Press reports have indicated that Iraqi Chaldean Archbishop Najib Mikhael Moussa of Mosul has been nominated for the 2020 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, which is awarded annually "to honor exceptional individuals and organizations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms." He is nominated for the prize owing to his tireless efforts designed to save hundreds of ancient manuscripts from being destroyed by ISIS militants.
Archbishop Najib Mikhael Moussa is credited to exerting enormous efforts to safeguarded more than 800 historic manuscripts dating from the 13th to the 19th century. He is also renowned for contributing to safeguarding 8,000 more manuscripts and 35,000 documents from the Eastern church since 1990.
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF SAVING THE ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS
At the time when ISIS militants overran areas in northern Iraq, destruction was wrought which constituted a threat to Iraq's heritage as it became in danger of extinction. It was important to saveguard the manuscripts and documents since a people without a heritage is a dead people.
Manuscripts are records of cultures and heritage that need to be preserved. The efforts conducted by Iraqi Chaldean Archbishop Najib Mikhael Moussa of Mosul are quite invaluable as they represent a farsighted view designed to serve humanity and ensure diversity in a world with intermingled cultures.
The preservation of manuscripts tells the world that here are the roots of Christianity where help is needed to protect the Christian presence. Preserving the manuscripts is far more important than merely having a record of history and an archive of historical objects. It is something vital for the education of future generations as well.
In fact the manuscripts and the archives of these ancient documents make up the Christian history and roots since it impossible to save a tree without saving its roots where both can bear fruit.
The manuscripts documenting the Christian culture in Iraq serve as the backbone of the Christian culture of the East.
May the saving of the manuscripts be one of the steps leading to the restoration of peace in Iraq, to helping Christian Iraqis restore a safe life, and be a step leading to the repatriation of the forcibly displaced so as to return to the land of their forefathers.