The 1960’s were critical and decisive in relation to the modern history of Assyrian nation. After the world War I and II, the Assyrian people were betrayed and left alone to mercy of their hostile overlords in the countries of the Middle East. During this period they lived in isolation within the Muslim countries including Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Syria, Turkey, and Lebanon.
In each of these countries the Assyrians lived in peace and as good industrious citizen and were very loyal to their respective government. Because of their ethnic background and Christian beliefs, on several occasions they fell victim to atrocities committed against them by the Muslim majorities. They were under further suspicion because the Muslim government thought that the Assyrians were pro-western just because they shared the same religion.
This Kind of baseless judgment against the Assyrians left them exposed to hostility and unjust reprisals. These actions not only stripped them of their economic means to earn a decent living, but also endangered their very safety and existence as a people. They were literally reduced to less than second class citizens. An example of one such incident took place in the plains of Urmia in Western Azerbaijan, A north western province of Iran where more than 50 Assyrian villages were looted by Muslim inhabitants in Azerbaijan in 1947 and left desolate. A large number of Assyrians were killed and many women were raped and taken away by force, this once prosperous community of the Urmian Assyrians lost their livelihood and were turned into miserable homeless refugees in the country where they lived as loyal subjects.
This all happened under the very eyes of the official of the government which was supposed to protect and safeguard its citizens! The Assyrians constantly lived in fear, felt unwanted, were denied their rights and were under suspicion. Fear, inferiority, unwontedness, and uncertain futures was the state in which the Assyrians lived constantly.
The 1958 revolution of Iraq overthrew the old regime and brought to power a new generation of fundamentalist Pan Arab ideology. The most dangerous movement revealed to be a threat to the very existence of the Assyrian nation in its ancestral homeland. The Baathist regime which claimed the power in Iraq after the revolution, denied the existence of people in Iraq under the name of Assyrian. Assyrians were referred to Syriac speaking Christians.
This resulted due to the absence of the Assyrian leadership that have been either terminated by assassination plots or send to exile. The Arab leadership forced the Assyrians either to embrace the Arabist national ideology. or to abandon their historical Assyrian lands and villages.
This resulted in a strong protest from the Assyrians inside as well as from outside Iraq. The Assyrian people strongly opposed this plot that was carefully being carried out in Iraq and later Syria (under Baath regime) to deny the existence of an Assyrian nation in their lands. This awaken a strong concern among the Assyrians and sparked protest within the Assyrian communities around the globe.
The Assyrian Youth Cultural Society (A.Y.C.S.) IN Iran was the first organization outside of Iraq to raise its objection. Contacts were made with the Assyrian Organizations in Europe and America, including the Assyrian American National Federation as well as few prominent Assyrians, who had helped on previous occasions. Immediate serious study began in Teheran, Iran by the leadership of the A.Y.C.S. to find a way for solving the problem the problem permanently. Under the dangerous conditions that threatened this kind of activity in Iran with its secret police, it took the A.Y.C.S. several years to make the careful studies and gather information and prepare a plan to create a system to protect the Assyrian nation from further plots.
Birth of AUA
In August 1966 the result of study was sent to all organized Assyrian organization, and to dignitaries and patriotic Assyrians around the world. For the purpose of registering this study in contemporary history of the Assyrian nation, some points of the proposal for the creation of leadership for the Assyrian people are quoted below. This letter was sent out from Iran by the A.Y.C.S. on 7/5/1966. The intelligence and depth of these studies could be judged from the following paragraph.
“The situation in the middle East has, as you know, created for the Western Powers the necessity of renewed appraisal of their long-range policies regarding the framework of the Middle East countries and their relations with each other. The Pan-Arab chauvinism has endangered the peace and the integrity of such countries as Israel, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon and the Minorities of Iraq (Assyrians, Kurds and Shiites) are seeking homogenous autonomy. This has been encouraged by non-Arab countries as well as a few of the great powers. Something should be done to invite the attention of the United States, Great Britain, France and Israel to the fact that: This is a high time to set up a federal republic of Iraq, consisting of autonomous and homogenous ethnic states.”
This country would then be, naturally and potentially, a neutral one. It would not be influenced Nasser’s ambitious pan-Arab invasianalism, thereby endangering the Persian Gulf (Iran), Eskandaroun (Turkey), the Christian Presidency of Lebanon, or outflank Israel. Thus a durable peace could be achieved for the explosive Middle East. Meanwhile the human rights of the minorities dwelling in Iraq would be restored.
The proposal letter goes as follows:
“… In your capacity you could contact U.S. State Department, French, United Kingdom, Israeli and Iranian ambassadors to the U.S. and the U.N., influential senators and elected officials for the purpose of verifying them about these points….”
To make all of these activities possible and influential the creation of the “Assyrian Universal Alliance (A.U.A.)” was suggested and all necessary steps outlined.
Based on this plan the A.U.A. was established and the first congress convened on April 13, 1968 in the Pou-France and despite many stumbling blocks and sever blows, has continued to work and serve the ultimate goal of our beloved nation. We are sure that the Almighty God will help he A.U.A. continue its mission in serving the Assyrian nation for the long years to come.
Written by: Homer Ashurian