Note: This column contains disturbing descriptions of torture and execution.
I grew up with my grandfather waking up in the middle of the night screaming.
It was a regular event. After a quarter century, sleep was the time when the terrible memories of the Assyrian Holocaust would come to him.
As the debates about ISIS go back and forth and speeches before the United Nations claim Islam is a religion of "peace" and that no religion condones slaughter, there are many of us whose families have experienced Mohammedanism firsthand who beg to differ.
What is happening today is no different than what happened beginning in 1915 when nearly two-thirds of the Assyrian people were slaughtered.
Then it was a lineup outside the village with three choices: immediately covert to Mohammedanism, pay the "jizyah," or fine, which nobody could afford, or be killed on the spot.
My grandparents barely made it out of the village of Mahoudi in Assyria in current Northern Iraq before the jihadis came. Those who didn't paid with their lives.
They escaped and walked hundreds of miles, ultimately to freedom.
Next year, 1915, it will have been 100 years since the beginning of the Assyrian Holocaust.
A contemporary description of the events reads eerily similar to what is happening in the Middle East today:
You have undoubtedly heard of the Assyrian massacre of Khoi, but I am certain you do not know the details.
These Assyrians were assembled into one caravansary, and shot to death by guns and revolvers.
Blood literally flowed in little streams, and the entire open space within the caravansary became a pool of crimson liquid. The place was too small to hold all the living victims waiting for execution.
They were brought in groups, and each new group was compelled to stand over the heap of the still-bleeding bodies and shot to death. The fearful place became literally a human slaughterhouse, receiving its speechless victims, in groups of ten and twenty at a time, for execution.
At the same time, the Assyrians, who were residing in the suburb of the city, were brought together and driven into the spacious courtyard of a house. [...]
The Assyrian refugees were kept under guard for eight days, without anything to eat. At last they were removed from their place of confinement and taken to a spot prepared for their brutal killing.
These helpless Assyrians marched like lambs to their slaughter, and they opened not their mouth, save saying, "Lord, into thy hands we commit our spirits." [...]
The executioners began by cutting first the fingers of their victims, join by joint, till the two hands were entirely amputated.
Then they were stretched on the ground, after the manner of the animals that are slain in the Fast, but these with their faces turned upward, and their heads resting upon the stones or blocks of wood. Then their throats were half cut, so as to prolong their torture of dying, and while struggling in the agony of death, the victims were kicked and clubbed by heavy poles the murderers carried. Many of them, while still laboring under the pain of death, were thrown into ditches and buried before their souls had expired.
The young men and the able-bodied men were separated from among the very young and the old. They were taken some distance from the city and used as targets by the shooters. They all fell, a few not mortally wounded.
One of the leaders went to the heaps of the fallen and shouted aloud, swearing by the names of Islam's prophets that those who had not received mortal wounds should rise and depart, as they would not be harmed any more. A few, thus deceived, stood up, but only to fall this time killed by another volley from the guns of the murderers.
Some of the younger and good-looking women, together with a few little girls of attractive appearance, pleaded to be killed. Against their will were forced into Islam's harems. Others were subjected to such fiendish insults that I cannot possibly describe. Death, however, came to their rescue and saved them from the vile passions of the demons. The death toll of Assyrians totaled 2,770 men, women and children [account of the Rev. John Eshoo, quoted in "The Flickering Light of Asia," by Joel Euel Warda].
These days it takes just a little of a different form.
Two men show up at your front door.
"We are with the Islamic Republic of Iraq and visiting with the neighborhood," they proclaim during their "home visit."
"We want to let you know that this area is now part of the Islamic Republic of Iraq," they continue, trying to appear civil, businesslike and official all at the same time.
"We are giving the residents three choices – convert to Mohammedanism, pay the 'jizyah,' or other measures will be taken."
Other than the suit and the ostensible businesslike manner, nothing has changed – in a hundred years – the three choices are always the same.
Within minutes after they leave, the Christian family leaves, considering it their warning.
There is a war on.
It is just as real as when my own family faced it a hundred years ago and so real and so terrible that decades later my poor grandfather could not sleep.
Then, as now, the answer is simple. It must be stood up to and defeated so that 1 billion poor, long-suffering people can be liberated from the tyranny and be free.