A Cry for Help From Iraq

The world is very far from being a safe and just place.

There are many horrifying images coming out of Iraq as ISIS goes about their brutality, images bound to nauseate even those with the strongest of stomachs. The video below doesn’t feature any bloodshed, beheadings, or corpses, but it’s no less shocking, depressing, and infuriating.

Vian Dakheel is a Yazidi member of the Iraqi Parliament. Her people, one of Iraq’s smallest religious minorities, are currently being oppressed and slaughtered by ISIS. I don’t post “current events”-type content very often, for various reasons, but this cry for help is deeply, profoundly gut-wrenching. And it should cause those of us surrounded by wealth, comfort, and safety — which I suspect is true for the vast majority of people who read this site — to sit and pause and think. And I mean, really think.

We live in an incredibly connected age, thanks to blogs, social media, etc. Even so, it’s easy to think of those problems in far-off lands as just that: problems way over there, with little relevance to those of us over here. They’re sad to read, but then we just skip on to the next tweet, Vine, Instagram post, or status update, and everything’s fine again. Dakheel’s painful appeal cuts through all of that bullshit, however. It does for me, at least.

I’m reminded yet again that my circumstances are a far cry from those of the vast majority of humanity, and especially from those currently huddled in the Sinjar mountains who are threatened with death from dehydration on one side, and death from ISIS on the other. I’m reminded of my privilege as an American, privilege that I have done nothing to deserve and take for granted all too easily. And I’m reminded that the world is far from being a safe and just place. Rather, it is a place where children are beheaded, women are raped, and men are hung and crucified simply for believing something different.

I feel so helpless and hopeless, my outrage essentially a token gesture for all the real good it can do. I could change my profile photo on Facebook and Twitter to the Arabic letter “nun” or something similar. But instead, I choose to respond in a way that seems even more impotent — and yet, like many of those currently being persecuted, I also believe it may move mountains, and even comfort those huddled in the shadow of those mountains.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, let justice be done. Lord, save the fatherless and the widow. Lord, bring the evildoer to ruin. Lord, have mercy…

Enjoy reading Opus? Want to support my writing? Become a subscriber for just $5/month or $50/year.
Subscribe Today
Return to the Opus homepage