Syriac Union Party and Assyrian Democratic Organization send Akitu message of unity

QABRE HEWORE, Syria – Official Akitu festivities were held at various locations in North and East Syria. In the village of Kersheran, Qabre Hewore, the Syriac Union Party (SUP) and Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO) jointly organized a big event which was attended by many national and international officials. U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Syria David Brownstein was also present with a special message.

Celebrations began with the welcoming of the representatives of political parties, cultural organizations, and the members of the Syrian Orthodox Church’s Council. A minute of silence was held in commemoration of the martyrs of the Syriac people (Aramean-Chaldean-Assyrian), followed by a folkloric performance by the Ornina band.

ADO leader Daoud Daoud (L), US Deputy Special Envoy to Syria David Brownsten (2nd L), SUP co-chair Sanharib Barsoum and SUP official Elizabeth Gawriye (R)

Co-chair of the Syriac Union Party in Syria Sanharib Barsoum spoke a word of welcome to the guests. He said that Akitu is a holiday for all Syrians and a cultural message of coexistence. The joint ADO and SUP celebration is “to unite our people and establish their legitimate rights in the Syrian Constitution, to enable them to play a pivotal role in building a future Syria, to congratulate the security forces which have been crucial in maintaining the security of the region, and to create a positive atmosphere for the development of the Autonomous Administration.” Barsoum expressed the hope that the model and experience obtained from the Democratic Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria would be applied throughout all Syrian territory.

Assyrian Democratic Organization leader Daoud Daoud gave a speech in which he warmly welcomed and congratulated all representatives of all political parties active in the region. On one of the most important national holidays of the Syriac-Assyrian people, Daoud touched on the history of the celebrations of this special day, its rituals and meanings. He referred to the vital role and many sacrifices of his and other Syriac-Assyrian parties and organizations against attempts to deny the Syriac-Assyrian people Akitu. After a long struggle, they succeeded in reviving the Akitu holiday. Daoud concluded with emphasizing the importance of celebrations like Akitu in light of the deadlock in the Syrian political arena, the poor prospects of a political solution, the deteriorating economic situation, and the pandemic.

U.S. Special Envoy to Syria David Brownstein delivered a speech in which he expressed his gratitude for the invitation; “My message here is returning the same message as I am receiving. It is one of unity and hope for the future. I’m here and able to see the flags from all the different Syriac parties and organizations. All are here together celebrating their heritage and also their common goal to build a multi-ethnic North East Syria. So, my message is the same as they have: unity and the future.”

Democratic Autonomous Administration Foreign Affairs co-official Abdul Karim Omar congratulated all the Arameans-Assyrians-Chaldeans with the Babylonian New Year. He pointed out that Akitu and Newroz are expressions of hope, and that next year will be a year of peace for Syria and its people. He expressed his confidence in building a pluralistic and decentralized Syria together, 10 years after what started as a peaceful movement but turned into an internal war.

A speech by the Assyrian Women’s Committee followed a folkloric performance from the Bartutha band. Assyrian Women’s Committee representative Sara Barsoum stated that the celebrations carry the meanings and features of Assyrian civilization, referring to the role of women in all spheres of life. She cited active and influential role models in the history of the Syriac-Assyrian people.

@Delilsouleman / @AFPphoto. Bartutha, Ornian and Lamita folk dance groups during their Akitu folkloric performances.

Elias Hanna of the Elias Hanna Charity Foundation expressed his support to all parties in their demands and thanked them for their hard work to achieve constitutional rights for the Syriacs.

Syriac Women’s Union official for Zalin (Qamishli) Georgette Barsoum, then praised the positive messages that the Akitu holiday carries with it, “the attachment of our people to their ancestral land” and the role of the Syriac women in developing Syriac and human civilization.

The Barthutha band concluded the festive day with a final folkloric performance.

Akitu is an official holiday in the Democratic Autonomous Administration of Syria. The event’s security was in the hands of the Internal Security Forces of the DAA.