|Returning to Nineveh||Wilfred Bet-Alkhas|
|Chronology of the Seyfo Genocide (1915-1923)|
|Statement of Assyrian Groups in Europe on Seyfo
Statement of International Seyfo Committee of ALP
Schwarzenegger Proclaims April 24 "Day of Remembrance"
Polls Reveals Mistrust Between Turks & Armenians
Ottoman Archives Open to All
"A Forgotten Page of A Nation"
|Seyfo: An Ignored Genocide
Iraqis Silent Majority Intimidated!
Rev. Ken Joseph Jr.
|Ninety Years Later||Ivan Kakovitch|
The process of nation-building begins when a single community of individuals becomes aware of its distinct attributes and comes to a decision to propagate these attributes into future generations. This process of “collective self-actualization” is a course of action that requires years or possibly decades of dedication, an inexhaustible source of funding, and a clear vision.
Today’s Assyrians are product of centuries of political and religious persecutions and 150 years of devotion to a national struggle, which have left them with an indelible sense of deprivation and self-pity. Even though as Assyrians we seek intellectual emancipation through the precepts of modern political ideas and institutions, our distrust of others and even of ourselves prevents us from completing this process of collective self-actualization. As a result, we have no coherent sense of national identity.
Without a national identity we are unable to define our national interests as they become more and more dominated by subnational (ethnic, tribal, regional, and religious) interests. Our modern Assyrian nation is basically a cloister of ethnic, Syriac-speaking communities throughout the world that identify themselves as inheritors of the “Ancient Regime” and members of religious denominations.
Without a national identity we are now facing fractionalization and eventually extinction. Fractionalization continues to occur at all levels: religious, ethnic, and cultural. Slowly it will lead to the deterioration of our language, historical continuity, and traditions. The process has already begun.
Today we must think practically and begin a new strategy. First we must critically identify our current parasitic condition in which our greatest achievement is survivability. Living as consumers and not producers.
Then we must submit a desirable future condition within our adopted countries against which all our national efforts must be reckoned. The latter is a state of being in which we, as a recognized people, produce goods and services, and use a percentage of our production in maintaining our national interests. When we attain sufficient economic and political power, then stepping up to the final level of self-determination can be conceived.
To escape from our current condition a new ideology must be formulated to carry us forth in the shortest, least resistant path. This new “ism” will act as our guiding principal. It will empower our people to move forward, by renewing their interest in our cultural and national attributes such as our language, history, and arts.
It will then encourage us to work harder and to contribute to the betterment of our adopted countries, increase our population, our standards of education, our collective economic and political power. In short, this “ism” will help us become producers.
As producers, we will no longer be threatened by extinction and will have become substantial contributors to our adopted countries. This symbiotic relationship must continue until we have gained a substantial mastery of the economic and political power within our adopted countries.
Our history has been progressing toward a new multi-state existence, much like today’s multi-national corporations. We began 6755 years ago in the alluvial lands of Sumer as small communities of Mesopotamian cultures and slowly developed into autonomous city-states, and finally massive empires. Our empires collapsed and we discovered “Christianity” which affirmed our new ideology of post-empire existence.
The world’s societies must be changed to accept Assyrians as Assyrians, and not as remnants of a dead civilization. To gain the respect of our local and national governments we must choose capable leaders who will respect our national identity as Assyrians. No civic, political, and religious leader ashamed of his Assyrian identity must be allowed to hold any office in our organizations and churches. Today, many politicians and bishops hide their true resolve for sake of public approval under the guise of unity by using ambiguous ethnic titles. Scholars fear denunciation from peers and are transforming a political accord in Iraq into historic identity across the world. All must be silenced; all must be dismissed.
Ninety years after two out of every three Assyrians perished in the hands of our Moslem neighbors – Turks, Arabs, and Kurds – there exists only one name that can stir our national struggle to finality – our seven thousand year national identity of ‘Assyrian’. Anything else has and always will be a distortion of our legitimacy.
Let us represent the composition of the Assyrian identity as an area circumscribed within a circle, at the heart of which dwells the centripetal force of Nineveh – the ancient symbol of strength, honor, and unity.
As we move closer to the center of this circle, the Nineveh in our Assyrian galaxy, we find ourselves becoming one with every element of our collective conscience. In contrast, as we move further away from the center we discover other shades of our existence that circle around the sun, deprived of its warmth. These small identity planets rotate around Nineveh, claiming their own individuality and direction. Yet, none comprehends the elusive nature of their total existence – that it is the gravitational force of the divine spirit of Nineveh – the heart of the Assyrian galaxy – that maintains their individuality without which they cannot exist longer than a moment in memory.
Today, we must focus on the sun and not the planets, on the gravitational force that has kept us in alignment and not the black holes represented by our misguided political and religious leaders. Their wisdom is just that – a black hole in the universe constantly swallowing our collective victories for their own selfish aggrandizement. Leave them alone to their own devices and follow in the path of the sun!
The Assyrians (they prefer to be called differently) hanging on the edge of the imaginary circle described above have no plans, no alternative to the cultural slaughter that threatens to last only another generation. If left to their own devices, in 50 years from today there will be no Assyrians, Chaldeans, Chaldo-Assyrians, Assyro-Chaldeans, Suryoyo-Assyrians, Arameans, and so on. There will only be Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Persians, and the memories of a great nation that was defeated in 612 B.C. and finally conquered in 2050.
On the 90th anniversary of the greatest calamity fallen on our nation Zinda Magazine challenges the Assyrian political groups around the world to think Assyrian, demand Assyrian, and most importantly, respect and claim every other name and identity as Assyrian.
Needless to say you shall become the butt of laughter and ridicule from all quarters, including the intellectuals. Many detractors will consider you clowns and deride you for our principals.
But you shall remain steadfast in your vision of Assyria – reaching for that which has been a beacon of light in a place that has for the last ninety years grown dark, a place that has lost its moral bearing, a place whose leaders apparently would rather compromise for the sake of popularity and public approval.
You will be called extremists, dangerous dreamers, and wishful thinkers. If so, for a few moments think of the Assyrian child in Kharput, Turkey separated from her mother in April of 1915 and sliced into pieces before her father’s eyes. Your extremism is the extension of the life she never completed.
Now it is time to develop concrete proposals that can bring Assyrians back to the table we never left in Paris in 1919. Our campaign for “unity through relabeling" has failed and our survival in the land of the Twin Rivers teeters on disaster.
For the sake of every man, woman, and child killed by the sword of the meteorite forces that periodically enter our galaxy to bring about death and destruction, let us not surrender to disillusionment and give up our vision of arriving at Nineveh.
For the last ninety years the enemy has basked in his victory, but you and I have not been conquered yet. We will persevere lest we forget our genocides and covet the empty promises of other mortal men.
On the 90th anniversary of the Genocide of the Sword (Seyfo) let us renew our commitment to the struggle we began when the palaces of Nineveh were burned down by those we worshipped in the same temples. It gave us strength when Shappur II massacred 120,000 of our men, women, and the clergy in Persia, when Timur Lane destroyed every one of our villages and turned Tigris into a river of blood, and when Saddam was torturing our youth in the cells of his dark chambers.
We may have been defeated, but never shall Assyrians be conquered!
May the Souls of the Victims of the 1915 Genocide Rest in Peace!
Chronology of the Seyfo Genocide (1915-1923)
Statement of Assyrian Groups in Europe on Seyfo Commemoration
SEYFO 1915 - 2005
Each Nation has the right to claim with insistence the recognition of the crimes and injustices made on its detriment. The bigger the injustice and the longer the dissimulation of the facts, the more intense remains the aspiration for such recognition.
The Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriacs are the indigenous inhabitants of Mesopotamia, present day Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. These people have an enriched history and just recently celebrated their New Year on April 1, 2005 (6755). Since the First Century A.D., they have mainly adhered to Christianity and continue to speak Aramaic (Syriac), the language of their forefathers.
During the 20th Century, their cultural and ethnic identities were neglected and subject to repressions, massacres, genocides, deportations and mass exodus.
In Turkey, their population is estimated to be around 30,000 in contrast to one million in the year 1914. Their number is diminishing year by year and since 1975, more than 350,000 have found refuge in the countries of the European Community.
This year, the Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac communities around the world will commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the Seyfo Genocide(1915). In October 2005 the European Community will open the negotiations of admission for Turkey to the Europan Union. In view of this, the 90th Anniversary of the Genocide will constitute an essential step in the process of the recognition of the crimes against humanity that Turkey committed.
The memory of our martyrs of this Genocide causes not only sadness and sorrow, but also anger and bitterness towards this injustice. The extermination and massacres have never been recognized. Since 1915 Turkey has rejected all claims and has made a concerted effort at preventing recognition or investigation into the Genocide.
In addition, and contrary to common knowledge, those premeditated and systematic massacres were not only made solely against the Armenians, but also against other Christian national minorities including Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriacs and Pontic Greeks of the Ottoman Empire. The misconception that the Genocide was perpetrated solely against Armenians, marginalizes the genocide in its own right, thus making the genocide easier to deny by Turkish officials.
For the past 90 years, Turkey has rejected all responsibilities and denies the Genocide of 1915 had even existed. Today, beyond the moral repair or recognition of the historical facts, the big question remains: Should a country, which in no way has condemned nor recognized their role in the Genocide, a State which, in return, continues to practise the policy of denial, be accepted into the respected European Union?
The recognition of the Genocide by the Turkish government is necessary to prevent Turkey from committing future injustices against humanity. This way, Turkey can put this issue to rest and the groups involved can finally be in peace.
We call upon the public opinion, the governments of the European Union as well as the Turkish civil society to show their solidarity with the Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac people in their legitimate struggle for the recognition of this crime against humanity.
Demonstration on Saturday 23rd of April 2005 at 13h30 - 16h30 (1:30 - 4:30 pm)
The European Parliament – Brussels
- Assyrian Democratic Organisation (ADO) – Abroad sections
For more information please contact Georges Chachan: 0486 / 98 24 22 Fax : 010 45 21 84
Statement of International Seyfo Committee of Assyria Liberation Party
16 Neesan 6755 Assyrian
April 24th 2005 will mark the passing of 90 years since the decision was made to annihilate the Assyrian people in Turkey 1915-1919, which were the continuation to previous massacres. Our pacifist and unarmed people who had not rebelled against the coercive, tyrant Turks who were supposed to protect our people as they were citizens of the Ottoman state but instead they were subjected to annihilations and ethnic cleansing resulting in more than 500.000 martyrs.
The policy of the Ottoman sultans was characterized by its national tyranny in a multi ethnic society, and our people who had lived in their historic land since the dawn of history are still subjected to the policies of Turkification, repression, and forced migration, the true reasons behind that were:
The Ottoman sultan Abd al-Hameed II who was an Islamic fanatic, established the Hameed units which committed the atrocities against our people with most of their members being Muslim Kurds who were influenced with religious fanaticism, thus they forcefully fought to realize the policy of the Islamic Ottoman state considering that a sacred religious duty, where on top of minarets calls rose to kill the Christian (infidels) so the Kurdish Aghas competed to provide the Kurdish Ottoman fighters responding to the (sacred jihad) calls. The goals behind that were:
The Turkish republic being the legal inheritor of the extinct Ottoman rule, as well as Kurdish party leaders who claim to represent the Kurdish people, are following the same policy of denying the massacres committed against the Assyrians, but they all bear full historic responsibility for those massacres in addition to all the negative results thereafter, both groups bear the responsibility of destroying a complete Assyrian society with all its cultural, social, political, religious and economic characteristics, thus none of the two parties can be acquitted of the massacres that they committed even if some try to exonerate them of our martyrs blood.
Hence, we have the right to wonder:
The acceptance of the Turkish State on the list of candidacy for membership in the European Union contradicts the beliefs of the European Union countries in the principles of democracy. As Assyrian people we have the confidence and conviction that the European Union which believes in humanitarian and democratic principles shall not overlook our just and legitimate rights no matter what the political or economic motives are behind Turkey’s candidacy for the European Union membership.
As a deeply rooted and civilized Assyrian people we demand from the international organizations, the United Nations and Europe’s parliaments but especially the European Parliament to stipulate that Turkey implements the following before its membership is accepted in the European Union:
Glory and eternal life be for our honorable martyrs.
Long live the Assyrian national Cause.
Governor Schwarzenegger Proclaims April 24 "Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide"
Proclamation by the Governor of the State of California
Ninety years ago today, the Ottoman Turkish government waged a war of terror on Armenian culture through the brutal deportation, imprisonment and decimation of men, women and children of Armenian descent. By 1923, the Ottoman Empire had dissolved, but its monstrous attempt at ethnic cleansing left more than 1.5 million Armenians massacred and 500,000 survivors forcibly exiled from their ancestral homeland.
Today, the Republic of Armenia remains as the world's reminder of the Armenian Genocide and of the indestructible spirit of a people. It is a nation founded on the principles of freedom and democracy that we as Americans prize above all else. Our state's flourishing Armenian-American population - the largest outside of Armenia - has left its indelible stamp on our state's history, industry and culture.
Each year, the Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide brings an opportunity for all people to scrutinize the cause and consequence of this grim massacre. To carve out a secure future free from intolerance and persecution, we must examine the past and heed history's lessons of forewarning - for the sake of future generations who inherit our civilization.
In 1969, then-Governor Ronald Reagan said, "Today, I humbly bow in memory of the Armenian martyrs, who died in the name of freedom." On the 90th anniversary of this great human tragedy, Californians continue to join with freedom-loving people around the world to honor the Armenian people as they continue to show the world the true meaning of hope, renewal and perseverance.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim April 24, 2005, as a "Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide."
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have here unto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this the fourteenth day of April 2005.
Polls Reveals Mistrust Between Turks & Armenians
(ZNDA: Istanbul) In an opinion poll conducted by TESEV in Turkey and HASA in Armenia more than 80 percent of Armenians see the “genocide” as an obstacle to normalising relation with Turkey. The poll also shows that both countries have prejudice against each other.
The project, which looked into both countries’ perceptions of each other, showed a high level of lack of information about the other. The opinion poll canvassed 1,200 Turks and 1,000 Armenians, which was conducted over a two year period.
The project said that although there the psychological foundation necessary for dialogue in both countries there is a low level of information and very strong negative views towards Turkey in Armenia.
The poll also revealed that 17 percent of the Turks surveyed thought that Armenians are Jewish, 13.5 percent that it is a communist state and six percent that it is run by a monarchy. While 68.7 percent of Armenians define Turks using bad adjectives this figure drops to 34 percent among Turks when they define Armenians. Ninety-four point one percent of Armenians would not let their daughter marry a Turk while 68.1 percent of Turks would not their daughter marry an Armenian. While 67 percent of Armenians say they would not trust a Turkish doctor, the figure for Turks regarding an Armenian doctor is 24 percent.
Ottoman Archives Open to All, Including Armenian Researchers
Courtesy of the Turkish Weekly Journal
(ZNDA: Ankara) Prime Ministry State Archives Director General Yusuf Sarinay says that there are tens of thousands of documents in Turkish State Archives refuting the Armenian allegations.
Holding a news conference, Sarinay said, ''Armenians have been making propaganda against Turkey for a long time. There are more than 1 million documents related to the Armenians directly and indirectly in our archives from 1870s to 1922. These documents are waiting for a scientific examination.''
''When we read those documents, we see that the Ottoman Empire decided to relocate Armenians to suppress a de facto uprising and put an end to Armenian's collaboration of Russian army, not to prevent a likely rebellion,'' he said.
Noting that the allegations of so-called Armenian genocide were based on subjective works and evaluations like memories instead of scientific documents, Sarinay said, ''there are tens of thousands of documents in our archives refuting these allegations. Our basic target is that the history should be written objectively. Therefore, we have opened our archives to all scientists.''
Recalling that April 24th was declared as ''day of genocide'' by Armenians, Sarinay told reporters, ''in fact, leading names of Armenian committees were arrested on that date. For instance, 235 Armenian people were arrested in Istanbul. None of them was sentenced to death penalty or sent to exile. Some circles claim that Armenian artist Comidas was killed in the genocide. In fact, he was a member of the Armenian committees. He was arrested in Istanbul and served 14 days in Cankaya Prison. He later left for Paris and died there.''
''Armenians created an imaginary history. The Republic of Turkey remained silent against their allegations till 1990s in order to prevent revival of past hatred, however, its silence did not resolve the issue. On the contrary, this silence was wrongly perceived as a sign of its being guilty,'' he said.
Sarinay kept on saying, ''when we examine these documents as a whole, it is evident that the decision of the Ottoman Empire to relocate Armenians was totally legal. The Ottoman Empire had also made some arrangements about properties of Armenians, and adopted a law about return of these properties to Armenian people when they returned. The Ottoman Empire had never targeted a genocide. It had made such an temporary decision on political and military grounds.
Western historians and Armenian diaspora ignore these documents to preserve their imaginary history.''
''There were many high-level Armenian officials in Istanbul in those days. If the Ottoman Empire had intended a genocide, it would have killed those officials first. The Ottoman Empire had sent notes to Spain, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland in 1919, which had not been involved in the World War I, to send jurists. If they had sent jurists to Turkey, all those allegations would have been buried in the history,'' he stressed.
''Once again, we call on Directorate General of Armenian State Archives to pave the way for scientific studies. Also, archives of the American diaspora in the United States should be opened,'' he said.
Upon a question, Sarinay told reporters, ''according to the latest population census in the Ottoman Empire, Armenians had a population of 1 million 161 thousand. Sources say that nearly 400 thousand Armenians had left for Russia, and 450-750 thousand Armenians had been subject of the relocation. However, warfare and epidemics made it impossible to clarify all these figures.''
Turkish Prime Minister tayyip Erdogan and Turkish opposition leader Deniz Baykal had called the Armenian side to open their archives. Erdogan said Turkish archives were open to all, and Turkey expected the same from the Armenians and all related states. The Armenian Tashnak Archives are closed to researchers. The Armenian politicians argue that there is nothing to be discussed or researched because all of the reality is clear. Armenian Foreign Minister Vaskan Oskanyan said "the problem is not a matter of science but politics. Historians has nothing to discuss."
"A Forgotten Page of A Nation"
Writer and Producer: Lina Yakubova, Ph.D candidate, author and producer of the documentary "Assyrians In Armenia"
Ninety years ago the Christian population living in the Ottoman Empire became the innocent victim of the genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Government.
The Assyrian nation was one of the victims.
"A Forgotten Page of Nation" is a new documentary film about the Assyrians/Syrians/Chaldeans that now live in the present day Turkey and who were subjected to the genocide in the beginning of the 20th century.
The first part of the documentary is about the regions of Western Armenia/Eastern Anatolia that is the vilayets of Van, Erzerum, Diyarbakir, Kharberd, Sebastia and Bitlis that according to historical sources were inhabited by the Assyrians until the Genocide.
In the film we show pictures of the Tur Abdin historical region and its magnificent Mor Gabriel Monastery of the Syrian Orthodox Church. We also talk about the cities of Diyarbakir, Mardin, Midiyat, Bitlis where the Assyrian, Syrian and Chaldean communities have lived for centuries.
There are also some fragments covering the Nestorian Assyrians living in the mountainous region of Hakkiari with their spiritual Patriarch Mar Shimmun.
In the second part of the film certain facts have been used referring to genocide committed against the Assyrian nation which is proved by historians and genocide specialists that have been interviewed in the film, including David Gunt (Sodertalje University), Jan Beth Sawoce (publisher), Ulf Bjorklund (Stockholm University), Gegham Baghdasaryan (Yerevan State University), Lavrenti Barseghyan (Armenian Genocide Institute), Joseph Yakoub (Lyon University), Prof. Michael Sado (St.Petresburg-Russia) and Attiya Gamri (politician).
Archive materials, corresponding photos and documentary shots provided by the Mesopotamia Library of the Sodertalje University (Jan Beth-Sawoce), Armenian Genocide Institute (Lavrenti Barseghian) and Attiya Gamri have been used. A music especially written for the film has been composed by an Armenian prominent musician Vahan Artsruni.
The film is sponsored by the AUA Foundation (Chicago, Illinois).
"A Forgotten Page Of One Nation" documentary will be shown on Public TV of Armenia (via satellite) on 25 April and a presentation was held on 21 April.
Religious Freedom in Turkey
Religious Freedom in Turkey
The Turkish Embassy has been invited to participate.
An un-official transcript will be available on the Helsinki Commission's web site at www.csce.gov within 24 hours of the briefing.
The United States Helsinki Commission, an independent federal agency, by law monitors and encourages progress in implementing provisions of the Helsinki Accords. The Commission, created in 1976, is composed of nine Senators, nine Representatives and one official each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.
Seyfo: An Ignored Genocide
Speech delivered at the Commemoration of the Assyrian Genocide in Brussels on 23rd April 2005 *
Ninety years ago, on 24 April 1915, the government of the Young Turks of the Ottoman Empire masterminded, started, organized and carried out the deliberate destruction of the Christians of Turkey. This ethno-religious cleansing was in line with the anti-Christian massacres perpetrated since the middle of 1890s.
The Armenians sometimes complain, and rightly so, about the lack of public interest in their genocide, perpetrated between 1895 and 1922 in the Ottoman Empire, and mainly about the non-recognition of this tragedy by the modern Turkish state but at least it is not ignored and this genocide bears their name. In the shadow of the Armenian genocide, another one has long been ignored: the genocide of the Assyrian Christians (Arameans, Chaldeans, Syriac.) They also paid a heavy tribute. They were massively deported and killed on the order of Talat Pasha, the then Minister of the Interior. This genocide has long been ignored but now, it is slowly coming out of the shadow.
The book “The Christians to the beasts” (Publishing House Cerf), the title of four copy-books containing souvenirs of Dominican Jacques Rhétoré, which has just been published in Paris, recalls what was the genocide of 1915: a holy war declared by the Ottomans against all Christians whatever their denomination.
In his souvenirs, Jacques Rhétoré tells in a moving style the cruel death inflicted on Father Gabriel Manaché, a Syrian Catholic priest: “Father Gabriel Manaché was not a man who was ready to sacrifice his faith for human considerations and he showed it clearly. That was the reason why he was arrested and put in a convoy of Christians doomed to death and sent to Ras-el-Aïn. A survivor of this convoy told that the Tcherkess leaders of the convoy expended a lot of effort to make him recant his faith. When they realized they were unsuccessful, they put him to death in a cruel way: they cut off his hands, his arms and his feet; in the meantime, the priest was praying and asking God to help him. Finally, he was saved by death.”
Here is another testimony. In Deriké, “the local Muslims took special pleasure in insulting roughly the Christian religion by targeting Syrian priest Ibrahim Garrômé. They took out the hair of his beard, obliged him to crawl like an animal while a Kurd sitting on his back was speeding his walk by kicking him and stabbing him in his side. After this race, they finished him off by cutting him into pieces.”
The word genocide is sometimes misused by the media and this word does not always correspond to the reality of the facts. What is then a genocide? The United Nations answered this question in the Convention for the Prevention and Repression of the Crime of Genocide in 1948. In a genocide, there must be an intention to destroy, in all or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such. Various sorts of acts are concerned such as:
Christians of Turkey of all denominations were victims of a genocide.
Jews kept alive the souvenir of the Holocaust and inscribed it in the memory of humankind. The victims of the Seyfo also have the right to be inscribed in the memory of humankind. Jews erected mausoleums in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. The names of all the Americans killed during the Vietnam War are engraved in a long black wall in Washington, the capital city of the United States. Brussels is the capital city of Europe, a Europe that Turkey would like to join. Why not build in Brussels a black mourning wall or a blood-red wall on which thousands of known names of victims of all Christian denominations and all ethnic denominations would be engraved. Why not give a visible and impressive sign of the 1st genocide of the 20th century to present-day and upcoming humankind? The youth of the upcoming generations will need that not only to remember it but also to avoid the repetition of the same horrors perpetrated by their ancestors.
Nowadays, whilst Turkey is knocking on the door of the European Union, this country continues to deny the existence of this genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire. Would we have accepted Germany in the European Union if it had not recognized the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jews and if it had not asked for mercy? Can Turkey claim to have a seat in the European Union as long as it does not recognize the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians and several hundred thousands of Assyrians? Can the EU accept in its midst a negationist Turkey? The question needs to be asked.
On 23 May, at 3pm, in the Cathedral of St Michel the “Concert de la Mémoire”, in remembrance of the 90th anniversary of the Genocide of the Assyrian and Syriac people. I invite you to attend it and to meditate at it in a sober musical atmosphere. Free entrance.
Zinda: * Demonstration organized by the Seyfo Centre in Brussels. About 1,000 Assyrians from Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany marched from the Square Ambiorix to the Place Jean Rey, in the European District. The event was largely covered by the Belgian television for the evening TV News.
Iraqis Silent Majority Intimidated!
Rev. Ken Joseph Jr.
It was days after the Liberation of Baghdad! Hope was in the air! Everybody that could manage it were holding demonstrations in front of the then headquarters of the US in Iraq - the Palestine Hotel.
As always it was made up of the people Iraqis always refer to a the "crazies from the south" and as always on the payroll of next door Iran.
Ninety Years Later
Dialogue Must Supersede Obsession
"Even the most ignorant nations are capable of appreciating the goodwill of a representative of a foreign power." [Cicero]
Hence, edging ahead with a dialogue, must forestall all else, including passion, and obsession.
The 90th year of remembrances of massacres and mayhem are upon us. Such inhumane deeds did not start with the year of 1915, nor did they end there. In its longest history of mankind, Assyria had gone through so many massacres and genocides, that the 365 days of the year might not suffice to commemorate them, and some days might have to doubled or quadrupled for commemorations.
The most devastating blow perpetrated against the Assyrians does not lay in the massacres of 1915, which reduced the entire population by almost a third. The fatal blow to the nation of Assyria was the 1933 Massacre of Semele and its aftermath.
That is when over 300,000 Assyrians, two-thirds of the population of Mosul, had to relinquish their legal and rightful land, the Province, and the City of Mosul, with a great number of fatalities, and to move away from their ancestral domain, to Syria, Iran and Russia. 'Mount Semele' [Kakovitch].
Losing relatives, neighbors, co-nationals and friends is a sobering effect. However, losing ancestral territory is another matter.
No one can bring back the victims by the heinous acts of their neighbors. Hence it is pre-eminently the territorial claim that must take precedence above all else.
That claim, that would nurture and ensure Assyria nation continuity in its pursuit of peaceful and cultural nationalism, has to be conducted without passion and compassion. Logic and perseverance is what counts now.
A delegation of selected Assyrian nationals throughout the world to meet face to face with the logic and its challenges is to be designated without debates and delays.
Assyria possesses some rather heavy thinkers, and ardent and savvy individuals that can carry a diplomatic feat in any capital of the world, and in particular with Armenia, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.
These seven nations have been placed at the top of the list for their logistical presence, and pre-eminence, as well as the consequences an Autonomous Assyria in Northern Iraq might bear upon them.
A diligent approach to the Government of Armenia - certainly not at arms length - to proceed with negotiations undertaken by an Assyrian of good offices, must be a priori case.
The diplomatic efforts conducted by Assyria ought to be, somewhat, within the leverage of the approval of the Government of Armenia. Such moves may not be parallel to the paths and policies of the Armenians however the approach of Assyria must not meet resistance in the Yerevan circles. A highly diligent and skilled diplomat with great tact might succeed.
With all intent of clarification, Armenia and Assyria are not equal, since one is a nation, and the other is striving to become one. Thus, a number of approaches shall separate our moves of tomorrow, but one. That one move is to forge ahead with a dialogue with Ankara.
Despite all ramifications and demonstrations, Armenia, as a sovereign nation does have an Embassy in Ankara, just as much as Ankara has one in Yerevan. There is obviously a dialogue going on between these two countries.
Hence, it is our turn to initiate such a dialogue, and to try to bring it to fruition.
Turkey is a dominant factor in the Middle East, and its political scene. A pre-emptive offer to conduct a dialogue with Ankara must be second, only to that of Armenia. It is essential to clarify that negotiations with Ankara "Qui lo sa?", [who knows it?,] could turn out to be most vital venues in search to attain a national autonomy on our land.
Obviously most Assyrians do have factual horrid stories of their ancestors perishing at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, and some will not just let their passions overcome them. The following maxim "homo homini lupus" [man is a wolf for men], may not sit well with some politicians in Ankara, but whenever, we cease our exasperate slogans of justice and compassion, and reverse the course for a mutually beneficial contact they might want to listen to our laments.
The most we can convey to Ankara is to revise its stance on the World War I massacres, and to simply state that:
Assyria would accept this rendition on the massacres by the Ottoman Empire, and would not renege on its promises.
Teheran is perhaps just as a viable center for negotiations as Yerevan and Ankara.
No political move or decision shall escape the influence and the power Iran musters in the Middle East. Also, just like Turkey, being a neighbor to Iraq, and a good neighbor to Armenia, Teheran might provide some surprising results stemming from our negotiations with Iranian authorities.
Teheran, just like Ankara, Damascus, Beiruth and Amman, does not fear recrimination from a handful of non-Moslem Assyrians to conduct their own political, cultural and internal affairs in Northern Iraq. As a matter of fact the most sophisticated emblem for Assyria negotiators might be that being neutral among their Moslem neighbors, including the Kurds, Assyria might just become a pivotal peacemaker for all concerned.
Home to over 100,000 Assyrians, Syria has been hosting Assyrians with dignity and tolerance for the past six decades, ever since its independence from France. Syria, along with Turkey and Algeria, are the only Moslem dominated nations, with constitutionally secular modes of government.
With proper approach and gratitude Syria could be counted as a staunch supporter for Assyria cause, since this could stabilize the section of the Northern Iraq more so, than it is at the present time.
The less one dwells into the mega-political stature of the country of Lebanon, the better off one might be in the future endeavors with Beiruth.
It would be utterly irresponsible to take sides on a most complex of political machinations in Lebanon. And, especially most dangerous would be to side with the Christian political machine, at the expense of abandoning the Moslem side of it.
An intertwined and a sober policy is to be enacted and practiced to remain on the sidelines of the Lebanon's politics, and merely to look at them as, perhaps, mentors in our approach to sustain a non-Moslem national autonomy within the parameters of the Moslem Iraq.
Being an absolute Kingdom, the Royal Court of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan could be an easier task to handle than all others.
One person in the country can make a solemn decision, and promise to stand by it. That person is the King Abdullah himself.
King Abdullah is a well educated and a dedicated political savvy. He is articulate and noble, and can muster a great deal of influence in most capitals of the world more so, than Teheran, Ankara or Damascus can.
In Baghdad, Assyria has to convert itself to a multitude of ways of diplomacy. While dealing with Baghdad, one must contend that there are three separate elements that have to be coalesced and agreed upon any arrangements that can come out of negotiations with the Government of Iraq.
Shi'a: -- The most predominant of the three factions controlling Iraq, Shi'a are somewhat similar to deal with as negotiating with Jordan.
Being extremely devoted religious sectarians, Shi'a have proven to be able to tolerate all nationalities and all faiths since the inception of Islam. The credence, respect and authority the Shi'a place in the hands of Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani, is not coincidental scheme or personal cult of political nature. Shi'a diligently are faithful, and shall remain so for any designated Grand Ayatollah of their country, just like post-revolution Iran was and still is, to their Grand Ayatollahs.
Sunni: -- The standard bearer for the past seven decades, ever since the creation of Iraq, the Sunni population of Iraq differs from that of the Shi'a.
Although strong believers in their faith and their sectarian religion, the Sunni are less adamant to follow their sectarian hierarchy on the political scene than the Shi'a. In other words, the Sunni have become more astute politicians, since they do supersede all other factions of Iraq in experience and practice.
The Sunni are not an uncomfortable sectarian entity to live with. They had proven that by including a non-Moslem, an Assyrian of Chaldean faith, at the helm of their leadership for three decades, by handing him the second most important position of the land.
Somewhat subdued, at the present, the Sunni would like to partake in the affairs of Iraq on an equal partnership leverage, with both the Shi'a and the Kurds.
It will be a great task for Assyria to ensure that the Sunni include Assyria in retrospect, among its equal partners of Shi'a, the Kurds, and the Assyrians.
Kurds: -- One of the beastliest crimes committed against a nation in the 20th century is the crime perpetrated against the Kurds.
How can nations of the world, with all their humane, political and sociological organizations, ostracize a nation of some 25 million?
Rummaging through the Codes and Regulatory Commission Files of the defunct League of Nations, as well as the United Nations, there is absolutely not a single clause that should prevent the Kurds from being recognized as a nation.
The same goes for Assyria.
The only reason Kurds have not been able - at press time - to attain statehood, was fear of igniting political upheavals in the Middle East. Since the Kurds reside in Azerbaijan [Nakhijevan], Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, the United Nations Political Secretariat has been neglecting its duties of the rights of man, by employing the Napoleonic adage: "Ne la réveillez pas", [do not awaken her], referring to China of early 19th century.
Well, the Kurds have been awake for six decades now, ever since, with the aiding and abetting of the Soviet Union right after WWII, a Kurdistan with the central focal point of Mahabad, in Northwestern Iran, was created. Obviously, that government being pro-Communist -- as a payoff -- was overthrown, and ever since, the Kurds were warring one country or another, one government or another, at one time or another.
The immediate formation of a Diplomatic Echelon is only a part of the Government for Assyria. This branch of Governing Body is to conduct negotiations with Teheran, Yerevan, Ankara, Baghdad, Damascus, Beiruth and Amman. At a latter date, such good offices shall be offered to Moscow as well, since Russia is trying to exercise its authority throughout the Middle East, once again.
Known simply as a 'Lobby', and in this case, an 'International Lobby', this phase was presented to the Delegates of the 2004 San Jose Convention of the Assyrian American National Federation, in its entirety. (See Interim Committee for Government of Assyria --ICGA, in Zijnda Archives), [Ibid.].
The selection of personnel to handle the tasks is based on their credentials, and, at press time, no one is suited better, to obtain results, if any, than the ones placed for recommendation. This is a diversionary path from democratic procedures of electing personnel by international suffrage, however, since the events are turning around at such a rapid stance, we shall have to forestall this most necessary of preconditions at this junction, and implement it for the creation of the other branches of Government of Assyria, in the future.
The individuals recommended are savvy, honest, capable, and -- we hope -- willing to accept such responsibilities.
o Yonadan Bet-Kolia, the Assyrian and Chaldean representative at the Iranian Majlis [Parliament] to be commissioned and recognized as Plenipotentiary [diplomatic agent] to Teheran;
All correspondence and approaches by individuals or single party affiliates with any branches of foreign governments of the world are unaided, unattached, unproductive, unacquainted, unadorned, ungratified, undignified, and unacceptable, thus, unrecognizable.
All work needs to be conducted within a framework, and that framework is Government, when dealing with Governments.
Assyria is under no circumstances to join ranks with any league of any sort.
(All communication pertaining to the above clauses shall remain confidential until it has been fully presented, discussed and analyzed by the authorized representatives).
Please submit all correspondence and other information to:
Interim Committee for the Government of Assyria (I.C.G.A.).
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