2015-08-07 Assyrian Martyr’s Day

For the Assyrian people worldwide the first weekend of August is a time of national remembrance. On August 7 is Assyrian Martyrs Day (or National Day of Mourning), commemorating the 1933 Simele massacre that resulted from murder of more than 3,000 innocent Assyrians. In the immediate aftermath of that atrocity the Assyrian nation was partitioned and the Assyrian people were driven from their villages in the Nineveh plain by Iraqi Army units supported by armed bands of Kurdish tribesmen, who accomplished this “cleansing” in a wanton frenzy of murder, torture, rape and pillaging of Assyrian people and property.

The Assyrians killed in Simele were citizens of Iraq, murdered by other Iraqi citizens on orders from their own government. It is for that reason regarded as an especially heinous act, as horrible in its way as the massacre of as many as 750,000 Assyrians during World War I in Iran and Turkey by Persians, Turks, Arabs, and Kurdish tribesman.

The Simele massacre might have been lost to history if a sympathetic Polish lawyer named Raphael Lemkin had not felt compelled to write an essay on subject, The Crime of Barbarity. Lemkin, who presented the essay to the League of Nations just months after the massacre took place, asserted that the mass killing was an international crime, an idea that would soon evolve into the concept of “genocide.”

Even though Simele massacre led to the formulation of an international law against genocide, the international community and the Iraqi government and Kurdish Regional Government have persistently failed to acknowledge the fact of the Assyrian genocide in Simele.

On 9 August 2014 history seemed to be repeating itself when IS forces laid waste to Assyrian villages in the Nineveh plain and murdered, enslaved, or displaced the Assyrians living in the region, But this time, 12 intrepid Assyrians decided to fight back against their oppressors.

The first weekend of August is significant for Assyrians as a time of spiritual and national renewal, when they re-commit themselves to endure all hardships and fight with honor against those who would destroy them.

The Assyrian people know that their enemies are determined to annihilate them and that the international community has, in practical terms, remained indifferent to their plight. Nevertheless, they will continue the fight until they have achieved victory and established the sovereign Assyrian footprint in their historical homeland where they can live in peace and prosperity as the spear head and the leading voice of the civilized societies in the 21st century and beyond.

“Among you, my sons and great grandchildren,

in distant days, for long epochs,

years without number

let praise of Ashur not be forgotten.”


Great King of the

Neo-Assyrian Empire

934-609 BCE


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