Member of the Syrian Coalition George Sabra criticized remarks made by Patriarch Mar Bishara Boutros Alraa’i of Lebanon who said that Syrian refugees are “snatching the source of living from the mouths of the Lebanese.”
In an open letter posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday, Sabra pointed out that Bkerké, the see of the Maronite Catholic Patriarchate in Lebanon, should not distance itself from its heavenly mission and the cause of man. Sabra asked Alraa’i: “Is it the mission of the Maronite Church to fuel hatred and force the oppressed back into the hands of the oppressor?”
“It hurts me as a Christian to hear from the head of the Maronite Church, which has endured and resisted decades-long injustice and persecution, a position that does not only lack sympathy with the oppressed, but stands against them and echoes that of the tyrants and murderers,” said Sbara, who is also member of the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC).
Sabra went on: “As a Syrian, it bitterly hurts me that Syrian refugees in Lebanon, including my 87-year-old mother, are accused of having come to Lebanon only to steal the source of living of the Lebanese out of their mouths.”
“My mother did not come to Lebanon because she was hungry, but to seek safety and dignity for what remained of her lifetime.”
“Syria has bountiful resources and its good is known everywhere. At times of famine and crisis, Syria used to be the destination for those who wanted to escape for their lives and to live a dignified life, especially for the Lebanese people during the many wars and crises that their country went through,” Sabra said.
Sabra went on addressing Alraa’i: “We have not heard from you a single word defending the Lebanese people during the Assad family’s occupation of Lebanon.”
Sabra slammed the silence of the Maronite Church over “the countless grievances suffered by the Lebanese at the hands of the Assad regime, such as tyranny, looting, human rights abuses, and assassinations that affected the Lebanese people from all denominations and regions. The vile Assad regime even tried to extend its violations Bkerké and its own churches.”
Sabra recalled how an elite group of the Syrian opposition declared their opposition to the Assad regime’s intervention in Lebanon since day one and how they exposed all the violations against the Lebanese people and state. As a result, they spent many years in the prions of the Assad regime for defending the Lebanese’s right to freedom.
Sabra’s letter came in response to a letter Alraa’i sent to the Lebanese President Michel Aoun to warn of “consequences of the presence of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.” Alraa’i blamed the Syrian refugees for the deteriorating economic situation of the Lebanese people. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)