- La situazione sta peggiorando.
Gridate con noi che i diritti umani sono calpestati da persone che parlano in nome di Dio ma che non sanno nulla di Lui che è Amore, mentre loro agiscono spinti dal rancore e dall’odio.
Gridate: Oh! Signore, abbi misericordia dell’Uomo.
Mons. Shleimun Warduni
Baghdad, 19 luglio 2014
venerdì, settembre 05, 2014
A desperate plea from Iraq: take us away!
"I would like to thank you so much – really thank you – because you always carry us in your heart, placing us on the altar where Mass is celebrated so that God erases our sins and has mercy on us, and hopefully take this cup away from us.
I love you, Behnam Benoka."
This is an excerpt of the letter written by the Syriac Catholic priest Benham Benoka to Pope Francis last August 18 to which the Pope himself responded with a phone call the next day during which he asked God for the gift of perseverance in faith for Iraqi Christians.
"People have no more hope, and the problem now is not only the ISIS because the Muslims of the Nineveh Plain, those with whom we have always been living, are taking possession of the houses and activities that Christians were forced to leave.
Which country are we talking of? A country that does not want us. They can take everything but not our faith according to which we want to live because it is synonymous with life"
Questioned if the request from some of the Syriac Catholic priests in Mosul for a mass asylum for their faithful is or pre-announces an official request Father Benoka answered to speak on behalf of some of the priests of the diocese of Mosul who are in direct contact with the sufferings, and not of the Bishop, the only one who could, in case, formalize such a request even if, the priest notes with sad realism, "to which country such a request could be made? No country seems willing to accept the Christian refugees in mass."
Father Benoka knows that his words will have an echo because for the first time a priest speaks openly to eradicate the whole, however small, community of Syriac Catholic Church, but he also explains that he can’t be silent and that, yes, he asked the Holy Father's blessing to have the strength to resist, but while religious people can do it it is not the case of civilians who are exhausted.
"We no longer know how to respond to their needs, we are not experts in this field. We are anguished not only by the material problems but also by the disappearing of the dignity and the human values in these miserable conditions. There is no longer a light at the end of the tunnel, no more "
What he tells is scaring.
"When the first families arrived, after waiting also for 12 hours under the sun to get in Ankawa, we had nothing, I repeat nothing. There were no tents, water, food, medicines, not even light. Immediately a child with high temperature was taken to me by his family, but what could I do? I called a friend who is a doctor who rushed to help and who was literally overwhelmed by people in need. Children with temperature, dehydrated elderly, many cases of diarrhea, various diseases and for everyone the fear, the shock of what they had suffered. We worked all night in the light of torches distributing the few medicines we had."
"There are other doctors from Bartella, Qaraqosh, Mosul, Karamles, all volunteers who are still trying to do what they can but it is not easy"
So you received only voluntary donations, what about the institutions?
"I am in charge of the dispensary while another priest is in charge of the camp. What I can say is that life is terrible. In the beginning people slept on the ground and in the church, under the altar too, now there are some tents but not for every family considering how many they are, but during the day the temperature inside can rise up to 50°. There are only fifteen bathrooms (non-chemical) and for the food we buy what we need which is then cooked by a volunteer lady who worked in a restaurant before. These conditions pushed me to ask to help these people to leave the country. Which future do they have? They live in miserable conditions, they no longer have a home or a job, they have no hope of staying in Kurdistan where the cost of living is three times higher than anywhere else, and that can’t absorb such a large number of people or give them a job. I know to assume a great responsibility in speaking of mass asylum but, believe me, I can no longer remain silent. Whatever it takes. "