Monday, August 6, 2007

A Few Dead Priests, What's the Difference?

On Saturday, I was reminded of a tragedy that occurred in Iraq in early June. The Priest in my Parish was preaching a sermon on our culture, and how we're more concerned with fluff and commercial exploits than real life, important news.

He mentioned the murder of Father Ragheed Ganni, a Chaldean Catholic priest, and three deacons with him: Basman Yousef Daud, Wahid Hanna Isho, and Gassan Isam Bidawed (story below).

Not surprisingly this received little coverage in the news. As our Priest said the news about Paris Hilton and her drunk driving escapades during that time was much more important to the American public.

I find it extremely interesting and a little disturbing that American Christians are not interested in this.

By all accounts Christians were no more persecuted or less persecuted in Saddam's Iraq than any other group (Saddam's Iraq was secular. Sunni's were on top. Shiites, Kurds and others were oppressed - that cannot be denied. But, remember Tariq Aziz was a Christian). After the invasion, all were hopeful that a new era could begin in Iraq.

Christians in Iraq are now subject to the boiling over of ethnic and religious hatreds which were accurately predicted by virtually everyone EXCEPT for the people who made the decisions to take us to war and their neoconservative cheerleaders (and Christians who believed that George W. Bush was acting on a mandate from God).

To admit now that the Christians of Iraq will never be really free, and despite centuries of life there are now having to choose between death or fleeing admits that the "freedom" and "democracy" touted by the Administration is false.

Now, there are those who say, "well, it's not our fault - the terrorists who are there, it is their fault." That is true to a certain extent. But the invasion created the conditions to allow this to occur. No security. Scarcity. Rampant violence leading to an "us versus them" mentality.

This is something that needs to be watched. We need to be thinking about our brothers and sisters. We need to be praying for our brothers and sisters. It sounds cliched to do those things, but there is not a lot more any of us can do as long as we are the occupiers of Iraq.

Unfortunately, if the war ended tomorrow, the dynamics are such that the Christian community in Iraq is probably a thing for the history books.

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