Posted by pancho from pool0124.cvx24-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net (126.96.36.199) on Friday, December 13, 2002 at 9:07AM :
I think the Assyrian Heritage is safe and in good hands in Iraq. I see no evidence the Iraqi government or people have any desire to turn Assyrian history into "Arab" history. I don't see anything wrong or devious in calling the Assyrian past , "Iraqi" history. Everyone knows what is meant when the Viking, Saxon or Druid past is called "English" History. Stonehenge is a part of England today as much as Nineveh is a part of Iraq. To give ourselves headaches over these things is a waste of energy...and foolish.
What is definitely in danger is the Christian religion...whoever professes it, and this is much more as a result of what Chritians themselves have done than it is any vendetta on the part of Muslims. There can be no arguement with the fact that Islam tried far, far more than Western Christianity ever did, to live side by side with Jews and Christians...especially in the Ottoman Empire. When Khalid ibn al Walid captured Jerusalem he had every right to massacre the Jewish and Christian population and burn down their temples. Instead he invited the Patriarch to tour the city and guarnteed Jews and Muslims the right to worship. This privilege remained in place until the Crusaders came and killed every Muslim and Jewish man, woman and child.
I;m not defending Islam or condemming the rest...just reciting history. To call Islam a militant religion and leave out all the blood shed by Christianity, including the blood shed by Christian armies led by Popes...against other Christians no less...is to play fast and loose with simple reality.
The Christian religion has earned the status it enjoys today in the MidEast...in fact I'm surprised it is tolerated at all. Put the shoe on the other foot...imagine an enclave of Muslims in America receiving aid and calling upon their Muslim brethren, living in a powerful and aggressive Muslim country, to come save them...a Muslim country whose jets and tanks and missles had been pounding American cities...whose overwhelmingly superior armies had attacked and killed thousands of American soldiers...whose government had imposed Sanctions against America resulting in the death of 5000 American children a month for 12 years...imagine how this Muslim minority in America would be regarded by Christian Americans...and it takes your breath away to realize that any church is left standing in Iraq...or any Christian yet allowed to remain.
The Christian religion has made itself unwelcome...though I believe Iraqis are still far more tolerant of it than Americans are ever going to be towards Islam. Jerry Falwell and Trent Lott have been premature, that's all. What they let "slip" is what they really believe, along with Bush and many others who are practicing this sort of duplicity as a matter of policy...they are keeping a lid on what their real goals are because right now the laws on the books and the judiciary and Congress...and the American people, are not yet ready for the all out assault they've been planning for some time. The ground has to be made fertile...these people either believe in the Religious Right's mandate from God to bring America "home"...or they are going along in order to gain the grim support of the white masses who believe America took a serious detour the day it began to truly live up to the promise contained in the Constitution...extending its full protection to Women, Blacks, Homosexuals, believers of other faiths and all the others whom they are convinced the original framers never intended to include.
There is a Christian Fundamentalist Jihad against all of us who don't subscribe to their doctrine...and the Christian presence in the Mideast is going to be one of the victims of this holy hellish war of theirs. The numbers seem to indicate a steady decline in Christians in the Mideast...and it's only going to grow.
Christians in Iraq have several ways out...ways Jews didn't have. They can immigrate to any number of Christian countries, most of which are among the wealthiest in the world. If Jews had even one Jewish country they could have migrated to after the War, there never would have been an Israel. Our Christians have options the Jews never did.
To insist that we have to maintain an Assyrian presence in Iraq...against all these odds, when what we really mean is a Christian presence...sets those people up for a lifetime of insecurity. It's also hypocritical of us because none of us would move back there to live. We enjoy our freedoms and our lattes far too much. Whatever we do that is "Assyrian" anywhere else in the world...is really Christian...and we're insisting those people stay there just so Christianity can have a meagre following...and not "lose" out to Islam...which, like any good bigots, we've been taught to hate all our lives. We're willing to risk those people's lives just so Christ doesn't lose this one too.
The Assyrian Heritage was and will be cared for by the Iraqi people who are themselves descendants of the ancient Assyrians, among others, and the fact they chose a different religion...or go about honoring their past differently than we Christians do...means nothing anywhere else BUT in our Christian heads.
All this fuss and bother to secure water and roofs and medicine for the few people in the north of Iraq we are allowed to get to...is an effort to support a Christian presence in the country...that's all. It's also a cynnical manipulation and use of an embattled Christian minority for purely political ends by the "parties" back there. If anyone seriously wanted to improve the lot of Christians in Iraq, they would address the major Christian powers that have been pounding all the people of Iraq for years now...not provide barely what it takes to keep a few Christians going...especially while we stand eager and ready to use their deaths and continued suffering in our martyrfests so people like Jackie can weep and serve us champagne.
Eventually, the Christians of Iraq will either have to leave or convert or go underground. Those who are using them will cry that this means the end of an Assyrian presence in Iraq...that is pure bullshit. The Assyrian heritage is alive and well in Iraq...it is only under fire from the United States and our own Christians.
If any of these self-styled Assyrian organizations were interested in Assyrian history or culture, they would have taken advantage of the freedom they enjoy in the West to do something besides build churches all these years. They would have taken the trouble to build language and history classes and schools in the West...rather than demand Saddam do it for them in Iraq. They would have taught this "precious" language to their children instead of paying to get them tatooed and painted in the West.
This has been a Christian thing...never an Assyrian one. The Muslim Assyrians of Iraq should be free to put whatever emphasis on being Assyrian they want to...versus being Muslim. And going by our Christian example...they too place very little energy in being Assyrian today...about as much as we put into being Assyrian. This is a Christian, Muslim battle, brought to us all by Christianity...and Assyria is getting trashed in the middle.
The Assyrian...NOT Christian, heritage is in danger everywhere in the world EXCEPT in Iraq. In the West where we could do anything we put our pointy heads to...we do nothing...worse than nothing...as we can see these leaders of ours who weep because Saddam wont honor our Assyrian heritage the way WE want him to...are the very people who blocked and ruined about the ONLY expression of our Assyrian heritage anywhere in the world in the last 2500 years. If I go on about it it's because I'm the only one so far who sees the irony and bitter reality these acts reveal about our so-called devotion to an Assyrian heritage...and not just the leaders either.
At least fifteen people and the Federation gave over $90, 000 to have the Shumirum...an Assyrian NOT a Christian symbol, created and installed...and every one of them has stood by for six years and done nothing to counter the effects of ONE senile old goat who gave not a DIME himself...yet who has been allowed to stop the project. Tell me about demands we feel justified in making on Saddam when we can't manage to find the means, in THIS country, to brush aside one old fart. Just how "dear" is the Assyrian heritage? It isn't...not at all. All this moaning and groaning and spilling of tears and hand-wringing has been over Christ...a reformed Jew...that's all.
Christian Assyrians have done less than Muslim Assyrians of Iraq for our Assyrian heritage...far less. Christians have worked for Christ...Muslims have worked for Muhammad...but at least they care for the treasures of Assyria.
A few of us in this country worked for Ashur's memory...and the ONLY people who opposed us were Christian Assyrians...and a half-breed Armenian.
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