The gentleman giving the talk in the video above is Father Daniël Maes, a Flemish priest who lives in Syria and who has said that news coverage of the conflict there is “the biggest media lie of our time.” Father Maes, who spoke in Belgium on June 3, lives and serves God in the 1400-year-old Mar Yakub Monastery, located in the village of Qara, some 60 miles northeast of Damascus.
The martyr celebration he speaks of at the beginning of the talk commemorates the deaths of 21 Arab nationalists (both Syrian and Lebanese) who were executed by Turkish authorities on May 6, 1916 for their resistance against the Ottoman Empire. The Arab nationalists, long suffering under Ottoman rule, had supported Britain and France in World War I though later were betrayed–by both, but by the French in particular–in a series of events leading up to the signing of the infamous Sykes-Picot Agreement (an agreement which set up the two European countries as the primary colonial powers in the region, giving the British control over Palestine and establishing the French as the overlords in Syria and Lebanon).
Thus when Father Maes says, “I was a little bit ashamed. I think: ‘I am from the West’,” he is presumably referring to this history, although I would qualify that statement by pointing out that the actions of Britain and France today in backing US goals for regime change are if anything even more ignoble than their treacherous behavior of a century ago.
In his talk, Father Maes also makes a prediction–call it a prophecy if you will–that the war in Syria will take the world from a unipolar to a multi-polar world order.
He also makes reference to a soup kitchen set up by Mother Agnés-Mariam in the city of Aleppo and which serves 25,000 hot meals per day five days a week. You may remember Mother Agnés. I did a series of articles on her back in 2013 and 2014 after she released a 50-page report on the August 21, 2013 chemical attack in Ghouta. The report provided evidence that some of the videos uploaded to the Internet immediately after the attack were staged and faked. But for her efforts, Mother Agnés found herself under attack by liberals like Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones, both of whom refused to appear at a conference she was scheduled to speak at in London. This was in November of 2013. I wrote an article about it at the time, which I entitled Mother Agnes and the Self Destruction of the Political Left, and which I reproduce below. I wonder how Scahill and Jones would feel if they knew the woman whose name they besmirched four years ago is now serving food to 25,000 hungry people a day in a war zone. God works in mysterious ways, and this is certainly an example of it. Jones, Scahill and all the other “liberal interventionists” who attacked Mother Agnés should be ashamed of themselves.
As for Father Maes, I first put up a post about him back in January of this year. At that time he told an interviewer, “Do you not know that the media coverage on Syria is the biggest media lie of our time? They have sold pure nonsense about Assad: It was actually the rebels who plundered and killed.”
And in the talk in the video above, he notes that the Syrian Army has recently been making “more and more and more and more progress,” and he expresses hope for an end to the conflict soon.
“We hope that with the Russians and Iran, and of course the Syrian Army and the Hezbollah, that they will finally take out all the terrorists.”
Mother Agnes and the Self Destruction of the Political Left
By Richard Edmondson
Leftist luminaries Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones attempted to cast aspersions upon Mother Agnes, but instead they have brought discredit not only upon themselves, but upon the conference at which they are to speak in London next Saturday. We should not be surprised at the way all this has turned out.
As I reported previously, Scahill and Jones announced they would not take part in an antiwar conference organized by the Stop the War Coalition should they have to share the same platform with Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross, a Syrian nun who has worked tirelessly to bring about an end to the bloodshed in her country. As yet, no explanation or elaboration has been offered by the pair as justification for their laying down of such an ultimatum. But for her own part, Mother Agnes has taken steps to ensure they will not have to undergo the abhorrent ordeal of appearing with her. She has pulled out of the conference.
In the war in Syria, or more precisely in the way the war has been reported, radically different narratives have been presented, narratives that are, and have been, almost completely counter to one another. In one view, that reported by Western mainstream media, Syrian President Bashar Assad is a brutal, criminal dictator intent on killing his own people, while those fighting to bring his government down are freedom fighters (although following the posting of a video showing one of the freedom fighters eating a human organ, the media shifted slightly and began allowing that “some” of the insurgents were extremists). By contrast, the picture presented by Russian and other foreign media, and on blogs like this one, is that Assad has the support of a sizeable portion of the Syrian people and that the conflict has little or nothing to do with democracy. Instead it is aimed at effecting regime change to the benefit of Gulf oil monarchies as well as the West and Israel. Also in this view, Assad, while not perfect, is not nearly as ogreish and demonic as he is made out to be in the Western media.
It comes down to who has the greater credibility—the Western, and principally US, media, which promoted the war in Iraq on the basis of false claims about weapons of mass destruction, or Russian media outlets like RT, who have no record of peddling lies in an effort to justify wars. You would think that for leftists the choice would be clear. But for some reason, Scahill, a reporter for The Nation, and Jones, who has a column in The Independent, have taken a position that possibly would suggest they accord the Western media the greater credibility—at least insofar as the Syrian war in general, and Mother Agnes in particular, are concerned.
Those favoring US intervention in Syria no doubt had their hopes raised by the August 21 chemical weapons attack. An all out escalation into a regional and possibly even global conflict seemed imminent, but the hopes of warmongers were dashed through some clever statesmanship by Vladimir Putin and also after Mother Agnes released a 50-page report introducing evidence that some of the videos uploaded immediately after the attack had been staged and scripted and suggesting that the attack might have been carried out not by the Syrian government but by the opposition. You can read the full report here. Decide for yourself whether you think it’s credible.
My own take on it all is that through her report, as well as through her presence, her holiness, and her actions—including the evacuation of more than 5,000 people from a besieged town in October—Mother Agnes has considerably undermined the Western narrative on events in Syria. And that obviously has upset a lot of plans and made a lot of people mad.
“Why did the invitation from Stop the War to a nun working to stop war raise objections?” asks William M. Boardman in an article posted Thursday. Boardman goes on to comment, “It’s hard to find any evidence that Mother Agnes has committed anything worse than what others consider thought-crimes and politically incorrect obeservations, some of which are actually correct.”
So was somebody pressuring Scahill and Jones to disassociate themselves from Mother Agnes? Did they think doing so would advance their careers? Did Scahill think it would win him additional appearances on the Rachel Maddow Show or CBS Evening News? Is Jones hoping for more exposure on Sky News and the BBC? I don’t have an answer to these questions. I would note only that intoxication of power is not something leftists are especially immune to any more so than anyone else. The main problem is succumbing to such impulses at the expense of someone making a genuine effort to achieve peace.
When faced with a choice between taking a stand based upon principle and one based upon convenience, the left seems to opt more and more for the latter these days, and it is attitudes such as this that are leading it, much like Western society as a whole, toward self destruction. So what should the organizers of the conference do? Here is my suggestion: Re-extend the invitation to Mother Agnes. Do so publicly. She may decline. But you will at least regain some credibility. Should she accept, all the better. And if Jones and Scahill wish to pull out as a result, even better yet. Their presence at the podium at this point is probably more of a liability than an asset in any event. Proceeding under the present conditions—with Scahill and Jones on the bill and the curtain in effect drawn on any participation by Mother Agnes—will cheapen and devalue the event.