Imagine your loved ones were kidnapped by the terrorists. And now you have to decide whether to pay for these ruthless people to ransom or to leave their family members in their hands. The community of Syrian Christians are faced with such a terrible choice last year.
In February 2015, the jihadists of the “Islamic state” took control of several villages around the city of tel Tamar, in the Syrian valley of the khabur. They stole 226 Christians.
“They entered the village in military vehicles like the army. It was useless to resist. The militants were knocking on all the doors. We were taken and gathered all in one house. Then each of us drove to his house to conduct a search. They destroyed all the crosses and icons of the virgin,” says one of the kidnapped Christians then ISIS Abdo Region.
At the end of last year in Lebanon, poor people discussed measures for the release of their loved ones. At that time they did not want their comments included in the report because they were afraid that then they will kill their kidnapped relatives. But they remained firm in the faith and prayed that God freed their families from the hands of ISIS.
Living in California documentary filmmaker Sargon Saadi visited their homeland to make a film about how these families and Christians from all over the world try to buy the captured Assyrians. The ransom was paid to ISIS in violation of international law.
“We do not regret about breaking the law, especially when the authorities do nothing. They just impose some rules of conduct. But what about the lives of these people?” says Sargon Saadi.
Saadi visited several villages that attacked ISIS militants. They are like Ghost towns. After it became known that beheaded the 21st of the Coptic Egyptians in Libya, Christians were afraid that ISIS will do the same with 226 stolen by the Assyrians. In September 2015, ISIS released a video in which three Christians in orange jumpsuits being shot by their abductors.
“It was an incredible sight. Just could not believe that our fellow Assyrians shot on camera in such a barbaric way in 2015. Just incredible. In that moment decided “We will release what we have at any cost. We don’t care about compliance with any laws or regulations we say.” To fight them we can’t. In Assyrian there is no army to save them,” recalls Sargon Saadi.
Church leaders opened a Bank account for collecting donations for ransom. Reportedly, for the redemption of every Christian was required to 50 thousand dollars. Gradually, the ransom was paid, and by Easter 2016 was released all the kidnapped Christians.
“It’s a big philosophical question: “Should we pay a ransom for hostages? Not pobedim if we are thus offenders to new terrible acts? Is it good in the long run?” Maybe not. It’s probably not very good. But when you find yourself in this situation, you have no time to think about the ethical and moral aspects. You’re just doing business”, says Sargon Saadi.
Only such measures would save lives in distress of the relatives of these people.