Arameans of Aram-Naharaim Organization and the Aramean Democratic Organization sent a letter to Iraqi Government and ask for recognition of Aramean people.

 

Dutch Version

 

Nr.: 2016-09-22/1

 

Netherlands, Sweden, 22nd of September 2016

 

Subject: Article 125 of Iraqi Constitution, exclusion of the Aramean nation and ID Card.

 

President of Iraq: His Excellency Dr. Fuad Masum

Prime Minister of Iraq: His Excellency Dr. Haider Al-Abadi

Speaker of Parliament of Iraq: His Excellency Dr. Saleem Al-Jubouri

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq: His Excellency Dr. Ibrahim Al-Jaafari

 

Your Excellencies;

 

We, the undersigned, the Arameans of Aram-Naharaim Organization and the Aramean Democratic Organization write you to ask for your help to include the Aramean (not to be confused with 'Armenian') indigenous nation of Iraq in the Constitution.

 

In the preamble of Iraqi Constitution we read: "We, the people of Mesopotamia, the homeland of the apostles and prophets, resting place of the virtuous imams, cradle of civilization, crafters of writing, and home of numeration."

 

We wholeheartedly concur and are proud of Iraq being the "Cradle of Civilization." The question is: How did the Cradle of Civilization took shape in the course of history?

 

A world- renowned (emeritus) Oxford University Scholar, Professor Sebastian Brock, a specialist on Aramaic (Syriac) and Hebrew, wrote about Aramean people and their language: “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. [1]

…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).” [2]

 

" the greatest gifts of the Aramean peoples to world culture " and to the progress of " human culture and scientific learning " is unfortunately neither recognized nor rewarded by the Iraqi Constitution, for the Aramean indigenous nation is excluded from article 125: “This Constitution shall guarantee the administrative, political, cultural and educational rights for the various nationalities, such as Turkmen, Chaldeans, Assyrians and all other components. A law shall regulate this

 

The exclusion of our people prevents them from attaining their minimum fundamental social, human, cultural and political rights. It means practically that they are outlawed.

 

Iraq has been the home of Aramean nation since thousands of years. This is amongst others confirmed by the term "Beth-Aramaye". [3] In the era of early Christianity, an important part of today's Iraq was called "Beth- Aramaye", meaning "the house/home of Arameans." It was called "Beth- Aramaye" because of overwhelming presence of Arameans in this region.

 

How sad is it to observe today that the Arameans are excluded and not recognized in their own house. They have become strangers in their indigenous lands, unknown to the world and perhaps even unloved or unwanted.

 

Because the Arameans of Iraq are not recognized as distinct ethnic minority, they are now forced to choose a name on their ID Card which is not theirs. This is undesirable, for it not only violates the fundamental human rights, but will also marginalize them and on long term lead to their cultural extermination.

 

There are in Iraq six Aramean Christian denominations such as Syrian (Orthodox/ Catholic), Melkite (Orthodox/ Catholic), Chaldean Church and Assyrian/ Nestorian Church. All the ancient scholars/ church fathers of these churches testify of their Aramean origin. [4]

These church fathers/ scholars had access to the original sources and many of them have excelled in their wisdom and knowledge in comparison with their contemporaries and enlightened the world of their time, not only with theological knowledge but also with the regular science. [5] The works of some of these famous scholars are still taught/ studied at renowned universities worldwide.

 

When in 2005 the draft Iraqi Constitution was presented, on 30th of September 2005 we sent a letter, together with our bishops in Iraq, to the American Embassy in Baghdad about the exclusion of the Aramean nation. [6]

On 29th of august 2007 we sent a letter to the Iraqi government together with our bishops in Iraq and the Aramean Democratic Organization and requested for the inclusion of our people in the Iraqi Constitution. [7]

When the former Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Zakka Iwas became aware of the exclusion of the Aramean nation from the Iraqi Constitution, he sent a letter in 2005 to the Iraqi government and asked for the inclusion of the Aramean people in the Constitution.

On 21st of October 2015, four Aramean bishops in Iraq sent a letter to the Iraqi government requesting the inclusion of Aramean nation in the Constitution.

When Patriarch Afrem Karim of the Syrian Orthodox church visited Iraq in March 2016, he requested the Iraqi authorities to include the Arameans in the Constitution.

 

Unfortunately, all these attempts to include our people in the Iraqi Constitution have been so far in vain.

Some dignitaries blame certain "christian" politicians in Iraqi Parliament for the exclusion of Aramean nation from the Iraqi Constitution. [8]

 

Request

Your Excellencies,

 

In order to be able to attain their minimum fundamental human rights, social and cultural rights, to preserve, maintain and promote the genuine Aramean heritage and to do justice to the historical facts as well as to the testimonies of the revered scholars of the church of Antioch, it is of utmost importance to include the Aramean indigenous nation in the Iraqi Constitution. This will help to remove them from their current anonymity and help them to be recognized as an important part of Iraq.

 

We wish to conclude this letter by hoping that your Excellencies have noticed our sincere concerns regarding the exclusion of the Aramean nation and will seriously consider our small but urgent request towards improving the situation of our people in Iraq.

 

 

Respectfully Yours,

 

 

 

 

Gabriel Sengo

Chairman

Arameans of Aram-Naharaim Organization

 

Gabi Gallo

Chairman

Aramean Democratic Organization

 

 

 

Copy sent to amongst others: European Union
  Embassy of Russia
  Embassy of USA

 

 

 

Footnotes:

 

[1] Hidden Pearl volume I: Page 27

[2] Hidden Pearl volume I: Page 58)

[3] http://www.aramnahrin.org/English/Interview_Chairmain_Aram-Naharaim_26_6_2007.htm

[4] Synonymy Aramean/ Syrian: English/Arabic

http://www.aramnahrin.org/English/Testimonies-Aramean-scholars.htm

[5] http://www.aramnahrin.org/English/Interview_Chairmain_Aram-Naharaim_28_6_2007.htm

[6] Letter to the American Embassy in Baghdad concerning the exclusion of Aramean nation from draft Iraqi constitution.

http://www.iraqichristians.info/English/Letter_US_Embassy_30_9_2005.htm

[7] Letter to the Iraqi government: President, Prime Minister and Minister of foreign Affairs

http://www.iraqichristians.org/English/Letter_Iraqi_Government_29_8_2007.htm

Arabic version: http://www.iraqichristians.org/Arabic/Arabic_Arameans_Iraq_29_8_2007.htm

[8] On 13th of September 2016, there was a live interview by Al Sharqiya Tv with the Aramean bishop Athanasius Toma Dawod from London on the exclusion of the Arameans/ Syrians from the Iraqi Constitution.

https://www.facebook.com/sharqiyatv/videos/vb.303228633100596/1146680468755404/?type=3&theater

Mgr. Athanasius Toma Dawod heavily criticizes (timeline: 34:32) certain "christian" politician in the Iraqi Parliament.