Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category.

Say no to a “Christian Province” in Iraq. Say Yes to an “Assyrian Province” in Iraq

For the first time in recent memory, representatives from almost every major Assyrian party and movement met in northern Iraq to discuss Assyrians’ future in Iraq, following the horrific and bloody ‘Baghdad Church Massacre

The major theme and topic of discussion of the meetings was the safety of our people and their future in Iraq. More specifically, a big part of these meetings was dedicated to the possibility of forming a ‘Christian Province’ in Northern Iraq, where the current Assyrian-populated ‘Nineveh Plain’ region is.  A full-fledged province where our people have the freedom to administer and manage their own politics and affairs within a federal Iraq.

Yes, a ‘Christian Province’, not an Assyrian one. There is something seriously wrong with this very term.  In fact, there is a lot wrong with it, and I will try to go over most of them.

First, the very term ‘Christian Province’ is wrong. How can you give it a religious name in a country like Iraq, surrounded by Muslim countries with lots of fanatics and radicals. This is an easy invitation for them to target our people even more.  Can you imagine planting a satellite state for the Vatican in Iraq? Don’t think that will go very well with lots of people in the region.

Being a Christian is not an ethnic identity, but rather a religious one.  Moreover, this is a historical area where Assyrians have lived, thousands of years before Christianity had formed.

Is this area supposed to be for any Christians? what if it is a Christian Kurd? Christian Arab? etc. Sure, this will be an open province, and anyone is welcome. But most importantly,  it is a province based on an ethnic group, who are already Christians to begin with. So we don’t need to identify it as being a Christian province. That is already established. What is not established and needs to be made known, is that this province or area, is to be inhabited and administered by Assyrians, the same indigenous people who have been there for thousands of years.

The more dangerous implication to calling this a ‘Christian’ rather than an ‘Assyrian’ province, is the hidden agenda from the outside. Calling  it a Christian province is a ploy to erase our history and identity.  This is the same ploy used to refer to our people in the north as ‘Christian Kurds’ rather than what they really are and have always been: ASSYRIANS!

By referring to this area as a Christian area, you are also referring to its inhabitants as Christians first and foremost. But if you call it what it should really be called, an Assyrian area, then even if our people don’t make up the majority there one day, we still won’t risk losing our identity.

In the rush and excitement of getting our own province in Iraq, we may lose sight of what is more important and what this area means to our existence in Iraq and the region. If we are worried about our survival as Christians, we can move to the west, where our survival is guaranteed. On the other hand, if we are worried about our survival as Assyrians in the long term, then migrating to the west is only a short term solution.

We need an Assyrian province that will protect both our people as well as their cultural and historical survival. And by extension, that will ensure their survival as Christians in Iraq.

We could give this new area any one of the following names, including ‘Ashur’, ‘Nineveh Plain’, ‘Beth Nahrain’ etc. These are names that are both historically and geographically accurate.

It would be nice to have our own province. Our people have suffered enough in Iraq and it is time they are protected in their own region, away from all political, ethnic and religious prosecutions.  But let us also ensure that we take the time to think about what this region will be called. We can’t just ignore this issue.

Our enemies may not mind an area to call our own, as long as it doesn’t have an Assyrian name and culture embedded into it. They would rather see a Christian province instead where our culture and identity is no longer a priority.

Say NO to a Christian Province in Iraq. Say YES to an Assyrian Province in Iraq

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The Assyrian speech in Athens International Conference of Genocides in 1914-1918

The background of the Genocide,
Its consequences and the world’s conscience

This was the speech of the Assyrian researcher and activist, Ashur Giwargis In the international conference about the genocides in the Ottoman Empire against Assyrians, Greeks, and Armenians during WW1

Greek Parliament
19/Sep/2010

Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Conference Organizing Committee and participants.

Before presenting my speech, I would like to comment on some statements made my some of the distinguished speakers.

First point, we are simply Assyrians, not Chaldeans neither Syriacs nor Syrians, because Chaldeans are Catholic Assyrians, and Syrians or so-called Syriacs, are Orthodox Assyrians, so, It would be better to say “Assyrians” because it’s our ethnic national identity, and in this case we would be talking about all the Assyrian sects. We can’t say “Arabs and Sunna” because there are Sunni and Shiite Arabs.

Second point, I’ve heard many times mentioning of kurds as a persecuted people, we understand this, but also we should not forget that kurds. This is how we should deal with this matter when we talk history, but if you want to politicize the genocide, this would be another case.

Third point, I ask the Assyrian Union in Greece to not be a part of any occasion or joint statement mentioning the term “Kurdistan” because this term is an insult to the Assyrian nation, and I ask our Armenian and Greek brothers to be aware of this, for Assyrians it’s a matter of principles and can’t be politically compromised. When we say we are Assyrians this means we are from Assyria, and if the Assyrian highlands and the north of today’s Iraq are “kurdstan”, then where is Assyria ? Did we come from the moon ?

Fourth point, I’ve heard many times “Ethnic Cleansing against Christians”, this is a contradiction, Ethnic cleansing is against ethnicities, but Christianity is a religion, we must chose 1 of 2: “Ethnic cleansing against Assyrian, Arminians, Greeks” or “Religious cleansing against Christians”, but I say we can use the both because the Genocides were religious and ethnic at the same time, and this why I want to talk about the background of the genocides.

Thank you.

We are gathering in this conference as a minimal duty towards our ancestors who sacrificed themselves for our religious and national existence during the darkest of circumstances where human values were lost, thus exposing the political, social, religious, and moral degeneration surrounding the Christians of the East in general and the Greeks, Arminians and Assyrians in particular. I, as an Assyrian participant in this conference, feel comfortable because I am able to express some of my nation’s concerns and torment throughout history before people who very well understand the meaning of humanity because they are the descendants of one of the greatest civilizations which built the foundations of science, politics, and philosophy.

And my speech will be about: The background of the Genocide, Its consequences and the world’s conscience

The Assyrian genocide will be taken as an example in my speech. And I will present first a brief historical narration because I’m more than sure that many of the attendees have no much idea about the historical facts of the Assyrian genocide.

The human history looks like a chain of interrelated episodes, and these episodes are man-made since people decide their fate through victories and defeats which contain abuses against humanity in order to build a collective structure whether be it economic, social, political or cultural, some based on civilized foundation supported by historical and logical rights while others are based on massacres and supported by the power of degeneration and zeal to shed blood for the sake of ideologies created to fight against humanity, and whomever wants to continue in this historic chain in its ugliness and beauty, has to realize the chain of the past so as to learn from it in building the chain of the present, and based on this, he can build the chain of the future … This is very briefly, the rule of nations continuity.

Thus, we can say that the WW1 was based on economical interests, Europe wanted to expand its market after its industrial revolution and Russia wanted to open a new gate through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelle strait.

The massacres of World War I against the Greeks Armenians and Assyrians, did not come from void, but rather it was an ugly link in the chain of human history which must be known to the world and always remembered, because it had cultural and religious backgrounds based on ideology contradictions within a society which was dominated by the Ottomans for hundreds of years.

Since the days of Sultan Osman the 1st in the 14th century, his son Orkhan Ghazi, and Murad the 3rd, Assyrians, Arminians and Greeks were pursued as the Ottomans occupied Constantinople and the Byzantine culture was destroyed and forcibly replaced by Islam, and over centuries the Christians who are the indigenous people of what is today known as Turkey were subjected to oppression, killing and Islamization according to a “legislation by God” as the occupiers believed and still believe.

We used to hear the weak and useless Turkish argument about our collaboration with Russia before the WW1. But history tells us that the Turks themselves were the ones who first allowed foreigners in, through the Treaty of the Capitulations in 1535 between the French King Francis the 1st and Sultan Suleiman the 1st (Suleiman the magnificent); according to this treaty the French enjoyed the right to protect Christians living in the Ottoman territories, this is how a part of the Armenians became Roman Catholics, and a part of the Assyrians became Roman Catholics under the Ottoman starvation policy and the Vatican exploitation, the Catholic Assyrians have been called “Chaldeans” by the Vatican in 1552. Hence, based on this historical fact, the Ottoman Empire is the one who collaborated with the foreigners and consented to their presence in that territory.

After allowing the Roman Catholic missions to enter Assyria and Armenia, the British Anglican missions were also allowed in, then these missions contributed to inciting the Kurds to slaughter the Assyrian people between 1843 – 1847 in order to shatter the independence of the Assyrian mountainous tribes in the south-east of what is today known as “Turkey”, to allow the penetration of these missionaries within the Assyrian society when previously they were incapable of doing that since the five large Assyrian tribes were not subjects of the Ottoman Sultan and these were: Tiari tribe, Tkhouma, Baz, Jeelo and Dez.

Despite all this, the Christians within the Ottoman occupation (Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians) were always considered as the last citizens and when Sultan Selim the 1st brought in the 16th century the Kurdish tribes from Isfahan and settled them in the Assyrian highlands on the Iranian borders to fight the Shiite Safavids, the Ottoman Empire began using these tribes over the centuries in the killing of Assyrians and Armenians because of their religion which forced them to ask for help from their neighbouring Christian countries especially the strongest, Russia, to save them from the Islamic persecution in the region after the Ottomans neglected their pleas repeatedly.

Frederick Engels gave an example of that in one of his letters to Karl Marx when he said: “As long as the Christians continue to be persecuted by the Ottomans, it’s certain that they will look up to the Orthodox Church and its leader of 60 million Orthodox whoever he is, as their liberator and protector “.

What affirms Engels’s statement is a letter from the Patriarch Mar Rouil Shimon on May 14th, 1868 to the Russian king Michael. In this letter the Patriarch states:”… We are a poor nation, my people have no enough grain to provide themselves with bread … The Kurds have forcibly taken many of our Churches and convents, they constantly abduct our virgins, brides , and women, forcing them to turn Moslems … The Turks are worse, they do not protect us, demand military taxes, poll tax, also the Kurds take our money for they consider us as “Zirr Kurr” (slaves – being Christians .. .)… Now, such being our condition, we beseech your mightiness, for the sake of Jesus, His Baptism, and cross. Either to free us from such a state or to procure us a remedy … May God preserve you, Amin”

This was the religious background of the hatred against Assyrians, but the greatest scandal took place as the Turkish nationalism was introduced to the Ottoman Sultanate in 1908 – 1909, when loud calls from Turkish officials demanded the ethnic cleansing of all nationalities, in order to preserve the Turkish nationality, one of those was Dr. Nazim Manzar, one of Young Turks Movement leaders who had said: “If it wasn’t for foreign diplomatic intervention, we would have unified all nationalities within the Turkish one creating one culture because we want the Turkish component to live on this land without any other”. Indeed, this opportunity presented itself in 1914 when chaos took over and WWI began.

At the beginning of WWI in the summer of 1914, the Kurdish tribes which were settled in Assyria and Armenia and which formed a cavalry force in the Ottoman army known as the “Hamidian Cavalry” named after Sultan Abdulhamid the 2nd, backed by other Turkish battalions they headed to the Assyrian plain villages in the east of what’s today known as “Turkey” as well as the Assyrian villages in Tur Abdin in the south-east and the Salamas plain in western Iran, where they killed thousands, burned cities, towns, villages, ancient monasteries and churches and kidnapped women and girls under the banner of “Jihad”.

On March 05th 1915, the Baku Newspaper reported that 20 Assyrian villages were completely destroyed while the bodies of women and children laid in the streets with marks of daggers and cleavers on them, and on March 15th 1915, the Tbilisi Newspaper described the Kurdish tribes’ attacks lead by Turkish officers as being barbaric, that was a little of what the newspapers had mentioned then, All this was taking place while the Assyrians had not joined the war. But as the massacres continued against them, adding all this religious, national and social degeneration surrounding the indigenous peoples of the Middle East, Assyrians were obliged to seek help from those who shared their religious beliefs as they did not have any other recourse since their killers and looters were either the ruling authorities or their gangs.

The Assyrian Patriarch Mar Binyamin Shimon (who was later martyred) declared that the Assyrians joined the war to Russia’s side in self-defense and for liberation from the Ottoman occupation and oppression. This decision was made during a meeting between the Patriarch and tribal leaders in the Diz area on June 10th 1915.

These facts are an answer to those who claim that Assyrians collaborated with Russians before the massacres, in addition, hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Assyrians were massacred also in Tur Abdin area and its surroundings, knowing that they did not have any contact with any foreign state in the first place.

Even after the Assyrian tribesmen were armed, Turkey and its Kurdish recruits did not differentiate between a civilian and a military; genocides were repeated against the Assyrians in the Assyrian highlands known as the Hakkari Mountains, as well as in the vicinity of Urmia. One of the Assyrian death marches is described by the Russian thinker Victor Chklovski who lived through the massacres of 1918, mentioning in his memoirs that after Russia withdrew from the war following the Bolshevik revolution, a convoy of 230.000 Assyrians fled on foot in the summer of 1918 from the city of Urmia for a distance of 800 km towards the Iranian mountains and plains heading to Hamadan in the south where the British were settled, during that journey 85.000 Assyrian women and children were killed due to Turkish and Kurdish and Iranian attacks while 15.000 also on foot were killed as their convoy headed to the north, towards Russia and Georgia.

Thus, after fleeing Urmia and Hakkari, Assyrians were caught in the British trap, as Britain began inciting the Arabs in Iraq against the Assyrians causing the 1933 massacre in occupied Assyria, which claimed the lives of thousands of women, men and children.

The official records such as the Russian, British and even Turkish correspondence, confirm that between 1914 and 1922, Turkey had led its armies which invaded the unarmed Assyrian, Armenian and Greeks’ villages and towns and committed ethnic cleansing whereby about 600.000 Assyrians, the equivalent of two thirds of the Assyrian nation at the time were massacred.

This falls within the definition of “genocide” as adopted by the United Nations in 1948, since it covers ethnic cleansing in accordance with the following specifications of the United Nations:

1-Unjustified Mass murder.
2-Physical and spiritual damage to a group.
3-Mass starvation with the intent of social destruction.
4-Transferring children forcibly to other cultures and societies.

The human and political results of the Genocide against the Assyrian Nation were as follows:

1-Eradication of two-thirds of the Assyrian nation between the years 1915 – 1922.
2-Diseases and epidemics that killed 33.000 Assyrians in British detention centers in Iraq, which the British called “refugee camps”.
3-Abduction of thousands of women and children who were taken to the homes of Muslims (Turks, Arabs, Kurds, Iranians).
4-Considering the Assyrians in Iraq as British collaborators when Iraq itself was made in England, noting that King Faisal was a Saudi who was brought by Britain to rule Iraq.
5-Lack of understanding on the part of the Iraqi state regarding the Assyrians’ rights due to its Ottoman culture, which resulted in the massacre of 1933 against the Assyrian people in 6-villages in Occupied Assyria.
7-The exile of a large number of Assyrians to Syria after being accused of creating chaos despite the massacres against them.
8-The demise of the Assyrian language and culture in the Diaspora day after day due to mixing of the Assyrians with foreign cultures.

In addition to other negative effects which contributed significantly to the weakening of the Assyrian presence.

Hence, all the legal pretexts to hinder the recognition of Genocide are void, and the yielding of the international community to a law which was drafted by it, is a moral duty, and since the international community recognized the Genocide against the Jews, as well as in Sudan and Yugoslavia, it can also recognize the Genocide against the Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks because the crimes against these peoples are not less than those committed against others whom we have mentioned.

The reality though seems to be different, because so far we have not faced any difficulties in considering the Turkish killings as “Genocide” except through illegal political hindrances, since parliaments which are the legislative power are recognizing the Genocide while governments or the executive authorities of a state are always the ones denying it. For example:
In Sweden and following the recognition of the Swedish Parliament that the Turkish organized killings against the Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks were Genocides, the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt expressed his regret at the Parliament’s decision and voiced his concern regarding Turkey’s position.

In the United States, the Genocide against our Armenian brothers were used as a campaigning card for Barack Obama, whereby after the U.S. Congress adopted the decision to recognize the Genocide, Obama expressed his rejection and at the same time said that he did not regret using the term “Genocide” during his campaign, as was reported by Agence France Presse on April 25, 2009.

We find much worse situation in Greece as the Greek Parliament has refused recognizing the systematic crimes against Greeks, Armineans and Assyrians, as a Genocide, and I’m really shocked that until now the proposal have been presented 4 times to the Greek parliament and was rejected.

How can we ask others to recognize our genocides, when our own countries are still denying ? what was the feeling of Greece when Sweden recognized it’s people’s genocide before it.

It’s really a shame that this country who gave the basis of democracy is still putting the political interest above the national interest. If denying the Genocides by Turkey is for a political interest, than the dignity of the Greek martyrs is a national interest, and we the second generation of the genocides survivors, should consider Greece as the European key for Genocides recognition. And demonstrations, should take place in Athens in front of the Greek parliament where Assyrian, Greek and Armenians flags will be razed high, because the dignity of the Greek martyrs is our martyrs’ dignity; they all have been martyred for the same reasons, from the same background, and by the same criminals.

Thus, it is clear to us that our journey in the ocean of lies and international plots is long, hence, we have to establish our demands in an unshakable manner, that begins with countries directly concerned with the archived facts of the Genocide beginning with Greece, and other countries such as Russia, France, UK, Germany because these countries’ voice is heard in international forums, and it wouldn’t be enough for Turkey to reform its constitution and try to submit to the Copenhagen criteria, to deserve the membership of any international group, be it European Union or any other, because first, Turkey should prove its loyalty to the humanitarian norms, by correcting the mistakes of the past.

The international community’s neglect of this issue is like a second Genocide and disrespect for the concepts of humanity, and the most dangerous thing is that this silence is considered as an incitement for more expected Genocides against the weak people in the world, including the Assyrian people whom I present as an example.

And because of the Genocide against the Assyrian nation, also because of the European betrayal in general, and the English betrayal in particular, to the Assyrians, the Assyrian nation is still stateless, and that’s why it’s still facing a new genocide.

The Assyrian people are still living amongst the degenerate factions ruling Iraq, without any protection or international attention whereby more than 500.000 Assyrians migrated from Iraq within seven years since 2003, while only 300.000 had migrated during 35 years of Saddam Hussein’s rule, all this is taking place while the international community is watching and presenting some deadly solutions such as forcing the Assyrian Nation to migrate and flee its historical lands, obliterating its culture and dissolving it within the western societies under the banner of “Saving the Christians of Iraq”.

The same policy which was followed before and during the massacres of WWI, is practiced today against the Assyrians throughout Iraq and particularly under the Kurdish Occupation of Assyria, where the Kurdish tribes use the policy of polite persecution by giving fictitious religious rights while obliterating the national existence of the land and people through the culture of kurdification in the schools of the Kurdish Occupation zone, whereby the Assyrian generations and others are growing up according to the curriculum of Kurdification, in addition to the occupation of Assyrian lands and inventing impossible laws when legitimate owners ask for their lands, also throughout Iraq Islamization and forced displacement have reached an insolent state which confirms that there is a religious and ethnic cleansing against the Assyrians and all this is legislated within the Iraqi constitution which instigates the Islamization of Iraq and the Kurdification of its north while it is void of the equality principle in federalism, even though and according to international laws protecting the indigenous people, the right of equality is the least of what the Assyrians should get, being the indigenous people of Iraq and in danger of extinction.

Our presence here is not just to give long speeches because they have been given already by many scholars worldwide, and our intention is not the revenge, rather than guaranteeing a better future for the current generation of the survivors of the genocides.

Based on the narrative of events and their consequences, and based on the world moral obligation towards humanity, the Assyrian Nation is very interested in historically holding accountable those who committed crimes against humanity during World War I, according to the international legislation that’s why the organizers of this occasion must continue to strongly bind all parties concerned in order to raise our voice together to avoid the repetition of what happened, and in order to intercept the degenerate currents and societies so they would realize that there is no room for committing such crimes against humanity anywhere in the world again.

Thank You Very much for listening …

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The Unveiling of the Genocide Monument in Australia: More about the Living than the Fallen

The unveiling of the Assyrian Genocide Monument in Australia was one of the best tributes that our people have ever dedicated to all our ancestors who fell victims to some of the worst atrocities that humanities has seen in the last 100 years.  Despite facing challenge after challenge, obstacle after obstacle, the people behind this historical monument stood their ground and defied all the odds to finish this holy work. Our fallen men, women and children deserve this dedication to their sacrifices and much more.

But this monument may say more about our people today than the people it is dedicated to.

What it says, is that our people today, despite being over one century and many generations removed from those tragic events at the turn of the last century, are as connected to the memory as they can ever be.  Our enemies would think that we may forgive, forget and move on.  While we are good-hearted people, who can forgive, but we don’t forget. Never!

It has been the subject of much debate and discussion lately: that some of our new generation don’t care about their nation, its history and all the tragedies it has faced. But this monument and all the work that has been gone into making it a reality, says a lot and gives us hope that today’s generation is a caring and hard-working one. Throughout, and leading up to the unveiling of this monument, I read and heard firsthand about about all the passionate young Assyrian youth who were very vocal and active in protesting, and lobbying the local community to make this a reality.

My hats off to the Assyrians of Sydney and Australia in general. They have achieved something that no one other Assyrian community elsewhere has been able to: building the first public, and officially-recognized monument to celebrate and remind everyone about the sacrifices that our people made.

Let us hope that this historical event will give our people a big momentum push to do more for their nation and keep going. Sometimes it takes something as giant as this, to wake us up and resume our work for our nation, people, history and future.

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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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An Assyrian is Shaking Canada and its Government

If you live in Canada, even if in the extreme remote North, chances are you will have heard of the name “Helena Guergis” lately, the former Minister of State (Status of Women.) She has been in the news lately, for both her questionable behaviour, and the subsequent and surprising booting that she got from the Canadian prime minister, out of the parliament.

Mrs. Guergis was removed from cabinet and expelled from the Conservative caucus after allegations against her had been received by the Prime Minister.

Whatever her recent actions and charges against her are, including an emotional outburst against staff at the Charlottetown airport, there is no denial that she has shaken Canadian politics. Her name is everywhere. She is arguably the hottest news item in Canada since Easter, and will likely remain a hot news trend for weeks to come. Oh, and she happens to be of an Assyrian origin!

All her issues aside, are Assyrians getting a free publicity at the expense of Helena Guergis? for better or for worse, Assyrians are getting a lot of publicity when people try to find more information about Mrs. Guergis. In fact, this very website (Assyrian Voice) has its fair share of people looking for more information about the Simcoe-Grey county MP.

As an important a position as she had held until recently, a lot of Assyrians themselves hadn’t even heard of her. And ironically enough, they only heard of her now that it was a little too late, having lost her seat at the caucus.

Regardless, and taking advantage of the cliche that ‘she is innocent until proven guilty’, as Assyrians, we should support and stand by her. Sure she may have acted in a manner that is in conflict with her government position, it is also important not to lose sight of the fact that the liberal propaganda machines are out to get her, and in the process bring shame to the conservatives.  In other words, she is the scapegoat for the Liberals and Conservatives alike, as the latter would like to distance itself so as not to tarnish its reputation.

As this story unravels, we are reading and hearing of new details regarding Ms.Guergis infamous outburst at Charlottetown airport in February.  Sources close to her, including her sister, tell several Canadian newspapers that her sister’s moody behaviour was likely caused by a miscarriage that the former minister had.  In fact, it was the third she had had to endure.

Let us give this women some privacy and stop making her prey for the media and press.  She made some mistakes, and so did her her husband, but life goes on.  The prime minister has referred her case to the RCMP, and they will do their own investigation.  Let us wait and see and not jump to conclusions.  The ethics commissioner has already come out and said that there is nothing to investigate.

Assyrian Voice stands behind Ms. Guergis and so should all Assyrians. We are not standing for wrongdoing.  We are standing for an Assyrian-Canadian politician, who has recognized her roots and Assyrian background, and also done a lot for her constituency and all those she served.  The liberal media has played into this and made a much bigger deal out of it.  And again, what her husband did is his own mistake and Ms. Helena can’t take the blame for it.

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Purging of Assyrian Votes in the Iraqi Election may be Part of a Bigger Plot

It has been exactly one week since I voted in the Iraqi elections here in Toronto, Canada – as part of the out of country voting – and the ink is still visible on my finger. It is as if to remind us that the election wasn’t just a one time casting of a ballot, but a lengthy and painful process, especially for us Assyrian and Christian voters.

As the ballot counting started, we started hearing news of thousands of Christian out-of-country ballots being invalidated, due to not having selected a province on the ballot paper, and for not having shown proper documentation. Let us address each one:

  • Excuse number 1: Not Showing Proper Documents.  It is one thing to not be allowed to vote at all for being ineligible, and quiet another when you do vote only to find out that your vote is invalidated a week later. The IHEC (Iraqi High Election Commission) changed voting eligibility rules literally in the last minutes leading up to the elections, throwing into air the dreams of thousands of being able to vote. Most still went ahead and tried to vote. Some were successful, some weren’t, due to not having the proper documentations, as outlined by the mysterious IHEC requirements. The requirements were as silly as to not recognize something as valuable as a US passport, as a proof that a person was born in Iraq. This was first accepted, then rejected then accepted again, only for it to be deemed not good enough a week later after the election had been concluded.
  • Excuse number 2: Not Voting for a Province or Region. This excuse is even more appalling that the first one.  As Christians, we were voting based on a quota of 5 seats in the Iraqi parliament and not based on regions or provinces.  I for one did mention Baghdad in the ballot paper, but that was beside the point. I wasn’t voting for a candidate based on which province he hailed from or resided in.  I was choosing a candidate based on his or her slate (i.e list 389, 390 etc..)

These two excuses have been used by the IHEC staff at their Arbil headquarters to void thousands of valuable Christian votes from USA, Canada, Australia and likely many other countries.  These thousands of purged ballots could easily mean the difference between gaining all the seats allocated for the Christian quota or just a few of them. Moreover, it will reflect bad on Christian participation and could be used by others to argue that our numbers are so small, we don’t deserve to get much in the new Iraq.

A Part of a Bigger Plot?

But this could be a part of a bigger plot, and Assyrians are falling victims to it.  It is the results of the new reality in Iraq, where alliances and personal political interests trump almost everything else.  Let us look at the 4 major players in this election:

  1. State of Law Coalition
  2. Iraqi National Movement (al-Iraqiya)
  3. National Iraqi Alliance
  4. Kurdistani Alliance

Basically, the higher you are in the list above, the more votes you are expected to get in this election (early results support this) The first one on the list, the State of the Law Coalition, is the incumbent prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s list, and is being seriously challenged by the second in the list, the Iraqi National Movement (Al-Iraqiya.)  The latter is headed by Ayad Allawi, who himself was a prime minister in 2005. This list has a mass appeal amongst many Iraqis, including out-of-country voters.  They see in Allawi someone who can restore a sense of security and stability to Iraq.  In fact, Ayad Allawi,a  moderate Shitte,  has found mass appeal even amongst traditional rivals Sunnis. One of those in his coalition is Sunni vise president, Tariq Al-Hashimi.  Al-Hashimi recently created a big controversy when he publicly asked that Iraqi president Jalal Talabani step down, and be replaced by an Arab president, preferably himself (Al-Hashimi) This didn’t sit well with Kurds!

This has made the second list, ‘Al-Iraqiya’, an enemy for both the ‘State of Law Coalition’ (List #1)  as well the ‘Kurdistani Alliance’ (List #4)  The first was worried about Ayad Allawi’s Al-Iraqiya taking away its votes and threatening its dominance of the Iraqi parliament.  The ‘Kurdistani List’ on the other hand was worried about the remarks made by Al-Hashimi from the ‘Al-Iraqiya’ list to install an Arab Iraqi president.  So in essence, lists #1 and #4 united to go against List #2.  The result of this newly-found alliance was the vicious attempt to invalidate thousands of Iraqi votes from the diaspora, knowing full well that these votes could go for Allawi, and in the case of Christians, for List 389 (an Assyrian list that the Kurds have traditionally opposed and tried to defeat through their own Assyrian proxy and puppet lists)

In other words, the Iraqi Christian vote in the diaspora, is being sacrificed for a bigger plot.   And if you look at this from the prospective of the ‘Kurdistani Alliance’, it is a win-win situation.  First, it means a defeat for the list of Al-Hashimi, the Iraqi VP who wants to replace Kurdish president Talabani, with an Arab president.  Second, they are winning in that thousands of Assyrian Christian votes going to List 389 (Al-Rafidain list, headed by Zowaa) are being voided, and never making it to the final tally.

Iraq should be moving towards more democracy and openness, and not back to the old days of oppression and taking away of one’s voice.  Christians and hundreds of thousands of other Iraqis abroad traveled hundreds of miles to be part of this historical chance to vote.  Let us hope that the IHEC takes this into consideration and honors every vote that has been cast.  Anything short of that, or to attempt to use our votes for bigger political gains, should and will not tolerated by any Iraqi.  Much blood has been spilled in Iraq to get us to this day. Let us honor these sacrifices for a more tolerant and democratic Iraq and grant everyone their fair share.

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The Iraqi Elections have Come and Gone. What did Assyrians do?

As I write this, it has been exactly one week since the first day of ‘Out-of-Country’ voting started for Assyrians abroad. We have only gotten few figures of how many of our people voted and for whom.  If these numbers are any indication, looks like more people outside of Iraq voted this time. This is in part thanks to the serious campaigning work that was done all over North America and others parts of the world.

As we await the results of this election, some of our votes are being challenged by the IHEC (Iraqi High Election Committee) and even being invalidated, under the excuse of not being presented with a valid voting document. Bear in mind, the IHEC and unexpectedly, changed voting rules and eligibility in the last minutes before the start of the elections for out-of-country voters. It took serious lobbying and efforts from various groups to reverse these changes.

It it one thing to be denied the chance to vote on election day, but quiet another to have your ballot invalidated a week later. People didn’t put all this effort and time, traveling from state to state, province to province, even country to country, for nothing! Every vote has to be counted, otherwise these elections will become a real joke (there is already talk of widespread fraud being committed by the ruling coalition of PM Al-Maliki)

The election didn’t end the moment you dipped your finger in that purple finger. In fact, the traces of the purple ink on your finger should be a reminder that the election and their outcome is not done with yet.  As Assyrians, we should follow up and with close attention, what is happening, and whether our vote is being taken seriously. Otherwise, why did we bother voting? we voted because we believed this election was for the goodness of our people and nation.

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الآشوريين والانتخابات العراقية المقبلة

اخواني وأخواتي الأعزاء : يجب على كل واحد منا ان يدلي بصوته في الانتخابات العراقية القادمة، الأحد السابع من آذار ٢٠١٠.

ان هذه الانتخابات ذو اهمية كبيرة للشعب الآشوري و مصيره في ارضه و ارض أجداده، العراق.  لقد حان الوقت لكي يكون للآشوريين حصة و جزٍء من الارث العراقي الجديد. نحن هم اصحاب الارض الاصليين بالرغم من كل التغييرات و الصعاب التي مررنا بها.  على كل واحد منا ان يدلي بصوته، و اكثر من ذلك، ان نحث الاخرين على التصويت. بما اننا أقلية، لا يسعنا بان نخسر اي صوت.

في النهاية ، ا ود ان أوجه نداءي و اتوسل الى كل واحد من ابناء شعبي الآشوري، بان يبذلو قصارى جهدهم لكي ينجحو هذه الانتخابات لاحزابنا الآشورية. و مع انك حر لآدلاء صوتك لأي شخص او حزب تشاء، عليك ان تتذكر بان قائمة  ٣٨٩ (389) (قائمة الحركة الديمقراطية الآشورية ) هي الممثل الشرعي الوحيد لشعبنا و بغض النظر عن انتمائتانا الدينية والطائفية. قد يكون لنا عدة مسميات لكن في النهاية والجوهر، نحن شعب واحد.

في اتحادنا قوة و مستقبل زاهر. اما  في الانقسام فمصيرنا الضعف، الضياع ونهاية شعب عمره الاف السنين.

٣٨٩ = امل. وحدة. مستقبل جديد لشعبنا الآشوري-كلداني-السرياني

تقبلو خالص شكري و تقديري لقراءة هذا النداء.

اشور سادا

مشرف موقع ‘الصوت الآشوري’

Vote 389 = Hope. Unity. New future for our Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac people.
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Shame on Iraq for Allowing the Attacks on Christian, Assyrian Churches

In a series of coordinated attacks that took place on Saturday July 11, 7 Christian churches -many of which belonged to the Assyrian and Chaldean churches- were bombed by extremists and terrorists.

There has been a very public and loud condemnation of these attacks, from Assyrians and Christian Iraqis everywhere.  Most have been very sad, upset and enraged by what happened, and rightly so.

This is more than a terrorist attack on the innocent Assyrian Christian people of Baghdad and Iraq in general.  It seems like some high planning would have gone into it, not just from the terrorists themselves, but well beyond it.  This begs the question: what do these attacks, the fourth of such horrific nature since the US war in Iraq started in 2003, mean for the Assyrian and Christian presence in Iraq? is this a hint from our haters that we are not welcome, and that those who are left, or thought of returning, should think twice about staying or returning to Iraq?

In addition to all the scare and terror it puts in our already fragile community, these attacks are more than what is needed to make the remnant of our community, to pack and leave.  As I mentioned before, Assyrians and Christians in general have been targeted hundreds and hundreds of times ever since the US war in Iraq ended and the insurgency started. But of these countless and senseless attacks on the Christians in Iraq, 4 have had a very big and lasting impact.  They caused a big wave of Assyrian exit from the affected region or the country altogether:

  1. A series of coordinated attacks that targeted several churches on July 1st, 2004.

  2. The freely-moving insurgency in Doarh in 2006-2007, aided by Al-Qaeda, which terrorized and pretty much emptied the city from its Assyrian and Christian residents

  3. The attacks on Assyrians in Mosul in late 2008, which caused thousands of families to flee, most of whom are yet to return, if ever.

  4. The latest attacks on July 11, 2009

It seems like every time there is a calm and hope for the Assyrian Christian population to return to normal, something of this magnitude happens.   We know the security situation in Iraq has generally improved recently.  But the so-called ‘security improvement’ is a relative phrase.  All it takes is one bombing to make our fragile community rethink its eternal decision to be part of Iraq, let alone a series of bombings targeting our most sacred and holy places.  If the terrorists or whoever is behind these attacks, is provoking us and making us think about staying, they are having some limited success.  Success in the short term at least.  Iraq without its native Assyrian population and the salt of the land, the Christians, is not worth much.  With all due respect to all the other good and great people of this country.

So I will say it as an Iraqi Assyrian myself: shame on Iraq and Iraqis in general for allowing such thing to happen to their Christian compatriots.  Sure they can’t do much about it, as their own mosques and even government institutions  have been bombed, but there is more to it than to just stop a terrorist from bombing a church.  It is about the public opinion overall and how Christians are looked at in the country, and whether they are of a second class or equal to the average Iraqi?

As stated before, it doesn’t take much to weaken our already fragile community in Iraq.  Which is why the Iraqi government, as well as the Iraqi people in general, should make it a priority to protect the Christian community.    Not just protect it, as there is more to life than to just be protected from danger.  They should help them thrive in this country which is rightly theirs.  A country they have contributed so much to.  Why are all their contributions and goodness forgotten all of a sudden? for personal and political interests? we all know these won’t last forever.

Our people, even as tolerant Christians, can only have so much patience.  Eventually, they too will either pack and leave or have a response to what is happening to them.  Protecting the native sons and daughters of Iraq, the Christian Assyrian population, will pay you dividends in the long term.

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ASSYROPHOBIA

Originally written in Arabic by Ashur Giwargis – Beirut
English Translation by Mary Challita
01-07-2009

A lie can run around the world before the truth can get its boots on”  –  James Watt

History is an established fact, which can not be garbled even by thousands of beards and baggy trousers, while logic is a “concept” which can change depending on each individual or group understands of a given subject, and this is where “debate” begins.

In the following lines, we are going to discuss the Assyrophobia counting on logic and not only history, according to our understanding of the Assyrian identity issue which reflected a “Chaldeanism” without researching but as a mere reaction to Assyrian nationalism, even though it was too late. This reaction developed over the last two years into articles, opinions, associations and political parties which began to believe their claims regardless of who is behind them, which in turn has created a precious time wasting nuisance in our political society which could have been used in fateful issues concerning the Assyrian nation.     

Hence, our discussion is about an issue that never existed but it was made recently so that we waste our time today by proving the Assyrian identity of a large portion of our brethren who were misled by the clergy’s corruption and conspiracies of strangers, while the naïve are not concerned except to see the name of their church next to the Assyrian national name in the Kurdo-Islamic constitution of Iraq forgetting that their fate in Occupied Assyria is at stake at the hands of those who created their modern nationalism, but as is the case with logic which we mentioned before, pride and dignity also have a different definition for each individual or group depending on their level of comprehension and education …

We can not just standby watching what our Chaldean Church clergy are saying specially in national affairs, otherwise any one can hold meetings and come up with decisions regarding the nature of Christ, the Trinity or any other spiritual affairs… Due to the abnormal practices of some clergy and the mercenary collaboration of some Assyrian politicians with strangers, this dangerous disease is expanding to wrongly understand the Assyrian identity by the Catholic community as being a sectarian one identifying only the followers of the Church of the East. Hence, since Yonadam Kanna’s electoral carnival in October 2003, we noticed an increase in the provocation campaigns against the Assyrian identity but despite the naivety of these campaigns, there are simpletons who are reading and generations being corrupted in order to satisfy the desires of a foolish writer who wanted to compensate his lost years in a silly Baath, a defeated communism or a humiliating Kurdism.

Our dependence on history (when a must) is on what the Catholic clergy themselves say, in order to avoid any sensitivities for the reader who is not used to hear the truth, the truth which must play a fundamental role in the lines of any letter or article written by responsible people. The story of the birth of the Chaldean name may at first glance seem to the Assyrian Catholic reader as marginalization or hatred, but reading history from a pure scientific, rationale perspective far from sectarianism and emotions, only then he’ll realize the extent of humiliation that he has accepted over the centuries, since the “Chaldean” name was imposed by foreigners, and we can summarize that in few lines:

Prior to the Catholic missionaries infiltration in the Middle East during the fourteenth century, signs of the persecution of the Church of the East began from the Pope’s office in the Vatican where massacres and persecution were prepared for every corner in the world where France, Portugal and Spain were in control, we can say that not even one Catholic Church was established in the East from Egypt to the Philippines except with pressure, massacres and starvation under the supervision of the Vatican, its Popes and Cardinals. The most prominent of these Churches is the Chaldean Church itself, the characteristics of this had begun in Cyprus when Pope John Paul XXII (1316-1334) gave his instructions to the Patriarch of Jerusalem that “Nestorians and Jacobites must be eradicated from Cyprus with any means possible[1] 

Two centuries later, the followers of the Church of the East in Cyprus turned into “Chaldeans” by force during the time of Pope Julius III (1550-1555) which means that the Eastern Catholics specially those who were called by the Pope “Chaldeans” were mere “victims of Catholicism” more than being “Catholics” since Catholicism wasn’t brought through preaching but through terror and humiliation. As a direct example we quote the explorer Henry Layard describing the ugly scene of Catholic “proselytism” (Chaldeanism) in the north of Iraq as an eye witness in the 1840’s, specifically in the village of Be-Bozeh annexed to Amediya district, Layard said [2] :     

“… We continued our advance towards Amediya reaching the Chaldean village of Be-bozeh at the top of a high mountain … There were ten houses overlooking a deep valley, its inhabitants were all poor, but they warmly welcomed us, they are Nestorian Assyrians, who were forced to convert to Catholicism“. Layard continues his account describing what they saw as they reached the village’s Church: “There were pictures in ugly colors of Virgin Mary and Saints on the walls with Latin writing not suitable for this place. I asked them about the pictures, they answered: Following our priest’s death, Archbishop Yousif the Catholic [3]  came to us he hung those pictures on the walls and asked us to kneel before them, but we removed the pictures from the walls and the answer of Mahmoud Agha of the Mezzouri kurds, was to order his men to beat us until canes were broken on our legs, that is why we left the pictures on the walls, and we are forced to listen to Archbishop Yousif’s sermons who comes to the village protected by the Kurds …” 

Archbishop Youssif Odo and his French colleagues continued this policy (barbering Kurdish leaders) even during his Patriarchate (1847-1878) throughout Assyria (north of Iraq) to the areas of Barwari and Sapna whereby humiliation was used to Catholicize followers of the Church of the East [4] and the descendants of those are known today as “Chaldeans”.

This is the “preaching” through which the name “Chaldean” came and was imposed on a large segment of the Church of the East, thus the Kurds became the angels who evangelized the ancestors of Mar Delly, Sarhad Jammo and Ibrahim Ibrahim with beatings and humiliation, and if today’s Chaldeans clearly understood Layard’s account mentioned above, they would have regained their respect by returning back to their Mother Church, the Church of the East, as did some of the clergy and followers of this denomination, but in anticipation for the conscience of the Catholic intellectuals to awaken we see that some of the descendants of the victims of Catholicism (Chaldeanism) began to backstab their nation even more.

The sectarian motive shall remain the fuel in the hands of clergy to promote anti-nationalism, and since the Assyrian liberation movement began from the Church of the East under the leadership of the Patriarchal family, then for sure the Assyrian name will be hated by the Chaldean Church clergy in addition to Assyrophobia due to the degenerate societies surrounding them faced by the Assyrian liberal trend which rejected humiliation (in its beginnings). This fear presented itself for the Catholic Assyrians (Chaldeans) during several stages since the beginning of the Assyrian liberation movement in 1915, when the Chaldean Catholic Church’s role was to be the postman for Catholic France and its tool the Vatican, this is attested by the attempts to Catholicize the Assyrians directly following WWI while the Assyrians were still suffering the consequences of the massacres, that’s when Assyrian Catholic clergy would be sent to convince Catholic leaders to leave the Assyrian line in order to join the (imaginary) French project which was supposedly to transport the Assyrians from Iraq to Syria in 1919 granting them an (imaginary) self rule, and all this was done to weaken the British mandate on Iraq due to the conflict on dividing the remnants of the Ottoman Empire following its fall [5]         

Assyrophobia was repeated in Iraq during the massacres carried out in 1933 by the Iraqi government against the Assyrian people, when about 5000 un-armed individuals who took refuge in the Assyrian Catholic town of Alqush known for its people’s courage throughout history. However, the Chaldean Church opposed their stay and requested them to leave on the basis of flyers which were thrown by British and Iraqi aircrafts, the Church wasn’t deterred except by Alqush’s inhabitants who revolted against the Church and the Iraqi government in defense of the refugees, which forced the Chaldean Patriarch to write to the Vatican asking to stop the massacre following communications with the British mandate to avoid a massacre against the “Catholics”. [6] That’s when Pope Pius VI sent a telegram to the British mandate asking to end the problem peacefully.

Thus, “Assyrophobia” is a psychological state that reflects a disguised negative reaction to the emergence of a national liberation movement which spread in the beginning of WWI (beginning of the Assyrian Liberation Movement) when the word “Assyrian” began to an extent to mean for both the Syrian and Chaldean churches “Rebellion against the Sultan”, adding to this, the Assyrian name was to be adopted by the Church of The East, the ideological adversary of both the Coptic and Vatican theology …

Assyrophobia contributed along side external plots (Kurdish parties instructions to some clergy and Catholic members in their parties) by creating a “nationalistic” in addition to an already-created sectarian barrier, which will be difficult to break without courage; the courage of Assyrian Catholic intellectuals, and not the poor guy who calls himself “Suraya” without understanding the meaning of the word.

Catholic (or Chaldean) intellectuals have the leading role to face the deception of the clergy since the inception of the Chaldean Church. The honest Catholic Assyrians have begun to face Assyrophobia in both the Assyrian and Iraqi media from within the Catholic society itself. Hopefully, the rest of those who are confused and still stutter with sectarian names when they mention the name of their nation would also take their role. 

Assyrian nationalism is both nationalistic and ethnic, it’s both a nation and a nationality, but it’s not a “race” since it is primarily subjected to the “cultural” factor just like any other nation or ethnicity in the world. What is important is that the Assyrian identity continues with its Assyrian culture, traditions, and geography regardless of the race which revives it, this concept came to be known as the “Revivalist Nationalism” in the beginnings of European nationalism in the 19th century [7]   
 
According to this concept it is possible for any one to belong to the Assyrian nation as long as they belong to the following Assyrian national factors without exceptions:

– Assyrian Land
– Assyrian Culture (language, traditions)
– Assyrian history

Some of our brethren are taking “national feeling” as a pretext and that is a silly joke which was refuted by scientists for obvious reasons, as a simple example we shall discuss the situation within the Assyrian Catholic Church (Chaldean Church), for if we go back few years we will see the late Mar Raphael Bidawid proudly admitting his Assyrian nationality even during the Baath regime, while today’s Patriarch “feels” that he is of a “Chaldean” nationality, and as such the Church’s position changes depending on the period of time often related to the Patriarch’s regional affiliation, that is why the sons of Sapna, Aradin and Alqosh are not allowed to ascend to the “Chaldean” Patriarchate even if that may one day lead to a division in the Church, the important thing to some is that whoever may be a proud Assyrian someday, shouldn’t ascend to the Patriarchate … This shall remain to be the case within the hierarchy of the Chaldean Church for years to come.   

Hence, “Chaldeanism” is a fluctuating mood, for example in Patriarch Delly’s case, he did not mention in his doctoral thesis in 1958 the word “Chaldean Church” but rather “Church of Assyria” or “Church of Adiabene” or “Church of the East” and in the same thesis he says:

“It seems that the word Chaldean was given by Pope Eugene IV in 1445 to a group of Christians from Mesopotamia who were on the island of Cyprus during the Lateran synod, but prior to this date there were Assyrian Patriarchs and Archbishops in the land of Assyria…” [8]

In other words, Patriarch Delly “felt” in 1958 that he must tell the truth for the success of his thesis, but in the year 2003 and beyond, he “felt” that he had to refute what he had said in 1958. Thus, in the opinion of the theorists of “Chaldeanism”, the Assyrian people have to take into consideration the feelings of Patriarch Delly at every period and change the history of the “Chaldean” name according to Barzan’s [9] as well as the Vatican’s whims [10]

As the Vatican and Kurds worked on creating Catholicism inside the Assyrian society, they are working today on establishing a new “Chaldean Nationalism” for the Catholic Assyrians, hence the establishment of political parties under the sectarian “Chaldean” name financially supported by Arabism money in Detroit and San Diego, the Kurdish gangs (electoral lists) and the Vatican (Church conferences coming up with national slogans). However, popularity wise they are weak because the Catholic representation under the national pretext always comes before the Iraqi official politics at Kurdish hands, while during elections a large segment of the Assyrian Catholic (Chaldean) voters go back to their communist and Kurdist background and do not care about all that has to do not only with the Assyrian nationalism, but Chaldeanism heresy as well.       
 
We find the same moodiness amongst the Syrian  Patriarchs, such as Patriarch Elias III Shaker (1916 – 1932) who was a Turkist Christian, but he was exiled to India, Mar Afram Barsoum (1933-1957) began as an enthusiastic Assyrian during his days as an Archbishop, then he became an Arameanist as he became a Patriarch to end up an Arabist nicknamed “Priest of Arabs” and he died as an Arab, as for the present Patriarch Zakka Iwas, he is even envied by the Baath for his Arabism even though his real name is “Sennacherib” (Sanharib) and he descends of an Assyrian family from the heart of Assyria.

The reason why both the Syrian and Chaldean Churches deny the Assyrian identity isn’t that the Church of the East has officially adopted the Assyrian name in its title (Assyrian Church of The East) in 1976 as some of the comic compound name advocates claim, because even before that date, the aforementioned two churches were denying the nationality of their followers, even more they were Arabized churches and that caused the loss of many Assyrians, such as what happened in the towns of Tel-Keif [Tel Kepeh] (Chaldeans) and Bakhdeeda (Syrians) whose many of their inhabitants followed Arabism encouraged by both the Chaldean and Syrian Churches.   

Despite all this, we still see some of those “Chaldeanism” enthusiasts spread ideas without knowledge of history and the issue is one of provocation rather than logic and conviction. The most basic questions for those are: Who are the Patriarchs, “the Assyrians of good race” that the poet Giwargis of Arbil (13th    century A.D.) speaks of in his canticle about the Patriarchs of the East ??? (Translation below) and who were the “Chaldean” Patriarchs during their days?

 giwargis-arbilaya

A canticle about the Patriarchs of the East
(The Poet Giwargis Warda of Arbil , thirteenth century A.D.)
-Translated from Assyrian to Arabic by the Writer –

The outstanding works of Johannes, and John son of the Abgars*
Abraham the intelligent, and Emmanuel the interpreter
Israel of Karakh, and Mar Abd-Eshoo of Jarmaq
Mar Mari the Assyrian, of good race and ancestry
Mar Johannes II and Mar Youkhanna the Blessed
Mar Eshoo-Yahb the zealous, renowned in the church
Mar Elia I of Terhan **, who was chosen a proud symbol on the apostolic throne
And John son of the city of peace, the esteemed writer who never errs
Sabr-Eshoo the meek, who was chosen from the highest
Abd-Eshoo the Assyrian, of the venerate race
Who served the Holy See of Souba ***, and ascended to the Apostolic See
Mar Makeekha the zealous, the just and good man
Who advanced in Assyria until he ascended to the Patriarchate according to law
And Elia the Glorious, brought up by the teachers
In Assyria, where knowledge emanated, He was placed amongst the righteous
And Bar Sawma with his outstanding works, from the beautiful Souba
Showed great works and generously spread amongst us his teachings
Abd-Eshoo the chosen vessel, from Assyria the splendid country.

* King Abgar Dynasty of Edessa (Urhay)
** Terhan: Today’s Samarra – Iraq
*** Souba: That is Nisibin (Nisibis) and Mar Abd-Eshoo (Audisho) is the author of “Al- Murjana”  (Marganita) [The Pearl] which explains the faith of the Church of the East and refutes false claims against it.

In addition to all that has been mentioned and even though there are many documents which prove the Assyrian identity and its continuity over others, and despite the detailed explanation in several languages regarding the odd names which were given to some factions of the Assyrian people, however, some misguided brethren and some of those who like to stir trouble, they will continue to write for the sake or writing and filling their time. In the end, it’s un useful whether the ostrich opens or shuts its eyes since it is going to stick its head in the sand to escape the truth surrounding it.

All that we have to do today is to embrace our Catholic brethren who have nothing to do with the church or politics, to accept and spread awareness amongst them until the Assyrian people are able to find the appropriate solutions to remove the internal obstacles by getting rid of those causing them, no matter how harsh the solutions may be.

For more information regarding the Assyrian identity and the nomenclature, please click on the following link (September 2005)    :   http://www.nineveh.com/TheAssyrianidentityandthenomenclature.html

References:

1.”History of the Chaldean Church” pp.106 – Cardinal Eugene Taysaran, Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Eastern Church in Vatican.

2.Layard, Henry. In Search of Nineveh, translation by Dr. Michael Abdullah, pp. 19, Arabic edition by Sargon Publishing House

3.Yousif Odo, was the Bishop of Amadiya in 1825 and Patriarch of the Chaldean Church in 1847.

4.olded pages in the history of the Chaldean Church. The late historian Dr. Hermis Aboona (Assyrian from Alqosh – Iraq, of the Aboona Patriarchal family).

5.Giwargis, Ashur. The Assyrian Liberation Movement and the French intervention (1919 – 1922) [A research paper].

6.Giwargis, Ashur. “Alqush … Alqush bow your head in shame before Younis”, (article in Zinda Magazine: Apr/08/2007 ).

7.The basic concept of nationalism, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

8.”Facts during Archbishop Times and blasphemy during Patriarchal times”. Qashat Ayoub, in reference to Archbishop Delly’s thesis:  “Patriarchal Institution in the Church of the East”, pp. 174, Baghdad, 1958

9.The establishment of the first Assyrian party operating under the Chaldean name, during a meeting of the Kurdish “democratic” party in 1999 whereby instructions were forwarded to the Kurdist Assyrian Abdul Ahad Afram, member of the central committee, to establish a “Chaldean” party named The Chaldean “Democratic” Union, thus began the formation of other political parties under the sectarian “Chaldean” name. However, their popularity is weak and it has no importance except for the Kurds.

10.The imposition of the Chaldean name on the Assyrian nation following an invitation to the Vatican where Yonadam Kanna, Bishops Sarhad Jammo and Ibrahim Ibrahim were present, then an “Iraqi Christian” conference convened in Baghdad and the outcome was a combined name of “two nations” under the designation of one “Christian” name “Chaldo Assyrian”.

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