With the onset of the 2004 US-led invasion of Iraq, the ancient Assyrian Christian community was at once under attack. An early sign of violence against the Assyrians was the bombing of the Holy Spirit Church in Mosul on 26 June 2004. To date, 65 churches have been attacked or bombed; 40 in Baghdad, 19 in Mosul, 5 in Kirkuk and 1 in Ramad
Thousands of Assyrians have fled their ancestral homeland in Iraq and are living as refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Western media and the press has willfully neglected to report the countless murders, rapes, kidnappings for ransom of Assyrians in Iraq. In 2006, a western source in Iraq informed me that there was a “blackout” on Assyrian stories out of Iraq. At the invitation of the U.S. Congress, on 30 June 2006, I brought these deliberate atrocities against the Assyrian nation in Iraq to the attention of the U.S. government in a testimony I gave on Capitol Hill. Congressman Christopher Smith assured me that he would look into all the crimes against my Assyrian nation. You can find the text of my Congressional Testimony here.
Six years later, the violence against Assyrians shows no sign of letting up. The Iraq War has now lasted longer than WWI during which time the Assyrian nation lost 2/3 of its population in a systemic ethnic cleansing in Ottoman Turkey and northwestern Iran.
With the 2010 Iraqi elections just a few days away a new wave of threats, intimidation and murder is being unleashed against my nation in “so-called” democratic Iraq in order to deter Assyrians from going to the polls.
On Sunday 28 February 2010, hundreds of Assyrians in Baghdad came out in a peaceful demonstration against the murder of ten Christians in Mosul. The murders sent Assyrians in a mass exodus from Mosul. On 4 March 2010, the United Nations humanitarian arm reported that 4,320 Iraqi Christians were displaced following the recent unrest in the northern city of Mosul.
The International Assyrian News Agency (AINA) published the following list of the Assyrians who were murdered in February 2010:
♰ February 20: Gunmen entered the house of Aishwa Maroki, 59, and killed him and his two sons: Mokhlas, 31, and Bassim, 25.
♰ February 20: Adnan al-Dahan, 57, was found with bullet wounds to his head in the northern Mosul district of al-Belladiyat. He had been kidnapped from his grocery shop the week before in the neighborhood of Al-Habda, also in northern Mosul.
♰ February 17: The bullet-riddled body of Wissam George, a 20-year-old Assyrian Christian, was recovered on a street in the south Mosul residential neighborhood of Wadi al-Ain.
♰ February 16: Zia Toma, a 21-year-old engineering student, was killed and Ramsin Shmael, a 22-year-old pharmacy student, wounded.
♰ February 15: Rayan Salem Elias, a Chaldean Christian who ran a business dealing in a traditional meat dish, was killed outside his home in East Mosul.
♰ February 14: Fatukhi Munir, an Assyrian Catholic, was gunnd down inside his shop in a drive-by shooting.
The recent events in Mosul, should give the Assyrian communities outside of Iraq enough of an impetus to go out and cast votes without fear of persecution or loss of life. For those of us who live comfortable lives in the west, the importance of voting in the 2010 Iraqi elections are even greater than ever. We are at a turning point. In the upcoming Iraqi elections that will take place on March 5, 6, and 7, we are limited to five seats only! Please take the time to vote your conscious and don’t remain unconcerned.
If you are an Iraqi citizen, or have a parent or grandparent born in Iraq, you are eligible to vote. Please exercise that unique right!
But before heading out to the polls, here’s what you need to take with you to cast your vote in the United States:
Iraqi born citizens: Two forms of identification, an Iraqi passport and Iraqi citizenship and a US identification or passport.
American born citizens: Parent’s Iraqi passports or Iraqi citizenship documents along with either a US identification or passport.
You may cast your vote for any of the following slates and choose any of the 48 candidates on the slate. There are also three Christian candidates running in Prime Minister Maliki’s Party. You do not have to cast a vote for a candidate from a political party you do not agree with. You can choose any slate and any candidate from the same or a different slate.
Slate #389 (Two Rivers List) The Assyrian Democratic Movement
- Younadam Joseph Kanna Khoshaba
- Basim Jacob Jajo Balloo
- Basima Joseph Peter Jumaa
- Thabit Michael Shabeh Samaan
- Waheed Ablahad Hirmiz Michael
- Janan Nathem Joseph Antoine
- Adrees Mirza Maleel Mirza
- Emad John Jacoub John
- Khalida Shaba Elias Simon
- Nisan Mirza Greemo Mirza
Slate #390 The Assyrian Chaldean Syriac People’s Council
(Note: The Kurdistan Democratic Party and Massoud Barzani are openly supporting this slate since the candidates are card carrying members of the KDP and as such this vote will in essence be for a KDP member.)
- Khalis Chris Estepho John
- Louise Caroo Bandar Mansour
- Fahmi Sleewa Babika Banoos
- Ra’ad Emmanuel Thomas Alshmaa
- Fatin Nasir Jacob Nomila
- Edward Abraham Odisho Adam
- Rafeeqa Elia Saka Abraham
- Ameed Abdlraheem Jajoo Joseph
- Ra’ida Oraha David Naaman
Slate #391 The Chaldean Council
(Note: The primary candidate, *Hikmat David Elias Hakim, is a card-carrying Kurdistan Democratic Party member. Please be aware that this vote will be a KDP vote!)
- Hikmat David Elias Hakim*
- Thiyaa’ Peter Sleewa Hanna
- Viyan Jalal Marcus Abdooka
- Zuahir Sabri Peter Gabriel
- Fouad Matthew Thomas David
- Lamya’ Saa’ib Zaya Joseph
- Amir David Peter Alqas-Zakaria
- Atheer Eleesha Oraha Maqoo
Slate #392 The National Ur List
(Note: *Ablahad Efrem Sawa Hanna is a card-carrying member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. Please be aware that this vote will be a KDP vote!)
- Ablahad Efrem Sawa Hanna*
- Ramzi Mikha Jajoo Sadiq
- Serwan Shabey Bahnan Marcus
- Limyah Abraham Dinkha
- Basim Jacob Joseph Jacob
- Talaat Mansour Aprim Mansour
- Widad Joseph Dinkha Esa
- Sa’id Matthew Peter Elias
- Rajaa’ Elias Saeed David
Slate #393 (independent) Sargis Jospeh Sargis
Sargis Jospeh Sargis Ohan
Slate #394 Ishtar Democratic Coalition
- Emmanuel Koshaba Youkhana Boodagh
- Habib Luke Hanna Nabatee
- Mary Hashim Shmoel Joseph
- Fathil Peter Poulos Matthew
- Arsanis Basa Abdlahad Mahmood
- Silvana Booya Nasir Kadoo
- Sammy George David Marcus
- Firas Fa’iq Kamil Iskandar
- Blandina Zia Abdoo Bla
- Amir Hormiz Hanna Habib
Slate #395 (independent) John Joseph Thomas Yousif
John Joseph Thomas Joseph
Slate #337 Prime Minister Maliki’s Party
- George Bakos (Maliki’s Political Advisor)
- Wijdan Michael Salim
- Kamal Fredrick Astanilos Field
Please get out to the polls and vote! Your vote will send a loud message to our brothers and sisters in Iraq that they are not forgotten and that we stand with them. If you are among the handful who are calling for the boycotting of the elections, I am asking you to take a hard look at the bigger picture. No one will care if we boycott. But they will gladly take what is rightfully ours because we will be giving it to them. Step in the shoes of members of our own nation who can’t make the trip from their homes to a voting place to simply cast a vote because they are being threatened. I am also asking you to please consider those who will bravely make the deadly trip to the polls.
Please vote! The alternative will be devastating for the future of the Assyrian nation.
by Rosie Malek-Yonan
4 March 2010