Assyrians need their home back
A large Assyrian IDP camp in Northern Iraq. Photo Credit, Jeff Gardner, 2015.
A recent article in Catholic Vote, Kate O’Hare reported on a plan by Eastern Rite Chaldean Catholic Bishop Mar Bawai Soro (from the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle in El Cajon, California) to team up with Las Vegas based private security company, Kingdom Special Operations, to build some 100 homes for Iraqi Christians.
While Restore Nineveh Now supports needed humanitarian aid to Assyrians in Iraq who have had their lives stolen by the Islamic State, we cannot help but join the chorus of those who have questions about this project – the need that it aims to address and its goals.
In the article, Mr. Roger Flores, the head of Kingdom Special Operations, states that their goal is to “create safe communities for Christian refugees away from Muslim-majority refugee camps,” but fails to say where, exactly, this is. When questioned about these details by readers in the comment section, Mr. Flores became hostile and defensive. A visit to Mr. Flores’ Go Fund Me page is no help either, with an undated photograph of Iraqis (are they Iraqis, Assyrians?) sleeping in a courtyard somewhere, and little to no details about in whose name Mr. Flores is collecting money.
Restore Nineveh Now has had its director of operations, Jeff Gardner, in and out of Northern Iraq visiting numerous Assyrian IDP camps. While there are certainly problems associated with these camps, hostile Muslim-majority refugee camps are not at the top of list. The greatest need for the Christians in Northern Iraq is to return to their homes, cities and lives.
Restore Nineveh Now hopes that whatever Mr. Flores is trying to do that he will honestly, and with great transparency, help Assyrians return to their real homes.