Nine years ago, Assyrians in Iraq witnessed one of the deadliest attacks against their community in recent years, which stole the lives of 58 innocent men, women, and children gathered in peaceful prayer at Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Catholic Church in Baghdad. October 31 will always be a day of remembrance, reflection, and mourning as we struggle to comprehend the incomprehensible—the senseless act of evil that caused such a tragic loss of life, along with the suffering that continues today.
We commemorate the October 31 massacre each year because of its enduring impact on the Assyrian people and because there has yet to be any meaningful change in how Iraq's indigenous Assyrian population is viewed and treated. To help prevent future atrocities, we must reflect honestly on the past, acknowledge the systematic targeting of the Assyrian people in Iraq, and assess the conditions that have allowed them to occur again and again. The Iraqi Government must accept its share of responsibility and take concrete actions to demonstrate it has learned from its failures.
We remain heartbroken by this heinous crime, and we continue to express our solidarity with the survivors, families, and friends who still bear the pain of this tragedy every day.
In memory of the lives lost at Our Lady of Salvation, we reaffirm our commitment to advancing measures that ensure a tragedy like this will never happen again. Despite the vast challenges facing Assyrians, Yazidis, and other minoritized peoples in Iraq, we remain undeterred in our fight for a better and common future—one that ensures the safety and dignity of all communities.