Archive for June 2010

Assyrians and the G20: Should we have Been part of it?

They say ‘any publicity is good publicity’ but I beg to differ!

The G20, the meeting of the world’s 8 developed and industrialized nations, as well as other emerging and developing nations, was held in Toronto this weekend (June 26,27) and it hasn’t been pretty! As is the case with these G8 and G20 meetings, the city where they are held, is often doomed and loses more than it can gain from this international exposure. In the case of Toronto, there has been massive protests, which turned violent and out of control in many instances. These protesters, some peaceful and others intent on getting their message across at any cost, didn’t give Toronto the best image it was hoping for to the outside world.

These protests were for various causes, and not exclusive to just one specific issue.  Some were marching for the G8 leaders to allocate more for poverty in 3rd world countries, to do more to protect the environment and some were even waving the Palestinian flag in solidarity with the people of Gaza and their suffering as a result of the Israeli blockade!

When I saw the Palestinian flag, I thought to myself: “did we miss a chance to represent the Assyrian people and plight on the world stage?” I mean the attention of Canadians and world media was fixated on Toronto this weekend, covering the G8, and this would be a great opportunity to get some much needed world exposure and attention. It all sounds great until you see the negative images and reputation now being associated with these protests.

It is true that the majority of protests were peaceful and intended to remain so, but others more radical groups (Black Bloc) were determined to infiltrate the masses and causes havoc in order to confuse the police.  Their tactics initially worked, but Toronto security forces caught up to them and arrested many of those who caused the destruction and mayhem in the streets of Toronto.

So while it would have helped if a few hundreds of Assyrians came out with flags and propaganda signs, their association with the overall negativity of the protest would have hurt more than helped.  Our Assyrian people in Iraq are going through some very tough times, and if there was ever a time to bring world and media attention to it, it would have been now at the G20.  But given the chaotic scenes in the streets of Toronto, I am afraid the message would have been lost in translation.  In this case, there was not even a need for translation.  The visuals are compelling enough, and a picture often says a thousand words!

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Iraq’s Christians Under the Oppression of Democracy

Iraq’s Christians
Under the Oppression of Democracy

Ashur Giwargis – Beirut
English Translation: Mary Challita
08/June/2010

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch” – Benjamin Franklin

When democracy lacks equality it becomes a disaster for the lambs because constitutions are written accordingly, thus wolves agree to it and it becomes legal within the concept of political democracy but lacks equality within the concept of nationalism and humanity. This is what happened in Iraq following the fall of “dictatorship” when everyone suffered oppression equally, creating at the time a common national opposition, but today and in the shadow of “democracy”, oppression is but the share of the vulnerable groups.

There have been many statements regarding the status of Iraqi Christians (Assyrians with their different denominations) some false, some true, and some electoral diplomacy … But the void of hope in the eyes of hundreds of thousands of Assyrians scattered in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey waiting to be accepted abroad, remains truer than a hypocritical, cowardly Patriarch, a collaborator politician, a masked governor, or a mercenary writer.

The Iraqi Christians’ tragedy is not a new subject, because the history of the suffering of Christians in the Middle East and particularly in Assyria (Iraq’s Occupied North) goes back to ancient times since they embraced Christianity in 01st century A.D. and throughout the centuries where they suffered from islamization policies at the hands of foreigners who settled in the area and most of those oppressions were apparently of religious nature until the emergence of national movements following the French Revolution which spread to Turkey, the Arab countries, Armenia and Assyria that is when the truth regarding national oppression began to appear following the emergence of the Assyrian national movement in the beginning of the 20th century as a counter movement to those surrounding it, such as the Turkic and Arabization policies, and lastly Kurdification in addition to islamization.

The majority of Iraq’s Christians belong to the Assyrian nationality and they are divided into several denominations with the largest being the Chaldean Church (Assyrian Catholics), the Assyrian Church of the East, the Syrian Church (Orthodox and Catholic) and several Evangelistic groups, in addition to the Armenians with their different denominations who make up about 5% of Iraq’s Christians. The Assyrians are the indigenous people of what’s today known as Iraq and until today they still keep the same habits, traditions, and the ancient Assyrian language influenced by some Aramaic (a hybrid of Canaanite and ancient Assyrian). The Assyrians also differ religiously and nationally from the other factions who arrived to the Assyrian historical homeland throughout history, thus the Assyrians were and shall continue to be subjected to being obliterated from their homeland if the world continues to ignore their situation. What is a cause for concern in first place is the silence of the Assyrian officials vis a vis what is taking place against their own people so much that their defeated attitude reached to the level of denying and at times justifying the organized killing operations.

As for the clergy their stands are full of the usual false political utopia, a habit for Christians of the East, thus if we were to look into the statements of the Assyrian Catholics Patriarch (Chaldeans) Emanuel Dally, we see that he repeatedly mentions that the attacks are not against the Christians only but include the Muslims too, the latest being a statement he made to An-Nahar Lebanese newspaper on February 05, 2010 attempting to show his patriotism and his loyalty to Iraqi authorities at his people’s expense, just like some churches did throughout their history, while the truth is that we have not heard until today that a Christian blew himself up, plundered or broke into homes to steal and demand bribery in the name of Christ. Hence, whom should we believe in this case ? Patriarch Dally or Jesus Christ who prophesied 2000 years ago of what would be happening today when He said: “They shall put you out of the synagogues: Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service” (John 16:02).

We can speak volumes when it comes to Assyrian politicians such as Mr. Younadam Kanna, Iraqi parliament MP who is well known to everyone by denying all attacks against Christians as a religion and Assyrians as a nationality since declaring the area of kurdish Occupation as a “Safe Haven” in 1991, through the post-Saddam period where he participated in writing the Iraqi constitution which stipulates on kurdifying and islamizing the Assyrian people, he also denied all that took place against his people till today, except during the elections period when he utters some of the truth with a twist until the end of elections. The elections period is usually tainted by his suspicious past which is used by the ruling authorities to blackmail him into more concessions at the expense of his oppressed people at the hands of his degenerate country.

It is the habit of Assyrian politicians to wait for calamities and killings against the Assyrian people providing them with the opportunity to condemn and protest, they even compete in issuing statements which are often withdrawn the following day. This defeated disgrace became the culture of the silent Assyrian political movement, the example on that being the crime of attacking the Assyrian student buses from Bakhdida on May 02, 2010, when “children” demonstrated in Iraq against that crime while those who consider themselves “men” kept silent.

Even when they admit to oppression in order to deceive the naïve, that comes without naming the culprits, who at one time are “external factions who want to destabilize coexistence” and at another the killers are “within, amongst and from us” (that is Iraqis) (1) like when Mr. Younadam Kanna made a declaration which resulted in the listeners’ sarcasm and mockery, even more insolent was the declaration made by Younadam Kanna’s ally, the governor of Mosul Atheel al-Nujaifi, who on January 24th, 2010 in an interview with an Assyrian website stating that the killers were known but it was not in his interest to reveal them (2), while we see both Kanna and his ally al-Nujaifi demanding an international investigation.

What State is this when a governor is so insolent to declare that he knew the killers and terror instigators but he wouldn’t reveal them because his political interests demanded that? And what kind of Parliament Member has the audacity to publicly declare that he had the names of his people’s killers, and still demands an international investigation?

Proceeding from the aforementioned, Atheel al-Nujaifi and Younadam Kanna are concealing criminal as well as security information and as such, the two are participants in the crimes of killing the Assyrian people in Iraq until they reveal the names in their possession. In what concerns facts there is a permission to kill and displace Christians with the silence of the regimes and the supreme religious authorities whereby today they look at a Christian as if he is living on his own land as a favour from Muslims or as if he is a Muslim “subject” who must be protected by the “Muslim State” (indirectly according to the Iraqi constitution) and he has no right to self-protection.

When we talk about allowing the killing of Christians we also mean the indirect instigation by islamic religious clerics (Sunni / Shiite) and this is clear from the events and stands during the “democracy” period in Iraq, the most important being the emptying of Baghdad of thousands of Christians when some Muslim clerics waged a campaign against the Christians. One of those clerics, Hatem al-Razzaq, the al-Nour mosque Imam in Baghdad, was entering in the name of Allah, Christian homes accompanied by some thugs demanding every Assyrian home to pay dhemma (3) (protection money) in the sum of 250.000 Iraqi dinars (about $160 US dollars) a month, observing islamic shariaa laws or leaving their homes immediately, thus forcing thousands of families to leave their homes in Baghdad and sleep on the streets, in Churches, or in cemeteries while their homes are still confiscated by the “country brethren” and no one even attempts to evacuate them.

As for the Muslim Scholars Association in Iraq (Sunni) also expressed its opinion when its spokesperson Mohammad Bashar al-Faidhi who called for war on Christian Iraqis if the heads of the Assyrian denominations in Iraq did not apologize for the American bombing of mosques (4) and Moqtada al-Sadr’s call for Christian Iraqis not to be “corrupt on earth” then his deputy Sheikh Jaber al-Khafaji reaffirmed that in one of his sermons calling upon Christian women to veil themselves (5), and the calls of violence against Christians by many Muslim clerics in Arab countries, the most recent by the Saudi Arabia clown Mohammad al-Ourayfi who was surprised that Churches were not destroyed in Muslim ruled countries (6) .

Thus, the supreme islamic authorities are the instigators to the killings and displacements, by not condemning the criminals or through their polite instigation and calls to islamization, this is not just an “Iraqi” problem but it rather has several ideological dimensions beyond the limits of a city, governorate, or state, it is a historical ideology being translated today with the concept of “unjust” Europe because it does not yield to the religion and traditions of those who curse at it while they eat of its bounty after they left their degenerative countries, as for Iraq, Egypt, Turkey and Iran … are all “democratic” despite their lack of respect to their indigenous people and their religions. The weirdest of all is allowing the western religious missionaries which are foreign to Christian Iraqis before its Muslims, to take advantage of the living conditions in Iraq in order to penetrate in Baghdad’s neighborhoods without being subjected to any violence till now.

The Assyrians shall not forget that the largest factions ruling Iraq today do not have an honorable history neither towards humanity or Iraqi humanity and in particular towards the Iraqi Christians, because during the Iraq – Iran war, the militias of these “Iraqi” factions used to abduct Iraqi soldiers and hand them over to Iran which would force the Christians into islam in the Iranian prison camps under the Iraqi opposition supervision with the help of the Iranian army and Muslim Iraqi clerics in camps which were known as the “Road to Al-Quds” camps.

Christians in Iraq as in many countries such as Indonesia, Egypt, Iran and other countries, … lost confidence in their surroundings not only because they are degenerate, but also because of the support of this degeneration by official religious authorities and the silence of ruling governments.

In addition, the islamization of the Assyrian people in Iraq has become constitutionally permissible and any deputy in the chaotic Iraqi parliament can shamelessly demand the imposition of islamic culture on Christians and impose on Christian children the teachings of islam in the school curriculum, this is legislated in the constitution which was approved by the public and parliament (Iraqi society) which encouraged deputy Mona Zalzala of the islamic Supreme Council to shake yet again the trust of Christians in their monstrous Iraqi state when she said during a parliamentary session: “ There is an article in the constitution which says that there should not be laws which contradict the islamic concepts, that is why Iraqis who are not Muslims must know the basic islamic laws in order to avoid violating the law and constitution”.(7) Indeed article /4/ states the following: “No law may be enacted that contradicts the established provisions of islam”, legislates teaching islamic religion and Shariaa to all Iraqi citizens so that they would know how to live a “constitutional life” even though islamic provisions do not suit the lives of non Muslims – that is Iraq’s native religions.

The “Christian world” has become a hypnotic phrase which suggests to the helpless Christians of the East that there are those who care about them abroad, while the truth is that the western regimes do not understand the concept of “saving Christians” except by driving them away from their historical homelands and that is what France (as an example) has been doing throughout its relation with the Christians of the East when it tried in the past through its ambassador in Alexandria named Boudicourt “to save” the Maronites by relocating them to the Algerian desert in 1846 in order to facilitate the French colonization in Algeria, but the Maronites refused that proposal then it came up again following the conflict between the Maronites and Druze in Mount Lebanon but it failed once more … Years passed and the French tried to play the same game but this time it was during the 1940’s with the Assyrians from Iraq and those who were refugees in Syria, specifically followers of the Church of the East, when it tried to relocate them to Brazil to melt them within the Catholic society after they refused Roman Catholicism even after five centuries of pressure.

Today, the Christian “salvation” remains unchanged when the so-called “Catholic Immigration Centre” began to play its role by initiating and encouraging Assyrian migration (8) in addition to the international organization ICMC which opened offices in United States embassies in neighboring countries to Iraq in order to specifically relocate the largest number of Assyrians to the United States … There are many such countries and organizations which are supported by regional factions (political and religious), but the sad thing is that asking for migration is demanded by some Christian clergy who do not find another solution to stop the suffering of the Assyrian people in the absence of honest Christian politicians in Iraq, since the Christian politician is either kurdish made, or captive of his personal interests and those of his family, but that does not justify the religious and national killing of the Assyrians through the land kurdification policy by the secular kurdish Occupation, or through the islamization process at the hands of the monstrous mix in Baghdad.

France had announced repeatedly through its Foreign Affairs Minister Kouchner, about its intention to receive thousands of Christian Iraqis which displeased many honourable Iraqis and this was expressed in an article in the Baghdad Newspaper titled: “France is working to empty Iraq of its Christians” (9), the same scenario applies to the United States and the rest of the countries so-called “Christians World” which did not once try to help the Christians of the East except to use them in presenting “salvation” projects out of their degenerative surroundings throughout history. This western policy has been followed for the past five centuries when the foreign missionaries (European and American) in agreement with the “islamic” Ottoman Sultanate to invade the Christian lands in order to eradicate their culture and even their liturgical language as it happened with the denominations which joined the western Churches.

While all this is happening we have yet to hear about international efforts to protect the Christian Iraqis “IN” Iraq, even though they are Iraq’s indigenous people (Assyrians) whose status is supposed to be protected by international laws which state on “the right of self-determination” in case they are exposed to danger and in the event that governments fail to protect their rights and lands (10) while all the Arab countries were established at the hands of the “Christian world” following WWI but the Christians who suffered from massacres, ethnic and religious oppression for thousands of years, were left under the mercy of the “Christian west” remnants, the closest example to that being the establishment of a kurdish entity in 1990 on Occupied Assyrian Lands, under the pretext of protecting the kurds from Saddam, for political interests which began to surface publicly (following Saddam’s fall in 2003) beginning with ideologically dividing Iraq through dividing it culturally and economically.

The participation in the latest Iraqi elections was a negative sign in terms of Assyrian political awareness since all the candidates according to the “Christian quota” system which was devised in order to ensure a seat for Mr. Younadam Kanna especially that he sensed his shrinking popularity, and all those candidates came with dangerous projects on the Assyrian national and Christian existence, in what concerns the identity and rights. The first with such dangerous projects is the Assyrian Democratic Movement whereby its political program states on working to build the usurping kurdish entity, and the Movement continues to proudly and publicly declare it through its official statements.

Thus, the Assyrian people (Christian Iraqis with their different denominations) must have political awareness and focus on working where they have a concentration in the international and Iraqi decision centers, that is Europe (the maker of Iraq 1921) and the United States (the maker and ruler of Iraq 2003), intensifying their efforts in pressuring the governments of these countries through the institutions working there in order to find a permanent solution to provide security for the Assyrian people in accordance with international laws, instead of wasting time on trivial matters which do not serve except the personal interests of few Assyrian politicians specifically in Iraq.

This shall not take place unless the Diaspora Assyrians take a stand against their political parties, especially those parties that are working in Iraq for the interests of the Assyrian people’s enemies (present Iraqi state and its political factions). This will take place by ending the interference of these parties in the Diaspora and getting rid of the Iraqi nightmare reality which has invaded the minds of Assyrian Diaspora because of those parties, this will be the only way to enable the Assyrian people to create a political balance with one free Assyrian front along with the defeated front in Iraq, this free front shall present at the international level the Assyrian Cause (equality in Iraq) hence exposing the Iraqi state and its leaders (islamists and kurds).

The Assyrian political parties which claim that they are under pressure in Iraq (specifically the Assyrian Democratic Movement – ADM) shall always be considered destructive to the Assyrian national movement and should be dealt with on that basis until they stop meddling with Assyrian affairs in Diaspora and spreading their corrupt thoughts, otherwise there will not be even one Assyrian left in Occupied Assyria and other regions of Iraq in few years.

Notes:

1. A speech delivered by Mr. Kanna at Ashur Club. Stockholm, January 27, 2010
2. http://www.ankawa.com/forum/index.php?topic=380580.0 .2
3. Report on ankawa.com news site, 17/05/2007.
4. A statement by Mohammed Bashar al-Faidhi, spokesman for the Association of Muslim Scholars on a show called (Asdaa – Echoes) “Al Jazeera”, 12/10/2004.
5. Middle East online News. A report by Mohammad Hosni, 02/05/2010.
6. Mohammad al-Arifi. Friday Sermon, 01/01/2010.
7. An international report on Iraq, “Biased sectarian curriculum laid the foundation for future conflicts worse than what has preceded”, 11/11/2009.
8. A call from the Catholic Migration Centre with the writer in 2004, asking to write reports regarding the oppression of Christians in Iraq aiming to “help” them.
9. Baghdad Newspaper, January 20, 2010.
10. United Nations General Assembly: Resolution No. 251/61. New York, September 13/2007.

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