Assyrian Democratic Organization’s (ADO) speech at 49th anniversary
delivered by Mr.Bachir Issac Saadi chairman
of ADO’s political bureau
Qamishly- ADO— ladies and gentlemen representatives of different political and national Syrian patriotic parties and forces. Representatives of legal societies, cultural and social institutions. Dear comrades and compatriots.
Assyrian Democratic Organization today is celebrating its 49th anniversary. 49 years ago and in this city, Qamishly, the new Nessibin, was the birth of the first political national organization in the history of our Assyrian-Chaldo-Syriac people.
The establishment of the Organization came as a response to a national necessity, and a reaction to the deep despair and agony the massacre of "Simili ’ and before it massacres of the I world war caused to our people in their home towns in the south-east Turkey. The Organization was founded on a national ideology, the pillars of which were firmly consolidated by nationalists and patriotic pioneers like Ashour Yousef, Na’oum Fayek, Freydon Athoraya, the martyr Bishop Mar Benyamen Shamoun, Agha Burton, Toucan Odo, Yousef Malek, Sanharib Bali, Yoweil Warda, Farid Nazha and others. Generation after generation were inspired by their national ideology and call for liberation, union, breaking down the barriers of sectarianism and denominations, and their demand for our people’s national rights, similar to our other partners in the country.
The Organization has confirmed since its inception the concurrence of the national and patriotic struggle, and that the national rights can only be gained in a system that fulfills justice and equality and respect for human rights. From here, came the Organization’s call for a democratic, secular system based on the principles of citizenship and declaration of human rights, with all what it involves, such as international declarations, treaties and agreements, guaranties of national rights for all minorities, under the wing of one unified Syrian national identity that would contain and acknowledge the cultural, ethnic and religious diversity in our society and country. In addition, the Organization has always believed and still believes in the peaceful means of democratic, civilized and gradual struggle to attain its goals, rejecting all forms of fanaticism, violence and policy of burning stages.
Ladies and gentlemen
During the course of 49 years, the Organization has suffered a lot at the hands of successive totalitarian regimes for promulgating its ideology. Its leaders and activists have been subjected to detentions , searches and exile.Yet, in spite of all these difficulties and risks it was able to promulgate its ideology throughout all the places where our people lived, whether in homeland or diaspora. Besides, it participated in the political activities in Syria and confronted all challenges realistically and moderately depending on the justice of its cause and on its people’s support and backing, which was clearly demonstrated during the frequent detentions of its activists and leaders or regional and parliamentary elections. All this came to confirm the Organization’s role and political presence as a true representative of our people’s national ambitions . Today , the Organization is one of the political national forces in the country through its membership in the "Damascus Declaration for Political Change ", standing side by side with other national forces, with their various national political affiliations, for the sake of transforming Syria to a democratic system that would embody the aspirations of the Syrian people and guarantee the political and cultural rights for all components of the Syrian society, Arabs, Assyrian(Syriacs) Kurds, Armenians or others, within the unified framework of the country and society and under the banner of a common, national Syrian identity.
Ladies and gentlemen
Now that we are celebrating the this anniversary, the region around us is witnessing great tensions and crisis in Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine, due to the policies of interference, outside aggression and the continuity of the Israeli occupation. Iraq, led by international terrorism, is now on the verge of a civil war which is threatening to split up and partition the county. Palestine and Lebanon are now under a barbaric attack by the Israeli army which is killing civilians and destroying the infrastructure and threatening to wage a regional war on international power’s account. On this occasion, as we strongly condemn the barbaric Israeli aggression and all the terrorist acts in Iraq, we think that the true position that should be taken is not mere words of condemnation. This opportunity should provide us with a moment of reflection to think about what we have to do in order to fortify our country and people against the oncoming threats and dangers. We firmly believe that the only stance that is required in this situation is a common unified action aiming at reinforcing our internal front and national unity and protecting our land and country, and this can not be achieved by sentiments or empty slogans, but by genuinely treating the state of political frustration felt by the Syrian people due to restriction on general freedoms, continuing emergency law, worsening economic conditions, and resorting to security solutions vis-a vis peaceful opposition movement.
All these means are further adding more frustration and tension to an already complicated situation in the country. Hence, we think that this genuine and courageous stance makes incumbent upon the regime first , to introduce radical changes and speed up the democratic process in Syria according to a comprehensive political reform plan with the involvement of all the national forces – Front and Opposition- in the country, with an aim of consolidating social peace and gradual peaceful transformation to a democratic system that would respond to the needs of the Syrian society with all its ethnic and religious components and eventually stave the country off the dangers coming up. To start up, there is no way but to unleash the general freedoms, repeal the emergency law as well as all the other exceptional laws and courts, set free the political detainees, to close forever the file of political detention, reinstate the employees dismissed and finally, draft new democratic laws for elections and political parties that would take into consideration the real political and national demographic status of the people and would put an end to political monopoly.
These all are prerequisites for fulfilling comprehensive reforms in the country. Regarding our community in Syrian in general, and in the al-Jazire region in particular, we think, the national responsibility makes incumbent upon us all to take a serious responsible stance as national social forces, and exert greater efforts to narrow the differences and leave behind us the divisions in our society as well as remove all signs of tension and friction whatever their ethnic or political origins might be. This can only be accomplished through integration, dialogue and joining hands so that an good example of co-existence and brotherhood would be set in the region. In fact, our gathering today, and other similar gatherings, is an expression of national cohesion and solidarity that should be further strengthened and reinforced .
ladies and gentlemen
In Iraq, that is today on the verge of partition and civil war, due to great chaos caused by the occupation forces and the Iraqi government on one hand, and the terrorist gangs on the other, our people is particularly subjected to systematic killings and attacks on its places of worship, this led thousands of them to flee for their lives in desperate conditions to the neighboring countries. These attacks and transgressions on their lands and villages are still continuing .Furthermore, the Iraqi constitution has unfairly torn apart his national identity and has denied him a separate administrative regions in his historic home towns. We hold the Iraqi government as well as the occupation forces the responsibility of protecting our people and guaranteeing his rights similar to the other ethnicities in Iraq, this, as a matter of fact, makes incumbent on the political and ecclesiastical forces of our people to go beyond their current divisions and partition and unite their efforts and voice in this very important stage of our history.
As for our people in Turkey, which has suffered a lot and was the victim of a genocide that claimed the life of half a million of them and the displacement of the remaining survivors during the I world war, they are still suffering from repression and injustice. Our Organization has always held the successive Turkish governments responsible for this heinous crimes and called them to acknowledge the genocide and its binding international obligations, compensations, reclaiming of lands and properties, right of return as well as constitutionally recognizing the rights of our people, it further, calls for the countries of EU to set Turkey’s acknowledgment of the genocide as a precondition for her full membership in the EU.
Finally, on the occasion of this anniversary, we call upon all our people in diaspora and the homeland to be more involved in the national issues and to spare no efforts in reinforcing the Organization’s patriotic role and national existence in the homeland. We hope to meet again next year to celebrate our Organization’s golden jubilee, but this time in more spacious places and under better legal and political conditions. We hope further, to be more unified for the sake of a free democratic Syria, a home for all its people .
Assyrian Democratic Organization