Syrian religious leader talks peace and solidarity

By: Jenn Schanz

For months, headlines have swarmed around the crisis in Syria.

Some are calling it a civil war, others say it's an uprising.

Mother Agnes mMariam is Mother Superior at a convent in Qara, Syria.

To her, the crisis has been manipulated by foreign leaders, and mass media.

Mariam, who says she is no politician, insists the problem in her country cannot be pinned on a sole group, or leader.

And intervention, she says, is not a quick fix.

“We don't want an invader, we want a friend.”

As part of her North American speaking tour, she made a stop in Lincoln, drawn by some of the Cornhusker state's anti–war groups like Nebraskans for Peace and United Front Against Austerity.

She says the biggest struggle facing Syria is not Assad or rebel groups, but propaganda fueled by biased information.

She urges Americans especially, to challenge status–quo headlines.

“It's important to be informed, because following your information, your knowledge, you will adjust your choices.”

Choices, she says, can affect foreign policy.

As a self–proclaimed hippie in her youth, Mariam used the term “flower power,” calling on peace and solidarity from American policy makers and citizens.

“Americans should not stand with those who are promoting war, for any kind of benefit. Americans should stand with the peace builders, because the benefit coming from peace building is everlasting.” she says.