Vol IV, Issue 2

Adaar 9, 6747                   March 9, 1998

T H I S   W E E K   I N   Z E N D A

The Lighthouse What If I Am Not Chaldean-Assyrian?
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain Saddam Visits Northern Iraq
Surfs Up "This problem is not an isolated case in San Jose."
Surfers Corner The Minutes of the Census 2000 Meeting
News Digest Assyrians For Education Propose An Elementary School
Assyrian Surfing Posts One Assyrian's Artwork
Nineveh University Library
Index to Cornelius Van H. Engert Papers
Pump up the Volume Jewel & Pearl
Back to the Future The Five Chaldean Tribes & Bishop Sulaka
Literatus A Warning to the King
This Week in History The First School For Girls in Urmie
Bravo David Chibo's "The Wonders of Assyria"




In 1967 the Assyrian Universal Alliance declared its principle of nationalism in a few simple words: "One Name, One Purpose, & One Leadership."  Thirty years later the ethno-linguistically and politically divided Assyrian nation struggles with these realities:  uncommitted, factional, unrepresentative political leaderships; a volatile constituency threatening the future of Assyrian churches in the West, and lack of interest in the preservation and reform of the Assyrian language (with the exception of the efforts currently underway in northern Iraq).  It is no wonder that nearly all the remaining AUA "forefathers" have become recluses hiding in the dark corners of their not-so humble abodes in California and Sweden.  "Was it always beyond our control or did we make foolish mistakes which we could avoid if we only..." they ask themselves, while a growing number of apathetic Assyrians continue to denounce their Assyrian identity.  To make matters worse more Assyrian-speaking families leave the Middle East to join their brothers and sisters aboard the "Titanic" of the free world.  In 1998 the new generation of Assyrian activists who are more concerned with individual liberty, gender issues, and democratic reforms ask the organizers of the 1967 meeting in Pou, France:  "Was it the general will of our people to seek a single name, purpose, and leadership or did you wish that upon them instead?"  The AUA and every Assyrian political movement organized before and after that fateful day in 1967 have never sought guidance from the Assyrian masses.  In private they greet each other in the lavish "regency" hotels of Chicago, Paris, and Los Angeles, and dismiss opportunities for political and social reforms as trivial matters.  The meeting which took place last month in Detroit, Michigan was no exception.

Last week ZENDA was informed that in a meeting held in Detroit on 11 February, attended by the officers of the Chaldean Federation of America (CFA), the Assyrian American National Federation (AANF), & the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) it was unanimously agreed that the official U.S. Census designation of Assyrians be changed from "Assyrian" to "Chaldean-Assyrian."  ZENDA has obtained the minutes of this meeting (see SURFERS CORNER).

The U.S. Census has devised a system by which all the representative Assyrian religious, regional, and ethnic categories are tabulated to be identified as "Assyrian".  These categories include but are not limited to the following:

Last December the Chaldean Federation of America approached Sargon Lewie of Chicago, president of the Assyrian American National Federation, to support the CFA in its initiative to change the term "Assyrian" to "Chaldean-Assyrian".  Without consulting the presidents of over 30 AANF affiliate organizations, Sargon Lewie attended the meeting on 11 February and as the minutes of this meeting suggest, agreed to support this proposal.

In 1552 the Assyrian Patriarch of the Church of the East, Shimun Bar Mama, died and his nephew, Shimun Dinkha, claimed his right to succession.  Sulaka, an Assyrian bishop from Alkhosh (northern Bet-Nahrain) disputed Dinkha's claim and demanded canonical elections instead of hereditary consecration.  With the support of the Hakkari Assyrians Shimun Dinkha assumed his place as the new Patriarch, and instead, Sulaka aided by the Assyrians from Mosul, Nsiven (Nisibin), and Arbil sought the support of the Vatican.  After signing a document of submission to the Roman Catholic doctrinal orthodoxy, Sulaka was recognized by the Pope in Vatican as the Patriarch of the East, given full patriarchal jurisdiction in the Middle East.  Thereafter there were two Assyrian lines of Patriarchs, the "Shimun" line and the "Elia" line (after Mar Elia, the first Chaldean-Assyrian Patriarch after Sulaka).  In 1680, Pope Innocent XI added another line, that of "Joseph" in Diarbakr (northern Bet-Nahrain) by ordaining Mar Yosip as the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church.  In 1780, the two "Elia" and "Joseph" lines merged and the new Chaldean Catholic Church was formed.  In 1778, the "Elia" line fully submitted to Vatican and the "Joseph" line was dismissed until it completely lapsed in 1828.  To further undermine the power of the Assyrian "Shimunite" Patriarch and to divide the Assyrian "millet"  in 1845 the Ottoman (Turkish) Sultan recognized the subjects of this new Assyrian church as the "Chaldean nationality", a term never before used to identify the Christian inhabitants of Mesopotamia.  What has since outraged the Assyrian nationalists in Iraq and the rest of the world was the emergence of a new ideology in Baghdad which professed the historic linkage of the members of the Chaldean Catholic Church to the ancient inhabitants of southern Bet-Nahrain, namely the Chaldeans tribes which controlled that region after the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C.   Chaldean-Assyrians like Agha Petros de Baz continuously referred to themselves as Chaldean-Assyrians in an effort to belittle any foreign or internal efforts to undermine Assyrian nationalist movements.

In the past 150 years the "Chaldean question" has been the most fiercely argued issue of our ongoing self-examination as a people who claim to be the descendants of the ancient Bet-Nahrain (Mesopotamia).  This issue is central to the future of Assyrian nationalism in the Middle East.  The Chaldean Catholic Church oversees the affairs of the largest Christian constituency in Iraq.  Some notables include the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Tariq Aziz, who identify themsleves as Arab Christian only.  They are among the wealthiest and most influential business owners in Baghdad, Michigan, and Southern California.

The main debate between Assyrians (who include Chaldean-Assyrians) and Chaldeans (that may or may not include those professing to be Arab Christians) is over the use of the term "Chaldean."  The former believe that "Chaldean" is a religious term that must only be used in designating an Assyrian religious denomination.  The latter claim that the Chaldeans of Iraq are descendants of the ancient Chaldeans, as the Assyrians claim their lineage to the Ninevites of northern Iraq.  In 1996 the Common Christological Understanding reached by the Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church gave a new hope for the renewed efforts toward a unity among the two Assyrian populations.

In less than two years every American household will be subject to the federal government's scrutiny as the agents of the Census Bureau travel from one household to another collecting information.  Tens of millions of homes will be enumerated and the ethnic make up of the United States of America decided based upon the responses given by each resident.  The Chaldean Federation of America is concerned that the "Chaldeans" in the United States will be ignored under the current method of tabulation devised by the Census Bureau.  The CFA demands either a completely separate designation as "Chaldean" or a new one as "Chaldean-Assyrian."

The issue of Chaldean identity as a nationality, separate from that of Assyrian, has no historic integrity.  The use of the term Chaldean in the Middle East in designating a Christian population can hardly be traced before the emergence of the Chaldean Catholic Church.  The president and the officers of the Assyrian American National Federation had no constitutional right to vote on the issue of the Chaldean-Assyrian identity without prior consultation with any or all the affiliate organizations.  The rights of non-Chaldean Assyrians including the members of the Church of the East, Syrian Orthodox Church, and the Protestant churches must also be recognized.  The term "Chaldean-Assyrian" excludes all Assyrian religious and ethnic groups not affiliated with the Chaldean Catholic Church.  Finally, the Chaldean Federation of America is not a true representation of the Chaldean-Assyrians in the United States.  Its member organizations include four Chaldean parishes, a ladies, a youth, and a "Chaldean Iraqi" association.  All seven member organizations reside in the state of Michigan.

To identify every Assyrian in the United States as a Chaldean-Assyrian is against our century-old political and cultural progress made toward a decisive ethno-linguistic victory.  A vote for the CFA initiative would only please the Baathist sympathisers and the Pan-Arab fanatics who deplore any forward movement made toward Assyrian political and religious unity.  In two years from now every Chaldean and non-Chaldean Assyrian including the officers of the Chaldean Federation of America must come together and demonstrate to the governments in Washington and Baghdad the unswerving determination of our united Assyrian people.  Assyrian nationalism and Chaldean identity can only be traced back to one point of origin-  the Assyrian pride.  The Assyrian national identity must not be devalued and hindered away from a central political leadership.  A central Assyrian political leadership is like a nightmarish concept having frightened the Baathist regime in Iraq since the 1963 Coup against the government of Qassem.  By politicizing the Chaldean identity we put the lives of nearly a million Chaldean-Assyrians in Iraq in danger, undermine the efforts of the two Assyrian churches in their concerted efforts towards a greater common understanding and perhaps organizational unification, and confuse our Assyrian populations in Diaspora.  In the last three decades our political leaders failed to form a single political leadership or even formulate a single purpose.  Today, drowning in the sea of ignorance they cannot be allowed to eliminate our historic identity also.  Our only initiative must be to enumerate nearly half a million Assyrians, both Chaldean and non-Chaldean, in the 2000 Census.  Anything different would be a crime against the will of the Chaldean and non-Chaldean political activists and religious fathers who have fought and died to preserve our unique Assyrian identity. 




(ZNAF:  Baghdad) Yesterday Saddam Hussein visited areas of northern Iraq under government control, bringing out large crowds of supporters in Mosul and Salahuddin provinces, where he met with local officials.  Large crowds were shown on Iraqi TV carrying portraits of the Iraqi president and chanting,
"With our blood, with our soul, we will sacrifice ourselves for you, Saddam."  Most of northern Iraq has been under the control of Kurdish groups in defiance of Baghdad since the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War.


"Happy Birthday to Zenda.  You are doing such a great job.  I have just read Vol IV, Issue 1 which I accessed via the assyrianinfo web site.   Good stuff!  Basma Ganokhon..."

Philimon Darmo
Sydney, Australia

"I too watched The  Peter Jennings story on ABC.  I must warn you this program is good for those who don’t think for themselves.  Peter Jenning’s stories comes to every Assyrian as no surprise.  I saw Coca Cola and Yankee dollars at work. Only naives of this world would fall for a program that is designed by the CIA to mislead and deceive the Blinds of this world.   We have been suckered into situations like this before.  Assyrians should not participate in the western world adventures whose main interest is oil.  Saddam Hussar  is the best thing that ever happened to the U.S. military;  the Pentagon has never had it  so good;  Wall-Street is dancing all the way to the bank; U.S.  Marines are in Kuwait;  oil prices are down ($16.00 Per Barrel): Divide and conquer at its best, What a sweet deal , 'Halwa!'

In response to my Brother Francis Sargis who I admire for his intelligence and his knowledge of history regarding Agha Petros:  there isn't much to say about a man who wore French Army uniform, who worked and recruited young Assyrian men to fight for the western militaries, and was exiled to southern France near the orchards of Toulouse, in the end.  Let me remind you  the history of many leaders and generals of the world who end up in southern France , places such as the French Riviera.  These include dictators such as Iddi Amin of Africa,  Somosa of Nicaragua,  the famous clown of Haiti, Papa Duck DeValiie; and the latest murderer of Zaire, Moboto Sese Seko” who slaughtered millions of Africanos.  France has housed some of the most desirable homeless people  in the world and provided room and board in return for some favors.  The well known  Naftellau Chateau of France was a home to the Revolutionary  Leader of Iran; Mr. Ayatollah Rooh-Allah Khomaini . 

Only  good Samaritans like the French would care enough to provide safe haven and a retirement package including “HMO”, for the unfortunate leaders who might not  have been appreciated and understood from their own bewildered and Barbarian  population.  What a Christian act !!  However, one may not send my brothers and sisters to war against my neighbors in the Middle East.  My recommendation to all Assyrians is to help one another, study our history and educate our minds. As they say, the mind is a terrible thing to waste.  Arabs, Kurds, Turks, and Persians are here to stay--, lets be friends...and make good neighbors.

Albert Issaco
Sutter Creek,  California

"In [a previous] issue of ZENDA (February 23, 1998), my name was mentioned as the contributor to the NEWS DIGEST section.  This implied that I had written the report titled "NEWS OF FRAUD AND CORRUPTION...".  This was a mistake on the part of the EDITOR.  I did not write this report.  He
should have mentioned my name as the contributor to the GOOD MORNING BET-NAHRAIN section.

The reason that I am insisting in correcting this error is because I do think the article is telling the whole story.  I was present at the meeting and during Mrs. Bajan's report, she neither mentioned nor presented any documents that showed Mr. Benjamin's name.  By this I do not mean that no harm was done.  I am simply saying that the Board of AAA should have gathered all the documents which had the names of all
individuals who were responsible for reviving AACC before presenting the case in a general body meeting.  This way there would be no room for speculation and doubt.

Ironically, this case of fraud and corruption has benefited the AAA of San Jose.  When both associations were merged in 1991, instead of dissolving AAA (non-profit status), AACC (non-profit, tax-exempt status) was dissolved.  To make the matters worse, the statement of dissolution was not filed with the Secretary of the State hence no certificate of dissolution was received.  The AAA of San Jose has been trying to gain tax-exempt status for many years and when Mrs. Bajan was asked why the Association has not been able to meet the requirements of becoming tax-exempt, she did not give a clear answer.  Another question which went unanswered was that why the Association wanted to revive a dissolved organization!  A dissolved organization or its status can not be revived.  The board of the Association must have had inside information that AACC (or any new name) was still alive with tax-exempt status.

Since early 80s, there have been two rival groups (AACC and the so called Charter Members who created AAA) that have tried to control the Assyrian organizations in San Jose and Motva'd San Jose is no different.  This problem is not an isolated case in San Jose.  This has been a universal problem among all Assyrian organizations and political parties for decades.  You see the same individuals at the helm of AUA, ZOWAA, Bet Nahrain, Federation, etc.  They never change as if the same tyranny that we all
have escaped from has taken a new form in the West and has disabled us for as long as one can remember.  This problem can only be solved by the Assyrian nation which has to make a choice NOW: either continue in this state of chaos and lose it all or no matter how difficult or painful it might seem at the beginning, cut at the root, abolish the old ways and start anew."

Rita Pirayo
San Jose, California




Chaldean Federation of America
Assyrian Universal Alliance
Assyrian American National Federation

February 11, 1997 6:30 PM
Members Present:

-John Mackay expresses his desire to conduct this meeting.
-The first item on the agenda is hearing the position of the present guests.
-Joseph Kassab would like to hear some different positions from the people present regarding this issue.
-Sargon Lewie states that on October 12th, 1997 our organization was first introduced to the census committee from the CFA at a meeting held at Southfield Manor. There were several issues discussed then and we had not heard anything since. Then in December he received a letter from Dr. Jacob Mansour regarding the census. At this time there was a long discussion on points made in the letter.
-Dr. Mansour responds to the statements made by Sargon Lewie.
-Joseph Kassab asks that the letter be read to all members present.
-The second item on the agenda is the Chaldean function.
-The function is to educate our community about their origin and ethnicity and then to choose the appropriate identity for the Census 2000.
-Derey Isho comments that we should contact all forms of media to reach our people. A statement is also brought to everyone's attention that the bishops from both churches, as well as all clergymen should be informed to bring about community awareness of the census 2000 issue.
-Janey Golani states that first and foremost, before we approach the community, that a name should be chosen and then we could proceed to inform everyone about choosing the proper identity on the required forms.
-The third item on the agenda is choosing a name.
-The name Chaldean-Assyrian is chosen unanimously with no preference to order from all members present.
-Joseph Kassab comments that a joint statement of both delegations is needed for the community. Our deadline is March 15th, 1998. In order to do this a plan of action will be required and therefor a subcommittee will be formed. Also both bishops will be included as part of this joint statement.
-Marshal Garmo makes the motion that we as representatives of the Census 2000 introduce the following resolution:

On February 11, 1998 representatives of the Chaldean Federation of America, Assyrian Universal Alliance and the Assyrian America National Federation of America convened to discuss the census 2000 issues concerning the Chaldean and Assyrian communities in the United States. These committee members unanimously selected the name "ChaldeanAssyrian" as the official name of all people who claim the (sic) origin in Mesopotamia (Bet Nahrain) whether they call themselves Chaldean, Assyrian, Jacobite, Syriac, Aramaic, etc. This is only applicable in the United States and for the purpose of the census 2000 only.

-Joseph Kassab seconds the motion.
-Motion passed unanimously.
-Atour Golani asks that a meeting be established with the remaining Chaldean and Assyrian components. Mr. Golani also asks that he would like to be informed of and attend any meeting that will take place in the future concerning these issues.
-At this time there being no further business, the meeting is adjourned at approximately 8:45 PM.



(ZNDA:  Turlock) "Assyrians For Education" is a private group in California and is seeking financial assistance for the establishment of an Assyrian elementary school in Turlock, California. In a written proposal submitted to the ZENDA office AFE explains the purpose for the establishment of Hammurabi Elementary School "to improve academic achievement by Assyrian/Chaldean students, teach Aramaic language, and foster cultural awareness by providing culture, history, and religious classes in addition to foundational courses in mathematics, sciences, history, and English."  Eight certified Assyrian teachers and ten teacher's aids have been identified to instruct the students.  The total cost of establishing this school is estimated around $ 1,300,000.00.  Hammurabi Elementary School will offer a Kindergarten class and first though sixth grades.  A total of 210 students in seven classes are anticipated to attend the first year.  For more information contact:

Assyrians for Education
4090 Treat Blvd
Concord, California  94518



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 Eaterns, & 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) 928-2820 

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  



One Assyrian's Artwork

Nineveh University Library

Index to Cornelius Van H. Engert Papers (include Assyrian Correspondences)



Tdoowa d'go inakh:  The Jewel in Your Eyes
Marganeeta koomta:  The Black Pearl



BC (878)

 The Chaldeans were organized in five tribes:  Bit-Sha'alli, Bit-Dakkuri, Bit-Shilani, Bit Amukkani, and Bit-Yakin.  With strong tribal loyalty they slowly assimilated into Babylonian way of life.  One hundred years later, Marduk-Baladan, a Chaldean became the king of Babylonia

Babylonians, Saggs

AD (1555)

After his return from Rome, Sulaka is imprisoned by the Pasha of Diarbakr and was murdered while in prison.

The Nestorian Churches, Vine




1000 B.C.

If a king does not heed the justice of his land, Ea king of destinies
    will change his destiny and keep after him with adverse intent.
If he does not heed his nobles, his days will be short.
If he does not heed a minister, his land will rebel against him...
If they bring citizens of Nippur to him for a verdict, and he accepts a present (from them) but treats
    them with injustice, Enlil Lord of lands will muster a foreign army against him and bring about the
    downfall of his army.

Babylonians, Saggs


March 12, 1838:  The first Assyrian school for girls in Urmie, Iran opens its doors to public.  Its first class comprised of four Assyrian girls.  




Watch out Assyrian webmasters from Canada, U.S., and Sweden!  Here come the new contenders from the land Down Under.  "The Wonders of Assyria" is a website created by the Assyrian-Australian webmaster, David Chibo.  Mr. Chibo is also known for his work on developing the "Assyria's Letters" software.  The letters were created using ISO 8859-6, a standard font package for Semitic languages such as Assyrian and Hebrew.  Mr. Chibo has created a unique font that adheres to the strict internationally
recommended standards.  In the second issue of "Nakosha", the magazine of the united Assyrian Youth Group Of Victoria, Chibo explains how an Assyrian newsletter can be easily created and read on the Internet using a similar TrueType font such as his "Assyria's Letters."  Other sections include:

Through the efforts of such Assyrian "netizens" as David Chibo ZENDA will soon be able to publish its weekly magazine in English and Assyrian languages.  For more information contact David Chibo at:






FirstPlus Financials


 University of Queensland,




This Week's Contributors:
Tomy Doomaney Sunnyvale, California Assyrian Surfing Posts
Tony Khoshaba Chicago, Illinois Assyrian Surfing Posts

Thank You For Referring ZENDA to a Friend:
Lorine Merza San Jose, California

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 with the message body "subscribe ZENDA Firstname Lastname". To unsubscribe, send e-mail to the above address, with the message body "unsubscribe ZENDA".


P.O. Box 20278 San Jose, California 95160 U.S.A.

ZNAA (Assyrian Academic Society-Chicago)
ZNAD (Assyrian Democratic Organization)
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ZNNQ (Nabu Quarterly)
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ZNQA (Qala Atouraya- Moscow)
ZNRU (Reuters)
ZNSH (Shotapouta Newsletter)
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ZNSM (Shufimafi Lebanese News)
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ZNUS (US News & World Report)