Just beyond the still-under-construction ring road on the outer edge of Erbil, a group interview turns into a mutiny.
“You already understand why we are here,” says one of the 15 displaced Christians and Muslims who have gathered at a World Vision food distribution site in the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region. “Everyone in America should know about our crisis by now: ISIS.”
This group is weary of telling NGOs and journalists why they fled their homes, and how hard and fragile life is among Erbil’s abandoned buildings.
They are especially weary because this will be their second winter of displacement. Meanwhile, food aid has decreased from $25 to $16 to now $10 per month. Most refuse to give interviews, despite the fact that their stories could spur Westerners to send more aid. If their current visitors are not there to increase food vouchers, then, they say, everyone is wasting their time.
Some in the group fidget with 11 oz. bottles of water bearing blue caps and the word life spelled in red. The i is an upside-down exclamation point, a marketer’s attempt at fun in a sad setting.
But such a mark fittingly punctuates the refugee crisis. The numbers—1 million refugees entering Europe by the end of 2015—surpassed comprehension long ago. The question is whether they have now also surpassed compassion.
The world now has more displaced people than during World War II. Beyond Europe, another 2.5 million refugees are in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, while 4.5 million people remain displaced within Syria and Iraq, where ISIS is most active.
As winter approached, Christianity Today traveled to Iraq and Greece to witness how Christian leaders are working along the “refugee ...1