Ninus Kanna, you aren't the only one!

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Posted by Jeff from ( on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 at 11:53PM :

I agree with you. You are not alone!

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I am writing in dismay at the Assyrian community of their majority view on an impending war on Iraq. A very wise Mahatma Gandhi has said: “Exploitation and Domination of one nation over another can have no place in a world striving to put an end to all war.”

Those who support any war are supporting with anger and ignorance, not with compassion and open-mindedness.
United States planes will pound Baghdad with over three thousand bombs in two days , sure to cut water, power, gas and communication supplies for every civillian in the city. If the reader of this letter is human, then they wish no obliteration upon fellow humans.

The purveyors of desruction, commonly known as “hawks”, claim a myriad of reasons to clamp down on Iraq from weapons of mass destruction to regime change, even to an unfounded speculation that the leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, has links with extremist Islamic groups such as Al-Qaida. For the United States to worry about human rights abuses can be seen as trivial in any global observers view, as the United States even today sanctions human rights abuses with its refusal to ratify an International Criminal Court and by still holding executions of its prisoners, a regressive and barbaric means of punishment.

Hussein’s “links” with Al-Qaida are not true, Iraq does not pose an external threat to the west without severe provocation and a US view of regime change and “pre-emption” goes against the foundations of International law.

From a political perspective, Saddam Hussein models himself on Josef Stalin. Stalin’s view on foreign policy was by not having direct conflict with the enemy (The United States). It is logical if one presumes that Saddam Hussein is not aggressive if he is not attacked directly, and only will unleash his wrath if found with nothing to lose. Regime change can only be achieved by the will of the Iraqi people.

Hussein has never experienced a rapport with Islamist groups due to the polarisation of their ideologies. Hussein, a secular arab socialist and machiavellian by philosophy, uses religion as a tool to maintain power and is not an Islamist himself. Al-Qaida on the other hand, are an organisation hell-bent on purveying islamic fundamentalism and see secular socialism as evil as the United States and Israel.

What surprises me about Assyrian opinion is how “right-wing” it generally is and how supportive it is of western powers ever since the events in Eastern Turkey and Iraq of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Have not the Assyrian community learnt that a complete century of support for both British and American empires have produced no fruit? The western powers quite simply use our unqualified (and unjustified) support as an easy espousal base in Iraq. Those who believe a special relationship with the west due to religious similarities are seriously deluding themselves. The religion of western powers are voter pursuit and economic strength, with ideology and religion a tool to muster the support of interest groups, exactly like Saddam Hussein.

The real reason for an invasion of Iraq is quite simply to secure geo-political and economic domination of the region. To be quite honest, if Saddam Hussein was not interested in the nationalisation of the Iraqi oil industry, would the United States and Britain be so interested in its occupation?

The Assyrian community globally needs a dissenting voice, to herald a change in the Assyran perspective, to bring prosperity and well-being; not just recognition for the global community. One stepping stone for this is to call against any war in Iraq – the ancient Assyrian homeland – to show the world our real strength – the strength of peace.

Alternative Assyrian opinion, alternative Assyrian organisations and a much more open-minded community also have to be promoted to ensure the health of a disenfranchised community. It (the Assyrian community), is faultering under a right-wing and extremely conservative voice, which intimidates the notion of a democracy, as disgustingly shown with the arrest of a man in Albany, New York for wearing a “give peace a chance” T-Shirt in a Shopping Centre . Even though the latter example has no relation with the Assyrian community, further travel along the route taken now by our leaders will surely accommodate such “liberty”. For an American Senator to be writing a letter to “President” George W. Bush approving an invasion of Iraq on behalf of Assyrians is sheer inanity. Not in my name!

Numerous criticisms of the Assyrian establishment by our youth include our leaders being “out of touch” with the youth of Assyrian society in general. Assyrian youth around the world are dissenting and embracing modernity and clinging onto western culture as it is not traditionalist and dropping off their Assyrian heritage as if it were a heavy backpack on themselves.

This has to stop. If things continue and mentalities persist the way they are, there will be no Assyrian community in thirty years time, only two or three million people with Assyrian “heritage”.

Finally, on the 16th of February 2003, a massive peace rally was held in Sydney, Australia. I proudly marched for peace on the streets of Sydney, along with around two hundred and fifty thousand fellow human beings. What most depressed me was that it seemed I was the only Assyrian marching. What a beautiful sight it would have been if fellow Assyrians would have marched with me.

Ninus Kanna

Quotation obtained from Mahatma (D.G. Tendulkar) Vol. 7; 2nd Edition (1960) Publications Division.
2 Obtained from webpage:
3 State Department response can be viewed at
4 From “The National Security Strategy of the United States of America” Section V.
5 Article can be seen at

-- Jeff
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