Vol IV, Issue 7

Neesan 20, 6748                   April 20, 1998

T H I S   W E E K   I N   Z E N D A

The Lighthouse Pau
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain 
plus The Northern Chronicles
Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Visits Baghdad
Surfs Up "as beautiful as the flowers of paradise"
Surfers Corner Assyrian Heritage Museum in Chicago
News Digest Concern for Assyrians in the U.N. Report 
Moslem Militants Kill Two Coptic Christians in Egypt
Calendar of Events Assyrian Aid Society Party 
Assyrian Aid Society Walk-a-Thon
Assyrian Surfing Posts A History of the Modern Assyrian Flag
Pump up the Volume Box & Basket
Khudra April 1998
Back to the Future Mursalis Attacks Babylon & Babai Abolishes Celibacy
Literatus 1968 Letter from the First A.U.A. Secretary General
This Week in History David Yonan's Performance in California
Bravo George Kiraz


ZENDA Says...
A few months back a student-reader from Australia asked us about a new Assyrian organization she had recently heard about while listening to the elders of her family:  "It was something universal, like the Assyrian universal movement or unity.  I am interested to learn more about this group."  Her case is not unique.  The organizers of the most influential Assyrian political entity in this century and the leaders of most other political groups are guilty of abandoning the Assyrian masses in the chasm of disinformation.  A college Freshman in 1998 cannot possibly be expected to know about the historic meeting which took place thirty years ago this month in a small city in southern France.  This week we come to the rescue of such readers in dedicating this issue to the 30th anniversary of the First Congress of the Assyrian Universal Alliance and celebrate the events of the most unforgettable four days of an enchanted April.





On the 30th Anniversary of the First A.U.A. Congress

The year 1968 can easily be summed up in two words:  revolutionary & turbulent.   The Czech liberation movement lead by Dubcek, the civil rights movement in the U.S., the first manned landing on the moon, Flower Power, the Sexual Revolution, Woodstock, and the Beatles redefined our concept of freedom and individuality.  Meanwhile, the war in Vietnam, the Kennedy and King assassinations, the Soviet troops invasion of Czechoslovakia brought us back to the realities of the human intolerance and the Cold War.  In the Middle East, a year earlier, the catastrophe of the Six-Day War had affected the psyche of the Arabs like no other event in their Islamic history.  The Israelis who had returned to their ancestral homeland some 20 years earlier had been able to withstand the combined forces of their Arab neighbors and gain over 26,000 square miles of territory previously in the hands of their enemies.  Not even the Soviets could help their friends in Damascus and Cairo to recover these losses.

A few hundreds of miles away in the city of Tehran a small group of enthusiastic Assyrians looked upon these events as harbingers of a new chapter in the history of the world's Syriac-speaking Christians, particularly those in the Middle East.  It was time that they were united under a unique name and a single political leadership and lived in their own ancestral homeland.  With the support of the Assyrian activists in the U.S., France, Australia, Canada, Central Europe, and the Middle East a new political organization under the name of the Assyrian Universal Alliance had formed in 1967.  On 10 April 1968 the First Congress of the A.U.A. was held in the French city of Pau.

No meeting held in this century had given greater promise of political resurgence and international recognition than the meeting at Pau.  Some twenty Assyrian delegates attended this meeting.  They were welcomed by Louis Sallonavo, the Mayor of Pau, at l'Hotel de l'Europe where this momentous meeting took place.  One attendee, an old man who had served in the Assyrian army of Agha Petros and Malik Ismail d'Malik Yacou, arrived at the town hall wearing an Assyrian tribal custom.  Tears of joy and the deafening sound of hand clapping were mercilessly but quickly shattering two thousand years of silence.  The French newspaper, Eclair-Pyrenees, wrote: "Their rights have to be recognized and their sovereignty of the past restored, which can only be proclaimed by regaining a territory."  Professor Erhaud of the Strasbourg University said that this "nationality cannot be saved except by constituting a sovereign nation."  La Depeche Du Midi in a lengthy article on Friday 12 April wrote "They are taking a great march toward a universal alliance and perhaps toward a sovereign nation."  La Republique noted that "They are small in number, but their morale stands high among the Near Eastern Christians and their heroic determination is to survive.  They are proud to be called the true descendants of the Ancient Assyrians."  Professor Pierre Pomdot of the Institute of Political Sciences of Paris commented:  "All the friends of the Assyrian people, all those who believe in their cause and have faith in their prospect, joyfully greet this realization which should be the first act in a magnificent renaissance."

The meeting was chaired by Demitri Elloff, a son of General Agha Petros.  After four days of meeting the following twenty points, poorly written but rich in their scope and vision, were drafted in what later became known as the Report of the First World Congress:

1.  There will no longer be a variety of names as previously called, Nestorians, Chaldeans, Jacobites, Maronites etc. to divide the Assyrian people, but all factions will be referred to as Assyrians.

2.  There should be two officially recognized Assyrian languages: the Modern Assyrian (Swadaya) and Literary Assyrian (Sapraya).

3.  To establish an academy to construct a uniform alphabet to simplify the structure of each Assyrian letter for the common use of all.

4.  The protection of the right of our people to live with dignity and freedom as provided for the United Nations "Charter of Human Rights", or any other proper channels.

5.  Providing schools and scholarships for our youth in order to raise the standard of education.

6.  Through all known means of communication to introduce and expand the Assyrian culture in the world.

7.  April 1st shall be designated the "Assyrian National Day" throughout the world.

8.  The establishment of 3 separate chapters, one in Asia, one in Europe, and one in the United States of America, for the purpose of gathering all the vital information regarding the needs of our people, for the
second meeting.

9.  To arrange for a second meeting to be held in London as requested by the delegates from Great Britain delegates.

10.  The organization of a National Assyrian political body.

11.  All these decisions to be presented to the affiliates and the people by their respective representatives.

12.  To request the Patriarchs of the various churches and denominations to come together for the purpose of uniting the Assyrian people, also recommending that all religious services and sermons to be conducted only in the Assyrian language.

13.  The Assyrian World Congress wishes to express its gratitude to all nations and governments that have given the Assyrian people the freedom to teach our language in their countries.

14.  The Assyrian World Congress expresses its deep appreciation to the French Government and the officials of the City of Pau for their sincere assistance in insuring the success of this Congress, and we gratefully acknowledge the expressions of good wishes for success from individual Assyrians, Assyrian organizations and our many other friends in high places.

15.  We recommend one flag for all the affiliates.

16.  To purchase land and establish a home that shall be an Assyrian national Home, in one of the free countries.

17.  By extending economic aid to our people in the Middle East we will stop Assyrian immigration to the other parts of the world.

18.  When the chapters decide that they are ready, the second Congress meeting will then be held.

19.  Invited delegates will be the only ones to attend the meeting.

20.  It was unanimously decided by all the delegates at this Congress that this has now been establish as the:  ASSYRIAN UNIVERSAL ALLIANCE

Since those historic days in April of 1968 the A.U.A. delegates have held twenty more world congresses and have drafted hundreds of other proposals and recommendations.  The question remains:  Was the A.U.A. necessary?  Today, the only A.U.A. delegate from Pau who remains true to the 1968 vision of the A.U.A. is the old and tired but optimistic man whose ideas essentially gave birth to the concept of a universal alliance among all divided sectarian and political Assyrian fronts.  Dr. Ashur Moradkhan's latest work is his "Manifesto", a prescription for change as unprecedented as the social and political revolutions of the late 60's.  To this "Assyrian Dubcek" unable to bring about a Velvet Revolution among his countrymen, and the thousands of Assyrian activists, the A.U.A. provided an opportunity for world recognition to a forgotten people and paved the way for the creation of the future federations and movements burgeoning in the name of the Assyrian people.  Ironically, this year's Congress is to be held in the city of Tehran, where thirty years ago this month, the new Assyria was envisaged, but alas never realized.




(ZNAF:  Baghdad)  The patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwass I, arrived in Baghdad on his first visit to Iraq in 16 years.  As part of a month-long tour, Mar Ignatius has already been to the northern city of Mosul, his birthplace.  He travelled to Baghdad by road on Monday, 13 April, and was to stay two weeks.  The visit -the Patriarch's first to Iraq since 1982 -has been made possible by the reopening of the Syrian-Iraqi border last year.

Mar Ignatius served as bishop of Mosul from 1963 to 1969 and as bishop of Baghdad from 1969 until his election as patriarch in 1980.  Syria has allowed Iraqi clergymen of the Syrian Orthodox church to travel to the patriarchate in Damascus although its relations with Baghdad have been cut since 1980.  They have had to travel via Amman, which was considered too long a journey for the Patriarch to make, according to church officials.  According to Agence France-Presse Iraq's Assyrian Christian (Chaldean, Church of the East, Syrian Orthodox) communities of Mosul and Baghdad number around 750,000.  The Assyrian activists believe that this number is greatly understated.  According to a report received by ZENDA, the three Patriarchs of the Assyrian churches, Mor Ignatius Zakka I of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Mar Dinkha IV of the Church of the East, and Mar Raphael I Bidawid of the Chaldean Catholic Church will hold an official meeting in Baghdad during the month of May.

Northern Chronicles:

February 26

March 1

March 3


"Once upon a time, there was a great man; his name was Ashor.  Ashor planted a very large garden with a large variety of the best flowers and all these flower smelled very nicely.  Their colors were as beautiful as the flowers of paradise.  One day Ashor called his daughter Ashoreena and said: "Dear Ashoreena I feel that a strong storm will hit my garden and will try to destroy it, so whatever happens to me must not shock you, dear daughter. I will only ask you to take care of what will remain of my flowers and my
beautiful garden."  Ashoreena, a loyal daughter to her father, promised him that she will take care of the garden.  No one realized that the storm that Ashor feared would in fact be so strong and greedy.  Ashoreena acted very quickly and bravely saved all that she could from this nightmarish storm.  She began to plant all the flowers she had saved on the mountain top beyond the reach of anyone.  She thought that no one could destroy her father's new beautiful garden anymore.  But ass time passed  strangers came and with jealousy tried to disturb Ashoreena.  Sometimes they succeeded and at other times they failed .

Today, dear all brothers, Ashoreena's garden may be smaller due to repeated attacks, but her flowers are always as beautiful as the flowers of paradise.  They are scattered in the world, but you can recognize them;  for they always say: 'We are the flowers of the Great Ashor's Garden, and Ashoreena is looking after us until the (Our and her) Father's return.'

Dear all brothers, if you want to continue this story or tell it in a different way, please don't hesitate.  I just wanted to introduce Ashoreena to you.  She is the (feeling) of our great nation.  The feeling of being Assyrians that has kept this nation alive and ambitious to this day and will forever, Amen.

Youkhannan Siamando Khzyran Bet-Dodo
Toulouse, France

"I love reading ZENDA and look for new issues every Monday.  My grandmother lived in Armenia and tells us about  life in the Assyrian villages of Armenia.  I'm just wondering if you know how many Assyrians live in Armenia today.  Keep up the excellent job you do with zenda every week."

Atorina Odisho

According to the 1989 official census in Armenia, there were 5963 Assyrians living in that country.



Come, see, and learn about the history, culture, customs, language, and religion of the contemporary Assyrians at the Assyrian Heritage Museum of the Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation.  The exhibits displaying lives of yesterday and today include:

The museum is located at 7055 North Clark Street in Chicago.  For more information call (773) 274-9262.



(ZNDA:  New York)  In a report (document E/CN.4/1998/67) on the situation of human rights in Iraq, submitted last week by the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Mr. Max van der Stoel, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights expresses concerns about reports of discrimination against members of minorities, including the Assyrians in Iraq.  The report was presented during the 54th session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights which is being held between 16 March until 24 April.  A representative of Iraq charged that Mr. Van Der Stoel's report was a repetition of allegations and false accusations from the past, carried out in harmony with a hostile campaign against Iraq led by the United States and Great Britain. The Committee also expressed concern "about the deteriorating situation of economic, social and cultural rights in Iraq. The Committee noted, inter alia, reports of discriminations against members of certain minorities (the Kurds, the Marsh people, the Assyrians, the Shi'a Muslims and the Turkomans) with respect to their enjoyment of fundamental rights as reflected in the Covenant. With regard to gender equality, the Committee expressed concern about discrimination against women, both in law and in practice. Here again, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights reached the conclusion already expressed by the Special Rapporteur, i.e. that sufficient measures had not been taken to date by the authorities to alleviate the extremely difficult living conditions of the Iraqi population and the deprivation of their basic economic, social and cultural rights."  The Special Rapporteur recommends that U.N. human rights monitors be sent throughout Iraq to verify information on the conditions of the minorities in Iraq.


(ZNRU:  Cairo) Suspected Moslem militants shot dead two farmers in southern Egypt late last Sunday.  Moussa Shehata Youssef, 36, from Ibshadat village near Mallawi, about 260 km (160 miles) south of Cairo, was gunned down while, Fadl Zaki Ishaak, 55, was shot after trying to stop the gunmen as they fled.  Security sources believe the attackers belonged to the Gama'a al-Islamiya (Islamic Group), Egypt's largest Moslem militant group which has been fighting since 1992 to transform the country into a strict Islamic state.  The group is particularly active in the south. Nearly 1,200 people, mostly militants and policemen, have died in the political violence.  The Coptics in Egypt with a population of over six million comprise the largest Christian minority group in the Middle East.



April 21



Sponsored by the City of Southfield & the Chaldean Federation of America 
Entertainment:  The Bells 
Southfield Civic Center Pavilion & International Cafe 
26000 Evergreen Road 
6:45-9:00 PM 
Reservations Required. 
$20.00 per person: 
   Southfield City Hall Main Reception Desk     Mon-Fri   8AM-5PM 
   Parks & Recreation Building                        Mon-Fri    5PM-7PM 
                                                                    Saturdays  9AM-2PM 
For more information:  (248) 354-4854

April 24



St. Mary's Assyrian Chaldean Catholic Church

Entertainers:  Edmond & Assyria DJ's Emil & Jimmy 
Lou's Village 
1465 West San Carlos 
San Jose 
Admission:  $20 in advance/$25 at the door 
To purchase tickets: 
   Nancy Kaldani       408-448-2806 
   Hannibal Menashy  408-363-6950 
   Khalid Elias            408-972-544 
   Ramil Esho            510-713-0980 
No Children under 12 allowed

April 25



Assyrian Democratic Movement

Assyrian Social Club 
6313 North Polaski Street 
7:30 p.m.

May 1


Lecture:  "Assyrian Americans at the Threshold of the 21st Century" 

Speaker:  Dr. Aryan Ishaya 

Alumni House Lounge, UC-Berkeley 
7:30 PM 
Refreshments Provided 
Sponsored by the Assyrian Foundation of America & University of California at Berkeley's Center for Middle Eastern Studies

May 2



Entertainers:  Walter Aziz 
Time:  8 p.m. 
AWANA of the Church of the East 
680 Minnesota Avenue 
(209) 538-9801 
Contribution: $20 per Adults/ $5.00 Children under 12 
For Tickets/Information: 
   Youki Khanania    (650) 968-9241 X 260 days 
                              (408) 226-9724           evenings 
   Fred Aprim          (510)  624-3505          days 
                              (408)  246-9106          evenings 
   Neil Kahraman     (408)  945-5789          evenings 
   Fouad Sada          (408   296-5144          evenings 

May 2



Personally meet Mr. Gonzales, a candidate for Mayor in the City of 
San Jose, register to vote, and obtain useful information about the City of 
San Jose and its services. 
Time:  11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
Beta of the Assyrian American Association of San Jose 
20000 Almaden Road in San Jose 
Contribution: $20 per person (includes a kabob sandwich & drink) 
Co-Sponsored by ZENDA

May 9



For Information: 
   Youki Khanania    (650) 968-9241 X 260 days 
                              (408) 226-9724           evenings 
   Fred Aprim          (510)  624-3505          days 
                              (408)  246-9106          evenings 
   Neil Kahraman     (408)  945-5789          evenings 
   Fouad Sada          (408   296-5144          evenings

May 17



Entertainers:  Albert Mansour, Ashor Farhadi & the Harout Band 
Time:  6 p.m. 
Bet-Nahrain Hall 
3119 South Central, Ceres 
(209) 538-9801 
Contribution: $10 per person 
For Tickets: 
   John Soro Music Center:   (209) 551-1800 
   William Wardah:               (209) 577-8106 
   Ben Elias:                         (800) 353-5427

May 22



A Cultural Exchange Event Organized by German Cultural Organizations/Radio&TV 

  • Lectures & Interviews with Several University Professors , Students, & Representatives of Assyrian Organizations from Hamburg, Wiesbaden, Paderborn, Berlin, and & other German Cities are Expected to Attend 
  • Assyrian Dance Groups from Wiesbaden & Hamburg 
  • Appearance on Hamburger Fruehstueckfernseher Television Program 

An Event Organized by Elizabeth Karamian

May 22-25



Sponsored by the Assyrian United Organizations of California 
Host:  Assyrian American Civic Club of California

May 23



Organized by:  Nineveh On Line 
1:00 PM 
DoubleTree Hotel (Formerly Red Lion Inn) 
Center Plaza, Modesto

July 4




Sep 2-7



Sponsored by the Assyrian American National Federation





 arona yaaqoora:  heavy box 
 qalta qaloolta:  light basket



April 5 
Palm Sunday 
April 10 
Good Friday 
April 12 
April 17 
All Martyrs Day 
April 19 
Easter (Old Calendar), New Sunday & Festival of Mar Auraha 
April 24 
Mar Givargiz (St. George the Martyr) 
April 27 
Rabban Hormizd & Mar Pethon 


BC (1531)

Mursalis I, the Hittite king from Anatolia (modern Turkey) attacked Babylon and destroyed Hammurabi's Dynasty.  On his return to Anatolia he was murdered by his brother-in-law.  The time between the Hittite attack on Babylon and 1400 is known as the "Dark Age" of Babylonian history.  There is hardly any information available about this period of the Mesopotamian history.

The Ancient Orient, von Soden

AD (498)

Patriarch Babai (Bawai) of the Assyrian Church abolished the practice of celibacy, allowing all bishops and priests to marry.  His successor, Silas, was married to a woman whom according to Bar-Hebraeus [ruled her Patriarch-husband with her tongue].

The Nestorian Churches, Vine & History of the Assyrian Church, Wigram




Introductory Classical Assyrian

alphabet and the vowel system, basic literacy skills & vocabulary 

Saad Sadi 
APR 4 JUN 27 


3-5 PM 

North Park Univ Carlson Tower 
Room C44

Introductory Modern Assyrian I

alphabet and the vowel system, basic literacy skills & vocabulary 

Zaia Kanoon
APR 9 JUN 25 


7-9 PM 

North Park Univ 
Room B-3

Introductory Modern Assyrian II

reading & writing,  & elementary grammar. 

Zaia Kanoon
APR 4 JUN 27 


3-5 PM 

North Park Univ 
Carlson Tower 
Room C42




The First Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance

April 1968

To my countrymen:

I have the honor in thanking my countrymen for the interest they have accorded the First Assyrian World Cultural Congress, which was held in Pau, France, April 10-13, 1968.

I thank the delegates who have participated in our work in a fraternal environment to preserve the voice which we have chosen, which is unity of action for the salvation of our nation.

I thank all those who have supported us during our work in sending us messages or telegrams.  I apologize for not replying to them individually, there were so many of them and I am not mentioning any of them; their patriotism is equal to that of ours concerning our Fatherland- the Assyrian nation.

I, sincerely, thank those who did not attend this conference, although they would have liked to have joined us , but various circumstances have kept them apart from us.  Better conditions will bring them closer to us.

The Assyrian Nation also thanks the French authorities for their friendly reception.  Also the pressmen and people of the city of Pau for their discreet friendliness.

At the conclusion of this conference, we have proclaimed the Assyrian Universal Alliance, which will be present anywhere the Assyrian interests are concerned.

Three delegates will represent us, one from the Middle East, one from the United States and one from Europe.

From now on our countrymen should direct their organizations to help their representatives organize for another conference whose date will be fixed in a short time.  During this second conference, a program will be established to put into application by the general approval of our delegates which will constitute a responsible National Committee.

My countrymen have given me an honor in appointing me as their delegate from Europe and selecting me as a Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance.  My role will consist of centralizing the activities and assuring the coordination among us.

I shall commit myself to fulfill my mission in all fairness and to work in the interest of our nation and only for its interest.

To better realize our plan, I urge the civil and religious personalities which constitute the elite of our nation to join us, if they have not already done so, for our nation is in need of everyone of us.

Our countrymen who are still divided by their useless quarrels of the past, or by the matter of sterile disagreements, should each one of them share in this effort for our community as a whole will benefit from the union of all of its members.  We also hope that those are still divided to forget their useless quarrels at this time of urgent national unity and without delay, give a magnificent example of reconciliation.

A great hope which we should support is born, so that we will fulfill our mission of transmitting our national heritage to our children, the same as our fathers have transmitted to us.

Hoping to meet again very soon, and in larger numbers, I have the honor of conveying to my countrymen my true and devoted sentiments.

Signed:  B. Petros-Elloff


April 23, 1990:  The 16-year old Assyrian violinist, David Yonan, of Germany performs Bach's Concerto accompanied by the California State University at Stanislaus in Turlock, California.



If there is a conference or seminar on Syriac language held anywhere around the world, it is quite possible that George Kiraz' name is either on the list of the presenters or the organizers of the event.  Born in 1965 in Bethlehem Kiraz learned Syriac at the local Syrian Orthodox Church and at St. Mark's Monastery.  He moved to Los Angeles in 1983 and in the next few years obtained a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (California State University, 1990), a Master's degree in Syriac Studies (Oxford University, 1991), a Master's degree in Computer Speech and Language Processing (Cambridge University, 1992), and a Ph.D. degree in Computational Linguistics (Cambridge University, 1996). He is the author of two books: Computer-Generated Concordance to the Syriac New Testament (6 Volumes; August 1997) & Comparative Edition of the Syriac Gospels, Aligning the Sinaiticus, Curetonianus, Peshitta and Harklean Versions (4 volumes; 1996).  In the mid-80's George Kiraz founded Alaph Beth Computer Systems in Los Angeles where he developed the earliest computer fonts for the Syriac language.  Today, he lives in New Jersey where he works at the Language Modeling Department of Bell Laboratories (Lucent Technologies) and directs the Syriac Computing Institute and Co-Edits the Syrian Orthodox Resources website and Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies.



 The Los Angeles Times
 University of Western Australia


This Week's Contributors:
Frederick Aprim San Jose, California Calendar of Events

Thank You For Referring ZENDA to a Friend:
Doris Oshana Chicago
Martin David California
Touma Issa Perth, Australia


ZENDA Magazine is published every Monday. Views expressed in ZENDA do not necessarily represent those of the ZENDA editors, or any of our associated staff.  This publication reserves the right, at its sole discretion, not to publish comments or articles previously printed in or submitted to other journals. ZENDA also reserves the right to publish and republish your submission in any form or medium. All letters and messages require the name(s) of sender and/or author. All messages published in the SURFS UP! section must bear the name of the author(s). Distribution of material featured in ZENDA is not restricted, but permission from ZENDA is required.  This service is meant for the exchange of information, analyses and news. To subscribe, send e-mail to: zenda@ix.netcom.com w


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