Christian hemorrhage from the Middle East must be terminated immediately!

Submitted by munir on Sun, 04/14/2024 - 21:22

During winter time, birds migrate en masse from cold areas to warm locations in the world seeking warmth, as well as looking for sources of food and peace. This also applies to human beings as over the past decades huge masses of people in the Middle East have opted to migrate from one country to  another, and in some cases to the farthest  spots in the world, while seeking peace, job opportunities, and better future prospects.


This very situation applies in the first place to Christians living in Middle Eastern countries, who have been experiencing critical situations affecting all walks of their life, which prompts them to leave their homelands for good and seek refuge in other countries. Press reports indicated recently that large groups of Christians are systematically leaving countries in the Middle East seeking new life abroad.


Speaking in Grado, Italy, while attending the 44th National Conference of Diocesan Caritas organizations with 600 delegates from across Italy, Apostolic Nuncio to Syria Cardinal Mario Zenari noted that every day, some 500 Christian Syrians emigrate from Syria. He says, “What hurts us most is to see Christians leaving… We see the churches die."


He continued, “Syria has fallen out of the news, now it is all about Gaza and Ukraine. We have been forgotten by the news and by the international community. But the bombs continue to fall on us.” Noting that more than half a million people have died and 12 million have fled, including seven million internally displaced persons, he refers to the sad exodus of the Christian minority that numbered two million before the war, but now dwindled to only 500,000 remaining. He adds, "In Aleppo alone there were 150,000 Christians, now there are less than 30,000. These are ancient and apostolic churches, which are experiencing the emigration of people, often highly qualified, who are unlikely to return."


In order to stem the orchestrated Christian hemorrhage from the Middle East, the relevant governments ought to undertake all necessary measures to reverse the attrition of the Christians by instilling permanent social peace and stability based on justice, mutual respect, protecting rights of all citizens, in addition to launching socio-political plans designed to restore confidence in the future by minimizing unemployment. It is also important to embark on lubricating the wheels of economy and encouraging investment so as to guarantee a stable and prosperous future which consequently helps preserve the Christians' presence in the land of their ancestors. It is incumbent on the world leaders to immediately undertake tangible steps that ensure the safety and security of Christians of the Middle East, as well as to adopt measures that rectify the current situation by launching projects that fight unemployment and help create a better future.


This is the time to set alarm bells ringing based on the fact that if the process of emigration continues unabated, it will drift the Middle East countries into an era of darkness with monotonous days that are bereft of a lively and creative future.


It is important in this regard to recall that on September 3, 2013, dozens of invitees from all parts of the world gathered in Amman at the invitation of His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein to participate in a conference titled, “The Challenges Facing Middle East Christians.”


 At the time, the conference was held as a warning of what would happen a year later, namely the forcible displacement of Christians from Mosul and the rest of the townships in the Nineveh Plain, by the terrorist ISIS gang, which tore up the fabric of Iraq, as well as persecuted ethnic and religious minorities.


In his address, His Majesty made a glaring and resounding statement which must serve as a model to be emulated by world leaders. He said, “A Middle East without Christians, or with only a few Christians, would no longer be the Middle East.” The words of King Abdullah--which represent wisdom, perspicacity, and nobility-- should always resound in the Middle East, bearing in mind that over the years he has been the only leader who focuses on Christians, their glorious history, and their role in ensuring that the Middle East would remain a jewel of brotherhood and common living among all its components.


The Middle East Christians have all the time been serving as a key factor of stability and enlightenment in the societies where they live, as they played major roles in the progress of their societies in various fields. The Christian missionaries launched the first ever educational institutions in the region including schools and universities. These educational institutions refined their respective societies and entrenched a culture of modern civilization. They also built hospitals and health centers that helped heal the ill and contributed to the advancement of societies.


May the views expressed by Cardinal Zenari be thoroughly viewed and grasped so that expeditious action may be taken to reverse the wave of Christian emigration from the Middle East, and thus preserve its beauty represented in its diversity.

Images, Video or Audio
Munir Bayouk/