Sydney – 22 October 2015
Mr Guy Zangari, MP, State Member for Fairfield, Shadow Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, Shadow Minister for Sport, Shadow Minister for Corrections, Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, and Shadow Minister for Veterans Affairs , made a statement in the Legislative Assembly of NSW State Parliament on 16th September 2015, about the 100 anniversary of the Assyrian genocide and the advocacy role of the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) in the local community.
On behalf of the Assyrian universal Alliance and the Assyrian Australian community, we would like to thank Mr Zangari for his inspiring speech and support for the Assyrian community. Below please find the Statement and the link to the Hansard page::
ASSYRIAN GENOCIDE 100TH ANNIVERSARY
Mr GUY ZANGARI (Fairfield) [7.02 p.m.]: On 7 August 2015 I stood alongside members of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, various community leaders and members of the Assyrian community to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Assyrian Genocide. From the travesties beginning in 1915, some sources estimate that 750,000 Christian Assyrians were massacred by the Ottoman Empire’s forces in an attempt to eradicate the Christian minorities. This sheer number of victims is difficult to comprehend. Hundreds of thousands of Assyrians were slain for their religious beliefs. The Assyrian nation was possibly at the brink of extinction and their chances were dwindling as every waking hour passed. However horrendous those times were, there were many brave men who fought for their brothers and sisters. One such man was a foreigner who did his utmost for the Assyrians who were being persecuted all those years ago.
Lieutenant General Sir Stanley George Savige used all the means at his disposal to protect the Assyrian refugees against the perpetual onslaught of the Ottoman forces. As a 28-year-old captain serving in the specially assembled allied unit nicknamed Dunsterforce, he was second in command of a supply column assigned to resupply the Assyrians fighting in Persia. Sir Stanley Savige is only one example of the many courageous individuals who put their lives on the line while fighting for the Assyrian refugees throughout the conflict. However, it is worth noting that, as a result of his actions and contributions, Lieutenant General Sir Stanley George Savige was awarded the highest Assyrian medallion and declared a hero.
Sadly, even the courage, heroism and bravery of these men could not stop the inevitable outcome as the Ottoman Empire’s forces pushed towards their goal of complete eradication of the Christians from their region. Unfortunately, they came far too close to achieving that goal. These were acts that some people try to sugar-coat and talk down as acts of war, but such acts have a more specific definition—one that cannot be feigned or ignored. Those were the murderess acts of a group committing genocide. The night at Mar Narsai College Hall where the commemoration occurred was a solemn occasion. Many of us know the history and the importance of reflecting on the facts and ensuring that we never forget them. We will never forget the tragic loss of lives throughout the now Turkish provinces of Hakkari, Sirnak, Mardin, and the now Iranian province of Urmia.
The world learns from the lessons of its past. This is a most unfortunate part of history that I pray never recurs. Assyrians across the globe unite each year to commemorate those who were lost and to remember the tragedies that occurred. We continue teaching our current generations, and will continue with the generations to come, about the cruel fate their predecessors faced in times of unrest, hardship, war and discrimination. I am proud to be a part of a Parliament and a community that not only acknowledges and recognises the atrocities that occurred to the Assyrian people but also commends the Assyrian Universal Alliance [AUA] on its phenomenal contributions to further the cause of Assyrians not only locally but also across the globe.
The AUA are stalwarts of peace and harmony and have taken giant leaps forward towards the call for an autonomous Assyrian province in Northern Iraq. They have taken to the steps of the Australian Parliament in Canberra to champion the cause for the Assyrian people. We can always count on them to be on the front foot when their people are in need. I am honoured to be a part of their community. It fills me with great pride to know that in the beating heart of my electorate there resides an amazing community advocacy group called the Assyrian Universal Alliance.For more information please refer to the following link:
Assyrian Universal Alliance – Australian Chapter PO Box 34, Fairfield NSW 1860 Australia.