by ROWENA OREJANA
AUCKLAND — Fourteen-year- old Carmel College student Nadine Amso remembers vividly the day
that changed her life. She was 10 years old.
She was sitting with her family in a church in Baghdad when a bomb exploded outside the building. The windows were smashed and the church doors forced opened by masked terrorists.
“Their faces were covered. We can only see their eyes,” she remembered.
Nadine was one of the speakers at the meeting for Iraqi Christians at St Patrick’s Cathedral on August 30. She called on the government to help those still being persecuted.
Panic ensued, she recalled, everyone was shouting. The terrorists were shooting everyone.
Her mum was shot. “I didn’t know what to do. I haven’t seen anything like it. I mean, I’ve seen it in movies and television, but not in real life,” she said.
Her brother, to whom she felt closer than her parents, was shot as well. He did not survive. “He said, ‘If I die, please know that I love you’,” she recounted, her voice breaking.
The terrorists turned off all the lights. They walked through the fallen victims, searching for anyone who had survived. “One of the terrorists would look around and ask, ‘Still alive?’
He shot the one beside me,” she said.
She held her breath for as long as she could. The man was called by his comrade
and moved away from her.
“Finally, after five hours of horror, the police arrived,” she said. She thought
the police were too late.
Her mum had been shot three more times during the ordeal and was half-conscious.
Nadine found herself alone. She called her father, who was out of Baghdad at the time. He called a friend, who helped her and her mum to the hospital.
Through the intercession of the Vatican embassy in Iraq, her mother was flown to Italy and was treated there. After her mother’s treatment, her parents decided to migrate to New Zealand in 2011.
Throughout the ordeal, she said, her faith remained strong. “I know in my heart that God was with us,” she said. “God’s time is always on time.”
by ROWENA OREJANA