Friday, 30 October 2009

AINA: Marathon in Brussels Calls Attention to Assyrian Persecution

Brussels (AINA) -- Assyrians ran a marathon in Brussels under the slogan "Assyrians to go the Distance." The marathon took place on Sunday, October 4. Nearly 70,000 people participated in the event. The vast majority of the 10,000 runners were Assyrian.

The theme for this year's marathon was the future of the Assyrian people.
The situation of Assyrians in the Middle East is precarious. Assyrians are killed almost every day in Iraq. Many of them are forced to leave their homes in fear of their safety, thus leaving their homeland under very difficult circumstances.

Those who have to leave their country continue living in refugee camps.
Turkey, Syria, Iran and especially Iraq do not recognize national rights for the Assyrians. Particularly, the constitutions of some of these countries do not recognize the national rights of the Assyrian people. Therefore Assyrians are either forced or encouraged to leave their own countries in which they have lived for millennia.

The persecution of the Assyrians in the Middle East continues. Reports are received on a daily basis. Yesterday the body of Imad Elia, a kidnapped Assyrian health worker, was discovered in Kirkuk, Iraq. The body showed signs of torture and mutilation (AINA 10-5-2009).

In order to call attention to Assyrian issues, the Assyrian Genocide Research Center (Seyfo Center) together with the Assyrian Youth Federations of Europe have organized marathons in the past years in Netherlands and other European states. This year the marathon ran in Brussels. The marathon took place amongst thousands of runners and drew a large crowd of spectators.
Assyrians live in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe as well as in the Middle East. The organizers of the marathon hope to rally the Assyrian Diaspora in support of Assyrians in the Middle East, who have suffered extreme persecution since 2003, particularly in Iraq (
Sabri Atman of Seyfo Center contributed to this report

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