The Never Ending Drama of Iraqi Christians

" Ten years after the war, almost nothing has changed . " These are the words of Archbishop Emile Shimon Nona the Chaldean archbishop of Mosul in northern Iraq. He is the mouthpiece of the complete loss of hope of his people, tired of the perpetuation of tension, instability and insecurity.

In this decade, the divisions between the various ethnic and religious groups have also been intensified. "And now all social actors are lined up against each other . " The fragmentation of society and the lack of Iraqi national identity is also reflected in the composition of political parties founded on the basis of ethnicity and religion. " A situation that we Christians suffer more than others, because there are no sides that protect our interests. Our only defense is peaceful coexistence . "

The Archbishop refers to the level of security in Mosul that has remained virtually unchanged over the years. Pastoral activities and celebrations still have place only in the churches and in some local parish. Archbishop Nona is also forced to avoid the ecclesiastic cassock to visit the faithful in some areas particularly difficult in the city. " Sometimes I have to hide a bit ', but I've never tried streets safer. I wish to go through the normal roads. Same jokes every day from my followers when going to school or work . "

In Mosul, in 2013 opened with the anti-government protests Sunni groups, took to the streets to express their dissent ahead of provincial consultations in April. This was followed by riots and violence which has also affected the Christian minority. A new blow to the hopes of the Christians on December 24 last year, for the first time since 2003, had been able to celebrate Mass in the evening. In recent years, many Iraqi cities, Mass of the vigil was held in the afternoon for safety reasons.

" Ten years after the start of the war, Iraq is still looking for stability. The faithful do not believe in change and continue to leave the country . " Prior to 2003 the Christians in Mosul were about 35 thousand. Today there are less than 3 thousand. Since the fall of Saddam's regime the exodus of the faithful had no end and is indicative consider that, although the Christian minority represents only 2% of the population, the UNHCR reported that 40% of the one million and 600 thousand Iraqi asylum seekers in the world are Christian. And the thought of Archbishop Nona is also " the plight "of the many Iraqi refugees in Syria.

Looking to the future, the archbishop of Mosul sees the election of the new Patriarch of the Chaldean Church, Louis Raphael The Sako, a hope for change. " The first step is to understand that the divisions between the Christian churches do not lead to anything. We need unity. In Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries as Christians we are still in a very few. And to witness to our faith, we must be united . "

Since 2003 the Church in Iraq has been receiving multiple donations from Catholic organization around the world to support its existence. The offerings include millions of dollars in aid to Iraqi refugees abroad and internally displaced persons; contributions to education, reconstruction of churches, convents, diocesan centers, institutes and seminars; and tens of thousands of copies of the Child's Bible in Arabic and Assyrian Eastern Europe.

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