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Assyrians Need their Own Central Library, or Risk Losing their History
By: Ashur Sada. June 20th, 2005

As an Assyrian, if I want to pray, I go my Assyrian church. As an Assyrian, if I want to socialize, I go to an Assyrian party or picnic. As an Assyrian, if I want to learn about my nation’s history, learn the Assyrian language, and just educate myself in Assyrianism, I go to….? Yes indeed there is a blank to fill, and that blank is the need for a central national Assyrian library. Yes, Assyrians do lack a lot of things, but a central library is one of the most important things. A central library would serve to preserve our history, educate our current generation, and be there for our many generations to come. Without something as important as this, we risk losing our history, language and culture.

To preserve our History:

Can a building, otherwise referred to as a ‘library’ save an entire history of an ancient nation like the Assyrians? Yes. A central library would enable us to have one central and historical reference point. A point where the history of our nation, since its inception thousands of years ago, and until this day, would be preserved. We need to take care of our own history and not let someone else write it for us. One way of making sure this happens, is by preserving your history and having it authenticated and verified for centuries and centuries to come.

Although thousands of books still exist today that deal with the analytical and chronological detailing of our history, just as many have been lost. Remember, our nation has gone through a lot, so it is not easy to keep books, and historical documents from being lost. But again, a central library would serve to keep all these volumes in one place, and refer back to it at anytime, when the need arises. In other words, the library would act as an evidence for our long and rich history.

To keep our Present:

This central library would also help us in the present, specifically the most recent generation of Assyrians. That is, this library could store a massive amount of books and volumes related to various Assyrian subjects including our language, our church and its history, our civilization and much more. And like mentioned above, the library should try and have every Assyrian book out there, new and old, whether in Aramaic or neo-Syriac.

Again, the idea of centralizing all of our Assyrian publications and volumes in one place, will greatly simplify our efforts to preserve our culture, language and history. Researchers for example, including non-Assyrian, could consult this national library when doing a research on Assyrians or Assyriology. Much like the various Egyptian and Greek libraries, dealing specifically with these two respective civilizations’ knowledge and information.

To guarantee our future:

Of course, this library will be of great use for future generations. In fact, the farther removed from our generation, the more useful; as it will have encompassed the works of the past, and the present in which we live in now. That way, our future Assyrians will arm themselves with this knowledge, and get educated enough to face any threats aimed towards our cultural existence. Moreover, if we do build this library now, the future generation will only have to occupy itself with educating itself; little time in having to organize their history and knowledge as relating to the Assyrian civilization. And with the rapid development of new internet-related technologies, this library may just be a click away from anybody at anytime.

Project Limitations:

Now some questions arise. First, how accessible will this library be to Assyrians, or all Assyrians? Related to that, where will it built or located. For example, if it is located in the Middle East, how will people in Europe, North America and the Australias access it? Better yet, who will decide where it should be built? These are questions, which I myself can offer little help in answering. However, the issue of accessibility shouldn’t be that huge, although it may seem like it, at first. With the help of the internet, the entire library could be digitized and put online for free or for a small fee, to anyone willing to research Assyrian history. So an Assyrian priest or nun living in Iran, would have no problem accessing rare religious texts written by Assyrian fathers centuries ago. In other words, the internet will help make this library accessible to just about anyone out there. Of course, the issue still remains, when people don’t have access to a hard copy. The solution to this is to-in the future when more resources are available-is to build smaller, yet just as capable Assyrian libraries in different parts of the world. More like a public franchise, although with no profits involved.

Conclusion and Remarks!

Not convinced yet that a library is essential to our very survival? I can give you more than one example of more than one civilization which are now extinct due to their people not being able to transform their culture, knowledge, rituals and teachings from one generation to another. In fact, the lack of any written form of language made it worse for some primitive cultures. For us Assyrians, we are lucky, because we do have our own spoken and written language. As well, we are lucky to have lived till this day of the internet and the world wide web, which will only boost our efforts of maintaining our culture and preserving it. Hey, did you know Assyrians were the first people to have a library? Having said that, how can you, as an Assyrian, let to be labeled “The people who invented the first library, don’t even have one now”!




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