In Chaldean communities near Detroit and San Diego news of Saddam Hussein's capture spread quickly. "I spoke with my sister in Iraq first thing, and she said the gunfire I heard in the background were coming from the people who are happy," Kinaya, a deacon at Mother of God Chaldean Catholic Church in Southfield, Michigan, toldThe Detroit Free Press. "The Iraqi people are a democratic people who are now celebrating their freedom."
The Detroit area is home to about 100,000 Chaldean Christians, who saw Saddam's capture as a fitting gift as the church enters the Christmas season. "This is a great Christmas present," said Joseph Kassab, director of the Michigan chapter of the Chaldean National Congress," according to The Detroit News. An Associated Press story, which ran in several California papers reported on Chaldean reactions there. "It's a great joy for all the Iraqi people on this day, especially for Christians," said Noel Gorgis, pastor of St. Paul Assyrian Chaldean Catholic Church in North Hollywood, which has a large Iraqi congregation. "We prepare ourselves for joy on Christmas, and now that joy is complete."
However the celebrations were tempered with reminders of Saddam's cruelty, from which no one was exempt. "At Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Detroit, Khatoum Mossa, 65, said her son lost most of his right arm fighting, against his will, for the Iraqi army in the first Persian Gulf War." The Detroit Free Press writes, "Khayon Al-Tamimi, 53, who is originally from Nasiriyah, Iraq, lost his brother and nephew when both were killed after they fought in Shi'ite uprisings against Hussein. … There is not one Iraqi family who didn't lose someone," he said.
According to the Press Enterprise in Southern California, "Hussein ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more