Sunday, January 16, 2005

Help Needed From ChaldoAssyrian Readers

The Washington Times published a long story about Iraqi-Christian orphans from Alqush, Mosul. Here are excerpts from the story:

Compared with the ferocity of war in much of Iraq, the isolated Monastery of the Virgin Mary, 25 miles north of Mosul, exists in tranquility.

Surrounded by desert, this cool shelter, complete with olive trees, honeybees and a Chaldean church, houses six monks and 36 orphaned boys, ages 5 to 14. Twenty-two girls live at a convent in nearby Mosul.

Over the years, the Rev. Mofid Toma Marcus, 37, an Assyrian Christian monk in charge of the monastery and orphanage, has kept the wolves away. During dictator Saddam Hussein's reign, he passed off his orphanage as a seminary for students preparing for the priesthood, because the government was not anxious to let the outside world know the actual number of orphans in the country.


If you read the whole report, you probably figured how both American and Iraqi adoption laws complicate things for those orphans.

Anyway, that's part of the reason I wrote this post. The main reason is the following:

A Chaldean Christian businessman in Michigan has collected 1,200 pairs of shoes and 50 IBM computers, but the priest cannot afford to have them shipped. It is also difficult to get large amounts of freight across the Turkish-Iraqi border without spending a lot of money and finding trustworthy shipping agents.

I contacted Operation Give after reading the report. They answered me within an hour of my e-mail. They'll gladly help ship the donations to Baghdad. Their only problem is finding a storage area to keep the boxes till either the monastery or the army can provide the logistics to ship them to Mosul.

I contacted Fr. Yousif who informed me that the monks' monastery in Baghdad shouldn't have a problem storing the donations on their premises.

Since the report hasn't mentioned the businessman's name, I e-mailed the newspaper before Christmas 2004 to find out the name of the businessman. I also told them about Operation Give. Guess what? They never came back to me. That's why I appreciate Texan newspapers. You almost always receive a reply back within 24 hours of contacting a journalist or his/her news department.

So, most of the logistics are ready -- Thanks for FedEx which provides free shipping for Operation Give. We only need to find the Iraqi businessman. So, if you're reading this and heard of this person, please let me know.

This post is a good example of how anonymity complicates things. Some of you may suggest I contact the monk. The monk lives in a small village in Mosul. I'll be surprised if they even have phone lines or internet. Also, Fr. Yousif would've given me a number or e-mail address if he had them.

One more thing for my Iraqi-Christians readers. Fr. Yousif and the Dominican brothers in Iraq need subscribers to الفكر المسيحي magazine. The annual subscription is $25 dollars. I have a list of the magazine's agents in America and other countries. Please, e-mail me if you're interested in getting a subscription.

Post Links:
Christian orphans stuck in limbo in Iraq
Fr. Yousif - Q&A Session
Operation Give
Shipping Items to Operation Give FREE OF CHARGE

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