Rorate Caeli

Qaraqosh falls: A greater punishment is ready for the more mighty.

[Update: Urgent appeal from the Chaldean Patriarchate]

God will not except any man's person, neither will he stand in awe of any man's greatness: for he made the little and the great, and he hath equally care of all. But a greater punishment is ready for the more mighty.
(Wisdom, 6:7-9)

August 7, 2014, is a day that will forever live in shame.

Qaraqosh (Bakhdida), the Christian capital of Northern Iraq and of the vast surrounding regions, the largest Christian city in all the country, has fallen. In the night of August 6 to August 7, the Kurdish fighters (the Peshmerga) and Assyrian allies defending it decided they could not assure the safety of its inhabitants, and it became an open city. Tens of thousands of Christians who have lived in the Nineveh Plains since time immemorial are rushing towards Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region.

There has not been an ethno-religious cleansing covering such a vast area in the world (almost all of northern and eastern Syria and western and northwestern Iraq) since at least the Partition of India, nearly 70 years ago. 

Mosul fell almost 60 days ago -- and it is a fact well known in Washington that the current United States administration knew and had the chance to stop  the advance of the Islamic terrorist army long before they reached this  city of 700,000 people, but chose not to.

60 days: yet during this long period, four of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, all nations with large Christian majorities at least nominally, could not propose a single resolution creating a safe haven for minorities in Iraq and enforcing its protection. Two of these nations, we must always remember -- the United States and the United Kingdom -- are primarily responsible for the current state of affairs in Iraq. The current abandonment of the Christians of Iraq by the very powers that created this situation is something so monstrous it cannot be measured.

Only France, to her honor, offered at least the symbolic gesture of a massive asylum to these persecuted Christians, though very little practical help on the ground. As the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Sako said in his Tuesday letter, the advance of the Islamic terrorist forces of ISIS is so successful we know that it is "excellently premeditated" and planned. The international silence of governments and media is so scandalous the only conclusion we can reasonably reach is that these powers that be, these accomplices, wanted this Christian genocide to happen, this ethno-religious cleansing of almost unprecedented proportions. The Islamic blitzkrieg is facilitated by many in the region, including many immediate neighbors, and the West has become an accomplice of its successes.

We shudder to think of the consequences of this dereliction of duty: let us not kid ourselves, our divine punishment for this will come: "a greater punishment is ready for the more mighty." Syrian and Iraqi Christians are us. They are us. By leaving them behind, we are digging our own graves.

As Maronite Catholic Amine Gemayel, former president of Lebanon, said decades ago in prophetic words: "If we don't stop them here, they will one day expel the Christians from all the Middle East. One day, they will be at your gates, in Europe."

In Europe, and beyond.

[Image: Child baptized in Qaraqosh / Bakhdida in 2012 - source]