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Syrian priest calls for disarmament to begin peace building process

2013-09-02

The uncensored images of an alleged chemical attack near the Syrian capital of Damascus are too graphic to show. And though its hard to look at them, its even tougher for Monsignor Georges Dankaye. Though the responsibility for the attack is still up for debate, theres a pressing concern for this Syrian-born, Armenian Catholic priest.   

MSGR. GEORGES DANKAYE 
Rector, Pontifical Armenian College 
"My fear is that we have begun to lose all control of this war. It started with these ideals of democracy and liberty and other beautiful words, but then we must accept that the situation has gotten out of hand.” 

Monsignor Dankaye was born in Aleppo, one of the most affected cities in the bloody Syrian conflict, which has killed over 100,000 people. 

At an early age, he knew he wanted to dedicate himself to the Armenian Catholic Church, an increasingly fragile Church, but with deep, historic ties to Syria. 

Now in Rome, as the rector of the Pontifical Armenian College, he wants an end to the war in his homeland. He added that the place to start is for third parties to withdraw their military support. 

MSGR. GEORGES DANKAYE 
Rector, Pontifical Armenian College
"As the weapons keep coming, each side in the conflict places their hopes on the countries that support them materially, militarily and logistically. So it makes it harder for them to yield, harder to make themselves open to dialogue. Because each day they receive assurances, 'don't be afraid, we're with you, we will win.'” 

Msgr. Dankaye called on the world to recognize the primacy and sanctity of life. And that ongoing violence, and even armed intervention cannot will not solve anything, even with the use of chemical weapons. 

MSGR. GEORGES DANKAYE 
Rector, Pontifical Armenian College
"Is the victim that dies on the street, shot with a bullet, different from the person that dies from the use of chemical weapons? What's the difference? They are human lives, sacred before the eyes of the Lord.” 

Msgr. Dankaye warned that if the violence continues, it will place at even greater risk the survival of his Armenian Catholic Church in the region. Such a loss, he said, would be detrimental to the place that saw the birth and early growth of Christianity. 


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