Na cidade natal de Abraão, papa encontra apenas uma família cristã

A figura de Abraão está no centro da viagem do Papa Francisco ao Iraque. A etapa na antiga Ur dos Caldeus, onde neste sábado, 6, se realizou o encontro inter-religioso com o Pontífice, é uma das mais importantes e simbólicas. Foi desta cidade, localizada a poucos quilômetros de Nassiriya e hoje conhecida como Tell-al-Muquayyat, que Abraão falou pela primeira vez com Deus e da qual iniciou sua missão que liga profundamente os destinos de judeus, cristãos e muçulmanos.

O papa fez de sua peregrinação a Ur, mas hoje, na província rural e xiita de Di Car, vive apenas uma família cristã.

Maher Tobia, de 53 anos, afirma que a sua é a única família cristã ainda presente na cidade de Nasiriyah, a 17 km dos vestígios arqueológicos de Ur.

Foi neste local, a cidade mais antiga do mundo, “Ur dos Caldeus” da Bíblia, que nasceu o profeta Abraão, de acordo com a tradição.

Todos os cristãos que Tobia conheceu quando era jovem, diz ele, “foram para Bagdá ou para o Curdistão iraquiano, e a maioria deles deixou o país depois”.

Mas com a visita do papa Francisco, que traz “uma mensagem de amizade e paz”, Tobia está convencido de que “a situação vai melhorar” na província rebelde, ponta de lança de todas as “revoluções” no Iraque, entre elas a última, em outubro de 2019.

Há apenas uma semana, vários manifestantes morreram.

No momento mais crítico da revolta, o papa argentino pediu o fim da repressão mortal aos protestos, nos quais quase 600 pessoas morreram e 30.000 ficaram feridas.

“A visita de um homem dessa envergadura e com esse peso religioso pode beneficiar Di Car e seus locais de peregrinação”, diz Tobia.

“Se a visita for bem feita, pode ter uma grande repercussão”, assegura o iraquiano graduado em Belas Artes, cheio de esperança.

– “Nos passos de Francisco” –

Quando o avô de Maher Tobia nasceu em 1914 e depois ele, 57 anos depois, em Nasiriyah, capital desta província agrícola e tribal, e até o embargo internacional contra o Iraque no início dos anos 1990, ainda havia entre “20 e 30 famílias cristãs” na área.

Ao contrário de seu avô, que se estabeleceu em Nasiriyah sob o Império Otomano e fundou uma fábrica, todas essas famílias, ele explica à AFP, eram funcionários enviados por Bagdá ou estacionados na cidade por um tempo, antes de retornarem ao seu local de residência.

Após a invasão dos Estados Unidos em 2003, que derrubou o ditador Saddam Hussein, “havia apenas duas famílias cristãs em Nasiriyah”, relata este homem, com um pequeno bigode branco e um terno preto impecável.

Em duas décadas, a minoria cristã do Iraque – em grande parte caldeia, isto é, católica – foi drasticamente reduzida.

Se antes de 2003 era um milhão e meio, atualmente existem entre 300 mil e 400 mil fiéis, segundo organizações de defesa das minorias no Iraque, que alertam que essas 

famílias vão continuar a partir, em um país onde o índice de pobreza dobrou no ano passado, atingindo 40% da população.

E depois de quatro décadas de guerra, a economia do país está em péssimo estado, ainda mais devido à queda dos preços do petróleo – a única fonte de divisas do país – e à recente desvalorização brutal da moeda.

Aproveitando a visita de Francisco, várias agências de turismo iraquianas preparam passeios “nos passos do papa”.

As autoridades garantem, por sua vez, que estudam facilitar as condições para a obtenção de vistos de turista, até agora quase inexistentes, exceto para o turismo religioso xiita nas cidades sagradas de Karbala e Najaf.

Talvez as autoridades locais construam uma igreja para os peregrinos em Di Car.

E Tobia não terá mais que ir a Bagdá, 400 km ao norte, ou a Basra, mais ao sul, para “casamentos ou funerais”.

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