The following is a letter to the editor from Father Peter Jankowski, pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in Joliet, that appeared in the Herald-News newspaper. He submitted it on behalf of Sister Maria Hanna, OP, prioress general of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena – Iraq.
Aug. 6 marks the first anniversary of a tragic displacement of Iraqi Christians from the village of Qaraqosh and 14 other villages on Nineveh Plain, home to many of my Iraqi Dominican sisters and brothers. They and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were displaced from their ancient homeland as (ISIS) swept across the Nineveh Plain.
After decades of failed military intervention in Iraq, it is time for the U.S. to assume its humanitarian and diplomatic responsibilities. Join me in urging the administration and Congress to significantly increase funding to support the internally displaced populations and the Iraqi refugees struggling in nearby countries. Ask them to take the lead in the world community’s responsibility to protect vulnerable populations in Iraq, because the Iraqi government seems unable or unwilling to do so.
Tell your representatives in Congress you reject any U.S. military intervention in Iraq not accompanied by pressure on the Iraqi government to adopt a more inclusive and equitable power sharing arrangement. Ask for a comprehensive arms embargo on Iraq and the region, and a united global response – through the efforts of the U.N. Security Council – to the threat posed by the Islamic State.
One year ago on Aug. 8 – the Feast of our founder, St. Dominic – the superior of one Iraqi Dominican community wrote a letter to all of us U.S. Dominicans, crying out for our help: “… stop the blood, stop the oppression, and stop the violence. … People want to live [a] normal life in peace and dignity. Please help us stop the evil.”
She is still waiting. Please raise your voice with me.
Thank you very much, and may God bless you.
The Rev. Peter Jankowski