With the year 2022, we carried the heavy burden of its events and tragedies including the “raging” war in Ukraine and its consequences on the global economy; conflicts in many regions, including Iraq, where a state of instability and fragility prevails; and the “extremely” corrupted people in power, who damaged the national economy, pushing people to poverty.
Above all this, the ideology of extremist “takfiri” keep spreading hatred and eliminates others, threatening stability and displacing innocent citizens. All these practices are obviously wrong because they intersect with human and religious values. We are getting ready to welcome the new year 2023, which gives us a reason for hope.
Time is a space granted to us in order to learn how to be humble, to reach maturity that enables us to change, and to strengthen the fraternal bonds, love and solidarity, so we walk together towards the New Year, leaving behind the impacts of the past year with its misfortunes.
Globally, the first day of every year is dedicated to spreading peace and getting rid of differences, conflicts, hatreds and violence, these obstacles are barriers in the way of achieving peace and prosperity for the nation.
The word “PEACE” is our salutation: “Peace be upon you – salam alaycum”. To which, Muslims added a very beautiful phrase: “With God’s mercy and blessings”. The content of this common greeting is profound, expressing joy and happiness in meeting others. We need to say this greeting and hear it warmly, especially when it is sincere and stems from the heart. A tribute that we should truly live.
Peace is the wish of every human being, because there is no free and decent life without it.
At the Christian level, the good news of Christmas that we celebrated a week ago, was “peace on earth”, especially on this unstable land. Christ said in the “Sermon on the Mount”: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5/ 9).
While in the Qur’an, we can find several verses about peace: “Peace is a word from a merciful God” (Yasin 58). Additionally, Muslims use the word “peace” as one of the 99 God’s names… Even though, the word “Islam” essentially, goes back to the root of the word peace, meaning that a Muslim person submits himself to God. This is how the spirituality of a Muslim is expected to be!
At the beginning of 2023, everyone should reconcile with oneself, with God, as well as with others, and work to educate people about the culture of peace. Whenever, our hearts are cleansed from hatred and revenge, we should promote values of peace, fraternity, and respect at home, school, and society.
The situation is catastrophic and times are difficult. Therefore, politicians should care about peace, reconciliation and justice. This is a national, legal and moral responsibility.
- The clergy must spread good morals, patriotic and spiritual values that have declined a lot unfortunately.
- Politicians should preserve public money by lawto stop corruption, and ban spreading of hatred and eradication of others.
Everyone who harmed Iraqis should ask for forgiveness from them, and whoever stole public money should return it because it is forbidden… and everyone should contribute to restore the prestige of legal accountability, and diagnose abuses.
This method of faith and spiritual connection can lead to a serious step toward change. This is how we start the new year by returning to our authenticity, values, and correct patriotic and fraternal relations, hence to live in peace, with marginal problems.
This hope can be achieved with a wise and discerning vision of reality, to overcome difficulties, otherwise if the situation continues as it is, we will be all losers…
Iraq deserves peace, security and stability.
Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako