05/04/2022, 11.49
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Card. Sako: 'Civil and democratic' state to discourage emigration

Chaldean primate stresses importance of "equal" rights and culture to cement common belonging, stronger than religious, ethnic or gender affiliation. The contribution of Christians to the development of the country, the educational commitment resulting from human values and moral principles such as brotherhood. Attempts at demographic upheaval still underway. 



Baghdad (AsiaNews) - Chaldean Primate, Card. Louis Raphael Sako, has called for the establishment of a "civil and democratic" state, in which all citizens are "equal" in law and culture, regardless of "religious affiliation, ethnicity or gender", because "there is no true democracy" in a country without "strong" institutions. His words were conatined in a reflection published on the patriarchate's website in which he returns to discuss migration, a "phenomenon of our time." In the document, the cardinal attacks those who "mix" religion and politics in order to "distort them", as happens "with political Islam" or Christianity "in the Middle Ages". And he does not spare criticism of the "culture of quotas" that hinder the birth of a "modern state" that embraces all.

The Chaldean primate has repeatedly explored the issue of migration, which closely affects the Iraqi Christian community - reduced by one third since the 2003 US invasion, from nearly one and a half million to less than 500,000 - and which has suffered so much from persecution. He launched repeated appeals for a future that must be built on "guarantees" and a "common basis" represented by citizenship. While the challenge of emigration can be overcome only by "restoring a social and political fabric" to the people on which "to rebuild their lives".

Card. Sako stressed the importance of "educational commitment" that stems from "fundamental human" values and "moral principles" such as brotherhood, love and tolerance. In order to build a strong nation, a "common goal" and a "common education" are needed, which are "foundations" of coexistence, and based on "citizenship, equality and justice". The cardinal then attacked the quota system that has long regulated social, political and economic life and that has often favored the interest of one side, while a representative of the institutions must "represent and defend all Iraqis. 

Moreover, emigration is often the result of painful choices that lead to leave "one's own land, family, society and culture". An exodus, he continues, that is caused by "absurd conflicts and wars", by "corruption and absence of democracy, justice and equality" as happened in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and "what is happening today in Ukraine", following "the absurd war" launched by Russia. The Chaldean primate then dwells on "the emigration of Iraqi Christians," linked to multiple factors, from confessional violence to the rise of the Islamic State (IS, formerly Isis) in the north.

Still today, he notes, there are attacks by Shiite militias in the plain of Nineveh, which risk causing a demographic upheaval in an area historically with a Christian majority. Christians are "the original people" of this land, present "before the advent of Islam". They played an "important role" before and after the rise of Muslims "in the construction of civilization" by affirming the "commandment of love" that must embrace even enemies in a common perspective "of peace and tolerance", far from "hatred and revenge."

Card. Sako finally addressed a thought to the Christians who remained in Iraq, who "wish to continue their lives" in the country and participate "in its construction, its progress and its prosperity." Nevertheless, they face attacks, abuses, violations, discrimination that, in some cases, result in "demographic change of entire villages" or "in the abandonment of heritage and property" in the face of the prospect of being sacrificial victims "thus losing confidence in the future." "The government and the Church - he concludes - must carefully analyze the phenomenon and treat it seriously, far from the current one, enacting a new legislation that makes citizens equal and creates the prospects for a dignified life."

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