ArDO: Yes we want Lebanon to be the Switzerland of the East and Beirut the Paris of the East


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Special letter to the Chaldean, Syriac and Assyrian Conference in Baghdad concerning a common name for our Iraqi people which share the same Aramaic national heritage.


The story of Christianity in the Middle East is long and very interesting. Many political, cultural and theological factors led to the establishment of the Christian Churches in the Middle East. The name of each church has become both social and ethnic one.

Today’s Assyrians, Chaldeans, Maronites, Melkites and Syriacs are the original people in the Middle East; they belong to the same Aramean people and the Aramaic rich culture. Many of them still speak Neo-Aramaic or use Syriac in liturgy. These Churches are aware of their common origin and Aramaic cultural heritage which is a common denominator. In the same time they face strong challenges on different levels, but in order to survive they have to cooperate more than any time.

The Christians in Iraq are facing a new era which is full of hopes and troubles. The absence of the old Iraqi regime has opened a debate concerning the issue of the common origin and one future of the groups of our people who call themselves Chaldeans, Syriacs and Assyrians. The biggest church in Iraq is the Chaldean with about 600.000 members, followed by the Syriac churches with their 300.000 members and the Assyrian churches with their 100.000 members (These numbers are according to the Iraqi magazine al-Fikr al-Masihi No. 383 - 384, page 63, 2003).

Our people in the “modern” Iraq should take advantage of the late political development by demanding their rights to participate in building their country which should be a home for all Iraqis regardless ethnical belongings, and to take hand of their Aramaic heritage.

A great problem is facing our people that it is divided into many ethnical and religious groups with a special name for each group. The current political development has led the Aramaic-speaking groups in Iraq to seek a common name which will represent all of them and would be accepted by all. If it succeeds it would be a good example for our people all over the world. Representatives from these groups met a couple of times to discuss the issue of ONE name. The meetings were courageous steps, but many difficulties are waiting on the way of the common name. We know that failure in this period is stronger than good hopes and success.

We, the organizations which sign this document, are aware of the impossibility of this immature mission today. In order to avoid sensitive problems of agreeing ONE common name we advice each group of our people to continue bearing its church and ethnic name and not to change it into another, at the same time we suggest a quick solution that is to use the name of our language by calling ourselves ”the Aramaic-speakers” until an agreement  can be reached in a beautiful day in the near or far future. 

 To be called “Aramaic-speakers” is a positive and great step as long as most of us speak Neo-Aramaic and use Syriac in liturgy. “Aramaic-speakers” is a good name which has a potential unifying strength within it. The name is neither a religious nor sectarian. The logical way of thinking would lead everybody and every group to an unhesitatingly accept it.

 The following Organizations wish all the groups of our people in Iraq to take their historical responsibility and act wisely to accept calling themselves “Aramaic-speakers”.

1. Syriac Universal Alliance,

2. Aramaic Democratic Organization,

3. Organization of the Middle East Christians,

4. General Assembly of Lebanese Syriac Christians,

5. Aramean Academic Association

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