Professor Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis on the situation of the Aramean people in Iraq. Iraq (colonial) is wrong term, it should be Aram or Aram-Nahrin
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis, Orientalist
On august 1, 2004; we received the following E-mail, submitted via the form, from the hand of the honorable professor Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
---- Original Message -----
>Sent: Sunday, August 01, 2004 4:44 PM
>Subject: Form Submitted at your website
> Name: Megalommatis
>Forname: Muhammad Shamsaddin
I will write to you again!
Here I just paste a recent article I published in the iraq.net forum
Arabic or Aramaic speaking people in Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel and Kuwait, they are all ethnically and culturally Aramaeans, not Arabs. I published the same in several websites, and in the Yemen Times, a newspaper I have been writing for. Prof. Dr. M.S.Megalommatis (Greek citizen of Turkish origin, Orientalist)
Tear down the Colonial term Iraq-Aram Nahrain the right name
Iraq Net Forum Index » IraqNet Discussions » Politics
Author Message Megalommatis
Joined: Jun 26, 2004
Posted: Jul 18, 2004 - 10:03 AM
Tear down the Colonial term Iraq-Aram Nahrain the right name
(Published on various Forums; amongst others at Iraq.Net Forum: http://www.iraq.net/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=1443&sid=28b0950d4845c2d0e57c8c19460257f0)
The Basic Pillars of the Future Education and Culture in Iraq - Part A
An effort in introducing multicultural, multilingual and multi-religious approaches and practices in replacement of the - imposed by Colonial powers - totalitarianism of the forged Pan-Arabism.
By Prof. Dr Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
The Iraq war is over and soon the new government will assume full control over the entire territory of the country, eliminating the few centers of terrorist and islamist rebellion and disregard of the Law. A new country can definitely emerge in Mesopotamia that can be genuine, authentic and original in a way never a state has been over the past 750 years that followed the destruction of Baghdad. America has contributed immeasurably to this unique development, bringing down - along with its allies - the previous tyrannical pan-Arabist regime, the 'enfant gate' of the Arab League and of the criminal, colonial power France that intends not to repent for its colossal share in Iraq's engulfment in tyranny, misery, poverty, war, fratricidal fraction, cholera, as well as in immeasurable and grave violations of Human Rights.
France was the main reason of this repellant situation, because France propagated the falsehood of Arab nationalism, misled Arabic-speaking elites that enrolled in its universities, and ultimately offered a blank check to all sorts of inept and besotted, tyrannical, pan-Arabist murderers, who easily ruled for decades. And yet France is not sorry!
France - thanks God - is out of the picture, being wisely kept by President Bush out of the game. Is that a guarantee that the new Iraq that determined already itself as a 'multi-cultural' society will be a success? Not quite so! The reason of our doubt has mostly to do with the nature of the Colonialism, and the falsified version of History that emanated out of the colonial countries' universities. It is essential that we understand as early as possible that Iraq's (and America's) greatest success will be the full, complete and total rejection of the forged mindset that becomes a factor of Colonial History.
Instead of analyzing the perversion of Colonial History and Ideology, it is high time to understand what is the Non-Colonial. This is easy to be found; suffice it that you delve into the basic legislature passed in America at the very end of the 18th century we find an abundance of literature, specifying the rejection of the Colonial model, the rights of the minorities, the self determination of the genuine, democratic forces of the country.
Basic Principles of the Free Iraqi Education and Culture
Now that Iraq is free again, the Quest for its identity, culture and education starts again.
Iraq was never the name of the country. It is an imposed name that signifies the detachment of Iraq from the Ottoman Empire. It was as much hated as the British colonials, who faced several rebellions, and total animosity from the part of the local population. Iraq is an Arabic meaningless name in a country where, except the Arabic speaking people, there are no less than seven (7) various linguistic groups, namely Kurds (Muslims, Yazidis, and Ahl-e Haq) speaking bahadinani, gurani and sorani, Aramaeans (Mandaeans or Christians divided into 'Assyrians' and 'Chaldaeans') who all speak Aramaic, Turkmens, Armenians and Persians, who respectively Turkmen, Armenian and Farsi.
To all of them, as well as to many Arabic-speaking Sunni or Shia people, Iraq (the 'arid land' or the 'land of the sweat') means nothing.
The term was rather introduced with the arrival of Islam that signals also the arrival of Arabic, as the holy language of that religion. But either as province of the Umayyad Kingdom of Damascus or as the epicenter of power from Morocco to China at the times of the Abbasid Caliphate, the area was scarcely given that name. Even when the Ottomans occupied that land that was to some extent contested by Iran the division into three parts (Mosul in the north, Baghdad in the center and Basra in the south) prevailed.
If we go back to History, we attest a long Iranian presence during the Achaemenid (from 539 and the Fall of Babylon down to the arrival of Alexander II of Macedonia at 330, BCE), Arsacid (Parthian, 250 BCE - 224 CE) and the Sassanid (224 - 651 CE) times. 'Iraq' was an Iranian province for no less than 1189 consecutive years. It is as if we say in Western Europe from the collapse of the Roman Empire at 476 CE until Louis XIV in France, or from Charlemagne down to our days! The Alexandrian - Macedonian interlude was indeed very brief (around 80 years).
Like this we get a diachronic overview of the area; it was first Sumerian for about 1000 years; it was then Akkadian - Assyrian - Babylonian for more than 2000 years (with some overlapping with the Sumerians and with the Persians), Persian for almost 1200 years, before becoming Muslim for approximately 900 years, and more particularly Ottoman for almost 400 years. During this very long history (the longest throughout the World's History, since Sumerians introduced Writing at around 3250 BCE, 300 years before the Egyptians), one people lived and still lives there for no less than 3200 years!
The Aramaeans are first mentioned in the Annals of Tukulti Apil Esharra (Tiglath - Pileser) I in the very first years of the 12th century BCE. They settled in several areas in the Mesopotamian North (Assyrians did not intermingle with them) or South (where we have full proof of their mixture with the Babylonians). Of course, Aramaeans later spread out in Syria and shaped several Aramaic states, notably that of Damascus, but in Mesopotamia the preponderance of Assyria and Babylon did not permit them to do so. The Aramaic states of the West collapsed in the Assyrian 'Globalization' of the Middle East that took place at the end of the 8th and during the 7th centuries BCE.
It is only after the collapse of Seleucid successors of Alexander II that Aramaeans mount up states also in the area of the Mesopotamia; Kharax, Elymais, Adiabene are some of the names that are known in the West through Ancient Greek and Latin sources, but plenty of Aramaic documentation testifies to their history. The Parthian Arsacid dynasty was under the strong impact of several centrifuge forces, and this trait contributed to the formation of Late Antiquity Aramaic states or caravan - cities like Hatra, Harran - Edessa of Osrhoene, Nasibina (Nisibis), Dur (Doura Europos), Rekem - Petra, and last but not least Tadmor - Palmyra that was the most illustrious, the richest, the strongest, and the most involved in the trade between the Mediterranean and China, as well as in the commerce throughout the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. The Roman control over Egypt came sometime to end, because of the Palmyrene invasion of Egypt! It is to the Aramaeans that the Babylonians, the Phoenicians and the Jews got ultimately assimilated. At the times of Jesus, Hebrew was already a dead language, limited only to religious use in the synagogues, and back to that time date the last Babylonian Cuneiform texts.
The rise of the Sassanid Empire at Istakhr, the main Iranian capital, and the confrontation with the Roman Empire (before and after the christianization of the latter) did not leave much space for an Aramaic state, and Aramaeans lived separated in the two rival empires. In the 3rd century CE from a later form of Aramaic writing that is called Syriac, writing is introduced among the Arabs of Hedjaz. Arabic is a Syriac derivative. And when Islam broke out of the peninsula the first to embrace it were the Nestorian Aramaeans, who were persecuted as Christians in Sassanid Iran and ass heretics in the Eastern Roman Empire.
The gradual process of linguistic Arabization does not mean but the gradual limitation of Syriac among the Christians, since the lack of a great state and administration and the complete adhesion of the Arameans to either Monophysitic or Nestorian Christianism did not create a need to incorporate the new religion into a circle of national epics about the glorious past, as it happened in Iran.
But the Arabs of Hedjaz who finally settled in Aram were very few, fewer than the Aramaic population of just a city, let's say Tesifun (Ctesiphon). So, if we do not count the Turkmen, the Kurds, the Armenians and the Persians, the local population in today's Iraq is totally Aramaic.
Either they are Christian and they speak Syriac, or they are Muslim and they speak Arabic. But, truly speaking, as far as ethnic basis, traditional characteristics, racial identity are concerned they are all Aram. So, the correct ethnic name that could unite them all under one centripetal administrative force should be Aram.
Iraq must be renamed Aram.
Presenting the major advantages of this solution in an epigrammatic way, I stress the following points:
As urgent it is to strangle the Islamic terrorist net that unashamedly kills innocent Mesopotamians every day, so imminent must be the replacement of the name of 'Iraq' by the historically correct, genuine, brilliant and attractive name of 'Aram'.
Tear down the shameful name 'Iraq;, the paragon of Colonialism and Tyranny.
Aram is the real name of the country of the Mesopotamian Christians and Muslims.
Aram must be the future name of the truly independent Iraq.