The Corner

Missing Syrian Nuns Appear on Al Jazeera Video

A group of 13 Greek Orthodox nuns who were abducted by a jihadist militia that raided their town in Syria on December 1 were seen attesting to their well-being in a video aired on Al Jazeera Friday afternoon. It is a great relief to see that they were still alive. Other jihadist videos have been surfacing on social media, including a spate in recent days, graphically documenting their bloodletting, according to links in the Catholic service Asia News.

“The brothers are treating us well and have brought us from the convent here and we are very happy,” one of the sisters is heard saying. Each of the sisters reportedly took turns speaking to the camera.

On Wednesday, the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch told the international press that the nuns were in Yabrud, some 80 kilometers north of Damascus. However, their exact whereabouts have not been confirmed and church sources say they are being held captive by extremist rebels.

The nuns’ assurances that they are “very happy,” of course, should be taken with a grain of salt since they came from the mouths of captives of well-armed and ruthless Islamists. The New York Timesposture of scrupulously objective reporting –“ it was impossible to independently verify it or to know if the nuns were speaking under duress” – is risible.

The nuns are from the Greek Orthodox monastery of Mar Takla in Maaloula, an ancient, Aramaic-speaking Christian town just north of Damascus. The rebels’ raid was the second since September.  As I reported previously, the town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was shelled and “cleansed” of nearly all its residents. While Mother Superior Pelagia Sayyaf and twelve other nuns weathered that first siege, they were forced out in the second.

Last Wednesday, Pope Francis, after stating the nuns “were forcibly abducted by armed men,” called on the faithful to “pray for these sisters and for all the people who have been kidnapped as a result of the ongoing conflict.”

The World Council of Arameans, a Swedish-based Assyrian Christian group, issued a statement after the attack on Maaloula that condemned “all kidnappings of Syrian citizens.” It correctly noted  that the abduction of religious figures, such as the nuns and two bishops and many priests in prior months, is particularly tragic since it “aims to put fear into the Syrians and rob the country of its ethno-religious diversity.”

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More