They fled to Syria? Need I say more?
Perhaps I should. Syria has accepted a huge number of refugees as a result of the current war in Iraq, but Syria has also received for resettlement a great many Turkish Christians over the last fifteen years. These people were displaced in the course of Turkish operations against Kurdish guerrillas and tens of thousands fled into northern Syria. pl
Syria may be authoritorian BUT as IRAK ONCE WAS, it is a SECULAR state and allows religious freedom. In fact there was a recent article about Iranian preachers with pockets full of cash converting entire villages to the Shia persuasion.
For a chart of the intricacies of the division of Near East Christianity see
the divisions all started with the Council of Chalcedon- all the Monophhyisite-Miaphysite, nature of Christ stuff.
The depravity of the Bush administration and the NeoKons is shown is that they held the 2006 Lebanon Summer War open for extra innings in the hope that Israel would also bomb Syria. As Maryam Wurmser put it, we just kept giving the Israelis all these signals to bomb.
Syria has shouldered more of the Iraki refugees than any other country.
Col: My in-laws are Arab Christians. Most Americans fail to understand the irony of the US policy. We, as a “Christian” nation, are turning the ME into a “Christian free” zone. Not to be too dramatic, but I think with the Christian population removed from these countries it will be more palatable for our TV Evil-gelicals to call for unrestricted massive violence against the remaining Muslim populations.
By some estimates, Syria is about 10% Christian. The Baathist regime there is a much softer version of its former cousin in Baghdad. Syria has many faults, but gender equality and religious tolerance issues are not near the top of the list. Furthermore, since it is a police state, there is order in the streets– a perception that the regime is keen to highlight– given what the ravages of American-produced democracy has produced next door in Iraq, if you were a Syrian and actually got to choose, what would you do?
The refugee crisis is of collosal proportions. Over 4 million Iraqis have had to leave their homes. That’s around 15% of Iraq’s population (imagine 45 million Americans displaced!!). Its estimated that over 1,000,000 Iraqi’s have sought refuge in Syria and over 750,000 in Jordan and that there are couple million displaced internally in Iraq. Yet, the US has only taken in 500! Why? Because that would mean admitting that Iraq has gone to hell in a hay basket.
We surely have some culpability for this refugee problem yet we do so little for the translators and others who have helped our military, CPA and embassy and are now under threat as collaborators. And our corporate media while bleating about the parlor games in DC have not made much of an issue about this human dimension of our occupation.
The Iraqi Crisis that has No Name
About 1m Iraqis of all sects have already chosen what they prefer – flight to Syria.
I wonder how many Syrians have gone in the opposite direction, to the “freedom” of the new Iraq?
A helpful website for understanding Christian culture in the region and issues is:
On the Christian Zionists and Middle East Peace:
“Christian Zionists may identify themselves as evangelical Christians, but not all evangelical Christians agree with their uncritical support of Israel.” http://www.cmep.org/newsletter/2003June.htm
The recent AIPAC annual meeting featured Christian Zionists linked to the Jewish Zionist Lobby in the US. “Christian” Zionists are NOT Christian in a traditional sense owing to their bizarre “End Times”/”Dispensationalist” beliefs. These beliefs emerge from a 19th century British cult started by a defrocked Irish-Anglican priest, John Nelson Darby. [Google the name] They can be considered a heretical movement but not Christian in the normal sense. The main church that has adopted Darbyism is the Southern Baptist Convention but there are others in the Fundamentalist camp. Maybe 40 million Americans or so?
Numerically, from max to min: Egypt, Brazil, Lebanon, Syria, U.S., Jordan, Canada, Australia, Palestine, Iraq.
Strong in Latin America: Singer Shakira, S Helou, Mexican telecom billionaire second to Bil Gates, former Pres. Menem of Argentita, a former President of Ecuador and a former premier of Jamaica. about 20% of the sitting Brazilian legislature.
In U.S. former majority leader of U.S. Senate George Mitchell, former SACEUR George Joulwan, former CENTCOM John Abizaid, former HEW sec Shalala, former Energy sec, who was a senator from Michigan. A couple of former senators from South Dakota, NH, a past governor of Oregon. And the spoiler or the 2000 election, Ralph Nader. Nobel Prize winner in Organic Chem Elias Corey.
“A senior U.S. commander said Sunday that the military was bracing for a rise in the casualty rate in the coming months, as an ongoing security offensive attempts to tame the catastrophic violence and stabilize Baghdad (WAPO 5/07/2007)”.
I am going this weekend to celebrate my granddaughter’s high school graduation. A time that will be filled with “orange alerts, a national ID card, biometric passports, etc.
As her grandfather, I and my generation (the generation of PEACE & LOVE) have failed to provide a RATIONAL environment to insure the continuing success of the dream that Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, Payne, and the other founding members of the the generation had for the future (where have all the activists gone?).
One of her positive role models is that her mother works for the VA and is committed to seeing that all of the US veterans are given the support/services they to live their lives to the fullest.
If there is a god, I hope he has mercy on all of the human souls, they need it.
Those interested in Eastern Christianity should visit the website of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius, based in Oxford, UK.
The website’s blurb states as follows:
It publishes a journal Sobornost, incorporating Eastern Churches Review, pertaining mostly to theological or historical topics. The most recent issue, Sobornost 28:2, includes the following articles:
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Rami Khouri’s take on current situation in Turkey:
As Kurds are 20% (25% or is it 15% or ???) of the population of Turkey, the Turkish reaction to developments in Iraq would seem to bear close attention.
Israel is also causing an Arab Christian exodus from the occupied territories. Even worse, the Christian Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem is drying up due to pressure from Zionist zealots. One young woman explained that she was being forced to emigrate to the U.S. because there are too few eligible Armenian bachelors left in Jerusalem!
CK, do you have any good demographic numbers about the Palestinian Christian communities? Or just Christians living in Palestine?
For data I would contact the Palestine Center in Washington, DC as the best source of technical information or leads to get such data. There has been some very sophisticated computer mapping done of the situation by experts. It is important to visualize the spacial aspects of the occupation and dispossession.
For information directly linked to Christian witness in the Holy Land, contact the SABEEL Center at:
SABEEL had a conference in November 2006, “Forgotten Faithful: The Challenges and Witness of Palestinian Christians” see: http://www.sabeel.org/etemplate.php?id=47
Arabic statement at:
There is an interesting group in the UK called Living Stones; some of their recent activities at: