ICC Note: Two years have passed since ISIS overran much of the Nineveh Plains displacing hundreds of thousands. Now, living as refugees in their own nation, many Christians commemorate the tragic time with prayer services and other events. Many filled the squares of Erbil with candles and signs reading “Liberate Mosul.”
Iraq (WWM): It’s been two years since thousands of Christians fled their homes in Mosul and the Nineveh Plains to run away from the advancing armies of the so-called Islamic State. But now, as Iraqi forces plan to retake Mosul, the Christians are praying they will soon be able to return home.Iraqi Christians in Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps across the country held prayer services and other memorial events throughout the weekend to mark the “Black Day” on 6-7 August, 2014, when IS took several towns surrounding Mosul, such as Qaraqosh.
In the Karamles camp (named after a village still occupied by IS) in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, just 50 miles from Mosul, the central square was filled with people carrying candles, symbolising the light of Christ. The flames lit the words on the posters they were holding: “Liberate Mosul!”Martin was a young assistant to his priest as a new IDP from Karamles, whose story World Watch Monitor reported in 2015.
In a video-interview at that time, Martin said how he’d had the chance to leave for the US but chose to stay to serve his community.“This situation has proved my calling,” he said. “I am needed here at this moment to feed my people with charity and with hope.”Now, about to become one of the two official priests of the Karamles camp, Martin had the idea to suggest that his fellow IDPs gather in their families for “Pesach” meals.
This meal, first eaten by the Israelites the night they fled Egypt after all Egyptian first-born sons were killed in the last of the plagues, has become the weekly Jewish “Seder”. It commemorates the way that the spirit of death “passed over” every Israelite home because its doorpost was daubed with a sacrificed lamb’s blood, as well as God’s provision while the Jews wandered in exile. The parallel with the way the Christians had to flee the Nineveh plain, amidst the arrival of “N” signs daubed on their doorways two years ago, was not lost.“God has been with us all the time, He has protected us from direct violence and led us out just in time,” said Martin.“Even if we don’t live in our own village, we can live out our faith here, be a loving community and a light for our surroundings. Of course we want to go back to our houses, unlock the doors and start rebuilding.
Pray that this once will be set free!