Chaldeans In San Diego Worry About Family Members Fleeing In Iraq

By Susan Murphy
Iraqis fleeing violence in Mosul arrive in the Kurdistan region, June 11, 2014.
An estimated half-million Iraqis, many of them children, have become refugees almost overnight. They’ve been forced from their homes, fleeing with little more than the clothes on their back, as violent Islamic militants have captured their cities on their march toward Baghdad.
“There is no safe haven for Christians or minorities in modern day Iraq. It’s a terrible situation,” said Mark Arabo, president and CEO of the Neighborhood Market Association, and a spokesperson for the Iraqi Chaldean community in San Diego County.

Escaping war and violence has become a daunting routine for the Iraqi people, who carry deep emotional scars from years of war—the most recent was the 2003 U.S.-led invasion in Iraq when millions fled the country; 35,000 resettled in San Diego’s East County, said Arabo.

Mark Arabo, a spokesperson for the Iraqi Chaldean community in San Diego County, says he worries about mass genocide of Christians and minorities in Iraq as violence continues to escalate, June 12, 2014.

By Susan Murphy

Mark Arabo, a spokesperson for the Iraqi Chaldean community in San Diego County, says he worries about mass genocide of Christians and minorities in Iraq as violence continues to escalate, June 12, 2014.

Arabo said the difference this time is there’s no place for them to escape to. They’re scared, hiding and desperate.

“It’s much worse, and the reason why it’s much worse is 11 years ago you didn’t have so many radical groups in the region,” Arabo said. “Syria was peaceful. Before families would go to Syria and Jordan and then resettle to the United States or to Europe or to Australia. Now there’s no safe place to go to in the Middle East.”

“I hope that the United states leads from behind with like-minded nations to make sure that these Christians and minorities all throughout the Middle East region, and specifically Iraq, have a mass exodus and a home to go to,” Arabo said. “Something needs to happen because they have left their homes, their neighboring cities and the situation is getting worse by the minute. ”

In all, nearly 80,000 Iraqis call San Diego home; the majority are Chaldean Christians, but many others are Muslim and Kurdish. Differences aside, Arabo says they’re united in their hope for peace
http://www.kpbs.org/news/2014/jun/13/chaldeans-san-diego-worry-about-family-members-fle/