Sunday, August 10, 2014

Hell on Mount Sinjar

Northwestern Iraq is actually a fairly multicultural place.  The groups which call this dry, desert area home are
  • Assyrians: These Christians are descendants of the great Assyrian Empire which destroyed the Kingdom of Israel.  Today the vast majority of these Christians are divided between the Chalcedon Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East.  The Chalcedon Church has recently surpassed the Church of the East in size and both churches are working towards reunion under the Pope of Rome.
  • Turkmen: These ethnic Turks are the southern kin of the Turks of Turkey.  Unlike Turkey's Turks, these Turkmen are divided between Shia and Sunni Islam.  However, in part due to their living in Arab lands there tends to be little to no tension between the Shia and Sunni Turkmen..
  • Yezidi: These Kurdish people follow a religion which combines Islam, Zoroastrianism, and Gnosticism.  They quite literally are worshippers of Satan.  However, in their cosmology Satan is the greatest of God's angels and was given control of the world
  • Additionally there are Sunni Arabs and Sunni Kurds.

Now somewhere between 40,000 and 100,000 of these Assyrians, Turkmen, Yezidi, Arabs, and Kurds have fled to the top of Mount Sinjar, a ridge 60 miles (100 kilometers) long in northwestern Iraq.  This mountain serves as a hiding spot from the army of the Islamic State.

The mountain serves as a life bridge for the area around it as it allows rainwater to collect then stream down into wadis thus offering water for the region.  However, unless it rains there is little water available and no crops can be grown on the mountain.  The life giver for the region and provider of shelter from the Islamic State is actually a slow killer.  This is why water and food deliveries are needed.


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