Let’s Hear You Loud and Clear!

Below is an email I have received – in support of our protest of the elimination of article 50 from the Iraqi constitution – from Leena, an Iraqi Sunni woman living in Dubai. She is associated with the Iraqi government. In various other conversations with other prominent Muslims, it has become apparent that there is widespread support for our rights. The son of a well-known Iraqi political figure stated to me that he would sign a document supporting the Nineveh Plain demand “with both hands.”

I have come to realize that much of the perception we have about having to curtail our rights “because others will not allow us” are strictly based upon our perceptions; we have been and continue to feel like second-class citizens in Iraq. Our aspirations have often been based upon not what is in the interest of our people, but in the perceived allowance given to us by Muslims. Yes, there are clear historical reasons for this. But we cannot let this stop us from asserting our rights today, and at a critical time when it is time to act or face extinction. We cannot simply allow this formal action – by a government that pretends it seeks to protect our rights and wants us to remain in our homeland – to go unnoticed and unanswered. And we cannot simply mourn our sad existence without asserting our goal – an area for our people in the Nineveh Plain.

It is clear today, and it should have been clear to us long ago, that the existence of our people as a religious and ethnic community of Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs rests upon the necessary formation of a geographic area, supported by the concrete reality of our people’s population first and foremost, our unbending will in the West next, and, finally Iraqi law. We may argue about what to call this thing – autonomous area or administrative region or a federal unit. And we can work out the concrete details later, and, of course, argue about them endlessly. But, it must be completely clear to us now that we must support the idea that our people’s existence on their native soil – the vestige of a once expansive area – is the Nineveh Plain area. Short of this, our existence as a people on its native soil is doomed to end. This is our last stand.

Having gone to Iraq and discussed with our people their daily concerns and eternal hopes, I have concluded that without an area for our people, we are finished.

In the past few days, the united efforts of our people, across the world, have been unprecedented. Our disagreements have been laid aside, our squabbling silenced. Declaration after declaration asserts that the denial of our rights in Iraq by the Iraqi government cannot be tolerated.

Now what?

When have we been so persecuted and so fortunate at the same time?

Now, you as activists and leaders must move to shake our people out of their slumber, and get others to support our cause in Nineveh. You have the support of good people across the world and the chance to make history. Don’t simply lament without a demand. Push the idea of the existence of our people in an autonomous/administrative area in the Nineveh Plain with a strong and loud voice. Let’s hear you loudly! says Leena. What, more than this, will move you?