Mark Taliano [00:48:32] It really was heartbreaking. Both times I was in Syria I just I was treated so well. And I tried to put myself in the Syrians' shoes because they know that our countries, that the West are responsible for this war. And I thought to myself, "Well. If the roles were reversed, and there were people from a country that were supporting terrorists I would have a really hard time being gracious about it." What is remarkable about Syrians is they really are wonderful people. I mean they accept us with open arms. They have an understandinga far more sophisticated understanding of what's going on. And I think that they understand that the West is blanketed with war propaganda. I think they understand that Western people if they were aware of what their governments were doing that they would not support this. And I think they're right. I think if Western people, if my neighbors knew what our governments were supporting, that we are supporting al-Qaida and and ISIS and all these terrorists. I think for sure that they would oppose that. So if we're getting back to the issue of democracy how democratic are we? My argument is not at all.
John Shuck [00:50:10] Yeah. Mark Taliano. Andrew what would you say to that? How have you been received? You've been there a number of times, too.
Andrew Ashdown [00:50:16]Similarly, I mean it is truly humbling to be able to go to a country in that situation and to receive such humbling hospitality, welcome generosity, knowing the people, knowing that our governments are part of the problem, and helping those who are helping to destroy the country. It just overwhelming welcome and facilitating things to happen, and welcoming to homes and even when life is so hard being utterly generous, and generous of spirit as well. So it is very very humbling and I often wonder and would we be the same? Are we the same to hosting other people from different situations? And the answer is No. So we we have a lot to learn. Also I think as a Christian, as a priest going to Syria. I'm one of only very, very few clergy who've actually gone to engage with the faith communities in Syria. And that's really sad because actually as people of faith and particularly as Christians are going to engage with the Christian communities in Syria and listen to them and stand alongside them and just learn and listen. That's not been happening at all. And so there's been appreciation for that and sadness that actually the church in the West has failed and neglected the Christian and the other faith communities who are all suffering.
John Shuck [00:51:52] You know Andrew, I didn't ask you, Are you a priest with the Anglican Church?
Andrew Ashdown [00:51:58]Yes yes, I am.
John Shuck [00:52:01] So tell me, one more geopolitical question here. We have a few minutes left I wonder what is Israel's role in this?
Andrew Ashdown [00:52:10]Yes. I think that there is a lot of evidence now. Israel admits to have been involved with"I mean it's now accepted and documented that Israel has been supporting the terrorist groups in the south of Syria, militarily as well as in humanitarian service of the local terrorist groups. Of course there's huge geopolitical reasons and a long history between Israel and Syria. So I'm just actually aware that I have to leave very shortly or so.
John Shuck [00:52:42] So okay. Well why don't you give me a sentence or two of what you'd like people to know who are listening to this radio program in the United States.
Andrew Ashdown [00:52:52] What I'd say to people is, look what you hear is so twisted actually. I was going to say so narrow but it's not just narrow it's actually twisted. There is a whole, you know, we hear a narrative and it's a very very partial, it's a very biased narrative and there's a huge amount that we don't actually, aren't being told. In fact the story of a Syrian people inside Syriatwo thirds, three quarters of the population of Syria who are in government controlled areas, their views, their story, their experience has been completely whitewashed by the Western governments and by the Western media. They've been disappeared as irrelevant. So our understanding is completely skewed and I would say completely wrong. And our sources in Syria are nearly all from extremely dodgy sources exclusively from terrorist controlled areas with highly politicized agenda. So don't believe everything you hear from from the media. But remember that there are many other different narratives that need to be heard. And the situation in Syria is much more complex and very different to that which we're used to hearing.
John Shuck [00:54:25] Reverend Andrew Ashdown I know you have to go.
Andrew Ashdown [00:54:26]Thank you.
John Shuck [00:54:30] Thank you. We're going to close up here in a minute Mark. We got about a minute left. So this is The Beloved Community. Mark, can you tell me about some of the sources, in addition to yourself, researchers and journalists who are reporting accurately regarding Syria?
Mark Taliano [00:54:48] Who are reporting accurately?
John Shuck [00:54:49] Yes.
Mark Taliano [00:54:50] Vanessa Bailey is reporting accurately. Professor Tim Anderson is reporting accurately. Eva Bartlett is reporting accurately. Reverend Andrew Ashdown we just had is reporting accurately. I am reporting accurately. A number of us and the list is growing. OK because every time an occupied area is liberated more truth comes out. You've seen some of the video that Vanessa has put up, that I've put in my articles. More of he truth is emerging. Oh there's Mike Rafferty and his co-editor, Alison. And there's many many people here that I could mention. And we need to pay attention to those voices. Because those are the voices of the truth. Those are the voices of people who have been to Syria. Who have studied it intensively. And we, our narratives are based upon real evidence.
John Shuck [00:55:58] All right.