Fleeing war zone to unfamiliar foreign lands certainly helps to escape immediate life threat, but then daily life struggles of survival kick in. As refugees, people struggle for food, health and a dignified life altogether. Iraqi refugees have been missing that life for almost two years now – June 2016 marked the anniversary of their displacement from Mosul and Nineveh Plains.
Two years ago, Christians were forced to leave their houses in Mosul city. In the following months, they were also forced to evict Nineveh Plains in Iraq. As many as 150,000 people have fled to Kurdistan region of Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
Syriac Catholic Patriarch remarks, ‘the wound of forced emigration is still bleeding’.
Christians were not only expelled from their homes where they have comfortably lived for ages, but were also forced to leave their homeland absolutely empty handed. Those who managed to take any belongings with them, were stopped at the check posts where Islamic militants seized any valuables they had, ripping off women’s ears while snatching their earrings. The houses of fleeing families have been residences for the militant groups since then.
Thousands of the displaced families of Mosul and Nineveh Plains are mostly Christians, who have escaped the ethnic cleansing of Christians in their land. These people have been living in poverty, while fighting and dying of disease and hunger for two years now – predominantly what the militant groups desired.
"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me”. (Matthew 24: 9)
Today the question is, how will these people sustain in foreign lands as many charities withdraw their projects after two years of helping refugees?
Recently, a delegation of religious leaders from the US, led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, has visited Iraq. On this occasion, the Bishop of Baghdad, spoke on behalf of Iraqi people and pleaded one thing, ‘Do not forget Iraq’.
Acknowledge the failure of the institutions and disrupted law and division in the country’s political sphere, Bishop of Baghdad emphasized that Iraqi Christians look for help from the West. He further added that Iraqis do not want anything; they just want their right to return home!
On the return of delegation to the US, Cardinal Dolan is keen to extend his efforts so that the cries of these people are heard in the West.
Let us intercede for an active stand of world politics to prevent and protect the target killing of Christians.
It is already our indifference and silence that has brought us in terms with ‘Christian Genocide’ in the world. Accepting our failures, we hence present these problems back to God who is to guide the efforts of our leaders (and us all) to rebuild a peaceful world.
“Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies; I take refuge in You”. (Psalm 143:9)
For any more indifference on our part may soon familiarize us with the terms, ‘Christian Extinction’, if no further action is taken by us and our world leaders today.
I am the Holy Name representative for Aid to the Church in Need.