Ahead of my upcoming travels in Europe concerning the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, I have recorded another podcast for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, and for sharing on Ekklesia and beyond.
It discusses recent events in the area - notably Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's recent speech, the prospect of constitutional reform in Jordan and Morocco and the complex issue of whether Palestinian statehood will be recognised by the United Nations.
There has been so much of a credibility gap between what has been said and what has been done over the past three months of uprisings and riots in Syria, that the people on the streets are no longer ready to believe what is being promised to them today. If the President had said what he said a few days ago, three months ago, when the riots were just beginning, then the people might have actually taken his suggestions more seriously.
Now after three months, with all the deaths, over 1,300 people killed, over 10,000 people arrested, the refugees... all this has basically created a further credibility gap. I think what is necessary now is to really get to grips with the security issues involved and move forward. If that happens perhaps there is still hope that the President, who is popular in many parts of Syria just as he is unpopular in others, would still be able to lead those reforms towards a better future. If he doesn’t do that I think power might be actually slipping away from him.
You can listen to the whole podcast here:
© Harry Hagopian is an international lawyer, ecumenist and EU political consultant. He also acts as a Middle East and inter-faith advisor to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales and as Middle East consultant to ACEP (Christians in Politics) in Paris. He is an Ekklesia associate and regular contributor (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/HarryHagopian ). Formerly an Executive Secretary of the Jerusalem Inter-Church Committee and Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches, he is consultant to the Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (UK) and author of The Armenian Church in the Holy Land. Dr Hagopian’s own website is www.epektasis.net