Jesuit’s impassioned message from Syria

“We love life, we want to live.”

In a shaky video clip revealed last weekend, this was the impassioned message delivered by a Jesuit priest, the only European left in the besieged Syria city of Homs.

Speaking in Arabic on shaky video footage uploaded to Yoututbe, the Dutch Fr Frans van der Lugt offered his eyewitness testimony of the suffering of both Christians and Muslims in the city where he continues to minister despite the ongoing conflict and the threats posed by radical Islamic elements.

Filmed before a church altar, Fr van der Lugt offers a picture of everyday life in Homs. “Christians and Muslims are going through a difficult and painful time and we are faced with many problem,” he says. “The greatest of these is hunger. People have nothing to eat. There is nothing more painful than watching mothers searching for food for their children in the streets.”

Responding to a voice off-camera which poses a question on the proper response of the international community to Syria, Fr van der Lugt says: “Given these conditions it is impossible for the international community and us not to do something together.

“I will not accept that we die of hunger. I do not accept that we drown in the sea of hunger, letting the waves of death drag us under. We love life, we want to live. And we do not want to sink in a sea of pain and suffering.”