“Syria is over 6000 years old,
its people will always restore what our enemies destroy”
This short documentary film Expulsion (Izgnanie), made for the Russian television channel Rossiia, focuses on the plight of Christians in war-torn Syria. This subject is worthy of greater attention than it has received in the mainstream Western media, hence our effort to subtitle this project.
After all, Christians are one the most persecuted groups in the world. Their depopulation is a general trend in the entire Middle East and North African region (MENA), not just in Syria.
This documentary states that, for instance, half of Palestine’s population was once Christian, but now only 5% remain. In Iraq, of the million and a half Christians prior to the U.S. invasion, only 10% are there today. In 2013, OSCE estimated that a Christian dies for his faith every 5 minutes.
Now, with the escalation of the war and the consequent rise of the refugee crisis, the numbers are likely to rise. The Russian Orthodox Church has been consistently bringing attention to the disappearance of Christians in the Middle East–their source of origin, as has the Kremlin.
In contrast, international humanitarian bodies designed to deal with such issues have not been effective. Western powers, particularly the leading NATO countries that are nominally Christian in terms of their heritage, stay silent, at best, or support policies that aid and abet those radicals and terrorists that are trying to root out Christianity from its very birth place.
Indeed, there has been no cogent explanation for the incredibly costly and equally ineffective campaign carried out by the U.S., its Western coalition partners, and regional allies against the so-called Islamic State for a year; nor has there been a clear methodological way of differentiating between the so-called ‘moderate’ opposition groups and terrorist targets.
Washington’s policy of funding and pitting radical jihadist groups against legitimate governments or each other—in order to achieve its own geostrategic goals—goes back to the late 1970s.
More recently, the invasion of Iraq under the false pretext of weapons of mass destruction, the so-called ‘humanitarian’ bombing of Libya, and the ongoing illegal campaign in Syria have destabilized the region, plunging it into chaos, and creating a power vacuum that gave rise to extremists. Domestically, many Christian groups in the U.S., such as the Evangelicals, show greater preference for Israel than their fellow Christians in the region.
Thus, one of the key goals of Russia’s decision to aid Syria’s legal government—upon its invitation and compliant with international law—in its fight against terrorism and religious extremism is to stabilize the country and initiate political dialogue.
It is under secular governments like that of Syria that different religious groups were able to peacefully coexist until recently. This documentary film and its participants reinforce this notion.