It was with great pleasure that members of the Firodil Institute were invited to meet and present a short background of the Assyrians to the Churches for Fair Trade group.
The night began with a pleasant dialogue between the attendees, and everyone had a chance to get to know one another better.
The Christian Fair Trade group is based in the UK and function to provide better conditions for Christians around the world, some of its members are currently in Iraq carrying out their work.
The group introduced itself to the Firodil members via its secretary Mr. Hugh Caldin, who gave a short speech on the background of the CFT and then introduced Mr. Nineb Lamassu, of the Firodil Institute, to open the meeting.
Mr. Lamassu started of by saying the Lords prayer in Aramaic, to the delight of the congregation. This was probably the first time anyone in that room had heard this remarkable language being spoken. It was apparent that as Christians everyone felt comfort and joy knowing that they were hearing the language that Jesus spoke.
Mr. Lamassu continued by giving the audience a brief introduction of the History of the Assyrians, and how Christianity was interwoven with this unique nation. The spectators learnt how the Assyrian nation adopted Christianity as early as the 71 A.D. The talk continued and attendees were informed of the harrowing and traumatic life of the Assyrians under the Arabs and then Ottoman leaders. This led to introducing the government of the Young Turks, who systematically and barbarically, with the support of the Kurds, initiated the killings, torture, rape, and ultimately Genocide of approximately 750,000 Assyrians. This amounted to two thirds of the total population at that time.
Mr. Lamassu concluded: “it is pivotal that groups like the CFT work alongside the Firodil Institute to ensure that a step is being taken in the right direction”.
It was imperative that the Genocide of 1915-1918 which killed millions of Assyrian, Armenian and Greeks, was not forgotten and put to the back of our minds, just because it happened 92 years ago. The memories are still with all Assyrians today, and we cannot put a line though this emotional and distressing part of our history, until we have a recognition and apology from the Turkish government. It was understood from all spectators that one of Turkey’s fundamental criteria for entering the European Union, should be the recognition of its past crimes against humanity.
At this point, Mr. Lamassu introduced Mr. Ninos Warda, author of the newly released book, “Seyfo; The Assyrian Genocide in International Law”.
Mr. Warda explained the background to his book. The book looks at ‘Seyfo’ from a legal point of view, and he shows in his research, how the Genocide committed by the Young Turks, constitutes all aspects of a Genocide. It concludes that the actions taken by the Turkish government to annihilate the land from its indigenous people of the area, like the Assyrians, Armenians, and the Greeks: is genocide according to UN genocide conventions.
The attendees were then shown a video created by Ms Lina Yacubova, titled “A Forgotten Page of a Nation”. The film showed the atrocities that took place in 1915, including interviews with leading academics and politicians.
The evening then drew to a close, and it was stated that future events like these needed to take place, in order for the world to discover the Genocide of the Assyrians in 1915, and to gain support in obtaining a recognition and apology from Turkey. It is hoped that the Firodil Institute and other Assyrian organizations will work with groups like Churches for Fair Trade, in order to achieve this aim.
The Firodil Institute is an independent academic organization based in London. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org