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Syrian Trappist Nuns Perspective

Syrian Trappist Nuns Perspective

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Published by Vienna1683
We look at the people around us, our day workers who are all here as if suspended, stunned: “They’ve decided to attack us.” Today we went to Tartous…we felt the anger, the helplessness, the inability to formulate a sense to all this: the people trying their best to work and to live normally. You see the farmers watering their land, parents buying notebooks for the schools that are about to begin, unknowing children asking for a toy or an ice cream…you see the poor, so many of them, trying to scrape together a few coins. The streets are full of the “inner” refugees of Syria, who have come from all over to the only area left that is still relatively liveable…. You see the beauty of these hills, the smile on people’s faces, the good-natured gaze of a boy who is about to join the army and gives us the two or three peanuts he has in his pocket as a token of “togetherness”…. And then you remember that they have decided to bomb us tomorrow. … Just like that. Because “it’s time to do something,” as it is worded in the statements of the important men, who will be sipping their tea tomorrow as they watch TV to see how effective their humanitarian intervention will be….
Will they make us breathe the toxic gases of the depots they hit, tomorrow, so as to punish us for the gases we have already breathed in?
The people are straining their eyes and ears in front of the television: all they’re waiting for is a word from Obama!
A word from Obama? Will the Nobel Peace Prize winner drop his sentence of war onto us? Despite all justice, all common sense, all mercy, all humility, all wisdom?
We look at the people around us, our day workers who are all here as if suspended, stunned: “They’ve decided to attack us.” Today we went to Tartous…we felt the anger, the helplessness, the inability to formulate a sense to all this: the people trying their best to work and to live normally. You see the farmers watering their land, parents buying notebooks for the schools that are about to begin, unknowing children asking for a toy or an ice cream…you see the poor, so many of them, trying to scrape together a few coins. The streets are full of the “inner” refugees of Syria, who have come from all over to the only area left that is still relatively liveable…. You see the beauty of these hills, the smile on people’s faces, the good-natured gaze of a boy who is about to join the army and gives us the two or three peanuts he has in his pocket as a token of “togetherness”…. And then you remember that they have decided to bomb us tomorrow. … Just like that. Because “it’s time to do something,” as it is worded in the statements of the important men, who will be sipping their tea tomorrow as they watch TV to see how effective their humanitarian intervention will be….
Will they make us breathe the toxic gases of the depots they hit, tomorrow, so as to punish us for the gases we have already breathed in?
The people are straining their eyes and ears in front of the television: all they’re waiting for is a word from Obama!
A word from Obama? Will the Nobel Peace Prize winner drop his sentence of war onto us? Despite all justice, all common sense, all mercy, all humility, all wisdom?

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Published by: Vienna1683 on Sep 07, 2013
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Saturday, September 07, 2013
 A LETTER FROM TRAPPIST NUNS IN SYRIA:"BLOOD FILLS OUR STREETS, OUR EYES, OUR HEARTS"
"Will the Nobel Peace Prize winner drop his sentence of war onto us?  Despite all justice, all common sense, all mercy, all humility, all wisdom? The Pope has spoken up, patriarchs and bishops have spoken up,numberless witnesses have spoken up, analysts and people of experience
have spoken up, even the opponents of the regime have spoken up…. Yet 
here we all are, waiting for just one word from the great Obama?" 
  A plaintive plea ignored:
hearts' Catholic World Report, By Alessandra Nucci
In March 2005 a small group of nuns from the Cistercian Monastery of Valserena inTuscany moved to Aleppo, Syria, to found a new monastic community there. The nunswere inspired to take up the legacy of seven monks who were martyred in 1997 inTibhirine, Algeria. The sisters wanted to follow the example set by these men, who hadtotally dedicated their lives to God and to their beloved Algerian neighbors, both Christianand Muslim.
The sisters’ guiding Scripture is John 10:16: “There are other sheep I have
that are not of 
this fold, and I must led these too. They too will listen to my voice.”
 Once they had settled in Aleppo, with the blessing of both the Latin Apostolic Vicar and theMaronite bishop of Tartous, the sisters gained a new awareness of the importance of helping Christian Arabs remain in the Middle East, as well as a respect for the diversity of their traditions. Their project was, and continues to be, establishing a permanentmonastery on the land they bought near the Syrian border with Lebanon, in a Maronitevillage named Azeir, atop a hill, far from the big cities. The monastery is at the service of isolated Christian communities, in a land which is predominantly Muslim but which ishome to the most ancient of Christian traditions.To the sisters, Syria represents the meeting place of East and West, the place whereChristianity began and then spread to Asia Minor, Greece, Rome, and then Armenia andIndia
 — 
all the way to China, with saints such as such as Afraate, Ephraim, Cyrus, SimeonProtostilite, Maron, Isaac of Niniveh, and others who followed in their footsteps, such asJohn Chrysostom and John Damascene.
 
It is this tradition the sisters wish to honor and perpetuate, persevering in their missiondespite the fear and the hardship: to keep the monastery going and provide those who desire it with a chance to spend a few days there, with a church to go to.These nuns have been providing a much-needed independent perspective on thetumultuous events going on inside Syria, in eye-witness reports published on their website
and in the Italian bishops’ newspaper,
 
Avvenire 
.Here is a translation of a letter written on the 29th of August, in which the sisters seem tobe holding their breath as President Obama deliberated about what, if any, action wouldbe taken in Syria by the United States.***Today we have no words, except those of the Psalms that the liturgical prayer puts onto ourlips in these days:
Rebuke the Beast of the Reeds, that herd of bulls, that people of calves…oh God,scatter the people who delight in war…Yahweh has leaned down from the heights of 
his sanctuary, has looked down from heaven to earth to listen to the sighing of the
captive, and set free those condemned to death…Listen, God, to my voice as I plead,
protect my life from fear of the enemy; hide me from the league of the wicked, fromthe gang of evil-doers. They sharpen their tongues like a sword, aim their arrow of 
poisonous abuse…They support each other in their evil designs, they discuss how tolay their snares. “Who will see us?” they say. He will do that, he who penetrateshuman nature to its depths, the depths of the heart…B
reak into song for my God, tothe tambourine, sing in honor of the Lord, to the cymbal, let psalm and canticle
 
mingle for him, extol his name, invoke it…For the Lord is a God who breaks battle
-
lines! … Lord, you are great, you are glorious, wonderfully str
ong, unconquerable.We look at the people around us, our day workers who are all here as if suspended,
stunned: “They’ve decided to attack us.” Today we went to Tartous…we felt the anger, the
helplessness, the inability to formulate a sense to all this: the people trying their best towork and to live normally. You see the farmers watering their land, parents buyingnotebooks for the schools that are about to begin, unknowing children asking for a toy or
an ice cream…you see the poor, so many of them, tryi
ng to scrape together a few coins. The
streets are full of the “inner” refugees of Syria, who have come from all over to the onlyarea left that is still relatively liveable…. You see the beauty of these hills, the smile onpeople’s faces, the good
-natured gaze of a boy who is about to join the army and gives us
the two or three peanuts he has in his pocket as a token of “togetherness”…. And then youremember that they have decided to bomb us tomorrow. … Just like that. Because “it’stime to do something,”
as it is worded in the statements of the important men, who will besipping their tea tomorrow as they watch TV to see how effective their humanitarian
intervention will be….
 Will they make us breathe the toxic gases of the depots they hit, tomorrow, so as to punishus for the gases we have already breathed in?
The people are straining their eyes and ears in front of the television: all they’re waiting for
is a word from Obama!A word from Obama? Will the Nobel Peace Prize winner drop his sentence of war onto us?Despite all justice, all common sense, all mercy, all humility, all wisdom?The Pope has spoken up, patriarchs and bishops have spoken up, numberless witnesseshave spoken up, analysts and people of experience have spoken up, even the opponents of t
he regime have spoken up…. Yet here we all are, waiting for just one word from the greatObama? And if it weren’t him, it would be someone else. It isn’t he who is “the great one,”
it is the Evil One who these days is really acting up.The problem is that it has become too easy to pass lies off as noble gestures, to pass ruthlessself-interest off as a search for justice, to pass the need to appear [strong] and to wield
power off as a “moral responsibility not to look away…”
 And despite all our globalizations and sources of information, it seems nothing can be
verified. It seems that there is no such thing as a minimal scrap of truth … That is, theydon’t want there to be any truth; while actually a truth does exist, and anyone honest
would be able to find i
t, if they truly sought it out together, if they weren’t prevented by
those who are in the service of other interests.
There is something wrong, and it is something very serious…because the consequences willbe wrought on the lives of an entire population…
it is in the blood that fills our streets, oureyes, our hearts.Yet what use are words anymore? All has been destroyed: a nation destroyed, generationsof young people exterminated, children growing up wielding weapons, women winding up

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