Archbishop says Iraqis must live with no idea of what future holds

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) — The Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Kirkuk, Iraq, said his city was calm a day after a suicide bombing left dozens dead, but he also said people in the area are forced to live with absolutely no idea of what the future holds.

“I went on the radio and said that dialogue is the only way to resolve our problems,” said Archbishop Louis Sako. “I wish people would listen; I wish they would listen to the voice of conscience.”

Interviewed by telephone July 29, the archbishop said calm was restored to the city fairly quickly July 28 after a female suicide bomber blew herself up at a Kurdish political demonstration in Kirkuk.

Archbishop Sako said demonstrators ran toward a center run by ethnic Turkmen, who thought they were under attack and began firing. Thirty-eight people were dead from the day’s violence “and there are many injured,” he said.

The political situation in Kirkuk is in turmoil as ethnic Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen quarrel over sharing power in the region’s government.

“By evening everything was calm,” the archbishop said, and “everyone is back to work today.”

“But the situation still is not secure and the future is not clear. The people are waiting in the dark, but that has become normal,” he said.

As for the political uncertainty, Archbishop Sako said, “a few Christian parties are with the Kurds, but most are independent. As a minority we try to create balance, to speak to everyone.”