Sunday, June 11, 2006

An Estimated 6,000 Iraqi Christians Live In Lebanon

When I went to Jordan from Iraq more than 10 years ago, the Iraqi Christian community was growing fast in Amman. The Latin church in downtown Amman was kind enough to offer a Chaldean mass on Sundays.

I was lucky enough to get accepted into Australia. Others waited for years. Some lost hope and paid large sums of money for traffickers to smuggle them to Greece or other European countries.

Then Iraqi Christians started moving to Syria, where the cost of life was cheaper than Jordan. Now, I read that thousands of Iraqi Christians have moved to Lebanon. AKI reports:

Beirut, 6 June (AKI) - Impoverished and living in Lebanon illegally - many of the 3,000 Iraqi Chaldean Christians who have fled their homeland now dream of a better future abroad with Australia the most desired destination. Most of the refugees left Iraq in the wake of the US invasion of the country and while the bloody sectarian stuggle that followed has mostly pitted Shiite and Sunni Muslims against each other, the small Christian minority has not been spared the bloodshed.

But some Christians abandoned the country in the 1990s when it was still ruled by Saddam Hussein.
The UNHCR estimates that some 6,000 Iraq Christians - over a half of them Chaldeans - have sought refuge in Lebanon


The exodus of Iraqi Christians started in the 70s. It slowed down during Iran-Iraq war when Saddam's government closed the borders. We were isolated from the outside world.

After that long war, the borders were opened and Iraqi Christians started fleeing Iraq. After the first Gulf war, it became very sad to count how many friends and relatives left the country.

And here we are in year 2006. Iraqi Christians are still fleeing their country to unknown destinations. It's a matter of time until we become like the Iraqi Jews who disappeared from Iraq over the years.


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