Listen up, Wikipedia!

 

Wikipedia Anti-AssyrianPublished: March 19, 2017

Updated: April 10, 2017

The discrimination against Assyrian Christians does not stop in the Middle East. It is allegedly exercised daily on Wikipedia where anyone from any walk of life can take on the role of a so-called editor. I say so-called because a large number are not remotely qualified to take on the role of an editor, however, Wikipedia’s formula allows for anyone to jump in and start editing. The problem with this setup is that biographies of living persons can and often times do become targeted by individuals or groups whose motives are to push forward their own agenda and spread misinformation online. Their bullying tactics are atrocious.

I have been witnessing an alarming trend where these so-called Wikipedia editors are allegedly actively seeking to eradicate the Assyrian identity from articles about Assyrians. I have personally experienced this anti-Assyrian trend and bullying for the past several years, since an article about me was created on Wikipedia. This is also true in the case of family members who also have articles on Wikipedia. This is a blatant assault and discrimination against Assyrians.

Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that Everyone has the right to a nationality, and No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

My birthplace does not define my nationality. I am a U.S. citizen and I choose America as my home where I have lived much of my life.

Listen up, all you so-called Wikipedia Editors, Admins, Contributors, and other Biographers who continually alter my nationality based on your limited knowledge of who I am, just stop. I will not be misrepresented and bullied by Wikipedia or anyone else particularly so-called Iranian Muslim Wikipedia editors who seem to be under the impression that they have the final say with their nauseating anti-Assyrian discussions. When I, as the subject of the article declare that I am an Assyrian-American, there should be no further discussion.

Since Wikipedia has blocked me, and my representatives from making corrections to an article that is about me, citing conflict of interest and does not directly respond to requests, I will therefore continue to call out Wikipedia and its so-called editors here on my blog, my Personal Website, Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, and other social media outlets until the bullying stops. Wikipedia’s alleged discrimination and hatred towards Assyrian Christians must be exposed.

The following entries are just the latest attacks on my Assyrian identity. I will continue to post updates below.

♢♦︎♦︎♦︎♢♦︎♦︎♦︎♢♦︎♦︎♦︎♢♦︎♦︎♦︎♢

March 7, 2017

It has come to my attention that a Muslim Iranian Wikipedia editor who goes by the handle, LouisAragon, an Iranian living in the Netherlands, is at it again trying to change my Assyrian identity to Iranian on a Wikipedia Article about me and has proceeded to add me to various Iranian groups and lists. There is no dispute and it is not up for discussion by anyone that my nationality was not, is not, and will never be Iranian. It is not for the arrogant LouisAragon or anyone else to alter this reality or make misrepresentations as this Wikipedia so-called editor has been doing for a few years. LouisAragon‘s obsession with me, verging on cyber stalking, is extremely alarming and Wikipedia needs to put a stop to it immediately, restore my nationality to Assyrian-American, and remove me from any and all Iranian categories, Iranian lists, and Iranian groups on Wikipedia.

March 8, 2017 Update

Wikipedia’s all-knowing-so-called editor, LouisAragon, continues to argue/rant that he/she knows my nationality better than I (being the subject and primary source), assumes to know how many years I’ve spent in Iran and now further assumes to know the birthplace of my parents to be Iran. Is this how these so-called editors contribute to Wikipedia? By assumption or bullying? Really? LouisAragon can best serve Wikipedia by refraining to inflict his/her views on biographies of living people. Perhaps this so-called editor’s skills should be exercised on biographies of the dearly departed. There’s bound to be less objections at least directly from the subjects of the articles.

March 19, 2017 Update

After my previous blog post on the same subject was brought to the attention of LouisAragon, he/she reverted my nationality to Assyrian-American, removed a few Iranian categories, and vowed, “Any further picosecond wasted on this is a lost one.” I had hoped he would be lost for good. But on the heels of LouisAragon‘s pledge to control the obsession with my nationality, a new so-called-all-knowing Wikipedia editor who goes by the handle, ZxxZxxZ, and is another Muslim Iranian, took up the anti-Assyrian position where LouisAragon left off.

I find it curious that of all the articles on Wikipedia, these two converge on mine with the same changes. Perhaps LouisAragon and ZxxZxxZ are one and the same since the edits on the article about me directly focus on my nationality and exhibiting the same type of sick obsession.

ZxxZxxZ claims “there is no such thing as Assyrian-American,” and concludes that I must be Iranian-American! It is disgusting to see how anti-Assyrian these so-called Iranian Wikipedia editors are and to what lengths they will go to in order to slap an Iranian identity on me.

ZxxZxxZ, stop obsessing and bullying. I’m not Iranian! Never was! Never will be! This is an insult to me, to my family, and to the entire Assyrian Christian nation. I demand that my nationality be corrected to what it legally is: Assyrian-American. Further, I demand to be removed from all Iranian lists, categories, and groups.

March 20, 2017 Update

My Assyrian-American nationality has be restored…for the moment. However, I am furious to still be included in all Iranian lists, categories, and groups.

March 31, 2017 Update

LouisAragon‘s crazed obsession to alter my nationality to Iranian in the Wikipedia article about me has once again resurfaced in the form of “reporting” anyone who dares to correct my nationality to Assyrian-American. In fact, in the past, this so-called Wikipedia editor even reported me when I corrected my own nationality on Wikipedia.

I will continue to document LouisAragon‘s obsessive behavior because these types of aggressively single-minded individuals who remain focused on a public person, must be observed very carefully and reported to authorities should the obsessive stalking continue and change form.

April 5, 2017 Update

Fake WikipediaBerean Hunter, a handle used by another one of those Wikipedia admin bullies, cares very little about correcting content. I contacted this individual directly in 2015 and asked to have my nationality restored to Assyrian. You would think Wikipedia would be more sensitive to articles on biographies of living people. Instead this bully not only did not assist in making the correction and resolving the problem, he/she banned me and my entire management team.

It is quite logical for people connected to the subject of an article to make corrections or changes facts which seem necessary. Especially those who are public people and have a team of representative, agents, managers, P.R. agents, legal representatives and so on. No public person wants lies and fake news published about them.

Many don’t care about Wikipedia and view it as an “unreliable” source altogether. From my personal experience, Wikipedia is not a trustworthy source to be quoted. However, a lie can spread like cancer and that is the concern here. Wikipedia allows lies to be published.

Wikipedia publicly states:

The content of this article has been derived in whole or part from Rosie Malek-Yonan. Permission has been received from the copyright holder to release this material under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. Evidence of this has been confirmed and stored by OTRS volunteers, under ticket number 2006022410007291.

Despite the above statement, Wikipedia consistently denies my Assyrian identity which would have been part of the original content I gave permission for use. The ongoing discussion about my Assyrian identity for the past several years, is truly offensive, bigoted, prejudicial, and malevolent.

I don’t know why Wikipedia is so hell bent on disseminating false information because their actions have consequences. When Wikipedia’s deliberate fake information about my identity is quoted by other sources, they are directly harming me and taking part in the spread or lies.

Berean Hunter and others like this individual who hide behind computer screens using handles, and fiercely guarding their anonimity, are directly perpetuating this anti-Assyrian campaign by those who wish to eradicate the Assyrian Christian identity. In my case, most have a Muslim-Iranian or Muslim-Middle-Eastern connection like the so-called-editor, LouisAragon. Perhaps some of these so-called Wikipedia admins don’t grasp the magnitude of their actions, but many do and don’t care that their decisions and contributions will greatly harm subjects of biographies of living people.

First it was fake news, now it’s fake Wikipedia. Since Wikipedia editors are incapable of listening to reason, and  my representatives and I have been banned from editing, commenting, and communicating with Wikipedia in any fashion, I began writing this piece to document what transpires. I am certain these so-called editors and admins are paying attention. Today Berean Hunter removed the link from this article that was posted on the talk page of the article about me on Wikipedia only to prove that Wikipedia exercises censorship of truth.

April 7, 2017 Update

Another WIkipedia’s so-called editor using the handle, Bri, has changed my nationality once again from Assyrian-American to Iranian-American. Bri has also combed through the article removing as much Assyrian reference as possible and slanting the article to fit an “Iranian narrative.” Perhaps I should be flattered that Iranians including the Virtual Iranian Embassy has a need or desire to claim me as one of their own because of my accomplishments. I am not flattered. I am repulsed. I am not Iranian. Never was. Never will be. This is defemation and an anti-Assyrian stance that Wikipedia is taking.

April 8, 2017

Fakepidia editors are scrambling. As soon as my Assyrian-American identity was restored, another editor using the handle Anthony_Bradbury, reverted it back to Iranian. I’m amazed that these pathetic attempts to alter my identity won’t stop. Now it seems these editors are recruiting accomplices to keep the Iranian narrative going. Why so much focus on an article about me? The only conclusion is that these are anti-Assyrian editors pushing forward their own sinister agenda. This will eventually have to come to an end. Suddenly all these so-called editors are converging on this issue. Very suspicious behavior.

And….Wait for it….enter Ravensfire, another idiotic so-called Fakepidia editor regurgitating the same nonsensical assertion as all the others! Oh, and Bri is back claiming and I quote “…statements on [a subject’s] nationality are not WP:reliable sources; many people self-identify with nationalities which are different from their legal nationality.” And then Bri throws in Nikola Tesla as backup to the argument! Nikola Tesla? Really? Keep piling on the rubbish you are trying to pass for logic, Fakepidia editors and admins!

As this farce continues to unfold, Wikipedia’s anti-Assyrian position solidifies. I am fairly certain before the final curtain, the original instigator, LouisAragon, the Iranian Muslim, will grind on to once more take the spotlight. At the moment this lunatic is working behind the scenes as he pushes his own demented scheme which points to his utter disdain for Assyrian Christians. This psycho becomes completely unhinged when anyone switches Iranian to Assyrian. Goodness, me, so much hatred for Assyrians? So much hatred for Christians?

Fakepedia would love to carve the Assyrian out of me. It’s truly comical to sit back and observe a bunch of half-baked hysterical editors and admins hovering over my nationality on Fakepedia to ensure that it doesn’t get reverted to Assyrian. To what end?

How exciting for you to spend your time making the Assyrian Rosie Malek-Yonan, the center of your attention! Cheers!

April 9, 2017 Update

It was a busy few days for the anxious and overly zealous Fakepedia admins, editors, and contributors in regards to the article about me. In order to make their case for an Iranian narrative, Bri hastily combed through my bio removing as much reference to Assyrian as possible. The key biographical information removed was this:

Malek-Yonan is a descendant of one of the oldest and most prominent Assyrian families, tracing her Assyrian roots back nearly 11 centuries. The Malek-Yonan family originated from Jilu and eventually settled in the Assyrian Christian village of Geogtapa, in the Urmia region of northwestern Iran. (See Malek-Yonan Family Tree)

Deleting this key piece of information that points to the Geographic origins of the Malek-Yonan Family not being Iran is duplicitous and underhanded.

For a few hours, my nationality was restored to Assyrian-American. And then…yep…you guessed it…Bri stops by to revert it back to, well you know what by now…Iranian. This is getting tedious Bri! This comical idiot’s source is the Virtual Embassy Tehran that has compiled a list of “Prominent Iranian-Americans.” Well, I am prominent, I’ll give you that much. But the listing does not exist!

April 10, 2017 Update.

A new cast member has been added to the farce. Enter Vanamonde93 who locked the article in order to stop the general public from correcting my nationality. And in the meantime the gang of bullies at Fakepedia are ransacking through the article like vultures removing as mugh reference to “Assyrian” as possible. Bri even removed the IMBd sources to two of my documentary films, The Assyrian and My Assyrian Nation on the Edge claiming IMDb is not a reliable source! Why not remove the sources to all my other films? I never imagined admins would lock an article only to vandalize it. Please, just delete the whole article! You are not a reliable source of anything.

Wikipedia editors are cherry picking biographical information to fit their own narrative. This is wrongful appropriation of my identity.  

Stay tuned. Let’s see which Fakepedia jester is going to jump into this farce.

April 26, 2017 Update.

After a lengthly battle and many email exchanges with a several Wikipedia editors, I came out victorious…well somewhat! At least my Assyrian identity is preserved for the moment.

NOTE: This article will be updated periodically.

/RMY

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Rosie Malek-Yonan’s “An Assyrian Exodus” Video Project

Press Release

5 February 2009

Rosie Malek-Yonan's AN ASSYRIAN EXODUS

The untold Assyrian Genocide of 1914-1918 was a systematic ethnic cleansing of the Assyrian people perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks, Kurds and Persians. Two-thirds of the Assyrian nation totaling 750,000 souls perished in the Ottoman Empire and Northwestern Iran as a result of genocide, starvation, dehydration, disease and exposure to elements while thousands fell victim to kidnappings, forced assimilation, deportation and migration.

The Assyrian Genocide is a missing chapter of world history. For the Assyrian people, it is very difficult to fathom how the genocide of a nation, can so easily be dismissed and intentionally ignored by the international community. To date, the Assyrian Genocide has not been publicly acknowledged.

Rosie Malek-Yonan’s AN ASSYRIAN EXODUS is a short video project that has brought Rosie Malek-Yonan (author of The Crimson Field), David Yonan, Ninos Aho and Emil Brikha, four accomplished Assyrian artists from around the world in a common belief, that while the world may not acknowledge the Assyrian Genocide, however, through the arts, the history of the Assyrian nation can be preserved.

This project is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Assyrian Genocide and those forced to walk the “Death Marches.”  Survivors who safely made the unthinkable journey to distant shores around the globe, were able to secure the identity of future generations of Assyrians now living in diaspora.

The text of this video p

Presented in English, Eastern Assyrian and Western Assyrian languages, An Assyrian Exodus video project is a Rosie Malek-Yonan and Emil Brikha Production recorded in Los Angeles, Chicago, Sweden and Malta in 2008.

Official Facebook Fan Page for Rosie Malek-Yonan’s AN ASSYRIAN EXODUS video project.

For further information about this project and how to reach the artists, please contact: Trip Miller at The Trip Miller Company.

roject is derived from the overture of the original full-length piece by the same title, written and performed by Rosie Malek-Yonan, which was previewed in Hartford, CT in August 2008. The stories of An Assyrian Exodus are based on Malek-Yonan’s personal family journals and war diaries written during the final exodus of the Assyrians fleeing from Urmia, Iran in 1918.

YouTube Links:

English

Eastern Assyrian

Western Assyrian

Children of Assyria

by Rosie Malek-Yonan

26 November 2008

The quotes we believe in, say a lot about who we are. His favorite quote is: “A musician must have the heart of a gypsy and the discipline of a soldier.”

His name is Elden and he’s a soldier at heart. He is a young man who lives in the epicenter of the Assyrian homeland. He can hear the steady heartbeat of Assyria pounding in the ancient tombs of his ancestors. He can feel the pulse of his nation pumping life into his veins. He knows the history of the Assyrians who have walked the land he treads on. His cradle rocked where civilization was once born. A common ancestry links him to me, but our realities are a world apart.

“I finished my high school in Assyrian language. The dream is still going on here,” explains Elden. “Our mother tongue, our language is preserved. There are schools that teach in Assyrian language. All subjects are translated to Assyrian. Can you believe that?”

I envy Elden’s excitement for having graduated from an Assyrian school though I realize the hefty price tag attached to that privilege.

“I believe in unity. I hate discrimination. I am Assyrian,” says Elden in no uncertain terms.

He is one of the children of Assyria. He was only a boy when the war in Iraq started. But growing up in a war-zone, childhood is short lived. Now at twenty-one, he has seen more than his Assyrian brothers and sisters outside of Iraq will ever witness.

The Internet is his connection to the outside world. From his home in Iraq, he sends me an urgent message: “Our fellow brothers in Mosul are in danger… Someone has to do something or they are eliminated.”

Elden is acutely aware that Assyrians living in Iraq are powerless. He knows that his life is balancing on the grotesque edge of devastation. He pins his hope on his nation living outside of Iraq to do right by him and those like him who remain loyal to the motherland at any cost.

How do I respond to Elden’s plea? Can I promise him that my nation is doing everything in its power to safeguard its own people? Can I give Elden my word that help is on its way? Can I tell him that we have a National Plan? Can I assure him that the wellbeing of our nation in atra, our homeland, is the priority of every Assyrian around the globe and that every Assyrian community and church has set aside its internal conflicts to devise a mutual plan that will ensure his future and the future of all the children of Assyria? How do I respond to the appeals of a young man who has a limited future in the only country he will know as home?

I become paralyzed when Elden and other young Assyrians from Iraq write to me. I wonder how to reply truthfully without stripping away hope because without hope to nourish the soul, the children of Assyria will wither and die.

Elden writes to me: “You are free but you should come and see what’s going on here…Any how thanks…”

I reply, “Stay strong.”

“You’re not here. You just don’t know!” He reiterates.

He is right. I don’t know. I write back to him meaningless words of encouragement, “We haven’t abandoned you. Our thought and prayers are with you…”

“You just don’t know…”

Elden stops writing for a while. I read his frustration when he stops communicating. He finally breaks his silence: “Our votes will be stolen. Our people will be intimidated to not vote Assyrian. Thank you and I wish you a good day.”

“Elden, our greatest challenge will be to find optimism in a time when the world is spinning out of control in confusion and chaos,” I reply. “Please don’t give up hope”

In reality what I was saying is that his greatest challenge would be to find optimism. After all, it is he and those living in Iraq who face overwhelming challenges in search of survival while the rest of us sit comfortably in the west dispensing advice from a safe distance and most of us go on about our daily lives unscathed by the violence that is furiously writing our present history in blood.

A student from Iraq writes to me: “It’s very bad…The U.S. did this to us. Now the Arabs and Kurds won’t leave us alone.”

No…I guess I will never fully know. I am not there. But what I do understand is living as an Assyrian in Iraq, is to perpetually wear a badge of condemnation.

It’s Sunday, October 12, 2008. It’s a somber morning in the village of Nahla, in Northern Iraq. A slow procession makes its way down an unpaved road. Young Assyrian children carrying flowers walk ahead of a coffin weighing upon the shoulders of pallbearers who have carried Assyrian coffins more times than they should ever have to in a life span.

The remains of fifteen-year-old Ivan Enwia Younadam are laid to rest in the gaping mouth of the earth that swallows him whole. An Assyrian flag covers the mound of dirt and rocks mark his grave.

Ivan Enwia Younadam

Ivan should be kicking around a soccer ball and chasing dreams of seeing the world one day. Yet here I am, thousands of miles away, sounding an elegy for a boy whose absence from my nation, I sharply feel and mourn. A boy I have never met but he is a son of my nation and my brother. He matters to me. He was another one of the children of Assyria.

Just eight days earlier, Ivan was standing in front of his home in Mosul, a stone’s throw from the Alzhara mosque. Three gunmen approached him and in a flash, his life was snatched from him so violently…so senselessly only because he was an Assyrian. He was shot at point blank range and killed instantly.

What went through Ivan’s mind in that split second as he gazed down a barrel of a gun?

Who now but a few will remember him in a year? In five? In a decade?

I want every Assyrian to remember Ivan. I want the world to remember Ivan.

Despite the constant threats of “leave or die” posted at Assyrians doors testing their will and endurance, Elden declares, “I am not afraid of anything.”

“You have the soul of an old Assyrian warrior,” I tell him.

“Thank you,” he replies and remains quiet a beat or two. I can sense a rare smile crossing his otherwise solemn young face. “I really want to help from all my heart. But a single person cannot do anything here.”

His future like the future of the Assyrian nation is uncertain at the moment. Remaining in Iraq keeps our roots in place. But today, Iraq is a deadly prospect for the indigenous people of that land who have just as much right if not more, to choose to remain there.

I would like to write to Elden and say: We’ve been planning demonstrations around the globe and we’re coming out in droves to support you. We are making a difference! We are trying our very best!

But that wouldn’t be entirely true. Though many decent and hard working Assyrians continue to organize rallies globally, they must contend with opposition from their own kind who still ridiculously argue which flag to waive at an Assyrian rally! One flag. One nation. Perhaps that idea is too simplistic. So while we squabble, Assyrian lands and property are confiscated leaving our nation displaced and in exile.

“Innocent souls are more important than land…Nobody can ignore our identity, says Elden. “Our written history is not going to change. Our mother tongue, our language is preserved.”

Yes, indeed, our mother tongue is preserved in the homeland. But can the same be said for Assyrians who have migrated to the west, raising a new generation of Assyrians who do not speak their mother tongue?

Iraq is being emptied of its minorities. A campaign to exterminate Assyrians has been underway since the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States and its Coalition Forces. Shrouded in silence, the maltreatment of the Assyrian nation for its ethnicity and faith continues with renewed determination and effort.

The latest surge of attacks arrived on the heels of a single event that put into motion the murder of thirty-two Assyrians in Mosul while 15,000 fled to the Nineveh Plain. On September 24, 2008, the Iraqi Parliament’s removal of Article 50, a key clause that would have reserved seats on Provincial Councils for Christians, triumphantly resulted in Mosul being cleansed of its Assyrian population. Assyrian lives are gutted. A nation is uprooted and stripped of its liberties and human rights. Once again Assyrians embark on an exodus to destinations unknown.

We blame religious extremists for much of the violence against Assyrians and other minorities in Iraq. Is this meant to infer that it is only a small group that is anti Assyrian, anti Christian, anti all minorities? Or are we masking the truth as to not offend the true criminals? Who are these religious extremists? If they are an isolated group, then it stands to reason that the majorities who must not be religious extremists will stand with the minorities to defend their rights. How many are standing with the Assyrians?

The term genocide is defined as the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.

How many deliberately killed constitutes genocide?

This is a violent time for the children of Assyria who are living life on the run. For nearly 2,000 days, the Assyrians in Iraq have been under unprovoked attacks.

It’s not about which particular group is targeting and killing the Assyrians. It’s about an ethnic cleansing to rid Iraq of Assyrians. Much like the Ottoman Turks did during World War One.

Today democracy has its own interpretation in Iraq. The new Iraqi constitution that was meant to protect the rights of all its citizens has failed its minorities since its inception.

I wonder if all hope and talk of establishing an autonomous region with legislative and executive authorities where Assyrian would be the official language is nothing more than nonsensical and fanciful wishing while our nation on ground zero takes flight. Or will someone in the not so distant future remark, “The children of Assyria did not die in vain. This is how it all began. These were the sacrifices our nation made to resurrect Assyria.”

Though we are thousands of miles apart, the stars that blanket Elden’s night sky are the same as mine. I bid him goodnight and light a candle for all the Children of Assyria.

Stay safe my young Assyrian warrior.

© Rosie Malek-Yonan 2008.  All Rights Reserved.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rosie Malek-Yonan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Note: Article published in AINA (26 November 2008).

 

Assyrians Demonstrate in Los Angeles Against Iraq Election

by Rosie Malek-Yonan

5 October 2008

Los Angeles (AINA) — On Sunday October 5, 2008, the Assyrian community of Southern California gathered at the Federal Building in Westwood to take a stance against the Iraqi Parliament’s recent removal of Article 50. Ms. Rosie Malek-Yonan delivered the following speech at the rally that was attended by several hundred Assyrians from different groups, organizations and churches of various denomination.

~~~~

My name is Rosie Malek-Yonan. I am an Assyrian. Today I stand before you on behalf of my Assyrian nation in Iraq.

We Assyrians come from many communities and belong to various churches, denominations, political groups and speak many dialects. But today we have come together in a voice of solidarity.

The Assyrians are the indigenous people of Mesopotamia, presently Iraq. Today’s Iraq is our ancestral homeland. It was our home long before the Arab invasion and long before Britain carved Iraq out of the remnants of the Ottoman Empire in the 1920’s. Our handprint is everywhere in a region rich with Assyrian history, culture and tradition. We Assyrians still speak the language of Christ and were the first nation to accept Christianity in the first century A.D. We have lived in the region for the past 6,000 years even after the fall of Nineveh, our capitol. The Assyrian nation is deeply rooted in the region and has managed to maintain its identity for centuries despite political, historical and geographical changes throughout the centuries.

Since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003, the Assyrian nation has been under siege, facing far greater danger than the average Moslem Iraqis. As minority Christians living in Iraq, not only have we been denied our most basic human rights, but Islamic extremists have been forcing Assyrians out of Iraq through various tactics such as deliberate and systematic attacks and continuous abductions by merciless kidnappers who leave Assyrian families mourning their loved ones even when a ransom is paid. Assyrian lands and property are confiscated and families driven out of their homes.

Our churches have been targeted and destroyed because they represent Christianity. Our clergy have been brutally dismembered and murdered. Our children have been victims of hate crimes. Our women have been kidnapped and raped. Our men have been kidnapped and killed. Our businesses and homes have been destroyed.

We have been paying ransom to our captors since the beginning of the war. Our community has been dispersed but our spirit is still not broken. We will not be severed. Our 1.4 million population before the Iraq War has now been dwindled down to less than half a million. Assyrians still living in the interior of Iraq, are subjected to violent hate crimes and their human rights are disregarded. But we have not given up hope. We are still standing and have not sought revenge. We have not fought violence with violence.

Assyrian refugees who have crossed the border from Iraq into Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are living in squalor conditions. Where they were once productive members of society, they are now reduced to living as refugees in poverty and neglect. We, who have gathered here today, speak for them. We are the voice of members of our Assyrian nation in Iraq who cannot be heard today.

Recently Iraq’s three-member Presidency Council approved and adopted a new and long-awaited Provincial Election Law, removing the final stumbling block for polls to proceed in early 2009. This law will allow the new Provincial Councils to push ahead with economic reconstruction in Iraq.

On September 24, 2008, Iraq’s 275-member Parliament passed the Provincial Election Law but in a move that has stunned the minority citizens of Iraq, particularly the Assyrians, and has drawn criticism from the United Nations, members of the Iraqi Parliament removed Article 50, a key clause that would have reserved seats on Provincial Councils for Christians and other minorities.

The new law allows a fixed quota of 25% for women, but other Iraqi minorities, such as Christians and Yazidis, have been omitted with the removal of Article 50. We are calling on Iraq’s Presidency Council and members of the Iraqi Parliament and lawmakers to immediately reinstate Article 50.

On Thursday October 2, 2008, Staffan de Mistura, a UN special representative, disapproved of the removal of Article 50 and called for it to be reinstated by October 15. Despite the fact that this bill is now effectively a law, the Iraqi Parliament can amend the legislation.

The Assyrian nation is making an appeal not just to the Iraqi government, the United States and the United Nations, but to the citizens of the world to stand with us to reclaim our rights and the right to representation.

With the removal of Article 50, so-called “democratic” Iraq will shift back to being a conservative Islamic State that will no longer recognize the rights of its minorities, particularly the Christians.

The reconstruction of Iraq cannot succeed when the rights of the country’s minorities are stripped from them.

As the indigenous people born in the cradle of civilization, the Assyrian identity must be recognized and preserved and, therefore, Assyrians demand representation in the Iraqi Parliament as an integral part of Iraq’s future.

Regardless of their numbers, the Assyrians will always remain in the region and will continue to call the land between the Tigris and Euphrates their ancestral and rightful home. The Assyrians are entitled to fundamental rights and to representation in the government of which they are citizens.

Democracy in Iraq will fail if it does not treat all members of its society equally under the law. The removal of Article 50 will ensure the failure of democracy in Iraq and will ensure not only discrimination against Assyrians in their ancient homeland, but will treat them as 2nd class citizens.

Assyrians have already paid a heavy price since the beginning of the Iraq War. The liberation of Iraqis must encompass all its citizens, including the Assyrians, and not just the Sunni, the Shi’ites and the Kurds.

The removal of Article 50 suppresses the rights of Assyrians and other minorities. If this is a means to remove the ethnic structure of Iraq, it will not. The removal of Article 50 will not erase the diversity of cultures, religions and ethnicities that make up Iraq. But what the removal of Article 50 will do is to revert Iraq to the old path of dictatorship in dealing with its minorities.

Assyrians from all corners of the world, including Iraq, have come together in peaceful demonstrations in a voice of solidarity against the removal of Article 50. Today Assyrians of Southern California are adding their voice to our brothers and sisters around the globe. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, have stated in various interviews in the past few days that they will be amending the change in the law immediately.

Though one cannot always count on the promise of politicians, the Assyrian nation is counting on them to do the right thing and to restore Article 50 in order to ensure that the law protects the rights of Assyrians and all minorities.

If the removal of Article 50 is meant to act as a final blow to the systematic attacks on Assyrians to ensure a complete uprooting of these Christians from Iraq through mass migration or assimilation to result in a complete loss of the Assyrian identity, be rest assured that the Assyrian identity will never be lost.

© Rosie Malek-Yonan 2008.  All Rights Reserved.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rosie Malek-Yonan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Note: Published in AINA (6 October 2008), Zinda (10 October 2008), and The Christian Post (6 October 2008)

Assyrian Author Addresses British House of Lords on Genocide


Los Angeles (AINA) — Rosie Malek-Yonan author of The Crimson Field who serves on the Board of Advisor at Seyfo Center Europe and U.S. was invited to send a statement regarding genocide to be read at the House of Lords on 12 March 2008, chaired by Lord Rea.

Statement of Rosie Malek-Yonan to the House of Lords (London):

“In order to strive for world peace, we must first clean house.

By that I mean we must acknowledge all genocides without exception. So long as these open wounds are not healed, we continue to pass on the hatred and anger towards one another because we feel defenseless. It is time to end the cycle of violence and hatred by opening the dialog about atrocities that have occurred to all people of all nations particularly those nations who have been subjected to genocide.

No one nation is above the rest. No one genocide is more important than the rest.

The very definition of genocide is the deliberate killings of a large group of people particularly those of a certain ethnic group or nation.

The recognition and acceptance of a genocide, and mass murder of nations is not to merely point a finger at a tyrant guilty of those crimes. It is acceptance of facts and truths with the ultimate goal to mend bridges between the races. It is not to merely condemn but to create the first step towards world peace.”

On 24 April 2008, Ms. Malek-Yonan was asked to provide another similar statement to be read at the House of Commons (London) at the Armenian Genocide Day Conference, Sponsored and Chaired by Andrew George M.P.

Statement of Rosie Malek-Yonan to the House of Commons (London):

“The absence of the negotiation of world peace is the single greatest threat to humanity and the future of a violent-free world.

In order to achieve freedom from war, we must examine the actions that continually create the cycle of anger and hatred as the catalyst to any conflict between nations.

World peace will always remain a distant thought when reconciliation in the aftermath of genocide is not at the forefront of all discussions of human rights violations relative to those crimes.

When we perpetually allow the practice of genocide and holocaust and consent to the denial of such actions to linger for decades as in the case of the Assyrian, Armenian and Pontic Greek Genocide, we are in essence consenting to denial as a compromise. Denial is not compromise.

To the survivors and the children and grandchildren of the survivors of the Assyrian, Armenian, and Pontic Greek Genocide of 1914-1918 in Ottoman Turkey and northwestern Iran, there is no valid justification for the renunciation of facts.

With the acknowledgement of past and present genocides we can slowly begin to mend the broken bridges that may ultimately lead the human race to eradicate bloodshed and violence among nations of this world. But so long as we turn a blind-eye to these killings, we are sanctioning the ongoing slaughter such as today’s modern-day Assyrian Genocide occurring in Iraq since the beginning of the 2003 war.

A formal pronouncement by the Turkish government of the Assyrian, Armenian, and Pontic Greek Genocide will bring closure to not only the survivors of the genocide, but also to the Turkish people in that the nearly century-old hatred can begin to give way to human solidarity. Anything short of that will surely continue to threaten all hope of peace.”

© Rosie Malek-Yonan 2008.  All Rights Reserved.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rosie Malek-Yonan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

23 April 2008

Another Priest Killed: the Assyrian Genocide Continues in Iraq

Assyrian International News Agency

Guest Editorial by Rosie Malek-Yonan

5 April 2008

Fr. Yousef AdelLos Angeles (AINA) — The latest victim of the Assyrian Genocide unfolding in Iraq is 40 year-old Father Youssef Adel, the parish priest at Saint Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in central Baghdad.

According to reports from AP and Reuters, just a few hours ago at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Saturday 5 April 2008, Father Adel was gunned down at the gates of his own home near the church in Karrada neighborhood. After the shooting, the assailants sped away by car. Father Adel’s body was taken to Ibn Nafis Hospital in central Baghdad.

Father Adel was an engineer by trait, when six years ago he became a priest and served at a church in Dora, south of Baghdad. When the predominantly Sunni neighborhood became too violent for the Assyrians, Father Adel transferred to Karradah where he continued to serve his people. Now he leaves behind a young widow.

Assyrian news media outlets, writers and activists have been consistently reporting on crimes committed against their nation since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003. When the news of this latest murder of a member of my nation came early this Saturday morning, I wondered how many ways would I write the same article time and time again? It’s the same scenario. Only the names change. And despite our pleas, no one is moved enough within the U.S. Government to take serious action to protect the Assyrians in Iraq.

Has the human race become so desensitized, that these atrocities no longer phase anyone?

The Assyrian nation has been on a rapid decline since the beginning of the war when the population of the Christians was about 1.4 million while today less than one third remains in Iraq.

Thousands have lost their lives in the Iraq War including Shi’a, Sunni, Kurds and Americans. However, the Assyrians have become the subject of an ethnic cleansing that will potentially wipe out that nation completely while the others will continue to survive when this war will eventually come to a long and exhaustive end.

The Assyrian Genocide in Iraq is the untold tragedy of the Iraq War. As the indigenous people of that region, many Assyrians refuse to leave the land of their ancestors especially when they recently celebrated the 6578th Assyrian New Year. However, many Assyrians have fled to neighboring Syria, Jordan and Lebanon where they are now stranded with no hope of ever going back or moving forward. A few have been fortunate enough to make it to the relative safety of western countries. But for those Assyrians who don’t have the means to leave the killing fields in Iraq, life is just a game of Russian roulette.

© Rosie Malek-Yonan 2008.  All Rights Reserved.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rosie Malek-Yonan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rosie Malek-Yonan is an Assyrian actor, director and author of The Crimson Field. She is an outspoken advocate of issues concerning Assyrians, in particular bringing attention to the Assyrian Genocide and the plight of today’s Assyrians in Iraq since the U.S. lead invasion of Iraq in 2003. On June 30, 2006, she was invited to testify on Capitol Hill regarding the genocide and persecution of Assyrians in Iraq by Kurds and Islamists. She is on the Board of Advisors at Seyfo Center in Europe that exclusively deals with the Assyrian Genocide issue. She has acted opposite many of Hollywood’s leading actors and has received rave reviews both as an actor and director. Most recently, she played the role of Nuru Il-Ebrahimi, opposite Reese Whitherspoon in New Line Cinema’s “Rendition,” directed by Oscar winning director Gavin Hood.

Genocide Unfolding: Death of a Catholic Assyrian Archbishop in Iraq

AINA Guest Editorial by Rosie Malek-Yonan

18 March 2008

Los Angeles (AINA) — While leaving Mosul’s Holy Spirit Cathedral on February 29, 2008, gunmen abducted Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, killing his driver and two bodyguards (AINA 2-29-2008). Twelve days later, the kidnapped archbishop was found dead, buried in a shallow grave near Mosul (AINA 3-13-2008).

The widespread condemnation of last week’s death of the 65 year-old Assyrian Archbishop of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Mosul, Iraq has been reverberating around the world. From Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan to Pope Benedict XVI, the expression of outrage has been heard. There’s no shortage of statements issues by various Assyrian, Chaldean and Syriac groups, individuals and journalists. Various Christian groups around the globe have also been lending their voices in support of the Christians in Iraq. Stories of Archbishop Rahho’s death streaming the news for the past two weeks, clearly attest to the fury.

Pope Benedict XVI issued an urgent request during his Sunday sermon this week to end the massacre in Iraq. Will an abstract plea of peace in Iraq bring about change? Will the Pope’s cry of “enough to the violence in Iraq” stop the brutality? Or will the words of the pontiff quickly fade into oblivion by his next Sunday’s Vatican sermon? The Pope has made similar pleas in the past that have gone unanswered.

Did the U.S. government show enough concern to quickly and actively look for Archbishop Rahho while he was fighting for his life in the hands of his captures? It was repeatedly reported that he suffered from a heart problem and was dependent upon medication for survival that he was deprived of by his kidnappers.

Clearly the outrage was not enough to prompt the U.S. government to take immediate action while the archbishop was held for ransom.

But what if it had been an American, European, or Israeli abducted for ransom? Would the world have reacted differently?

Alone and abandoned, Iraq’s rapidly declining Assyrian Christian nation is left to fend for itself while besieged by daily terror. Unarmed and isolated, this small nation cannot fight the extreme terrorism that is targeting its people. Not even in retaliation do the minority Christians in Iraq strike back against their aggressors. These systematic violent attacks have now turned into a full-blown genocide against the Assyrians, the indigenous people of Iraq that includes the Chaldeans, Syriacs, and all the other various Christian denominations.

With millions of dollars vested in the Iraq War and with all its sophisticated war machinery, the U.S. has no handle on this conflict that has been erupting in the battlefields of Iraq since 2003. How then can an unarmed and unprotected small minority with no funding and no weaponry expect to survive under the same conditions?

After more than four years of deliberate attacks on the Christian population in Iraq, there seems to be a “momentary outrage” about the death of an archbishop. But time and time again, we have witnessed the emergence of a “momentary outrage” that falls short on impulsion. On October 11, 2006, Fr. Paulos Eskandar, a Syrian Orthodox priest was beheaded with his arms and legs hacked off. Surely that crime should have been enough to capture the world’s attention and to bring about change in the treatment of the Christians in Iraq.

But how long will these cries of unjust against this latest offense last? Now that Archbishop Rahho has been laid to rest, will he, too, fade from memory like all the others before him? Or will the “momentary outrage” continue long and loud enough for the good citizens of the world to take on a more proactive role to save this nation from extinction? Will President Bush have the courage to take off his blinders or will he continue to stumble in the dark until his final day in office?

With every attack on the Christians in Iraq, I ask, “Have we reached the blistering point? Will this be the turning point for the Assyrians?” I usually find my answer when I see the stories rapidly fading.

Certainly the death of Archbishop Rahho is a great tragedy but by no means is it an isolated case and should not over shadow the systematic and targeted murder of countless other innocent Christians in Iraq.

In June of 2006, my American government, the same government that attacked Iraq, invited me to testify on Capitol Hill about the persecution of the Assyrians in Iraq since 2003. There was a promise of hope in the air. I witnessed the “momentary outrage” on the part of the members of the Congressional Committee of the 109th Congress I appeared before. My testimony even brought Representative Betty McCollum to tears.

The “momentary outrage” lasted long enough to prompt Congressman Christopher Smith to visit Iraq and meet with Assyrian Christians including Pascal Warda, a former minister in the Iraqi transitional government, and turned in my report to U.S. Officials in Iraq.

Believing to be a man of his word, I have since been holding Congressman Smith accountable for his promise to me when on the record he stated:

“I thank you for that very powerful testimony. I just want you to know that you point out no one’s taking notice. The reason why we invited you and wanted you here was to try to begin to rectify that. To raise this issue with our own government and other coalition partners, especially the Iraqis. Your testimony will be used, I can assure you, to try and rectify things.”

But even though the atrocities committed against Assyrian Christians were brought to the attention of Washington and my report went full circle when Congressman Smith returned it to the “scene” of the crime, it did not reduce the amount of violence perpetrated against Assyrians in Iraq. On the contrary, the brutality escalated into an unstoppable frenzy while the West continued to turn a blind eye. The promise of hope vanished.

From 2003 to 2008, 48 churches have been attacked, bombed, burned and destroyed. In January 2008, seven simultaneous attacks were made again on churches and monasteries. Assyrian children and clergy beheaded and dismembered. Assyrians kidnapped for ransom and murdered. Young Assyrian boys crucified. Women and young girls raped. Assyrian men and boys tortured. Infants burned. Assyrians intimidated and threatened. Land and property confiscated. Business destroyed. Forced migration in a large-scale exodus from Iraq that at one point escalated to 2,000 Assyrians each day. Muslims carrying out threats of Convert or Die. Forced Islamization by way of Assyrian Christians ordered to pay a jeziya, a tax levied on Christians, a practice that is entrenched in ancient Islamic practice. Despite all the crimes against the Assyrians in Iraq, this small nation has continued to remain peaceful, patient and tolerant witnessing its own demise through a modern day ethnic cleansing with the full knowledge of the U.S. and the Coalition Forces making them silent accomplices to these crimes.

Today’s Assyrian Genocide in Iraq is reminiscent of the Assyrian Genocide of 1914-1918 in Ottoman Turkey and northwestern Iran where two-thirds of that nation were exterminated. Silent accomplices to those crimes were plentiful.

Since the liberation of Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Assyrians, who were once productive members of society in their homeland in Iraq, have become refugees, stranded and now abandoned in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. They once owned businesses, homes, communities, schools, and churches. Now they live in absolute poverty, forsaken with no hope on the horizon as they face deportation from those respective countries.

Perhaps Congressman Donald Payne’s June 30, 2006 comment on the record to me was more apropos when he stated, “The wheels of justice sometimes grind slowly.” In the case of the Assyrians, the wheels of justice have stopped.

In June of 2007, a year after my Congressional Testimony, the U.S. Congress approved a $10 million aid through a Sub-Committee on State and Foreign Operations to assist the minorities in the Nineveh Plain in Northern Iraq, namely the Assyrian Christians. Compared to the destructions of lives brought upon the Assyrians in Iraq by the U.S. invasion, a $10 million aid is a band-aid solution to a much deeper, and far more serious problem.

The Leave or Die message regularly delivered to the Assyrians of Iraq by the Muslims is a daily reminder of the instability the U.S. has created for that Christian nation. Unless an immediate plan is put into action to establish an Assyrian administered region in Iraq, with a police force drawn from Assyrian towns and villages in the Nineveh Plains, this ancient civilization will without a doubt disappear.

The simple fact is that when the United States, a Christian country, attacked Iraq, it was seen as an attack on Islam. The Assyrian Christians of Iraq including all the various religious denominations have become a target of retribution against the western Christian invaders. The reluctance on the part of the U.S. to save the Christian minorities in Iraq may stem for the simple fact that the Muslim Iraqis will view this as the U.S. “helping one of its own.” Could this be one of the reason the U.S. government chooses to not deal with this embarrassing disaster?

The Christians in Iraq did not start the war in Iraq. Today they are caught in the line of fire while the U.S. continues to evade the human tragedy of the genocide it is directly responsible for when President Bush first ordered the attack on Iraq.

The actions of the U.S. government are nothing less than irresponsible. Why should the Assyrians have to pay the price of this war with such heavy losses? These losses will never be recouped.

As an American citizen and as an Assyrian, I am outraged at the callousness of my government in addressing the predicament it has placed my Assyrian nation in. If the intention of the U.S. is to continue to act as though it does not notice this problem, then before washing its hands completely of the chaos it has created in the Middle-East firstly it must train and arm the Assyrian Christians fully so that they can combat and cope with the daily attacks. Secondly, it is imperative that the U.S. and Iraqi governments immediately deal with the Assyrian issue in the same manner as they did in dealing with the Kurds back in 1991, by establishing an “Assyrian Safe-Zone.” With the help of the United Nations, the prosperity of this region can slowly begin, and perhaps finally the Assyrians will be able to once again become a thriving nation on their own, much like the Kurds.

© Rosie Malek-Yonan 2008.  All Rights Reserved.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rosie Malek-Yonan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rosie Malek-Yonan is an Assyrian actor, director and author of The Crimson Field. She is an outspoken advocate of issues concerning Assyrians, in particular bringing attention to the Assyrian Genocide and the plight of today’s Assyrians in Iraq since the U.S. lead invasion of Iraq in 2003. On June 30, 2006, she was invited to testify on Capitol Hill regarding the genocide and persecution of Assyrians in Iraq by Kurds and Islamists. She is on the Board of Advisors at Seyfo Center in Europe that exclusively deals with the Assyrian Genocide issue. She has acted opposite many of Hollywood’s leading actors and has received rave reviews both as an actor and director. Most recently, she played the role of Nuru Il-Ebrahimi, opposite Reese Whitherspoon in New Line Cinema’s “Rendition,” directed by Oscar winning director Gavin Hood.