The Common Good


#WeAreN: 'If One Group Is Marked, We're All Marked'

Sojomail - July 31, 2014

GUEST COMMENTARY: Behind #WeAreN: 'If One Group Is Marked, We're All Marked'

by Jeremy Courtney

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When I first saw Americans joining in solidarity with Iraqi Christians through the #WeAreN hashtag and protest campaign, I was encouraged. Our team at Preemptive Love Coalition had been sounding the alarm about the targeted persecution of minorities in Iraq through private emails and social media messages for weeks, in between making urgent appeals in our effort to provide lifesaving heart surgeries for children amid the violence.

Most of our efforts were largely unsuccessful before the “Islamic State” gave Mosul’s Christians an ultimatum to (1) convert to Islam; (2) pay a submission tax; or (3) “face the sword.”

After Islamist militants began marking the homes of Christians in red paint with the Arabic letter “N” (Nazarene) for extermination or expropriation, we tried again to use our proximity to the problem in Iraq to provoke our friends in America to pay attention by tagging a photo “WeAreN,” in which I had symbolically marked myself with an Arabic “N.”

But it was not strictly an act of solidarity with Iraqi Christians. We had the targeting of Turkmen, Yezidi, Shabak, and even Sunni Muslims in view, as well. #WeAreN was more about the marking of Christians; less about the marking of Christians.

Muslims and minorities across Iraq immediately sensed the gravity...


Jeremy Courtney (@JCourt) is executive director of the Preemptive Love Coalition, an international development organization in Iraq, and author of Preemptive Love: Pursuing Peace One Heart at a Time. To discuss hosting an event on the Preemptive Love Fall Tour, contact

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