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Arameans of Aram-Naharaim Foundation Flourishing at the United Nations

Dear Madam/Sir;

We are pleased to inform you that the Arameans of Aram-Naharaim Foundation attended for the second time the annual meeting of the Working on the Indigenous Populations. During the meeting; Aram-naharaim made a statement entitled,, Spiritual Colonialism and the decline of the Indigenous Aramean people of Aram-Nahrin”

Please find below the statement:

The Statement

Economic and Social Council of the United Nations


Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

Working Group on the Indigenous Populations; 23rd session


Geneva: 18-22 July 2005

 Read Out:  18-7-2005

 Spiritual Colonialism and the decline of the Indigenous Aramean people of Aram-Nahrin

 Expanded version of the Oral statement: The text with Arial Narrow Font (12 pt) + BOLD = Not Read out Loud

Oral statement under item: 4 Review of developments pertaining to the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, including their human rights and fundamental freedom:

(a) General Debate

Mr. Chairman;

 In the framework of item 4 (a); we wish to make a few remarks on the impact of the spiritual colonialism on the decline of the indigenous Aramean people of Middle-east.

 Many indigenous peoples present at this meeting have a dark page in their history. Some of them became victims of persecutions, discrimination and ethnic cleansing; others became victim of extermination, exclusion and extortion. Their lands were invaded by strangers, the original inhabitants were oppressed merciless and the natural resources were exploited by the invaders. Their cultures, customs and traditions were oppressed or erased by ,,spiritual colonialism”. Some survived while others were annihilated. They were considered as savages and their genuine traditions and customs were considered as backwards[1] by the then ,,civilized” nations. Their children were forced to deny the heritage of their forefathers- under the pretext of “education” ; a heritage kept alive for thousands of years whether oral or in written form.

 In many cases, the injustice done to the indigenous peoples were carried out in the name of ,,civilization”, “faith” or even in the name of “peace” to ,,re-educate” them.

 In our modern days; many Indigenous peoples still have to combat with prejudice, exclusion, discrimination  and extermination. They have to fight for recognition, education, social equality, dignity and for the right to be considered as human beings with qualities and skills to contribute to the well-being of mankind.

 Mr. Chairman;

 The Semitic Aramean people, now divided into several denominations and spread throughout the Middle East, have been in Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilisation, for thousands of years and have made a great contribution to the world civilizations particularly through their language, the Aramaic also spoken by Abraham, Moses and Jesus Christ. Today, they amount to approximately 4 million people, worldwide, who have faced discrimination, ethnic cleansing, genocides and continuous persecutions for hundreds of years and still continues today.

 The contribution of the Aramean people to the world civilizations is well summarized by the prominent British Professor Sebastian Brock[2]  of the Oxford University, an authority on Hebrew, Aramaic and Syrian Orthodox Church history. He says,, Almost all societies are dependent upon the use of writing, but very few peoples realise that the great majority of the world’s scripts can be traced back to a common ancestor, an alphabet invented in the Middle East four thousands years ago, which was subsequently refined by the Phoenicians and the Aramaeans who spread it throughout the known world. It is thus without doubt one of the greatest gifts of the Aramaean peoples to world culture” (Hidden Pearl volume I: Page 27) [3]. Brock continues and says,, Nevertheless it is undeniable that the simple Aramaic alphabet of 22 letters has had the most extraordinary impact on the development of alphabetic writing systems throughout the world. Indeed, it is very hard to imagine how human culture and scientific learning could have progressed without it” (Page 58).

In the ancient times the cradle of the Aramean forefathers was called,, Aramnahrin" (or: Aram-Nahrin) in Aramaic. In Hebrew it was called,, Aram-Naharaim" which we encounter in the old testament. When the old testament was translated into Greek, the term Aram-Naharaim was translated by Mesopotamia; which many get familiarized with during their education.

Because of overwhelming presence of Arameans in the southern part of Aram-Nahrin, in the era of early Christianity, it was called Beth-Aramaya, meaning (in Aramaic) the house of the Arameans. The northern part of Aram-Naharaim was called Paddan-Aram, meaning the land of Aram where Biblical figures like Abraham and Jacob have lived and walked, which is roughly speaking situated in south-eastern Turkey. A part of Paddan-Aram is today called Tur Abdin in the Aramaic (Syriac) language, which means “the mountains of the servants of the Lord, because of the overwhelming presence of monasteries and churches.

In Genesis 24:4 Abraham says to his servants,, You must go back to the country where I was born and get a wife for my son Isaac from among my relatives.". Abraham says,, the country” where I was born. It means the country of his Aramean fathers; which is called paddan-Aram; a part of Aram-Naharaim.

 After the coming of Jesus Christ, the Arameans of Aram-Naharaim accepted the teachings of Christ and established together with the apostles of Jesus and the converted Jews, the Syrian Church of Antioch[4], the second Patriarchy after Jerusalem, where for the first time the followers of Jesus Christ were called “Christians” (Acts 11:26). This church was the mother of all the Churches – and the first Church established outside Israel, whose Patriarch currently resides in Damascus, Syria.

 The Semitic Arameans (‘not to be confused with “Armenians”) underwent a change of name after they had embraced Christianity and were then called “Syrians”[4], in order to be distinguished from the Arameans who were not converted. However, this should be not confused with the present-day Syrian Arabs. According to Professor Professor Muhammed Shamsaddin Megallomatis, many of the present-day Arabs are originally Arameans. They became ,,Arabs” after their conversion to Islam[5]

 The Indigenous Aramean people of middle-east are no exception in this regard. Living in an area which became known to the world as ,,Mesopotamia” and has been the scene of battles for hundreds of years between groups and nations whose dictionary lacks words like respect and peace; the peaceful- minded Arameans were constantly fighting to survive. Beside the difficult and complex situation in the lands of the forefathers, the Arameans of Aram-Naharaim have always tried to live in peace and brotherhood with the other peoples in this part of the world, treating them with brotherly respect and obeying the laws of the countries in which they reside. However, we painfully observe that today’s reality is that our people are being ignored, discriminated against, and treated as second class citizens in their own homelands which are now occupied, and dominated by other peoples.  Their fundamental human rights are, in turn, being violated.  This only shows the world community that the Aramean policy of love, brotherhood and obedience, which we believe is also the policy of this very working group, is not part of the belief system of some of the countries and peoples in the Middle East.

Our experience from the many centuries of discrimination and persecution proves to us that many groups and peoples are not familiar with this concept of peaceful cooperation, but would rather resort to the path of intolerance and fanaticism; a path which has opened the way for bloodshed, hatred and genocide.

 Our people were subjected to systematic discrimination and persecutions –including forced Islamization, the deliberate destruction of our cultural heritage, the conversion of our churches and monasteries into mosques, and in many cases, the burning of such holy places. The climax of terror, exclusion, and discrimination against the peaceful minded indigenous Aramean people was reached in 1914-1918, when approximately 600.000[6] of them of different denominations were brutally slaughtered, whose innocent blood is still crying for justice.

Although the Indigenous Aramean people are faced with catastrophe, misfortune, and devastation in the lands of the forefathers, it is not always apparent to the international community. Tur abdin is the heartland of the Aramean Christians of Mesopotamia.  In Aramaic, Tur Abdin means ‘the Mountain of Servants of the Lord’.  Even its name is a testament to its priceless value and importance.  Tur Abdin has been home to historically significant churches and monasteries for the past 2,000 years, since the dawn of Christianity.  Tur Abdin could be compared to an antique museum where thousands of years of heritage and history are kept alive. This part of the world has always been inhabited by the Arameans of Aram-Naharaim;

Recently, on 6th of June 2005[7], a bomb attack was carried out on an Aramean priest in Tur Abdin which is situated in south-eastern of Turkey. Thirty years ago, there were approximately 40,000 Arameans in Tur Abdin. Because of continued discrimination and persecution, our people were forced to flee into the Diaspora, leaving behind the sacred land of the forefathers, which they inhabited for thousands of years. Today there are only approximately 2,000 Arameans left in Tur Abdin, and dwindling.  None of us would have voluntarily left Tur Abdin if not for the discrimination and persecution.

 Mr. Chairman;

 The Indigenous Aramean people of Aram-Nahrin have not only suffered under those who follow the path of the ,,sword”, but also under the western spiritual colonialism of the 16th and 19th century- carried out in the name of ,,unity”, ,,peace” and ,,brotherhood”. It was that ideology which misused the faith as a mean not only to divide and weaken the Aramean nation, but also making them vulnerable to those who follow and glorify the path of the ,,sword” [8].

 The spiritual and political powers intermingling

Recently a scholarly book has been published from the hand of Sebastian de Courtois entitled,, The Forgotten Genocide: Eastern Christians, The Last Arameans[1].

 In this book we read amongst others about the divide and rule politics to weaken and subject the Arameans of the middle-east. We read,, The first [Syrian] Catholic Patriarch had been consecrated in Aleppo in 1662 with French help through the mediation of Ambassador Francois Picquet (page 33)…. .. which was encouraged by French diplomats present in Aleppo at that time. The diplomats favoured the separation in the hope of one day uniting the Eastern Churches with that of Rome (XiX).. The Catholic mission activities were strongly supported by French Ministry of Foreign Affairs policy, which had been reinforced in the region by creation in 1856 of a vice-consulate in Diyarbekir at the request of the Vatican (page. 36)

 Religious interests mixed with political interests gives unholy ,,melting pot” which results in devastation and degradation of human dignity! The spiritual and political powers worked together under the pretext of ,,unity” to spiritually weaken the Aramean people!

 In our days, the fanatics of the middle-east, who commit suicide by car bombs, are blamed for such behavior. Unfortunately, one ,,forget” however to mention that it was the West who developed and applied such a ideology – a horrible melting pot of nationalism mixed with fanatical religion-  and brought it to the middle-east which has reached a climax of terror and devastation in our days.

 Therefore, the present-day fanaticism in the lands of the forefathers is nothing but a reflection of what has been created in the past by the spiritual colonialism which affected the wellbeing of the entire region and served as catalyst to decline of the Aramean presence in the middle-east. According to the brilliant historian Professor Muhammed Shamsaddin Megallomatis the present-day,, terrorism is a later result of the earlier ideological developments in the area of the Middle East” and ,, It is from the Western European universities, political parties and demented ateliers of all sorts that nationalism emanated[5]

 Distortion of the Aramean identity – competition between the former powers Great Brittan and French

 Although the name of our people and its history is very well documented by general accepted historical facts as well as by the brilliant scholars of the Syrian Church of Antioch[9], the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican missionaries felt it necessary to stick mythical names onto the minds of our people, which has caused us to be frequently misrepresented in some media by people who have no authority whatsoever to speak on behalf of our people.

 In 1552/53 the Syrian “Nestorian” Church of the East was split into two groups as a result of the activities of the missionaries of the Roman Catholic Church. The part of the Church united with the Catholic Church in 1552/1553 assumed the name “Chaldean” and with that, the Chaldean Church (of Babylon) was born. In the late 19th century, we see a similar thing happening.  This time, being carried out by the Anglican missionaries, with the remaining part of the East-Syrian “Nestorians” of Hakkaria (bordering Turkey and Iraq) and Urmia (Iran), who were wrongfully identified as “Assyrians”; purely geographical and only applied to the “Nestorians”.

The East-Aramean “Nestorians” prefer, since then, to call themselves ,,Assyrians” and try, by all means possible, to force this term onto other Aramean denominations by spreading plenty of biased information regarding the origin of our people and our language.

 After the adoption of ,, Assyrianism” by the East-Aramean ,, Nestorians”; they became  so nationalistic/fanatics that they started to distort historical facts. For example: Aramaic language they changed in Assyrian” language, Aramean people in “Assyrian” people. Saint Ephraim the Syrian became “Saint Ephrem the Assyrian”, Syrian Church became “Assyrian Church”. In this way they try by all means possible to falsify our history and our sacred Aramaic language. The enclosed report is a vivid proof of these zealous attempts!

 The painful and mythical descriptions in reference to our people, invented by outsiders, who were unaware of the Hidden Pearl[3] - truths which have been- till the present day, buried beneath the persecutions and ethnic cleansing of past centuries, are definitely not in agreement with the historical facts recorded by the brilliant historians of the Syrian Church of Antioch[9] who enlightened the world of their time, not only with the theological knowledge but with profane science as well.

 The nations of yesteryear who fragmented the Aramean nation of Aram-Nahrin proclaim in our days to be the beacon of democracy and human rights thereby shedding crocodile tears to express their ,,concern” about the fragile and complex situation of the middle-east and continue – as if they did a good and a holy job - to label the Indigenous Aramean people with the by themselves produced mythical names[10]; without paying respect to the historical facts regarding the origin of our people recently recoded in the multimedia project: The Hidden Pearl[3].

 Living in 21st century, one would expect that the world community finally would give our people the honour and dignity they deserve in agreement with the historical facts so that they finally can enjoy their minimal fundamental human rights.

 Unfortunately, the today’s reality is that the Indigenous Christian Aramean people of Aram-Nahrin are completely ignored and excluded as if they do not exist. What is worse is that the “product” created by the Western spiritual colonialism in the 16th and late 19th century; which had a devastated effect on the Aramean people in the middle-east, is now widely glorified by prominent political leaders and the mainstream  media; thereby ignoring the existence of the indigenous Aramean people. Here below a few examples will be given to explain this to you:

  • President Bush: (October 7, 2002),, The oppression of Kurds, Assyrians, Turkomans, Shi'a, Sunnis and others…..

  • President Bush: (March 16, 2003),,… “…..All the Iraqi people -- its rich mix of Sunni and Shiite Arabs, Kurds, Turkomen, Assyrians, Chaldeans,……”

  • President Bush: (April 28, 2003),,… Whether you're Sunni or Shia or Kurd or Chaldean or Assyrian or Turkoman or Christian or Jew or Muslim ..

  • Tony Blair: (March 30, 2003): I want all Iraqis - Arab, Assyrian, Kurd, Turkoman, Sunni, Shiite, Christian and all other groups –

Please note how explicitly the spiritual colonialism is being glorified and maintained by these world leaders resulting in distortion of our heritage. Because of this glorification and distortion, our people in Iraq is being identified by many journalists as,, Assyrians” (a product of the Western Anglican missionary) and ,,Chaldeans” (a product of  Western French/Roman Catholic missionary) without a reference to their Aramean origin.

Today we hear nothing ,,from the civilized nations” about this divide and rule politics in the name of the faith. They act as if nothing happened. The hatred they have created amongst our nation is still present in the middle-east. The horrible contempt of those who were brainwashed and abandoned their mother church is beyond any imagination. All this hatred, division and fanaticism was brought to the middle-east in the name of ,,faith” and ,,brotherhood”



 Article 30, section (C) …. The electoral law shall aim to achieve the goal of having women constitute no less than one-quarter of the members of the National Assembly and of having fair representation for all communities in Iraq, including the Turcomans, ChaldoAssyrians, and others.

 Another example how the Aramean people being excluded is the,, LAW OF ADMINISTRATION FOR THE STATE OF IRAQ”. Chapter 4, article 30, section C is talking about,, ChaldoAssyrians” in reference to our people in Iraq. This undesired term in reference to our people is a mixture of two colonial spiritual products ,,Chaldeans” and ,,Assyrians”. No mention of the indigenous Aramean people!

 What has been done to the indigenous Aramean people, in the name of ,,faith”, ,,education” and ,,development”, can be considered as a kind of, Spiritual genocide” in the sense of creating hatred, division and identity distortion. A divided nation is obviously a weak nation!

Thank you

Gabriel Sengo


Arameans of Aram-Naharaim Foundation

P.O. Box 178

7550 AD




[1]= For example : Sebastian de Courtois, The forgotten genocide: Eastern Christians, The Last Arameans, (

In his book, de Courtois quotes a few examples of behaviour of the Western missionaries towards the Indigenous Aramean people of Tur Abdin. ,, The village we were camping near was inhabited by the by Jacobites (= Arameans). These kind people came to visit us, together with a few notables. It is hard to imagine the ignorance of these poor heretic priests and their belief in all the superstitions and absurdities current in their country (Letter from Roman Catholic Father Rhetore to father Duval, date: 7-7-1881) …. The heretics of these lands (= Arameans of Tur Abdin) do not seem attached  to the error of their ways; they are abandoned by their leaders and feel that their sects themselves are powerless and futureless (Letter from Roman Catholic Father Rhetore to father Duval, date: 14-7-1881)


[3]= The Hidden Pearl: Three thousands years of Aramean history, culture and faith.

[4]= ttp://

[5]= His online article: Progenitor of Wars and Tyrannies: the Falsehood of Pan-Arabism (

For more articles of Professor Dr. Muhammed Shamsaddin on the Arameans of the Middle-East and the influence of the colonial powers:



[8]= According to the historian Professor Muhammed Shamsaddin Megallomatis; it was the western spiritual colonialism which blindfolded the Aramean nation of the middle-east who in our days designate themselves by strange names imposed by outsiders, see [5]