To: Chuck Kaufman, Kathy Hoyt, James Jordan, Bruce Wilkson, Robert Moses, Elaine Spivak Rodriguez, and Daniele Kohn of Alliance for Global Justice (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, CLRlabor@afgj.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com)
Tear Down the Walls looks like it will be an amazing gathering of progressive-minded people in the Southwestern U.S. that will promote greater unity between seemingly disparate causes such as Palestinian and immigrant rights.
This is why I cannot understand why you are allowing Mother Superior Agnes Mariam de la Croix to speak at your conference at the workshop “What Is Going on In Syria?” on November 2 at 2:30 in the Grenlee room of the Tucson Convention Center.
Mother Agnes claims that the August 21, 2013 sarin gas attack on Ghouta in Damascus, Syria by the regime of Bashar al-Assad was faked and filmed by the regime’s opponents, the Syrian opposition. In her 50-page dossier on the horrible events of that fateful morning, she claimed that the dead, gassed children documented in those videos “seem mostly sleeping” and “under anesthesia.” This ludicrous claim was dismissed outright by Human Rights Watch (HRW): “there’s just no basis for the claims advanced by Mother Agnes. … [W]e have found no evidence to indicate any of the videos were fabricated.” So said Peter Bouckaert, Emergencies Director of HRW, an organization that meticulously documented the nightmarish aftermath of the sarin gas attack. Agnes’ claim also flies in the face of the facts established by the United Nations team sent to investigate the incident. The report states conclusively, “chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale, resulting in numerous casualties, particularly among civilians and including many children.”
When people attend the workshop titled, “What Is Going on In Syria?” they should be told the truth, not blatantly obvious lies and patent falsehoods.
Mother Agnes’s mendacity does not stop there and it is why she has been denounced by Syria’s pro-peace forces.
Syrian Christians for Peace denounced her for claiming at a press conference in Beirut that there had never been a single peaceful demonstration in Syria, “despite having been seen (a mere few hours before) in one of those peaceful demonstrations in Qalamoon.” They pointed out further that Syrian Christians have never seen a dime of the money she raised in the name of their beleaguered community and asked “that she be excommunicated and prevented from speaking in the name of the Order of Carmelites.” Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, a Jesuit priest who was exiled by the Assad regime for speaking out against its murderous response to peaceful protests and who is now being held prisoner by Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, ISIS, said Agnes’s claims are “ludicrous” and “insane.” Father Paolo notes that the organization she claims to be affiliated with, Musalaha (Reconcialiation), “does not exist on the ground.”
As if her fraudulent credentials were not bad enough, Ha’aretz describes her as a “lover of Israel.” Perhaps this explains why she has never spoken out against the Syrian government’s airstrikes on and siege of the Palestinians in Yarmouk refugee camp, located in Damascus, that forced two-thirds of the refugees to become refugees once more. Palestinian activists within Yarmouk have called on the Syrian government to halt all military operations but Agnes will not even acknowledge that such a siege is even happening much less come out in support of their call for peace.
Palestinians in Yarmouk protesting. Children with black headbands have the shahada on it, sybmoblizing their support for the revolution.
More disturbingly, there is the role Mother Agnes played in the evacuation of 1,800 starving civilians from the rebel-held neighborhood of Moadamiya in Damascus a few days ago. This is a neighborhood where the Syrian government physically blocked all food from entering the neighborhood for months on end, a collective punishment tactic reminiscent of the Israeli military’s illegal and immoral method of dealing with the Palestinians. During the evacuation, men and boys were detained (possibly tortured) and over 100 are being forced to fight for Syrian government forces.
Mother Agnes was central to engineering this evacuation and bears responsibility for the fate of those men and boys.
For all of the above reasons, Mother Agnes does not belong at a conference where people are uniting to tear down the walls of “Wall Street, the US border and Israeli apartheid walls, prison walls, the Pentagon militarism walls, the walls of capitalism, the walls of oppression by race, gender, ethnicity, personal identity.”
It is not too late to do the right thing by cancelling Mother Agnes’s appearance as the Unitarian Church in Vancouver, Canada did when they were informed of her record.
The interests of global justice demand it.
The above text was e-mailed on October 31, 2013. Please use this as a form letter for your own e-mail, share it on or Tweet it at Alliance for Global Justice/Tear Down the Walls Facebook and Twitter pages. Take a stand, make your voices heard.