Open letter by Gabriel Afram


To all who lead our secular and religious organizations in Europe and the United States. Not least to our Assyrian associations both in Sweden and the remaining EU countries

Since 1980, I have published more than 27 titles in the classical National language Assyrian (Syrian, Syriac) and aroused interest in the language among thousands of Assyrians/Syrians around Sweden and in other countries. Works that have been highly appreciated and highly praised. This commitment is primarily based on my enormous love for this language. We all consider how important it is to maintain and develop it, but this commitment requires both time and money. Apart from a few individuals and associations who have loyally stood up and contributed, not least St. Peter’s church in Hallonbergen in Stockholm, I have paid for all publications. I take this opportunity to thank everyone for their contributions. But to be able to continue the production, I turn to our associations, churches, and congregations mentioned above.

I am primarily addressing the associations and churches, where they constantly preach about the importance of preserving this language. This mantra is often heard, but far from being acted upon. I am convinced that the public is more positive than the boards of those who are sitting in our associations, organizations, and institutions. The church leaders who claim to be fighting for the preservation of this language should be a guide. They could at some point from the altar encourage the members of the congregations to at least buy the literature published in this language. Buying a book costs, no more than a visit to a restaurant today. Who will be poor or rich to do this? In other cases, we see how the church leaders use the altar and advertise less worthy issues every Sunday.

Quite often I receive praise from various people, priests, lay people, and board members of the associations about this commitment. But congratulations and thanks, which I often receive, hardly help anything in reality. These words cannot prolong the life or hope of the lighted candle.

It is regrettable that when an individual or organization buys a book, he or she makes me feel like he is asking me for eternal obedience and wants to remind me of this unforgettable favour or kindness he did to me. This is how most of the individuals, and our profane or religious institutions behave. Have you ever seen or heard that in this way a language can survive, or a people endure??

It is sad to point out, that not just millions, but billions of SK, (Swedish crowns) our people have wasted on building hundreds of churches in the Western world since we emigrated to Europe and the United States. We have left as many churches as possible behind in the Middle East, but for the preservation of the most significant component of our identity; we can’t afford it. Is this a sign of a healthy condition???

Recently I saw the pompous consecration of the new bishop in Södertälje, and asked myself the question; How much did this party cost??

I believe that the clergy, unfortunately with the help of the people, have drained the nation’s finances for centuries. A change is required. The change will never come through the priests but from the grassroots.

Unfortunately, you hear the rumble of the church mills, but you see no flour, and ”much chatter occurs in the premises of our associations, but little workshop” This is what happens in our profane and religious institutions. The good tree is recognized by its fruits.

Gabriel Afram

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