Life comes to us with many simple yet essential blessings whose value we often forget about until we no longer have them. We take such blessings as water to drink, food to eat, talking to someone freely or even simply taking a walk; we take them for granted until we have them no more. This is one of the faces of the war. It shows itself by taking away from normal people the essentials of life. How does a war start? How does it grow to last for years? How is it that in our lifetime, we, the citizens of the earth, have not yet found a way to extend a hand to stop it, to transform it? Not yet. The war in Syria has been going on for over two years. It is now extending beyond Syria. Thousands of people have died. Thousands of people have become homeless and are in danger of dying.
One of the striking phenomena of this war and perhaps of any war is the fact that whichever way one turns, one is considered to be an enemy. Civilians in Syria are imprisoned not only in their city but within their district. The roads are closed or covered with unknown checkpoints, perhaps by rebels, by the regime or by some unknown gangs just waiting to kidnap people. If the civilians support the rebels, they are the enemy of the government. If they support the government, they are the enemy of the rebels. If they support one group of rebels, they are the enemy of another group. If they do not support anyone, they are the enemy of those they do not support. What is a life like when you can not help but be forced to be the enemy of someone?
Another striking phenomena is that those who have decision-making power do not know the truth, nor are they seeking the truth. Whichever media one follows regarding the war in Syria, one comes to see that the media about Syria is not there to reveal the truth but rather to influence the reader, to promote their interest, to impose a side or even to predict a calamity. The leading governments of our times have become the puppets of their own shadows. They do not see nor hear what human being need or want to become. They govern their own interests. Media controls the politics. Money controls the media. Who controls the money? Human beings or abstract systems?
Life amazingly still goes on in Syria. Those who are living there do not say much about what really goes on. Yet, they go on living their lives. When there is food, they eat. When there is connection, they connect. When there is water, they drink. What keeps them going? What gives them strength to live? Not the sides, nor the walls, not the governments, nor the media, not the rebels, nor the money nor the lack of it. It is what goes beyond the sides and the walls and the bombs. It is the activity of asking, speaking and listening to each other. It is the courage in them to have a dialog with each other. For what is a dialog? It is going through the Logos, through the Word, experiencing the Word and allowing the Word to reveal itself. By revealing itself, it also reveals what lives in us, the enemy in us and the friend in us. Through Dialog, we are seeking the truth. Dialog opens the possibility to seek the truth. How would it be if everyone puts down the gun and starts having a dialog with each other? How would it be if those who are making decisions talk with each other? Dialog opens the door to move from being a foe to becoming a friend. Dialog has the power to turn war into peace.
Rev. Minassian, currently a priest in Pennsylvania, is originally from Syria.