Today we launch a world-wide appeal to give financial and other help to the Armenians of Mosul and Baghdad who have had to flee for their lives.(this last week following the killing of 15 Christians in Mosul and previously) . This follows my visit to the Armenian community of Havrest and Zeikho on friday of last week and the Chaldean Church in Dohuk on Saturday.
On Thursday, I had visited the Municipality of Ankawa, an entirely Christian town just outside Erebil. It was there that the Head of the Municipality informed me of what had happened to Christians in Mosul the previous week. I met the KRG Foreign Minister and thanked him for the assistance given to fleeing Christians of the Arab-controlled Mosul city, and asked him to ensure their protection
On Friday, in Zako, Father Miran Yousif Murad showed me around the Armenian Church, built in 1923 by Genocide Survivors and introduced me to several who had previously fled to Zakho from Mosul. He agreed to accept any money collected in Europe and America to help the local refugees from Mosul and from Baghdad.
He took me to a village called Havrest, built for the Armenians by the Kurdish Regional Government. With me was Jwan Taher Ahmed a journalist who represents the Dohuk Governate. About 60 local people came to meet us and we sat outside the school. When I asked what are the main problems, their spokesman replied that they are helping the refugees arriving this week by sharing them around people’s homes. The refugees receive nothing only the help of themselves for several weeks or months. Later they are given about 40 dollars per month by the Kurdish government, as well as enough diesel to run generators to provide electricity for 3 hours per day Financial help for three problems would be most welcome
1 the new refugees who receive nothing yet from the government
2 There are presently 9 children who need to travel to the High School in Dohuk.
They would like 12,000 dollars to buy a van to carry them to school. I was impressed by their willingness to help others even though their own situation was not flourishing. Surely, throughout the world we can raise 12, 000 dollars for the vehicle, and some more to help the newly arrived refugees? When I asked them do you receive help from Europe or America they said that they had no contacts there. The van can also be used to carry people to see the doctor and to take people to hospital
3 I was afterwards taken to the home of a family who showed us her two-year old daughter (more details, names etc. will follow about them). She has two holes in her heart and when they lived in Baghdad, a German doctor was going to take her to Germany with a humanitarian organization to have the required heart operation. Unfortunately, the doctor fled Baghdad because of the terrorism and then they also fled, loosing the chance of this operation.
Can anyone help by persuading the US, UK, French or Armenian government to provide a 6 month visa for the mother and daughter, please? Does anyone know of Humanitarian organizations who could help them? Can you put us in touch with every Armenian heart specialist that you know of? Father Miran will provide more details very soon.
On Saturday in Dohuk, I was taken by translator Kamal Hussain Mawlood to meet the members of the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Assembly, including Jameel Zaito, the chairman. They include all but one of the Christian political parties, and they confirmed the truth of the news of killings and flight of Christians from Mosul. I met a brave lady, Ms Basima Issa Salman, a Christian Member on the Nineveh Council, who had been threatened with assassination 13 times. She gave me copies of the letters, which had been posted, into the houses of Christians, ordering them to leave, and threatening to kill them in the name of Islam.
Professor Samir Rahim began.. “The 6th of October passed quietly but on the 7th what hit us was like a volcano or a flood. Terrorists asked the people for their IDs and if they were found to be Christian, they were killed. Assassinations had began on the streets. Two were ordinary building workers. A group of terrorists came and killed them . One of the victims was named Amjad. Assassinations were sporadic to start with and grew more intense. By Thursday the 9th, 14 had been killed. They attacked three families, kicked them out of their homes, stole their belongings and blasted their houses. In one house they came through the roof and slaughtered the whole family. People were now living in panic and terror. The terrorists said “We do not want Christians living amongst us. If you stay here we are going to kill you” The municipality for 10 days was as if it did not exist. On the 8th we fled for our lives to Kurdistan. The events happened in front of the local police with the assistance of the police. The army did not interfere with the situation for 10 days. A total of over 2,000 families have fled. ”
Ablahad Khoshaba Zaiya, a floor tile layer showed me where they were sleeping in the Church and said “I know nothing about my future . All I know is that now I live in the house of God. We have no future at all here. I just want a safe place to raise my children”
There were 7 in his family .Gorgis Shamon Esho , Haitha Petros and Faleel Eskandar Istefo agreed with him.
An Armenian woman Mariam Sepan Sarkismeherian said that her family was originally from Dehe in Armenia, and had fled to Mosul after the 1915 Genocide. Only her father survived from his whole family. They all said that they were too afraid to go back to Mosul. Even if things improve, the terrorists will always come back, because they want the “Christian infidels” to leave. Many of the people said that they would be willing to go to Europe if they were accepted.