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Saturday, March 15, 2008

The cruelty of kidnapping and death stirs memories of ancient times and peoples

Australia sometimes seems remote not only because of its geography but from some of the most important facets of human history. This comes to mind with the reported finding of the body of the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho in Iraq.

A Wikipedia search shows this entry for the term Chaldeans. For Miss Eagle, it brings to mind biblical history, some of the oldest human history which in turn conjures up painful thoughts of the beginning of the Iraq invasion by the U.S. when the museum in Baghdad was looted and pillaged of some of the finest records and artifacts of human history.

The language spoken by Chaldeans, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, is a living link with an ancient time and an ancient people.

The Chaldeans also connect us with a very ancient Christian community - the St Thomas Christians of India. Christian tradition has it that St Thomas - you recall, dear Reader, Didymus the doubting one - travelled to India and preached the gospel there. Miss Eagle recalls when she lived in Tennant Creek where there is a group of the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa's order of nuns) meeting one of the sisters who had grown up in the Syrian church in India.

So a meeting between two women in a remote Australian outback town can connect the modern 20th century with Apostolic times, Indian history, and ancient human stories embedded in the Middle East.

In Australia, we settlers - with a two hundred year memory of European settlement set within a 40,000 year Aboriginal tradition - have a lot to learn about other ancient ways of being human.