Film Exposes Genocide of Assyrian Christians
WASHINGTON — A short film that documents the near-genocide of Iraq's ancient Assyrian Christian civilization had a high-profile showing on Capitol Hill.
Congressmen and the media mixed with Assyrians anxious to plead their cause at the showing of the film, "Defying Deletion: The Fight Over Iraq's Nineveh Plains," Thursday.
The documentary highlights how other Iraqis have systematically targeted the Assyrian Christians who've called Iraq their homeland for thousands of years. More than 600,000 have fled the country, more than half of the entire population.
"There are a lot of shootings. There are a lot of bombings. Churches have been bombed. I would say over 60 churches have been bombed," Andre Anton, the film's 26-year-old director, told CBN News.
Anton said extremists often go after Assyrian priests.
"They want to instill fear into the rest of the population and so what better way to do it than actually kidnap and kill someone who's meaningful and powerful?" he said.
The film points out that while Iraqis are out to grab the homes, lands, and resources of the Assyrians among them, the main reason for the persecution is the Assyrians' Christianity.
"That's why they're getting attacked from these extremists who are saying, 'Okay, these are Christians, like the Americans. Let's show them what we think of them,'" Anton explained.
This is very personal for Anton, whose family is in America only because of the 33 attempted genocides against his people over the last 1,400 years.
"I'm one of the hundreds of thousands of Assyrians that have been born here because of the constant persecution," he said.
Anton and his fellow Assyrians hope that America will use its influence to push for an actual Assyrian homeland in Iraq or at least more protections for these beleaguered Christians.