Violence, displacement, and the hope for a peaceful coexistence in the cradle of civilization
Face-to-face with Joseph KASSAB Executive Director, Chaldean Federation of America
This is the third in a three-part series focused on human rights. Crossroads’ address of this worldwide problem of human rights was born of the question: What is human in us, and how can it bring us to recognize the Single Human Family? Do we have reason to hope for the protection of the dignity of each and every member of this human family? What we hope for tonight, with the rare opportunity to meet the Executive Director of the Chaldean Federation, is to delve more deeply into answers for the jarringly real oppression of the innocent, which is at the core of the disassembling of a nation and its rich history. The crisis of the Christian minority in Iraq has been called “the largest humanitarian crisis of the world”—an almost silent crisis that has been grossly under-reported in the media channels that should be championing the cause of defenseless victims in Iraq , who as Christians are the only unarmed religious group in the region. A few days ago, the Pope addressed Iraq bishops in the Vatican with these words: " Iraq is in our hearts. We constantly remember the Christians, praying for them and for peace in the country. The numbers give a clearer scope of the loss: of the 25 million Iraqis in 2002, 1 million were Christians. Now there are only 400,000, 60% of the Iraqi Christian population has had to flee to nearby Muslim countries where there rights are often denied; 1,000 Iraqi Christians have been killed since 2003, including 8 priests and 1 bishop. The problems faced by Christians in Iraq include the constant threat of death, kidnapping, displacement, orphans, and the inability to work to survive. Yet a new humanity can still be born through the witness of Christians who remain there, under duress, precisely to bear witness to Christ Himself present. Apart from the very real concern of relocating and protecting those in danger, we would like to address the fact that an Iraq without Christians is diminished. We are not concerned about Christians only because they are somehow “our people over there.” We are also deeply interested in the present and future of Iraq and the Middle East . Historically, Christians have always been a precious element of harmony, stability, moderation, and reconciliation in the Middle East . Their presence is for the good of all; some even assert that there is no hope for peace in the region without Christians.
About this EventDate: Thursday, December 11, 2008
Location: The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center
3900 Harewood Rd., NE, Washington, DC 20017 Metro: Red Line - Brookland/CUA Station