Middle East Council of Churches
Unofficial news from the Middle Eastern Christian Ecumenical organization.
Maintained by Tom Scudder
Friday, October 10, 2003
Reformed Church in America Delegation in the Middle East.
A group of senior clergy and denominational staff from the Reformed Church in America is currently visiting Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Israel/Palestine. John Hubers is writing a series of diary entries (misnamed a "web log" on the site) - it can be accessed from RCA's news page, or you can click on to the first four entries below:
UPDATE (October 13): 3 new entries, from their visits to Lebanon and Syria:
posted by Tom at 4:20 PM
Monday, October 06, 2003
Zenit News Services: New Chaldean Archbishop: Muslims Expect Much from Christians
BAGHDAD, Iraq, OCT. 2, 2003 (Zenit.org)
posted by Tom at 1:34 PM
Why should Iraq pay Saddam's bills?, asks Justin Alexander of Jubilee Iraq in an editorial for Iraq Today.
Since Iraq cannot possibly pay even the annual interest on $200 billion, the total will be reduced. The question is whether the reduction will be sufficient and negotiated in a fair way. What generally happens to indebted countries is that the Paris Club, a cartel of the major creditors countries, decides on a level of payments which they think can be sustained indefinitely, and requires debtor countries to submit to economic policies designed by the IMF. The Paris Club, despite dealing with the debt of countries such as Indonesia, Congo and the Philippines - all of which inherited debt from brutal dictatorships - has never admitted that any of its members' debt claims might be odious [that is, invalid because it was incurred by a dictator and used to further his dictatorship], and there is no reason to expect it will make an exception of Iraq. Jubilee Iraq (www.jubileeiraq.org), an NGO combining Western and Iraqi campaigners across the political spectrum, has been calling for a fairer process of debt negotiation than the Paris Club, which gives Iraqis a strong voice and questions the legality debt claims which are odious. Meetings during the first of three weeks of consultations have confirmed that most Iraqis are united in insisting that they have suffered enough from Saddam and should not pay his bills. Unity on this issue is essential if Iraq is to assert herself and break free of Saddam's financial legacy of debt, which hangs like a sword over Iraq's economic future.
posted by Tom at 1:27 PM
From Christian Aid: Child Kidnapping Becoming Common in Iraq:
A spate of child kidnapping cases has hit Iraqi cities in recent weeks, according to reports received by Christian Aid staff in the region.
posted by Tom at 1:10 PM
From Al Jazeera's web site: Europe's Catholics Urged to Visit Middle East:
Europe's Catholic bishops have agreed to urge their flocks to visit shrines in the Middle East in order to sow peace in the region and support isolated Christians.
Something not emphasized in the article, but which is important to Middle Eastern Christians, is the importance of reaching out to the local community, to visit the "Living Stones" of the region, and not just the dead stones that make up the shrines.
Living Stones Pilgrimage by Allison Hilliard and Betty Jane Bailey is a good guidebook that focuses on introducing pilgrims to the Christian communities in the Holy Land.
The International Center of Bethlehem (warning: annoying java applet navigator thingy) runs an Authentic Tourism program dedicated to connecting pilgrims with the "living stones". They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or see their Contact Info page