Posted by julia from bp193-172.kellogg.northwestern.edu (188.8.131.52) on Friday, June 07, 2002 at 3:01AM :
Aren't we further giving the chance to our enemies to work within our ranks because of the state of disorganization that we are
suffering from and at many times a state of split and multiple personalities,because we don't have one defined belief in our
identity and who we are ?
>>> I agree with you 100%. Right now it seems that we have a struggle over identity. Who is assyrian, and what are the
Some claim the Assyrian is one who speaks Assyrian and who is of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East,
or a similar Christian denomination. *Some* may expand this definition to include one who has expressed 'hatred towards
Muslims,' 'loathing towards Arabs,' and 'preference for piety and passivism as we are conquered or assimilated by dominating
Others claim that an Assyrian is anyone who is interested in the Assyrian heritage, which includes our art, music, food, religion,
fashion tates, and so on. I would associate this definition with Fred Parhad. Because this definition of an Assyrian is based on
those who have an expressed interest in the Assyrian heritage, there is no need to divide and subdivide Assyrians according to
dialect or millet or region of birth, since the definition of who is assyrian is not limited to these characteristics.
Once we know who we are, then we can know what means are necessary in order to preserve our identity.
According to the first definition of an Assyrian i gave above - I'll call this exclusivist - our identity is directly linked to defense
against non-Assyrians entering in our population of Assyrians. We have an expressed interest to be agaisnt Muslims, since they
don't fall in the definition; we have an expressed interest against Arabs, secularists, and so on. This idea is rooted on the idea
that elements of what makes us Assyrian (our language and our religion) were assaulted by secularists, muslims and arabs.
Thus, it makes sense to work against the very agents that threatened the assyrian identity.
According to the second definition of an Assyrian - I'll call this inclusivist - our identity is directly linked to getting more
non-Assyrians to 'become Assyrian' by becoming interested our heritage. Having this identity motivates us to preserve
ourselves by being mixed people of other faiths, cultures, geographic regions, etc; so long as our interest in the Assyrian
heritage does not die. The inclusivist Assyrian feels the greatest threat to his identity when people no longer care about the
Assyrian heritage, and these people can be African americans, whites, jews, etc.
My caveat: this of course is an oversimplification - segregating millions of people into two groups (exclusivist and inclusivist
Assyrians) is cumbersome and inaccurate. BUT my point was to show that the issue we face now is who we are, and what
are interests are. and the way to do that is to plot out what characteristics we want to include in our defintion of an Assyrian,
that way we know what interests naturally arise from this definition.
So, mary,i agree with you completely. The greater issue for us right now is to figure out (come to a consensus) on who is an
assyrian. Once we know, then we can figure out the different ways we can preserve the Assyrian's interest and existence.
We need to determine:
1) who is assyrian, 2)What the assyrian's interests are, 3)what Assyrians can do to advance the assyrian's interests, 4)which in
turn preserves those who are Assyrian
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