of frustration when their resettlement as a single community repeatedly failed, then of settling down as a minority in Iraq and in very small communities in other countries.45
On the eve of World War I, the British, French and Russians deliberately used the politics of nationalism to win allies and weaken the Ottoman Empire. The Assyrian region of settlement lay on the line dividing the interests of Turkey and Russia. As late as 1914 Patriarch Mar Shim'un XIX (Benjamin) (1903-18) approached the Turkish provincial governor to negotiate for the security of his East Syrian tribes. The governor offered two separate guarantees, but Kurdish-Turkish attacks on Christians soon followed, because the Christians were seen as allies of Russia. On 10 May 1915 news of the massacres of Christians and hopes of support from the Russians induced Patriarch Mar Shim'un XIX to declare war on Turkey in the name of his nation (millet). Shortly thereafter the strategic situation changed. The Russians had to withdraw from Van; the Kurds attacked the Assyrians and forced them higher into the mountains. Many East Syrian villages and churches were destroyed. These desperate straits led to the Assyrians' decision to evacuate all of their tribes from the Hakkari mountain region. Under the skilful leadership of their malik, 50,000 men, women and children gathered together and reluctantly advanced towards Urmia, where they hoped to secure aid from Russian troops.46 On the plains theyjoined with the Assyrians they met. The 'Mountain Nestorians' had left their homeland behind, and few would ever see it again.47
Mar Shimon XIX was assassinated in Iran in 1918, to be succeeded in quick succession by first one nephew and then another, who was consecrated in Iraq as Mar Shimon XXI.48 Still young, he was dispatched to England for his education, while the government ofthe 'nation' rested in the hands ofan aunt, Lady Surma, who with her English upbringing was the virtual regent. Back from England Mar Shimon was regarded by the Iraqi government as the civil leader of the Nestorians in their country; he was also the religious head of all those in Russia and India. Disregarding the petition he presented to the Lausanne Conference seeking the return of his people to their homeland, the
'Migration of Middle Eastern Christians to western countries and Protestant missionary activities in the Middle East: a preliminary investigation' Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 54 (2002), 39-49.
45 Coakley 'The Church of the East since 1914', 179-98.
46 D. Méthy 'L'action des Grandes Puissances dans la région d'Ourmia(Iran) etles Assyro-Chaldéens 1917-1918', StudiaKurdica 1-5 (1988), 77-100.
47 Baum and Winkler, The Church of the East, 137-8.
48 He later changed this to Mar Shim tin XXIII.
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