The Save Assyria Front’s speech presented by Elias Yalda Secretary General of AUIAF at a peaceful demonstrations to alert the Australian Government to the plight of the Assyrian Christians in Iraq and its displaced refugees, on the occasion of the Assyrian Martyrs Day Tuesday 7th of August 2007 outside Parliament House, Canberra- AUSTRALIA.

Honorable dignitaries
Distinguished participants and guests
Distinguished members of the Press
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen….

On behalf of the Save Assyria Front, I greet you, and thank you for giving us your valuable time to listen to the worries of a lonely isolated nation, without friends, and without a petrol wealth to be protected by the world superpowers.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, we meet today on the occasion of the Assyrian Martyrs Day, which commemorates the anniversary of the Assyrian martyrdom each year glorifying the souls of the Assyrian people throughout history, who gave their life for the freedom and dignity of the Assyrian nation.

After the genocide against the Assyrian nation during the First World War in the mountains of Assyria in Turkey by the Kurds and Turks, some of the remaining section of this nation were forced to settle in the plains of Assyria in present Iraq, and before it’s establishing. That was in 1918 when the Assyrian nation entered a new phase of history under the British Mandate, by not offering them any guarantees to survive despite the fact that the Assyrians stood beside the allies in the First World War. The British mandate continued in neglecting the Assyrian existence in its ancestral homeland, and later a new disaster took place in 7th of August 1933 when 4000 unarmed Assyrians were massacred by the Iraqi Government in all the plains of Assyria in northern Iraq while the World was just watching in silence. (This massacre in Simele was carried out by joint Iraqi government and Kurdish tribes under the watchful eyes of the British and French armies!).

These events still have a deep impact in the mind of every Assyrian, Assyrians are still telling the facts from father to son, about massacres that have caused during the First World War the extermination of more than two thirds of the Assyrian people and this is attested by prominent missionaries and the high rank officers of the allies armies, and you can’t find any Assyrian family whose ancestors have not been slaughtered under the banner of Jihad or Turkification or Persianization or Arabization or Kurdification.

The persecution of the Assyrian people in every country in the Middle East lasted for decades and remains, particularly in their historic homeland Assyria, in northern Iraq, something noticeable even today through the practices of successive governments of Iraq, even after the fall of Saddam and the control of Muslim clerics over the Iraqi decision, and some parts whose aims are not but dividing Iraq by establishing false entities based on the displacing and looting and killing the Assyrian indigenous people of the country.

The Iraqi state and its political and civil institutions are obviously not interested in Iraqi patriotism, and the political process in Iraq continues in suffering from religious intolerance and fanaticism, while the Assyrian people are the only losers in both: national and religious aspects.

As for the religious aspect; all the sects of the Assyrian nation, be them following Chaldean Church or Syrian Church or the mother Church of the East, are living under humiliation and persecution and deportation under the banner of Islamization, many clergymen from these sects are being killed and kidnapped, also we are hearing about the conversion of many Assyrian Christian families to Islam in Baghdad and other areas because they have been told to convert or die, put aside the forced marriage of many Assyrian girls to Muslims, which resulted in the migration and fleeing of more than 300,000 Assyrian to the neighboring countries of Iraq since the fall of Saddam until today, and these crimes have targeted our brothers the Mandaeans as well, who follows St. John the Baptist.

As for the national aspect ; Kurdish interventions in the Assyrian House are taking place in order to divide the Assyrians and weaken them, and no ending attempts to Kurdify Assyria under the name of ” Kurdistan “, so was the occupation of the Assyrian homeland in stages and intermittently since centuries, But this policy has become clearer to every Assyrian during the twentieth century when Iranian and Turkish Kurds were repopulating Assyria, especially since 1961 when the Kurdish revolution restarted under the leadership of Mulla Mustapha Barazani, which in turn occupied the Assyrian villages and depopulated its Assyrian inhabitants who did not have any support from inside neither outside, so they had to join the Kurdish Movement to get rid of the threats and harassment. In 1991 the so-called “safe heaven” has been declared in northern Iraq, and was named “Kurdistan” where the Kurdish occupation government tried to deal with the Assyrians on land of Assyria in northern Iraq as “Kurdistan citizens” giving them material rights but deprived them of their moral and national, political rights, and eradicating them nationally while maintaining the confidence of the international community towards their fake democracy, so today we see many international powers including those few bribed & intimidated Assyrians consider the Kurdish occupation as an example of democracy, in spite their occupation and distortion of the Assyrian ancestral homeland identity.

The Assyrians today are not asking for distinctive rights despite being indigenous and still an active, civilized original component of today Iraq, but all we want is equality with the rest of the Iraqi groups, namely, equality in the Iraqi constitution and its application.

The Iraqi constitution has deprived the Assyrian people of their basic rights & freedom, and implemented a bi – national identity in the clause / 125 /, noting that the Chaldeans are Catholic Assyrians, in the same time, the constitution did not guarantee the establishing of an Assyrian self-governing region neither evacuating the Assyrian lands confiscated by the Kurds, but referred only to the issue of Kirkuk in order to satisfy some groups at the expense of others, thus, the Iraqi constitution has closed the door to the right of Assyrian province within Iraq, equally with other groups.

The Assyrians are still worried about their future because of the Iraqi government policy and the armed militia groups, be them Kurdist or Islamist, especially with absence of a real representation in the Assyrian Iraqi political platform. And what make us more worried is international policy toward Iraq and the lack of attention to indigenous groups ie the Assyrians. The international opinion is still misunderstanding the Assyrian problem, and we are witnessing many attempts by many figures who are working with some governments to remove the Assyrian indigenous people from Assyria, by granting visas in order to save them – as they claim – but this is destructive for the Assyrian presence in Assyria. What is needed from the western governments and international organizations today is to play their moral and humanitarian role in preserving the existence of the oldest nation in history (the Assyrians).

We also call the esteemed Australian leaders, here in our second homeland Australia, to exercise their rights in the international arena in defending the Assyrian people and its existence in Assyria, and reject all proposals that some disappointed Assyrian groups are proposing regarding the evacuation of their brethren from their ancestral homeland (groups that are making constant visits to immigration officials !? ) .

The solution is by asking for the rights of the Assyrians in Assyria, and grant them an Assyrian Region of ASSYRIA in a safe area in the Assyrian triangle (between the Tigris And the great Zab Rivers) In order to preserve security for them, let the superpowers declare the creation of a ” no fly safe heaven for ASSYRIA region” exactly as it was done for the Kurds and Shiites in early 1990s and were able to maintain their presence and bypassing the persecution of the Iraqi regime.

Long live Australia
Long live Assyria
Elias Yalda

Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Independent Activists Forum (AUIAF) who is a foundation member ie one of the main founders and a pillar of: SAVE ASSYRIA FRONT