Readers write in about Syria and comedy during tough times.
Thank you for your publication of Ahmed Salkini's commentary of July 19 titled "Syrian secularism: a model for the Middle East." I've just returned from two months in Syria, living with a Syrian Christian family in Damascus, and I could not agree more with Mr. Salkini's remarks regarding the notability of Syria's "brand of secularism" and the freedom it affords all religious minorities in this diverse and tolerant country.
I was especially struck by the stark contrast between the experience of Christians in Syria and their poor kindred in neighboring Iraq, where I served a two-year tour and learned firsthand of the horrors experienced by that country's fast-dwindling Christian population. Syria's open, inclusive, secular model is a bulwark against extremism, and America's policies should focus on supporting and encouraging it, rather than pushing it into the hands of our enemies.
As someone who has read the Monitor for decades, and as a journalist who has taken 19 trips to the Middle East (in war and peace), I was astounded that you would carry a commentary about the "peaceful intent" of Syria, as written by a staff member of the Syrian Embassy in Washington.
The Monitor is well aware that Syria is a major sponsor and conduit for weapons to the terrorist organization Hezbollah.