In the Interest of the Assyrian Cause
The overall picture of certain Assyrian political parties is very disappointing. Their performance is grim. Three years on, since the demise of the brutish Ba’ath regime, in Iraq, the Assyrian leaders have failed to unshackle themselves from their adversaries. They are still struggling to free themselves from (1) Arab domination, (2) Kurdish dictates, and (3) influence of the Vatican on their Assyrian Catholic brethren for restoration of their genuine national identity to Assyrian. All because they failed to meet the hopes and expectations of their Assyrian people. They failed to unify their ranks, and work under one united leadership, to meet their agenda. The above three adversaries are keen on demeaning the historic significance of the Assyrian Nation, relegating its surviving people to an insignificant remnant group. They allege that the Assyrians are diminishing towards total extinction. They have cast them away on the heap of the minority residues, as fringe dwellers. They call them by their religious name, denying them the right to their Assyrian national identity and to their native land.
The Assyrians where expecting their leaders to free them from their adversaries, towards full autonomy. They are still far off the mark.
The Assyrian political parties were supposed to join hands, close ranks and work shoulder to shoulder, together, by forming a coalition front, - one name, one flag, and one agenda. Their ultimate aim was to unite and work to meet aspirations of the whole segments of the Assyrian people, regardless of phratry.
Instead, each party worked alone and went on its own. They acted independently, contradicting each other’s agenda. Their performance was very embarrassingly disappointing. They failed to meet the aspirations of the people they supposedly represent. They worked in isolation of each other, promoting their party’s name over and above the interest of the sacred name of Assyria and her suffering people. Their shortsightedness led to their failure, causing the Assyrian populace to lose complete faith in such fragmented and selfish leadership. Unless they relent and reconsider working jointly, in one accord, as Assyrians for the Assyrian people and Assyrian Nation, they will remain losers, unworthy of the role entrusted to them by their people. The root cause for their refusal to work together seems to be the tribal tradition of old feuds and vengeance. Many say that they are civilized, advocate democracy and believe in modernity. They have yet to prove it, by cherishing the name of Assyria and speaking in one voice.
It is still not too late. The Assyrians (with all their segments) need to unite. The Assyrians need to have their own separate electoral slate, all of their own, detaching their names from non-Assyrian electoral slates, forming one separate slate independent of all others. They need to know where they stand in regard to their loyalty to their electorate and country. And as to whether they are recognized as full citizens of the Republic of Iraq or disenfranchised subjects. In this case, they need to choose as to whether they wish to remain as second-class nationals of ambiguity, living on fringe benefits, or take a venturesome course of action worthy of their self-esteem.
It is hoped that the Assyrians on the ground (in the north) will not oppose such a move by considering it as in conflict of their interest. Since the Assyrians are ignorant of their future, in the formation of the forthcoming state of Iraq, they have the legal right to stir up the issue and present it to the world body of nations in the hope of reaching an acceptable outcome, or at least find out the truth.
The clergy of the (Chaldean) Catholic brethren have already stormed the high head of the EU states, the United States and the Vatican, deliberating on their future. The Iraqi Christian officials, on the other hand, seem to be doing it in dribs and drabs, behind the Assyrian back, yet hardly successfully – keeping the Assyrians in the dark.
Not all the parties are necessarily sincere in promoting the Assyrian name in their agenda. There are some, who are reluctant to relate their racial identity or antecedent to Assyria and its history. There are certain groups that do not cherish the true aspiration of the overall majority of the Assyrian people. They would rather continue as they are, blend in and fuse with the whole surrounding majority, than risk facing an unpredictable outcome for an ominous future. Perhaps their suppressed lot and dire situation obliges them to override venturing into the field of taking the challenge to revealing their warm feelings and close identity with their Assyrian brethren. The so-called Chaldeans seem to have abjured by suppressing their subconscious mind, unable to free themselves from bondage. They are hiding behind an identity that does not relate to them. They have picked geographical locations and historical names and labeled them on themselves. They are unwarrantable. They are so remote and distant in time and place that they do not relate to their Assyrian originality. It is sad that they live in bewilderment. They are living in a make-believe world of deceit, not of conviction but for survival. Until they come to term, each with one’s self, and lift and clear the pressure, from their repressed conscience, time will continue ticking, jabbing their conscience until judgment day.
Some parties and groups prefer to choose and cherish some specious names that, though familiar, have long past their usefulness. They are either ancient or derivatives of the name of Assyria proper but have since served their purpose and are no longer useful. In order to reach out to people, who cling to such archaic terms, the Assyrian parties need to unite, form one political body, under a well-organized leadership, to speak in one voice to reflect the true meaning of the Assyrian name, in order to aspire its entire nation towards statehood. Such representation would help resolve the name issue in their efforts towards attaining their goal more effectively. This would help the person involved in the name issue to make a clear-cut decision as to whether to stick to the adopted derivative, or accept Assyria as the name of his nation and national identity. Many such derivatives have reached the point of becoming fictitious and their non-existent nations a myth. They hang on to such antiquated derivates, not because of choice, but because of the long-term adaptation to them and the necessity to survive.
Recently, the Kurds have been seriously lobbying in the corridors of the UN to gain recognition as being the indigenous people of Iraq. They, the Kurds, claim that they have historically inhabited Assyria earlier than the Assyrians! Wow, what a fallacy! In later years, with the emergence of the religion of Islam, the Kurds accepting the Islamic faith helped the invading conquerors of the Middle East to annihilate the Assyrians bringing them on the brink of extinction – self-confessed Kurd! Perhaps the Kurds imply that the Assyrians were massacred at the hands of their enemies (in participation with the Kurd) in the early years of Anno Domini for embracing Christianity, and later became extinct. Witty Kurd. With such wit, no one can beat the Kurd – not even the Irish. (With due respect to the Irish people. I respect, admire and love the Irish people for their courage, resilience, and love of their country, and of course for their witty and humorous jokes.)
Going back into history, in the aftermath of WW I, and after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the State of Turkey was established in its place. It emerged as The State of Modern Turkey, partly at the expense of the Armenians and the Assyrians and the Greeks. The Assyrians were evicted from their original dwellings and lost their land. Their territory was annexed to Turkey and included in the newly modified borders of Modern Turkey. The Assyrians lost all their Hakkari territory, partly to Turkey, and partly to the newly created states of Iraq and Syria. The Assyrians were prevented from returning to their homes. In the process, they were all prevented from doing so, including 400 thousand Armenians. Not considered as refugees, they were abandoned and left stranded. Many headed to big cities and towns like Aleppo, Damascus, Tripoli, Beirut, Mosul, Erbil, Kirkuk, Baghdad, and surrounding villages. Assyria’s usurped land was added to Turkey’s landmass, under the newly re-established government as the State of the Republic of Modern Turkey. Turkey’s plan was to seize Assyria’s land and annex it to its landmass. In return Turkey would withdraw from Vilayet Mosul for the rehabilitation of the Assyrians as a compensation for the loss of their territories of Hakkari and Urmia.
Thus, following expulsion of the Assyrians from their native land, Modern Turkey acceded to the British proposal over Vilayet Mosul. It excluded it from Modern Turkey. It withdrew from Mosul and handed the Vilayet over to the British Mandatory Power. Turkey extricated itself from the Assyrian problem. Concerning the Assyrian unresolved question, Turkey described it as irrelevant and no longer related to it, since its handing over of Vilayet Mosul to the British through the defunct League of Nations. The finger points at the mandates of the Anglo-French Power at the time.
Assyria until its dismemberment was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. In Post WW I, Turkey and Persia absorbed N and NE of Assyria. Since August 1914, the majority of the Assyrians that had been expelled from their homeland live in neighbouring countries or abroad. Turkmen and Kurds have since overwhelmed their number, in north of Assyria (Iraq). Since Post WW I, the Kurds have been drifting from the surrounding countries, deliberately seizing Assyrian land, and populating their villages. The Kurds have been feasting on the misery of the Assyrian displaced people, with the full knowledge and blessings of the warring parties of the two World Wars.
Though doubtful, yet if democracy could be tailored, in Iraq, as is the case now with the Arab Sunnite, Arab Shiite and the Kurds, the current Iraqi Government could surely include the Assyrians in the political equation and allocate an adequate province for them in the northern part of the country. It is against human decency to abandon the Assyrians and treat them as throwaway, driving them away to live on the outskirts of the cities as fringe dwellers. Several Assyrian families, who have escaped to the north, live in the open, under trees and in cemetery yards, with little food and shelter and less so, other amenities.
In order to help democratise the country, the Iraqi Government is called upon (1) to restore the national identity of the Assyrian, (2) to recognise the Assyrians as the indigenous people of Iraq, (3) and to return them to Iraq to re-own their land in the north. The Assyrians, being part of the majority of the people of Iraq, are entitled to their province of an administrative region, in line with the Arabs and Kurds. Nineveh Province, being the historical land of their forefathers, it is appropriate to delineate it to the Assyrians, considering them as part of the existing peoples of the Middle East. Their history is deeply rooted in the Middle Eastern region, particularly in northern Iraq.
Inclusion of the Assyrians in the political equation would bring to success and satisfaction the establishment of Iraq on sound democratic principles. Assyrians cannot remain living in limbo. Assyrians are not asking for more than their rightful share. Being of Assyrian nationality and indigenous to the Middle East, it is astonishing that these very two points have until now been ignored, trivialized and wavered. The Iraqi Government has to decide as to whether the Assyrians are IN or OUT, and make a final decision as to their future political status in the Federal State of Iraq. They are no less deserving than the Kurds.
The desire of the Assyrians to live as true Iraqis, equal to the rest of the citizens of the country, seems to be a far-fetched wish. There will be no peace in the Middle East. Islam’s plan is to suck in Lebanon into the Arab League as a Moslem state. Moreover, unless Israel accepts the one-man-one-vote principle, the Palestinians will ultimately reject any other solution to statehood and end up in a catastrophe. It would be either all or nothing. The Assyrians, on the other hand, are asking for only a share of their rightful entitlement. They have fared worse than the Christian Arab and the Israelites. At least, the Christian Arabs and Jews are officially recognized as such and identified by their national identity; the Assyrians are not. They are called Nestorian, Christian, Iraqi, Chaldeanassyrian, and ChaldeanAssryianSyriani. To continue to be insulting and rub it in, Kurd has recently been added to the list of name calls.
Yet, neither of the two above states (Lebanon and Israel) is considered as fully independent. Not because they are not legitimate, both are legitimate, but because security and peace are absent. Though Israel is stable and its economy marginally surviving, its surrounding enemies would love to ravage it to utter destruction. While Lebanon is being toyed with, flung from side to side, like a sea lion playing with a ball, flinging it up high then resting it on its nose or into the pool, with no prospect of ever freeing itself from its rival that is growing in strength by the day.
Lebanon is the victim of the wild beast of Hezbullah, Syria and Iran: the tail, the body and the head. The recent incident between Lebanon and Israel was just the wagging of the tail. The body has not yet moved, feeding itself, by stacking more deadly weaponry and the head, (Aql-Al-Muddabbir) the schemer has not yet sneered to show its fangs and spit its venom. It is a matter of time. The whole of the native inhabitants of the Middle East will eventually have to show reverence or genuflect to the god of their state to survive.
In the case of Israel, the only way for Israel to ensure its survival is to apportion the parliamentary seats of their Knesset. To guarantee itself an overwhelming majority, Israel would be obliged to allocate two thirds of the seats to the JEWISH nationals. It would thus secure sixty six percent plus (66.6%) of the seats – an overwhelming majority to enable it to control its government and guarantee its survival. The remaining one third (33.3%) may be apportioned among the remaining factions such as Arab Christians, Druze, Arab Moslems, etc. This lobbying on the part of the Palestinians is now being enhanced. Islam will never allow the emergence of a non-Moslem state in the Middle East or in any other part of the Abode of Peace of the Umma Nation. The one-man-one-vote system would be dead in its tracks. Whether the Palestinians will accept this apportionment is yet to be seen.
Religious groups, conflict of interest and clash of cultures are ravaging Lebanon. Establishment of its national assembly is based on apportionment of seats on ethnic and religious basis. Increase in the census of a certain faction, causes tremor, tipping the balance in its favour, prompting its interest over and above the interest of the people at large. It is the root cause of instability of its so-called democratic system. This scenario has been going on since its establishment in 1946. To stabilize the country, elections should be run on secular basis, civil law, and true and meaningful democracy. Those who promote religion to gain office, target the gullible. Gullibility in the parliament leads to a rise in internal conflicts and recurrence of violence. This leads to chaos, coercion, and resistance, ending in armed confrontation, upheaval, destruction, and loss of life and ruin of the country and its economy - known as the vicious cycle of Lebanon.
In addition to their massacre, and continued persecution during the past century, at the hands of their neighbouring countries and roving Kurds, over 400 thousand Armenians and Assyrians were driven out of their homes. They were forced to walk the long journey of the death march to the end. Following declaration of the November 1918 Truce, the Ottomans abandoned the death march of elimination. Long columns of hundreds of thousands of civilian “evacuees” of men, women and children were suddenly halted. They terminated their march and just dumped them at the point where they had stopped in their tracks, at whatever point they had reached, in the middle of the desert, on the outskirt of cities, towns and villages, in rugged mountains and along riverbanks and the roadside. They were left to their miserable fate without aid, food or shelter. Starving and exhausted, the irregulars preyed on them. Their children were kidnapped and their elderly killed for trying to hide and shield their children.
The Turks stopped all the expelled Armenians and Assyrians (now termed “evacuees”) from returning to their original dwellings. They threatened them with death if they attempted to return to their homes. The ejected Armenians and Assyrians were all abandoned and left to a miserable fate. They remained stranded, left to fend for themselves. None of the stranded Armenians and Assyrians was allowed to return to his native home. Plans had already been drawn up by the two-warring-party signatories of the Truce to fragment and assimilate the stranded Armenians and Assyrians with the Arab Islamic majority in the newly created Islamic states. The present Armenians of Aleppo and Assyrians of Khabur are testimony to that.
In the aftermath of WWI, all the Balkan states that had been under the yoke of the Turkic rule eventually regained their independence one way or another. The four non-Moslem Middle Eastern colonized states were not. They were dismembered and annexed to the neighbouring Islamic countries of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. The traditional rights of the Assyrians and Israelis were completely ignored. Their ancestral homeland was not restored to them. They were not liberated in the true sense of the word. They remained shackled under the “Millet” Rule of Islam. None of the Western victorious countries gave a hoot, about the dire state of Biblical Israel and the state of Assyria and their surviving peoples.
It would be appropriate and legitimate for the Federal State of Iraq to agree to designate, in the North, a demarcated Assyrian Region, in line with that of the Arab and Kurdish Governorate Regions, within the Federal State of Iraq. Assyrians are indigenous to the Middle East, in particular to the northern part of Iraq. They are, by right, entitled to have part of their homeland restored to them. They are dissimilar from the Arab and Kurd in racial identity, language, religion and culture. Yet, though a minority the Assyrians are part of the majority of the Iraqi populace. To survive and thrive, Assyria needs to have its own exclusive Assyrian delimitated region. They have the criteria that entitle them to return to their homes as Assyrian Iraqi. They are not asking for more than their rightful share of entitlement.
Seizing other people’s land by force contravenes international conventions. The key issue here is Moslem seizure and usurpation of other people’s land. When or by whom, yesteryear or centuries ago, by Arabs or Persians, Turks, or Kurds, is irrelevant. The surviving Israelis and Assyrians are the traditional and rightful owners of their land. They have the legitimate right to retrieve it, with the assistance and support of the international community and world body of the United Nations. No one, be it a person or nation, rich or poor, sleazy politician or naïve non-professional, should be above the law. Assyrians are not demanding ‘a pound of flesh’. They are not seeking vengeance. The Assyrians are asking for part of their traditional land to be returned to them.
Like the Palestinians, racially, the Kurds do not relate to the Middle East. They are Arian in race. The Assyrians, Jews and Arabs are Semitic. Their roots are deeply seated in the Middle East. The historical homelands of Assyria, Israel and Arabia had exited there for millennia. Not so, with the Kurds. How long would the world keep on denying it, and why deny it? The difference between the two peoples is that, the Kurds allege that the Assyrians are infinitesimal, phasing out, and on the brink of extinction. The Palestinians, having been arabised, deny their Aegean origin and call the whole of the Biblical Land of Israel “Palestine”, thus denying their Aegean roots. The majority of the Assyrians have been expelled from their homeland. While the whole Palestinians have been assimilated with the Arab invading forces. They have since lost their original identity, melted into the Arab-Islamic pot. The name “Palestine” is a political term more than a physical reality. How long will this world continue eluding itself and live on deception?
A case in point, if the four neighbouring countries, namely, Iran, Turkey, Syria and Iraq, plus the future prospect of a so-called “Kurdistan” is added, they would in the end, arrogate nearly seventy percent (70%) of Assyria. What more do these greedy states want? Or is the West determined to vanquish Assyria and its surviving people altogether, just to endear itself to Islam. Does this mean that Islam has really instilled fear in the heart of the Western world, leaving it gutless? How and why does so-called Kurds, a people of ARIAN ORIGIN become acceptable and included in the political equation of a SEMITIC equation, while one of the most ancient, deep-rooted people of the Semitic race, namely, Assyrian, be excluded from its historical and rightful place of the equation? Is the world heading towards dividing itself, each according to its whim, ending in destroying itself to oblivion? Whoever claims to be virtuous is wicked. And the world is filled with wickedness. Otherwise, mankind would not have invented a multitude of different religions and dumb gods to expiate his sins.
The Assyrians and Israelis are part of this world family. They did not just mushroom haphazardly from underneath the earth, or drop from the skies. They want the hub and heartland of their homeland returned to them. As the indigenous people of Mesopotamia and native inhabitants of northern present-day Iraq, the Assyrians have every right to reclaim, if not all, at least part of their ancestral land up north. The Assyrians and the Israelis have the right to their historical land, to return and live in their traditional homeland, free and under their sovereign rule.
The Assyrians are not prepared to sacrifice the remaining portion of their ancestral land to the Kurds. The Assyrians need to be specific in their demands, one of which should be urging the Kurds, through the world body of nations, to return hundreds of Assyrian villages and land parcels which have been seized since the early sixties, and hundreds more in earlier years since Post WW I, to their Assyrian rightful owners. The displaced Assyrians, now living in diaspora, must be guaranteed their return to their original dwellings.
Well, if it is (HALAL) lawful, after a period of over five centuries, for the so-called Albanians, to return to Kossovo, Serbia, and claim it as home for themselves, why is not the same law being applied to help the return of the Assyrians to their homes? The Assyrians of Hakkari-Van, Turkey and Urmia, Iran were evicted from their native land in the past century. They ended up in the Province of Nineveh (Mosul). Some were rehabilitated in isolation of their kinfolk in Iraq and Syria. Others were dispersed into the Moslem majority and the rest were left stranded. They were scattered all over the Middle East and left to fend for themselves with a view to their gradual assimilation with the Islamic majority to phase out their identity to extinction. The two warring parties deliberately did so to deny the Assyrians the right to return to their original dwellings. The warring nations concluded peace treaties at the expense of the Middle East non-Moslem nations, using them, at times, as bargaining chips and at other times, as a scapegoat.
The Assyrians, being racially different from the Persian, Arab, Turk and the roving Kurd, need to be recognized as the native inhabitants of former Mesopotamia. Historically, the hub of Assyria was the Province of Nineveh. Their country covered the whole region of the Middle East. In its zenith, its demography extended from Urmia (Iran) E, all the way through to Hakkari (Turkey) W, down to the borders of present-day State of Syria SW, and to the Persian Gulf SE.
In the latter years of Rome’s waning power and influence, and fading glory, and shrinkage, the Euphrates River became the dividing borderline that separated Assyria between the two warring nations of Persia and Rome. East of the Euphrates became a Satrapy and fell under the Persian political sphere of influence. Up to the West of the Euphrates became a Roman Vassal.
Until the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, Assyria had been functioning as semi-autonomous, under the traditional system of tribal rule. During the Armistice of 11 November 1918, the two warring parties of WW I ended their armed conflict, by signing an armistice truce, to the mutual benefit of the belligerents, less the Oriental colonized states. They ignored the basic human and traditional rights of the four colonized non-Moslem nations that had been living under the archaic millet rule of the Islamic Shari’a Law. They preyed on them. Like ravening wolves, they all ganged up and turned on the four non-Moslem colonized nations, tore them apart and cut them to pieces like ‘mieces’ and wiped their nations off the map. Those that survived the carnage were isolated from the world scene and treated as throwaway. The slaughterers’ hands are still socked in the warm blood of millions of innocent Armenians, Jews, Assyrians, and Arab Christian men women and children. It was, indeed, crime of the century, kept under wrap, which the belligerents refuse until today to admit of having ever occurred. Imagine them now being active members of the UN and having the power to cast their vote – Democracy? I have yet to see that.
To safeguard and defend its borders, during the outbreak of WW I, the Ottoman Empire decided to mass over 60 to 120 thousand Turkish troops alongside its eastern front with Iran. Turkey, at the behest of the German intelligence, incited the Moslem Kurds to attack the Assyrians and drive them off, away from their Assyrian native land, of the district of Hakkari. Turkey sought the assistance of the marauding Kurds to eliminate the Assyrians by declaring on them the traditional Islamic Jihad. After expelling them, Turkey annexed the usurped Assyrian territory to its newly created eastern border of Modern Turkey. Turkey has since extricated itself from the Assyrian question, denying any wrong doing against them. Since their internal displacement, in the Middle East, in Post WW I, the Assyrians have been leading a miserable life, uncertain of their future. Ninety years on and the Assyrians are seeking a solution to their unresolved problem. It is hoped that the western countries, would not fall again into the same trap and rely on the Kurds or cunning diplomacy of certain greedy countries for control of the Middle East. The Kurds and a number of Western countries are infamous for their deception and illicit dealings. The Kurds are now raising their heads high for being partners in their crimes against humanity, under the pretext of liberation movements.
The Kurd’s policy in Assyria, present-day Northern Iraq, is to ensure that the reins of Power of the Moslem Kurds remain wholly in their hands, similar to what is currently happening in the Serbian Province of Kossovo. The Kurds are intent on reining-in the Assyrians at all cost. Their ultimate objective is to marginalize them from public office and rob them of their land to curb their influence and discourage them from striking deeper roots to remain on their soil and land as true citizens of their Assyrian homeland. One of their main aims is to annul the name ASSYRIA and replace it with the factious so-called name “Kurdistan.”
The Kurds, by insisting, that Assyria be termed “Kurdistan”, is an indication that the Islamic Dar Al-Silm States of the Abode of Peace would cede the whole of Northern Iraq to the Kurds. The so-called Kurdistan would emerge as an Islamic State, rather than allow a non-Moslem native Assyrian rehabilitate in his traditional homeland. The Kurds being traditionally Moslem would be accepted as part of the Abode of Peace. Islamic religion is one of the criteria that guarantee preference of the Moslem Kurd to the Assyrian Christian. By Kurdifying Assyria, “Kurdistan” becomes an Islamic State part of the Abode of Peace.
The Kurds, who do not have an historical link to Assyria, are entrenched in usurping Assyria proper. They arrogate it under the fictitious name "Kurdistan". Kurdistan Mountains have, since time immemorial, acted as the outpost landmark, separating Assyria Proper from the Kurdistan Mountains. The marked mountain range - a crescent-like chain of mountains, extending from Toros, Turkey southwest, through south Asia northward, to Zagros southeast Iran also acted as a buffer zone. This is an historical fact. It is a travesty that the international community does not admonish such rebellious and reckless claim on the part of the Kurds. Unless, of course, Dar Al-Silm states have willingly included the Kurds in their agenda as part of their strategy to become and Islamic State and be added to the Abode of Peace – a loss to democracy; a gain to neo-colonial expansionism.
The whole of present-day northern Iraq is admittedly part of Assyria’s historical and geographical landscape and expanse. While the Biblical land of Israel encompassed an expanse, over four times its present size. People of the dismembered nations of Israel and Assyria are not extinct, as many are led to believe. Assyrians, Jews, Copts and the Christian Arabs make scores of millions. Although the Arabs and Kurds have reduced their number in the north due to constant harassment and abuse, the Assyrians do exist. They are alive and kicking.
The West claims to be aiming at breaking new barriers, to pioneer and reach for the stars. If so, let them first clean their act, here on earth, put their house in order, then aim at the universe to reach out for other planets. First let them love their neighbour as themselves then go on goodwill missions, to spread amity beyond their world, if they are so keen and well intended on doing.
Copyright © Frederick P. Isaac. All Rights Reserved.