Adonis Diaries

Minorities in the Process of Disappearing: Iraq

Posted on: April 30, 2009

Minorities in the Process of Disappearing: Iraq Case (April 29, 2009)

 

            Germany has selected over 2,500 minority refugees of Iraq from the concentration camps in Jordan and Syria to be given political asylum. These selected refugees are mostly minority Christians and some Kurds of the Yazidy denomination.  The first batch is of 120 refugees. The first phase is the transit camp of Friedland, close to Gottingen, where the refugees undergo medical examination, learn the German Language, and dwell in austere furnished rooms, well heated with showers and toilet along the corridors. There is nothing to do within the transit camps and the best meeting period is at meal time.  The next phase is assigning the refugees to districts and temporary residences until they find jobs.  A refugee may apply to his preferred location but it up to the German government to assign him.

            Beside formal refugees there are many adolescents (less than 18 of age) not accompanied by adults (about 5,000) who were whisked away by their parents outside Iraq, Afghanistan, and Eritrea “for better life opportunities”. These non accompanied adolescents land in one of eight camps reserved for minors. They are aided to depositing asylum applications, learning the German Language, and offered medical assistance.   Half the minor refugees obtain residency permit and the other half are tolerated to stay 6 months and renewable. Then they are directed to youth foyers. At the age of 18 the adolescents can rejoin families who accept them in their homes.

            There are over a dozen minorities of ethnic and religious sects in Iraq.  The Christian minority sects were expulsed from the Byzantium Empire after the conclave of Necee (in current coastal Turkey) in 325 on grounds of “heresies”.  Emperor Constantine had supposedly converted to Christianity in an empire that was “pagan” prevalently.  Many of these Christian sects seek refuge on inaccessible mountains in Mount Lebanon and in regions outside the Byzantium Empire such as in Armenia, Iraq, and Iran.  These sects managed to survive for two thousand years; the first 600 years they survived because the successive Persian Empires were lenient with religious beliefs; when Islam conquered Persia and the major part of the Byzantium Empire in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and the eastern part of Turkey starting in the year of 640 these sects enjoyed the formal recognition and protection in verses of the Koran. The Prophet Muhammad named the Christian, Jewish, and Yazidy sects are believers in the One and Unique God Allah.  The other main factor for their survival was avoiding daily mingling with the Moslems and deciding to be secluded in isolated communities: They had their particular traditions and religious laws and they preferred to keep low profiles.

            Many of these sects have their own verbal and written languages and have their literature. For example, the Sabi2a sect writes in “mandaic”, a language mingling Aramaic and ancient Sumerian.  The Sabe2a (baptismal) revere John the Baptist and had communities by the Tigre River south of current Baghdad and wore white robes and had Spartans daily customs of avoiding meat and fire for cooking. They were around 30,000 and are now reduced to around 6,000. Among these minorities we have the Assyro-Chaldean sect and the Kurdish Yazidy sect who are remnants of the Zoroaster religion.

            The regime of Saddam Hussein protected and even favored many of the Christian sects.  As the US invaded Iraq, al hell broke loose; the extremist Sunni Moslems (Arabs and Kurds) waged campaigns of terrorism and extermination against these minorities. Finally, Sweden permitted many minorities who mainly fled to Syria to apply for asylum.

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adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2009
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