Bishop of Kirkuk: New Iraq Needs Europe's Help
Interview With Chaldean Church's Louis Sako
ROME, NOV. 3, 2003 (ZENIT - MISNA). Postwar Iraq is hoping that Europe doesn't abandon the nation.
So says new Chaldean Bishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk, in an interview in this month's issue of the Italian magazine Mondo e Missione.
Bishop Sako, named at the end of September and interviewed while in Italy as a guest of Pax Christi, is a top figure of the local Chaldean Church. A former rector of the seminary of Baghdad, he served as parish priest in the northern city of Mosul.
In recent months, he was elected by the population as the vice president of the interim Council of Mosul. But, being a priest, he refused the post in favor of another Chaldean representative. Here are some passages of the interview.
Q: How is life today in Iraq?
Bishop Sako: Saddam had transformed Iraq into an enormous military barracks. Two wars and 12 years of embargo resulted in a mass exodus of Iraqis abroad and a million deaths.
Today the people are happy about the change, the renewed possibility of freedom. In a few months, 80 new parties were formed, five of which are Christian. Freedom of press made possible the opening of dozens of new newspapers. Of these, six are Christian. There are also some Christian TV broadcasts originating in Mosul.
All this was not possible under Saddam!
Q: But the price of all this was a war.
Bishop Sako: Yes, but the target was not the civilians.
Q: You defend what the Americans did.
Bishop Sako: I am not trying to say that they are angels! They have their interests; they came to Iraq for that reason, not to free the Iraqis. But the fruit is, in fact, liberation.
Q: It is feared that Saddam's men are still in circulation.
Bishop Sako: There are no longer any people tied to the dictator. There are instead Arab combatants that entered Iraq, paid by the fundamentalist movements of neighboring nations or even by their respective governments.
There are those who do not want an open and free Iraq. The authors of the continuing clashes are random splinters, without any popular support.
Q: Iraq is moving slowly toward democracy. Are you satisfied with the "experiments" under way, for example, in Mosul and Kirkuk?
Bishop Sako: Yes. The people appreciate freedom. At times they criticize the choices of the Americans, but the process under way is efficient. The population personally elected me as vice president of the interim Council of Mosul. I refused the post, but am still part of the council.
We are working with the Americans since last May and I am optimistic. Undoubtedly the U.S. made some mistakes.
Q: Such as?
Bishop Sako: Their reactions are slow and they above all have not understood the Iraqi mentality and habits, the story of the nation. But they have also done some good things. The problem is of not knowing who they can trust. They live in a constant state of mistrust; the soldiers tend to shoot on a slight hint of threat.
Q: Why do you say that the Americans do not understand the Iraqis?
Bishop Sako: We are moderates by nature; the extremisms taking place are fomented from outside. It is very evident that democracy in Iraq would preoccupy the surrounding nations.
Q: Should we hope for a domino effect, i.e. that a democratic solution in Iraq will bring positive consequences to the entire region?
Bishop Sako: I don't know. The Iraqi population is among the most educated of the area. The embargo also largely affected education, but the Iraqi cultural and academic tradition is at a good level, even the Americans recognized this.
There is not the same level of education everywhere. What is certain is that your help is needed: Europe must pressure Iraq's bordering nations. While we need to learn, American democracy is not the only model -- Europe has a precious patrimony. The point today is to create an Iraqi-style democracy.
Q: You are in the process of writing your Constitution.
Bishop Sako: The national committee is at work and among its 200 members there are also five Christians [one of which is Bishop Sako]. But it takes time. The future will unfold with many small steps, the people must be formed to a new mentality.
Q: What role do you see for the Christians in this phase?
Bishop Sako: They have an important duty, despite their being relatively few. But ours is not a strength of numbers, but of culture, values, fraternity, and openness to friendly criticism.
Q: How much weight did the intervention of the Pope have in avoiding the conflict being seen as a religious war?
Bishop Sako: Extensive. The Muslims attempted to depict the war as a crusade against Islam. But they soon realized that the bombings touched everyone, Christians included, and understood that the U.S. was intervening in Iraq for economic and political reasons, not religious.
Q: What do you expect of the international community and churches abroad?
Bishop Sako: To not forget us! There are 700,000 Christians in Iraq. When in a year Iraq is out of the limelight, who will remember us? It already occurred with the Gulf War and embargo.
I launch an appeal to all the religious congregations: Come to Iraq to lend a hand, especially for formation and not only of Christians. We need to rebuild the actual Iraqi man, and we are not able to do it alone. Iraq has enormous economic potential, but spiritual resources are also needed.
Q: What future do you see for Iraq? What role do you see for the U.N.?
Bishop Sako: Europe must have a crucial role. There was extensive support before the war, while today we do not have any political support. A mistake: Europe must not leave the U.S. alone in the reconstruction of the nation.
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Iraq, War, Chaldean Bishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- King Richard III's detailed personal prayer book, 'Book of Hours.' is ...
- 'Living Lent': Ash Wednesday - Day 1
- Saint Pio Relay for Pro-Life and Peace
- Mardi Gras' History in New Orleans HD Video
- St. David: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, March 01, 2017
- Ash Wednesday HD Video
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, March 01, 2017
- hail holy queen
- saint elizabeth
- saint paul
- saint christopher
- st mary
- nicene creed
- our lady of guadalupe
- saint francis of assisi
- young children
- Saint Nicole
- st. michael
- saint francis
- st nicholas
- all saints day
- list of saints
- st anne
- st christopher
- St. Joseph
- juan diego
- Living Lent HD
- An Ancient Lent Challenge: How to take Lent to the next level HD
- Mardi Gras' History in New Orleans HD
- Ash Wednesday HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.