Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Gathering in Beirut in Solidarity with the Kidnapped Bishops

From today's an-Nahar, here.

A Gathering in Sassine Square in Solidarity with the Kidnapped BIshops...
Afram: We Will Not Bow Before the Sword that Slaughters US

The Syriac League and the Council for the Syriac Orthodox Community in Aleppo held a gathering in solidarity and support of the kidnapped bishops Boulos Yazigi and Youhanna Ibrahim in Sassine Square, Achrafiye, Beirut.

Speeches began, at the inititiave of the journalist Pierre Atallah, calling for the release of the two bishops "bearers of the long and great legacy in the Middle Eastern Church." Then the Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Beirut, Daniel Kourya, recited a prayer for the two bishops and gave a speech in which he affirmed that "all the wars and struggles will not be able to rip us from our beloved Middle East, the cradle of Christianity. We have a civilization and history. We will not compromise. We will sacrifice our blood for the sake of this Middle East and in order to remain here. I implore God to grant the kidnapped bishops relief, as they are among the most important bishops in the Middle East."

Next, the president of the Syriac League, Habib Afram said, "We are not sheep without agency. We will not bow before the sword that slaughters us. We will not remain silent as we are kidnapped, expelled, and uprooted as though nothing happened. At the least, we are the Christians of Lebanon. Hence we lean on each other apart from any partisan, political, or sectarian alignment." He added, "It has been a month without any certain information. Will men of such importance disappear in this way? We pray, hope, act, and demand every nation and power to apply their influence to helping towards a happy ending. We sense feigned ignorance, inaction, and delay."

He called upon "Lebanon as a state and as civil society to view this kidnapping as a decisive issue for it, and to mobilize its capabilities to obtain the bishops' release." He regards it as "an issue that deserves a presidential initiative from the only Christian president in the region stretching from Morocco to Pakistan."

Participating in the gathering were the Minister of Communications in the caretaker government, Nicholas Sehnaoui, deputies Ghassan Moukheiber, Nadim Gemayel, former Deputy Prime Minister Michel Sassine, general secretary of the Orthodox Gathering, Nicholas Saba, president of the Syriac League Habib Afram, president of the "Lebanese Movement" party, Nabil Mouchantaf, Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Beirut Daniel Kourya, assistant to Metropolitan Youhanna Ibrahim, Fr Joseph Shabo, leaderof the Coptic community in Lebanon, Fr Roueiss Urushalimi, and a host of political, religious, and social personalities.

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