This is an edited version of an article published on the Assyrian Christians website on 26 March 2003.
This story will probably upset everybody
- those with whom I have fought for peace
all my life and those for whom the decision
for war comes a bit too fast.
I am an Assyrian. I was born and raised
in Japan where I am the second generation
in Christian ministry after my Father
came to Japan in answer to General Douglas
Macarthur's call for 10,000 young people
to help rebuild Japan following the war.
As a minister and due to my personal
convictions I have always been against
war for any and all reasons. It was precisely
this moral conviction that led me to do
all I could to stop the current war in
As an Assyrian I was told the story
of our people from a young age. How my
grandparents had escaped the great Assyrian
Holocaust in 1917 settling finally in
Currently there are about six million
Assyrians - approximately 1.2 million
in Iraq and the rest scattered in the
Assyrian Diaspora across the world.
Without a country or rights even in
our native land it has been the prayer
of generations that the Assyrian Nation
would one day be restored and the people
of the once-great Assyrian Empire would
once again have a home.
With that feeling, together with supplies
for our Church and family, I went to Iraq
to do all I could to help make a difference.
The feeling as I crossed the border
was exhilarating. "Home at last,"
I thought, as I would for the first time
visit the land of my forefathers.
The kindness of the border guards when
they learned I was Assyrian, the taxi,
the people on the street it was like being
back 'home' after a long absence.
Now I finally know myself! The laid-back,
relaxed atmosphere, the kindness to strangers,
the food, the smells, the language all
seemed to trigger a long-lost memory somewhere
in my deepest DNA.
The first order of business was to attend
Church. It was here that I was first forced
to examine my morals in the harsh light
of reality. Following a beautiful service
to welcome the Peace Activists, we moved
to the next room to have a simple meal.
Sitting next to me was an older man
who carefully began to sound me out. Apparently
feeling the freedom to talk in the midst
of the mingling crowd he suddenly turned
to me and said: "There is something
you should know."
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