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The Voice of Syria in North America: a Report on the Mother Agnes TourPaul Larudee for Salem-News.com
At Mother Agnes and Sister Carmel's first North America stop in Tucson, Arizona, this unidentified native American came to them and said, "I feel the need to protect you."
(WASHINGTON, DC) - Dear Friends of Justice and Peace in Syria,
Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross says that although she received a warm welcome everywhere during her visit to North America, she also encountered more hostility than even in some of the opposition-held areas in Syria. This may be an exaggeration, but it is certainly true that much of the battle for Syria takes place in the US and Canada. This is because we are the countries that provide much of the arms, money and supplies to fighters seeking to overthrow the Damascus government, including as many as 150,000 foreign mercenaries and "volunteers".
Until Mother Agnes arrived in the U.S. on October 30, 2013, under the sponsorship of the Syria Solidarity Movement, the people of North America had heard almost exclusively the viewpoint of the U.S. and Canadian governments and their supportive media, as well as expatriate Syrian groups living in exile and encouraged by those same governments, in some cases with U.S. government grants.
Mother Agnes' message against outside intervention, of refusing to support any Syrian group over another, and in favor of reconciliation and forgiveness among all Syrians was therefore a breath of fresh air to all who heard it, which included more than twenty speaking engagements and at least as many media interviews. In addition, she met with eight members of Congress and other government officials in Washington, DC.
Opponents worked hard to sabotage the tour. Although few in number at the events, dozens from all across North America called many of the speaking venues and tried to get them to cancel the event, sometimes successfully. This involved the use of false information, typically that Mother Agnes is an "apologist" for the Assad government.
The result was not all bad, however. The controversy often attracted the press, which gave an opportunity for Mother Agnes to state her position in her own words, except in the few instances of the opposition press itself. The tour was interrupted by ten days of similar events in the UK, which had an additive effect and which increased the interest in the remainder of her tour in North America.
The tour was therefore effective in introducing a very different point of view to the people of North America, who are increasingly demonstrating their reluctance for military intervention and a willingness to instruct their governments to spend their money at home, not abroad.
The Syria Solidarity Movement wishes to thank the many local host committees and volunteers at every location that made this tour a success, and of course Mother Agnes herself, and her colleague Sister Carmel, who put so much tireless energy into an exhausting schedule. With your support, we pledge to carry on our efforts to pursue justice for Syria in North America and to assure that Syrian voices opposed to outside interference continue to be heard here.
The SSM Team
If you wish to support the the work of the Syria Solidarity Movement with your donations, please go to