Statement from Bishop Declan Lang
Today, as we complete the third year of the uprisings in Syria that started on 15 March 2011, the levels of human loss and suffering are staggering. Figures such as 140,000 dead, 6.5 million internally displaced, 2.5 million refugees in neighbouring countries like Lebanon or Jordan, and the hundreds of thousands between injured, kidnapped, imprisoned or disappeared from across the whole country have together numbed our senses.
The bloodshed must stop, but for this to happen, we should stop looking at the crisis in Syria in terms of winners and losers. Rather, we should strive to stem the violence, increase our humanitarian assistance to all the needy and help turn the equation into a win-win one.
All Syrians – Christians, Druze, Kurds as well as Sunnis and Shi’as – deserve better: they deserve dignity, fundamental freedoms, better citizenship and security for them and their families. It can be done if good will and good faith replace the bitterness that has nestled into peoples’ hearts and minds.
Today, I pray for all Syrians across this broken country as I also urge every man and woman of faith to do so too. After all, our Lenten journey should help us re-double our efforts in the sure knowledge that the crucifixion yields to the Resurrection.
Chair, International Affairs Department, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Bishop of Clifton