New Generation Assyrian Levies Remembers its Glorious History

11/9/2006 7:47:00 AM
Army Cadet Corporal Adrian Kiwarkis

It is my wish that I would have a career in the Australian armed forces serving in the Australian army, because I value my freedom. I value my Assyrian heritage, and I value my great country Australia.

16 years old Army Cadet Corporal Adrian Kiwarkis made a presentation at Fairvale High School in Sydney West for Remembrance Day before 700 students. The following was his speech:

Good afternoon students, teachers and guests.

I’m Corporal Adrian Kiwarkis of the Australian Army Cadet corps. I’m an Australian Assyrian and a student at this school. I am standing before you today to talk to you about Remembrance Day and the special bond between Australians and Assyrians that began on a battle field in 1918.

Remembrance Day is the day Australia and other countries remember those who died in war. At 11 AM on the eleventh day of the eleventh Month of every year we pause to remember the sacrifice of those men and women who have died in all conflicts. During World War One, sixty thousand Australians and seven hundred and fifty thousand Assyrians died fighting the same enemy.

World war one is not the only war we remember, there have been other wars that Australians and Assyrians have been involved in. The main one being world war two in which these Assyrian veterans that are standing with me fought.

On my right is Lieutenant Issac Dinkha he was a young sergeant during WWII. He was involved in one of the greatest battles of World War Two. His company was outnumbered twenty to one but they defeated the enemy and forced them to surrender. The famous Battle is called the Battle of Habbanyia, in which, 500 Assyrian Levies defeated 20,000 enemy soldiers.

And on my left is Sergeant Shawil Talya. He served in almost every country in the Middle East.The Assyrians served in all Arms including Paratroopers and Cavalry.

Not many people know the story of an Australian soldier by the name of Lieutent-general Sir Stanley Savige. During world war one he was a captain in the Australian army. One of his duties during world war one was to resupply the Assyrian army who had almost run out of ammunition deep behind enemy lines.

Because of this one Australian a bond between Australians and Assyrians was sealed that would last for eternity. In 1918, he rode towards the Assyrian army to resupply them. Unfortunately the enemy had broken through the Assyrian defences, and the whole Assyrian nation began to retreat south. In the heat of the Persian summer and the continuous onslaught of the enemy, they died and were being killed in large numbers. The women and their children were not spared. It was at this time when captain Stanley Savige intervened with his small section of 6 men and resupplied the Assyrians and took up positions at the rear to defend the fleeing Assyrian civilians.

He remained in that position for six weeks fighting off wave after wave of Turkish forces who were trying to massacre the Assyrian civilians. If it was not for the courage of this Australian, the Assyrians would have finally run out of ammunition and would have been surrounded and destroyed.

In April this year Assyrians celebrated the life of Captain Savige by laying a wreath at his grave, awarding him with a medallion and declaring him a hero of the Assyrian nation.

I would like all Assyrians in Australia to look at this great country the same as I do. “as a home away from home” to feel like a member of a freedom loving nation and to know that on this soil we have many opportunities for work, schooling, and a free lifestyle to live however we choose to live and not how someone else tells us.

The Assyrians are great believers in freedom for all people. from WWI when my Great grand father Dadisho fought the Ottomans, to these veterans who fought bravely in WWII, to my father who joined the Australian Army and whose medals I’m wearing today and me as an Australian Assyrian in the Australian Army Cadets.

It is my wish that I would have a career in the Australian armed forces serving in the Australian army, because I value my freedom. I value my Assyrian heritage, and I value my great country Australia.

Lets all please thank these veterans for all that they have done to keep us free.

Remembrance Day: Fairvale High School in Sydney WestRemembrance Day: Fairvale High School in Sydney WestRemembrance Day: Fairvale High School in Sydney WestRemembrance Day: Fairvale High School in Sydney West