Z E N D A  M A G A Z I N E
[renamed Zinda Magazine in 1999]

Eelool  15, 6746                   Volume III                       Issue 28            September 15, 1997
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       ZENDA is a Weekly Assyrian Online Magazine

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                                            T H I S     W E E K     I N     Z E N D A
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The Lighthouse.............    Letters in Motion:  Issa Benyamin
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain...    ADM Delegation in San Jose, California
Surfs Up...................    "highly offend the Assyrian Church"
Surfers Corner.............    Lieden University Symposium
News Digest................    Coptic New Year
                Assyrian Metal Rock Band
Calendar of Events.........    Zowaa Delegation in Chicago
                MESA Conference in San Francisco
Khudra.....................    October-December 1997
Entracte...................    No New Entries
Intelligentsia.............    Meetings and Classes
Assyrian Surfing Posts.....    The Maronite Research Council
Pump up the Volume.........    Marble and Glass
Back to the Future.........    Third Dynasty of Ur & Excavations in Babylon
Literatus..................    Who Can Be Against Us?
This Week in History.......    "New Assyria" Published in New Jersey
Bravo......................    When A Saint Walked Among Us
The Directory..............    ZENDA News Sources
Bshena.....................    Ross Medical School, Los Angeles, Australia
Salute.....................    Firas & Manfred
 
 
----------------THE   L   I   G   H  T   H   O   U   S   E------------------
 

      LETTERS IN MOTION:  A PERSPECTIVE ON THE ART OF ISSA BENYAMIN

Today's Assyrian language is undeniably the only "cultural glue" uniting all facets of modern Assyrian identity.  It is the remnant of a historical experience molded by six thousand years of Mesopotamian cultural and a Semitic linguistic tradition.  In the age of the electronic messages, TrueType Fonts, and PostScript printing we may find ourselves paying less attention to the understanding of the non-electronic visual arts of yesteryears.  One such form of art is Assyrian calligraphy and only one man has done so much to preserve this unique form of art in the Twentieth Century- Rabbie Issa Benyamin.

Calligraphy is the art of producing elegant and stylized handwriting.  It is a form of art that has been studied since the cuneiform writing on clay tablets was invented in Bet-Nahrain. To appreciate calligraphy one must observe a master at work, the combination of the skill and imagination that brings life to otherwise a few black symbols on a sheet of paper. Issa Benyamin, editor of several Assyrian magazines, author, and of course the most noteworthy calligrapher of this century is a master animator, bringing words to life.  His compositions are a fusion of strong and delicate, stiff and curved lines, thick and thin shadows, and a spectrum of ink consistency projected on leather.  Issa's works are alive with passion, dancing to the rhythm of nature, one with the master and his people's historical perspective.

Each of Issa Benyamin's work on leather parchment recounts his lifetime commitment to Assyrian language and handwriting. Over fifty years of dedication that is.  His best friends are the 22 letters of the Assyrian alphabet which he affectionately calls the "22 pearls of our ancestors' priceless inheritance."  He creates magic by simply placing these letter symbols in such a way as to depict a pictographic rendition of an idea as abstract as "unity" and "love."  His work attests to his complete fascination with the Assyrian language and its visual symbols of communication.  Even though Assyrian language is spoken in over a dozen different dialects yet its imprints on paper remain the same.  Without the slashes and dots, above and below the consonants, which serve as the vowels all forms of spoken language disappear in the intangible and silent pictographic form of communication scholars call Syriac writing. Closely resembling the Arabic and Persian calligraphy, Issa's writing is an amalgamation of many layers of visual poetry and music.

Unfortunately, unlike the Arabic calligraphy, Assyrian script is not as revered by its practitioners and remains the most misunderstood form of our visual arts. While the Islamic countries pride themselves in the development of their form of writing (i.e. Kufi and Nastaleeq) Assyrians remain indifferent to the evolution of one of the most mature form of handwriting in the world.  So well-recognized in the international arena of calligraphy that in 1993 Issa Benyamin was invited to join a few selected caligraphers representing a dozen nationalities to take part in a unique artistic project.  The result was the publication of "L'Esprit de la Lettre", an art book in which modern Assyrian calligrphies of Issa Benyamin adorns a few pages of this beautifully-designed book, alongside Chinese, Arabic, Latin and other renowned forms of calligraphies.  As in any other of Issa's compositions his selections for this book demonstrate the richness, power, beauty, and the unique spiritual and moral force of the written Assyrian language.

Today, Issa Benyamin and his wife live in a quiet town in central Illinois, a three-hour drive from Chicago.  Dozens of his original work are on display in the basement of his house, where he is rarely visited by anyone from the largest community of Assyrians in the United States. Last April a group of Assyrians visiting friends in Chicago and parting from their Assyrian language instructor, Rabbie Nimrod Simono, had an unprecedented opportunity to visit Issa Benyamin and his collection of work at his residence.  Watching Issa explaining his art is truly a spiritual experience.  The Assyrian community in San Jose has agreed to bring a generous sample of Issa's original work to California and invite him to spend a few weeks with the Assyrian language students and enthusiasts.  Rabbie Issa Benyamin has accepted this offer and will join this most fortunate community in California where he will display his work at a local gallery and teach an Assyrian language and art appreciation class to adults.

Meanwhile, ZENDA invites all Assyrian organizations around the world to organize an international effort in preserving the art of Assyrian calligraphy by inviting Rabbie Issa Benyamin and help display his work for the viewing enjoyment of Assyrians and non-Assyrians alike.  To learn more about Rabbie Benyamin visit http://www.edessa.com/art/isa.htm where in addition to his biography a selection of his most enduring work can be closely examined.

Issa's work unifies the historic vision of Assyrian unity and love in an art form that integrates stylized symbols, poetry, and idealism.  It is indeed an esthetic snapshot of letters in motion possessing a magical power to transfix the viewer and bringing us closer to the artist's motifs and our ethnic identity.  Issa Benyamin's Assyrian calligraphies are hidden treasures that must be re-discovered and shared by all who struggle to fortify the Assyrian cultural heritage.

 
----G  O  O  D    M  O  R  N  I  N  G    B  E  T - N  A  H  R  A  I   N-----

       ZOWAA IN SAN JOSE HOSTS POLITICAL RALLY FOR ADM DELEGATION

(ZNDA: San Jose)  On Friday evening, the local chapter of the Assyrian Democratic Movement in San Jose, California, hosted a political rally to honor the official ADM delegation visiting from northern Iraq.  At this small gathering Misters Younan Hozaya and Ishmael Nanno delivered a brief report on the progress of ADM's Projects and requested financial and moral support from the Assyrian communities abroad.  The following is a list of a the accomplishments noted:

1.  helped organize the Unions of Assyrian University Students in Dohuk and Arbil.

2.  daily broadcast of two radio and television programs; with over 8 hours of daily programming.

3.  operation of 17 schools in which over 3,500 Assyrian students, grades 1 through 6, study mathematics, sciences, and reading and writing;  all subjects are taught in Assyrian.  Over 30,000 Assyrian school books and instructional materials are already in use.  The superior quality of instruction has prompted other nationalities to request such a curriculum for non-Assyrian pupils.

4.  held a conference to discuss the current status of the educational projects including the operation of elementary schools in Dohuk and Arbil.  60 instructors and administrators participated in a 3-day conference and discussed several issues.  It was agreed that the school curriculum must be expanded to cover high school subjects.

(ADM delegates noted that regular school transportation, design of an effective curriculum, and translation of technical material from other languages to modern Assyrian (Syriac) remain the most laborious and troublesome tasks facing the Assyrian instructors and school administrators.

5.  ADM (Zowaa) is an active participant in the round of talks in northern Iraq, Ankara, Damascus and with the U.S. State Department; is a member of the Iraqi National Congress (an umbrella organization established to unify all anti-Saddam Hussein forces to help create a post-Saddam democratic government to Iraq); and is often asked to help mediate between the two Kurdish factions during high-level discussions moderated by the U.S. and Turkey.

(Yosip Yacub, an ADM official, is currently in Ankara, Turkey).

Mr. Younan Hozaya is a mechanical engineer who until two years ago lived in Baghdad and was recently elected to the ADM Central Committee.  He assists in the publication of the ADM Newsletter, Bahra, and the preparation of textbooks for Assyrian students.  Mr. Ishmael Nanno is also a mechanical engineer, a member of the Kurdish Parliament since 1992 and the ADM Central Committee.  Mr. Nanno is the father of six-years-old Yokhana Nanno whose heart ailment was treated during his brief stay in the United States.

The ADM delegates emphasized the hardships faced "daily" by the thousands of Assyrians in the North and asked the audience for their continued support of ADM's efforts despite of the political disputes and resentments towards individual efforts and ADM representatives outside of Iraq.  "We are not angels," commented Mr. Hozaya, "only human.  Yet we have accomplished so much since 1991.  With the financial support received through the efforts of the Assyrian Aid Society we have and will do more.  Our goal may seem unreachable, but our path is straight.  We follow one path and one direction even if it means that we must, as we have, to sacrifice our lives and the luxuries you enjoy abroad."

Misters Hozaya and Nanno will be the guests of a fundraising dinner hosted by the Assyrian National Alliance in Chicago on Saturday, September 20 (see CALENDAR OF EVENTS).

-----------------------S   U   R   F   S     U   P   !----------------------

"Your report in the last issue of ZENDA concerning the attitude of the Assyrian Church of the East towards the three detained Assyrians in the Jazeera region (of North Eastern Syria) has surprised me, for it is actually incorrect and totally unfair.    The fact that there were no public
statements made by the Assyrian Church officials concerning this situation
does not mean that we are indifferent about the matter.  We actually did and
we still are following up this development.  Right after the arrest took
place, this past June, the Assyrian Patriarch, His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV,
was immediately informed and consequently employed all that was available to
him to ensure their release from detention; he continues to monitor the
situation with sensitivity and concern.  His Holiness, the hierarchy, the
clergy and all the faithful in Assyrian Church of the East are and have
always been seriously concerned, in every spiritual and fraternal sense, with
the welfare of our sisters and brothers and the changing situations they
undergo in the Middle East.  Please allow me to say that it is irresponsible
to publish unsubstantiated assertions suggesting otherwise.  I am sure you
know that publishing statements which accuse the Assyrian Church of the East
or her Patriarch of indifference in matters of such sensitivity will highly
offend the Assyrian Church clergy and faithful and will not, at all, serve
the overall progress of our people.  I pray that the fine quality of accurate
and objective reporting which your newsletter has provided its readers will
continue to be the most important aim for the staff of ZENDA.  May God, the
Father of all creation, bless us all and enlighten our minds and hearts to
seek communion with him and solidarity with one another."

Mar Bawai Soro
Bishop
General Secretary of Inter-church Relations
Assyrian Church of the East
 

[A ZENDA Historical Note:  Today is the birthday of Mar Dinkha IV, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, born in Arbil, Iraq, in 1935.]

                        ************************

"I'd like to express my gratitude to Zenda's staff for all their support for Karmela's cause in the form of spreading the word around and reflecting all different points of views about this issue, "UNBIASED" and as it is expected from a true people's media.

I, myself am a new subscriber to your magazine, but even by reading only 2 issues of Zenda, I can tell that this on-line magazine has a great potentiality to fill the "HUGE GAP OF COMMUNICATION" between all Assyrians from all walks of life and put an end to the "MISCOMMUNICATION" which is "THE MONSTER" that can swallow up the blossoms of a nation's unity and raise the
brother against the brother.

I shake your hands and wish you success in keeping this magazine away from all authoritarian minds who would like to control the others way of thinking and leave the doors open for all Assyrians, despite all their differences in the way that they may interpret each issue. We can only notice the rough edges by looking at them directly under the Sun light."
 

Emil Darmozadeh
Los Angeles, California

[Mr. Darmozadeh is the brother of Karmela Darmozadeh who recently received a substantial amount of financial contribution to cure her life-threatening blood disease in London, England.  ZENDA will follow the story of Karmela's medical treatment as more information becomes available].

                        ************************

HUMAN ASSISTANCE AS A POLITICAL WEAPON?

"It's a fact that the Assyrian nation is going to suffer a lot because of mistakes committed by individuals. If our sympathy and engagement for our nation/people is always going to be valued in dollars and pounds it's hard to imagine the end. One of the consequences will be that ambitions and visions are of less importance then for example beautiful cars and nice clothes. I refuse to believe that it will go so far, but after having read Zenda (25th of August) the reality seems to be the opposite.

As a person without any specific experiences from Assyrian national work
in the USA and Canada, it's hard to comment the situation there. But in
Europe we as Assyrian youngsters are not familiar with the mentality
presented by Ashour Simon Malek in Zenda. What kind of objects is reached when we distribute a list of individuals and organisations who have contributed to our sick sister, Karmela Dermozadeh. What's proved when we read that BNDP has contributed with XXX dollars to her? And what are we supposed to think when the person declares. "Let it be known to all Assyrians that if the Assyrian Aid Society in Canada will not help I will personally take legal action and have them charged with every criminal offences that may be encountered in Canada." My first impression is that Mr A.S Malek is giving us a promise that will liberate our nation from some sort of pain. That's not true, nor does it prove anything about the organisations which have contributed with 100 dollars or what ever. The only truth seems to be that certain groups of individuals is trying to take advantage of our dearest sister Karmelas misfortune. As if I'll be better when people know that I have
sacrificed a certain amount for a daughter of my nation? Let us respect the job performed by each individual, some will do good things today and others tomorrow. It's very simple. Let us respect the constitution of the Assyrian Aid Society in Canada, which benefits thousands of Assyrians in the north of Iraq but can't act on behalf of individuals. Is that to complicated? We understand that and I think Mr A.S Malek also does. But his promise to "take legal action" does only prove that his anger directed at AASS it's more a question of some personal dispute then a heroic mission for his nation or for Karmela.

We should all learn something: we are living in post-industrial societies, where respect and tolerance are virtues. I might dislike an idea, but there are certain places where our criticism can be performed. But it's a criminal act when we are trying to win political sympathy by taking advantage of a persons misfortune. Awareness of this fact can only be confirmed by a change in our attitude and behavior.

It is however important to point out that there are thousands of Assyrians suffering from different diseases or famine. It would be a huge and terrible mistake to compare the misfortune of one person with that of others. But in any case Karmela is neither the first or the last. Every organisation should be aware of this fact and consider whether we should help one person in one case and not others in other cases. In the AASS's case they have their policy, which should be respected. But that doesn't exclude that individuals working within or members of ZAWAA will not help Karmela or others. I personally recommend every Assyrian to stand up for Karmela, not with regard to A. S Malek's insignificant heroic "threat", just because she is a daughter of our people and a mother of two children. The question that follows is
whether the same (Malek) person will stand up again accuse those who are
not assisting thousands of starving children in Iraq, prostituted Assyrian girls in Amman, or children of those who are killed by any of the regimes in our homeland.

Let us all pray for Karmela, that she will survive and that be able to return to her children and husband. We also hope to be saved of such criticism performed by A.S Malek in the future. None the less I think he owes Karmela and her entire family an apology for his "promise". It has only caused them nothing but harm and more pain.

Ahiqar DeBasso
Stockholm, Sweden
 

                        ************************

"In respond to Ashour Simon Malek's post in vol.III, issue 27, on Sep. 8, 1997, I must admit that I do not know where this ZENDA reader is coming from, but I know this for sure, that he does not know much about the Assyrian Aid Society, and its mission.  I will ask four simple questions:

1. Have you been to North of Iraq to see what these funds, AAS is collecting, are being used for? Please go and check for yourself.

2. Do you know anybody who has gone to North of Iraq and came back and you got in touch with and asked him/her that question? There are few who went to Garbia go ahead and ask them, you can not get any better picture that the eye that saw it.

3. Have you given yourself a chance to attend any rally organized by Zowaa to explain these thoughts you mentioned? I beg of you to do so, one hour of your time to get answers from the source itself, and not groundless accusations.

4. Did you buy any of Assyrian Aid Society's videos or may be watched Ashur Sargis' Video (an Assyrian vocalist who recently visited northern Iraq) he took when he was in North of Iraq which shows where these funds are going?

I hope your answer is not YES to any of the above, because if you said yes, you would have not said what you said, and your attacks are definitely of a personal nature and of NO FACTS to them.  And if you said NO to any of the above, which looks the case to me, then I wish you do at least one, because you will change your mind then.

Be honest with yourself when answering these questions, and give yourself a chance to know this wonderful organization from a closer distance, because, despite the pitfalls, with it's help and the help of our churches our brothers and sisters in North of Iraq today are standing alive proud of being Assyrians."

Fred Aprim
San Jose, California

                        ************************

CONVENTION OF INCONVENIENCE

"The 64th annual convention is over, the count down has started for the 65th convention. Committees will rush searching for a new location, with a new agenda, entirely different from the previous one, open house, dance party, 2 dance parties, 2 dance parties, banquet. And of course, the picnic. Results, overcrowding, overselling tickets, awards to Assyrian man and woman of the year for accomplishing nothing.  Then what? How long this circus will go on? Do we have capable people to run conventions? Does the AANF realize that their clientele of adults and families is declining and teenagers 18 year of age and younger are taking over? Someone might say, that's what we want, our
teenagers ( the future of our nation) to come and get involved in Assyrian events. I got news for you my friends, the AANF convention is becoming a good place for teenagers to exercise every non-Assyrian habit. Legal drinking, drugs, ten to fifteen to a room, private parties, sex and you name it. Not to mention, their attire with men wearing not one but two or more earrings on each ear loop. No Assyrian language is spoken among them, as a matter of fact our Assyrian kids have adopted a new dialect  of English that is some how a cross over between Latino and Afro-American, spiced up with vulgar language.
Where is  the federation? How many consultants have they hired to study or youngster behavior and their departure from their ethnicity? The 65th convention will be worst than the 64th convention for one simple reason, the adult crowd will not attend next year.  Finally, it is time for the AANF to hold the convention at a convention center and keep the hotels for lodging only. Otherwise, their will be no hotels available for us to accommodate us."
 
Martin Mirza
Wheeling, Illinois

                         ************************
BITS & PIECES

"The politics of the Assyrians has developed in such a short period to reach
the level of politics of the world that is described as 'Dirty Politics'.
For a few years, when the Federation (Assyrian American National Federation) was under the control of a pro-ADM (Assyrian Democratic Movement) administration, namely the Political Arm of the AUA (that has been suspended
since), no one made a comment about AUA Secretary General being ignored at
the ceremonies and other meetings- certainly the ADM representatives did not
mind.

AUA executives have been condemned, by ADM amongst others, for having
communication with the present regime of Baghdad. The same ADM encouraged
and supported AUA Political Arm in defying AUA and worked jointly in giving
pre-mature birth to Awyoota (Assyrian National Alliance). Guess who were sitting side by side amongst the recognised Assyrian political 0rganizations, at the head table! You guessed it: AUA's General Secretary Mr. John Nimrud and Mr. Shmail Benyamen of ADM.  AUA political arm!!! I guess it was forgotten by its friends of yesterday.  The reason? I leave that for the reader to figure out. Don't misunderstand, ADM is not guilty of dealing with the regime of Baghdad, by associating publicly with AUA, as the motive for such turnaround is the almighty dollar of the AANF which is under the control of AUA this term.

The other recognised party was Bet-Nahrain (the smaller split differentiated
from its other split by its tail 'Iraq'). Another member of Awyoota, Bet-Nahrain did not dare to mention Awyoota in its address of the delegates.
Assyrian Liberation Movement (Zowaa Khorara) was the third member of Awyoota that was recognized in this gathering. Its address of the delegates was the work of genius. The representative of ALM, said 'the Assyrian Liberation Movement was born on the foundation of Assyria of the Assyrians' He went on to say 'We are happy to see ZOWAA being born on our Homelands, and we are throwing all our power behind ADM (All three persons)'. Well, ADM does not stand for Assyria of Assyrians, in fact it stands for "Democratic Iraq and the recognition of the presence of the Assyrians as a distinct people". In
reality, the rebirth of ADM seem to stand for Kurdistan on Assyrian Homeland
in exchange for human and cultural and educational rights of the Assyrians
existing in the occupied Assyria.

Unity? I read in the commentary of Zenda that all of the Assyrian Political
organizations and parties, that were present spoke of unity. Unfortunately
that is not the case. The three member Assyrian Liberation Movement spoke of
what is popular nowadays, 'support our people in country "Atra"'.  What atra?
We have a homeland and the Kurds almost have the Atra. ADM representative spoke of ADM and its struggle and the need for the support from our people in Diaspora. I did not hear even s syllable resembling the word unity.  BNDP(Iraq), should set an example of unity by uniting with its split twin
BNDP, then and only then one can take their call for unity seriously.
AUA that was established to unite the Assyrian organizations to form a
leadership, has turned into an organization itself, sort of like an umbrella
missing the vinyl.

I said in the beginning of this message that our political organization has
advanced to the level of international politics that practices at times
'dirty politics', in fact they have surpassed them by practicing what they
believe, being 'politics is dirty'."

Nenus Younan
Toronto-Canada
 

-----------------S  U  R  F  E  R  S     C  O  R  N  E  R------------------

                       LIEDEN UNIVERSITY SYMPOSIUM

Dear Editors,

I would like to inform you about a symposium at Leiden University,
17-18 October 1997, on the history of the East-Syrian (Assyrian and
Assyro-Chaldean) Christians. For more information, let your readers contact
undersigned,

Dr. Heleen Murre-van den Berg
hlmurre@rullet.leidenuniv.nl
 

East-Syrian Christians in the Ottoman Empire (c. 1600-1800)
17-18 October, 1997

Friday

    Dr. H.L. Murre-van den Berg (Rijksuniversiteit Leiden)
    "The Church of the East in the 17th and 18th Centuries: Bet Israel     Alqoshaya and the Periodization of History"

    A. Mengozzi (Rijksuniversiteit Leiden)
    "Israel Alqoshaya and Yausip Tilkipnaya and the Beginnings of Sureth     Literature"

    Prof. F.A. Pennacchietti (Universitů di Torino)
    "Neo-Aramaic and Persian Glosses in the Syriac Translation of the     Pseudo-Callisthenes and the Literary Traditions around the School of     Alqosh"

    Prof. G. Goldenberg (Jerusalem, Hebrew University)
    "Early Neo-Aramaic and Present-day Dialectal Diversity"

    Dr. J.F. Coakley (Cambridge MA, Harvard University)
    "The Patriarchate of the Church of the East in the 17th Century"

    Dr. G.J. Reinink (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)
    "A Chaldean aksa d-kahna in an East-Syrian Ms. from the University     Library of Groningen"

    Dr. H. Teule (Nijmegen, Instituut voor Oosters Christendom)
    "The Ascetic Florilegium in Ms. Charfeh 86 and its Connections with     East-Syriac Ascetic Literature"

Saturday

    Dr. C. Ciancaglini (Universitů di Torino)
    "The Transmission of the Syriac Pseudo-Callisthenes"

    Mr. D. Wilmshurst (Oxford)
    "Founding a New Patriarchate: Eliya X, Joseph I, and the Muslim     Authorities"

    Dr. B. Heyberger (Strasbourg, Université des Sciences Humaines)
    "Pour une étude de l'échange culturel entre chrétiens orientaux et
    catholicisme latin: problŐmes et méthodes"

    Dr. A.H. de Groot (Leiden)
    "Ottoman Administration and its Christian Subjects:
    Changes in the Millet System under Influence of Western Missions"

    Prof. L. Van Rompay (Rijksuniversiteit Leiden)
    "Alqosh as a Channel of Transmission of Syriac Literary Culture"

[Dr. Murre-van den Berg, a ZENDA reader and academic advisor, teaches at the University of Leiden-Netherlands in the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Near East.  Leiden is a medium-sized town situated 17 kilometers northeast of The Hague and 41 kilometers southwest of the Dutch capital, Amsterdam. In 1988, the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Social Sciences established the Centre of Non-Western Studies (CNWS). On 16 June 1994, the Research School CNWS, as it was henceforth called, was officially recognized as a Research School by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. The goal of the Research School is "to further Asian, African, and Amerindian studies in the humanities, the social sciences, and law; to strengthen cooperation between the disciplines involved, to intensify the collaboration with national research institutes and museums in Leiden, and to stimulate internationalisation of research and teaching in the various relevant areas
and disciplines." CNWS is currently overseeing or sponsoring the research works of some 120 senior researchers and 85 Ph.D. students.  ZENDA will follow up on the proceedings of this important conference in the Netherlands and invites its readers in Europe, particularly Holland, to take advantage of this unique gathering of scholars on the history and development of the Assyrian ecclesiastical, linguistic, and social progress in the past three centuries].

-----------------N   E   W  S       D   I   G   E   S   T-------------------

             EGYPTIAN-CHRISTIANS CELEBRATE COPTIC NEW YEAR

(ZNDA: Cairo)  Nearly nine million Coptics or Egyptian-Christians around the world, celebrated the beginning of their New Year on 11 September. On this day the Dog Star, Sirius, reappeared in the sky of Egypt. In ancient Egypt this annual event signaled the flooding of the Nile River and so a new planting year would commence. The martyrs of the Coptic Orthodox Church are remembered on this day. Red clothes are worn to recall the blood of the martyrs spilled through centuries of persecutions under Islamic rule. The Coptic  Synaxarion  (selected biographies of Martyrs and Saints for
each day of the year) and the  Coptic  "Difnar" (Antiphons  for the Saint or Saints of the day) relate the stories of such acts of martyrdom. The Feast of the Martyrs is celebrated on the first day of Coptic New Year, or the First day of Tut, which usually coincides with 11 or 12 September.

[ZENDA wishes its Coptic readers in Los Angeles and Canada a happy new year and prays for peace in Egypt where today over 6 million Coptics face religious discrimination and persecution (see http://www.copts.com/usdept97.htm .]
 

                 ASSYRIAN BLACK METAL BAND ROCKS ISRAEL

(ZNDA: Chicago):  A group of Israeli musicians, referring to themselves as the "descendants of our mighty Assyrian race" have penetrated the nearly-dead market for Metal Music with their two CD's entitled "As Jerusalem Burns" and "The Siege of Lachish."  The band is called Melechesh and their music is called the "Assyrian Mesopotamian Black Metal." Melechesh members are from Jerusalem and their music is a blend of high volume, grindy guitar with shrieking vocals and Gregorian chants. One music commentator suggests "to turn this up way loud!"  It continues: "Is this the Middle-Eastern Emperor? The Assyrian Dissection? The Mesopotamian Cradle of Filth?"  For more information visit http://www.blackmetal.com/melekesh.html .

--------C   A   L   E   N   D   A   R     OF     E   V   E   N   T   S------

Sep 20        Fundraising Dinner for ADM Delegation to the U.S.
        Assyrian National Alliance (Awyoota)
        Assyrian Social Club (Khodra)
        7:30 PM
        Chicago
        Donation:  $50.00

Sep 20        Canadian Society for Mesopotamian Studies
        "Gilgamesh, the Hero Who Saw Everything"
        University of Toronto, Room 140
        10:00 - 1:00 PM
        Toronto, Canada

Nov 22-24    Middle East Studies Association's 31st Annual Meeting
        San Francisco, California
        Hyatt Regency San Francisco
        http://www.mesa.arizona.edu/mesa97.htm

        Selected Topics:
        -Christian Persian Notables: Patrons and Leaders in East Syrian             Christian Society
        -Iraq and the Assyrians, 1925-1933
        -Dawn at Tell Tamir: The Assyrian Christian Survival on the             Khabur River
        -The Future of Iraq
        -Recognized Religious Minorities in Iran
        -An Ethnic Perspective on State Formation in Iraq
        -Lebanon's Culture and National Identity
        -Sons of Noah in Eastern Christian Tradition

Dec 11-13    British Association for Near Eastern Archaeology
        1997 Annual Conference
        University of Durham
        United Kingdom
        http://www.dur.ac.uk/Archaeology/confs/BANEA.html

Through    In the Presence of the Gods: Art from Ancient Sumer
Mar 8,1998    The Smart Museum of Art
        5550 South Greenwood Avenue
        Chicago
        Free Admission
 
 

----------------------------K  H  U D  R  A--------------------------------

Oct 10        Dokhrana 'd Mar Elia (Elijah the Prophet)
Oct 17     Anniversary of Mar Dinkha IV's Consecration (1976)
        Patriarch of the Church of the East
Oct 31        Dokhrana 'd Mar Elia (of Hirta or Khirata)
Nov 1        Dokhrana 'd Mar Mikha d'Alqosh
Nov 3        Dokhrana 'd Mar Gewargis, Sahda (The Martyr)
Nov 19       Commemoration of Mar Yacoub m' Pasqa
Nov 22       Dokhrana 'd Mar Odisho d'Urmi
Dec 7        Annunciation of the Virgin Mary (Soobara)
Dec 8        Immaculate Conception
Dec 13        Mar Yacub d'Nsiven (St. James of Nisibin)
Dec 20        King Abgar V
Dec 22        Mar Yousip (St. Joseph)
Dec 25        Christmas (Julian Calendar)
 
-------------------------E  N  T  R A  C  T  E-----------------------------

Dec 31        New Year's Eve Party
        Assyrian American Association of San Jose
        Entertainers:  Black Cats & Franco
        Marriott Hotel
        Santa Clara, California

------------------------I N T E L L I G E N T S I A-------------------------

CHICAGO    Assyrian Athletic Club Soccer Development Program
        Ages 7-14
        7:45-9:45 PM
        Mondays
        Warren Park Gymnasium
        Western Avenue & Devon Street
        ------------------------------------------------------
HARVARD     1997-98 Syriac Classes Taught by Dr. J.F. Coakley
UNIVERSITY    Elementary Syriac
        Instructor:  J. F. Coakley
        Basic Syriac grammar and syntax with selected readings from
        the Syriac Bible and other early texts.
        ------------------------------------------------------
        Readings in Syriac I
        Historical and theological texts, and early poetry
        ------------------------------------------------------
             Readings in Syriac II
        Special attention to exegetical texts and to reading
        manuscripts.
        ------------------------------------------------------
NORTH          Assyrian Boy Scouts
HOLLYWOOD     Assyrian American Association of Southern California
             Assyrian Club
             5901 Cahuenga Blvd
              North Hollywood, California
             9:30am  to 12:30pm
        Sundays
              Contact Sargon Gewargis @ fishtale@juno.com
            (818) 891-3705 after 7:30 PM
        ------------------------------------------------------
             Assyrian Student Union
          California State University, Northridge
        Assyrian American Association of Southern California

        Assyrian Club
        5901 Cahuenga Blvd
        North Hollywood, California
        6:00pm
        Contact Sargon Gewargis @ fishtale@juno.com
        (818) 891-3705 after 7:30 PM
        ------------------------------------------------------
SAN JOSE    Assyrian Language Classes (Adults)
        Instructor:  Dr. Ashur Moradkhan
        Sundays
        7:00-9:00 PM
        AAA of San Jose BETA
        ------------------------------------------------------
        Citizenship Classes
        Instructor:  Jacklin Bajan
        Mondays & Tuesdays
        7:00 PM
        AAA of San Jose BETA
        20000 Almaden Road
        ------------------------------------------------------
        Maestro Nebu Issabey's Nineveh Choir Practice
        AAA of San Jose BETA
        8:00 PM
        Thursdays
        ------------------------------------------------------
TORONTO    Nisibis School
           10:30-1:30
        Saturdays
           The Church of the East
          Toronto, Canada
 
-----A  S  S  Y  R  I  A  N     S  U R  F  I  N  G     P  O  S  T  S-------
 
 
The Maronite Research Council:

            http://plaza.v-wave.com/maronites/

---------------------P  U  M  P    UP THE   V O L U M E---------------------

        English        Modern Assyrian

           Glass              zgho/ghee/ta    [F]
 
              Marble                shee/sha        [F]

Note:  pronounce "gh" in zghogheeta as the "gh" in Assyrian "Baghdad".
 
____________________________________________________________________________
            F = Feminine     M = Masculine      P = Plural
 

 
---------------B  A  C  K     TO THE     F  U  T  U  R  E------------------

BC (2112)  The Third Dynasty of Ur is founded in southern Mesopotamia (Bet-Nahrain) by the Sumerian king, Ur-Nammu, and ends with the capture of Ur by the Elamites (western Iran) in 2004 BC  During this time Ur, a port city, became an important center for trade.  The moon-god, Sin, was worshipped in the impressive Ziggurat of Ur, built by Ur-Nammu and restored 1500 years later by the Chaldean ruler, Nabonidus.

<< Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia, Roaf >>
 

AD (1899)  Excavation of the ancient city of Babylon begin under the direction of Robert Koldeway, an architect, sent to Mesopotamia by the Konigliche Museen zu Berlin to investigate the ruins of Bet-Nahrain.

<< The Ishtar Gate, Marzahn >>
 

----------------L    I    T    E    R    A    T    U    S-------------------
 
                        WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?

There are many nations mentioned in the Old Testament, but there are only three that are particularly blessed.  "Blessed by Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance."  Our blossoms may be crushed, our leaves may be dry, but we are seriously sustained, strengthened, and upheld by the faith that comes from the core of our roots in God's Book and His promise.  We may be forgotten by many modern nations and peoples, but not by the One who raises up nations from dust and humbles them to dust.  We may be of no significance to the world of today, but we are of supreme significance to God whose nations are the world of His hands, His people, and His inheritance.  We may have many foes and few friends, but we have no substitute.  We are a unique people, and one day in God's own good time and place we are going to play a unique role.  A nation rooted in the Bible cannot be snuffed out like a candle or plucked out like a flower.  A nation promised to form a highway with the nations, and particularly blessed, cannot perish.  We are an echo of eternity.  If God sustains us, who will overthrow us?  If He is with us, who can be against us?  If He is going to build a highway through us, who is going to block it?
 
<< Between Hope and Hopelessness, Rev. Peter Talia  >>

----------T  H  I  S    W  E  E  K   I  N    H  I  S  T  O  R  Y----------

September 15, 1916:  The first issue of the Assyrian magazine "New Assyria" was published in Jersey City, New Jersey, under the editorial direction of Charles Dartley.

-------------------------B     R    A     V     O---------------------------

                      WHEN A SAINT WALKED AMONG US

Last night, standing up in his private attire, Father Benny Yadgar addressed the small but active members of the Bet-Eil Church in San Jose, briefing them on his mission to obtain financial support for the Assyrian families, particularly children, in Georgia (Gorjistan).  In the past two and half months of his visit to the United States he has collected 107,000.00 dollars in pledges and donations for the Georgian Relief Fund he founded in 1995.  While responding to the questions posed from this audience whose Christian faith centered around the most extreme opposite pole of the Roman Catholic Church, Father Benny seemed dissatisfied with his own past fundraising performance.  His voice trembled at times. Perhaps he is not impressed with the conduct of his fellow Assyrians living in the world's most affluent nation.  In his comments he explained how Mar Avrahim, the Chaldean Catholic Bishop for the North American Diocese, has authorized him to make his "1997 collection" to last until the year 2000- a mere $25000.00 per year budget to save the lives of thousands of children and elderly living in the harshest conditions facing Assyrians. He thanked ZENDA and his mission's current and future contributors and pleaded that no praises for him be uttered by those present.  "Your praises for me and my work will only paralyze my efforts. For the horrific torment our people have endured during 70 years of Communist oppression a few years of my life are not worthy of mentioning. I am only doing what must now be done."

Father Benny will return to Georgia on Friday, 19 September.  He will carry with him a few pieces of clothing, two suitcases filled with medicine, his exhausted body, and the names of several Assyrians concerned for his Mission, the future of Assyrians in Georgia, and perhaps Father Benny himself.  And for those of us blessed by his presence, in hope of once again meeting him face to face, only one thought will assuage our aching heart.  We will know that when we, satiated in the luxury of our material lives, most desperately needed him he came to us and preached the true gospel of our forefathers in Bet-Nahrain.  We will say to posterity that we saw and understood that a saint walked among us.
 

----------------------the   D I  R  E C  T  O  R  Y------------------------

ZNAA (Assyrian Academic Society-Chicago)
ZNAD (Assyrian Democratic Organization)
ZNAF (Agence France-Presse)
ZNAM (Archeology Magazine)
ZNAP (Associated Press International)
ZNBN (Bet-Nahrain Inc/ KBSV-TV "AssyriaVision")
ZNDA (Zenda: zenda@ix.netcom.com)
ZNMN (San Jose Mercury News)
ZNNQ (Nabu Quarterly)
ZNNV (Nineveh Magazine)
ZNRU (Reuters)
ZNSH (Shotapouta Newsletter)
ZNSJ (San Jose Mercury News)
ZNSM (Shufimafi Lebanese News)
ZNTM (Time Magazine)
ZNUP (United Press International)
ZNUS (US News & World Report)

-----------W   E   L   C   O   M   E    T O     Z   E   N   D   A----------

UNIVERSITY ACCOUNTS
            Ross Medical School, The Caribbeans
PERSONAL ACCOUNTS
            Australia
            Los Angeles

---------------------S     A     L   U     T     E------------------------

This Week's Writers & Reporters:

Firas Jatou        Chicago         News Digest

& We Thank The Following Individuals For Referring Us to A New Reader:

Dr. Manfred Alkhas    San Jose

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
In Our Upcoming Issues:
 
Sep 22:       Sex & Sexuality in Ancient Assyria
Sep 29:    The Urmie Manifesto
 

Would you like to know more about a particular topic on Assyrian culture,
arts, history, language, politics, etc.  Drop us a note!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

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