Baghdad, Iraq, Dec 12, 2019 / 17:00 pm
Christmas celebrations among Iraqi Christians will be subdued this year in a show of solidarity with anti-government protesters.
"Morally and spiritually we cannot celebrate in such an atmosphere of tension," Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako of the Chaldean Church in Iraq, told the Associated Press. About 400 people have been killed by the country's security forces since protests broke out on October 1.
"It's not normal to celebrate our joy and happiness while others are dying. That doesn't work," said Sako. "We will have no other celebration, we cannot make a big feast when our country is in a critical situation."
He said that money that had previously been allocated for decorating the streets and holding Christmas celebrations for the holiday would go instead to aiding those wounded in the protests. Mass and prayers will be the only celebrations of the holiday, per Sako's order. A Christmas tree in an area of Baghdad that is controlled by the anti-government forces is decorated not with traditional decorations, but with pictures of those killed in the protests.