On Bragging Rights

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Posted by panch from customer-148-233-78-77.uninet.net.mx ( on Thursday, September 19, 2002 at 6:02PM :

We have a funny, Christian meekness attitude towards telling others of our accomplishments. As if just to mention them implies you´re putting others down. The really freaky thing is the Youth Excellence Pageant at the Federation conventions where a group of young men and women get up on stage and brag about everything they´ve ever done...every honor, every prize...their GPA and any awards or projects of note. I watched it once and it was painful. Nothing short of clamoring for attention and a cash prize. I understand the idea...but the execution is a bit barbaric.

The one thing we are unashamedly proud of and never cease to display and extoll as a virtue is how many of our young girls were raped...how many were torn from their mother´s grasp...how many Assyrian men were slaughtered...how many times we were betrayed and on and on. These are things we never tire of hearing or repeating. It´s the strangest sort of bragging...like, "Look at ME! I get KILLED regularly...and there isn´t a THING I seem to be able to do about it"!!! "DID YOU HEAR ME???"

This kind of bragging, this pride in uselessness and ineffectiveness and woebegoneness is the only thing we are allowed to speak of as setting us apart and, we think, above others. We even rush to compare ourselves to those who had the "good fortune" to be even more murdered and abused than we...trying to "boost our numbers" so we can climb to the very heights of the depths.

This is "Christian bragging". If an Assyrian mentions having placed a monument...or formed a dance company...or been invited to perform an Assyrian song at Carnegie Hall...we jump all over him or her for bragging.

What is bragging? That was the great thing about Muhammad Ali...when he said he was the best...he was only telling the truth. Was it his fault he happened to be the best? was it something to be ashamed of? Did it not bring pride to thousands of young Black boys and girls? He never expected special treatment because of it...in fact he got a lot worse than he deserved.

If people have any pride in being Assyrian...you´d think they´d be eager to announce every instance when an Assyrian has achieved something worthy of note...especially if non-Assyrians are free with praise. Why not...why on earth not?

I believe it´s because this fosters the wrong kind of pride in us...the kind our church doesn´t approve of...mainly because it plays up our Assyrian, as opposed to our Christian, aspect. As Christians we mention often enough how we worked like mules to spread Christianity...doing the Pope´s work...how we wre killed and suffered and beaten down and murdered and martyred and raped. We don´t think of this as bragging ordinarily, but it is a form of bragging..of boasting of your achievements...even if what you achieved was the undoing of your self...your children and your people.

If I tell simply and straightforwardly the kind things that an official in Chicago or a gallery owner told me about my work...someone who was set to promote the work and the people it represents...I am accused of bragging and showing off. But if I were to come here and tell you all that I just lost THREE sisters to a Muslim...COUNT EM...THREE!!! you´d be all eyes, ears, noses and tears. Why? Because it is your Christian pride which, as with your sense of salvation, requires us to be torn limb from limb if we really want to accomplish something worthy of HIS example...and I´d just have moved us all closer by losing a major part of my family.

That´s why we have nothing and why we have people deathly afraid we´ll change all that...that from now on to be Assyrian will NOT mean recounting your losses...looking backwards to the scene of the crimes committed against you...it will mean building and doing, and achieving, sometimes against all odds...especially those placed before you by your "own" people.

-- panch
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