Syriac Universal Alliance -
Letter to Barack Obama:
- Congratulations letter & Plight Aramean/Syriac Christians in the Middle East
The Honorable President-elect Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Subject: Congratulations letter & Plight Aramean/Syriac Christians in the Middle
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Dear President-elect Obama,
On behalf of the Syriac Universal Alliance and the Aramean people, I offer you
my heartfelt congratulations upon your election as the next President of the
United States of America.
The entire world has witnessed how hard you have
fought for this well-deserved, historic victory. I am confident that you are the
right person in the right place at the right time to guide the American people,
who had lost faith in their leadership until November 4th.
I believe that you will be able to restore the distinguished image of your great
nation outside its national borders. Your message of change, unity and hope is
resonating deeply in the USA as much as in the rest of the world – with
(nation-)states and stateless people alike.
The largely unknown Arameans/Syriacs (numbering
a couple of million around the world), who have become a diasporic people, are a
case in point. We have watched and listened to many of your hopeful,
inspirational speeches during the campaign. In addition, we have read many of
your written statements and articles. For instance, in your acceptance speech as
President-elect you declared: “To those who seek peace and security – we support
you.” Your Excellency, we are responding to this call and ask you for urgent
help, because our Biblical people and ancient civilization are literally on the
verge of extinction.
We, Semitic Arameans (not to be confused with
Indo-European Armenians from Armenia), are about to lose everything our
ancestors have built up in the past 3,500 years. We have endured persecutions
and assimilation politics in our homeland. As natives of the Near East, we have
been decimated in and driven from the land of our forefathers. We are scattered,
and our collective survival as well as our cultural heritage are seriously
Thus we are most grateful for your letter
(September 9, 2007) to Secretary C. Rice, when you wrote her “out of concern
for” our people in Iraq. The Syriacs, Chaldeans, Assyrians and Mandeans
mentioned by you, are all the primary heirs to the antique Aramaic heritage.
This is equally true of the dispersed Maronite and Melkite Christian
Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly of the Chaldean
Church noted less than a week ago from Rome, which he visited, that Iraq’s
ethnic mosaic must be preserved: “we in the church do not ask for anything,
except our people’s rights. But I would like to state that we, the Chaldeans,
Assyrians and Syriacs are one people that is known as the Aramean people. Let
Iraq continue to live with all its ethnic groups: Arabs, Kurds, Arameans,
Yazidi’s, Mandeans and Shabaks.”
We will send The Hidden Pearl: The Syrian
Orthodox Church and Its Ancient Aramaic Heritage (Rome, 2001) to your postal
address and to your new office. Through these three illustrated books and the
three DVD’s, you can learn more about the Aramean communities. This masterpiece
was sponsored by the Syriac Universal Alliance, the worldwide umbrella
organization of the national federations of the Aramean/Syriac people, whose
interests and needs it faithfully aims to serve, defend and promote. It was
authored by Sebastian P. Brock, Professor Emeritus at Oxford University and
well-known Dean of Aramaic/Syriac Studies.
We are further hopeful that you will fulfill
your promise to the Armenian Americans when you avowed on January 19, 2008: “as
President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide” (www.barackobama.com/2008/01/19/barack_obama_on_the_importance.php).
The description, however, is most unfortunate,
since it ignores the hundreds of thousands of innocent Arameans and Greeks who
also fell victim to this very same Ottoman Genocide. This name is much more
appropriate, as it accentuates the masterminds and perpetrators of the same
systematic massacres, so that none of the victims who still strive for
international recognition of these horrible events as 'Genocide' will be either
forgotten or neglected.
In order to inform you about the Aramean account
of this Ottoman Genocide, we are also sending you, as a humble gift, this recent
academic book that treats our story fairly well: Sébastien de Courtois, The
Forgotten Genocide: Eastern Christians, the Last Arameans (Piscataway, NJ:
Gorgias Press, 2004; translated from the French by Vincent Aurora).
Finally, we pray that you will include our
people in your vision for the Middle East, more specifically in your plan for
Iraq and Turkey. As you can appreciate, we have already suffered too much in the
past decades and our plight has hitherto been ignored by the world leaders.
We are eager to cooperate with your
administration on matters pertaining to our people, whether in America, Europe
or the Middle East. We are also most willing to provide you with reliable
information on the Aramean/Syriac people in their homeland and the diaspora.
Again, my wholehearted congratulations and every
success with your administration.
May our Lord God, Jesus Christ, continue to bless you and your great nation.
Syriac Universal Alliance