When the Dutch Jesuit priest Frans van der Lugt turned 65, about a decade ago, he could have returned to his birth country and lived out his days in comfortable retirement. But van der Lugt chose to stay in the civil-war-ravaged city that had grown dear to him: Homs, Syria.
Eight weeks ago, The Economist had this to say about him:
A trained psychotherapist who is now in his 70s, he has been living in the Middle East since 1966. In the 1980s he set up an agricultural project outside Homs where young people with mental health problems could work. At an earlier stage in the current war, many Christians left the city after rebel forces moved in; he chose to stay, telling objectors that “I am the shepherd of my flock”. He is said to be the last European living in the heart of the city, now besieged by government forces.