An ancient people clinging to their existence

Iraqi-Christians-carry-th-006

What happens when the world closes its eyes and turns its back? Massacre. Holocaust. Genocide. More than 50 Assyrians, Chaldeans and other Christians were killed by extremists while worshipping in a church in Iraq on Oct. 31. The situation is so bad that Assyrians are fleeing their ancient and rightful homeland, according to the non profit Assyrian Aid Society. Few nations have stepped in to stop what is amounting to an ancient people being decimated and displaced before our eyes.   I interviewed some young Assyrian refugees who had arrived to the San Fernando Valley,  and spoke to them of their experiences in Iraq before they were able to escape.  I also learned of the U.S.’s lack of policy and amnesty when it comes to assisting those who clearly are persecuted for their religious beliefs.

From my story:

TARZANA – The children of war make up for lost years with lessons on algebra, grammar and the meaning of Uncle Sam.

There is no time to dwell on the past. After years on the run and living in uncertainty, the young Iraqi refugees who attend the Assyrian American Christian School in Tarzana say they have finally found what they have missed: the freedom to dream again.

“It’s sad to think of,” 17-year-old Leon Thomasian said last week as he pondered the sixth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. For the young or the old – regardless of their politics or religion – war dramatically alters destinies, he said.

Leon, who was studying to be a being classically trained as a pianist, didn’t touch a piano for years after he and his family fled from Baghdad to Syria. He thought his dreams of performing as a professional had forever slipped through his fingers.

“A person wants something so bad,” he said. ” And then he has to wait years for it.”

Here is my full story (Daily News, 2009).

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