April 10, 2008, - 1:31 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
In response to my recent column on courageous Costa Mesa, California Mayor Allan Mansoor and American Hero/Medal of Honor winner Michael Anthony Monsoor and their Mid-East heritage, reader RM–also of Mid-East heritage–writes an important letter:
Most Middle Eastern Christians are not arabs. We trace our roots to the pre-arab, indigenous populations of the ME. We are as different from arabs as the Jews are. We Assyrians, for example, do not speak arabic, except in arab countries. We speak Aramaic as our first language. In Iran, we speak Aramaic and Farsi. In Turkey, we speak Aramaic and Turkish. Not one word of arabic is poken by Assyrians in Turkey and Iran. I myself speak only Aramaic, and not one word of arabic.
The Copts are Egypt’s indigenous, pre-arab people. The very word Egypt comes from the Greek, Ikyptos, “The Copts.” Their language is a direct descendant of Heiroglyphics. Heiroglyphic to Heiratic to Demotic and finally to Coptic, over the millenia.
It is true that some ME Christians, Chaldeans and Copts included, have been arabized. But to call them arabs because of their language is like calling the Irish, “English.”
I hope this helps.
WE ARE NOT ARABS!!!!!!!!!!!
One other thing to add: My friends who are Lebanese Maronite Christians also say they are not Arabs. They prefer to be called Phoenicians. The Phoenicians were the original Lebanese, and they much pre-dated the Arabs. Even a Lebanese Druze friend of mine says, “I’m an not an Arab.” In addition to it not being their heritage, it’s also because “Arab” is seen as “Muslim,” and they don’t want to be known as part of the “Religion of (non-)Peace.”
Tags: Allan Mansoor, California, Debbie Schlussel, Egypt, Islamic Republic of Iran, Mayor, Michael Anthony Monsoor, Turkey