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California's Capital Recognizes Assyrian Martyrs Day
By Joseph Haweil
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The City of Sacramento, capital of California, has passed a resolution recognizing 7 August as Assyrian Martyrs Remembrance Day. The resolution, officially passed on 26 July 2011, particularly noted the history of the Assyrian Genocide and its 2007 recognition by the International Association of Genocide Scholars. In accepting the resolution from Sacramento City Council, His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California, thanked the City of Sacramento and noted the "past sufferings, persecutions [and] genocide committed against the Assyrians, Christians of Mesopotamia, the indigenous people of modern day Iraq." "In recent history the suffering of the Assyrian Christians began at the turn of the 20th century when during the First World War, the imperial Ottoman government carried out a systematic genocide of the Assyrians, the Armenians and the Pontic Greeks," said His Grace. "Later in 1933 the royal government of Iraq carried out the massacre of the Assyrians at Simmele, in Northern Iraq." Concluding his remarks, the Bishop of California discussed the present persecution of Assyrians in the Middle East, observing, "still today, the Assyrian Christians of Iraq in particular and in the Middle East at large are persecuted and driven out of their ancestral homeland." Assyrian Martyrs Day is held worldwide on 7 August annually. The day commemorates the many instances in history of massacre, persecution and genocide committed against the Assyrian people. The day of national remembrance for the Assyrian nation commemorates with particular sorrow the Assyrian Genocide perpetrated between 1914 & 1923 in the Ottoman Empire and the 1933 Simmele Massacre in Northern Iraq. The City Council proceedings may be viewed here.

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