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Why are the Assyrian IDPs not Returning to Tel Kaif

Posted by on Apr 24, 2019 in Help Right Now, Media, News, Uncategorized | 0 comments

  The local Assyrian inhabitants of this ancient Assyrian town were driven out by ISIS on the 6th of August 2014, when the terrorist group took over the town. The Assyrian Christian homes were immediately looted, their churches and cemeteries destroyed, erasing any trace of their existence.  Although the town has been liberated since 19th of January 2017, yet only a handful of Assyrian families have returned to rebuild their homes in Tel Kaif.  Two years have passed since the town was liberated and life is returning to normal. Most of the local Sunni Arabs, Sunni Kurds and the Sunni and Shiite Turkmens have returned to the town; however, the Assyrians are not returning to resettle in the town. Instead of returning to the town, they are choosing to resettle in the nearby villages that are solely settled by the Assyrians, such as Tel Eqof.  Why one may ask? What are their reservations? Even prior to ISIS taking over the town – shortly after Saddam was toppled in 2003, Tel Kaif was a problematic area. The town was infested with terrorist breading cells and the native inhabitants of the town, i.e. the Assyrians, were a direct target and had to go on with their daily life with great fears and vigilance. Thus, the social cohesion between the native Assyrian inhabitants and their Muslim neighbours, which had settled in the town, was gradually destroyed and replaced with great distrust.  This was all exacerbated with the coming of ISIS. Few traces of the Assyrian existence remain in Tel Kaif, even their graves have been desecrated.  Just like the other ethno-religious groups that lived in the town, the Assyrians too were anticipating the liberation of Tel Kaif and looking forward to return and rebuild their homes and lives. However, according to our interviews with the Assyrian IDPs from Tel Kaif, who have chosen to remain anonymous, they fear returning to their homes due to the following pertubations: 1. Women and girls from those families that have returned and those that tried to return are being harassed by some of the local Muslim youth. In some cases, the local security forces have been the source of such harassment. This in itself is a huge reason for distrust: the Assyrian women and girls were a direct target of ISIS and such harassment is a sign that ISIS may have been defeated, but ISIS mentality seems to continue to prevail among the local Muslim community. 2. After the liberation of town, the Iraqi government founded a huge Detention Camp (Tasfiraat) in Tel Kaif. According to the Governor of Mosul, the Detention Camp houses around 1800 foreign ISIS fighters (from eighteen different nationalities). The centre is not in the outskirts of the town, but in the town itself and amidst one of the town’s neighbourhoods.    The presence of this Detention Camp, no farther than 10 meters from people’s homes, is a great source of distress and trepidation for the Assyrians. They fear these detained ISIS fighters can easily escape and commit a grave terrorist act. In fact, not even a weak ago: a Russian female ISIS fighter attempted to climb the fence and escape. According to some eye-witnesses, she was almost successful. One Assyrian IDP told us: “if only one of these detainees was to escape, he...

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Communiqué

Posted by on Apr 11, 2019 in News | 0 comments

First and foremost, we would like to wish our nation a Happy Assyrian New Year, may 6769 be a year of emancipation and progress for all of our people and in all four corners of our homeland and the diaspora.  The Restore Nineveh Now Foundation board held a general body meeting on the 27th of March 2019 to discuss important key topics, most important of which: how to fill the huge gap left through the passing of our chairman, the late David William Lazar who passed away on the 5th of January 2019. David William Lazar was larger than life and his sheer dedication to the Assyrian nation and its cause; and to Restore Nineveh Now Foundation are immeasurable.  Thus, his passing is felt by all as a great loss, but more so by us as Restore Nineveh Now Foundation. We also realise: it will take us a very longtime to recover and eventually find adequate replacement to fill David William Lazar’s shoes.  However, we feel it would be a great injustice for us to cease our efforts: we must not only continue, we must escalate our efforts. We owe it to our nation, which needs us now more than ever. Furthermore, we owe it to David William Lazar: we must honour him by continuing in his footsteps and fight for what he believed and stood for.  Therefore, the Restore Nineveh Now Foundation took the bold decision to continue its efforts and restructure its board to the following effect: 1. The board took an unanimous decision to vote in Dr. Sargon Issa as the temporary chairman of its board, until the foundation is able to find a new chairman.  2. The board also took an unanimous decision to add Mrs. Ninva Younan as a new board member of Restore Nineveh Now Foundation.  Our board also discussed the main challenges faced by our nation in our ancestral homeland and put a plan together as to how we address these challenges.  We also discussed the importance of involving as much of our people in our efforts to serve our nation as possible. We sincerely believe we have many supporters among our people, both in the homeland and the diaspora who strongly believe in what we stand for and do. Therefore, we would like to invite them to come forward and place their hands in ours in order to help us serve this nation of ours; for the harvest if plentiful but the workers are few! We were, we are and we shall continue to be the loyal servants of the Assyrian nation. Sincerely, Board of Restore Nineveh Now Foundation...

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The Passing of our Dear Founder, David William Lazar

Posted by on Jan 6, 2019 in News | 0 comments

The Passing of our Dear Founder, David William Lazar

It is with deep regret and sadness that we announce the passing of our President and Founder, David William Lazar, who passed away today surrounded by loved ones. David is survived by his wife Ninva, and children Delmin and Tiamet Lazar. In his public life, David was a highly respected activist who spent his life fighting for the rights of all Assyrians; in his private life, he was a devoted husband who always cherished his family and friends. His sacrifice to the Assyrian cause will never be forgotten, as he worked tirelessly to further the mission, doing so without compromising his core values.  David leaves behind several non-profit organizations that he co-founded, including Assyrian Aid Society of America, American Mesopotamian Organization, and Restore Nineveh Now Foundation. His spirit will forever be the foundation of our organization. David’s untimely death was unexpected and is a complete shock to all of us. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with David have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the cause he believed in so much. For the time being, we would like to reflect upon his life and express our gratitude to an exceptional man who gave everything to his nation. Sincerely, Restore Nineveh Now Foundation...

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Statement on change in USAID policy towards ethno-religious minorities of Iraq

Posted by on Jan 24, 2018 in News, Rally - Secure - Restore, Slider | 0 comments

Statement on change in USAID policy towards ethno-religious minorities of Iraq

  https://www.usaid.gov/news-information/press-releases/jan-8-2018-continued-us-assistance-to-better-meet-the-needs-of-minorities-in-iraq In 2016, the Obama administration recognized ISIS atrocities against ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria as a Genocide. Unfortunately, nothing of significance changed in US policy towards these minorities and the victims continued to suffer and anguish. Not only nothing changed on the ground as far as the overall condition of these minorities was concerned; but they continued to suffer from methodical discrimination by international agencies such as the UNDP, US State department, the Baghdad government as well as the Kurdish regional government. In November 2016, just before the US presidential election, our foundation engaged an advocacy group in DC, with the purpose of advocating for a change in US policy towards victims of the genocide. The advocacy group was led by a former senior State Department official who was aware of the plight of the Assyrians and Yezidis and the overall situation in Iraq and who also had access to high ranking US officials, in the State Department, the US Congress and the new incoming Trump administration. At the same time, he was well connected to Iraqi government officials, which we considered to be critical for the success of the initiative since USAID and the State Department had previously insisted on working through Baghdad government channels. In February 2017 the Restore Nineveh Now Foundation (RNNF) proposed an eight-point action plan to senior advisers to the Trump administration where we requested that direct aid be given to secular and faith based organizations that have been doing most of the heavy lifting in elevating the suffering of tens of thousands of displaced Assyrians, Yezidis and Turkmens families. Please click on link below to read our press release: http://www.restoreninevehnow.org/?p=1389 In the same month our President, Mr. David William Lazar met with his excellency Dr. Fareed Yasseen, Iraq’s ambassador to the United States in D.C. to deliver a letter to his excellency, Dr. Haidar Al-Abadi, Prime minister of Iraq on the same subject. Please click on the link below to read our press release: http://www.restoreninevehnow.org/?p=1397 RNNF representatives in DC worked with U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), James Lankford (R-OK), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and John Cornyn (R-TX) to write Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, urging him to release urgently needed funds that were promised by former Secretary John Kerry for the relief of ethnic and religious minorities of Northern Iraq. Please click on the link below to read the content of the letter to Secretary Tillerson: http://www.restoreninevehnow.org/?p=143 In his telephone conversation with Dr. Steiger, Chief Operating Officer of US Agency for International Development (USAID) our President, Mr. David William Lazar, explained in detail that Assyrians, Yezidis and other ethno-religious minorities have received very small percentage of the aid earmarked for them. This was due to policies of discrimination against these minorities by our own Department of State (Obama administration) as well as by the UNDP in addition to high levels of corruption in the Kurdish regional government and that the best approach would be to work directly with faith based and secular NGO already on the ground in Northern Iraq. In early December 2017, USAID distributed $6M USD to three NGO, each one of them receiving $2M and they are: Save the Children http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.6115947/k.8D6E/Official_Site.htm   Danish Refugee Council https://drc.ngo/   Catholic Relief Services https://www.crs.org/?_ga=2.154908607.60310272.1516047447-1165782413.1516047447&_gac=1.246548912.1516047448.EAIaIQobChMIiLqM6-Ta2AIVRrjACh1jgQDHEAAYASAAEgJF8PD_BwE   As the most recent statement...

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Show them the money

Posted by on Jun 29, 2017 in Help Right Now, Rally - Secure - Restore, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Show them the money

As we have reported to you over the past several months, the RNNF has been working through its representatives in Washington, DC., to secure the release of funds promised by then Secretary of State John Kerry for the relief of the ethnic and religious minorities in northern Iraq. To date we have good news and bad news. First the bad news. Current Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has not authorized the release of the badly needed funds. Now the good news – RNNF’s team in DC have worked with U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), James Lankford (R-OK), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and John Cornyn (R-TX) to write Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, urging him to release the funds. Here is the letter in full: Download (PDF, 2.21MB) We encourage everyone to do the following two things: Down a copy of Sen. Rubio’s letter and send to as many people as you can Contact the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, urging him to authorize the release of the funds set aside for the victims of ISIS and the relief of their suffering. We will continue to work on behalf of all minorities in northern Iraq, not stopping until they secure and well on the Nineveh Plain. To help us continue our work, please click...

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The Restore Nineveh Now Foundation Newsletter, May, 2017

Posted by on May 20, 2017 in Media, News, Newsletter, Rally - Secure - Restore | 0 comments

The Restore Nineveh Now Foundation Newsletter, May, 2017

Dear supporters of Restore Nineveh Now Foundation, This past month has been one of the busiest this year for the Restore Nineveh Now Foundation. We are very pleased to announce that through many months of hard work with our strategic partners in Washington, DC, we have accomplished a MAJOR mile stone in the fight for funding and support of those displaced Assyrians and other minorities in Iraq. As you will read, the opportunity is now in place to secure significant amounts of funding for Assyrians, Yazidis, Turkmens and other minorities in the Nineveh Plain. Next, The Gozarto Protection Force (GPF) in Syria is engaged in one of their largest and fiercest fights against the Islamic State in Syria. While details are developing, we can say that the GPF is now seen as more vital than ever to bringing peace back to Syria. To be brief, let me assure you that  the Restore Nineveh Now Foundation is continuing to fight hard for the Nineveh Plain and everyone who lives there. As you have heard from me before, we can not thank you enough for your support. All the gains that we have made have happen because of your support. If I could ask you to take a moment to click on a donate button below and join us in our support of the Assyrians, the Yezidis and all the people who call the Nineveh Plain their home, we promise to continue our work for their future. Sincerely, David William Lazar, MBA President Restore Nineveh Now Foundation Restore News Big News from RNNF in Washington, DC. This past March marked one year since then US Secretary of State John Kerry declared ISIS “responsible for genocide” against Iraq’s ethno-religious minorities of Assyrian Christians, Yazidis, Turkmens and others. As encouraging as that declaration was, it turned out to be only lip service. Nothing (and we mean nothing) was done for distressed Assyrian Christians, Yazidis, Turkmens and other minorities owing to this declaration. To add insult to injury, the Obama Administration purposefully excluded ISIS survivors from its humanitarian, security, and stabilization programs. Nothing, not one penny, of Obama Administration’s $1.1 billion (yes, “billion” with a “B”) in humanitarian aid dispensed last year by the State Department and US Agency for International Development went to Iraq’s religious and ethnics minorities. When the Restore Nineveh Now Foundation demanded to know how it could be that those who had been MOST victimized by ISIS’s terror were completely left out of US aid for victims of ISIS’ terror, we were informed by USAID officials under Obama that US law forbids “a religious test” for aid. This strange explanation completely ignored the fact that Assyrians, Yazidis and Turkmen badly need US aid because they have been targeted by ISIS for being, well, Assyrians, Yazidis and Turkmens! However, a new administration in Washington has presented new opportunities – which we have been quick to capitalize on. Working with our strategic partners in DC, we have pressed the case that those who need the aid were those whom ISIS attacked because of their ethnic and religious background. Well, great news: On May 5th, 2017 President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 (see below, page 1, 2 and 3), which requires the Department of State and USAID to make available...

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A meeting with the ambassador from Iraq to the United States

Posted by on Feb 24, 2017 in Help Right Now, News, Rally - Secure - Restore | 0 comments

A meeting with the ambassador from Iraq to the United States

This February Mr. David W. Lazar and Mr. Peter Bityou met with His Excellency Fareed Yasseen, ambassador from Iraq to the United States, to deliver a letter to His Excellency Dr. Haidar Al- Abadi, Prime Minister of Iraq. Here is the details: Download (PDF,...

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A call for US and International aid

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in Media, News, Rally - Secure - Restore | 0 comments

A call for US and International aid

The victims of ISIS’ attacks are being excluded from US and International aid. In a joint statement, the Restore Nineveh Now Foundation and the Assyrian Aid Society are calling on the United States and the United Nations to immediately end this exclusion, and bring badly needed aid to those who have suffered most under the terror of the Islamic State in Iraq. Download (PDF, 110KB)...

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The Restore Nineveh Now Foundation’s Weekly Report – December, 2016 – Issue 4

Posted by on Jan 10, 2017 in Help Right Now, News, Rally - Secure - Restore, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Restore Nineveh Now Foundation’s Weekly Report – December, 2016 – Issue 4

In an effort to keep you informed and engaged concerning events on the Nineveh Plain and in the Middle East, the Restore Nineveh Now Foundation brings you a weekly news dispatch, The Weekly Report. Drawn from our blog posts and major stories, The Weekly Report will focus on issues related to the restoration of the Nineveh Plain and the larger issues of peace and stability in the Middle East. If there is an issue that you would like to know more about, be sure to contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we are able. You can subscribe to the Weekly Report by signing up for the newsletter on the Retsore Nineveh Now Foundation home page.   (Above: An Assyrian child with Father Christmas in Qamishli, Syria. Photo credit, Ashur of the Syrian Mother Youth Caucus & Syria Mother Association for Development, December, 2016.) Happening This Week: Christmas in Syria The Restore Nineveh Now Foundation (RNNF) has been working throughout December to support Assyrian families in Syria during the Christmas season. War torn and weary, your help has made all the difference for Assyrian families, for mothers, children and those with fathers who are fighting to hold on to their homes and land. As the year comes to a close, we sat down with Ashur (not his real name) who works as the spokesman for the Gozarto Protection Forces and as the press secretary for the Mother Syria Youth Caucus in Qamishli, to ask him about what he and the Assyrian children of Syria had been doing for the holidays. The response we got was poignant, humbling and powerfully sad. RNNF: It is Christmas time – tell us about what you are doing there in Qamishli. Ashur: Frankly, though I went to several concerts on the occasion of Christmas, I did not feel the spirit of Christmas, because the image of my friends who were killed in the bombings on 30 December of last year did not depart from my imagination, add to that the large burden work incumbent upon me in spite of my age, you can say that I spend most of the Christmas season in the work and the little ones in entertainment. RNNF: How are people celebrating Christmas in Qamishli and Khabur Valley? Ashur: Most people celebrated Christmas in their homes, where the celebration was limited appearances to concerts, greeting relatives and going to restaurants – so the choices are limited. You will also be able to sense the fear in people’s hearts that something will happen to spoil the holiday cheer with a shimmer of hope and optimism that this period shall expire with joy and peace. RNNF: What sort of special activities have you been able to arrange for the children? Ashur: Children are the angels of the earth, and from this point the organizations that I work with (Syrian Mother Youth Caucus & Syria Mother Association for Development) made activities for children, and we made a huge celebration included most areas of the province (Qamishli, Hasaka and the Khabur group of villages) and we have distributed gifts for children in addition to the distribution of sweets, as we teach them Christmas hymns in Assyrian so they will remember their language. RNNF: What is being planned for New Years? Will...

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The Restore Nineveh Now Foundation’s Weekly Report – January, 2017- Issue 1

Posted by on Jan 10, 2017 in Help Right Now, News, Newsletter, Rally - Secure - Restore | 0 comments

The Restore Nineveh Now Foundation’s Weekly Report – January, 2017- Issue 1

In an effort to keep you informed and engaged concerning events on the Nineveh Plain and in the Middle East, the Restore Nineveh Now Foundation brings you a weekly news dispatch, The Weekly Report. Drawn from our blog posts and major stories, The Weekly Report will focus on issues related to the restoration of the Nineveh Plain and the larger issues of peace and stability in the Middle East. If there is an issue that you would like to know more about, be sure to contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we are able. You can subscribe to the Weekly Report by signing up for the newsletter on the Retsore Nineveh Now Foundation home page.   (Above: The Assyrian flag, unifying symbol of Assyrians throughout Iraq, the Middle East and the world.) Happening This Week: What’s in a name? After nearly three months of fighting, Iraqi forces have reached the Tigris river the runs through the center of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and the Islamic State’s last major stronghold in that country. Although the fighting has been slow and hard, and Iraqi forces have avoided turning Mosul into the next Aleppo, the Islamic State is almost surrounded on the western side of the city. The end of the Islamic State in Iraq is drawing nearer and nearer. As it does, talk in the West is turning to what should be done for (or in some less thought out statements “with”) the Christians of Iraq. How will they be preserved in Iraq and can they have a region, or perhaps at best, a “safe zone” of their own? While these questions are absolutely the right ones to ask they are being asked in absolutely the wrong way. Although well intended, and with the best and right motivations, no region or safe zone can, or should, be created for Christians in Iraq. Why? Because there are no provisions under Iraqi constitutional law for sectarian regions or even the allowance for a sectarian state. While it is true that Islam is de facto the religion of the land in Iraq, the “spirit of the law” is one that aims for an Iraq free from sectarianism. What, then, is to be done for the victims of the ISIS’ genocidal war? Should there be safe zones for these peoples? Should there be semi-autonomous regions like that enjoyed by the Kurdish people of Iraq? Absolutely, and those zones and regions should be organized in the same way that the current Kurdish region is, that is along ethnic, and not religious lines. This begins by using the right terms concerning the people of Iraq’s Nineveh Plain, terms that they themselves prefer to use. While most of the victims of the Islamic State’s invasion of northern Iraq do practice Christianity, they are Assyrian by ethnic descent, and very proud of it. As a people, the Assyrians have a history that goes back almost 5000 years, with a unique language and culture that survives despite centuries of difficulty in the Middle East, one the world’s most turbulent regions. Yes, most (but not all) Assyrians are Christians, but above everything else they are Assyrian. And yes, Assyrians should have a region in Iraq where they and other ethnic groups, like the Yezidis, Shabaks and...

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