Bethnahrin National Council issues statement on International Mother Language Day: “It is our national duty to strengthen our Syriac mother tongue”

BETH NAHRIN — On International Mother Language Day, the Bethnahrin National Council (Mawtbo Umthoyo d’Bethnahrin, MUB) issued a press release emphasizing the importance of preserving and developing the Syriac language to ensure the survival of the national existence and identity of the Syriac–Assyrian–Chaldean–Aramean people.

The press release stated that the Syriac language played a major role in science, technology, and literature of Beth Nahrin (Mesopotamia) and that a people’s mother tongue is the most important characteristic that distinguishes them from others. The MUB highlighted the danger of assimilation and alienation from historical roots and national unity when a people cannot speak their mother tongue.

The press release calls for every institution, intellectual, and individual to assume the responsibility of protecting the Syriac language. The survival and strengthening of the Syriac language requires a focus on education in schools, academies, literary works, and media outlets, stated the MUB.

——— Bethnahrin National Council Statement ———

Our Syriac-Assyrian-Chaldean-Aramean people have the historical and national responsibility to preserve and develop their Syriac mother tongue and to save it from the dangers of extinction. Since this responsibility is of a national and social nature, only the assumption of this responsibility by every institution, intellectual and individual will make it able to ensure the survival of our national existence and identity.

Because the Syriac language was the language of the science, technology and literature of Mesopotamia, it has played a major role with the works it has given to mankind. The distinguishing and most important characteristic of any people is their mother tongue; a people will not dissolve if the mother tongue does not disappear. However, our people, their native language and all their historical and cultural values, have been subject to destruction for centuries. Every one of us who cannot speak his mother tongue and is subject to assimilation, is condemned to alienation from his homeland, historical roots, and national unity and consciousness. Because of this assimilation, millions of our people do not understand each other. Because of this disconnection and lack of native dialogue, the potential and opportunities of our people are serving other forces. Like our motherland, our people are divided and fragmented. Since it does not have the power to govern itself of its own will, it becomes further removed from its identity day by day through the assimilation and alienation education of different systems. While in every society in the world, the new generations represent the future of their people, our new generations do not receive education in their mother tongue. This means that the future of our people is in danger.

The struggle for national liberation, which we, the Bethnahrin National Council, are waging against this trend, revives the feeling and raises the awareness of protecting the mother tongue in all segments of society. Every member of our community whom we reached through our media and educational institutions, hears, learns and assumes the responsibility of protecting his mother tongue. However, the Bethnahrin National Council realizes that the survival and strengthening of our native language is not possible solely on the basis of everyday speech in local and narrowminded societies. We hence focus our efforts on schools, academies, literary works in the mother tongue, and media outlets.

Education in our Syriac mother tongue in the Democratic Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria is an important opportunity and a national momentum for the future of our people and our children. Therefore, by further developing the Syriac language schools there, we learn our history and culture in our own mother tongue and produce many writings and works of art. It is therefore of great importance that our people protect their mother tongue and school curriculum.

On this basis, we celebrate International Mother Language Day on February 21, recognized as such by the United Nations in 1999. And on this occasion, we invite all mother tongue teachers of our people to mobilize for the development of the Syriac language.

  • Long live February 21st, International Mother Language Day.
  • Long live the struggle for the development of the Syriac language.
  • Long live our mother tongue, the identity of our unity.

Bethnahrin National Council
Presidential Committee
February 21, 2023

——— End of Statement ———