From a Syrian Christian friend:
I have hesitated many times to write about Syria. Yesterday a friend encouraged me to write something to help friends have a better understanding of the situation. It has been very sad to hear and see what is happening but sadder still to see the contradictions between what is said on the news and what I hear from friends within the country. On Tuesday the streets of each city was full to bursting with hundreds of thousands who were Pro Assad demonstrators. He is to some of you a dictator, but he isn’t to the majority of the people of Syria, to us he is someone who allowed different groups and different religions to coexist in harmony without allowing one to dominate the others! This must be said. He has protected the Christians since the time his father took power and continues to do so. Where in the world does the government give you a free land to build your churches, where do they call you in only to say that they are proud of you and of your community? This happened there. I spent the first few years in my life there. It was such a lovely life and such freedom to live our faith and to be who we are. After living in other countries I now appreciate that even more. He also allowed the Muslims, Alaouits, Drouz... and others to exercise their religions in freedom. Syria is not a Muslim state. It signed to laïcity many decades ago. And this is unacceptable to some parties. What we hear on the news is not the real picture at times, like the incident that happened in 1985 in Hamma. What happened there was punishing a radical group that killed hundreds of innocent people by placing bombs in every bus and train to go off at the same day and hour! No one heard of this. In that incident I lost my best friend! As people of Syria we were so pleased he held back extremist and radicals under control. Today most people I talk to – not just the Christians – in Syria are urging him not to allow the extremists to take power!
Today what is going on is not in search of democracy. The problems started in cities that are the hub of radicals, and if you watch carefully things are worse on the Friday as there are those who go in the mosques and preach a message against the West, Israel and the president of Syria.
What baffles me that the West supports the people that will hurt Syria and the West in the future. If they take the power in that region then the church will suffer more than you could imagine, not forgetting the seriousness of the political situation of the region and who or what else might suffer.
When the twin towers were bombed in the United States we all tasted the power of evil. I pray that this evil won’t prevail against any peoples or country... please pray for Syria