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An inside look at post-coup Ukraine

The bleak state of post-coup Ukraine offers little but war, terrorism, lawlessness and extreme poverty.

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The colossal chaos, economic depression, and everyday violence that is now part of daily life in Ukraine have defied the expectations of even some of the most hardened critics of the regime which came to power during the Kiev coup of February 2014.

Journalists killed and kidnapped:

Two days ago, the Russian journalist Anna Kurbatova who works for Russia’s prestigious Channel One was kidnapped in the streets of Kiev by assailants later exposed as working for the Kiev regime’s security service, the SBU.

She was detained without being allowed to contact anyone before being deported to the Russian border.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has described the egregious incident in the following way,

“We were shocked by the Kiev regime’s actions against Russian journalists. Qualifying this as something other than a new abduction of a Russian journalist would be difficult.

Individuals come up and do not introduce themselves. They take away a phone and documents and do not allow a phone call either to a foreign mission or relatives or even an employer,” the spokeswoman explained.

Then, the reporter disappears from the information field for several hours and it is only under huge pressure from the public, journalists, representatives of Russian state executive bodies that scanty information is provided that the correspondent was detained by agents of Ukrainian security services.

We were shocked that we did not hear from any of high-placed representatives of foreign countries any qualification of such actions by Kiev”.

Far from being an isolated incident, both local and international journalists face a deluge of persecution by the Kiev regime. In some cases, journalists have been assassinated for voicing opinions which contradict the regime’s narrative.

On the same day that Anna Kurbatova was kidnapped, a civilian camera crew from Russia-24 were shot at with live rounds by forces loyal to the regime as they covered the war in Donbass.

In 2015, the local writer and journalist Oles Buzina was assassinated by unknown individuals. Buzina was targeted as an ‘enemy’ of the regime by the ISIS-style website Mirotvorets which names and publishes the personal details of figures deemed non-compliant with the regime and encourages acts of violence upon them.

In 2014, shortly after the coup, British journalist Graham Phillips was abducted by the Ukrainian SBU while covering the Kiev regime’s war on Donbass. After being held in dangerous conditions he had his possessions stolen and was thrown out of the country. A fellow journalist who was abducted at the same time as Phillips, a man called Vadim Aksyonov was savagely beaten by forces loyal to the Kiev regime.

Political assassinations: 

In 2015 Oleg Kalashnikov, a former deputy of the Part of Regions, the faction which held a legislative majority in the country prior to the coup, was brutally assassinated. His death is linked with death threats emanating from the  Mirotvorets  website.

Other terrorist associations included state-sponsored killings of Donbass field commanders Motorola and Givi. Motorola was killed in a bomb planted in his apartment building while Givi was the target of a bomb blast in his office.

More recently, Ukrainian political assassinations have not been exclusively limited to regime opponents. In June of 2017, a car bomb killed Colonel Maksim Shapoval of the regime’s Defence Ministry while in March Denis Voronenkov, a former Communist Deputy from Russia’s State Duma was killed in the streets of Kiev.

Ethnic cleansing: 

The regime’s war on Donbass is a clear attempt to ethnically cleanse  former regions of Ukraine of a population which has held democratic votes to codify the self-determination of the peoples of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

The regime’s economic blockade and frequent sabotage of infrastructure in Donbass as well as calls for “total war” coming from prominent politicians in Kiev, makes it clear that Kiev has no intention to adhere to the protocols of the Minsk II ceasefire agreements which have never been implemented.

However, the ethnic cleansing and political disenfranchisement in post-coup Ukraine are not limited to the People’s Republics in Donbass.

On the 2nd of May, 2014, an armed mod of neo-Nazi regimes supporters burnt alive, shot and beat to death nearly 50 people and injured over 200.

The following describes the details of the atrocity:

Throughout the winter and into the spring of 2014, the protests in historic Novorossiya were generally peaceful but often turned violent as fascist thugs from western Ukrainian often visited the protests in order to beat and kill the protesters.

In May of 2014, in the days prior to the 9th of May Victory Day celebrations over Hitler’s fascist forces, things started to become tense.

Knowing that the ethnic and cultural Russians of the region would be honouring their fathers and grandfathers on the 9th of May, the fascist/ultra-nationalist presence in the region grew.

Many people were severely beaten simply because they were wearing the Ribbon of St. George, the symbol of Victory Day that had been adopted by anti-fascist protesters to show solidarity against extremism.

May the 2nd: The Massacre 

The 2nd of May, 2014, began as a day like any other. Although many had seen that in previous days, fascist thugs from the neo-Nazi group Right Sector, the neo-fascist party Svoboda as well as far-right football hooligans from outside the region had descended on Odessa. They continued to pour in on the morning of the 2nd.

By the afternoon, the fascist gangs started violently attacking the anti-fascist protesters. As the anti-fascists come under increasingly violent attacks, the peaceful protesters ran into the Trade Unions House, eventually barricading themselves inside for protection.

As the afternoon wore on, fascists were seen firing shots into the building and then they began to set the building on fire using a combination of Molotov cocktail and flaming debris.

As the fire raged, the fascists surrounded the front and back of the building, prohibiting escape. Many of the protesters, some in their mid-teens died of asphyxiation. Others jumped to their deaths.

Some who jumped and survived the initial fall were beaten to death. Others were tortured to the brink of death.

The authorities did nothing.

The events were videoed and I can personally remember watching as the attack unfolded. It was a barbaric brutality that one had naively hoped had no place in the 21st century. This after all was the age of Facebook, not the age of Hitler. But for those who committed the massacre, it was clearly the age of both.

Aftermath: 

Russia immediately condemned the massacre. Russia was joined by Belarus, Armenia and EU member Bulgaria.

odessa victims

The west remained largely indifferent while the western mainstream media did their best to whitewash the massacre.

There was and still is a kind of unspoken racism that was inherent in the west’s coverage of The Odessa Massacre. Had the events happened in the Arab world and under an ISIS flag, things would have doubtlessly got more coverage.

But because the victims were ethnic and cultural Russians, things were interpreted through the prism of two paradoxical but equally potent forms of racism.

On the one hand, European and English-speaking audiences have been racially conditioned to believe that savage atrocities only happen in the Middle East, Africa or Asia. This is of course unfair and insulting to the vast majority of peace loving people in the aforementioned places.

At the same time, Russians, a distinct ethnic group in spite of their generally white skin, can still be described in racially inflammatory ways by the west. This does not generally happen to black Africans, white Jews, African-Americans or Latin Americans in the western mainstream media. The only other group subject to the same slander as Russians are Serbs, a people who are an historical ally to Russia”.

In the nearby Black Sea city of  Maripoul violence against mainly Russian speaking/culturally Russian opponents of the regime. According to left-wing Ukrainian politician Pyotr Simonenko,

“In Maripoul there was a slaughter of civilians, a mass murder. The number of those killed, first of all among peaceful civilians, is being concealed. A peaceful demonstration was shot at on May 9 and it was a show murder carried out by the current regime. There was a shooting of peaceful civilians, there was no one with weapons there. When you, using armoured personnel carrier guns, killed a family of three, shot [them] in their kitchen, this is what you must be held accountable for; there is blood on your hands today”.

READ MORE: Violence plagues Victory Day in Ukraine

The regime’s acts of violence against civilians is not however limited to the mobilisation of armed militias and thugs. Regime forces have been documented using chemical weapons against civilian populations, an act which is illegal according to international law.

A Russian investigation from 2015 found that Kiev’s forces did indeed drop chemical weapons on Dobass, thus confirming a war crime, in contravention to the Geneva Conventions. Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin reported,

“We have received irrefutable evidence of the use by the Kiev forces of weaponry similar to phosphorus bombs,” Markin said, based on the conclusion of a forensic chemical analysis from soil samples provided by witnesses in the targeted areas.

“The refugees bring in fragments of bombs and artillery shells, which maim and kill their loved ones. We have conducted more than a hundred tests, which all attest to (the war crimes committed by the Ukrainian military)”.

 READ MORE: When Ukraine dropped chemical weapons on Donbass, the west didn’t care (VIDEO)

TERRORISM: 

Regime forces and paramilitaries loyal to the regime have also committed acts of international terrorism. In the spring of 2016, Ukrainian terrorists with connections to the regime in Kiev blew up scores of power-lines which for decades had delivered electricity to Crimea. The fallout has led Crimea to hasten a drive to produce its own energy rather than pay for power-lines originating on Ukrainian territory.

The border between the Russian Republic of Crimea and Ukrainian terrorist has been rendered impassable due to terrorist activities.

Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov has described the situation in the following way,

“They have placed gunmen from the Right Sector (an neo-fascist Ukrainian group outlawed in Russia) and the so-called Crimean Tatar Battalion near the Crimean border. The border regions have become a cesspool of extremism and terrorism”.

Two weeks ago, Russia’s Federal Security Service FSB, arrested a Ukrainian terrorist who later admitted to acting under orders from the Kiev regime. He was caught will attempting to conduct an act of violence against civilians in Crimea.

READ MORE: Ukrainian terrorist agent captured in Russia pleads guilty to attempted sabotage

CONCLUSION: 

Ukraine is not only a failed state conducting a war of aggression against a people’s who have peacefully exercised their legal right to self-determination, but the regime is attempting to wage war on Russia using terrorist proxies.

Additionally, the freedom of journalists and political leaders, both Ukrainian citizens and visitors has been violently repressed, making Ukraine a country that is unsafe for foreign journalist to operate in without extreme caution.

The Kiev regime can barely pay its own electricity bills and all the while the country’s infrastructure, including its nuclear power stations, is collapsing.

READ MORE: UKRAINE–a ticking nuclear time-bomb

The regime looks close to collapse, but in spite of this western governments ranging from major EU state to the US, continue to prop up a regime which came to power illegal and operates in a swamp of terrorism, violence, oppression and economic deprivation.

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Wayne Blow
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Wayne Blow

There are a shit-load of American and Ukraine scum-bags that need a good kick in the “NUTS”

Seán Murphy
Guest
Seán Murphy

They need a lot more than that.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

A year before the coup that removed Ukraine’s elected government and installed the neo-Nazis in Kiev, the US and most of Europe called Poroshenko and his gang what they are – Nazis.

As soon as Ukraine’s legitimate government chose not to obey the Rothschild banks, the Nazis became “freedom fighters”, according to the Western media.

Guess what? They were Nazis before the coup and they are still NAZIS.

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

Right on the money, thank you, my friend!!!!

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Thanks.

Voltaire
Guest
Voltaire

This US organised coup d’état in Ukraine- the most obvious CIA/State Department regime change in many years – must be regarded as the most criminal act in recent years, creating a cancer in the middle of Europe which continues to fester… It is clearly US policy to continue the bloodletting, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in Ukraine… Just as the US has done in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen….. This is now fully documented… THE UNITED STATES NOW CLEARLY AND OPENLY AIDS AND ABETS MULTIPLE CRIMES IN UKRAINE – for the sole sordid and cynical reason of creating problems… Read more »

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

And just think, all it took was the mass murder of a few thousand americans in the WTC demolition and ‘Pearl-Harbor-like event’ as called for by the Neocons in their PNAC document.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

Banderastan bawled on the burning Maidan: “We are the heart of Europe”. Europe laughed. Now it is not laughing so hard. And the US is the other parent of this Neo-Fascism. How can it not come to the USA? It is there already.

VeeNarian (Yerevan)
Guest
VeeNarian (Yerevan)

Of course, Maidan was the heart, sorry FART, of Europe when Ukraine made its “civilizational choice”.
Something smelly was lost in translation!

gbardizbanian
Guest
gbardizbanian

The situation in Ukraine is frightening. The US have encouraged a Nazi regime in Europe just as they did with Islamists in Afghanistan and more recently in Kosovo. US leaders are ready to support any criminal faction, any gangster state in the hope of weakening Russia. The EU is controlled by a bunch of irresponsible “leaders” who follow the US and destroy their own continent to please the mad hawks in Washington.

Lants Schtolz
Guest
Lants Schtolz

What is the big difference between Ukraine and the Filipino dictatorship that you suck off on a daily basis?

VeeNarian (Yerevan)
Guest
VeeNarian (Yerevan)

You do know that both Banderised Ukraine and Philippines are loyal US allies following the values of the “superior and civilized” West?
This is all the rubbish you have to say in response to the burning of 50 in Odessa and the US/EU/NATO gang financing and instigating a war in the Donbass in which 10,000 to 100,000 have died and thousands more horrible injured?

Seán Murphy
Guest
Seán Murphy

The Philippines is a legal elected democracy. The Ukraine is not. Understand now?

santiago
Guest
santiago

Do not waste your time, imbeciles like Lants are UNABLE to understand anything beyond very simple concepts.

Guy
Member
Guy

Savagery is a mild word to describe what is going on in Ukraine and to think that it was the work of US of Israel that initiated all this.

Аргел Тал
Guest
Аргел Тал

You know what I can’t understand as Ukrainian myself? Why the fuck is this absolutely safe to talk about separatism and the UK, Spain, Belgium or any other civilized European country, while in Ukraine even a simple citizen can get into real troubles for that. You can easily get to the Mirotvorets website the author mentioned. Guess who runs this law breaking website? The minister’s of internal affairs councelor.

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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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