The future of Iraq and its constitution will depend on the outcome of the October 15 referendum in the province of Nineveh, where the majority of the Assyrians live.
Nineveh, one of the most beautiful cities of the ancient Assyrian empire 6000 BC, and its capital from 705 to 612 BC, has outlived many constitutions, governments, and tyrants in the past and will continue to do so as predicted in the bible:
Matthews 12:41 - The men of Nineveh shall rise to judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it …
Today, the governorate of Nineveh holds the key position due to its multi-ethnic nature, where the 1.7 million Sunni Arabs, and the 500,000 to 600,000 Assyrian Christians, Shabaks, Yezidis, and Turkmen population make more than two million the majority over the only 200,000 Kurdish minority.
After numerous attempts by the Assyrians and others in Nineveh to bring changes to the unjust drafted document have fallen on deaf ear, it seems that the overwhelming majority of the Assyrians will vote “No” on the referendum which reflects Shiites and Kurdish priorities, when it should represent all Iraqis, not to mention its indigenous people, the Assyrians. The Sunni leaders have also indicated they will vote this time and if the document isn’t rewritten before then, they too will vote “No”.
Nineveh’s constituencies votes along with the other three critical provinces of Salah al-Din, Anbar, and Diyala will ascertain the defeat of the Shiite/Kurd constitution by a two-third majority vote, unless urgent amendments are made to the draft charter before October 15, 2005.
Massive vote fraud were reported during and after the January elections in Nineveh, but the IECI, the government of Iraq, and even United State downplayed the seriousness of the ballot-stuffing. Despite repeated complains and evidence of Kurdish militia’s responsibility for the crime, no one was held accountable for denying hundreds of thousands of Assyrians their right to cast their votes. No one knows what security measures the American and Iraqi forces are taking to prevent a repeat of the same shameful act on October 15.
AssyriaSat (the Assyrian Global Television Network) constantly receives news from Nineveh of the intimidation force the Kurdish militias are using to stop the people from voting on Oct 15, and the amount of bribes they have paid some Christian clergies to encourage their congregation to submit to the Kurdish oppression and invasion of their lands.
Assyrians’ objections and recommendations to the draft constitution are very simple:
- Rewrite the preamble to reflect the truth about who brought about that glorious civilization in Iraq? The simple answer could be found in any history book, the Assyrians. The preamble must also acknowledge the fact that thousands of the Assyrian Christians were also martyred by the previous dictators who sat foot In Iraq after the fall of Nineveh.
- A legal and legitimate, not to mention democratic constitution must grant its indigenous people their national rights. The draft charter does not mention the national rights of the Assyrians.
- The Kurds must cease their claim on the Assyrian towns and villages in the Assyrian triangle in Northern Iraq. They must refrain from calling the ancient land of Assyria as “Kurdistan”, a fabricated name that does not exist and holds no historical legitimacy.
- All Assyrians must be acknowledged in the constitution by their ancient holy name, the Assyrians, regardless of their church denominations. The Chaldeans mentioned in the constitution are Assyrians in ethnicity who are members of the Catholic Church, no more and no less.
- Install clauses in the charter that will make future amendments to the constitution feasible.
The Assyrians believe that thousands of coalition soldiers and innocent Iraqis did not die for Iraq to be divided in pieces and its indigenous people be treated as second class citizens. The Assyrians respect the rights of all the ethnic groups who have migrated to Iraq in the past, but the inescapable fact remains that the Assyrians have been the original owners of these lands from the beginning of the Creation.