For the past five and half years of U.S. presence in Iraq, western media along with the world powers completely ignored the existence of the Assyrians. Almost all the reports, which there have been many, were about Arabs and Kurds, with no emphasis to their Islamic religions, but when it comes to the Assyrians, all we ever read and hear is reference to their Christian religion. The solid proof of that is the one seat of representation in the Iraqi Parliament which has been called “The Christian Seat” instead of “The Assyrian Seat” since the establishment of the interim government.
The Assyrian of Diaspora are outraged at the killing of their brethrens in Iraq. Many hold demonstrations in their western countries to raise public awareness of the slaughter taking place under the watch of the U.S. troops and U.N. officials.
As if it is not bad enough that the rights of this indigenous people have been undermined in their own homeland, the ongoing violence has put this small nation at the brinks of extinction. Assyrians are the most peaceful citizens of Iraq, yet the most persecuted to this day. Perhaps the world would have taken a better notice of their plight if that was not the case.
Since the western media have finally turned their attention to the persecution of the Assyrians, they can only do these people justice by not emphasizing on their Christian religion, which makes them targets of Islamic Jihads; but to identify them with their national identity, just like they refer to Arabs and Kurds with their national identity. That same precaution must be exercised by U.S. and U.N. officials.
Regardless of how many well-intended statements are issued by the local and central government in Baghdad, or by the U.N. envoy in Iraq, the only way to protect the Assyrians is to acknowledge this ancient identity, because being constantly referred to as Christians makes them more vulnerable to aggression and retaliation.