In solidarity with Syria, Bishop Marcuzzo joins peaceful protest rally
Tamra-Berweh – The “Popular Committee for the Defense of Syria” held a peaceful rally on August 31, 2013, at Tamra-Berweh junction in West Galilee. It was held in protest against foreign armed intervention in Syria, and in solidarity with the suffering Syrian people.
The “Popular Committee” is a social, civil, humanitarian, non political and non religious body that spontaneously, often through Internet (following the example of the demonstrations in the Arab world), gather when there is a specific need to support and a common program or issue or initiative shared by activists from various associations. In this case, it is the current threat of US military intervention against Syria and the local population are united in opposition. Several popular committees were formed in recent days in Haifa, in the area of Nazareth-Shefaamer and in Jerusalem.
The gathering on August 31 was held at Tamra and Berweh junction, as it is a central area of the Galilee, and especially because Berweh is full of memories for the Palestinian population. It is in this village that the famous modern Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish was born. The Popular Committee is coordinated by a lawyer from Tamra, Sabrine Dhiab.
The participants were not numerous, but the organizers had planned it since they intended a quick demonstration, because of the imminent threat of military aggression and to avoid logistical issues for a gathering of over 50 people. Despite the limited number of participants, the diversity represented indeed the whole population. There were Muslims, Christians, Druze, women and men, adults, the youth and even children hoisting two-starred Syrian flags, and banners, reflecting the basic idea of solidarity with the slogan : “Don’t touch Syria”. Among the participants were Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, accompanied by Don Bassam Deir, Parish Priest of Shefaameer, Father Marie François, Parish Priest of Kafr Kanna, and many young people.
Among thespeakers were a Moslem Professor from Shefaameer, a Druze Sheikh from Maghar and Bishop Marcuzzo from Nazareth. The latter underscored the “rejection and dangers of a foreign military aggression against Syria, and its potential disastrous consequences for the whole region.” He further “reminded all the victims, the wounded, the missing – including bishops, priests and religious and refugees many of whom have taken refuge in Jordan under watchful attention of the Church.” He seized the opportunity to proclaim “the position of the Church, the cries of agony and the continuing prayers and pleas of Pope Francis, expressed forcefully during the recent visit of King Abdullah II to the Vatican, of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, and of other Patriarchs and Bishops of the Holy Land and the Middle East. Their positions oppose all forms of violence, warfare and any foreign aggression which only worsen the situation instead of resolving them, as in the experience with Iraq and Libya; and insist on an urgent return to dialogue, national reconciliation and peace. He announced to the gathering crowd of the seven days of prayer for peace in Syria has been launched around the world and invited the participants to join in prayer, each according to his religious tradition.
Pope Francis proclaimed Saturday, September 7, a universal day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria and the Middle East, urging the faithful to gather at St Peter’s Square for a vigil of community prayer.
Text by our correspondent in Galilea.
Photos of Z.S.