Assyria: Appeal to Erect Assyrian Genocide Monument
Mayor and Councillors,
I am pleased to make this Statement in support of the application by the Assyrian Universal Alliance to erect an Assyrian Genocide Monument on public land in Fairfield.
I wish to make it clear that this Monument is not an attack, or criticism, of the current modern democratic nation of Turkey. These tragic events occurred during World War I in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire, which formally ended in 1920.
In 1922 the last Sultan Mehmed was overthrown and the new Republic of Turkey was proclaimed under Kemal Ataturk as President, in 1923.
Kemal Ataturk developed the modern Turkish nation by abolishing Islamic Courts, Islamic Schools, the Ministry of Religion and the wearing of the Fez hat.
The basic cause of the genocide of Assyrian Christians, as well as Armenian Christians, was the discrimination and hatred of Christians ‐ regarded as “dogs and pigs to be spat upon” as infidels in the Ottoman Empire.
The 1915 genocide involved the extermination of innocent civilians in Turkey comprising Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks, which totalled one million persons.
This genocide was not haphazard but was organised with government authority “The Committee of Union and Progress” with the formation of “killing squads” which were created by releasing convicts from prison who were put in soldiers’ uniforms, in cooperation with local police.
Evidence of these massacres is confirmed by the Trials that were held in 1919, where many persons were tried, including government ministers, provincial governors etc. These records have been found in copies of the official gazette of the Ottoman Parliament, which included the key indictments and verdicts.
Authenticated cipher telegram messages contained code words – “deport” which meant “massacre”, “sent to their destination” which meant, “killed”, for men, women and children.
A noisy, nationalist backlash led to prisoners being freed and light sentences given.
The bones of these Assyrian martyrs cry out for justice today. This Memorial will be a simple answer to their cries.
Rev Hon Fred Nile MLC
15th December 2009