The Assyrian activist Yalda Marokil tells about the assassination of Mar Shimoun Benyamen in March 1918 and also what Kurdish sources say about it. The assassin himself, Ismail “Simko” agha Shikaki, was interviewed in a Kurdish journal a few years later and said the main reason for murdering Mar Benyamen was that Simko saw him as an intruder and feared that the Assyrian forces may take over Kurdish villages in the area of Shikak because the Assyrians became too strong.
We also discuss the political conditions of the time and the rivalry between Mar Benyamen and general Agha Petros Eliya, described by the French officer in charge of the Assyrian and Armenian forces in Persia, Nicolas Gasfield, who witnessed the whole issue from inside. We also discuss the name change of The Church of the East, COE, in 1976 by Mar Dinkha IV, whether it ratified the sectarian division among the Assyrians. After the COE added the name Assyrian to its name, the anti-Assyrians within other Assyrian churches claim that “Assyrian” applies only to the members of COE (also known as Nestorians).
We conclude the interview with Kurdish betrayals towards their Assyrian neighbours over centuries and still ongoing betrayals in KRG (Iraq) and Gozarto (Syria). Massoud Barzani has written in his book about Kurdish uprise in Barzan that the Barzani family will never forget how Mar Benyamen helped his own uncle Abdulsalam Barzani in 1907. The Ottoman general Muhammed Fadel Pasha Dagestani attacked Barzan, because Kurdish rebellion against the Sultan whereby Abdulsalam Barzani, the elder brother of Mulla Mustafa Barzani, fled to Hakkari and sought refuge at Mar Benyamen in Qodshanes. The Assyrian patriarch refused to submit his Kurdish guest to the Turks. Four years later, in 1913, the same Abdulsalam fled to Shikak area in Persia and together with his good friend Simko Shikaki they travelled to Tiflis in Russia and met with the Russian Concul. After they returned, another Kurdish clan leader in the village of Garganchi in Shikak reported Abdulsalam to the Ottomans. He e was hanged in December 1914. Massoud Barzani says in his book that his family will always honor Mar Benyamen for his good deed towards Abdulsalam Barzani. But in reality he has insulted Mar Benyamin and the entire Assyrian nation by making Simko a national here in the school books of KRG and by naming streets after Simko in Arbil and Nohadra (Duhok). This is the reason why Assyrians never can trust Kurdish promises.
You can watch the lamentation of Naum Faiq on the assassination of Mar Benyamen here