Values are essential for any society or community. However, values become even more important in times of conflict. Clear values enable us to navigate through a crisis.
At the moment many people are living in challenging times, whether in the Middle East, Ukraine or even in the European Union. It would be unfair to compare the challenges felt by each people or to compare their gravity. Yet, the Christians in Syria and Iraq and the people of East Ukraine experience violence, war and/or persecution on a daily basis.
The European Union was a project that was started to create peace, security and reconciliation in a war torn continent. The lessons of WWII have made the EU a promoter of peace for many decades. However, especially outside of the EU it has not been able to be an active promoter of piece in recent conflict in Ukraine and the Middle East. It seems like the EU does not know how to navigate as a peacemaker in these conflicts. Europe needs clear values that can serve as a base for coping with these challenges.
During the ECPM conference on “Values for Europe in times of conflict”, several prominent speakers shared their common view on the Christian values as the only values that do offer solutions for the problems felt inside Europe and also in relationship with other nations. The host of the conference MEP Branislav Skripek called on all those present to stand up for peace and justice as it is the responsibility each citizen has. After this introduction, Leo van Doesburg, ECPM Director for European Affairs and Polircy Advision, moderating the conference gave the floor to the ECPM President Peter Östman and MEP Alojz Peterle to express their views on the the EU response on areas of conflict like Syria, Iraq and Ukraine.
After this political representatives from different nations shared their nation’s or peoples challenges and how Christian values have played a major role in their survival. Rima Tüzün, Head of Foreign Affairs of the European Syriac Union expressed her gratitude to the ECPM for revealing the cry of persecuted Christians in Iraq in the EP and in Europe. “Christians in Iraq are not persecuted only since ISIS started its activity. Persecution has been on us for hundreds of years and we have been crying for help ever since. We have almost lost any hope of being heard but now we dare to hope again that our cry is being heard”, she declared during the conference.
Botrus Mansour, lawyer and general Director of the Baptist school in Nazareth presented the school as an example of building bridges between Muslims and Christians in Nazareth. The other speakers were: Anastasios Nerantzis, Secretary General of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, George Rukhadze, ECPM vice-president and International Secretary of the Christian Democratic Movement in Georgia, and Susan Kerr, European Advocate at Christian Solidarity Worldwide. In all speeches one could understand that the Christian values like reconciliation, solidarity and justice are the proven solution to go through these challenges.