The Telegraph has a good article about Syria’s Christians, who are trying to defend themselves against the depredations of ISIS. (What’s more, it’s the beginning of the month, so you can actually read it–the Telegraph has a bizarre business model that causes articles published early in the month to have 10 to 20 times as many readers–I’m guessing here–as articles published at the end of the month. But that’s a digression.)
Christian militias have existed for a number of years, sometimes patrolling neighbourhoods, sometimes venturing further afield. But now they are engaged in their first major battle.
For the last week, they have been fighting the jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant across a major front in north-west Syria, in alliance with the YPG, the Kurdish defence forces. They have had mixed fortunes, but the battle has energised Middle East Christians worldwide – many of them exiles who fled the chaos of post-Saddam Iraq. …
In 2003, the Christian population of Iraq was well over one million. Now it is less than half that. In June last year, more than 600,000 were driven out of their homes when Isil swept across the Nineveh plain, traditional homeland of Assyrian Christians, in northern Iraq.
Few actually felt compelled to fight, though, until the onslaught against Christian villages and churches, first by Jabhat al-Nusra, and later by Isil.
Christians have seen churches blown up, crosses torn down, and those living under jihadist rule have been forced to pay the “jizya”, a special tax.
In a particular irony, Armenian Christians who came to Syria in flight from pogroms in their native Turkey 100 years ago have now been forced to flee in the opposite direction.
The Armenian genocide was a slaughter of millions of Christians by Muslims. I am not sure why history does not remember it as such, but I can guess.
ISIS has attacked a number of Christian villages in Syria and taken hundreds of hostages. Their fate will most likely be frightful, but I haven’t seen any news about them for a few days. As I have written many times before, I am mystified as to why American Christians don’t seem more concerned about the fate of the Christian community in the Middle East, which is on life support.
My own view is that our government should dispatch whatever forces are necessary to Iraq and Syria and destroy ISIS, as promptly as possible. Lest there be any misunderstanding, I mean that we should “kill ourselves out of this war” by annihilating every person who resists on behalf of that devilish movement.