Saturday, March 10, 2012

Christians Leaving Kurdistan

Many of the Christians who have fled Iraq's major cities over the past decade fled north of Kurdistan. Now, it appears that is merely a waystation:
"Their flight is felt in places like the wind-scoured village of Tenna, which has sheltered dozens of Christian migrants over the past nine years. The families fleeing Baghdad’s death squads and bombings found safety here beneath the hulking mountains, but little else besides poverty, boredom and cold. Villagers estimate that half of the 50 or so Christian homes are now empty, their families abroad...

"The Kurdish government has offered land, free fuel and other assistance to Christians as they have arrived from Baghdad, and it has opened its universities to students from Mosul, officials say. And Christians do not lack a political voice. They sit on local and provincial councils throughout the north, and hold seats in Parliament in Kurdistan and Baghdad.

"Despite the help, many families say they are straining to stay afloat. Those close to cities have found jobs, but those in villages are largely unemployed, and they subsist on government pensions or relief payments of about $200 per month. They skip meals and share heating fuel. They are often miles from schools that teach in Arabic, and some parents say their children have dropped out."

This is a long decline from when the Patriarch of the Church of the East was among the most prominent members of the Abbasid elite during the 8th and 9th centuries.



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