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Seeing Turkey’s election this month, in which the Turks used their democratic freedom to vote themselves out of their democratic freedom — just to throw it out — should remind us that the Judeo-Christian values which we take for granted are more fragile than we may have thought.
Shortly after the liberation of Iraq in 2003, the only way to get into immediate postwar Baghdad was to get a ride in Amman, Jordan, and take it across the desert to Iraq.
A bulletin board in Jordan’s Amman Intercontinental Hotel would list who was going to Baghdad and we all hitched rides with whomever we could get.
So, on a crazy trip, the well-known “Baghdad Dash,” three of us crammed into a tiny, not so cool-looking car and made our way across the desert.
Halfway, the engine stopped. In typical Mohammedan fashion, the driver said “Insha’ Allah” (“God’s will”), got out of the car and walked off.
The Iraqi desert (illustrative). Image source: U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. James B. Hoke.
My fellow-strandee, a Russian doctor, said he had been going to Iraq to help.
“I was going into Iraq to offer my services,” he said.
“You are going to help as well. Our faith is what has called us to assist. The Judeo-Christian nations of the world need to band together to stand up for our freedoms, our nations, the values we care about: free speech, equal justice under law, separation of church and state, freedom of religion, independent judiciary, independent education — things like that — our whole humanitarian code of conduct.”
I had never heard this thought expressed quite like that.
“We hear day and night, ‘the Muslim community’ and ‘Muslim-majority nations,'” he said.
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“Why, then, cannot we use ‘the Judeo-Christian community’ or ‘Judeo-Christian majority nations’? Look at Europe, the Philippines, Israel, Africa, Australia, North and South America…This is our identity. We need to stop seizing on foolish and petty divisions and band together.”
We found a satellite telephone and reached someone who rescued us and took us to Baghdad.
As we got of the car and asked if anyone had seen the driver, he said:
“It is time for the Christian world to stand up for our history, values and worldview along with our brothers, the Jewish community — not only in Israel, but the world over. If we do not look after us, someone else will. But we may not like what comes out.”
Amir George, an Assyrian Christian, is the author of “Liberating Iraq: The Story of the Assyrian Christians of Iraq.”
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