Tuesday, 12th March 2019
Driving through the spring-like region of Kurdistan-Iraq
Father Massis Shahinian, the Armenian priest in Dohuk, gave us very honest insights.
Dinner with Mikhael Benjamin, who cares deeply about the people who see their future in Iraq and stay here.
Wednesday, 13th March 2019
We ask many questions to our good friend Father Emanuel Youkhana, leader of the Christian charity CAPNI, who works tirelessly to ensure that people are not just having houses rebuild but also a perspective on living in dignity and security.
Great conversation with Lara Zara, the committed Christian mayor of Alqosh. She has many discussions with international representatives, but there are few concrete political actions. Religious minorities must be treated equally so that they see a perspective for themselves in Iraq!
At the closing ceremony for the reconstruction of 160 houses in the Nineveh Plain, which were financed by German funds. Great pleasure with the people here!
Waleed had to flee from the ISIS as a Christian. He has decided to stay here and work with an aid organization to help people in need. Thank you for this evening with you!
Thursday, 14th March 2019
Nadhem has been living in the camp with his family and 17,000 other Yazidis since 2014 and has almost lost the hope of returning to his homeland Sinjar. Very depressing situation. Good that many relief organizations take care of it. But what do we do for a long-term life perspective?
We had a meeting with Behzad Ali Adam, the Vice Governor of Duhok, at his home. We were warmly welcomed and received interesting insights. Exciting!
In pouring rain we visited Lalish. The sanctuary of the Yazidis, which may only be entered barefoot. Cave passages, open fire and ritual water. This place builds the identity of all Yazidis. Most want to leave the country because of the poor security situation and traumas experienced. But the heart of their religion is beating here.
Warm atmosphere at dinner with the Syrian Orthodox archbishops Timothaeus Mosa Alshamany (Mor Mattai) and Nicodemus David Sharaf (Mosul) in Mor Mattai Monastery, one of the oldest existing Christian monasteries in the world.
Friday, 15th March 2019
After a cool night in a simple monastery cell, we participate in a four-hour Syrian Orthodox church service. There are 15 mostly young deacons from the destroyed village Bahzani ordained. An investment in the future of the country. Great moments of hope and faith for people who currently have little perspective as a religious minority.
Saturday, 16th March 2019
With a queasy feeling in Karamlesh and Qaraqosh.The destruction is still clearly visible. The return is only hesitant. Father Thabet sees with great concern the decline of the millennium-old Christian culture. Good that our friends help here.
Inspiring follow-up meeting at the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ). Together, we are looking for solutions on how to achieve a future reconciled coexistence of different groups in Iraq.
Good to see Dr. Srood Magdasy again. The committed Christian politician tells us honestly and in detail the situation in the country. Although he sees little hope for his corrupt country, where Muslim groups are not interested in religious freedom and undermine it, he has nevertheless decided to stay here and engage in politics. His clear message to us in Germany: “Despite your sensitivity to anti-discrimination, you must actively work for the religious minorities in Iraq. Decide what is really important to you!”
Sunday, 17th March 2019
Mar Abrs Youkhanna, Bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East in Erbil, is grateful for the possibility of the predominantly undisturbed exercise of his faith. But he urges the same rights for Christians in Iraq. They can no longer be citizen 2nd class!
Salwan Zaito is one of our personal heroes. Returning from Holland, the Iraqi began in 2008 in a studio with 10 square meters “Babylon Media”, which today is the largest private media house in Iraq with 10,000 square meters and 200 employees. “By the way” he founded the “Babylon Christian Community“ with 17,000 members. With contemporary entertainment and answers to the practical questions of life, the convinced Christian gives identity and life skills to a young generation – and thus positively shapes the future of the country.
Monday, 18th March 2019
It was an honor for us to be received by Houshyar Qardakh Syawish, Member of Iraqi Parliament, Chaldean Coalition representative, and Ano Jawhar Abdoka, President of Shlama Trend for Christian Affairs & Head of National Unity Alliance (Biggest Christian Block in Kurdistan Region Parliament, 3 seats) at National Unity Alliance Headquarters in Ankawa city. Sincerely, they have answered our (sometimes difficult) questions. It is admirable that as Christians they are engaged in a political system that in many places wants to take a different direction in the majority.