News in Bet-Nahren, Assyria

Iraq’s Embattled Christians

Posted: Monday, March 17, 2003 at 11:00 PM CT

Assyria Determined to create a scripturally accurate depiction of the betrayal, passion, and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Academy Award-winning actor/director Mel Gibson commissioned a script written entirely in New Testament Latin and Aramaic. While Latin has undergone dramatic alterations since the time of Jesus, Aramaic is almost entirely extinct — except for a small community of Christian believers trapped between Saddam Hussein’s vicious regime and the aggressive designs of the UN-led "world community."

“Iraq’s 1.2 million Assyrian Christians — remnants of the Assyrian empire and the only people who still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ — are once again the victims of circumstances beyond their control,” reported the February 27th Japan Times. “Unlike the Kurds, the Assyrians are all but ignored in discussions over Iraq’s future.”

Dominated at various times by the Persians, Mongols, Turks, Kurds, and Arabs, the Assyrian Christians (also known as the Chaldeans) “are in an extremely precarious situation,” continues the report. “Unlike the Kurds of northern Iraq, who receive UN aid, and unlike the Turkoman minority, who are supported by Turkey, the Assyrians have received no outside support.”

And there is reason to believe that the Assyrians’ lot will not improve after Iraq’s "liberation." The U.S.-backed Iraqi National Congress describes its goal as "a free Iraq on all Arab territory." “This comment, which specifically omits mention of the Kurdish territory, hints that the welfare of Iraq’s Assyrian Christians will once again be placed in jeopardy,” states the Times. “In the absence of international assurances of independence, they could once again be at the mercy of Muslim Kurds, who have slaughtered them in the past.”

Writing in the March issue of Chronicles, Wayne Allensworth points out that the largest population of Assyrian Christians lives in Mosul, a Kurdish-dominated UN "Safe Haven." “According to Iraqi Christian sources, Kurdish paramilitary forces have conducted a terror campaign against Christians living in the Safe Haven, which has included assassinations of Christian leaders and expropriations of land held by Christians,” Allensworth writes. “This campaign has been largely ignored by Western media, the United Nations, Washington, and the U.S.-based Iraqi National Congress, which portrays itself as the defender of democratic values and Iraq’s minorities.”

ANNEMASSE: The Assyrian Tragedy, February 1934.

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