After the horrific tragedy of the church massacre in Baghdad, many Christians are asking, what's next? What can they do?
Many believe they should leave Iraq. But where would they go? Leaving is not easy!. They have homes, have a way of life in Iraq. Moving to another country is expensive, you sell your house, lose your culture, your heritage, everything left behind for a fresh start, yes, if you can get a visa, if you can get asylum, but what's out there for us? The whole world reels from the past two years of economic nightmare. Should the Christians expect compassion and welcome without offering something in return? Does the west owe them this, because of charity? Because they are predominately Christian too? Does this not divide the world even further along cultural/religious lines? And what about the elderly, the sick? What about the poor? Will they be welcome in western countries of peace? What if they are a burden on those countries, is that fair to them?
Christians can't just turn the page. It is becoming more and more apparent there are two paths for this people who have inhabited Iraq for the past 1500 years, and really even longer than that before they became Christian. It's either leave their homes and past for a fearful future or face what is becoming inevitable, a horrible, premature death. Not much of a choice, is it?
There were once Jews in Iraq-many people don't know that. Over 120,000 prior to 1948. They fled to Israel in the 1950's when they too were targeted by bloody violence, and as they left, they spoke to the Christians of Iraq: "Today is our day for leaving Iraq, and one day you will be forced to leave your homes too." Today there are less than 10 Jews in all of Iraq. Before the Iraq war of 2003 (Iraq has had war for over 30 years) there were an estimated 800,000-1 million Christians in Iraq. Today the UN estimates there are perhaps half that, with the rest having fled to Syria and other nations as refugees.
My prayers for the families of all those killed. Christian and Muslim alike, the victims and the security forces who lost their lives trying to save them.
Ring the bells for the fallen; ring the bells for those murdered children and women and their fathers and brothers and husbands; ring the bells for their lost hopes and dreams; ring the bells for peace in Iraq; ring the bells for all the Iraqi people who have needlessly bled and died every day for decades.
I'm filled with emotions. I am out of words...
I will finish with some sad pictures taken by a priest from inside the Church that were posted on Ankawa.com .