John Neill, a volunteer aid worker for the Chaldean Archdiocese of Erbil is also a professor at Catholic University of Erbil. Somehow, Archbishop Bashar Warda, John Neill, sisters and others, have managed to survive through extreme hardship in difficult times in war-torn Kurdistan.
“The hardest challenge for Iraq’s Christians is uncertainty and not knowing where the next dollar is to come from,” according to John Neill.
“When I visited Batnaya [close to Mosul] I got a real insight into the deep hatred ISIS has for the Christian community,” he explains. “They wanted to destroy everything. The desecration in the church was unimaginable. If you have a home and you’ve lost your home and you come back to it and you see it burned, desecrated, it’s another deep wound to an already wounded soul.”
There is still hope. The Iraqi Christians should “feeling excited” about President Trump. Miguel Hidalgo, a director of the Chaldean Catholic Foundation, is re-establishing it’s connection to the Chaldean Archdiocese after a difficult initiation. Once a direct connection is established, a dedicated group with strong connections to the Trump Administration will ask for a lot of support to rebuild and obtain the basics for the various communities to prosper once again. Miguel knows that there is reluctance from the Administration to overcome the political winds of Baghdad.