Posted by nasty pumpkin from pool0572.cvx25-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net (22.214.171.124) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 at 8:50PM :
Redlands newspaper George Stiffo peppered with a a lengthy assault for daring to print an article by a Turkish professor who gave a talk at his school, Chapman University.
George threw the usual religious arguments about how we were the first people to embrace neo- Judaism and how the land belongs to Jesus and the rest of it. He asked others to write and protest as well...and I am. I am protesting the swamping of every other facet of our heritage by religion...I'm protesting that I am sick and tired of Assyria being presented as a monastary staffed by a lunatic fringe of dancing monks...
Here's the offensive paragraph.......
"(The Kurds) are believed to be the remains of the Assyrian civilization and speak their own language. They have been recognized since the gulf war and people are hoping one of (the Kurds) will take care of Saddam and we won't have to worry about the war."
Only one sentence deals with Assyrians, and I submit that since we can't even agree among ourselves, we stop taking other people to task because their fantasy doesn't jibe with ours. We NONE of us know what we're talking about...we ALL have strong FEELINGS...but so do rabid skunks.
This guy thinks Kurds are descended from the ancient Assyrians...WE insist Abgar converted to Christianity when there were no Christians during Christ's lifetime, something we don't like thinking about, but so what...so what if we don't "like" it. The Turks may not like our take on history...this is hardly science...it's all gut emotions attached to almost empty heads...nothing that impresses anyone except those we play soccer with or date.
This is the letter I sent.
Dear Mr Baker,
I write to express my dismay at the letter I believe a Mr. George Stiffo recently sent you protesting the inaccuracies in an article in your paper dealing with a lecture at Chapman University in which the speaker indicated that the modern Kurds are thought to be descended from the ancient Assyrians.
As an Assyrian myself I take exception to the authoritative tone in Mr. Stiffo's letter, presenting his own conjecture about Kurds and Assyrians as facts. Something he faults the lecturer for doing.
Without being tedious let me say we have many Christian sects among Assyrians who dispute vigorously with each other as to which of them came first, which of them is a genuine Christian and therefore which of them can be a real Assyrian . The one thing they agree upon is the impossibility of any Muslim being an Assyrian.
These people define Assyrian identity in terms of religion...Christians can be Assyrians, Muslim cannot, inspite of the fact that for 3000 years before Christ or Muhammad, none of us worshiped any but our own God. All us at some point in our history converted to something else, and then converted and converted again.
The Assyrians left there are scattered throughout the MidEast today, mostly in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey. They come in all denominations of the two main religious groups there, Christianity arriving first to convert them, Islam coming later and dominating the region today. Mr. Stiffo merely states the anger of the Christian Assyrians who believe the land was stolen from them 1300 years ago by Arabs, and who have never forgiven those of our people who converted to Islam... while congratulating themselves for their wisdom in turning Christian.
There is a growing interest among some in our community to re-discover our own indigenous religion, the worship of Ashur, our own diety for thousands of years.
It is a question of religious animosity having nothing to do with ethnic identity. The more progressive forces in our community understand that our people traveled many roads down a 6000 year history to get here and are not interested in maintaining these religiously based hatreds any longer.
Thank you for your time.
-- nasty pumpkin
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