“In Syria we live in misery and hunger, don’t abandon us!”: Fr. Bahjat’s appeal from Damascus

Giacomo Pizzi16 June 2020

Father Bahjat from Damascus does not gild the pill: the situation in Syria is very serious. The tones are alarming: “I can say without exaggeration that today we have left the term poverty behind us, today we speak of misery”. The post-war economic crisis is getting worse as the days go by. Syria no longer makes the news and the Western media do not seem to care about the situation. “Many people think that Syria has now passed the difficult times, the times of violence and bombing, but today we are living in a very critical situation, which I have never experienced since I arrived here in the middle of the war in 2016,” said Brother Bahjat with great concern. What the war has not done now risks starvation. The Syrian lira is losing value precipitously: just think that until a few months ago a dollar was equivalent to 1000 Syrian lira, while today it corresponds to 3200.

The Trump administration has launched heavy economic sanctions against Syria (already carried out in 2019). The Ceasar Act was described by the US Congress as an act aimed at helping the Syrian population, while it marks its ruin instead. The “Ceasar act”, which is the result of the collaboration of Republicans and Democrats, will be devastating for Syria and in particular for the poorest. As Fr. Bahjat states: “one should actually call it Caesar’s law for the destruction of Syrian civilians and not ‘in support of Syrian civilians’ as stated by the Congress”.

“As a church we stay close to the people and try not to let anyone sleep without bread”, but Father Bahajat is aware that without help he will not be able to keep this promise for long. He says that “a family man has to work a whole month to buy a couple of kilos of meat, that an annual salary serves to pay tuition for one child”.

Pro Terra Santa is taking on these requests for help. Just as it stood by the Syrian people during the years of the brutal war, it is not backing down now, when the economic catastrophe risks wiping out the few remaining hopes. “We could not continue our mission without your support, without your charity,” Brother Bahajat honestly admits, “and we already thank you for having listened to this appeal and responded generously to it”.