Those who know me know that I left Sweden to move to Malta just a couple of days ago, leaving darkness, cold weather and cold people behind. What none of you probably know though is the history of Malta and reading this won’t make you any wiser in that aspect.
There is just one thing that my mind can’t grasp. I am, not surprisingly Assyrian, dwelling in the ruins of greatness, picking my feet clean from fragments and splinters of my people’s history as I walk barefoot through life. I come from a great people with a magnificent heritage of mind boggling ingenuity, intelligence and forward thinking.
Where are we in 2008? Scattered, shattered, bickering, bitching and fighting over politics, dialects, flags and religion. We are all over the world (I have not yet found a single Assyrian in Malta though) and there are millions of us. Many of us forgetting or not learning our own language and history. Many of us not bounding, not understanding and not being given the chance or opportunity to form and uphold any sense of actually being Assyrian. This is what we are in 2008.
Now look at Malta. This tiny 25 km or so long island with its 400 000 inhabitants have been in bed with many countries but never became anyone’s bitch. In 2008 it is a country with its own language which is a beautiful love child formed through various “bed partners” into what is today the Maltese language. They have their flag and they raise it proudly. They are a member of the European Union, just converted to the euro and are well on their way to reach new heights in development both economical and infrastructural (you can thank the nationalist party for that).
So what is our problem? Granted, Malta has never been a threat to any nation and most would argue this is why Malta has been left alone. Okay, Assyrians were and are still heavily targeted because of their religion in a Muslim dominated area of the world but still. We are again, millions of people, most of us schooled and educated or at the very least not retarded but we are still following the same patterns, repeating the same mistakes, reducing ourselves to even smaller beings as far as Assyrianism goes.
Some Assyrians fight loudly, aggressively and passionately for their cause. Some have done it all their life, grown up in a family with active parents within the movement through various organisation and in that way had their Assyrian identity parallel with whatever life they lived in whichever country they were living. Then there are others, like me, who grew up outside of the Assyrian movement, with parents who themselves were raised without any greater insight or knowledge about the history which lead to these living generations of Assyrians. I didn’t wake up until one of these loud and passionate Assyrians introduced herself to me and engaged in discussions with me. Discussions which did not only change how I view my people but also how I view myself and my own identity, which made me loud and passionate about my cause, or our cause rather.
It is this awakening that is needed across all continents and tiny islands where Assyrians live but it requires that we are open to the change within. Untill then we won’t see any real change and Assyrians will still be divided, still bickering and still bitching and arguing over nonsens. Still to busy impressing friends, neighbours and family with superficial things instead of rebuilding, teaching, understanding and loving. I salute Malta and all active Assyrians this evening with my hand on my heart wishing Assyrians all over the world one day can come together as one.
-Emil Brikha. is an Assyrian from Iran, raised in Sweden, recently moved to Malta. Check out his website and more of his articles at: www.LQP.se