Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category.

The Spark that started a revolution: Navigating Four Crucial Trends Post the Assyrian Wedding Fire in Baghdada (Qaraqosh), Iraq

By Ashur Sada, founder and webmaster of Assyrian Voice Network

Can the town of Baghdeda (Qaraqosh) take more hits?
In the 2010 Baghdad church massacre, a lot of those affected were from this town and surrounding areas in the Nineveh Plain region. Then a few years later, the town and the whole region in general was invaded by ISIS, causing unimaginable destruction and hundreds of thousands of people to flee for years. And after a few years of relative stability, where a lot of people went back to their homes, we thought things are finally turning around. Not so fast! There was something as bad or worse than all previous hardships and tragedies: a deadly fire that would kill 110+ people, in a happy occasion like a wedding out of all places!

The recent tragic and catastrophic fire at an Assyrian wedding in Baghdeda , north of Iraq, has left an enduring mark on the hearts and minds of not just the Assyrian and Iraqi communities but has resonated globally. A local man from the town said it best: “even during the 2014 ISIS invasion, we didn’t suffer this much. At least back then we had a warning and most of us could flee. Not so much with this fire”

While it may be premature or even insensitive to make any conclusions or make predictions about future implications, it is an unavoidable topic. Given the magnitude of the tragedy and the unimaginable suffering people have experienced and will experience for a long time, this will mean changes, new adjustments, and a frankly a revolution from the old way of how things were done. Here are 4 shifts that I think will result or change as a result of this. This is not to suggest these are all good changes, but simply changes that will come out of this calamity.

While it’s true that not all weddings and venues are unsafe, especially in the diaspora where safety measures are more enforced and strict, this wedding tragedy prompts people to reconsider large celebrations. Regardless of safety concerns, the focus shifts to the joy derived from smaller weddings, with fewer attendees and in more intimate venues, creating an overall more intimate experience. While there was already some traction towards smaller celebrations in the west, this will eventually gain traction in Iraq and the middle east in general as well. Not just the size and celebration, but the whole approach to weddings and how complicated they have become in recent times. A wedding should be a cause for celebration and joy – something to look forward to – and not something we dread or makes us feel exhausted.

As mentioned earlier, people in the region can only take so much. After enduring terrorism, ISIS invasion, political infighting, a lack of services, and now this horrific tragedy, residents may ponder, “What comes next is not a question of if but when, as we feel this region is effectively cursed, denying us peace even in our happiest moments.” The town of Baghdeda (known as Qaraqosh in Syriac or Hamdanya in Arabic) in the Nineveh Plain region lies at the heart of the dwindling Assyrian presence. If immigration resurfaces as a threat, the region won’t withstand further population loss, having already seen hundreds of thousands depart since the 2003 U.S invasion of Iraq. While Assyrians exist in other parts of the country, the Nineveh Plain is the heartbeat of the Assyrian nation. If this heartbeat stops, revival becomes challenging. While people will not leave because there was a very tragic and deadly accident at a wedding – accidents happen everywhere – it is about the broader picture, and how corruption, lack of safety measures etc. could have led to this very preventable tragedy.

This segue into our next and very important topic: safety
Safety is a shockingly strange concept in Iraq.
While reading foreign coverage and discussion of this tragic fire, I was struck by some online commentary on pictures from the aftermath. These were some of their reactions, which puts the whole thing into prospective:

I’m looking at the pics and those guys just walking around with the roof hanging like that !??  oh naw”
“Right? The guys walking around fire wreckage with sandals on are going to tell us that indoor pyrotechnics are safe…”

These two comments truly puts how safety is approached in Iraq in a whole new prospective. Imagine, even in the aftermath of such a historical fire, people are still paying no attention to safety whatsoever. By safety, we are not talking wedding safety only, but the way people live and operate in Iraq and the middle east in general. The incident underscores the need for a thorough review and potential strengthening of safety and building codes in Iraq. It highlights the importance of having stringent regulations in place to ensure the safety of public gatherings. Future implications may involve more rigorous inspection processes and increased enforcement of safety measures during events, especially those involving large crowds. The incident may prompt a reevaluation of certain traditions, such as the use of fireworks indoors, whether or not they eventually are found to have caused the fire. People should refuse to hold their events in venues that don’t have basic safety and fire code requirements, such as sprinklers, adequate safety exists and signs and a proper emergency plan. We really take these things for granted when living in the west, and while it is not perfectly safe here, the idea is to be mindful of what it takes to be safe, while enjoying the occasion.

Imagine this: in response to this horrific tragedy, it took some time for a fire truck to finally arrive on the scene. Even more shocking, the truck had a limited water supply, and it eventually ran out. In other words, they arrived both late and inadequately prepared! Some reports allege that the second truck sent also faced similar issues with an insufficient water supply. We place our faith in governments and civil defense forces to assist us in times of need, but, in reality, they often fall short. In this instance, when firefighting services were most needed, they failed miserably, at least in the crucial first hours of extinguishing the fire and rescuing people. This easily explains why the death toll is so high, in addition to the initial safety red flags that have been pointed out as a cause. This all goes back to the broader discussion of services, or lack thereof. While Iraq has had a lot of tragic accidents in recent two decades since the toppling of the previous regime, this one should hopefully renew discussion about basic services the government offers to the public, how good they are, and whether they meet their basic needs. More importantly, in a country where bribes are rampant and public firings are used as a dress rehearsal to show an intent to make a change, getting the government to pay more attention to how it delivers services to its citizens is the least we could ask for. It is starts with more ownership, responsibility and accountability from all those involved, be it business, government or even those using these services and venues. People are already hopeless and think like many tragedies in the country in the last few years, this one will soon be forgotten and the findings will not get to the bottom of what really happened.

While it might seem inconsiderate to suggest, in a country like Iraq where positive changes are rare, it often takes a once-in-a-lifetime tragedy to ignite meaningful transformations. Unfortunately, many of us harbor doubts about the likelihood of such changes occurring. With the government more focused on rhetoric and public image than on taking tangible actions for genuine improvement, individuals may find themselves compelled to take matters into their own hands. Regrettably, this could involve the difficult decision to leave the country and seek refuge in the West. Let us fervently hope and pray that the tragic spark that led to this devastating fire will, in turn, spark positive changes rather than further negative consequences for our people in the region.


An Assyrian Mothers Life also Lost in San Bernardino Shootings


By Abbey Mikha

More innocent lives lost in California. An Assyrian mother was murdered in the San Bernardino shootings a few days ago along with 13 others with also 21 injured.  It was reported in the news that the killers in San Bernardino used military-style assault weapons to kill as many people as they could.  It was also reported that the suspects Farook and Malik were killed by police in a shootout after their deadly attack.

According to Benneta Betbadal families go fund me page she was born in Iran in 1969. This means she was only 46 years old when she was murdered!

“She fled to America at the age of 18 to escape Islamic extremism and the persecution of Christians that followed the Iranian Revolution. Benneta initially settled in New York City, eventually moving to California and marrying her husband, Arlen Verdehyou, a police officer. They moved to Rialto, California and had three children, now ages 10, 12, and 15.

Benneta graduated from Cal Poly, Pomona with a degree in Chemestry. She accepted a position as an inspector for the San Bernardino County Health Department where she has served for many years. Benneta was proud to work for the people of San Bernardino County. She loved her job, her community, and her country. Her greatest love, however, was for her husband, her children, and her large extended family.

Benneta left the house Wednesday morning, excited about a presentation she was scheduled to give to her supervisors and coworkers at their annual meeting. It is the ultimate irony that her life would be stolen from her that day by what appears to be the same type of extremism that she fled so many years ago.”

A friend of the family has set up a memorial fund for the Betbadal children.  The fund will be used solely to benefit Benneta’s children, as they and the family have been forced to live life without her. The person who set up the fund is Benneta’s husbands best friend for the past 30 years. They stood up at each other’s weddings and his wife and he are the godparents to Arlen and Benneta’s children. Like Arlen, he is also a law enforcement officer, a lieutenant with a county sheriff’s department.

It is so sad to see the picture of this Assyrian mother standing with her husband and children at Christmas time, who came to America escaping Islamic extremism from Iran, who got educated, fell in love, had children, and was living a quiet life with her family. Her life was cut short by selfish people who do not care about the significance of every soul that lives and who would have been happy to take the souls of as many more people as they could.  Each individual that was murdered meant something to their families and to the community. Each individuals journey was cut short.  Imagine how many children lost their moms and dads.  How many people lost brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and friends etc.  Most definitely what was done to these human beings was unjust but God will bring justice to all these innocent souls in the other world.  Most certainly the American people and government and everyone should also fight to bring justice to the peoples lives who were taken in this reality and this world.

I was reading about the tragedy and someone wrote that the remaining family of the killers said that the male murderer had been made fun of at work. Someone had made fun of his beard. If every time someone got made fun of in the world they went out and shot and murdered people where would the world be? This is not an excuse!

I want to give my sincere condolences to the families of all the victims of the San Bernardino shootings. May God rest each of their souls in peace and may he give all the families strength in this difficult time.  May the American people not take the lives of these individuals for granted and may they act accordingly in regards to terrorism in America and the world.

Benneta, your life was cut short along with everyone else’s who was murdered, but the Assyrian community will not forget any of the victims and their families. We stand with you all!   Benneta’s children have been so brave speaking out about the kind of mother she was in the media. I pray that God will give your children, husband, and family strength Benneta so that they may go on and live, although most assuredly they will miss you immensely every day of their lives. Rest in peace beautiful Assyrian flower who will not be forgotten.

If you would like to contribute to the Benneta Betbadal memorial fund please donate at the following page:

To donate to the other victims of the San Bernardino shooting please go to the following page:







Pray for the World and Paris 


By Abbey Mikha

Recently there have been bombings in Beirut, Lebanon which killed forty three and injured two hundred forty persons. There have also been a lot of natural disasters in the world lately. For example an earthquake hit Japan in the past which devastated the country and the Japanese people received a lot of aid and the attention of the world media. In Mexico there has also been a earthquake and a hurricane which killed many as well.

People are dying all over the world, some from natural disasters and others from human evil, terrorism, and human foolishness. There have been continuous suicide bombings in Baghdad! When have the suicide bombings ever stopped in Iraq since 2003? Mosul has also been cleared of the Assyrian Christians. For the first time in the history of the world there are no Assyrian Christians in Nineveh. The Assyrian Christians are living in refugee camps in the North of Iraq and they are suffering to say the least with no hope for the future. There is also a continuing war in Syria where Assyrians are being terrorised by ISIS and are being forced to flee the country. There have also been recent terrorist acts against the Russian aeroplane which exploded in the Sinai Peninsula Egypt and killed everyone on board. And yesterday was a dark day when seven terrorists killed one hundred twenty one innocent people in Paris, France and injured three hundred fifty, ninety-nine of which are in critical condition.

An interesting comment that was made on social media was by humanitarian activist and actress Angelina Jolie. She said, ”Whilst everyone talks about ‪#‎Paris no one mentions the ‪#‎ISIS attack in ‪#‎Lebanon yesterday. I pray for both countries.”

It is true we should be praying for both countries and all the countries around the world who are suffering as a result of terrorism especially. We are all human beings. When an innocent person dies whether they are Lebanese, Japanese, Mexican, American, French, Canadian, African, or yes even Assyrian tears should well up in your eyes and your heart should ache. Why? Because these are innocent people whose lives were taken and are being taken!

Ashur Giwargis the chairman of the Assyrian Patriotic Movement recently responded to Angelina’s comment and said:

“270 innocent Assyrian women, men and children were abducted by ISIS and nobody cared. 200.000 Assyrians were expelled from their homes in Syria by Kurds and Turks and through ISIS and nobody cared. 1 million Assyrian out of 1.4 million have been expelled from Iraq after its American “democracy” and no one cared …. but when another Sep/11 takes place in any place in West, with the same hidden facts … all cry, while the western countries are obviously supporting terrorism in the middle east. What a shame.”

The most significant fact Ashur Giwargis gives is that these western countries are obviously supporting terrorism in the Middle East and herein lays the human foolishness. Terrorism is a monster and this monster is becoming larger and larger. Instead of slaying this monster the world seems to be feeding it. Besides this previous major point the issue is that no one nation is better than another. What happened in Paris at the hands of ISIS is heartbreaking and the acts of immoral criminals who are not in their right mind. In one day everyone has heard about what happened in Paris because the media is all over this story. CNN is featuring this story right now. They are talking of hardly anything else.

What has happened to the Assyrians in the past years and months has hardly been given any attention by the world media. Our people have been expelled from Syria from their homes! Our people have been banished from Nineveh! Our people have been abducted and even killed and nobody cares. This is unreal and so unfortunate.  Do we not exist?  Yes, we do exist but your reasons for ignoring us are not logical.

I remember the voice of a political science professor in my first year in university when he said, “People are not equal.” I always believed that God created people as equals, but when I see what is happening in the world and the way that some events are given priority above others, who deserve equal attention in the media, I say yes professor you knew what you were talking about when you said, “In politics people are not equal.”

God rest the souls of all the innocent who died in Paris yesterday and God rest the souls of all the forgotten people who were killed all over the world including Assyrians whilst being innocent yet ignored by the media.


Winter is here! What about the Assyrians?


By Abbey Mikha

As I am looking over pictures of refugee Assyrians and their children it truly truly breaks my heart.  Don’t be naïve, Winter is here! It is going to snow soon and it has already rained an unusual amount of cold rain and the camps are flooding in the North of Iraq!  How are the Assyrian people going to survive in these refugee camps? It is really sad to know we have roofs over our heads but hundreds of thousands of Assyrians do not have roofs over their heads in Iraq!

I have learned in the past years that life is not fair. There are innocent Assyrian children sleeping on cardboard boxes and lighting a fire outside in the cold in the North of Iraq. Where is Divinity in these situations? Where is justice? Where are the humanitarian people of the world? Where are the humanitarian organizations of the world?

I want to ask anyone and everyone who can help all the children and the Assyrian people to please do so.   Christmas is coming. Let us give hope and happiness to Assyrian people living in refugee camps in the North of Iraq. I pray that this terrible situation the Assyrians are facing in Iraq will be resolved peacefully very soon and that the Assyrians will not live in refugee camps in their own ancestral homeland anymore, rather they will go back to their villages, towns, and all places which belong to them.

Please, whoever you are and wherever you are from, support a safe haven for Assyrian Christians in the North of Iraq! Have a heart. These are innocent people! They are parents with hopes for the future of their children. They are children who just want to play and go to school and to be happy.

Please help as much as you can. If you are affluent, help with bread. If you are influential, help by spreading the message of the suffering Assyrians in the political world. At least help by making people aware. Even if you just have an internet connection help to spread the message on social media that the Assyrians are suffering in refugee camps in Iraq and that if they do not get help the situation is going to get much worse and many innocent people are going to die.

This Assyrian nation whose roots are in ancient history is becoming extinct. Honestly there is more awareness and projects about animal rights in the world compared to rights of Assyrians! The Assyrian nation which was born in the cradle of civilization thousands of years ago and took its first steps with the help of God…

Iraq is an interesting country. It is rich in resources and history.   Everyone wants a piece of Iraq! When considering this greed one could ask, “Is this the end of the world?” Surely yes because Iraq the place where humanity built its first civilizations it seems has become hated by the world and a nightmare for the Assyrians and so many other minorities. Please in the coming days and months don’t forget about the Assyrians and their children…


It just hit me: Assyrians are living a terrible nightmare!

By: Ashur Sada


I am well aware of what has been happening to our Assyrian people in Iraq and Syria at the hands of ISIS. It is pretty horrible. But sometimes you go through life, get distracted and tend to forget some of it.

Assyrians are living a terrible nightmare in Iraq and Syria thanks to isis

Assyrians are living a terrible nightmare in Iraq and Syria, having been killed, raped and their towns completed emptied at the hands of ISIS.

And then it hit me, literally like a light bulb that pops into your head! Assyrians are going through one of the toughest stretches in their existence.  They are living a terrible nightmare and I hope everyone else comes to this sudden realization, in case you too got distracted by other things.

Just think about it: their two most popular regions in Iraq and Syria respectively have been completely and forcefully emptied of their native Assyrian inhabitants. In both cases,  at the hands of ruthless and barbaric Islamic State terrorists (ISIS)

If you can’t grasp the magnitude of this historical tragedy, let me put it in a relative and somewhat similar context: imagine an area almost the size of the cities of New York and New Jersey combined. Now imagine every single resident being forcefully evicted from their homes, if not an outright rape, murder or even both.

Hundreds of thousands of Assyrians not only lost their homes, they lost their very villages, cities and towns that they have continuously lived in for thousands of years. It is one thing to have your house or property taken away from you, and quiet another to have your city and region taken away from you. That is exactly what ISIS did to the Assyrian Christians in their historical regions in Iraq and Syria.  And I won’t even go into talking about ISIS’ destruction of priceless Assyrian archaeological sites and treasures.

That, and even worse is happening to our people since June of last year when ISIS swept through Mosul and later taking over the Nineveh plain region and in the process forcing some 100,000 Assyrians away from their home, city and historical homeland. The same with would later happen to Assyrians in the Khabour region of Syria.  And in fact, the plight of Assyrians in Syria is a bit worse. Not only did they lose their homes and the entire Khabour region, over 200 Assyrians, including women and children, remain captive to ISIS till this day.

If you thought what happened to Assyrians at the hands of ISIS is bad, you are wrong. Bad is not the right word to describe a situation in which more than a third of an entire ethnic population is forced out from their historical lands-in the 21st century- and not be able to return a year later.  It is beyond words. In fact, failure to put into words what has happened to Assyrians in the last 12 months is the only successful way to demonstrate just how horrible it has been. Because it is beyond words to describe.

Humans have this amazing and handy ability to take things for granted with the passage of time or adopt to changes. Please do me a favor and don’t get used to these changes for Assyrians. The status quo is not something we should ever get used to or accept. The Khabour region in Syria and the Nineveh Plain region in Iraq are the heart of Assyrianism in these two countries and always have been. And we hope they always will be.We remain optimistic that Assyrians will be able to go back and this nightmare will come to an end soon. This is more than just a survival of a 6,000 year old civilization. This is much more basic than that. It is about human dignity, rights and basic survival.

Please rethink just how bad it is. It is even worse than your worse nightmare. Did I say the word ‘nightmare’ enough times to drive the point home?


Give Hope to all the Children of the World Regardless of their Identity

poor children 6

african children


By Abbey Mikha

One does not have to look up stats to know that there are millions and millions of children living in extreme poverty all over the world. Advanced nations could eradicate child poverty but they do not because perhaps it does not suit their ideals or it is not in their own interest. They do not even destroy child poverty in their own countries, let alone others. From the time we as children attend kindergarten in western countries one of the main things we are taught is to share. So, why do not people who control the cash flow of the world share with children dying from lack of food, clean water, and sufficient health care?

Most children in Africa are suffering from food deficiency. There is also a lack of clean water and medical assistance and medication for diseases and even regular illnesses. The world harvests enough food to feed the entire world including these children. The question must be asked why these children do not have access to a consistent food supply?

The main method to eliminate the hunger crisis is for people all over the world to open their minds and hearts and to realize that there are people starving in Africa and other poverty afflicted locations worldwide. However, food is not the only major problem for African children. Other issues, such as slavery and forced armed forces participation are also problematic.

In the Middle East, specifically in Syria, because of the recent ongoing war there is a dire situation of child poverty. Education has collapsed in the country. Half of children that used to attend school did not during the 2014-2015 period. There are many stories of children losing parents and having to care for their younger brothers and sisters. The situation for the children of Syria is dreadful and the world needs to lend a helping hand to these children who have suffered a great deal as a result of the wars in their country and in the region.

Assyrian Christian children in the North of Iraq and all over Iraq are also suffering today immensely. They are living in cramped refugee camps and they are allotted small rations of food each. For this reason many have become malnourished and hopeless. These children live in refugee camps in their own country with only the clothes on their back. There is an uncertain future for them in this heart-breaking country because not enough world attention is being paid to their horrible and disastrous situation. The Assyrians are the indigenous people of Iraq and very little is being done to help them by the Iraqi government and also by foreign countries. They are being ignored, intimidated, and pushed around and are suffering from ethnic and religious persecution.

Iraq and all its children have suffered for many years since the first Gulf War and the embargo which came into effect August of 1990. This embargo brought much poverty to Iraq and millions of its children died or were negatively affected.

There are children all over the world living in lack. Poverty does not always discriminate based on color or race. Many children of the entire human race live in poverty and in every country of the world.  Even in countries like Canada and the United States.

People need to care about the children of the earth and each other. People need to realize that when they lend a helping hand to those who are impoverished and suffering in their life they are doing the least that they can do. One of the main goals of every established country should be the eradication of hunger and poverty in their own countries and other underdeveloped countries and crisis areas which are facing famine, war, and disease.

We were brought into this earth to do good especially in relation to other human beings. We are all one human race. It does not matter what our identity is: the color of our skin, the texture of our hair, or which God we worship. We all have two eyes, one nose, and a heart. This heart will regret every beat it lived in the end if individuals and nations do not help others in need.

As an Assyrian I say please help all the children of the world and include the children of my Assyrian nation as part of that human race. It is time to eradicate poverty and hunger and give hope to all the children of the world so that they may live and survive unto maturity. Only then can they have the hope of dreaming and in their future becoming whatever they wish to be.



Remembering Assyrian Martyrs Past and Present

red candle


By Abbey Mikha

Every day I think about the Assyrian Martyrs who were massacred in 1915 in Hakkari, Tur Abdin, and other Assyrian areas and also in Simele in 1933. I am especially thinking about these Genocides today August 7th because today is Assyrian Martyrs day.

The Seypa Genocide is a part of my identity. I am a descendant of Assyrian human beings who escaped this Genocide from Zerineh Jilu Hakkari and Mardin Tur Abdin.   This Genocide which was perpetuated against Assyrians, Armenians, and Pontic Greeks at the hands of the Turks and their cousins the Kurds, devastated our nation perhaps forever…

I really feel that today in 2015 history is repeating itself and the Assyrians are suffering again and again as they did one hundred years ago. I ask God and the universe to protect my little nation and not let us be wiped out by cruel nations who do not have any humanity and only know the love of money, power, weaponry, and backwards religious mentality.

God be with the Assyrians who are still being held hostage in Syria today and all others who have fled and are seeking  life in other countries.  God help our people and may all individuals of other cultures sympathize with the Assyrians who are literally being silently wiped out today.

I pray for each and every Assyrian. I pray for your little children, for your girls and boys. I pray for your teenagers and those who are become young adults in this difficult time. I pray for Assyrian people of all ages and especially the courageous elderly.  I pray for this nation that the human race has forgotten and ignored.

May the Spirit of the Assyrian Nation shine brightly amongst nations in these difficult days! May the love in the hearts of Assyrian children and people surround each Assyrian individual in the homeland and protect them. May this love build bridges amongst our Assyrian people and bring us closer together as one ancient Assyrian united nation.

Lastly, may the truth become evident that the Assyrian nation was always in the heart of Jesus the Christ and any nation in the heart of Jesus deserves to survive, thrive, and bloom unto eternity.

I light this candle in the name of every Assyrian, past, present, and future.  God bless you all!


Assyrians starting to shift their online habits: less leisure to more reading and activism

By: Ashur Sada

Assyrians starting to shift their online habits: less leisure to more reading and activism

Assyrians are starting to shift their online habits: less leisure to more reading and activism

Being a webmaster for 16 years now, I had observed something about the average online Assyrian user: they enjoyed consuming more entertainment material than doing some serious reading or research. That is, they spent more time looking at pictures, listening to music and viewing YouTube videos than they did reading the news, books or doing research. And it is not necessarily a bad thing nor does it mean that the average Assyrian has a personality that likes to have more fun than to be educated and aware of what is happening in the world.

But lately, things are starting to change.  I have noticed a shift from time spent  doing fun things online to more time spent reading the news and other serious articles and online activism.  Suddenly, people who had a habit of sharing music and videos they liked, are now sharing news stories and articles with me. And this is happening every day, for months now and it is only increasing in volume.

This new hunger for more online reading and activism can be attributed to the events in Iraq and Syria and what Assyrians in the region have been enduring under the hands of ISIS since June 2014. The situation has been so serious since ISIS’ takeover of the Iraqi city of Mosul and the neighboring Assyrian region of ‘Nineveh Plain’ , that Assyrians have had to adopt a new online attitude. It require that we too become more serious and spend less time on online entertainment. People are still free to do both-life can’t be serious all the time-but we should also recognize that the situation requires that we are more involved, educated and aware of the latest.

This new hunger for reading and discovery is a great thing. It couldn’t come at a better time.  An educated nation is one that is more ready to face the future. In our ever more connected world today, knowledge is power. The more information you have at your disposal, the better decisions you are likely to make. Which is why it is a good thing that Assyrians are arming themselves with new knowledge about the situation in the middle east, who their friends are, who their enemies are, how they can help their people, what other countries are doing, what our own parties are doing, where do our churches stand, what lobbying efforts are active on our behalf and so much more.

A few days ago, I read an interesting update from Assyrian singer Walter Aziz on his FP page: he announced, that due to the serious situation our nation is in as well as the recent passing of Mar Dinkha IV , he had decided to postpone the release of his new album for the time being. Smart decision on his part. I am not suggesting that life should stop or all fun activities be cancelled. But if you can do it, sure, why not? And for something like an album release, it can certainly wait and in fact, people will appreciate it even more.

There is a time and place for everything. For the time being, while the situation is still very serious for the Assyrian nation and people, let us spend a bit more time on reading and educating ourselves on what is happening. Be more active. Send an email. Sign a petition. Read articles. Do research. Get others involved. And remember, what you do online is no substitute for what you can do in person and in the offline world. But this article is concerned with what Assyrians do online.

It is the least we can do if we are not going to be on the ground protecting our people, villages, cities and historical sites.


With Mar Dinkha’s passing, Assyrians are at a crossroads

By: Ashur Sada

On March 26, the patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV passed away, leaving his

On March 26, the patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV passed away

On March 26, the patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV passed away

seat empty, waiting for the next successor. A seat he has occupied since 1976.

March had already been a tough month for Assyrians, with the ISIS assault on our artifacts and ancient treasures in Iraq, and the brutal assault on our people in Syria. Mar Dinkha’s passing may complicate things even more. We always looked to his holiness for spiritual and even patriotic guidance, even if only in a symbolic sense.

Now come some difficult questions :

-Who will replace him?
-Will the Assyrian church be in good hands in the future?
-Should the seat of the church go back to its original home in Mesopotamia?

Lots of questions that we can only wait and hope to get some good answers for.

Assyrians today, more than in a long time, are at a crossroads. They have suffered and lost a lot in the last few months alone and they can’t afford to lose more. We can only hope-like in sports-that the law of averages will finally work in our favor and something good happens. We need it.

I actually find it very ironic and disturbing, that on the 100th anniversary of the Assyrian genocide, more genocides and hardships are being suffered by our people.

And that brings me back to the death of his holiness, Mar Dinkha. Some may argue that he couldn’t save our people or influence events to go in our favor lately and that his role was religious or a national spectator at best. I think it is more than just that. He was  a spiritual leader and a father figure to all Assyrians. Though he was a religious leader, he never shied away from advocating for Assyrians and their plight. In fact,  you could have easily mistaken him at times for a national activist, dressed in religious attire. You could even make the case that a lot of Assyrians owe their increased sense of nationalism to his holiness. He made that much of an impact.

Assyrians lost a figure head that meant a lot to them. He was the closest we got to having our own president or national leader.  Of course not all Assyrians are from the Church of the East, but the church is almost synonymous with the Assyrian nation.

The saying ‘when it rains, it pours’ applies perfectly here to Assyrians of late. Hope spring is on its way.


It Is Time For the Assyrians to be Truly United With One Strong Voice


By: Abbey Mikha

Dear God protect my suffering Assyrian nation.  The young, women, men, elderly, and disabled and those suffering from mental illness.  I know its difficult to believe in God sometimes when we see our nation in such a situation, but this is when we must be strong in our faith, and realize that we need to be truly united as Assyrians with one strong voice.

There is no superpower on earth willing to help us thus far, but perhaps the Superpowers of the Universe will help us?! Dear Jesus use your powers to help your nation.  Dear Melchizedek I read once that you are at a high level in the hierarchy of heaven, so help us.  Dear Inanna or Ishtar as we call you, you have always loved the Assyrian nation, so will you love us again and help us?!  I always believed that heaven was much more powerful than even any atomic bombs on earth.  So, let it be so.  Let us witness your love and power.

Our people are dying, they have been abducted and God only knows what they are going through in this moment and what evil place they have been taken to.  Our artifacts have been destroyed in the museum of Nineveh and looted and sold in the black market by the international mafia.  The jewel of ancient civilizations, the city of Nimrud has been destroyed. Today more villages in Syria have been attacked by ISIS and our men are fighting them off with riffles and limited ammunition.  I’m afraid to ask what is next.  Why wont anyone help the Assyrians defeat this evil group of people?  Who are the powerful individuals planning for this to happen to the Assyrian nation and why?  We are being attacked by many, but we will resist and we will never give up.

 I just wish that we could say the powerful words which Queen Zenubia declared to a Roman general once, “You may have the civilization of power, but we have the power of civilization.” Help us that “power of civilization” and I say it again make us be united as one strong voice so that we can rebuild ourselves, our nation, and our Assyria.  Our spirit has been shaken for we are good sensitive humanitarian people and we are worried about the future of our nation, and of the future of humanity on earth, but until our last breath we will write about and defend our suffering nation.

The Assyrians have been massacred from 1915 until 2015.  That is a hundred years of massacre, murder, and GENOCIDE.  We may ask from heaven to help us, but we also ask, “When will the world rise up and defend the Assyrians?”  This may be your last chance.  Are we not humans, are we not people, or do you actually think still that we are not part of the chosen people?  Well I’m here to tell you there are no chosen people.  Every individual good person from any nation is chosen.  We are chosen to live too.  We want to live and we do not want to die anymore.  Let us all rise up together and end the suffering of the Assyrians one of the ancient Christian peoples of the world.