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Suddenly, More Assyrians Going East than Assyrians Going West!
Ashur Sada: June 1st, 2005

It is amazing how some things change, all of a sudden. Just a few years ago, the talk was: “even the Assyrians who haven’t left yet, will soon be leaving the homeland, and migrate to the West!” And all indications were pointing to that sad direction of reality. But things have suddenly changed in the last few months. There is now more talk of Assyrians actually going back. Although those Assyrians are not necessarily going back to stay permanently, their mission is still a noble one; one that will be looked at decades from now and be appreciated a lot.

So why is it such a big deal if Assyrians go back if they are not going to stay there permanently? Well, it is important to note, that primary reason for their going back is to be part of a big “rebuilding and reconstruction effort” that has been going on for years. And this unofficial (some official and similar campaigns have been going on for years, but that is not the subject of this article) campaign has only been fueled even more after the removal of Saddam. The reconstruction process is happening all over the villages in Northern Iraq from Barwar to Sapna, and all that surrounds these regions. For every village, you will see on average, some 3-5 new houses being built. In addition, water purification systems, electricity, churches and other public utilities are all being added as well.

This reconstruction and building process is opening new frontiers for Assyrians; especially those already living in the region. To prevent Kurds from taking over Assyrian villages in the region, locals are being brought in to inhabit these newly constructed village units. Slowly, but steadily, this is creating whole new regions composed primarily of Assyrian populations. And should this trend continue at this pace, make no mistake about it, the whole region will, in a few years from now, be back to a lot similar to what it used to be before.


Of course the problem still remains, when people only go there to rebuild, and not to stay. Although, some do stay, or at least spend part of the year there, and the other part in their original country of residence. It would have been much better if people went there and stayed, at least partially. That is, to spend part of the year in there, taking care of the house, the land, the farm etc. For an Assyrian visiting from North America for example, winters are usually long and cold, so it is a good idea to spend the winter and part of fall in their Assyrian village, while spring and summer could be spent in their North American home of residence. Another solution is for Assyrians to open their own businesses in the region, thus have more incentive to stay longer. These businesses wouldn’t only benefit the visiting Assyrian, but also the local Assyrians, who could be employed and also have them manage the business when the owner is away. It wouldn’t be a bad idea, for example, if the province of Barwar or Sapna, had their own small local Assyrian economies. In the future, these two small economies would combine, possibly with other regional economies to form a strong Assyrian economy in Bet-Nahrain; something that would benefit thousands of Assyrians who inhabit that region.

There is a lot of reasons for optimism, although that optimism should be perceived with some caution. The reconstruction and building efforts are there, but the willingness to go the further mile-going back and living in the region permanently-is still not there. Nevertheless, should this radical change continue for years to come, some good things will be coming for Assyrians and Assyria.




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