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The Tragedy of the Assyrians

by Ronald Sempill Stafford, R. S. Stafford

Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2004 at 01:17 PM CT


The Tragedy of the Assyrians by Ronald Sempill Stafford (R. S. Stafford)

The Tragedy of the Assyrians
by Ronald Sempill Stafford, R. S. Stafford

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Book Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
    (December 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593334133
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593334130
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches

Book Description

The Tragedy of the Assyrians is an extensive first hand account of the events that led to the genocide of the Assyrians in Iraq in 1933.

The author provides coverage of the important background issues: how and why so many Assyrians from Turkey, Iran, and Syria ended up as refugees in Iraq; how their expectations to return to their original homelands and their desire to form a compact and autonomous nation were constantly frustrated; how the modern nation-state of Iraq was formed with all of its inherent weaknesses in failing to protect the indigenous Assyrians and how the fears and passions on all sides led to catastrophe for the Assyrians and the stunting of democratic political life in Iraq. The lessons that can be learned from these tragic events in 1933 are still relevant today for both the Assyrians and the nation of Iraq.

Written by Lieutenant Colonel R. S. Stafford, the British Administrative Inspector for Mosul, The Tragedy of the Assyrians depicts the massacres that befell the Assyrians in Iraq in 1933, following their uprooting from their homelands during World War I.

The book begins with a brief history of the Assyrians and the relevant events of World War I. It then discusses the settlement of the Assyrians in Iraq, and the establishment of the Assyrian Levies. The book goes on to explore the effects of the end of the British Mandate in Iraq, the new Iraqi government and finally the slaughter of the Assyrians in 1933.

Purchasing Information

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Gorgias Press LLC Kegan Paul International
ISBN-10: 1593334133
ISBN-13: 978-1593334130
Language: English
Binding: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 224 pages
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Published Date: December 28, 2006
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
ISBN: 0710308930
ISBN-13: 9780710308931, 978-0710308931
Language: English
Binding: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 256
Publisher: Kegan Paul International
Publishing Date: May 27, 2005
Academic/Grade Level: Scholarly/Undergraduate

About the Author (excerpt from Gorgias Press, eGorgias June 2007 newsletter)

Ronald Sempill Stafford (R. S. Stafford)Ronald Stafford was born in Buenos Aires in 1890, the son of Edward Stafford and Teresa (Kruls) whose father was an Argentinean (but originally Dutch) and whose mother was an Argentinean. They moved to England when Ronald was seven months old. At Cambridge University, his first degree was in Latin and Greek and his second degree was Arabic and French, as he had already decided to join the British Colonial Service. In 1913 he sailed to Cairo as a trainee inspector working for the Egyptian Government which was advised by the British administration. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914 he volunteered immediately but he was at first refused permission to leave, finally arriving in England early in 1915. He was commissioned at once into the 60th Rifles, one of the best of the British infantry regiments. By May 1915 he was in the front line. He spent the next three years almost continuously in the line, commanding his regiment in 1918 as a Lieutenant Colonel at the age of 28. He was awarded the DSO and bar, the MC and was once recommended for the VC. By pure good fortune he was only once slightly wounded. Like so many others who fought in the trenches, he spoke little about these experiences but he was a brave man and a good leader. (Stafford's grandson, Alastair Smith, adds that, after his grandfather’s death in 1972, his ashes were scattered [as was his wish] at the site of the 1916 battle of Delville Wood in Northern France, a battle in which his battalion lost almost two thirds of their strength.)

In 1919 he returned to Egypt and was appointed Inspector for Lower Egypt (the Nile Delta) at a time when security was poor after demonstrations against the British presence. In 1926 he took up a post as a District Inspector in Iraq, a newly created country following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. This was a happy and successful period of his life, married (to Mary Dixon) with two small children, and making many friends amongst the Iraqis. In 1933 he repeatedly warned the Iraqi Government that unless certain sections of the Army could be restrained there would be a massacre of Assyrian Christians. He demanded that those responsible should be punished and when the Government told him that this was impossible he resigned. He was urged to stay - the Iraqi ministers saying that of all the British officials he was the one they most respected - but he refused to change his mind.

Ronald Stafford returned to England and wrote The Tragedy of the Assyrians.  In 1936, he joined the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and worked there until he retired in 1952.

Google Books online - The Tragedy of the Assyrians


The Tragedy of the Assyrian Minority in Iraq - Amazon's online bookstore.



Related Information

The Assyrians: A Debt of Honour, 1937
ANNEMASSE: The Assyrian Tragedy, February 1934.
Assyrians at the League of Nations (United Nations)
1915: The Deportation of the Assyrians in Ottoman Documents
1923: Agha Petros and the Lausanne Telegraphs

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