The following Letter is from Zack Cherry, Assyriologist, to Kelley Ross,
|Mr. Ross you simply discredited yourself
Dear Mr. Ross,
As an Assyrian and as a postgraduate student of Assyriology I found your article "Note on the Modern Assyrians" extremely offensive and derogatory. It raised suspicions about its objectivity and whether it was intended deliberately to demoralize above all the Assyrian students attending the Los Angeles Valley College. Even more offensive and condescending was your Editorial Note that replaced your above mentioned article in which you asserted your initial views without properly addressing the subject matter and the concerns forwarded to you by my fellow Assyrians including myself.
The recent research carried in the field of Assyriology provide us with a picture not only different from the one you seem eager to portray about the ancient Assyrians but also in a sharp contrast to it. To substantiate this allow me to provide you with some quotations from scholarly sources of Assyriology which could very well address the inaccuracies and false remarks you made about the ancient Assyrians when you wore the following:
" Beyond the questions of ethnic mixture or purity, it might strike one as unseemly that Christians should be at pains to get too excited over descent from a people who not only were not Christians but whose terror and brutality were a byword in the ancient world... This was a typical example of exemplary terror in Assyrian policy, measures that could not even be portrayed today outside of horror movies, but boasted of by the King. The ancient Assyrians, in short, are not worthy of the mediaeval [sic] and modern Assyrians. not even Hitler got rid of so large a percentage of all Jews"
Georges Roux (1992 P. 291) writes the following about the ancient Assyrians in comparing them directly with their contemporary neighbors:
"It must be noted, however, that these atrocities were usually reserved for those local princes and their nobles who had revolted and that in contrast with the Israelites, for instance, who exterminated the Amalekites for purely ethno-cultural reasons, the Assyrians never indulged in systematic genocides."
Another scholar in the field namely Bustenay Oded (1979 pp. 85-86) gives a similar view in comparing the Assyrian empire to the Roman empire:
"The Assyrian empire, in contrast to the Roman empire, was not militarily and economically organized to turn large masses of captives into slaves, or to absorb the
hundreds of thousands of deportees into its forced labour gangs. The deportees were considered Assyrian subjects, because they were settled in Assyrian territory. As such, they had to be taught 'to revere god and king'. As Assyrian subjects they were liable to civic and military obligations. We may go a step further and say that the same obligations as those imposed on deportees and on the inhabitants of a conquered territory were also imposed on Assyrians settled outside Assyria….
…… This is a further confirmation of the view according to which the Assyrian attitude to a person was based first and foremost on his political affiliation and the territory he lived in, and not on his ethnic-national identity, and that territorial unity rather national purity determined the attitude of the Assyrian kings to conquered population."
So Mr. Ross on what basis were you able to compare my ancestors, the ancient Assyrians, to Hitler? As an Assyriologist, I also morally, intellectually, and educationally can not tolerate such an inaccurate statements especially if were made by individuals holding academic positions and supposedly abide by the scholarly standards.
I am afraid to say Mr. Ross that your article mentioned above and even your editorial note betrayed your lack of knowledge as regards the impressive legacy of the Assyrians and its continuation i.e. the ancient Assyrians and their descendants the Assyrians of today. In your article and your editorial note you only discredited yourself simply for being stereotyping, biased and for not giving an objective and balanced account. In a scholarly spirit I wrote this to you. I wish you well being and good luck.
Respectfully, Zack Cherry
Back to Kelley Ross, Ph.D