Lenten Rememberings – Iraq

Iraqi FoodAs Iraqi Security Forces push deeper into Mosul, attempting to take back the city from IS or Islamic State, many are fleeing their homes and looking for safer places to stay. According the the UNHCR, 238,236 Iraqis have been uprooted from their homes in Mosul and surrounding areas since October 2016. Since January 2014, three million Iraqis have become internally displaced, meaning they have not been able to flee the country to become refugees, but have left their homes and have moved to other areas of the country in an effort to find safety. Refugees who have made it out of the country number roughly 250,952 and are hosted in surrounding countries.

Three million…internally displaced people!
That blows my mind!

How can we be moved to compassion by starving children in one part of the world, but turn away from dying children and their families in a Muslim country? How easily we hide behind bans or labels as an excuse to brush aside what is going on. Iraqis are our neighbors, just as much as anybody else. If you are afraid of terrorists, you should feel compassion because the Iraqis on the run are experiencing terrorism on their own soil. We have no idea.

What if three million Americans had lost their homes and were on the run to stay alive?

While most Iraqis have not been able to make it out, love and hope are on the ground as a group of peacemakers called Preemptive Love Coalition goes into the hard places, confronting fear and hate with the transformative powers of love. Providing food, shelter and emergency medical supplies to families on the run, education to at-risk children, and grants for small business owners, they are love in action. I’ve followed them for some time now and highly recommend getting involved in some way, so that your love for those in need moves from an idea to action. “Love” for them is an action verb and they do it so well.

You can purchase products made by refugees.

You can donate your money.

Follow them on Facebook and see for yourself the power of love under fire.

Our evening meal consisted of Khubz (Iraqi flat bread), Hummus, FattoushMujadara ( a rice and lentil dish), and spinach chickpea stew. We topped it off with Qatayef for dessert, a fried pastry filled with nuts and soaked in sugar syrup.