Christian Woman’s Faith Attacked in Istanbul Airport
ISTANBUL, Turkey - May 12, 2010 — Returning from a recent trip to Lebanon, Helen Talia, traveling with her friend Laurice Somo, both from Chicago, approached the security gates at Istanbul Atatürk International Airport, carrying a host of religious (Christian) gifts - crosses, rosaries in her carry-on handbag.
“No sooner did I approach the first security attendant, says Talia, my bag was turned upside down and ridded of all the religious gifts I had brought back from places of worship I had traveled thousands of miles in pilgrimage to Lebanon ~ Mar Charbel and Haresa. Needless to say, the manner in which the procedure was carried out was very vicious and without any regard to the value that another human places on his or her spiritual practices.
I gestured to the young woman handling the items to use caution, but instead, and rather in a sarcastic tone, she stared me in the eyes and said in the English language, ‘do you have a problem?’ then proceeded to dump everything in a big garbage dumpster next to her, without offering me an explanation, then quickly moved me to the next security station.
In the meantime, the otherwise forbidden items, the water, which I was carrying in my bag, remained untouched and made it through security. I began to speculate the obvious that the intrusion was not part of security, but rather a deliberate attack on my faith and a form of intimidation.
When asked to place a complaint at the second security station, a female supervisor, proceeded to contact two airport police, both male, one of whom grabbed me by the left arm while snatching my U.S. Passport and flight boarding pass out of my right hand. ‘Now, do you want to place a complaint?’ asked the security supervisor angrily.
This all happened in what seemed to be in the blink of an eye . . . I noticed the one officer who grabbed my passport quickly made a photocopy of it, claiming it was necessary in order to document the complaint, while pretentiously placing a call to a superior who would handle the claim, one who never made it to the scene.
With only twenty minutes left for my flight to take off to Chicago, still no visible sign of anyone who was coming to address the issue, I began to realize that I was being given the run-around. At this juncture, I concluded my flight, but vowed to follow-up with a story and a letter to the Turkish Embassy upon returning to the United States,” concludes Talia.
This story is dedicated to the memory of the unborn Assyrian, Armenian and Pontian and Anatolian Greek children, whose lives were stolen before birth, and whose mothers were raped while carrying the seed of life in their holy wombs during the Ottoman Empire, the Young Turks era and the formation of the Republic of Turkey.
This article calls to the Republic of Turkey to recognize the Genocide and criminal activities committed against the Assyrians, Armenians, and Pontian and Anatolian Greeks c. 1870-1930, and to establish grounds for restitution.
Helen Talia was born in Baghdad and raised in Chicago, where she currently resides. She is a Certified Public Accountant, a writer and an activist.
\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.)
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 —
Ethnicity, Religion, Language
Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
\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.
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. —
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.