Vol III, Issue 43

II Kanoon 19, 6747                   January 19, 1998


T H I S   W E E K   I N   Z E N D A

The Lighthouse The Fraternity of Assyrians, Arabs, Kurds, and Turkomans
Good Morning 
Bet-Nahrain
Turkish Governor Bans Teaching of Assyrian Language
Surfs Up "Thanks God for the Missionaries."
Surfers Corner Nineveh Radio Station
News Digest Assyrian Man in Los Angeles Murders His Tenant and Then Kills Himself
Moslem Attackers of Coptic Christians Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison
Cypress Protests Desecration of Churches by Turkish Authorities
Assyrian in Germany Celebrate the Holidays
Assyrian Surfing Posts Voice of Nineveh Radio Station
Schools That Teach Akkadian Language
Pump up the Volume Prophecy & Fortune Teller
Back to the Future King Hammurabi & the Assyrians in Yemen
Literatus The Close-Mouthed Style of Leadership
This Week in History Malik Yacu d'Malik Ismael
Bravo I Logged on, I  Read, I  Heard!
 
THE LIGHTHOUSE
 

 
THE FRATERNITY OF ASSYRIANS, ARABS, KURDS AND TURKOMANS

On December 13, 1997, a group of Kurdish men near the village of Mingesheh, 5 km south of Dohuk, in the UN protected zone of northern Iraq massacred six Assyrian men and wounded an Assyrian woman.  The only survivor, Wardia Oraha, is currently in a local hospital with severe leg injuries.  ZENDA European Desk was immediately informed that the perpetrator of this massacre was allegedly the Kurdish radical group- PKK.  Only two days later, PKK released a statement blaming the other Kurdish group, KDP, and the Turkish government for carrying out the massacre and pointing their bloody fingers to the PKK "freedom fighters" in northern Bet-Nahrain.  The statement explained that "It is not a secret that the Assyrian-Chaldean people are supporting the PKK and that this support is increasing. Turkey and the KDP aim at breaking this support and presenting the PKK as the 'guilty' party. This dirty provocation has taken place at a crucial time for the struggle in Kurdistan, because all resistance movements except the KDP have joined forces to hold a National Congress."  To make matters even more ellusive the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan released a new statement in which the "Yonadim Act" after Yonadim Hanna, an Assyrian in northern Iraq, was declared as follows:  "As Iraqis we, the Kurds, Assyrians, and Turkomans,  have been oppressed under the policy of blind nationalism of the Baathist regime which came to power after 1961 when the Kurdistan Revolution began..."  Yonadim was identified as a "leader of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa) based in KDP-controlled northern Iraq."   To clarify some the state of confusion the Assyrian Democratic Movement in Northern Iraq released the following statement on January 2, 1998:

The international outrage to the massacre of six innocent men and the wounding of a woman from the Assyrian village of Mangesheh, North Iraq, December 13, 1997 by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has led some quarters to point the finger of accusation towards others.

The Assyrian people of  Iraq have no conflicts with any of the fraternal peoples that constitute the Iraqi people, be they Arab, Kurd, Turkoman, or other ethnic and religious groups.  Our people have joined the Iraqi people and the peoples of the whole region in the struggles for peace, democracy and progress.  Also, the struggles against persecution and repression by despotic local authorities or foreign power.  There is absolutely no contradiction between our Assyria people and those that we share this blessed land with.  Yet we have been victims of national and religious persecution due to narrow minded ethnic and religious chauvinism.

In North Iraq, we have joined in all legitimate struggles to bring peace and democracy to the region.  We have stayed out of the fratricide between various Kurdish parties.  We reject this fighting.  We are at the forefront of those who call the parties to desist and make peace.  We are also principal members of the peace forces.  Victimizing the peacemakers has outraged all people of conscience, especially since it is not the first time.  Our leaders have been murdered in front of their homes and in the streets, others have been dragged out of police custody and murdered by mobs, churches have been desecrated and the list goes on.

Those struggling for legitimate Kurdish rights know that our Assyrian people are not their enemies, and that the road to achieving those rights does not pass by persecuting Assyrians.  Kurdish parties that control this region have the responsibility to punish the criminals and move resolutely to stop these crimes against our people.  To-date none of the perpetrators of these murders has been brought to justice.  It is time that those who victimize our Assyrian people be apprehended and brought to justice.

Long live the struggle for peace, democracy, and progress.
Long live the fraternity of Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians and Turkomans in Iraq.

Assyrian Democratic Movement
Press Release
January 2, 1998

Two weeks after the release of the above statement, Kurdistan-Rundbrief commented that The Society for Threatened Peoples (Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker) was once again "teaming up with the vengeful organizations in exile" and this time it was making "notorious incitements against the PKK" by claiming that The PKK had carried out the massacre against the Assyrians as it had once before in 1995 in the "Massacre of the Assyrian shepherds."  The statement read:  "At that time, it became apparent that in reality it was the Turkish army that had carried the massacre out.  Furthermore, representatives of the Assyrians and the PKK have been working closely together for years in the Kurdish Parliament In Exile. The Parliament In Exile presently is, in our view, the only institution in the entire world that respects the Assyrian minority and insists on its defense.  So why should the PKK attack shepherds?"  On the same day that the Kurdistan-Rundbrief article was released Germany's top federal prosecutor announced that it no longer considers Turkey's separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to be a terrorist organization.  In other words, any legal action against the PKK would now be taken against it as a criminal organization rather than a terrorist association.  In Germany, members of a terrorist organization can be sentenced  between three and 10 years in jail, while members of a criminal organization face sentences of six months to five years.  Since late 1996, 20 PKK militants have been sentenced to terms ranging from two and a half to 11 years in prison.

Did a  "Zowaa leader" allegedly make references to the 1961 uprisings in northern Iraq as the "Kurdistan Revolution"? Are Assyrians in northern Iraq sleeping with the wrong enemy?  Why wasn't the death of six Assyrians openly discussed with the foreign news agencies, U.S. State Department, and the Assyrian political movers and shakers in the U.S. Congress and the European parliaments?  From reading  Zowaa's conciliatory "statements of fraternity" with the historical enemies of Assyrians we can conclude that the only legitimate indigenous people of Bet-Nahrain (Mesopotamia), namely Assyrians, continue to assume a low-profile in shaping the future of a post-Saddam Iraq.  Zowaa's cautious leaders in Iraq can only hope that the Western powers will pay greater attention to the complex ethnic and religious make up of northern Iraq- a strategic move already initiated by the government of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.

Staff of ZENDA

ZENDA thanks our reader, Daniel Wolk, for helping with the German-to-English  translations of the articles and statements used in the preparation of this article.
 

GOOD MORNING BET-NAHRAIN
 
TURKISH GOVERNOR BANS TEACHING OF ASSYRIAN LANGUAGE

(ZNCO: Istanbul)  Turkish authorities have issued a surprise order demanding that the Assyrian monasteries in Southeast Turkey stop teaching the Syriac (Classical Assyrian language). In an official memo Mardin Governor, Fikret Guven, declared that both monastery classes in Syriac as well as housing for schoolboys and visitors on church-owned property violated Turkish law and should be stopped. Some dozen monks and a handful of nuns remain at the 4th century Syrian Orthodox monasteries of Deyrulzafaran and Mor Gabriel in the Tur Abdin region of Mardin.  Addressed to the chairman of the church's Deyrulzafaran Foundation in Mardin province, the memo was copied to the civil administrators of each provincial district and the gendarme command headquarters of Mardin as well.   The governor has cited Article 24 of the Turkish Constitution, the 1936 charter of the Syrian Church Foundation and various educational provisions in the country's laws to justify his order. The quoted statutes forbid the church to teach its language apart from the direct control of Turkey's Education Ministry.

"We are not Muslims," commented a church member in Istanbul, who had as a boy attended the religious education classes taught at Tur Abdin's historic Mor Gabriel Monastery. "How can we learn our own religion, our liturgy and culture, in some other language?"  In 1978, under the government of prime minister Bulent Ecevit, Turkey banned the teaching of Syriac and training of Syrian Orthodox priests at Deyrulzafaran Monastery, claiming that the students being trained there were "participating in illegal terrorist organizations for separatism."  However, in a subsequent court case opened by the state against the Turkish Bible Society, Syrian Christians won the legal right in 1985 to publish the Bible, prayer books and even Christmas cards in the Syriac language. The two dozen Christian village boys presently taking religious instruction at the Mor Gabriel Monastery are all enrolled in the public schools of Midyat. "In fact there are no schools open in their home villages," noted one Syrian Christian, referring to the ongoing Kurdish separatist conflict which has paralyzed the region for the past 13 years. "Isn't it better for these Christian village boys to get a religious education than to grow up illiterate?"

The governor's memo was also emphatic in prohibiting the monasteries from housing visitors. "There can be no residences within places of worship," Guven wrote, "because places of worship are devoted only to religious rites and worship." One Syrian Christian commented that the governor's prohibition of guests on church property contradicted "the rich cultural traditions" of both Muslims and Christians. Historically, he said, Middle Easterners have always honored guests as "a gift from God." Although representatives of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Turkey declined to comment on the governor's directive, an anonymous source confirmed that the church had sent an official written inquiry to the Turkish government. "We are ready to open a court case if necessary, so that we can establish our legal status," the source said. "This is not a political issue," he insisted.  Some 70,000-strong in the 1930s, the Syrian Christian minority has now dwindled to less than 2,000 in the Turkish Southeast.  Although the Syrian Christians initially left the Southeast for economic reasons, security became an overriding factor. During the past decade, the violent conflict between Kurdish separatists and the Turkish military has turned the region into a war zone. Unknown assailants have murdered at least 35 Syrian Christians in the Southeast since 1990.  Entire Christian villages have since been abandoned, with family homes, livestock and lands sold hurriedly at a considerable loss.  The most recent victims were an elderly couple in their 70s, Iskender and Rihane Araq. They were killed  in their home in Mzizah
village near Midyat by suspected Hizbollah radicals. 

SURF'S UP!
 

 "Thank God for the Missionaries.  These days we hear a lot of talk about how Missionaries turned our people's life upside down and destroyed our traditions.  I just want to say that my family had a great experience with the presence of Missionaries in Iran. It was through their assistance that my grandfather as a young man  became a true believer in Christ and that changed his entire life. He became a free man, free from the bondage of the church traditions.  Our churches those days were not letting
people read the Bible and our people dogmatically learned the Church's doctrine and performed unnecessary rituals. After my grandfather became a changed man, he was so in love with his Savior the he read the Bible and was obedient to the word of God. He loved his neighbors and enemies; he did good to them as Jesus told him. His neighbors were Assyrians, Armenians and Moslem Turks.  He helped them regardless of their religion and nationality. When the time came that all Christians had to leave their homes and escape from Urmie at the time of war, all the Moslems in his village begged him to stay and they promised that they would hide him and his family in a safe place but he refused and said "I have to go with the rest of my people". Early in the morning while they were preparing to escape, his Muslim neighbors were baking bread and preparing food. To his surprise after hours of being far from the village on the road, he heard his name.  His Moslems friends had followed him to give him some bread and food for the journey. Moslem religious leaders loved to come to his workplace and gather around him and debate and discuss religion. He would always win the debate because he had a full knowledge of the words of God.
 
An Assyrian village was in fact saved from a Moslems massacre because of my grandfather. When the war ended and people came back to their villages he and the rest of the people decided to return home.  They had no idea that the Moslems waiting for their return in order to kill the entire village population. When the Moslem village chief (Kadkhoda) discovered their plans he went and lied down on the road by the entrance gate to the village and called on  to the attackers "You must first run me over before you kill the Christians".  Since the Moslems respected him they turned back and never bothered the Assyrians and Armenians in that village.  This was all due to the deeds of a Good Samaritan like my grandfather.  They believed he was their true friend.
 
We shouldn't blame the Missionaries or judge them. They left their homes, families, friends and traveled to strange countries to serve God and some were killed in their missions. Missionaries in Urmie built  schools and hospitals and helped our people to be healthy and learn to read and write. Shouldn't we be thankful?  When we pass on from this world our traditions will fade away, no body will ask us what we did with our rituals and Shaaras and Sheikhanis or our sacrifices for the Saints and how many candles we lit. We would only be asked that when we heard about the son of God what did we do with Him and His word?  Our people don't want to hear us talk about  Jesus Christ-period!! God says "Do not harden your heart when your hear His voice". Certainly my  grandfather didn't; he took it seriously and applied it to his life and was a true light to others. People to this day would tell me stories about what they heard about this man, his honesty, wisdom, courage and his love for God and people.  God bless you all."
 
Doris Babassi
San Jose, California



"By reading your [articles] and by digesting your point of views, I am sure that you are highly educated Assyrians with good morals and believes. You have very elegant way of expressing yourself . I wish I had your abilities so I too can express myself the way you did.  At this time, I can only express my thoughts the best way I know how, as far as my education takes me and as close as possible to  my background.  I do agree with some of your points of views, but we cannot be hopeless, because losing the hope in our Assyrian nation  it will be like a "Tree without Water". It is true that we are losing our Assyrian people faster than ever  in the western world . You did touch the reasons in your letter, but we can not forget our roots in
the Middle-eastern  countries . For every one Assyrian we lose here because of this melting pot, two or more Assyrians are born back-home, so the balance continues .  With the education that our people are receiving in the western countries and with the knowledge that our people are receiving  in  America and in Europe, together we can help and support our brothers and sisters that still live in the old countries where our roots are so deep in the land of Ashur. We can be like the nourishment to our roots and keep them alive and well.  This way  we will keep our heritage alive for many centuries to come. As time goes by more and more Assyrian children will get closer to our people, because of our social clubs, media , TV and the Internet which   is helping our people to be closer to each others.  Our churches are getting stronger and our communication with the Roman Catholic churches is improving too.  We have been establishing  more churches than ever and in many U.S states and
in many countries.  Our churches are putting the efforts to save our heritage, our children will be saved and they will continue  to speak our language and that they will  keep their heritage alive for a  long time to come .

Visit our churches in America, Australia, France, England, Arabia and so on.  You will notice that our children are learning our language, reading and writing too.  Regardless of the denominations of our churches, they are trying to come to an understanding and a unity of one church, one people.  We have been tied to our churches for many centuries, now that a unity will come soon our heritage will not die.  One day we will become a nation under one flag as we were before .
 
Right there are so many  that will not and do not want to call themselves Assyrian. I don't blame them, I don't blame you too for having the doubt about your heritage, because the enemies of our people have divided us and kept us apart. For that reason, today we are calling ourselves different names  That too will be corrected.  Remember that we should learn from the history of the Jewish people and that we should not lose the hope of becoming a nation once more . In many part of the world Jews did not call themselves Jews or many Jews did not want to be known as Jews  because of the hatred and the persecution that came upon them. Once the country of Israel was established they all called themselves Jews or the proud Jews. ALL  THE BEST FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE . What is wrong with us?  We too can do the same .  Once we establish and tie to our
name, our people will be able to identify themselves to Assyria .

We need  recognition in the world . With Education and by our educated Assyrians we can speak very loud and clear in every media, in every newspaper we can write articles and express our views to people around the world, by telling them that we are not extinct and that we are alive and well and that we did exist yesterday too.  Our educated people must get involved in the
Assyrian affairs and try their best to keep our people alive in the next century to come.  We should meet and exchange ideas and point of views so we can learn from each other's experiences, so we can build a better future for our children of tomorrow. We must take an active part in the world's politics and in the politic of the country we reside.  We should encourage our people to get involved with computers and its way of communication system so they can be closer to each other by chatting on line
and around four corners of the world, to know that the Assyrian people still exist .
 
Notice what happened after Mar-Dinkha met with Pop in Rome  . For centuries many Chaldeans  and Assyrians or Syriani  did not talk with each other as if they were two different  people.  Now they are coming together and they are trying to have peace and  understanding among our people . They are trying to unite and become one Church . Our educated people must be our hope, they must be our foundation so we can built on their knowledge a strong and proud Assyrian-Chaldean  nation .  We must keep our language for the ones that come after us.  We don't have to be called Assyrian or Chaldean or Syriani ˝this problem  too can be solved .  We can come to an understanding for the name of the country . We can agree on
a mutual name of our country --such as BET-NAHRAIN, because we all agree that our heritage came from the land of Bet-Nahrain  .
 
We can call ourselves Bet-Nahranaye that way no  name can take dominate the other. This is only an example.  Names will not stop us from becoming a nation once more . The world in general had been conquered by other nations and every country
had its share of wars .  How can  a German  or an Arab or a Jew or an Italian or a Greek  prove that they are what they claim  to be?  A nation or people of a nation are known and recognized by their birthplace, customs, features, language, the way of
their marriages, death, habits, food, writing , and so on . My good friend, we are Assyrian, you are Assyrian, and your children's children will continue to be Assyrian. Have trust in your people and  in your blood that runs through your veins, and keep the hope alive.  Without it we will die.

Martin David
California

SURFERS CORNER
 
NINEVEH RADIO STATION
 
Nineveh On Line is proud to announce that we have begun to broadcast Assyrian programs from the first Assyrian radio station on the Internet.  You can tune in by logging to Nineveh On Line web site at http://www.nineveh.com . We use Real Audio, which is used by 90% of all radio stations on the world wide Web.  The real Audio player is offered FREE and you will find a link on Nineveh.Com where you can download this player. Our audio quality is very good.

Albert Gabrial
System Administrator
Nineveh On Line

NEWS DIGEST
ASSYRIAN MAN KILLS HIS TENANT AND THEN SHOOTS HIMSELF

(ZNLT:  North Hollywood)  On Saturday, January 10, after savagely beating his tenant with a lead pipe and then shooting her three times, Edward Khangaldi, a 62-year-old an Assyrian from North Hollywood, California, shot himself in the head.  The woman was a 42-year-old Iranian Jew and employed by the Macy's Department Store in Beverly Hills.  Los Angeles Police Department's Mike Coffey said that "His wife had left him.  He was an alcoholic, and his house was in foreclosure.  His whole world was collapsing around him."  Neighbors who witnessed the violence, which began just after 1:00 pm at a busy intersection near Riverside Drive and the Hollywood Freeway, said the woman's screaming brought them out of their houses, at which time they saw Khangaldi beating the woman on the head and body with a lead pipe.  Khangaldi then ran to the back of the duplex and returned with a loaded revolver.  He first threatened the neighbors, who retreated across Riverside Drive and then shot the woman at close range.  He misses twice, leaving bullet marks inside his garage.  He then walks to the rear of the house, reloads his weapon, and shoots himself in the head.

The victim rented the front half of the converted house, while Khangaldi occupied the back.  Neighbors said that Khangaldi had been trying to evict the victim.  Police also said that Khangaldi "threatened his wife with the gun about a month ago, and she took their children and left him."  Neither Khangaldi nor his victim had any prior criminal records.  Edward Khangaldi was born in the Assyrian village of Shirabad in Urmie, Iran.


ATTACKERS OF COPTIC CHRISTIANS IN EGYPT SENTENCED TO 5 YEARS IN PRISON

(ZNAF: Cairo)  An Egyptian court on Monday sentenced two Moslem militants to five years in prison at hard labor for plotting attacks on property owned by Coptic Christians in southern Egypt. They were accused of inciting two minors to set fire to five houses and shops and to two cars owned by Copts. The attacks took place in the village of Kom Ombo 40 kilometers
(25 miles) north of Aswan between July 1992 and June 1993.
 


CYPRUS PROTESTS DESECRATION OF CHURCHES
 
(ZNAF: Nicosia)  Cyprus has protested to the United Nations that more than 500 churches have been damaged in the
Turkish-occupied north of the island, some converted into museums, others into mosques, and others looted and abandoned, or left to collapse from disrepair.  Cyprus has been divided since Turkey invaded the northern third of the island in 1974 following a Greek Cypriot coup in Nicosia seeking union with Greece. A breakaway Turkish Republic of North Cyprus declared by Turkish Cypriot leaders in 1983 is recognized only by Ankara.

ASSYRIAN GERMANS' HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS

(ZNDA: Berlin)  The Assyrian Aid Society's German Branch organized a dance party on December 27 in Wiesbaden, Germany.  The holiday celebration was held  in the hall of the Syrian Orthodox Church (Syrisch Orthodoxe Kirche). The entertainment for the evening was provided by Mr. Amanuel Bet-Yonan.  Over 900 guests enjoyed Assyrian music and dances until 3 am.

 

ASSYRIAN SURFING POSTS
 
VOICE OF NINEVEH RADIO STATION
SCHOOLS THAT TEACH AKKADIAN LANGUAGE
 
 
PUMP UP THE VOLUME
English       Modern Assyrian

                                             Fortune Teller              qas/sa/ma      [M]
                                                                                                   qas/sam/ta       [F]

                                               Prophecy                    na/be/ta        [F]

                           F = Feminine    M = Masculine    P = Plural

BACK TO THE FUTURE

 
BC (1763)

King Hammurabi of Babylon attacks Larsa in southern Bet-Nahrain (Mesopotamia) and overthrows Rim-Sin who had reigned for sixty years.  Hammurabi who by now had captured much of central (Akkad) and southern (Sumer) Bet-Nahrain organizes a massive army and attacks Assyria in the north and Mari in the West.  The Babylonian troops then enter Mari, destroy this great city and ruined it for ever.  In northern Bet-Nahrain (Assyria) Hammurabi defeats the king and brings the region under the Babylonian domination.  In only ten years Hammurabi was able to unite four great Mesopotamian kingdoms of Akkad, Sumer, Assyria, and Mari into one nation under Babylonian rule.

Ancient Iraq, Roux
 



AD (597)
 
Yemen becomes a Persian province and the Assyrian church quickly spreads the Christian faith among all the tribes belonging to the old Roman provinces of Arabia.  The Bible used at this time in Arabia was in Syriac (Classical Assyrian Language).

A Year's Journey Through Central & Eastern Arabia, Palgrave
 

LITERATUS
THE CLOSE-MOUTHED STYLE OF LEADERSHIP

As a rule, Assyrian "leaders" and their organizations like to operate in secretive and autocratic fashion.  With some exceptions, they bristle if the average person questions any of their actions.

This is clearly a throwback to the old days. In the Middle East, the common bloke generally would not question "authority". But immigrants who arrive West discover (some sooner than others) that respect is not to be confused with servility.

It has been several centuries since the West rejected the principle that "the King can do no wrong."  Unfortunately, this reality is slow to sink in for many. Activist Assyrians in the diaspora are volunteers, not servants. Increasingly, they resent being treated as unquestioning minions...

An Excerpt from Francis Sarguis' "Assyrian Kibitzer" essays in view at Nineveh Online.

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY

 January 15, 1974:  dies, Malik Yacu d'Malik Ismael, Assyrian army commander and freedom-fighter during the post-World War I period of Assyrian resistance against the British betrayal and massacres committed by the Arab and Kurdish fighters.
 .

BRAVO
I LOGGED ON,  I SAW,  I HEARD!

Congratulations to Albert Gabrial of Nineveh Online for another remarkable achievement in promoting the use of the Internet as the most efficient communication tool for the Assyrian communities around the world.  To obtain more information see this week's SURFERS CORNER and ASSYRIAN SURFING POSTS.
 

WELCOME TO ZENDA

CORPORATE ACCOUNTS  
 
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SALUTE!
This Week's Contributors:

                              Adrin Takhsh                  Berlin, Germany        News Digest
                              Daniel Wolk                 Chicago, Illinois                             
                              Raman Mikhail            Chicago, Illinois          Good Morning Bet-Nahrain
 

Thank You For Referring ZENDA to a Friend:

                             Rita Pirayou                  San Jose, California
 



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