“Assyrian Democratic Movement – Los Angeles Chapter Hosts Town Hall Meeting”

Los Angeles, February 16, 2014 – The Assyrian Democratic Movement [“ADM”], also widely known as ZOWAA [Movement, Assyrian], Los Angeles chapter hosted a town hall meeting at the Assyrian American Association of Southern California in North Hollywood, California to discuss the most recent developments in Iraq, particularly the efforts behind the much-lingered establishment of the Nineveh Plain as a new province in Iraq, the recent officiating of the Syriac [neo-Assyrian] language in Iraq, the fate of the Syriac language schools, and the upcoming elections in Iraq, to name a few.

“Unlike a political organization, ZOWAA is a movement that will never cease to exist” Mr. Enlil Petros, Los Angeles’ ADM Chapter Director, reiterated what had been staged to take place for nearly twenty-five years, headed by the Honorary Younadam Y. Kanna, Iraq’s Parliamentalist and Secretary General, Assyrian Democratic Movement, during one of his earliest visits to the United States, urging the formation of an Assyrian territory, which would serve as a hothouse to continue to breed and nurture the Assyrian heritage.

However, the ongoing unrest in Iraq, following the U.S. occupation, which instigated destruction, mass murders, evacuation and humiliation of humanity, deadly explosions, precisely the “Lady of Salvation” church in 2011, derailed the improvisation of the aforementioned plan, until most recently when Iraq’s Minister of Environment, Mr. Sargon Slewa Lazar, proposed the formation of the Nineveh Plain, a heavily Assyrians [also known as Chaldeans and Syriacs] populated area, to the Council of Ministers, where it was passed.

Petros also touched on the recent events to have taken place in Iraq, such as the Syriac language becoming an official language in Iraq, and naming Christmas an official holiday.

“For the first time in the history of our nation since the fall of its ancient empire, we have restored hope. For the first time in the history of our nation, we know exactly what it is that we want and we have circled a red line around it”
Guest speaker Dr. Sargon Issa, Chairman, Assyrian Aid Society of America – Los Angeles [“AAS-A”], addressing the 125-person audience, eloquently spoke about the importance of “hope” in life, and how it has been lost to the Assyrian nation since the fall of its ancient empire. Hope, the state which promotes the desire of positive outcomes in life, upon which the AAS was founded in 1991.

The formation of Syriac language schools began in 1992, with the establishment of the first school, Nseebin High School. Today, more than sixty schools have been established by AAS throughout Northern Iraq, where all subjects are taught in the Syriac language from first through twelfth grade to a student body of 8 to 9 thousand, annually, and where the strength of the Syriac language currently exists, worldwide.

”Christianity in the modern day has become a liability in the Middle-East”
Mr. David William Lazar, Chairman of American Mesopotamian Organization, a political Action Committee and a grassroots activist organization, based out of the State of California, whose mission has been established to support Assyrians of the Middle East as well as to politically organize Assyrian Americans, spoke on the establishment of a provincial territory in Northern Iraq, proclaiming the recent Nineveh Plain to becoming a Province. According to the Iraqi constitution, at least two districts can make up a province, but in the proposed Nineveh Plain Province, at least three districts will make up the proposed province – Hamdania, Ba’sheq and Tel-kief, with a territory of 1,600 square miles, whose population is predominantly made up of Christian Assyrians, Shabbaks, Kurds and Eezidis.

But Lazar says, “Plan for obstacles up ahead!” Natural gas and oil are deterrents for a smooth process. And now that the Council of Ministers has approved the Nineveh Plain to become a province, it must also earn the blessings of Iraq’s Central Parliament, but the upcoming election on April 30th is likely to slow down the process.

“The process is such that if after everything has been exhausted in the courts and we continue to face difficulties based on discrimination. Kurds claim that Saddam’s regime carried on policies of demographic and they invoke article 140 of the Iraqi constitution to remedy that, however they never mention the same policies that affected Assyrians and they definitely never oppose the same policies when they were in their favor, as in the case of the province of Nohadra (Duhok) when it was carved out of the Nineveh province and given to Kurds by Saddam. We must have a plan B in place as we don’t anticipate the process to establish the Nineveh plain province to go smoothly, besides we consider the establishment of the province a first step in a long and “obstacles filled” road to the establishment of Assyria Regional Government (ARG). This is why we are calling for “Assyria world conference” to determine the borders for Assyria and to set in motion a course to petition the world community through the UN and its resolution on the rights of Indigenous People throughout the world for self- determination. We are also active in unmasking the truth to show that the “KRG” is lying! We have no problem in letting congress and specifically members of the Kurdish American congressional the truth about the KRG. Last year we launched a campaign asking the KRG to recognize Assyrian Martyr’s day and the Kurdish tribes involvement in the Genocide of 1915, but our request was ignored, this showed the world the Hypocrisy of the KRG. Our Current campaign is focused on the $700k the KRG owes to Assyrian Aid Society in school bus drivers’ salaries for the last two years.”

“Iraq is a unique country with many flags, and because the northern region is not a country, in and of itself, the Kurds cannot impose on the Assyrians to remain a part of something that does not exist, which is why Assyrian-Americans must put pressure on the administration of the United States,” concluded Lazar.

“There’s always a few good men”
Joining the event was Mr. Paul Hannosh, California’s 8th congressional district candidate, the largest district between San Bernardino and Lake Tahoe. Hannosh Encourages Assyrians to become more involved in politics and is supporting persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

About Assyrian Democratic Movement
An ethnic Assyrian political organization in Iraq, established in 1979 to satisfy the political objectives of the Assyrian people in Iraq, and in response to the oppressive brutality of the Al-Ba’ath regime and its attempts to forcibly expropriate ethnic Assyrians from their native lands. Currently, it is the only Assyrian-based political organization to be voting in the Iraqi parliament.

About Assyrian Aid Society
The Assyrian Aid Society of America (“AAS-A”) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that was founded in 1991 as a direct response to the crippling hardships suffered by Assyrians throughout Iraq in the first Gulf War. In a collaboration with its sister organization, Assyrian Aid Society-Iraq, AAS-A, has, for more than 20 years, vigorously pursued its mission statement by funding reconstruction programs, irrigation and electrification projects, education programs from pre-school through college, and medical projects that have included shipments of medicines and supplies, operating free medical clinics, and facilitating life-saving surgeries in the United States for Assyrians from the Middle East.

About American Mesopotamian Organization
An organization, whose belief is that the Assyrian American community can be instrumental in bringing about change to U.S. policies towards the Assyrians of the Middle East. It strives to be part of the change and solution in defending Assyrian political and human rights throughout the Near East.

“A town hall meeting is an American term given to an informal public meeting, function, or event derived from the traditional town meetings of New England. Typically open to everybody in a town community and held at the local municipal building, attendees generally may voice their opinions and ask questions of the public figures, elected officials, or political candidates at the town hall.” Source: Wikipedia

This press release is dedicated to the living memory of Ernesto “Che” Guevara (1928 – 1967), an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist.

Helen Talia, MBA, CPA
February 19, 201