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With the Killing of the Chaldean Archbishop, Momentum is on our Side
By: Ashur Sada. Mar. 14, 2008

You know the situation is bad enough for our people in Iraq, when the terrorists can easily kill the Chaldean Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho and burry him in dirt. This despite the world pressure and outcry for his immediate and unconditional  release. But it is the terrorists we are dealing with here, who have no logic or any sense of rational thinking. Following his death, the whole world has been put on notice, and not just in Iraq. Almost every popular channel and media outlet has talked about this horrible crime against a man of his holiness and status. It seems like this is what was needed to wake some people up to the reality in Iraq and what our Assyrian people and Christians in general face. As sad and as sombre the mood is, this is an opportunity for us to bring about some changes. It is a moment when the world is looking at us, and we need to make sure they are looking for long enough and not just for a few days. Momentum is on our side, much like it was with the United States following the September 11 attacks, and we have to exploit it to our advantage.

First, Recognize we are in Danger

First, others have to recognize that Assyrians and Christians in Iraq face a real danger. Sure, it is not only us who are facing this danger, as violence in Iraq is faced by all groups. But given our relative small numbers, and inability to defend ourselves, we are in a greater danger than all other groups. These terrorists groups have made it clear in many occasions, that they don't want us there.  They want us out of the land which we were the first to ever live on, out of all other people in Iraq. This is a crazy call, and no one should accept it. Even the UN should recognize this grave danger and issue some public call for the safe protection of the Assyrian-Christian minority in Iraq. With all due respect to other groups that call Iraq home, Iraq would be nothing more than a desert without us: we are the salt in an otherwise tasteless place. We are the color in an otherwise black and white place. In short, our place in Iraq is of vital human and biblical importance, the whole world need to recognize that we are in danger and need some serious attention and protection.

World And Iraqi Action

Once the world and the Iraqi public has recognized that we are in a real danger, serious action is needed immediately after. What action be taken? first, a real look has to be taken for our various proposals for the Nineveh Plain, and how important it is for us to be able to administer it ourselves and be able to have our own security forces in the area. The Nineveh Plains area is not a sudden magic solution in a place as violent as Iraq. But it can help in the long term: our people will finally have a place they can truly and comfortably call home. World powers, most importantly those with an important role in Iraq, need to start paying more attention to the plight of the helpless Christians who have been a target for close to 5 years now. Hundreds of thousands have fled the country, and thousands more have been directly effected by the violence. When will this stop? and isn't it time that the world reacted? What about the Iraqi government itself? while it has done its job of lip service, no real action has been taken yet. The only credit to them, when you can't see the enemy, there is not much you can do. Having said that, it is about time that the Iraqi government doubled and even tripled its efforts to save us from this danger and made us one of its priorities. The Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa) has already called for such an action plan from the Iraqi government.

Chance for National Unity

What about us? the real people effected by this. Both in the Diaspora and those living in Iraq and facing the real danger. Does it take a tragedy of this magnitude for us to come and unite? it was so nice to watch the few Assyrian satellite channels that we have, and seeing us agree on the same thing finally. This is a golden opportunity to mobilize ourselves and unite in one direction. We are a people who forget too fast. Let us make sure we come up with some real solutions and answers before this tragedy has become something of the distant past. Otherwise, it won't be too long before another takes place.  Sure we need all the help and protection that the world can offer, but it all starts with us. If we are not united and together as one to begin with, nothing else will matter. Let us come together, march together, protest together and let the world know that the Assyrian nation, with all its different political and religious ideologies, is one and the same at the end of the day.

When the terrorists struck the United States on September 11, the US used that great tragedy to their advantage. They had a great momentum going on for them, using it to unite and mobilize the people and bring the entire world on their side; even Iran paid tribute to those killed in these terrorists attacks. We need to do the same. We need to mobilize our people, raise awareness, and unite as one. And it wouldn't matter if we were a little more assertive in our actions, and less peaceful in our demands. It is human nature, attention can only be obtained when the matter is serious enough. May you rest in peace your holiness Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho. And may your violent passing be a reminder of what Jesus had warned us against two thousand years ago.  It is time for Unity. It is time for action.



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