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Archive » Tebe » 2009 November

The Defamation and Vilification of the Syriacs (Arameans):
The Fate of a Thriving People

In the past three to four decades, the Syriac (Aramean) people have fled their ancestral homelands of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon in massive numbers. As the indigenous people of these countries, they are stateless and are dispersed all over the world. In their diaspora situation, the Syriacs (Arameans) struggle hard to protect their identity and their communal solidarity and cohesion.

Many of these members of one of the oldest Christian communities in the world have settled mainly in Western Europe, where they have managed to successfully integrate and achieve great things. Among their significant accomplishments are the establishment of churches and monasteries, offices for their socio-political and cultural organizations, recognition as the only Aramaic-speaking Non-Governmental Organization status at the United Nations, many soccer clubs playing in the highest divisions in Sweden and Germany, and a free and independent international TV channel called “Suryoyo Sat” that reaches our diaspora people in more than 80 countries.

Today, the young generation of Syriacs (Arameans) are blossoming, growing stronger every day, and carrying on these accomplishments, in addition to their own. For example, the increasing positive media appearances, fantastic achievements in soccer, meetings held with government officials from our home countries and host societies, and promotional activities for our people at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Vienna and New York.

The success of some of our Syriac (Aramaic) institutions appears to have agitated certain groups of people who have thus started a systematic campaign of defaming and vilifying Syriac (Aramean) people, organizations, churches, professional soccer clubs (especially Syrianska FC from Södertälje in Sweden) and Suryoyo Sat via all media channels, particularly the Internet.

Politically motivated groups and writers (who stress their academic degree thereby appealing to the authority of the story writers and hence the implied truthfulness of their stories) have started this media offensive by distorting and politicizing certain incidents that have recently occurred. The Internet is being utilized by them as a free platform to scapegoat the Syriac people and preposterously accuse its institutions of “extremism and ignorance,” of “an anti-Assyrian ideology” that purportedly is demonstrated by an “institutionalized hatred and instrumentalized violence against Assyrians.” Even the board of the soccer club Assyriska FF in Södertälje has joined this offensive and issued a press release (28 October, 2009) which includes comments and insinuations of a political nature which are utterly unrelated to the two incidents which have occurred.

This is a deplorable act and we outright refute and denounce any attempts to cast the Syriac people, organizations, churches, soccer clubs and Suryoyo Sat in such a false and negative light.

We implore everyone to compare everything objectively and sensibly before deciding the truth of these outlandish and false statements. We do not wish to waste our audience’s, nor our own, precious time on details of these groundless allegations, which are very suggestive and have been taken out of context. Even if they are not supported by the local Swedish authorities, we outright denounce these false allegations against the Syriacs (Arameans). We are concerned that these public calls towards mobilization against the Syriac (Aramean) people and its national institutions may spiral out of control and lead to further division between our people.

We do not deny that we differ with some groups ideologically, or when it comes to our differing understanding of our past, present and future identity. This is the case among many nations and peoples. Instead of repeating their mistakes, we must learn lessons from them. Our disagreements should by no means or under any circumstances become a reason to defame and vilify one another with outlandish statements and false accusations. Our different perspectives on certain questions are for us, the representatives of the Syriac (Aramean) people, only a challenge to fight even harder for the unification of our great people. If we want to survive as a people, we cannot afford ourselves of accusing each other falsely or manufacturing an atmosphere of groundless fear.

Our united message is as clear as it can be: we will never accept, from any group or person, any attempt to defame or vilify our Syriac (Aramean) people and we harshly denounce all forms of hatred and violence (whether promoting or inciting).

We will continue to work, unabated, for a greater good and for the protection of the human rights of our Syriac (Aramean) people and maintain, as always, the highest moral and professional standards. We hope that in time all our people and organizations will work constructively for the unified goal of achieving liberty, equality and justice for our great people.

13.11.2009

Syriac Universal Alliance
[Non-Governmental Organization in Special Consultative Status
with the Economic and the Social Council of the United Nations]

Syriac Federation of Sweden
Syriac Youth Federation of Sweden
Syriac Orthodox Youth Organization of Sweden
Syriac Orthodox Church, Patriarchal Vicariate of Sweden
Suryoyo Sat, international satellite channel of the Syriacs (Arameans)

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