Syrian priest killed by rebels while attacking a convent…

Ghassanieh — “like other Christian villages — has been almost completely destroyed and is almost totally abandoned.” He said he believes the only people left in Ghassanieh “are the rebels with their families, rebels who are not from Syria and who are extremists.”

“The only thing we can do, other than pray for Father Francois and all the victims, is pray that this folly ends soon and that no more weapons are sent to Syria because that would only prolong this absurd civil war,” Father Pizzaballa said.

The Franciscan leader said Syria is a “battleground, and not just between Syrian forces, but also for other Arab countries and the international community. The ones paying the price are the poor, the small and the least, including the Christians.”

via Syrian priest killed during rebel attack

.The Catholic Free Press.

peacetop2

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

 Matthew 10:16.

May God protect and guard his soul.

May he contemplate His face and rest in His Peace.

May Lord bless Father Francois Murad.

A nowaday’s mossarab.

Rest in Peace.

 

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Aleppo’s Civil Opposition starts noticing of something scary… Wolves never sung those Kumbaya hymns.

The major defining characteristic of civil activists across the country was their insistence on non-sectarianism and an adherence to the higher ideals of justice and freedom. The armed groups morphed like a chameleon changing colors, at the beginning justifying taking up arms to “protect the protesters” from security forces, and later on justifying their violence as a reaction to the regime’s. Any hidden agendas some of those groups may have had initially were carefully kept secret, both from society as a whole as well as media scrutiny — of course some pan-Arab media was actively complicit in this cover up — although there were some troubling tell-tale signs. As the uprising progressed, and some of those groups were armed and trained by regional and foreign powers, they adopted other agendas — usually dictated by whoever was supplying the weapons and the paychecks. They simply no longer cared and transcended the popular uprising and protests that spawned them and gave them their legitimacy, to completely dominate the revolution, and so in essence destroyed it by morphing it into a civil war with visibly sectarian dimensions — as became evident with the deliberate targeting of Shiites and Alawis, regardless of their links to the regime.

And that’s not even mentioning the more sinister of the armed groups, the Islamists, Jihadists and al-Qaeda affiliates who wanted nothing less than to turn Syria into another Taliban-style theocracy. They already have their religious courts and councils set up, dispensing justice via “Sharia law.” The one in Aleppo, for example, is called the “Hai’aa Sharia,” which looks into anything from murder and rape to “morality” crimes such as drinking alcohol or wearing shorts. The worrying trend is that many locals see this as preferable to the rampant crime and lawlessness, and that helps these groups gain traction and support on the ground at the expense of the more moderate ones.

via Syria’s Rebels in Rift With Aleppo’s Civil Opposition

– Al-Monitor

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Everything goes according to the plan of the 

Neo-Sunni Alliance

.No surprises. 

‘You Can’t Eat Sharia’ – By Mohamed ElBaradei

We are paying the price of many years of repression and strongman rule. This was a comfort zone for people — they didn’t have to make independent decisions. Right now, after the uprising, everybody is free, but it’s very uncomfortable. It’s the existential dilemma between the yearning to be free and the old crutch of having somebody tell you what to do. Freedom is still new to people.

Most of our challenges are a byproduct of the old dictatorship. We still have an open wound and need to get a lot of the pus out. We need to clean that wound — you cannot just place a Band-Aid on it. But that is what is happening — relying on the same worn-out ideas. The uprising was not about changing people, but changing our mindset. What we see right now, however, is just a change of faces, with the same mode of thinking as in Mubarak’s era — only now with a religious icing on the cake.

How bad could it get? Different scenarios, of course, present themselves if law and order continues to deteriorate. People are now saying something that we never thought was possible before: that they want the Army to come back to stabilize the situation. Or we might have a revolt of the poor, which would be angry and ugly. There are worse things than state failure, and I’m afraid Egypt is teetering on the brink.

via ‘You Can’t Eat Sharia’ – By Mohamed ElBaradei

Foreign Policy

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(art by: Farhad Foroutanian – http://www.cartoonmovement.com/cartoon/1265

Elbaradei… I always thought he was THE right man to lead a transition process in Egypt.

He was by far the most prepared, truly used to democracy values and  internationally respected, of all those who got involved in the Egyptian chaos after Tahrir. 

I remember I told about him to my friends lots of times, and I always found the same rejection answers “he’s been out of here for too long”…”he’s not egyptian anymore”…  “he will be a puppet of the west”… “he’s not strong enough to fix this chaos because there’s very few people with his ideas”… “he’s alone”… “we don’t want someone that is the west choice because we don’t need western intervention”…

Still today I don’t understand any of these reactions… all of it sounded like pre-packed. Easy answers for a hard task. That of thinking and decide who could be a good ruler for your country.

… and even today I still know he WAS the man for the job.

Because situation has gone so wrong by now that I’m not sure there will be anything left to do on a mid-term for someone with his brains, so let’s better use the past tense.

And let’s hope I’m wrong with this. 

Just this week I saw an offer on a travel website:

8 days travel for 2 ppl, Flights from Spain to Egypt, with 3 nights in Cairo and 4 nights Nile Cruise, including excursions… return and taxes included…. for 268€ (price per person)

Shokran, Mohammed Morsi, shokran, beardies… and specially shokran, egyptian people who put them into power… 

Let’s hope God forgives them all.

All.

Because they don’t know what they are doing… and because we all know that history won’t forget…. nor forgive.

Ah, Misr….. 😥

Again: What’s Really Really Really Wrong with the Middle East?

Too many people in the Middle East refuse to look in the mirror. They’d rather come up with excuses and justifications as to why others, particularly forces outside their neighborhood, are responsible for their misfortunes. I know all about colonialism, Zionism, imperialism, communism, secularism, Islamism, and every other -ism that’s been marshaled to show why outsiders and not locals deserve the blame for what goes on in the Arab world.

But let’s get real. At some point, as every person knows, there’s an expiration date for blaming your parents for the way you turned out. And in the case of the Arab world, the warranty on coverage for blaming the Mossad, the CIA, America, the Jews, or Bozo the Clown for the absence of democracy, the lack of respect for human rights, and gender inequality has long expired.

To be sure, outsiders still influence the Middle East in very negative ways. But that’s no excuse for believing its people can’t shape their own destiny. After all, that is what the Arab Awakening was supposed to be about. And wouldn’t you know it: the Arab Awakening got hijacked not by Western bogeymen, but by forces within Arab society itself, including Muslim fundamentalists, secular and liberal elements that couldn’t organize effectively, and remnants of the old regimes who hung on to power after the dictators were gone.

via What’s Really Wrong with the Middle East?

 By Aaron David Miller | Foreign Policy

egyptespring

(Art: Bernard Boudon – http://www.cartoonmovement.com/p/977/cartoons?p=2)

To be honest, this article didn’t apport anything new to my personal knowledge, but… I’m sure that many of the opinions enlisted can still be a surprise for MANY middle easterns. Specially most of my beloved saudis.

Female saudis. 

I love to talk and learn from saudi women, honestly…. trying to set the same kind of link with guys tends to be a complete waste of time and fingerprints. Basically because they attach radically to ALL those negative stereotypes that appear on the list… it had to be someone. 

Morsi Condemnation Of Lynchings Not Enough

A new failure of a failed project. The MB project, that is…. not the Revolution.

Nervana

Egyptians carry the coffin of a Shi'ite victim, who was killed in sectarian violence, after funeral prayers in Cairo

(Egyptians carry the coffin of a Shiite victim, via Reuters)

I wrote this piece for Al-Monitor

My guidebook described it as “the ideal mosque in Las Vegas.” This odd statement motivated me to visit Sayyida Zeinab‘s shrine in southern Damascus. Immediately, I understood what the travel writer meant; the stunning shrine with its golden dome and blue tiles, its spectacular design and elaborate architecture and the happy, animated crowd were simply overwhelming. Yes, it was like a pious version of what we might find in Las Vegas, minus the black garments and religious services. Shiites are always elaborate in their happiness as well as in their sadness; their attitudes, mosques, core theology and historical narrative differentiate them from their fellow Sunnis. These differences are as old as Islam and have fueled a centuries-old conflict that was often bloody and ruthless. Egypt luckily had not experienced what countries like Iraq…

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Lessons for New Democracies: The Tyranny of the Majority

Erdogan and Morsy, Chávez and Putin — all are megalomaniacs who cannot or will not distinguish between “the people’s will” and their own. But this is also a disease of young democracies, where the stakes are so high that both ruler and opposition often see compromise as a betrayal of the national interest. This was true even in the first decades of the American republic. John Adams’s rivals accused him of trying to restore monarchic rule; and when Adams’s son, John Quincy Adams, served as president, both his great rival, Andrew Jackson, and Vice President John C. Calhoun insisted that he was planning to subvert the Constitution and impose dictatorial rule. Adams and his allies were convinced with almost equal certainty that Jackson, if elected, would destroy the Union. The concept of legitimate difference of opinion was very slow to take hold.

Nations lucky enough to have a Nelson Mandela or a George Washington receive a lasting lesson in the democratic uses of power. And when, as in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, democracies emerge from a series of bargains between reformers and the ruling elite, everyone gets the chance to learn the arts of compromise. But when power must be seized through revolutionary action, as in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world, the one rule people know is that the winner takes all. How, then, do leaders learn to represent a whole people rather than just the faction that elected them?

They don’t, naturally — but voters can teach them a lesson. Serbs united in 2000 to defeat the authoritarian populist Slobodan Milosevic, who had forged a political majority out of virulent nationalism. But this requires a united and purposeful opposition, which cannot be said either of Turkey’s old-line pro-Ataturk Republican People’s Party or the deeply fragmented opposition to Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood. It’s not just the ruling party, but the entire political culture, of new democracies which often enables electoral authoritarianism.

via The Tyranny of the Majority – By James Traub

Foreign Policy

born

One of the first lessons on politics I learnt from history lessons was that Hitler’s NSDAP reached power in 1933 thru legal pseudo-democratic ways,… in 6 years they were again able to face the world’s powers, all this coming from the deepest economy’s catastrophical abyss… and thus earning wide popular suppoert and international admiration. Some other 6 years later everything was ashes… the country, the admiration, and the german selfsteem… not as people, but as humans. And all fruit of a deep national shame.

This process made me learn that the legality of a democracy is not only in the means, but in the behaviour of those who were elected to rule. One can’t be elected democratically to put democracy at risk. 

May it be not the best of systems, but deffinitely the best we have… let’s care for it, sirs. And let’s learn from the past.