|Re: more on the iltellectual dishonesty of assyrians....|
- Wednesday, September 18 2013, 2:32:35 (UTC)|
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I read your letter, and you were on-point. I just read Ross's piece and aside from the Hitler part, he makes a good argument. But then I read this and had to laugh. Fuck Kelly Ross!
"Curiously, in the debate Mr. Parhad admitted that people might not have liked ancient Assyria because it was an Empire -- like the "Empire" that the United States now has. This is a little odd, since Mr. Parhad does not seem to like the United States and appears to hope that its power will founder in military action against Iraq, while protesting that someone like me should talk about how contemporaries didn't like ancient Assyria. One would think that if ancient Assyria was enlightened, likeable, and popular, then now the United States, if it qualifies as an "Empire" by his definition, would be enlightened, likeable, and popular also. But this does not seem to be the case, and at least Mr. Parhad, disliking the United States so much, has acted on this by moving to Mexico.
Another curious feature of this debate was something that to me was rather surprising, and which I could not take into account in my original treatment of the issue, and that is the rejection of some Assyrian nationalists, like Mr. Parhad himself, of Christianity. I was aware of attempts to denigrate the Old Testament and to virtually de-Judaize an Assyrian nationalist Christianity, but it can go far beyond this, with an abandonment of Christianity altogether and a desire to revive the ancient worship of the Assyrian national god, Ashur. Unfortunately, if this is supposed to it fit in with a modern Iraqi nationalism (e.g. an Assyrian Iraqi rather than an Arab Iraqi identity), there is the difficulty that such neo-pagan worship is not something that Islām is under any obligation, by its own laws, to tolerate. If Mr. parhad, a sculptor, provided a statue of Ashur to Iraq, good Moslems would be duty bound to destroy it. Saddam Hussein may be a completely cynical Moslem, but he is presently trying to take advantage of radical Islām. The worship of Ashur is not going to fit in with that. Mr. Parhad might want to confer with Saddam before getting too carried away. I suspect the truth is that Mr. Parhad's views, however conformable in their anti-Americanism to Saddam Hussein's, are otherwise idiosyncratic and have little to do with Hussein's actual beliefs or purposes.
Since September 11, 2001, of course, a pro-Iraqi anti-Americanism, whether Assyrian or Arab, Ashur-worshipping or Islamic in origin, is not going to sound good to most Americans or, I hope, most Assyrians. If the Assyrian community stayed away from the Valley College forum for fear of attacting hostile attention from Americans, this was a wise response indeed, when the presumably pro-Assyrian speaker was identifying himself with the enemies of America and could barely conceal his own anti-American animus. Since many Americans may be unaware that there even are Christian communities in the Middle East (an Egyptian Christian, a Copt, perhaps mistaken as a Moslem, was murdered in San Gabriel soon after September 11), and Arab Christians are at pains to dissociate themselves from Islam (as many Moslems are at pains to dissociate themselves from radical "Islamist" ideology), the last thing the Assyrians need is an ideology to dissociate them from Christianity and associate them with, of all people, Saddam Hussein."
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