Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Iraq in 1992

Letter from an Iraqi Refugee

An unforgettable letter from a northern Iraqi refugee reached us in November 1992 from Stockholm, Sweden: These letters demonstrate movingly how our daily radio broadcast enabled us to minister to people in transit through many countries, from Iraq to Sweden. We were a link with their past when they had listened to us in their home back in Irbil, Iraq..
“I have heard your voice for years—in Iraq, my homeland, then in Iran, next in Jordan and now here in Sweden. I am thrilled to be able to hear you. At last I can ask for and hope to receive all of your books.”
The following February, 1993, we received another longer letter which described and enlarged upon his first rather terse communication:
Dear Rev. Bassam Madany,
Greetings! I have just received your beautiful book, THE TEACHINGS OF THE HOLY BIBLE. I was so happy to get it and express my deep thanks. The books you are sending me are the only means of comfort in this land of refuge. Both my children and their mother are at present far away from me in another land of refuge. This forced separation took place around a year ago. I am now waiting on the Swedish authorities to bring the union of my family. Both my wife and my children are in an extreme need to be reunited with me and to find a better future.
We left our native land in northern Iraq around two years ago, exactly on 31st March, 1991. We were celebrating the first day of Easter. We dressed up for the occasion and went to church in our city of Irbil; I, my wife and three children accompanied by my aged mother and my older sister. We had left at home all the special food of Easter: colored eggs, stuffed chicken and many other of the nice things of our land.
Yes, we left for church at dawn as was our custom, and we never went back home. We were attacked (by Saddam Hussein’s army—this is a Kurdish area) and found ourselves fleeing on foot without food or drink. Finally we made it to Iran after a long march which took eight days over the Kurdistan mountains and valleys with snow and rain falling on us. The Iraqi army was following us with its huge guns and its air power. My story is very, very long. In fact, we experienced what the Lord mentioned in the Gospel:
“Let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak.” Matthew 24: 16-18
We left everything behind, and headed for the mountains. Our faith was strong that we were going to make it, having had communion early in the morning prior to the army’s attack. Would you believe it? They attacked us on that Holy Day in a beastly manner with their tanks, their airplanes and other weapons of destruction.
Please forgive me for these words. I just happened to remember those days and could no longer control my nerves and so had to express myself in this fashion. I will write again.

August 1993: Thanks for the three books you sent me which have become my constant companions. The Lord has listened to my prayers and yours. My family arrived recently from Jordan and they are all well. To God alone be the praise!

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Posted by Shirley

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