|The Lighthouse||The First Love Song|
|Turkish Troops Enter Iraq
Turkey Accuses U.S. of Creating the New Kurdistan
Iraq vs. U.S. - An Outline of Events in the Past Week
|Surfs Up||"Mr. Elloff was anything but heroic."|
|Surfers Corner||Assyrian Academic Society Joins MESA|
|News Digest||Assyrian Employee Retaliates Against Discrimination|
|Assyrian Surfing Posts||Walter Aziz|
|Pump up the Volume||Deed & Duty|
|Back to the Future||Gutians Enter Bet-Nahrain; Assyrian Patriarch vs the Greeks|
|Literatus||William Daniel's "Inspirtion"|
|This Week in History||Lamsu Exhibition in London|
"THE FIRST LOVE SONG
While working in the Istanbul Museum of the Ancient Orient as Fulbright Research Professor- it was toward the end of 1951 when I came across a tablet numbered 2461. For weeks I had been studying, more or less cursorily, drawerful after drawerful of still uncopied and unpublished Sumerian literary tablets, in order to identity each piece and , if possible, assign it to the composition to which it belonged. All this was spadework preparatory to the selection, for copying, of those pieces which were most significant- since it was clear that there would be no time that year to copy all of them.. The little tablet numbered 2461 was lying in one of the drawer, surrounded by a number of other pieces.
When I first laid eyes on it, its most attractive feature was its sate of preservation. I soon realized that I was reading a poem, divided into a number of stanzas, which celebrated beauty and love, a joyous bride and a king named Shu-Sin (who ruled over the land of Sumer close to four thousand years ago.) As I read it again and yet again, there was no mistaking its content. What I held in my hand was one of the oldest love songs written down by the hand of man.
It soon became clear that this was not a secular poem, not a song
of love between just "a man and a maid." It involved a king and
his selected bride, and was no doubt intended to be recited in
the course of the most hallowed of ancient rites, the rite of
the "sacred marriage." Once a year, according to Sumerian belief,
it was the sacred duty of the ruler to marry a priestess and votary
of Inanna, the goddess of love and procreation, in order to ensure
fertility to the soil and fecundity to the womb. The time-honored
ceremony was celebrated on New Year's day and was preceded by
feasts and banquets accompanied by music, song, and dance. The
poem inscribed on the little Istanbul clay tablet was in all
probability recited by the chosen bride of King Shu-Sin in the
course of one of these New Year celebrations. Here's a translation:
Bridegroom, dear to my heart,
Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet,
Lion, dear to my heart,
Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet.
You have captivated me, let me stand trembling before you,
Bridegroom, I would be taken by you to the bedchamber,
You have captivated me, let me stand trembling before you,
Lion, I would be taken by you to the bedchamber.
Bridegroom, let me caress you,
My precious caress is more savory than honey,
In the bedchamber, honey filled,
Let us enjoy your goodly beauty,
Lion, let me caress you,
My precious caress is more savory than honey.
Bridegroom, you have taken your pleasure of me,
Tell my mother, she will give your delicacies,
My father, he will give your gifts.
Your spirit, I know where to cheer your spirit,
Bridegroom, sleep in our house until down,
You heart, I know where to gladden your heart,
Lion, sleep in our house until dawn.
You, because you love me,
Give me pray of your caress,
My lord god, my lord protector,
My Shu-Sin who gladdens Enlil's heart,
Give me pray of your caresses.
Your place goodly as honey, pray lay your hand on it,
Bring your hand over it like a gishban-garment,
Cup your hand over it like a gishban-sikin-garment,
It is a balbale-song of Inanna.
Samuel Noah Kramer
"History Begins at Sumer"
GOOD MORNING BET-NAHRAIN
TURKISH TROOPS ENTER IRAQ
(ZNAF: Ankara) A Turkish television station reported yesterday
that some 5,000 Turkish troops have entered Iraq from the provinces
of Sirnak and Cukurca in Hakkari in northern Bet-Nahain to set
up a buffer zone in case Iraqi Kurdish refugees flood the border
amid a possible conflict between Iraq and the US. There was no
immediate confirmation of the report from Ankara or Diyarbakir.
Journalists have been barred from traveling to this area since
late Saturday. The zone, stretching about 10 miles, would be
designed to stop Assyrian and Kurdish refugees streaming into
Turkey, as happened at the end of the Gulf war in April 1991.
TURKEY ACCUSES U.S. OF WANTING TO CREATE A "KURDISTAN"
(ANAF: Ankara) Turkey's Deputy Premier, Bulent Ecevit, commented
yesterday that the US showdown with Iraq is designed to control
world petrol prices and set up a Kurdish state in northern Iraq.
"The United States wants to divide Iraq to create a Kurdistan
satellite state under its control," he said, adding that Washington
has had such an objective since the 1991 Gulf war. "My impression
is that the United States has the goal of creating a Kurdistan,
divide Iraq and in such a way control the price of petrol," he
said. An estimated eight to 12 million Kurds live in Turkey,
principally in the south-east. A further three million live in
Iran, four million in northern Iraq under UN protection, and one
million in Syria. There are also small Kurdish populations in
the former Soviet Union. Turkey's main separatist Kurdish group,
the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), hopes eventually to make a
incorporating Kurds from Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. There are over half a million Assyrians in northern Iraq, southeast Turkey, and the Khabur region in Syria. As many as one million Assyro-Chaldeans live in Iraq, mainly in the area under the protection of the Iraqi government.
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE US-IRAQ SHOWDOWN
"Congratulations on creating a wonderful resource for Assyrian people world-wide...!"
Santa Barbara, California
ASSYRIAN ACADEMIC SOCIETY BECOMES AN AFFILIATE OF MESA
The Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA), a prestigious and scholarly organization, has accepted the Assyrian Academic Society (AAS) as an affiliated organization.
In her letter to the AAS, dated 12 December 1997, Ms. Anne H. Betteridge, the Executive Director said, "I am delighted to inform you that, at its fall board meeting, the Middle East Studies Association's Board of Directors unanimously approved the Assyrian Academic Society's application for status as an affiliated organization of MESA."
Ms. Betteridge went on to say that, "As an officially recognized affiliated organization, AAS is allowed to sponsor up to three panels at MESA's annual meeting." The AAS is committed to being active at MESA's next annual meeting and is in the final stages of planning.
MESA's 32nd annual meeting will be held at the Chicago Hilton & Towers on December 3-6, 1998.
Public Programs Committee
Assyrian Academic Society
ASSYRIAN EMPLOYEE ALLEGES RETALIATION AGAINST HIS DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT
(ZNDA- The Chicago Tribune) An Assyrian man who tipped government officials to asbestos contamination in a Hostess snack food plant in Schiller Park, Illinois, says he was the victim of retaliation by plant managers. Ninos Anael, 25, of Chicago, said that he was ordered by management at the plant last month to remove what he believed was asbestos from a boiler room without being given proper protective clothing and gear. Asbestos, a mineral used in fireproofing, has been found to cause cancer, and is particularly harmful to the lung. State authorities who tested conditions in the Schiller Park plant said they found a high level of asbestos in the air. In December, Anael had filed a discrimination complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission contending he was subject to ridicule stemming from his Assyrian heritage. In the complaint, Anael alleged that supervisors at the plant called him names such as "camel jockey."
When Anael removed the insulation from the boiler room as ordered he kept some and had it analyzed by an independent Chicago laboratory that later informed him it was asbestos. He called state and federal authorities to inform them of the situation, and that led to the recall of Hostess Twinkies, Dolly Madison cakes and other snack foods produced at the plant. A plan to clean up the plant was approved and Anael, employed at the snack plant as a mechanic, was ordered to leave his regular work and go to a boiler room to help with the cleanup.
Since the incident, which resulted in recall of several million food items baked in the plant, one of the largest recalls in state history, Anael said that his health has suffered and that he will undergo medical tests later this week. He also said that he has received death threats from people at the plant. "Hostess is trying to blame me for this occurrence unfairly," said Anael. "I am scared."
TURLOCK ELECTS A NEW ASSYRIAN EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
(ZNDA: Turlock) On 7 January 1998, members of the Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock elected a new Executive Committee, headed by Ramin Odisho [See BRAVO] and his vice-president, Bluebird Abbasi. The new officers are:
President Ramin Odisho
Vice President Bluebird Abbasi
Recording Secretary Simon Mirza
Correspondence Secretary Teresa Lazar
Treasurer William Julian
Financial Secretary John Odisho
Assyrian Secretary Sargon Michael
Youav Yonan Bingo Director
Peggy Hernandez Ladies Auxiliary
To Be Announced Youth Group
ASSYRIAN SURFING POSTS
Assyrian Entertainer: Walter Aziz
PUMP UP THE VOLUME
||Good deeds: aavoodoowateh tdaawa|
||Our national duty: waleetan oomtaneta|
BACK TO THE FUTURE
Soon after the death of Naram-Sin, a people called Gutians who lived on the east bank of the Tigris river, began to invade Bet-Nahrain. By 2457 BC Bet-Nahrain was completely in the hands of the Gutians who ruled over the land once conquered by Naram-Sin's grandfather, Sargon of Akkad. Gutians remained in Mesopotamia for 125 years until they were finally thrown out by the Sumerians who themselves were conquered by Sargon of Akkad some three centuries earlier.
Babylonian Life & History, Budge
In the farthest corner of a modest eating place,
A couple sought an unelaborate seat.
They needed privacy, a moment of solace,
Where unobserved their hands could meet.
They shared their secrets, their sorrows and joys,
Plans that had failed and those that would be.
Their hands and all their skin became living toys,
Oh if they were in a place where on one could see.
"Your skin" he said, "is as soft as velvet,
Your hair reminds me of rarest silk;
If would lend itself to fairest braids, I bet,
Creeping on your bosom that's white as milk."
"The sweet smelling perfume that you radiate,
Overpowers me. Then floating I feel;
As in a dream I wander in a garden so ornate,
In that wondrous shrine all my senses reel."
"Would we then be to blame that in such a trance,
We crept to each other like two love birds;
With lips that whisper and our roaming hands,
Communicating that what could do no words."
"You are so dainty like a porcelain doll,
That a mishandling irreparably could harm";
"I feel so concerned, " he said, "lest my doll should fall,
So that's why I like to hold you in my arm."
This frank confession of unselfish motive,
Vibrated with passion all the strings of her soul.
Leaning on her chest, she said, "as long as I live,
Your plans shall be mine, your goal my goal."
THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
February 12, 1952: A Lamassu, the human-headed winged-bull statue, discovered by Sir Austin Layard and the Assyrian archeologist, Hormozd Rassam, is exhibited for the first time in London, England.
Last month, Ramin Odisho of Turlock, California, 28, became the youngest elected president of the 50-year-old Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock (AACCOT), the most prosperous Assyrian organization in the United States. On January 7, 320 members voiced their approval of his 2-year term against his challenger, John Isaac, an elder member of the club, who received less than one-third of the votes cast. Odisho is currently the president of the Assyrian United Organizations of California, a position he must relinquish to remain president of the AACCOT (an AUOC affiliate), and the Western Regional Director of the Assyrian American National Federation.
Odisho, in an interview with a ZENDA reporter in Turlock, said that he has a great deal of respect for the AACCOT's commitment in providing financial assistance to Assyrians and non-Assyrians alike. Every year tens of thousands of dollars go to the needy Assyrians through the efforts of the Assyrian Welfare Committee of Stanislaus County and the Assyrian Aid Society of America. The AACCOT has the largest membership of any Assyrian organization in the State of California and handles a multi-million dollar annual budget . As a representative of the vibrant Assyrian population in the Central Valley, the AACCOT allocates a small budget to assist the City's Fire Department, Turlock High School, Emanuel Hospital, and the Turlock Police.
When asked about his goals and objectives in the near future, Odisho replied that "greater communication among the state's Assyrian organizations and political parties and a more direct role for the youth in the affairs of these organizations hold top priorities on my agenda for the next two years." He scolded the organizations, including his own in the past seven years, for their reluctance to involve the youth in activities other than sports and entertainment. During his presidency, Ramin Odisho promises to organize a new and energetic youth group in Turlock, reminiscent of that formed in the 80's where he was first introduced to the spirit of Assyrian nationalism and organizational leadership.
In the past few weeks residents of Turlock have also been audience to lively discussions between Odisho and his once-mentor, now- rival, Cyrus Amirfar. Odisho spoke to ZENDA about the "egotistical troublemakers" who in the past two years have shown disrespect to the members and Board officers of his organization, in some cases forcing them to leave. Odisho commented that he "would not tolerate any divisions and back-stabbings any more and with the use of the organization's bylaws will enforce the law to mitigate any wrongdoings during [his] term." Odisho pointed out that "the club is now accepting new members. Our doors were at one point closed to our Assyrian community. We want to inform our people that once again our doors are open for anyone interested to join our organization, ruled based on discipline and run by law-abiding members." Mr. Amirfar, an active member of the AACCOT and a former president of this organization, supported Mr. Isaac against Odisho. He is believed to have ambitious plans for the presidency of the Assyrian American Natinonal Federation. The elections will be held during this year's National Convention in August. The AACCOT is one of over 30 Assyrian organizations affiliated with the AANF.
In a recent social function organized by the Assyrian Aid Society of America and held at Modesto's Double Tree Hotel Ramin Odisho surprised the over 700 guests by stating that "he hopes in the future all AAS festivities and functions will be held instead at the Assyrian Center in Turlock." In the past the AACCOT, the largest financial supporter of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, was reluctant to offer any direct support for the local activities of the Assyrian Aid Society of America. Odisho, supported by two current officers of the AUA, Simon Mirza and Sam Andrews, may help unify the efforts of the AAS and his organization and increase the public support for the AAS in the Central Valley- a political move likely to upset the leadership of the Bet-Nahrain organization in Modesto-Ceres, bringing together the supporters of Zowaa (Assyrian Democratic Movement) and the AUA closer than ever. With the new developments in Iraq it remains to be seen if this "local alliance" may in fact be a portent of a greater political coalition between the two political groups.
Ramin Odisho ended his interview with a message of thanks to his
supporters "who believe in me and pushed me to come and assume
the position of the president of our club. If in the 50 years
of the Civic Club a young person could be elected presidnet, I
am certain that other organizations could act likewise and permit
greater participation for our Assyrian youth." Ramin Odisoh is
single and was born in Iran.
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This Week's Contributors:
|Robert Dooman||Glenview, Illinois||News Digest|
|Tomy Doomany||Sunnyvale, California||Bravo & News Digest|
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|Arbel Soleymani||San Jose, California|
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