Iraqi Christians: Look to the “Uncivilized Mountain Mule”

As recent news reports tens of thousands of Iraqi Christian and Zoroastrian refugees fleeing the Islamic State into the mountains northwest of Mosul, the world watches from the sidelines.  Islam, which mean’s literally “submission,” animates the present-day Caliphate, resulting in its jihadists slaughtering, destroying, raping, and pillaging their way across Mesopotamia.  Hundreds of reports streaming daily from this war torn area confirm these atrocious realities and the fall of city after city to the Shariah.  On display in Mosul are the heads of hundreds of Christian children atop stakes and the bodies of their fathers hung from ropes, while many of their mothers are kept alive to become the “wives” or “right hand possessions” of jihadists (for sexual slavery, as permitted under the Shariah).  Meanwhile, the West puts forth little more than rhetoric in the defense of these victims of genocide.

Yesterday the Vatican issued this statement:

“His Holiness addresses an urgent appeal to the international community to take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now underway, to act to protect those affected or threatened by violence and to provide aid, especially for the most urgent needs of the many who have been forced to flee and who depend on the solidarity of others.”

The only action taken:  the leader of the most powerful country in the world, who provided ample military support to the Muslim Brotherhood’s conquest of Libya, finally acquiesces to the demand for “action” by providing a single air drop of humanitarian supplies.

Clearly not inspired by the lack of support from around the world, Iraqi refugees have two things to cling to:  God and history.  They can cling to the knowledge that the God they worship has prepared for them an eternal life altogether unlike Allah’s “paradise” sought by the Islamists that hunt them.   They can also cling to history.

Just like the Spanish Christians had to flee to the mountains of Covadonga and Cangas in Spain during the Islamist conquest of Iberia, so too are Iraq’s Christians on the run.  Fortunately for the Spanish (and for America) there was a Visigoth nobleman – Don Pelayo – who would not submit to the eighth century Caliphate.   Don Pelayo, referred to in modern Syrian Islamic text books as “an uncivilized mountain mule who defeated the Muslims,” is credited with beginning the Reconquista.  With his courageous attacks from out of the mountains, beginning with the battle of Covadonga, this small army defeated an Umayyad army of the Moor’s Islamist Empire, and established a small Christian principality in Asturias.  From this foothold in Asturias, Spanish Christians fought diligently for 781 years to reconquer present day Spain.  With the Treaty of Granada on 25 November 1491, the Moors surrendered in Spain, but the Caliphate still controlled the vast expanse of territory separating Spain from its Asian and Indian trade partners, leading the Spanish Crown to commission Christopher Columbus to sail westward.

Here America sits midst the territory discovered during that fateful Spanish voyage, watching history unfold, repeating itself.  Here we sit, idle, watching from the sidelines.  Had it not been for the courage of those who fought the Reconquista, this very land – “the land of the free and home of the brave” – may have been discovered under altogether different circumstances.

Leadership in the White House and the Vatican must awaken to the fact that what they see in Iraq is only a glimpse of what has occurred throughout the world for 1400 years and what is to come in Europe and within the United States.

If, among the crowds of refugees in the mountains of Iraq, there is a modern-day Don Pelayo we must wonder if the world’s leadership would help him.  Let’s hope and pray that there is, and that we do.

Don Pelayo

About Tommy Waller

Tommy Waller serves as Vice President, Special Projects at the Center for Security Policy.  Tommy manages the Secure the Grid Coalition – a group of policymakers, defense professionals, and activists working diligently to secure America’s most critical infrastructure – the U.S. Electric Grid.  Prior to joining the Center, Tommy served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an Infantry and Recon Officer with combat service overseas in numerous theaters.  His full bio can be found here.