Chaldean Federation of America asks President Bush to mention
Chaldeans in his speeches on Iraq
Detroit – Michigan January 3, 2003
In a sign of Iraqi Chaldeans’ discontent with US officials continuously ignoring the mention of their name as part of the ethnic composition of Iraqi society, the Chaldean Federation of America, an umbrella organization of 6 Detroit-based Chaldean groups, sent a message to President Bush and Secretary Powel reminding them that Chaldeans are considered the third largest Iraqi ethnic group after the Arabs and Kurds. The Chaldeans are also considered the largest non-Arab Christian group in Iraq.
This letter follows major developments within the Iraqi Chaldean community inside Iraq as well as in the Diaspora. Long lacking political representation, due to their being under continuous repression and persecution by the successive Iraqi Arab governments, Chaldeans shied away from creating their own nationalist political groups and instead opted for securing their rights by joining or establishing other Iraqi political groups. However, during the past few months, two major Chaldean organizations were created simultaneously, one in northern Iraq, Chaldean Democratic Union, and the other in the Diaspora, Chaldean National Congress.
Both those groups have geared up for a major shift in the Chaldean nationalist thinking and into creating their own political representation, which till recently was filled up by Assyrian groups, that took advantage of that vacuum and claimed representation for the Chaldeans for themselves. The Chaldeans are a community at least three times larger than the Assyrian Christians worldwide, and more than six times bigger inside Iraq proper.
Both the Chaldean Democratic Union and Chaldean National Congress are currently involved in major campaign to secure Chaldean representation in the Iraqi Opposition Follow Up and Coordination Committee, which in its current make up has no Chaldean representation at all. A fact that renders that council as a non-representative of all of Iraq’s ethnic composition, especially, not of its third largest ethnic non-Arab Christian group, the Chaldeans.
The Chaldeans were also disappointed with another issue when the final statement of the recent Iraqi Opposition meeting in London failed to refer to the Chaldeans in a clear paragraph that secures their ethnic, political, and cultural rights as was awarded other groups, like the Turkmen and Assyrians.
Currently, contacts are being made with leaders of the Iraqi Opposition demanding the correction of that imbalance in the Follow Up and Coordination Committee and the importance of including Chaldean representation in accordance to their percentage of the Iraqi population as well as to reflect their tremendous contributions to the Iraqi society that surpasses that percentage by many folds.
Chaldeans are considered the native people of Iraq, and are the direct descendents of its native Mesopotamian inhabitants in all their impressive civilizational contributions to mankind. From Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, to the most glorious era, the Chaldean civilization.
The Chaldeans converted to Christianity at the hands of St. Thomas the Apostle around 45 AD, and in that respect are considered among the earliest Christian converts in the world. That different religion than the majority of Iraq’s inhabitants resulted in tremendous persecution and massacres of those ancient people throughout the two thousands years of Christianity’s existence.
Despite the attempts of Saddam Hussein’s regime in adding some Arabized Chaldean names to his cabinet, like the current Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Mr. Tareq Aziz (changed his real Christian Chaldean name from Mikhael Hanna to a pure Arab one; Tareq Aziz, so as to be accepted by other Iraqis). Despite that, the Iraqi President, and during the well-publicized campaign of Anfal against the Kurds in 1988, destroyed hundreds of Chaldean villages and churches. Some of those churches and monasteries were built more than 1400 years ago like the Monastery of Mar Qayoma in BerwariBala, and two 1300 years old; the Monastery of Mar Khanana and the church of Mar Qeryaqos, both in the Nerwa area.
To read the complete letter of the Chaldean Federation of America to President George Bush, please, click on this link:
Chaldean Federation of America Letter to President George Bush
For the version to Secretary Collin Powel, please, click on this link:
Chaldean Federation of America Letter to Secretary Collin Powel
Chaldean News Agency
Chaldean News Agency