From War to Peace

Reflections on Iraq from Lebanon

The plane from Amman to Beirut carries a Catholic nun sitting on a window seat. Her eyes are full of unshed tears and she carries an object tightly in her closed fist. Her companion turns to her asking: "Why are you so sad sister?? "I am a Franciscan nun" she answers, "I just have come from Baghdad after closing down our century old girl's school that was in service of the Iraqi community. She opens her hand and shows a key.  "We couldn't take it anymore, the facility was bombed so many times, we lost a couple of nuns, the students did not feel safe commuting and we have finally decided to close down. I am the last one leaving. What a shame. We educated generations of young modern Iraqi women who have all become prominent leaders holding important positions in the world. It's the end of an era."

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The Churches of the Middle East and the Challenges of the War in Iraq

To say it positively, the churches in Iraq and the region have been faced with new challenges in their ministries since and as a result of the American invasion to of Iraq.  To put it differently, they have been faced with big and serious problems they neither needed nor for which they were prepared.  The war has indeed created a serious problem for the churches, which were already struggling to survive and maintain as active a presence and witness as possible.

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A View from Jordan

Not for the first time, stable, Jordan is serving as a haven for refugees from a strife-torn neighbor, its streets filling with Iraqis. As Iraq is now closer to an all-out civil war, neighboring Jordan is playing a key role as a refuge for hundreds of thousands fleeing the mounting sectarian violence. Many of those now fleeing lack financial resources and it is unclear how much longer Jordan can continue to absorb them.

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The Suffering of the Iraqi People

Most people think of the Middle East as Arab and Muslim, but it is not exclusively the case. Before the rise of Islam in the seventh century the predominant population of what is now Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt was mostly Christian.

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A Story from Iraq

Huda is a widow and a mother of three—two sons and a daughter.  Her children are Issa (17 years old), Rami (12), and Souad (13).  Huda's husband was killed in the early part of the invasion during a road-side bomb in a very poor neighborhood of Baghdad where the family lived.  Huda was working as a cleaning lady and babysitter for some families. These jobs are the family's only source of income.  But when Huda became very ill, Issa left school in order to work and help taking care of the rest of the family, especially the other two children who are still in school.

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