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Monday, August 23, 2010

Assyrian Genocide Monument Unveiled in Australia

Fairfield (AINA) -- A monument commemorating the genocide of 750,000 Assyrians in World War One was unveiled on Saturday, August 7. The genocide was begun on April 24, 1915 and lasted approximately three years. It was master-minded by Ottoman Turks and executed largely by Kurds, their accomplices and mercenaries. The genocide also claimed the lives of 1.5 million Armenians and 500,000 Greeks.

More than 2,000 Assyrians and Australians attended the dedication at Bonnyrigg Park. The monument was sponsored by the Assyrian Universal Alliance and officially approved by the Fairfield city council on December 15, 2009. It was designed by Assyrian artist Lewis Batros. Construction of the monument began three months ago.

The monument is dedicated to the Turkish genocide of Assyrians as well as the 1933 massacre of Assyrians at Simmele by Iraqi government forces, in which 3000 Assyrians were killed. The plaque on the monument reads:


THIS MEMORIAL STATUE IS DEDICATED TO THE VICTIMS OF THE

ASSYRIAN GENOCIDE (SEYFO) IN WW1 1914-1918, SIMELE MASSACRE 1933 AND ONWARDS

May this remembrance be a blessing to the world by increasing awareness to fight the evils of genocide in a brotherly spirit and by initiating international awareness of the Assyrian nation's rights to existence among the nations of the world.

DEDICATED BY

THE ASSYRIAN UNIVERSAL ALLIANCE AND THE ASSYRIAN COMMUNITY

7TH AUGUST 2010/6760

The monument was strongly opposed by the Turkish community in Australia, who claimed the monument would "sew division" between the Assyrian and Turkish communities. This argument was repeatedly made despite the fact that there is no interaction between these communities and hence no division to sew. Assyrians are Christians and speak modern Assyrian (neo-Aramaic), while Turks are Muslims and speak Turkish.