By Ben Kalasho, Founder and President, San Diego East County Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce
March 1, 2015 (El Cajon)--When news broke six days ago of more than 200 Assyrians kidnapped by (Da’ash) ISIS, I was on a telephone conference with my high profile contacts on the ground in Kurdish Controlled Areas of Northern Iraq discussing the destruction of Iraqi antiquities dating from the 9th Century BC by ISIS thugs. The report came to me that over 200 Assyrians were kidnapped in the town of Tal Tamr in the Hasaka Province, and other villages in Syria including Tal Hurmoz, Tal Shamiram, Tal Rumman, Tal Nasra which are home to many Assyrians and Syriacs.
As President of The Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce, I have been in the past year sort of forced to become an expert in the region and this drawn out conflict. My conclusion is that the region that ISIS wants to control by the strategic military advancements it has made is strictly due to the need to seize control over the five border points. Clearly ISIS understands the most important part of this mission and that is oil, water and grains which is in abundance in those areas.
Almost immediately after hearing this horrific news, I became convinced that we should expect more shocking gruesome murder videos due to the marketing gain that this has on ISIS recruitment. This is extremely concerning to me as these Assyrians are not being protected by anyone. This was echoed by Fred Fleitz former senior CIA analyst who said, “This is ISIS’s latest way to grab headlines and grab news cycle by staging acts of atrocity and recruit followers”.
As odious as ISIS is, the Assyrian, Chaldean & Syriac communities must use this moment in history to breakdown barriers put up by our own religious factions and so called leaders. Enough is enough, the time when we can look to one another and embrace oneness and unity is now, not tomorrow or the week after. I am putting out this call of distress to every Chaldean, Assyrian and Syriac through out the world. It was almost exactly one-hundred years ago when another genocide against the indigenous Christains of that land took place which resulted in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Assyrians and other Christians. Sir Winston Churchill said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
My dear humanitarian friends, I felt compelled to write to you today as urgent as the need to breath or drink water. Seize the moment, the world is watching. I am fully convinced that the reason I am writing this humble release whereby I am calling for unity between Assyrians, Chaldeans & Syriacs is solely the by product Church Division which has trickled down through generations. I shouldn’t need to call for unity, it should have already existed. I shouldn’t need to coach anyone on the importance of our common history, it need not be said. It is merely fact, chiefly in this precious moment of literal life and death. I urge you not to look for leadership in these matters by means of clergy but by pragmatic reasoning and genuine care of human kind.
Founder & President
Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce