What do the Assyrian people
Dr. George Habash
1- Parliament in exile
The Assyrians are people and nation. These people and nation are not
represented because they are stateless. A few millions population, one
section still living in their land of birth-Northern Mesopotamia and with
a considerable large section in exile. In their land, the land of their
ancestors, there are at least TEN states recognised as UN members. But the
Indigenous Assyrian people were neither given a nation status nor allowed
power sharing within the current existing states.
There are many young Assyrian political parties and organisations, but
these are either regionally confined, denominationally limited or just
barely leaderships without Assyrian grassroot support. The existing
political groupings, despite being partially supported or not supported at
all by the Assyrians, compete with each others to lead the destiny of the
nation without a proper programme that envisages the salvation of the
Assyrian people. The majority of the Assyrian masses have no
representation to speak on their behalf. Therefore, a call for the
formation of a Parliament in exile is urgently needed.
The elected and representative body in the form of Parliament will be
mandated by the Assyrian people according to a framework that will be
- The Parliament will be the highest legitimate authority and power to
speak for the Assyrian Nation and take actions in all levels internal,
regional and international.
- Membership defined and proportionally represented both among individuals
and organisations and political parties.
- The Parliament will represent all Assyrian people worldwide. Sections
will be established within to deal with regional matters.
- The Parliament be based either in the US, being the main power or in any
neutral western country such as Switzerland for example.
2- Autonomous region in Northern Mesopotamia
Our homeland is currently divided roughly into Northeast, regionally
administrated by the Kurds, and Northwest still governed by the Arabs of
the central government.
The Assyrians are people and nation but deprived of nationhood due to the
betrayal of the former colonial power(s). Probably we are the only old
people worldwide left without a single state.
We as individuals, organisations or political movements must declare
unequivocally in our demands and our manifestos that the minimum we demand
is an autonomous region that will be demarcated between the Kurds to the
east and Arabs to the south. The autonomous region we demand be based in
the land known as 'Mosul Province' defined prior to the creation of Dohuk
and Aqra Provinces. This requires through negotiations, the demarcation of
boundaries along areas of Zakho, Dohuk, Aqra, Erbil, Hatra and Assur.
We as people will not live as slaves in our homeland and we as a nation
will not live in exile forever. We demand our full rights to administer
our own affairs, in a status similar to what will be granted to the Kurds.
This autonomous region will naturally have other ethnic groups but the
administration will be run by the Assyrians. All other ethnic groups will
be democratically represented. Assyrians living in the southern parts and
those around the world will return to their lands and once again they will
become the major ethnic group.
This is our natural right to live free and secure a future and freedom for
our coming generations. We all, Assyrian and non-Assyrian, will cohabit to
live in peace and prosperity.
Our regional autonomous rights will grant:
- Autonomous region with executive and legislative bodies.
- Large Assyrian national police force.
- Assyrian language made official.
- Assyrian education and Assyrian university.
- Assyrian and Christian culture.
- Assyrian media control.
- Assyrianisation of the region by constructing new towns and villages to
house those who return.
3- Action not inaction
The Assyrians are people and nation, and are the most united people on
earth. Deprived of power for nearly 2500 years, this resilient nation
lived and live in hope despite the buffeted blows of suffering,
persecution and genocides intended to wipe them out from the face of the
earth. Being out of power and suppressed made us unite and although
exploited and manoeuvred the denominational sectarianism did not tear us
apart. The nation persevered with strength and pride. Major nations, minor
nations and peoples however civilised fought wars, civil wars, upheavals,
revolutions and rebellions, but the unity of the Assyrians was formidable
and has become a great asset that we all boast about.
There is no nation or people that is more united than us, because we share
a common triumphant history, common language , unique holy faith and a
common life of presection. Although our ancestors were judged by the old
covenant, the people of the new covenant are alive through faith in the
Lordship of Christ and therefore united.
The outlined points of actions:
- The majority of our people are unaffiliated to any political front or
movement, therefore they must come under an able and effective leadership.
Our people should be made organised before they run out of steam.
- Our people in the homeland are oppressed, but when the time of
liberation comes, we must be prepared and ready to quench their thirst for
the cause of national liberation. Those who were lured under the past
false slogans will realise that the world has changed and these slogans
will no longer fit the Assyrian modality.
- Anyone who is indifferent to the Assyrian national cause is obliged to
join the Assyrian ranks by affiliation and positive contribution otherwise
does not serve it.
- We all should contribute from now to the welfare of the Assyrian nation
according to the ability, and the wealth of affluent people should be used
in promoting the building of the fledgling nation.
- Encourage our people at home to stay, they are the foundations of our
existence as a nation.
- Encourage our people in exile to be ready to return, they are the
treasured pillars for the new nation.
4- One identity-Assyrian
The aim of the Assyrian people must be based on the principle of
reclamation of the Assyrian land as our homeland. Therefore, for this aim
we all share one national identity. Our ancestors ruled over our land, and
governed a nation called the Assyrian Nation and people called the
Assyrian people. After 25 centuries without a kingdom, and without a
unified authority it is natural consequence that, the once, one people,
are presently classified by their ecclesiastical denominations. This
classification is void and valid at the same time. We must reject and
accept it at the same time.
We reject it because it is not our own invention. It was the by-product of
the alien invasions and their rule, Persian, Islamic and Ottoman. We
accept it because it exists. The Assyrian land is the land of all who
belonged to the old Assyrian people whatever they are currently
classified, Assyrian, Chaldean or Syriac. You may theorise, these
classifications, as national, denominational, or lingual but the reality
is that all these groups do exist today and once represented one people
lived in one land, that land is the Assyrian land and those people were
the Assyrian people.
In this regard there are several points to consider:
- We the once, one people, Assyrian, Chaldean and Syriac must come
together to reclaim our Assyrian land to re-establish our former Assyrian
nation for all its present people.
- Our kings ruled one land and one nation of which we are the one
- Once in power, the nation through generational changes will produce new
people unified in one identity and possibly with lingual and
denominational parity and thus breaking the psychological barriers of
- One identity will make us the majority but more than one identity will
not produce a majority with other non-Christian ethnic groups.
- We may use these three classifications for different purposes for a
transitional period until they are done away.
- We could use other names such as Mesopotamia, Beth-Entrain, or even
Nineveh but this may not meet the enthusiasm of the whole
5- Assyrian and Christian culture
The Assyrian and Christian identities are synergetic. In Northern
Mesopotamia the land of our ancestors not every Christian is Assyrian, but
every Assyrian is Christian. This thesis is shared by other early
Christian nations such as the Greeks, the Armenians and the Copts who are
purely Christian. Conversion of all these people goes back to the dawn of
the Christian era and to the times of the first Apostles, the founders of
the Christian Church in 33 AD. The Assyrians played a role in propagating
the spread of the Gospel and contributed rabbis, scholars and theologians
to the nascent Christian faith.
To the Assyrians as their co-religious, the Greeks, the Armenians and the
Copts, the Christian faith has remained synonymous to their national
identity and pride. Centuries of non-Christian occupation such as Islamic
Arabs, Turks and Persian failed to dislodge that holy faith from their
national identity. All these co-religious communities, the Assyrians among
them suffered marginalisation, persecution and decimation past and
present. Although the occupation, fostered the inevitable denominational
segmentation but the Assyrians as a society and nation remained united
despite an climate of loathe and calculated repression. As our homeland
descent into chaotic climate dominated by political Islam, it is natural
that the Assyrians learn the past mistakes and present situations that two
such contravening cultures are not cohabitable especially when the
majority does not respect the national and religious aspiration of the
minority. Therefore, the Christian faith and Assyrian nationalism are
inseparably intertwined, and be taken as the doctrinal backbone of the
There are some points to highlight:
- The de-Attomanisation and decolonisation process has diverted our people
from their national and Christian causes to Islamic-led secular national
ones at the expense of their existence as a separate identity. Their
involvement in politics, paralleled the need to discard the lingual mother
tongue and people's personal names to match the tide of secular
nationalism. These must be reversed.
- The imposed Arabisation, Kurdification and Turkification of our
nationality must be fought and reversed. We are neither Arab nor Kurd or
Turk but Assyrian Christians wherever and whenever we live.
- The Assyrian Nation will be neither secular nor theocratic, because both
are doomed to failure, but the Church will provide an ethical-spiritual
guide for the society, while granting the freedom to those who remain
secular and to other religious minorities.
- In an Assyrian autonomous region, promoting Assyrian and Christian
culture will be mandatory. The main Christian holy days will be observed
as public holidays and Sunday will be the weekly Sabbath day of rest.
Media organs will take their role in propagating the Christian faith. The
Assyrian national days will be observed as public holidays such as the New
Year and other new days which will be established. Wave of Assyrianisation
will be unabated with renaming of all Assyrian village and town names and
renaming all that accompany this process within each village or town.
Socially, all non-Assyrian practices and way of life will be Assyrianised.
Politically, to re-establish the Assyrian nation in our time, it requires
obtaining wider recognition. This sought recognition is both regional,
among our neighbours and wider, international. Regionally, any nation will
not stand alone especially when that nation is surrounded by a sea of
former tormentors who will not hesitate to destabilise it. Therefore, it
is imperative that the Assyrians align and ally themselves to their
nearest Christian neighbours such as the Copts, the Greeks and the
Armenians. This Christian alliance is mandatory for all, because history
has proven its importance. We share one common faith and one common bitter
history. This new alliance must be forged in good faith and with
determination by promoting true unity based on our sacred beliefs and
minimising our differences especially those related to the past. We must
all contribute to rebuilding the strength of our nations in all areas. The
present world is different than it was a half century earlier and the
current regional and world affairs compel us to unite otherwise we will
not stand alone and our presence and civilisations will only remain as
history of antiquity. The details of this alliance are implicitly
understood and its importance is real. There are two options, either we
stand together or together we disintegrate . In this regards we take the
- Forging a solid, holy and strategic alliance with all our Christian
neighbours. All our past differences or present misunderstanding are to be
- Regarding with our non-Christian neighbours and persecutors, we fully
collaborate with those who adhere to secular tendencies, but avoiding
those with darkened history to our nation and those whose beliefs
contravene ours. We deal only with those secular states around us, who
would live and coexist with us in peace.
- We seek the recognition of the UN, as a supreme global body.
- We seek the support of the most powerful nations in the global affairs
such as the US, and the Russian Federation.
- We seek the cooperation of the EU as one united European body.
- We seek the support of the main global Church leaders such as the head
of the universal Catholic Church.