A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

more joys of SANA: the Syrian government’s purpose-driven life

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on November 14, 2006

I love SANA, even when it frustrates me with its uncanny ability to miss all opportunities, including those to promote the visits of high-level Americans. This morning, I read an article that had the potential to be great. In honor of Syria’s well-known adherence to international copyright laws, I will reproduce the entire article below:

American Priest Says no Peace without Syria

Monday, November 13, 2006 – 07:40 PM

American Protestant Pastor Rick Warren on Monday said there was no peace in the region without Syria, noting that 80 percent of the American people rejected what the US Administration is doing in Iraq and considered the US policy in the Mideast as wrong.

Syria’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Badr al-Din Hassoun received the American Pastor in Damascus in which he referred to the importance of spreading culture of amity, peace and coexistence instead of the ‘clash of civilizations’.

The Mufti called for conveying the real image of Syria, national unity and its call to spread peace, amity and justice to the American people which the US administration has distorted their image before the world.

Pastor Warren expressed admiration of Syria and the coexistence he saw between Muslims and Christians, stressing that he will convey this image to his church and country.


As printed, the article is ludicrous. My parents’ dog could say “no peace without Syria” and it would have little more impact than one of America’s many Protestant pastors.

Rick Warren, however, is not just one pastor among many. He is the author of The Purpose-Driven Life – a man with a huge following, and one capable of making a great impact, among voters if not (directly) among policy-makers. The Syrian government must know this, as it has welcomed Pastor Warren by arranging personal meetings with everyone from the rather minor-sounding Minister for Higher Education to Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem and … President Assad himself. Why the government is not making a greater effort to publicize his visit – and thereby spur Warren’s fans to support, for example, the Iraq Study Group’s call to engage Syria – is a mystery. Its failure only fuels my daydreaming about winning my dream job: brand manager, Syria.

I love the idea of Syria’s senior government officials dutifully working their way through The Purpose-Driven Life. Its a bit Christian, but Muslims in a secular state are no doubt open to learning from the ahl al-kitab. In fact, today’s daily devotional on the Purpose-Driven Life website might be speaking directly to them.

Its title: Who Can Know What the Lord is Thinking?


2 Responses to “more joys of SANA: the Syrian government’s purpose-driven life”

  1. Intlxpatr said

    Rick Warren in Syria . . . Hoooooah! Had not heard a thing about it until I read it in your post, Little Diamond. And you are right, he has a powerful voice for change. If he starts educating American people, anything can happen.

  2. I know – I hadn’t either. Once again the Syrian Information Ministry has the scoop – too bad the news seems to be staying in Syria. Newspaper editors all over the US would kill to be able to drag out the “road to Damascus” analogy for his visit :-).

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