OFFICIAL STATEMENT REGARDING ARMENIAN, ASSYRIAN, AND GREEK GENOCIDE COMMEMORATION
Toronto, ON – April 24, 2018
On behalf of the Centre for Canadian-Assyrian Relations and the Assyrian community of Canada, I would like to extend our continued support to all those fighting to seek recognition of the horrific atrocities committed against the Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks during the genocide of 1915.
1915 will forever be remembered as “Seyfo” (or year of the sword). While it is estimated that the number of Assyrians killed by the Turkish and Kurdish swords were more than 100,000 (some scholars estimating as high as 250,000), the systematic ethnic cleansing of the Assyrians from their ancestral homelands resulted in well over a million being displaced from their homes. Thousands more would die from starvation and disease fleeing the genocide.
However, the Assyrians that survived the 1915 genocide would soon face another massacre only 18 years later. In 1933, a second mass killing of Assyrians took place in Iraq. Known as the “Simele Massacre”, it resulted in the killing of nearly 6000 Assyrian men and women in clashes with the Kingdom of Iraq lead by the Kurdish General Bakr Sidqi. Once again, the Assyrians faced massacre.
Today, history has repeated itself. Every year at this time we shout “NEVER AGAIN!” and yet the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud and all of its history has been destroyed by ISIS. Assyrian villages along the Khabour river in Syria, which were full of life and hope a few short years ago, are left emptied and destroyed. The Assyrian population in Iraq which numbered over 800,000 in 2003 is estimated to be around 300,000 today.
Just like in 1915 and 1933, the Assyrians have faced another genocide. And just like 1915 and 1933, nothing has been done about it. Why have our elected officials rejected the facts? Why have they covered their ears to the testimonies from witnesses and survivors of the genocides? Why have they turned their backs on a community desperate for survival?
Our shared struggle and fight for recognition is what bonds the Assyrians with our brothers and sisters in the Armenian and Greek communities. It is our hope, that with a united voice, our politicians can hear our cries and maybe, just maybe, “NEVER AGAIN” will truly mean NEVER AGAIN!
May God bless all the victims of the genocide and may He bring light into the hearts of those who choose to ignore them.
Aneki Nissan, President