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The Assyrian flag (red, white and blue, as shown in the photo) symbolizes the ethnic Mesopotamian people who trace their roots to the ancient Near East (think of the Biblical Abraham emerging from "Ur of the Chaldees") ,and continue to speak Aramaic (the language Christ spoke). Arameans, (an umbrella term for the Assyrians, Chaldeans and Syriacs) do not have a homeland and continue to be persecuted as a non-Arab, non-Islamic ethnic and religious minority in the Middle East. At present, Arameans can be found in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Israel, and Western countries.
When we think about genocidal campaigns, most of us are utterly baffled, disturbed and deeply saddened at the organization and systematic carrying out of horrific crimes against human beings. While many invoke "Never again!," it seems very clear that any group that is demonized can be gradually dehumanized and then be targets. Thus, we must guard our thoughts and actions to reject rhetoric that foments hate or hostility to any group-even while we seek justice for minorities that have been persecuted. We must set forth to see and recognize the humanity of all human life and the ties that unite us.
We must also condemn hate-filled rhetoric and acts. Hannah Arendt's idea of "the banality of evil" applies here: If people carry forth in their days, discharge of their duties without thought, Nazis and Nazi-like apparatuses can be supported. In each moment, we are given the ability to choose what we let assimilate into our hearts, minds and families. We have the opportunity for thoughts and actions to be well-thought out or perfunctory. As we turn to analyses of difficult international conflicts and relations between groups here in the States, we may want to ask ourselves: How do we talk about other people/groups? Are we able to teach our children within group differences? Do we attempt to "bracket" our own biases and prejudices for deeper understandings? Does the language we use about other groups dehumanize? To whom do we turn for information? Do we seek out alternative media sources, non-mainstream, wrestle with ideas proffered from the Far Left to Far Right, perhaps strengthening our resolve and political leanings in some areas, while acknowledging merit in some areas in the other camp?
As we wrestle with the horrors of war and political ideologies that destroy life, we as individuals and as members of families can take steps to more closely realize "Never again!"