Our people in Iraq have to choose our Aramaic historical and national name

20/6/03

Today the American alliance is trying to build a modern democratic Iraq which will respect freedoms and Human Rights. Our people in Iraq want to take advantage of the late development by demanding their rights and participating in the administration to play their roll.

Currently our people in Iraq, who are the native habitants of Iraq, are divided into the following religious and sectarian groups:

  • Assyrians (followers of the Assyrian church)
  • Chaldeans (followers of the Chaldean Church)
  • Syriacs (follwers of the Syriac-Orthodox and Syriac-Catholic churches)
  • Syriac Protestants.
  • Mandeans (followers of Mandaism, who uses Mandean Aramaic in the liturgy)

According to researchers and Syrologists do all these groups belong to the Aramean nation and culture. This Aramean belonging is clear in the Aramaic literature which has been produced by each group, besides that do all the groups speak their own dialect of the Aramaic language.

The Iraqi Revolution Council issued in 1972 a historical pioneer decree No 251, signed by the then Iraqi president Ahmad Hasan al-Bakir, giving cultural rights to Syriac-speaking groups: Syriacs, Chaldeans and Assyrians in Iraq. That decree was unique in its sort in the Middle East. Unfortunately the decree didn’t mention the Mandeans and it used the word “Syriac-speaking “instead for “Aramaic-speaking”. The Christians in Iraq use Syriac-Aramaic in their liturgy but they speak Neo-Aramaic dialects.

The current political development in Iraq has led that all the Aramaic-speaking groups are seeking a common name which will represent all the groups and would be accepted by all. The name will be registered in the Iraqi constitution and it would be used all over the world. If it succeeds it would be an example for our people all over the world.

 We, The Aramaic Democratic Organisation, support our people’s ambition to agree for a unifying name. We suggest the “Aramean” name because today’s Assyrian (aturaya-athuri) and Chaldean (kaldaya-kaldani) names are connected to the Assyrian and Chaldean churches. We suggest the historically correct name, the Aramean which is not politicesed neither splittring, and still is poweful and has the ability to unify our people in Iraq with each other, and at the same time to unify them with the Arameans of Syria and Lebanon. To use the “Aramean” name was the wish of our pioneer national hero Naom Fayek (1868-1930) who wanted to unify all our groups under this Aramean name (See his writing about the subject in the book, Naom Fayek, Dhukra watakhlid, page 63-66, printed 1936).

  Everybody knows that the “Chaldean” name was created for about 500 years ago whereas the “Assyrian” name was created by the Englishmen around 150 years ago. Through history both groups have called themselves “Suraye”, Syriacs, but in their written literature they called themselves Syriac/Arameans.

 An Aramean name has a great unifying strength within it. It is not a religious or sectarian name. The logical way of thinking would lead everybody and every group to an unhesitate acceptance of our national Aramean name without impediment.

 The Aramaic Democratic Organisation wishes all the groups of our people to take their historical responsibility and act wisely to start using their historical Aramean name.

Aramaic Democratic Organization (ArDO)