The Plight of Christians in Iraq

Christians flee as ISIS terrorists close in to kill. Not all of them will make it.

There’s a red mark on your door. In dripping blood-red paint, it’s been marked with the Arabic letter N, a monogram for Christians. It’s a mark of death, a warning. You have 24 hours to flee, leaving everything behind. No food or water, no vehicle, no money, nothing is allowed to you.

To stay means death. You’ve heard the stories. Children beheaded, their heads displayed in a public park in Mosul. Women and girls raped and enslaved. Even those who pay the tax for being Christian have still had their family kidnapped, their wives raped and their livelihoods confiscated. The only option is to flee on foot.

At a border checkpoint, your family is aggressively searched for hidden money and jewelry. A woman shrieks in pain as her finger is cut off because in her panic she could not remove the ring. In front of you, a child’s favorite toy is stripped from his tiny hands, as if the Islamic State needed it.

You know your home, heard-earned and well-kept, will be given as a reward to a terrorist fighter and his family along with all your possessions inside.

These thoughts weigh on your mind as you are forced to walk in the grueling 120 degree summertime heat of the unrelenting Iraqi desert. You have nothing but the clothes on your back. Nobody is coming to rescue you as your lips crack with dryness.

The odds of survival in the desert are poor, especially for the elderly and young.

You watch as the elderly collapse at the side of the road, family wailing because if they don’t keep moving, roving bands of Islamic State terrorists will kill them family for sport. Grandparents are left to die from exhaustion, or at the hands of gleeful terrorists.

If you’re lucky, you might make it to a city that will take you in, but then you’re likely to be shuttled to a refugee camp where all you can do is wait – a virtual prison sentence with heat and hunger for bars.

For Iraqi Christians, this is what good luck looks like. Could you imagine living like this?
Could you imagine this being your child?

The unlucky are trapped on mountains of death, surrounded by another band of Islamic State fighters who think you should die instead of leave. For those people, trapped on a mountainside without food, water, medicine or the ability to flee, all you can do is wait for a slow death by exposure and starvation.

The children are the first to die, especially the babies.

Many children have died in the desert. Many more are expected to die in the weeks to come.

This is not a work of fiction. This is real. This is happening right now. The only way you can help is to act now. Tomorrow is too late.

Give now via Your Catholic Voice Foundation and your gift will be sent directly to the Chaldean Diocese of St. Peter the Apostle where it will do the most good it can. There is a genocide on the hands of the world, and if you choose to do nothing, then you will be tainted by it. Only by ‘Prayer and Action’ as mandated by Pope Francis, can we do our part to save these people.

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