Posted by Jeff from bgp01107368bgs.wbrmfd01.mi.comcast.net (188.8.131.52) on Thursday, June 13, 2002 at 2:43PM :
A Modest Proposal
[ Beth Suryoyo Assyrian (Othuroyo) Forum
Written by parhad on 22 Dec 2000 02:16:38:
I'd like to suggest that some of us out there band together to
actually do something. I propose that we try to
strengthen our presence in Iraq, by creating a viable economic
atmosphere for those of our people now hanging on as
dirt poor farmers and underpaid employees. I choose Iraq simply for
sentimental reasons. It's the closest we can get
to the very heart of our ancient empire. We may even make it
possible for our people to move back there in
generations to come.
I'm uncomfortable with all this begging for help, the few thousand
dollars we raise by rubbing salt in our wounds for
the world's pity. I don't think we help our people there by making
them dependent on relief. We must look for ways
to empower them.
It seems there are other people. Palestinians, moving to the north
and opening businesses. We could provide a capital
fund to do the same. It's risky, a lot riskier than writing your
congressman and making "demands". Personally, I like
the idea of making things there and selling them elsewhere at a
In an art book I saw vases and bowls excavated in Iraq. They are
glazed ceramic and the muted colors and patterns
are truly beautiful. Reproducing these would be easy. The
material... clay, brick kilns and glaze are not expensive
items. The skills can be easily aquired. A shop could be set up
with very little capital and we already know there is an
abundance of people out of work and we also know our people are
talented and hard workers.
No one wants to sell ceramic reproductions in Iraq. Marketing-R-US.
We could play up the angle that these vases
were made from the same clay, the same region and the same
techniques were used as the ancients had developed.
Even those now making the pieces were descended from those people.
That would be a sexy angle.
There's no question that the artwork is beautiful. The Metropolitan
Museum in New York and others have ceramic
reproductions but no one has them from our region and heritage. In
my town ceramic platters from Italy sell for
$200.oo. This is high-end art stuff and the pedigree and the bull
we could add would be considerable.
There are gift shows, and gift shops, boutiques and crafts fairs
and all sorts of places both here and in Europe where
we could market these highly unique additions to a market that's
allready established and is always on the look-out
for something new.
It could be run as a co-op, with profits pooled for the benefit of
the workers and to repay the investment. Those
profiting would be the owners/workers. Other people have done it. I
have to keep saying that because we have so
little faith in our abillities.
It would require little to set up. You could begin with one design,
a couple of workers, some clay, molds, glazes and
a kiln. I'm not stupid though, I'd only get involved if I had my
own money, no more asking for handouts from our
community. Everyone thinks everyone else is on the make for a quick
buck. But you gotta laugh...a scheme to get
rich by making vases in north Iraq???? But it could work, it could
be a beginning. We have, as our greatest asset, our
heritage and the respect and awe it inspires in others. There are
many ways we could tap into that. This is only one,
let's come up with more.
We could even try for development grants and matching grants. There
are so many resources out there we know
nothing of, which other people are tapping into regularaly. I know
this post isn't for the Suryoyo and Turyoyo
devotees. They're too busy trying to determine the number of
Suryani that can dance on the head of a pin.
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