|exchange at Mess-O-potamia|
- Friday, November 24 2006, 8:09:12 (CET)|
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In an earlier exchange with Pancho this is what I had to say: Please pay most of your attention to the point #4
Now letís stick to the facts.
1. Assyrians are the indigenous people of Iraq.
..it may be enough to say that in here and among our families and friends...but it isn't enough out in the world...that may be the root of our problem...I mean mine with you and your's with me...I'm focused on the outside world...I'm not the artist the community pats on the head and says "besmaganookh" just because I am Assyrian...in our community Aprim can pass for a writer...but nowhere else.
...In the Assyrian community I was praised..people kissed my hands..they said I was a "great Assyraian artist",,,my response was that I am almost the ONLY sculptor you have. Just to BE an artist is greatness enough among us...we have very low expectations...we don't expect our performers to make it to Carnegie Hall....Turlock High School auditorium is good enough for us..in fact we feel BETTER in such venues because we know our limitations...we know we 'd embarrass ourselves if we had to compete as equals with the people of this planet....if we aim low, we will STAY low. Look at us.
...I came at the problem differently...I aimed not for our community standards...but for those of the outside world...I didn't want people saying..."well, praise him because whatever he is,he is ASSYRIAN"!!! No, no...not me...I wanted to know that as an Assyrian I could compete with the best AS an Assyrian...when I finished the monument of Ashurbanipal I didn't take it to Turlock...I took it to San Francisco and presented it to the Arts Commission of that city...one of the main tourist destinations in the world...I wanted THAT kind of audience...not an audience in Ceres...I wanted other people to know about my Heritage, for that is our real problem...no one knows about us and what they hear from most of us is downright laughable...
...You have to realize that the sorts of locations in major cities reserved for public monuments are among the most valuable real estate there is...you couldn't rent or buy such spaces..no matter how much money you have because they are public spaces...but you CAN have the use of them...and for hundreds of years too if you meet the rigorous requirements in place...requirements that ALL artists are subject to...where no exceptions are made because of Semele or because you "suffered".
...As I said before,,,if you're going to play with the big boys on center stage...you have to have your wits about you...you have to know your stuff...you have to be able to compete...all of which means you have to understand the RULES...understand them and be able to use them BETTER than the others, others who were born and grew up with these rules.
...My focus is on the OUTSIDE world..I want pride of place for my Heritage out there...in the world and not in a community Bingo parlor...that's why I subject these words we throw around to scrutiny...beacuse I know it's important how I present myself...if I come across as foolish and vain and seeking pity or vainglory, I'll be written off right away.
..as the director of the Arts Commission told me..."you have no idea how many people give the city gifts hoping to have them placed in prominant locations" Ashurbanipal was accepted by the city because it had artistic merit...NOT because I am Assyrian...or because I lost family in Iran...and certianly not because I cry a lot.
..it's the same with these concepts and definitions...you people use language like it was made of silly putty....you say things that your cousins smile at and praise you for..yet your cousins have no power to give you anything or do anything for you...you are weeping to the choir...I'm trying to present my Heritage in ways worthy of its glorious past...I am professional...you are amateurs...don't be offended....you don't make your living from being Assyrian..or doing anything Assyrian...I do.
...I stress definitons and accuracy in history etc because I KNOW the slightest missatatement can be used against me..just as any sloppy work in sculpture will mean no city will accept it.
...Very very few sculptors decide all on their own that they're going to build a monument and place it in a city of their choosing...for one thing no sculptor pays for his own monument...they are very expensive..but I paid for the Ashurbanipal..except for a $25,000 gift from IBM....but the other $140,000.00 was raised through the sale of MY sculpture...sculptors don't do these sorts of things...no one asked me to make an Assyrian monument...San Francisco knew nothing of my plans...I made the model and then showed it to them...they accepted it and placed it in about the best spot in the city...same with Chicago...it isn't easy, you know, to get your monument up in cities like San Francisco or Chicago...artists would KILL to place monuments there....yet we did it...and I was able to do my part because Ashur inspired me to work in THIS life and inspired me to learn the RULES and play the game BETTER than the rest.
..I started out assuming that you were all serious and really wanted to achieve something...so that you would CARE very much to make yourselves comprehensible to the people OUT THERE...because they own the land and treasure and make the rules...we don't have to grovel...just present our case in ways THEY can understand...who cares if your third cousin praises you OR damns you..he can't do anything for you anyway...he has not the power.
...now I see that you are merely interested in weeping a lot..like Fil...or making DEMANDS on the HOPE that someone will give in to you. I had dreams too...but my dreams for an Assyrian monument were at least in MY hands to achieve..for the most part...it was hard work, believe me. Just imagine walking up to Assyrians and asking them for money to build artwork...artwork YOU said would be welcome by an American city...imagine how they'd look at you...like you were a crook who'd come up with a scheme to MAKE MONEY! For four years I travelled across America to conventions...I spoke at banquets...stood in hotel lobbies till all hours showing models of the monuments and raising funds...I wrote ten thousand letters to people...I never begged or pleaded..I tried to make the CASE so people would become inspired and believe I could do the near-impossible. I raised over a half million dollars for three monuments...it took me 13 years to finish the Shumirum Monument because I had a family and four children to support...all on the irregular salary of a freelance sculptor who ONLY made Assyrian art he sold to ASSYRIANS...you think that doesn't take guts and some big dreams? After 100 years we don't have a SINGLE Assyrian school...and I got all that money for monuments? I got it because I showed exactly how it could be done...I believe in impossible dreams when it's up to YOU to make them happen...not when you have to "hope" and have "faith" and these two are the ONLY things that you "do".
2. They have any right to pursue their rights in such respect regardless of the scale of remoteness of their success in such regard.
...of course..they have the right to hurl themselves off a roof and believe they'll fly...they have the right to believe when they die they'll live on a cloud forever...so?
3. There is no doubt that the chances are very remote.
...no. The chances are NONE...and for several good reasons...one way to know that, if you don't want to believe me, is to ask yourselves when any country has given away any part of itself...well?
However, if you had asked Kurds in 80s you would know they even did not dream to have their independent region in existence in 90s.
..that is definitely not true...the Kurds have been FIGHTING, not talking, for 100 years at least against the Iraqi government...my father fought them in the mountains in the 40s. They fought and gave their lives ACTIVELY for their dream...no one GAVE them Kurdistan...they understood that America respects force and violence,,that America doesn't want a "little ally" who's greatest claim to fame is that he is a REAL Christian..like Christ...Christ wound up dead...he asked for no land on earth...if you emulate him then you should all go die quietly and get your kingdom.
But it did happened. Kurds had much better chance to have their independent taken in Iran or Turkey but now they have it in Iraq, where they never thought would succeed. Why? Well, It does not need a racket scientist to answer it.
...Iraq is a much smaller country...they fought and fought and fought...they did not simply cry and have faith and hope...you are all out of Iraq DEMANDING things are yours and must be given to you...the Kurds never did that...they fought for what they got..and that is legitimate in international law where, if you can keep what you steal, it is legitimate...you may get an Assyria by stealing it...but the bible won't get it for you.
4. Assyrians are divided politically. Lately religious denomination has played huge role in dividing them more.
.."lately"??? When did Assyrians beccome Catholics and Protestant and Baptists and Lutherans and Episcopalians and Presbyterians and Anglicans and Methodists and Pentacostalists and Seventh Day Adventists and Evangelicals and a hundred other sects..what do you mean "lately"???
What needs to be done is to direct the intention of the people to real issues. Blaming religion, namely Christianity, or blaming other religions such as Judisim or Islam is not going to solve our problems. If you really wish to educate Assyrians about rteal issues then start talking and educating them about the issues of:
a. Secular, Legitimate, United & Universal Assyrian Leadership (?Assyrian Parliament)
..it would be a meaningless body with no authority anywhere. It would be a joke. You have no legal basis to form any kind of a parliament...just WANTING to doesn't mean anything.
b. National budget
..you have no nation for that budget...what would you do with it?
c. National policies
..for what nation? What policy can you make that would be binding on Iraq..or any other nation? You are a small minority who've made a big deal out of getting UNITED...even if you ALL spoke with one voice you STILL wouldn't amount to a hill of beans..you have not the numbers to do anything in any democracy. I think all this unity talk is simply a political cover to unite into ONE religion....no country on earth is UNITED, the way you mean it...you mean everyone else must accept YOUR point of view.
d. The issue of Assyrian Refugees
..that is a valid concern. But here too, if you don't start behaving with a lot more circumspection you're only going to have an unending supply of refugees. The current flood of people, Muslim and Christian, running from Iraq happened because of what CHRISTIANS are doing in Iraq..not because of anything Saddam did. I have no doubt that if, after these Christians pull out, Germany or France or Poland or some other Christian country should come along and promise to "save you" by attacking Iraq..you'll jump on their vehicle as well!!! Do you doubt that? And when you did and those Christians too were defeated, you'd have that many MORE refugees to care for....
e. The issue of Assyrian rights as the indigenous people of Iraq and such recognition by Iraqi government as well as International diplomacy.
..you can't get much more international than the United Nations and that body has said that to be indigenoius a people have to have lived continuously in a place for a minimum of 400 years...by that definiton, an internationally accepted one, the Arabs and Kurds of Iraq are indigenous...you really MUST get out more often. If you think anyone is going to support you because you say you are MORE indigenous...well, good luck.
...aside from that you can't prove that you ARE descended from the indigenous Assyrians of old...if you had REMAINED faithful to Ashur..as the Jews did to yahwe..you'd have a better argument..you still wouldn't get anything but at least there wouldn't be a big gaping hole in your reasoning.
f. The issue of Assyrian genocide and the acknowledgement of the Turkish government.
...when the United States apologizes to Iraq for murdering 600,000 Iraqi chuildren under the age of five...then you can ask the Turks for an apology..when Britain apologizes to the Indians...then you can ask the Turks...when Europe apologizes for declaring war against the Ottomans for their oil fields;;;killing hundreds of thousands who did nothing to them, THEN you can ask them for an apology.
..I don't know where you pulled the figure of 750,000 Christian Assyrians killed by the Turks...I have far more faith in the figures compiled by the United Nations, Amnesty International and the Red Cross when they state that 600,000 Iraqi children UNDER the age of five were starved to death...where is the apology for that? That's only 150,000 LESS than you are demanding apologies for...you see what I mean?
(I am not suggesting compensation but the acknowledgement of such crime against humanity and in this particular case against our people).
...when other nations start apologizing for their crimes...then ask the Turks.
I think I stop here because the above issues are more than enough challenge for a nation to deal with (if in a proper manner) for next 100 years.
...you have no nation. You have no territory that is YOURS exclusively or at ALL...YOU say it is yours...that is not enough....other people have to accept it...Like I said, you all talk to each OTHER and avoid saying these things outside...
If they are not dealt in a proper manner then even a millennium is not enough to solve those issues.
...your only viable option is the one given to all disposessed people...assuming you had "your lands taken" from you...and that is to be the best citizens you can be...deal with your limitations and work constructively to improve what you don't like..that is all. Outside BetNahrain you can do what you like, but I'll bet you you obey the laws in whatever countries you live....but inside Iraq or Kurdistan, you can demand nothing from INSIDE and to go on doing it from outside only makes life more difficult for those who could NOT get out...the way you have.
I hope you realise that I am serious and am not chattering.
...I know you are serious...about having faith and hope...those are fine things for believing in heaven or fish being turned into wine..but they will not win you elections...they will not cure diseases...and they will not get you someone else's lands...
Sargon didn't defeat the Sumerians with faith and hope...Hammurabi didn't conquer with faith and hope...the Arabs did much more than have faith and hope when they conquered BetNahrain...America didn't use faith and hope to steal a country...the Kurds didn't depend on faith and hope when they got Kurdistan...only YOU think faith and hope will solve what you see as your problem...you had faith and hope in 1916...you even FOUGHT then and you got nothing...in 1922 you again had faith and hope in Levies and the Brits and you got nothing...you had faith and hope that America would save you and give you Assyria and you got nothing...now you have faith and hope the the Kurds..whom half of you despise, will give ALL of you a region to call your own and THAT won't happen either...this is not "dreaming", it is living a nightmare.
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