Fifty days of Resurrection
On the road to Alqosh one sees from afar the oldest monastery in the Nineveh Plain and the Arab region, the Dair Rabban Hurmiz, which was built by two Assyrian women on top of a rugged, rocky mountain. It overlooks the small Christian town, as if it were guarding it. Upon drawing near and looking at some of the rocks, one sees a dull red color, faded with the passage of time. No one knows but the people of Alqosh that this is the blood of the monks who were massacred in 1743 by the emperor Nadir Shah, master of the largest army in history (more than two hundred thousand soldiers) to occupy the Middle East.
The monks refused to leave the monastery. They said to those who warned them and urged them to leave, “We are peaceful men of religion. No one objects to our presence, and no law permits our killing.” But the emperor ignored law, humanity and compassion. He knew only the language of blood. He slaughtered all the monks on the rocks, and anyone found in his path, Kurds, Jews, Arameans, Turkmen and Arabs, met the same fate. He killed, looted and burned.
Nadir Shah did everything the Isis gang is doing now. History repeats itself. But no one expected the emperor to suffer an ignominious defeat at the hands of those clans that escaped from him and gathered in Mosul. Men and women united and prepared themselves to fight, and forced him to withdraw after fifty days of continuous attack.
In1961 I saw with my own eyes the blood of the monks on the rocks, and I read what was written about this incident by Father Suhail Kasha, Saeed Daiwaji, and Rev. Solaiman Saigh. Since that time, the idea has been in my head, but I haven’t managed to complete more than twenty pages.
This novel may be the best I have written.