Behind barbed wire: the Virgin Mary Chaldean Church in Baghdad
acting-man.com / Pater Tenebrarum / December 27, 2013
Whatever else may be said of Iraq’s slightly loopy former tinpot dictator Saddam Hussein, he was at least clearly a secular ruler. As an Arab nationalist he merely paid occasional lip service to Islamic sentiments by invoking Allah when he thought it might suit him politically. Other than that, he mostly saw to it that the religious establishments of Iraq were kept in fairly narrow confines, politically speaking. The representatives of every major religious interest group were given a share of the spoils, in exchange for keeping quiet and keeping their followers in line. They did not necessarily like the arrangement, as evidenced by the religiously inspired Shi’ite uprising after the first Gulf war. However, they acquiesced in the end, since Saddam had command over the military and they were unable to organize an effective resistance.
Saddam even had a Christian in his cabinet, foreign minister Tariq Aziz – a ministerial post of considerable clout. That was remarkable, not least because Christians are a tiny minority in Iraq. Now that Iraq is a democracy, it is apparently open season on Christians.
Clashes between the different religious sects in Iraq have progressively worsened throughout the year, and the death toll is back to approaching the worst numbers seen during the ethnic cleansing campaigns that took place while the country was under US occupation. More than 8,000 people have been killed so far this year, which means that on average 22 people are murdered by terrorist attacks every single day. Imagine the uproar if anything remotely similar were to happen in the US or in Europe. However, since it is happening in Iraq, we barely even hear about it anymore these days.