ASSYRIA: BACKGROUND, OVERVIEW AND URGENT NEEDS (From Afaf Konja)
Assyria was one of the Great Mesopotamian powers along with the Babylonians and the nearby Persians. Today the area covers modern day Syria (Assyria), Iraq (Babylon) and Iran (Persia).
Assyrian people, also known as Chaldeans, Syriacs, and Arameans. We are a Christian, Semitic, ethnoreligious group indigenous to the Middle East. Most Assyrians speak a Neo-Aramaic language. We understand that Aramaic is the language Jesus spoke.
Before the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, Iraq was very much living in the 21st century and home to about 1.5 million Christians. But after sectarian violence commenced and the brutal Islamic State terrorist organization rose to power in 2014, only about 200- 250,000 Iraqi Christians remain today.
(According to Foreign Policy Journal) To give you an idea of the reality in Iraq today: More than half of the Iraqi population is either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced or in foreign exile.
Major and urgent needs: Orphanages. Per Mother Superior of Chaldean Catholic diocese in Michigan: We currently only have two convents run by monks and nuns that take in orphans. Originally located in Mosul, but have been moved to Alkosh for safety reasons.
Per UNICEF: clean water and sanitation: Less than half of Iraq’s population has reliable access to potable water due to the wars. In terms of sanitation, less than 10 percent of urban households outside Baghdad are connected to sanitary sewage systems, causing cholera outbreaks.
Of course, Christian and other minority communities across the Nineveh region need to rebuild their entire existence and that means critical infrastructures, including, hospitals, houses, schools, churches.