Kidnapping, hostage taking, executions, bombings have punctuated the lives of Christians in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Their only solution is to escape.
Thanks to its apparent stability, Iraqi Kurdistan is often their first point of call. For many, it also means returning to the land that their ancestors left in 1961 for southern Iraq, because of the bombings targeting the Kurdish community.
“A portrait of a fragment of history”
In Erbil and on the plain of Nineveh, they try to start a new life, often from nothing. Churchs dating from the 5th century are restored to accommodate the faithful. The rites comprise a mixture of Aramaic and the Arabic languages. Whole villages have been built on the outskirts of Muslim centres to accommodate new arrivals.
Nevertheless, despite the apparent effort of the Kurdish government to facilitate the reintegration of Christians, a climate of fear and uncertainty remains. The tension is palpable, the future uncertain.