The Scurrilous Remarks of John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State

when questioned on plight of Syrian Christians

At a joint press conference in Paris on the 16th of September with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, the U.S. secretary of State John Kerry was questioned about the disappearance of the Christians in Iraq and its relation to the same phenomenon in Syria, the kidnapped Archbishops of Aleppo and the recent attack against the Christian village of Maaloula in Syria. In his response he obfuscates, lies and avoids answering parts of the question.  He does not see any direct connection between the disappearance of Christians from Iraq and what is happening in Syria today; however numerous statements are on record by church leaders stating their fear of an Iraq style situation occurring in Syria. Kerry in his response goes on to state that the “opposition” wants Syria to be a secular country but sadly it has already been clearly demonstrated that  western backed Islamist and radical rebels are not in the least interested in preserving the secular nature of Syria nor retaining its current religious pluralism. Shamelessly the U.S. Secretary in a blatantly sectarian remark accuses the Alawite religious minority in Syria of being the perpetrators of all the ills suffered by the Christians, Druze and the non Sunni Islamic minorities, ignoring the fact that there is now ample evidence to prove otherwise. Such a statement is tantamount to incitement to religious hatred and a form of appaling collectivisation with regard to an entire faith based population. Kerry completely avoided answering other parts of the question regarding the kidnapped Archbishops from Aleppo and the attack by rebels on the Christian town of Maaloula.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and U.S. secretary of State John Kerry at the Paris press conference 16/09/2013
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and U.S. secretary of State John Kerry at the Paris press conference 16/09/2013

Below is the full U.S. Department of State transcript of the question asked regarding Syrian Christians and the answer given by John Kerry.

 

QUESTION: (In French.) Secretary Kerry, you spoke about a strategic goal. That’s quite interesting. In your strategy, are you thinking of the Christians of Syria and Lebanon? The result – one of the main results, unfortunately, of seven years of American and English occupation of Iraq is the decimation and exile of most Christians in Iraq. Do you – we all remember Mr. Kissinger thinking of transporting in ’75 the Christians of Lebanon to Canada. Do you have a plan, a strategic goal how to protect the Christians in Syria? There is two bishops of Aleppo who were kidnapped, today Maaloula, an all-Christian city without any strategic interest, has been invaded by Islamist rebels. They killed people and they looted the churches. Do you have a plan, a strategic plan, for the Christians in Syria?

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry blames the Alawite religious minority in Syria of being the perpetrators of all the ills suffered by Christians and the other minorities and not the western backed rebels.
U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry blames the Alawite religious minority in Syria of being the perpetrators of all the ills suffered by Christians and the other minorities and not the western backed rebels.
A man receives an Aid to The Church in Need food ration form the Syriac Catholic Diocese of Homs. Many Christians in the diocese where displaced by western backed rebels. www.syrcathoms.org
A man receives an Aid to The Church in Need food ration form the Syriac Catholic Diocese of Homs. Many Christians in the diocese where displaced by western backed rebels. www.syrcathoms.org

SECRETARY KERRY: "The answer is yes, but I don’t agree with your premise that the Christian – what has happened to the Christians is the consequence of what happened by the events in Iraq. And making clear there are lots of problems as a consequence of the war in Iraq and we understand that, and many of them negative, but that is, I do not believe, one of the direct roles."

"What we have is with a rise of radical Islam and religious extremism and ideological extremism in many parts of not just that region but elsewhere in the world there is an effort to impose a unity of belief on people – Taliban, Afghanistan, many other places – where there is not room for what we share as a matter of common values is tolerance and acceptance of people of different faiths and different beliefs and many other things. Regrettably, it is not just the Christians who have been impacted. It is the Druze, it is the Ismaili, it is all of the minorities. And the irony is the Alawi themselves are a minority doing this to these other people for control, for Assad’s control."

"So the fact is that the vision of Geneva 1 is a transition to a government that will embrace all of these minorities and protect all of these minorities and allow for a new Syria that is diverse and secular and creates a governance process that will protect all of the minorities as well as establish rights by which people will know they can live and participate in the governance of their country. That’s the new Syria. And the opposition has put out a very clear set of declarations and principles – which they did, I believe, in Amman as well as in Ankara, as well as in Istanbul – that make clear their commitment to this embrace of tolerance, diversity, protection of minorities, and full declaration of rights. So that’s the distinction here. And I hate to say it; it’s not just in Syria, but it’s in parts of the Maghreb, in the Sahel, in Mali, elsewhere, that we see this struggle between this extremist religious advance against modernity and pluralism and the values that we hold dear. It’s our hope that we can prove to people in a new Syria, that people could live alongside each other and that there are a different set of principles by which the world can organize itself. And we’ve been fighting on these kinds of things for a long period of time. Doesn’t make them any less valuable today. Original source here"

U.S. Secretary of State does not see the connection!

But the experiences of Christans in Syria and Iraq speak otherwise

Syrian women at a funeral in Damascus mourn the victims of an attack, on September 4th 2013, by opposition rebel group Jabhat al Nusra, (an al-Qaeda affiliate) on the Christian village of Maaloula.
Syrian women at a funeral in Damascus mourn the victims of an attack, on September 4th 2013, by opposition rebel group Jabhat al Nusra, (an al-Qaeda affiliate) on the Christian village of Maaloula.
Iraqi women mourn the victims of an attack by al-Qaeda at Our Lady of Salvation Church, Bagdad, Iraq on 31st October 2010 in which 58 people lost their lives.
Iraqi women mourn the victims of an attack by al-Qaeda at Our Lady of Salvation Church, Bagdad, Iraq on 31st October 2010 in which 58 people lost their lives.

U.S. Secretary of State blames the Alawite community

But the experiences of those who have died at the hands of extremist rebels in Syria speaks otherwise

Fr Francis Mourad killed by rebels June 23rd 2013
Fr Francis Mourad killed by rebels June 23rd 2013

Testimony of the late Fr Francis Mourad:"They [rebels] attacked churches and religious insignia Every day one of us disappears. do not know when my time will come. Anyway, I'm ready to die, and that my church remembers I have offered my life with joy for all Christians of this beloved country." (18/06/2012)

 

"After burning the Greek (Byzantine) church and destroyed the Marian shrine of the Latins, ransacked and destroyed everything in my convent and that of Protestants. They [rebels]smashed and burned all the religious symbols of the village and smeared with blasphemies against our religion." (20/02/2013)

 

"The days passed slowly and every day is darker than the previous. The time is coming when we will have to look for a place of refuge from the bombing. At night, try to stay awake for fear of those for whom everything that bears the name of Christian is anathema." (17/03/2013)

 

See: Fr Franҫois Mourad killed by Islamist insurgents in al-Ghassaniyah

 

U.S. Secretary of State says opposition will protect minorities

But Christian clerics believe otherwise

“Christians have not received one reassuring sign from the various groups that make up the rebel militia or from Islamist fundamentalists. So if there is a ceasefire, all Christians will think about doing is fleeing.” The Armenian Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, Boutros Maryayati.

 

“This interest, on the part of the United States or of Europe, for human rights or for the defense of the weak, no one believes. No one believes it!,” Archbishop Laham, Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

 

"This attack [at Maaloula] by the rebel forces, who are supported by the U.S. government, is an unspeakable act of terror, and speaks volumes to the viciousness of those rebel forces who seek to overthrow the Syrian government. Apparently there is nothing that is sacred to these people, and it is very disturbing that these same people are being supported by our government." Metropolitan Philip Saliba, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America.

 

"Christians in the Middle East have been not only abandoned, but we have been lied to and betrayed by Western nations, like the United States and the European Union," Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Syriac Catholic Church.

 

"Will the displacement of Christians from Syria, their killing and slaughter and the destruction of their churches lead to an alleged democracy?" Archbishop Theodosios, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem

 

The Syrian Army is protecting the Christian community [in Aleppo]but if [the Army] leaves, they will be massacred.” Father Raymond Moussalli, Patriarchal vicar of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Jordan

 

U.S. Secretary of State speaks about tolerance and diversity

But the reality shows otherwise

Members of the Syrian dancing group "Gulanar" perform "The Syrian Stone" during the The Arab Syrian Culture festival in Baghdad on 24 June 2013. (Photo: AFP -Ali al-Saadi)
Members of the Syrian dancing group "Gulanar" perform "The Syrian Stone" during the The Arab Syrian Culture festival in Baghdad on 24 June 2013. (Photo: AFP -Ali al-Saadi)

Raqqa Dance Troupe Branded Apostates

 

John Kerry told the press conference in Paris that the opposition “make clear their commitment to this embrace of tolerance, diversity, protection of minorities, and full declaration of rights,” but the reality on the ground shows otherwise.

 

This is just one of countless examples: the Raqqa popular dance troupe, "Gulanar" which was established in 1968 specializing in folkloric dance has been branded "Apostates." The Syrian troupe earned major successes and became widely known for its work. Its fame had travelled beyond the Arab world, performing in theatres in London, Paris, and Italy. Ismail Ojeili founder of the troupe told the Lebanese daily Al Akhbar that members of his troupe, fled from the city of Raqqa after they were accused of apostasy. “We received several threats before armed Islamist brigades entered the city, and so we were awaiting our ‘just punishment.’ As soon as they entered the city, and while they were still preoccupied with collecting the spoils of war and divvying up furniture and machines from governmental institutions, we took the chance to escape the bullets and black smoke.” Read the article here

 

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Petition to Journalists asking for responsible and accountable reporting on Syria. Please sign

H.E. The Sunni Grand Mufti of Syria, Sheikh Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun - I am the Mufti of all Syrians – Sunni Muslims, Christians, Alawites, Druze – of all the diversity of sects we had before the war. There is no choice other than reconciliation."

H.B. John X Yazigi, Antiochian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch -

The Antiochian Orthodox Patriarch in Syria, John Yazigi, says Syrian Christians "will not submit and yield" to foreign-backed extremist militants who attack "our people and holy places."

H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, Sunni Grand Mufti of Lebanon - “Christians’ fears nowadays over their presence and their dignity in the Middle East are right and justified”

H.B Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch - The West and other countries are helping to foment conflict in the Middle East "there is a plan to destroy the Arab world for political and economic interests"

H.E Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan, Deputy President of the Higher Shiite Council Lebanon - Called on the U.S to “work on giving people their freedom in Syria by refraining from supporting radical Islamists and criminals who are killing innocent people and violating their freedoms.

 H.B. Gregorios III Laham, Melkite greek-Catholic Patriarch of Antioch - "Every day Islamic extremists from all over the world are pouring into Syria with the sole intent to kill and not one country has done anything to stop them."

H.H. Mor Ignatios Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch (R.I.P.) - "Syrians are the only ones who will decide their destiny, and that decision will be taken in Damascus, not in a European country."

H.H. Mor Ignatius Ephrem II Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch -  “Christians and Muslims alike are exposed to a terrorist war in the region”.... the Patriarch denounced the silence of the world regarding crimes committed by armed terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.

H.B. Youssef III Younan,  Syriac Catholic Patriarchs of Antioch - "We Syrian Christians, sold by the West for oil” - "Christians in the Middle East have not only been abandoned, but we have been lied to and betrayed by Western nations, like the United States and the European Union."

H.B. Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, “Who appointed them [United States] as ‘policemen of democracy’ in the Middle East? ”

H.E. Maroun Laham, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan  - “This interest, on the part of the United States or of Europe, for human rights or for the defence of the weak, no one believes. No one believes it!,”

H.E. Jacques Behnan Hindo,  Syriac Catholic Archbishop ofHassaké-Nisibi (northeastern Syria) - Regarding the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabuis “Please excuse my expression. They are screwing all Syrians

H.E. Theodosius Hanna, Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Sebastia (Nablus, Palestine) - "Will the displacement of Christians from Syria, their killing and slaughter and the destruction of their churches lead to an alleged democracy?"

Rev. Georges Massouh Antiochian Orthodox priest and director of the Christian Muslim Studies Center at Balamand University, Lebanon. "It goes without saying that Christians in Syria do not consider themselves greater or more important that their Muslim partners in the one nation. They find themselves in solidarity with all the people of Syria, in the calamities that they share and the strikes that fall upon all their heads."