Iraq: Catholics in France pledge to fund students to curb the exile of Eastern Christians

IraqiWe could debate the fact of emigration for a long time. Its causes are various, to flee to stay alive, to find work, to live better, to give a future to one's children… We who live in countries in peace, we cannot and should not judge.
 

Juger people who one day decide to leave their country, their family, their culture, their home and all their possessions to join a country which in general does not expect them, in a culture very different from theirs, with a language that they do not understand… Some will never or very badly integrate, on the contrary others will integrate so well that they will never return to the country, if not for a vacation with their family. This is what happened to a significant number of Lebanese emigrants throughout the long war in their country.

When peace finally returned, some returned to Lebanon, and others remained in their adopted country, France for example. As many of them had a high level of education, these lifebloods were definitely lost for their country. We find such examples in the Bible in the Old Testament, during the exiles of the Jewish people. Not all returned to Israel when the opportunity presented itself, as they were well integrated in their country of exile.

Back to the XNUMXst century, today there is an alternative, that of allowing those who wish to stay at home. Even when it comes to internally displaced refugees, this necessarily requires financial assistance. This is the case for hundreds of young Iraqi Christians. They fled their family home to stay alive. They have left everything and if adults find themselves without jobs or their own property, young people find themselves without a future, because they can no longer continue their studies. This is the total impasse hence their legitimate desire to reach a place, a country, where they can build their future.

 “The Archbishop of Kirkuk, an intellectual figure in Iraq, is mobilizing French Catholics to support Iraqi Christian students. "

This awareness led Mgr Yousif Mirkis, Archbishop of Kirkuk, to seek support from Catholics. He thus obtained the official support of the French bishops who are currently mobilizing all their parishes, and he himself recently came to France to raise a little over a million euros to finance the studies of these young people in his diocese for a year. A delegation will also be visiting the site shortly to assess the needs.

 "When the war ends, the country will need young graduates who will be able to participate in the reconstruction of the country," Mgr Mirkis recalls. However, for that, we must help them to stay the course of hope and to choose not to leave their country. "

"We must restore hope", underlines Mgr Pascal Gollnisch, the director of the Work of the Orient, the main French Catholic association helping Christians in the East. At the rate of € 10 per day and per student, the Oeuvre d'Orient estimates the necessary budget for the school year at at least € 1.

 “It is not simply a question of avoiding at all costs the end of a multi-millennial Christian presence in Iraq. We are not museum keepers. But if there are no more Christians, the other minorities will leave and it will be dramatic. We do not want a Sunnistan, a Chiistan, a Kurdistan, even a "Christianistan" ... Because that constitutes the breeding ground for the wars of tomorrow. "

“They lost everything, except life and faith,” admires Bishop Gollnisch, speaking of young persecuted Christians.

"They lost everything except life and faith"

And by that very fact, they challenge us at the start of the year to refocus on Christ.

Elisabeth dugas

Sources:

Iraq: financing students to fight against the exile of Christians in the East

Iraq: helping students prepare for the future

The Church of France launches a support program for displaced students from Iraq

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