Letter From 19,000 Assyrians to Turkey: Do Not Touch St. Gabriel Monastery
Open Letter From 19,000 Assyrians to Turkey: Do Not Touch St. Gabriel Monastery
Posted GMT 2-4-2009 23:52:47
The group "Aktion Mor Gabriel" in Germany, held a
protest demonstration in Berlin (AINA 1-27-2009)
against Turkey's attempts to confiscate the Mor
Gabriel Monastery. According to official figures
from the Berlin police, more than 19 000 people
gathered. It is undoubtedly the largest Assyrians demonstration ever in Europe.
Buses filled with young, old, men and women from
Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Austria, and from
several cities in Germany emptied outside the
magnificent cathedral, the Berliner Dom. In an
hour the cathedral's park area turned to a
meeting place for Assyrians from all over Europe.
Just a stone's throw from the gathering is the
Pergamon Museum. Inside the museum you can watch
the impressive Babylonian procession street,
built by the Assyrian king Nebuchadnezzar II
(604-562 BC). Lions in the relief walking along
the procession street's blue and ocher colored
glazed walls towards the mighty gate of Ishtar.
They are witnesses of a great past and have seen
many generations of Assyrians come and go.
The contrast in Berlin
Inside the Pergamon Museum, you can watch the
Babylonian procession street and the gate of
Ishtar, one of ancient history's most unique
remains from the great Assyrian empire, while
outside, a stone's throw from the museum you are
met by today's brutal truth, where the remains of
the Assyrian empire protest against Turkey's
attempt to confiscate the Mor Gabriel Monastery,
which has become a symbol of the Christian
Assyrians since it was built in 397 A.D.
Before the protest march was moving towards its
final destination, the Syriac Orthodox Church
Archbishop of Germany, Julio Hanna Aydin, made a short speech.
- I am extremely pleased to see so many young
people involved in the Mor Gabriel issue. I am
overwhelmed with joy to see all of our
organizations, regardless of name, flags and
colors. It is the day of unity, said Bishop Hanna Aydin.
Under the leadership of Bishop Hanna Aydin the
crowd prayed the lord's prayer, after that the
demonstrators began to move towards the
Brandenburg Tor, the arch of triumph that has
become the symbol of a free, democratic and
reunited Germany, where several demonstration speeches would be held.
Berlin's main avenue, Unter den Linden, was
closed for car traffic for the demonstration.
This avenue which is Berlin's cultural and
political center is heavily visited by tourists.
Some curious tourists asked the organizers in yellow vests what it is about.
The demonstration took the march from the
Berliner Dom at Pariser Platz to the Brandenburg
Gate in one hour. "Do not touch the Mor Gabriel" the crowd scanted all the way.
The list of speakers consisted of representatives
from various organizations, Assyrian, Armenian,
German Evangelical Church representatives, other
coreligionists and human rights activists. Also
the authors Yelda Özcan and Recep Marasli showed
their solidarity and gave speeches during the demonstration.
The line of argument in the speakers' message was
that Turkey should stop harassing the Assyrians.
Most speakers noted that the feudal system is a
problem and the village guards armed with
government weapons are raging freely and
terrorizing the Assyrians in the area. The
Turkish State which has started this systematic
state terror by using Kurdish clans and village
guards has to immediately stop it if they want to
belong to the civilized world, emphasized the majority of speakers.
History is present
A few hundred meters south of the Brandenburg
Gate, where 19 000 Assyrians were assembled, the
Holocaust Mahnmal, a monument to the Holocaust,
which covers a 19 000 m2 area in the middle of
Berlin's most central neighborhoods. The monument
was built as an unforgettable symbol of the crime
that Nazi Germany had committed against the
city's once flourishing Jewish community.
Turkey, however, does the contrary, and responds
to its dark history in an entirely different way.
Just a few kilometers from the demonstration site
is Hardenberg Strasse, the street where the
genocide architect of Seyfo, Talat Pasha, was
killed in March 15, 1921 by an Armenian survivor
of the genocide. Seyfo-genocide was staged by the
young Turks under the direction of among others
Talat Pasha. The current Turkish government
continues its policies in the same spirit. With
its aggression and its harassment of the
Assyrians and other Christians in the country,
the Turkish state shows that even today they follow in Talat Pashas footsteps.
Turkey seems to have difficulties to put up with
the fact that there are a couple of thousand
Assyrians left in Turabdin, the origin area of
the Assyrians, and that they have a monastery in
the area, although they already have eradicated
several hundred thousand of them during the Seyfo
genocide. Turkey wants to erase the last remains
and to complete the genocide that Talat Pasha and
the young Turks began in the shadow of the First
World War. A country which does not recognize its
crimes and apologize for them is always prone to
commit the same crimes against humanity. Learn
from Germany, Turkey! Dare to face your dark history and make up with it!
By Dikran Ego