After China, Iran was one of the first countries hit hard by the coronavirus. In neighboring Iraq, the prime minister had just stepped down in response to the “Occupy Baghdad” protest, says Samuel of Redemptive Stories.
He explains what happened next. “A few weeks later, they elected a new prime minister. But even then, the protesters were still not happy . . . because they felt like he was just another crony that was just going to continue . . . to deepen the relationship with Iran. He then subsequently . . . kind of took a step back. Then they elected an intern prime minister, who then, just as of Thursday, also himself stepped down.”
Why this chaos?
What is so hard about keeping a prime minister? Samuel says, “For Americans, it’s like having five different political parties. You have the Christians that have their own party. You have the Shia Muslims that have their own party. The Sunni Muslims, and then even the other minority religious groups within the country also have their own political parties. And all that affects regions as well.”
Samuel says these regions and parties even sometimes have their own militias. The opinions diverge so wildly that no one is going to always be happy. Samuel hopes that once the pandemic goes away, people in Iraq will be able to have a better dialogue about how the government should run.
The worry and fear in Iraq over the coronavirus has caused many to turn to the risen Christ for hope. The government, after all, seems unable to help them. Samuel says he has seen this response primarily through social media and satellite television.
“In unprecedented times,” Samuel says, “God is doing unprecedented things.”
Samuel asks Christians to pray that God would comfort his Church in Iraq, and that they would be able to gather digitally until the lockdowns lift. Pray also, “That God would use all these different things that are happening to shake the foundations of the Middle East. To shake the pillars of Islam and bring more and more people to Himself.”
A meeting of the council of representatives in Iraq. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)