Assyrians Protest Iraqi Election With Crucifixion, Fast in New York
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New York (AINA) -- Yosip Betkolia, a 47 year old Assyrian Christian assisted by Rev. Ken Joseph of Baghdad and Mr. John Pirali of San Jose, California are engaging in a historical Assyrian Christian sacrament known as the 'Rogation of Nineveh' commemorating the coming of Jonah to Nineveh - present day Mosul, Iraq and calling on the Assyrians to repent. Beginning on Friday, January 28, 2005 Yosip Betkolia and Rev. Joseph have crucified themselves on the cross and fasting to protest the condition of the Assyrian people in Iraq, and the failure of the Iraqi election registration process. The current intolerant climate of Middle East toward the Christians is forcing the Assyrian Christians of the region to emigrate. The Indigenous people of Iraq are being decimated by a systematic campaign of terror, kidnapping, murder and bombing fueled by religious fanaticism. In the past century over two-third of the Assyrian population was massacred. The remnant of this smallest British ally of WWI having suffered post-war retributions and massacres has been forced to scatter around the globe residing in over 30 countries.

The usurped Iraqi election has disenfranchised the Assyrian people by subverting their participation in this democratic achievement. The Out-of-Iraq voter registration process is a failed operation ruined by the United Nation and its business partner the International Organization of Immigration (IOM). Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi expatriates have not been able to participate in this election. The United Nation's shameful electoral system called 'proportional representation' has excluded the majority of the ethnic minority people of Iraq from fair representation. The 'proportional representation' method is a 'winner take all' system. This is against the 'constituent based' system of representative government. There is no doubt that this system will fail to get all Iraqis involved and is a setup by the UN to create the islamic republic of Iraq.

'I am grateful to the Americans for liberating Iraq and giving Iraqi people hope for a prosperous future, says Betkolia. The American people have sacrificed over 1400 brave men and women to bring the gift of freedom and democracy to Iraq. They have the right to know about the failure of United Nation in Iraq, and must demand that the United States government ensure the security and freedom of ethnic and religious minorities in a federal Iraq, with equal representation in future political processes. Mr. Pirali said 'I am worried about the state of my relatives in Northern Iraq.'

They will crucify themselves on the cross and fast to protest the condition of the Assyrian people in Iraq, and the failure of the Iraqi election registration process. 'Our deep concern is that the failed election process engineered by the United Nations will give legitimacy to an illegitimate government. We have only one simple demand - give our people as they are guaranteed under the Iraqi Constitution the Assyrian Administrative Area in Northern Iraq. Do it now. The south of Iraq will collapse into confusion as is normal for Arab countries but our area will succeed.' said Rev. Joseph. The only apparent problem with the crucifixion in front of the United Nations? The extreme cold - Jesus definitely did not wear a down parka and leather shoes on the cross.

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