Thursday, April 24, 2008

April 24: Day of Commemoration for "Armenian" genocide

It is quite obvious that I have a tremendous passion for exposing Armenian propaganda. Those of you that know me, know it is because I lived in their midst in Glendale, California for seven teen years and have thusly witnessed a horrendous amount of negative Armenian public opinion.

Ever since I was a child I've had to submit to their very tactical, uninformative, and sneaky recital of history. Every year we were all herded into the assembly hall like the unwitting sheep we were, for some of us, starting from the naive age of six, to hear how the Turks obliterated so many innocent Armenians. No one remembered to mention that with those Armenians Greeks and Assyrians were also killed. In this massacre, Assyrians were the most affected because more were killed per capita, leaving the Assyrian population exponentially decreased more than it had ever been in any other mass- killing, and more victimized than the Armenians and Greeks.

Seventeen years of hearing how only the Armenians, and no one else, were brutally slain. The assemblies were usually very solemn, with speeches, dance dramatizations, plays, and personal accounts. You know, emotionally- drive n propaganda is the most powerful kind.

A few years ago, around 2001, the Armenians of Los Angeles County planned a rally and for the first time, invited Assyrians to join. An Assyrian friend of mine who had just moved here from the east coast was really antsy to go. When I told her I refused to she was shocked: " What?! Rita, YOU of all people would badly want to go . . .and you should!" I predicted that there was probably an ulterior motive in the Armenians' seemingly well- intended invitation . I guessed that since on- lookers wouldn't be able to tell the difference between Armenians and Assyrians, that we were just invited to create the appearance of a larger Armenian turnout.

A couple of days later I got a call from that friend of mine. "Eh. .you were right about the rally . Assyrians were there and Fr. George was too but. . .the Armenians did most of the talking. . .and it just kinda felt like it was Armenian- dominated" . Which is fine since statistically speaking it's only logic al that they would dominate just because of their numbers. But it's not fine that because as I mentioned earlier, a higher percentage of Assyrians were killed. At least a little bit more emphasis should have been placed where it is due.

Now, for as long as I remember, every time Assyrians publicly speak about the massacre we always mention "our Armenian and Greek brothers and sisters" who were slain along with us. For a long time I disagreed with this but now I've come to the realization that instead of spiting the living Armenians we should have respect for the dead. least only for their sake.

The Armenians criticize Turkey for not recognizing the genocide. By not bringing up the Assyrians and Greeks when speaking of the massacre then they become like the Turks themselves. They are condemning Turkey for something they are also doing.


I get a really bad feeling when I watch an Assyrian event on television. It's a feeling deep down in my stomach, it moves upward to my chest, making me nauseous. This feeling is intensified when I'm actually AT an Assyrian event.
I've felt this way quite some time now, for many years in fact, always worrying about what it is. Am I longing to be there? Am I feeling a painful nostalgia for the Assyrian moments I experienced in the past? Am I angry at our enemies? It's none of those things. I now know what it is.

It's a mixed feeling of frustration, anger, and sadness towards us. The reason this comes up when watching an Assyrian event is because deep down inside, I am, as well as all of you are, aware of the futility of these events.

The reason they are futile is because they usually are only catered to other Assyrians. When will we learn that promoting Assyrian culture only amongst ourselves is not going to get us anywhere? This is one of the biggest and saddest wastes of time for us.

Assyrians have not progressed in many years probably because of the fact that we are so attached to each other. We are attached to our churches, our organizations, our parents, and we want to make them all proud. Do not misunderstand me, it is not specifically any one of those entities wherein the problem lies, rather, it is how they are all a part of our tightly-knit and narrow network that makes them problematic. It's a very childish kind of mentality. It's very "mommy, look what I can do!" but on a much larger scale.

We keep worshipping our organizations and celebrities. I'm sure you know what an Assyrian celebrity is. If not, I'll tell you. It's a Mar Dinkha, a Mar Bawai, a Yonadam Kanna, a Sargon Dadesho. All temporary beings creating permanent separation. As individuals they are all very different but something has made them become all the same. Do you know what it is? Our worship of them. These are all people that we have turned into concepts, be they negative or positive concepts. How distracted have we become by them? How much time have we wasted? Even by vehemently hating someone it is a form of directed mental energy becoming much like worship. We are wasting our very limited and precious time.

A lot of you will think "but so and so person and so and so organization has accomplished this and achieved that". Stop yourselves if you do. Everything that has been "accomplished" by any Assyrian organization or individual in the past hundred or so years has been successful in only barely MAINTAINING Assyrian existence. Of course, we are thankful and we praise those who have suffered and toiled for the betterment of their fellow Assyrians, but now we can no longer hinder our potential in bringing about actual progress.

Another big waste of time and unnecessary component to the mass brainwashing of Assyrians: nationalistic and politically-driven poets and singers. Poetry incites passion. Passion incites action. Usually. In the case of us Assyrians, passion usually incites more prayer. I'm not against prayer; I'm only against prayer without action which is what is obviously being done among our people. You can find in every religion a variant of the phrase "halfway you, halfway God". It's in the Bible, it's in the Qoran, it's in Hinduism, and it’s in a lot of things, so we can agree with its suggestion.

We're not getting anywhere because we're too busy trying to show off, or in some cases to sincerely make other Assyrians proud. That's what we have to realize, that whether or not our success and clout is displayed with good intentions, if it is only for the purpose of staying within the Assyrian circle, it is absolutely obsolete.

I have many dear friends who have devoted many years of their lives working towards their doctorate degrees in Assyriology, working for organizations, and working in politics. A lot of them are very respected and ONLY the Assyrian community. What good will that do? What does holding lectures and seminars at Assyrian Convention going to do? The people that read your work and that take notes at your seminars don't need to be there. The ones that do will never be there. It's an irony, a paradox, whatever you want to call it.

We're in our own collective head too much. We have to separate in order to grow, and with that growth, the world will automatically know who we are. That is when we will be liberated.

Look at the bigger picture.

On top of everything, we now have to battle the falsest of all good vs. evil battles, with each side convinced that they are good and the other is evil...the Mar Bawai side and the Mar Dinkha side. Do you all not realize that it is all the same? I'm aware that the two respective mascots representing each team are very different, however the result of being an advocate for either side is the same: division. With division comes a slow, painful death. Congratulations to us all, we have facilitated our own fall by dividing and conquering our own nation.

The entire world is laughing at us, and now, we too are laughing at ourselves.

We need to slowly detach ourselves from the notion of the Assyrian community. We need to slowly leave the nest. I'm not here preaching or judging, I promise you that I am here merely as a reporter to tell you that if we keep this up, Assyrian identity will no longer exist.

We need to further develop the Assyrian individual. We need to all pursue the betterment of our own selves, whether by pursuing a career in what we are passionate in, furthering our education, or what have you. The improvement of the Assyrian situation will come naturally once most Assyrian individuals are successful in many different fields. However, the inverse of that, which is to focus on the group as we have been doing, creates stagnancy among the people, who in turn haven't the ambition nor the necessary passion to raise a nation.

Another promise to you all, I am not attempting to incite pointless passion as many have done so before me, it is out of a deep love and yearning that I share these thoughts with you.