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Meet Enlil from Arizona, the winner of the elementary school category. Enlil wrote a letter to Agha Petros. Enlil was awarded $100.00.

Notes from Enlil’s parents: Collecting and reading Assyrian children’s books will help your 

children gain knowledge at an early age. In addition, attending Assyrian cultural events with your child will also help them discover their roots. Enlil’s favorite books are the Epic of Gilgamesh series written by Ludmila Zeman and Assyrian Comics  by  Tony Shalalo. 

Meet Tiamet Lazar, a senior in High School from Valencia, California who won the High School essay competition! Tiamet recounts the story (attached) of her father, the late David Lazar, the renowned activist, and how it shaped her Assyrian identity. Tiamet was awarded $350.00.

Thank you for making our national essay competition a success! Encourage your kids to write their family histories. We are particularly interested in collecting and documenting stories of genocide survivors and their descendants. Our resilience is commendable and inspirational!

Seyfo Center, AZ chapter team

By Tiamet Lazar

My ancestors were killed for following Christ. My father was an activist for the Assyrian Christians who remained in the Middle East after the Genocide of 1915 and was a leader of many non-profit organizations that provided a voice, supplies, and safety to those in need. Even as a child, I always looked up to my father and admired him for providing justice to his people and brothers in Christ. After he died in 2019, I found myself with an even bigger desire not only to carry on his legacy with activism but also, with faith.

Throughout my life, I’ve had people ask why I broadcast my faith as much as I do. This reveals their ignorance of Christian persecution worldwide. At 12 years old, I’d listen to the phone calls my father would get from people in Iraq and Syria begging him to send help while ISIS was bombing their cities and churches. As a child my father would tell me how strongly our people stood with their faith as Muslim regimes were giving them the choice to either convert to Islam, ransom, or die. I vividly remember someone calling my father from Iraq and screaming in horror as he watched his home burn to the ground-the home that sheltered his wife and kids. I heard the screams through the phone as he pleaded with God to save his family. Pleaded with God to save his adolescent daughters from ISIS sex-trafficking rings. Pleaded with my father to help him as we all sat around the table, lifeless. Shortly after the phone call ended, he and his wife were murdered, and their daughters were taken, never to be seen again. His family did not convert, nor did they pay the ransom: the price they paid was being murdered for their religion. A land that was once filled with Christian roots now uses our blood as fertilizer. The land where Abraham was born, was a land known as the “Cradle of Civilization,” a land that was home to some of the first Christians, a land where people spoke Aramaic, the language of Christ. All through my life and even now I learn about the great Assyrian Empire, with little evidence to show that it ever existed, as our history vanishes while the world sits in silence.

When people ask me why I broadcast my faith so much, I keep it simple and say, “My family had to leave the Middle East because of their religion.” What many don’t hear are the silent voices of Assyrian Christians. After my father’s passing, I learned the definition of evil at the age of fourteen. I earned evil as I wrote an obituary for a death I never fathomed. I understood evil as I watched a casket get lowered six feet under. I accepted evil when I realized that I’d never again be able to feel the kindness and warmth of a father’s love. learned the definition of resilience at fourteen. I’ve put away childish things: I no longer see the world with the scope of a child, rather, I see the world for what it truly is, evil. And although I was young, I’ll forever keep my promise to my dad to never be silent.

 

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