Younan Namato Younan (1910-2016)
Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 08:00 PM UT | Interviewed: November 03, 2003.
Younan stated that he was born in 1910 in the village of Kerme, near Kochanis, the Patriarchal see of the Church of the East. He stated that the Assyrians suffered greatly during the Great War. He stated that he lost two sisters, aged three and four, during the exodus from the Hakkari Mountains in 1915; he was five years young at the time. He does not know what happened to his two sisters, whether they were eaten by animals in the mountains or whether they were abducted. His mother suffered psychologically, as she spent two or three days in the mountains. His younger brother died as well during the exodus due to lack of care.
Younan stated that as the Assyrians fled Urmia, the British army was supposed to meet them in a particular place [Saen Qal'aa]; however, when the Assyrians reached there, the British were gone. The British had withdrawn to a farther location. The British did this because they did not want to help the Assyrians to remain in their original homelands. He added that the Assyrians' faith was in the British, and the British used the Assyrians for their own benefit for the oil. Assyrians lost their homeland and one-third of their population, but they relied on the British to protect their rights; however, the British set up the rules not to settle 1000 Assyrian families homogenously in Iraq but rather separately. Furthermore, in Sinjar, the British executed two lawyers, originally from Mosul, without a trial when they tried to bring the Yezidi and Assyrian communities closer together.
Mr. Younan had many memories about the unfairness of the British towards the Assyrians. He stated that the British claimed that they spent four millions British pounds worth of food on the Assyrians. He added that the British had brought much food for their troops during the war, and this food was basically left over with the end of the war. The British had two options: return the food to England and pay twice the cost of the food or throw it away, so they decided to give it to the Assyrian refugees. This food was mainly rice and wheat that, due to the hot weather, had developed worms. The Assyrian refugees used the food.
Today, Mr. Younan is still a very active citizen. He continues to study at home. In my recent visit with him in the summer of 2003, he told me that studying is his joy and that he will continue to study until his last day on earth.