Letter: World must act to stop killing of Christians

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There is a growing scourge of genocide against Christians.
With a chilling effect on April 7, 1994, the radio stations in Rwanda broadcasted messages to “cut the tall trees” and eliminate the “cockroaches” as a presage of a horrific genocide. Within 100 days close to 1 million people were killed with machetes, knives and clubs.
The broadcasted message was a code for the dominant Hutu tribe’s militia to activate their murderous plan to exterminate moderate Hutus and their rival neighbors the Tutsi.
Elsewhere in Africa similar atrocities occurred in Sudan and Darfur, including the murder of hundreds of Kenyans in churches, public transports and in the widely covered massacre in 2013 at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. And just recently the savage attack on Christian students at Garissa University in Kenya by the radical Islamist jihadist group al-Shabaab has brought back into focus the dual specter of Christian persecution and an international community that is unwilling to collectively respond to mitigate it.
With frightening rapidity the persecution and systematic killing of Christians in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Nigeria and Iraq is inexorably expanding. The genocide and savagery is directed specifically at Christians who theologically present a dilemma for jihadists who wish to purify the world of religions, cultures and political systems that interfere with their vision of world order. Recently, ISIS has picked up the banner and is pursuing its genocidal campaigns directed at ancient Christian communities such as the Assyrian Christians and Nestorians in Syria, Chaldeans and Assyrians in Iraq and Coptics in Egypt.
Currently, the leader of the free world, President Barack Obama, has provided nothing more than cursory statements of sentiment and denunciations regarding this worldwide humanitarian crisis. There are no specific policies to address the crisis on military, humanitarian or diplomatic terms.
Similarly, the United Nations has yet to fulfill its own fundamental duties expressed in a 2011 conference that declared “the responsibility to protect.” Within articles and edicts of the United Nations there are well developed policies for intervention that can encompass a myriad of diplomatic, economic, humanitarian and peace-keeping actions. And yet, as the genocide continues to roll out across Africa and the Middle East, the UN General Assembly views the events as isolated and not worthy of a collective effort to address.
This inaction will bolster a terrible period in which ethnic cleansing, religious persecution and genocide will spiral into a new spectacle of human tragedy. We are all called to share awareness of this unfolding dilemma. Through social advocacy, petitioning of congressional leaders and responding to calls for humanitarian assistance, we can locally and regionally respond to addressing this global injustice.
But these tentative steps can occur only if each of us will examine our own conscience and be committed to sustaining our actions on the long road ahead, where peace and tolerance is collectively achieved on a global scale.
Joe D’Amore