mercoledì, marzo 07, 2012

 

The plight of Iraqi Christians in Lombriasco (Italy)

By Baghdadhope*

On next Friday, March 9 at 9 pm, in the parish church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary in Lombriasco, a small village 30 kilometers from Turin, Father Basel Yaldo, a Chaldean priest from  Baghdad will explain the plight of Iraqi Christians.
The initiative promoted by the parish priest of Lombriasco, Don Giovanni Serione, has been realized in collaboration with the Italian branch of Aid to the Church in Need.
Father Basel Yaldo, currently in Rome to study for his Ph.D in dogmatic theology, although very young (1970) is a priest of great experience having held different roles over the years: Vice-rector of the major Chaldean seminary in Baghdad,  professor of dogmatic theology at Babel College, the only Christian theological university in Iraq, Secretary of the patriarch of the Chaldean Church, Cardinal Mar Emmanuel III Delly, and before his return to Italy where he had already studied theology from 1996 to 2001, assistant pastor in the U.S. where he arrived after having been  kidnapped in Baghdad on September 18, 2006.


Baghdadhope spoke with Father Basel Yaldo about his lecture in Lombriasco.
Father, how much is important to keep on talking about the plight of Iraqi Christians?"It is very important because even if fewer and fewer people are interested in the sufferings of Iraqi Christians they still exist. Other wars made people forget what happened in Iraq, but this does not mean that everything is fine there. All Iraqis, and among them the Christians, are still suffering . There are daily acts of violence that are completely  ignored and then to talk about them is right."Do you mean that the West is not more interested in what is happening in Iraq...."
Not only the West but our media too. I mean the Christian media created in Iraq since 2003 that now are less concerned about the sufferings ..
"
Why?
"Because, it’s sad to say, we have become accustomed to them. If in Italy I say that in Baghdad there are still only 4 hours of electricity a day, people are surprised. In Iraq it is so normal that no one thinks to complain about it even if it is clear that this is not a livable situation. In a country where in the summer  the temperature can easily reach 45 degrees is difficult for example for priests to organize the churches activities without air conditioners. This, of course, is just one of the problems affecting Iraqi Christians. I could name tens of them, and much more serious:  kidnappings, threats, lack of security even in the churches, unemployment, emigration and the consequent breakup of families. Many Christians left Iraq and they not always found a better life: think of all those who found refuge in Syria and who now find themselves again in a war-torn country. There is so much to say and I am really grateful to the parish of Lombriasco and to Aid to the Church in Need for giving me the chance to talk about those who do not deserve to be forgotten. "

The importance of remembering the Iraqi Christian community was also emphasized to Baghdadhope by Don Giovanni Serione, the parish priest of Lombriasco:
"I've always been sensitive to the fate of Christians in the Middle East, birthplace of the church and of the first evangelization. To listen to a witness of the fate of those communities means spreading the knowledge about them. It is important to protect their existence in their mother countries, whether Iraq or the Holy Land, to stop their fleeing from them. The initiative aims to raise awareness of the plight of those communities and the testimony of Father Basel Yaldo will surely be important because he will tell us his experiences but he will also celebrate two Masses with me on Saturday and Sunday: another way to bring his reality nearer  to ours ."

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