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How should Christians respond to the crisis in Syria?

March 9, 2012
“Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a despot whose shooting and shelling of his own people cannot be defended,” wrote the Catholic Register in a recent editorial, “yet he may be the last line of defence for Syria’s Catholics.”
The editorial captures the paradox of a country where, despite a UN-estimated death toll of 7500 civilians, regime change may not be the best option. Most Syrian Christians — both in Syria and the diaspora in Canada — do not support the revolutionaries, even though many decry the violent crackdown against them. They look to neighbouring Iraq, where the fall of Saddam Hussein has led to the decimation of the Christian community.
The situation in Syria is more complex than one might glean from the headlines. Unlike the regimes that were overthrown in Egypt and Tunisia, the government still enjoys broad support among Syrians. As many commentators have noted in response to the viral campaign against Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, simplistic solutions can have disastrous consequences. Likewise, we are rightly outraged by reports of torture and executions by the Syrian army, but it’s less clear what can be done to stop them.
This Friday on Perspectives: The Weekly Edition, Kris Dmytrenko and his guests Carl Hétu, National Director of CNEWA Canada, and Fr. Estephanos Issa, a Syriac Orthodox priest from Toronto, will analyze the situation of the Christians in Syria and other countries affected by the Arab Spring.
Join us for this discussion tonight on Perspectives: The Weekly Edition at 7 and 11pm ET / 8pm PT. In the meantime, share your thoughts on our Facebook page.