By John Carroll
It’s a life-saving mission of epic proportion. A local man is trying to get tens of thousands of Christians and other minorities out of Iraq and Syria.
Mark Arabo has been meeting with members of Congress and the administration since ISIS began capturing and killing people in march of last year. But on his latest trip to Washington, just last week, he brought something with him he hopes will be a game-changer. “It has been my best tool I could have in Washington,” Arabo said. He was referring to a large binder, a binder full of names. A list of 70,000 people Arabo and his team have identified that are desperate to be rescued from Iraq and Syria. Also part of the list are the names of people who’ve agreed to sponsor the families.
“This list has sons and daughters and mothers and fathers, innocent people that just want to live and we match them with 70,000… I call them angels on earth,” Arabo said.
“People are truly not up to speed as to the gravity of what’s going on,” said Nasser Palizban. Palizban is one of those people Arabo called an angel. He stepped up and agreed to sponsor one of the families. Palizban compared what’s happening in Iraq and Syria today to what happened in the lead-up to the Jewish holocaust of World War Two. “They (ISIS) take their organs in order to generate… cash. These are truly… and it’s happening on our watch and it’s happening in the 21st century. It’s very shameful,” Palizban said.
For Palizban, the crisis that continues to unfold in Iraq and Syria has a gut-wrenchingly personal feel to it. He is from Iran. He and his family had to go into hiding after the revolution of 1979. “I lost family. They executed my uncle and they were after a lot of our relatives to basically… anyone who was associated with the old regime,” he said.
“People contacted us through Facebook and social media, through our website. People in churches came to me and said I want to help. I said, well can you adopt a family? And they said yes we could,” Arabo said.
That was the comparatively easy part. Arabo said trying to get politicians, whether in Congress or in the White House to act, to expedite visas, organize airlifts, that seems to be much harder. “We’re not giving up. I’m certainly not stopping. It’s full speed ahead. We need everyone to join our efforts and to lift up their voices and their hearts and minds with us and we’re gonna see this hopefully to the end,” Arabo said.
If you’d like to help, you’re urged to call your representatives in Congress and urge them to pressure the administration to act. You can also go to the website endthegenocide.com for more information.