It reads like something from a history book or a class lecture about something decades and even centuries ago in a time period where we were less equipped to handle it. But it is happening right now, to our own people, in a time period where we have sophisticated military, high-tech equipment and the ability to get status updates in real time.
Iraqi Christians and other religious minorities are being systemically massacred. On the ground, we are talking to clergy on a regular basis about ISIS’s invasion, families torn apart, people hiding in the mountains with no water, no food and no shelter.
Men are being crucified; children are being beheaded; woman are being raped and sold into the sex trade.
We are witnessing crimes against humanity, war crimes and a modern-day genocide.
Members of our community have met with the White House and United Nations officials; we are reminded that Rawanda was not that long ago.
Following a two-day visit to the United Nations with Bishop Sarhad Jammo and other members of our delegation, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution unanimously regarding ISIS funding by other member states and the dire situation in Iraq and Syria. The United Nations also declared the situation in Iraq a Level 3 emergency, which is the highest level.
The United Nations noted that the Islamic militants, particularly ISIL, have over the past two months carried out deadly attacks in Iraq and the Security Council unanimously adopted a United Kingdom-led resolution noting grave concern.
The Chaldean delegation met with United Nation’s Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson in New York. This immediate resolution demonstrates the impact our delegation made at the United Nations.
We clearly made the case that Iraq is in a crisis as we met with United Nations officials, including the deputy secretary general. We are grateful that many countries in the world, including especially United Nations members, have spoken and recognized the dire situation in Iraq which amounts to crimes against humanity and war crimes.
However, we would like to see the United States to do more to protect those who are the most vulnerable, the Iraqi Christians and other religious minorities.
We have reached out to more than 10 countries where Chaldean churches have been established and we hope these countries welcome displaced Chaldeans into their countries because the situation in Iraq is dire and does not seem to be getting better. We, as the Chaldean community, are willing to help these displaced Christians establish themselves in these countries.
We need everyone to take notice of this crisis. It is not an Iraqi problem, a Chaldean problem or a Christian minority problem. It is a world problem.
ISIS has a mission to take over Iraq and thus the Middle East and will not stop until they raise its flag over the White House. We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to an attack on an entire ethnic group.
If we don’t take action, these crimes can easily expand beyond Iraq and Syria. The persecution of Christians is on the raise all through the Middle East and part of Africa. If you don’t stop evil, evil will spread.
We need the United States and other countries to open their doors and offer these minorities who want out of Iraq refugee status.
Those who want to help us can go to www.helpiraq.org.
Bishop Francis Kalabat leads the St. Thomas Chaldean Diocese of the Eastern United States.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140822/OPINION01/308220012#ixzz3B8mVWjou