Originally written in Arabic by Ashur Giwargis – Beirut
English Translation by Mary Challita
"A lie can run around the world before the truth can get its boots on” - James Watt
History is an established fact, which can not be garbled even by thousands of beards and baggy trousers, while logic is a "concept" which can change depending on each individual or group understands of a given subject, and this is where “debate” begins.
In the following lines, we are going to discuss the Assyrophobia counting on logic and not only history, according to our understanding of the Assyrian identity issue which reflected a “Chaldeanism” without researching but as a mere reaction to Assyrian nationalism, even though it was too late. This reaction developed over the last two years into articles, opinions, associations and political parties which began to believe their claims regardless of who is behind them, which in turn has created a precious time wasting nuisance in our political society which could have been used in fateful issues concerning the Assyrian nation.
Hence, our discussion is about an issue that never existed but it was made recently so that we waste our time today by proving the Assyrian identity of a large portion of our brethren who were misled by the clergy’s corruption and conspiracies of strangers, while the naïve are not concerned except to see the name of their church next to the Assyrian national name in the Kurdo-Islamic constitution of Iraq forgetting that their fate in Occupied Assyria is at stake at the hands of those who created their modern nationalism, but as is the case with logic which we mentioned before, pride and dignity also have a different definition for each individual or group depending on their level of comprehension and education …
We can not just standby watching what our Chaldean Church clergy are saying specially in national affairs, otherwise any one can hold meetings and come up with decisions regarding the nature of Christ, the Trinity or any other spiritual affairs… Due to the abnormal practices of some clergy and the mercenary collaboration of some Assyrian politicians with strangers, this dangerous disease is expanding to wrongly understand the Assyrian identity by the Catholic community as being a sectarian one identifying only the followers of the Church of the East. Hence, since Yonadam Kanna’s electoral carnival in October 2003, we noticed an increase in the provocation campaigns against the Assyrian identity but despite the naivety of these campaigns, there are simpletons who are reading and generations being corrupted in order to satisfy the desires of a foolish writer who wanted to compensate his lost years in a silly Baath, a defeated communism or a humiliating Kurdism.
Our dependence on history (when a must) is on what the Catholic clergy themselves say, in order to avoid any sensitivities for the reader who is not used to hear the truth, the truth which must play a fundamental role in the lines of any letter or article written by responsible people. The story of the birth of the Chaldean name may at first glance seem to the Assyrian Catholic reader as marginalization or hatred, but reading history from a pure scientific, rationale perspective far from sectarianism and emotions, only then he’ll realize the extent of humiliation that he has accepted over the centuries, since the “Chaldean” name was imposed by foreigners, and we can summarize that in few lines:
Prior to the Catholic missionaries infiltration in the Middle East during the fourteenth century, signs of the persecution of the Church of the East began from the Pope’s office in the Vatican where massacres and persecution were prepared for every corner in the world where France, Portugal and Spain were in control, we can say that not even one Catholic Church was established in the East from Egypt to the Philippines except with pressure, massacres and starvation under the supervision of the Vatican, its Popes and Cardinals. The most prominent of these Churches is the Chaldean Church itself, the characteristics of this had begun in Cyprus when Pope John Paul XXII (1316-1334) gave his instructions to the Patriarch of Jerusalem that “Nestorians and Jacobites must be eradicated from Cyprus with any means possible” 
Two centuries later, the followers of the Church of the East in Cyprus turned into “Chaldeans” by force during the time of Pope Julius III (1550-1555) which means that the Eastern Catholics specially those who were called by the Pope “Chaldeans” were mere “victims of Catholicism” more than being “Catholics” since Catholicism wasn’t brought through preaching but through terror and humiliation. As a direct example we quote the explorer Henry Layard describing the ugly scene of Catholic “proselytism” (Chaldeanism) in the north of Iraq as an eye witness in the 1840’s, specifically in the village of Be-Bozeh annexed to Amediya district, Layard said  :
"... We continued our advance towards Amediya reaching the Chaldean village of Be-bozeh at the top of a high mountain … There were ten houses overlooking a deep valley, its inhabitants were all poor, but they warmly welcomed us, they are Nestorian Assyrians, who were forced to convert to Catholicism". Layard continues his account describing what they saw as they reached the village’s Church: "There were pictures in ugly colors of Virgin Mary and Saints on the walls with Latin writing not suitable for this place. I asked them about the pictures, they answered: Following our priest’s death, Archbishop Yousif the Catholic  came to us he hung those pictures on the walls and asked us to kneel before them, but we removed the pictures from the walls and the answer of Mahmoud Agha of the Mezzouri kurds, was to order his men to beat us until canes were broken on our legs, that is why we left the pictures on the walls, and we are forced to listen to Archbishop Yousif’s sermons who comes to the village protected by the Kurds …”
Archbishop Youssif Odo and his French colleagues continued this policy (barbering Kurdish leaders) even during his Patriarchate (1847-1878) throughout Assyria (north of Iraq) to the areas of Barwari and Sapna whereby humiliation was used to Catholicize followers of the Church of the East  and the descendants of those are known today as "Chaldeans".
This is the "preaching" through which the name “Chaldean” came and was imposed on a large segment of the Church of the East, thus the Kurds became the angels who evangelized the ancestors of Mar Delly, Sarhad Jammo and Ibrahim Ibrahim with beatings and humiliation, and if today’s Chaldeans clearly understood Layard’s account mentioned above, they would have regained their respect by returning back to their Mother Church, the Church of the East, as did some of the clergy and followers of this denomination, but in anticipation for the conscience of the Catholic intellectuals to awaken we see that some of the descendants of the victims of Catholicism (Chaldeanism) began to backstab their nation even more.
The sectarian motive shall remain the fuel in the hands of clergy to promote anti-nationalism, and since the Assyrian liberation movement began from the Church of the East under the leadership of the Patriarchal family, then for sure the Assyrian name will be hated by the Chaldean Church clergy in addition to Assyrophobia due to the degenerate societies surrounding them faced by the Assyrian liberal trend which rejected humiliation (in its beginnings). This fear presented itself for the Catholic Assyrians (Chaldeans) during several stages since the beginning of the Assyrian liberation movement in 1915, when the Chaldean Catholic Church’s role was to be the postman for Catholic France and its tool the Vatican, this is attested by the attempts to Catholicize the Assyrians directly following WWI while the Assyrians were still suffering the consequences of the massacres, that’s when Assyrian Catholic clergy would be sent to convince Catholic leaders to leave the Assyrian line in order to join the (imaginary) French project which was supposedly to transport the Assyrians from Iraq to Syria in 1919 granting them an (imaginary) self rule, and all this was done to weaken the British mandate on Iraq due to the conflict on dividing the remnants of the Ottoman Empire following its fall 
Assyrophobia was repeated in Iraq during the massacres carried out in 1933 by the Iraqi government against the Assyrian people, when about 5000 un-armed individuals who took refuge in the Assyrian Catholic town of Alqush known for its people’s courage throughout history. However, the Chaldean Church opposed their stay and requested them to leave on the basis of flyers which were thrown by British and Iraqi aircrafts, the Church wasn’t deterred except by Alqush’s inhabitants who revolted against the Church and the Iraqi government in defense of the refugees, which forced the Chaldean Patriarch to write to the Vatican asking to stop the massacre following communications with the British mandate to avoid a massacre against the “Catholics”.  That’s when Pope Pius VI sent a telegram to the British mandate asking to end the problem peacefully.
Thus, "Assyrophobia" is a psychological state that reflects a disguised negative reaction to the emergence of a national liberation movement which spread in the beginning of WWI (beginning of the Assyrian Liberation Movement) when the word “Assyrian” began to an extent to mean for both the Syrian and Chaldean churches “Rebellion against the Sultan”, adding to this, the Assyrian name was to be adopted by the Church of The East, the ideological adversary of both the Coptic and Vatican theology …
Assyrophobia contributed along side external plots (Kurdish parties instructions to some clergy and Catholic members in their parties) by creating a “nationalistic” in addition to an already-created sectarian barrier, which will be difficult to break without courage; the courage of Assyrian Catholic intellectuals, and not the poor guy who calls himself “Suraya” without understanding the meaning of the word.
Catholic (or Chaldean) intellectuals have the leading role to face the deception of the clergy since the inception of the Chaldean Church. The honest Catholic Assyrians have begun to face Assyrophobia in both the Assyrian and Iraqi media from within the Catholic society itself. Hopefully, the rest of those who are confused and still stutter with sectarian names when they mention the name of their nation would also take their role.
Assyrian nationalism is both nationalistic and ethnic, it’s both a nation and a nationality, but it’s not a “race” since it is primarily subjected to the “cultural” factor just like any other nation or ethnicity in the world. What is important is that the Assyrian identity continues with its Assyrian culture, traditions, and geography regardless of the race which revives it, this concept came to be known as the “Revivalist Nationalism” in the beginnings of European nationalism in the 19th century 
According to this concept it is possible for any one to belong to the Assyrian nation as long as they belong to the following Assyrian national factors without exceptions:
- Assyrian Land
- Assyrian Culture (language, traditions)
- Assyrian history
Some of our brethren are taking “national feeling” as a pretext and that is a silly joke which was refuted by scientists for obvious reasons, as a simple example we shall discuss the situation within the Assyrian Catholic Church (Chaldean Church), for if we go back few years we will see the late Mar Raphael Bidawid proudly admitting his Assyrian nationality even during the Baath regime, while today’s Patriarch “feels” that he is of a “Chaldean” nationality, and as such the Church’s position changes depending on the period of time often related to the Patriarch’s regional affiliation, that is why the sons of Sapna, Aradin and Alqosh are not allowed to ascend to the “Chaldean” Patriarchate even if that may one day lead to a division in the Church, the important thing to some is that whoever may be a proud Assyrian someday, shouldn’t ascend to the Patriarchate … This shall remain to be the case within the hierarchy of the Chaldean Church for years to come.
Hence, “Chaldeanism” is a fluctuating mood, for example in Patriarch Delly’s case, he did not mention in his doctoral thesis in 1958 the word “Chaldean Church” but rather “Church of Assyria” or “Church of Adiabene” or “Church of the East” and in the same thesis he says:
“It seems that the word Chaldean was given by Pope Eugene IV in 1445 to a group of Christians from Mesopotamia who were on the island of Cyprus during the Lateran synod, but prior to this date there were Assyrian Patriarchs and Archbishops in the land of Assyria…” 
In other words, Patriarch Delly "felt" in 1958 that he must tell the truth for the success of his thesis, but in the year 2003 and beyond, he "felt" that he had to refute what he had said in 1958. Thus, in the opinion of the theorists of “Chaldeanism”, the Assyrian people have to take into consideration the feelings of Patriarch Delly at every period and change the history of the “Chaldean” name according to Barzan’s  as well as the Vatican’s whims 
As the Vatican and Kurds worked on creating Catholicism inside the Assyrian society, they are working today on establishing a new “Chaldean Nationalism” for the Catholic Assyrians, hence the establishment of political parties under the sectarian “Chaldean” name financially supported by Arabism money in Detroit and San Diego, the Kurdish gangs (electoral lists) and the Vatican (Church conferences coming up with national slogans). However, popularity wise they are weak because the Catholic representation under the national pretext always comes before the Iraqi official politics at Kurdish hands, while during elections a large segment of the Assyrian Catholic (Chaldean) voters go back to their communist and Kurdist background and do not care about all that has to do not only with the Assyrian nationalism, but Chaldeanism heresy as well.
We find the same moodiness amongst the Syrian Patriarchs, such as Patriarch Elias III Shaker (1916 - 1932) who was a Turkist Christian, but he was exiled to India, Mar Afram Barsoum (1933-1957) began as an enthusiastic Assyrian during his days as an Archbishop, then he became an Arameanist as he became a Patriarch to end up an Arabist nicknamed “Priest of Arabs” and he died as an Arab, as for the present Patriarch Zakka Iwas, he is even envied by the Baath for his Arabism even though his real name is “Sennacherib” (Sanharib) and he descends of an Assyrian family from the heart of Assyria.
The reason why both the Syrian and Chaldean Churches deny the Assyrian identity isn’t that the Church of the East has officially adopted the Assyrian name in its title (Assyrian Church of The East) in 1976 as some of the comic compound name advocates claim, because even before that date, the aforementioned two churches were denying the nationality of their followers, even more they were Arabized churches and that caused the loss of many Assyrians, such as what happened in the towns of Tel-Keif [Tel Kepeh] (Chaldeans) and Bakhdeeda (Syrians) whose many of their inhabitants followed Arabism encouraged by both the Chaldean and Syrian Churches.
Despite all this, we still see some of those “Chaldeanism” enthusiasts spread ideas without knowledge of history and the issue is one of provocation rather than logic and conviction. The most basic questions for those are: Who are the Patriarchs, "the Assyrians of good race" that the poet Giwargis of Arbil (13th century A.D.) speaks of in his canticle about the Patriarchs of the East ??? (Translation below) and who were the “Chaldean” Patriarchs during their days?
A canticle about the Patriarchs of the East
(The Poet Giwargis Warda of Arbil , 13th century A.D.)
- Translated from Assyrian to Arabic by the writer –
The outstanding works of Johannes, and John son of the Abgars*
Abraham the intelligent, and Emmanuel the interpreter
Israel of Karakh, and Mar Abd-Eshoo of Jarmaq
Mar Mari the Assyrian, of good race and ancestry
Mar Johannes II and Mar Youkhanna the Blessed
Mar Eshoo-Yahb the zealous, renowned in the church
Mar Elia I of Terhan **, who was chosen a proud symbol on the apostolic throne
And John son of the city of peace, the esteemed writer who never errs
Sabr-Eshoo the meek, who was chosen from the highest
Abd-Eshoo the Assyrian, of the venerate race
Who served the Holy See of Souba ***, and ascended to the Apostolic See
Mar Makeekha the zealous, the just and good man
Who advanced in Assyria until he ascended to the Patriarchate according to law
And Elia the Glorious, brought up by the teachers
In Assyria, where knowledge emanated, He was placed amongst the righteous
And Bar Sawma with his outstanding works, from the beautiful Souba
Showed great works and generously spread amongst us his teachings
Abd-Eshoo the chosen vessel, from Assyria the splendid country.
* King Abgar Dynasty of Edessa (Urhay)
** Terhan: Today’s Samarra - Iraq
*** Souba: That is Nisibin (Nisibis) and Mar Abd-Eshoo (Audisho) is the author of “Al- Murjana” (Marganita) [The Pearl] which explains the faith of the Church of the East and refutes false claims against it.
In addition to all that has been mentioned and even though there are many documents which prove the Assyrian identity and its continuity over others, and despite the detailed explanation in several languages regarding the odd names which were given to some factions of the Assyrian people, however, some misguided brethren and some of those who like to stir trouble, they will continue to write for the sake or writing and filling their time. In the end, it’s un useful whether the ostrich opens or shuts its eyes since it is going to stick its head in the sand to escape the truth surrounding it.
All that we have to do today is to embrace our Catholic brethren who have nothing to do with the church or politics, to accept and spread awareness amongst them until the Assyrian people are able to find the appropriate solutions to remove the internal obstacles by getting rid of those causing them, no matter how harsh the solutions may be.
For more information regarding the Assyrian identity and the nomenclature, please click on the following link (September 2005) : http://www.nineveh.com/TheAssyrianidentityandthenomenclature.html
1. "History of the Chaldean Church" pp.106 - Cardinal Eugene Taysaran, Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Eastern Church in Vatican.
2. Layard, Henry. In Search of Nineveh, translation by Dr. Michael Abdullah, pp. 19, Arabic edition by Sargon Publishing House
3. Yousif Odo, was the Bishop of Amadiya in 1825 and Patriarch of the Chaldean Church in 1847.
4. Folded pages in the history of the Chaldean Church. The late historian Dr. Hermis Aboona (Assyrian from Alqosh - Iraq, of the Aboona Patriarchal family).
5. Giwargis, Ashur. The Assyrian Liberation Movement and the French intervention (1919 - 1922) [A research paper].
6. Giwargis, Ashur. “Alqush … Alqush bow your head in shame before Younis”, (article in Zinda Magazine: Apr/08/2007 ).
7. The basic concept of nationalism, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
8. “Facts during Archbishop Times and blasphemy during Patriarchal times". Qashat Ayoub, in reference to Archbishop Delly’s thesis: “Patriarchal Institution in the Church of the East”, pp. 174, Baghdad, 1958
9. The establishment of the first Assyrian party operating under the Chaldean name, during a meeting of the Kurdish “democratic” party in 1999 whereby instructions were forwarded to the Kurdist Assyrian Abdul Ahad Afram, member of the central committee, to establish a “Chaldean” party named The Chaldean “Democratic” Union, thus began the formation of other political parties under the sectarian “Chaldean” name. However, their popularity is weak and it has no importance except for the Kurds.
10. The imposition of the Chaldean name on the Assyrian nation following an invitation to the Vatican where Yonadam Kanna, Bishops Sarhad Jammo and Ibrahim Ibrahim were present, then an “Iraqi Christian” conference convened in Baghdad and the outcome was a combined name of “two nations” under the designation of one “Christian” name “Chaldo Assyrian”.
Other related articles on Nineveh On Line
- The Chaldeans, Facts and Fiction
- History of the Chaldean Church. A Confusion of Religion With Ethnicity
- Chaldeans or Catholic Assyrians !
- Mandaeans: The True Descendents of Ancient Babylonians and Chaldeans