” THE WAR IS OVER! ”
(Message from a Pastor to his faithful of Aleppo, translated from Arabic)
The war against Syria is over. This is what we are hearing in the declarations of the heads of State and this is what we have been seeing lately: a precipitation of events in the region, the success of our armies on the battlefield, whose rapid and extensive progression has surprised foreign observers. We have also noticed that a good number of governments who were hostile in their attitude towards our country have given up their project of an armed presence in Syria in order to find a new equation which could guarantee a presence, even if it is symbolic, in this Syria, heart of the Middle East, which is standing on its own feet! Syria is preparing the launching of reconstruction projects to rebuild its infrastructures and the innumerable institutions which were destroyed.
Yes, my dear brothers, the war is ending and peace is very near. We will soon forget the misery endured during these terrible past years. Dawn is rising, announcing days full of promise, giving us confidence and hope for a prosperous tomorrow. As you know, all the sectors of the city of Aleppo are now secure. Our houses have electricity and running water after this long interruption. Our schools are functioning; our universities and institutes which are still standing have energetically restarted their activities. The economy is reviving; this will offer numerous opportunities for those looking for work. And this is only the beginning as many important projects, financed by other countries and international companies will now be looking for competent and reliable workers to be part of their enterprises in order to achieve satisfying and significant profits.
We have been told that UNESCO has taken the responsibility for the reconstruction of the Old City of Aleppo; the Agha Khan foundation will sponsor the Citadel and its surroundings; and Iran, the Umayyad Mosque and its admirable minaret. We have noticed that many industrialists and businessmen have returned to Aleppo, either to repair their factories or to reestablish their offices and businesses. In addition, there are government projects for the construction of affordable accommodation as well as the rebuilding of schools and public and social institutions. And these represent only the beginning of the new era ahead of us. We have listed these so that all can be aware of the economic revival that is happening here and of the reconstruction of the country which will be undertaken with a determination never seen before.
Everyone knows, the experts agree, that real estate is the locomotive for industrial and commercial growth in any country. We must not be surprised if a significant number of businessmen, from many countries, are coming to our country, even from Lebanon, whose government until recently refused any economic, political or industrial connection with our dear Syria.
I am told that certain faithful from Aleppo are still looking towards other countries, wanting to leave the city and emigrate, hoping to find a better life in the West where certain governments have done their best to attract the Syrian elite. Needless to say, this is detrimental to our native land which is losing its executives and leaders so as to fill the ranks of those countries which are looking for highly qualified personnel. This, to our great regret. We also hear that many of our compatriots who have left these past years are now disenchanted: no social life, no significant gain as hoped for, except for the less ambitious who are content to survive day by day on the modest social welfare that they receive every month. May God help them and enable them to improve their situation as they have fallen into the trap of those who gave them false dreams. May the Lord forgive those who are the cause of their misfortune and of their exile to the four corners of the earth.
As for you, my beloved friends and faithful, you have been spared, and I thank the Lord. Be careful, I beg you, do not commit his fatal error which will cause you to lose all that is most dear to you in life, your beloved homeland, the place of your birth and of your happy childhood, land of our fathers and ancestors. This blessed land has given us a sweet and comfortable life under the eyes of God; it will be even more favourable and generous with the end of this senseless and crazy war. Patience! Our trial is ended; be prepared for a future radiant with promise.
The whole world is on the alert and wants to share with us the prosperity and the numerous benefits which will come to us and to all the inhabitants of this dear land. A great number of young people especially will want to come to Syria to find appropriate work and appreciable gain. During the months and years to come, our land will need labourers, executives and skilled technicians; construction sites will need a reliable workforce; hospitals will need doctors; banks will need employees; schools will need teachers; universities will need professors. You can picture the huge enterprise which will be launched here after these years of destruction. Thank God for victory and peace, may He be thanked for His graces and for having opened for our fellow citizens so many possibilities for work, enabling them to live once more in dignity and in the abundance to which they have a right in their beloved homeland.
Let us go forward dear brothers, with eagerness and confidence, hand in hand, to build a new Syria, free, modern and pluralistic, a friendly society called to progress and prosperity.
+ Jean Clement Jeanbart,
Archbishop of Aleppo