Dr Edward Odishoo at aina

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Posted by pancho from pool0125.cvx24-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net ( on Friday, January 17, 2003 at 6:00PM :

+++This is pretty intelligent stuff...examining his views will be as close as any of us get to a "bright" assessment of our situation. I'm sure the good doctor wont get up on a chair and scream if I poke around his head a bit...


Assyrian Forum


+++This implies Assyrians are being hanged in Iraq. Lots of people are being hanged...mostly traitors, as defined by the government. And there are lots of Assyrians, Muslim and Christian doing just fine. In Iraq any sort of a religious extreme is suspect...none more so than Christians, and for good reason.

Posted By: Edward Odisho, Ph.D. (cache-ntc-ai03.proxy.aol.com)
Date: Friday, 17 January 2003, at 4:11 a.m.


With the critical situation in Iraq and the hope for the elimination of the dictatorial and fascist regime of Saddam Hussein and its replacement with a democratic one, the future of the Iraqi people in its entirety, with all its Arabs, Kurds, Assyrian Chaldeans, Turkomanis, Armenians, Yezidis and Mandaeans hangs in the balance.

+++The United States, to whom the doctor must be looking, has never planted democracies anywhere...it plants and waters and tends tyrants and dictatorships. There wont be democracy in Iraq until long after the United States gets out, completely.

However, for those of us who are unfortunately known today in more than one appellation [name] as Assyrians, Chaldeans or Suryanis— the most indigenous people of Beth Nahrain

+++He is doing the Christian Jig here. "We"...means Christians...and Christians aren't the only Assyrians in Iraq. If "we" want justice....there will have to be justice for all. "We" would not tolerate a Muslim country coming to New York to protect Muslims there...they'll just have to take their chances within the legal framework of this country...as Christians must do, and are doing, in Iraq. It's these Christians who want to keep dissent and trouble brewing because they don't any peace or harmoney between Muslims and Christians...or, they don't want Christianity to be expelled or learn to live within its means, and the laws of Iraq.

— our whole past, present and future are at risk if we all do not dialogue rationally, plan strategically and implement judiciously.

+++He means Christian past etc. Our entire heritage was safe and doing just fine before the West, the Christian West started getting even greedier. Christian nuts and extremists find themselves in jail in America as well. The White Citizens Council...the KKK, the Aryan Brotherhood and any number of ultra Christian groups regularly break laws and get jailed or executed for it...same in Iraq.

By all standards of anthropological, historical, social and linguistic definitions we are one entity [not two or three], one identity [not two or three] and, therefore, we should have a strong belief in presenting ourselves as one people and one nation.

+++Our earliest ONE entity was as Assyrians whose religion wasn't Christianity or Islam. We've simple gone shopping for better religions, that's all. We are still all of us Assyrians. The only nation over there is Iraq. It is made up of mostly Assyrians, one branch of which, the Christians, are pissed as hell that they "lost".

Without this sense of Unity, the disunity that we have been suffering from for centuries will snowball into total self-inflicted annihilation through acculturation and assimilation among other peoples and religions in the region.

+++In America and the Christian West, that will be true. Funny isn't it? Not a damn thing done here...where we can do whatever we want...but demands that Muslims under attack by our co-Christians do something for us Christians.

+++If you live in Iraq and mind your own business as a religious minority...you will do just fine...in fact we were all doing excellently well. It is the Christian fanatic, outside of Iraq, who is causing all the harm. WSith any luck we'll be completely marginalized in Iraq, as a religion, and join together with our Muslim Assyrians to re-build the shattered country.

Remember before the Arab conquests and the advent of Islam, we were in many millions, but we count today in only one or two millions. Ask yourself: Where did those millions go?

+++You're numbers are way off...Herodotus had the same problem. The Muslims in Iraq today are not the descendants of the Arabs...just as the Christians in Iraq are not the descendants of the Jews. These religions were brought there...and we took to one or the other. The Christian faith may die out in Iraq...so what? It's alive and kicking ass everywhere else.

Doubtless, they were consumed by acculturation and assimilation which led to ethnocide that can be worse than genocide.

+++There was no genocide in Iraq...you're playing fast and loose with history. There were massacres, but we had those in Oklahoma...calm down. What you fear, the assimilation etc. will take place in America, already has. In one or two generations our children, free to be Christian night and day...will have nothing Assyrian about them...because they never really did..it was ALL Christian, which you guys passed off as Assyrian because you didn't want to be called Christian Arabs.

We, therefore, have a serious destiny problem to face, but fortunately it is a solvable problem if we were to dialogue rationally, plan strategically and implement judiciously to maintain and revive what is left of our identity as a people.

++++In Iraq all you have to do is get America out of there and have it muzzle Israel. The Iraqi people will take care of the rest...they are Assyrians after all. What you have to worry about is our people in America who only build churches and eat. Wanna instal an Assyrian monument somewhere...or isn't that Assyrian?

We are now at the most critical turning point in our whole history. With the disunity in which we are and the serious erosion to our language and religion, our survival chances as an ancient people with a brilliant civilization and a historically renowned language are very bleak.

+++And it's the war and Sanctions that make it bleak. Those of you free at last in the West have every opportunity to create a lasting bastion your "brilliant" culture...but you do nothing...nothing that isn't religious...while you want to go pick a fight with Iraq because they wont essentially welcome your Christian legacy there...while you encourage Christian countries to attack them...come on...think a LITTLE.

Thus, it is incumbent on all our sincere intellectuals—lay or clergy— to get involved in a Unity Dialogue to avert our tragic demise as civilization builders.

++++So long as you limit yourselves to Christians...or set silly standards by which YOU will accept Muslim Assyrians...you are divided enough already and so far removed from reality that...well...that might explain why you felt the need to write this letter. We have devolved into comic relief...that's all, and for a very, very good reason...all our own doing.

+++The Iraqi people will protect and cherise what is ASSYRIAN...they just aren't impressed by what is CHRISTIAN...and you can hardly blame them. Thisn't the first time the British have fucked with them...and what's an American but an Englishman who can't speak his own language?

I am, hereby, suggesting the following strategy for an intellectual constructive Unity Dialogue with the purpose of a genuine and lasting Unity of all the Assyrian Aramaic speaking indigenous people of Beth Nahrain.

+++Those are not the only indigenous people there...they aren't even close to a majority...what you neglect to say is what sinks these enterprises all the time, namely that you are calling on CHRISTIANS...giving them the exclusive title of "Assyrian". No wonder you are panic stricken...you equate Assyrian with Christian...they are not at all the same thing.

++++In America your CHRISTIAN Assyrian heritage is threatened by assimilation and aculturation...that's definitely something you can work on...except SURPRISE, there isn't much to it that isn't only Christian...once safe and sound here you realize with a shock that it was all about religion.

+++True Assyrian heritage is safe in Iraq and encompasses ALL of that nation's history...not just the Christian part. Assyria is safe in Iraq, if Christianity will just leave those people alone. Run your SUV's on burnt heretics instead of oil.

In social sciences, in general, and in linguistics, in particular the dichotomy of Surface Structure vs. Deep Structure serves as a very constructive vehicle for a more objective and scientific comprehension of facts. Very simplistically expressed, elements that are in the Surface Structure are more visible and tangible; though essential, they not necessarily as essential as the elements in Deep Structure. Elements in Deep Structure are less visible and tangible though indispensably essential.

+++If you yourself understood what you just said...and if you were really trying to be clear and not place yourslef "up there"...you would have used far simpler words...for what you're trying to say is simple enough.

Let me cite you a very simple example from language and then I will proceed further to apply the dichotomy to our Unity Dialogue. The Surface Structure in a sentence such as: “They cut the meat on the table” may fool you into thinking that this sentence has only one meaning. In reality, it has at least two radically different meanings because it has two Deep Structures which reveal themselves in response to the following two questions: a) Which meat did they cut? “They cut the meat [which was] on the table”. b) Where did they cut the meat? “They cut the meat on the table [not on the counter].” By the same token, when we look at the Assyrian Aramaic-speaking people through the perspective of Surface Structure vs. Deep Structure dichotomy, we will discover that there are several identity constituents that belong to Deep Structure, while other constituents belong to Surface Structure. Foremost of the identity constituents that belong to Deep Structure are

+++Well, that cleared the air marvellously well. Now, which Assyrian's meat got cut where?

: language, religion, history, geography, culture etc. while, religious denominations, dialects, villages and customs belong to Surface Structure. In light of such significant distinction, the constituents of Deep Structure are the primary constituents of identity, while those in Surface Structure are the secondary ones.

Our Unity Dialogue should focus on the primary constituents first and then the secondary ones. This approach to the dialogue will immediately highlight our impeccable linguistic unity through our Assyrian Aramaic language. In other words, our language is one, regardless of our different dialects.

+++Glad you brought that up...because it answers nicely the same question...we are ALL Assyrians...our religion comes next...and any other languages we speak, such as English or Arabic come after that...and the fact that some of us don't speak Assyrian or English, but are still Assyrians, comes even after that. I'm afraid the only Assyrian you recognize is a Christian, Aramaic speaking one...and though you want to say all Christians are one...we know that isn't true...it's just lip service so we can pretend to be, like we're going to fool anyone...and besides which, we can hardly go two days without cutting up eachg other's Christian meats.

As for our religion, we are all Christians—

+++Not me...and not a lot of other Assyrians. That is the one inescapable mistake you Christians make. It is you way out of being called Christian Arabs. You aren't clarifying anything but the problem...you offer more gasoline on the flames already consuming us.

and have been so for two millennia— before we became ‘Yaqubaye’, ‘Nestornaye’ and Qatuliqaye or Ma’irwaye [Westerners] and Madinkhaye [Easterners]. No one of us would dare to claim that our ‘Jacobite’, ‘Nestorian’ or Catholic denominations are sublime to our Christian Faith. Thus, no one would ever dare to contemplate that Mar Rafael Bidaweed, Mar Zakka Iwas, Mar Khanania Dinkha and Mar Addai are more sublime than their Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ as a prophet is distinctly known for His patience and gentleness and He rarely manifested anger at others, but I believe that with His second coming

+++Whoops. Whoa...one of THOSE...peace to you brother...go your merry ways.

He will definitely be angry at all those circumstances that made His Church split into four or five churches. We should all work for our Unity before Jesus discovers our disunity and admonishes all of us— the young and the old; the lay and the clergy; and the rich and the poor.

+++Imagine how pissed Ashur must be then when he sees we ran after a Jew, then split off into an array of sub-Jesuses

Doubtless, our history, geography and culture are far more uniform than different. We are bound together by our millennia-long history in Beth Nahrain and by a blend of our Assyrian, Babylonian and Aramean cultures.

++++Don't forget Islam...which has been in Iraq 1300 years...far longer than Christianity. Islam has dominated our Assyrian culture for centuries now...that's not going to change. They will allow you Christians to remain if you'll behave yourselves. When the Muslims first arrived in Iraq they had split the quarreling Christians up just to save the public peace...and we're still at it all those years later.

+++I really think the best thing that can happen is for all Christians to leave Iraq voluntarily...

In light of the above facts, we all have to adopt a new philosophy for our Unity Dialogue. We all have to remember that we as a people:

1) Speak one language, which is the symbol of our Unity. Our dialects are only regional, tribal and personal. Our dialects will divide us if we give them significance more than our language.

++++How about nthose of us who don't speak the language? Do we get shown to the door? Do you think your grandchildren in America will speak the language? If you make language that much of a determinant, you doom us to extinction, by your definition, when in reality we're going strong in Iraq and elsewhere, though we speak several other languages.

2) We should identify ourselves as Christians before revealing our Catholic, ‘Nestorian’ Orthodox, or Protestant and Eastern or Western denominations. Our denominations will divide us if we give them significance more than our Christianity.

+++We could refuse to consider religion at all...as most advanced countries do...like the ones you ran to. What if they only accepted Catholics or Protestants, and refused to legitimize Eastern sents at all...then where would you go? You benefit yourselves from inclusion...so let's include ALL Assyrians, regardless of language or religion. Or do you guys want Assyria to be a Country Club...restricted membership?

3) We are Beth Nahrainians before we are Assyrians, Babylonians, Chaldeans or Arameans. Our Unity as a civilization and culture is more important than our regional and historical names.

++++You are now Iraqis...if you come from there. You don't tell your college you are "BethNahranians"...you proudly say you are American...it is the country of your residence, your new nation...just so in Iraq.

As an Assyrian intellectual

+++Oh NO!!! He actually said it!!!

, who has been equally involved in politics and academics for the last four decades, it is a pleasure to see the Assyrian Democratic Movement, as the first Assyrian political party embracing the theme of Unity as a working principle.

+++Stick around.

Remember that I am not a member of ADM, but I am convinced that ADM does not look at Unity as a tactical maneuver to respond to the current political situation in Iraq or to gain votes; instead, Unity for ADM is a philosophical, political, and nationalistic belief that has been amply demonstrated in all aspects of its struggle during the last three decades of its life.

+++No, no...ADM, like the rest of them is a Christian Phalangist movement hiding behind the Assyrian identity. They can't very well ask for a Christian State...so they want an "Assyrian"...that just incidentally will be Christian and only Christian. If they get such a thing do you suppose Muslims will be welcome? And if they are...do you actually think one will be elected to power? And do you think they will allow free entry and no quotas?

+++No, no pal. These people are simply tyrants of another stripe. The State Department and I know it, if you don't. They want to set up an Iraq in reverse with them in power. They have learned nothing about demcoracy except that it sounds like just the thing to get them their own dictatorship.

Our Unity is not just for the present procurement of our political and nationalistic rights.

+++You have none...and none are due you beyond what every Iraqi gets. If you really understood the meaning of demcoracy you'd know there would be no special favors granted to any one group, certainly not a minority. Assyrians of any religion are free in Iraq...as free to obey the laws as anyone else. You are speaking of religion pal...not the same thing. Your "nationalistgic rights and responsibilities" must go to the state...not to your Bishop. The Millet system is over.

rather it is for the preservation and continuation of our overall Beth Nahrain civilization that matched in importance the Greek and Roman civilizations.

+++You forgot the Islamic Civilization which brought light and learning to Europe.

The Beth Nahrain civilization is the one that invented the writing systems and introduced the rest of humanity, including the Greeks, Romans and Arabs, to literacy. It is the earliest civilization that adopted Christianity as a faith and spread it throughout the world.

+++That's not considered a benefit everywhere. YOU are happy with it...enjoy.

It is the civilization that introduced the Arabs to the scientific, philosophical and medical heritage of the Greeks and transformed them from bedouins and nomads to civilization builders.

++++Yes we did...and then many of us converted to Islam...a great religion at its best...sort of like Christianity.

It is our responsibility to preserve the Beth Nahrain civilization. It is only through our Unity the preservation can be attained. As Assyrians alone, Chaldeans alone and Suryanis alone nothing is attainable. Without our Unity we will face the terminal lesson of extinction after which there will be no more survival. We, therefore, better hang together as one people or be hanged separately as Athuriyoon, Kildan and Suryan.

++++If you get hanged it will be as fractuous Christians...and even the United States hangs them.

We have no time left for arguments with fanatics and extremists among us regardless of whether they come from among the Assyrians, Chaldeans and Suryanis or from among the lay or the clergy. In fact, we should defeat those arguments wherever they come from and whoever promotes them. Fanatics and extremists are mere saboteurs because they see things at the Surface Structure level and fail to see them at the Deep Structure.

+++You aren't a fanatic by any means, but you also fail to see that it's impossible and self-defeating to claim all Assyrians are Christians...or you'll only be the ones to decide who is and isn't an Assyrian. You see it all through a religious eye...and you what kind of problems that causes people.

Fanatics and extremists fail to understand that thinking at the Surface Structure level will never bring about Unity. Fanatics and extremists should learn that Unity comes with our Assyrian Aramaic language, our Christian Faith and our Beth Nahrain culture. Fanatics and extremists should learn that their insistence on thinking in terms denominations, dialects and villages will only lead our people and our nation to what I have recently began to call “ethno-suicide” which means self-inflicted extermination from within through the gradual loss of our language, religion and culture.

+++Assyrian is as Assyrian does. We have no country outside of the Mideast, where our Christian religion is in the minority...while our Muslim religion is in the Majority. Dig a little deeper next time when looking for "truths". Intellectual or not.

We all have only one last opportunity to come back to our senses and realize that we are threatened by extinction and total oblivion through ethnocide and ethno-suicide.

+++++Your religion is certainly in peril there in the Mideast...but it is safe in the West. What bothers you people, is that outside of the MidEast and the persecution you suffered there, you really don't know WHAT Assyrian is...if not language and religion...and it's a lot more than that.

We all have to learn how to survive as Assyrian Aramaic-speakers, as Christian believers and as bearers of Beth Nahrain civilization lest we should face our death and demise separately as Assyrians, Chaldeans and Suryanis or as Catholics, ‘Jacobites’, ‘Nestorians’ and Protestants. We have to learn how to visit each other’s homes before all our homes disappear. We should all remember that it does not matter whether you cross your heart from the left or the right as long as you know you are sincere at heart. We have to remember that we have homes in Alqosh, Telkepe, Ainkawa, Nohadra, Zakho, Sarsang, Dere, Komane, Barwar, Kirkuk, Doura, Botan, Si’irt, Mardin and Urmi etc. All those small homes together make the large Homeland. Let’s remember the Homeland not the villages. Finally, remember there are more who aim at dividing us from OUTSIDE than those from inside. Le us not be their naïve subservient.

+++Every reference, every point...every argument...was religious. We're just used to having it that way...and THAT explains why we're in this pickle...and there aint no way out for the Christians among us...only the Assyrians who rise from this mess AS Assyrians first, stand a chance outside the Mideast...in the MidEast, Assyrians are kicking ass...and sometimes it's Christian ass. What a world and thanks a lot Jesus!

Edward Odisho, Ph.D.

Professor, Northeastern Illinois University,


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Edward Odisho, Ph.D. (cache-ntc-ai03.proxy.aol.com) -- Friday, 17 January 2003, at 4:11 a.m.

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Ashor Giwargis ( -- Friday, 17 January 2003, at 4:47 a.m.

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