Do You Speak neo-Aramaic?


If the Mideast isn't complicated enough for you, try looking at it from the point of view of Iraq's Assyrians. The descendants of ancient converts to Nestorian Christianity, they are non-Arab Semites who still speak a form of Aramaic. Jonathan Eric Lewis, a specialist in Mideast minorities, describes them as "the indigenous people of Iraq," and recounts their difficult modern history, including massacres at the hands of the Turks and the Kurds and cultural annihilation under Baathism. Their contemporary political and cultural goals remain hampered by a 16th-century religious schism that split the community.