Marking the centenary of the Armenian Genocide in Yerevan, Armenia in 2015.

It is difficult to ignore the feeling that the White House’s recent Armenian Genocide recognition achieved a momentous victory in the narrative surrounding the genocide and what recognition means for the descendants of its survivors. Demanding recognition is both a tangible political objective and a potent motivational force which has mobilised millions through the generations to honour the memory of ancestors brutally murdered in their own homelands simply for being who they are. But is this particular recognition a meaningful development for the descendants of its survivors and the discourse surrounding genocide? …

Below is a transcript of my closing keynote for the Assyrian Policy Institute’s Virtual Conference 2020:

I want to provide another, maybe bleaker but definitely clear-eyed perspective on what has been discussed today, first about the KRG, then about Iraq, and finally about Assyrians more broadly.

In the context of providing information to political representatives, journalists and analysts: it’s very easy to sit here and criticise the KRG, an entity that most Assyrians in Iraq are now governed by, because the list of failures is long, and in most cases, known but not publicly acknowledged: this is despite ever-expanding trade…

Prof. Khan shares his experiences and calls for more Assyrians to get involved in documenting Assyrian dialects.

Professor Geoffrey Khan. Photo: University of Cambridge.

After the publication of my last article highlighting the activities of Ninif Tooma (Nineb Lamassu), Professor Geoffrey Khan (GK), Mr Tooma’s former PhD supervisor at the University of Cambridge, reached out to me via email to clarify the situation from his perspective. We arranged to meet on Tuesday, 28th May, where I (MJJ) interviewed him about the matter of the Baaba and Boulus family donations, Mr Tooma’s time at Cambridge, and funding received by Mr Tooma from the Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation (AUAF) from 2011–2016 which totalled to nearly $250,000. Mardean Isaac (MI), University of Cambridge alumnus, accompanied me.


The Curious Case of Nineb Lamassu

In May 2018, the families of prominent Assyrian writers Youel A. Baaba (1930–2010) and Sargon Boulus (1944–2007) approached me and asked for help through a mutual friend. In 2012, these families donated their collections of the authors’ works and other materials to the Modern Assyrian Research Archive (MARA), an archive of Assyrian texts established by Assyrians in 2008 and based at Cambridge University. In the intervening years, however, Ninif Tooma (better known as “Nineb Lamassu”), MARA member from 2008–2012, who was tasked with managing the donations, ignored requests regarding the fate of these materials. …

Amid budget cuts, Ealing Council is appealing to community organisations to take on several libraries in the borough.

Ealing Council is struggling to maintain its support for several libraries in the borough and have invited Ealing residents to take on and manage these facilities. The total population of Ealing is over 300k — more than the entire country of Iceland — and as such this is not a small opportunity, but one which can finally entrench Assyrians within the community they have called home for nearly a century.

The Assyrian community in Ealing represents an old but small diaspora. Many Assyrians here trace their past to the British military base of Habbaniya, given the participation of Assyrians early…

William Daniel (1903–1988)
Chicago, 1969

The grave of the great Assyrian poet, writer, composer and orator William Daniel in San Jose, California, U.S. Born: March 17, 1903 — Died: December 18, 1988"

The following excerpts are republished from archived material. The text appeared online under “The Weakening Factor” on 17th February 2007 in Zinda Magazine.

The book, “Assyrians of Today, Their Problem, and A Solution” written by William Daniel in 1969, remains unpublished online.

Thus far the strongest blow to the [Assyrian] national unity was the religious splits that were born among them and which annihilated whatever unified strength they had left. Now they had nothing, not even a religious unity in favor of which they had abandoned all their earthly glory, military power and the severe discipline, which their forefathers…

… so lets change the way we do things?

1. Reject Sectarianism

The elephant in the room always deserves to be addressed first. There is no doubt that the positions of Chaldeanists and Arameanists are slowly getting stronger in diaspora by virtue of the fact that a unifying Assyrian movement is in a state of inertia, not because of any compelling argument to its contrary. Any power and influence they are developing is being projected back onto our people in Assyria who have repeatedly rejected sectarianism— from high-minded narrative formation present in the media to petty bribing on the ground. …

Bashar Warda (left) looks on as President Trump shows press the signed bill, House Resolution 390, confirming continued aid to Christians and Yazidis. 11th December 2018

Assyrians have been in diaspora for over 100 years and yet we are forced once again to depend on priests standing behind sultans. I refuse to celebrate this.

Everyone has seen the news and the powerful imagery and symbolism of the President of the U.S. signing a bill which legislates for the continuation of aid money to minorities in Syria and Iraq.

However, I advise caution: the bill continues the emphasis on religion, and empowering elements within our own community which by definition are sectarian and divisive — a pattern and trajectory we must completely resist.

I want to remind people that in the text of the bill, Assyrians are not mentioned once by their national identity, and that the only elaboration present is a sectarian one promoting…

“The Suffering” — Nahrin Malki. Stamp Technique on Canvas, 2016.

August 7th is a special date for Assyrians, a nation so obscured in our modern world that many people will still raise their eyebrows at their very mention. Nevertheless, Assyrians persisted as a distinct people after the fall of the empire, and so did the country of Assyria — or Ashur/Atour as Assyrians refer to it in our Assyrian-Aramaic language.

This country became known by different names during the centuries following the fall of Nineveh, its last capital, in 612 BCE: the last king of the Babylonian Empire — Nabonidus — was an Assyrian from the north; Achaemenid Assyria was…

Assyrians vote in first Iraqi election after the toppling of Saddam, 2005.

Iraq 3.0 is about to get going this month. ISIS has been territorially defeated and pushed into adopting insurgent tactics once again. Minoritized groups such as the indigenous Assyrians and Yazidis are trying to piece their lives back together in their ancestral homeland of the Nineveh Plain — an area rendered fertile for onslaught and occupation after a decade long campaign of destabilization waged by the Kurdistan Regional Government as a prelude to ISIS.

Among the ruins, hope emerges for these brutalized and battered people. Christian Assyrians were among the biggest losers in The New Iraq, having put down their…

Max J. Joseph


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