Can Christianity survive in the Middle East? Ancient communities of Christian faithful are currently being decimated not just by religious violence, persecution, and war—but the economic factors that motivate emigration and refuge. Janine Di Giovanni is an award-winning journalist and war correspondent, and is Senior Fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. She joins Evan Rosa to discuss her journalistic style and approach to human rights reporting, the alarming decimation of the Christian population in the Middle East, the difference between survival and flourishing, and what it means to adapt to being an outsider. Her latest book is The Vanishing: Faith, Loss, & the Twilight of Christianity in the Land of the Prophets.
This episode was made possible in part by the generous support of the Tyndale House Foundation. For more information, visit tyndale.foundation.
From the Introduction (Evan Rosa):
There are many ways to be a journalist in our noisy digital commons. And likely, there's a place for them all, but everyone—whether writer or reader—needs to ask: What is a journalist for? Presenting the truth, spreading knowledge, yes. But reporting for mere awareness pushes the question all the more for us news junkies, hooked on headlines replete with bad news.
My guest today sees journalism as an endeavor of human empathy—recording the truth not from embassies or palaces or political centers, but from the leaky tents of refugee camps; telling stories not of the powerful politicians and generals executing a war, but the widows and orphans caught up in the chaos; publishing news and correspondence not to feed the insatiable news gluttony of American media, but to give voice to the voiceless.
- The Vanishing: Faith, Loss, & the Twilight of Christianity in the Land of the Prophets
- How Janine Di Giovanni became a "human rights reporter"
- Palestinian occupation and intifada
- Bosnian War
- War is not about religion or tribe, but power
- Embedded within a community
- Giving voice
- Expressing agency
- The Vanishing: Documenting Christian communities before they disappear
- Di Giovanni's personal faith and commitment to neighbor love
- Coats on the Bowery
- Journalistic style: bringing the reader close
- "If you have the ability to go to these places and bring the story to other people, then you have the obligation."
- Confusion, frustration, fear
- War makes life change in an instant
- Perspective-taking, empathy, and compassion
- "Celebrating the fact that we still exist."
- Christian persecution around the world
- The purpose of The Vanishing: to honor the people who have decided to stay, even amidst persecution
- Pope Francis's trip to Iraq during covid, for solidarity
- "Emigration is our enemy."
- Good refugees vs bad refugees
- Chaldean Christian Iraqis chanting in Aramaic
- Faith rooted in the land
- Adapting to being an outsider vs adapting to being an insider
- Egyptian Coptic Christians
- Courage to be a stranger in a strange land
- What is a life worth living?
- This podcast featured journalist and war correspondent Janine Di Giovanni
- Edited and Produced by Evan Rosa
- Hosted by Evan Rosa
- Production Assistance by Martin Chan, Nathan Jowers, Natalie Lam, and Logan Ledman
- A Production of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture at Yale Divinity School https://faith.yale.edu/about
- Support For the Life of the World podcast by giving to the Yale Center for Faith & Culture: https://faith.yale.edu/give