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Shlama, Shlomo, Shalom, Salam, Peace, Paz, Amani, Frieden, Paix, Śānti, мир, ειρήνη, 和平, ሰላም ...
Shlama and Shlomo to all of you. At the top right corner of this page there are tabs for Assyrian Thinker Blog, my free complete book "Mustenu Sa Simti" which means changing my destiny in ancient Assyrian, and forum which I invite you to navigate.
My name is Abbey Mikha and I am a graduate of the university of Windsor in the fields of Psychology and History. When I graduated from university I became more serious about writing and I love getting my ideas out there into the world especially about humanitarianism and my little Assyrian nation that has been suffering so much in the past years. I hope you will enjoy my writing and also hope that my words will move your heart and awaken humanitarianism and Assyrian nationalism within you. We must remember that we, as human beings, have many more similarities than differences. Let us unite the human race because the truth is we are all one, but let us also be united in standing up against injustice and especially genocide!
Also, please leave your email in the contact form bellow to get updates. Always remember, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Thank you for reading here. You may use the below email to send me thoughts on humanitarianism, Assyrianism, and life in general.
Email Abbey: firstname.lastname@example.org
What It Means to me to Be An Assyrian
By Abbey Mikha
Shlama, ow Shlomo, greetings to you in the dialect of my father, in the dialect of my mother, and in the dialect of the ancient rivers and mountains which my people hailed from time immemorial. To think, to live, to feel Assyrian is not for me an occasional remembrance, it is a passion and a duty. True, we are all human beings, from whatever nation we come from, and true, we are grateful citizens of our countries of adoption, where we try to build a new life with new dreams, but as Assyrians we cannot but carry with us, everywhere we go, the song of our old language, the memory of our lost past, and the pride that kept us alive to this day.
The turning point in my life as an Assyrian was when I realized how little known my people are to the outside world and how fascinating their story is. I marveled at my nation’s instinct for survival, the struggle of an old culture, which defied centuries of foreign rule and refused to surrender. I felt deep injustice, I cried in pain for all Assyrians who, in the last two centuries, were sacrificed in terrible genocides, uprooted from their motherland and forced to err in never ending exile because they just happened to be there on their ancient land, after so long, and because they still stood, not moving an inch even though they were very different from the peoples around them. I took pride in those Assyrians surrounded by hostile nations who fought against all odds for an independent state in Assyria and I felt anger when I learned how superpowers such as the English, during the World Wars, gave us promises, which were never fulfilled. I then understood that nobody really cared for our suffering and that we the young Assyrians, like our forefathers, should proudly keep fighting for our rights, or lose our identity and disappear.
I started to feel the pride associated with my Assyrian heritage at a very young age and as I grew older it grew stronger within me, and as I grew wiser, I realized how important it was for me to carry my people’s name. Being an Assyrian means being united within my nation and being united within myself. I am very proud to be an Assyrian with heritage from Alqosh, Zerineh in Jilu, and Mardin in Tur Abdin, which is one of the main reasons my friend’s call me the United Nations of Assyria. There is an inseparable emotional bond between my nation and I. I accept all of my people even those who are not well aware of our history, loving all Assyrian communities, singing in eastern and western dialects, traveling in time and space from the clay tablets of Ashurbanipal’s library, below earth, to the ancient monasteries, above the mountains and feeling the pride in being the daughter of a nation which gave birth to the first civilizations of humankind.
Today I remembered all Assyrians who fled the homeland, the image of my great grandfather who walked from Turkey to Kiev, which at that time was a part of Russia. Wherever we live, those of us whose ancestors were lucky enough to escape the Seypa Genocide of 1915 share an indestructible thread, which binds us as one, in addition to history, religion, culture, and language; the story of our common suffering and of our strife to remain and resurrect again.
When I realized that our people, who contributed so much to the world and contributed so much to who I am, had been forgotten, I found my Assyrian turning point. This is when I started to want to prove that Assyrians do exist today, and that I am one of them. At one point in time one of my history teachers told me that Assyrians are extinct, he said there is no such nation, that the ancient Assyrians amalgamated with other cultures, and that we did not survive. Ever since that day I have wanted the Assyrian culture and identity to survive within me, since I knew in my heart and in my mind that he was wrong. This is when I found out that not everything which is written in history books, is true, especially about my people. This is when I understood that truth was relative, and that if we do not stand for who we are, our truth will never be known.
I believe I was born to be Assyrian and to be proud of being Assyrian. One of my favorite pastimes is to share the Assyrian culture with people who are not from our background; food my mother taught me to cook, songs in our language, stories from long ago: Gilgamesh, Enuma Elish, The Epic of Inanna and Atra Hasis, tales of kings, queens and shepherds, memories of ancient glory and recent sufferings. I am proud of who we were and who we are today and who I am as part of this nation. I will never let anyone deny me the right to call myself Assyrian and to honor my ancestors and their dreams.
Being an Assyrian means to me not only to defy time, but also defying everyone who thinks that our nation did not survive. To be an Assyrian is to know that it does not matter which church we are from, because we are still one nation, one people who speak one language, the same that Jesus Christ spoke. To be an Assyrian means to let everyone in our nation help in the building of our home, a home with a foundation called nothing other than huyada, or huyodo, unity. Our minor differences, as Assyrians from different communities or dialects, are only due to our long history. Instead of fighting, we should accept one another because every one of us has something to offer our common home, which is the Assyrian Nation.
What I will do to preserve my Assyrian identity is to try to educate myself in whom we were in ancient times, as well as who we are today, and what we need to do in order to survive in the future. An identity can only be preserved through the heart when people relate to what they are preserving and when they share true love for their nation. When sincere love exists, the preservation of one’s culture and identity becomes natural even for Assyrians who never lived in the homeland and never grew up around their countrymen and countrywomen.
How can I not feel pride for a people who survived so many acts of cruelty and were literally crucified, yet still are living and breathing today on the earth? We, Assyrians, are survivors, and there shall hopefully be Assyrians on earth till the end of time! Whenever I discuss with fellow Assyrians our situation today, some people mention the theory that because of living in diaspora, Assyrians will be extinct in a few generations, as will our language, and our culture and heritage. My answer to these thoughts is and always will be: I was not born in my homeland, I did not even grew up around Assyrians and if anyone should have lost his or her Assyrian identity, it would be me, but if anyone has found it and kept it, it has also been me. This means that the children of Assyria will find their way home, and they will never forget who they are or where they came from…
Is History Repeating Itself?
By Abbey Mikha
World War I as thought of as an Islamic jihad and or a Christian crusade is in essence very similar, but it involved diverse nations of differing historical background and from opposing regions of the world. Although the terms jihad or crusade had a religious connotation, the actual dealings, which occurred, by the Ottomans and the British were based on interests, benefits, strategy, and not necessarily religion. These religious ideas were used to rationalize war against a perceived enemy. The ordinary individual on both sides and his religious passions were sparked by these religious philosophies, which were used by their leaders to start conflict and continue it for the benefit of the heads of these empires. It is not the ordinary individual who benefited from war rather the planers who use ordinary people to condition them to do their dirty work. History is repeating itself as ISIS is doing this today in Mosul, Iraq and other regions against the Assyrian Christians, the Indigenous people of Nineveh and other minorities. It must be stated that ISIS itself is a tool in the hands of the same schemers who since 2003 until today have been terrorizing, displacing, and killing Assyrian Christians and other minorities. One must ask the question of who is benefiting from these criminal acts and then we will know who is responsible.
During World War I crusade meant a religious war and jihad meant effort or struggle. A call to jihad was made in Constantinople and another in Madina by Arabs. The leaders told the regular people that death or sacrifice for the cause would send them to paradise. In 1914 there were 270 million Muslims. 30 million governed by fellow Muslims. 100 million were British subjects. There were others in Chechnya. Those who opposed holy war were promised the fire of hell. This was to scare the ordinary religious individual. Call to jihad was translated into Persian, Urdu, Arabic, and Tartar. Jihad was also proclaimed in Afghanistan and India. In Persia there was a call for jihad by Shiites. Uganda, Congo, Sudan were also involved. This was the most prominent instant of state sponsored jihad, for the Ottomans knew that their empire was going to be destroyed unless they made their move. Jihad was seen as a German plan to weaken Britain and her allies at the time.
Enver Pasha the Ottoman Minister of War himself wondered, “Is holy war useful?” In other words how could the Ottomans use the notion of holy war! Jihad was an attempt by the Ottomans to supposedly unite the empire. One must note that history seems to be repeating itself here again because today the Prime Minister of Turkey Tayyip Ordogan and his Turkish Foreign Minister Daoud Oglo are the main players in the fighting of a dirty war in Syria and Iraq in order to selfishly retrieve gas and oil by manipulating many Islamic jihadi groups in the region.
In regards to World War I in the Middle East and the Ottomans using the notion of holy war to unite the empire, one has to consider that there were many non-Turkish nations living under Ottoman tyranny who were also Christians such as the Assyrians, Armenians, and Greeks. If Jihad was going to strengthen the Ottoman Empire what was to become of its Christian inhabitants?
The British Empire had more Muslims living in it than the Ottoman Empire, but there was a religious crusade declared in Europe. The regular soldiers were told that the British army wanted to reclaim the Holy Land for Christendom and perhaps make Jerusalem the capital of the world. Throughout the 19th century the idea of crusade was associated with an act of public good, like crusading for a cause…
The idea of crusade was not just restricted to the Middle East. Anglicans demonized Germany as anti-Christian and perhaps even pagan. This was their propaganda. Though Germany was a European country the British wanted to defeat the Germans because these peoples were of a different culture. The British tried to distance themselves from fighting a Muslim Empire but they did want to reclaim Constantinople supposedly for Christianity.
In March 1917 the British took Baghdad but the British proclaimed themselves as liberators rather than colonizers. Also, when Allenby entered Jerusalem he did so on foot rather than as a conqueror on a horse. For soldiers of the Middle East who relied on the Bible crusading was about Ottoman government not Islam. They wanted to free people from Ottoman rule not Islamic rule. Soldiers many times saw themselves as tourists. They were fascinated by Islamic culture and found this to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. A chance to see Egypt, tour the Christian Holy sights and Islamic architecture. Most of the British soldiers were Protestants though and they did not feel a complete connection with the Christianity in the Holy Land. It was not what they expected. Perhaps here again history is repeating itself as the same sentiment can be seen in the reasoning for many if not most European, Canadian, American, and the larger English speaking community of the world today who do not feel a closeness and a need to stand up for the crimes against humanity which are being committed against the Assyrian Christians (also called Chaldeans and Syriacs) in our Holy Land. We ask you on behalf of all the Assyrians suffering in the world. Open your eyes and hearts and help this ancient community, which is on the brink of extinction.
Religion is supposed to be about spirituality. Religion is about faith and it is for the individual not for nations to ruin the world through their understanding of religion. Faith is between you and God no one else. It was the leaders of the Ottoman and the British Empires who used the terms jihad and crusade to ignite in the ordinary individual the desire to go to war against another nation and other human beings of differing religions and cultures.
Lets give an example. Had World War I really been a Christian crusade as was thought by some of the British soldiers, the British planers would have aided the Assyrian Christians in the Hakkari region, of what is now south east Turkey, and other regions, and not allowed them to be slaughtered and crucified by the Ottomans and Kurds just for being Assyrians of a different and more ancient culture, language, and because they were ancient Christians.
Although the Assyrians were called Britain’s smallest ally the British only used them and made false promises for a homeland for the Assyrians. They abandoned them and were not faithful to their promises. Today history is repeating itself because the Assyrian Christians are asking from the world community the establishment of their own federal region in their ancestral homeland, but the world powers are giving their lands to the Kurdish occupiers who are originally not from this land, rather from nomadic areas such as Afghanistan and Mahabad Iran. The Kurds have lived in the area less than 200 years and they are definitely not indigenous to this land.
Jihad and crusade during WWI had little to do with true religion, which is spirituality. Mahatma Gandhi who was a product of British colonization said something interesting. He said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” These words give witness to British mannerism and their colonial wars. It was not about religion or spirituality and faith, rather it was about the interests of the few at the expense of the ordinary poor individuals, human beings, and nations. Wars and conflicts are always between various sides that know each other well, and know what they want from their campaign or operation. The regular people who die, they don’t know why they are truly there and why they are dying.
Now almost a hundred years after World War I the Assyrian Christians are still suffering and being driven out of their ancestral homeland. ISIS is a powerful gang who have taken advantage and created a strategy to gain control of an unstable Middle East. The Assyrian activists worldwide should realize that we have to be strong and diligent in speaking out about the events occuring in the homeland. History repeats itself. No one will give us our rights unless we ask for it and stand up for it. It is very sad that basic human rights are not being afforded to the Assyrian Christians of the region. We need to have leaders that will work in the right direction and who wont be afraid to speak the truth and be faithful to the Sacred Assyrian Cause.
*All information from World War I in the Middle East class 2014
All articles at the Assyrian Thinker website are the copyright (©) 2016 Abbey Mikha