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Northern Iraq Minorities; between Law and Politics

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Northern Iraq Minorities; between Law and Politics

Sep-30-2000 at 01:49 AM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

Aqaliyat shimal al-Araq; bayna al-qanoon wa al-siyasa (Northern Iraq Minorities; between Law and Politics)
By: Dr. Jameel Meekha Shiyooka

Chapter One
Al-Ashuriyoon (The Assyrians)

The Assyrians themselves are broken into Nestorians (not connected to Rome or the Catholic Church and are the minority) and are members of the Assyrian Church of the East, and besides the Nestorians there are the Chaldeans, a majority who came out from the Nestorians and are connected with the Catholic Church in Rome.

The author discusses the issue of population and mentions that population was never an issue in the United Nations. He says that in 1946 the United Nations accepted Iceland as a member when its population was 133,000 only. In addition, it seems that the International Law did not put a specific figure in that regard because the country of Nauru, for example, has less than 10,000 people and Tuvalus population does not reach 10,000 people. The problem facing minorities in north of Iraq is precisely in their demands. Do they want separation, unification, or self-rule. The self-rule creates a problem between the three minorities, the Kurds, Turkumans, and the Assyrians in how to distribute the civil powers and so forth.

Chapter Two
Al-Ashuriyoon (The Assyrians)

Historians do link this group of the Iraqi Society to the ancient Assyrians who established in the 21st century BC a Semitic Kingdom in the land between the two rivers. Al-Athouriyoon (Atourayeh), with the Kildan (Chaldeans) and Siryan (Jacobites) make one peoples who are separated only by church separations during several historical periods. al-Ashuriyoon (Assyrians), the author said, are (Kildan and Siryan and Athouriyoon). The language, culture, and history is one, they are the sons and daughters of one race and one nation.

The British assisted the Assyrians who were living in Hakkari to live in north of Iraq since great numbers of them lived in that region already and for many centuries. This unusual assistance created some sort of resentment by the Arabs and Kurds towards the Assyrians till this very day. The Assyrians political dreams faced a major setback when the League of Nations in 1925 decided to give Hakkari region to Turkey. A decision finalized in 1928 through what was known as the Brussels Line. This action prompted Turkey to go ahead with its actions to give the region a Turkish look. Meanwhile, those Assyrians living in Iraq, they were forced to live there and were prevented to go back to their homes in Hakkari.

Chapter Three
Al-Ashuriyoon (The Assyrians)

The author discussed in this part of the chapter the cultural decree published in 1972 by the Iraqi Government and mentioned that despite all promises, nothing in reality materialized. He wrote that the Assyrians problem is that they are a Christian minority living in the middle of a Moslem world, which is dominated by violence. The author mentioned about the Simele massacre of 1933 and the execution of the members of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa) in 1985. Dr. Jameel emphasized on the non stable region of north of Iraq and how the battles between the Kurds themselves, Kurds-Turkumans, and the Kurds-Iraqi Army has resulted in more sufferings of the Assyrians who were forced to leave their villages. In addition to this all the interference of the Turkish Army in north of Iraq in search of the PKK members which escalated the tensions. The author mentioned that the Assyrians relations with the Kurds took a violence look many times. He mentioned about the attack, which took place on Saturday, December 13, 1997, against a group of Assyrians from the village of Mangesh riding a civilian car which resulted in the killing of six and the wounding of one woman. The author believes that the Christians are the weakest side in the struggle in north of Iraq because of the following reasons:
1. The Kurds-Turkumans power is not in their favor.
2. Kurds receive support from Iran and Turkey and the Turkumans from Turkey, whereas, the Christian Assyrians receive minimal, near to nothing.
3. The Assyrians face many obstacles such as the opposition of the Kurds, opposition of the Iraqi Government, and the opposition of the neighboring countries for a Christian entity.

Chapter Four

The author believes that the protection of human rights does not depend on laws alone. This matter is in need for an overhaul of the cultural structure of the Iraqi society, meaning that Arabs, Kurds, Turkumans, and Assyrians have to change the way they think of each other. This could be accomplished according to the author through:
1. Rewrite the curriculum used in schools in a way to create that environment of respect for human rights.
2. Dedicate special programs for human rights in schools, Radio and TV stations.
3. The collaboration of all human right groups to apply pressure on any political regime not respecting such rights.

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Assyria \ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)   1:  an ancient empire of Ashur   2:  a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)   3:  a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender   4:  a democratic state that believes in the freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the principles of the United Nations Charter — Atour synonym

Ethnicity, Religion, Language
» Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
» Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
» Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
Assyrian \ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)   1:  descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur   2:  the Assyrians, although representing but one single nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.  These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the Christian Era.  No one can coherently understand the Assyrians as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control, religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a criterion of nationality.   3:  the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya, Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean, Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu, Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye, Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. — Assyrianism verb

Aramaic \ar-é-'máik\ n (1998)   1:  a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.   2:  has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.

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