Rorate Caeli


1924: Chaldean priests and the orphans under their care in Mosul (Nineveh), Iraq
Majid Aziza
[Lebanese daily] An-Nahar
July 24, 2014

Expelled, we leave our city of Mosul, humiliated by the followers of the new Islam. We leave it for the first time in History. And, while leaving, we thank our neighbors, the neighbors whom we thought would protect us, as they used to do [in the past], [thinking] that they would rise up against the fury of these 21st-century criminals by telling them that we are the authentic children of this city, and that we are its founders.

We used to reassure ourselves by telling ourselves that we could count on them, brave brothers who would show of which kind of material they were made. But they abandoned us, letting us be taken outside the city, towards the unknown. They closed their eyes, while we left behind our history, the graves of our ancestors, our houses, our property, and all that was dear to our heart. They abandoned us, while we said farewell to our neighborhoods, to the Jonah Mosque

Goodbye as well to the archbishopric, to the Maskinta church, and that of Ain Kibrit... Goodbye to all of you! We will no longer be there for your feasts, and ceremonies, marriages and funerals.

Goodbye to our kin buried in Mosul. We leave you, chased from our city. May they forgive us if we can no longer come to their graves on holy days. Goodbye to the remains of my grandfather Elias, of my paternal uncle - Fr. Mikhail -, to my maternal uncles Ibrahim and Mikhail Haddad, from whom I got the passion for journalism, goodbye to my paternal uncle Estefan Aziza, the first martyr of the family, goodbye to the Convent of Saint George, goodbye to the city bridges, to its walls, to its playing fields, to its university, to its cultural center.

Forgive us, dear friends, brethren, noble children of our city. Forgive us for our negligence. If we must fail in our duties toward you, the fact remains that we lived there together for hundreds, rather, thousands of years, building up Mosul with the sweat of our brow.

And today, you view us from afar, while we are chased away, humiliated in the eyes of all. The furious murderers of the Daesh [ISIS] expelled us from our houses and from our city. Goodbye to you all! And thank you. We leave, compelled and under duress, a land that we had sustained with our own blood.

[Based on the French version, published on Aug. 1 - orig. post. time: 12:00 a.m. GMT]