Union College Hosts Service Remembering Victims in Iraq

(system) #1

Union College hosted an Interfaith Iraq Peacemaking and Memorial Service yesterday, September 28, that drew 300 people in remembrance of Yazidi people who have been killed and enslaved by the jihadist group ISIS, or ISIL.

The Yazidis are a group of Kurdish-speaking people who live mainly in the northern part of Iraq. There are about 500,000 Yazidis worldwide, and more than 1,000 have settled in Lincoln, Nebraska, where Union College is located. It is the largest concentration of Yazidis in the US.

Yesterday’s service, held outdoors on the grounds of the Union College campus, featured a Yazidi woman, Laila Khoudeida, who told harrowing stories of persecution and torture at the hands of ISIS.

In August, Khoudeida traveled with 80 other Yazidis to Washington, DC, to ask President Barack Obama to help 40,000 Yazidis trapped by ISIS in Iraq. Obama authorized food drops and airstrikes on their behalf.

The service at Union was jointly sponsored by the Union College Center for Interfaith Studies and Culture, the Good Neighbor Community Center and the Interfaith Peacemaking Coalition.

The organizers wanted to show support for their nieghbors, the Yazidi community; to inform people about what is happening in Iraq; and to encourage everyone to do whatever he or she can to be a peacemaker — wherever they are.

Doug Hardt, director of Union’s Center for Interfaith Studies and Culture, traveled to Iraq last summer, and what he saw and heard from the people there impacted him greatly.

Hardt told the Lincoln Journal Star:

“When I see people on the news that are getting shot, I see them as people I know, people I see on a daily basis. They cease to just be numbers to me.”

Chris Blake, chair of the Interfaith Peacemaking Coalition, spoke briefly at the service. His remarks included this:

The difference between being a peace lover and a peace maker is the difference between loving money and making money. Peacemaking is hard work, and it never ends. As Martin Luther King, Jr. pointed out, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” He also declared, “Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”

Peacemaking calls for courage and resilience. Peacemakers state, “We will never submit to unrelenting evil. We will not allow fear and hatred to dominate us. We will live with defiant optimism. We will not let our loved ones die in vain. Instead, we will honor their memory by planting seeds of hope and healing. No matter what, no matter how many people ignore us, we resolve to continue playing the beautiful melody of selfless love.

Even if we don’t agree theologically, we can get along peacefully.

This information is extracted mainly from two excellent stories in the Lincoln Journal Star covering this event. Read Friday's story here and Monday's story here for greater detail about the event and Laila Khoudeida's story.

Images by Dan Carlson.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6287

(k_Lutz) #2


Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

God loves each and every one of us, even if we recognise Him by the name of Allah. The children of God …

Trust God.

(George Tichy) #3

Does anyone still preach that the Catholics are our worst enemies? Seriously???

Union College did a great job. This is Christianity in true action.

(efcee) #4

What a great idea - especially in light of the number of Yazidis residing in Lincoln.

(jeremy) #5

this event definitely is a good platform for union college…this is the type of positivity adventism should be in the news for…

(Rheticus) #6

The challenge here is being even-handed about which atrocity’s victims we ‘remember’.

It is easy to remember the victims of atrocities committed by people one is trying to cast as an enemy.

It is almost unheard of to remember the victims of atrocities committed by people one is trying to cast as a friend.

Hence it is easy to conclude from such services that the organizers are taking sides in a conflict. We should step back and let the Middle East sort out their problems, just as we were given the space during our civil war to sort out our problem.

(Pauline Balta) #7

That’s what was going on when I drove by! Good for my alma mater! Union College, here in the near-Bible-belt, does a lot of really good things!

Several years ago I worked with a Yazidi woman helping her learn English. She suffered with a severe traumatic head injury from being beaten with the butt of a gun. This injury made it very difficult for her to remember what I taught her so we spent time laughing and understanding each other with motions and a few English words she knew. A wonderful woman who had given birth to 21 children!

(David P R) #8

Wouldn’t that be the Roman Papacy (the organization) as to opposed to Roman Catholics (meaning Catholic people in general)?

When it’s put this way - I know of two who still preach it? Me and Jesus.

David R.

(Steve Mga) #9

God speaks to me.
God speaks to “us”.
Whatever God speaks to me and “us” is the ONLY Truth!
People without the Truth are Evil because They do Not tell the Truth about God.
What do me and “us” do about Evil people?

(Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13) #10

Wow. You don’t see your arrogance?

(David P R) #11

How is this arrogance? The question was asked if anyone still preached about the Roman Papacy was still the worst enemy and I replied that I still did and that Jesus does too because the prophecies and warnings are in the Bible.

Too bad you don’t still believe the Third Angel’s Message. (Inappropriate, judgmentalism. Be careful in your treatment of those you disagree with. - webEd)

David R.

(Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13) #12

More arrogance. And you question why others are reluctant to interact w/ you. May I suggest some prayerful reflection?

(Christian Baby) #13

Calling someone arrogant is as judgmental (and arrogant) as telling someone what they don’t believe. I think I understand now what the “discussion” criteria are: Those who say silly, judgmental things are not silly and judgmental if they agree with some standard set here at Spectrum but those who say silly, judgmental things about the ones who said silly, judgmental things about them can be considered judgmental. Open discussions can’t occur if some are allowed to speak in a way that others are not. Spectrum’s contribution to spiritual and church-governmental growth if it’s editors worked on understanding the fine points of grammar and composition and let the discussions continue.
Perhaps a gentle reminder to parties about name-calling and insults about religious beliefs would be in order if applied equally if what Spectrum is looking for is non-contentious debate but the staff should remember the debate team options are quite limited at most schools and that jabs are an American tradition. especially when those involved feel passionately that lives are stake.
hopeful judgmentally insulted truthmaintained twice as much as truthmaintained insulted hopeful but no mention was made. (BTW, I tend to agree slightly more with hopeful on this post.) If Spectrum is listening, I think they are being presented with an opportunity to see how difficult it is to police thought with any shade of fairness or objectivity.