Archive for September 2011

Annahar Newspaper : Christians of Iraq And “Nineveh Plain” Conspiracy

Christians of Iraq

And “Nineveh Plain” Conspiracy


Ashur Giwargis – Beirut
Annahar Lebanese Newspaper: 25/09/2011

Assyrians today are considered the indigenous cultural group in what is known as Iraq. Throughout their history, they have been subjected to different kinds of national and religious persecution since the fall of their political entity in 612 BC. Their religion is Christianity, and they are divided into many sects: Syriac, Chaldean (Catholic) and Assyrian Church of The East. They used to form around 8% of the Iraqi population before the fall of Saddam, while today this rate has decreased to less than 3% due to frequent aggressions implemented according to strategies based on national and religious malice on one side, and international plots on the other side, especially after the Central Intelligence Agency controlled over the rule of Iraq (openly) since the fall of Saddam Hussain.

In the recent eight years, Assyrians have been reluctantly involved in the game of “new Iraq” which was no better than Iraq of Saddam’s time or that of the Islamic and the Ottoman ages. The Assyrian people well knows who blasts its churches and kills its elderly and young only to implant intimidation amongst the people, so that in the end Assyrians are forced to join a scheme much bigger than themselves and even bigger than Iraq itself, the scheme which aims at expanding geographic entities coined at their expense. These entities give greater weight to the powers conflicting in such an area that has been, throughout its history, under the focus of western powers’ greed since the days of “Silk Road” from Europe to the Far East.

In this big game today, Assyrians are playing the role drawn to them: victims, and not players. They are victims torn between the fires of Islamization and kurdification. And some international foreign channels talk about them every now and then to show dissatisfaction about the Iraqi government under internal bargains between kurdish and Islamic racism. And here, western politicians and their media succeeded in showing the problem as “Islamic persecution” and the solution for it is “kurdish protection”, note that kurds themselves executed all the massacres against the Assyrian nation over centuries, and Assyrian lands in occupied Assyria (northern Iraq) are still confiscated by kurdish leaders with the support of kurdish occupation authorities. In addition, the project of the so-called “Christian governorate” or “Nineveh Plain governorate” is nothing but a result of that policy, for the kurdish project of achieving the so-called “greatest kurdistan” is known for those who are interested in the middle-eastern affairs, and the demands of kurds in Syria today are nothing but a sequel to this project, because the map of the project, that joins lands from Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq, is still hanging above Barzani’s head in his office as well as in all offices of the kurdish parties under the sight of Iraqi politicians.

All that above is associated with crucial negatively important developments facing the future of the Assyrian nation as people and as culture. Unfortunately, lands and power, if any power, of the Assyrians make the major obstacle for the kurdish scheme. The so-called “Nineveh Plain” zone is considered the historical and national homeland for the Assyrians historically, demographically and truthfully, and is the point around which Assyrians crowd together; it is the most qualified for an inception towards the Assyrian national project which extends from Great Zab to the Tigris River (The Assyrian Triangle) within the one Iraq and along the lines of the other groups. However, unfortunately, this region is the strategic link of what is named “Iraqi kurdistan” to what will be named “Syrian kurdistan” (in case of any change to the Syrian regime). All Iraqi politicians in general, and Assyrian politicians in specific, are aware of this project and of the kurds’ intention to push the Assyrian “people” forcedly and by terrorism to seek kurdish protection under the slogan of “Nineveh Plain governorate” according to the article /35/ of the constitution of the kurdish occupation which, in turn, stipulates that Assyrians be given autonomy (by Kurdish occupation authorities) in the areas where they form the greatest population, whereby kurds avoid the conflict with Arabs of Mosul since the residents themselves demand, though unwillingly, a governorate independent from Nineveh governorate, when the Assyrians take the hit. Arabization has been launched anew against these Assyrians – Today thousands of hectares of their lands are being confiscated by Arabist trends in Mosul as a reaction to the kurdish project: “the Christian governorate”.

In addition, it’s well-known to everyone that:

– No “Islamic” offence has taken place to the kurds who converted to the Evangelist Church.
– No aggression or terrorist act has taken place to anyone inside the kurdish occupation areas.
– The terrorist acts against Assyrians discontinued after their politicians adopted the project of annexing their lands to the kurdish occupation.

Though the article /50/ was issued by the governing council on September 29, 2003, which states that: “All acts, decisions, regulations, directives, instructions and orders that are issued by what is known as revolution leadership council and other Iraqi officials (During Baath Rule), and which are issued for the purpose of changing the political and the demographic reality in Iraq, shall be cancelled”, this was selectively enforced when the Governing Council kept the effects of Al-baath decisions on March 11, 1970 which states the separation of the Assyrian Nohadra (kurdified to “Dohuk”) from the Assyrian Nineveh, hence Assyrians are still divided administratively, politically and demographically under two conflicting authorities: kurdification and Arabization.

Moreover, the project of kurdifying the Assyrian homeland is “constitutional” according to the “democratic” Iraqi state legislations and its constitutional article /143/, which approved to name Assyria as “kurdistan” (land of kurds) without any Assyrian representation (despite the presence of a “representative”), in the Iraqi state institutions.

In this status quo, Assyrians have hope neither in their parties nor in the Iraqi government being no less aggressive to them than Baath or the kurdish trends while their sole hope lies in the Assyrian Diaspora, especially those in the United States and Europe which are actively ruling Iraq and where Assyrians exist powerfully and heavily, the thing that enables them to be heard by international tribunes, for the international ethical duty requires that Assyrians must be treated as the indigenous people of Iraq according to “Indigenous People Declaration” stated by United Nations General Assembly on September 13, 2007 which declares the right of self-determination of indigenous people (articles /3/ , /4/) to reserve its entity and culture which are considered an international trust.

Hence, and according to the UN legislation mentioned above, Assyrians have the right to obtain (at least) a “safe zone” internationally protected just like the kurds since 1991, because Assyrians have no trust in the Iraqi state especially because it is a group of Islamists and kurds, and this will be the first step on the road to achieving “Assyria Region” like that of the kurds, and as long as the Iraqi constitution became mere ink on paper after contradicting the Iraqi state to article /7/ of its constitution, by establishing a racial region on a national basis under the name of “kurd-stan” (land of kurds).

Haaretz newspaper summed up the Assyrian tragedy in a couple of words in the issue of December 24, 2010 under the headline “Christmas requiem for Iraq’s Christian community” by the newspaper political analyst and the historian and ME affairs specialist, Dr. Zvi Bar’el who wrote: “The Kurds object to establishment of a protected Christian enclave, because they want to annex the Nineveh Valley, most of whose residents are Christians”. And the “governorate” project will be the first step to that, constitutionally, since the “Iraqi” constitution permits annexing a governorate to a region, and this is a clear sign to that in case the issue is not redressed by Assyrians themselves before the others, then the Assyrian torture journey will go on by appropriating Assyrian lands and confiscating them by Arabs in the so-called “Nineveh Plain” and also by kurds inside their entity which has been imposed on Assyrians and on others since 1991.

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Omnipresent Harmony and the “Savage”

Remembering the Aboriginal Peoples who once roamed Canada. Wisdom from other ancient peoples…..

By Abbey Mikha

Harmony manifested within the Aboriginal peoples spirituality and spirituality was intertwined with every aspect of their being. Harmony was therefore omnipresent in the Aboriginal way of life.  The ancient Aboriginal peoples understood that to be in harmony with all things was not only the most divine way to live, but for them the only way to live. Their sacrament was one of being in harmony.

Harmony was the vine at the centre of their circle which is life that branched out and touched many aspects of their existence, shaping the ways in which they interacted and related to nature with compassion, creating balance within their autonomous non-hierarchical social organization and embodied within their respect for the individual identity of their children.

Harmony shaped the ways in which the Aboriginal peoples interacted with and related to nature with compassion. They had a deep, close, spiritual connections to their land, to the extent that it was tied to their own identity. In the article Bkejwanong it said that the Aboriginal peoples wanted to protect their land, their Mother Earth, which they believe to be their soul. It also said that Aboriginal peoples retained values, traditions, and knowledge that are inspired by the principle of living in harmony with the natural world. This being a primary ethic in their civilization embodied within their love for the earth and all its creations. If one crop was not available for them, others were used and they never over exploited one specific resource because they believed that the Creator held them responsible for the natural world. A Cree Proverb describing these preservationist attitudes states:

“Only when the last tree is cut; only when the last river is polluted; only when the last fish is caught; only then will they realize that you cannot eat money.”

The Aboriginal peoples valued nature more than the accumulation of riches. In the article Bkejwanong it also said that they believe, “We are spiritual beings, as such, our sources of life are all around us – the four elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire.”  These elements were sacred and respected by the Aboriginal peoples who lived life compassionately at one with them.

The autonomous non-hierarchical social organization of the Aboriginal peoples was balanced because humans were at the centre of all things, rule was communal, and women had high degree of status and were allowed to take part in decision-making. Like for example the sister of Joseph Grant Mohawk who had a lot of power and influence in the Iroquois society. In the article Bkejwanong it said that a strong feature of the Aboriginal culture was that emphasis on community, on sharing resources through good and bad times, and on group decision-making through consensus. When the masculine and female psyches and essences were animate in such an atmosphere harmony was mediating.

Harmony was additionally embodied within the Aboriginal peoples respect for the individual identity of their children. In Eleanor Leacock’s article Le Jeune noted that, “Aboriginals cannot endure in the least those who seem desirous of assuming superiority over others and that they place all virtue in a certain gentleness or apathy.”

He also stated that, “Aboriginals cannot bear to have their children punished or even scolded.” These sentiments are interrelated with Aboriginals child rearing ways since they did not practise corporal punishment. Other societies use this sort of punishment because they want to shape the identity of their children by forcing them into submission restricting the child’s identity and personality. This contributes to a climate of violence, leaves a negative impression on children who are the most sensitive beings of all humankind and implies that society approves of their physical violation. Aboriginals instinctively knew this to be unhealthy and unnecessary to shape the psyches of their children in such a way. This lack of need for control of their childrens identities and superiority over them, speaks of confidence the Aboriginal peoples had in their identity as a nation and in the potential identity of their children within that nation. They knew their children’s individuality would shape themselves naturally more positively without their unnecessary intimidating interferences. A child after all is an innocent being and should be treated with benevolence.

In a society where generosity is of the highest value harmony cannot but be a pre-eminent melody and for the Aboriginal peoples harmony was as much a part of life as wind is a part of spring. Balance within the Aboriginals autonomous non-hierarchical social organization was achieved through an incarnation of harmony within the equality between genders in a community where rule was communal. Aboriginal peoples were part of the cycle of the earth. They lived life in love with nature and in that love abided harmony. Harmony was also found within the respect the Aboriginal peoples had for the individual identity of the most defenceless of souls, their children. These variables all gave witness to an advanced consciousness that embraces the ethos of equality for all.

In modern days it is a great achievement when an ethos is made into law. For the Aboriginal peoples the ethos of equality did not need to be made into law, it existed, as surely as birds own no castles other than the wilderness but one can still hear compassion in their voices when they sing for all of humankind. Authority and culture for the Aboriginal peoples was not based on gender, or even age, but also good will, civility, humanity, and harmony is at peace in such values.

Sources

Eleanor Leacock’s, Montagnais Women and the Jesuit Program for Colonization. An article from a class about Aboriginals.

Jacob Deans, Bkejwanong The Place Where the Waters Divide. An article from a class on Aboriginals of Canada.


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The Chaldean Intellects” and the complex of “Assyrians, but… “

 

 

 

Ashur Giwargis – Beirut
English Translation by Donis Ishaia – Syria

12/09/2011

Note: in the article hereinafter the reader may find phrases that do not appeal to them, like “changing the church”, whereby we do not mean any hatred towards our Chaldean Church, but it was used just to restrict debaters before reveling my point, for the Chaldean Church is an Assyrian institution, having been established in Assyria and by Assyrians as stated by the Cardinal Emanuel Dalli (during his Assyrian youth) in his doctoral dissertation under the title “The Patriarchal Institution in The Church of The East” in 1958.

If you are an Assyrian and you deny your nationality because you don’t know, you are a naïve Assyrian.
If you deny it because you don’t know it and you don’t want to know it, then you are a stupid Assyrian.
If you deny it and you know it, then you are a liar, sycophant and cowardly Assyrian.
If you acknowledge it and you don’t know it, you are an ignorant Assyrian.
If you acknowledge it and you know it, then you are an Assyrian believer.

However, if you are an Assyrian then you are an Assyrian willy-nilly.

Many still think that murdering the Assyrian identity has been fulfilled especially after it has been agreed among kurdist Assyrian parties to use the term “Christians” to avoid conflicts and keep esteem before their financial supporters whether they are the Diaspora’s naïve or the Kurdish parties.

In any case, “The expiry of the Assyrian identity” theory is very wrong. Moreover, attacking the Assyrian identity since October 2003 has reflected into the clinging of many Assyrians more and more to their identity, especially the Assyrian intellects from the Catholic Church, or the “Chaldean intellects” as we call them. But this did not materialize, since they did not play their role actively in educating the naïve about the Assyrian identity. They were only active in writing some articles with no actual move in the face of the campaign launched against the Assyrian identity, and which is led by the renegade personas, mentioned above, with support from the clerics.

In this context, it is worth analyzing the psychology of “some” individuals of this class of intellects finding a complex blocking their way to achieving their Assyrian notion. As an example, I’ll choose two brief conversations with two of the “Chaldean” intellects, who have been, to me, two angles of the Assyrian writing triangle, who educated me nationally before the age of the Internet. The third angle is from The Church of The East, but I have realized in the recent years that he is not more faithful to his Assyrian belonging than Younadam Kanna. Then I’ll move to a third person to get into the subject through the front door. To cut a long story short, I’ll get into the crux of my arguments with these two intellects. I was writing immediately what I heard.

Person one:

In the late 2006, came to Beirut one of the most well-known Assyrian intellects, a man of rationality, never been tainted with Aflaqism, Leninism, or Barazanism. He listens to my opinions and pursues my writings, although I consider myself a student of him in many Assyrian history lessons. In one of our Beirutian gatherings we discussed the Assyrian identity issue where he frankly said that it became a commodity to be traded with by the parties only to satisfy the voters. He, as usual, didn’t want to be involved in names and titles/headlines, but I asked him some questions trying to warn him that his pretext could/would not cover up his weak personality. So I asked him to give me answers to my “juvenile” questions no matter how insignificant he might find them. The conversation was as follows:

Me: Don’t you believe in your Assyrian nationality?
Him: (Smiling) more than you do, and you know that.

Me: Do you care if Saint Mary is called “Mother of God” or “Mother of the Christ”?
Him: I’m a believer, yet not pious, and I don’t get into such details. Of course it is not logical that a woman begets her creator. All of these were discrepancy established to enable some churches control over some parts of the world due to the political conflicts at the time. What matters to me is that I’m Christian clinging to my Christianity.

Me: Then, you don’t care if you are Chaldean or from The Church of The East, since you are an Assyrian Christian.
Him: Of course. But where are you trying to reach with your questions?

Me: What I want to get is an answer to the last question; since you care not about your ecclesiastical belonging but about your Christian one, and since you well know about the schisms in The Church of The East, and you wrote about the establishment of your church by power of the Turkish and Kurdish Agas, incited by Vatican, and since you actually don’t acknowledge the phrase “Mary is the mother of God”, so why don’t you announce to the public your withdrawal from this church and return to the mother church – The Church of The East? This would be of influence on many naïve Assyrians, especially those from your region who are misled by the delusion and malice of clerics towards their Assyrian nation.
Him: (guffawing) Dear, you don’t know our society. Anyone who engages in the Assyrian concern is pointed at with the forefinger, so how do you want me to abandon my people and relatives? I prefer to stay “Chaldean”, writing about our Assyrian belonging. This works better than your idea, with all due respect to your opinion.

Although his reply was clever, it was not convincing. So I threw a final question: “Well, then why do you only write? Why don’t you establish, with the rest of the Chaldean intellects (I named so-and-so…), an Assyrian national awareness movement inside the Chaldean society?” His shocking answer was that they (the people I named) were “cowards”, note that he himself expressed his fear from his society.

Person two:

This is the second angel of my national educational triangle mentioned above. I met him for the first time in The Church of The East’s hall at the Assyrian Quarter in Beirut, where I was introduced to him by another Assyrian writer. When he saw me he peered over his spectacles and asked: “Ashur Giwargis ? you?” surprised at my young age comparable my professionalism for writing and my profound knowledge in Assyrian history and politics (as far as he evaluated, of course).

As for my second meeting with him, it was just like the one with my first victim; a pure Beirutian gathering where the same talk went, and the man expressed his adherence to Assyrianism. To reassure him that I believed him, I reminded him of some of his harsh writings about his church spiteful towards its people’s nationality across occupied Assyria’s plains. He was surprised again that I had read his works since I was seventeen. After the customary eastern compliments, I told him, as I did with the first victim, to answer some questions no matter how insignificant he might find them. He smiled and all that he said was: “Go ahead”.

Me: You say you believe in your Assyrianism, don’t you?
Him: You yourself say that I’m one of your lanterns in the way of the Assyrian national awareness.

Me: Exactly. And do you care much more about your ecclesiastical belonging than your national belonging?
Him: As you know, I come from a communist family and I’m a former communist though being nationalist. Of course what I care about more is my national belonging.

Me: Then why don’t you announce your withdrawal from your Chaldean Church, which you attack every day, and return to your church to guide the naïve people?
Him: I think I’ll do best if I stay in my church. For your information, when I returned to my village after the fall of Saddam I dared not even to enter the church because of how people were looking at me. I even learned that the priest of the village asked: [what did this “Athournaya” come to do here ?] This is why it’s hard for anyone to leave their society. So we have to deal with this reality, which we refuse, in such a way that does not invite aversion of the others.

Me: well, sir, I understand that you can’t leave your church , but why don’t you establish a constructive and more influential movement than writings, along with other Chaldean intellects, specifically those of our thought and those nationally educated,?”
Him: For the time being and after all these years, I want to dedicate to my personal life. What I am into now is preserving our nation, whichever you call it, after the destruction our parties has caused to our cause”.

How strange is this man! A former communist fighter against the tyrant Saddam, who writes against his church, fears a Vatican smurf wandering in his kurdified village, though, at the same time, he (the debater) uses as a pretext the destruction brought to us by our heroic “parties”, ignoring his role and knowing that all ideological revolutions launch among the intellects then among the farmers, just like communism he has believed in.

Here we are done with two characters known for their writing, research and critique. We go on to a character from the outside of this triangle. I will name only this character because it is more expressive than the previous ones. This is in the drama that follows, which does not only express the problem of the Chaldean intellects, but also expresses the void arrogance of the “Bad time parties” and also of the Chaldean church malice towards its sons’ national belonging.

Person three:

Before holding Younadam Kanna’s festival in 2003, an attempt was made to form an Assyrian National Council initiated by the Assyrian Partriotic Party (APP) and attended by the so-called “Bet Nahrin” Liberation Party represented by Mr. Ishaya Eshu and independent dignitaries such as Mr. Odishu Malku, Aprim Samanu, Odishu Mikhael and others. They agreed on approaching Kanna’s Movement to take part in the council as an active party that has won the trust of many Assyrians (at that time). Sabah Mikkhael was chosen to represent the so-called “Bet Nahrin” Liberation Party, Aprim Samanu for the independents and another person of the Assyrian National Party. They met Kanna’s movement leadership represented by Touma Khoshaba who met their suggestion in an unbecoming and unaccountable way, sarcastically saying that they were not up to the status that qualifies them to invite an organization like the heroic Movement to join them in this project.

After this meeting, a Committee Foundation of the council was elected. It included Ishaya Eshu for the so-called “Bet Nahrin” Liberation Party (though the responsible of the party was present), Leon Simson for the APP and Odishu Malku for the Independents, on condition that negotiation must continue with other parties to be adjoined to the council. The APP suggested approaching educated and active persons from other Assyrian denominations, so the suggestion included each one of the “Chaldean” intellects: the linguist Binyamin Haddad, Mr. Saed Shamaya (the secretary general of the so-called “Chaldean Forum” today) and Adeeb Koka (now in Australia).

The first meeting was held, and the “Chaldean Intellects” started to break away, so another appointment was set at the headquarters of the so-called “Bet Nahrin” Liberation Party but the “Chaldean intellect” didn’t attend. A new appointment was set at Babel Club, where they reluctantly attended, and were embarrassed because of the persistence of the Committee Foundation. There they literally announced their stand as follows: “we can’t join because we belong to the Chaldean Church”. One of the attendees inquired about what deters them from joining as independents, and regardless of their affiliation in any ecclesiastical institution. The “Chaldean intellect” Binyamin Haddad’s answer came as: “My brother, we know that we are Assyrians, but our church does not accept it that we announce that”. Here the inquirer put an end to the hit-and-run game as he said: “An intellect who does not dare giving their thoughts for the fear of their church, is already not qualified to join this council”.

Finally, it’s the readers’ judgment, especially those from the Chaldean Church, and specifically their educated ones who have made clear more and more the biggest problems and complexes of the Assyrian society which we are still confused about their name: is it hypocrisy, fear or laziness? Whatever it is, it is still the problem of all problems regarding maintaining the Assyrian identity and its revival within the society after all the calamities the Assyrian Nation has gone through. It is a problem of the conflict with the ego of the “Chaldean” intellect, and those who suffer from this problem should put an end to it, to conclude with the known saying by Socrates: “The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be”.

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