An Open Letter to Patriarch Mar Ignatius Zakka Iwas I

7/27/2005 5:18:31 PM

Assyria Liberation Party's brave letter to the Patriach of Syriac Orthodox Church

To His Holiness Patriarch Mar Ignatius Zakka Iwas I
Patriarch of Antioch and the whole East-Supreme Head of the Syriac Orthodox Church
Syria-Damascus-Bab Touma P.O.B. 22260
Tel: 00963-11-5432 401
Fax: 00963-11-5951 880

His Holiness the Patriarch,

It came to our attention your article, which was published in An-Nahar newspaper (Beirut) on June 12, 2005 titled: “Islam and Christianity a historical completeness in building the Arab culture”.

We read the following: “Today as Muslims and Christians we need to spread national awareness, following in the footsteps of the blessed forefathers who shed their blood on the Arabian homeland’s soil when they liberated it from its usurpers, defending it over the generations when the Muslims and Christians were in the same trenches. They protected the civilization and handed it to us a trust to preserve, and their blood runs in our veins”… Then your Holiness continue: “ We are one Arab people, so let’s strengthen the patriotic unity allover the Arab world and let’s raise high the banner of Arabism”.

If what we have mentioned had been issued by an individual from our people, we wouldn’t have been amazed but for such a declaration to come from the highest religious authority, that is the supreme figure of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the world – Who had influenced in previous declarations some of the Bishops who desperately defended Arabism – These declarations stir the reservation and resentment of the believers in our Church allover the world.

We would like to remind Your Holiness that this declaration completely negates the one of 1994 which was published in the last issue of 1994 in the Patriarchal magazine, when in Athens and before thousands of the Greek Church believers, you had explained the source of the true name of our people. Each person has the right to express his opinions, feelings and identity. If you consider yourself an Arab, then that’s your choice and right which you can’t be stripped of by any one, but why then the generalizing and speaking on behalf of every one else and why are you retracing the Syriac Church believers to the Arabs!?

What is the meaning then of our own language, noble civilization and usurped homeland. We are an independent people with our own national, historical and human characteristics which are deeply rooted in our homeland for thousands of years, so with due respect to all the peoples of the universe whom we respect and appreciate, but it’s our right to demand that we be treated equally.

There’s an attempt in the published article to earn the sympathy of Arabism, favoritism and informal merging with Arabic speakers. Our forefathers paid a dire price for their beliefs, denominations and nation they willingly paid with their lives because of their faith in their Cause and belief… And they were forced many a time to accept Islam.

His Holiness the Patriarch, had we accepted to be called (Arabs) we would have spared ourselves lots of persecution and misery.

Isn’t it unjust to purposely attempt changing the knowledge and culture amassed and consequently melt them within Arabism- With all due respect to the Arab brothers and other peoples with whom we share living in our homeland- Your Holiness know more than any one else that we are a noble people, inheritors of a civilization whose roots go into history for more than 3000 years B.C., that our people speak the Assyrian language [Eastern and Western dialects] and that this language has its own distinctiveness and entity which are completely independent of the Arabic language.

Many of our people deserted their nationality and faded away with the peoples whom they shared living with in our occupied homeland (Ashur) because of repression, persecution, pressure and tyranny… Because of the violence, and oppression of tyrant rulers, because of the regimes cruelty and of the racial and religious discrimination, that is through the persecution of the majority against the minority… It’s very regrettable that as the world and the Middle East are passing through diverse circumstances where democratic powers, civil society organizations, opposition movements and secular powers are calling for the diminishing of the influence of dictatorship regimes, re-establishing democratic freedoms and recognizing national, political, cultural and religious plurality in the Arab arena… As all this is going on, some of our religious figures and political organizations are competing to deny our national identity and distinctiveness by dissolving, throwing themselves into the lap of others, adopting names and cultures that have nothing to do with our nation and nationality.

Aren’t all the declarations made by such people and all that is happening, considered a stab in our nation’s honor, toying with its components, denying its rights and existence … By whom…!? When…!? And in what age…!?

At a period of national realizations and rapid changes which are overcoming the world…!? We are being Arabized, Kurdified, Turkified, and Persianized… when we are the most ancient people in the whole world…!? What’s more troubling of it all is that people such as those described above oblige and demand that every one else follow their suit… However, they forget that every person is free to choose where he belongs.

Statements such as these issued by Your Holiness and some Bishops are farther away from the mission which you have consecrated yourselves for, which we didn’t allow ourselves to interfere with its particularities, but we declare our complete rejection of such statements and our rejection of any political or religious authority that try to falsify our true history, identity, and nationality.

What our people need today are brave leaders capable of defending the basic values of our existence and demanding national rights for our Assyrian nation (all denominations) but we don’t need those who are endeavoring to falsify our history, obliterate our identity, and make us fade away within other peoples.

GFA (Assyria Liberation Party)
22/07/2005 A.D.
22/03/6755 Assyrian Year