The Armenian mass murder has been widely shared and reported, “scooped” all over the world, in Jerusalem the Sayfo or Assyrian/Syriac Christian or Syrian Orthodox or Ancient Christians of the East, Aramaic-praying and still speaking faithful and clergy were not that in the medias. There are also the Assyrian Chaldeans who are Catholic and have been scattered over the decades in the whole world, definitely in a very perilous situation in the Middle-East and Iraq. They are flourishing in North and South America, in different parts of Europe and in connection with the Russian-culture area.
In Israel and Jerusalem ,they got a special status with regards to the Syrian Orthodox community that has a dynamic and very nice youth; for years the community had not trouble with the other people and they were “clean”. The young people who are Israeli citizens are “Ashurim-/שורים “: it is not exact, but they are not considered Arabs, due to the special cultural link that exists between the Aramaeans and the Jews who continue to read if not at times speak some Aramaic.
There are almost no Chaldeans in Israel, but some have been hetered in Jordan. In Israel, a few families live in Haifa and Holon.
On the other hand, due to the arrival of foreign workers from India (Kerala), a lot of members of the “Mar Thomas Church of the East” do arrive and they also make use of Aramaic to a large extent.
The Assyrian “genocide or mass murder” was first described as such by Rafael Lemkin who had created the word “genocide”. The question is whether Aramaic can survive. It is a dynamic language for a lot of people: still in force in the Church of the East although the Liturgies and Services have been translated into vernacular languages, but it shows up again, in particular in Bethlehem and to some extent in Jerusalem. Moreover, the Jews do use it for the Talmud and the first prayers used by the children till they are seven years old, the prayers (Qaddish connected to the Prayer of the Lord) and the Targum Onkelos that is systematically printed with the Chumash/חומש = the Five Books of Moses, the Bible.
The Aramaeans have been victimized as they have no independent state, contrary to the initial project promised by the British to create an Assyrian State in 1923-26.
One thing is a bit “saddening”: each “nation” considers itself as Christian, but no one was born a Christian: there is a transmission of faith, but each generation has firstly to pass through the Sacraments/Mystery of Baptism (Chrismation and Eucharist/Communion) to really be “Christian”. The sad aspect is that there is no unique, one only word to speak of this threefold “mass murder” at different levels and that affected the Armenian, Aramaean Assyrian and Pontic Greek communities of the Middle-East in 1915 due to the persecution of the Ottoman authorities.
[pictures, credit Ori Orhof]