Anyone who has the slightest familiarity with northern Iraq knows there’s several ancient people groups who’ve been there for millennia.
The Kurds descend from the ancient Medes. There were Jews there –- sent to the region by the Chaldean monarch Nebuchadnezzar in the fifth century BC to join earlier deportees -- who lingered there until very recently. And then there are the Assyrians who came to the fore in the ninth century BC.
It’s the ancestors of the latter that concerns this fascinating Associated Press story that recounts the tale of these latter-day Assyrians imprisoned by ISIS and the bishop who raised about $11 million to free them.
It was written by AP’s “international security” correspondent (didn’t know there was such a beat) and it’s a winner.
Start reading how an ancient Christian community took action, after governments around the world refused to help them.
SAARLOUIS, Germany (AP) -- The millions in ransom money came in dollar by dollar, euro by euro from around the world. The donations, raised from church offerings, a Christmas concert, and the diaspora of Assyrian Christians on Facebook, landed in a bank account in Iraq. Its ultimate destination: the Islamic State group.
Deep inside Syria, a bishop worked around the blurred edges of international law to save the lives of more than 200 people — one of the largest groups of hostages yet documented in IS's war in Syria and Iraq. It took more than a year, and videotaped killings of three captives, before all the rest were freed.
Paying ransoms is illegal in the United States and most of the West, and the idea of paying the militants is morally fraught, even for those who saw no alternative.