Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Metropolitan Philip Saliba on the Syrian Crisis

00 Syrian Christian Girls Easter

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Editor’s Foreword:

Lest I be accused of anti-Semitism by some overheated Zionist nutter, I state here that I’ve presented Metropolitan Philip Saliba‘s words in their entirety. I refuse to censor anyone in the name of Political Correctness, no matter how powerful a particular faction may be. We’re all the poorer for kowtowing to such. I shall speak frankly… to disagree with a particular Jew or with the State of Israel isn’t anti-Semitism, and I’ll hold and express that without shame. Anti-Zionism isn’t racism… and that’s that.

BMD

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We gather this evening to pray for the repose of the souls of the Arab martyrs who died in a vain war which history never experienced. When a revolution in Tunisia overthrew President Zin al-Abidin bin Ali, and when another revolution in Libya overthrew Colonel Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, the USA said, “This is the Arab Spring“. In the June issue of Word Magazine, which expresses the opinion of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, I wrote an editorial titled: Is this an Arab Spring or a tornado? This tornado extended to wounded Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, beloved Syria, and beautiful Lebanon, whilst Jordan stands these days on the edge of the abyss. After the Zionists’ gangs defeated all Arab armies during the first war between the Arabs and Israel, the great Syrian poet Omar Abu Risha, with much indignation, delivered a poem in Aleppo that said:

My nation, do you have among other nations a pulpit for the sword or pen?
I look at you with much sadness ashamed from your past which has vanished.
My nation, how many idols you glorified which did not have the purity of an idol?

This past which has vanished, and over which Omar Abu Risha shed tears, is the dawn of Islam when the Prophet Muhammad destroyed the idols of al-Kaʿbah. As our Lord Jesus Christ drove out the traders from the Temple saying to them, “My House is a house of prayer, but you have made out of it a den for thieves”. Are the Salafists and fundamentalists who slay children as if they are sheep and who stab men in the chest to take out the hearts of their enemies and eat them are Muslims? Oh my God, NO! They’re blasphemers, and if you don’t believe me, go to the Holy Quran and learn forgiveness and love. The Quran states, “Man is the brother of man whether he likes it or not”.

Advise them to read Sura al Imran, Sura al-Ma’ida, and Sura Maryam; then, maybe, they’d understand. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you and if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also”. He also said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you”. When we see rivers of blood streaming in the Arab streets, we can’t help but ask, “Are they really Muslims?” Moreover, when we see the Christian West supply Arab countries and Arab people with lethal weapons to kill each other we can’t help but ask, “Where are the Christians?”

Four months ago, gunmen abducted two Orthodox Archbishops from Aleppo, namely Archbishop Youhanna Ibrahim and Archbishop Boulos al-Yazigi. Rumour has it that they’re imprisoned between the Syrian and Turkish borders and other rumours say that they’ve been killed and departed to the Heavenly Kingdom. What did these two God-loving Archbishops, who dedicated their lives to prayer, good deeds, and preaching love do to deserve such treatment? Why haven’t we heard anything from them or their captors after all these days? Real revolutions are made for creating a new world, not for kidnapping, murder, stealing, burning churches and mosques, kidnapping bishops, and shedding the blood of priests.

I don’t want to talk too long, however, allow me to conclude this message with some verses of poetry which were written by the famous and great Damascene poet, Nizar Kabbani, may his soul rest in peace, during the commemoration of the establishment of the Arab League in Egypt, which moved to Tunisia after President Anwar al-Sadat signed that shameful peace with Israel. I remember from this famous poem the following immortal verses:

O green Tunisia I have come to you as a lover,
And on my forehead there is a book and a rose.
I am the Damascene whose profession is love.
He sang and the earth and the forest became green.
I am tired my friend with my Arabism.
Is Arabism a curse and torture?
The Arab world is either a slain
Lamb or a butcher ruler.

This is our tragic condition today. May the peace and the mercy of God and His blessings be upon you.

28 August 2013

Antiochian.org

http://www.antiochian.org/his-eminence-metropolitan-philip-speaks-syria

 

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Do Traditional Values Have a Future?

tatiana-mikhedova-my-family-from-age-to-age

My Family from Age to Age

Tatiana Mikhedova

2000s

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On 27 September 2012, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution submitted by Russia on “Promoting Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms through a Better Understanding of Traditional Values of Mankind: Best Practises”. More than 60 states sponsored this initiative, including, collectively, members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the League of Arab States. The resolution reiterates the idea that understanding of and respect for traditional values both encourage and facilitate the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

We strongly believe that all cultures and civilisations, in their traditions, religions, and beliefs, share a common set of values that belong to mankind in its entirety, and that those values have made an important contribution to the development of human rights, norms, and standards. The family, society, and educational institutions all play key roles in asserting these values. In a broader sense, traditions underpin national identity. It’s widely-recognised that manifestations and symbols of national identity unite people and underpin their sense of national pride, community, and continuity. It’d be no exaggeration to say that traditional values are the backbone of every society and define its existence. By protecting traditional values, we protect our societies from destabilisation, the erosion of fundamental moral principles, loss of national identity, and basic cultural codes. It’s clear that safeguarding human rights goes hand in hand with preserving traditional values.

The resolution that Russia initiated calls on UN member states to recognise and reaffirm the vital role of traditional values in promoting human rights. This is the third resolution in this vein adopted by the Human Rights Council since 2009. However, a few states, namely the USA and some EU members, voted against it. Their position is quite clear… they see traditional values as a way of justifying human rights abuses, particularly against those considered the most vulnerable members of society. Such arguments and unwillingness to collaborate on the draft are regrettable. Russia is open to dialogue and cooperation in this sphere, but we think that no state or group of states has the right to speak on human rights in the name of the entire international community. After all, we have universal instruments, such as the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, amongst others. However, in some regions, the concept of human rights evolved considerably beyond that common denominator. Imposing that outcome on others isn’t an option. What, then, can we do?

I’m convinced that human rights issues should draw nations together, and that the Human Rights Council should focus on finding ways to accentuate the fact that human rights don’t exist in a societal vacuum. They didn’t emerge from nowhere. If traditional values crumble, so will human rights, since that would destroy the moral fabric that holds society together. It isn’t about which come first. There’s a real need to promote the understanding that human rights and traditional values are interconnected. To this end, it’s important to take into account the cultural, civilisational, historical, and religious heritage of all communities and nations. The concept of traditional values will only benefit from absorbing elements of different cultures. This is even more important now, when this period of global economic crisis puts the very foundations of social cohesion to the test.

17 January 2013

Aleksandr Yakovenko

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/blogs/20130117/178839002/Ambassadors_Notebook_Do_Traditional_Values_Have_a_Future.html

Editor’s Note:

Let’s keep it simple and focused. The thesis of this essay is that the USA has no right to impose its idiosyncratic notions on the rest of the world under the guise of “human rights” and “traditional values”. This is especially true considering that the USA believes that it has the “right” to “impose” such notions using military force and violence against leaders and/or countries that it doesn’t care for (in addition, “traditional values” is used by the same lot to justify brutality and discrimination against individuals and groups that they don’t like). We, as Orthodox believers, follow the moral ethos and civilisational values of the Orthosphere… not the depraved moneygrubbing “values” and the twisted “morals” of the American élite (we have nothing in common with the crackbrained “Evangelicalsectarianism that cheerleads such rubbish). Note well that some of our clergy and laity have sold out to the American apparat… these people are Sergianists of the worst possible sort. Remember the definition of a “Sergianist”:

One who sells out to the godless powers-that-be for personal power and/or personal gain.

That definition fits Paffhausen, Potapov, Alexander Webster, Lyonyo, Jillions, Dreher, Mattingly, Freddie M-G, and Reardon, amongst others (sorts such as Whiteford and Trenham are simply uninformed louts… they’re not sell-outs… neither are Lebedeff, Roman Krassovsky, Behr, and Bobby K… they’re just First Family apparatchiki). Have a care… there ARE “Chekists in riassas”… and you can find them all on the Right, sucking up to the most extreme and irrational elements in the Republican Party (for instance, Paffhausen, Dreher, Mattingly, and Webster have sold out to the K Street stink-tankers). The worm does turn, doesn’t it?

BMD 

Monday, 3 September 2012

UN Envoy to Syria Sez Invasion or Military Intervention Not in the Cards

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On Sunday, Lakhdar Brahimi, the new UN envoy to war-torn Syria, said that a military intervention by Arab forces isn’t in the cards. Brahimi said in an interview to al Arabiya television, “A military intervention in Syria means a failure of diplomatic efforts. For me, this option isn’t available, and, personally, this will be neither today nor tomorrow nor the day after tomorrow”. The 78-year-old diplomat called for a ceasefire in the conflict, which has claimed 25,000 lives since March 2011, according to UN estimates. Brahimi avoided apportioning blame, but said, “The government’s responsibility to stop the violence is greater” than that of the opposition.

Sunday marks the first day at the job for Brahimi, a former Algerian Foreign Minister, and a member of the Global Elders, a group of ex-world leaders and prominent public figures brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007 to tackle various global issues. Brahimi replaced Kofi Annan, a former UN Secretary General who introduced a peace plan for Syria in February that Russia signed off on, but both the Syrian government and the opposition ignored it. The Arab League, a regional organisation comprised mostly of Syria’s opponents, repeatedly blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the conflict and urged him to step down.

2 September 2012

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/world/20120902/175724639.html

Monday, 16 July 2012

Russia Sees Blackmail in Western Stance on Syria

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (1950- )

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On Monday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia sees “elements of blackmail” in the West linking new sanctions against Syria with the extension of the international observer mission there, and said it was unrealistic to expect Moscow to force President Assad to step down, saying before a meeting with UN Special Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan, “To our great distress, we saw elements of blackmail. They told us, ‘If you don’t give us an agreement on accepting the [UN Security Council] resolution on Article 7 of the UN Charter, then, we’ll refuse to prolong the UN Observer Mission mandate”. The unarmed observers went to Syria following a UN Security Council vote in April, to observe compliance with the Annan peace plan. Lavrov said that Moscow thinks such an approach “is absolutely counterproductive and dangerous; to use the observers as bargaining chips is inadmissible”.

On Wednesday, Britain, France, and Germany presented the UN Security Council with a draft resolution that linked an extension of the UN Observer mission in Syria with the fulfilment by the Syrian government of a series of demands within ten days, including an end to use of heavy weapons. The draft included introduction of a series of diplomatic and economic sanctions against Damascus if it failed to carry out the resolution’s demands, in line with Article Seven of the UN Charter, which allows the Council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and to take military and non-military action to “restore international peace and security”. Russia declared that it wouldn’t accept the western draft proposal and countered it with its proposal, which included an extension of the observer mission for another three months to carry out the Annan plan to resolve the conflict.

Lavrov also dismissed calls by Western powers for it to use its influence to persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stand down as leader of the violence-stricken Middle East country as “unrealistic”, saying, “They tell us that we should persuade Assad to step down of his own free will. This is simply unrealistic. He won’t leave… not because we’re protecting him, but because he has the support of a very significant part of the country’s population. We’ll accept any decision by the Syrian people on who’ll govern Syria, as long as it comes from the Syrians themselves”. Last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that both Russia and China would “pay a price” for what she said was their support for Assad. Western powers repeatedly accused both countries of protecting the embattled Syrian leader.

Lavrov will discuss the mounting crisis in Syria with UN Special Envoy Kofi Annan later on Monday. Annan is also due to meet President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday during a two-day visit to the Russian capital, his second since March. The Kremlin is continuing to push Annan’s six-point peace plan as the only way to bring an end to the spiralling violence in Syria, despite the failure of a ceasefire stipulated under the deal, which rebel forces have said they won’t abide by. Annan’s plan doesn’t call for Assad’s departure. Lavrov said, “We need to pressure both the régime and the opposition to make them stop the violence”, adding that Russia had been able to persuade the Syrian armed opposition to drop what he called “radical demands”, saying, “They continued to talk about a revolution”. Lavrov held talks with two Syrian opposition groups last week.

Moscow has come under increasing international pressure over what Western powers say is its support for the Syrian government, the Kremlin’s sole remaining ally in the Arab world. An almost 17-month revolt against Assad has left up to 16,000 people dead, according to Syrian activists quoted by the UN. The UN and human rights groups, both in Syria and abroad, accused government forces and pro-Assad militia of executing and torturing civilians. Over the weekend, the International Red Cross said that the conflict in Syria was now a “civil war”, officially obliging both sides to observe Geneva Conventions regulations on the non-targeting of civilians.

Russia, along with China, refused to support Western-backed UN resolutions on Syria that it says betray a pro-rebel bias, which could leave the door open for foreign military intervention against the Assad régime. Earlier this year, Putin vowed not to allow a repeat of the “Libya scenario”, which saw the ouster and murder of long-time Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi after a NATO military campaign. In a move interpreted as a possible shift in the Kremlin’s position, last week, a Russian arms trade official said Moscow wouldn’t sign new deals on weapons deliveries to Syria until peace was established. Russia insisted its arms supplies to Syria have been of an exclusively “defensive” nature.

Damascus saw the heaviest fighting of the entire uprising against Assad this weekend, the violence in the Syrian capital coming after the defection of Syria’s ambassador to Iraq, the most senior figure to abandon the Assad régime since the conflict began. Lavrov also said Moscow was concerned by what he said was the increasingly sectarian nature of the conflict and the introduction of a “third force” of Islamist extremists, saying, “It’s worrying that, according to multiple eyewitnesses, a so-called third force in the form of al-Qaeda and extremist organisations close to it has become active. This is a tendency that we’ve observed in other parts of the region, it threatens security”.

16 July 2012

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20120716/174629132.html

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