Iraqi government neglects Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian cemetery in Baghdad

BAGHDAD – In a social media protest on February 27, Sunday of all Faithful Departed, Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian activists have complained about the Iraqi state’s neglect of the cemetery of the Syriac Chaldean Church in Khan Bani Saed district in the southern part of the Iraqi capital. Images spread on social media clearly show the destroyed state of dozens of graves in the cemetery. Crosses have been knocked over, graves have been shifted and opened, and the names of the dead have been scratched out. The Syriac Chaldean Cemetery in Khan Bani Saed is one of the oldest cemeteries in the country and is managed by the Syriac Chaldean Church, which, however, can do little against the deliberate destruction.

In the last 2 decades there have been several attacks on churches, shops and houses of the Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians. The authorities and police then decided to take measures and guard public buildings and Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian neighborhoods. But in vain. The Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians had little faith in the extra protection anyway because Iraqi politics is dominated by Iran and affiliated political parties and armed militias. In Khan Bani Saed, the desecration and destruction of tombs continued.

Since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the number of Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians in Baghdad has decreased from several hundred thousands to an estimated 50 thousand.

The destructions of the Khan Bani Saed cemetery are yet another example of the destruction of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian heritage in Iraq and yet another evidence of neglect and indifference to the deceased of Iraq’s most ancient people.