Patterico's Pontifications


Christmas in Iraq

Filed under: War — DRJ @ 2:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Christmas in Iraq is surging:

Iraqis Crowd Churches for Christmas Mass

Thousands of Iraqi Christians made their way to church through checkpoints and streets lined with blast walls, many drawing hope from a lull in violence to celebrate Christmas Mass in numbers unthinkable a year ago.
Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, leader of the ancient Chaldean Catholic Church and Iraq’s first cardinal, celebrated Mass before about 2,000 people in the Mar Eliya Church the eastern New Baghdad neighborhood of the capital. “Iraq is a bouquet of flowers of different colors, each color represents a religion or ethnicity but all of them have the same scent,” the 80-year-old Delly told the congregation.

Muslim clerics—both Sunni and Shiite—also attended the service in a sign of unity. “May Iraq be safe every year, and may our Christian brothers be safe every year,” Shiite cleric Hadi al-Jazail told AP Television News outside the church. “We came to celebrate with them and to reassure them.”

William Jalal, a 39-year old father of three attending Mass at Mar Eliya, said this Christmas was clearly different.

“We didn’t celebrate like this in the past two years as we were holding limited celebrations for relatives in an atmosphere filled with fear,” said Jalal, a cook in one of Baghdad’s social clubs. “Now we feel better as we see all these security forces in the streets to protect us.”

It sounds like Iraqi Army and Police are the ones providing protection. That’s good news, too.


18 Responses to “Christmas in Iraq”

  1. That wretched AP. Why do they hate America?

    steve (93b2d6)

  2. It wasn’t written by Steven R. Hurst, was it?

    DRJ (09f144)


    That Steven R. Hurst?

    steve (93b2d6)

  4. Yes, the same one and I posted on his November 3rd article here. However, that article and this decidedly less optimistic article from November 6th are the last Iraq-based articles I can find for Mr. Hurst, despite the fact that he previously filed dozens of articles from Iraq throughout the past year.

    In fairness, it looks like Hurst took off most of December 2006, probably for Christmas leave (and I’m sure he needed and deserved leave). But it’s still interesting that I can’t find any Iraq articles under his byline since November 6, 2007, when it became apparent the surge was working.

    DRJ (09f144)

  5. That wretched AP. Why do they hate America?

    Yep, just like Harry Reid’s recent positive comment about the surge, this shows that Bush has both the majority leader and the AP in his pocket.

    All of those other critical comments by Reid or negative stories by the AP can now be disregarded.

    SteveMG (5ad0f5)

  6. And another view of Christmas in Iraq:

    Very cool.

    Pat R. (490a09)

  7. What a great link, Pat R. Thanks.

    DRJ (09f144)

  8. These Christian churches in Baghdad seem to be ground-zero (so to speak) in the PR war. It really seems like both NBC and CBS-60-Minutes were reporting totally opposite things about Christian churches in Baghdad a few weeks ago. The NBC spin is people are returning. The CBS spin is the churches are empty because nearly everyone has immediate family who has been assassinated. I wasn’t paying attention enough to tell if the exact same church was in both reports.

    If there’s only one church within sight of the hotel balconies, there’s a good chance all the reporters report about that church.

    Wesson (d8d88d)

  9. At the church where the NY Times went, the congregants hadn’t gotten the upbeat message.

    Iraq’s Christians have fared poorly since the fall of Saddam Hussein, with their houses or businesses frequently attacked. Some priests estimate that as much as two-thirds of the community, or about one million people, have fled, making Sacred Heart typical. Though a handful have recently returned from abroad, only 120 people attended Mass on Monday night, down from 400 two years ago.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (528bb8)

  10. Still pining for Saddam, Andrew?

    Pablo (99243e)

  11. AJL – We get it. Iraq was all puppies, kids flying kites, kittens, and shredders prior to the Dark Lords’ selection in 2000.

    JD (75f5c3)

  12. Well, Pablo, there were far more Christians living in Iraq under Saddam, and they were safer.

    You can snark about it, or you can deal with it like a grown-up.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (528bb8)

  13. AJL – For some reason progressives see developments such as these as no reason to doubt Imadamnutjob’s pronounements that Islam as practiced in more fundamenral countries is indeed a religion of peace which welcomes all other religions. No worries mate.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  14. One is left to wonder whether AJL argues with balanced reason or with a desperate hope for failure/quagmire.

    Which is it, AJL?

    BJTexs (a48204)

  15. BJTexs #14…
    I think the phrase is “suspension of disbelief”.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  16. One is left to wonder whether AJL argues with balanced reason or with a desperate hope for failure/quagmire.

    The rose-colored glasses with which the Bush Administration has viewed the results in Iraq, from Day One, is where “desperate hope” lies. Balanced reason, I’m afraid, says we will not be seeing that pro-American pro-Israel Iraq you were dreaming of; indeed, we aren’t likely to see anything but a failed state administered propped up by incompatible American initiatives in its several provinces for a long time to come.

    I’m not rooting for you to lose your money in a Nigerian 4-1-9 scam, I’m just telling you that no matter what that guy in Africa is promising you, you won’t see the payoff.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  17. I’m not refering to any “rose colored glasses” from 2003 or any other Bush administration mindset past or present, AJL. You choose to ignore any progress in Iraq based upon some shakey reasoning that ignores the progress that has been made to embrace the absolutist position of “it’s hopeless.” The fact that your reasoning lacks the nuance to acknowledge the gains while arguing the challenges coupled with the inevitable Bushmoronity gambit indicates an unreasoned desire to see the whole enterprise fall on its face.

    Hence the question, to which I believe I have your answer.

    Nuance: It’s what’s for dinner!

    BJTexs (a48204)

  18. BJTexs: as far as the initial victory conditions, viz., the pro-American pro-Israeli secular government whose writ runs throughout Iraq, that’s hopeless. It’s just not possible.

    That doesn’t mean we can’t aim for consolation prizes. We have a lot of influence, for example, over which factions are best-poised to kill the others when we leave. At the moment, we’re arming Sunnis (that is, Saddam’s cousins) as a lever against Shia obstructionism in the Baghdad government-in-name. Earlier, it was much the other way around. And indeed, our “surge” has cut violence back to 2006 levels, and even that was by no means a guarantee. But we need to be realistic about what we can accomplish. We can’t use Iraq as a staging base against Iran (you think the Shia will permit that?), we aren’t going to see a secular government outside Kurdistan, and (shamefully) we probably won’t get electricity delivery above the pathetic pre-war levels. (There was great rejoicing in the right-blogosphere over the postwar high electricity generation in October of this year. The sharp downward reversal in November? That I didn’t see blogged.)

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

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