Thursday, December 23, 2010

Iraqi Christians to Petition for Autonomous Assyrian Province

Leaders of sixteen Iraqi Christian parties have met in the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan to prepare a petition to the Iraqi government for the creation of an autonomous Assyrian province on the territory of two largely Assyrian districts on the plains of Nineveh in the heart of ancient Assyria in northern Iraq.

Long after their empire ceased to exist Assyrians continued to live in their heartlands on the plains and in the mountains of what today are northern Iraq, western Iran, southeastern Turkey, and northeastern Syria. Along with the Armenians the Assyrians suffered the first modern genocide at the hands of the Turks and the Kurds in the early 1900s during World War I as payback for their support for invading Russian armies, which they had hoped would liberate their homeland from Arab Muslim rule for the first time in over a millennium. Between 500,000 and 750,000 Assyrians were murdered in the Genocide, which eventually forced most into the Diaspora, among them the patriarch of the Church of the East (who now resides in the Chicago area). More information on the national tragedy of the Seyfo, the Assyrian Genocide, can be found here.

More on the petition and the prospects for an Assyrian province can be found here.

Pictured is the memorial to the Assyrian Genocide in Kiev, Ukraine.

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