Canon Andrew White: "The governments and media of the world may have forgotten us.."
It is a tedious seasonal metaphor, now clichéd to the point of political hollowness, but these "Arab springs", once hailed as the founts of liberty and democratic dreams, have become long, cold winters of turmoil, suffering, persecution and mass slaughter.
Egypt is economically unstable; Syria is is meltdown; Iraq is disintegrating; Libya has become the very bloodbath we tried to avert; Saudi Arabia is struggling with internal discord; and Iran is fomenting regional conflict. The Arab world is collapsing in painful spasms and convulsing in a series of existential catastrophes. The disintegration has been swift and inexorable.
The ensuing humanitarian tragedy is epic - one might almost say 'biblical'. Tens of millions across the Arab world are in need of urgent aid as they displaced, made homeless and hunger for their daily bread. Hundreds of thousands have lost their lives through civil war and sectarian strife. Now that the regional strongmen have fallen one by one, the vacuum is being filled by the Salafist-Jihadist Islamic State, and they have brought hell on earth.
Where is the Arab League in all this? How are they responding to the Caliphate? What are they saying about the apocalyptic death and destruction? Where are the declarations opposing Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or uniting in their condemnation of his 'robust' interpretation of Islam?
There are, however, a few causes of optimism. God's people are not mute; nor are they turning a blind eye. Here is the latest update from the Vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White:
I can’t express how immensely encouraged I am by the huge amount of support we have received here for the persecuted Christians here in Iraq. People have prayed and sacrificially given. They have enabled us to at least begin to meet the crucial needs of the people. Dr Sarah and I have been working flat out on meeting these needs but we have to have more help and I pray that today we will find the help we need. Today I will head North to Kurdistan where Sarah is at the moment.This is an encouraging epistle, the most notable sentence being the final one. But the media have not entirely forgotten: the Christian media are well informed. And even if Channel 4 News is consumed by Gaza and busy lauding the bravery of Baroness Warsi, the BBC is slowly waking up to the horrors being inflicted upon Christians by the self-styled Islamic State.
Helping Through The Iraqi Churches
The main way we are helping the massive numbers of internally displaced people is through the various indigenous churches. The different denominations know which of their people need help, and who they have who have fled Mosul and Nineveh. The money is received through our Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME) and given through our one Anglican Church in Iraq. So the help is given from Church to Church. The Foundation is a 501C3 in the US and a registered charity in the UK. So people can give in tax beneficial ways.
Daily information is provided through Face Book and on less regular email updates sent about twice a week. My personal face book page is full as I have 5000 friends and am thus not allowed anymore. I do however have a popular figure page that you can like and get regular updates there.
The message to those who want to be friends:
I would very much love to have you as a friend but I am afraid I have reached the limit of 5000 friends on my page there are two public figure pages that you can join that get my same updates. You can also sign up for my regular updates at www.frrme.org .Please do join one of these pages. These pages are:
Together We Have Hope
Everything maybe awful but we have such hope. HOPE because we are not alone the support from our friends around the world has simply been phenomenal. The governments and media of the world may have forgotten us but the people of G-d are with us Jews, Christians and Muslims the people who know that the Lord is here and His Spirit is with us.
With love thanks and blessings,
But we must remember that these Salafist extremists neither represent nor speak for all Sunni Muslims. As Canon White explains elsewhere, there are voices being raised against them:
Islamic Sunni Leader totally Condemns ISISAnd it must be observed that the Islamic State is not only persecuting Christians, but also Shia, Turkmen, Shabaks, Yazidis and others.
I have spent much of the day with one Iraq's most senior Sunni Imams Sheik Khalid Al Mullah he has openly and clearly spoken out against the evil events, massacres and slaughters committed by ISIS. He not only stated they were totally demonic he said they were totally against everything Islam stands for. He stated that Christianity was the very root of Iraqi society, therefore Christians are at the heart of Iraqi society. We went to see the US Ambassador together and the Sheik was able to share these points with him.
Our Government mutters about the need for regional peace and stability, but the FCO offers no solutions. They whisper in Whitehall as Christians are systematically cleansed from their ancient lands, but they give no assistance. As we witness waves of terror sweeping over the land and the emergence of a new hegemonic power, the geo-politics of the Middle East and North Africa are being irrevocably transformed.
The hope must be that space is eventually made in this turmoil for the Jews, Assyrians, Maronites, Melkites, Copts and other minorities whose presence in the region pre-dates those who are currently purging the land of apostates and infidels and claiming it for their malignant sharia, in the name of Mohammed and for the glory of Allah, the all merciful and most merciful.