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Assyrian American Oral History Project

Hello, everyone! I hope everyone is safe and well! This is Michael from the Will Library.

I have begun an oral history project with Assyrian Americans. Ruth Kambar, the author of Assyrians of Yonkers, is interviewing Assyrian-American community members with me. She created questions that pinpoint parts of Assyrian culture that I know little about. Her help is invaluable! 

 The first interview was with Matthew Multari, an activist and scholar. I found the interview to be enlightening. I learned (and am still learning) about Assyrian culture. History, holidays, religion, rituals, and language were articulated clearly by Matthew. He recited a prayer in Syriac, which I found to be impressive. I had never heard the language before!

A part of the interview that stood out for me was when Matthew talked about how he passed a resolution through the NY State Assembly that recognized the Assyrian Genocide. In this genocide, between 150,000-300,000 Assyrians were killed. The noble work Matthew did to make this recognized cannot be overstated.

Writing about the interview cannot do it justice. I encourage everyone to listen to the interview on the Yonkers Public Library digital archive: http://archive.ypl.org/items/show/843.

I am looking forward to hearing and learning more about Assyrian culture from Assyrian-Americans in the Yonkers community.