The Assyrians: A People without Rights
Posted: Monday, November 10, 2014 at 08:45 PM UT | Updated: June 18, 2016
Historically, there are various examples of people who have been persecuted and have had their rights denied. However, the Assyrians have suffered injustice at a larger scale. Firstly, they were slaughtered, exterminated and forcefully displaced from their land. Secondly, the world watched in silence as they suffered these barbaric massacres and failed to acknowledge their sacrifice for humanity.
It cannot be denied that Iraqi people are still undergoing a great deal of suffering, not only from current but from previous abnormal policies as well. Amidst this political turmoil, it is evident that Assyrians are being targeted more than others. They are being subjected to persecution, massacres and genocide in Nineveh and other Assyrian cities and villages since the beginning of the last century. During World War I, for instance, Turks and Kurds massacred about two-thirds of the Assyrians. Ethnic cleansing came next in the year 1933 at the hands of the Iraqi army and the Kurds. Later, in the sixties and seventies of the last century specifically, the ethnic Assyrian community was targeted by a Kurdish campaign led by “Mustafa Barzani”, whose rebellion against the successive Iraqi governments resulted in the displacement of thousands of Assyrians. This campaign was followed by the Massacre of “Surya” in September 1969 at the hands of the Iraqi army, led by Lieutenant “Abdul Karim Algehiche”, which claimed the lives of dozens and led to the destruction of the ancient Assyrian towns and archeological monasteries at the hands of Saddam’s army.
The purpose of this study is to shed light on a people whose culture, considered a treasure for human history, is becoming extinct. This study is being carried out for the first time ever by an international human rights organization, However, the world decided to turn a blind eye due to lack of any international interests in the area, such as oil reserves, and as such, they are considered weak. Their weakness stems from the horrors and tragedies they witnessed as a result of conspiracies of major countries on the one hand, and the national, cultural and psychological issues suffered by the intruders into Assyria on the other hand. The recent campaign of Da’ish (ISIS) against the Assyrian Nineveh (Arabized into “Mosul”) has been reinforced by the popular support of the people of Mosul and the previous Tunisian and Algerian leaders of the jihadist groups. In other words, the role of foreigners was limited to leadership, while the evacuation and looting of the “Christian” houses and the burning of churches was limited to the people of Mosul and its tribal leaders who have long called for an “Iraq of equality”, as they perceive it as “Sunni” Muslims. The same goes to Basra which was abandoned by all the Assyrians after its leaders called for equality through a “Shiite” perspective back in the days of Saddam. The most dangerous and emerging is the support drawing its strength from feeding politically on the sectarian persecution (Sunni-Shiite) against the Assyrians in order to raise the banner of secular Kurdification under the consent of the Western media conniving with the “New Oil Entity” Project. This project will ensure the revitalization of Israel and the western control over the global market in the face of “Shiite” and “Sunni” oil, should circumstances change and alliances shift.
The concept of “rejection of the other” controls the minds of Iraqis, from the layman to the politician to the intellectual and the media person despite the boasting of the intellectuals and politicians about the notion that the strength of the Iraqi society lies in its mosaic composition. Yet, these slogans lose their way, not reaching grounds of practical implementation. The truth of the matter has nothing to do with repeating resonant phrases; rather, moving from the phase of chanting slogans into implementation. Still, this in itself demands getting rid of the “rejection of the other” concept once and for all, and for that to happen, generations must be brought up with a different mind-set than those existing.
The Assyrians are the first victims of this ideology and will definitely not be the last. However, this mind-set has had a negative impact on Assyrian’s presence and demographic structure for many years, especially with the presence of Assyrians on the land of Assyria (Iraq) becoming threatened, which calls for immediate remediation.
Moreover, dealing with the suffering of the Assyrians cannot be valid in the context of individual incidents that are separate from one another and from their antecedents. It must be based on the awareness of the interrelation of such incidents and their continuity throughout history, and on the notion of them being consequences of a greater cause, the cause of a people without rights and a nation heading in the direction of extinction. The case being so, any attempt to end the suffering of the Assyrians should be within the context of seeking a radical solution for the Assyrian people’s cause.
The whole world demands supporting the presence of this people in its homeland and supporting its claim for its just rights. The Assyrian experience with the regimes that came to power has proven that the national, religious, linguistic and cultural diversity in general was a stimulant for the activation of the exclusionary pattern of behavior towards the Assyrians. This diversity will remain as long as the Assyrian is an Assyrian, and abandoning and neglecting the truth will only lead to the continued suffering of this people.