For the last three days, I have been doing as you all have. Watching the horrific scenes unfold from across the Holy Land. I have felt that sick pit in my stomach, the very same one I have had before. Tonight, the world’s media are now talking about my homeland, Lebanon, as a ‘place of operations but not yet a warzone.’ Will it still be the same when I wake up tomorrow?
At SAT-7, we condemn this vicious cycle of violence – we were born into it – where did it get us? Our whole lives as we have watched the people of the region being ripped apart by war – families scattered and slaughtered. For years we have asked when will it end?
As a generation of people born literally in times of conflict, our teams across the region are committed to sharing stories and real-life experiences to show the generation behind us that revenge is not the answer. That it has never ended the suffering – for a country or for a person broken by grief. This last year, we have been sharing a feature filmed we made for the youth of the middle east, to share how despite the hell they have lived through, we know how real that struggle is but there are different choices that can be made. We know it is possible. We have lived it, and by the grace of God, we have made those choices ourselves.
We fight by sharing hope and love – 24/7 on social media and satellite television – from the perspective of people who have survived – who know a different future is possible.
60 percent of the region’s populations is under age 25. That is why we invest so much in broadcasting this message of hope, love, and reconciliation to children and young people.
And only last week at a conference in Copenhagen, I was asked if there was only one thing I could do, as the CEO of a Christian media ministry that has so many goals; my answer was to build hope in the hearts and minds of the young generation. To see each other, understand each other, and build a new future together, based on respect and understanding and human dignity for all.
What we are seeing unfold before us today is because the world has continued to allow generations of injustice and violence to continue. It has allowed the ugly seeds of hatred and revenge to grow deep into the hearts and minds of those who have lived through too much.
As the last three days have brought louder and louder calls for revenge, from every corner of the conflict, the calls for peace, for restraint, for the protection of human life and dignity have been overwhelmed. So I must add my voice, the voice of our ministry, to amplify the call for peace – a call for an end to the suffering.
All people anywhere around the world want is to live – to live with dignity and be free – to live in peace with their families and educate their children.
And yet, as the day ends in Cyprus, from where I write, there is a night ahead – where God only knows what it will bring, and I wanted to encourage you to never give up fighting with love and to never lose hope; I want to leave you with a prayer that was shared to me today by my dear friend Archbishop Paul Sayah. May it bring you some peace and comfort for the nights and days ahead, and please, share it so that our prayers for peace may be louder than the calls for revenge.
O Lord Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, incarnate Word of God, You decided to be born in this part of the world, and in Palestine itself. You took on a human body and were born of a woman, daughter of this land, and You became a citizen of this land. Here You were born. On this land You lived, here You grew up, and here You launched the Law of Love. On this land You were crucified, You died and rose from the dead, triumphing over death, so that all people may have life and have it in abundance.
Come back, Lord, and do not delay. Your land, the land You wanted to be a land of peace for all, is on fire. It has been turned now into a land of death; it is being consumed by hatred, war, and destruction.
Come, Lord Jesus, the people in Your land are suffering and dying, and no one seems to care. Come, Lord, and listen to mothers, compatriots of Your own mother, come and hear them weeping, and their children, Your own little brothers and sisters, crying.
Come, Lord Jesus, put Your Mercy in the hearts of all people, send Your Holy Spirit to disturb the consciences of decision-makers, enlighten their minds and make them realize that Peace can never be built on hatred, and that death and destruction generate more of the same.
Come, Lord Jesus, remove the hearts of stone from our bodies and give us hearts of flesh. Put Your Spirit in us that we may keep Your commandments, and respect and practice Your only law, the law of Mercy and Love.