Archbishop of Erbil: This is the last chance for our country

He spoke at a special session of the UN Security Council on the situation in Iraq.

For months, Iraqis have been taking to the streets to protest against corruption, sectarianism, the precariousness of basic services and the lack of future opportunities.

The young people, who are sick of empty promises, have led the protests. They are calling for a government to solve the problems the country faces in the aftermath of the war against the Islamic State.

JEANINE ANTOINETTE PLASSCHAERT
Head of UN Assistance Mission for Iraq
“Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis—from all walks of life—took to the streets, out of love for their homeland, emphasizing their Iraqi identity. All they are asking for is a country reaching its full potential for the benefit of all Iraqis. However, they are paying an unimaginable price for their voices to be heard.”

The situation has been brought to the attention of the UN Security Council. The head of the mission in Iraq has spoken out against the violence with which the protests have been suppressed. There have been 430 people killed since October.

Citizens of all ages and walks of life have looked for vindication. Many of them are Christians supported by their bishops. In November the Chaldean Patriarch visited young people gathered in the Tahrir plaza in Baghdad.

During this session at the UN headquarters in New York, the Iraqi Church also raised its voice.

MSGR. BASHAR WARDA
Archbishop of Erbil, Iraq
“It is a rejection of a sectarian-based Constitution, which has divided Iraq and prevented it from becoming a unified and functioning country.” 
“If there is a new government, it will be much more positive toward a genuinely multi-religious Iraq with full citizenship for all and an end to this sectarian disease which has so violently harmed and degraded us all.”

The situation, which doesn’t seem to be improving, threatens to evolve into a civil war, which would cause another diaspora of thousands of Iraqis, especially the youngest.

MSGR. BASHAR WARDA
Archbishop of Erbil, Iraq
“In the crisis and the genocide of 2014, over four million Iraqis, Muslims, Yazidis and Christians fled to the Kurdistan region seeking refuge from the evil of ISIS, but still remained within the country. In another major conflict, we are likely to see the people flee from Iraq for good. We are indeed at perhaps the last chance for our country.”

Card. Louis Raphael Sako has asked Christian churches to donate the money normally spent on Christmas trees, lights and ornaments to orphanages and hospitals. The patriarch has invited everyone to a more somber Christmas to show respect for deceased victims and as a gesture in response to these moments of suffering that once more afflict the country.