A Reconciled Future

Publish date 26-07-2021

by Claudio Monge

Pope Francis in Iraq. A prophetic journey to the test of ridiculous partisan disputes.

















It is now known to all that Pope Francis's recent historic trip to Iraq ended with a great final mass celebrated in the Franso Hariri stadium in Erbil, capital of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, in the presence of the main political and religious authorities but also , with the endorsement, negotiated in due time, of the central government of Baghdad and its Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi who, after the papal voyage, established, for March 6 each year, the National Day of Tolerance and coexistence.

Perhaps few know, however, that Franso Hariri, Iraqi Kurdish independence hero and ex-governor of Erbil, was an Assyrian Christian, assassinated in 2001 by Muslims belonging to Ansar al-Islam, a terrorist group active in Iraq and Syria and belonging to the criminal galaxy. of al-Qaeda. Christians have never had an easy life even in the Kurdish region, despite having found refuge there in the darkest weeks of the night of the caliphate. Breaking the Eucharistic bread in Erbil, the last public act of Francis' apostolic journey to the land of the Tigris and the Euphrates, was one more occasion to reaffirm that Christians, Kurds or not, are called to be protagonists, with all the other ethnic, cultural, religious and political entities that characterize the Iraqi diversity of the future, hopefully reconciled and inclusive, of Iraq. To do this, it will be necessary to continue to fight against partisan interests and short-range ideological visions, such as those once again manifested with the affair of stamps issued by the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, to celebrate the historic papal visit.

In one of them there was a map of "Greater Kurdistan" as a background to the profile of the Pope. It is a 450,000 sq km area inhabited by the Kurdish ethnic population, divided between Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq, which, in reality, even before having to be assessed in terms of compatibility with the "right to self-determination" would find, however, an insurmountable obstacle in the will of the subjects themselves who should exercise it! This entirely theoretical project has nothing to do, in fact, with the aspiration of four independent Kurdish entities. Of these, the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan in Iraq is, among other things, the only one that, concretely, still yearns for political independence, in addition to the request of all Kurds for a necessary historical and cultural recognition! In short, that of the unfortunate postage stamp was a mess of the Erbil authorities (an oversight, a malice?), Forced to embarrassed and ridiculous backwards in the face of the vehement reactions of Turkey and Iran, countries which, moreover, had no objection , at the official diplomatic level, against the program of the Apostolic Journey to neighboring Iraq.

In short, the only ones to rejoice in the diplomatic incident caused by the Erbil authorities were the stamp collectors (the series was offered on March 5, upon the arrival of Francesco, and universally published, becoming a collector's rarity when the incriminated postage stamp) as well as the usual (well-known) "vultures" that flesh out the small group of to the bitter end opponents of Pope Francis, ready every time to make up the facts, blinded by their "prejudiced ignorance". Yet, it would be enough to inquire to know that there is no explicit pronouncement by the United Nations General Assembly on a "legitimate right to Greater Kurdistan" (the debate on a generic right to self-determination of peoples, supported by years from the UN), as it is farcical to label Francis's journey as the folly of a naive Pope, manipulated by regional powers. «Now, the time is approaching to leave for Rome. But Iraq will always remain with me, in my heart - the Holy Father said in his final greeting at the stadium in Erbil - Salam, salam, salam! Shukrán! God bless everyone! God bless Iraq! " It was yet another appeal to unity in the diversity of a whole nation, with all due respect to the allies of the "διαβάλλω (diabàllo)" ... he who sows division.

 Breaking the Eucharistic bread in Erbil was one more occasion to reaffirm that Christians, Kurdish or not, are called to be protagonists.

NP Aprile 2021

Claudio Monge



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