Posted by Jeff from d14-69-187-7.try.wideopenwest.com (220.127.116.11) on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 at 8:35PM :
...I couldn't have said it better myself.
In fact, this person is dead on. I can't believe how correct every single word is.
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A message from a Chaldean!
Posted By: Chaldean (proxy31.hud.gov)
Date: Monday, 28 July 2003, at 10:47 a.m.
Hello to all my Assyrian brothers and sisters. I happen to be a Chaldean from Detroit.
I would like to take this opportunity to give people an insight into the Chaldean Community of Detroit. I am sure that many may know this, but I think many Assyrians do not have a real understanding of our psche.
To begin, my mother, like most other people in Detroit, came from Telkaypa. My father's family is from Baghdad and his family only speaks Arabic.
Most people in Detroit trace their roots from TelKayf and refer to themselves as Chaldeans. For most Chaldeans, the term Assyrian is a reference to another people, distantly related, who live further north in the mountains. Assyrian language to us is extremely difficult to understand which further gives us a separate identity.
I know what everyone is saying now. Chaldean is a church name, and sureth has many dialects just like many other languages. But the problem lies in two areas. Those who call themseves Chaldean feel a special bond with one another based on intricate relations to one another in their villages. Meaning, their affiliation is centered on the village and blood affinity to one another.
Also, Chaldeans are NONPOLITICAL!!!!!!!! This is a sad commentary on my people.
I for one agree that we are all one people, and I have no problem calling myself Assyrian. In fact when I am not in Detroit, I refer to myself as Assyrian. I am a very rare example. 99.55% of Chaldeans would never fathom stating that they are Assyrian.
I think that Assyrians use the term Assyrian in two ways. One to connotate their ethnicity and the second is a political agenda, the recognition of the ethnicity. This is why it is so important for those who refer to themselves as Assyrian to use the correct term. However, the majority of Chaldeans in Detroit (in general) meaning those from telkayf, boutma, al qosh, telkesquf, etc are completely removed from an ethnic struggle for our people in Iraq, unlike assyrians and palestinians. Also, look at our community and language. Our sureth is so mixed with Arabic and have any of you attended any of our weddings? We dance mostly to Arabic music, and I would say half of our population speaks Arabic. In fact many of our people don't even refer to themselves as Chaldean but rather as Arabs. So, I put this out there for you all to understand that there is no major impetus or incentive for Chaldeans to start calling themselves Assyrian. We have no political motivation to start using a term as means to unite people in a political cause. Yes, there is a bit of a reawakening with new political parties, but they do not have mass public support.
So, what should we do to address this problem? Have seminars teaching Chaldeans to start calling themselves Assyrian by giving them a history lesson? I don't think so. Keep the communal identities distinct? This would be a tragedy for our community. Or combine the communities into one that will compromise both internal self-identifications as Chaldean-Assyrian, in which Assyrians in other countries can just retain the identity Assyrian?
This is the more logical decision. I would also argue that over time, the term Assyrian would probably take over. Assyrian are much more well versed in Sureth (reading and writing), music, and political activity, etc. They would have a stronger influence in setting the direction of the community. And even if the term Chaldean-Assyrian is used for political purposes, it won't stop people from referring to themseves as only Assyrian or only as Chaldean. However, over time the community would begin to identify itself as one. This is my opinion and commentary.
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