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 A s s y r i a
Name: Assyria  (maps)
Capital: Nineveh
36° 21′ 34″ N — 43° 9′ 10″ E
Regions: northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.
Language: Aramaic (Syriac)
Religion: Christian
Nationality: Assyrian
Population: 4,036,250

Assyrian flagWelcome to the home of the indigenous Aramaic-speaking Christian Assyrians of the Middle East.

The Assyrians of today are the descendants of the ancient Assyrian people, one of the earliest civilizations emerging in the Middle East, and have a history spanning over 6760 years.

Assyrians are not Arabian or Arabs, we are not Kurdish, our religion is not Islam. The Assyrians are Christian, with our own unique language, culture and heritage.  Although the Assyrian empire ended in 612 B.C., history is replete with recorded details of the continuous presence of the Assyrian people till the present time.

Assyria, the land of the indigenous Assyrians, was partitioned after World War I by the victorious Allies, and is currently under occupation by Kurds, Turks, Arabs and Persians.

The Assyrians are a stateless people and continue to be religiously and ethnically persecuted in the Middle East due to Islamic fundamentalism, Arabization and Kurdification policies, leading to land expropriations and forced emigration to the West.

Assyrian flagAssyrian Population

Iraq 1,928,000
Syria 815,000
USA 490,000
Armenia 206,000
Brazil 98,000
Iran 74,000
Lebanon 68,000
Germany 60,000
Russia 52,000
Sweden 48,000
Australia 38,000
Turkey 24,000
Canada 23,000
France 18,000
Jordan 15,000
Georgia 15,000
Holland 12,000
Denmark 10,000
England 9,000
Austria 8,000
Greece 8,000
Belgium 5,000
Switzerland 5,000
New Zealand 4,000
Dubai (UAE) 3,000
Italy 3,000
Argentina 2,000
Mexico 2,000
Poland 2,000
Spain 1,000
Kazakhstan 250
   
 TOTAL  4,036,250
 

U.S. Census 2000

Posted: September 25, 1999 at 03:15 PM | Updated: August 22, 2011


Assyrian Information ManagementIn our every deliberation, a nation must study the implications of its decisions on its future generations.

1990 U.S. Census
482-489 ASSYRIAN

482 Aramean
482 Assyrian
482 Chaldean
482 Chaldo
482 Jacobite
482 Kaldany
482 Kaldu
482 Kasddem
482 Kasdu
482 Nestorian
482-489 Telkeffee

The primary objective of the Atour website is to aid the unification process of our people who have been subjected to numerous genocides, migrations, and forced assimilation throughout the Middle Eastern countries.

It is with sincere hope that the following information will shed some light on the process which the U.S. Census Bureau and our communities' delegations took to reach the proposed "Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac" classification.  Please view the links within this page as you read the information.

Prior to the subsequent meetings of the various individuals which comprised the committee, the Assyrian American National Federation, the Chaldean American National Federation and the Suryoyo Delegation met, agreed and officially signed documents to bring our people closer together.  We believe this was a genuine step in promoting the ideals that we are people from the same nation.

Initially, the people (public) were told we have only two choices from the Census Bureau. Indeed, these were the ultimatum given to the Assyrian delegation:

1)  Separate categories
2)  Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac  (new category)

Actually, there where many choices.  The U.S. Census Bureau works under the democratic values of the United States and makes its judgment based on meetings with community representatives and obtains historical information to formalize their decisions.  Thus, the initial choices at the Census Bureau were:

1)  Assyrian (1990 Census)
2)  "Assyrians (including Chaldeans)"  (new category)
3)  Separate categories  (new categories)
4)  Assyrio/Chaldo  (new category)
5)  Assyrian/Chaldean/Syrian  (new category)
6)  Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac  (new category)

These choices were scrutinized based on the recommendation of the delegations present.  As the discussions continued, most of choices were eliminated.  An important issue to remember is this: Did the Census Bureau view the historical facts and make their judgments based on the historical information presented to them OR were they extensively lobbied more from a particular delegation into confusion and despair?  Let us examine most of the noteworthy information during Census 2000.

The key documentation presented and delegation viewpoints
Assyrian Chaldean Syriac
Various documents from the book "The Heirs of Mesopotamia - Chaldeans and Assyrians"

Statement of the Chaldean Patriarch, H.H. Bidawid

Dr. Sarhad Jammo, Contemporary Chaldeans and Assyrians | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

Dr. Sarhad Jammo: Chaldean Language

Dr. Mary C. Sengstock, Chaldean-Americans: Are They an Ethnic Group? Or a Religion? | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Chaldean Delegation
The Census Bureau Summary | Page 2

The reclassification process of the 1990 U.S. Census 482-489 Assyrian category for Census 2000, began when the Census Bureau was contacted by the Chaldean Delegation, led by the honorable Father Dr. Sarhad Jammo at the request of the honorable Bishop Mar Ibrahim Ibrahim from the Chaldean Diocese of Detroit, Michigan in July, 1998.  Related Article | Article 2.

The key events and discussions in chronological order

03/20/1998 - The Assyrian and Chaldean National Federations Meet
07/16/1998 - Census Bureau reply to Chaldean Federation's request for separation
10/07/1998 - Census interoffice communication |
2
10/16/1998 - Census Bureau meets Chaldean American Federation | 2 | 3 |
4
10/21/1998 -
Assyrian Delegation to Census Bureau
12/14/1998 - Census interoffice on classifications |
2
03/02/1999 -
Census interoffice on the Assyrians
03/03/1999 - Ghassan Hanna to Census Bureau via Al-Muntada Magazine (Perspective of U.S. Chaldean Catholic Church Bishop, Ibrahim Ibrahim)
03/22/1999 - Census Bureau to U.S. Department of State |
2
04/22/1999 - Census Bureau open to Classification Suggestions |
2
04/26/1999 - Census Bureau Conference Call | 2 | 3 |
4
05/04/1999 - Article published in Al-Muntada Magazine
05/06/1999 -
Ghassan Hanna to Census Bureau
05/06/1999 -
Ghassan Hanna to Census Bureau 2
05/07/1999 -
Atour.com begins Census 2000 Awareness (email petitions)
05/07/1999 -
Concerned Chaldean from Detroit, Michigan to Census Bureau
05/12/1999 - Census interoffice on email petitions |
2
05/13/1999 -
Census interoffice on email petitions - Atour.com Census 2000 Awareness email campaign is signed by over 1,000 Assyrians since 05/07/1999
05/13/1999 - Census interoffice on Assyrians |
Page 2
05/13/1999 - Ghassan Hanna to Zenda Magazine, forwarded to Census |
2
05/14/1999 -
Census interoffice on Assyrians
05/14/1999 -
Ghassan Hanna to Atour, forwarded to Census
05/18/1999 -
Census interoffice on Atour.com email petitions
05/25/1999 -
Concerned Assyrian from Spain to Census Bureau

Related Communications

09/13/1999 - U.S. Census Reply from Statistical Information Staff

08/07/1999  - Related Community Census Information
06/01/1999 - Official Release - Assyrian Democratic Movement "Zowaa"
05/31/1999 - Official Release - Assyrian Academic Society
05/28/1999 - U.S. Census Bureau Replies to Email Petitions
05/11/1999 - Official Release - Assyrian American Civic Club of California
05/11/1999 - Official Release - St. John's Assyrian Presbyterian Church
05/10/1999 - AANF Letter Addressed to the U.S. Census Bureau
05/07/1999 -
Official Release - Assyrian American National Federation

Chaldean Catholic Church Patriarch, Mar Raphael Bidawid.
Lebanon, 2001.
Chaldean Catholic Church Bishop, Mar Sarhad Jammo
USA, May 24, 1996.

The Aftermath

08/10/1999 - Official Statement on the Chaldean political movements

2001 - His Holiness, Mar Raphael I Bidawid, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church. LBC: Lebanese satellite channel. (video shown above)

09/03/2003 - Declaration of the Chaldean Bishops on the Role of Chaldeans in new Iraq

10/22/2003 - Baghdad General Conference, Sheraton Hotel, Baghdad, Iraq (videos)

03/15/2010 - 2010 U.S. Census Form: How-To-Instructions

Conclusion
Will history repeat itself yet again, 448 years later?  Will the Chaldean Delegation complete its initiative of seeking a separate ethnic code for Census 2000?  These important questions can only be answered by scientific and historical documentation.

As of September 25th, 1999, 1552 concerned Assyrians from the Assyrian Church of the East, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Assyrian Presbyterian Church, the Assyrian Evangelical Church and other religious communities have signed this census petition.  In proportion to our nation's population of approximately 4 million people worldwide (most without Internet access,) this is a significant number.

Are we righteous in the 20th century, complete with our massive archives of historical information, than our forefathers?  The same forefathers who understood the plight of the Assyrian nation and signed their official correspondences as Assyrians.  Legends such as, Mar Eshai Shimun, Agha Petrous, David B. Perley, Naoum Faik, Freydun Atouraya and many other giants of our nation, who understood the Assyrian nation is comprised of groups and are known by their respective churches' name, yet stood firmly on the foundation of Assyria.

We have become desensitized to historical information.  Progressive nations have long realized that there is greater strength in unity.  We, the Assyrians with our various internal factions, have the same factions as do the Armenians and the Jewish people, but neither of them will dare to undermine their true historic, national identity.   Their unwavering unity has allowed these nations to keep their dignity, land, villages, cities, towns and their independence by uniting under one historic identity, which has allowed them to stand proud and triumphant over adversities.

Based upon the information contained in this analysis, it is quite evident these discussions require an evenly balanced participation from the delegations to properly address this centuries old plague, before any decisions can be made.

The single most important and acceptable result the Assyrian people would like to see is the formation of the proposed committee consisting of qualified political/religious/linguistic scholars of the various communities of our nation, to discuss the implications of its decisions.  This committee has yet to be created.

The Atour website endorses the 1990 U.S. Census 482-489 Assyrian classification for Census 2000.  We do not support any plan for the proposed "Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac" classification or any creation of separate categories of this one Assyrian nation.

We advise the U.S. Census Bureau to uphold their constitutional obligations when deciding the fate of our people.

To remain with classification 482-489 Assyrian is less detrimental to our nation's forward movements, than to make an imprudent decision based on the select few history-revising clergymen and their supporters who feverishly cause more damage and defy historical and scientific facts in the midst of the people's innocence.

We sincerely hope history does not repeat itself on this issue.


Dr. Simo Parpola

Assyrian

“In this context it is important to draw attention to the fact that the Aramaic-speaking peoples of the Near East have since ancient times identified themselves as Assyrians and still continue to do so. The self-designations of modern Syriacs and Assyrians, Sūryōyō and Sūrāyā, are both derived from the ancient Assyrian word for "Assyrian", Aššūrāyu, as can be easily established from a closer look at the relevant words.”

“Today, the Assyrian nation largely lives in diaspora, split into rivaling churches and political factions. The fortunes of the people that constitute it have gone different ways over the millennia, and their identities have changed accordingly. The Syriacs in the west have absorbed many influences from the Greeks, while the Assyrians in the east have since ancient times been under Iranian cultural influence. Ironically, as members of the Chaldean Catholic Church (established in 1553 but effectively only in 1830), many modern Assyrians originating from central Assyria now identify with "Chaldeans", a term associated with the Syriac language in the 16th century but ultimately derived from the name of the dynasty that destroyed Nineveh and the Assyrian Empire!”

“Disunited, dispersed in exile, and as dwindling minorities without full civil rights in their homelands, the Assyrians of today are in grave danger of total assimilation and extinction (Aprim 2003).  In order to survive as a nation, they must now unite under the Assyrian identity of their ancestors.  It is the only identity that can help them to transcend the differences between them, speak with one voice again, catch the attention of the world, and regain their place among the nations.”

Dr. Simo Parpola
Director, Department of Assyriology
Helsinki University, Finland.

Assyrian Identity in Ancient Times and Today
(original PDF version)

 Related Information
Assyrian Information Management

Ethnicity, Religion, Language
» Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
» Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
» Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic

Proposed during U.S. Census 2000
X Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac

What is this website's perspective on our 'name' issue?

We support an academic viewpoint which defines Assyrians as the national title of our people, as referenced in the Assyrian History Timeline and other online projects and websites.

2010 U.S. Census Form: How-To-Instructions

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Education

Aramaic Dictionary (online)
Assyrians Beyond the Fall of Nineveh
The Assyrian Heritage: Threads of Continuity and Influence
The Might that was Assyria
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The Chicago Assyrian Dictionary | Oriental Institute
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Modern Aramaic
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Modern Assyrian Language between Speech and Writing: Linguistic Examination
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The Hakkâri Massacres:
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The struggle for a free Assyria:
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Antiquities under Siege: Cultural Heritage Protection after the Iraq War
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Assyria \ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)   1:  an ancient empire of Ashur   2:  a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)   3:  a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender   4:  a democratic state that believes in the freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the principles of the United Nations Charter — Atour synonym

Ethnicity, Religion, Language
» Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
» Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
» Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
Assyrian \ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)   1:  descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur   2:  the Assyrians, although representing but one single nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.  These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the Christian Era.  No one can coherently understand the Assyrians as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control, religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a criterion of nationality.   3:  the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya, Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean, Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu, Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye, Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. — Assyrianism verb

Aramaic \ar-é-'máik\ n (1998)   1:  a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.   2:  has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.


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