Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Fear Among Christians in Southern Iraq

A reader sent me this story, published on Reuters web site this morning. It's about the killing of an Iraqi-Christian in Basra, Iraq on Christmas Eve.

I would have never mentioned this article if I didn't feel it's becoming a real concern to most Iraqi-Christians living in Basra. Most of the Chaldean Catholics in Basra worked in the liquor, hotel and restaurant businesses. Most of them had to sell their businesses when Basra's economy started to die at the edge of Iran-Iraq war. At the time, the city became a picture of a German city during WWII.

In Basra and other parts of the country, Christians and Muslims always lived together in peace. To be honest to the old regime, our rights were protected. We didn't have all the rights the Christians have in the Western countries, but we had enough rights to practice our religion without fear of anyone killing us on the streets of Iraq.

I have a feeling the extremist outsiders (not Iraqis) are planting seeds of hatred among different sectors of Iraqi society. Sunnis against Shiias, Muslims against Christians, Kurds against Arabs. This reminds me of what my Lebanese friends told me of how The Civil War started in their country during the seventies.

For Iraqi-Christians, they would not fight or get a revenge. They will just leave the country like they have done for many years.

To the American administration: Please don't let what happened in Lebanon and Yugoslavia to happen in Iraq. Don't let what happened to the Iraqi-Jews many years ago to happen to the Iraqi-Christians now.

Happy New Year everyone.

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