Iraq and Syria Defy the Odds With Heartwarming Christmas Festivities
By Sarah Zuhair
Iraq and Syria have witnessed a very hard time over the past decade. It’s impossible to imagine how life would be like living under such conditions, especially if we’re going to focus on such a pleasant time like Christmas. The holiday’s season is meant to be joyful and full of excitement, and that’s exactly what those countries did. Despite the suffering the two countries went through, they still found a way to celebrate Christmas in very unique ways!
Iraqis of northeast Mosul celebrated a mass at Al-Tahera Al-Kobra church where it still had the effects of the war on its crosses, walls, and ceilings. The militants destroyed many cities of northern Iraq and burned down many houses, as well as churches. Because they wanted to escape the weight of two options; paying tribute or die, many Christians from Nineveh have decided to flee to neighboring cities or seek refuge abroad.
However, this year, Iraq has decided to start a new page after the improvements of the security situation throughout the country, especially in Mosul and Nineveh.
As for the past seven years, churches haven’t celebrated Christmas. Since a year has passed since the victory against ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) they have finally decided to ring the bells and properly celebrate Christmas this year. The situation in Iraq is better now. Having to live through so much fear, Iraqis now feel more hopeful after the improvement of the security situation in the country.
Peace and serenity in the region reflected the Syrians’ desire to restore the image of Christmas celebrations in their cities, especially in Aleppo and Damascus. All to bring back the country’s image to how it looked like before the war started. Syria’s Christmas celebrations this year emphasizes their insistence to live! The decorations were bombarding neighborhoods for the first time in years, and they were more than fascinating.
The city was filled with lights and Christmas trees, as well as musicians with the support of a local scout troop prepared a festive one of a kind march. This year’s tree was full of joyous decorations and colorful ornaments that stole the eye away from the wounds the war left behind, directing it towards the warmth of a hopeful future.