October 17th, 2015 –
VGTRK – translated for Fort Russ by:
Nina Kouprianova and Inessa Sinchougova
A documentary short film on Syrian Christians
by Anastasia Popova
Popova’s brief 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 her 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.
In contrast, international humanitarian
bodies designed to deal with such issue 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