Thursday, October 12, 2006

Arab Sport: Crucifying Christian Children in Iraq

The Assyrian International News Agency reports the latest atrocities against Christians in Iraq:

The late Father Paulos Iskander, martyr
On Monday, October 9, a prominent Assyrian (also known as Chaldean and Syriac) priest, Fr. Paulos Iskander (Paul Alexander), was kidnapped by an unknown Islamic group. His ransom was posted at either $250,000 or $350,000. This group had demanded that signs be posted once again on his church apologizing for the Pope’s remarks as a condition for negotiations to begin.

Father Alexander was beheaded on Wednesday.

The News Agency says it received this report from a priest in Sweden, via email. Father Adris Hanna sent the following information:
- - - - - - - - - -
The Bishop in Mosul wrote me an email tonight and told me that the funeral will be held in Mosul tomorrow.

Christians are living a terrified life in Mosul and Baghdad. Several priests have been kidnapped, girls are being raped and murdered and a couple of days ago a fourteen year old boy was crucified in the Christian neighborhood Albasra.

I have also spoken to a group of nuns that were robbed and treated brutally on their way between Baghdad to Amman in Jordan.

The murder of father Paulus is the final blow for Christians, and now only hell is expected for the Christians of Iraq.

We the oriental Christians in Sweden and the rest of the Western world must protest against the genocide. We must do what we can to stop the rape, threats, hatred, robberies, murders… We must do something.

In late September, the same news agency reported the bombing of St. Mary’s Cathedral in the Riyadh district of Baghdad. The explosions were timed to occur as worshippers were leaving the church on Sunday morning.

According to their report, two people died and another twenty-five were injured, including four police officers. The first bomb, planted on a priest’s car near the entrance, injured several people leaving the church. This served to gather a large crowd and police officers were called to the scene. It was then that a much bigger explosive device was detonated, causing the real carnage.

The history of Assyrian and Chaldean Christians in Iraq goes back to the beginnings of the Christian religion. They do not consider themselves ethnic Arabs, and have resisted attempts to align them with Baath Sunnis. Like the Kurds, they suffered under Hussein. For some background on these folk, see Global Security’s analysis. Here is an excerpt:

Assyrians did not fare well under Saddam Hussein, who destroyed Assyrian churches. Saddam Hussein’s emphasis on tribal identity alienated contemporary Assyrians, who are excluded from Arab tribes and tribal customs.

Assyrians have been in close proximity to political power in a number of empires of which they have been a part, despite their small numbers. As leaders of the Church of the East traditionally emphasized learning, their political success was often due to their high degree of education.

Although the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Iraq, was allied with Germany during World War I, the Assyrians sided with Britain and were later protected by the British during the British Mandate that ruled Iraq after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. Assyrians joined the British imperial troops, known as Levies. The Levies were notoriously used as an instrument of internal security, particularly to suppress Kurdish revolts in northern Iraq. Considered haughty by other Iraqis, the Assyrians earned bitter resentment among Iraqi Kurds and Arabs during this period.

In 1933, as several hundred Assyrians attempted to cross the Tigris River into the French mandate of Syria, fighting erupted with Iraqi border troops. Within a few days, thousands of unarmed Assyrians were summarily executed in their villages while the Iraqi government stood aside. The Assyrian patriarch fled to exile in Cyprus and Britain, eventually reestablishing his seat in Chicago in 1939 along with approximately 15,000 Assyrians.

Christianity is an important facet of identity among contemporary Assyrians. Assyrians and Chaldeans both trace their religious identities to the beginning of the Christian era.

The more you learn about Iraq, the less you know. It is a complicated country, full of contradiction and contrasts. It behooves all of us to learn what we can, and to bear witness to the terrible deaths brought on by sectarian hatred.

No doubt the US will be blamed somehow for the crucifixion of the young Christian boy in Albasra, or the rapes of Christian girls by Iraqi marauders.

In fact, we are responsible for so many things - global warming, global poverty, the evils of unbridled capitalism, eco-imperialism, and so on. Why, our very breathing in and out causes millions to die due to oxygen deprivation. We poison the planet with our presence.

Please pray (or, if you’re not prone to prayer, then ponder) for the parents of that boy. He is gone now and past suffering, but they have to carry on, with only God knows what images burned in their hearts and minds. My own identification with their suffering includes what it must have cost them in pain, removing their child down from that cross.

The Pieta should remain entombed in marble. It should not be lived out anymore in flesh and blood, especially in the body of a child.

Hat tip: Tom Pechinski


Fellow Peacekeeper said...

The US lead coaltion is in possession of Iraq, and has the power to do the right thing, but appears to be unaware of the situation. At a time when federalisation of Iraq is on the cards, and some speak openly of dividing the country in three (Shia/Sunni/Kurd). A threefold division of Iraq would mean the Assyrians are done for.

Its worth remembering that the Assyrians/Chaldeans are in many ways a cultural treasure, in that they are the preserved leftover of the middle east of Roman times, in language, culture and religion.

They are also the one people in Iraq inherantly disposed towards civilization, democracy and the west. Despite this are being cast aside in order to curry favour with peoples who are inherantly disposed towards tribalism, theocracy or Jihad against the west.

This issue should be a blogosphere crusade for increased visibility and demands for action : As the campaign winds down and withdrawal draws imminent, protecting the Assyrian/Chaldean Christians of Iraq should be a Coalition priority, and the only way to achieve that in the long run is a homeland - at this stage that would be a fourth component to Federal Iraq.

Vol-in-Law said...

I just heard the head of the British Army on the radio here saying that the Iraq occupation has failed and the British army should leave ASAP.

He also appeared to be saying that the Army would not accept the imposition of sharia law in the UK.

Vol-in-Law said...

"He also appeared to be saying that the Army would not accept the imposition of sharia law in the UK."

This is important because the left-media line in the UK is that if the Islamists want Sharia they should campaign for it democraticallly, and if they get the vote through Parliament, that's fine then. If the army are saying no to sharia, they're reserving the right to take "anti democratic" action to prevent the creation of an Islamic state here. If things continue to get worse at the present rate we could be looking at civil war within a couple of decades. Secular states with Islamist majorities tend to be military dictatorships.
Of course the cultural Marxists will have a couple of decades to take over the army and prevent it objecting to sharia.

KyleS. said...

Not the first time the eastern christians have appealed for help defending themselves from Jihad.

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose

Anonymous said...

But has the Pope today got the courage to do what is necessary. I've been wondering, what would happen if he did. Would the world rally? I'm leaning towards it would, at least the people.

I can no longer pretend that there is anything worth saving in Islam, which is sad for those Muslims who just want to live and let live.

Manny C said...

Just for the record, the Syrian Orthodox Church is NOT part of the Assyrian or Chaldean Churches. Indeed, the Chaldean Church split from the Syrian Orthodox Church.

Nilk said...

Jessica, if the Pope called a Crusade, I think the response would be overwhelming. I know atheists and Jews who would answer the call.

I also know hindus who would be happy to back the Pope, also.

Jamie said...

Yeah, anyone would jump at that chance.

YiddisheFireman said...

Give the ethnic Arabs enough rope and they will all hang themselves-or blow themselves up. We just need to protect the innocents until they do.

Zerosumgame said...

spanish diplomat

Short of the creation of these new countries, I believe the best option for the Christians in the NEar and Middle East is simply to migrate to the West.

I venture a safe guess that the Middle East will be completely "Christenrein" in 15-20 years, possibly sooner.

kender said...

I hadn't thought of calling a new crusade. That would certainly work.

However I do agree with grimmy.....the longer we wait the closer we get to the point that genocide will be the only option.