Wednesday, August 13, 2014

TOP STORY >> Genocide threatens minorities

Leader editor

“They were trying to kill us because we were Christians.”
—Teenage girl from Homs, Syria

A huge humanitarian disaster was unfolding last month while the western world and much of the media looked away. They focused on a tiny area on the Mediterranean controlled by a group of Moslem fanatics, who have held their own people hostage while provoking another senseless war with Israel.

Western media have long been sympathetic toward the plight of the Palestinians, while downplaying Hamas’ cynical strategy of urban warfare that inevitably leads to civilian deaths.

Until recently, the media ignored the genocide of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East, where Islamists want to destroy the ancient Christian communities as much as they want to destroy Israel.

Hamas started another war it could not win. Much of Gaza is in ruins. At least 1,900 Palestinians are dead — about half of them Hamas fighters — but in July and early August, the media concentrated on the carnage in Gaza, while hundreds of thousands of Christians, Kurds and Arabs from small sects in Iraq and Syria were murdered, forced to flee or convert to Islam.

The terrible details are just emerging: Many victims were beheaded. Others were buried alive. Some were crucified. Hundreds of women have been kidnapped to become concubines.

The Christian community has been forced out of Mosul. Their churches have been turned into mosques. The Syrian Orthodox bishop there says his people are victims of genocide.

Those who stayed and couldn’t pay a $350 tax on infidels had to convert.

Violence continues to spread throughout Iraq, Syria and Kurdistan. The world’s media are just catching on to the unfolding disaster.

But, until last weekend, you probably hadn’t heard much about the genocide in those war-torn areas.

There was not much reporting in the western media about the destruction of Christian communities in Syria and Iraq. You may have found out about the violence by following Christian websites, which were among the first to report the mindless destruction of ancient communities, along with Jonah’s tomb in Nineveh.

Washington and the world community are finally promising aid to the beleaguered people.
In the mountains of northwest Iraq, as many as 500,000 Yazidis face extinction as a fanatical army of Moslem extremists advance on their communities.

The Islamic State militia considers Yazidis devil worshippers, but they’re now getting help: C-130s are dropping badly needed supplies for Yazidis, who are being rescued from mountaintops.

Yazidi families on the run from ISIS are often separated in the desert, their women taken captive and relatives frantically trying to find them in the scorching heat.

“There are many missing, many” a man who lost his 17-year-old son while fleeing  gunmen told the Associated Press on Monday.

The media usually miss the big story until it’s too late. Maybe it’s not too late this time.

The Obama administration announced over the weekend that we’ll help resettle the Yazidis, who have lived in the area for hundreds of years and helped the U.S. military topple Saddam Hussein.

The U.S. must find new homes for them while we bomb ISIS militants. We’re not leaving Iraq behind anytime soon.

The administration will also arm the long-suffering Kurds, who have fought Arab extremists for decades and have formed their own independent nation of Kurdistan in an area that straddles Iraq and Syria. They deserve our help.

The bombing campaign against ISIS could take months, and, even if it succeeds, Sunnis, Shiite, Kurds and others hope to set up their own self-governing regions.

There’s no easy way out, as President Obama has realized, but we cannot leave hundreds of thousands of innocent people behind who are threatened with another genocide.

Southerners especially, who are strong supporters of Israel, should pressure their representatives on the behalf of fellow Christians in the Middle East who are as threatened as the people of Israel.