For months now, we have not received any real updates in relation to the 220+ Assyrian hostages of Khabour. The sad reality is that they are hidden somewhere dark waiting to be saved. Who will save them? These innocent souls are caught in another tragic situation and have become collateral damage. We are watching history repeat again and again with no end in sight at this point.
With little proof of life and no assurances from the terrorist organisation Islamic State, sometimes you cannot help let your mind wander and fear the worst scenario. How are the captives surviving? What are the terrorists doing to the children and women? Have they been converted? Will they be used for suicide missions? These are some of the questions that we should be asking.
With the anniversary of the gruesome Simele massacre (1933) coming up on 7th of August, I am again reminded of the sad history our nation owns. Executions followed by mass exodus and much more. We have been made strangers in our lands, looted of our history and now face another ethno religious cleansing. Some say that this term might be used loosely, I disagree. It is exactly what is facing the vast majority of our people living in Iraq.
The anniversary of Simele should serve as a constant reminder of the tragedies that have unfolded and keep unfolding. The past becomes tomorrow over and over when “democratic” leaders from all over the globe are sitting by watching a repeated massacre of indigenous people happen without raising the alarm. We should not however only rely on the West for help. We should rely on ourselves. We have scholars, lawyers, politicians and many others in high legislative positions that should be able to influence change for their own. Sadly, this has not been the case for many of them so far as political agendas become priorities rather than saving lives.
What can the ordinary citizens do? We must continue to campaign and ask for our demands, ask for protection and ways to arm and establish a safe haven in the Nineveh Plains to continue to preserve what is left of history and the people. It is not an obligation or a task, it is our duty.
It is the only way in which we can ensure we are not holding another remembrance day in years to come for modern day genocide which could be prevented in working as one body instead of many. We must seek to preserve our status as indigenous people and continue to seek ways to be able to provide the necessary means of life to those whom have been displaced by this unjust war.
The significance of Simele is gloomy but also very important for us to learn from past mistakes of political manoeuvres and games.
Recently, the Australian Labor Party was unanimous in passing a resolution backing the notion of a Safe Haven. It is in these small victories that we ultimately will deliver justice and rightfully re-claim what we are entitled for. Just as the EU Parliament passed a resolution favouring the same. What this conveys and illustrates is that persistence and continued work to lobby and advocate on behalf of others actually works.
The United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, in particular Article 4 states that “Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.” So, the laws and means are there for us to utilize, but in the long run it is up to us to turn words on paper into a reality.
We will continue to remind those capable of affecting change of those hostages, of the displaced people in Iraq and thousands of refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey who have left their fate in the hands of others in the hope they may have a solution. We will never stop simply because we cannot. For if we stop, then who speaks for them? If we grow silent, what happens to their voices? If we give up, what happens to our future? You can decide their future.
Media Relations – ADFA Australia