By: Ashur Sada
I have often preached on Assyrians Voice that Assyrians should always support their music and singers. One way to do so is to buy
their albums as much as possible.
It is time I start preaching the same thing about Assyrian books and authors. Considering that the great Assyrian king Ashurbanipal is credited for creating the first library in history, it is only fitting that Assyrians of today would be interested in reading. Right? But is that the case? Are Assyrians of today fond of reading? How many books does the average Assyrian read per year? 3? 2? 1? Maybe less than that? I don’t personally know but I do know one thing: Assyrians need to do more reading. I don’t need to sit here and tell you the reasons why reading is a good thing. But in our case, there are two main reasons.
Knowledge is Power
Ever heard of this phrase before? I am sure and hope you have. And it is as accurate as it can ever be in our day today. Assyrians have suffered a lot in the last 100 years or more. And you can even argue that no education could have saved us from what we went through. And that is true to a large degree. But you could also argue that knowledge could reverse some of these losses and give us a better future. Based on my personal and local observations, it doesn’t look like recent Assyrians settling here in Canada are getting any significant education. In fact, even high school is no longer an attainable option for a lot of them. I won’t delve into the reasons as to why we have an increasing population with an ever decreasing education. If school and academia is not an option or of interest to them, they can resort to reading books and picking more knowledge that can benefit them in the long run. Be it books about Assyrian history or any other topic, reading books is fun and very mentally-rewarding. And did I mention knowledge is power?
Supporting Assyrian authors
We often talk about the need for Assyrians to support their singers and musicians by buying their albums. It is time we preached the same thing for Assyrian authors. We need to support them by buying their books. Sure, we have a lot fewer authors than we do singers, but supporting them them will ensure they will keep writing and enriching our literature, culture and language. We also have to remember that the more Assyrian authors and writers we have, the better chance we have at writing our own history and identity. This in turn prevents others from doing it for us, often doing it to serve their own agendas. Our own Assyrian authors should be the ones to define the Assyrian identity, talk about all the Assyrian genocides and its countless victims, the great Assyrian empire and its contributions to civilization, and more. As you can see, there is a lot at stake and it’s absolutely vital that we have our own capable writers who will tell things like they actually happened and are. We can’t be lazy and complacent and let others write and manipulate it for us.
It doesn’t take much to start a new generation of educated and intellectually-enlightened Assyrians. It starts by spending more time on reading and maybe less time on other non-productive activities. And it is important that we start with Assyrian books and then expand our discovery. Once you start reading, you will not want to stop.
If you are really proud of your ancestors, then at least show it by dedicating more time to reading, something your forefather Ashurbanipal would be very proud of!