Healing body and soul, amidst misery
Let me give You a report of my latest trip to the Middle East. It was short but successful. We dispensed medicine, shoes, clothing and mostly money. We could help 12.000 families, thanks to Your generous donations.
First, I was in Istanbul, where I met the members of our local organizations. We dispensed relief for the many refugees, who are living there, Christians, Yazidis and Alevis.
Then I drove to the Southeast of Turkey, the Midyat region. During my trip, this city suffered a terrorist attack with five people dead. Many towns in the region, like Diyarbakir and Nusaybin, are in ruins. The war between the Turkish government and the PKK lasted for a long time.
Seven a half hours of therapy conversations
Then, I drove to Iraq, into the Dohuk region. On the way, we brought some food and cigarettes to the young soldiers, that patrol the border to the territories of the Islamic State (IS). I visited some of the 19 big refugee camps there. We dispensed money and relief, on one day, I had seven a half hours of therapy conversations at a stretch. Some of my clients had been captives of IS.
There also, I had long conversations with our friends of the local relief organizations. What they told me, and what I saw during the whole trip, made me sad. There is chaos everywhere, no security, fear and poverty are rising. There are more refugees than ever before and everywhere, and the people, who are trapped, are getting more and more desperate.
Notably bad is the situation in Turkey. Turks and Kurds are fighting for the land in the Southeast. In the border Region of Turkey, Iraq and Syria, the Kurds scent their possibility to get an own state. Their statements get ever more nationalistic; they claim Mesopotamia as their own land. By that, they also oppress the Christians, that have been living there for almost two millennia.
Erdogan’s deal with the Islamic State
At the same time, the region is plagued by IS. Their fighters can be encountered everywhere, open in the streets, also in Turkey. All people there know, that Erdogan made a deal with the chief of the Kurdish Peshmerga, Barzani, and with IS, to keep the area under control. Erdogan’s main goal is the crushing of the PKK and the national Kurdish movement.
The people that belong to religious minorities, are very frustrated with the USA as they see it on the side of Erdogan and IS. They are frustrated with a Europe, that does not help enough locally, but does everything for the Muslim immigrants instead. For them, Europe seems to have forgotten its Christian roots. And the Christians, particularly, are frustrated with the Pope, that utters many pleasing statements towards Muslims, but does not care enough for his flock, that is in deep distress.
Christians encounter every day, that Muslims are treated better in the camps, because the workers oft the UNHCR are Muslims; and they hear from their relatives, that they get treated badly in the European camps by Muslims. So, they are totally depressed.
The most expensive cup of coffee in the world
If they are able, they flee to Europe, many of them with the help of traffickers. An old man told me his story, when he met his trafficker in Mersin. This is a hotspot for trafficking to Europe at the Turkish southern coast. The trafficker wanted to invite him for a cup of coffee. They sat on the mole at the harbor. Suddenly, the trafficker pushed him down into the water and grabbed his bag with 7000$ inside. The man was totally desperate. What should he do now? He said, he had the most expensive cup of coffee in the world.
Much worse was, what happened to a group of 50 Christians. They all payed about 6500$ each for their getaway. When they were already out in the open sea, the traffickers capsized the boat with their own hands and escaped in a jolly boat. One passenger had the telephone number of one of our local partner organizations in his mobile. He called, and later the Turkish naval police saved them all. I met the group of these 50 people and heard their stories.
Dear friends, I will soon go back to the Middle East, because these people need our help so much. If You can make it possible, please support this help with a donation, got to: http://hatunefoundation.com/international/.
God bless You all
Sister Hatune Dogan
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