Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Fr Georges Massouh: The Living Dead

Arabic original here.

The Living Dead

There is no doubt that war his heinous, especially civil wars. Even if it is true that the foreign interventions in Syria are what is fueling the clashes that move from one area to another, internal factions are not innocent of participation in this hellish inferno. So it is also a civil war.

War is heinous, but despite its heinousness positive things may result from it, such as it being a cause for citizens to come closer together in order to stop an external threat, defending their nation against occupiers, agreeing upon a solid foundation for their society and their life together... But civil war does not result in anything positive. Can any good thing come out of a blazing hell?

The terribleness of civil war lies in the fact that it does not only kill the body, but also the spirit. The Lord Christ said, "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). In Christian thought, there is no difference between man's soul and spirit. What is meant, of course, by this verse is that one should fear sin more than death.

Our fear is that the civil war, which has caused the death of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, has caused the perdition of the spirits of many who remain alive, living in the body but having lost their spirit-- that is, their true life, their religious principles or their humanity. They are alive in the body, but their values, their virtues and their principles have died. We do not-- God forbid!-- condemn anyone, but we are calling attention to certain practices and emotions that cause us to fear a slide further and further into losing our humanity which distinguishes us from other creatures.

Has he not lost his spirit, the one who is happy and rejoices at the killing of his fellow-citizen killed in an air raid or slaughtered with machetes, simply because the killers are among his allies? Has he not lost his spirit, the one who justifies the killing of children by saying that they were "human shields" used by the opposing side? Has he not lost his spirit, the one who distinguishes between one victim and another on the basis of their sect or religion? Has he not lost his spirit, the one who betrays his religious principles by justifying that which neither religion nor reason can justify?

But the most painful thing is that the victims do not all stand in solidarity in the face of their killers. What we are seeing is that all Syrian citizens, the living and the dead, are victims of a war over their country. But instead of standing in solidarity against the killers coming from every direction, you see most of them weeping over their victims and rejoicing over others' victims. Victims stand in solidarity with killers on one side and other victims stand in solidarity with killers on the other side. Their killers are heroes and others' killers are criminals! This dualism is nothing but an expression of the death of the spirit in them.

For someone to stand in solidarity with victims from his group but not others is simply proof of factionalism. For someone to stand in solidarity with every innocent who is killed is simply proof of his humanity. Unfortunately, as the war goes on, we are getting further away from everything that distinguishes man from other creatures. To condemn what is happening in Aleppo and rejoice at what is happening in Yemen or to condemn what is happening in Yemen and rejoice at what is happening in Aleppo are two sides of the same coin. It is the pinnacle of hypocrisy.

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