I am glad to see the negative comments were removed by AINA and I see some negative posts here are removed as well. There is a real illness in our nation when we place all responsibility on one leader for everything. I was born in Chicago and remember well when there were only 5,000 Assyrians living there. We had been living in Chicago since the early 1900's and what did we achieve in all that time? We had newspapers and magazines and book publishing in Assyrian, but that all died out by the start of WWI. We had one club that was part of the federation and several churches (the Church of the East was not even in the majority then). We had parties and picnics, but no schools save for one attempt at Assyrian language classes at Northeastern, and no libraries or other national / communal institutions or services. In the early 1970's our numbers swelled due to the flight from Iraq. We were something like 70,000 and now we are 100,000. What did we gain from that huge influx of immigration? More churches, more clubs, several of which were based in our ever present clan mentality. We have the AUA Foundation and the Mutwa that both try to get money from the government but who knows exactly what they do with it and in any case it is not intended to promote national institutions or our culture. I was involved in the Ashurbanipal Library and I know very well and firsthand how little support we received from the Assyrian community.
If Assyrians have failed to achieve great things in the way of establishing strong institutions and advancing and preserving our language and culture in the United States, the responsibility for that failure cannot be laid at the feet of one man or one church. It is all our failing. It is our illness. I think that since the time of the foreign missions, we have learned to be dependent on others. We refuse to stand up on our own. We bicker and fight and pull down every effort and we look to others to solve our problems.
I agree that the seat of the Patriarchate should return to Arbil (I say return because it was once there). But will we as a people have the courage to seriously consider that we as a nation cannot survive in this land of exile? Will we return to our homeland in any significant numbers to sustain our existence as a nation? Or will we fight and criticize anyone but ourselves as we melt away into oblivion? Yes, great things have been accomplished in Australia, but that is no guarantee that we will survive there.
It ironic that for years the Chaldeans reproached Assyrians because we left Iraq under pressures which did not seem to affect them. Now after many years and a huge exodus of Chaldeans into the diaspora, we can see in the recent disputes within the Chaldean Church over the priests who left Iraq without permission the seeds of a large argument. Is the future of the Chaldean Church in its homeland or in the diaspora? I think Mar Sako knows the answer very well. Just as many Assyrian Presbyterians melted into the general Protestant community in the United States and largely lost their nationality along with their language, in a few generations, we may see the same happen to the Chaldeans in the west. We have already seen several in CA leave the Chaldean rite for the Latin rite over the imposition of “Chaldean Nationalism”.
Again, it’s not one church or one leader or one political party or one western nation that can or will save us. It is up to all of us to do the things we need to do to save ourselves.
Finally, since this thread is about Mar Dinkha, I will say that he will be sorely missed. He loved us all very much. That is what I will always remember about him. He seemed to know everyone and he would remember all sorts of details about people and their families. He was truly a loving father to us. There is nothing more important that I can think of that we should ask for in a Patriarch. Whoever the synod chooses, I have faith that he will be up to the task of leading the Church in this terrible time. I also know that we can help his successor by being positive and supportive and responding honestly and constructively when asked to help.