IRAQ – The Simele Massacre & the Unsung Hero of the Genocide Convention

National Review | 072718

The blood-drenched line that led from the Roman arena to the gallows of France and the pogrom of Bialystok also wove through 63 villages in a region over 2,500 miles away from his hometown, where the long-suffering Assyrian people were massacred by the thousands.

The Assyrians are indigenous to the parts of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria that comprised the ancient, contiguous territory of Assyria, which dates back to 2500 b.c. and appears in the Old Testament. They are a distinct, largely Christian ethnic group, having been converted to the faith by St. Thomas, St. Thaddeus, and Mar Mari in the first century.

As many as 6,000 Assyrians were brutally murdered. Pregnant women were bayoneted, while others were lit aflame with burning Bibles.

In August of 1933, Lemkin learned the news of the aforementioned massacre, in which 63 Assyrian villages in the Dohuk and Mosul districts of modern-day Iraq were attacked by the nascent Iraqi Army. As many as 6,000 Assyrians were brutally murdered. Pregnant women were bayoneted, while others were lit aflame with burning Bibles. According to Elias Haroon Bazi, a survivor of the massacre, during the third day of the killings, Iraqi soldiers rounded up Assyrians and told them to “either become Muslim or we will kill you.”

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