In April 2013 I was part of a delegation to Iran and Syria with Mairead Maguire and other activists, academics and clergy. All these years later we are still inundated with western propaganda regarding Syria. We who challenge the narrative are demonised and abused, however Mairead does that also. Who would dare challenge her credentials as a voice for peace? Mairead received her Nobel Peace Prize back in the days when it actually meant something. Please take heed of her words.
In May, 2013 I led a 16 person peace delegation into Syria at the invitation of Mussalaha National Movement.
What we witnessed happening inside Syria was not fairly depicted in the international media which was not reporting gross violations against international law and humanitarian international law by foreign countries and fighters that are using a proxy war for the purpose of regime change and geo-strategical benefits. We would remind those foreign governments who are training and funding foreign fighters that it is it is illegal under United Nations Charter to arm forces to topple elected governments. During our visit we witnessed that the civilian population was and still is, suffering the invasion of thousands of foreign fighters from many countries, who are fuelling insecurity, death, chaos, and destruction everywhere. The ongoing tension in Syria is fuelled by sectarian violent Islamic ideology that pushes rebels to the most cruel acts of barbarism against their opponents. This invasion of Syria by outside forces has caused one of the greatest humanitarian crises since world war two. Over l00,000 people dead, thousands internally displaced and over a million refugees fleeing Syria into surrounding countries. It is important that the UN and all international bodies, and host countries, continue to give as much help to the Syrian refugees who lives have been shattered by this ongoing humanitarian tragedy.
We lament the international media propaganda coverage of the Syrian crisis that did not report the truth of what was happening in Syria, but rather gave a false narrative of the true situation inside Syria. We lament that Syria has been weakened by so much violence of insurgency groups and has been led down the path of sectarian violence instigated by the west and some gulf states. The media has a responsibility to expose the information warfare that is being carried out, through fake videos, lies, and propaganda, and are using the suffering of the Syrian people, in a most cruel form to appeal to the emotions of international community in an attempt to get further support in funding and arms and try to force the world community to military intervention. However, in spite of the information war being carry out by rebels and some proxy human rights groups many people around the world remembering Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya, don’t trust the simplistic narrative being fed to them by mainstream media and are saying no to military intervention and yes to supporting the reconciliation and peace movement and Political dialogue as a way to solving the conflict.
We support the courage of the High Commission of Human Rights for its endeavour to conduct fact finding mission to unveil the terrible reality of the Syrian crisis and help prevent the ongoing ethnic, religious and political cleansing that is happening in this country in the name of freedom and democracy.
The Syrian State should not be dismantled and the economic sanctions that are causing much suffering to the people of Syria should be lifted immediately. No outside military intervention or support for militants should be allowed. The international community should put pressure on those countries who are fuelling terror to stop and should encourage all parties to attend the Geneva II peace conference to give the Syrian people the right to self-determination through legal elections without foreign interference to achieve an honourable transformation towards a peaceful future and participation in the free democratic world. We applaud the work of the chemical weapons team to destroy Syrian chemical weapons, and we hope it will work for the destruction of all chemical weapons, including Israel’s. The continued negotiations, which should include Syria and regional governments, should be fully supported by the west. This will include talking to President Assad’s Government and opposition forces in order to reach a negotiated settlement. The issue is not who talks to who, but how quickly can all parties to the conflict, talk together in order to save lives and save syria from being further destroyed and divided. We encourage all those who are using violence to stop and to participate in peaceful dialogue now to save Syria.
There is a growing recognition that there will not be a military and paramilitary solution to the Syrian conflict or the Middle East conflict, but only through dialogue and negotiation can peace be reached.
We pay tribute to the great work of so many of the religious leaders, both Muslim and Christian, and to many in the Syrian civil society who in spite of so much suffering have continued to bravely work for an end to violence and engage in dialogue with everyone.
We would encourage people to give support to Mother Agnes Mariam and the Mussalaha national movement in Syria working with all the components of the Syrian society for peace, forgiveness and reconciliation as a preparation for a final political settlement for the people of syria.
Nobel peace laureate