The vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White, reports on the destruction of Iraq’s Christian heritage
Baghdad, 8 July 2014
Back in Baghdad the situation is still very dire and is at a very crucial moment; for the future of Iraq is depending on how the next few weeks turn out and which side starts taking very active steps. The Iraqi army is surrounding Baghdad and shots can be heard from St. George’s church every night. The situation is so dire and we need help more than ever. Thankfully we have a large amount of people praying all over the world but we always need more. It is hard to know how many members of the congregation have been killed or fled because the situation is still changing every day and it is so difficult to keep track of people during this crisis.
Iraq is where Christianity started in the very beginning and Christians are now being persecuted. Numerous churches have been burnt down and countless Christians have been forced to flee or killed. Even Christian graves are being desecrated and knocked over the hatred is hard to understand.
We are trying to help some of the families that have fled to Erbil in northern Iraq but the need is just so great it is difficult. People left with nothing but the clothes they were wearing and now the situation in the cities they fled to like Erbil is bad as the cities are being overwhelmed the power goes out at least once a day which makes things difficult when it often gets to 45/120 degrees. Parts of Iraq are also facing a gas crisis as ISIS disrupts the infrastructure and the lines for gas are filled with hundreds of cars and take hours just to get 20 litres because that is the limit.
There is just so much hardship in the country that is allowing ISIS to make such huge gains. The government is still very disorganized and has not been able to make a successful plan to combat ISIS. The Iraqi army is much bigger than ISIS and should have been able to easily crush their uprising but has not been the case while ISIS is still capturing land, supporters, money and weapons. All of these things make everything difficult and everything is really starting to cripple the country.