The virtual community of Assyrians
After decades of #persecutions, #discrimination, agressive cultural politics (e.g. Saddam Hussein’s agenda of pan-Arabic ideology) which aimed to deprive them from their cultural #identity, many Assyrians were forced to leave their countries of origin and began their struggle to survive as a diasporic community. “3,000 years of history, yet the #Internet is our only home” – wrote Albert Gabrial in the article published in the “Cultural Survival Quarterly'' journal (issue 12/1997). Gabrial describes how the digital tools help Assyrian people, scattered all over the world, from #Europe to the #USA, #Canada, and #Australia, maintain their cultural identity, preserve their collective memory, keep their traditions, language, beliefs, personal bonds and hope for a better future alive. “Thanks to the Internet – writes Gabrial – today for the first time, average Assyrians are free to write about themselves, their history, and their dreams. This is an #opportunity, which they could not imagine enjoying in their homeland”.
This virtual #community and possibilities it provides grew even stronger since the era of social media began. E.g. on #Facebook one can find a dozens of fanpages or groups focused on Assyrian #culture in both traditional (“Assyrian Roots'', “Holy Apostolic Assyrian Church of East'', “Orthodox Assyrians'') and modern version (“Assyrian Celebrities'' with up to 146 thousands likes, or “Assyrian Comedy Club” which presents an Assyrian culture and lifestyle in satirical way). Moreover, one can find some traditional #Assyrian recipes (“Assyrian Cooking”) or learn Syriac language (“Assyrian Word of the Week''). Facebook groups like “Assyrian around the World '', “I am proud Assyrian” or just “Assyrians” gather app. 10 thousands members each. Their aims are to “hold the Assyrian nation together”, to “connect with each other”, to remember that “#Arameans, #Syriacs and #Chaldeans, we are ONE Assyrians”. It’s good to realize that the Web not only creates a new global digital culture, but also helps to revive and retain the ancient ones.