Assyrian Organizations Ask Iraq to Recognize 1933 Massacre of Assyrians



AINA – 24/7/18

(AINA) — A coalition of four Assyrian organizations from the Unites States, Canada and Europe has sent a letter to the Iraqi government asking for official recognition of the massacre of Assyrians by the Iraqi army in August, 1933. Called the Simmele massacre, it was conducted in the Assyrian town of Simmele and its surroundings by the Iraqi army and Kurdish and Arab irregulars, between August 7 and August 11 of 1933.

Related: The 1933 Massacre of Assyrians in Simmele, Iraq

At the time massacre drew world wide attention. It also drew the attention of Raphael Lemkin, the international lawyer who was moved to coin the term “genocide” as result of the Simmele Massacre and the Turkish massacre of Assyrians, Greeks and Armenians in World War One (AINA 2007-01-15)

Related: The Assyrian Genocide

The letter, signed by the Assyrian American National Federation, The Assyrian Confederation of Europe, The Centre for Canadian-Assyrian relations and the Assyrian Policy Institute, states:

This August will mark the 85th anniversary of Iraq’s genocidal campaign targeting its Assyrian citizens. As many as 6,000 Assyrian civilians were systematically targeted and massacred on the orders of the Iraqi Army and tens of thousands of Assyrians were externally-displaced. Historical injustices against the Assyrian people in Iraq have lasting consequences that threaten their future. The Simele Massacre stands as an important reminder that crimes against humanity must not go without recognition, condemnation, and resolution.

The massacre was carried out by the Iraqi Army, led by General Bakir Sidqi, a Kurd, and Kurdish and Arab irregulars.

The letter states:

Tragically, the anniversary of the Simele Massacre now coincides with the anniversary of the Yazidi Genocide of 2014 at the hands of the Islamic State (IS), which claimed the lives of thousands of innocent Yazidis. The Yazidi people were subject to unspeakable crimes, including mass executions and sexual enslavement, and many of those who survived were forcibly displaced.

ISIS drove into the Nineveh Plains on August 7, 2014, massacring Yazidis and causing 200,000 Assyrians to flee their homes. Most have not returned. August 7 is Assyrian Memorial Day.

Related: Timeline of ISIS in Iraq
Related: Attacks on Assyrians in Syria By ISIS and Other Muslim Groups

The letter asks the Iraqi government to establish a commission to investigate the massacre and to allocate funds for a memorial for the victims of the massacre:

We also call for the establishment of an impartial historical commission that includes Assyrian scholars to investigate the archives related to the Simmele Massacre of 1933, and ask that you address biased educational curricula related to Assyrians which omit historical injustices, consequently demeaning their position in Iraqi society and denying their rightful status as an indigenous component in Iraq.Finally, we ask the Iraqi Government to allocate funds for a permanent memorial honoring the victims of the Simmele Massacre of 1933 at the massacre site in Simmele, whilst offering a dignified reburial of the human remains which continue to lie in open view. This memorial should be designed and built by Iraqi citizens of Assyrian origin selected by the community.

Mrs. Attiya Gamri, president of the Assyrian Confederation of Europe, told AINA that recognition of the massacre is necessary to address the injustices against Assyrians, which continue to this day. “There can be no peace and no future for a country without justice,” she said.

© 2018 Assyrian International News Agency.