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The Tragic Exodus of Iraq’s Christians

iraq-christ

All but defenseless against ISIS and suffering from punishing shortages of vital resources, Iraq’s ancient Christian communities are taking their only option: leave.

BARTILLA, IRAQ—For The Daily BeastJamie Dettmer  reports: The Christians of Bartilla are wondering if these are the final days. Since the second century and the origins of Christianity in the Nineveh plains of northern Iraq, they have been unfortunate in their neighbors, suffering attacks and massacres at the hands of Persians, Iraqi Muslims and Kurds. And if geography is destiny, then it is surprising they are still here, but for how much longer they aren’t sure.

Destiny is barking again as far as the town’s Assyrian Christians are concerned. A mere 10-minute drive from Bartilla and other small neighboring Christian towns, jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have set up their most advanced position on the eastern side of the city of Mosul. There are a dozen Kurdish fighters manning an opposing sunbaked checkpoint. Unsurprisingly, despite the protective presence in the area of other Kurdish peshmerga forces, the 16,000 Christians of Bartilla are wondering if they will face a terminal assault.

christians-iraq

Standing at the Peshmerga checkpoint, I wave at the jihadist frontier post but see no reciprocal gesture coming from the other side. The representatives of the (Muslim) second coming apparently have the gaze of W.B. Yeats’ rough beast—“blank and pitiless as the sun.” “We have had no contact with them,” says a Kurdish fighter about the jihadist guards two or three hundred meters away. The Kurd squints at me and asks if I want to go to Mosul. And then makes a slashing gesture across his throat and laughs.In Bartilla, Fr. Binham Lallou of the Chaldean Catholic Church, who was born in the down-at-heel, dusty town and returned after studying in Lebanon for the priesthood, says: “We are scared there is going to be a disaster. People are afraid of the jihadists and afraid of the Iraqi government, maybe they will come with airplanes and bomb here.”Sitting in his small study, part of the complex of the church of St. George, one of four remaining churches in the town whose Christian population has almost halved since the fall of Saddam Hussein, Fr. Lallou says many of his parishioners are talking about fleeing. As the priest in cassock and collar explains the history of Bartilla and the challenges Christians here face, an old scarfed woman shuffles in with a small cup and a pot of coffee, standing before me, the priest and translator while we take turns drinking the thick dark liquid as if we are partaking in a secular communion….(read more)The Daily Beast
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3 Comments on “The Tragic Exodus of Iraq’s Christians”

  1. Paul Lemmen says:

    Reblogged this on Dead Citizen's Rights Society.

  2. Reblogged this on Stop The Islamization Of America and commented:
    God bless those poor people who are fighting those islamic demons!! We MUST keep these demons from taking over America, or the demon’s leader in our W.H. from taking away our right to defend ourselves with our guns!!

  3. […] By Pundit from another Planet All but defenseless against ISIS and suffering from punishing shortages of vital resources, Iraq’s ancient Christian communities are taking their only option: leave. BARTILLA, IRAQ—For The Daily Beast, Jamie Dettmer reports: The Christians of Bartilla are wondering if these are the final days. Since the second century and the origins of Christianity in the Nineveh plains of northern Iraq, […] Like this? Read more and get your own subscription at […]


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