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In solidarity with Syria, Bishop Marcuzzo joins peaceful protest rally

P1420622-300x225Tamra-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.  

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