My Dear Friends,
To be ripped from our neighborhood, the ancient land we have shared, so companionably for so long, is a tragedy that must transform each of us. I have been forever changed by the experience of being marched away at gunpoint, empty-handed, my past wrested from me. They gave me two choices, leave or die. And you, too, are changed for having to quietly watch me go, or die yourselves. It is not how old neighbors should part.
Why do they do this? Because they can. Because the “great men” and peace-prize-winning princes of the age will not stop them. Because they have been given uniforms and arms, and the sense of strength and prestige that goes with them, and these things are like a salve to their weakness, a balm to their spiritual wounds of inadequacy. Yet, I believe that somewhere deep inside they know this is all an illusion of might, a falsity that feeds their sickness.
Perhaps that is what makes them so dangerous. Give a security guard with a dejected soul a uniform and he begins to believe he is a police officer. Give weapons and a dubious cause to a people who have felt disrespected and thwarted in their creative ambitions, and they will quickly seek to affirm themselves with a demonstration of their new powers. Having felt like nobodies for too long, they must become somebodies, and this they do by dismantling the personhood of others, by obliterating their pasts.
And so they have pointed missiles at our shrines and holy places, and flattened them. They have confiscated our homes. They gave us no time to collect the treasured mementos or to pack the clothes and photos and spare cash that might sustain us. They killed our friends, so we would know we are only creatures. They forced us to leave with nothing but the clothes on our backs, not even water or medicine or passports or indentifying papers. In this way, they tore us from our past; permitted us no standing, no reflection of who we are.
Our Fertile Crescent was the place from which life expanded ever-outward, and with life there is light. It is today a place only of impending doom, of darkness. What have the Christians done to be exiled, like this? Who will help us? Turkey? Europe? The Kurds, bless them, are giving us refuge for a time, but where shall we run? Lord, to whom shall we go?
Please finish the piece. You'll not regret it.
And pray. Now more than ever, prayers are needed.