John Shuck [00:03:20] That was back in April right? April of 2018?
Mark Taliano [00:03:23] If people, actually if anyone is listening and they are in front of a computer they can go to my web site and reference articles. Because all the information is there. So I do have an article there and I interviewed someone and yeah. So I was woken up early in the morning very very very very scary although we knew something was going to happen, and it was extraordinarily loud, and you know really bad. And fortunately not too many people were slaughtered, that time. Because with the assistance of allies, et cetera Syria is getting better at defending itself. But it underscored for me, the terror that people in what I call "prey countries" have to live with on a day to day basis and these are kids, children have to live with this and endure this" [lost connection]
Mark Taliano [00:04:23] Woops I think we've lost him.
Andrew Ashdown [00:04:25]Hello. I'm here.
John Shuck [00:04:26] Well we've got. Well this is" We lost Mark Taliano. This must be Reverend Andrew Ashdown.
Andrew Ashdown [00:04:33]Speaking. Good afternoon.
John Shuck [00:04:34] Good afternoon. All right. My name is John Shuck and this is The Beloved Community and we're live on KBOO in Portland. In getting you we just lost Mark but we're working on getting him back on. So we'll spend a couple of minutes with you. And I was just introduced to you just a few minutes ago from Mark. Can you tell me your expertise regarding Syria?
Andrew Ashdown [00:04:57]I've been involved in Syria for many years actually. I was a regular visitor before the conflict and since 2014 I visited the country I think 10 times as a guest of the local faith communities and I've just finished doctoral research. I've just completed a Ph. D. in Christian-Muslim relations in Syria. I've been studying the faith context in Syria throughout the war and travelling extensively across Syria as a guest of the local faith communities during the conflict in some of the areas most affected by the war.
John Shuck [00:05:39] And what did you observe there?
Andrew Ashdown [00:05:43]What's really interesting is that Syria has been one of the most diverse religiously, one of the most diverse and plural societies, countries in the whole of the Middle East. So you have a full spectrum of Christianity. Most of the Christian denominations are present and have been present for centuries within Syria. And also the Muslim landscape is quite broad as well. And for centuries these communities have for the most part coexisted extremely well. And during the conflicts in government controlled areas where being a constitutional state actually allows freedom of religion and freedom of expression of worship. So for most of the conflict, Christian and Muslim leaders have worked together very much to support one another and affirm efforts of reconciliation and supporting the local communities.
John Shuck [00:06:40] This isn't something we hear from the mainstream news in the United States at least, perhaps also in the UK and Canada. Mark Taliano I believe is back are you there Mark?
Mark Taliano [00:06:49] I'm back. Hi Andrew.
John Shuck [00:06:50] All right. Good. Can you hear each other?
Andrew Ashdown [00:06:52]Hey Mark.
John Shuck [00:06:52] Good. All right well happy family all right. Because here in the United States the news that we hear is that primarily that the president, Bashar al-Assad, is a dictator, gasses his own people, kills his own people and he needs to be stopped and what would you say to that one? Either of you.
Mark Taliano [00:07:15] Who are you addressing?