The Maronite Patriarch's Visit To Syria is Condemned
By: Elias Bejjan


February 10/13

Today the Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rahi is going to pay an ecclesiastical visit to Syria under the pretext of participation in the ordination of the newly elected Orthodox patriarch. Al-Rahi's visit is the first to Syria for a Maronite Patriarch since the mid-forties.

Al-Rahi is stepping on the fact that the bloody Syrian regime is taking our beloved country, Lebanon, and its people hostages and aborting by force, assassinations, crime, intimidation and terrorism all efforts aiming to reclaim Lebanon's confiscated independence, sovereignty and freedom.

While al-Rahi is openly and boldly supporting Syria's butcher, al-Assad, and his criminal regime via his condemned visit, hundreds of innocent Lebanese citizens from all denominations, including two Maronite monks, are still arbitrarily being detained in the horrible Syrian jails without any knowledge or information about their fate. This awkward visit does not represent the majority of the Maronites in both Lebanon and the Diaspora.

Sadly, numerous Middle East Christian Patriarchs and high-ranking clergymen will be in Damascus today to attend the mass held for the occasion of this special ordination. What is infuriating, disgusting and disappointing about this unjustified religious charade is that the Syrian butcher, President Bashar al-Assad, is organizing, supervising and most probably he or one of his representatives will attend the event.

There is no doubt that al-Assad will joyfully take advantage of this very special religious gathering to camouflage, disguise and falsely show the world that he is the actual protector and guardian of the Middle East Christians and other minorities. One wonders if the very bizarre conduct of this high-ranging clergyman is acceptable or godly in accordance with any faith, freedom, liberty, patriotism or ethical criteria.

Apparently these men of the cloth are living in their own earthly world of fantasy and ignoring the solid and proven fact that al-Assad's brutal regime is oppressing, torturing, and massacring its own people with no mercy or any human feeling.

It is worth mentioning that during the past two years al-Assad's regime in cold blood and without conscience has savagely murdered more than 80,000 of its civilian citizens, forced two million to leave everything behind and run for their lives and take refuge in neighboring countries. Meanwhile, he unlawfully detains about 200,000 Syrian citizens who oppose his dictatorship under unacceptable illegal and inhumane health-threatening circumstances.

On top of all his criminal and unprecedented terrible atrocities al-Assad is shamelessly challenging the wishes of his own people, and demands from the whole world to step down in a bid to put an end to the ongoing bloodshed in his own country.

The whole world must be aware that al-Assad is not protecting the minorities in Syria or in Lebanon, but on the contrary he is holding them hostage and depriving them of all their rights. Al-Assad is a ruthless killer no more no less and all dealings and relationship with him must be based on this fact.

We condemn the clergymenís participation, especially that of our Maronite Patriarch al-Rahi, and firmly believe that this vehemently denounced conduct has nothing to do with the Christian faith.

We strongly support the Syrian peopleís revolution against al-Assad's dictatorship and consider all those countries, organizations, clergymen and individuals that support this dictatorship by any means to be partners in all the atrocities that are inflicted on both the Syrian and Lebanese people.

*Elias Bejjani
Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator
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