|Re: genocide part 3|
- Monday, December 24 2007, 22:26:28 (CET)|
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Syriac Churches in 1914
Religious minorities in the Ottoman empire were divided into "nations" populations, and peoples.(sounds like what our boys are crying for today in Kurdistan or Iraq? these are my words). They enjoyed broad freedom of movement in their own internal affairs. The two biggest Christians were the Greek orthodox society and the Armenians. In addition to them, there were other Christian groups four of them being communities of Syriac churches.
The biggest of the four Syriac churches belonged to the Nestorians who formed a community of 80 thousand people. Nestorian and Assyrians were the names given by Europeans. They called themselves only Christians or Syriacs being inspired by the land in which their church had been established(Janin p555, Cuinet II p648). The church was directed by a patriarch living in "Qotchanus" of Hakkari sanjak. Since the 15th century, positions of patriarch and governor was taken over by sons from their fathers. The Nestorian patriarch was the only head not appointed by the sultan. Since the patriarchs did not get married, their successors were either sons of the uncle or brothers.
Nestorians living in Hakarri were divided into tribes like their Kurdish neighbors. These tribes made thousands of Kurdish villagers, who hads been living in the region without any land as laborers in return for what is just enough to make a living(Rondot p7).
The Syriac patriarch received 100 sterling per year from the Ottomans and the British. The Anglican church had been in effort to gain Nestorian supporters since 1830. The Nestorians did not pay any taxes to the Ottomans and were exempt from miltary service. They did not have schools of their own. schools were directed by the British missionaries. They shared these two privileges with their Kurdish neighbors.(Fortescue p131). In other words, Kurds were not included in the Hamidiye army(Yale-Hekmann p266). Because the Ottoman official authorities could not ensure any supervision in a secluded place like Hakarri.
It would not be right to consider Nestorians as a small minority surrounded by Muslims in the region. The Syriac Tiari was one of the main tribes and was strong enough to counter the attacks of the Kurds. The relationship with Kurds was quiet good. In general, The Syriac was consulted to have the feuds between the Kurdish tribes solved. During the revolt of Yazdan Sir in 1853/55 and Obeydallah's great Kurdish revolt in 1880/82, Nestorian units started a war in support of the Kurds(Yalcin-Heckmann p62 and palva p13). Nestorians were also able to appeal to the Kurdish sheikhs to receive aid.
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