Commentary: It Is Up To Us!  The Leaders Have Failed!


By Ken Joseph Jr.

Baghdad, Iraq - I sat in the Inauguration Ceremony room, first enduring a long winded, completely unacceptable and out of place sermon and long winded prayer by a moslem mullah who seemed to be wearing tennis shoes.

 Not much I could do in protest - but thank God I can still cough! I coughed and coughed and coughed as long as the sermon and prayer went on and at least a sizeable number of the crowd I hope could not hear.

 I looked around the room - surely Mar Gewargis would be there and Mar Addai and the others . . .but it was not to be! Not one was there!

 Shortly before I went up to Rabi Yako and asked how things were! The regular `everything is ok!` didnít seem to have the regular conviction.

 Then I waited through the long winded speeches of Mr. Brahimi and the President. Listening clearly to be able to hear when they mentioned the Assyrians - after all the indigenous people of Iraq - the Original people of Iraq. They would have prime mention in each speech. I waited and waited and waited . . . the speeches were over!

 Nobody had even mentioned the word `Assyrian` - the had said `Kurds`, `others`, but not even a mention of the word Assyrian!

 What was going on?

 Now, for what we had been waiting for!

 There would of course be one among the five officials,  who would be an Assyrian. Deputy President? Deputy Prime Minister? I wonder which one?

 I waited and waited and waited . . . They were finished and none!

 There must be some mistake! Nothing!

 Next they began to name the various ministers. I cheered up! Well, then there must be a couple ministries - three or four? Maybe the Minister of Transportation again, Trade etc.

 I waited and waited and waited and waited and suddenly there she was! It was Pascale! She was a Minister! And then it was all over.

 Out of 32 Ministries just one! Well, pretty bad, but it must be a good one then. `What is the Ministry` I asked . . .

 `Ministry of Emigration` . .

 I stood still in my tracks?

 `Ministry of Emigration`

 After the long nightmare of Sadaam doing all he could to have Assyrians emigrate, we would not accept the `Ministry of Emigration` even if it was offered to us, right?

 `Oh my God` I said to myself . .  it was true!

 It could not have been worse! Even no Ministry would be better than that! The ultimate in ridicule!

 Then I began to speak to the Assyrians!

 `Shame!` was all they could say!

 `We have been betrayed` said another!

 `It is over!` another commented

 `The message to us? Leave and we will help you!`

 I sat there in the hall in Baghdad on a hot, dusty afternoon in what could only be termed a nightmare. Not once in any speech did any say `thank you` to the Americans for liberating their country, getting rid of Sadaam and embarking on a reconstruction program the likes of which have not been seen in a generation.

 Not one word of the Assyrians, the original people o Iraq - not even a mention!

 And the final humiliation - the Ministry of Emigration!

 Total and complete failure! There may be excuses, explanations, but to every Assyrian living in Iraq the message was clear - our leaders have totally and completely failed. We are alone.

 What will we do? Abandon them? Send a little money to ease the conscience? There is just under a month left to make a difference.

 The nightmare is not next year, next month, but now.

 Total and complete failure!

 Will the Assyrians all over the world finally wake up? The enemy is not outside - the enemy is within! Will this total and complete failure even under the Americans finally cause them to open their eyes?

 One of the Assyrian leaders said it `the only hope is for the Americans. We cannot do anything here, but they can in Washington`.

 I just spent nearly one month in Washington and met with nearly all the Senators on the Armed Service Committee, the Foreign Relations committee, Secretary Rumsfield, Armitage, and in Baghdad with Mr. Brahimi, and each of the new Government Ministers except for one.

 To each carefully explaining the case of the Assyrians. Is there hope? Yes there is! In spite of the failure not one American or Iraqi government official disagreed on the idea of an area for the Assyrians - not one! The usual reaction?

 `If the Kurds can have one why not the Assyrians - why have you not said anything before?`

 So the truth is out! Not only have our leaders in Iraq failed us, but those in the US too! Now what do we do? In this issue I have carefully noted the fax numbers, addresses and other information for the key people in the US Government.


 Please take a moment after your anger has subsided and write a nice letter demanding an Assyrian Regional Government in Iraq and fax it to them. And then take a moment and pray that God will, in the last remaining days before June 30th do a miracle!

`If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face than will I hear from heaven and will give them the land`  II Chronicles 7:14

It is up to us!


Rev. Ken Joseph Jr. is an Assyrian and directs in Baghdad, Iraq and is currently writing a book on his experience in Iraq entitled `I Was Wrong.`  Please reply to