Armed riot police, January 23, 2014, Kiev
Five people have died in Ukraine as protests against the new laws which quash civil liberties spread to more cities and the police respond with violence: shooting with rubber bullets; kidnapping activists; torturing people, including a 17 year old boy.
Mikhailo Niskoguz: beaten and repeatedly stabbed and cut with knives, age 17
Despite many threats, the Ukrainian Catholic Church has kept up a steady presence in the capital, and along with the Roman Catholics, part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, and many Protestants, these clergy offer spiritual solace to protesters and remind people of the higher goals of the whole movement: a reformed, European, democratic homeland with Christian principles.
Priest between the two sides, calling for peaceful mediation and solutions
The war drags on in Syria as Peace Talks commence in the calm of Switzerland. Why didn’t they have these talks along the Lebanese border, where the foreigners could see the ravaged land of Syria stretching beyond them? Why have talks in lovely conference rooms off of marble hallways? Go and have a conference with large-screen photos of the barrel bombs thrown off government helicopters to blow up in the streets below filled with shrapnel that kills little children; with photos of what jihadists are doing to Christians who are tortured, murdered, expelled from their homes and churches and a 2000 year history. Look at those pictures of the atrocities, the squalid tent cities filled with sick and hungry people who are shell-shocked, of empty ruins where families once lived, of starving people begging for the army to let food into their neighborhoods. Make the representatives look at that all day, and eat what Syrians have to get by on, and long to drink a little water, and I bet these “peace talks” would move along a lot faster.
Aleppo was one of the most beautiful cities, and Syria’s economic powerhouse. Now?
May the tears of innocents fall on the faces of the powerful in Kiev and Damascus and Montreux where the talks are already floundering, and may those tears soak into their hardened consciences so that for once, these leaders would do what is right for the ordinary folks. May God’s grace be responded to, and may the tears of Our Lady and the cries of the innocents succeed in doing just that.