Agnes Mariam de La Croix, née Fadia Al-Laham, is not necessarily enamored with Bashar Al-Assad or his murderous sectarian regime, and is not necessarily in the pay of his security officers, although her part in facilitating the killing of French journalist Gilles Jacquier, raises some questions in this regard. In her defense of the Assad regime and its genocide, through cover-up, whitewashing and lies, she seems to be motivated by pure religious hatred of Islam and Sunni Muslims in particular, irrespective of their degree of religiosity or lack thereof. This is not an uncommon attitude among the confessional minorities in Syria. Though Sunni extremist groups do provide some justification for this hatred and do indeed reciprocate it, lending support to an ongoing genocidal campaign, by distorting facts and spreading straight out lies is unchristian to say the least. But then the history of religious establishments in authoritarian societies, their particular faith notwithstanding, shows us that they often produce more criminals than saints, because they often become another cog in the machine of corruption, oppression and domination, if not its important instrument.
Agnes’ current activities come as part of the recent propaganda campaign launched by the Assad regime and of Bashar Al-Assad himself to help cover up the ongoing genocide in the country. This campaign is receiving much support from figures and organizations affiliated with the international left as well as certain Christian groups prone to believing all different stories of Christian persecution in the Muslim World. In reality though, and barring few isolated incidents by groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda, most violence suffered by Christians in Syria have come on the hands of the Assad regime and its sectarian militias, yet, you wouldn’t know that talking to some church going people in the U.S., all of whom seem to believe that rebels are responsible for the mayhem. This segment of the population in the U.S. is particularly susceptible to believing the worst about Muslims and to unquestioningly believing reports of persecution of Christians throughout the world without demanding much in terms of proof. Assad’s nun is coming here to impress this audience above all. Indeed, this a very smart publicity campaign, one that could only be designed with the help of certain PR companies, as well as Iranian and Russian advisers who by now have much experience in manipulating public opinion in Western societies. In fact, the campaign is so successful that even some of Agnes’ statements and lies whose falsehoods is easily demonstrable, including her accusing the rebels of staging the chemical weapons attack in Ghoutah, have been relegated to the side when discussing her current activities. After all, she is now considered a power broker for Assad.
While figures from the international left seem to be spearheading efforts at whitewashing Assad’s crimes using Ages for this purpose – the international left has always been prone to defending dictators even as they perpetrate atrocities in the name of opposition western imperialism and intervention – the fascist right, spurred by religious hatred not unlike that of Agnes herself, has also joined the fray, by sending fighters and advisers (we now have evidence of direct involvement of Russian and Greeks mercenaries), and conducting PR campaigns endorsing the propaganda of the Assad regime.
Back to the issue of Agnes, the Mussalaha Initiative, which has now been associated in international press with her name, is actually not hers. Rather, it’s a grassroots effort spearheaded by mostly pro-regime people, or people who have to appear as being pro-regime, who were involved in negotiating a series of “surrenders” and relocations by rebels in certain besieged communities in Homs, Damascus and elsewhere. As such, this is not really an effort for grassroots reconciliation, as the name would suggest, but for an effort dedicated to alleviating the suffering of certain besieged communities. Agnes involvement in the group was dedicated by security apparatuses and she only shows up to Mussalaha events when cameras and foreign journalists are involved. With Agnes’ involvement, the group became more interested in generating publicity then in doing actual work on the ground.