A Weekly Online Publication of the ZENDA Assyrian Newsagency
T H I S W E E K I N Z E N D A
The Lighthouse............. ADO 40th
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain... Arrests of Four Assyrians in Syria
Surfs Up................... "He accepted death"
Surfers Corner............. The Assyrian Manifesto Seminar in Los Angeles
August 7 Commemorations in Toronto
Assyrian Screen Saver
News Digest................ ADO Gathering in Toronto
Calendar of Events......... No New Entries
Literatus.................. Rise of Assyria
Bshena..................... Pacbell, Lockheer, Avalcom, Chicago, Holland, & Australia
Salute..................... Albert, Ashur, Chris, & Sargon
Less than a year after the Anglo-French invasion of Egypt, the main objective of the governments of Egypt, Syria, and Iraq was to end the presence of foreign military powers. In 1957, as the movie goers in the West were praising David Lean's "The Bridge Over the River Kwai" and were tapping their feet to the tune of Bernstein's musical "West Side Story" on Broadway, the Baathist intellectuals in Damascus and Baghdad were presumably preparing themselves for the final battle to secure an Pan-Arab world under the leadership of the Syrian-Christian founder of the Baath Party, Mishel Aflaq. The ideals of Arab-independence in a post-colonial world had renewed similar sentiments of nationalism among the Assyrian intellectuals in Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Assyrian university students began devouring the writings of the late Naom Faiq, Dr. Ashur Yousif d'Kharpoot, and Freydon Atouraya. It was at this time when Malfano Shoukri Charmoukli, a pupil of Naom Faiq, called upon the Assyrian nationalists of all Christian denominations to organize themselves against all odds. Charmoukli believed that despite of all linguistic, religious, and ethnic differences Assyrians were of one nationality, had a common history, and shared one destiny. And so was born the Assyrian Democratic Organization or Mtakasta Atoureta Demokrateta - the first Assyrian political organization in the recorded history after the Fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C.
Forty years later, we still prefer to experience the joys of autonomy from the oppression of the aggressors in watching "The Independence Day" on the silver screen and "Le Misrables" on Broadway. Mtakasta, too, has failed to realize the dreams of Faiq, Yousif, and Atouraya; and so have all other Assyrian political organizations since that memorable day in July 1957. Today Assyrians in their homeland are arrested not for their conspiracies against the governments rather for their humanitarian assistance of the homeless in northern Iraq and quenching the thirst of thousands in the Khabour region of Syria. Then the question remains: have all the efforts and sacrifices of the Assyrians in the past forty years been futile?
A few weeks ago, I visited a friend's house in California. He is an active member of Mtakasta and was generously assisting me in preparing the material for this week's Special Issue. As I was editing my notes of the interview with Ninos Gaboro and listening to the famed Assyrian poet, Ninos Aho, I noticed my friend's little children playing not too distant from our informal gathering. I could not understand the Western Assyrian dialect in which they were so effortlessly conveying their messages. Suddenly, upon the command of their mother, they interrupted their game and rushed towards me. With eyes as vast as the reaches of Naom Faiq's political dream they uttered one simple Assyrian word: shlomo. At that very moment I realized that ney, no political speech or writing, the sacrament of the Martyr's selfless offerings, and the imprisonment of a myriad Assyrians in the prisons of Tehran, Baghdad, and Damascus were said and done in vain.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Assyrian Democratic Organization ZENDA presents this week's Special Issue. We have omitted some of the regular sections so that we could include more information on the history and the current events surrounding the politics of Mtakasta. While celebrating this momentous achievement we salute the spirit of Assyrian nationalism and passion for a greater purpose of all Assyrian activists who have proudly chosen to wear the honorable badges of Mtakasta, Zowaa, Bet-Nahrain, and Khooyada. May your deeds, within the next 40 years, transform the Organization, Movement, and Alliance into a new Nineveh.
Publisher of ZENDA
THE L I G H T H O U S E
40th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF ADO IN TURLOCK
On Wednesday May 21st, the Assyrian Universal Alliance
(AUA) hosted a
function celebrating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the
Mtakasta- the Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO). The event, held in the Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock, was hosted by the Assyrian Universal Alliance and featured Mr. Ninos Gaboro, the representative of ADO in the United States and Canada.
Mr. John Nimrod, the Secretary General of the AUA introduced Mr. Gaboro and spoke about the recent meetings between AUA and ADO in Europe. He mentioned that ADO has been involved with AUA since its beginning.
Mr. Gaboro opened by providing the audience with a brief
history of ADO and its accomplishments: ADO is a national Assyrian
organization and was established in Qamishli, Syria in 1957. ADO traces its roots to the nationalistic teachings of Martyr Ashur Yusuf and Naom Faiq, who in the late 19th and early 20th century were instrumental in the national awakening of the Assyrians in Bet-Nahrain.
Gaboro called ADO a "School of Nationalism" and noted
tenets as population, education, and economy. He continued, "ADO is the first Assyrian political organization that has sought to unify all segments of the Assyrian nation, regardless of their denomination or geographical origins. ADO has supported the education of hundreds of our Assyrian students in our homeland and continues to do so today. And ADO has worked on improving the economic conditions of our people in our villages."
Gaboro also informed the audience about the current ADO
supplying drinking water to the 33 Assyrian villages alongside the
Khabour river. Turkey in recent years has been damming and diverting
water from the Khabour river. The flow of the Khabour has dropped
significantly, increasing the concentration of pollutants and making the water unsuitable for drinking. This project was initiated by donations of nearly $20,000 raised from Assyrian individuals and organizations in the U.S. and there are plans to raise another $20,000.
Gaboro then discussed ADO's work in Europe: "with the immigration of significant numbers of Assyrians from Turkey and Syria to Western Europe from 1960's on, ADO has been at the forefront of establishing Assyrian organizations in Europe. Currently there are three Assyrian federations in Western Europe. ADO has opened channels of discussion with European governments and currently works with the Assyrian Universal Alliance to represent Assyrian interests in the Unrepresented People's and Nations Organization (UNPO)."
Turning to a map of Bet-Nahrain, Gaboro sought to clarify that North Iraq is only a small portion of the Assyrian homeland, which has historically included Syria, South-Eastern Turkey, and parts of western Iran. Gaboro emphasized that it must be the duty of every Assyrian outside of the Middle East to support the Assyrians in the homeland and encourage them to stay. "Without Assyrians in our homeland, we will lose our national rights," he declared. Mr. Gaboro stated that it had been a general rule for Assyrian organizations not to involve the Assyrian people in the national affairs; that the only people left in the dark about such matters had been the Assyrian people themselves. He acknowledged that this had been a deeply flawed policy and said, "we have to stay true to our people, level with them, and let them be the judge."
Gaboro informed his audience of nearly 200 that ADO was
no longer part of the Assyrian National Alliance, known as ‘Awyutha’. He
pointed to the fact, that it was Mtakasta which in 1985 invited all Assyrian
political parties to
establish a platform for mutual cooperation. Unfortunately, the Alliance, entrusted with the task of establishing this platform, was not able to come to terms with its mission.
Gaboro then discussed the post-Gulf War events in northern Iraq. "When the Assyrians fled to the mountains during the Kurdish uprising, ADO was the first Assyrian Organization that came to the aid of the Assyrians, as the Assyrian organizations in the West were totally unprepared," said Gaboro. "ADO has continued to support our people in northern Iraq. Yet there are disagreements between ADO and ZOWAA, the Assyrian Democratic Movement. ADO does not agree with calling the liberated area Kurdistan. If that is their Kurdistan, then where is our Ashuristan?" he asked. “The blood of our Assyrian people is not being spilled for the Kurds to call our homeland Kurdistan”, he added. Moreover, he stated that there was no security in North Iraq for the Assyrian inhabitants; that the Kurds had continued to intimidate the Assyrian population and violated their rights. “If the region is truly liberated, then the question is: by whom and for whom?”, he asked. He added that "it is not enough for Assyrians to teach their language, hold Kha b'Neesan festivities, and celebrate Easter and Christmas in northern Iraq; we could do those things under other authoritarian regimes ruling our homeland. We have not been able to raise our voices to the Kurds," he declared.
He further stated that the one term allocation of only five seats in the parliament for the Assyrian inhabitants of the North was not enough. In the 1950's, he noted, before the Kurdish uprising against the central government resulted in large scale displacement of our Assyrian villagers who were caught in the cross fire, North Iraq was one-third Assyrian.
In the final segment of his speech, Gaboro spoke of the
that have split the Assyrian nation along religious lines in the past 1300 years. "Until 6th century, there was one Assyrian church. Since then, schisms have split our nation into five major churches; the Jacobite Church, the Maronite Church, Church of the East, the Chaldean Church, and the Melkite Church. These divisions, and their minor offshoots, have eroded our national identity and caused our people to distance themselves from each other," said Gaboro.
Gaboro, a long-time representative of the ADO in the U.S. and Canada, closed by stating, "the lesson we have learned in the past forty years is that we need numbers. We cannot demand our national rights in the Middle East with 50,000 or 100,000 people. We need to start with a lowest common denominator to build a consensus of all five million of us, irrespective of all the different names we have learned to call ourselves. We are the same people.”
AN EXCLUSIVE ZENDA INTERVIEW WITH NINOS GABORO
On 27 May, 1997, ZENDA interviewed Mr. Ninos Gaboro, the
Democratic Organization (MTAKASTA) representative in the U.S. and Canada, in Sunnyvale, California. The following is a complete text of this interview translated from Assyrian:
(Z): Mr. Gaboro, thank you for offering us some time from your busy schedule.
(G): I like to thank ZENDA for giving me the opportunity to talk about ADO and my own convictions on the future of Assyrian politics. I do not receive ZENDA regularly but I have read a few issues and have enjoyed them very much.
(Z): When did you first become involved in the Assyrian politics?
(G): Since 1962, when I first joined ADO.
(Z): In your opinion what are the most important social
challenges Assyrian activists face everyday?
(G): Assyrians succeeded in building up the "nationalism" movement in the past few decades. But now we realize that we have failed on the political front. Unaware of one another's positions and goals, the Assyrian parties struggle against one another. Another important factor is our divided identity: Many still identify themselves based upon their Christian denomination, and/or their affiliation to the countries they lived in, and even upon tribal association.
(Z): Why do you think such is the case?
(G): This is a two thousand year old problem. Our political organizations are influenced by the culture that governs the Middle-East where most Assyrians live. Many of the Assyrians have not been able yet to free themselves from the mentality of the authoritarian schools of the Middle East, where the ideology of egalitarianism is nonexistent. Our activists are still following the general rules of policy-making and governance based upon the Iranian, Turkish, and Arab political ideologies. The Assyrian political leaders should go back to their drawing board and genuinely ask themselves: Why are our political parties so weak and lack the support of our people? How can we expect to effectuate a change if our own people do not support us?
(Z): What should be the immediate solution to this problem then?
(G): We have to take a realistic stand and should use our brain, not our heart. We must let our people decide the future of our nation and not individual political leaders that have less than 1 percent support of our people.
(Z): This is clearly a major shift from our current political
position. Does ADO truly believe in such a change?
(G): ADO now realizes that to save our nation from a complete self-destruction we all need to utilize a totally different approach, namely letting the people exercise political power and gather all segments of our people.
(Z): Then what would be the future role of our political parties if the decision-making was put in the hands of our people?
(G): Our political parties should have a true conviction
and a clear vision so that our people can make a choice whom to follow
and why. Our politicians ought to help bring about the following four changes:
1) concentrate on minimizing dispersion of our peoples, especially from the Middle East.
2) actively involve the educated segment of our
society in the
decision-making process and any other political and economic aspects of our lives. As we say in Assyrian "emotions do not make a leader",
therefore we have an obligation to engage rational-thinking individuals at the forefront of our political and social struggles. We have always been confronting our shortcomings with our emotions and never rationalizing the causes and effects of our conditions. Our political parties in the past 50 years have been reacting to the events taking place in the Middle East. We need to stop reacting to and be proactive in our approaches to everyday problems at home. This requires us to develop a long-term plan for the future of our people at home and abroad. There is a big difference between wishing for something to happen and making it happen. It's time for us to make things happen.
3) gain economic power, and
4) organize ourselves more effectively. I suggest that we begin from the lowest common denominator and slowly move up. I like to remind you that inarguably we all come from the same ethnic roots and have the same fate.
(Z): How do you define someone as a "political leader?"
(G): A political leader has a clear conviction, principals and vision of tomorrow and he or she will follow his/her convictions to reach this vision.
(Z): By that definition do you believe that our current political leaders can be truly characterized as "leaders?"
(G): It takes a man to admit a mistake. Not many of us have the clear vision and the convictions necessary to produce a more effective political and social value. The leaders of our nation, must remove any hints of selfishness from their characters and serve our people as true public servants. At times our egos are bigger than our nation. If this goes on there will be no nation to which upon we can base our unfounded egos.
(Z): Who are these "people" that you propose to hand over the "decision-making" role of our politicians?
(G): There are a lot of capable people in this great nation.
We need our intellectuals to get involve regardless of their denominational
affiliation. These include the largest group, the Maronites in Lebanon, followed by the Melkites in Syria and Lebanon, and the Chaldeans in Iraq. An Assyrian solution must include all denominations of our population.
(Z): Often we hear that the groups you just mentioned
in your previous
response dislike the term "Assyrian" or "Athouraya." How do you propose we can solve this issue?
(G): I do not think they dislike it; they have been using different related names for different reasons. But that is one of our problems we can only solve this in a civilized way.
(Z): What can our political activists do today to help
(G): By contacting individuals who have the knowledge, experience, and the know-how from every religious denominations, institutions, and groups that we never approached before. ADO, for one, will listen to everyone's comment, suggestion, and ideology with an open mind. I am certain that we can all reach the same conclusion if we give each other the opportunity to openly and honestly discuss our situation.
(Z): The public perception of Mtakasta is that it's mainly a "Syrian-Assyrian" political movement. How do you plan to change this perception?
(G): By educating every Assyrian around the world about what ADO stands for. Although ADO was established in Syria, Bet-Nahrain, ADO has branches in more than 15 countries. Any interested Assyrian knows the facts, but we need to do more.
(Z): Explain the role that Assyrians play in northern Iraq in relation to other minorities and neighboring countries.
(G): He who does not know his own history, does not know
who he is!. Under the current circumstances, the Assyrian cannot do much.
In order to be effective and part of the power of the region, two pre-conditions
must be met: Number and military power. Currently, Assyrians are out-numbered
and out-powered. Additionally, Assyrians are caught between the Kurds in
the North and the central government in the South. The problem is that
some of our people speak in a way, as though they are about to re-establish
"Atour" in the North while they continue to call our homeland "Kurdistan."
Also, they refer to Iraq as Bet-Nahrain and ignore other parts of the Middle-East
which do lie within the greater Bet-Nahrain. What else can you expect from
leaders who do not even know the history of our nation. Iraq is just one
portion of Bet-Nahrain. How can we ask for our human rights when we do
not even include our birth places as territories within our
sanctioned settlements. Bet-Nahrain is the land encompassing the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. It includes both Syria and Iraq. In 1920 there was no Iraq and yet Bet-Nahrain had been there for thousands of years. Had Saddam succeeded in taking Kuwait, would that have meant that the region of Bet-Nahrain had suddenly increased in size also? On the contrary, had the Turks taken over the Mosul Vilayet in the early part of this century would the size of Bet-Nahrain had decreased as a result? The answer to both questions is negative. Bet-Nahrain embraces an area independent of the established borders of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. This is why I say repeatedly that had we told our people the truth they would have not had such high expectations as they do now. Today, they are completely demoralized. I do not think that this is the choice the Assyrian people had hoped for. Everyone has to understand that we have to get all segments of our people mentioned above involved in the decision-making so we become strong enough to be part of the equation in the region. Otherwise we are still wasting another opportunity.
(Z): Does ADO have an active presence in Iran and Iraq?
In the 1960's we had a successful collaboration with "Seeta Sapreta" (Assyrian Cultural Society; forerunner of the Assyrian Universal Alliance established in 1967) Later it was decided that we will not have a presence in that country. In Iraq, due to the shaky Iraqi-Syrian relationship we were unable to form an effective presence. On the other hand, note that one of the groups that helped form the ADM was the ADO branch of Iraq. We wanted something to happen in Iraq. ADO asked the branch in Iraq to assist in the creation of Zowaa, which they did. We would do that with any legitimate Assyrian organization, and help strengthen it.
(Z): Can you tell us about the current relationship between Mtakasta and Zowaa?
(G): ADO helped Zowaa when they desperately needed it.
We helped them
unconditionally and we will continue to do so. It is the national duty of every Assyrian individual or organization to help our people in the North. This, on the other hand, does not mean that we agree with the political decisions made by the Zowaa leadership. Then again, we will continue to help our people in the North. The cause of our people is greater than either Zowaa or Mtakasta.
(Z): How would you describe Zowaa's perception of Mtakasta?
(G): Ask Zowaa!
(Z): Why do you think Awyutha (Assyrian National Alliance) fail?
(G): In order to have an Assyrian front there must be a clear national and political agenda that all parties agree upon. This was not the case with Awyutha. All they agreed on was to invite Zowaa delegation and raise money for Zowaa. I think that this ought to be the role of the Assyrian Aid Society. All we and other parties accomplished was to demoralize our people. The Assyrian people no longer trust the leadership of our political parties. I am basically referring to all Assyrian political parties here. When Awyutha gathered to discuss issues, we hardly agreed on anything. But we kept telling to our people that all Assyrian political parties stand united. Delegates to the so-called "Alliance" for instance would tell us their unity is just a joke. And yet, hours later the same members would go to the podium inviting other groups and parties to join in their "unity." This is utter hypocrisy; we are deceiving none but our own people. Our fellow Assyrians must be made aware of such mendacity and "brought to light." Zowaa made it clear to us that they will not include any other Assyrian political organization in a decision-making concerning the Assyrian people. Zowaa leader believe that they are the sole representatives of the Assyrian people in the Iraq. There are over one million Assyrians living in Iraq, of which only small fraction, is comprised of Zowaa sympathizers. There needs to be a long-term strategy for the survival of our people planned and implemented in the North. Collecting donations is not enough. We have a great deal of respect for our people who have helped our cause to continue by participating in every front. But this is the same mentality of authoritarian regimes in the Middle-East. If other organization accept this and can work under such conditions, we wish them success. We cannot.
(Z): What changes would you had made in the 1950's and 60's if you knew then what you know now?
(G): First, in the early days, ADO had a very difficult time dealing with our people's use of different names. This was mainly due to our enthusiasm in vehemently opposing those who did not agree with the name “Athuraya”; that was a mistake. Instead we should have dealt with the reality, that the majority of our people do not use the term Athuraya. Actually that should not be a prerequisite. Second, we also aliened ourselves with the Kurds without clear agenda from so-called “our friends” only to liberate Atour and handed over to the Kurds. We should work with other progressive forces to bring democracy to the region.
(Z): Mr. Gaboro, I like to thank you on behalf of the staff of ZENDA and our hundreds of weekly readers for your time and honest responses. We would like to end this interview with one last question: What has made you change your political beliefs as you so eloquently explained?
(G): I have not changed my political beliefs. It is my
approach in their implementation which I have altered. I was an idealist;
I’m now a realist.
HAPPY 40th TO ADO, AND SOME PERSONAL REFLECTIONS
The 40th anniversary of the founding of the Assyrian Democratic
Organization will be an occasion for congratulatory messages, and they
are well-deserved. I would like to join the commendatory parade.
Far too few Assyrians in this country know about the ADO (also known as
Mtakasta). I would have remained largely ignorant of its existence, its
partisans, and its activities, except for my recent visits to Syria, Sweden
and Germany. It is critical for Assyrians in America to become aware of
this organization and the significant segment of Assyrians it represents.
In the two European countries with the largest Assyrian populations, the ADO is unquestionably the party of preference. It is an active voice both in Swedish and German public forums, where it is a frequent and respected commentator on the condition of Middle East Assyrians. In Germany, and especially in Sweden, the ADO has a voice that matters. It has become routine for Parliamentary statements to be adopted in support of our people. The ADO success in Europe may have been enhanced by a political environment generally favorable to nurturing minority voices.
The Assyrian Democratic Movement (also known as Zowaa) has yet to find a comparable Assyrian following in Europe. Presumably, this is in large measure a reflection of geographic idiosyncracy: European Assyrians are for the most part drawn from Turkey, Syria, and the "Western" part of the homeland. Assyrians in America and Australia more frequently originate from the "Eastern" part of the homeland. Although by no means an exclusive nomenclature, the majority of European Assyrians are Syrian Orthodox in their faith, while the rest of our Diaspora divides between Church of the East and Chaldean Catholic faiths.
In the northeast of Syria – sometimes known as the Jezira - one can visit a string of villages dotting the Khabour River. These villages are the legacy of 1933, the massacre at Semel, and similar indignities heaped on Assyrians in north Iraq. At a time when our people were in need of a haven, the French accommodated by offering a riverine village zone some 20 kilometers wide and some 30 kilometers long. Assyrians actually developed a width of only about 7 kilometers (half on each side of the river). These villages, anchored by Tel Tammar, remain more or less populated by "eastern Assyrians". Assyrians traveled on foot from Iraq to Khabur, and over the years they have made the desert bloom in a way that has caught the imagination of the rest of Syria. But that is another story. In this same northeast region are the two cities of Qameshli and Hassake. Both the Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church have significant presence in these two cities. But clearly the largest Assyrian religious group, especially in Qameshli, is the Syrian Orthodox. Hassake is an ageless city dating back to the halcyon days of Assyrian antiquity. By contrast, Qameshli is a relatively new city. While some Assyrians settled here as early as 1920, most of our people arrived from and after 1940. One prominent Assyrian physician in Qameshli told me that "this area had nothing but jackals and snakes before the Assyrians built it out of nothing."
As recently as 1960, there were over 5,000 Assyrian students
in local high schools, and over 50% of the region’s population was Assyrian
speaking. An elderly woman recalled that in those days "you couldn't
go anywhere without hearing Assyrian spoken." These demographics have undergone
radical change. Today, there are more than sixty Assyrian physicians
in Qameshli (10 of them female), covering all specialties. And Assyrians
are proportionally well-represented in the professional fields. However,
the monopoly they long enjoyed in these advanced fields is a thing of the
past. The Assyrian population of Qameshli has in fact become a decided
minority, giving way to inexorable Kurdish settlement.
In Hassake, I paid a visit to Bashir Saadi, an engineer, at one time the first democratically elected Assyrian to the Syrian Parliament (1990-94), and someone obviously held in high respect by his community. Mr. Saadi seemed to typify the twin-faceted attitude of many Assyrians in Syria. They couldn't be prouder of their heritage. But at the same time, they are loyal subjects of the realm. The political contrast between Syria and Iraq is more than cosmetic. Saddam’s Iraq allows for little breathing space, and it is best explained in Kanan Makiya’s "Republic of Fear". I would contrast
this to Assad’s Syria, whose politics and culture operate more in a
"controlled" environment. In Syria, there is a limit to the exercise of basic freedoms, but oppression is beneath the surface and generally takes a less severe tone than in Iraq.
One of the more interesting evenings I spent in Qameshli was to attend a program featuring representatives of ADM (Zowaa) and ADO (Mtakasta). A large number of Assyrians had gathered, and included among them was a group of perhaps twenty Assyrian youngsters from Sweden, who had come to Jezira on a friendship study tour. As I listened to speakers from the two political parties, and as I watched the attentive crowd on this balmy June night, I was reminded that even in the face of adversity Assyrians here and there have reason to be proud. Forty years of ADO is a reason for thanks and celebration.
For further information about ADO, contact Mr.Maloul Abgar,
Laramie, Skokie, IL 60077.
Santa Barbara, California
G O O D M O R N I N G B E T - N A H R A I N
FOUR MTAKASTA MEMBERS ARRESTED IN SYRIA
(ZNDA: San Jose) Based on last week's official press release of the Assyrian Democratic Organization (Mtakasta) more than 30 Assyrian villages located around the banks of the Khabour River in the vicinity of the city of Hassaka, remain in the dire need of drinking water. In the past few years, the Turkish government's construction of water dams to prevent the southward flow of water has significantly decreased the Khabour River water level. The government of Syria has promised to assist in supplying water and completing any necessary projects to help defray the cost of purchasing usable water.
Last year, the Assyrian Democratic Organization, as reported
in ZENDA, took some steps in allaying the immediate needs of the Assyrian
residents in Syria. It succeeded in raising sufficient funds to finance
the drilling of two water wells and pump much needed water into parts of
According to the press release, an Assyrian individual, Zaia Malik Ismail, submitted articles to an official Baath newspaper in Syria, dated 1 June 1997. In his articles Ismael opposed the ADO Water Project and warned about the negative effects of such efforts on the Syrian government's attempts to mitigate the condition of their Assyrian citizens. Moreover, Mr. Ismael argued that some of the proceeds were spent for personal use of certain members of the ADO.
As a result of such allegations the government of Syria, on the evening of 24 June, arrested the following Assyrian individuals: Bashir Saadi (Hassaka), a former member of the Syrian Parliament; Yonan Talya (Hassaka), chairman of the Khabour River Water Project; Aziz Akhe (Qamishli), and Khnanisho Karimo. All men are members of the ADO in Syria.
According to the Assyrian International News Agency, none
of the accused men have access to a lawyer and all have been refused family
visits. No trial has yet been set.
S U R F S U P !
"On Thursday June 30th, 1997, Peter Jennings of ABC News presented a one hour special on attempts that were made to remove Saddam Hussein from power. During the one hour program, he touched basis on all sides of the current situation in Iraq. He mentioned who is involved in this turmoil. It was with great disappointment to see that there was no mention of the Assyrian people. My question is, Who are our political leaders/parties meeting with? Often we hear that this group or that group met with the State department, the U.N.,etc. But where is the Beef? No one is acknowledging our existence. We have a political party in northern Iraq that Jennings did not even mention either by choice or design? What is going on? Are we at square one, or in fact are we at square Zero?"
"I am happy to inform you that the first issue of "The
Truth" Magazine is
now ready for distribution. Also that I am interested to get some
information on the current politics and events of our people. I have often pondered whether it is true/possible that Assyrians will one day have their own land, and that they are asking the dictator, Saddam Hussein, for approval? And why have things seem extremely optimistic?
This is an article by Ramen Y. Benyamin, entitled 'OUR HEROES', which was read on August 7, 1995, for the commemoration of our Assyrian Martyrs, and also was published in The Canadian-Assyrian Directory 1997 (6747) of Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party of Canada.
My Dad was one of the Assyrian heroes, He accepted death instead of betraying his nationality. His name is Youbert Benyamin Shlimon. I'm reading the speech to you to show that the heroes still live among us. Even though there are times I wish he wasn't dead, I'm proud of him and all the other heroes who gave their lives for us. I'm very glad to be here, and I'm extremely proud to be Assyrian
Ramen Y. Benyamin
Age 10 / Grade 6
Mississauga, Ontario - Canada
Ramen lost his father, Martyr Yobert B. Shlimon, in Iraq
after dictator Saddam Hussein ordered the execution with other two Assyrians,
Martyr Yosep T. Hormez and Martyr Yokhanna E. Jajjo, on February 3, 1985
without a trial.
The three Martyrs were tortured, hanged, shot and did not get proper funeral ceremony by the order of the Iraqi secret forces.... Long immortality for the souls of all our fallen Martyred victims. Long live our Assyrian nation 'Assyria'.
I understand that the Assyrian hardly have any freedom
in so called Iraq. Could any one help me understand the irony of the situation?
receiving any response, I shall forwarded them to the Editor of "The Truth" magazine.
Ashur Simon Malek
[Please email your articles for the Truth Magazine directly to firstname.lastname@example.org ]
"Dear friends, you mentioned in Jul.7 issue of ZENDA 'good morning bet-nahrain' corner, title 'assyrian killed in Baghdad' that Kamal Kiriakos Ablahad was 'EMPLOYED' at residence of Jamal Al-Tikreti. The truth is Mr. Ablahad who was killed at that residence with a bullet to the head, was 'ASSIGNED' to that residence by the military as a night guard. Because he was in the service . The gun was put in Mr. ablahad's hand to make it look like suicide, according to the eyewitness who saw the path of the bullet in the head and read the investigation report about the position of the gun in Mr. ablahad's hand. It was impossible that Mr. Ablahad could have shot himself. Additionally, Mr. Ablahad was transferred from the front lines to be the night guard for the residence just three months before his murder, and that was very convenient for him; he had no reasons to kill himself, as the officials ruled.
The sad side of the story is about his mother, Eleshwa, who raised him, his brother and his three sisters, after the death of their father in a car accident when the oldest child was only eight years old. This Assyrian-Chaldean mother, just three days before the murder of her son, was in Jordan celebrating the wedding of her 'teacher' daughter to an Assyrian relative from Australia. She had just started to enjoy the dream she and her husband once started when she got a call from Baghdad telling her to leave her daughter's wedding only to attend her son's funeral. Can you imagine what kind of heart that woman needed at that moment...!"
[For the security of the remaining family members in the Middle East ZENDA has agreed to conceal the identity of this reader.]
"I agree with the attached statement 100%, and would like
to include some
more information about Bias by Zenda, which a lot of us here in San Jose and
Central Valley are aware of their bias in some unanswered behaviors towards
certain prominent individuals and organizations. If any person is interested
in more details, please feel free to send me an E-Mail, I will be more than
happy to share my information with you."
San Jose, California
[Mr Babella is a an official of the Assyrian Democratic
Movement (Zowaa) in San Francisco Bay Area and his email, as requested
"Shlomo o bshayno OROMOYE/OTHUROYE/KALDOYE: I'M
Grateful TO YOU THAT YOU GIVE ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO Express MY thoughts
AND OPINION ABOUT OUR PEOPLE. I THANK YOU VERY MUCH, AND I ALWAYS WISH
YOU A SUCCESS, WORK,AND PROGRESSIVE FUTURE. MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS
IT IS ENOUGH TO SLEEP; WE SHOULD ABOVE ALL UNITE AND SUPPORT, ENCOURAGE
OUR BROTHERS WHO LIVE IN BETHNAHRIN. THEY NEED
US. THEY ARE WAITING FOR US TO HELP THEM, TO STRENGTHEN THEM. THERE IS A
GREAT DEMANDS FOR HELPING THEM, VISITING THEM - ALL Possibilities THEY NEED.
DEAR FRIENDS, IT ISN'T ENOUGH TO SAY I'M OROMOYO/OR OTHURO/KALDOYO.
WE JUST CHEAT OURSELVES WITH SUCH WORDS. WE SHOULD PROVE AND SHOW
A CLEAR EVIDENCE THAT WE ARE. HOW? YES, BE ACTIVE! DARE
TO TELL THE TRUTH AND NEVER MAKE ANY DISCRIMINATION BETWEEN OUR POPULATION.
AS I TOLD IN MY EARLIER LETTER NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO SAY THAT JUST WE
ARE /OTHUROYE OR OR KALDOYE. BUT I HOPE IN GREAT DESIRE THAT WE WILL
BE JUST ONE
Nation, AND THE NATION WILL BE THE MOST POWERFUL NATION IN THE WORLD. I'M
PROUD OF OUR RICH HISTORY, OUR CIVILIZATION Which WE GAVE TO THE WORLD
ESPECIALLY THAT WE TALK JESUS LANGUAGE, WE TAUGHT OTHER PEOPLE HOW TO
LIVE. FUSHUN BASHLOMO..
QUMU 'LAYME 'LAYMOTHO
'AL SHURE O-SHENAWOTHO
'AL KATFAYCHU T'ANU I-OTHO"
S U R F E R S C O R N E R
ZENDA readers are invited to respond to the following
request(s) by either
directly writing to the author(s) or sending a reply to ZENDA.
THE ASSYRIAN MANIFESTO SEMINAR IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Where do the Assyrians stand and which direction are they taking?
Every genuine question requires a genuine reply. The forgoing question is definitely sincere. For this reason it necessitates a genuine answer. This question does not concern one or a few people. It is intertwined with the spirit and is tinted with the blood of the entire Assyrian people. It is not a new question; it has been awaiting a response for decades and even centuries. For this reason, it is important to analyze it profoundly and examine it thoroughly.
If you are Assyrian, Chaldean, Syrian, Syriani, Sorayee, Jacobite, Maronite, Yizidayee, member of a church, an organization, a political party, a mata, or none of the above,
If you are Mountaineer or of Plains, you are most welcome to attend the following seminar which opens the doors to our United Future!
On Sunday July 20, The Assyrian Secretariat will present The Assyrian Manifesto or Constitution for the Assyrian Nation at 4:00 pm on the California State University, Northridge campus. This event is sponsored by the Assyrian American Association of Southern California and the Assyrian Student Union of Cal. State Univ, Northridge. The organizers expect over 800 attendees at this special seminar and request that the public be seated before 4:00 pm.
Representative of Radio, Television and Newspapers for reserved seats, please call 714.750.7751
The Assyrian Secretariat
Southern California Branch
ASSYRIAN MARTYRS DAY IN CANADA
The Assyrian Universal Alliance of Canada is calling all Assyrians to join together in honouring the memory of the Assyrian Martyrs on August 7th, in Hamilton, Ontario.
AUA is proud to be among the many Assyrian organizations in Canada to organize this momentous event in association with the Shamiram Assyrian Association of Canada
For further information, please contact the office of Assyrian Universal Alliance, Mr. Emanuel Yelda at (905) 574-4991
Assyrian Universal Alliance
82 Bellingham Drive
Hamilton, Ontario L8V-3R4
ASSYRIAN SCREEN SAVER
Have a computer at home or at work? Want to get
rid of your cheesy After
Dark? Want to show off your culture and build your knowledge and also the people who pass by your computer at work? Check out the new web page:
N E W S D I G E S T
ADO MEETING IN TORONTO, CANADA
(ZNDA: Toronto) Last week, over 50 people attended the 40th Celebration Meeting of the Assyrian Democratic Organization in Toronto, held at the United Assyrian Youth of Canada Center. ADO representatives discussed the history of Mtakasta, its future projects, and spent a considerable time explaining that Iraq should be considered as only a portion of the greater Assyrian homeland. A few points were made on the partial recognition of the Assyrians by the Kurdish leadership in northern Iraq and the disunity among the Assyrian political parties. The recent arrests of the three Assyrians in Syria were brought up and the blame was put on an Assyrian indivdidual. At the time the ADO representatives had made no effort in contacting officials in Canada regarding the arrests.
C A L E N D A R OF E V E N T S
Jul 19-20 National Executive Committee Meeting
Assyrian American National Federation
Sponsored by the Assyrian American Social Club of Michigan
One West Nine Mile
Hazel Park, Michigan 48030
Rooms are reserved at the rate of $39.95 plus tax.
Jul 20 A Concert by the Assyrian Violinist, David Yonan
Musikinstrumenten Museum, Curt-Sachs Saal
Aug 26-Sep 2 Assyrian American National
Hyatt Regency Dearborn
Fairlane Town Center
All Single,double,triple,quad rooms: $95 per day
Reservations: (313) 982-6880
Reservations must be made by August 7
Through In the Presence of the Gods:
Art from Ancient Sumer
Mar 8,1998 The Smart Museum of Art
5550 South Greenwood Avenue
L I T E R A T U S
RISE OF ASSYRIA
Assyrians started civilization
Assyrians are perishing in this generation
Assyria has become nothing, nothing but mud and dust
In Jesus Christ they have their trust
Men of Nineveh were so wise
What God has said, that they will rise
Jesus spoke of Revelation
A day will come, when they'll have a nation
Assyrians are no longer in power
Babylonians built the bable of tower
What they did is work and seek
But now O'Lord they are weak
The Kings of the earth will praise the Lord
He'll lift Assyrians like a sword
Assyrians are work of Gods hands
He will give them back there land.
Deel Emanuel Yelda
Hamilton, Ontario - Canada
W E L C O M E T O Z E N D A
Zenda welcomes our new on-line subscribers from:
S A L U T E
Zenda wishes to thank the following individuals & organizations whose
contributions appear in this issue:
Albert Gabrial Turlock, California
Christoph Aktas Sunnyvale, California
Sargon Tavour Los Angeles, California
Ashur Simon Malek Ontario, Canada
and our friends in the Assyrian Democratic Organization:
Syria, U.S., Canada, Germany, & Sweden for their support, time, and
energy in publishing this week's special issue.
and the following individual(s) for introducing ZENDA to our new readers:
Our Upcoming Issues:
July 21: Special Issue: Assyrians
of Georgia (Gorjistan)
July 28: King Hammurabi of Babylon
Aug 4: Special Issue: Assyrian Martyrs Days
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