Posts tagged ‘chistian’

Shame on Iraq for Allowing the Attacks on Christian, Assyrian Churches

In a series of coordinated attacks that took place on Saturday July 11, 7 Christian churches -many of which belonged to the Assyrian and Chaldean churches- were bombed by extremists and terrorists.

There has been a very public and loud condemnation of these attacks, from Assyrians and Christian Iraqis everywhere.  Most have been very sad, upset and enraged by what happened, and rightly so.

This is more than a terrorist attack on the innocent Assyrian Christian people of Baghdad and Iraq in general.  It seems like some high planning would have gone into it, not just from the terrorists themselves, but well beyond it.  This begs the question: what do these attacks, the fourth of such horrific nature since the US war in Iraq started in 2003, mean for the Assyrian and Christian presence in Iraq? is this a hint from our haters that we are not welcome, and that those who are left, or thought of returning, should think twice about staying or returning to Iraq?

In addition to all the scare and terror it puts in our already fragile community, these attacks are more than what is needed to make the remnant of our community, to pack and leave.  As I mentioned before, Assyrians and Christians in general have been targeted hundreds and hundreds of times ever since the US war in Iraq ended and the insurgency started. But of these countless and senseless attacks on the Christians in Iraq, 4 have had a very big and lasting impact.  They caused a big wave of Assyrian exit from the affected region or the country altogether:

  1. A series of coordinated attacks that targeted several churches on July 1st, 2004.

  2. The freely-moving insurgency in Doarh in 2006-2007, aided by Al-Qaeda, which terrorized and pretty much emptied the city from its Assyrian and Christian residents

  3. The attacks on Assyrians in Mosul in late 2008, which caused thousands of families to flee, most of whom are yet to return, if ever.

  4. The latest attacks on July 11, 2009

It seems like every time there is a calm and hope for the Assyrian Christian population to return to normal, something of this magnitude happens.   We know the security situation in Iraq has generally improved recently.  But the so-called ‘security improvement’ is a relative phrase.  All it takes is one bombing to make our fragile community rethink its eternal decision to be part of Iraq, let alone a series of bombings targeting our most sacred and holy places.  If the terrorists or whoever is behind these attacks, is provoking us and making us think about staying, they are having some limited success.  Success in the short term at least.  Iraq without its native Assyrian population and the salt of the land, the Christians, is not worth much.  With all due respect to all the other good and great people of this country.

So I will say it as an Iraqi Assyrian myself: shame on Iraq and Iraqis in general for allowing such thing to happen to their Christian compatriots.  Sure they can’t do much about it, as their own mosques and even government institutions  have been bombed, but there is more to it than to just stop a terrorist from bombing a church.  It is about the public opinion overall and how Christians are looked at in the country, and whether they are of a second class or equal to the average Iraqi?

As stated before, it doesn’t take much to weaken our already fragile community in Iraq.  Which is why the Iraqi government, as well as the Iraqi people in general, should make it a priority to protect the Christian community.    Not just protect it, as there is more to life than to just be protected from danger.  They should help them thrive in this country which is rightly theirs.  A country they have contributed so much to.  Why are all their contributions and goodness forgotten all of a sudden? for personal and political interests? we all know these won’t last forever.

Our people, even as tolerant Christians, can only have so much patience.  Eventually, they too will either pack and leave or have a response to what is happening to them.  Protecting the native sons and daughters of Iraq, the Christian Assyrian population, will pay you dividends in the long term.

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