RUSHED judgments in times of war and conflict, especially by the media, do not always lead to the truth and will not bring peace, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See observer at UN agencies in Geneva, said.
Speaking to Vatican Radio on August 22 after reports of chemical attacks outside Damascus, Syria, Archbishop Tomasi said people were rightly concerned and outraged by images circulating on the Internet and on television showing dozens of dead civilians, including children.
Syrian opposition forces said more than 1000 people died in the attacks; – other activists put the number in the hundreds.
If confirmed, it would be the worst reported use of chemical arms in the civil war that started in March 2011.
Syrian state television denied government forces had used poison gas and said the accusations were intended to distract a team of UN chemical weapons experts in Syria.
“We must not rush to judgment without having sufficient evidence,” Archbishop Tomasi said.
“The international community, through the UN observers who are already present in Syria, can shed light on this new tragedy.” Rushing to judgment in a situation of conflict can make matters worse, he said.
“I have the impression that the press and media don’t consider all the aspects that create these situations of violence and continuous conflict,” the archbishop said. “We saw this in Egypt with the case of the Muslim Brotherhood, where indiscriminate support for them led to more violence.”
The only way forward is dialogue, Archbishop Tomasi said. “As the Holy Father already has underlined, violence will not bring a solution and, therefore, a dialogue must begin so that we can arrive at Geneva II (Middle East peace conference on Syria), where representatives of all parts of Syrian society can be present, explain their thinking and try to create some kind of transitional government,” he said.
“You cannot create peace by giving them new weapons,”
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