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Unity of Action

Posted: Friday, July 28, 2000 at 06:59 PM CT

The steady improvement of the articles published by the Assyrians, in getting the message across, in their quality and presentation of subjects relevant to the Assyrian Cause, is outstanding. We commend you. The historical and cultural articles seem, for a moment, to draw the reader into the past and link him with his ancestral land to re-live certain epochs and acquaint himself with their aftermath.

Then, enriched with historical facts, he is returned to reality - to the present and placed in proper perspective with his contemporaries, only to discover that he has been robbed of his homeland, denied of his human rights and classed as an alien - a lone member of over three million Assyrian people - a people without a country - decimated and dispersed in a tumultuous world, helpless and with an ominous future.

No thanks to the passivity of the League of Nations of the early 20s and the indifference of the international community and their muteness to the injustice done to this helpless Assyrian nation. They collaborated with the newly created states in the Middle East, as a fulfilment of promises they had made to them after the successful evacuation of the Turks from the territories they had held under their rule. They promised the whole of the Middle East to the Arabs, ignoring the existence of the other indigenous peoples’ rights that lived in those regions, who had also sided with the Allies in their war against the Ottomans. The Arabs were praised. They were rewarded and reaped the benefits, while the Assyrians got the blame. The Assyrians were abandoned and later punished and left in a hostile environment without protection from their enemies.

Such enlightening and educational subjects create awareness. They invite the Assyrian individual to wake up to the reality of the situation, to link up and communicate with his fellow Assyrian. They urge him to strive in an endeavour to improve his lot and reshape his destiny through a well-organised front. He realises that the lot of an Assyrian in one country is no better than the lot of another Assyrian in another country so long as he is separated from his people and cut off from his homeland.

Such invigorating articles should help the Assyrian individual break away from his nutshell, step out of his political stagnation and bring himself into line, in unity with the progressive march towards the common goal.

The Assyrian individual must first comprehend and accept the true and noble concept of national unity. He must willingly and with conviction accept to join in the march under the guidance of a unified and dedicated leadership. He must acknowledge the risk involved in joining the march. He must advocate the concept, contribute towards it and be disciplined and trained how to defend it and be prepared to sacrifice of his true conviction in the ultimate goal.

This also includes some segments, who claim that they are different from the Assyrians and are unique. Because of their denomination, they have retained some of their Assyrian characteristics, but have drifted into the mainstream of their immediate surroundings and lost much of their Assyrian heritage. In some instances they even decline to identify themselves with the Assyrians because of their deliberate oblivion to their real Assyrian identity out of fear of their hostile surroundings or contentment with their achievements. In either case, they lack the national pride in their Assyrianism and camouflage it because of their defeatism. Becoming successful, they are drawn into the mainstream of the domineering culture. This affects the younger generation and members of their immediate family, dragging them along beyond the point of no return that they may too continue in this trend.

All Assyrian segments in question are proud to declare themselves Assyrians and recognise themselves as such. Yet there are some individual members who out of necessity are so very deeply engrossed in their lifestyle to survive that they adapt to their environment and blend with cultures of their adversaries in dress, language and traditional behaviour that they almost completely lose their identity and become oblivious to their unsavoury image.

Assyrians, with different appellations, (Athouri, Asouri, Suraya, Syriani) and denominations (Nestorian, Chaldean, Jacobite), regardless of their nationality and geographical location, are admittedly all of the same ethnic background.

The period of dormancy seems to have ended. Assyrians in all their diversified ethnic and denominational groups seem to have woken up to realise that, after all, they are all Assyrians and belong to one nation - Assyria.

Presently, we are too fragmented to have any weight or achieve any tangible results on our own, whether as individuals or a competing group. We need to combine our efforts, pool our resources and pull together, in the right direction, towards achievement of our goal, namely, restoration of our usurped homeland, under a well co-ordinated coalition leadership.

To achieve this, we, the Assyrians need to sober up from our forgetfulness. Regardless of denomination, we need to re-discover our true selves. We need to restore our faith in our original identity - the Assyrian identity. Whether Chaldeans or Syrianis, we are all from the same region: Assyria, and of the same root: Assyrian. Although many branches and different dynasties, they all have stemmed from the same root: Ashur - the birthplace of Assyria - Beit Nahrain!

The defunct League of Nations, after failing to rehabilitate the Assyrians, in their region of the Mosul district following the 1st World War, left them to their fate. Unprotected, they fell victim to their hostile environment. Dispossessed and struggling for survival, they became oblivious to their identity. Many, to escape persecution, migrated to various countries, especially after the August 1933 Semaili massacre.

The political struggle continues. Regardless of denomination or dynasty, to succeed, we the Assyrians, whether Chaldeans or Syrianis, should declare our Assyrian identity without embarrassment, be proud of it, respect it and let it be part of our heritage.

To fill that political vacuum and succeed, we the Assyrians need to believe wholeheartedly in our inheritance. We need to identify ourselves with it, respect it and defend it and let it be a legal pass to our future claim to our ancestral land! Let us then, regardless of our different denominations, unite as one people under the banner of the Assyrian nation and work together. Let us, in addition to our motto of unity, work in cohesion and add: United we are and together we build!

(Published in ‘Nineveh Newspaper’, March 1996, p. 24.)

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Assyrians - the Forgotten People
Indigenous Peoples Under the Rule of Islam

Government Conference

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