News in Bet-Nahren, Assyria

Official Release - Reference: U.S. Census 2000
by Assyrian Democratic Movement
Posted: Wednesday, May 31, 2000 06:39 PM CT

AssyriaARBIL, Iraq (BAHRA) - D E C L A R A T I O N
Our beloved Assyrians in the U.S.A.
Reference: U.S. Census 2000

Incoming news from various Assyrian communities and establishments in the U.S.A. reflect regretful positions and scattered efforts, carried by some regarding the upcoming U.S. census. Such efforts and positions may divide our communities. The right choice here is to concentrate on urging our people who are dissipating in that society to take pride in their national identity, or those of them who have denied that national identity during the previous census due to ignorance, financial gains or commitment to the regime in Baghdad.

What astonishes us is the feverish campaign staged by those who kept silent at the time of the last census. This is occurring at a time when nationalistic awareness is on the rise, and developments are shaping to unite our sacred churches along with various positive and cohesive steps achieved by our peoples vanguards to cement our very existence and nationalistic rights in our homeland. This is an action that does not please the opposing sides who are continually striving to spread division among us, along with their exploitation of our resources there to serve their motives. In addition, recent requirements and international politics strengthened by know how and cross cultural dialogue urge the intellectuals and dedicated Assyrians to state collectively that we are children of one nation and inheritance of one civilization, which is that of Mesopotamia (Bet-Nahrain). This collective thought is in spite of numerous names which continue to be used merely because they were historical names of which we are proud. Throughout the long extension of our ancient history, previous factors also compelled those intellectuals to shift aside futile and useless arguments pertaining to names, instead they ought to be concentrating in deepening the dialogue on substance and essence reflected in the formation of our ethnic, civil, educational, and doctrinal existence.

We denounce and refuse every attempt aimed at splintering our unity, any endeavors by some aimed to register under more than one ethnic category in the upcoming census within our communities in the U.S.A. We call on everyone to choose one ethnic category, regardless of the outcome of the ongoing internal discussion among our people. Anything contrary to that will define beyond doubt the credibility of those claiming unity while striking against it. Therefore if it is not possible to reach a total agreement under prevailing circumstances, then we see that the procedure followed is the previous census in relation to our communities is acceptable until such conditions exist and enable our people there to convene a special conference on the subject where they will deliberate and decide freely and without any external influence, basing there decisions on our peoples interests. While we are proud of our dedicated establishments and communities, we are calling on them to adopt at present, at least, the principle being people of one nation with different names, but we are confident that we will surpass such formalities in the future.

Arbil. May 16, 1999
Political Bureau
Assyrian Democratic Movement

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