Assyrian Renaissance of Ezidxan

The modern Aramean people has multiple ethnic components, including both West Arameans and East Arameans. Many East Arameans identify as Assyrians while others identify as Syriacs/Arameans or Chaldeans. Every human identity whether individual or collective is a social construct and identity politics do tend to be ineffective and divisive. These identities are hotly contested between the various movements within the Aramean people. There is however not merely a difference of identity as those who identify as Assyrian tend to not include West Arameans in shared peoplehood as based on the shared Aramaic language.

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Peafowl persons are seen in Yezidism (Yezidi Median Judaism) as endowed with significant religious symbolism. Yezidism originally emerged through extensive syncretism between Judaism and Assyrian religion.

The neo-Assyrian movement is however right and wrong, they are certainly right about the Assyrian heritage in the traditional culture of East Arameans. Yet, as a Para-Jewish population are they themselves descended from Christianized Assyrian Jews who resisted Islamization and so they are not ethnic Assyrians just as German Jews are not ethnic Germans. When East Arameans encountered British imperialists did they in fact quite openly inform the British imperialists about their own ancestry from the deported Jewish tribes of the northern Kingdom of Israel.

Many West Arameans identify as Phoenicians and Maronite Arameans are indeed descended from the Hebrew-speaking Phoenicians but that does not mean that they are not also part of the shared Aramean people which includes East Arameans and West Arameans with divergent, diverse and rich ethnic identities, culture and heritage. Modern Assyrians as East Arameans are therefore indeed modern Assyrians but they are also part of the wider Aramean people as well. The Aramean people is ethnically diverse, including Maronite Arameans, Greek Orthodox Arameans, Melkite (uniate Greek Catholic) Arameans and East Arameans including those identifying as Syriacs/Arameans, Assyrians and Chaldeans.

Western missionaries in the age of European colonialism sought to de-Judaize Para-Jewish peoples whom they encountered and Western missionaries thus promoted Assyrian identity on the basis of the Assyrian cultural heritage of East Arameans. Aramean denominational leaders are still typically fearful to speak about the Arameans as a Para-Jewish people and obviously will not speak openly about the Crypto-Jewish nature of Aramean religious denominations for fear of anti-Jewish prejudice among Muslims.

Gaining independence is however not reducible to identity politics, in fact liberal democracy and open society permit diversity in assumed identities, including enabling individuals to refuse to have identities in any or all regards. In the case of the Aramean people (both West Arameans and East Arameans, many of whom identify as Assyrians) has identity politics proven divisive and destructive for the quest for self-determination whether for Arameans generally or only for East Arameans or only for West Arameans.

If we instead put identities aside and allow for diversity in identity and non-identity can we move beyond identity politics (in this case known as “nationalism”) and instead focus on diplomatic engagement; with the world, with the region and within the wider Aramean people itself. The neo-Assyrian identities of many East Arameans as based on the Assyrian cultural heritage of East Arameans need obviously be respected but other Arameans (both West Arameans and East Arameans) have non-Assyrian identities and those obviously need to be no less respected as well.

The task at hand is working practically together both politically and diplomatically while respecting each other’s different identities. Modern Assyrians are therefore as Maronites a subset of the Aramean people with a most cherished and valued cultural identity within the wider Aramean people itself. Aramean and Assyrian are therefore not mutually exclusive identities as East Arameans (including East Arameans who identify with Assyrian historical and cultural heritage) are as Maronites indeed one of multiple ethnic components of the wider Aramean people indeed.

The essential endeavor of establishing an independent Aramaic Ezidxan is indeed one of the challenges of the armed feminist Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) currently liberating the Euphrates Valley from the the Jihadist rapist thugs of the Islamic State Caliphate. Yezidism (i.e. Yezidi Median Judaism as the term Yezidi  is originally derived from the Hebrew word Yehudi, meaning Jewish) historically emerged as a denomination of Zorostrianism which in turn emerged out of Median Judaism as founded by the Jews who were deported from the northern Kingdom of Israel 27 centuries ago. The Euphrates valley was indeed Yezidi prior to being coerced by religious imperialism to leave to leave Yezidi Judaism.

Median Judaism spread through extensive syncretism with existing traditions and so Yezidism (Yezidi Median Judaism) is very much the brave and noble survival of Assyrian religious and cultural heritage just as American Jews are carriers of American cultural heritage. East Arameans and particularly East Arameans who identify with Assyrian heritage need therefore alse learn to esteem and appreciate the rich and diverse, yet despite centuries of torment by religious imperialism ultimately successfully surviving Assyrian heritage of the Yezidis and Yezidi Judaism.

The future Aramaic Ezidxan is precisely the realization of the Assyrian dream except that it will not be called Assyria for modern Assyrians are descendants of the Jewish victims of Assyrian imperialism as deported from the northern Kingdom of Israel 27 centuries ago. This however in no way implies disrespecting or negating neo-Assyrian identity and the cherished Assyrian historical and cultural heritage of East Arameans just as German heritage is no doubt part of the historical and cultural heritage of German Jews.

Aramaic Ezidxan will be based upon dual communal reversion, indeed communal reversion to the Aramaic language and communal reversion to Yezidi heritage which carries so much Assyrian cultural heritage. East Arameans (including those with neo-Assyrian identity) need not become Yezidis as they should simply if they so please embrace the Aramaic-Judaic cultural heritage within their own tradition. Aramaic and Amiyyah should however be the official languages of Ezidxan with increasing emphasis on Aramaic. The Amiyyah language is currently the main spoken language in the Euphrates valley region and Amiyyah as a living natively spoken language is certainly not a “dialect” of the dead Arabic language which has never been the main spoken language outside of the now Amiyyah-language Arabia. (Cf. Dariyyah and Tamazight are the two main languages of Tamazgha, a.k.a. Maghreb).

It is indeed the maternal task of the feminist SDF to give birth to independent Ezidxan south of independent Kurdistan and so East Arameans interested in territorial self-determination need to work with feminist Rojava and the SDF so as to make the dream of Aramaic-language restoration & neo-Assyrian cultural renaissance come true in the form of a free and democratic, independent Aramaic Ezidxan.

It is of course also important for East Arameans to work with Baghdad, Damascus, Erbil, Jerusalem and Sulaymaniyah as well, yet to give birth to independent Aramaic Ezidxan south of independent Kurdistan is precisely the task of the Rojava libertarian revolution and the feminist SDF indeed. The task at hand is therefore not to promote divisions of identity, religion and ethnicity but rather to constructively work together in helping build Aramaic Ezidxan (East Aram) which should most certainly later democratically merge with Aramaic Alawistan (Central Aram) and Aramaic Aram (West Aram) into unified greater Aram with a diversely multiethnic society in allowing for diverse identities and non-identities indeed.

Building the three Aramaic states of Alawistan, Aram and Ezidxan are vital humanitarian endeavors and certainly not nationalist ones. Building the three Aramaic states are an essential part of building a Middle East with functioning states as opposed to current more or less dysfunctional colonial creations.

The name of the language is Aramaic  as Assyrian  was in contrast a mere dialect of the long since extinct Akkadian language and Aramaic was indeed the common language in the Neo-Assyrian Empire and later the lingua franca  of the Median/Persian state as well. Terms such as Syriac, Syria, Syrian etc. are mere derivatives of the of the names Assyria and Assyrian. The extinct Akkadian language was an East Semitic language and significantly influenced by Sumerian while Aramaic is a Northwest Semitic language as closely related to Hebrew indeed.

Assyrian leaders are therefore particularly well advised to be cognizant that East Aramean Assyrians as an important subset of the wider Aramean people cannot, should not, must not and will indeed not under any circumstances be permitted to impose their own nationalist nomenclature on other Arameans who simply do not identify with the historico-political narrative of the modern nationalist ideology of Assyrianism. Yet, East Aramaean Assyrians are of course certainly under no obligation whatsoever to embrace Aramean identity although there is of course no conflict whatsoever between being Assyrian and Aramean indeed.

The various remaining still demographically significant Aramean enclaves in and near Kurdistan need be given local/regional self-government. While Baghdad and Erbil are in support of the establishment of a self-governing Aramaic region in the Nineveh plains are East Arameans bickering over the name of the region which should simply be Nineveh region. While in practice this initially means self-government under Iraqi Kurdistan rather than under Iraq are the Nineveh plains geographically and demographically far too small to be able to defend itself and Iraqi Kurdistan is certainly highly sympathetic to the political cause of East Arameans and Arameans generally. However, the Nineveh region ought certainly become part of Aramaic Ezidxan rather than Kurdish/Zazaki-language Kurdistan although of course this will be the democratic choice of the Nineveh region itself.

The Kurdistan Regional Government needs to take effective political action in close consultation and political coordination with Baghdad, Damascus and Jerusalem because the East Aramean political parties seem practically speaking politically unable to do so themselves. Iraqi Kurdistan has no interest in ethnically or politically dominating anyone else and certainly warmly supports the creation of an Aramaic autonomous region in the Nineveh plains to later become part of Aramaic Ezidxan if its people so wishes.

Kurds know precisely what it means to be denied self-determination although anti-Kurdish sentiments are unfortunately widespread among Arameans as among the other peoples neighboring Kurdistan, yet it is also true that Aramaic Christians are unfortunately also a structurally oppressed minority group in Kurdistani society. Leaders of the two peoples need therefore precisely stand together in building a common future of self-determination and reconciliation between these two structurally oppressed peoples as each has indeed perfectly legitimate humanitarian demands for territorial self-determination in the form of the attainment of humanitarian independence in freedom, emancipation and representative government indeed.

Again, this is a humanitarian endeavor as inclusive of diverse identities and non-identities and so identity politics must no more remain an obstacle on the path to independence indeed.