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Paul Batou Shares His Gift With Those Hurt by 9/11
By Neda Ayar :: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 :: 45890 Views :: Article Rating :: 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/

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St. Thomas, MI USA

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460
Fax: (248) 788-2153

Founding Pastor:
Rev. Hanna Cheikho

Current Pastor:
Rev. Frank Kalabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes, Retired  


Rev. Frank Kalabat
 

Rev. Frank Kalabat was born in 1970 in San Diego, California and entered St. Francis Seminary of San Diego, California.  The admission to the Catholic seminary made him the first born U.S. Chaldean to enter an American seminary.  In 1992, Fr. Kalabat continued his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  In July 1995, shortly after graduation he was ordained as priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim.  

Fr. Frank chose Mother of God Parish in Southfield, MI. as his first assignment serving the Chaldean community as an associate pastor for half a decade.  In 2001, Fr. Kalabat was elected to serve as Pastor of St. Tomas Parish in West Bloomfield, Michigan where he remains today.   

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1942. Upon graduation Fr. Abrahim was admitted to St. Peter Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad, Iraq.  After a decade of studies and numerous degrees, Fr. Abrhim was ordained a priest in 1967.  He chose to continue ministering in Baghdad, Iraq.  There he was appointed the headmaster of the catechism at Mother of Sorrows Cathedral.  Fr. Abrahim also assisted St. Therese Church in Baghdad until 1978.  Afterward he was asked to assist St. Joseph Church in Baghdad and was appointed Parochial Vicar from 1978-1992. 

In 1992, Fr. Abrahim was called upon to assist the growing Chaldean population in Michigan.  Upon his arrival he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Tory, Michigan.  Two years later Fr. Abrahim was asked to become the pastor of a Parish community in Windsor, Canada  where he remained the parish pastor until 2001.

Continuing demographic changes in Michigan required Fr. Abrahim to return to St. Joseph Parish in Tory as a Parochial Vicar, where he remained until 2006.  In 2006 he was elected to St. Thomas Parish as Parochial Vicar in West Bloomfield, MI. where he currently serves the Chaldean community.

 

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes

Rev. Emmanuel Rays was born in Araden, Iraq in 1930.  He studied at St. John Dominican Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.  The Chaldean catholic ambassador ministered in northern Iraq from 1954-1963, in Syria and Lebanon from 1963-1980, and in the United Stated from 1980 to the present day.
 
Form 1980-1983, he was appointed associate pastor at Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan.  From 1983-1989 he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  During the early 1990’s he ministered to the Chaldean community in Farmington Hills and was at St. Joseph Parish in Tory where he was Parochial Vicar until 2000.

Although Fr. Rayes retired in 2001, he remains active in serving the community.  He is the author of many articles in Arabic and is the editor-in-chief of the Al Mishal and Al-Tariq magazine.  He has translated and continues to translate many books from French and English into Arabic.