A translation follows of a YouTube video originally recorded by the Assyrian TV Channel “Isthar TV.” This young Iraqi Christian from Mosul is displaced because of the violence of ISIS. She calls for a stop to the violence and the restoration of human dignity, citing references from the Quran and the prophet of Islam.
View the video to see and hear her speak in her native Arabic. The following translation will give you the content.
Is life as a human being without one’s own identity possible? I don’t think so.
The most natural right of a human being is the right of an identity.
I don’t wish my experiences in Mosul on any human being on earth. They threatened us with death. They forced us to pay jizya [tax for non-muslims, also called “protection money”] knowing that we can’t. After years here, we leave in near poverty. They took away our right to move freely. In our emergency, we Christians looked for help everywhere, but they didn’t help us.
They removed us from the rationed redistribution of food. The reason was always the same: “You are Christians; You don’t have any rights here”.
Now, I ask you (Muslims of Mosul): Why are you doing this to us? Why did you abandon us? We were neighbors; we were a community. We all lived together and supported each other as doctors, pharmacists, and as workers. Why did you turn your back on us? Is this what we earn for all what we did in our community?
The Quran says that no one can enter a stranger’s home without being let in or entering by force. Why did you demolish all our homes and take all our possessions? Your Prophet says that a nice word is already a good deed. Why does a salesman, with whom I talked and from whom I bought something yesterday, not want to have anything to do with me?
The extremists of ISIS could never have captured our beautiful city if they were not welcomed by the majority. If my neighbors had stood by my side, ISIS couldn’t have forced me to leave. That is what hurts me most-our community betrayed us.
That is the fourth time I had to leave my home. The fourth time I have been displaced. The fourth time someone told me that I have “to go away from here.” But where should I go to? Many of us never reached their destinations, whether Europe or America, because they died on their way. I lost everything-my house, because it was destroyed; My work, because nobody would employ a Christian; My future, because you can’t expect support from the Iraqi government. But I especially lost my memories from the past. Because even if one day we might return home, nothing will be like it once was.
I plead to the international community, to churches, to human rights organizations, to the U.N.-to all who promote a peaceful living-help us!
Father, we pray for this young woman and for the thousands of other Christians like her in Iraq who have had to leave their homes and flee to places of refuge- places some of them have yet to find. We are all pilgrims on this earth; it is not our true home. But for these believers, whose earthly situations are dire, we pray that You will provide shelter and food; that You will provide protection from weather and from attack. Remove fear and replace it with faith and courage. Remove bitterness and replace it with compassion and forgiveness. Remove despair and replace it with hope. Where neighbors have betrayed them, bring to mind Your faithfulness. Help them to know they are surrounded by our prayers. Show us ways we might stand with them in calling for justice. In the name of Jesus who on this earth had no place to lay his head and who suffered betrayal that we might find a home and identity as children of the King, Amen.