Michael Leeden @ Pajamas Media:
"I’ve been shot at and bombed and they’ve tried to blow me up. People say, “Aren’t you afraid where you are?” Never, not one day; I love it. I feel really sad that I’m not there now."
General Mattis? General Suleimani? James Bond? No, it’s a man of the cloth, Canon Andrew White, an Anglican who tended to Christians (and Jews, too, it turns out) in Baghdad in good times and bad, who tirelessly negotiated for the release of hostages, worked for inter-religious harmony throughout Iraq, traveled constantly to “the West” in a quest for moral, financial, diplomatic and military support for the dwindling Christian population of his adopted country, and just recently was recalled to his native England, where he is clearly frustrated beyond words. At least the words he has been educated to use in public. [...]
Is it the end of Christianity in the Middle East? Could be, he says, at least so far as Iraq is involved:
"What is a Christian life there now? The Bishop of Mosul said recently that for the first time in 2,000 years there was no church in Nineveh [an ancient city that is now part of Mosul]. That’s the reality."
It is indeed the reality, and not just in Iraq. And “the West” is silent, as it has been so often when it faces evil far from its own boundaries. Meanwhile, Andrew has moved on, to the one country in the Middle East that provides its citizens with religious freedom and the security to practice their faith. He’s in Jerusalem, trying to achieve reconciliation between Muslim and Jewish religious leaders. It’s not an altogether new venture for him; in his last days in Baghdad, he was the “rabbi” for the city’s remaining six Iraqi Jews. And back at that conference in Copenhagen, the guest of honor at the closing banquet was the former chief rabbi of Denmark.
Guess what? During the week, all the Iraqi religious leaders arranged for private meetings with said rabbi. Why? They’d looked at the map, and they knew that if things were going to be ok for them, they’d need help from the Jews in Israel. Andrew knew it too. He still knows it. That’s no doubt why he’s working in Jerusalem.
At this time of year we give thanks for all kinds of good things and great people. Andrew’s earned a high place on our lists.
The ‘Vicar of Baghdad’ comes to Jerusalem. David Horovitz: "The Vicar of Baghdad loves the Jews and Israel. He studied in an ultra-Orthodox yeshiva in Jerusalem and at the Hebrew University. He and his wife Caroline named their two sons Yossi (Josiah) and Jacob. Now in his late 40s, he did his doctorate at Cambridge on the role of Israel in Christian theology. He also served for a time as the Kashrut officer at Cambridge’s Jewish Society, “though I was too frum for them.” The Vicar of Baghdad is Reverend Canon Andrew White, and he is one of the most remarkable people you could ever wish to meet."