October 25, 2021

A GENOCIDE IGNORED

Genocide is defined as the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. There is no question that by any characterization this is what it being committed in Northern Iraq, by the Islamic terrorist group ISIS. Unfortunately this persecution is neither new nor isolated in a particular geographical area. Pope Benedict XVI, in his 2011 massage for the World Day of Peace, talked about “many Christians experiencing daily affronts and living in fear because of their pursuit of truth, and their faith in Jesus Christ”. Are we facing a “global war on Christians”? John A Allen Jr., Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, certainly believes so. In a recent interview for the conservative leaning National Review, Mr. Allen explained why these tragedies are mostly ignored this way; “ The answer is complicated, but I think a lot of it has to do with the power of pre-existing narratives in shaping perceptions. The narrative about Christianity in the West is that it’s a massive, rich, politically powerful institution, which makes it tough for a lot of people to get their minds around the fact that Christians can actually be the victims of persecution. In part, too, I think many Americans shy away from the subject for fear of being drawn into faux debates over an alleged “war on Christmas” and similar sideshows”. As a matter of fact, Mr. Allen’s perception is correct as the extent and scope of this hounding has been integrated into our politics, with liberal writers as Andrew Chesnut of the Huffington Post, disputing that there is a global problem when he writes; “If we are to avoid turning regional repression and conflict into a real global religious war we must reject the inflammatory hyperbole of extremists from all faiths, some of whom would relish an apocalyptic world war.

Genuine concern for the persecution of Christians, and members of any other religion, must be based on accurate analysis, which draws on a wide variety of sources, and not only on those with specific religious affiliations. In short, the dangerous hyperbole of a “global war on Christians” has the potential to turn what is really regional repression into real worldwide religious conflict”. All semantic and politics aside, the continuing massacre of thousands of Christians in Iraq, and the inhuman actions taken against innocent children men and women is undeniable. This population is thought to be one of the oldest in the world, and inhabited this area centuries before it would become part of Babylon, in fact its Christianity introduced by Jesus disciples St. Thomas and St. Thaddeus.

 

I have seen pictures from the last few weeks so horrific that are difficult to describe. Beautiful little boys and girls, beheaded, and mothers carrying their headless corpses, their angelic heads in spikes, the fathers suffering similar fate, just because they refused to convert to Islam. Meanwhile the UN, EU,

and US, offer strong official condemnation, some limited military response, and seemingly only depending on the hope, unreal at best, that these limited actions and denunciations will stop the massacre. Regardless of party politics, we cringe at the contrast of the photos distributed by the murderers, with the video showing our President with his beautiful family bicycling while enjoying his free time in luxurious Martha’s Vineyard.

By our own official accounts, we knew almost a year ago of the possibility of ISIS invading Iraq and purging the remaining Christian population, but decided not to act. Pope Francis has come forward expressing his disbelief and outrage for the horrors continued to be committed. He further asked the international community to “stop these crimes”. Sending humanitarian aid, eliminating the blockade imposed on some Yasidis in Iraq’s northern mountains, and appearing on national television to take credit for helping some of the persecuted, is not the answer. Only eliminating ISIS completely, whatever measures it takes, will the genocide stop, and it is up to all nations to act firmly and promptly or be responsible for the human tragedy.

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