Assyrian Martyrs' Day (August 7) was commemorated with great reverence at the unveiling ceremony of the impressive memorial to the 750,000 Assyrian victims of the genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks during WW1. The moving ceremony at Bonnyrigg Park in Sydney was attended by nearly 2,000 people, supported by representatives of Federal, State and local government, all united in sorrow for the suffering of the past and in resolve to uphold human dignity and freedom in the future. The unveiling was followed by a seminar which included an address by Dr Sabri Atman of Sweden and Dr Diamadis, Director of the Australian lnstitute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
Australian, British and New Zealand soldiers, prisoners of the Turks during WW1, are known to have witnessed the suffering of the Christians of Asia Minor which has been described as 'bestial cruelty'. The inability of the international community to intervene or hold the perpetrators of the massacres is believed to account to have encouraged Hitler in the holocaust later unleashed by the Nazis. To Assyrian, Hellenic and Armenian Australians, acknowledging annihilation the systematic of their people is of paramount importance in preventing similar crimes against humanity. In a joint press release they acknowledged Australia's leadership human demonstrated in international rights issues; as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment and as a generous of Genocide provider of humanitarian relief.
Looking back on the suffering and heroism of the martyrs of the past is an encouragement to look around the world and respond to the plight of Christians in our time who give up their lives rather than their faith. The last words of martyred Assyrian Bishop, Mar Dinkha: "Be brave, take courage, be patient, falter not, be firm and lookup" resound through the decades as encouragement to remain to all Christians vigilant; to unite against all forms of tyranny; to uphold people with love, and the truth with courage, and faithfully defend our God-given freedom.
Mr Hermiz Shahen,Deputy Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance,P.O.Box 34, Fairfield, NSW 1860August 10th, 2010
Thank you for your very gracious invitation to the unveiling ceremony of the Assyrian Genocide Memorial last Saturday. lt was a great privilege to be present at such an impressive and profoundly moving event of great national significance. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity of Assyrian Martyrs' Day to share in the commemoration and to honour those whose lives were lost under such tragic circumstances. Their memory is now embedded in this land to remind us all of the great value of human life and the importance of preserving its freedom and dignity.
The monument itself is a great tribute to Assyrian vision and aspiration; for universal recognition of the truth of the past, and the establishment of a secure homeland for the Assyrian people in the future. lt is also a tribute to the courage and tenacity of those who hold fast to the truth and will not yield to intimidation. Australians all celebrate justice and freedom and its triumph over oppression, and this was so well affirmed in everything that was said by the eminent supporters of this great initiative.
Thank you too, for your warm welcome and hospitality; I enjoyed very stimulating company over a delightful lunch and I was very impressed by the quality of the speakers at the seminar and the scope and depth of the information they shared. The DVDs provide a wealth of knowledge and irrefutable evidence of the justice of your cause. I shall see to it that the Forgotten Page of One Nation is placed in the library of the Federal Parliament. My daughter has bought a copy for her school library and is grateful for this valuable resource to help with her teaching on the subject of genocide this term. I believe she is now very well equipped to inspire her students and I am sure the lessons she gives will have a lasting impact on their lives.
I returned to the monument later in the afternoon when the people had dispersed to take another photograph. I was unexpectedly rewarded when a sudden shaft of golden light from the setting sun-like the glory of Heaven-turned it into pure gold. lt was a beautiful sight! I have enclosed a few copies of our newsletter and the brief report it features of this wonderful event. I have also enclosed a few brochures to the Sydney meetings of Bishop Nazir-Ali which may interest some of your members. He has also experienced persecution in his homeland and believes that Christians must all work together to preserve the God-given freedom which is our birthright. I believe he is anointed to equip and empower Christians to stand for truth and justice in this land and beyond.
Thank you again for very graciously including our organization in this great celebration. Please extend my thanks and congratulations to all who were involved in making this brilliant event possible.
With warmest regards,
Christian Faith and Freedom