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An article by our Giant, Martyr Ashur Yousuf

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An article by our Giant, Martyr Ashur Yousuf

Jun-16-2000 at 01:56 AM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

I will try to write a summary of what Prof. Ashur Yousuf, the great Assyrian hero, said in an article titled:
"Reasons for the backwardness of the Assyrians"
which was published on October 20, 1914, both in Turkish and Armenian, and was translated to English by Prof. E. B. Cherakian of Watertown, Massachusetts.

If we were to give a short answer to this problem, writes Prof. Ashur Yousuf, we could say it in one word -- IGNORANCE. But this "ignorance" in turn is the result of a number of different causes:
1. Besause Assyrians has an ancient and historic past. The advancement, as well as the deterioration of peoples are not the result of one day or one year. Being subjects to different tyrannies and the oppression of ruling powers, which Jeremiah described with terrifying force in his prophetic messages, has done a great damage.
2. The internal sectarian disputes in the church. The hindrance to the development of the Assyrians was not so much the attacks from without as it was from within--the doctrinal and sectarian disputes and struggles, like monophysitism and dyophsitism is a good example. These caused division, spiritually and nationally, among the people who quarreled among themselves even to the point of shedding blood. To this very day the Assyrians are still known by various names, such as Nestorians, Jacobites, Chaldeans. Prof. Ashur says that because of the short-sighted policy of the hierarchy in general, the soul of the Assyrians as a nation was amputated.
3. The loss of language. Through the persecution of the tyrannical rule, Assyrians became accustomed to a foreign language, they neglected their own.
4. The emasculating ignorance of the clergy. This itself caused the nation itself to go into a deep sleep. The clergy ruled the people ignorantly; they bewildered and bewildered others--the case of the blind leading the blind.
5. The impotence of the church. A natural reason of the previous cause. The church leadership -- the clergy -- no longer recognized its supreme obligation to people, failed to inspire the people and is no longer conscious of its lofty mission.
6. Family and schools. Two institutions which has a great role in the development of a nation. Simply put, they lacked the consciousness of their high mission, and both failed to suplement each other. If occasionally we meet a few scattered individuals who are cultured and who bring honor to our people, they are the product of foreign educational systems.
7. Environment. It has a great influence on the life and character of the Assyrian people. Living under the jurisdiction of ignorant races and governments influenced the Assyrians' development.
8. The absence of a supreme ideal and goal. It is said that "the fate of an individual or nation depends on those ideas which dominate the man's thinking or the collective mentality of the people that make up that nation".
To summarize, writes Prof. Ashur Yousuf, it is necessary to have the higest ideal in life and to seek to realize it. To reach this, families must bring forth children with a christian and national character. The church and the clergy should revive the defunct pulpit, and with fiery language and divinely inspired message extol the life of the soul. And the wheels of the press should grind out newspapers and books to promote the intellectual, spiritual, and national life of the Assyrians.


NOTES ON THE ARTICLE
by Dr. David B. Perley
Professor Ashur wrote this article on October 20, 1914, both in Turkish and in Armenian. The present rendition is a translation from the Armenian by Professor E.B. Cherakian of Watertown, Mass.

The author was an Assyrian, born in Harput (Turkey), who was educated at the Central Turkey College. Later, he earned a higher degree from the Turkish Bureau of Education. He was an educator, a poet, and a publisher, as well as distinguished Assyrian patriot. For six years, he published Murshid D Atur, an Assyrian monthly (in Assyrian letters but in Turkish language), which came to a termination with his life.
Up to the time of his murder, Prof. Ashur was a teacher of Literature in the Euphrates College, an American mission institution in Harpoot (Congregational). I had the privilege of being one of his students.
This republication is a fitting memorial to the honor of the man who had compassion for his people. His article has intrinsic merit for all the Assyrians, past and present.
1. Frequent references to the Armenians were due to the fact that they were the majority of the readers, and, who bore hostile feelings toward the local Assyrians.
2. To speak of the loss of ancient Assyrian political independence is to assert that we are Assyrians by descent. Contrary to Prof. Ashurs theory, however, Archbishop A. Y. Samuel of New Jersey (Jacobite) wrote, on Sept. 22, 1973, that we are Syro-Arameans and that the proof of it is in his letter-head. (Under what authority does he speak for the Assyrians?) He further wrote that if some of the Jacobites used the term Aassyrian, it was due to the recent influence of the Nestorians.
3. Prof. Ashur reveals the Archbishops fabrications by the indisputable event that on October 20, 1914, there was no communication between the Harpoot Assyrians and the Nestorians anywhere. Moreover in 1896, the Assyrians from Diarbakir organized the Assyrian School Association in America which is still a going concern to the knowledge of this cleric, in whose school he was educated in Beirut as an orphan in gratis. This Association was organized ten years before the 12th of President Wilsons 14 Points on January 8, 1918.
4. Some clerics are forever in search of new names for their racial and religious groups. They literally follow the pursuits of the bird Pupoo. Such illiterate clerics are still living in the days of the Councils of Ephesus, Robber Council, and Calcedon, to whom word-splitting definitions of obscure points of doctrine are of far importance than the future of the Community of Saints. Fortunately, Assyrians of every denomination understand the spirit of ecumenism too well to be led to the days of the Councils of long ago. This is the only motive for the malicious and godless use of the term Nestorian in his letter to the American School of Oriental Research.
5. Loss of language refers mostly to the Assyrians in Asia Minor, save Midyat or Tur Abdeen.
6. The ignorant clerics would still cheerfully throw themselves into battle on some questions of the Procession of the Holy Ghost, or the personality of God-incarnate while on earth, none of which they understand.
7. Deir-el-Zaaferan near Mardin in Turkey is the chief theological center of the Jacobite Church. The present Patriarch, His Holiness, Mar Ignatius Aphrem I, is believed to have his Kursi in Homs, Syria. Under the Patriarch is the Maphrian (Father of fathers), which literally means fructifier, who is primate of the East and has lived in Mosul since 1087.
8. In 1908 there were established one Assyrian monthly in Harpoot (Prof. Ashur Yousuf), and two monthlies in Diarbakir--one by Naoum Faiq, another by Jabour Boyajy.

Nineveh magazine
1st Quarter 1983, Vol. 5, No. 5

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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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