Posted by Sadie from ? (126.96.36.199) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 at 12:50PM :
In Reply to: To Merry posted by Alexander from 188.8.131.52.cfl.rr.com (184.108.40.206) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 at 1:18AM :
It's a lot more complicated than that. Let's just say that they are the original people who inhabited southeastern Turkey, converted to Christianity during the time of the Apostles (& are, therefore, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world), are known by many names, & speak Aramaic, otherwise known as Syriac, the "street Hebrew" Christ spoke. They are not Arab, ethnically, though they may know the language, & have mixed, to some extent, with the Muslims in the area. An example of what an Assyrian looks like is Tariq Aziz - in fact, he looks just like my grandfather. One of the main things that defines them as a community is the massive persecution they experienced, alongside fellow Christian Pontic Greek & Armenian indigenous populations of Anatolia, by the Ottoman Turks, who also recruited the Kurds to carry out much of the violence against the native Christian populations.
However, the older Middle Eastern brand of Christianity is VERY different from the Western brand. A good example of the old Mid Eastern Christian way of thinking is Khalil Gibran, who has a more universal way of seeing things - gentle, humane, self-critical, questioning, eternally wise, & ultimately beautiful in a natural sense. I don't know much about the modern churches here in the States that Assyrians attend.... It seems to me that these churches have embraced a lot of the American values & left behind the more humble, traditional, yet noble values that my father's family cherished.
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