I- Dialectic of the Contemporary
Observing the Chaldeans Themselves:
A fair observer
must conclude that Chaldeans of our generation are enduring a
situation of regress and fragmentation; the main reason and
cause is the general Chaldean attitude toward themselves,
reflected particularly by their own leaders and hierarchs in
their guidance to their flocks. Humanly, it is much easier to
follow the current waves, submit to the tyrants, lapse into
laziness, becoming followers of the mighty, beggars from the
rich, and mercenaries to the rulers. In concrete terms: having
ourselves neglected our forefathers’ cultural and ecclesial
treasures, the dignity of our call, the greatness of our civil
and religious heritage, resorting to borrow concepts and
practices from nations and churches, we have become available to
the outsiders' conquest.
This is where we
Ecclesiastically: Our Patriarchal Seminary, our
monasteries and convents, our clergy and parishes, our
liturgies and religious culture are heavily Latinized,
Arabized, Syrianized, Kurdishized, or anything else except
being genuinely and proudly Chaldean.
Civilly: Our people and lay institutions, by their own
weakness and under the influence of our ecclesiastic
hierarchs and institutions, have chosen to a large extent to
neglect and disregard their national identity, their
language, their rights and their dignity. For many
Chaldeans, enlisting and serving as Arab, Kurd,
Communist...etc. was and remains a practiced endeavor.
Assyrian Factor: Assyria is an important region of
Mesopotamia, and for several centuries succeeded in becoming
a mighty empire, with Nineveh as its capital. As such,
Assyria is an important segment of Mesopotamia at large and
of the Chaldean heritage which succeeded it. Recognizing
that solid historic fact and appreciating it should be the
obvious attitude of every knowledgeable Chaldean. The point
is that the colonial offices of the British Empire, in
collaboration with the missionaries of the Archbishop of
Canterbury, misused this historic reference, cutting it from
its context, and employed it to consolidate the split inside
the Chaldean church and people, by promoting an "Assyrian"
identity, distinct and separate from the Chaldean, for their
own imperial purposes.
In the past
three decades, while the Chaldeans were presenting their
services to the ruling parties of Iraq, Assyrian political
parties and organizations were offering their zealous loyalty to
different regional powers, mostly to Kurdistan, ending up with
the adoption of a formula ("Chaldean Syriac Assyrian") that
dilutes substantially any serious national meaning and claim,
reducing it to the acceptance of submission to the mighty in
exchange for protection and personal gain.
the Arab-Muslim majority of Iraq:
Chaldeans with official respect and appreciation, but an
activist fanatic minority of them persist in persecuting
Chaldeans, and other Christians, for the past several decades,
pushing them to flee their ancestral land in continuous waves of
exodus, ending up with the majority of Chaldeans settling in
western countries, 200,000 of them in the USA alone.
the Kurdish sizable minority of Iraq:
physical security to Chaldeans and other Christians in the
Kurdistan Region, they deny Chaldeans their basic national
rights, submitting them to serve the Kurdish national agenda.
They have already succeeded in making many Chaldean and Assyrian
parties and activists their own mercenaries.
Who are the Contemporary Chaldeans?
Chaldeans are: a) the descendants and main remnant of the
ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia: the Sumerians, the Akkadians,
the Babylonians, the Assyrians, and most of all the Chaldeans.
b) Their language is the Chaldean, i.e. the vernacular,
Aramaic of Mesopotamia, being in continuous use for the past
3000 years until the present time. c) They are the heirs of
successive Mesopotamian civilizations, particularly of its
spiritual heritage, as represented by the Patriarch Abraham of
Ur of the Chaldeans, and as frequently referred to in the Holy
Scriptures both the Old and the New Testament, as embodied as
well, in regard to Christian heritage, in the Chaldean Catholic
Church of the East.
authenticity of the Chaldean nomenclature and its substance are
based on the following historic facts:
Aramaic linguistic form, used commonly by the Chaldeans
up to date, and only by them, was until modern times a
spoken but unrecorded dialect, i.e. a grammatical vernacular
taught solely by parents to children. While the ancient
Assyrian language is the Akkadian dialect of the Nineveh
region, which ceased to exist, the Chaldean, ancient and
recent, is not the Akkadian of Babylon that disappeared, but
the Aramaic vernacular of Mesopotamia which constitutes the
cultural continuity and the vital core of national identity
up to our day.
Chaldean Empire is the last and most glorious indigenous
state that ruled over all Mesopotamia (612 BC to 538 BC),
before it fell under the successive invading foreign powers.
With that 74-year rule, Nineveh gradually became deserted
ruins and Assyria became a region within the Chaldean
Empire. This historic and documentable fact means for the
following history that Assyria, with its great heritage, was
absorbed by the succeeding Chaldean nationality and culture.
City of Babylon, famous capital of the Chaldeans, was
the historic core and international center of Mesopotamia
through the millennia, where after the Chaldean rule, Qurish
the Persian reigned, where Alexander the Great died, in
whose vicinity the Parthians had their imperial court, etc.,
ending with Baghdad as the splendid capital of the Abbasids,
and continuing to be the central city of Twin-River-Land for
many centuries until modern-day Iraq. Even the ecclesiastic
center of the Church of the East settled on the Patriarchal
title of Babylon.
and Constantly through the centuries, before Christianity
and after, the Chaldean name has been the ethnic and
cultural expression used by historians to indicate
national identity of indigenous Mesopotamians; thus did the
liturgical Hudhra, the Greek writers, the Arab
hagiographers, the European travelers, and the Christian
hierarchy of the Church of the East in all of its branches,
including the last Patriarch Shimun XXIII of Qochanis, as
shown by his inherited patriarchal seal.
III- What is
the Chaldean particularity among the nations?
comprehensive history of humanity might be traced back hundreds
of millennia and to different regions of the earth.
Nevertheless, the philosophical and theological birth and early
formation of that history is traced to Mesopotamia proper, the
cradle of civilization. As narrated in the Book of Genesis, in
the Epic of Gilgamesh, in the archaeological records of the
cities of Ur, Uruk, and Babel, located in middle and south
Mesopotamia, the foundation of human civilization was pioneered
remarkably in that region, including the description of a
primordial paradise, the audacious attempt to reach heaven by
the Tower of Babylon, the awareness of evil in human life, the
yearning for immortality, the formation of moral conscience, and
the belief in one God, creator of the universe and master of
history, as reported in the call of Abraham to become the
vehicle for universal divine favor and salvation.
endeavor has been accomplished by the dwellers of South
Mesopotamia, whose legacy was inherited by the Chaldeans, who
themselves dwelt and ruled the same land. Jesus Christ, the Son
of David, the son of Abraham, is the fulfilling core of that
Providence or Plan of God for redemption. Contemporary Chaldeans
must be aware of their permanent connection to that divine call
and its actual implications. Obviously, any noble prince, shying
away from the obligations of his status, will end up losing it.
Contemporary Chaldeans are able, if sensitized, to recognize the
divine call addressed to their forefathers, and therefore to
their nation, then claim it, accept it, and be enriched by it,
making it a blessing for many.
IV- Middle and South Mesopotamia as the geographic sphere of
the Chaldeans’ historic achievement and perpetual reference.
clarification, from the Chaldean point of view, is needed in
regard to the meaning of the term Mesopotamia. Obviously, the
general meaning is the land of the Twin Rivers Tigris and
Euphrates. Nevertheless, only Middle and Lower Mesopotamia
--contained roughly in today's borders of Iraq-- maintained
through history a continuous historic, cultural, and
administrative unity, as the basic reference of enduring
identity. Upper Mesopotamia, including Edessa and Nisibis,
belonged in ancient times, up to modern periods, to the Greek,
Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Mongolian, and Turkish empires and
cultures. East and Northeast of Mesopotamia, the land of the
Medes and the Persians, were ruled since ancient times by
different mighty empires with a different language and culture.
Therefore, Middle and Lower Mesopotamia, with Babylon and
Nineveh as its major cities, are the historic spheres of
achievement and concrete references for Mesopotamian national
identity. Most of all, the glorious city of Babylon remains for
all Chaldeans the glorious perennial symbol of their ancestors.
also is due regarding the Aramaic language, spread to many areas
in the Near East and Middle East, between the 10th Century BC
and 7th Century AD, including Upper Mesopotamia in modern Turkey
and Western Persia in modern Iran. The Aramaic Vernacular of
Mesopotamia Proper (Middle and South) is remarkably different,
up to date, from the dialects used in the Tur'Abdin area
(Turkey) or in Urmia (Iran). Therefore, this linguistic
difference should be taken into serious consideration, in
addition to other historic, geographic, and political factors,
whenever we deal with the issue of a Mesopotamian identity and
related belonging, as applied to these regions and their
communities with due respect to all.
What is the goal of the Chaldeans and how to reach it?
1) The goal
of the Chaldeans is to survive and thrive while preserving
their identity and growing in it civilly, culturally and
Civilly, by claiming and pursuing the recognition of
their national rights in their homeland, lraq, and
everywhere in the world, in order to grow in it.
Culturally, by promoting their Chaldean language and
art, adapting them to modern times, using them as the
international communication medium and joint among all
Spiritually, by accepting the divine call to minister a
pivotal role in the history of divine salvation as entrusted
to Abraham, their national hero and vocational symbol. Thus,
to claim the perennial Scriptural and Apostolic heritage of
the Church of the East, make it a powerful legacy, and share
it with many thirsty souls.
we Reach that Goal in Today's Situation?
By enacting a
process of Chaldean Renaissance, through a fresh response to the
historic divine call; Let us build a new Babylon (Bab'el):
relying basically on their inner conviction, free and noble
Chaldeans, wherever they are in the world, do and shall
reclaim their Chaldean national identity with all of its
civil rights and duties. This reclaim is the Chaldeans'
historic right and native prerogative.
nourishing awareness of the Chaldean cultural and spiritual
components of identity, particularly of the call to respond
to the divine plan of salvation, revealed and made known in
the Holy Scriptures, following the example of Patriarch
appreciating our Mesopotamian Chaldean language in both of
its forms the Classic and the Vernacular --which is neither
Syrian nor Syriac-- liberating its grammar and pronunciation
from foreign distorting applications, then teaching and
adopting them for all sectors of life.
establishing an international institution to gather together
representatives of our dispersed communities, uniting them
to understand themselves and their call, and design a course
of action accordingly.
establishing free media to proclaim genuine Chaldean
identity and culture.
6) By being
ready, in the name of common Mesopotamian heritage, to deal
with all free, noble and willing Assyrians wherever they are
and the Syriacs of Iraq, to forge a common national front,
based on mutual recognition and appreciation, in the
prospect of a united future.
open to all genuine Iraqis to share with them the authentic
civil, cultural, and spiritual legacy of ancient