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FATHER ANDRE said 9/10/2013 11:51:46 PM :
By Fr. Andre Y-Sebastian MAHANNA, S.T.L.
Rome, Sept 7-2013

Part 1
More than four months ago, analysts perceived that the United States might be poised for a possible strike against the Syrian Government.

Since that time and knowing the background of our involvement as a government and Army in Iraq and elsewhere in the Political Middle East (Egypt, Holy Land, Israel, Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq) and the Mid-Far East (Pakistan, Afghanistan…), and knowing that President Barack Obama’s first campaign was to stop any American armed interventions in the world, I knew that a drastic change in the foreign policy of our current administration is being considered for whatever reason -- right or wrong.

Consequently and immediately, I started exchanging visits with people of good will (Jews, Christians and Muslins), hosting inter-religious and ecumenical prayer services, getting together with prominent Arab-American people in Colorado, Lebanese-American people, as well as other professional experts and friends from different nations in the Middle East. These efforts were to try to form a coalition to help our administration and government develop a better understanding of the consequences of any probable involvement in the Middle East at this point, and how it might be detrimental first to our legacy, safety and economic and national security as Americans.

Therefore, we got with good, trusted and non-partial people such as lobbyists, former and current public figures, who worked in the Middle East, and some concerned and well-knowledgeable friends and started forming a “white paper” that states our practical beliefs as people coming from different religions, nations, and ethnicities, to officially try to help our government perceive and develop a better understanding of what is going on in the Middle East, especially in Syria.

The paper, “People For Peace in Syria,” is a proposal that was sent to President Obama, the State Department, and the United States Congress seeking an alternative of vision, involvement and a role of being the peacemaker and the protector of human rights in the Middle East . The paper is far from being political, yet it gives outlines to politicians on how to pursue what is right and how to reconcile our interests as Americans with our American principles first and with the people’s moral, religious, economic, political and social principles and views in the area.

The paper encourages the U.S. government to not engage in any military intervention under any circumstance at least not initiated by us. The United States cannot engage itself any longer with sadness in the world. We do not want any military action before solving a misunderstanding of what is right and wrong. It is not wise to take action now where there is obviouisly a misapplication of justice and democracy and misconception of the anthropological, social, political, ethnic and religious individual character of the different constituent nations and groups in the Middle East.

Some of the major new concepts that the paper addresses are:
We believe... The priority that must be taken into consideration by the U.S. government is the safety of its people. In the context of Syria, military involvement is a major risk that will put almost every American in great danger as we will face stereotyped hatred from numerous people in the world as they already envy us.

As Americans, it is part of our National Security to protect Israel as a state. Israel already has made some major and great improvements in its relations with the Arab world, especially the Muslim world, and U.S. military involvement might jeopardize the existence and the future of Israel. Measures of safety to protect Israel with an eventual U.S. military intervention in Syria suggest that a high level retaliation might take place from different sides and in different ways and in different places in the world against Americans and Israelis. We cannot afford that the world might witness again a repeat of the atrocities of Hitler and World War II, of a similar and horrible hatred or possible genocides whether against Jews or against any other different minorities.

We must look at diplomacy and political solutions as favorable alternative ways where we can protect the people of Israel, the Christians and the Muslims, who want to live in peace. The only way to do this is to pursue an initiative of peace, to seek justice based on dialogues and by sending people to Syria who can operate with the government and the demonstrators to convince both to come to the table and communicate under the supervision of the United Nations. But first of all, we must make sure to stop their procurement of weapons of mass destruction.

It will remain a major contradiction and will be a source of confusion that an American president, who when elected got the attention and love of the entire world and the highest honor for peace from the Noble group in 2009, now is inviting the world to a deliberate war against Syria, which is a victim. All average people in the world now know that Syria is the place of a world-wide war among leading nations. What is going on in Syria could be existentially dangerous for the entire world. The conflict is not a local nor a regional war. It is not a conquest for the pursuit of justice and freedom as it was depicted almost two years ago. It might have started that way, but when our engagement was first needed, the world decided to remain silent at the time.

Traveling in Europe this past week, I heard an abundance of news from the Middle East with most of it suggesting that the world now views the American Government and its people as having deliberately chosen to be partial and very subjective and emotional in our perspective of the devastation, the scale of human suffering, the use of chemical weapons and human rights violations that the continued conflicts have created.

As we await the results of the United Nations’ investigations, we must act immediately to make sure all procurement of weapons against people have to be stopped --- now, now, now! The only way to do this is to stop giving weapons or selling weapons to all of them together.

On both ends, those who support the Syrian government and those who oppose it have already crossed the point of no return, showing extreme violence and hatred, resulting in death and massive destruction. There is no way either party is seeking justice or pursuing freedom, and both parties must be held accountable.

We believe...the Western media could use more anthropological resources, religious education, and sociological expertise of people from the area to best convey a message that is not propaganda but true and real, otherwise it appears as if the media outlets have not responsibly produced news reports reflecting the truth of what is really happening in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

All of these factors lead to the conviction that the discharge of chemical weapons could have come from any side not excluding the government but not denying the alternative that neither was responsible, for these people on all sides are killing one another at any cost and in any way possible.

This is why the U.S. Congress, President Obama and our American Administration should wait for confirmation from the United Nations’ inspectors before making any decisions to take military action.

We believe that the people who ordered the use of chemical weapons should be brought to justice and prosecuted under international law, and not to impose punitive damages on the Syrian people, who in case of a possible strike will suffer more devastation, including more deaths and more dispersement inside and outside their country.

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