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The Assyrian Genocide 

The 7th of August has been designated, by the Assyrian Universal Alliance, as a Memorial Day for Assyrian Martyrs slaughtered at the hands of the Ottoman army during WW1, and those who were cruelly martyred by the Iraqi Army on August 7, 1933, one year after Iraq declared its independence. Over 6000 Assyrians were massacred just for demanding their rights. This Memorial Day does not only remember a dark time in our nation’s history, it speaks also of what is occurring today – and calls for a just intervention by all people and nations who value humanity.


The history of the First World War brings memories of one of the worst policies of systematic genocide conducted against the Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks by the Ottoman Empire. It almost eliminated the presence of all the Christians living in Anatolia. Millions of indigenous ethnic souls perished as a result of the savagery of the Ottoman Turks and Kurds. As a result of this genocide the Assyrians lost all their territories within the borders of modern Turkey. At least 750,000 Assyrians, 1.5 million Armenians and 500,000 Greeks from the Pontos region and many others were exterminated in unbelievable horror scenes of massacres and deportations, and hundreds of thousands of children and women were abducted and forced into Turkification, Kurdification and Islamisation.


The World War II Holocaust could have been prevented had mankind risen to the mission of brotherly solidarity and learned a lesson from the horrific events of the genocide committed against our three nations, preventing such acts in the future.


But, the world chose to focus on a different outcome: “The reflection of the weakness of the world's attention and responsiveness that is still feeding the aftermath of that first genocide.”


The act of genocide never stopped against our people. During the rule of the tyrant Saddam Hussein over 300 Assyrian towns and villages were leveled to the ground and their inhabitants forced to leave behind their homeland and properties.  Since the American invasion to Iraq in 2003, hundreds of churches, monasteries and archeological sites have been bombed, and hundreds of Assyrians killed. From the time of its liberation, the new Iraq has witnessed a huge exodus of Assyrians from their ancestral homelands because they have been abandoned and completely marginalized by the Iraqi government and the International community.


Currently, we have witnessed the exodus of Christian Assyrians in Syria who are fleeing in masses from threats of kidnappings, rapes and murders. Behind the daily reporting of bombings and shellings, Syria will soon be emptied of its Christians.


The helpless Assyrians have been late in lobbying for recognition of the Genocide perpetrated against them by the Ottoman Turks in 1914. This is because Assyrians have experienced continued persecution and intimidation by the successive dictators and brutal regimes that have ruled the occupied Assyrian lands till this day. As well, modern Turkey’s government has continued its denial and its refusal to acknowledge its Ottoman predecessor's involvement in these crimes against humanity, therefore preventing any attempts to gain recognition by the international community.


Turkey cannot hide the truth forever; and cannot escape the fact that its Ottoman leaders wiped out a large portion of the Assyrian, Armenian and Pontic Greek population, and subsequently annihilated millions more of their future generations. Before the First World War thirty three percent (33%) of the population of Turkey was Christian. Today their number is less than 0.1 percent of the population. What happened to these citizens of Turkey who had lived there forever? How did they disappear? Would not this diversity of people be a great wealth to a country? Turkey must answer to the free world of today and apologize to the multitudes whose lives it has affected forever, and to the future generations.


We will always honour the memory of all victims of that barbarism with our untiring efforts to attain the justice of a living memory for them and to prevent any further horrors of that sort by educating all mankind towards the guiding ideals of humanity and solidarity amongst all people.


Let us do what is just for the sake of our humanity, which is incumbent of true leadership with a vision for peace and prosperity.

Glory and honour to our Assyrian martyrs.


Hermiz Shahen

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