There is no doubt that Iraq, despite considerable efforts made by the Iraqi government, NGO’s and the U.S-led coalition, has nonetheless been a chaotic place for the past three decades.
For much of my life the birthplace of civilization has been the cradle of conflict. I remember being fascinated when my parents told me about the war between Iraq and Iran. Here was a war that had been going on since before I was even born. A concept that fascinated me at the time, but that saddens me today … because war in one form or another has raged mostly unbated in Iraq since my birth.
More than anyone else, the religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq have suffered inordinately - losing not only their livelihoods, homes and possessions, but sometimes also their lives. Their plight is made all the more troubling since many around the world don’t even know that Iraq is home to a diverse set of religious minorities - including some communities (such as the 3,000 Sabean Mandaeans) that have been living in Iraq since pre-Christian times.
Today, many have fled the country, seeking refuge in Europe, the U.S., Kurdish Iraq or in other neighboring Middle Eastern countries. I have learned a lot about these communities through regular interaction and close friendships with many of those refugees who chose to settle here in the U.S and last week I spoke about their plight at aconference in Toronto.
If you are interested in helping either by donating time, labor or funds, I urge you to contact me or any of these organizations: