User-agent: *

Bookmark This Site

Christians Of Iraq
Plight of the Iraq's Christians

US refugee info

Popular articles
Assyrian poetry
Historical articles

Traditional Assyrian Costumes

  Bombed Churches
 Home  Only this link has access to all News articles


Youtube Assyrian Videos2
Assyrian youtube videos 3

Youtube Assyrian Videos (youtube2-b)
new songs Dec. 28, 2010

Translation Translation from English


Assyrian Genocide Research Center Welcomes Scholar to Its Board

March 21, 2011

Seyfo Center would like to welcome and congratulate Dr. Henry Theriault for his acceptance to join the Academic Board members. Professor Henry Theriault received his B.A. from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts. He serves as Associate Professor of philosophy and coordinates the Center for the Study of Human Rights at Worcester State College (Massachusetts, USA). His research interests include genocide, nationalism, and the philosophy of history.

This is an interview with Dr. Henry Theirault that was done by Seyfo Center USA Branch to raise awareness on Assyrian Genocide. Please share your opinion about Assyrians and the Assyrian Genocide. If you mean what I think the status of these events should be, I do not research directly on the historical documents, but it seems clear from what is demonstrated in works such as David Gaunt's Massacres, Resistance, and Protectors that there was an Assyrian Genocide that paralleled and often intertwined with the destruction of Armenians.

While the specific experiences of the groups varied, the intent to exterminate these two significant Christian minorities (as well as substantial parts of the Pontian Greek population) can be seen as one overarching genocidal process in the Ottoman Empire. The recognition of multiple victim groups in this case is crucial to understanding the true dynamics of each aspect of the genocidal process. While recently there has been more scholarship, some of it denialist, on the complexity of the "Muslims" in the Ottoman Empire, including refugees, in relation to the "events of 1915," there has been little effort that I am aware of to develop a comprehensive theory of the genocidal process that takes full account of the multiple victim groups.

For instance, my view is that the existence of genocidal labor battalions victimizing Greeks in the 1920s, beyond its primary importance regarding its victims, is hugely significant for understanding the genocidal elements persisting past the end of the Ottoman Empire. What should be the first step to take for the Assyrians living in the U.S and how do you propose, we can raise more awareness about the Assyrian Genocide, at a global level?

Assyrians have already been taking many steps in recent years, including the development of the SeyfoCenter. One help for Assyrians is that the Armenian Genocide aspect has been well-publicized in recent years, in the United States, Turkey , and elsewhere, which means that Assyrians do not need to educate "from the ground up," as many people already have some understanding of the overall genocidal process in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

But this is also a hindrance, because these events h ave been so associated with Armenians that many people outside of the Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek communities do not know much if anything about the Assyrian experience of genocide. The responsibility for this is partly that of those Armenians who do not make enough of an effort to include Assyrians in the genocide discussion as well as those outside these communities who have not studied the issue adequately and stay with a relatively simple understanding of it, in the sense of not recognizing multiple victim groups. Interestingly, today's Turkey is probably most responsible for this double-denial. Not only does the government and its supporters in academia and beyond deny any genocide in this period, but they specifically focus on "Armenian allegations," thereby denying that they are even denying the Assyrian Genocide.

Assyrians are not even recog nized as those whose claims are being rejected, except in response to specific initiatives by Assyrians. Part of this is a geopolitical issue, given the relative size and political influence of the two victim groups, but part of it is also probably due to the notion that if the Armenian Genocide is successfully denied, the Assyrian case will fail as well. In any event, it should not be Assyrians who should have to be doing all of the work to raise awareness. The broader world community owes it to victim groups to take on the burden of education about what the victims have suffered. But, even if it is unfair that Assyrians have to work hard to gain basic recognition of their people's suffering, this is also the situation of Armenians and most other victim groups.

Practical steps that Assyrians could take would be applying for panels at International Association of Genocide Scholars' conferences and other conferences on genocide, Middle East history, and so forth. Disseminating the existing research is very important. Another way to promote awareness would be supporting more scholarly research on the issue. Of course, this is a great struggle for Armeni an and other victim groups, so it will not be easy, but it is important to go beyond advocacy, to provide insightful and extensive scholarship that becomes part of the growing literature in comparative genocide studies.

Showing how the Assyrian case contains elements that will help us understand genocide generally can be very helpful as part of presenting research to scholars and the public at large. How can the past Genocide affect our future and why is it important not to forget the past Genocide? The Assyrian Genocide, like the Armenian case, had a dramatic impact on Assyrians in every possible way. However much Assyrians have overcome the effects of genocide, it still has direct material, political, and psychological impacts -- these impacts were, after all, exactly why the Young Turks pursued genocide in the first place. And, the great effort required to address these effects demonstrates how significant they are.

I do not mean to suggest Assyrians are perpetual victims, but it is crucial to recognize the concrete ways genocides impact victim groups. This is both why this genocide must be remembered and how it affects the future. Unless these harms are addressed in the future, through symbolic and material reparations, the impact will remain. In your opinion, what is the reason for Turkey's denial about the Assyrian, Armenian, and Greek Genocide? As I have discussed in publications, the reasons are three-fold. First, there is the desire to escape from responsibility.

The Young Turks placed a horrible burden on contemporary Turks to deal with the legacy of genocide, and most contemporary Turks actively avoid shouldering this burden. This is not unique to Turkey. Think of how people in the United States avoid the obvious responsibility rampant genocide of Native Americans puts on us. Second, contemporary Turkish national identity might be seen in part as a resentful response to the loss of empire, which allows contemporary Turks to continue to view themselves as imperial superiors to at least some other groups, especially former subject peoples such as Assyrians, Greeks, and Armenians.

Part of this identity depends on a frail, even desperate clinging to elements of the Turkish past that demonstrates dominance. Identifying with the Young Turks is one element of this. To expose the Young Turks for what they were undermines Turkish national identity, which is a key determinant in many personal identities. This is again similar to the United States, where criticism of US military aggression, say, is taken as a persona l assault by some people in the United States and met with belligerence. In all of this, the facts have little role -- everything is about a complex intermingling of psychological and political forces.

Finally, the threat of reparations, that is, some kind of return of lands and other wealth and/or compensation for it, looms very large. Ultimately, I believe this is the central issue. Turkish elites understand full well today the public and personal material benefits they enjoy from these genocides and they appear unable to entertain even the notion of giving up even some of them. The majority of Turks generally cannot accept, for instance, return of lands from inside their state's borders. Do you think Turkey will ever recognize the Genocide it has committed during the Ottoman Empire against the Christian minorities namely Assyrians, Armenians, and Greeks?

I am not sure about this. As a colleague of mine, Armenian Genocide scholar Dikran Kaligian, says, if the TurkishRepublic ever gets a guarantee that there will be no reparations to follow recognition, they will recognize the Armenian Genocide in a second. I think his point -- reparation is the key fear -- is, overall, correct, but I think that the sense of national identity is also very strong and cannot accept recognition.

I suspect if there were some sort of recognition, within a few years there would be a backlash against it and an ensuing oscillation between partial recognition and partial denial -- something like what has happened in Japan regarding such things as the Nanjing Massacre, if my reading of scholars such as Takashi Yoshida is correct. Thus, the issue is not really about simple recognition by Turkey , but lasting change in attitudes among Turkish elites and people generally, inside and outside of Turkey .

One grand statement of recognition is not meaningful if it can be retracted or eroded later. There has been so many documents and reports and books published on the Assyrians Genocide that happened in 1915, why do you think that the United States administrations has not yet recognized the Genocide? The literature on the Assyrian Genocide is not widely known yet, and perhaps the suggestions in answer to Question 2 above could help. But this is not the fundamental reason. To the extent Assyrians and their supporters push for recognition, the Turkish government and its supporters will do as they do regarding the Armenian case -- deny and put military, economic, and political pressure on the US government not to recognize the genocide.

What is more, to recognize the Assyrian case would entail recognition of the Armenian case, so with all the pressure not to do the latter at this point, the former is blocked as well. The reverse is not true: it would be possible to recognize the Armenian Genocide without recognizing the Assyrian case, putting the Assyrians in something like the position of the Gypsies. But , I would hope that advocates for Armenian Genocide recognition would not accept this outcome and push hard for recognition of the Assyrian Genocide as well. A hopeful sign of the linking of the two cases as well as the Pontian Greek case is the 2007 resolution by the International Association of Genocide Scholars on "Genocides against Assyrians, Greeks, Armenians, and Other Christians by the Ottoman Empire," which specifically recognized the Assyrian and Pontian Greek cases as genocide.

Can you please explain the similarities between Holocaust and Seyfo? I mentioned in my previous response the Gypsies, and I think that this is the key comparative point with the Holocaust, if we take the Holocaust in its broad sense, as not only the Nazi Genocide of the Jews. The Assyrians were in a similar position as the Gypsies, as a smaller group that was targeted within the overarching genocidal ideology of the case in question. One interesting point to consider is the extent to which a specific Young Turk anti-Assyrian ideology existed alongside the anti-Armenian ideology. In the case of the Gypsies, partly because of the long history of their persecution, there was a distinct anti-Gypsy element of Nazi ideology.

An important future research topic might be what was the relationship of the more general anti-Christian-minority ideology to specifically anti-Assyrian elements? Whatever the answers generated, this will advance understanding of the similarities of and differences between the Holocaust and the Seyfo. At the same time, for two reasons I would caution against too much of a focus on this issue. First, while the reason for comparison is presumably that the model of the Holocaust is very well-known in the world and comparing the Seyfo to it would help people understand the Seyfo better, comparisons to the Holocaust might be construed as a victim group using the Holocaust to advance its own agenda. Second, the Holocaust was a particular genocide, with particular features.

While it was continental in scope and represents one of the broadest and most intensive genocidal campaigns in history, with deep historical roots, there are central features of various genocides that do not appear in the Holocaust. Focusing too much on similarities to the Holocaust might mean losing sight of these important, distinctive features of the Assyrian case. By Linda Abraham Seyfo Center


Designed by



3,700 articles and counting

church on fire







Adaar = March

Assyrian Genocide Research Center Welcomes Scholar to Its Board March 21, 2011

INTERNATIONAL Extinction of Iraq’s Christians must be Prevented March 21, 2011

Muslim World: Democracy (for Muslim Arabs Only)
March 19, 2011

Turkey's confiscation of Land belonging to The St. Gabriel Assyrian Monastery March 19, 2011

Donny George, protector of Iraq's ancient riches Died March 18, 2011

American Muslims Versus Congressman, Peter King March 8, 2011

Iraqi Archbishop Blames lack of Liberty, and Security for his Flocks Suffering March 6, 2011

Iraqi Christians to Congress: Please Help
March 2, 2011

Were Iraqi Security Forces Involved in Baghdad Church Massacre? March 2, 2011

Egyptian Armed Forces Shoot to Kill Christians at Monasteries, 19 Injured March 2, 2011

February = Eshvat

Film About Assyrian Genocide in Iraq to Debut in Michigan Feb 28, 2011

Christian town in north Iraq offers refuge
Feb 27, 2011

Iraq Abuse Worsening for Women and Minorities Feb 23, 2011

Iraq's Christian Leaders Unhappy With Lack of Action on Nineveh Plain Feb 23, 2011

Global Islamic upheaval takes toll on Christians Feb 23, 2011

Turkish Judicial System Does Not Meet EU Standards Feb 23, 2011

Anger over court’s decision to acquit suspects in Coptic killing case Feb 23, 2011

Reconciled By the St. Gabriel Assyrian Monastery in Turkey Feb 20, 2011

‘Religicide’ in Iraq Feb 16, 2011

Truth About Sharia Law and Women Feb. 16, 2011

Persecuted Iraqi Christians Reach Out to US.
Feb. 15, 2011

Australian MP Calls Attention to Persecution of Iraq's Assyrians Feb. 10, 2011

Campaign to separate the Syrian Orthodox Church from its Assyrian Heritage
Feb. 9, 2011

Iranians Crack Down on Christian Churches Feb. 9, 2011

Who will defend Mideast Christians? Feb. 8, 2011

Christians of Iraq are in danger Feb. 2, 2011

Failing Christians is damaging EU credibility, says Italy Frattini Feb. 1, 2011

January = Kanoon II

Church to build hospital and university in Iraq
Jan, 31, 2011

“Syria Opens the Gateway to Humanity for the Assyrian Medical Society, the Mission Continues.”
Jan, 28, 2011

Assyrians Without Borders Announces Scholarship Awards Program Jan, 28, 2011

Hearing in Washington about attacks against christians of Iraq and Egypt Jan. 27, 2011

Babylonian cuneiform tablets document Syria’s history Jan. 26, 2011

As the left sides with Muslims, Christians search for support Jan. 24, 2011

Congress to Press Obama on Religious Persecution
Jan. 21, 2011

Abrogation in Islam and The Persecution
of Christians

Jan. 21, 2011

Last Christians Ponder Leaving a Hometown in Iraq Jan. 20, 2011

Assyrian Youth Black March Movement Conference in Detroit Jan. 19, 2011

Who Are the Real Hijackers of Islam? Jan. 10, 2011

Why Christians and Jews are Being Massacred in the Middle East Jan. 10, 2011

Restricted Freedoms in the Iraqi Christian Green Zone
Jan. 8, 2011

France asks for coordinated European Union response to threats against Christians in Middle East Jan. 5. 2011

Violent attacks against Christians could return in Egypt
Jan. 4. 2011

Egyptian Security Guards Withdrew One Hour Before Church Blast Jan. 2. 2011

We may be witnessing a new age of Christian persecution
Jan. 2. 2011

December = Kanoon I

Christians consider their future after more attacks in Iraq
Dec. 31. 2010

Ancient Tel Aviv Fortress has an Assyrian Origion Dec. 30. 2010

Rare Assyrian artifacts on display in Istanbul Dec. 30. 2010

Ancient Tablets Reveal Mathematical Achievements of Ancient Babylonian Culture Dec. 28. 2010

Christmas and New Year's Greetings 2010

Bipartisan Effort Pressures Obama to Help Iraq's Christians
Dec. 26, 2010

Around "1,100" Christian families have fled to to Kurdish north Dec. 21, 2010

U.N. cites 'a slow but steady exodus' of Iraqi Christians
Dec. 18, 2010

Genocide Film Stirs Emotions Dec, 18, 2010

Assyrians in Iraq face a stark choice: convert, die or leave Dec, 17, 2010

Iraqi Christians Want Their Own Province Dec, 17, 2010

The persecution of Christians in the ‘Muslim world’
Dec, 15, 2010

Is Obama serious about human rights? Dec, 15, 2010

Iraq’s war on Christians Dec, 15, 2010

Appeal for Iraq's Imperiled Religious Communities
Dec, 14, 2010

More Christians Flee Iraq After New Violence Dec, 12, 2010

Assyrians in Iraq's Mosul Living Under Constant Fear
Dec. 11, 2010

Iraq Assyrians Mark 40 Days Since Church Carnage Dec. 10, 2010

Christmas 2005 in Iran (Photos Included) Dec. 6, 2010

Demand For a Province in Kurdistan for Christians Dec. 6, 2010

Assyrian MP Calls on Iraqi Government to Safeguard Churches, Open Investigation Dec. 6, 2010

The Voice of Iraq’s Forgotten Minority crying for help
Dec. 6, 2010

Iraq: Gunmen kill elderly Christian couple inside their Baghdad home Dec. 5, 2010

Assyrian Group Briefs EU Parliament Delegation On Iraq
Dec. 3, 2010

Iraq: Deadly Reminders of Unfinished Business 
Dec. 3, 2010

Protecting Our Christian Neighbours in Iraq Dec. 3, 2010

Catholic Bishops Back House Resolution to Protect Iraq's Christians Dec. 1, 2010

November = Tishreen II

Egypt Security forces use live ammunition and kill unarmed Christian Coptic Protesters Nov. 30, 2010

Western Economic Aid to Muslim Nations Who Hate Non-Muslims Nov. 29, 2010

Formation of Committee to assist Iraqi Christians and other Minorities Nov. 29, 2010


The Baghdad Assyrian Church Massacre: Waiting for Godot! Nov. 27, 2010

Christians in the Middle East essential for the survival of the Arab world Nov. 27, 2010

Australian Conference Calls Attention to Assyrian Genocide in Iraq Nov. 22, 2010

Homes of Christians set on Fire in Egypt Nov. 17, 201

Group will not celebrate Muslim Holiday in solidarity with the victims of the Church Massacre Nov. 17, 201o

Thousands Protest Attacks Against Iraqi Christians Nov. 12, 2010

Memorial Service Held in London for Baghdad Church Massacre Victims Nov. 12, 2010

Fear of jihad driving Christians from Iraq Nov. 10, 2010

Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan Nov. 10, 2010

Assyrians Demonstrate Around the World Against Baghdad Church Massacre Nov. 10, 2010

Iraq’s Christians: The Final Push to Drive them Out?
Nov. 10, 2010

3 bombs explode outside Christian homes in Baghdad
Nov. 10, 2010

How an Iraqi Christian school became 82 percent Muslim
Iraq Nov. 10, 2010

Recent attack on church sheds light on Assyrians' plight
Iraq Nov. 9, 2010

Global Demonstrations against the Persecution of Christians of Iraq Nov. 9, 2010

Two Christians killed in Baghdad a week after massacre
Massacre Nov. 8, 2010

Worldwide Assyrian Demonstrations against Baghdad's Church Massacre Nov. 7, 2010

Al-Qaida is turning its focus on Iraq's vulnerable Christians
Nov. 7, 2010

Christians and Muslims issue joint statement condemning Iraqi church attack Nov. 6, 2010

Christian Massacre Spurs Assyrian-American Rally Nov. 6, 2010

Christians ‘on verge of extinction’ in Iraq, Muslim leader warns
Nov. 5, 2010

UNSC to discuss the security situation in Iraq Tuesday
Nov. 5, 2010

Islamic chauvinism drives Christians out Nov. 5, 2010

bloody, ruthless attack on landmark church in Iraq Nov. 3, 2010

Videos of the Attack on the Assyrian church on October 31-2010

Assyrians Should Be Granted Indigenous Group Status and Rights in Iraq Nov. 3, 2010

Operation Iraqi freedom and Christians in Iraq Nov. 1, 2010

Protest and demonstration in Ankawa against the murder of Christian worshipers in Baghdad Nov. 2, 2010

CNN update; include video- Death toll rises to 58 in Iraq church
Nov. 1. 2010

Death Toll Rises to 58 in Iraq Church Standoff Nov. 1. 2010

Baghdad attack a new low in Christian onslaught in Iraq
Nov. 1. 2010

Pictures of surviving Christians ater the killing in Iraq Nov. 1. 2010

Deadly Baghdad church siege highlights threat to Iraqi Christians
Nov. 1. 2010

Priests among 46 Christians killed in Iraq
Nov. 1. 2010 8:00 AM

Priests among 37 Christians killed in Iraq hostage drama
Nov. 1. 2010 1:00 AM

Iraqi worshipers, troops killed in church takeover
Nov. 1. 2010

October = Tishreen I

My Take on Tearing down the walls 30, 2010

swedishimmigration-policyon-iraqirefugees October 29, 2010

Ancient Winemaking Makes Resurgence in Southeast Turkey
October 29, 2010

Arabs and Turcomans Speak out Against Kurdish Demands in Kirkuk October 17, 2010

The Cost Of Moslem Intolerance October 6, 2010

2,700-year-old royal loyalty oath discovered in Turkey 15 October 2010

Muslim scholars address synod, say Middle East needs Christians Oct. 16, 2010

Christian Hymns of the church of the East in Assyrian aramaic by Reverend Genard Lazar
aug. 26, 2010

Eilul = September

The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia August 26, 2010

Assyrian Politician Attacked in Sweden Future 0f Democracy in the West 26, 2010

Vatican should prevent the exodus of Christians from the Middle East 26, 2010

Assyrian speech at the International Genocide Conference In Greece. Sept. 24, 2010

Egyptian Coptic Church Accused of Stockpiling Weapons
Sept. 22, 2010

Priceless Assyrian historic site Used as Kurdish resort Sept. 22, 2010

Poverty and unemployment among northern Christians sept. 21, 2010

Imam Khamenei: US and Zionism, Not Christianity, Responsible for Anti-Islamism Sep. 17, 2010

Iraq's top Shiite cleric urges tolerance towards Christians
Sep. 10, 2010

Assyrian Representative in the Iranian Parliament condemned the burning of the Koran in the U.S. Sep. 16, 2010

Christian Community of Iraq Halved in Seven Years 16, 2010

Why People worldwide lose Respect for Islam 16, 2010

The Assyrian Genocide and the Turkish Ambassador sept. 13, 2010

Dubakh = August

Religious Freedom and a Mosque August 30, 2010

Kidnapped Assyrian killed in Iraq despite ransom paid August 27, 2010

Why did the Golden Age of Islam come to an end? August 23, 2010

Iraqi asylum seekers struggle to survive in Sweden August 14, 2010

Monument in memory of massacred Assyrians is ready to be unvailed in Australia August 4, 2010

Speaking the language of Jesus August 3, 2010

U.S. Troop Withdrawal From Iraq Does Not End Humanitarian Obligation

August 1. 2010

Tammuz = July

Baghdad Bishop Dies After Lifetime of Serving the Church July 28, 2010

Islam needs more tolerance, not more mosques July 27, 2010