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Paul Batou Shares His Gift With Those Hurt by 9/11
By Neda Ayar :: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 :: 38592 Views :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment

California, USA - "My village was burned in 1961 with an act they called “Ethnic Cleansing.” I was 2 years old at that time when both my father and mother witnessed the event. There will always be that clear picture of us running and hiding to survive etched into our memories," by Paul Batou.

Paul Batou, releases his new book titled My Last Thoughts About Iraq; a compilation and collection of my memories as an artist. His work, contained within the passionate pages of his latest musings, capture his reactions to the suffering and the Sadness which Has Plagued Mesopotamia.

As a gift, Batou has released one of his famed poems as a tribute to the suffering endured by those harmed by the September 11 bombing and those impacted by the pain Iraq has long suffered. 

The native author and artist empathizes with the victims of such horrific violence and murder of innocents.  “In my poetry, I have made clear the pain, humiliation, and destruction,” Batou says.  Batou’s work reflects the flickering light and emotional fervor brought about in the suffering of humanity as it searches for love, life, freedom, and peace.

Eventually, my parents sent us to the west to live among Christian in peace and freedom. As we all know, 9/11 continues to be a huge threat to our freedom. I was watching the news in California that morning with my mother; I told her in Aramaic, “See what the Islamist radicals did to our city!” She looked at me for a moment and said, “They have followed us to our new home.”  For her, my reply was a poem called Baghdad Morning in New York, to honor all those who died in that event, all who sacrificed their lives to save others, and everyone who continues to rebuild our country after that event. Finally, I wrote that poem to honor all the Iraqi Christians who are dying in Iraq today because of their beliefs as well as all those who escape their homelands searching for peace.


Baghdad Morning in New York

At eyeshot,
Such threads of gloomy fog
in a coal black sky.
They claim to be God’s knights
And universe’s earthquake
They claim to be . . . the message’s protector
At eyeshot.
A blast echoes . . .
Holes scorched in the sky.
At eyeshot,
There was silence.
And waiting.
Towers fell down from the clouds,
The ground collected
The scattered bodies.
There was . . . a storm of crying.
And screaming.
All were hugging the air.
Drizzles of smoke drop,
Fall like a rain shower
Over the heaps.
I looked at my face in the mirror!
When evening came along,
City lights shined
On remains and corpses.
Is this another Baghdad?
One that collects its dead!
And sings a song at the Euphrates.
blue was the sky,
Silent was the ocean.
While embracing the city,
And the Statue of Liberty.     
Oh . . . New York.
Do they come from there?
Chasing us?
Let them come,
My heart is full of snow,
from winter and wintertime.
My heart is full of anger,
from fighting and killing.
My heart is full of sadness,
from weeping and mourning.
A wound has opened,
A tower has fallen!
My dear,
They do not love flowers,
Or jasmine.
They do not like farmers’ songs,
Nor do they like the rain.
They do not like fall whistling,
Or the summer sun rising.
They do not like winter nights.
At eyeshot,
Wherever I look,
I saw light.
I saw old people and children.
I saw orphans and heroes.
All are lifting
A tower
To the sky.
Oh . . . New York.
Oh . . . Baghdad.
Cowards are they,
Who kill from behind.

Paul Batou, a native Iraqi artist, author and poet first received a degree in pharmacy in 1982 from the University of Baghdad. While in school, Batou worked and was inspired by many teachers and artists studying at the University. In 1980, Batou entertained his passion for art and showcased some of his paintings.  Recognized as a gifted artist Batou was invited to join several famous galleries and exhibit his collections.

In the Mid 80’s Batou was forced into military service for the Iraq-Iran war as a medic. In 1989, Batou fled Iraq with his family and moved to Los Angeles.  In the United States, Batou continues to create art, play music, and write poems.   Batou’s art is available in a number of Los Angeles galleries and his books are available online as well. 

To learn more about the remarkable work of Paul Batou please visit http://www.paulbatou.com/

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.