Aramean organizations’ appeal to the United Nations: Help to prevent ethnic cleansing Iraq of its Aramean indigenous nation.

A letter to Ban Ki-Moon by: Aram-Naharaim Organisation, Aramean Democratic Organisation and Platform Aram.

Nr.: 2008-10-31/18

 Netherlands, 31st of October 2008

 Subject: Appeal to the United Nation: Help to prevent the ethnic cleansing of the Aramean  indigenous people of Iraq

 The Most Honourable Secretary-General of the United Nations

His Excellency Ban Ki-moon

U.N. Headquarters, Room S-3800

New York, NY 10017

United States

 Your Excellency,

 Following our letter of 6th of May 2008 [1], we, the undersigned, the Arameans of Aram-Naharaim Organization, the Aramean Democratic Organization and Platform Aram, again feel it necessary to draw your attention to the deteriorating situation of the Aramean (not to be confused with ‘Armenians’) Indigenous nation of Iraq and other minorities in the Mosul area.

 As it is known to you, since 28th of September 2008, dark forces of intolerance in Mosul have been threatening, killing, robbing and expelling our people from the city. According to the reports, more than 10.000 Indigenous Arameans and other Christians were forced to leave Mosul for outlying villages for security and dozens have been killed.

 Although the Iraqi government is doing her best to provide our nation in Mosul with security, this has not prevented the mass exodus and brutal ethnic cleansing of the original inhabitants of Mosul before the eyes of the world by those whose dictionary obviously lacks words like brotherhood and peace.

 Your Excellency,

 There seems to be a certain well prepared pattern, a Comprehensive Grand Plan, in the minds of those who wish to ethnically cleanse Iraq and Mosul of its Aramean people, who have been present for thousands of years in this part of the world, which also became known as the Cradle of Civilization.

 For this reason, we believe that the perpetrators do not act out of blind rage or fanaticism. On the contrary, it seems that there is a well-thought-out plan behind these terrible persecutions and killings. After all, how can you in a most appropriate and effective way chase the people out of a country in order to clean it of ‘unwanted’ ones? The most effective way to achieve this is to kill the leaders and then the people will leave the country or the area you wish to ethnically cleanse. And indeed since 2006 we observe a certain pattern in the killing of the Aramean leaders, resulting in an exodus of the Indigenous Aramean people of Aram-Nahrin, who also made known as “Assyrians” in some media. It suffices to mention a few examples:

On 12th of October 2006 the West- Aramean Syrian Orthodox Priest Paulus Iskandar [2] was brutally slaughtered, and his body was cut in pieces, in Mosul. On 6th of June 2007, the East- Aramean Chaldean priest Raggied Aziz Gannie [3] was brutally killed in Mosul. On 13th of March 2008 the East- Aramean Chaldean bishop Faraj Rahho [4] was killed in Mosul. On 5th of April 2008 the West- Aramean Syrian Orthodox Priest Yousef Adel Abudi [5] was killed in Baghdad.

 Three of the four spiritual leaders were killed in Mosul, not coincidently; it rather was meant to physiologically demoralize our nation and cause them to leave the area of their forefathers.

The Aramean people, including “Assyrians” and Chaldeans, seem to have understood the message quite well. Since the Iraq- war and in particular after the killing of the Aramean leaders, hundreds of thousands of them have left Iraq for countries like Syria, Jordan and the West. And with that, those who wish to ethnically cleanse Aram-Nahrin of its original inhabitants, seem to be gradually succeeding in their well-prepared Grand Plan.

 Your Excellency,

 The atrocities against our nation in Mosul since late September form an indication to us that this was the last step, or perhaps one of the last steps, which had to be carried out in the framework of the Grand Plan to clean Mosul of its Aramean Indigenous nation.

 Though history clearly testifies that we are the original inhabitants of Aram-Naharaim; that this part of the world bears our name; that our nation contributed to world civilizations; that we bear with us an antique and rich heritage which has been developed and preserved for thousands of years, which is we believe not only our heritage but the heritage of mankind as well; we have always reached forth the hand of cooperation, friendship, brotherhood and peace to everybody in this region, to those who are thirsty for these noble human values and standards as well as to those who reject these standards.

 The contribution of the Aramean nation to world civilizations is well-summarized by a world- renowned Eminent Oxford University Scholar Professor Sebastian Brock, a specialist on Aramaic (Syriac) and Hebrew, who said Almost all societies are dependent upon the use of writing, but very few peoples realise that the great majority of the world’s scripts can be traced back to a common ancestor, an alphabet invented in the Middle East four thousands years ago, which was subsequently refined by the Phoenicians and the Aramaeans who spread it throughout the known world. It is thus without doubt one of the greatest gifts of the Aramean peoples to world culture. (Hidden Pearl volume I: Page 27) [6]

Nevertheless it is undeniable that the simple Aramaic alphabet of 22 letters has had the most extraordinary impact on the development of alphabetic writing systems throughout the world. Indeed, it is very hard to imagine how human culture and scientific learning could have progressed without (the Aramaic language). (Hidden Pearl volume I: Page 58) [6]

 If the international community indeed cares about its own heritage and truly do appreciates the greatest gifts the Aramean peoples have given to world culture, it should act immediately, before it is too late, to thwart the plans of those whose goal seems to be ethnic cleansing of Iraq of its ancient inhabitants, in this case the Mosul area.

 In order to preserve, maintain and promote the genuine Aramean heritage, to defend their fundamental human rights in the lands of the forefathers, and to do justice to the history, we wish to conclude this letter by humbly requesting the United Nations in the following:

 1. To urge the Iraqi government to conduct an independent international inquiry under the auspices of the United Nations to ensure transparency and reliability on the atrocities which took place in Mosul.

 2. To bring the perpetrators of the atrocities against our nation before the international court of justice.

3. Many of the displaced Aramean Christians fear to return back to Mosul. Therefore we ask the UN to assist the displaced Arameans and non-Arameans back to their homes in Mosul and offer them a complete compensation, including repairing their destroyed homes and damaged cultural or spiritual buildings, and provide them with security guarantees to facilitate a general feeling of safety.

 4. To put the Mosul area under UN protection until the Iraqi Government is strong enough to provide the minimum security for the citizens of Mosul, including Aramean Christians and others.

 5. As has been demonstrated throughout the past centuries, the Aramean people are peaceful minded and prefer to live with others on the foundation of respect, love and brotherhood. [7] However, to continue this Aramean policy of peaceful cooperation, our people need assistance and protection from the United Nations.

 6. We havewitnessed that the situation of the Indigenous Aramean people is very fragile and that they can easily be neglected and marginalized, as was demonstrated with the removal of article 50 of the Provincial election law, a step which was also criticized by the UN envoy to Iraq Mr. Steffan De Mistura.

For this reason your Excellency, we ask you, in the framework of the General Assembly Resolution 61/295 on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to urge the Iraqi Government to recognize our nation as the Indigenous Nation of Iraq. In fact the Aramean nation is not even mentioned in the Iraqi constitution.

 The last remark we wish to make to underscore the Aramean policy of peaceful cooperation is repeating the words of the East- Aramean Chaldean bishop Mgr. Paulus Faraj Raho, killed in Mosul on 13th of March 2008, who said, What we know for sure is that we Christians are not enemies to anyone. In other words, we don’t want to be enemies to anyone in order for this to be taken as a pretext for others to attack us as their enemy. And if we do have enemies, then we on our part, are not their enemies, and if they choose to be our enemies….. we ask mercy for them … and those who want to be foes to us, we don’t want to be their enemies” [8]

   Respectfully Yours;

Gabriel Sengo

Chairman

Arameans of Aram-Naharaim Organization

Gabi Gallo

Chairman

Aramean Democratic Organization (ArDO)

Aboud Gouriye

Chairman

Platform Aram


Footnotes:

[1] http://www.iraqichristians.org/English/ArameansOrganisations_UN_Iraq_Help_10_5_2008.htm

[2] http://www.aramnahrin.org/English/Priester_Iskandar_12_10_2006.htm

[3] http://www.aramnahrin.org/English/MurderRagiedAzizGanie_3_6_2007.htm

[4] http://www.iraqichristians.org/English/Funeral_Paulus_Faraj_Raho_14_3_2008.htm

[5] http://www.iraqichristians.org/English/Funeral_Yusuf_Adel_Abudi_6_4_2008.htm

[6]  The Hidden Pearl: Three Thousands Years History, Faith and Culture of the Aramean People of  Mesopotamia: http://www.aramnaharaim.org/English/film_arameans.htm  Three videotapes accompanied with three Volumes Encyclopedia 

[7] This was well summarized by the East- Aramean Chaldean bishop of Kerkuk, Mgr. Louis Sako who in a statement issued an appeal on behalf of the Christians of Mosul on 8th of October 2008 “The Christians of Iraq are native to this place, and have nothing to do with the plots in the country, nor  do they know anything about what will happen in the future. They want nothing other than adignified and peaceful life. They want to cooperate with all for the purpose of building stability for  the good of the country and its citizens, as they have always done throughout history”

[8] http://www.iraqichristians.org/English/Paulus_Faraj_Raho_On_IraqWar_14_3_2008.htm