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"When everything is rebuild in Maaloula, only then, life will dominate death."

EN - Friday, 17 May 2019

Another destroyed house ... Like so many others in Syria... blown up by shells and missiles. Today only a mountain of gravels remains of this house. Father Toufik, Greek-Melkite Catholic priest of Maaloula, wants to reconstruct this house and give it new lease on life, to rent to young couples who do not have the financial means to buy themselves a house.

All the stones of the walls fell down into the bottom of the cellar. The beams are entangled with each other and the ashes remains of charred fragments of antlers remind us of the intensity of the fighting which, from September 2013 to April 2014, has devastated this small village ...

sos chretiens orient syrie maaloula reconstructionExtracted from the cellar, we hoist to the beams up onto the upper floor and then transfer them to the pile of stones located twenty meters above and repeat the action over and over again as the clearance proceeds ... While the heat rises and the sun burns our skin, the signs of progress encourage us. A neighbor has made tea for us and offers it with typical oriental generosity. During this break, we take the opportunity to speak Arabic with our newfound friend! These moments of relaxation and recuperation create a true bond between the inhabitants of this village and the volunteers of SOS Chrétiens d’Orient!

All of a sudden, the Angelus, this famous prayer rings out across the town in Aramaic recited by the speaker on top of the mountain, and it echoes throughout the village: from mountain to mountain, the echo announces to all that it is already 4pm. For us, it marks the end of our rest and the resumption of our work.

sos chretiens orient syrie maaloula montagne

All of a sudden, the Angelus, this famous prayer rings out across the town in Aramaic, recited by the speaker at top of the mountain, and it echoes throughout the village: from mountain to mountain, the echo announces to all that it is already 4pm. For us, it marks the end of our rest and the resumption of our work.

Buried under the rubble, we find a little plastic doll, the only trace of a child’s life which once was, here, in the middle of the rubble ... A little later, a plastic statue of the Holy Mary reminds us the reason why this village was attacked: a Christian village where Orthodox and Catholics lived in harmony, a model of unity and concord and where the language of Christ - the Aramaic - is still spoken today.

As I continue to work, I hear, on my back, a word of support: "Allah ya 3tik l alafié - May God help you with your work". It's Tony passing by on his motorcycle. Clinging to his back, Mimi, his 5-year-old, gives me a big smile. I answer him taking a breath: "Allah l y3afik - May He also helps you in yours". The moped stops in front of Mar Lawandios, located near our work station. This 17th century church was burned by jihadists. The able men of the village are working on its renovation. Everyone on their specific role; we challenge each other with jokes to encourage one another.

Little by little, the stones are moved one by one and the pile where they are gathered grows before our very eyes. Later, the time will come to truly start its reconstruction.

The work day is over but we leave knowing that life will be able to dominate over death in this house and make the walls forget the vulgar destruction that was, during what seemed like an endless moment …

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sos chretiens orient chantiers maaloula