From a Christian from Damascus: a Christmas message of peace and solidarity.
In these troubled days, what present should we ask from Father Christmas? Does he still have any gifts for us?
The only gift that would please me is that he take care of my county’s health and that of its inhabitants (I will not say citizens because we are not yet citizens in our own land! Yet we dream of becoming precisely that one day).
Health to the wounded who cannot be taken care of, except with a final gunshot from a rifle.
A roof for the displaced, who have lost everything.
Freedom for those detained in jails.
Health to those who suffer from the cold or from hunger, who face fuel, gas and bread shortages.
The end of hostilities and threats converging from everywhere.
Christmas with the family.
How could we forget the families who have lost one or several of their members? Hamzeh’s mother, and Ali’s, and Dany’s, Sari’s, Zeinab’s and Fadi’s? And the mothers of all the martyrs? No, I do not forget them. I ask you, Father Christmas, to give them consolation, to tell them we love every single of them, and to beg that they accept us as sons, brothers and sisters. We kneel in front of the courage and sense of sacrifice of their bloved. Tell the inhabitants of the Midan that we also love them. We refuse to dance on Bab Tuma Square, while the cold-blooded killing of children and adults alike continues. Tell them that we suffer with them, that the blood of their offspring is as dear as that of ours. We will not commit suicide. We do no ask you to protect us from our fellow citizens, either we live with them or we die with them. We ask for mercy and protection for them and for ourselves.
Damascus is gloomy on Christmas Eve, it does not wear ceremonial robes, its usual decorations for celebrations, since it feels the pain in its very fibre. No decorated balconies in the Christian quarter this year. This contradicts instructions from the church, but it is a sign of deliberate solidarity with those dying and murdered every day across the country.
And what of Homs? Of Deraa? Of Douma? And of so many cities and towns whose hearts are broken and wounded… You will transmit our message of love and brotherly solidarity.
And what will you tell the clergy?
You shall repeat in a loud voice:
To be a Christian is not to be an accomplice to murder.
To be a Christian is not to be selfish.
To be a Christian is to love and be loved, to love your neighbour above all, the neighbour with whom you share the country.
You have magical powers. When you shall descend from the sky, can you bring us the Divine Child? And peace for our mother Syria?
Would you have the kindness of ofeering us all these gifts? Is it such a heavy burden for you?
I believe in God,
I believe in Love,
I believe in a God of hope.
Glory to God in the Heavens! Peace on our earth!
George, from Damascus.