Claims of Accomplishment
Friday, January 04, 2008
EDITOR'S NOTE: There is great need for setting the record straight on the
history of the Middle East. The revisionism of the last few years will lead
Western Civilization into bondage. The following letter by Assyrian scholar
Peter BetBasoo is a very important step in the right direction. It was sent by
Assyrian scholar Peter BetBasoo to Carly Fiorina, CEO of Hewlett Packard
Corporation, in response to a speech she presented in Minneapolis on September
26, 2001. It is reprinted by permission. Please read and pass it on to others.
Dear Madame Fiorina:
It is with great interest that I read your speech delivered on September 26,
2001, titled "Technology, Business and Our way of Life: What's Next"
[sic]. I was particularly interested in the story you told at the end of your
speech, about the Arab/Muslim civilization. As an Assyrian, a non-Arab,
Christian native of the Middle East, whose ancestors reach back to 5000 B.C., I
wish to clarify some points you made in this little story, and to alert you to
the dangers of unwittingly being drawn into the Arabist/Islamist ideology, which
seeks to assimilate all cultures and religions into the Arab/Islamic fold.
I know you are a very busy woman, but please find ten minutes to read what
follows, as it is a perspective that you will not likely get from anywhere
else. I will answer some of the specific points you made in your speech, then
conclude with a brief perspective on this Arabist/Islamist ideology.
Arabs and Muslims appeared on the world scene in 630 A.D., when the armies of
Muhammad began their conquest of the Middle East. We should be very clear that
this was a military conquest, not a missionary enterprise, and through the use
of force, authorized by a declaration of a Jihad against infidels,
Arabs/Muslims were able to forcibly convert and assimilate non-Arabs and
non-Muslims into their fold. Very few indigenous communities of the Middle East
survived this - primarily Assyrians, Jews, Armenians and Coptics (of Egypt).
Having conquered the Middle East, Arabs placed these communities under a Dhimmi
(see the book DHIMMI, by Bat Ye'Or) system of governance, where the communities
were allowed to rule themselves as religious minorities (Christians, Jews and
Zoroastrian). These communities had to pay a tax (called a Jizzya in Arabic)
that was, in effect, a penalty for being non-Muslim, and that was typically 80%
in times of tolerance and up to 150% in times of oppression. This tax forced
many of these communities to convert to Islam, as it was designed to do.
You state, "its architects designed buildings that defied gravity." I
am not sure what you are referring to, but if you are referring to domes and
arches, the fundamental architectural breakthrough of using a parabolic shape
instead of a spherical shape for these structures was made by the Assyrians
more than 1300 years earlier, as evidenced by their archaeological record.
"its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable
the building of computers, and the creation of encryption."
The fundamental basis of modern mathematics had been laid down not hundreds but
thousands of years before by Assyrians and Babylonians, who already knew of the
concept of zero, of the Pythagorean Theorem, and of many, many other
developments expropriated by Arabs/Muslims (see HISTORY OF BABYLONIAN
MATHEMATICS by Otto E. Neugebauer).
"its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for
The overwhelming majority of these doctors (99%) were Assyrians. In the fourth,
fifth, and sixth centuries Assyrians began a systematic translation of the
Greek body of knowledge into Assyrian. At first, they concentrated on the
religious works but then quickly moved to science, philosophy and medicine.
Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Galen, and many others were translated into
Assyrian, and from Assyrian into Arabic. It is these Arabic translations which
the Moors brought with them into Spain, and which the Spaniards translated into
Latin and spread throughout Europe, thus igniting the European Renaissance.
By the sixth century A.D., Assyrians had begun exporting back to Byzantia their
own works on science, philosophy and medicine. In the field of medicine, the
Bakhteesho Assyrian family produced nine generations of physicians, and founded
the great medical school at Gundeshapur (Iran). Also in the area of medicine,
(the Assyrian) Hunayn ibn-Ishaq's textbook on ophthalmology, written in 950
A.D., remained the authoritative source on the subject until 1800 A.D.
In the area of philosophy, the Assyrian philosopher Job of Edessa developed a
physical theory of the universe, in the Assyrian language, that rivaled
Aristotle's theory, and that sought to replace matter with forces (a theory
that anticipated some ideas in quantum mechanics, such as the spontaneous
creation and destruction of matter that occurs in the quantum vacuum).
One of the greatest Assyrian achievements of the fourth century was the
founding of the first university in the world, the School of Nisibis, which had
three departments, theology, philosophy and medicine, and which became a magnet
and center of intellectual development in the Middle East. The statutes of the
School of Nisibis, which have been preserved, later became the model upon which
the first Italian university was based (see THE STATUTES OF THE SCHOOL OF
NISIBIS by Arthur Voobus).
When Arabs and Islam swept through the Middle East in 630 A.D., they
encountered 600 years of Assyrian Christian civilization, with a rich heritage,
a highly developed culture, and advanced learning institutions. It is this
civilization that became the foundation of the Arab civilization.
"Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the
way for space travel and exploration."
This is a bit melodramatic. In fact, the astronomers you refer to were not
Arabs but Chaldeans and Babylonians (of present day south-Iraq), who for
millennia were known as astronomers and astrologers, and who were forcibly
Arabized and Islamized - so rapidly that by 750 A.D. they had disappeared
"its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and
magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in
fear to think of such things."
There is very little literature in the Arabic language that comes from this
period you are referring to (the Koran is the only significant piece of
literature), whereas the literary output of the Assyrians and Jews was vast.
The third largest corpus of Christian writing, after Latin and Greek, is by the
Assyrians in the Assyrian language (also called Syriac).
"when other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on
them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from
past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it
on to others."
This is a very important issue you raise, and it goes to the heart of the
matter of what Arab/Islamic civilization represents. I reviewed a book titled
HOW GREEK SCIENCE PASSED TO THE ARABS, in which author De Lacy O'Leary lists
the significant translators and interpreters of Greek science. Of the 22
scholars listed, 20 were Assyrians, one was Persian and one an Arab. I state at
the end of my review:
"The salient conclusion which can be drawn from O'Leary's book is that
Assyrians played a significant role in the shaping of the Islamic world via the
Greek corpus of knowledge. If this is so, one must then ask the question, what
happened to the Christian communities which made them lose this great
intellectual enterprise they had established? One can ask this same question of
the Arabs. Sadly, O'Leary's book does not answer this question, and we must
look elsewhere for the answer."
I did not answer this question I posed in the review because it was not the
place to answer it, but the answer is very clear, the Christian Assyrian
community was drained of its population through forced conversion to Islam (by
the Jizzya), and once the community had dwindled below a critical threshold, it
ceased producing the scholars that were the intellectual driving force of the
Islamic civilization, and that is when the so called "Golden Age of
Islam" came to an end (about 850 A.D.).
Islam the religion itself was significantly molded by Assyrians and Jews (see
NESTORIAN INFLUENCE ON ISLAM and HAGARISM: THE MAKING OF THE ISLAMIC WORLD).
Arab/Islamic civilization is not a progressive force, it is a regressive force;
it does not give impetus, it retards. The great civilization you describe was
not an Arab/Muslim accomplishment, it was an Assyrian accomplishment that Arabs
expropriated and subsequently lost when they drained, through the forced
conversion of Assyrians to Islam, the source of the intellectual vitality that
propelled it. What other Arab/Muslim civilization has risen since? What other
Arab/Muslim successes can we cite?
"and perhaps we can learn a lesson from his [Suleiman] example: It was
leadership based on meritocracy, not inheritance. It was leadership that
harnessed the full capabilities of a very diverse population that included
Christianity, Islamic, and Jewish traditions."
In fact, the Ottomans were extremely oppressive to non-Muslims. For example,
young Christian boys were forcefully taken from their families, usually at the
age of 8-10, and inducted into the Janissaries, (yeniceri in Turkish) where
they were Islamized and made to fight for the Ottoman state. What literary,
artistic or scientific achievements of the Ottomans can we point to? We can, on
the other hand, point to the genocide of 750,000 Assyrians, 1.5 million Armenians
and 400,000 Greeks in World War One by the Kemalist "Young Turk"
government. This is the true face of Islam.
Arabs/Muslims are engaged in an explicit campaign of destruction and
expropriation of cultures and communities, identities and ideas. Wherever Arab/Muslim
civilization encounters a non-Arab/Muslim one, it attempts to destroy it (as
the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan were destroyed, as Persepolis was destroyed
by the Ayotollah Khomeini).
This is a pattern that has been recurring since the advent of Islam, 1400 years
ago, and is amply substantiated by the historical record. If the
"foreign" culture cannot be destroyed, then it is expropriated, and
revisionist historians claim that it is and was Arab, as is the case of most of
the Arab "accomplishments" you cited in your speech. For example,
Arab history texts in the Middle East teach that Assyrians were Arabs, a fact
that no reputable scholar would assert, and that no living Assyrian would
accept. Assyrians first settled Nineveh, one of the major Assyrian cities, in
5000 B.C., which is 5630 years before Arabs came into that area. Even the word
'Arab' is an Assyrian word, meaning "Westerner" (the first written
reference to Arabs was by the Assyrian King Sennacherib, 800 B.C., in which he tells
of conquering the "ma'rabayeh" - Westerners. See THE MIGHT THAT WAS
ASSYRIA by H. W. F. Saggs).
Even in America this Arabization policy continues. On October 27th a coalition
of seven Assyrian and Maronite organizations sent an official letter to the
Arab American Institute asking it to stop identifying Assyrians and Maronites
as Arabs, which it had been deliberately doing.
There are minorities and nations struggling for survival in the Arab/Muslim
ocean of the Middle East and Africa (Assyrians, Armenians, Coptics, Jews,
southern Sudanese, Ethiopians, Nigerians...), and we must be very sensitive not
to unwittingly and inadvertently support Islamic fascism and Arab Imperialism,
with their attempts to wipe out all other cultures, religions and
civilizations. It is incumbent upon each one of us to do our homework and
research when making statements and speeches about these sensitive matters.
I hope you found this information enlightening. You may contact me at
firstname.lastname@example.org for further questions.
Thank you for your consideration.
Peter BetBasoo is an Assyrian from Iraq and the co-founder and director of the
Assyrian International News Agency (www.aina.org). He can be reached at
Posted by GS
Don Morris, Ph.D. at 7:56