Throughout history, different ruling powers in Beth Nahrin (Mesopotamia) have always employed destructive and devastating policies and tactics to displace the Syriac people. Because of these evil policies, the Syriac population of Beth Nahrin was reduced through massacres, exile, and labour recruiting methods. The Syriac peoples’ ancient social fabric and dynamic in their Mesopotamian homeland was broken. Their cultural values and historical experience and presence deliberately dispersed and fragmented. Syriacs were forcibly evicted from their settlements and their lands and properties were seized.
The result of all this persistent dirty politics is visible in all regions and corners of the Syriacs’ historical homeland of Beth Nahrin. It is visible in all their historical settlements, their mountainous habitats, and in the architectural works to which Syriacs attached their name: Urhoy (Edessa), Nineveh, Babylon, Erbil, Amida etc. From the root-names of many of these cities, mountains, and historical works, it can be comprehended that Syriacs left their distinctive mark on the civilization of Beth Nahrin; e.g. Gabbar Mountain in Şirnak, Şhigor, Izlo. Many more mountains derive their name from the Syriac language. Where many geographical names in Beth Nahrin have their root in the Syriac language, and where famous architectural works historically belong to the Syriac people, ownership, however, is no longer with the Syriac people. Why, because the Syriac people were systematically displaced and eliminated from their homeland, step by step, village by village, city by city, mountain by mountain. All the riches they were forced to leave behind were seized by others.
Historical Syriac regions in Syria like the Wadi al-Nasara (Valley of the Christians), Khabur, and Gozarto (al-Jazira), the Nineveh Plain in Iraq, Tur Abdin in Turkey, and significant parts of Lebanon, geographically and nationally still belong to the Syriac people. There, Syriacs are still the majority or have a significant presence and own land and property. However, these Syriac regions and properties are constantly decreasing and falling into the hands of others. The seizure of Syriac property and regions continues and Syriacs are made “nationless”.
As the pressures, dangers, and massacres in history increased, the hopes of the Syriac people of staying in their ancestral homeland decreased. For these reasons, emigration from their respective country of residence was seen as a way to liberation and salvation. Emigration and diaspora life, however, brought with it other dangers – alienation from the Mesopotamian homeland and assimilation in different foreign western cultures became fertile ground for the dissolve in diaspora – a peaceful but gradual genocide.
The psychology of immigration has gradually led to breaking off all ties and attachment with historical and cultural values because with emigration came the destruction to a great extent of the material bridges of return. Loyalty to the homeland remained only in feelings and dreams, a slowly dying emotion. The seizure and confiscation of Syriac lands and the depicting of Syriac lands and property as cheap and necessarily sold at low prices is tantamount to being nationless.
Only recently in history were Syriac lands, property, and possessions in Hakkari, Şırnak, Garzan, Tur Abdin, Gare, Nineveh, Gozarto seized in various ways – and ways to seize the rest are underway. It is therefore of great importance and responsibility that Syriacs start taking ownership of their lands, properties, and possessions as a commitment to their Mesopotamian homeland and to their survival as a people.
Syriac lands, property, and possessions in north-eastern Syria are now under threat from different powers and people. Deceptive and cunning plans are devised for this. Therefore, no Syriac should sell his property or land or show any inclination to come to these deceptive and cunning games. Moreover, enacting laws protecting Syriac lands, possessions, and property and taking measures in every field will help strengthen the loyalty to the homeland. Even if some Syriacs are or feel compelled to sell their properties, it would be best to make this sale internally with other Syriacs and to prevent Syriac property from falling into the hands of others. Additionally, the establishment of foundations and special purpose institutions in order to protect land and property will help organize and strengthen national and social ties and values.
The recent anti-propaganda spread regarding the (usufruct) law on property in North and East Syria enacted by the Democratic Autonomous Administration is unfounded and the anti-propaganda serves unscrupulous merchants wanting to buy property from Syriacs. Let it be clear, the freedom to sell ones property to any person is a basic human right. However, when this right to sell property turns into a right for Syriacs to sell and emigrate, it becomes the ground for denationalization and the statelessness of the Syriac people. This only serves the vile policies of status-quo regimes’ to denationalize the Syriac nation.
The efforts by some beneficiaries to prevent the introduction of the law protecting the lands, possessions, and property, and the continuation of unregulated property sales will have an even worse outcome for Syriacs in Gozarto than it had for Syriacs in Tur Abdin. The material sources for Syriacs to remain and return to their homeland Beth Nahrin will disappear. That is why the slander and allegations about the (usufruct) law as preventing Syriacs from selling their property to others is not only wrong, it also harms Syriacs. Therefore, every Syriac must act with a national and patriotic sense of responsibility and fulfil his historic duty.