By: Ashur Sada
With Halloween almost at our door steps, as Assyrians, we have another painful and scary anniversary quickly approaching. In fact it falls on Halloween day too: the horrible ‘Lady of Salvation’ church massacre in Baghdad which claimed the lives of over 50 Assyrian Christians, including women, children, priests and entire families. And just as many were injured and emotionally wounded forever.
And the fact that the 31st of October-the day of the massacre in 2010- is also my birth date, doesn’t make it any less painful to revisit and remember.
On this date, it wasn’t about being surprised by the inhumane and brutal nature of the terrorists. That was already known for years. What surprised us was how this dark day united Assyrians and Christians from Iraq in general, all over the world. All the rallies and protests in different cities around the world were testament to that. I don’t remember anything in the recent history of our nation that could have united us to this point. It reminded me of the September 11 attacks on the US and how it brought the whole nation together, liberal or conservative, it didn’t matter.
But now that a year has almost passed, are we becoming a little complacent and beginning to forget? I read a lot of Assyrian news, literature and general internet content and it is a little disappointing that there has been virtually no mention of this massacre in the last few weeks, leading up to the first anniversary. That is a worrying sign. If the magnitude of this horrible massacre wasn’t engraved in our memories forever, I don’t know what will.
Assyrians remember massacres that happened to them decades and centuries ago so you would think this would be even fresher in our memory and should be there at all times. Sure, only about 55 people were killed compared to the thousands and hundreds of thousands that were killed in other massacres and genocides against the Assyrian nation, but relatively speaking, this was as bad as it gets. And to have been committed in a church, lasting several hours and causing such damage and fear, makes this whole thing all the more distressing and grievous.
Take a moment-or maybe days-to reflect on this painful anniversary and don’t let our fallen victims be forgotten even less than a year after their passing. Be part of any remembrance service that is held in their honor. As determined as the terrorists were to kill them, so will we in our determination to keep their memory-and this nation-going forever!
The Baghdad Church Massacre is one of those self-serving events in history: even if we don’t remember it or celebrate its heroes, it is still powerful enough to survive on its own in our history books and imagery.