Monday, March 03, 2008

Other Items

Two Christians were killed, and one was wounded, when the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Raho was kidnapped in Iraq on Friday afternoon.
Archbishop Raho was abducted in the eastern part of Mosul. He had just celebrated the rite of Via Cruis and was on his way back to the Holy Spirit Cathedral when his car was attacked. His driver, Faris, and one of his guards, Rami, were killed. The other guard, Samir, was wounded and was in a very critical condition at the time of this posting.
It is not known who has kidnapped 67-year-old archbishop, who is believed to be in poor health and requiring daily medication.
There have been other kidnappings and violent acts against Christians and church property in Mosul. In November 2006 a Syrian Orthodox priest who had been kidnapped was brutally murdered, on 3 June 2007 a priest and two deacons were killed as they left a church and on 17 January 2008 Al-Tahira Chaldean Church was bombed for the second time. Many Christian families have moved to either nearby areas that are under the control of the Kurdish Security Forces or to neighbouring countries.

The above is from "Iraq: concerns grow for safety of kidnapped archbishop" (Independent Catholic News) and on the same topic, Arizona's KPNX offers "Local Iraqi Christians react to Archbishop's kidnapping" (text and video):

During mass, the priest's translator told the congregation, 300 Catholics have been killed in Iraq, according to Chaldean Catholic records.
[. . .]
After mass Iraqis remembered a time before the war when they said they were much safer. "I'm going crazy," said Majdolin Hermiz. "What's happening? We used to live together like Muslims, Christians." They said now the lives of Christians in Iraq are in danger, while all they can do here is pray.

And, same topic, from ZENIT's "Pope Repeats Appeal for Iraqi Prelate's Release:"

Benedict XVI is appealing again for the release of the Chaldean archbishop of Mosul, Iraq, kidnapped Friday.
After leading the midday Angelus in St. Peter's Square today, the Pope repeated his appeal for the release of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho. The prelate was taken captive as he was leaving Mosul's Church of the Holy Spirit after participating in the Way of the Cross.
Three men who accompanied him, including his driver, were killed. Their funerals were held Saturday.
The Holy Father affirmed he is following this "dramatic event" with "profound sadness." He joined with "the call of the patriarch, Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, and his co-workers, for the dear prelate -- who is also in very poor health -- to be released immediately."

Iraq Veterans Against the War is gearing up for the DC action beginning March 13th, Michael Kramer's "IVAW holds New York City Winter Soldier event" (Workers World) reports on a preliminaty action:

More than 200 Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) supporters attended a preliminary Winter Soldier hearing Feb. 21 at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in Manhattan.
The local event was successful in building momentum for the national Winter Soldier 2008 hearings, scheduled for March 13-16 at the AFL-CIO affiliated National Labor College in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Silver Spring, Md.
Winter Soldier will feature testimony from U.S. veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and will expose the criminal nature of both wars.
The political unity of military veterans from different generations was in evidence as IVAW, Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace shared the stage and program.
Bill Perry, who testified at the original Winter Soldier hearings in 1971, described the war crimes he witnessed while serving with 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. Fernando Braga told about the anti-Arab racism that was part of his pre-Iraq deployment training at Fort Dix, N.J., while a member of the New York Army National Guard.
IVAW member and war resister Ryan Johnson was able to take part in the program from Canada via a live video feed. He is a member of the Winter Soldier Organizing Committee and described the situation of more than 50 absent without leave war resisters in Canada as they courageously struggle for human rights and against deportation. There is now an IVAW chapter in Toronto.
More ominously for the Bush administration and Pentagon generals, an IVAW chapter has recently been formed on the Fort Hood, Texas, army megabase. This base has more than 33,000 residents and is home to the 1st Cavalry Division and 4th Infantry Division.
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Finally, Gareth notes Michael Theodoulou's "Iran-Iraq visit upstages Bush" (The Scotsman):

A BEAMING Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revelled in a red-carpet welcome yesterday as he became the first Iranian president to visit Iraq, declaring "the Iraqi people do not like America".He said his trip had opened a "new page" in relations between Iran and Iraq, which fought a disastrous eight-year war that claimed a million lives. His visit was as symbolic as it was historic. Mr Ahmadinejad clearly delighted in upstaging prior trips to Iraq by George Bush. The Iranian leader arrived yesterday amid great fanfare on a two-day visit that was pre- announced.By contrast, the US president's visits were hurried and almost furtive. His presence was never revealed beforehand for security reasons – even though the US has 158,000 troops in Iraq – and he has never stayed overnight.