Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil.
Two alternate versions of reality: 1) the Iraq situation in current American discourse, and 2) the Iraq situation as described by the prelates of the Assyrian Christian churches.
1. The American media appears to be allergic to referring specifically to the Christian refugees. Perhaps for fear of painting a “Christians vs. Muslims” picture and provoking violence against innocent Muslims? If so, I don’t think that fear has a real basis. The American reportage leaves a person with some information from other sources wondering: What world do these journos live in? It ain’t the real one.
2. Some important things I myself learned in the past few days:
Consensus seems to be that ‘Assyrian’ is an ancient ethnicity, marked by the use of the Aramaic language. ‘Chaldean’ can refer to Catholic Christians with Assyrian usages.
The Assyrians have pressed for autonomy from the Baghdad regime for at least the past decade. For years the Assyrians have voiced their fears about the grave danger they face as a defenseless minority.
A decade ago, the U.S. painted the picture of Saddam Hussein as a menace to the world, basing the portrait on assertions that he had stockpiled dangerous weapons. Those assertions proved to be untrue. Now, a genuine danger has arisen, an epic catastrophe is underway, and we do not seem to have the intellectual and rhetorical resources needed to identify it and deal with it justly.
IMHO, the theoretical construct of “a politically united Iraq” gets in the way of a realistic assessment of the situation. Whether or not Iraq endures as a nation-state is really not the issue. Also, the idea that more-local authorities should deal with this problem: that would be perfectly reasonable–if there were any real prospect of it. Will the Turkish or Saudi cavalries ride in? Who could expect that?
The real operative fact is: Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have been forced from their homes and live on the edge of destruction. Cruel barbarians have savaged a peaceful people.
Is the Islamic State an enemy? Who could doubt it?
The civilized people of the world have no honest choice other than to work together to address the crimes against humanity that have been committed. This crisis has unified the Assyrian Christians, making Catholic vs. non-Catholic a non-issue for now. May it also unite the civilized people of the earth in co-ordinated action. We need a leader who can articulate both the reality of the situation and the goals that need to be achieved in order to defeat the enemy and restore justice.
Lord, please: Send us such a leader!