On 16th May 2013, OCP Secretariat received an email from Archbishop Eustathius Matta Roham, Of Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese of Jazirah & Euphrates.
His Eminence was informed the following by Fr. Zakka Jalma Fr. Joseph Bali on the sad situation faced by a Syrian Christian Family who tried to escape to Greece from Turkey.
Here are the detailed message below:
Greetings in the name of our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, We hope that this email finds you well, and write to you about two unfortunate accidents which occurred recently:
Rush and lack of anticipation lead to tragic death
1- A few days ago, all means of communication were lost with 33 Christian (Syrian Orthodox from the diocese of Jazeerah) when sailing from Turkey to Greece. Their smuggler had left them in a deserted and unoccupied island without food or potable water for a couple of days.
A relative of some of these immigrants had called Fr. Zakka and we made the necessary arrangements with the Ministry of Naval and Marine Affairs who called numerous islands. The relevant Greek authorities arrived and were able to save them; they are now in a safe place in Ikania. Of these immigrants, we spoke to and identified: Johnny Hanna, Romeo Boutros, Reem Boutros and Sana’ George.
2- With great grief, we report the painful and outrageous incident which occurred with another group of immigrants.
A group of 21 people sailed from Izmir, Turkey heading for Greece; among them was one Christian family. They had dealt with an Algerian Muslim smuggler, best described as a blood thirsty monster. Due to quick decisions coupled with the lack of anticipation and not verifying the means of security (floating vest, etc…), they were nearly drowned in the sea. This happened after one Algerian criminal purposefully made a hole in the rubber boat (which normally hosts 9 people at most, but had this group in it irrespective of the safety measures) when he learned that they were discovered by the radar of the Greek marine. This incidence led to the loss of the life of a very young girl (5 and a half years). She was lost in the sea and found dead after intensive research of the Greek relevant authorities.
Mr. George Mansourati (Belgium) contacted Fr. Zakka; in turn, we made the necessary calls. After thorough research and quests, we were able to locate them. They are: Noubar Mansourati (44 years), his wife Bouthayna Kan’o (32 years), his brother Elias Mansourati (Pharmacist, 40 years) and her brother Imad Kan’o , and two female children Sinella and Fimella Mansourati (one of them is the drowned girl). They are currently in the island of Lairos. Unfortunately, this family refuses to reveal the name of the smuggler fearing for their lives.
It is worth mentioning that, despite their plead for safety (floating) vests while drowning, the monster of a smuggler did not answer their request. We would like to thank the Archbishop of Kalymnou who offered his help and assistance presenting them with food, shelter and care. He also took care of the funeral on May 16, 2013 when the body was found after thorough research.
We are grateful to the high level of cooperation of the Greek authorities and their effective responses to this humanistic crisis.
This is what we wanted to share with you, in the hope to increase the awareness of the faithful of our church on such accidents and incite them to check for security measures before any endeavor with merciless monsters who have no respect for human lives and seek to exploit even the misery of others.
Fr. Zakka Jalma
Fr. Joseph Bali
OCP News Servicehttp://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/news/2013/05/the-sad-plight-of-syrian-christian-migrants-exclusive/