Catholic Nun visits Oz to talk about Peace in Syria
An outspoken proponent for peace in Syria, Mother Agnes from the Monastery of St James in Qara, Homs, will be in Australia from Saturday, June 15 to Monday July 1.
Mother Agnes is an international spokesperson for Syria’s multi-faith grassroots reconciliation movement, Mussalaha. Last month, she organized a peace delegation to Damascus led by a Nobel Peace Laureate.
After at least one attempt on her life, Mother Agnes continues to travel across Syria on fact-finding missions and to speak to politicians, dissidents, imams, priests, public servants, humanitarian workers, victims of the war, soldiers and rebel fighters.
Some have dubbed her ‘a regime apologist’. But that label ignores the need to reconcile all who want peace.
In Australia, Mother Agnes will meet MPs, as well as government and shadow ministers. Her schedule also includes public meetings with academics, students, church leaders, and a moderated discussion with supporters of the militarized opposition in Syria.
On June 7, at a side event of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Mother Agnes challenged aspects of the latest UN report. She declared, “Can we know why the 85% of those displaced move naturally to regions stabilized by the government if, as alleged in the report, the government forces are killing them and ruining their properties?”
Mother Agnes has pointed out that the path for peace “is, in the first instance, an internal one, between Syrians and Syrians”. In her words, “To stop the foreign interference, to stop fuelling weapons and fighters, to stop the chain of hatred and radicalization is the path. Avoid pouring oil on the fire is the path. To forgive is the path and to enter in the dynamic of reconciliation is the path”.
Mother Agnes will be visiting Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide and Melbourne between June 15 and July 2. For details on her availability for meetings, appearances, comment and interviews, please contact:
Is there a Path to Peace in Syria?
Pax Christi, the Unitarian Church and AMRIS invite you to an evening with Mother Agnes
Friday 28 June, 7.00 p.m.- 9.30 p.m.
At the Unitarian Church, 110 Grey Street, East Melbourne
During the current crisis in Syria, Mother Agnès-Mariam has played a prominent role in helping those who suffer as a result of the conflict, giving shelter and assistance at the monastery to those in need, without distinction to their religious or political affiliation. She has not been afraid to challenge certain Western media perspectives on the events in Syria. Her testimony and personal witness to events in that troubled country contrast with the commonly accepted Western narrative. Mother Agnès-Mariam, alongside her monastic community, has tried to hold the middle ground throughout this difficult period and has negotiated with both the Government and opposition groups for the benefit of peace and stability.
Mother Agnès-Mariam has played a key role in The “Mussalaha”, which means “Reconciliation”, a community-based non-violent popular initiative born within the civil society of Homs; a city which has been torn apart by the conflict between the regular army and opposition forces.
Earlier this year Mother Agnès-Mariam organised a 16 member Mussalaha delegation of international peace activists to Lebanon, Damascus and Homs. Led by Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, the delegation included 3 members of AMRIS.
Mother Agnes in Damascus with relatives of victims of the war: May 2013