WHITHER CHRISTIAN MISSIONS?
Reflections on the Works of a Missionary and On the Assyrian Case
DAVID BARSUM PERLEY, J.S.D.
SECRETARY, ASSYRIAN NATIONAL FEDERATION
Published 1946 A.D.
Assyrian International News Agency
THE CROSS ON THE NESTORIAN MONUMENT
(From Holm's "Nestorian Monument.")
"May the Cross of Jesus be the
protection of the servants of God."
-From an old Assyrian legend.
The original in Aramaic above
An earnest, public demand has impelled me to offer this new, revised, and enlarged edition to the citizens of the world. They should know more, I am assured, about the burning problem of the Assyrians. The sub-title to the first edition read: "John Van Ess of the Foreign Missions of the Reformed Church in America Persecutes the Assyrian Race and Church"- and properly. In its A Preliminary Note I stated in substance:
The manner in which the Rev. Dr. John Van Ess has brashly intruded himself on the subject of the controversy between Iraq and the Assyrians is not calculated to destroy hate between the two peoples. On the contrary, his revival of the unpleasant facts of the past may threaten to upset the present. His observations with reference thereto, on the other hand, are so misleading in fact as well as in logic that a defensive answer becomes a matter of urgent necessity.
The Assyrians in Iraq are the heroic remnant of the once mighty Empire of Nineveh and a Christian element of a most ancient and illustrious tradition. The CHURCH of THE EAST has contributed much throughout the centuries in service and martyrdom to maintain the Cross of Christ, and but for this valiant Church, the course of Christian history might have been changed. They speak Aramaic, the language in which the Master delivered His message to the world.
During the crisis of 1933, forced conversion to Islam was the order of the day; while the proclamation of a Holy War against the Assyrian infidels was responsible for the creation of a universal belief in the Arabs that the crisis was a war between the Crescent and the Cross. It is safe to say that this Christian missionary has played no mean part in the attempted process of de-Christianizing Christians in the East. His is conduct violative of every aspect of the genius of American institutions.
These observations are intended as an ardent message to the Board of Foreign Missions of the Reformed Church in America. The wise course for it to pursue is to exercise a more cautious judgment in the selection of its representatives who may not deviate from the narrow path of divine righteousness and whose conduct may reflect honor upon the high ideals that inspired John Calvin and the missionary enterprise of his Church.
I now appeal to the Church of Christ. And .... to America!
THOSE INTERESTED in the problems of national refugees and minorities in the Middle East were startled by the publication in America of John Van Ess' Meet the Arab 1, a friendly, indeed, a too complimentary book about the Arab, written in fullfilment of a promise he once had made to the late King Faisal of Iraq. It is a model eulogy to the valor and duplicity of the Arabs and a pietistic apology for the recrudescence of the jungle in one part of the East.
The author was an American missionary of the Reformed Church stationed at Basra, Iraq, where he served the Arabs for forty years without making the slightest impression upon them with the teachings of Christianity. His book is not limited to Iraq, however; it comprehends the entire "Arabian Peninsula" with a characteristic, dogmatic proposal for the solution of the Problem of Palestine. This Problem of Palestine is a lamentable one indeed. and were it not for too many such gratuitous offers of solution by self-appointed reformers, the simple Palestine Problem would have remained simple, and the age-old solidarity between the two peoples would not have become corrupted in the Holy Land!
While these comments have reference solely to the Iraqi-Assyrian dispute - not a review, it would not be amiss to state that the book is a sham and entirely devoid of merit both as a literary production and as a source of information. It is written in a childish style and the chapters are marred by numerous inaccuracies which betray a certain superficiality of scholarship. As a source of information, it is a twisted and garbled tissue of mendacity and distortion of facts. What else could a book written with a pre-conceived bias contain? "The Arabs are my friends" is the opening sentence! When an author permits himself to become super-saturated with a blind admiration for the Arab and Arab viewpoint, he can no longer be disturbed by 4-he activities of such of their pro-Fascist leaders as the Mufti of Jerusalem, erstwhile in Hitler's service in Berlin; or with those of the former Prime Minister of Iraq, Rashid Ali and his clique, the "Golden Square", who attempted a miserable pro-Axis putsch at a critical moment in this War; or with those of the Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Army who sought to hand over to the Nazis Gen. Wavell's plan of action. Nor can his Christian conscience be perturbed by twisting the truth concerning the treacherous massacre of the noncombatant Assyrian Christians in 1933 by the Iraqi Government which "though inexcusable", says he, it "was understandable2 for the Assyrian leaders had been cocky and provocative to the point of exasperation."
What actually happened in the north of Mosul, the scene of the massacre, during the first weeks of August, 1933, surpasses in horror anything imaged by Dante in his vision of Hell. Some sixty-five villages3 were looted and destroyed. Women were raped and made to march naked. They were then ripped open with knives and made sport of while in a state of agony. Priests were slaughtered after being barbarously tortured; holy books placed over their bodies and burned with them. Little girls of nine4 were raped and burned alive. When there was no one left to kill, the armored cars proceeded to dash backwards and forwards through the dead and dying. In all, three thousand defenseless Assyrians 5 were butchered. This massacre, noted for the black treachery in which it was conceived and the callousness with which it was executed, was preceded by the proclamation of a Holy War 6 against the Assyrians and attempts made to forcibly convert them to Islam7.
There were two primary reasons why the Assyrians were being slaughtered: first, because of their loyal services to the British Empire8; and, second, because of their proud refusal to purchase life at the price of apostasy to Islam 9. In the East religious quarrels follow national lines and vice versa 10.
Obviously, Dr. Van Ess is either unwilling or unable to appreciate the Assyrian position and problem with any degree of fairness and. candor. Here is an abstract of his observations (p. 151-153)
The Assyrians, who lived in the Hakkiari country in Eastern Turkey, sided with the Russians against the Turks in World War I and were left out on a limb following the Russian Debacle of 1917. They fought their way to Iraq, and numbers of them were enlisted by the British in the Levies, financed and officered by the British. Being well equipped and well-trained, and entirely Christian in religion, they incurred the resentment of the Iraqi Government. When the League awarded Hakkiari to Turkey, they demanded of Iraq a section of territory where they might settle as a single community with substantial autonomy. Iraq made generous arrangements for their settlement and administration, but there was no region available and sufficient to satisfy their demand. When Britain terminated its Mandate in 1932, the Assyrians took matters into their own hands; eight hundred of them went into Syria, only to return within two weeks, and in the re-crossing of the Tigris, they fired at the Iraqi post stationed there, which was, of course, rebellion. Fighting followed that resulted in the defeat of "the vaunted Assyrians." Then came the massacre in Someil which was the result entirely of local military decisions, and was not planned by the Iraqi Government, the blame of which must be laid at the door of Bekir Sidqi "Pasha" who was himself assassinated shortly thereafter by one of his own men.
A clear analysis of these observations will reveal the author's deliberate falsification of historical facts.
1. THE ASSYRIANS were led into their Odyssey as a direct consequence of the attempt made by the Russian and more essentially by the British Military authorities 11 acting under the instructions of the Eastern Committee of the War Cabinet, to make use of them as an Allied unit against the Turks in World War I. This policy was prompted not only by an appreciation of the high fighting qualities of the Assyrians but also by the recognition of their strategic position venture in joining the Allies upon the solemn assurance of Britain on the mountains of Hakkiari. The Assyrians made this desperate that they would obtain a firmer self-government under the aegis of conclusion independence would actually be guaranteed12.
The fortunes of war did not smile, however, upon the Assyrians. A cruel fate pursued them; for, very early in the conflict of 1915, they were driven out of their homes and forced to flee to Persia. In 1917, the Assyrians were visited first by the emissaries of Maj. Gen. L. C. Dunsterville 13, and later by Capt. George F. Gracey of the British Intelligence Service, attached to the British Military Mission in Trans-Caucasus. Their visit resulted in a joint-plan of action with the Russo-British forces, a plan that they followed to their own loss 14; for in so doing, they lost their former homes and two-thirds of their numbers 15. When the Russian front collapsed as a result of the Revolution, the Assyrians, now hard-pressed by the enemy, were again, on August 20, 1918, visited by a British agent, Capt. K. M. Pennington 16 of the Royal Air Force, who came to confirm on behalf of his government Captain Gracey's undertakings of the previous year and to beg them to hold on to their threatened positions until arms and munitions could reach them. Comparisons can bring no consolation to the afflicted, yet for purposes of appreciation, it must be acknowledged that while the Russians showed great admiration and loyalty to comrades-in-arms17 in that a great number of their men and officers remained with the Assyrians even after the Revolution to share their difficulties and tribulations (although they had made no such express commitments to the Assyrians as the British had), the British broke every promise they had made and abandoned the Assyrians to their sad fate. Later, however, when the British foresaw the military value of the Assyrians as economic gendarmes, they urged the Assyrians to proceed to Iraq against their wishes, whose only desire was to return to their homes18 and entrusted them with the task of policing on Britain's behalf the native Arabs, their traditional, political, and religious enemies. This anomalous procedure had unfortunate results for the Assyrians--it aroused intense resentment and inevitable revenge among the natives whenever the moment should become opportune19.
Such were the sordid motives that inspired the British in the formation of the Assyrian Levies in Iraq. In good, plain English, the British had in view mainly the economy arising from the difference in pay between that of the British soldier and the Assyrian levy, and this, regardless of consequences to the right and future welfare and security of those whom the British employed in their service!
In 1926 the Assyrians approached the Nansen Organization of the League for identity papers to enable them, if necessary, to emigrate into countries where they could obtain employment, join friends, or otherwise to improve their position. Dr. Fridjof Nansen, the League's High Commissioner for Refugees, was anxious to afford them the assistance of his Office, but the Colonial Office, through its Delegate at the League Council, Sir Austin Chamberlain, strenuously opposed the extension of the Nansen Passport System to the Assyrians and advanced arguments, too fantastic to mention, in attempts to prove that they could not be regarded as refugees! And even after their admission to the benefits of the Organization, His Majesty's Transport Minister Burgin, once more declared at the League's Assembly in 1934 that the Assyrians were not refugees but a minority!
There are a myriad of incidents, but this one is too dramatic and merits a mention, tending to prove the Imperial policy of opposition to a departure of the Assyrians from the Middle East, and this at any price. The League Secratariat devised a scheme of settlement in South America and to that end sent out a Mission to Brazil 20 consisting of Brig.-Gen. Browne, who commended the confidence of the Assyrians; Redard, the Swiss Charge' d' Affaires; and T. F. Johnson, that valiant member of the Militia Christi, who sacrificed personal cupidity to international interests so steadfastly. Upon arrival in Brazil in 1934, this very able Commission found, to its utter amazement and despite Browne's eulogies of the Assyrians, that a national agitation had started in the press against the reception of the Assyrians for a permanent home. They were systematically slandered as turbulent Asiatics, and held to be Moslems with the Mar Shimun in his Patriarchal robes as their Moslem Chief!
II. AFTER THE ARMISTICE, the British concentrated the Assyrians in refugee camps in Iraq and promised them "either an enclave or arrangement for safe and decent21 existence." But the implementation of this undertaking, ordered the Colonial Office, must wait for the conclusion of formal peace with Turkey. Hence, the peace negotiations with Turkey became fitful and protracted. The British were primarily moved to this policy of delay and evasion by ulterior considerations. Their political eye was directed to the rich oil fields of Mosul 22, and to that end their military power and uncanny genius for diplomacy were pressed into service. They knew that if the question of Mosul, the sovereignty of which was under discussion at Geneva between Turkey and Britain which claimed it for Iraq, were shelved, it would ultimately be settled in Britain's favor. It was an imperialistic trick-a new way in which British imperialism seems to operate. With significant irony, the Lausanne Conference left the Mosul problem open and referred it to the Council of the League. Kemalist Turkey argued before the League that the Mosul area was inhabited predominantly by Turks and that geographically it was an indivisible part of Turkey. Britain alleged, on the other hand, that it belonged geographically to Iraq and fortified its claim via Iraq, her protégé, by the moral force of the plausible argument that there are Assyrians in the Mosul district who, as Christians, need protection from the Turks 23. A League Frontier Commission was then sent to the spot in September, 1925, and in a large measure, moved by the plausibility of the British arguments on behalf of the Assyrians, the League gave (November, 1925) the province of Hakkiari (the former home of the Assyrians) to Turkey but directed the inclusion of Mosul in Iraq with a British mandate to administer the whole for a period of twenty-five years, dating from 1923, with the express understanding that the territory north of Mosul was to be a home for these Assyrians with all their ancient rights of living in a homogeneous settlement, With administrative autonomy, and the right to pay an annual tribute, not taxes, through the agency of the MAR SHIMUN, their Patriarch Prince 24. It was on these terms that the Province of Mosul was assigned to Iraq, and it was on these terms that Iraq accepted it. "In order to reassure them as to their future," stated Miss Gertrude Bell 25, the greatest exponent of the Iraqi independence, "two successive Iraq Cabinets... officially pledged Iraq to provide lands in Iraq for those Assyrians ... and to devise a system of administration for them which would ensure to them the utmost possible freedom from interference. It can hardly be doubted that this liberal attitude on the part of the Iraqi Government had its influence on the deliberations of the Frontier Commission."
In this settlement of their case, the Assyrians demanded nothing of Iraq. It was the League of Nations which insisted and stipulated that the Assyrians had definite, substantial rights in the region. Notwithstanding this, Iraq would not permit the Assyrians to form a single community but planned to divide them "into villages 26 of not more than a hundred families each and establish them in barren soil where malaria was rampant" in the effort of scattering them throughout the country so as to destroy their national and spiritual unity.
Did Iraq make generous offers of settlement to the Assyrians? Nothing can be more palpably false! In 1933, there were twenty thousand Assyrians that were homeless, and those that held land were constantly in danger of eviction as they were merely serfs and tenants-at-will, and their lands were ample and fertile only in diseases, thorns, and scorpions27.
The circumstances which led to the unjust solution of the contest over Mosul conclusively prove that there was something incongruous about Britain's tender regard for the downtrodden Assyrians. The struggle for Mosul was simply a struggle for oil, the most essential commodity for modern industry and warfare. The Assyrians 28, being a people of the precept of "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God" miscalculated, alas, the good intentions of the Imperial Government. The greatest Christian Empire on earth used moral principles merely as a plausible argument to attain a materialistic end, and when that end was attained, she would no longer consider abstract questions of right and wrong when, and particularly when, such questions had reference to the penniless Assyrians and other minorities. Lord Halifax 29 gave a realistic expression to this imperialistic behavior when he candidly admitted: "At times moral considerations must give way to imperial policy."
And, in the name of moral justice, let us ask, was there in reality any terrible oppression by the despicable Turk? The Assyrians, who enjoyed an autonomous existence in Turkey 30 since the 13th Century, and into whose territory the Turkish writ did not run, must surely know the answer, and in these days of dispersion and exile of their nation and Church, they must surely remember with nostalgia the good old days of the Ottoman Empire.
An exceedingly curious situation arose on May 21, 1924, at the Conference of Constantinople which dealt with the preliminaries of the contest over the Vilayet of Mosul. It was the contention of Fethi Bey of Turkey that no cession of land to the Assyrian territory was a necessity as the Assyrians could still find in Turkey the tranquility and prosperity which they enjoyed for centuries. To this Sir Percy Cox replied that Fethi Bey's assertion did not square with the Assyrians' own views and that they had the most vivid memory of the treatment they had suffered in the past at the hands of the Turks which they could neither forget nor ever forgive. 31
There are three observations one cannot escape making in this connection. To say the bare minimum: first, the Assyrians were completely ignorant of the latter situations. They had neither the physical prestige nor the aid of great nations; nor did they ever know that they had authorized Sir Percy to speak on their behalf which he did with obvious grace and dignity. The Assyro-Iraqi debate took place under the vast shadow of a mighty empire, cock-sure of its own mission and place in the universe. The opinion of others did not matter-they were too academic. Second, the Assyrians of today are in danger of complete extinction; and if that were allowed to occur, the British will have succeeded in doing in the course 32 of thirty years what the Ottoman Turk failed to do in the course of many centuries. Third, despite his unctuous voice of omniscience, Dr. Van Ess seems to lack the slightest familiarity with the Assyrian Problem in Iraq. He is about as familiar with the above events as he is with logic, relevancy, fairness, missionary-motif, and Christian charity. That which is applicable to this section of the book is applicable to the entire Meet The Arab. A school-boy would scarcely have been excusable for writing such literature!
III. CONTRARY to Dr. Van Ess's presumption, the Assyrians in Iraq are not a minority. People who flee from political danger in search of an asylum as a result of war are refugees. This is by the dictionary; and such exactly is the status of the Assyrians in Iraq. They are "immigrants" from South Eastern Anatolia who fled from the Turk during World War I, and were made to seek refuge in Iraq. They had nothing whatever in common with the Arab inhabitants of the land 33, The Assyrians in Iraq are stateless, mere sojourners, and some of the most honored aristocrats of the international tramps. The definition 34 of the Assyrian refugee, adopted by the League in 1928 when they were finally admitted to the Nansen fold, is dispositive of this phase of the issue:
Any person of Assyrian or Assyro-Chaldean origin, and also by assimilation any person of Syrian or Kurdish origin, who does not enjoy or who no longer enjoys the protection of the state to which he previously belonged, and who has not acquired or does not possess another nationality35.
This question of status was again revived in 1932, when Dr. Petros36 of the Baz, an Assyrian physician, exposed the intolerable condition of the Assyrian refugees in Iraq. The Rev. Mr. R. C. Cumberland37, a missionary in Iraq, volunteered to refute Dr. Petros' charges vigorously. Capt. Philip Mumford, for years a British Intelligence Officer in Iraq, analyzed 38 the two divergent views and concluded that the truth lies nearer to Dr. Petros' complaint than to Mr. Cumberland's explanation. "Mr. Cumberland", he went on to say, "refutes the claim of the Assyrians to the description of refugees. What else are they?"
Tragic indeed was the end of Mr. Cumberland in Iraq. During a period of eighteen years of missionary pursuit, only one Moslem Kurd was reported to have been Christianized. This Kurd had come to adopt the Gospel as his code of conduct, however, not as a result of Mr. Cumberland's missionary work, but in consequence of the former' connection with the Assyrians. On hearing of this incident, he zealously journeyed a distance of two days to pay a visit to the New Christian and candidly succeeded in deluding himself into the belief that the Christianization of this gentleman of the hills was one of the successful achievements of his career. And he so reported to the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions in New York City.
One fatal day he was visited at his residence in Dohuk by two unidentified Arabs. That was before sunrise on June 12, 1938. Suddenly their pistols and daggers went into action; and, the Rev. 1VIr. R. C. Cumberland and his servant were to see the rise of the sun no more 39. His unfortunate wife and two minor children were present. His assailants were said to have accused him of complicity in the independence movement of the Kurds. The matter of his guilt or innocence was not submitted to an inquest. From all accounts, the charges were utterly unfounded, and there was not a scintilla of evidence of guilt to sustain them. This unhappy man of religion was merely occupied in the vain, futile technique of proselyting. He had nothing to do whatsoever with the noble struggle of the Kurd to free himself from the Arab yoke.
IV. TRUTH IS NOT on the side of the Rev. Mr. Van Ess in his baseless assertion that there was no region available to settle the Assyrians in a compact body. In his frank eagerness to fulfill the terms of his promise to the Arabs of Iraq, he loses all sense of historic reality. Before World War I, Mesopotamia, now named Iraq, was part of the Turkish Empire, and since its dismemberment, Iraq was placed (January 1, 1918) under the British Mandate on behalf of the League, pursuant to the Twelfth of President Wilson's Fourteen Points, assuring the nationalities, then under Turkish rule, of an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development. To give effect to this principle, Britain created an Arab regime in 1920 and an Arab Monarchy in 1921 under the nominal leadership of King Faisal40, consonant with the joint-declaration of Great Britain and France (November 30, 1918) to the effect that the end they had in view was the "complete and definite liberation of the peoples so long oppressed by the Turks and the establishment of national government: and administrations drawing their authority from the initiative and free choice of indigenous populations . . ." In 1930, after negotiating the Anglo-Iraq TREATY OF ALLIANCE and FINANCIAL AGREEMENT which were to place the control of the main oil-fields -rid railways into the hands of the British magnates, Britain undertook to terminate its Mandate by urging the unconditional entry of Iraq into the League of Nations in 1932. This indigenous Arab population of Iraq was prior to 1918 under the iron-heel of the Turk, and as such, the great majority were willing to renounce their claim not only to the territory north of Mosul, which was recommended by the Permanent Mandates Commission as adopted by the League to be a home for the Assyrians, but to the entire Province of Mosul with its rich oil-fields, if by doing so, their independence could be accelerated41 and vouchsafed.
Infinitely more significant and relevant than this is the statement of May, 1924, made by the late Sir Henry Conway Dobbs 42, His Britannic Majesty's then High-Commissioner for Iraq:
H. E., the High Commissioner, has ascertained that there are more than sufficient deserted lands, the property of the Iraq Government to the north of Dohuk in Amadia and the northern hills, upon which the Assyrians could be permanently settled.
To Sir Henry's averment must be added the conclusions of the Rapporteur to the Permanent Mandates Commission 43 holding that it had not been proved to the satisfaction of an impartial observer that lands combining the requisite conditions for the settlement of the Assyrians in a homogeneous group did not exist in Iraq.
V. THE HISTORIC SEQUENCE of events which led to the termination of the Mandate entirely falsify Dr. Van Ess' contentions that "the Assyrians took matters into their own hands after the termination of the mandate in 1932," and that there was a state of "rebellion" against the Government.
When in the meeting of the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League, that considered the application of Iraq for admission, grave apprehension was voiced about her spirit of tolerance toward the Assyrians and other religious and racial minorities, Lord Cecil and the British High Commissioner, Sir Francis Humphrys 44, assured the Commission that Iraq's spirit of tolerance was above suspicion. The Commission, however, especially its very able rapporteur, Pierre Orts, was less optimistic, and sarcastically amazed at the rapid progress of Iraq towards political maturity. As a matter of common knowledge, Iraq was "a politically backward 45 country," and did not possess the necessary qualifications for sovereignty. The late Thomas Lyell46, as a result of his practical experience in the Civil Administration and as District Magistrate of Baghdad, stated in 1923 that the Arabs of Iraq needed seventy to one hundred years to learn the ad. vantages of self-government and that they only desired self-government as an opportunity to escape from all law and order. Nevertheless, the British persisted in strongly supporting the candidature of Iraq even to the extent of stating 47.
His Majesty's Government realizes the responsibility in recommending that Iraq should be admitted to the League, which is, in its view, the only legal way of terminating the Mandate. Should Iraq prove herself unworthy of the confidence which has been placed in her, the moral responsibility must rest with H.M.'s Government which would not attempt to transfer it to the Mandates Commission.
Solely influenced by this declaration 48, and after washing their hands49 publicly of any moral responsibility should anything unto ward occur, the Commission reluctantly decided in January, 1932, to recommend Iraq's admission and when the Mandate (October 1932) was brought to an end, "the Iraqis," in the words of Dorothy Thompson50, "celebrated their new independence with a massacre of the Assyrians."
The preceding significant pronouncement on the assumption of moral responsibility made by Sir Francis is for its absurdity algid extravagance unexceeded in the annals of chicanery. In 1930, Sir Francis frankly admitted that the Assyrians are "naturally apprehensive of what is likely to happen when the British Mandate is terminated"51; and that when that occurred, the responsibility for minorities would have to be fulfilled by Iraq towards the League direct; and not through the British Government "as at present". When the massacre was a thing of the past, the British took the position, according to the true course of International law, that no state 52 could interfere with the internal affairs of another sovereign state and obstructed every attempt at investigation into the affairs of the massacre. "Apportionment of blame," declared Sir John Simon at Geneva, in the meeting of the League Council of October 14, 1933, "is a barren proceeding!"
Bitterly disappointed with the action of the British Government53 in renouncing its Mandate, after the lapse of only seven of the contemplated twenty-five years, without settling the Assyrian Problem, HIS HOLINESS MAR ESHAI SHIMUN XXIII, 119th PATRIARCH OF THE CHURCH OF THE EAST AND OF THE ASSYRIANS, then at the age of twenty-four, proceeded to Geneva to make a final, desperate plea for his people with a special emphasis on the vital problem of a homogeneous group which had been promised to them by the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League. Iraq, however, apparently vexed at this appeal to the League, and realizing that the MAR SHIMUM was opposed to the Government's policy of a heterogeneous settlement, invited His Holiness (May, 1933) to Baghdad under the false pretense 54 "to discuss matters," and placed him under detention; and, subsequent to the massacre, he was to be deported to Cyprus on August 18, 1933, in defiance of the Fundamental Laws and League guarantees.
On July 11 and 12, 1933, several meetings were held in Mosul, at the special instance of the Government during which time Lt. Col. R. S. Stafford55, Major D. B. Thomson 56, and the local Mutasarref57, advised the other Assyrian leaders that those who disapprove the land settlement policy of the Government "could leave the country."58 The essential design of this conspiracy was to drive the Assyrians into what they might style rebellion that would furnish the pretense for a program of unconscionable extermination of the Assyrians. Completely disillusioned59 and convinced that no fair-play could be had in Iraq, certain Assyrian representative leaders, with some hundreds of their men, elected to leave Iraq for settlement in the north of Syria, carrying their arms legally acquired, but "repudiating 60 all idea of rebellion." This was revealed in a letter 61 they dispatched to the Ministry of the Interior on July 23, informing the Government of their exodus and requesting the Government not to molest their families in Iraq. However, for justifiable reasons, these Assyrians returned from Syria, and while they were re-crossing 62 the Tigris on August 4, 1933, the Iraqi Army "fired on the Assyrians-who naturally 63 retaliated." The news of the battle was broadcast throughout Iraq by the Government, declaring that it was the Assyrians who had first opened fire at the scene. It was a malicious fabrication of facts. That these Assyrians "fired at the Iraqi Post" is an assertion that cannot be entitled to credit. This controversial argument contradicts itself in point of possibility. These few hundred Assyrians could not have been the aggressor; they had their families in Iraq.
His Grace the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury was amazed at the use of the term Rebellion. "It cannot be fairly described as rebellion," cried out His Grace in the House of Lords 64. "They were told to go and find a new home if they could."
VI. IN THE BATTLE Of August 4-5, 1933, which followed the attack on the Assyrians, the Iraqi Army was completely dislodged only to be rescued by the intervention of the Royal Air Force. Here is the unimpeachable testimony65 of a disinterested ex-British Civil Commissioner of Iraq.
But the position in which the British Government has placed itself today in Iraq is as intolerable as it is unparalleled. British advisers, whose advice is not asked; a British Military Mission forced to be silent spectators of foul deeds, four squadrons of the British Air Force, whose intervention has been confined of recent months to dropping leaflets on the Assyrians telling them to surrender. They did so, and were massacred a day or two later in cold blood.
These "vaunted Assyrians" who saved the British Army from utter disaster66 in 1920, could not have been defeated otherwise. The courage and assertiveness of the Assyrians with a highland genius for mountain warfare, admitted Capt. Gracey, made them a terror to their enemies and a pride to those who commanded them. The regular British troops of 1919-20 undertook many punitive expeditions against the Northern Kurds67 but the Kurds were% finally defeated only by the Assyrians although they were heavily outnumbered and out-munitioned. It was this successful stroke on -the part of the Assyrians at a critical moment, asserts Sir Arnold, that put an end to all further outbreaks. In one engagement alone, the Kurds suffered losses greater than ever inflicted by all punitive expeditions alluded to above. And when the Arabs of Iraq rose against the Government, the *Assyrians proved themselves to be more than a match for them. Indeed, so valuable was their assistance to the hard-pressed British that Gen. Aylmer Haldane 68 was led to declare:
But for this entirely fortuitous support, it is possible that a large portion of the Mosul Division might have been swamped in this wave of anarchy.
Unsurpassingly glorious as the record of the Levies 69, some of the most valuable and spectacular services of the Assyrians have been rendered by ordinary clansmen70, not enlisted in the Levies. The Assyrians who were the first to inflict defeat upon the Arab insurgents in 1920 between Baghdad and the Persian frontier and those who did very good work between Baghdad and Mosul, were not Levies but ordinary clansmen acting spontaneously on their own responsibility. Similarly, those who twice averted disaster in the Mosul Division were ordinary clansmen.
It would be an act of ungenerosity not to record here, parenthetically at least, that during the three days' massacre, the heroic Kurds were the only element to offer shelter to the martyred Assyrians although they were incited to do otherwise. This friendly sentiment between the Kurds and the Assyrians was not a matter of novel impression. In 1910 the Shaikh of Barzan and his family took refuge with the Assyrians in Tkhuma from the Turks and enjoyed complete safety. Their new rulers, however, were now being tutored in the "cunning motto" of divide et impera. just prior to the massacre, strife was stirred up between the Kurds and the Assyrians to destroy each other. A petition emanating from Baghdad was circulated by an agent in Mosul throughout Kurdistan urging all Mohammedans to declare a holy war on the Assyrians. The Kurds of both Rowanduz and Barzan happily understood its "evil purpose" and actively refused to collaborate according to its tenor71. Rowanduz was then under the leadership of Ismail Beg, the young Kurdish nobleman, who stated so constantly that were it not for the pressure imported from without, the Kurds and the Assyrians would have lived in a state of absolute cordiality. Alas! that he was to be assassinated at an early age; his long life would have brought glory to Kurdistan. And why was fighting carried on by the Arabs against Shaikh Ahmed of Barzan? Partly because of his leaning towards Christianity 72. This chief of the tribes of Barzan was accused-and not without an element of truth-of being a young man with strange ideas about the Mohammedan religion. For a time he was said-to have become "half Christian and invited friendship with the Assyrians. At once propaganda was spread throughout Kurdistan saying that he was plotting with the Assyrians to suppress all Mohammedans"73.
From the example of Shaikh Ahmed there emerges one principle of unprecedented importance-Christianity is essentially an Oriental faith, and the non-Christian races in the Near and Middle East will not accept that faith unless they can learn to respect the native Christians whom they meet in their daily life, The remotest expectation of achieving genuine success in conversion by merely changing the labels worn by different sections of native Christians-the practice of the Western Missionaries in this part of the East-is the most incurable symptom of the decay of Christian Missions. Having come to the East with the most honest intention of converting the Moslems, and learning in time the futility of their undertaking, these missionaries-Catholic and Protestant alike-turned to the native Christians as a fertile field for converts. Among the Assyrians, if my boyhood recollections are accurate, life was a pleasant sojourn, Sunday a fit time for worship, as well as for visiting, eating, general recreation and drinking. It was the children's best play-day. This solemn holiday of exceeding joy and gladness definitely existed for children; not vice versa. The brotherhood of man-the ideal of the Founder of the Church-would become an accomplished fact only when people became children at heart again; for in them the world is one. "Except ye become as little children . . . . " To the missionary, however, such Sunday performances were incomprehensible! How could a Christian father permit his children to thus defile the Lord's Day? Lacking, then, a real appreciation of the tenets of the old-fashioned moral code of the East that distinguished themselves from those of the Puritanical. ones, they were bringing up their new converts, with extremely few exceptions, to be neither the one thing nor the other but all confused and negative. This new conversion created an irreparable schism among Christians who had accepted Christ a thousand years before the forefathers of these same missionaries had themselves been converted to Christianity from dark, idol-worshipping paganism. To be sure, the establishment of mission schools and hospitals among them, for which every decent native is grateful, will always remain the most admirable contribution of the missionary zeal and devotion, but what the native Christians suffered in spiritual debasement in consequence of the spirit of antipathy of different sects of the self-same religion toward one another, engendered among them by the modern, zealous missionary, is beyond estimation.
No, such is not the function of the missionary. The true missionary task consists in bringing the blessings of faith to those who have them not. And since this primary task has been fruitless among the Mohammedans for over a century, all missionary endeavor must necessarily apply itself to the uplifting of the native Christians and leave the conversion of the Islamic races to the future 74. Such was the ideal that motivated the actions of the Anglican ?Mission. Its express object was to strengthen the ancient Church and not to draw anyone from the flock of that Church into new and strange folds. The finest works in recent times about the Assyrians, their customs, religion, and culture have come out of the heart of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Assyrian Mission that was established in the Assyrian Mountains in 1886, Canons A. J. Maclean, W. H. Browne, and W. A. Wigram are but few of the many illustrious Knights of Christ whose labors of love will reflect everlasting fame and glory upon the Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
THE HEROISM OF THE ASSYRIANS in defeating the Axis-planned Rebellion in Habbaniah75 near Baghdad again in 1941, when Iraq tried to stab Britain in the back by calling in Hitler's Luftwaffe, still echoes in the Middle East. It was here that the Assyrian Levies crushed Rashid Ali Gailani's Forces into impotence and forced him to flee to his paymasters in Berlin. The British Air Commodore J. L. Vachell, qualified in the extreme by virtue of intimacy 76, brings to the world's attention the achievements of the Assyrians-Our Smallest Ally as he calls them--by the following unanswerable, truthful and moving statement, which alone would sustain their claim to recognition:
The period between the two wars, the Assyrians were primarily responsible for safeguarding our air-fields in Iraq and for providing the ground forces which are an essential complement to air control. Not only did air control in Iraq save this country many millions of pounds, but it served as a model which was extended to several parts of the Empire. What is not generally appreciated is that, after severe disillusionment during that period, the services of the Assyrians during the present War have exceeded anything they did before. Had it not been for their loyalty at the time of Rashid Ali's German-inspired revolution in Iraq in May of 1941, our position in the Middle East might have become most precarious.
Let the future chroniclers declare the Habbaniah battle as the greatest battle77 of World War II-the battle that decided the world's destiny. It was this Habbaniah victory that had saved Iraq, and the position of the United Nations in the Middle East-and more. For three weeks later came the invasion of Russia; and it had saved the road through Persia which was now exceedingly vital for the transit of Allied aid to Russia. If that was to be safeguarded, Iraq must be in safe hands. By a strange coincidence of events, Habbaniah helped to save the Kremlin 78 as well as Britain from a disaster worse than Dunkirk and Singapore; and this new victory was forged almost solely by the sweat and blood of the Assyrian Levies.
Nor was the full import of the achievement of the United Nations' Smallest Ally missed by dispassionate observers. One evening, while the fighting was still in progress, Rudolph Hess announced in Renfrewshire the terms on which Germany was prepared to end the hostilities conditioned upon, among other minor items, the evacuation of Iraq by the British.
VII. DR. VAN ESS PRETENDS that the massacre was not a premeditated act of the Government. This is simply not true. "Now that Iraq will secure a seat in the League," a press agent was informed by the Minister of Communications79 (Rustam Haidar) during the latter part of 1932, "the extinction of the Christians in Mosul is inevitable, and is looked upon as a sacred duty of Iraq. If that opportunity does not present itself, we must find means to bring it about."
Nothing ever happens suddenly in history. The massacre under review did not come overnight. It was preceded by many rehearsals; many portents and warnings. As early as 1923, precautions had to be taken against such a disaster by Col. Bovil at the special instance of LADY SURMA80. The High-Commissioner was warned again in 1932 that massacre would follow British withdrawal. Sir Francis "could not deny the danger81 seeing that during his tenure of office he had had to put a stopper at two such occasions," one in 1929 and another in 1931. All this was before Iraq had ever acquired the status of an independent state.
After the surrender of the mandate, "the Iraqi Cabinet 82 determined on the extermination of the infidels." In the first weeks of August, 1933, a Holy War was proclaimed against the Assyrians and the Government press, officials, and deputies were in the 'foremost of those who advocated the Jihad83. During the same period, over 230 anti-Assyrian articles were published and many inflammatory speeches made in Parliament 84. In addition, the details of the massacre were published in Beyrouth 85 before they were known in Mosul, and the Government offered the Arab tribesmen one pound bounty for every Assyrian head brought in. In the circumstances it is not a matter of surprise that attempts to punish the guilty were entirely lacking. Instead, the principal instigators were given a triumphal reception and decorated in Mosul. Rev. Van Ess does not have the humanity to disclose or admit that Bakir Sidqi Bey was promoted to the rank of Pasha 86 by the Cabinet only after he had become the chief executioner of the massacre. No pro-Arab fanatic can rationally be expected to do so. Flagrant omissions are the indispensible companions of unsupported assertions, gratuitous assumptions, and fallacious reasoning; and, the Rev. Mr. Van Ess has shown himself to have a signal mastery of the virtues implicit in them all.
At the same time, a highly inspired massage 87 from Baghdad read
Any attempt to apportion blame or impose punishment might have the most undesirable repercussions in this country, much more serious than the troubles gone before.
VIII. MEANWHILE AS THE Government was thus pursuing its venomous policy, with the connivance of the British Military Advisors88, which clearly aimed at the destruction and extinction of the Assyrian race and church by merging it forcibly in the body politic of Iraq, the Patriarch was offered wealth for himself and his family if he would only approve their scheme of settlement. Since the scheme meant national destruction, he refused to accept it: "I take no bribe to abandon89 my people. If this be provocation, the Assyrian leaders have, in sad truth, been "provocative," and this, "to the point of exasperation."
This provocation recalls another hero's devotion to duty. When the Assyrians agreed to leave their country and to fight for Britain and her allies in World War I, the late PATRIARCH MAR BENYAMIN SHIMUN90 (uncle of the present Patriarch) was not moved by a threat from the Turks that they would hang his brother 91 (who was then for two years a student at Constantinople at the invitation of the Turkish Government) if the Assyrians rose and joined the Allies. His answer was: nothing would deter me from my duty. Hormizd D'Mar Shimun was accordingly murdered by the Turks in Mosul, where he was transferred for detention.
There is an incident on record in the life of this young Patriarch which betrays deep emotion. Upon his proclamation of war on the Central Powers in 1915, he marched at the head of the Tal column. His route led him over a lofty mountain col near Julamerk, whence he was for the last time able to look down upon the majesty of cosmic beauty which marked the site of his own village of Quadchanis. The Patriarch was dressed in a long purple ecclesiastical robe. Round his neck was a chain, and suspended from it a large pectoral Cross of silver and enamel. This was the Cross92 of his Office which had been worn by successive Patriarchs for at least fifteen centuries. As he paused to gaze, he saw, reflected in his Cross, the Patriarchate Church of Mar Shaletha in Quadchanis. Then one natural sigh escaped this son of Jesse, "When shall I ever drink the waters of Quadchanis!" Poor Mai Benyamin, so heroic and faithful! Where is the ancient habitation of your illustrious fathers? Where are its solemn customs and usages that made the Assyrian society an ordered whole? Three decades ago, you brought the tribes you commanded so well from your ancestral valleys in the Hakkiari fastnesses to fight in a world war for the liberty of small nations, little dreaming that it was likely to be the last fatal pilgrimage 93 of your ancient nation! The betrayal94 of your followers by friends you once trusted is the basest in history! The lust for economic power rode roughshod over principle and promise leaving the Assyrians stranded in a no-man's land at the mercy of strange and hostile Arab tribesmen! They are now deserted, broken, and bleeding! They are dying!
"It was an ill day for his tribe when he led them to fight in a war for the liberty of small nations," 95 sobbed Malik Ismail, at the close of 1932. "Now we have to meet death at long last; so let us prepare to face the enemy whom we know, that we may the more readily forget the desertion of those whom we once thought to be our friends!" concluded stoically this head of the fighting Tiyari Assyrians, one of the grimmest, most formidable warriors in his time.
IX. THE ASSASSINATION of Bakir Sidqi is part of the logical sequel to the Assyrian cause. It has a spiritual significance much deeper than can be apprehended by Dr. Van Ess. In it is to be perceived the outline of divine justice, perhaps. Incidentally, the crises that have taken place of late in the capitals of the world seem to entirely repudiate Carlyle's assumption that God sits in his heaven and does nothing. Victory does not, in itself, establish a lasting peace or the condition for peace. A cessation of hostility is no revelation of a future that is without any element of apprehension. Let the tinselled captains who guide the destiny of empires be vigilant. Let the nations now engaged in peace conversations learn in the way of grim maturity that the horrors will come again, magnified beyond anything the world has seen, unless they behold in this triumph of arms but a golden opportunity to lay a foundation for just peace in which all, great or small, may be guaranteed a safe and decent existence 96.
Bakir Sidqi was the son of a Turkish Provincial Governor. He was born in 1890 near Kirkuk and entered the Turkish Army at the age of eighteen when he gained a reputation as a ruthless soldier. During World War I he served on the Turkish staff and had a deep admiration for Turkey and Germany. His wife was German. In 1932, he visited England and attended courses at the Staff College, Camberley. In 1933, he conducted the Assyrian massacre as the chief agent of the Iraqi Government. In 1936, he launched a Coup d'etat which resulted in the murder of his rival, Defense Minister Jafar al-Askari. On the evening of August 11, 1937, Gen. Sidqi and. Air Chief Mohammed Ali Jiwad were sitting on the bench at the Mosul Airport, admiring the setting of the sun while waiting for a plane to fly to Turkey to witness the Turkish Army maneuvers. In the gathering darkness their cigarettes glowed peacefully. Capt. Mahmud Hindi sidled near and suddenly appeared from the shadows, revolver in hand. Bakir Sidqi did not have time to toss away his smoke. A succession of shots shook the air and the General pitched forward dead! Major Jiwad leaped at the assailant but he, too, fell forward on his face! And so, the malevolent spirit that lived by violence died by violence. This was a poetic justice, for August the eleventh was the exact day on which he had ordered the Someil massacre in 1933.
Bekir Sidqi is but one of the many sinners who suffered such a brutal end, which must now be a matter of indifference to the Assyrians; for they belong to the past. Let them rest in the grave they dug for themselves. The cause of the Assyrians is a matter of human right. Let their appeal to the conscience of humanity, based upon the merit of their services to humanity, continue until a safe home is found where calm reigns.97 As Major Douglas V. Duff, that disinterested fighting prophet, remarked, Britain and Britain alone is primarily responsible for the sad fate of the Assyrians98. Had the specific acts of commission and omission of the few mean-soured politicians in the Colonial Office-those shocking examples of imperialist cynicism and deception as Pierre Van Paassen calls them been properly uncovered before the good English people, they would ere this have been reduced to shameful and awe-struck silence. For in the presence of such apocalyptic events, no one, no, not even the moon and the stars, can be neutral. This is the superlative responsibility which the Assyrian National Federation can not evade. Let it, then, muster and set in motion sufficient moral and political energy through the press in establishing public sentiment in favor of a reexamination of the Assyrian cause ab initio by the Powers that are--and this with malice towards none.
I HAVE NOW GONE THROUGH all the absurdities and profaneness of the author's observations. If these annotated commentaries are false, it is a duty incumbent on him to refute them; if they are true, the publication of his book is the most diabolical fraud ever perpetrated upon the reading public.
Among the cruel persecutions which the Christian Assyrians have suffered through many centuries, the attacks of Dr. Van Ess are the foulest. The spiritual representative of the Board of Foreign Mission of the Reformed Church has crusaded in the East against the Assyrian nation and Church with the tenacity of a bulldog. Indeed, could they but find their tongue, they would force the Biblical cry which solemnly said, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me'" For the sordidness of motivation, his writings are unexcelled. "If the Iraq Government's case were better known," wrote 99 he at a time when the fortunes of the Assyrians seemed to be at their very darkest 100, "the sympathy which has been excited for the Assyrians in Europe and America, would be discovered101 to be not so well founded." These martyred, disappointed, disillusioned, and decimated Assyrians are the spiritual descendants of the pioneer missionaries 102 of the Church of the East who won souls for Christ from the First Century to the Fifteenth Century. They carried the Cross as a sign and proclaimed the good tidings of Love and Charity. By magnifying the Christian virtues, they led others to evaluate them, and their evaluation often culminated in the adoption of the Cross of Christ. They were not parasites. Unimpeachable evidence reveals that they poured into their calling soul-stirring and mind-awakening stuff of life. The "Speaking Stone" in Hsi-An-Fu is their undying testimony. To the legion of Chinese of those centuries, the Assyrian Christianity was the "luminous religion." "We make an effort to give it that appellation," they said, because "this true and eternal system of doctrine is wonderful, its merits and uses manifest 103 and brilliant."
The Rev. Mr. Van Ess was sent to the Middle East to preach the Christian faith among the Moslems. Meet the Arab contains little about his missionary effort or its fruits-not a single example of Moslem conversion104. That he has become a persecutor in the widest sense of the term is the direct consequence of a moral failure. It suggests a sense of guilt. A pusillanimous attack upon a Christian minority which seeks nothing but the preservation of its spiritual unity in lands hostile to its faith by one supposedly a messenger of the Gospel is a contradiction of both the letter and the spirit of that Gospel. It betrays cold cynicism, deep-seated hypocrisy, moral perversity, and Christian perfidy.
IN VIEW OF THE WOES of the Assyrian nation and church, can it be said that Christianity is without a share of responsibility? Besides uttering statements of sympathy, at best, for their agony and the constant deepening of their anguish, the Church of Christ has stood like an eternal constant-the constancy of neutrality-the constancy of abdication of vision of things "just" and "of good report" in favor of mundane "praise" and consideration--the constancy of impotence in the presence of political injustice and high misdemeanor, ecstatically content with the preachment of abstract eternal truths, without the slightest view of translating them into daily language, or adapting them to the exigencies of the time. Indeed, by confusing the proclamation with the application of eternal verities, the Church has lost her spiritual leadership, irretrievably. She is no longer a great uplifting and conserving agency in the world. One cannot help wonder, meanwhile, how weary the God's most ancient people and church-the descendants105 of the custodians of the Cross of Christ-must be with the endless but inane protestations of sympathy that emanate from holy places, marble-churches, and oak-paneled vestries! Are not Christian statesman, the world over, ready to match their oft-repeated words with concrete action-and right now?
The averment in the Foreword that the present Assyrians are the Assyrians of antiquity is now made self-evident. 106
The Bible in Aramaic
Aramaic was the Lingua franca during the Assyrian and Babylonian rule and the literary and colloquial language of Mesopotamia, Palestine, Syria, and Asia Minor from the 7th century B.C. to the 9th century A.D. It was the mother tongue of the New Testament writers who were divinely inspired to write the original text, 107 and it is the vernacular of the Assyrians and the Chaldeans of today. Peshitta-the original Aramaic version of the Holy Writ-then, is the earliest and most authoritative document;108 and, quite naturally, it was written in the language in which Jesus, His disciples, and the early Christians spoke. 109 The revised version was written in a pedantic semi-Greek jargon full of startling variations from the original text110 due to the inability of the Greek translators to express in their own tongue Aramaic colloquialisms, metaphors, and shades in meaning. Any dogmatic assertion, therefore, that the Bible, in divers modern languages, is "translated from the original Greek" must lack the intrinsic, extrinsic elements of accuracy.
According to the ancient Natar Cursiya System, the. spiritual and temporal leadership of the Assyrians has been vested in the Patriarch who always assumes the name Mar Shimun, Lord Simon, (Mar being a title given to saints and bishops of their Church). This authority has been hereditary for approximately six hundred years in one family,111 and the Patriarch being celibate, his office descends from uncle to nephew and thus keeps it in the Episcopal House. 112 The present Patriarch, Eshai Mar Shimun, who was consecrated in 1920 at the age of thirteen, is the 119th Catholicos of the East-from St. Simon, called St. Peter, St. Thomas, St. Thadeus, and St. Mari, founders of the Church of the East-and the 23rd from his Holy Family.
There is no historical justification for the mythical theory that Nestorius was the founder of the Assyrian Church. 113 The term Nestorian is a nickname given to this Christian Community because of their hospitality and service to the Christian refugees who sought asylum in Persia in consequence of their condemnation as double nature heretics and banishment from the Roman Empire. It would be an act not in the pursuit of moderation to go at this time into the motive that actuated the conduct of Cyril of Alexandria or of the Emperor Zeno in and after the third Council of Ephesus held in 431 A.D. Suffice it to say that Nestorianism as applied to the Assyrian Christians is not a proper appellation- it is a misnomer. Even the Roman G. S. Assemani (a Maronite Archbishop and Librarian of the Vatican) who wrote their history in four salutary volumes, failed-and oddly-to call them Nestorians. He calls them Assyrians or Chaldeans 114-- and properly. When the Visions of the Apocalypse were first revealed, the trans-Euphratean was the capital portion of their prosperous Church. 115 The Church of the East grew up in Apostolic times outside the Roman Empire and east of the Euphrates and was a powerful Church for four hundred years before the birth of Nestorius. To be sure, the Assyrian Christians to this very day call themselves Nestorians even as the Friends call themselves Quakers, but only in a good-humored concession to the misunderstanding of others. There is not, there never was, such a thing as the Nestorian Church; and, neither Jacobites nor Nestorians, be it said, hold the heresies which their nicknames suggest and which their enemies credited with teaching.116
In the days when western Europe was sunk in the Dark Ages, the Church of the East was the most aggressive missionary force in Christendom. With a heroic charity, she sent forth a succession of missionaries who should announce the Kingdom of God and extend the foundations of the Church Universal in regions beyond her own. That communion extended in time from the 1st century to nearly the middle of the 16th century, and in space from the Mediterranean to the Pacific and from the Indian Ocean to the Caspean. There stood the Church at the close of the 16th Century-in the full majesty of her contribution to mankind's spiritual progress. Hated and persecuted, humbled to the dust, the Church militant survived all and mocked at her destruction.
Since that period, the Assyrians-as a Christian nation-have suffered bitter persecutions and unparalleled martyrdom at the hands of non-Christians. It has been said of the Assyrians that it is a marvel that they have survived to this day, and that it would be a disaster of the greatest magnitude117 if they were allowed to disappear from the face of the earth-and truthfully. A people who have displayed such heroism in the presence of physical danger - and in favor of the Allied nations in two world wars from the time the immortal Mar Benyamin held aloft his cross and led his Christian army - and such pertinacity for the Christian faith against the fiercest opposition can again become the worthy inheritors of their own splendid past if their continued "corporate existence" is guaranteed-the spontaneous yearning of every Assyrian 118 as he marches up and down on the highways and by-ways of the Near and Middle East, the Caucasus, and all over the known world, as a member of the band of lost souls. The nation that will be instrumental in gathering these fragments of our common humanity under one roof will everlastingly stand as the most glaring arsenal of rare beneficence! It is one of the least known, but the worthiest and the best, causes ever beheld by the sun.
TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA comes one of the great moments of history. Her philosophy has made her mightier than the mightiest nation on earth. America's physical survival was not a pressing problem in World War I. She coveted no conquest, no dominion. With a clear conscience, with absolutely no selfish desire and purpose, America was drawn into the affairs of that political convulsion as a single champion of freedom, justice, peace, and universal dominion of moral right over physical might. And as a good Samaritan, she came to hold with one hand the mighty rod of justice and equity; with the other, the soothing cup of mercy and charity for all mankind. Had consistency and wiser counsel prevailed, her unselfish mandates would have been respected by all. Had the ideals of that War not abdicated, the world might have been safe for democracy and the earth would not have been covered again with a deluge of blood.
Even so, let us not presume that the dead of World War I gave up their lives in vain. Those who died in loyalty to comrades and in obedience to orders, those who consciously fought for human liberty, have not perished vainly. Something survived out of the ruins of the young lives, out of the lost illusions, out of the dead hopes. World War II happened because the ideals of World War I were betrayed; because when the awful choice had to be made, America - and the free nations -- would not finally betray the ideals of World War I.
For the preservation and perpetuation of those ideals America has made a gigantic sacrifice. Her economic losses are never to be restored. And what of her grief? Time has some-what softened the grief of 1918, but that of 1945 still aches in thousands of American hearts-in millions of hearts the world over. Neither praise nor posthumous medals can cure that pain. The only way in which America can justify those sacrifices is to see the end of the war as a chance-a real chance-only a chance-a chance freely purchased with the lives of hundreds and thousands of Americans-to lead the world in the paths of peace, security, and spiritual values. To resolve that this shall be so-that neither pride nor greed, neither hate nor fear, shall stand in the way-is to do honor to the dead.
To be sure; these days of new-born peace are also days of crisis, yet no nation in history has been in a better position to use its influence for world good and lasting peace. James Reston reminded us in his Prelude to Peace that the Chinese require two words in order to spell the word "crisis." One word was "danger;" the other "opportunity." The end of the war has produced a, crisis in and out of America, true; but alongside the danger is an opportunity of such dimensions as history has never before seen. By tolerance, by wisdom, and by leadership, our country can help guide the caravan of history to a brighter frontier. May it never be said of America-for the sake of America-that she, in her hour of supreme crisis, was so engrossed in the danger of that crisis that she failed to see the opportunity it presented! Angels can sing no better song than:
"O Country, O my Country,
Be thou the one to lead
Mankind to high endeavor
To destiny supreme!"
EXTRACTS FROM SOME OF THE HUNDREDS OF REVIEWS AND COMMENTS
Whither Christian Missions?
"A graphic documentary statement of Christian's inhumanity to Christians."
THE RT. REV. W. APPLETON LAWRENCE, D.D.
"The crucifixion of a heroic Christian remnant ... and the callous concern on the, part of the Christian world . . . A damning and desperate cry of a pitiful yet heroic Christian remnant."
"The history of the Assyrians is one of the blackest pages in the post-war period ... Assyrians, trusting to the promises of the Allies, joined their armies, left their mountain heights, and found themselves abandoned.
"A desire for peace can join with unblushing cynicism to sacrifice innocent lives at the end of a great cataclysm!" . . . "The pamphlet should have a wide circulation among people who sincerely believe in peace and justice and a better world."
REVIEW OF RELIGION
"A splendid statement of a tragic situation ... incontrovertible."
WILLIAM B. ZIFF
"A detailed indictment of the British Colonial policy and ... the terrible truth about the League of Nations."
"Just in its contention." -JOSEPH REIDER, Dropsie College "Earnest in nature and brilliant in mind."
DR. HELENA ZACHOS, Prof. Emeritus of Oratory, Cooper Union
"A masterful literary production, instructive and enlightening . . . A moving defense of the Assyrian case."
THE NEW BET NAHREEN
"The Assyrian case in a nut-shell."
"A defensive answer on behalf of the Assyrians."
THE DELHI NATIONAL CALL
"The story of the struggle of a minority."
PLYMOUTH COOPERATIVE JOURNAL
"A valuable book."
SAMUEL M. ZWEMER, Editor, The Moslem World
"A small ancient people, ill-treated by the world, but still hoping for justice."
THE PALESTINE POST
"An earnest appeal."
MADRAS SUNDAY TIMES
"A well documented and civilized reply."
"An unveiled exposure of that which is scandalous."
LT.-COL. E. W. FLETCHER
"Perley's 'White Paper'. . . has marshalled an astonishingly wide bibliography on the Assyrians ... which make the booklet a classic of references on the subject . . . More publications are hoped for from the same source."
"Writing as a Christian Missionary who lived at Basrah, hundreds of miles from the nearest Assyrian village to endure violence, the author, who has the temerity to raise again the shocking ... massacre
of Simel, can not be commended either for tact, Christian charity, or in any other way."
"But when, Bekr Sidqi's set-up for the massacre was carefully arranged . . . and took the Assyrians completely by surprise, Van Ess' poor attempt to whitewash the brutal event is wholly to be
deplored ... the Assyrians were not the instigator of the trouble ... The word rebellion used by Van Ess is sheer nonsense."
"If any writer becomes obsessed . . . with one side only of an Eastern problem, he can not today expect to escape a barrage of cross fire."
ROYAL CENTRAL ASIAN JOURNAL
A French Translation of
THE ASSYRIAN TRAGEDY
P. L. KYRIAKOS, D.D., 1940
Both of the above books may be obtained from the author
P. O. Box 857 Beyrouth
ASSYRIAN NATIONAL FEDERATION
LAW BUILDING - PATERSON I - NEW JERSEY
380 pp. Bibliog., Index $3.00
"History of every aspect of the Assyrian people written out by one of themselves, with a knowledge and sympathy that no foreigner, no matter what his experience, can really hope to attain."
W. A. WIGRAM, D.D.
"Written at Geneva in 1933, when an effectual plea for justice was made to the League by the Assyrian Patriarch, Mar Eshai Shimun. "
"On the problem of minorities in the Near East this book is of great interest and permanent value."
"Here is a most terrible indictment against Great Britain, the tale of a smirch upon our national honor, under which we should never rest until justice has been done to the people of Assyria, who served us faithfully and by so doing, incurred the hatred of their neighbors."
CATHOLIC HERALD (London)
SYRIAN ARK -HAIRENIK WEEKLY
"A bitter attack on the manner in which the British Government has failed to protect the Christian Assyrians from their Moslem Neighbors."
"Mr. Malek's is not a book in the ordinary sense of the word. It is a burning indictment discarding most of the rules of ordinary literature and only aiming to prove .... the great wrong done to his people. It makes heart-breaking reading .... a painful reminder."
"The soft resentment of a bleeding people."
THE ASSYRIAN PROGRESS
2 Paradoxically, even Faisal, the King of Iraq, could not understand the massacre. When he heard the news in Geneva, he hastened there from to undo the harm his assassins had done and dispatched his best diplomat, Le., himself, "and now he is returning from this journey in a coffin." See f.n. 21. Nor could George Antonius, the pious Arab defender, resist making this statement: "Nothing can excuse the acts of savagery with which the Assyrians were visitedàand the massacreàis a shameful blot on the pages of Arab history"--The Arab Awakening. Phil.: J. B. Lippencott Co., 1939, p. 366.
3 The Assyrian Tragedy, Anon. Annemasse, 1933. P. 65.
4 William B. Ziff, The Rape of Palestine, N. Y.; Longmans, Green & Co., 1938. P. 408. Lt. Col. R. S. Stafford, The Tragedy of the Assyrians, London, 1935. Chs. 11 and 12.
5 T, F. Johnson, International Tramps: From Chaos to Permanent World Peace. London: Hutchinson, 1938. P, 357.
6 Yusuf Malek, The British Betrayal of the Assyrians. N. J.: The Kimball Press, 1935. P. 267. Vide, Ziff's "Rape," P. 407.
7 "Such an exhibition of fanaticism has probably seldom been seen," the Archbishop of Canterbury in the House of Lords, Nov. 28, 1933.
8 Douglas V. Duff, "Guardians of the Holy Sepulchre" in Dublin Review, Oct. 1906. A. H. Hamilton, Road Through Kurdistan. London: Faber & Faber. Ltd., 1937, p, 324. D. V. Duff, Harding and the Screaming Mantle. London: Blakie & Son, 1939, pp. 29-30,--"All that the Assyrians had done was to be unswervingly faithful to the British, and for that crime they have seen their homes burned and their families slaughtered."
9 D. V. Duff, "International Politics-Indictment." in the Catholic World (London) April 16, 1937.
10 George M. Lamsa, The Secret of the Near East. Phila.: The Ideal Press, 1923. P. 101. Dr. W. A. Wigram in "The Near East and India," Nov. 23, 1933. P. 969.
11 "The primary cause of their distress was that they were Great Britain's allies during the War," Lord Hugh Cecil stated in the House of Lords on July 15, 1935.
"Because they made themselves our comrades in the common cause that they suffered most of their recent calamities." The Archbishop of Canterbury, Parliamentary Debates, H. L. Nov. 28, 1933, Vol. 90, No. 4, P. 127-8.
"Iraq and the Assyrians." The Contemporary Review, Oct. 1933, pp. 485-93. The Assyrian Christians fought throughout the war on the side of the Allies.
12 D. V. Duff, "Harding and the Screaming Mantle," London; Blackie, 1939, P. 28, stating that in 1915 the Assyrians agreed to leave their country and to fight for Britain and her allies; that as a reward, "they were promised freedom, safety and their independence, and, believing in their promises, they poured every man into the ranks of the new armies. Then, in 1933, they were shamefully betrayed. Every promise made to them was broken. They were not given their freedom nor even their safety. They were callously thrown to the wolves - to the same Arabs over whom they held sway as our soldiers."
Joel E. Warda, The Flickering Light of Asia, U. S. A., 1924, P. 167, 191, 219.
D. V. Duff, "Palestine Ablaze," in the Dublin Review, July, 1936.
Lt. Col. Sir Arnold T. Wilson, "The Assyrians and the Arabs," in the Spectator (London), Aug. 25, 1933, p. 243. His "The Crisis in Iraq", in the 19th Century and After," Oct. 1933, P. 414; Ziff's "Rape," P. 406.
J. S. Ward in the London Daily Telegram, Nov. 10, 1933-"It was we .
who invited them to rise against the Turks, and promised them their independence and our protection if they would do so."
"The Living Age," Jan. 16, 1926, P. 152.
"The Contemporary Review," April, 1923, P. 410.
"Fortnightly Review," Nov., 1925, P. 605.
13 Adventures of Dunsterville Forces, N. Y.: Longmans, 1920, P. 175-94, Vide, Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society, April, 1934, Vol. 21, Part 2, p. 267; Malek's "Betrayal," P. 191. See f.n. 49.
14 Parliamentary Debates, H. L., Vol. 90, No. 4. P. 127-8; Malek's "Betrayal," P. 17-18; Warda's "Flickering Light," P. 85-90,165.
Capt. Gracey was with A. McDowell, son of the famous American Missionary Dr. E. W. McDowell. See "Athra: a Fortnightly Political Review," Beyrouth, Feb. 15, 1939, No. 5. Capt. Gracey urged the Assyrians to continue their resistance against the Turks in return of which he promised on Britain's behalf Assyrian independence after victory. This statement was made at the Urmia Conference on Dec. 19, 1917. Surma D'Baith Mar Shimun, Assyrian Church Customs and the Murder of Mar Shimun. London: The Faith Press, 1920, P. 92. Malek, PP. 172-74.
"In 1917, Britain sent up two officers of the British Intelligence Staff, Capt. Gracey and Lt. McDowell, to form a common plan of campaign with them and the Russians. The Assyrians acted on the advice than given."-F. N. Heazell, The Woes of a Distressed Nation: Being an account of the Assyrian people from 1914 to 1934. London: The Faith Press, 1934, P. 7.
15 Letters of Gertrude Bell, Vol. II. P. 551 (Statement by Sir Henry Dobbs). Parliamentary Debates, H.L., Nov. 28, 1933, Vol. 90, No. 4, P. 142.
Austin's "Refugee Camp", p. 103.
F. W. Chardin, formerly assistant political Officer in Mosul, stated that the Assyrians during World War I, openly espoused the Allied cause after "Jihad" had been proclaimed, and acclaimed the fall of Mosul to the British as the beginning of a new day. They supplied bodies of troops which were the backbone of the military force of Iraq, "Britain has often been accused of deserting her friends in their hour of need; may she never justify the charge by abandoning these ... humble, helpless friends to the vengeance of their age-long foes, or to the vindictive persecution of the successors to the Turkish misrule against which they took their stand, utterly burning their boats." -The English Review, Oct., 1925, pp. 490-91.
Dr. W. A. Wigram, The Cradle of Mankind, London: A. & C. Black, 1922, 2nd ed., P, 384, Ch. 17 (P, 357-91) is a reproduction of his Our Smallest Ally. Joseph Naayem, Shall This Nation Die? N. Y.: 1921, P. 280-9.
After Pennington, the Assyrian Forces were organized under Agha Petros and Zeiah (Lady Surma's brother) to go and meet the English, Lady Surma, P. 105.
17 Malek's "Betrayal," P. 19: Warda's "Flickering Light," P. 68. Russians as champions of Christians. Yonan H. Shahbaz, The Rage of Islam, Phila.: The Roger Williams Press, 1918, P. 40-41, 152. Lady Surma, P. 91.
"Some Russian officers continued with the Assyrian army, willing to die with them rather than desert them. They turned over most of their arms and ammunition to the Assyrians, and under the guidance of the Patriarch, reorganized and unified the Assyrian units and resolutely checked the Turkish attacks, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy."-George M, Lamsa, The Oldest Christian People, N. Y.: The Macmillian Co., 1926, P. 111-2.
The present Patriarch, distinguished by magnanimity and generosity of soul, acknowledged that the Russian Revolution resulted in disaster to the Assyrian national cause and that based on past experience of the Assyrians with Russia, "an Assyrian self-government would have been attained under Russia, if under no other protection." In Malek, P. 50.
See Mar Benyamin's and Lady Surma's testimony that the Assyrians owe great gratitude to exalted Russia in Dr. W. W. Rockwell's "The Pitiful Plight of the Assyrian Christians in Persia and Kurdistan," N. Y.: 1916, PP. 50-51.
See Dr. Abraham Yohannan's A Church of Martyrs, N. Y.: Putnam's, 1917, P. 117.
18 Fred. A. Coan, Yesterdays in Persia and Kurdistan, Cal.: 1939, P. 284; "The Assyrian Tragedy," P. 36-37; Jo. R.C.A. Soc., April, 1934, P. 260. Dr. Wigram's The Assyrians and Their Neighbors, London: G. Bell, 1929, P. 221. Dr. Wig-ram. The Assyrian Settlement. London: Soc. for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1922, P. 5. See A Modern City of Refuge, published in India, which carries forward history from the period of the Baqubah Refugee Camp.
19 Johnson's "International Tramps," P. 344.
Parliamentary Debates, H.L., Nov. 18, 1933. Lord Hailsham's statement. Jour. R.C.A. Soc., April, 1934, P. 268.
20 Johnson's "Tramps." PP. 362-64.
21 Curzon, H.L., Dec, 17, 1919; vide Malek's "Betrayal," P. 186-9.
See Brig.-Gen. H. H, Austin, The Baqubah Refugee Camp. London: The Faith Press, 1920. The author was the first Commandant and Military Governor of the huge refugee camp, which lasted 18 months.
22 "There was no war in sight in 1933 when the Assyrians were being martyred because Britian feared for her oil in Mosul."-Major Douglas V. Duff, Poor Knight's Saddle. London: Herbert Jenkins Ltd., 1938, P. 151. "The Coveted City". P. Landon in the Daily Telegraph (Independent Conservative), Dec. 19, 1922. "Mosul, the Desired." Literary Digest, Feb. 17, 1923, pp. 12-13. "Oil Interests in the Fight for Mosul," in the Current History, March, 1923, pp. 31-38, dealing with the clash of great oil groups and the determination of the British to control Mesopotamia. "Oil and Empire," in The Independent, Sept. 19, 1925, vol. 115, No. 3929, pp. 310-11. "British Views of Mosul," in the Literary Digest. Jan. 16, 1926, pp, 19-20. Mosul to Produce Oil," Ibid, July 17, 1926, pp. 11-12. The Mosul Question: What the Inhabitants Really Want," F. W. Chardin in the Contemporary Rev., July, 1925, pp. 57-63.
23 19. Eliahu Ben-Horin, The Middle East: Crossroads of History, N. Y.: W. W. Norton & Co., 1943, P. 56-57.
Mosul, the modern successor to ancient Nineveh, is a Mesopotamian City as well as a Province which boasted political and economic importance centuries before the god of petroleum became one of the stakes of diplomacy. As to its present racial composition, see H. C. Luke's Mosul and Its Minorities. London: Morton Hopkinson & Co., Ltd., 1925.
"The Mosul Question at Geneva." Hugh F. Spender in the Fortnightly Review, Nov., 1925, pp. 596-606, holding that the Turks can not be trusted with the Christian minority in Mosul. MAR TIMOTHEOS, the Assyrian Metropolitan of Malabar and India, spoke in person before the Council of the League on behalf of the Assyrians. Also a re-assertion that the Assyrians have taken refuge in Iraq, p. 605 (Mar Timotheos died on April 30, 1945).
"The Land of the Two Rivers." F. W. Chardin in the English Review (London Conservative Monthly). Oct., 1925, pp. 484-93 also, giving a classification of the Assyrian Oriental Christians in Mosul, stating that their Churches are divided into (a) The Old Syrian or JACOBITE Church, a truly Oriental Church with no Western connections: (b) The Syrian Catholic Church, the Uniat offshoot of the foregoing: (c) The Extremely NESTORIAN Church: (d) Its Uniat offshoot, the CHALDEAN Church.
24 Wirsen Teleki Report: Turkish-Iraq Frontier. League Document, C. 400, M. 147, 1925, VII, P. 90; Wilson's "Crisis." P. 417.
See Special Report of H. M.'s Gov't on the Progress of Iraq 1920-31, Colonial Office, No. 58 of 1931, p. 267 &c. "Great Britain and Iraq," by Ghaifer. Contemp. Rev., June, 1931, that freedom for minorities were mentioned, pp. 744-45. "Assyrian Unrest in Iraq." Robert L. Baker in the Current History, Oct., 1933, pp. 120-22.
25 The Letters of Gertrude Bell. N. Y.: Horace Liveright, 1928. vol. II, P. 552.
26 The Vienna Liberal Daily, by Dr. Wolfgang von Weisl--Reprinted in the "Living Age," Nov. 1933, P. 226-8.
"It was clear that Iraq Government wished to ignore the direction of the League and to break up the corporate life of the nation."--Heazell's "Woes," pp. 9-12. "The Assyrians." Brig.-Gen. J. G. Browne, who was in command of the Assyrian Levies, Jour. R.C.A. Soc., Jan., 1937, pp. 170-82.
27 The Jour. R.C.A. Soc., Vol. 22, Part 2, 1925; ibid Vol. 21, Part 2, April, 1934, P 259.
Gertrude Bell, "Progress of Iraq." P. 272, etc.
"Almost every one of them had become a victim of malaria. Infant mortality had reached an alarming stage. Less than 1% of the children survived the first year."-Lamsa's "Oldest People," P. 119.
28 Douglas V. Duff in "Guardians of the Holy Sepulchre." Dublin Review, Oct. 1936: "Had they (the Assyrians) played the double dealing traitor to its interests like others, they would not have need to beg so pitifully for the right to be allowed to live." See Lamsa's "Oldest People," P. 82-8.
The Assyrians are "the most God-fearing and peace-loving people on earth." -Dr. A. J. Oraham's Assyrian-English Dictionary, Chicago: Consolidated Press, 1943, Preface, P. 5.
"As to the Assyrians, I lost my heart to them completely. The poorest Assyrian of the mountains has preserved a natural dignity, courage, and a freshness ... Mar Shimun's people struck me much in their ethnic capacity. I was not less struck with them as a Church. There is a naturalness, a simplicity, and a spontaneity about their religion . . They seem to illustrate the life of Christians of very early days. There is a remarkable absence of modern "corruptions" in their religion."-F. N. Heazell and Mrs. Margoliouth, Kurds and Christians, London: Wells, Gardner, Darton & Co., 1913, pp. 193-94, being the testimony of the Bishop of Gibraltar visiting the Assyrians.
'The finest race in the Middle East."-Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold Wilson's "Assyrians and the Arabs," in the Spectator (London), Aug. 25, 1933, P. 243.
"A Magnificent Stock."-The Fort. Rev. Feb. 1932, P. 226.
29 Pierre Van Paassen, "The Honor of Protestant England," in The Protestant, a Magazine of Affirmation, May, 1944, P. 18.
Compare with the American attitude: "The same standards of honor and ethics shall prevail internationally and in affairs of nations as in other matters"--Woodrow Wilson in the first draft of the League of Nations. "National morality is as vital as private morality."--Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Quarantine speech.
30 Basile Nikitine, 'Assyrians in Seances et Travaux de 1'Academie Diplomatique Internationale.' Paris, Recue'1 Sirey, No. 3, 1937, p.: 33. "This Patriarchal and Tribal organization of the Assyrians dated back to the 13th century and was tacitly admitted by the Turkish Government." The Assyrians rebelled against the Turks during World War I not because the Turkish Government was notably bad but because they wanted independence at the instigation of Foreign Powers. They could not risk their lives only to have a change in masters. They relied upon the honor of the British Government and the nobility of the British nation not to prejudice the aspirations of the Assyrians. Malek, P. 242-3; Lamsa's "Oldest People," P. 81.
See Heazell's "Woes," P. 12.
"The Nestorian Christians are among the lofty and almost inaccessible mountains who have lived there for ages, who fled to this difficult region from persecution; They constitute a sort of commonwealth of their own, separate from the rest of the world, and who yield neither obedience nor tribute to any foreign authority, subject to none but their own chief, the Patriarch, who exercises a perfect authority both in spiritual and temporal affairs. They are particularly jealous of their freedom, and very able to defend it, for they are very brave and resolute."-J. Baillie Fraser, Travels in Koordistan, &c. London: Richard Bently, 1840, viol. I PP, 59-60.
The Assyrian Hakkiari was Christ's Kingdom on earth. All disputes were settled at the Patriarch's Divan. Wigram's "The Cradle," PP. 276-77.
As to the locus of Hakkiari, see Fraser's Travels and Adventures on the Banks of the Caspean Sea," &c. London: Longman & Green, 1826, Ch. XII. A. H, Hamilton, Road Through Kurdistan." London: Faber & Faber, Ltd., 1937, pp. 109-10, 230. Fraser's Mesopotamia and Assyria": from the Earliest Ages to the Present Time. N. Y.: Harper &'Bros., 1895.
Consult: Thomas Laurie, Dr. A. Grant & the Mountain Nestorians, Boston: Gould & Lincoln, 1856. A. C. Lathrop, Memoirs of A. Grant, N, Y.: M. W. Dodd, 1847. Earl Percy, Highlands of Asiatic Turkey, London: 1901. C. J. Rich, Narrative of a Residence in Kurdistan: 2 viols. London: 1836. E. B. Soane. To Mesopotamia & Kurdistan in Disguise, 2nd ed., by Sir A. T. Wilson, (1884-1940). London: John Murray, 1926. H. Southgate, Narrative of a Tour Through Armenia, Kurdistan, &e. 2 vols. N. Y.: Appleton, 1840.
As to the aspects of the Assyrian autonomy, see Lady Surma, P. 86.
31 Henry A. Foster, The Making of Modern Iraq, Norman: Univ. of Okla. Press 1935. Chapter VII, The Struggle for Mosul Oil; P. 104 et, seq. Chapter VIII, Great Britain wins Mosul for Iraq, P. 142 et. seq.
Lamsa's "Oldest People," pp. 82-88. Stafford's "Tragedy," pp, 83-84.
NOTE: Readers of Stafford should be extremely cautious both as to facts and as to his interpretations of those facts. That he is prejudiced in favor of Iraq is not a mere suspicion. The unhappy ending of this Assyrian drama was occasioned by a betrayal. Their present tragedy is the result of such a betrayal and not the reason for their calamity. The Tragedy of the Assyrians was written with the express object of exonerating of responsibility the British, the Arabs, and himself. On his parting day he must have something on his conscience for the part he played in the active events that led up to the dreadful events. His main task was to set up one Assyrian house against another in order that his mission might profit by their dissension--and to call them disunited.
32 "The Turks were by no means illiberal, for they allowed minorities a large measure of autonomy . . . and were encouraged to maintain their own laws, language and customs and were dealt with through their own native leaders", -Bertram Thomas, The Arabs. N. Y.: Doubleday Doran & Co., 1937, P. 321. By Imperial Firman, the Assyrians enjoyed definite privileges in Turkey.-The Fort. Rev., Feb. 1932, P, 225.
A. H. Hamilton, that greatest hero, saint and the most far-seeing prophet, said: "It is strange that they should have survived all the terrible waives of persecution of Christians, and yet today, while under British protection, seem in danger of extinction as a race. Neither Mohammed nor the Caliphs, nor the all-conquering Mongols nor the Seljuk Turks did them much harm . . . and it is only in the last 20 years, during and since the war that they
have been scattered without homes or leaders." - "Road Through Kurdistan," P. 133.
To the same effect, John Foster, The Church of the T'Ang Dynasty, London: Soc. for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1939, p. 34.
33 "The Assyrians are in an alien country owing to their participation on the side of the Allies during the war."-George Antonius' ' The Arab Awakening," P. 366. Capt. Philip Mumford's "Kurds, Assyrians and Iraq," in Jour. of the R.C.A. Soc., Jan., 1933. "Withdrawal from Iraq." Charles Robert in the Contemp. Rev., April, 1923, p. 410. The Assyrians fought on the side of the Allies and were expelled from Turkey. , Illustrated London News, Aug. 19 1933, p. 279. The Assyrians are refugees in Iraq. "Notes from Geneva," Hugh F. Spender in the Fort. Rev., Oct., 1925, p. 455. "Iraq and Its Problems." Owen Tweedy in the Fort. Rev., Feb., 1932, pp. 220-29, alleging that the Turks were better than the Iraquis and that the Assyrians are merely inconvenient Christians" in Iraq.
Aubery R. Vine, The Nestorian Churches, London: The Independent Press, 1937. See his last chapter: The Nestorian Church in Exile, 1914-1936. "The frontier must be so fixed as to fulfill the obligations we have rashly contracted towards the Assyrian Christians."-Lord Raglan in the English Review, Oct., 1925, p. 478. See the Foreign Affairs, July, 1925, p. 688.
34 Sir John Hope Simpson, The Refugee Problem. London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1939, PP. 227-28.
35 As late as March 9, 1944, Vachell said in the Queen Magazine: "The Assyrians are never likely to settle down as peaceful subjects of the Iraqi Government." P. 11. Vine's "Nestorian Churches" P. 206.
Sir Nigel Davidson stated on Nov, 3, 1932, that the Constituent Assembly of Iraq was thoroughly representative of the whole people and of all classes and races with the exception of the Assyrians by reason of the fact that they had not qualified as natives of the land.-International Affairs (London), Jan.-Feb., 1933, p. 68.
36 World Dominion, October, 1932. Those in Iraq are virtually a people in exile. N. Y. Times editorial. Aug. 28, 1933, on "The Assyrians: '
See Dr, Petros' (Petros D. Yoseph) Plight of the Assyrians, in the World Dominion, Oct., 1931, pp. 406-10. His article in the issue of OM., 1932, is on pp. 382-84.
37 World Dominion, April, 1933, pp. 187-94
38 Jour. of R.C.A: Soc., July, 1933, p, 483 &c. "Assyrians Are Fugitives." Austin's "Refugee Camp," pp. 18, 102.
39 Athra, No. 2, July 1, 1938: No. 3, July 15, 1938.
40 E. R. Hasluck, Foreign Affairs: 1919-97, N. Y.: The Macmillian, 1938, P. 227-30.
41 Sir George Buchanan. The Tragedy of Mesopotamia. London: Wm. Blackwood & Sons, Ltd., 1938, P. 280.
42 The Jour. R.C.A. Soc., Vol. 20, Part 2, April 1934, P. 265, Vide League of Nations, Protection of Minorities in Iraq, Official No. C.535, Oct. 2, 1933.
In his lecture before the Royal Empire Society, London, on May 30, 1934, Sir Henry said: "We have seemed by the abandonment of the Assyrians . . to sacrifice our very honor. We have suffered the imputation that on the scene of their agony, we living have betrayed the hopes of our dead."
Buchanan's "Tragedy of Mesopotamia," P. 285.
43 Provisional Minutes of the League Assembly, C.770, 1932 VI, C.P.M. 1930 (3). Beyond giving expression to fine sentiments, the League, it must be stated, did nothing to justify the faith for which Woodrow Wilson gave his life. See Dr. Wigram's "The Assyrians, and Their Neighbors," p. 236.
"The League is a colossal fraud and an international danger in its present conception, direction and execution."-Johnson's "Tramps," P. 135. "The League is a symptom of hypocrisy." Duff's "Poor Knights Saddle" (supra), p. 274.
"Iraq's massacre of the Christian Assyrians is the worst, flagrant, direct, and gross violations of the minority safeguards."-David Lloyd George, Memirs of the Peace Conference. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1939. vol. II 904-5. See "Athra,"
PP No. 2, 1938, Assyrians and the League of Nations.
As to League's half-hearted attempt at a settlement of the Assyrians in the region of the GRAB in the French Mandated Levant, see Official No.: C.352. M.179, 1935, VII, 12. As to the Settlement on the KHABUR, see League of Nations Questions 5, The Settlement of the Assyrians, Geneva, 1935, Information Section: The National Geographical Magazine, Dec. 1938, pp. 695-750.
44 The presence of these two gentlemen at the meeting in Geneva was occasioned by the "MAR SHIMUN'S S.O.S.", signed by all the Assyrian Chiefs in 1931 and sent to the League in which he expressed his conviction that unless adequate guarantees were provided, the Assyrians would be exterminated by Iraq as soon as she obtained her independence; in the absence of such guarantees, he requested the League to arrange for the immigration of his people from Iraq. Johnson' a "International Tramps," P. 347.
The magic of the situation was the "Policy of the Colonial Office." It had in 1931 decided to transfer Iraq into an independent state and this high policy could not be frustrated by what the agents of the policy were pleased to term the whims of the Assyrians. This was the ' mot d ordre" of London and it became the "mot d'ordre" of the civil Servants in Iraq. To their mind, the most radical way of solving the Assyrian problem with any pretense of decency, was to get the Assyrian race and Church forcibly merged into the body politic of Iraq, Vide Johnson's "Tramps," P. 350
45 Hasluck's "Foreign Affairs," p. 231. Chardin's "The Land of Two Rivers," supra, giving the origin of the name "Iraq". In 1921, Churchill gave the name Iraq to Assyro-Chaldea for economic reasons as waste of British money. The old Arabic name for Chaldea was "Iraq-ul'Arab," the Arab mud bank.
E. H. Carr, International Relations Since the Peace Treaties, N. Y. 1937, (The Macmillan), p. 236.
46 The Ins and Outs of Mesopotamia, London: A. M. Philpot, Ltd., 1923, P. 7, &c. When on April 7, 1919, Mar Timotheos personally presented a silver urn to Austin on behalf of the Assyrians in the Baquabah Refugee Camp as a token of gratitude, the latter at once dispatched the memento to England lest the Arab thieves would deprive him of it. Austin's "Refugee Camp," p. 99 Vide. Buchanan's "Tragedy," P. 58-59, wherein Gen. Townsend found that there was not in Mesopotamia the usual safety one expects behind the front lines and called the Arabs "scoundrels" and merciless." He continued: "On the battlefields they attacked the side they thought was losing, irrespective of whether they were British or Turkish, cut the throats and stripped the wounded, dug up the graves for the sake of the khaki clothing, and generally behaved like jackals and vultures."
On P. 165, Sir George continued: "No sooner had the Turks retired than a state of anarchy broke out (in Baghdad in the last War), with ... and Arabs looting the bazaars and robbing and murdering indiscreetly.
"The Independence of Iraq". By Fusilier in the Fort. Rev., Sept., 1932, vol. 138, pp. 315-25, holding that the early termination of the Mandatory responsibilities in Iraq was more than speculation; it was a gamble (and what a gamble), p. 324. "Internal Troubles in Iraq" in the Palestine Post, May 22, 1935.
An editorial writer in the daily "Saut-al-ahali" (Voice of the People) of Aug. 3, 1944, deplored the illiteracy in Iraq, said to approximate 90%. The Governments in Iraq have always evinced greater interest in the politics of the other Arab States than in the urgent social problems of their own country because governments do not last very long in Iraq. Each new one, therefore, realizing its precarious situation, seeks to strengthen itself by engaging in Pan-Arab political activities calculated to enhance the Government's prestige and at the same time (and chiefly) to direct public attention from internal difficulties. The present "Arab League" is a tale of intrigue and double-cross in the middle of which is the Colonial Office, whose origin goes back to 1915 when the British decided they wanted the Middle East. That year Lawrence of Arabia thought that the British could rush up to Damascus and biff the French out of all hope of Syria, but the military might of France held Syria against the British fomented uprising of 1920-21. And now, since the French collapse, the Arab League is expected to complete the process begun in 1915 and end all vestige of French control making the British the single great power in the Arab world. This League makes good sense for the British only. It does not solve the real Arab problems: their illiteracy desperate poverty, colossal mortality rate, &c. It is a desire fn short, to turn Arab discontent and nationalism against Frenchmen Jews and may turn it against Russians and Americans. "It seemed natural," said Anthony Eden in 1941, "that the ties between Arab countries should be strengthened." The Arab League is a sub-department of Downing Street and the task of the High Ones there is not that of super-righteousness. Such is the ultimate truth about this greatest and latest hoax!
Querry: If Britain is so concerned about the welfare of the Arab countries why isn't Egypt a complete sovereignty-the most enlightened Arab State with no single complaint of minority suppression on record? If it is such a sovereignty, how did the British tanks force King Farouk in 1942 to name Nahas Pasha as Prime Minister in place of Maher Pasha or abdicate?
47 Wilson's "Crisis," P, 417 Malek's "Betrayal," P, 264; The Jour, of R.C,A. Soc. April, 1934, P. 264. A member of the Foreign Office Staff was heard to say at this time while the British representative was giving assurance to the League, He is telling damned lies-and he damned well knows it." Johnson's International Tramps," P, 348, in Chapter XIV, "The Betrayal of the Assyrians." Reports seem to indicate that the assurances were given by Sir Francis and that he and Lord Cecil were the only Englishmen present.
48 Parliamentary Debate, H. L., Nov. 28, 1933, Vol. 90, No. 4, P. 140-1.
Foreign Affairs, Jan., 1933, pp. 358-59, Amer. Political Science Review, Dec. 1932, pp. 1042-43.
49 Sir Alfred Zimmern, Spiritual Values and World Affairs, London: The Clarendon Press, 1939, P. 127-8.
50 Refugees: Anarchy or Organisation, N. Y.: Random House, 1938, P. 44. William Ernest Hocking, The Spirit of World Politics, N. Y.: The Macmillan Co.. P. 301.
51 See his letter to an anxious friend of the Assyrians in England, Dec. 15, 1930, in Malek's "Betrayal," P. 317-8.
52 Pierre Van Paassen, The Forgotten Ally. N. Y.: The Dial Press, 1934, P. 310.
53 "As a result in 1932, after seven of the contemplated twenty-five years had elapsed, the Mandate was replaced by an Alliance with safeguards for our oil interests and our air communications with India, but none for the minority population" in Mosul. Zimmern's "Spiritual Values," P. 127-8.
54 40. See the "secret letter" sent by Major W. C. F. A. Wilson, Administrative Inspector in Mosul, to the Gov't, dated May 10, 1933, stating in part: "Ask the Mar Shimun to come to Baghdad to discuss matters with the Gov't. Detention to follow forthwith . ." Same surreptitious scheme was used as to Lady Surma. Malek's "Betrayal," P. 238. Jour. of R.C.A. Soc.. April, 1934, pp. 264-5. London Illustrated News, Aug. 26, 1933, p. 1.
The Patriarch is now in this country since July 29, 1940, on a mission of visit to his people. He was born on February 26, 1908, and inherited the office of Patriarch on June 20, 1920, at the early age of thirteen.
55 Administrative Inspector in Mosul.
56 Appointed and paid by Iraq as land settlement expert in an advisory capacity.
57 Khalil 'Azmi, acting Mutasarif. 45-46. Heazell's "Woes," P. 14.
58 Jour, R.C.A., Vol. 21, Jan. 1934, pp. 38-41: "The Assyrian Targedy," P. 45-46 Heazell's "Woes," p. 14.
59 The intention of the Gov't was to effect a heterogeneous settlement and to deny the Assyrians the age-old tradition and recognizing their Patriarch as the head of their nation, or even of allowing him to exercise the protective measures permitted by the Gov't to Arab Chiefs. Johnson, P. 355.
60 Jour. of R.C.A. Soc., April, 1934, P. 264-5. "An Amendment to the British Arms Regulations legalized the retention by the Assyrians of their British Army Pattern Rifles." Malek, P. 194, as stated by Lt. Col. J. J. McCarthy.
61 Ibid P. 266, Brig. Gen: Sir Percy M. Sykes said that this letter tends to prove that they were in despair at the idea of being scattered among the Kurds in small communities, while the fact that they left their women and children behind proved that there was no idea of "rebellion" against the Government.
62 The French Mandatory Power advised them to return from Syria. The recrossing took place at 5 p.m. Heazell's "Woes". P. 18.
63 Johnson's "International Tramps," P. 357. See Hamilton's "Road", P. 329.
64 Parliamentary Debates. H.L., Nov. 28, 1933. "It is difficult to see what offense they committed that they should be termed Rebels, since they were told to go.ä
Similar testimony given on November 17, 1933, (Jour. of R.C.A. Soc., Vol. 20, Part IV) by Lt.-Col. J. J. McCarthy who headed the British Military Mission to the Assyrians in Persia under Gen. Dunsterville. In Malek, P: 191-5.
"The Assyrian-Iraq Outbreak." J. S. Conning in the Missionary Rev. Jan. 1934, p. 4.
65 Lt. Col. Sir Arnold Wilson's The Crisis In Iraq. 19th Century and After, Oct. 1933. P. 422. The late Sir Arnold was the Civil Commissioner in Iraq from 3/1918 to 9/1920, through the period of its greatest expansion and up to and including the time of its greatest troubles.
The Assyrians forced into combat retired into Syria. About a week later, Iraq massacred disarmed men, women and children in Iraq in, retaliation in no way connected with the combat. Heazell's "Woes," P. 18, he Queen of March 9, 1944, p. 11.
This incident presents an exact parallel to the Kurdish situation in 1930-31, when 300 of Shaikh AHMED's men paralyzed the Arab Army compelling the RAF to take up the combat and save the Army from utter destruction. The RAF then began to intensively bomb the tribesmen of this Kurdish nobleman at Kant Linia. Hamilton's "Road", P. 301.
66 Wilson's Mesopotamia: A Clash of Loyalties, London: Oxford University press, 1929, p. 291. "Athra," May 15, 1939, No. 21. "The Assyrians," A. D. W. Bentinck, Jour. R.C.A. Soc., 1924, Part I, p. 88.
67 Austin's "Refugee Camp," pp. 53-55. Col. F. Cunliffe-Owen's (Commandant of the Refugee Camp). The Assyrian Adventure of 1920," Jour. R.C.A. Soc. Vol. IX, 1922. Malek's "Betrayal," p. 270.
68 A. Haldane. The Insurrection in Mesopotamia, Edinburgh: W. Blackwood, 1922, p. 217.
69 For their achievements, see Brig. J. Gilbert Browne's The Iraq Levies: 19151932," London: 1932.
"The Assyrian Levies have served with the RAF since the stormy days after the last. war. Few communities have shown more courage than the Assyrians, when their Patriarch declared war upon the Turks in 1915 from the heart of the Turkish Empire, and their gallantry was rewarded by a long alteration of massacres and migrations."-Philip Guedalla, Middle East 1940-42: A Study in Air Power, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1944, P. 145.
See Hamilton's Road Through Kurdistan, PP. 130, 133.
Brig.-Gen. Browne was in command of the Assyrians levies for eight years, and later in 1934, he and T. F. Johnson went on a mission to Brazil for the purpose of investigating the possibility of settling the Assyrians in the state of Parana. Mr. Johnson came to learn that this officer knew the Assyrians intimately, and knowing them as he did, found it almost impossible to speak too highly of them (Johnson, P. 348-9). "I should have been proud indeed if a foreigner, possessing the same qualifications, had spoken in the same terms of my own countrymen." Mr. Johnson, late High Commissioner of the League for Refugees, was so impressed by the Assyrians that he courageously stated "Feeling of loyalty to the Assyrians and national interests alike indicate that it would be a good policy to consider settling these morally and physically robust agriculturists on some of the large uncultivated tracts of Yorkshire, Westmorland, Scotland, or in the West Country. As Brig. Browne's opinion of them indicates, the British could only gain by contact with these people and by emulating their good qualities." Ibid, P. 380.
The opinion of these two exceptionally sincere and exacting men were formed not in a cocktail bar. club, or salon, as Mr. Johnson contended, but of people in the rough and under the acid test of war conditions in an unruly country, far removed from the amenities of life.
70 Capt. Rogers, in Jour. R.C.A. Soc., April, 1934. He stated that this matter was not correctly represented in the press. With the highest respect for the Levies and their officers, "we are under a heavy obligation to the Clansmen and to the whole nation."
71 Hamilton's "Road", p. 297.
As to Ismail Beg, see W. R. Hay, Two Years in Kurdistan, 1918-20. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1921, pp. 204-5; 223.
72 Ibid 272.
73 Ibid 299.
74 Wigram's Cradle, pp. 203-5, holding further that the policy of the foreign missions has been to improve the Oriental Christian by taking him out of the Church of his fathers and inducing him to join other bodies which destroys the spiritual life "of a higher type of Christians", and which has made the Old Church a small minority.
William Ainger Wigram, D.D., (May 16, 1872-) is the greatest humanitarian and scholar on the Assyrian nation and Church of all branches. See his excellent Separation of the Monophysites. London The Faith Press, 1923, written in Kurdistan. In this connection one should not miss A. A. Luce's Monophysitism, Past & Present. London: Soc. for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1920.
Lamsa's The Secret of the Near East, pp. 90-106, holding that the foreign missions not only have destroyed the native faith but have broken the solid unity and pride of the native Church, that "hatred and intolerance" have been fostered among the worshippers of the same God, p. 106. See Athra (Motherland) Nov. 15, Feb. 15, 1939, "Missions and Missionaries."
75 Dr. W. A. Wigram's article "The Assyrians and Iraq, No More Betrayals" in the London Church Times, May 16, 1942, P. 285.
The Mar Shimun's Report to the Assyrians in the form of an address, Hartford (Conn.) Daily Courant, Oct. 15, 1943.
"àthe Iraqis were beaten back, the Assyrians tearing open the tanks with their bare hands . . The Iraqis when retreating turned from Khaki into white under-,Your very eyes -each soldier discarding his martial covering in order to be mistaken for a civilian."-Somerset De Chair, The Golden Carpet. N. Y.: Harcourt, 1945, pp. 57-58. "And once more the British Empire owed much to few ... The Iraqi Coup had failed by so little and the Iraqis hate the Assyrians, more than they hated the British, did they hate the Assyrians."-Ibid., pp. 44-45. Vide the Protestant, May, 1945, p. 9.
"Every able,-bodied male Assyrian between the ages of 18 and 45 has volunteered for service with the British." The Queen, March 9, 1944, p. 11.
76 The Queen supra, PP. 10-11.
77 See "Mar Shimun's Petition in Behalf of the Assyrian Nation to the World Security Conference at San Francisco," May 7, 1945, as endorsed by the Assyrian National Federation, as to the significance of the Habbaniah Victory, pp. 17-18.
78 Philip Guedalla, "Middle East 1940-42," P. 148.
Royal Central Asian Journal, May 1945, vol. 32, part 2, p. 216. (See inside of back cover)
79 Malek, P. 224.
80 Jour. R.C.A. Soc., April, 1934, Aunt of the present Patriarch, now in exile in Cyprus.
In 1919, Earl Gurzon said: "A more remarkable specimen of womanhood, and a lady more competent to speak for the interesting community to which she belongs is quite impossible to imagine." Parliamentary Debates, Dec. 17. 1919, Vol. 38, No. 112. During the minority and absence of the present Patriarch, she was administering the temporal affairs of the Assyrians, and Mar Timotheos, the Metropolitan of India, was administering the spiritual affairs of the Church.
Lady Surma of the House of Mar Shimun was educated according to the West but remains a true Oriental and a devoted member of the Church of her fathers. She is a recognized authority in all rites and services, and a RABBANTA (a professed Nun) of the Church of the East. In 1919, Brig-Gen. H. H. Austin made repeated efforts to obtain permission for her to attend the Paris Peace Conference and plead the cause of the Assyrians. His requests were turned down by the British authorities in Mesopotamia time and again. In the following year, however, she was permitted to go to England and make a futile plea for her people as their Ambassadress, Austin's "Refugee Camp," pp. 63-64.
81 Dr. Wigram in Jour. R.C.A. Soc., Vol. 21, Jan., 1934. Bocob "Iraq in a Nutshell," in the Empire Magazine, Oct., 1932.
"The Mandatory power did not pay sufficient heed to the warnings of trouble which British officials in Iraq kept sending to the Colonial Office in the year preceding the outbreak."--Antonius' "The Arab Awakening," P. 367. Warning of impending doom was made by Major F. F. Rynd in the Jour. of R.C.A. Soc., 1923, Part III., PP. 241-42 in his article entitled "The Assyro-Chaldeans."
82 J. Hampden Jackson, The Post-War World: 1918-34, Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1935, P, 199-200. Bertram Thomas, "The Arabs," P. 308.
See Dorothy Adelson in "Asia," Sept. 1945, p, 442.
83 Ziff's "Rape," P. 407.
84 For a model, see the Al Istiqlal, June 29, 1933. -28
85 Johnson, P. 358.
"There is more than a suspicion in view of many other works on the subject that the author (Van Ess) possesses a considerable bias in favor of the Arabs." -Moody Monthly, Aug. 1945, P. 639.
86 Wilson's "Crisis," P. 413. Illustrated London News, Sept. 23, 1933, p. 459. Buchanan's "Tragedy," P. 289. Jour. R.C.A. Soc., April, 1934, P. 2F7- See "The Betrayed Assyrians" in the Church Times (London), Aug. 20, 1937, holding that the massacre was an act of the Government.
"Types of Historic 'Remnant' " in the Illustrated London News, Aug. 19, 193'3, P. 279. Lord Lugard stated that this loyal Assyrian remnant is Aug. whose glorious past goes back to the beginnings of history.
87 Wilson's "Crisis," P. 420.
88 Capt. V. Holt. who succeeded Miss Gertrude Bell as Oriental Secretary to the British Embassy in Baghdad is reported to have said that the problem of the Assyrians could not have been radically solved without a massacre. "Athra," No. 2, July 1, 1938.
Had the British wished to have stopped the, massacre, the mere presence of Had Assyrian Levies at the scene would have done the job which the British could have transferred from Baghdad at a moment's notice. Instead they were kept in the dark. Malek, P. 27.
89 Dr, Wigram in Jour. R.C.A. Soc., Oct., 1933; and, in the Near East and India.
90 Assassinated on March 3, 1918, by Simko, a Kurdish Chief, at the instigation of the Persian Government. Patriarch at age of 18-33. Mar Benyamin was "Lady Surma's" brother. Wigram's "The Assyrians and their Neighbors." p. 216. An Assyrian force under Agha Petros was immediately dispatched to punish Simko in his fortress at Chara, and after 36 hours' fighting Simko was completely defeated, and in his castle they found a letter from the Persian Governor of Tabris which urged that the MAR SHIMUN should be murdered. Simko himself fled and lived as a fugitive from justice 1918-1930. The Turks wanted to hang him for another crime, and the Assyrians wanted to shoot him for the murder of their hero-Patriarch. In 1928; he appeared in Iraq and through the intervention of Gen. Browne, the Assyrians did not kill this conscienceless and callous brute-2 grave error in policy in my opinion. Subsequently, he returned to Persia and was killed by the Persians at Ushnu. The late AGHA PEI'ROS was Turkish Consul in Urmia, and, during World War 1, he rose to the post of military leader of his people, the Assyrians, and proved himself a born captain whose achievements were among the most remarkable in the War.
91 Johnson. P. 241, Stafford's "Tragedy." P. 29; Wards, P. 3-5, 202-3; "The Assyrian Tragedy," P. 12; Dr. Wigram's "The Cradle of Mankind," P. 368.
Mr. Johnson was Assistant High Commissioner of the League for the Repatriation of Prisoners of War and Chief of Refugees Section of the International Labor office. Austin's "Refugee Camp." pp. 62-65.
92 This Cross was abstracted by an Arab thief from the Patriarch's tent in 1919 at the Baqubah Camp together with other irreplaceable insignia. Austin's Refugee Camp, P. 82.
93 A. H. Hamilton's, "Road Through Kurdistan," P. 320-1. The Assyrian leaders were actuated by a purity of motive. Were I on the spot, it would have been my high privilege to have marched under the supreme command of the lionhearted Patriarch Mar Benyamin.
When the future liberty of small nations was announced and "jihad" proclaimed in Turkey in the Spring of 1915, the Assyrians felt that they were now called upon to play their part on the side of Humanity and Christendom. The Assyrians had no need to help Britain in World War I. They had every reason to prefer a strict neutrality. For whichever side eventually won the war was likely to save them harmless. But they left their mountain heights and poured every man into the ranks of the Allied armies and carried on steadfastly and without fear believing honestly that by their self-sacrifice and invaluable work, they would pile up a debt of gratitude which, in honor bound, the British must repay, if victory crowned their arms.
Some of the spirited lines of Shamasha Ephraim's war-song, evinced the ardor with which they entered World War I:
Brothers, up and arm you. 'tis the Turk assails you;
Lo, the day is dawning when we march to meet the foe! Quit your flocks and cornfields, grip your trusty rifles, Forth we go to battle in the name of MAR SHIMUN.
Stand by one another, clansmen of the nation, Tkhuma by Tyari, and let Baz by Jilu stand. Like a band of brothers, hearts and hands united, Forth we go to battle in the name of MAR SHIMUN.
David` is our leader. valiant in the combat, He is captain over us to lead us forth to war, Danger shall not daunt us, fear shall flee before us, Forth we go to battle in the name of MAR SHIMUN.
Young men of the nation, tribes renowned in history, Mighty men in battle were our fathers' kings of old. Raging through the valleys, storming o'er the mountains, Forth we go to battle in the name of MAR SHIMUN.
Nineveh the holy beckons back her children,
Know ye not her ancient walls shall be the victory's crown? There alone. Assyrians, shall our race be established, Forth we go to battle in the name of MAR SHIMUN.
Surma, Lady of Miracles in the Holy Family,
Impart to the Nation's youth the justice of our cause,
Let them move forward to victory with bows and arrows, Forth we go to battle in the name of MAR SHIMUN.
David is the brother of Mar Benyamin and father of the present patriarch, now in exile in Cyprus. Honorary M.B.E., 1928. He was the senior Assyrian Officer with the Mountaineer Battalion, and later Chief Liaison Officer of the Levies.
94 Duff's "Guardian's", Dublin Review, Oct., 1937, P. 20-21.
95 Hamilton's Road Through Kurdistan, p. 320; Malik Ismail died on June 4, 1936, which was declared to be a day of national mourning by the Assyrian National Federation.
96 Review of Religion, Columbia Univ., May, 1945, p. 434.
97 Sir John Squire has said that any broad-minded person knows that the Assyrians are an ancient Christian people which has had no chance at all. and that they are on our conscience; many of them have been massacred; and they are even more homeless than the Jews.
"Voltaire once said to somebody when a war was beginning: 'Won't you make peace after the war ends?' The reply was: 'Yes.' His reply was: 'Why not make it now?'
"Looking at all these national and racial problems one cannot help remembering that: also one remembers it when looking at the moon and the stars." -The Illustrated London News, March 5. 1936, p. 378, Austin's "Refugee Camp", p. 110.
98 "The Assyrian nation . . , was brought from its homeland by the British promises. They fought for Britain in the War and continued to act as cheap British troops in Iraq for years afterwards. They were solemnly promised a homeland; but, when their usefulness was at an end, they were told to remain amongst the people they had held down, and so antagonized, in Britain's behalf. They were given solemn guarantees that they should be safe. What happened? All the world knows. They were shot, hanged, burned, driven across the borders to stagnate in a pestiferous valley in Syria."
A Pledge Betrayed, Dublin Review, July, 1939, pp. 32 ff.
99 "The Heirs of the Ages," Asia, June, 1935, p., 343. See Perley's critical analysis of this article in Ch. X of Malek's "Betrayal," pp. 151-57.
100 See Duff's "Guardians," in which this ex-Police Commissioner of Palestine, author of many books and articles on the -problems of the Near and Middle East, says: "The Assyrians still walk in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, looking with fearful eyes on their Moslem neighbors, knowing that their wives and daughters are always exposed to the shame of rape and lust, their sons to the risk of murder."
101 A student of international relations in Beyrouth informed me on July 18, 1944, that Van Ess' information was based on coffeehouse rumors in Iraq that "was rampant" in Iraq during the crisis.
102 "Athra" (Beyrouth), Feb. 15, 1939, No. 15.
See John Stewart's A Church on Fire: Nestorian Missionary Enterprise. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1928, P. 352; The Travels of Marco Polo, N. Y.: Horace Liveright, 1926, P. 228-9. As a people, the present Assyrian, Chaldean and Nestorian. represents the Assyrians of antiquity-the subjects of Sargon and Sennacherib. Dr. Wigram's "The Assyrians and Their Neighbors," P. 178. "The cause of these people appeals to me as being distinctly Christian in the widest sense. It is the cry which the pitifully small remnant of the CHURCH OF THE EAST raises to its strong sister CHURCH OF THE WEST to preserve it from extinction. It is felt generally that Christianity and Christian civilization have reached a great crisis."-Dr. E. W. McDowell's "The Plight of the Assyrian Christians," in the Missionary Review of the World, June, 1928.
See "The Nestorian Tragedy in Iraq," in the Missionary Review, Feb., 1936, P. 77, holding that the cause of the Assyrians is Christian in its essence. Lord Hugh Cecil in a letter to the "London Times" having reference to this problem stated that Christianity is a far feebler emotion than nationalism and that "what is really an idolatry has world-wide sway." See "The Assyrian Progress." June, 1938. Athra No. 9, Nov. 1, 1938, The Christian Science Monitor, July 15, 1935, p. 2. The Living Age, Jan. 16, 1922, pp, 148-53.
"The Romance of the Nestorian Crosses." M. W. Brown, in The Chinese Recorder, Feb. 1933, pp. 76-82.
Timothy Richard, The Awakening of Faith, Shanghai, 1907.
103 P. Y. Saeki's The Nestorian Monument in China, London, 1916, P, 126 et seq. This Monument was built to commemorate the propagation of the Luminous Religion of a luminous people in the Middle Kingdom. The Chinese called the Assyrian Christianity "luminous religion," i.e., Ching Chiao. Prof. Saeki of Tokio says that they had no small share in the creation of the Golden Age of China, p. 115. "We perceive how keen and zealous the pioneer missionaries of the Assyrian Church were in trying to win souls for Christ. Surely in coming to China (635 A.D.), braving the dangers of the great Desert and travelling so far, they followed the example set by that Great Apostle to the Gentiles (p. 133), "Verily the Syriac Church did abundantly fulfill her mission in the Far East." (p. 160); and scattered "the seeds of Western civilization" (p. 117) in Central Asia and the Far East.
Consult: (Mrs.) C. E. Couling, The Luminous Religion: A Study of the Nestorian Christianity in China. London: The Carey Press, 1925.
James Legge, The Nestorian Monument of Hsi-An Fu: Relating to the Diffusion of Christianity in China. London: Trubener Co., 1888.
Holm & Carus, The Nestorian Monument: An Ancient Record of Christianity in China. Chicago: 1909.
The Nestorian Gloria in Excelsis Deo, in the Chinese Recorder, July, 1935, pp. 291-300. (F. S. Drake).
Fritz Holm, My Nestorian Adventure in China. N. Y. F. H. Revell, 1923, pp. 145-184.
The Earliest Christianity in China, in the Dublin Review, Oct., 1902, pp.
A. Mingana, The Early Spread of Christianity in Central Asia and the Far East. Manchester Univ. Press, 1925, pp, 1-180.
Early Christianity in China, in the Chinese Recorder, July, 1935, (C. W. Allan), pp. 359-99.
J. D. Macbride, The Syrian Church in India. Oxford: 1856.
The Assyrians were the earliest evangelizing agency in India as was evidenced by the Nestorian Tablet of Madras which was an altar slab with a dove hovering over a Cross cut in relief with this Syriac inscription: "Let me not glory except in the Cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ." L. C. Barnes,
Two Thousand Years of Missions, Chicago, 1900, pp. 90-91.
104 "In fifty-five years of missionary work, we have yet to create a Church of Christ in Arabia."-"Our Church in Action: the Reformed Church in America," 1944, P. 53.
W, H. Storm, Whither Arabia? London: World Dominion Press, 1938. pp. 64-5, 89-90.
105 "The Assyrians are faithful unto death."-Isabella L. Bishop, Journeys in Persia and Kurdistan, &c. London: John Murray, 1891, vol. 2, pp. 313 ff. And see f.n. 23.
See annotations in f. n. 73 as cumulative evidence to the effect that the cause of the Assyrians is Christian in its essence.
106 A. H. Layard, Nineveh & Its Remains, London: Murray, 1849, vol. 2, pp. 237 ff. See generally his Discoveries Among the Ruins of Nineveh & Babylon, N. Y.: Putnam, 1853: and G. P. Fletcher's Travels In Assyria.
See Dr. Wigram in f. n. 73.
J. S. Buckingham, Travels in Assyria, &c. London. 1830.
107 W. R. Ainsworth, Travels & Researches in Asia Minor, &c. London John Parker, 1842, vol. 1, p. 263.
H. Southgate's "Narrative of a Tour." &c., vol. 2, p. 247. Prof. John Geise Men & the Western World, N. Y.: Haircourt, 1940, p. 121.
108 Wigram's "Monophysites", n. p. 201. See Lamsa's Introductions in his The Gospels from Aramaic, 1933; Gospel Light, 1936; The Psalms from Aramaic, 1939: Modern New Testament from Aramaic, 1940; and New Testament Commentary, 1945 (all published by A. J. Holman Co., Phila.).
109 Asahel Grant, M.D., The Nestorians. N. Y.: Harper, 1841, p, 105. Wigram's "Cradle", pp. 265 ff., and his "Assyrians", p. 181.
Lamsa, My Neighbor Jesus, N. Y.: Harper, 1932, p. 8. Thos, Laurie, Dr. Grant & the Mountain Assyrians. Boston: Gould & Lincoln, 1856.
110 F. C. Burkitt, Early Eastern Christianity. London: Murray, 1904, pp. 39-43.
See J. W. Etheridge, Horae Aramaicae. London: 1843, p. 21; and his The Syrian Churches, London: Longman, 1846, pp. 54-135. Thos. Laurie, Assyrian Echoes of the Word. N. Y.: American Tract Soc., 1894.
H. Southgate's Visit to the Syrian Church of Mesopotamia, N.Y.: Appleton, 1844. "Syriac was the language in which our Savior conversed while upon earth, and the general language of Palestine at that day. The Greek, which was somewhat common, was certainly of later growth than the Syriac:"-A. Grant's "The Nestorians," p. 183. Syria:, is a western term for Aramaic.
111 Prior to this period, the Patriarchs were the "Heads of the Millet or nation" recognized by the Persian Emperors, the Ottoman Sultans, and the other ruling dynasties.
112 A. J. Maclean & W. H. Browne, The Catholicos of the East & His People.
London: Soc. P.C.K., 1892, pp. 11-46.
E. L. Cutts, Christians Under the Crescent. London: Soc. P.C.K., 1877, p. 201. Duff's "Harding", pp. 27-8; Lady Surma, pp. 59 ff.
113 Couling's "Luminous Religion", p. 4.
Wigram, The Assyrian Church, 100-640 A.D. London: Soc. P.C.K., 1910, p. 258. This book was written in Kurdistan and dedicated to MAR BENYAMIN, present holder of the Throne of MAR ADDAI, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church.
G. P. Badger, The Nestorians and Their Rituals, with a Narrative of a Mission to Mesopotamia & Kurdistan in 1842-44, in 2 vols. London: John Masters, 1852, vol. 1, pp. 134-81.
B. J. Kidd, The Churches of Eastern Christendom. London: The Faith Press, 1927, pp. 418 et seq.
Consult: H. Holme. The Oldest Christian Church. London, 1896. A. P. Stanley, History of the Eastern Church. N. Y.: Dutton, 1907. J. M. Neale, The Holy Eastern Church. Oxford, 1873, p. 5.
114 Bibliotheca Orientalis. Rome, 1719-28. See particularly vol. 111, Part 2. See Smith & Dwight, Missionary Researches, II, p. 186.
115 Badger's "The Nestorians," &c., p. 181. Layard's "Nineveh", &c., vol. 1, pp, 20-21, 259.
Justin Perkins, Residence of Eight Years Among the Nestorian Christians. N. Y.: Dodd, 1843, p. 175. "We shall very soon be at war, if you do not cease calling us Nestorians," remarked Mar Yuhannan, Bishop of Urmia to the author, p. 180.
Yuhannan, The Death of a Nation. N. Y.: Putnam, 1916, p. 4.
116 In 1912 Dr.. Wigram stated: "The old division continues (between the Jacobite and Nestorian, the two sister Churches) but more as a matter of convenience than of principle, and the more intelligent bishops on both sides admit that the real differences have disappeared.' ="The Cradle", p. 46, In 1919, Polos MAR SHIMUN found accommodation in the Jacobite Monastery at Mar Mattai some 20 miles northeast of Mosul in the foot-hills. Austin's "Refugee Camp", p. 60.
117 F. N. Heazell, The Woes of a Distressed Nation. London: the Faith Press, 1935, p. 24.
See E. W. McDowell's "The Ancient Nestorian Church," in the Journal of Race Development (Worcester, Mass.), July lull, pp. 67-88,
Dr, A. Grant affirmed that the evangelization of the East can be entrusted to the Assyrians alone, if they are properly aided. "The Nestorians," p. 380.
118 Eve Curie, Journey Among Warriors, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1939, pp. 98-99. Humphrey Bowman, Middle East Window. London: Longman, 1942, p. 318.