East (MNN) — Syria's presence at the Annapolis Summit this week could help
ease tensions in Lebanon. The country is
divided by a leadership vacuum and political standoff.
David Harder says on the one hand, their team in Lebanon doesn't have high
expectations for the talks. On the
other hand, "Having a conference
where the Syrians are sitting down at the same table with the Israelis and Americans is a good thing, and hopefully the talks can lead to
some real positive steps in the future. I know that will be a wonderful possibility for our staff, particularly
in Lebanon, who are very concerned about the future."
For more than a decade, SAT-7 has been working with minorities in the region
to broadcast messages of peace in both Arabic and Farsi.
"We have studios located in Cairo, Egypt and Beirut, Lebanon. These are difficult days for our team in
Lebanon, because they worry about the current political stand off and what
might become of their country," Harder explains. "No one wants another civil war. During the Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon
in the summer of 2006, our video teams were able to produce reports on positive
things that were happening despite the war: stories of Lebanese helping each
other, of Christians reaching out to feed and house homeless Shia refugees for
example, vividly demonstrating how the two communities can peacefully co-exist."
The network's broadcasts are bringing messages of peace across the region,
but the tenuous situation is challenging to their team. "In a region with so
much instability, it's important for minorities to be represented in the
media. For many years, minorities living
in the region have not been allowed to have a voice in local media. What we're doing through SAT-7's broadcasts
is giving the minority Christians the opportunity themselves to dispel many
things that are inaccurately said about them, and to serve society through
social development programs, such as our disability series, which show love to
the whole community."
SAT-7 strives to help viewers develop an attitude of acceptance by
broadcasting documentaries and live programs about inclusion. For example, every Sunday night the network
airs a live program about the needs of the disabled, hosted by a disabled woman
in a wheelchair. The disabled are often
overlooked group in the Arab world where people are widely considered cursed
by God if they have a physical or mental disability.
Additionally, SAT-7 hopes to build bridges of understanding so that members
of the majority religion of the region can better appreciate their Christian
says, "If people could pray that in Lebanon, a peaceful situation would be
worked out politically, that would be wonderful because having peace enables
churches to do the kind of ministries that they want to do and enables us, as a
Christian broadcaster, to produce the types of shows that we want to