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Assyrian Message to the Arab Media

An Assyrian Message
To the Arab Media

By: Ashor Giwargis- Beirut
Translated by: Mary C.-Canada

Of course, you, the Arab reader will be surprised if you met with an Assyrian who would dare to defend his/her cause in your country, but you will never be surprised if that Assyrian told you that he/she sits in front of the television set day after day watching what's going on in his/her historical homeland (today's Iraq), anxious to hear the word "Assyrian" from any correspondent of any Arabic channel, or if he/she told you that the greatest criminal against the Assyrian Cause today is the Arab media.

Following the failed attempts over the centuries to obliterate the Assyrian ethnicity, we are faced today with a more horrible crime, which is the "marginalization of the Assyrian ethnicity in Arab media”. Now, in this age of openness and modernized media whereby some Arabic channels have turned into trumpets promoting separatism without paying attention to history and the dignity of the Assyrian people at a time when the Assyrian Nation and the Iraqi people in general are passing through some very difficult circumstances after the fall of the cringing regime.

On one of the "Arabic" channels there was a program on April 25,2003 about the Kurdish case, this show had the scent of some "educated" Kurds who had dictated to the presenter of the show ahead of time, a lesson in the kurdification of the Assyrian Land, whereby the program came to contradict all the historical facts, when the program presenter depended on some "ghost" researchers who she didn't even mention their names while we now very well that Kurdologues such as Nikitin, Minorski, Leipzig and others, refuted the idea that Kurds were originally in the region, they even refuted the idea of a Kurdish "ethnicity" especially that these researchers didn't find any common denomination whether racially, ethnically, physiologically, or even linguistically between these tribes...Even Kurdish historians such as Prince Sharaf Khan Al-Badlisi, the first to write the Kurdish history in his book "Sharaf Nameh" in the 16th century A.D., asserts that the Kurds came to the region with the Mongols' invasion that is some seven centuries ago, and that the inhabitants there were called “Asori”. As to the Assyriologist Austin Henry Layard (Known as the Father of Assyriology), confirms that the "Nestorian" (Christians in Assyria’s mountains - Assyrian Church of The East) and those who follow the Chaldean Church (Christians in Assyria’s plains - that is the Uniat part of the Church of The East) are the indigenous people of the region as to the rest they are all foreigners.

As to the so-called "Kurdistan's" geography we would like to explain in the beginning that the first person to utter the word "Kurdistan" was Hamadullah ibn Al-Mustawfi Al-Qazweeni in his book "Nuzhat Al Qouloub"(A Journey of Hearts) written in the 14th century A.D., then this word became familiar as the wandering tribes came to the region from Iranian Azerbaijan and settled in the Assyrian Mountains. While we see the presenter of the program donating all Assyria (today's North of Iraq) to the Kurdish tribes and she defended that; even though from Iraq's North to its South is built upon the remnants of Assyrian monuments, the same monuments which were pillaged recently in Mosul and Baghdad at the hands of the "de facto powers" who are "cohabiting" with the Assyrians on the Assyrian Land, when the Assyrians who are the owners of these monuments are well and living but marginalized in the Arab media(what a destiny!).

With all this we can't ignore the suffering of the Kurdish tribes, even though they were imposed over Assyria ,by Timerlane since few centuries and later on by the Ottoman Sultans, but because the Kurdish Case is going to be solved at the expense of the destiny of an indigenous ethnicity in Iraq, therefore, we must re-consider the Kurdish politics because the so-called "Iraqi Kurdistan" is including the Assyrian National Homeland, and if the Kurds are demanding what they claim to be their right, then they should also take into consideration the rights of others, especially the owners of the land.

I'm not going into a historical research about the people who inhabited Iraq at a later date, also I'm not going to anticipate matters that are happening on the Iraqi arena where ethnicities should share a common denominator which is their "national" belonging so it's every one's duty to live within that in an atmosphere of freedom and equality within any formula. Thus if the formula of federalism is imposed (God Forbid) then it will be within the rights of both the Assyrian and Turkoman people to have their own federal entity similar to the Kurds and Arabs, for as the Kurdish people want to preserve their particularities, other ethnicities have the same rights in Iraq with the acknowledgement that the Assyrians are qualified culturally, politically, and morally to skillfully run their own affairs, and the whole Iraqi people are well aware of this.

Returning to the Arab media, the story of the Assyrian Cause in this domain is complicated, because the Arab thinking both politically and media wise in general is suffering from illnesses which caused the Arab thinking to retreat into a shell both in regards to individuals and society in general, through a traditional pattern imposed and characterized by dogmas which don't keep pace with the era something which resulted in a geo-political enclosure to the outside world, and a rejection of the other may be because of controlled media by some regimes whether they are Arabized or Islamized. In turn the non-Arab individual and especially the Assyrian stands perplexed waiting to hear something about his/her own people in Iraq but to no avail. Just a simple example, when tens of Assyrian villages in Assyria (today's North of Iraq) raised the Assyrian flag after the fall of the cringing regime, regrettably we didn't see that except in the Assyrian and foreign media, whereby the Arab media spoke of rising the Kurdish flag in some kurdified Assyrian areas and called them "Kurdish areas".

More over when the different groups of the Iraqi people are mentioned within the national context in news or news analysis, the Assyrian ethnicity is mentioned under the phrase "other minorities" or "some minorities"...but when it's time to mention an event we notice the mentioning of Arabs, Kurds and the so-called "Kurdistan", when the correspondent is standing and with all rudeness in a genuine Assyrian town, taking photos of its districts and its Assyrian people (may be to give a good impression about the areas which he's claiming to be "Kurdish"). And In the event of an accident to an Arab citizen he/she is mentioned as "Iraqi" and if Kurdish is called “Kurdish”, but if that person is Assyrian he/she is not mentioned at all and if he/she is mentioned it's going to be under "Christian" as if the Assyrian ethnicity is a bogey man to the Arab media.

Lastly, we hope that Arab media (at least the private ones) wouldn't promote specific cases without paying attention to others (probably for religious considerations) and not to imitate the governmental media so that they wouldn't lose their credibility and respect with the Arab viewer, and we hope that the Arab correspondents would take into consideration media ethics when covering events in Iraq, leaving aside selfishness and personal gains especially where bribes are concerned "oil for food" in return for airing reports which would serve certain party and not another. Contrary to what some are claiming, the Iraqi situation is sensitive and dangerous, thus, it is the duty of the Arab media to play an honest role and be careful not to provoke turmoil and separatist sentiments within any group of the Iraqi people.
14 maj 2003

Ashor Giwargis 



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