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I was wrong, Iraqis want the war so they can be rid of Saddam

By Ken Joseph - posted Tuesday, 8 April 2003


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.

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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 Iraq.

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 Chicago.

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.

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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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This is an edited version of an article published on the Assyrian Christians website on 26 March 2003.



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About the Author

Ken Joseph Jr. is an Assyrian, a minister and was born, raised and resides in Japan where he directs AssyrianChristians.com, the Japan Helpline and the Keikyo Institute.

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