SYRIA: Olaf Taw Association for Syriac Language marks International Mother Language Day

ZALIN, Syria — On International Mother Language Day, 21 February, the Olaf Taw Association for the Syriac Language held an event in Zalin (Qamishli), North and East Syria.

In a statement to SyriacPress, Co-Chair of Olaf Taw Association in Zalin Josephine Soumi said, “We celebrate this day because of its importance. We invited various educational and society institutions from the region.”

Soumi stated that the event included an overview of the development of the Syriac language and its written script, in addition to the need to properly teach the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) children their mother tongue.

“The children that participated in the event were from all components of North and East Syria,” said Soumi. “They performed songs in Syriac.” The various ethnic and religious peoples of North and East Syria are referred to as components.

Soumi stated that the Syriac people are proud of their ancient language and hoped that they would learn their language correctly to ensure its survival.

Jacqueline Saliba, another Olaf Taw official, spoke with Suroyo TV about the importance of this day for the development of the Syriac language and about the future of common languages in North and East Syria.

Saliba stated that this day was set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to protect world languages ​​from extinction.

“The Syriac language has become an endangered language,” said Saliba. “Thus, Olaf Taw Association supports all the decisions that establish the rights of peoples to learn their mother tongue.”

Saliba explained that Olaf Taw, with the aim of protecting the Syriac language from extinction, is working on drafting educational curricula, books, and magazines, as well as preparing TV programs in the Syriac language.

She indicated that the cooperation of all components in North and East Syria with the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) and concerned organizations will contribute to the protection and development of all languages ​​of the region.

“The development of society cannot be achieved without protecting the heritage and languages ​​of all components,” she proclaimed.

Saliba congratulated all Syriac-speaking peoples and societies, stressing the need for joint work to enrich the Syriac language and preserve it from extinction.

Suroyo FM conducted an interview with a teacher from Olaf Taw, Dalal Ramadan, who stated that she first learned the Syriac language from the Olaf Taw Association in Zalin.

“I would like to learn about the Syriac civilization and language because I think Syriac language is a very nice and easy language to learn,” said Ramadan. “After my experience in learning Syriac, I call on everyone who likes learning languages ​​to try learning Syriac, because it is distinctive and ancient.”

“After I have learned Syriac and taught it in primary schools, I noticed that there is great acceptance and understanding by the students.”

Ramadan congratulated the Olaf Taw Association on International Mother Language Day and wished for the further development of the Syriac language.