MONTAHA AND DANY, STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE AS CHRISTIAN REFUGEES IN LEBANON

MONTAHA AND DANY, STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE AS CHRISTIAN REFUGEES IN LEBANON
Montaha and her son Dany, Christian refugees from Iraq, Beirut, Lebanon (29 March 2019)

Mountha Dado is a Christian refugee. She is 35 years old. With her husband Duraid Sameer Wadeea and her mischievous little boy Dany, 5, they are Chaldean refugees. They have found a temporary shelter in Lebanon’s capital in a tiny one-room apartment in DEKWANA district, RAJ. The family pays a monthly rent of 200 US dollars.

Christians “accused of not believing in God”

She and her family left Iraq 5 years ago on their own to escape ISIS’s arrival and the persecution of Christians “accused of not believing in God”.

Little future in Lebanon for Christian refugees

She says she has no future here in Lebanon. She thought President Trump would welcome all Chaldean Iraqi refugees to the US. She had been waiting the US green light many months. She even attended in 2016 a 3-day session organized by the US Embassy in Lebanon to support Chaldean refugees’ asylum applications to the US. But the so long waited plane never came. She says she has cousins ​​in Australia but their kinship degree was not close enough.

The UNHCR has granted them the refugee status. The church helps them a little, provides them with food and supports Dany’s schooling, their little boy. Mountha says she has only one child because she could not afford to educate others. Dany’s father works as a laborer in a washing powder factory for $ 300 a month 13 hours a day.

Previously in Iraq, he was the general manager of a furniture store. Mountha studied psychology for four years at the college. She worked in Iraq on TV SOUDARIA as a human resources assistant.

She says she cried all the time the first year of her exile. She has now got accustomed to her new life but she does not want to go back to Iraq. She thinks ISIS is still in Iraq. She mentions IS killings in Mosul.

She still has family in Kurdistan. She would like to have them repatriated to Australia, US or France.

Not enough attention paid to Christian refugees from Iraq

She feels unfair that more attention is paid to Syrians than Christian refugees from Iraq. She says the Vatican press has visited them in Lebanon but has no news since. She now wants to try luck in France.

In this Easter time, I accompany Mountha to the church to attend the Stations of the Cross ceremony. Mountha is praying now fervently, perhaps that her request for a better life for her and her little boy Dany will be one day heard.

CHRISTIAN REFUGEE FROM IRAQ ATTENDING THE WAY OF THE CROSS CELEBRATION, BEIRUT, LEBANON
29 March 2019: Montaha YOUSSIF, Christian refugee from Iraq attending the way of the cross celebration, DEKWANA, RAJ neighborhood, Beirut, Lebanon

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