At a public lecture at Boston College, former President of Lebanon Amine Gemayel warned of “extreme danger” facing Middle Eastern Christians and other minorities in the region.
“I have never in my life witnessed Middle East Christians in such extreme danger,” Amine Gemayel said. He called 2014 “a year of existential crisis” for Middle Eastern Christians, mentioning “the specter of genocide,” in reference to the brutalities inflicted on minorities by ISIS.
“If present negative trends continue to intensify, we must start thinking about the unthinkable: the extinction of Christianity [in the region, which would] destabilize the region for generations,” Gemayel said.
Gemayel condemned the “inexplicable” lack of response from the U.S., saying “the response by the United States has been a resounding non-response.”
He noted that while airstrikes have been used to defend oil, they have not been used to defend the Christians and Yazidis who were being brutally killed by the Islamic State.
The U.S. not only has “the military means to do more,” he said, but is also in a good position to do so, due to its “strong relationships with regional governments.”
The former Lebanon president encouraged the U.S. to support the Vatican’s idea for “a UN-backed military force, with Muslim participation, to stop religious cleansing in the Middle East,” as well as the establishment of “in-country safe havens” for the persecuted. He urged the U.S. to help Lebanon fight ISIS and support Syrian refugees.
As long term goals, Gemayel advocated having an “Arab Marshall Plan,” which would help the Arab world rebuild and encourage the youth to “embrace democratic ideas as a prelude to the establishment of democratic systems.”
Gemayel also strongly urged Muslim leadership to put muscle behind their sympathy for persecuted Christians and put together “a comprehensive plan of action.”
The talk can be heard in full here, and was cosponsored by Christian Solidarity International and Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry, Department of Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures, Department of Political Science, and Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life.