by Rosie Malek-Yonan
11 March 2009
(AINA – Los Angeles) He is only seven-years-old and another one of the children of Assyria who has gone missing without a trace.
I received his photo and information less than 24 hours ago. Time and time again, I kept returning to the photo of the beautiful dark eyed boy with dimples framing his smile and I wondered how many more Assyrian children will be snatched from families in the Middle-East who are desperately trying to make it through just one more day without incident.
The photo belonged to Aishu Auraay.
He loved learning to read and write Assyrian. He attended classes at the Assyrian School at Mar Oraha Church in Jaramana, located some ten kilometers Southeast of Damascus.
On Tuesday, 2 September 2008, Aishu and his sister, Aumta, left home to meet up with a friend and the three walked to the Assyrian School at Mar Oraha Church. That afternoon Aishu was seen playing in the school/churchyard playground. When at 5:30 P.M. the school bell rang, he never made it to class and was nowhere to be found.
His sudden and unexplainable disappearance left his family devastated and in shock.
For twelve years, Aishu and his parents, Auraay D. Nissan and Yuneea A. Zumaeeah and five siblings, Mati, Aumta, Katreen, Linda, and Auleen lived in Tel Kepe (Telkaif), fifteen miles from Mosul in Iraq. On 16 November 2007, the family was forced to flee to Syria in search of freedom from oppression. Little did they realize that by crossing into Syria they were embarking on an unthinkable journey no one should experience. Having arrived in Syria, the family was obliged to live in three separate locations in the vicinity of Mar Oraha Church.
Aishu’s family, like most Assyrian refugee families was subjected to extortion, harassment, threats and discrimination by bands of criminals who continually prey on the helpless as soft targets.
When Aishu’s disappearance was reported to the authorities, the local police with no results conducted a poor investigation at best. Six months later, the bewildered and distraught family arrived in Australia in March 2009 without their beloved Aishu. They have now settled in western Sydney near Fairfield. Having finally arrived in a country far from the criminal elements they were accustomed to confronting daily, nothing settles their troubled minds and broken hearts knowing a part of them is left behind in Syria.
For Aishu’s parents, today hope is their guiding light as they stumble through their darkest hours.
The family now wants to re-open the investigation into the disappearance of their son by seeking the aid of international organizations and police agencies.
They are also looking to the Assyrian community to lend a hand in their endeavor to locate Aishu by keeping his image and name in the public eye by placing his photograph on personal, business and social network websites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter as well as satellite television programs.
Most refugees facing abuse and exploitation are generally reluctant to come forward with information and decline to speak to police or local authorities. But they may confide in other family members and friends. In this case, Aishu’s family believes that someone may have information that can lead them to his whereabouts. Therefore, the public is asked to contact family members and friends that live in Jaramana or have recently migrated from there or visited the region.
As this is an on-going inquiry, the public is asked not to jeopardize the investigation by posting any publicly undisclosed details or information they may have on forums or websites. Instead you are asked to submit your information privately and directly to the contacts below. All information submitted will be handled with the utmost confidentiality and care.
Mr. Gaby Kiwarkis
Mr. Ashur Isaac
Published: Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) 12 March 2009