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Posted by Jeff from LTU-207-73-64-49.LTU.EDU ( on Wednesday, June 12, 2002 at 6:25PM :

chaldean national name


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Written by Eddie Bajoka on 12 Jun 2002 23:02:30:

Hello everyone,
I began an internship last week in Washington DC, and I found myself fumbling every time some one asked me my nationality. I realized i wasn't in Detroit anymore and no one had a clue what Chaldean is. Being a good Chaldean, I impressed my bosses and finished a 2 day project in about 3 hours. So they gave me the rest of the day off.
I decided to write this little essay...tell me what everyone thinks

Use and Misuse of the Chaldean Name
by Edward Bajoka
The Spanish have Spain, the French have France, and the Germans have Germany. All of these ethnically distinct peoples have their own homeland set apart from others by their respective languages, cultures, and ways of lives. When traveling abroad, the Frenchman or the German proudly proclaim their nationality knowing that the person asking will immediately recognize their country and most likely associate a few things with it. They might even be familiar with some of the cities, such as Berlin or Paris. Everyone in the world has heard of the Eiffel Tower and the history of the Berlin wall. However, not every group in the world has the luxury to be able to get instant recognition of their nationality by simply using one word.
The Chaldeans of Iraq are a 7,000 year old Christian nation directly descended from the ancient peoples of Mesopotamia, including, but not limited to Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians. They are descendants of a veritable who’s who list of ancient history. They claim descent from Hammurabi, who created the first code of laws, Nebuchadnezzar of Old Testament fame, and famous ancient rulers such as Sargon the great and Ashurbanipal. They were among the first Christian groups in the world, and believe to have been brought to their faith by St. Thomas the apostle. Their language is a form of Aramaic, the very same language Jesus spoke while he was on earth, and a root language for Hebrew and Arabic. Their influence has spread to India, where we find the Malabars and as far as Nepal and Tibet where evidence of Chaldean missionaries has been found. Today, their ancestral homeland extends across northern Iraq and into Turkey, Georgia, Iran, Armenia and Syria. Their culture and language has survived wars, massacres, violent religious conversions, as well as religious oppression and cultural suppression, particularly Arabization. The Chaldeans, despite all the accomplishments of their people, are grouped into the category of people whose nationality isn’t recognized by the average Joe. When asked, they are constantly forced to give their listener a lecture on Chaldean history. Chaldeans can be heard describing themselves as Iraqi Christians, Arab Christians, and sometimes refer to themselves as citizens of the country they immigrated to. Chaldeans however are anything but any of these last classifications.
Chaldeans are NOT Arab Christians. Although they share many cultural and linguistic similarities, they are simply not of Arab stock, and should not be described as such. Chaldeans are NOT Iraqi Christians. Although many Chaldeans are of Iraqi origin, not all Chaldeans originated in Iraq. There are native Chaldeans in Turkey, Syria, Georgia, Armenia and many other Arab and non-Arab countries. Although many consider themselves proud Iraqis or former Iraqis, Chaldeans are so much more than simply Iraqi Christians. Many Chaldeans in Diaspora, instead of describing themselves as Iraqi or Arab Christian, will refer to themselves as people of the country the immigrated to. Chaldeans, although they may hold citizenship, are not German, Italian or English. They are Chaldeans ethnically, and their children will always remain Chaldean regardless of how much intermarrying with other cultures happens. Chaldeans are Chaldeans, regardless of what middle-eastern country they originate from and will remain Chaldeans regardless of what country they immigrate to.
Although, not having the luxury of one word recognition of their beautiful national name, they do have the luxury of having one of the most beautiful, historic, and rich cultures the world has ever seen. Although without their own country, Chaldeans in the homeland and in diaspora must learn to be proud of themselves and their people. In order to make themselves known to the world, Chaldeans must commit to themselves and their people by not describing themselves as something they’re not. Instead of taking the easy way out, and describing themselves in one or two words, Chaldeans must begin to take the time out to explain their culture to the world’s peoples, one by one.


-- Jeff
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