Vol IV, Issue 3

Adaar 16, 6747                   March 16, 1998

T H I S   W E E K   I N   Z E N D A

The Lighthouse Kha B'Neesan:  A Theater of History
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain Two U.S. Congressmen Demand Human Rights For Assyrians
Surfs Up "Thank you for providing us this important medium.."
Surfers Corner Voice of Canada Joins ASA of Mohawk University
News Digest Joint Commission for Dialogue Between Two Assyrian Churches
Calendar of Events Kha b'Neesan Party in San Jose (March 27)
Assyrian Surfing Posts An Assyrian Restaurant in San Francisco
Pump up the Volume Nuts & Sweets
Back to the Future The Ancient Assyrian Calendar & the Assassination of Mar Shimun
Literatus Save the Rest from Turning Corrupt
This Week in History William Daniel's Birthday
Bravo Sargon Dadesho




The foregoing practices may seem naive to our sophisticated minds of today, but when we stop to think that these were practices and rituals of cultured man of around seven thousands years before our time.  Yet they have served throughout the passing time, to be the foundation upon while modern civilization has been erected.  We, their children, have to bow with respect for, notwithstanding the passage of 140 to 150 centuries, we are still lagging behind.

It is early dawn.  The Royal Palace is surrounded, on three sides, by many thousands of Ninevites- men and women of all ages.  

The manheaded winged bulls, of which the head is symbolic of man's wisdom; the body denotes strength and abundance of nourishment; the wings signify speed and alertness.  The mute sentinels are guarding the Principal Gate of the Palace.  Armed human sentinels are guarding, on both sides, the upward sloping runway that leads to the gate and continued mounting upwards, around the building, to upper floors of the Royal Residence; of which the white alabaster and the streaked marble of many hues reflect the early light of dawn.  Soon the sunlight shall turn these building materials into the sparkle of many-colored gems.

Total silence rules the entire crowd in spite of its great number.  This disciplinary character is an acquired habit that has come to be People's second nature.  The entire crowd is breathlessly watching the giant Palace-Gate made of iron and bronze.  Here, behind this gate, in this monumentally building, have resided Great Monarchs and have pondered on the Destiny of Assyria.  Their seat is now occupied by a young, able and very promising young man.

The guards flanking the runway become rigid like the statues nearby.  Through the opening gate the melodious tone of a single horn announces the commencement of the procession which awakens in the crowd subdued commotion impregnated with deep expectation.

First, from inside the Palace emerges a group of two lines of armed soldiers- four in each line.  They march solemnly behind two formally clad strong men bearing the symbol of Tree-of-Life on Their shoulders.  These are followed by a number of youths carrying golden incense fumigators hanging from long silver chains.  They are swinging these devices back and forth to spread the sweet smelling smoke in the crowd.

These in turn are followed by musicians whose orchestras consist of animal-headed harps, flutes and a type of melodious reed-tipped instrument- not unlike our modern Zourna.  They are followed by percussion instruments that are:  Big drums, smaller drums played by palms and fingers of both hands: a precursor of kettle-drums; An instrument held high by one hand, its flat surface of about two feet high and one and half feet wide is covered with metal bars of different tones.  It is played by striking tiny metal hammers on the bars, producing a variety of tones of bells.  This is certainly the predecessor of the xylophone.  The last in the line of orchestral members are the cymbals of different sizes.  The last in the line of musicians are specially-clad youths and maidens of the ages sixteen to eighteen.  They are in customs of green and white.  The green color seems to be conquering the white.  They are singing chants to Lord Ashur and praise to the ruler of the land the young King-Emperor Ashurbanipal.  The chants and songs are supported by the orchestra harmonically and rhythmically.

Further commotion in the crowd is heard.  People shift their positions and crane their necks, as the emblem of Eagle-winged Ashur, with his bow and arrow, is seen.  The bow-string is drawn taut and the arrow is ready to fly.  The High-Priest strides solemnly behind the divine symbol, he is flanked by two incense-bearing youths swinging their fumigators.

Once more the crowd is disturbed so totally as if invisible giant fingers were stirring the immense throng: Everybody wanted to see with his own eyes the much-talked-about young ruler of the land; whom his enemies, in spite of his youth, had learned to respect and fear; Against whom individual nations dared to stand only when making part of coalitions of many nations.  Every individual of the big crown of National Festival wanted to behold the fabled Ashurbanipal.

First come three youths carrying in golden trays on their outstretched arms- the royal insignia and attire.  One of these has the gold-handled sword encrusted with precious stones, the magical bracelet and other insignia.

The second has in his tray the magnificent, brilliant tasseled robe that emitted a swishing sound as the royal personage walked.

The third was carrying in his tray the gleaming crown made of beaten and filigreed gold glistening with the most sparkling gems of the time; that had been worn by Tiglat-Pillesars, and Issar-Haddouns.  The tension in the crowd reaches such a degree that the flight of a bird overhead would have been an annoying and disturbing element.  The mild tone of a horn announced the coming of the Supreme Personality of the land.  All the heads in the great crowd are bent with reverence, the multitude's breath, that had been suppressed, is suddenly let out; its sound is like stalks of a vast wheat-field that has been brushed by a gentle breeze.  The conqueror of many land walks with bare feet in his sandals and a bent head.  The attitude of self-denial of this great man filled the hearts of his people with such a love and devotion as no other great achievement would have the power to inspire.  King-Emperor Ashurbanipal the most erudite personage that had occupied the Assyrian throne; the collector of thousands of literary gems of Shumer (Sumer), Akkad, Babylon, and Assyrian, who is as gentle as heart as he is mighty in the battlefield.

Today the ruler of the land has been dethroned; his Sovereignty has been annulled.  Instead of his rightful pomp and glory he walks bareheaded and barefooted and is hungry and thirsty like all the people of the land, for they all are fasting.  This self-abasement and self-infliction constitute prayers symbolized in action, and for what purpose?  Not for material gain, but for the conquest of good against evil.  They commemorate a time- if we may call it so, that Tiamat, the goddess of evil, represented by darkness, wanted chaos, where-as Lord Ashur stood for Universal orderliness.  The stakes were very high; the nation, according to that, was passing through a difficult period.  Hence the great sacrifice of self humiliation.

Behind the deposed King-Emperor, dignitaries of the state walked in lines according to their ranks.

The majestic procession moved silently through the streets of Nineveh with all the crowd following.  The only sound to be heard was that of the musicians, the singers and the muffled sound of many thousands of feet.

Later, on their march through its streets of the capital, another procession bearing the statue of the principal deity and the minor spiritual entities meets them and both continue the march to the main Ziggurat where Lord Ashur's temple is located.

There are no seats in the vast pavilion but an unoccupied throne.  The monarch like everybody else kneels on the ground, in the middle of the first row.  Musicians take their places.

The High Priest stands close to the Altar from which the incense is constantly rising.  In the clearance, between the Altar and the first row of the audience, appears a group of actors in costumes of creatures of magnificence and horror.

The Epic of the War of Gods and the Creation of Universe is enacted in pantomime while the High Priest recites the Epic of Creation.

Lord Ashur is fighting the evil spirits who would rather have chaos than order in the Cosmos.  The proponent of righteousness has painted his lips red ochre, to ward off the evil intentions of Tiamat an the monstrous creatures.  The warrior behind Lord Ashur is carrying the stormwind enclosed in a gigantic bag of animal skin.

Tiamat and Lord Ashur face each other while the High Priest recites challenging verses...Tiamat was stung to the frenzy and without looking to left or right she lunged blindly at her taunted jaws agape to swallow him up.  But Lord Ashur was too quick.  He spread his net in her path and enmeshed her.  As she was struggling furiously within it, he called the sormwind and made him charge forward and rush through Tiamat's gaping jaws, so she could not close her mouth.  Lord Ashur then drew his mighty bow and his arrow sank in her deep maw.

When the host of Tiamat saw their leader slain, they broke ranks and started fleeing.  But the forces of Lord Ashur bore upon them and bound them one and all and hurled them into the deep caverns of Earth.

As for Kingu, a special judgment was pronounced upon him.  No more was he to be reckoned among immortals. As other divinities recognized Lord Ashur as their chief deity, he brought new order in the Universe.  He rent Tiamat's body into two halves, hurling one half above the Earth to create all that in on High, and from the other half he created the Land and all that is upon it and the Seas with all the life in them.

Of Kingu's blood he created man to serve the gods while they performed their tasks.

When the Epic had been read and enacted, Ashurbanipal was reinstated in all his Royal Splendor.  All the population of Nineveh broke their fast and celebrated the greatest of all festivals, of which the dual significance embodied the creation of organized universe and annual revival of life.

William Daniel



(ZNAI:  Chicago)  Last week, after meeting with the staff of the Assyrian International News Agency, the following letter was submitted by Rod R. Blagojevich (Democrat, 5th District, Illinois) & John Edward Porter (Republican, 10th District, Illinois), in response to the December 13th killing of the seven Assyrians in northern Iraq.

Congress of the United States
Washington, DC 20515

February 11, 1998

Secretary Madeleine Albright
Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Albright:

We are writing to alert you to gross violations of human rights being perpetrated against Assyrians in Northern Iraq.  Assyrians have long suffered from violence at the hands of their neighbors.  Over the past few years, reports of these attacks have increased, fitting a pattern of increased violence against Assyrians with an intent to drive them from their ancestral home.

On December 13, 1997, it was reported that seven unarmed Assyrian civilians were murdered by a group of armed Kurds.  This latest attack follows a report of an earlier attack against an Assyrian man and his wife in Mzezakh, Turkey on September 25, 1997.  These attacks are only two recent examples of the dangers that Assyrian civilians face each day.  The United Nations and international human rights organizations have documented extensive abuses of Assyrians' human rights, including torture, murder, theft of property, abductions, rape, and forced conversions to Islam.  In many cases, Assyrians are denied the right to practice their religion, speak their language, and express their identity as a separate culture.

According to Amnesty International, the two main Kurdish factions in Iraq are said to support assassination squads," which answer to the leadership of those factions.  Amnesty intentional also reports that the killings "could not have been perpetrated without the knowledge, consent, or acquiescence of the leaders of these two parties, to whom the security and intelligence apparatuses are ultimately responsible."

We believe that the United States Government must send a clear and forceful message that it will not tolerate such abuses.  We ask that you advise all governments and political factions where Assyrians live that the United States expects the human rights of Assyrians to be respected and upheld, wherever they may reside, and that further support is conditional on those rights being respected.  In addition, we ask that you instruct Ambassador Richardson to work with the United Nations to ensure that Assyrians are receiving the benefits of LJN humanitarian assistance to Northern Iraq.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.  We hope that this effort will lead to an improvement in Assyrian human rights, and look forward to hearing from you on this issue.


Rod R. Blagojevich
Member of Congress

John Edward Porter
Member of Congress

Dear Reader:

On this, the first week of the Assyrian New Year, demonstrate your solidarity with the Assyrians in northern Iraq and send a Thank-You note to the two Congressional Representatives in Illinois who took  time to write about the plight of the Assyrians in northern Iraq.  ZENDA urges its world-wide readership to use the hyperlinks below and contact Congressmen Blagovechi, Porter, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (Assyrian, Democrat, 14th District-California), and any local Congressional Representative.  Send us a copy of your letter and we will gladly publish your message in our next issue.

Contact Blagovechi (Click Here)
Contact Porter (Click Here)
Contact Anna Eshoo (Click Here)
Contact Your Local U.S. Representative (Click Here)


"Greetings from Rome.  In keeping up with CIRED's commitment to inform the members of our communities and churches all over the world, I am enclosing for the information of ZENDA’s readers a joint statement on the latest developments between the Assyrian Church of the East and the Syrian Orthodox Church.  We hope that such important steps taken by the religious leaders of both churches will certainly indicate the fact -- to all of our people, in all of their churches -- that the course in which their have engaged themselves in dialogue of charity and rapprochement of faith is irreversible.  Thank you for providing us this important medium to communicate with our Assyrian brothers and sisters through your publication."

Mar Bawai Soro
Assyrian Church of the East

For news from CIRED (Commission on Inter-Church Relations and Education Development) see this week's NEWS DIGEST.



The Assyrian Voice of Canada proudly announces the start of a one-hour Assyrian radio program in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on FM-101.5 beginning 28 March from 3 until 4 PM.  The new Assyrian broadcast program was established by the joined cooperation of the AVC and the Assyrian Students' Association of Mohawk College in Canada.  This station serve the communities of Hamilton, Burlington and Stoney-Creek.

To listen to the Assyrian Voice of Canada, please tune to:

 Frequency                  Time                Date
 FM-101.5            3 PM - 4 PM        Saturday
 AM-1430            6 AM - 8 AM        Sunday

For further information, please contact Mr. Ashur Shamoun, Vice-President
Tel. (905) 279-6206   -   Fax (905) 279-7347    e-mail:  ashour@ican.net



(ZNCR:  Lebanon)  2 MARCH 1998; SAINT MAR MARON MONASTERY; ANNAYA -LEBANON:  In continuation of the official dialogue between the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East which was began in 1988 with the blessings and the presence of both their holinesses Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas Patriarch of Antioch and all the East and Mar Dinkha IV Catholicos Patriarch of the
Assyrian Church of the East for the purpose of bringing rapprochement between the two sister churches of the same Syriac tradition.  Also, considering the success that was the fruit of the meetings of the five churches of the Syriac tradition (Syrian: Orthodox, Maronite & Catholic, and Assyrian and Chaldean) within the framework of the non-official dialogue of Pro Oriente Foundation, both of their holinesses have agreed to continue the official theological dialogue between the two churches and have appointed a commission that include their excellencies: Mor Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim, Metropolitan of Aleppo and Mor Cyril Afram Karim, Patriarchal Vicar in Eastern United States from the Syrian Orthodox Church; and Mar Narsai De Baz, Metropolitan of Syria, Lebanon, and Europe and Patriarchal General Vicar, and Mar Bawai Soro, Bishop of Seattle and General Secretary of Commission on Inter-church Relations from the Assyrian Church of the East.

The dialogue commission convened in sessions parallel to the meetings of Pro Oriente's permanent commission of churches of the Syriac tradition on Monday; 2 March 1998, at Saint Mar Maron Monastery in Annaya, Lebanon.  The meeting was opened with a prayer; and the participants deliberated the foundational issues upon which this dialogue could to be based, and the general theological and cultural objectives which shall bring closer ties between the two sister churches.  The delegates agreed to establish the following points as agenda items for the next dialogue meetings of this commission:

1. In regards to questions on christology, the commission will study the two Common Christological  Declarations respectively signed by their holinesses Patriarch Mor Ignatious Yakob III and Pope Paul VI in 1971, and by their holinesses Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV and Pope John Paul II in 1994.

2. Concerning pastoral issues, the commission will study two documents respectively signed by their holinesses Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas and Pope John Paul II in 1984, and by their holinesses Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV and Patriarch Mar Raphael I Bidawid in 1997.

3. The Sacraments and their significance in the theology of each church.

4. The significance of the common Syriac culture for both churches and the ways through which they will be able to maintain and develop a common position to encourage the usage of their mother tong, the Syriac/Aramaic language, in various liturgical and educational programs.

It was agreed that the above agenda will be presented to the Holy Synods of both churches for its approval so that the commission will begin its study at its next meeting in Vienna on 8 & 9 October 1998.


Click Here:  For more information on the The Second Dialogue between the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and the Assyrian Church of the East.



March 14-17


Oral and Written Assyrian-English Code switching: Nationalism versus Assimilation 

By Erica McClure 

1998 Annual Conference 
The Renaissance Madison Hotel 

-During the Preliminary Program 

March 21


"A Night to Remember" 
-A variety of Assyrian, Middle Eastern, & American music 
-Food and Drinks 
-New people to Meet From Other Churches! 

7:30 PM 
250 South Villa Avenue 
Villa Park, Illinois 
Admission $10.00 
Reserve Tickets or Pay at the Door 
For Directions Contact: 
Eli Chamoun (708) 692-4270 & Connie Chlaimoun (847) 671-9489 

March 27


Kha B'Neesan Party (Assyrian New Year) 
Assyrian American Association of San Jose 
San Jose Athletic Club 
Entertainer:  Ogen

April 5


Kha B'Neesan Parade 

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

May 22-25


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

May 23


The Fourth Assyrian Community Networking Conference 
Organized by:  Nineveh On Line 
1:00 PM 
DoubleTree Hotel (Formerly Red Lion Inn) 
Center Plaza, Modesto

July 4


Assyrian Olympic Games  



Yaya's Cuisine:  Assyrian Restaurant in San Francisco



Holiday Sweets:  qableeqeh d'eeda.
Salted Nuts:  kesaneh milkhaneh


BC (2050)

From this year on the order of the Mesopotamian months were arranged in the following way, beginning with the month of Neesan commencing on the first day of spring or Vernal Equinox (the precise time when the sun crosses the equator; happens about the 21st of March):

    Ancient Names (13)                     Modern Names (12)

Babylonian Life & History, Budge

AD (1918)

Today, March 16th,  is the seventieth (70th) anniversary of the assassination of Mar Shimun Benyamin, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East.  The following is an excerpt from Joel Warda's "The Flickering Light of Asia" on the assassination of His Excellency:

In the course of the friendly interview between the Patriarch and the Kurdish chief, one of the men who had accompanied mar Shimun into the house, noticed from the window the presence of the concealed Kurds on the surrounding roofs.  Realizing the full import of the situation, the attendant said to the Patriarch, in Assyrian:  "My Lord, our end is certain, permit me to kill this dog (Simko) just to avenge the blood that will surely be shed."  The Patriarch, with an incredulous smile, bade his attendant be calm.  "My Lord," repeated the Assyrian guard, "they will surely kill us all, let me kill this dog, perhaps we can save your life."  The Patriarch restrained his attendant again.  He rose to depart, accompanied by Simko to the door.  The latter shook the hand of his guest, and went back into the house.  And just as Mar Shimon was seated in his carriage, surrounded by his bodyguard, the seven hundred Kurds fired, all simultaneously, into the group of their unsuspecting victims.  Only six of these men escaped, with wounds in their bodies, to give the news of the tragedy, and tell the story of the Patriarch's assassination.





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 epic of "Kateeny Gabbara" is a reflection of the history of the Assyrian people embodying their way of life, the cruelties to which they have been subjected, their struggles and their hopes.

The following verses are the closing lines of a chapter where the Hero has helped the population of a village to free themselves from slavery to which they - peaceful people - have been subjected by a ruthless

The feat of their salvation was an accomplishment beyond anyone's wildest dreams.  Therefore, the liberated people do not believe the Hero to be a human being...  So, they ask him to enlighten them concerning his true origin.

Kateeny Gabbara:

From William Daniel's Kateeny Gabbara, Vol. II  pp. 168-170.
Translated into English by William Daniel.  Original in Assyrian.

This Excerpt:  "Tapestry, Collection of poems in Assyrian & English by William Daniel."  San Jose, 1992.


March 17, 1905:  born, William Daniel, the multi-talented poet, composer, musician, and the father of modern Assyrian literature and music, in Urmie, Iran.



The story of Sargon Dadesho's survival of an Iraqi assassination plot has resurfaced again.  This time it was all over the streets of San Francisco.  Last week, Dadesho's familiar face was on the cover of San Francisco Weekly, a trendy, fast-action, pop-culture journal famous for its acerbid unconventional wisdom.  For those unfamiliar with the "assassination story" last week's article (Dial Saddam For Murder) is a must-reading.   Dadesho has skillfully inserted two-pages of information on the history and condition of the Assyrians in the Middle East and the San Francisco Bay Area.  It was refreshing to see the San Franciscans, while enjoying a day at the Fisherman's Warf, plunging into the pages of a popular Bay Area magazine and learning about the only attemped assassination by the Iraqi government in the United States.   





 Ross Medical School, Dominica

University of Texas

Wales, United Kingdom 


This Week's Contributors:
Ashur Simon Malek Ontario, Canada Surfers Corner
Rachelle Badal San Jose, California Bravo
Rita Pirayou San Jose, California This Week in History 
Susan Jatou Chicago, Illinois Assyrian Surfing Posts
Tony Khoshaba Chicago, Illinois News Digest 

Thank You For Referring ZENDA to a Friend:
Susan Jatou Chicago, Illinois

...Happy Birthday William & Thank You for Showing us the Way!


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 discreti


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ZNAA (Assyrian Academic Society-Chicago)
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