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We mogen de christenen in Syrië en Irak niet alleen laten lijden!

Nieuws - gepubliceerd: zondag, 31 augustus 2014 - 1399 woorden
stromen vluchtelingen....
stromen vluchtelingen....

Op 28 au­gus­tus vier­den we het feest van de heilige Au­gus­ti­nus. Hij leefde in het oosten van Algerije in een tijd dat de spreekwoor­de­lijk verwoestende Vandalen over Noord Afrika kwamen. Na een korte periode van rust daarna, waarin de Kerk overeind probeerde te krabbelen, kwamen de Moslims. Alleen ruïnes onder het woes­tijnzand getuigen nu van het chris­te­lijk verle­den van die streken. Wat nu gebeurt in Syrië en Irak doet denken aan die tijd. Honderd­dui­zen­den chris­te­nen zijn gedood of slaan op de vlucht. Cultuur­schatten wor­den vernie­tigd. Aan een bijna twee­dui­zend jaar oude chris­te­lijke presentie wordt met geweld een eind gemaakt.

Ik wil beslist niets af doen aan het verschrikke­lijke leed dat aan andere groepen is toe­ge­bracht. Heel veel Islamieten lij­den vre­se­lijk onder de moord­zucht omdat ze net niet tot de goede 'rich­ting' behoren.

Toch wil ik een bij­zon­der gebed en aan­dacht vragen voor alle chris­te­nen in die streken, tot welke Kerk ze ook behoren. Velen zijn verenigd met de katho­lie­ke Kerk, anderen staan zeer dicht bij haar en delen in feite het­zelfde geloof, wor­telend in een zeer oude traditie. Voor al deze broeders en zusters in het geloof - nogmaals: zonder al die anderen te vergeten - vraag ik om speciaal gebed en offer voor deze lij­dende chris­te­nen.

Zoals ook de paus en vele andere bis­schop­pen met hem al vele malen hebben gedaan: we moeten ieder vorm van geweld en terreur uit­geoe­fend in naam van een gods­dienst beslist verwerpen. In feite vernie­tigt terreur de geloof­waaridg­heid van de gods­dienst in naam waar­van die wordt uitgoefend. Terecht staan steeds meer moslims op om luid en dui­de­lijk te verklaren: dit is niet ons geloof!!

Diaken Rob Mascini zond mij on­der­staan­de brief van zuster Maria Hanna door, die hij­zelf weer van een Ameri­kaanse mede-diaken had ont­van­gen. Ik wil U deze tekst niet ont­hou­den:

Brief uit het oorlogs­ge­bied

Dear all,

We continue to share our daily struggle with you, hoping that our cry will reach the world. We are like the blind man of Jericho (Mark 10: 46-52), who had nothing to express himself, but his voice, asking Jesus for mercy. Although some people ignored his voice, others listened, and helped him. We count on people, who will listen!

We entered the third week of displace­ment. Things are moving very slowly in terms of provi­ding shelter, food, and necessities for the people. There are still people living in the streets. There are still no organized camps outside of schools that are used as refugee centres. An unfinished, three story buil­ding has also been used as a refugee centre. For privacy reasons, families have made rooms using UNHCR plastic sheets in these unfinished buil­dings. These places look like stables. We all wonder, is there any end in sight? We appreciate all efforts that have been made to provide aid to the displaced people. However, please note, that provi­ding food and shelter is not the only essential thing we need. Our case is much bigger. We are spea­king about two minorities (Christian and Yezedians), who lost their land, their homes, their belon­gings, their jobs, their money, some have been separated from their families and loved ones, and all are persecuted because of their religion.

Our church leaders are doing their best to solve the issue. They have been mee­ting with political leaders, with the Presi­dent of Iraq and Kurdistan, but initiatives and actions of these political leaders are really slow and modest. Actually, all political mee­tings have led to nothing. Until now, there has been no decision made about the current situation of the displaced minorities. For this reason, trust in the political leaders has diminished, if it exists, at all. People cannot tolerate it anymore. It is too heavy of a bur­den. Yesterday, a young man expressed that he would rather die than live, without dignity. People feel that their dignity has been stripped from them. We are being persecuted because of our religion. None of us ever thought we would live in refugee camps because of that.

It is hard to believe that this is happe­ning in the 21st century. We wonder what is exactly happe­ning. Is it another plan or agree­ment to subdivide Iraq? If this is true, by whom and why? Why are the events of divi­ding the Middle East, that happened in 1916, being repeated now? At that time it was a political issue and innocent people paid for it. It is apparent that there are sinfully, cun­ning people divi­ding Iraq, now. In 1916, we lost seven of our sisters, many Christians died, and more were scattered. Is it just circumstance we face this division again, or is it deliberate?

However, the struggle is not only in the camps, with the displaced people. What has happened in our Christian towns that have been evacuated is even worse. The IS forced out of their homes those who did not leave their towns up to the night of August 6th. Yesterday, seventy-two people were driven out of Karakosh. However, not all of them arrived; those who arrived last night were in miserable condition. They had to cross Al-Khazi river (a tributary to the Great Zab) on foot because the bridge had been destroyed. There are still quite few on the side of the river­bank. We do not know when they will make it to Erbil. It depends on the situation and negotiations between the Peshmerga and the IS. There are some people who went to fetch the elderly and the unable to walk. One of our sisters went to bring her parents, and told her story. Another woman, said that she was separated from her hus­band and children, and she knows nothing about them; they are probably among the others who are on the other bank, or they might be among the hostages taken by the IS. Also, a tree-year old daughter was taken from her mother’s lap, and she also knows nothing about her. We do not know why the IS are sen­ding people out of Karakosh, but we have been hea­ring from those who just arrived, that IS are brin­ging barrels into Karakosh and the con­tents are unknown.

In addition, we know of four Christian families who are stuck in Sinjar for over three weeks; they are probably run­ning out of food and water. If they do not get help, they will die there. At the present, there is no contact with them, and there is no way to negotiate with the IS.

As for our community, we know that our convent in Tel Kaif is being used as an IS headquarter. Also, we know that they had entered our convent in Karakosh. Those that recently arrived have stated that all the holy pictures, icons, and statutes are being destroyed. Crosses have been taken off the top of churches and they have been replaced with the IS flags. That is not only in Karakosh and Tel Kaif. In Baqofa, one of our sisters heard the situation was calm, so she went back with few people, to get her medicine. She found the convent had been searched; everything was open and strewn across the rooms. The minute they entered the convent, three bombs hit the town. They left immedia­tely.

Apart from what is happe­ning to the Christians, yesterday, Friday the 22nd, a Shiite suicide bomber and gunmen attacked Sunni mosque of Abou Mussab in village under Iraqi govern­ment control in Diyala province lea­ving 68 dead. It is heartbrea­king to hear about people get killed while praying. In terms of Media and news release, this massacre overshadowed what is happe­ning to the Christians in Nineveh Plain. We are afraid that our struggle will become only our own affairs, and it will not have impact on the world anymore.

At last, we have to say that people are losing their patience. They miss everything in their hometowns: churches, church bells, streets, and neighborhood. It is heartbrea­king for them to hear that their homes have been rob­bed. Although they love their towns, most people are now thin­king of lea­ving the country so they can live in dignity and have future for their children. It is heard to have hope in Iraq, or to trust the leadership of the country.

Please, keep us in your prayers.

Sister Maria Hanna OP
Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena-Iraq

P.S. Please share the letter with other people. Let the world hear the cry of the poor and the innocent.

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