Frederick P. Isaac

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Articles and book information on Assyrian issues including contemporary history, experiences under Islamic rule, leadership and Assyrian aspirations to nationhood.


Indigenous Peoples

Under the Rule of Islam

 

by Frederick P. Isaac

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False Allegations and Betrayal  

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A Forgotten People?

 

 

Survival under Despotism
 

 

Members of the international community are either inept or do not want to indulge themselves lest they offend the hierarchy, or their Arab Muslim “friends”. The world has a moral obligation and equally responsible role to play in reporting the truth about the deplorable conditions under which the Assyrian people live worldwide.

In Iran, the Assyrians, Armenians and Baha’is have been pushed to the limit in compromising their culture in order to survive the rigid Islamic regime. Their attempts to restore their identity and survive in an ever-suffocating atmosphere, loaded with tension of Islamic fervour, have reached a desperate point. While in Iraq, survival of the Assyrians and other Christian minorities is at the mercy of Saddam Hussein, his clique and his petty tyrant sons Ouday and Qusay.

In Turkey, since 1986, hundreds of ‘Suroyo’ Assyrian villages have been burnt down, and over eighty churches destroyed and their farmlands and properties taken away by the Muslim Turks. Over one hundred thousand Assyrians, residents of Turkey, have since fled to European countries such as Austria, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands. The reason for all this is ignorance or indifference of the world body of Nations to the Assyrian tragedy.

In Syria, in the Tal-Tamir and Khabur region of Al-Hasaka Province, there are over 34 Assyrian villages and towns dotting the riverbanks of the Khabur River. This river is their lifeline. The villagers depend on its water for drinking, for domestic use and irrigation of their farmlands and vegetable gardens. Recently, the Khabur waters have almost dried up. The Syrian government has, for sometime been diverting its watercourse to irrigate lands owned by Arabs. In addition, Arab villagers have drilled thousands of artesian wells that have led to exhaustion of the waterbed. Consequently, the level of water has dropped frighteningly low. Its dried up bed has devastated the villagers. Only bodies of water in pools of natural land depressions and swamps, remain. They are unfit for human and animal consumption.

Water has become a rare commodity. Potable water has increased sharply in price, and is beyond the reach of the average householder. Assyrian villagers had earlier approached the Arab Syrian government and sought its advice and help. The government promised to look into the matter to resolve the problem, but did not. The problem remained unresolved. It escalated and reached crisis point.

In sympathy with their brethren in Syria, Assyrian communities in America and Europe donated funds to buy several water tankers to supply the villages with their need of water as a temporary relief measure. This humane deed aroused the jealousy of certain selfish elements in the Arab Syrian Government. They were upset and criticized the project and accused the Assyrian committee, in Syria, of profiteering and nepotism.

In June 1997, the Syrian security forces arrested several prominent members of the Assyrian committee on charges of extortion and conspiracy and threw them in jail. No wonder that UN agencies and members of the international community do not hear of such a situation. The safety and well being of the Assyrian people has never been much of an issue or concern to media outlets or any body else. To the outside world, it is a domestic matter for they are considered Syrians.

The mass media know how to trick themselves out of such a sensitive issue, and play down the seriousness of the matter. The United Nations allocates funds to drill artesian wells to supply villages in developing countries with potable water. It prides itself on rendering humanitarian service. Assyrians deserve such assistance but do not receive it. Islam does not extend humanitarian assistance to non-Muslims in their countries. Islam considers such assistance as charity. Charity to non-Muslim according to the Islamic Shari’ah is unlawful (“Haram”). If so, the UN has constitutional right to interfere and rescue the stricken people. They are struggling to survive against barrenness of their farmlands, drought and scarcity of water.

The responsibility of the media is to lay bare the facts and spell out the truth, and report the events honestly and with impartiality. As a mirror, they should reflect the true image of the event rather than distort and falsify facts. The Assyrians have the right to their share of the media column in order to tell their side of the story. The media need to alert the right agencies to the plight of the Assyrians that humanitarian agencies may look into their grievances to gain adequate support. World news agencies have never taken the Assyrian issue seriously. Journalists have completely ignored the Assyrian deplorable state in the Middle East in their press reports. Western printed press is indifferent to their plight. The Assyrians have no access to share in the news column to attract world attention to their problems. The press has repeatedly declined to report events relating to Assyrian issues.

Since the Iraq-Iran War of the 1980s and later the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the world has heard about the state of every ethnic group and faction living in the Middle East: the Arab Sunni, She’ah, Alawi, Druse, Kord, Turkuman, Persian Baha’i, Mandaean and Iraqi Yezidis. Yet, not one single word has been uttered about the Christian Assyrians. Why, has the Assyrian person in the Middle East become so insignificant to the Westerner that his/her life as a human being no longer means much?

 

 

<<

False Allegations and Betrayal  

Table of Contents

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A Forgotten People?

 

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