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The muddy waters of history – from Latin America to Europe

Is the world of politics being turned on its head?

Greg Simons

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Recent events in Brazil illustrate well the notion of the volatile nature of the perception and practice of politics in the contemporary world. The political events around the resignation of Dilma Rousseff, the first woman in the president’s palace in Brazil and an easily recognizable face of the Brazilian “pragmatic leftists,” in power since 2002, have led to a confused and completely inadequate reaction in the Western mainstream media.

This begs the question are mainstream media only an objective observer and chronicler of political events and processes or are they a subjective participant? Given the falling subscriptions of mainstream newspapers and calls within the European Union to have journalism declared a public good, it seems that mass media are part of the political problem, rather than its solution.

Inside the pages of The New York Times, one can read that Mrs. Rousseff “lifted millions of Brazilians up from extreme poverty into the middle class” and that her rule “led to massive corruption and unemployment.” One can read that 49 senators out of 60 that voted Mrs. Rousseff out of power – that all 49 of them were investigated on accusations of corruption.

But two lines down the text one can read that Rousseff was still arrogant and wrong not to treat this congress with respect and nicety, which that legislature deserved. Which legislature? The one where 49 senators out of 81 are suspected of being corrupt? But this seemingly one small and isolated incident is part of a much wider and interconnected series of political processes and trends.

DECLINE AND CONFUSION

There are numerous analysts, academics and others that are struggling to fathom the course and nature of these mismatching statements. The problem is, however, that confusion around Rousseff’s resignation is typical for contemporary politics. It is like the world of politics has been turned on its head!

Why is this situation the case? The author suggests, at least in part, it is the result of the manner in which we view and measure politics in order to analyse and make sense of it. The political environment is a market place of ideas and relationships.

People choose the idea that resonates with them and form a political relationship with the person or organization that offers it. Politics is the process of priming and mobilizing people through the projection and communication of various ideas and realities.

It so happened that in the case of Latin America, the United States traditionally supports political and economic elite, whom hold right-wing and conservative values, relationships are created with pro-Western dictators. But at the same time the US politicians want to look like “progressive” people, who abhor racism and generally wish some kind of democracy for their southern neighbours.

Hence many moans in the American press about the fact that there were no viable minority races, few women and many Evangelical Christians (and not the generally less affluent Catholics) among Mrs. Rousseff’s detractors. This would project the illusion as if Brazil would be better off, if Rousseff had been ousted, instead of white males, by some analogue of Condoleezza Rice or a Catholic double of Madeleine Albright. The problems are of course, much deeper and not all domestic in origin.

Well, the press always reflected the interests of its owners and the prejudices of its readers, so one might be tempted to say that there is nothing special about the present flood of hypocrisy in the Western media. Latin America, since the 1830’s with the arrival of the geopolitical concept of the Monroe Doctrine was laid claim to as the continental zone of privileged interests for the United States.

This is seemingly at odds with a country born recently from the 1776 War of Independence from Great Britain and professing anti-Imperial values. It was not until other geopolitical interests occupied the United States, namely the Global War On Terrorism from 2001, when Latin American countries were able to briefly pivot away from the orbit of US control and influence. Relationships and cooperation were quickly established with countries such as China, Iran and Russia. These countries were politically symbolic as geopolitical competitors to the US.

One of the organisations born from this period was BRICS. However, with changing geopolitical priorities, US attention returned to the region and soon discovered the loss of influence in the region. The result has been a return of political activism that has affected the governments of those countries deemed as straying too far, such as in Argentina and Brazil.

But was the media really that bad in the more “ideological” times? Whether it was Socialism, Fascism or Democracy, the constituency decided on the basis and perception of which particular political offering matched their wants and needs.

This was an act of political faith on their part, one that was not always rewarded with the desired expectations that they held. The power and reach of the perception and deception carried by mass media may be more intense and wide ranging, but this is still not something that is novel or new to mankind.

Audiences are mobilised and primed according to opposing sets of values and norms, which strike at the right place and time for maximum effect. What happens after the actual goal is achieved, is in some senses, rather superfluous. A recent case in point is the recent the ICTY declared that Milosevic was not responsible for war crimes committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war. Yet in 1999 he was Europe’s new ‘Hitler’ and the way for a ‘humanitarian war’ was open.

RIGHT VERSUS LEFT

Traditionally, politics has been viewed and measured through and by a political scale that rated people and parties according to a left-right scale. However, in the current political climate this scale is inadequate as it does not and cannot account for the events and processes that are currently underway – BREXIT, the Dutch Referendum and Donald Trump to mention but a few instances.

Both the Dutch referendum and BREXIT were the culmination of a backlash against what has been seen by some as an excessive and unaccountable EU bureaucracy, than an anti-Ukrainian stance in the Dutch case.

In the case of Dilma, she was formally punished not for enriching herself (which she apparently didn’t). She was punished for trying to make Brazil’s budget look better than it was.

And this is a rather typical capitalist and oligarchic practice, one need only look at the common practice of padding the numbers by numerous governments, especially in the run up to elections. But the oligarchs did not forgive Mrs. Rousseff something that they gladly forgive themselves. So, the left and right scale is indeed quickly losing its ability of measuring modern politics.

ESTABLISHMENT VERSUS ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT

There is a need for a new way of looking at and analysing what is happening in the political market place and why it is happening. As such, there is a need to move away from seeing and measuring politics according to a left-right dichotomy. In its current form it has moved to a dichotomy and scale of establishment versus anti-establishment.

Few people agree on who was right and who was wrong in the impeachment saga, but most would agree that it was clearly an example of the OLD establishment (the Brazilian senate) going against the NEW establishment. From an anti-establishment point of view, there is something deeply unfair in the fact that 61 senator undid the decision of 54 MILLION Brazilian voters, who cast their bulletins for Dilma – twice.

The will of the people was clearly ignored in Dilma Rousseff’s case. This is a game of projected perception, but there are many different actors and interests in the same information space vying for attention and influence. The world currently is at a point, where there is no common understanding of information or knowledge, the information space has gradually become more fragmented. This is in part owed to the development of information communication technology, but even more importantly, to the increasing fragmentation of political opinion.

ALIENATION

Why did these 54 million voters fail to protect their vote? Currently, there is an increasing level of political cynicism and alienation of large segments of voters, such as the working class, from mainstream (read establishment) politics. This is even more right about the countries of the European Union than about Brazil.

This is the culmination and the result of the public not having their perceived wants and needs met. There is a growing feeling of having their interests and needs ignored, such as can be witnessed in the growing reaction to the mass migration being experienced in Europe and the United States.

It seems as though their voice is not being heard or listened to by the mainstream political establishment, such as Merkel pledging to stick to her controversial migration policy in face of increasing resentment and alarm in the German public.

COUNTERACTION FOLLOWS ACTION

So, is there little hope? I would not say so. A noticeable shift is occurring in the political market and environment, which is akin to a political version of laws of physics. For each and every action, there is an equal, but opposite reaction.

More people and groups are feeling disenfranchised from mainstream politics and are increasing looking to alternative political offerings. The natural response in an interactive political market place is for politics to evolve and create an offering to appeal to and satisfy the anti-political establishment demand.

Political debate and discussion is becoming much more descriptive than analytical currently. This is used to dumb down the reality in to a subjectively understandable reality as desired by the messenger. These debates and discussions are not intended as a means with which to accurately detail what is happening, but to prime and mobilise publics towards different political causes.

In Europe, much of the anti-establishment sentiment, the one which feeds leftist forces in Latin America, much of that sentiment is expressing itself in the movement of “Russia lovers” or “Putin apologists.” This phenomenon is still awaiting its accurate explanation. Much of sympathy to Mr. Putin may evolve not so much from his actual personage as from crude demonization to which Russia and its president are subjected in the Western media.

Besides, the “demonized” Putin’s image created by Western media has some of the qualities, which the European politicians are lacking: the Western media’s “Putin” stands for traditional values, which are seen as being in opposition to mainstream politics’ rigid adherence to liberal and multi-cultural values in times of an unprecedented crisis brought about by Western-led regime in North Africa and the Middle East.

Those on the left side of the political spectrum also like or admire Putin, not for his traditional values, but for his opposition to US global hegemony. The two ends of the old political spectrum supporting the same person, because of his perceived anti-mainstream political establishment stance.

As a consequence there is a new level of negative politics that is based on emotionally charged perceptions. This is situated within the context of a crisis, a process or event where publics are primed and mobilised through competing sets of norms and values. Information flows and perception are keys to the eventual outcome of this crisis.

Those that are able somehow to manage or control that information and perception are much better placed to emerge as winners in the political environment as they are able to restrict their opponent’s brand potential, his operational choices and strategy. Having said this though, the information space in the political environment is a highly volatile zone, today’s winner may well be tomorrow’s loser.

So, Dilma Rousseff was probably right when she quoted the Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky soon after her ousting. The muddy waters of history really do not give us a reason to be too happy or too sad. We just never know what tomorrow’s discontent of the currently deceived “mainstream” voters’ and media audience will bring us.

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The ‘Gilets Jaunes’ Are Unstoppable: “Now, The Elites Are Afraid”

Now the elites are afraid. For the first time, there is a movement which cannot be controlled through the normal political mechanisms.

The Duran

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Authored by Christophe Guilluy via Spiked-Online.com:


The gilets jaunes (yellow vest) movement has rattled the French establishment. For several months, crowds ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands have been taking to the streets every weekend across the whole of France. They have had enormous success, extracting major concessions from the government. They continue to march.

Back in 2014, geographer Christopher Guilluy’s study of la France périphérique (peripheral France) caused a media sensation. It drew attention to the economic, cultural and political exclusion of the working classes, most of whom now live outside the major cities. It highlighted the conditions that would later give rise to the yellow-vest phenomenon. Guilluy has developed on these themes in his recent books, No Society and The Twilight of the Elite: Prosperity, the Periphery and the Future of Francespiked caught up with Guilluy to get his view on the causes and consequences of the yellow-vest movement.

spiked: What exactly do you mean by ‘peripheral France’?

Christophe Guilluy: ‘Peripheral France’ is about the geographic distribution of the working classes across France. Fifteen years ago, I noticed that the majority of working-class people actually live very far away from the major globalised cities – far from Paris, Lyon and Toulouse, and also very far from London and New York.

Technically, our globalised economic model performs well. It produces a lot of wealth. But it doesn’t need the majority of the population to function. It has no real need for the manual workers, labourers and even small-business owners outside of the big cities. Paris creates enough wealth for the whole of France, and London does the same in Britain. But you cannot build a society around this. The gilets jaunes is a revolt of the working classes who live in these places.

They tend to be people in work, but who don’t earn very much, between 1000€ and 2000€ per month. Some of them are very poor if they are unemployed. Others were once middle-class. What they all have in common is that they live in areas where there is hardly any work left. They know that even if they have a job today, they could lose it tomorrow and they won’t find anything else.

spiked: What is the role of culture in the yellow-vest movement?

Guilluy: Not only does peripheral France fare badly in the modern economy, it is also culturally misunderstood by the elite. The yellow-vest movement is a truly 21st-century movement in that it is cultural as well as political. Cultural validation is extremely important in our era.

One illustration of this cultural divide is that most modern, progressive social movements and protests are quickly endorsed by celebrities, actors, the media and the intellectuals. But none of them approve of the gilets jaunes. Their emergence has caused a kind of psychological shock to the cultural establishment. It is exactly the same shock that the British elites experienced with the Brexit vote and that they are still experiencing now, three years later.

The Brexit vote had a lot to do with culture, too, I think. It was more than just the question of leaving the EU. Many voters wanted to remind the political class that they exist. That’s what French people are using the gilets jaunes for – to say we exist. We are seeing the same phenomenon in populist revolts across the world.

spiked: How have the working-classes come to be excluded?

Guilluy: All the growth and dynamism is in the major cities, but people cannot just move there. The cities are inaccessible, particularly thanks to mounting housing costs. The big cities today are like medieval citadels. It is like we are going back to the city-states of the Middle Ages. Funnily enough, Paris is going to start charging people for entry, just like the excise duties you used to have to pay to enter a town in the Middle Ages.

The cities themselves have become very unequal, too. The Parisian economy needs executives and qualified professionals. It also needs workers, predominantly immigrants, for the construction industry and catering et cetera. Business relies on this very specific demographic mix. The problem is that ‘the people’ outside of this still exist. In fact, ‘Peripheral France’ actually encompasses the majority of French people.

spiked: What role has the liberal metropolitan elite played in this?

Guilluy: We have a new bourgeoisie, but because they are very cool and progressive, it creates the impression that there is no class conflict anymore. It is really difficult to oppose the hipsters when they say they care about the poor and about minorities.

But actually, they are very much complicit in relegating the working classes to the sidelines. Not only do they benefit enormously from the globalised economy, but they have also produced a dominant cultural discourse which ostracises working-class people. Think of the ‘deplorables’ evoked by Hillary Clinton. There is a similar view of the working class in France and Britain. They are looked upon as if they are some kind of Amazonian tribe. The problem for the elites is that it is a very big tribe.

The middle-class reaction to the yellow vests has been telling. Immediately, the protesters were denounced as xenophobes, anti-Semites and homophobes. The elites present themselves as anti-fascist and anti-racist but this is merely a way of defending their class interests. It is the only argument they can muster to defend their status, but it is not working anymore.

Now the elites are afraid. For the first time, there is a movement which cannot be controlled through the normal political mechanisms. The gilets jaunes didn’t emerge from the trade unions or the political parties. It cannot be stopped. There is no ‘off’ button. Either the intelligentsia will be forced to properly acknowledge the existence of these people, or they will have to opt for a kind of soft totalitarianism.

A lot has been made of the fact that the yellow vests’ demands vary a great deal. But above all, it’s a demand for democracy. Fundamentally, they are democrats – they want to be taken seriously and they want to be integrated into the economic order.

spiked: How can we begin to address these demands?

Guilluy: First of all, the bourgeoisie needs a cultural revolution, particularly in universities and in the media. They need to stop insulting the working class, to stop thinking of all the gilets jaunes as imbeciles.

Cultural respect is fundamental: there will be no economic or political integration until there is cultural integration. Then, of course, we need to think differently about the economy. That means dispensing with neoliberal dogma. We need to think beyond Paris, London and New York.

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US Blunders Have Made Russia The Global Trade Pivot

Even if Europe is somehow taken out of the trade equation, greater synergy between the RIC (Russia, India and China) nations may be enough to pull their nations through anticipated global volatilities ahead

The Duran

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Authored by Mathew Maavak via ActivistPost.com:


The year 2019 had barely begun before news emerged that six Russian sailors were kidnapped by pirates off the coast of Benin. It was perhaps a foretaste of risks to come. As nations reel from deteriorating economic conditions, instances of piracy and other forms of supply chain disruptions are bound to increase.

According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), 107 cases of piracy were noted during the first half of 2018 vis-à-vis 87 throughout 2017.  The 2018 tally included 32 cases in Southeast Asian waters and 48 along African shores – representing 75% of the total. To put this figure into perspective, Asian behemoths India and China – despite their vast shorelines – recorded only 2 cases of piracy each during the study period. Russia had none. In terms of hostages taken, the IMB tally read 102 in H1 2018 vs 63 in H1 2017.

Piracy adds to shipping and retail costs worldwide as security, insurance and salaries are hiked to match associated risks in maritime transport. Merchant vessels will also take longer and costlier routes to avoid piracy hotspots.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report in 2016 sums up the perils ahead:

As over 90% of global trade is carried out by sea, the economic effects of maritime crime can be crippling. Maritime crime includes not only criminal activity directed at vessels or maritime structures, but also the use of the high seas to perpetrate transnational organized crimes such as smuggling of persons or illicit substances.  These forms of maritime crime can have devastating human consequences.

Indeed, cases of human trafficking, organ harvesting, and the smuggling of illicit substances and counterfeit goods are proliferating worldwide in tandem with rising systemic debt and suspect international agendas.

Australia offers a case in point. While it fantasizes over a Quad of allies in the Indo-Pacific – to “save Asians from China” – criminal elements from Hong Kong, Malaysia to squeaky-clean Singapore have been routinely trafficking drugs, tobacco and people right into Sydney harbour for years,  swelling the local organised crime economy to as much as $47.4 billion (Australian dollars presumably) between 2016 and 2017.

With criminal elements expected to thrive during a severe recession, they will likely enjoy a degree of prosecutorial shielding from state actors and local politicians. But this is not a Southeast Asian problem alone; any superpower wishing to disrupt Asia-Europe trade arteries – the main engine of global growth – will have targets of opportunity across oceans and lands.  The US-led war against Syria had not only cratered one potential trans-Eurasia energy and trade node, it served as a boon for child traffickingorgan harvesting and slavery as well. Yet, it is President Bashar al-Assad who is repeatedly labelled a “butcher” by the Anglo-American media.

Ultimately, industries in Asia and Europe will seek safer transit routes for their products. The inference here is inevitable: the greatest logistical undertaking in history – China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – will be highly dependent on Russian security umbrella, particularly in Central Asia. Russia also offers an alternative transit option via the Northern Sea Route, thereby avoiding any potential pan-Turkic ructions in Central Asia in the future.

Russo- and Sinophobia explained?

In retrospect, Washington’s reckless policies post-Sept 11 2001 seem aimed at disrupting growing synergies between Asia and Europe. This hypothesis helps explain the relentless US-led agitprops against Russia, China and Iran.

When the gilet jaunes (yellow vest) protests rocked France weeks ago, it was only a matter of time before some pundits blamed it on Russia. US President Donald J. Trump cheered on; just as “billionaire activist” George Soros celebrated the refugee invasion of Europe and the Arab Spring earlier.  If the yellow vest contagion spreads to the Western half of Europe, its economies will flounder. Cui bono? A Russia that can reap benefits from the two-way BRI or Arctic trade routes or a moribund United States that can no longer rule roost in an increasingly multipolar world?

Trump’s diplomatic downgrade of the European Union and his opposition to the Nord Stream 2gas pipeline matches this trade-disruption hypothesis, as do pressures applied on India and China to drop energy and trade ties with Iran.  Washington’s trade war with Beijing and recent charges against Huawei – arguably Asia’s most valuable company – seem to fit this grand strategy.

If China concedes to importing more US products, Europe will bear the consequences. Asians love European products ranging from German cars to Italian shoes and Europe remains the favourite vacation destination for its growing middle class. Eastern European products and institutions are also beginning to gain traction in Asia. However, these emerging economies will suffer if their leaders cave in to Washington’s bogeyman fetish.

Even if Europe is somehow taken out of the trade equation, greater synergy between the RIC (Russia, India and China) nations may be enough – at least theoretically – to pull their nations through anticipated global volatilities ahead.

In the meantime, as the US-led world crumbles, it looks like Russia is patiently biding its time to become the security guarantor and kingmaker of Asia-Europe trade.  A possible state of affairs wrought more by American inanity rather than Russian ingenuity…

Dr Mathew Maavak is a regular commentator on risk-related geostrategic issues.

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Historic Eastern Christianity: An Uncertain Future

The survival of historic Eastern Christianity, particularly in Syria, is critical for several reasons.

Strategic Culture Foundation

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Authored by Elias Samo via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The survival of historic Eastern Christianity has never been as urgent as it is today. Christianity saw its beginning in Greater Syria which was subdivided by France and Britain after WWI into modern day Syria, Lebanon, Palestian/Israel and Jordan. The land that housed, nurtured and spread the teachings of Jesus Christ for over two millenniums, now threatens children of that faith. The survival of historic Eastern Christianity, particularly in Syria, is critical for several reasons:

  1. Greater Syria is the homeland of Jesus and Christianity. Abraham was from modern day Iraq, Moses from Egypt, and Muhammad from Mecca; Jesus was from Syria.
  1. Paul converted to Christianity and saw the light while walking through ‘The Street Called Straight’ in Damascus.
  1. Jesus’ followers were called Christians for the first time in Antioch, formerly part of Syria.
  1. One of the earliest churches, perhaps the earliest, is in Syria.

The potential demise of historic Eastern Christianity is reflected in the key question Christians ask: should we stay or emigrate? The urgent question – in the face of the ongoing regional turmoil – precipitated with the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 and escalated since the Arab uprisings in 2011. Historic Eastern Christians’ fears were further magnified when Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Archbishop Paul Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church, both of metropolitan Aleppo, were kidnapped on April, 22, 2013; with no traces of their whereabouts, dead or alive, since. For many years, I was deputy, friend, and advisor to the Archbishop Ibrahim, which provided me an opportunity to meet many Christians. I have, over time, noticed the change in their sentiment, with more considering emigration after the uprising and the kidnapping of the two Archbishops. Historic Eastern Christians survived the Ottoman Genocide in 1915 and thereafter; they multiplied and thrived in the Fertile Crescent despite some atrocities until the start of the misnamed “Arab Spring” in early 2011. Prior to the “Arab Spring”, historic Eastern Christians were victims of violence on several occasions. In the mid-1930s, the historic Assyrian community in Iraq suffered violent onslaughts and were driven to Syria. In the 1970s and 1980s, during the Lebanese Civil War, Christians were victims of sectarian violence. During the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, Christians were victims of widespread sectarian violence which led to mass migration. The “Arab Spring” began with great hope for the right of the people to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. However, it was swiftly hijacked by Islamists and Salafists and turned into an “Islamic Spring, an Arab Fall and a Christian Winter”; bringing along with it a new massacre of Christians. Presently, Eastern Christianity is at the mercy of clear and identifiable domestic, regional, and international, historic and contemporary conflicts in the Fertile Crescent, namely:

  1. Jihad vs. Ijtihad: A long standing conflict amongst Muslims between the sword vs. the pen.
  2. Sunni vs. Shiite: A conflict which began following the death of the Prophet Muhammad.
  3. Arabism vs. Islamism: The former has territorial limitations, the later has no territorial limitations.
  4. Syria vs. Israel: It is an essential component of the Palestinian problem, not the presumed Arab- Israeli conflict.
  5. West vs. East: A throwback to the Cold War, or its revival.
  6. Historic Persian, Ottoman and Arab Empires animosities: Each seeking regional hegemony.

One is reminded of the proverbial saying, “When the elephants fight, the grass suffers.” Certainly, Eastern Christianity is suffering and threatened with extinction.

Syria was a model of religious tolerance, common living and peaceful interaction amongst its religious, sectarian, cultural and ethnic components. Seven years of turmoil, in which various international and regional powers manipulated segments of Syrian society by supplying them with an abundance of weapons, money and sectarian ideologies, has heightened Eastern Christians’ fears. During the seven-year turmoil in Syria, the entire society has suffered; Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites, Yazidis, Kurds, Christians and others. Christians, being a weak and peaceful component of the society, have suffered immensely. Ma’aloula; a religious treasure for Christians globally, and the only city in the world where Aramaic – the language of Jesus Christ – is spoken, was attacked and besieged by ISIS. Numerous historic Churches were damaged, and many destroyed. Christians in Raqqa were forced by ISIS into one of three options: 1. Pay a penalty in pure gold – known as a ‘Jizya’ to keep their life and practice their faith – albeit in secret only; 2. Convert into Islam; or 3. Face immediate death. To top their pain, the kidnap of the two prominent Archbishops meant no Eastern Christian believer was safe.

Amidst all the doom and gloom, however, there remains hope. The survival of Christianity depends on the actions and reactions of three parties:

Eastern Christians: During the last hundred years, 1915-2015, since the Ottoman Genocide, Eastern Christians have been victims of a history of massacres, which meant that every Eastern Christian was a martyr, a potential martyr or a witness of martyrdom; if you fool me once, shame on you, if you fool me twice, shame on me. The ongoing regional turmoil has heightened their sense of insecurity. The answer to an age-old question Eastern Christians had on their mind: To flee Westwards or remain in their land, in the face of death, is increasingly becoming the former.

Eastern Muslims: There is a difference in perceptions between Eastern Christians and mainstream Muslims regarding the massacres committed against Christians. When certain violent groups or individuals kill Christians, while shouting a traditional Islamic profession: “No God but one God and Muhammad is God’s messenger”, it is reasonable for Christians to assume the killers are Muslims. However, for mainstream Muslims, the killers do not represent Islam; they are extremists, violating basic Islamic norms such as Muhammad’s sayings, “Whoever hurts a Thummy – Christian or Jew – has hurt me”, “no compulsion in religion” and other Islamic norms regarding just treatment of people of the Book; Christians and Jews. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the Muslim elites to impress upon their fellow Muslims that:

a. The three monotheistic religions believe in one God and all ‘faithfuls’ are equal in citizenship, rights and duties.

b. Christians participated in the rise of Arab Islamic civilization. They were pioneers in the modern Arab renaissance and they joined their Muslim brethren in resisting the Crusades, the Ottomans and Western colonialism.

c. Christians are natives of the land and they provide cultural, religious, educational, and economic, diversity.

d. Christians are a positive link between the Muslims and the Christian West, particularly in view of the rise of Islamophobia. Massacres of Christians and their migration provide a pretext for the further precipitation of Islamophobia.

e. Civilization is measured by the way it treats its minorities.

The Christian West: The Crusades, Western colonialism, creation and continued support of Israel, support of authoritarian Arab political systems, military interventions, regime change, and the destabilization of Arab states made Muslims view Eastern Christians ‘guilty by association’. The Christian West helped Jews come to Palestine to establish Israel. Shouldn’t the same Christian West also help Eastern Christians remain in their homeland, rather than facilitate their emigration? Western Christians, particularly Christian Zionists, believe that the existence of Israel is necessary for the return of Jesus to his homeland. However, it would be a great disappointment for Jesus to return to his homeland, Syria and not find any of his followers.

Prior to 2011, Eastern Christian religious leaders were encouraging Syrian Christians in the diaspora to return to Syria, their homeland, where life was safe and secure with great potential. Now, the same leaders are desperately trying to slow down Christian emigration. Eastern Christians’ loud cries for help to remain are blowing in the wind.

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