Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Still No News on Kidnapped Bishops in Syria

00 Boulos Yazigi. Syria. Bishop. 30.04.13

Greek Orthodox Archbishop Boulos Yazigi of Aleppo

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A spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo said that there’s still no news about the two Syrian Orthodox archbishops kidnapped a week ago, on 22 April. The spokesman, who preferred to be anonymous for security reasons, spoke today with the Catholic NGO Aid to the Church in Need, saying, “We still don’t know where the two archbishops are or who has taken them. There are many Christians being kidnapped now, and this is the first time where we have absolutely no clue about what has happened, where nobody has taken responsibility for the abduction. Of course, this is very worrying… especially, as we’re now on Day Eight since [the kidnapping] happened”.

Gunmen abducted Greek Orthodox Archbishop Boulos Yagizi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Youhanna Ibrahim some five miles west of Aleppo, the city to which they were returning after travelling to the Turkish border to negotiate the release of two priests… Frs Michael Kayyal and Maher Mahfouz… kidnapped on 9 February. The kidnapped killed the archbishops’ driver, Deacon Fatha’ Allah Kabboud. Even if the archbishops are being held in a safe location, there’s concern for the health of Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Ibrahim, who takes medication for high blood pressure and diabetes, and isn’t thought to have had the medication with him when he was taken.

The diocesan spokesman said that Church leaders were combating pressure from the Christian community. He said that Christians were calling for demonstrations to appeal for the archbishops’ release, a move which that he said could antagonise the kidnappers. Saying that services and prayer vigils were taking place including one broadcast on Syrian TV, he added, “Christians are worried and want to express their anger about what’s happened, but we should carefully study every step… we have to think about what the response would be from the kidnappers”.

He went on to appeal for continuing international pressure for the archbishops’ release. Emphasising the bishops’ high status, he said that he was hopeful that diplomatic intervention would prove effective, noting, “So far, the international community has done very well in putting pressure. We don’t want that pressure to subside… government, civil society, churches, and NGOs… different levels of help might help”. He called on Christians “and all people of good will” to pray for the archbishops’ release, observing, “What’s so sad about this is that both men were among those working hardest for peace, yet, in this time of conflict, they’re amongst those paying the highest price”.

29 April 2013

Zenit

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/aleppo-spokesman-no-news-on-syrian-archbishops

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00 Youhanna Ibrahim. Syria. Bishop. 30.04.13

Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Youhanna Ibrahim of Aleppo

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Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros al-Rahi appealed for the release of two Orthodox bishops kidnapped and held in Syria, saying that they should be set free in the name of humanity. Rai made his appeal whilst he served liturgy at Our Lady of Lebanon Church in Brazil, where he’s on an official visit. On 22 April, armed men kidnapped Greek Orthodox Archbishop Boulos Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Youhanna Ibrahim, both of Aleppo, as they were enroute to the northern city from the Turkish border. Rai said that all parties involved in the kidnappings should “play a part in their release”, and emphasised, “The kidnapping of the two bishops has nothing to do with current political disputes”.

29 April 2013

The Daily Star

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2013/Apr-30/215527-rai-appeals-for-release-of-syrian-archbishops.ashx#axzz2RwEPtGYA

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On Friday, in a strong message of solidarity, Muslim clerics in Damascus denounced the kidnapping of Greek Orthodox Bishop Boulos Yazigi, and Syriac Orthodox Bishop Youhanna Ibrahim, both of Aleppo. Last Monday, armed men abducted the two whilst they were travelling to Aleppo from a town on the Turkish border where they were carrying out “humanitarian work”. The official SANA news agency reported that imams and preachers at mosques throughout the Syrian capital said in Friday sermons that the kidnappers “ dishonoured the inviolability of Christian and Islamic clergymen”. On Saturday, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation joined in, calling for the “unconditional” release of the two bishops. Ekmeledin Ihsanoglu, the OIC secretary general, condemned the kidnapping. The OIC statement urged their “immediate and unconditional release because such acts contradict the principles of true Islam and the [high] status held by Christian clergymen in Islam”. It added that Christian clergy always “had dignity and honour in Islamic countries”.

28 April 2013

ICN: Independent Catholic News

http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=22424

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 

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Russia Helps Troubled Syria

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Russia’s sending humanitarian aid to Syria. On Monday, two aircraft from the Emergency Situations Ministry (MChS) carrying special cargoes arrived in Damascus from Moscow. With Russian government oversight, the mission had the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID). According to the MChS, the first consignment of humanitarian aid consisted of the most needed commodities. Yuri Brazhnikov, the director of the MChS International Department, said that some 80 tonnes of cargo went to Damascus, saying, “Two IL-76 planes carried frame tents and everything necessary for living in them, including blankets as well as food… canned food, baby food, and sugar. We delivered this aid at Syria’s request. All these items are necessary under the conditions of the present conflict. This is one of the first humanitarian actions to be carried out, together with those organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Syrian Red Crescent organisation, which is well aware of the situation in several regions of the country, is receiving the aid and distributing it”. Brazhnikov said that the MChS is ready to send another consignment of aid to Syria, if Damascus makes a request, noting, “We’re ready to respond if Syria makes a new request, and we’ll act proceeding from the possibilities and the situation. In this case, we’ll be guided by the MID’s recommendations, of course”.

On the 10 March, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his counterparts from the Arab League adopted a plan to stabilise the situation in Syria. The plan provides for putting an end to hostilities by both sides and delivering humanitarian aid freely. On the eve, Valerie Amos (Baroness Amos), the head of UN Humanitarian Mission demanded that the Syrian authorities assure free access to humanitarian aid for people, especially in the regions severely affected by fighting. Aleksei Podtserob, an expert in Oriental Studies, and former Russian ambassador to Lebanon, said, “However, the problem here isn’t the action of the Syrian authorities. The Syrian authorities can’t bear responsibility for the action of militants. Really, the humanitarian situation in several regions where heavy fighting was going on, especially in Homs, is critical. Nevertheless, I’d like to emphasise that the militants, who stirred up an armed insurrection against the government, are to blame for this situation. They drove people from their houses, and these people have become internally displaced persons. Russia’s decision to send humanitarian aid to Syria is a well-timed and correct step. Hopefully, other countries will follow in Russia’s footsteps”.

Earlier, China expressed desire to send humanitarian aid to Syria. On Monday, the Syrian authorities allowed the delivery of humanitarian cargo from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. According to UN reports, the death toll in Syria has reached 7,500, including military and civilians.

12 March 2012

Polina Chernitsa

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_03_12/68248250/

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