A young woman wearing a black dress, sitting on a stool legs crossed, speaking with a measured British accent, looked into a camera and told how after Issah Al Qurain’s village was captured soldiers came into his home, took his money, then told him to convert or they’d kill his wife and children.
A fortnight later the soldiers came back and told him under their law – Sharia Law – his ten year old daughter had to marry.
He fled across the Nineveh Plain, talking his way through three road blocks, following back roads, arriving homeless, penniless and outcast in Kurdistan with his wife and children.
The Monastery St. Michael, sitting on a mountainside above the plain (amid towns and villages where Christians trace their roots back to the time of Paul the Apostle) is, itself, 1600 years old and has survived Mongols, Saracens and Ottomans.
After ISIS captured Mosul, six miles away, soldiers painted red letters on the homes of Christians – as Nazis painted Stars of David on the homes of Jews – then gave them three choices: Convert, pay a ransom, or beheading .
Mosul emptied. The villages emptied. As Christians fled. Leaving behind seven monks in the monastery.
In Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, the young woman, now dressed in a dark shirt and jeans, interviews the Catholic Archbishop, asking, Where are the Christians of the Nineveh Plain today?
Looking like a stoic Italian friar instead of an Archbishop born in Baghdad, Basar Wanda says, “Disappearing. It’s dying.”
The young woman asks about the American airstrikes on ISIS and he explains, “For me, ISIS is a cancer. It’s a disease. So sometimes you take some hard measures, unfortunate measures to treat this cancer.”
So you want a major military offensive to retake Mosul, getting rid of the Islamic State, defeating them militarily?
He stares back at her with black eyes. “Please God.”
A ticking stopwatch replaces the young woman on the screen and the video ends – it was made by 60 Minutes.
Four years ago, the night a hundred thousand men filled Tahrir Square in Cairo, when Hosni Mubarak’s government fell, the young woman was sent to cover the demonstration; when her crew turned out the light on her camera to change a battery, in the darkness, a mob of men surrounded her, tore her away from her guards, tore away her clothes – then raped her repeatedly.
Twenty-five minutes later the mob shifted driving the men holding her toward a fence on the side of the square where a line of Egyptian women sat – and the women saved her, closing around her, standing in a line between her and the mob.
She fled Egypt, returning home, was hospitalized, recovered, then returned to work, covering wars in Libya and Iraq.
After her report for 60 Minutes about the lost Christians of the Nineveh Plain, Lara Logan was hospitalized again due to injuries she received in Cairo.
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