“Do something for Syria, invent something to stop this disaster. I hope that the Community of Sant’Egidio can succeed where the international community has thus far failed: achieve direct talks between the opposition and the government in order to end the destruction”. An answer from the Community of Sant’Egidio
Peace, Church, Sant’Egidio, Dialogue, Syria
Mar Gregorios Ibrahim is one of the bishops that stayed with his people in Aleppo during the war and the attacks. He is a close, long-time friend of the Community of Sant’Egidio. He was with us throughout the long journey of the “Spirit of Assisi”, a quarter of a century of threads of dialogue between believers and men of good will, between religions, recreating, each time, the ability to live together. Even during the wars. The war in Bosnia, the war in Mozambique, whose peace agreement was signed exactly twenty years ago in Rome, on October 4. Aleppo, along with him and his people, until three months ago was a place of co-existence and hospitality. Even for close to 50,000 Iraqi refugees.
The appeal that Mar Gregorios Ibrahim launched in Il Corriere della Sera, through Antonio Ferrari, echoes those of bishops and priests of different Christian denominations who had to flee from Homs along with almost 100,000 Christians. It echoes the concerns and the dramatic plight of millions of Syrians. An alternative must be found to the war in Syria, where the simple act of being able to leave your house in safety has become a dream and where not only peaceful co-existence and human dignity are in danger, but the very integrity of the nation is in danger.
The Community of Sant’Egidio feels the pain of the Syria’s wounds as its own. Together with Franciscan fathers and Jesuits, it has launched aid plans for victims and displaced persons inside the country. In Lebanon, among the refugees of every origin, it has just expanded a plan to aid 600 families in Beirut, 400 refugee families in the East Bekaa and 200 families in North Bekaa: health and food support as well as the opening of two schools for about one thousand children.
The Community of Sant’Egidio offered an occasion for representatives of the Syrian opposition to meet in Rome in order to draft a joint platform. With the Rome Appeal, eleven political and social movements recommended a course for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. The Rome Appeal continued on the ground. Other movements and Syrian political forces have demonstrated in recent weeks the decision to strengthen the request for a political solution and the end of violence and war. Some at risk of their lives. Like Abdulaziz al-Khayer, kidnapped last week in mysterious circumstances on the road to the airport in Damascus. While the United Nations reports human rights violations and unjustifiable violence on both sides and while the U.N. and Arab League envoy Brahimi has made contact with the different sides, the Community of Sant’Egidio supports the efforts of everyone in favor of achieving a democratic future for Syria and an immediate end to the violence: a political and not a shattering military way out of the present escalation.
The Community of Sant’Egidio confirms its willingness, initiative and efforts to achieve, as soon as possible, an effective cease-fire that enables the start of a national dialogue between all prominent figures in the crisis.