A top Catholic priest in Iraq believes that his country needs a Marshall Plan in order to rebuild its economy and culture and allow Christians to return. Since 2003, Iraq has increasingly become destabilized and the country has lost most of its Christian population. Today, Christians in Iraq number fewer than 350,000 thousand even though. With that being said, the priest also believes that emigration is not the solution and that the young people need to rise to the occasion and help rebuild the country.
2017-11-08 Iraq (DailyMail) A top Catholic cleric from Iraq says his country has “lost all confidence” despite the rout of the Islamic State group, and needs an economic and cultural “Marshall Plan”.
“It’s much deeper than simply giving money,” Yousef Thomas Mirkis told AFP after addressing a meeting of French bishops in the southwestern French pilgrimage town of Lourdes.
Mirkis, the Chaldean archbishop of the northern diocese of Kirkuk, said the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 had “opened a Pandora’s box, and today we see the consequences of the destabilisation of the entire region.”
Iraq will long struggle with “many difficulties,” said Mirkis. “We know that sectarianism has failed, American-style democracy has failed. The only thing that will succeed is a rebirth arising from the grassroots.”
He said that if young people under 30, who make up some 60 percent of the population, “do not rise to the occasion, nothing can be done.”
The 68-year-old cleric, who received some of his training in France, thanked the French Catholic Church in a speech on Tuesday for its support to hundreds of Iraqi students who fled to Kirkuk from areas that fell to IS during a sweeping 2014 offensive, especially the jihadists’ Iraqi bastion Mosul.
He urged the bishops to further their support for Iraq, saying: “One could think of a new Marshal Plan. The survival of our communities depends at least in part on economics, which demands a comprehensive approach in the short, medium and long term.”
Mirkis noted that Iraq has lost more than half of its Christian population in recent years. Today, they number fewer than 350,000.