BARTELLA / NINEVEH PLAINS, Iraq – In the run-up to the elections and as part of the campaign, the Bethnahrain Patriotic Union held a kick-off meeting Tuesday night at its home base of Nineveh Plains in the Syriac city of Bartella to present its party program and ambitions. The meeting was attended by residents, cultural and religious leaders and representatives of institutions in Bartella and the Nineveh Plains.
The meeting started with a welcome speech by journalist Ramzi Hurmuz Yako and a minute of silence for the souls of the martyrs of the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people, the Iraqi people, and the martyrs of freedom.
President of the Bethnahrain Patriotic Union Yusuf Yaqoub Matti and party candidate Joseph Sliwa talked in their introduction about what the upcoming elections of October 8, mean for the Iraqi and Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people, after which Joseph Sliwa – who is a former member of Iraqi parliament and formerly active in the Iraqi Communist Party – took the floor to go over the party’s election manifesto and their main party program objectives.
Matti and Sliwa answered questions from the public regarding the situation in Iraq in general and the Nineveh Plains in particular, the fate and demands of the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people in Iraq, the questionable role of the “Christian quota” and how Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian representatives deal with this quota. Most national demands of the Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians have unfortunately not been fulfilled under the current quota system because of administrative and financial corruption present everywhere in Iraq.
On Monday the Bethnahrain Patriotic Union and Joseph Sliwa released a manifesto with below summarized objectives of their party program:
- Change the curriculum to be suitable for a multi-religious and multi-national society.
- Demand the rights of young graduates and non-graduates in terms of job appointments to address the root problem of emigration.
- Change the Iraqi flag to include symbols of all Iraqi peoples.
- Establish Akitu Day as a national holiday in Iraq.
- Limit weapons to the state and stabilize the security situation in all of Iraq.
- Ensure the national, political, administrative, cultural, and educational rights of the Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian people.
- Develop, rebuild, and provide services to villages, towns, and cities of Nineveh Plains.
- Advocate for the creation of Nineveh Plains Province under Constitutional Article 119.
- End the problem of demographic change in Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian regions.
- Establish specialized institutes, colleges, research centers, and community institutions to develop the Syriac language.