Mother Agnes Mariam is a Carmelite nun who has been living and working in Syria for the past 19 years.
Now, she is seeking to set the record straight on the lies and disinformation that is driving the NATO powers toward war against the people of Syria.
UPDATE: Mother Agnes is currently giving a series of lectures in Canada. To learn more about where she will be speaking, please click here.
This is the GRTV Feature Interview with our special guest, Mother Agnes Mariam de la Croix. It was originally aired on August 28, 2013. The full transcript of this GRTV interview is provided below.
Mother Agnes Mariam de la Croix: I am not Syrian. I am, my father is Palestinian from Nazareth. He is a Palestinian refugee from 1948 in Lebanon. I was born in Lebanon. I converted to Christ at 19 years old and entered the — Contemplative Order. Then, in 1994, we became a Foundation in Syria, of a Monastery. This was in ruin, a 6th century Monastery lying in — 15 km north to the Damascus and after the completion of the restoration work, we established there an international community for dialogue, peace, openness to both Muslims and Jewish. So I am there, as I tell you, since 1994 and we were a Contemplative Monastery, completely out of the public scene, you know.
But during the event and the demonstration, we noticed a big, a huge difference between what we were living, what we were seeing, what we were experiencing on the ground and what others around us were living and the everyday, you know, everyday, because of the International Media, to the point that we felt it was a trick. Something was going wrong and this, you know, induced us, as a community. And as the head of this community, I was involved in getting better information and tried to spread this information for the sake of innocence. Because while the International Media were just talking about peaceful demonstration, a huge peace demonstration, and fueled the oppression, never giving the name of the victims in the background. You had death squads, working in the midst of the civilian population and making everyday out of terrorism. Because we are living on the ground, we can raise our voice. It’s not like, you know, coming from outside and being a stranger. This is what we do.
James Corbett: Well, let’s talk about this issue because, of course, getting accurate information is extremely difficult from Syria right now, especially as it seems we’re ramping up for another type of military action there and obviously everyone is wondering about the chemical-weapons attack that was alleged to take place last week on the outskirts of Damascus. What can your network tell us about what actually did or did not happen there?
Mother Agnes Mariam de la Croix: You know, it’s not the first time we can underline a kind of sweet —, a way of acting of the Syrian Government, because this is the way the mainstream media are always wanting to present this Government. Every time you have a very special agenda, a very special event that will occur either in the Security Council, United Nations Security Council or when you have a —, this poor Government will perpetrate something that will achieve him. So there is something that is not reasonable. Okay. And, on the other hand, we have been, you know. I work in Damascus and not very far, we were just nearby the hotel where the commission of enquiry for chemical-weapon had just arrived. So from this to the — Square and to Jobar (Jawbar), no more than 2 km. How is it possible, you know, for a chemical-weapon to be blown-up and not to have any smell, not to have anything. Second, everybody begin to ask this terrible question. How is it possible that in a neighbourhood like Jobar or like G , where you have a conflict — running on in the mountains?
It is, you know, in the frame of the big Damascus —, those neighbourhoods, you know, they barely have any Syrian. Why? Because they are destroyed. Okay. And, if they are not destroyed the civilian, especially with the beginning of the counter-attack of the army, because the army has counter-attacks, I think the 21st August or the 20th —, we don’t know why or how you have so many civilian in one place. Second, how is it possible in — and in such a, you know, frame, where families are suffered, barely you have a civilian living there, how is it possible that to have so many children together. This is, you know, scary, so did they deliver them? Why? And you see them all together. And we ask for an enquiry. Why? Because we want to know who gathered those children and who killed them. Okay. Second, we have heard in the same day, because it was before our eyes, more than 40 ambulances of the army coming out from those outskirts to the hospital in M. And we have been told that they were soldiers that were suffocated by the guards, by the chemical. So where is the truth? Okay. We call — And then, I will tell you something. Why this rapidity to issue an accusation immediately to enter in a war that will, you know. This war cannot chastise the Government or I don’t know who is the perpetrator. Let us — suppose.
But this war, as we have seen everywhere else, this humanitarian war or this chastisement, punishment war will punish innocent, you know, and this is not acceptable. And nobody is accepting it and as we are saying to the world, enough is enough. We don’t know why you are always orienting your strength and your power against the civilian, against the innocent. You say big title but, in reality, what you are doing on the ground is killing innocent. You know, it’s not just we want to defend a party against anybody. No! All of those people are human beings. But the innocent, those people who are not, you know, sided; that are not taking any side with anybody, just being there in Syria, what will you do with them. You will kill them. We have had how many injured people and killed people in our very past. We had 1 million in Iraq. We had 100’s of 1000’s in Libya and till today.
So what is the justification of such a mass murder, committed to punish we don’t know which perpetrator because how is it possible to issue accusation before a real compliant inquiry. This is against all the laws. You cannot and that’s what the Vatican is saying, that’s what all the spiritual, who are leaders of Syria, are saying, that’s what peace, nobel peace laureates are saying. But are we going to be heard? Because now this Coalition, they were 150 and we see that they are maybe 6 or 7 countries.
This Coalition, you know, what is the legitimacy of this action? And if there is no legitimacy, it means that every injury, every death that will occur from this invasion is a crime. And that’s why we call for reason, we call for de-escalation of this conflict, we call for the, you know, a kind of cease-fire but a real cease-fire. We have to talk to those first-hand, who were also attacking the enquiry because someone doesn’t want the truth of this chemical-attack will be, you know, really known and completely verified. So we call for 1) that the Commission of Enquiry on Syria will come to Syria, will make it’s enquiry, will observe. International Observer, we need International Observer so that the public opinion will be sure that it is not a trick, that it is not a hoax, that it is not a justification that entered in some kind of hidden —. Objective, aim, you know, whatever there could be as reason of — as right to defend our own interests, you know, or even right to protect. It’s not like this. We have to stand against such an act because it is not the first time they are trying it. And every time it fail. It didn’t give any added value to a turbulent situation.
So I am really serious and I will tell you something else and this is what is said in our neighbourhood. In our neighbourhood, there is no Government. We are under the armed opposition control. But the armed opposition is split in various sections. The Liberal one, that is called Free Syrian Army, normally this Free Syrian Army is supported by the Coalition, the International Coalition against the Syrian Government. But also and this is the part. The Free Syrian Army is telling us that in case of an American aggression, Al Qaeda, Jhabat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Lebanon will have the supremacy and will slaughter everybody.
And everybody in Syria, you know, is under this scare. It’s like in a scary movie, everybody is just wondering what will happen. Where is the United Nations? Where are all the principles on which our civilization is lying? Where are the principles, the laws of the international, humanitarian law? Where are we heading? Who is ruling us? There is no more International Community. We don’t have any hope in the United Nations, so there is no references, no! It means that the innocents are completely, you know, delivered without any defense to the occurrence of those powers, super powers. I think that we are entering in a barbarian era. It’s like another big invasion. It’s an invasion and we have nobody to defend us.
(Note: Missing Words Shown as — )
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