Monday, July 07, 2008

World Youth Day 2008 And The Iraqi Youth

Next week, more than 125,000 international visitors will attend World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia. Unfortunately, the Iraqi Christians youth team has been denied the opportunity to meet with the youth from around the world.

BaghdadHope wrote on his blog:

On March 2007 Father Rayan P. Atto, parish priest of the Chaldean church of Mar Qardagh in Erbil, expressed a dream. Today, more than a year after, but less than two weeks before the start of the World Youth Day in Australia that dream has been broken.

Alternating sad and angry tones Father Rayan from Erbil explains to Baghdadhope the end of that hope: "Last week the Australian Embassy in Amman to which we referred to for the bureaucratic papers required for our attendance at the WYD told to Father Bashar Warda, our group leader, that the visas had been denied "


"Because of the fear that some of the participants of the Iraqi delegation would not return home seeking refuge in Australia"

Can you affirm that this fear is unfounded?
"Yes. I can affirm it. To be present at the World Youth Day in Sydney for young Iraqi Christians was not a system to leave their country. Most of the subscribers to the group come from north Iraq, a calm area. They have no reasons to flee and certainly would not have done it exploiting an opportunity linked to faith. We are not talking of a vacation, but of a sort of pilgrimage that would made those young people feel part of a community gathered to meet, exchange views, pray."

As an Australian citizen, I'm saddened by this news. In my opinion, this is bureaucracy in action. It's not that everything else is going well with the preparations for the WYD Sydney 2008. This simply puts icing on the cake.

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