A Pope, a father, and a story of great loss

 

BAGHDAD, Iraq On the third day of his visit and right after the Mass at Erbil, Pope Francis was led to meet Abdullah Kurdi, the Vatican said in a statement.

“The pope spent a long time with him (Kurdi) and with the help of an interpreter was able to listen to the pain of a father for the loss of his family,” it said.

Kurdi in return thanked Francis for his sympathy and closeness to the tragedy, especially the pain of “all those migrants who seek understanding, peace, and security, leaving their country at the risk of their lives,” the statement continued.

Abdullah Kurdi’s wife and two sons, one of them is Alan Kurdi, drowned when a smuggling boat taking them to Europe capsized off the coast of Turkey in 2015. Alan Kurdi’s body washed up on the shore and captured the world’s attention.

It was a time when millions of Syrians fled the civil war there that they boarded unsafe ships bound for Europe. And while many drowned trying to make the journey, Europe started closing its borders.

Abdullah Kurdi now lives in Iraq, in the autonomous Kurdish region. The pope preached for an end to conflict and sectarian violence. He has long called for a more compassionate treatment of migrants and refugees. (JSM/JuanManila)

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