Mr. Yonadam Kanna, secretary general of Zowaa and Assyrian MP in Bagdad, is telling us about the latest development in the liberation of Mosul and the Nineveh Pains. In order the Assyrian IDPs could return to their homes, Iraqi forces must secure the east bank of Tigris, before anyone could think of returning. The devastation of the Assyrian towns and villages is total. They need to be cleaned from remnants of ISIS fighters hiding in tunnels and explosives, before the reconstruction can begin.
As to the recent HRW report accusing Peshmerga of demolition of Arab homes, this has not happened to Assyrian villages, he says. He also comments the statements of Kurdish commanders that any place liberated by Peshmerga will be included to the KRG. According to Mr. Kanna this is already discussed before the operation of Mosul started and both Bagdad and Arbil agreed on who was going to do what. For example Peshmerga has withdrawn from Ba’shiqa and did not participate in the liberation of Baghdede, he says. The future rule of the Nineveh Plains must be left to the will of the people, Mr. Kanna says, returning the examples he gave in previous interviews about the status of Åland, Gibraltar, Ceuta etc. In these places the inhabitants have chosen to which country they want to belong. But this must come when the life has returned to its normal. It may take few years, he says.
The question of the new ID-application has not reached its final version, he says, because the Suryani name is not included yet. Mr. Kanna has personally complained to the ministry of Interior and the office of the PM that either all ethnic descriptions must be removed from the form of application, or all three names of the Assyrians (Assyrian, Chaldean and Syriac) must be included. In the ID-card itself there will be no ethnicity mentioned, but only in a database.
As to some Assyrian clergy’s demands for a unified name as ”Christians” (suggested by the Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako), Mr. Kanna says; ”we refuse to accept it because our ethnic rights would be vanished if we only are seen as a Christian group. In such a case our people would not have any other rights than of fasting and praying (sowma w slotha). Since five years 13 Assyrian political parties and organizations agreed to a combined name of the Assyrian nation. That is ChaldeanSyriacAssyrian. And we don’t need such a discussion now. What we need is to resist the difficulties and stay in our ancestral lands in order to maintain our roots here”, he concludes.