The Speech of H.B. Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako at the Opening Ceremony of The Chaldean League Conference
The Chaldean League is a non-political and non-profit worldwide organization built on philanthropic, ethnic, social and national grounds. As a new entity, it requires at this phase to stand firm and be supported by highly qualified people. It is making an effort to strengthen relations with Christians and other citizens, in addition to serving Chaldeans (as a component of the nation not as a minority).
This “young” League has achieved a lot in its’ first year. Therefore, our thank goes to the capable and dedicated President, Mr. Safa Sabah Hindi, who showed the merits and wisdom in managing it. We extend our thanks to the heads of the branches and the founders as well, and hope that the new administration will continue achieving its’ goals in serving the Chaldeans and Mesopotamian people in Iraq and in diaspora.
On this occasion, I would like to remind you of all the difficult circumstances that led to take this initiative. Simply, the Chaldeans were in need of such a league, similar to many other ecclesial, social, cultural organizations in the Middle East.
Even though, the establishing of the Chaldean League brought up some backbiting, we hope that it will provide an opportunity for other entities that care about Christian affairs in the country and the region to unite their speeches and achieve their humanitarian, spiritual and social aims by civilized coordination with other groups. So, we hope that the Chaldean League proceed forward to achieve its goals without being competitive or affiliated with any political entity! Subsequently, this conference presents an excellent opportunity for the league to study how to approach their “new” milestones, and respond to all kinds of criticism in a positive and responsible spirit.
To Help the Chaldean League Move Forward I Would Suggest the Following:
1. Consider, seriously the possibility of establishing branches in all the regional countries by selecting people who have the competence and are efficient in voluntary service. This step will help the League to activate a unified action at the local level in order to face all the challenges within the Chaldean home and the Christian components in general.
2. Encourage all those who feel that they are Chaldeans and /or believe in the League’s principles and programs to apply for the membership in accordance with the terms and rules of its’ system.
3. Form “Chaldean Observatory” committees that may keep up on certain issues such as, human rights, women, youth, media, as well as establishing radio and television station.
4. Adopt realism and objectivity, away from dreams, and avoid the usage of the Chaldean League for personal benefits, but rather be humble, as the local proverb states “stretch your legs as far as the length of your bed”!!
5. Study the possibilities of revitalizing and strengthening the existence of Christians in Iraq and promote their presence and testimonies, which requires vision, well-studied stances and a clear language. It should include also a serious work with all parties concerned (locally and globally), so as to stop the immigration hemorrhage.
6. Activate relations with other groups of Christians (namely, Assyrians, Syriacs and Armenians patiently. Since diversity is richness, I believe that the understanding and friendly dialogue will enable us to reach the common stance intellectually, culturally, socially and politically.
7. Reinforce an open, philanthropic, and equivalent relations with Muslim citizens based on fair ground, a clear and common citizenship concepts that preserve all their rights equally.
Hence, I would like to appreciate with gratefulness the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for welcoming and accommodating Christians with thousands of other Iraqi displaced citizens. The history will never forget this humanitarian stance. Therefore, I hope that the officials and politicians at KRG will maintain the unity among their people in Kurdistan Region, its’ stability, and security by avoiding conflicts and infighting that may divide their people as it happened in the “wounded” Iraq. On the other hand, maintaining unity will guarantee the defeat of extremism and terrorism as well as the release of seized lands and will help the displaced return to their homes.
As you may know, the presence of Christians is a big support for both KRG and the central government for their skills, loyalty and openness. So, we should work together to keep them as ONE original and native component that contribute to develop the country.
Finally, as people of this homeland, we are aware that the current situation poses many difficult and complicated challenges. We pray may God grant all of us success in our endeavor for every good work. I am pleased that their Excellencies, Chaldean Bishops (Synod members) are attending the conference today and would like together with them and on behalf of the Church to wish you all the best in achieving your noble goals