Thursday, December 23, 2010

In Iraq Christmas is silent

Iraqi Christians are unable to celebrate Christmas.

One headline states: "No Christmas festivities for some Iraq Christians." The news article by Mustafa Mahmoud states:

"Some church leaders in Iraq have told Christians not to celebrate Christmas except with prayer after lethal attacks and continuing threats by militants against the Iraqi Christian community."


"Mukhlis Kyriakos, a priest at Our Lady of Salvation, said the decision to limit festivities was made in part because of ongoing threats from militants, who had warned parishioners not to use traditional methods to honor those killed.

"The Archbishop Council of Iraq decided that celebrations are to be limited to prayers at churches only. No celebrations, no parties," he said.

'We are still receiving threats from terrorists. Even families of those killed inside the church were threatened that if they hang a banner marking their lost relatives, their houses will be blown up.'"


"'What is happening to us these days is similar to what happened to Jews in Iraq before,' Kyriakos said. 'Christians are being displaced from their country.'"

"Fr. Jahola acknowledged stories that have circulated among the Iraqis who are fleeing their homeland. He said he believes reports that Christian homes have been marked with red crosses as targets for Islamic extremists. The crosses are a warning of violence to come, he said. They are a sign, he said, that “these people are in (the) Church, so they are still alive. … that we still need to eliminate them.”

No place in Iraq, not even the more peaceful Kurdistan region, provides certainty for Christians to live safely, he said."

And this:

"The Baghdad cathedral attack inspired in him [Fr. Jahola] strength and resolve that he did not know he had.

“This for me is the strength of the martyrs who witnessed to their faith in the Church,” he said. “For me, I haven't yet done what I need to do, so that awaits me.”

Soft light through which we see the world,
held in your strong arms incarnate One,
we sing your praise Holy Child, they close their mouths
in faithfulness and whisper none.

Not she-ass or ewe to breathe warm barn smells there;
but smells of death and hatred scattered on every straw.
There will be no bells or songs or pleasant praise;
The cross grows where the praise stood a thousand years
or more.

Holy One as you came in a still night with boundless angel song
come soon again and undo the pain that lingers still.
In many folds and in Iraq where children whisper not
your praise but hope in you. Come soon again,
but comfort now or more.
(Picture, La Vierge De Tolede, by Picasso)
The video I am placing below is certainly not a Christmas hymn, nor is it a Catholic or even Presbyterian song, it is an Anabaptist hymn and I think fits the mood of this post:

1 comment:

will spotts said...

This is very sad. Particularly this: "Even families of those killed inside the church were threatened that if they hang a banner marking their lost relatives, their houses will be blown up."

I can't even imagine having family members murdered and being told you can't even acknowledge the fact.