From the beginning of Mother Agnes’ Tour, the Syrian American Council has tried to stop the tour and engaged in false accusations, disruption and threats. Syrian American Council is a strong supporter of Sen John McCain and advocates increased US intervention in Syria.
Following is an example exchange from the start of the tour in Tucson. The accusations come from Hashem Lababidi and the reply is by Michael Eisenscher, a widely respected activist and labor organizer.
CRITICISM OF MOTHER AGNES BY SYRIAN AMERICAN COUNCIL MEMBER IN TUCSON ARIZONA:
I would just like to let you know that Mother Agnes should not expect welcomed in any city she goes to in the U.S or Canada. Her pro-regime stance (no matter how much she likes to sugar coat that stance) is NOT acceptable and being a nun or a priest or a sheikh does not give anyone a right or authority to talk about humanitarianism when they support the murderous, criminal regime of bashar. She is lucky the community in Tuscon is small, and in fact her proponents traveled a few hours from Phoenix to speak the truth. She should expect to have a tougher time in the next cities she plans to visit.
I would just like you to take a look at this article: https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/commentaryanalysis/518697-its-better-if-unarmed-civilians-surrender where mother Agnes says in an interview “It’s better if unarmed civilians surrender and turn themselves in.”
Also, a quote from Agnes from tonight in Tuscon: “It’s his country. He can kill whoever he wants to kill.” and I am sure that has been documented on video, just not up on the internet just yet.
So, good luck with the tour.
REPLY BY SOMEONE WHO WAS AT THE CONFERENCE IN TUCSON:
I was present when Mother Agnes spoke at the Tear Down the Walls Gathering in Tucson. I think I paid fairly close attention to what she had to say (interrupted repeatedly by antagonists who were not interested in hearing what she had to say – or allowing anyone else to do so). I never heard her say what is attributed to her. Indeed, that same quotation – word for word – was reproduced in something I read before she even arrived in the U.S. It appears to be the stock disinformation weapon her critics haul out wherever she speaks to shut down discussion and media coverage.
What is it they don’t want us to hear? About the role of foreign jihadists in the armed opposition? The role of Western powers and Arab monarchies? The role of Israel? The plight of refugees and internally displaced people? The consequences of military violence perpetrated by both the Syrian government and its opponents for unarmed civilians? The attack on churches, mosques, ethnic and religious minorities? The imposition of Sharia law imposed by armed militias in areas “liberated” from government control? The breakdown of public health services and educational institutions in a country that had among the best in the region? The need for and possibility of reconciliation?
Being able to speak about any of these things does not automatically make her an apologist for Assad. But an audience that is prevented from hearing about these things is also deprived of an opportunity to ask her in non-accusatory tone to explain just what her attitude is toward Assad and his government. It won’t have an the opportunity to ask whether there is an alternative to an authoritarian government based on a family dynasty and feudal, sometimes barbarous, jihadists that want to take the country back to the sixteenth century at the barrel of a gun. That audience also won’t hear what she has to say about unarmed opponents of the government or non-violent alternatives to both an authoritarianism government and authoritarian sectarian militias.
Those are questions that deserve to be asked. But the so-called “democratic opposition” to Assad that shows up to keep her from speaking have a peculiar understanding of democracy and the free competition of ideas or the right to be heard. I fear for democracy and the Syrian people should they ever come to power in Syria.