A very great hope, a very great anxiety
This is the adversarial mood of every observer attentive to the situation in the Middle East. The causes of the revolutionary movements are beginning to be recognized: economic difficulties that particularly hit the middle class of the top level management and push them toward a lower standard; the young, more formed than their parents, are able to use the internet, but they cannot find work; and minority but radical Islamist currents.
Monsignor Pascal Gollnisch, Director General of the Work of the East, returns from the region with this note on the hope generated by the Arab revolutions, the but also on the anxiety experienced by religious minorities, particularly Christians.
These movements are recorded in history
A century ago, against France and Great Britain power appointees, fifty years ago military dictatorships and corrupt police today. And every time the frustrating sensation that the people are being robbed of their revolution.
In this context Christians are struggling
The disappearance of a central power, even though dictatorial, weakens Christians on three fronts, which we should distinguish carefully:
- a very current minority wants the disappearance of Christian communities;
- a delinquency which is taking advantage of the collapse of the structures of public security;
- a Muslim society that, in some countries, still struggles to recognize Christians, and other minorities, as citizens in their own right.
Therefore, Christians have a role to play
They represent a minority, well educated and dynamic; a peaceful minority, which rejects violence; a minority that knew how to get respect in its service to the whole community through schools and hospitals. A minority that knows it does not aspire to the conquest of power. Christians are victims here and there by violent acts.
They are not the target of systematic and organized persecution.
In Syria, it is noted, the conflict is mainly between Sunni and Alawis. In Iraq, Shiites, Sunni Arabs and Sunni Kurds conflict. In Egypt, it is between Islamists and the military. The future for Christians is alarming but it is not lost, in fact, far from it. Paths of hope are open. Many places allow a sincere dialogue between Christians and Muslims of good will, especially in the academic world. Young Christians begin to form a “smart” policy in service of the common good. Finally, it is not certain that the Muslim populations really want the establishment of religious dictatorships.
Some well believed, saying that the Arab Spring was a winter for Christians. More enlightened spirits know that this will be Spring for everyone or Winter for everyone.