After the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society in Russia announced the establishment of a centre "for the protection of Christians" in Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced in a statement on Wednesday [16 October] that 50,000 Christian Syrians requested Russian citizenship to protect them from "Western-backed terrorists." On behalf of 50,000 assumed Christians, the statement charged that these terrorists' aim is to "abolish the existence of Christians using the most horrible means, including brutal killing of civilians." The statement quoted these Christians as saying: "The request to Russia for protection does not mean that we do not trust the Syrian Army and our government. However, we fear a conspiracy by the West and rancorous extremists who are waging a violent war against our country." In light of the fact that modern Russia, which has not been known for taking interest in any one's rights (including the rights of its own citizens), how can we explain this extreme humanitarian concern for the Christians in Syria? This statement reminds us of the Orient issue when Russia and Western states began an offensive to dismantle and divide the Ottoman Empire among themselves. One of the historical moves during that period was the Ottoman state's signing of a treaty with Russia in 1774 under which the Ottoman state gave Russia the right to protect Orthodox Christians. Afterward, the Ottoman Empire made concessions for more than 150 years during which it lost its influence in Bulgaria, Armenia, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Cyprus, and the Balkan states. In addition, it gave Britain the right to take care of the Jews, occupy Arab territories, establish the State of Israel, and achieve what a British writer terms "a Peace to end all Peace." The Russian Foreign Ministry's statement reduces the Syrian revolution that broke out for political, social, and economic reasons to a war launched by "takfiriyin" [those who hold other Muslims to be infidels] against an impeccable "secular" regime. Instead of talking about a conflict between Sunnis and Shi'is, a view promoted by the supporters of the regime when the Iranian stand suits them, the Russian Foreign Ministry feels more comfortable when it talks about a conflict between Muslims and Christians. Thus, as is observed in the statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry outdoes the Western nations' "Christianism" and blackmails the Syrian regime in its same favourite game. It is obvious that this move has nothing to do with Christians, Muslims, minorities, or majorities. Rather, it has to do with intentions for a colonial political project where there will be no need for a military accord or strategic alliances between the Syrian regime and Russia. All what Russia needs is to have 50,000 Syrians holding its citizenship in order to move its army to protect them from the "takfiriyin." Russia's long-standing claim that there is a permanent danger to the Christians who reside in Arab countries is the use of religion for a political objective. This also has been a claim promoted by the leftist and rightist Western propaganda that uses it as a pretext to call on the Arabs and Muslims to stop mixing religion and politics. The involvement of an educated (or numerical) majority of Muslims in this issue becomes a kind of harboured criminal move to pounce on non-Muslims. It ignores the larger historical persecution of the Christians of the Orient at the hands of the West's "crusader" Christians. The Christians of the Orient suffered more persecution at the hands of the West's Christians than they suffered at the hands of their Muslim compatriots. The most terrible manifestation of this Orientalist and imperial move is the existence of Israel itself. Even though Israel is the biggest force in the Middle East and has 200 nuclear warheads, it claims (as a Jewish state) that it fears the dreadful Islamic countries around it. This ill-intentioned statement about the protection of minorities hides enormous contempt for tens of thousands of victims from that "majority" that has no protectors at a time when the Syrian regime's forces kill, slaughter, rape, torture, starve, and effectively annihilate people not only from among that persecuted majority, but also everyone who stands up against them, no matter to which sect he belongs. The farce lies in the terrible exaggeration of the concern for "minorities" at a time when the Syrian regime's killing machine is busy eliminating those who stand against it as the sound of the assumed concern drowns out the sound of knives and artillery guns that kill people. The lie of the distinction of the "minority", which Russia claims to protect in Syria, from other "minorities" that the Syrian security and military machine continues to repress in Syria's backyard (including the Georgian Christians) exposes politics' despicableness, opportunism, and contempt for people's dignities and rights.
Al-Quds al-Arabi [Arab Jerusalem],