The immoral and murderous economic and financial sanctions imposed against Syria ultimately target ordinary people, depriving them of many basic necessities such as oil and gas for cooking and heating, and essential foodstuffs.
Sanctions have led to the deaths of far more people than COVID-19 would likely do in a healthy, well-nourished, population. But the malnutrition that comes from economic sanctions causes a lowered immune response that will increase the likelihood of deaths triggered by COVID-19.
When I arrived in Damascus in 2006 I hardly ever met anyone asking for aid. Querying this fact I was helped by a fellow priest who told me that this was normal in a country where education and hospital facilities are free: low salaries were enough for everyday needs. There was no need to beg.
Eight years of war have destroyed an entire country and its peaceful people: unmerited destruction, 600,000 deaths, 12 million refugees and homeless exiles, a paralyzed economy, worthless money, and. ever-rising inflation, all with a crushing embargo. .
Families are saying now: we were better off with bombs flying around us. We could take shelter and hide somewhere. .How can we get away now with an economic war knocking at the door?
A WOUNDED HUMANITY:
The economic struggle is fast taking the place of the violent military interventions and touches all social classes; the embargo on anything from Iran has engulfed the Syrian people who are seemingly forgotten and left in misery. .
If it was hard to meet a poor Syrian in 2006, today it is impossible not to come across a Syrian who is not living in need whilst facing impossible social problems, all crowned by a constant lack of work, and therefore continual unemployment.
How difficult it is to see those families torn apart more and more, and obliged to continually beg to stay alive. However, the hardest is not that of seeing people in need but how their human dignity is so wounded. Bitterness can be seen so easily in the faces which do not look one in the eye in order to avoid further humiliation.
In the face of this hurt and broken people the Church keeps looking at the EMPTY TOMB.
Maronite Archbishop of Damascus
“We are angry at the sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States against Syria, which only exacerbate the humanitarian situation without having any impact on the end of hostilities and the establishment of peace.”
“On the one hand, all the armed rebel groups are now amassed in the province of Idlib. Al-Nusra, the local emanation of al-Qaeda, recognized as a terrorist group by the UN and the international community, is in the process of eliminating or engulfing all other movements, of Islamic inspiration, with the force of weapons. For months, the Syrian army has wanted to launch an offensive to free the latter province from the hands of terrorists, 30 thousand of them foreigners, but the Western powers, ……. are preventing it.”
“On the other hand, a war is unfolding on our territory and it is the one that pits Turkey against the Kurdish militias. Finally, the Americans who illegally established two bases in a sovereign nation, today want to withdraw following the decision of President Donald Trump. But his administration, like Congress, are incapable of reaching agreement on this strategy and try to sabotage it by all means possible.”
“During the difficult years of the conflict, our aid programs sought to nourish, dress, give food and shelter to displaced people and their families in need. Now, we believe that the priority is to guarantee work to people so that they can earn a decent living from the fruits of their labour and become independent, breaking free from the aid upon which they have depended for seven years now.
Unfortunately, our resources like those of all others are greatly diminished. With the end of the fighting, the donations of individuals have dropped considerably. And international charitable organizations refuse, in most cases, to finance development programs; some still intend to support outdated relief plans. As if we wanted to keep people in need forever, in a state of begging and dependence, rather than restoring their dignity and hope.”
“Yes, we are angry.”
A humanitarian appeal issued on 23rd August, 2016, by Syria’s Christian Patriarchs to the international conscience have called for an ending to the siege imposed on Syria and the lifting of international economic sanctions on the Syrian people.
In their appeal, the three Patriarchs: John X Yazigii, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Gregorius III Lahham, the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem and Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and the Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, demanded the international community and concerned countries of power to lift the international sanctions on Syria.
Read more at The Syria Times