorships of oil countries without any thought to freedom and human rights, so dearly clung to here. The US is asked to reconsider its role, but is it up to the challenge?

Coexistence in nations is a message. There is no country that does not CONTAIN diverse ethnic and confessional groups. We are born different. The challenge is for this world to be a hub of respect to cultural pluralism. All these values, represented in the issue of Christians in the Middle East, make it worth OUR TIME to put our minds and hearts into SEEKING SOLUTIONS it. So let this conference, at this time, be a new awakening for this cause and an occasion to put together our efforts for a Middle East we want and deserve.

Thank you


عودة

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