Christians consider Barzany’s visit to Vatican vital
The Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani visited France and Italy two weeks ago and met with the French President François Hollande in Paris, senior Italian government officials in Rome and then Pope Francis in the Vatican.
The highlight of the Kurdish President’s meetings was the official respect both the Vatican and Rome paid to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). At both meetings the Kurdish flag was displayed alongside the Iraqi flag.
The Pope commended President Barzani and the people of Kurdistan for what they have achieved, particularly in offering the Kurdistan Region as a safe haven for the Syrian refugees and for the Christians fleeing violence in other parts of Iraq.
The Pope also praised President Barzani for KRG’s policy of promoting tolerance and peaceful co-existence among different religious communities. He expressed his hope that Kurdistan would continue to enjoy peace and prosperity.
Several Christian personalities in Kurdistan express their feelings of pride over President Barzani’s visit to the Vatican and they think the visit will raise the stance of the Kurdistan Region and will further reinforce the relationships of Kurds with the Christians.
Fahmi Slewa, a great Christian figure in Kurdistan, said: “I became very happy when I saw Barzani meeting with the Pope. When I saw the Kurdish flag in the meeting I became even happier.”
Slewa believes Barzani’s visit to Vatican proved that there is no difference between the Kurds and the Christians in the Kurdistan Region.
“Pope has been aware of KRG’s continuous help and assistance provided to the Christians who are uprooted from the middle and the southern parts of Iraq and sought refuge in the Kurd- istan Region. I am sure the history will never forget this attitude at all. This stance of the KRG is appreciated by many countries,” explained Slewa
Amir Goga Yousif, former Kurdistan MP, also praised President Barzani’s visit to Vatican. “This is the first time Barzani visits the Vatican since Francis became Pope. The Pope’s previous visits to Jordan and Palestine were main reasons behind his being aware of the Middle East situation,” he noted.
Goga said that the Christians never feel they are discriminated as they have been living along with the Kurds for thousands of years. They share the same destiny as the Kurds."
“The current situation in the Kurdistan Region is not politically stabilized yet. But it is the mentality and the positive attitude of the Kurds that have created such a condition where the Kurds and the Christians can live together. The two communities tolerate and accept each other and strive to live in peace," concluded Amir Goga.