Volume IV, Issue 29
Tishrin II  23, 6748                                                            November 23, 1998

T H I S   W E E K   I N   Z E N D A

The Lighthouse A New Crusade For the 21st Century
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain  Mar Bidawid's Appeal to Clinton
News Digest President Khatami's Address at the AUA Congress
Surfs Up "how dependent we have become on this medium"
Surfers Corner Mar Bidawid's Interview with Fidas
Assyrian Academic Society's Announcements
Orthodoxia 2000
Calendar of Events Entertainment & Cultural Events
Assyrian Surfing Posts The Mosul Vilayet Project
Human Rights for Northern Iraq by AUA's John Nimrod

Assyrian Artifacts Under Threat in Iraq
Kurdish Recognition of Assyrian-Armenian Genocide
Khudra November 1998
Pump up the Volume Capital & State
Back to the Future The First Horses in Babylonia & Sarmas' Dictionaries
Literatus Iran's Diary...Part I
This Week in History Layard's First Tablets
Bravo Romrama in Melbourne

All blue links throughout this issue are hyperlinks to other sections on this page or featured websites.

Zenda Says...

Christianity is the world's largest religion.  Nearly one out of every three persons on earth professes to this belief.  In the United States more than 80 percent of the population calls itself Christian. In the past six months a new "evangelical" movement has spread throughout America to promote an awareness regarding the rights of the Christians under the threat of "Islamic Fundamentalism."  To counter this effect, the Arab countries have also begun their own claims against the treatment of the Arab Christians, with an anti-Israeli flavor pointing to the fate of Palestinian Christians in territories administered by Israel.  On October 25, The Oregonian Newspaper began a five-day series on the persecution of Christians around the globe.  This week's feature article is adopted from The Oregonian articles.  A week after this series was published the Evangelicals for the Middle East Understanding gathered in Washington D.C. to discuss "religious freedom and the future of Christianity in the Middle East."  Within a few days President Clinton signed into law a legislation to punish any government that is shown to oppress its religious minorities- Christians in particular.

Interestingly, neither in The Oregonian articles nor during the conference held at Washington D.C.'s National Presbyterian Church were the Assyrians ever mentioned.  Other than a quick reference to the Assyrian Church of the East as one of the Christian churches in the region and a convoluted discussion on the Chaldeans of Iraq, much of the topics discussed related to the plight of the Arab Christians, and Palestinians in particular.  The Christians of the Middle East are once again victims of the non-Christian warlords in the region and the Christian powers in the West.  The former is relentlessly utilizing the subject of religious persecution to win the favor of their friends in the West and the latter maneuvers the same chess pieces to sketch an anti-Islamic game plan.   The non-Arab Moslems in the Middle East, namely Turkey and Iran, are no less interested in affecting the psyche of the Euro-American legislatures as they cater to their Christian minorities.  While Turkey has so far failed miserably, Iran has unmasked a non-traditional visage of a moderately pro-western attitude (see NEWS DIGEST).

The annual Congress of the Assyrian Universal Alliance was held earlier this month in Tehran, Iran.  It received much media coverage in Iran, by CNN, and the BBC. The Islamic government of Iran has praised its organizers and attendees for their courage to show the world of the Shiite government's attitude towards its Christian minority groups.  Many Assyrians who participated at this year's Congress have now returned to their homes thousands of miles away from President Khatami's seat of power.  Among them is our reader, Attorney Francis Sarguis, who following his recent visit to Iran began writing a series of revealing essays on his experiences at the Tehran Conference.  The first of his several essays to be written for Zenda is included in this week's LITERATUS.

While Iranian President Khatami was delivering a speech at the opening ceremonies of the AUA Congress, at the EMEU conference in Washington, a representative of the Jordanian Embassy in Washington was inviting the attendees to gather at the banks of the River Jordan next year and celebrate the end of the second millennium "where Our Lord Jesus Christ was baptized."   The burning question facing the Assyrian political and religious leaders remains:  should the Assyrians in the Middle East heed the call of the new Crusaders in the west and begin a campaign to identify their concerns as an oppressed minority among 300 million Moslems, or in contrast to the Assyrian leaders of a century ago, should Assyrians remain loyal to the non-Christian governments of the Middle East and ignore the evangelicals and the legislators in Washington.  The answer to this complicated question will determine the fate of this forgotten nation gasping for subsistence in the next century.



Around the world, Christians are being tortured, beaten, raped,  imprisoned, enslaved, forced out of their homes and killed -- in large part because of what they believe.  A Presbyterian pastor overlooks threats and builds the first Christian church in his region of Pakistan. A mob destroys the church. Masked men invade the pastor's home and stab him to death.  A mob ransacked this church in rural Pakistan, where Christians have little recourse against such violence.  A man leaves Islam to become a Christian. Egyptian secret police arrest him without a formal charge and torture him with an electric probe to make him inform them about other converts.  A Roman Catholic boy in southern Sudan plays in the trees with his friends. Soldiers waging a holy war capture him and send him into slavery, where he is given an Islamic name and beaten with sticks by his master's wives.

In recent years, an increasingly active coalition led by evangelical Christians, human rights organizations and Jewish opinion leaders has brought to light the plight of Christians in countries where they are vulnerable minorities.  Through books, videos, sermons, prayer circles and Internet discussion groups, this loosely bound group has been alleging that in dozens of countries throughout the world, Christians are increasingly victims of abuse, violence and discrimination because of their faith.  They call it persecution.  The issue made its way to the U.S. Congress this year with a proposed bill that initially pitted evangelical organizations against mainstream Protestant churches and social conservatives against a pro-business lobby.  But in the end, after five months of wrangling, a bill emerged backed by a wide range of liberal and conservative religious groups, from the Christian Coalition to the Episcopal Church and the American Jewish Committee.  The bill penalizes nations that persecute based on religious beliefs.
Although the bill covers freedom of all religions, the focus is clearly on Christianity.  When a pattern of persecution persists, the bill forces the president to take action.

It was a Jewish attorney and Washington, D.C., power broker who turned persecution of Christians into a political issue.   Michael Horowitz says his awakening occurred in 1994, when he hired Geteneh Getanel, a Christian Ethiopian, to live in his home and do housework.  The temporary domestic helper tried, unsuccessfully, to evangelize Horowitz, who describes himself as a "traditional conservative Jew."  But in the process, Getanel recounted how he had been imprisoned for preaching in Africa, then tortured by having boiling oil poured on the soles of his feet as he was whipped by metal cables.  Horowitz found an issue to champion.  From 1981 to 1985, he had served as the Reagan administration's general counsel for the Office of Management and Budget. He then went on to become a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a nonprofit think tank that analyzes public policy issues.  He knew how to make things happen.  Horowitz fired off letters to 143 missionary organizations across the country, saying he was "pained and puzzled" about their relative lack of interest in coming to the aid of fellow persecuted Christians around the world.

In 1996, Horowitz drafted "A Statement of Conscience," which was adopted by the National Association of Evangelicals and the Southern Baptist Convention, the country's largest Protestant denomination.
That and similar efforts laid the foundation for the bill Congress passed last month and signed into bill by President Clinton.  A Jew had awakened American Christians to fight for their brethren in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

Congressional Representative, Frank Wolf, a Virginia Republican., who drafted an earlier version of the bill, says the legislation, which President Clinton signed into law, sends "a message of hope" to millions of people abroad.  He says its power lies in creating a permanent mechanism requiring the State Department to focus on persecution in annual reports. In addition, a nine-member bipartisan commission, with appointments from Congress, will provide an outside, independent voice analyzing persecution.  The president can waive sanctions for national interests or if he thinks they may create a backlash against religious minorities.  While the bill creates an ongoing foreign policy initiative, churches have intensified their effort to highlight the persecution and pray for its end.

Mark O'Keefe
The Oregonian



(ZNDA: Baghdad) - "How can you agree to this genocide, have you no conscience? No reason can warrant a similar attack on the life of whole nation." That appeal, addressed to President Clinton, was the dramatic highlight of an interview granted to the Roman news agency Fides by the Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid, the Chaldean Catholic leader from Baghdad.  The Patriarch's emotional appeal was in response to new threats of an American military strike against Iraq.  Most of Iraq's 22 million people are Muslims, but there are also about 1 million Christians living in the country. Of these, 80 percent are
Catholics. The majority of Iraq's Catholics are members of the Chaldean-Assyrian Catholic
Church. "We were horrified to hear there will be another war, another bombing," the Patriarch told Fides. He told the Roman agency, which is affiliated with the Vatican Congregation for Evangelization, that the people of Iraq have been suffering under and international embargo, and hoping that it would soon be lifted. "The embargo has crippled the population," he said; "most people live in miserable, unhealthy conditions from which there is no escape."

The Patriarch also reminded Fides of Pope John Paul II's desire to visit Iraq. Sources at the Vatican have indicated that a papal trip to the land of Abraham's birthplace is being considered for November 1999.

Adopted from an article by the Catholic World News daily email delivery service.
Copyright 1998 Domus Enterprises

See this week's SURFERS CORNER for a complete translation of this interview.



(ZNDA: Tehran) On November 2nd, President Mohammad Khatami of Iran addressed the inaugural session of the 22nd Congress of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, where he commented that Islam invites all the followers of monotheistic religions to come together and solve their differences based
on this commonality. Khatami expressed dismay about the wars and violence marking the 20th century, and expressed hope that the Year 2001 be a model year for peaceful coexistence amongst nations. Referring to the Islamic civilization as one with great achievements in sciences, philosophy and
arts, the president said that non-Muslims can also take credit for the formation of the Islamic civilization including the Assyrian people.  Khatami stressed that differences amongst human beings should be resolved through dialogue, and added that the differences of opinions and thoughts should be welcomed as the facilitator of evolution and progress. "The meaning of dialogue amongst civilizations is to sit together and while relying on our commonalties, discuss our differences and use them for our evolution and progress,'' he said. Turning to the status of religions in Iran, Khatami said that the constitution specifically allows rights for followers of the four religions of Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism. "Every Iranian in this system should enjoy dignity, rights, freedom and respect and the underlying principle for order is the constitution. "The Iranian president is not just that of Muslims. Rather, he belongs to and defends the rights of all the people living in this country. We want a developed
and independent Iran for all its citizens. A country which takes advantage of the achievements by all human beings to address the material and spiritual needs of the people,'' Khatami said.  He further praised the Assyrians for having a considerable presence in the scientific centers of the world including those in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The AUA Congress was the second held in Tehran and was attended by Assyrian guests from 20 countries.

With Permission from Tehran Times and the Iranian National News Agency.


"In response to Joseph King's letter in the last issue of ZENDA wherein he urged support against Barbara Boxer as being "(f)or the sake of Christianity", all I can say is thank God we do not live in a Christian country (irony intended).

I know of Ms. Boxer only what I heard in the national press and the fact that she handily won the election is immaterial. However, this country thrives, leads the world and provides a haven and new homeland to many (including us or our parents) precisely because it safeguards the separation of church and State.

I will defend to the death Mr. King's right to voice his opinion and vote whichever way his conscience dictates, but I can not let go unchallenged (exercising my own right to a strong opinion), the threat to the democratic process such views represent."

Victor Kurish Oraham
Jupiter, Florida

"I was saddened by the news of the Kurdish government in Northern Iraq closing down our schools,
Please keep us advised of events concerning this problem.  What can the Assyrian organisations and the youth do to help in this matter?  We have been considering writing a letter to the U.S ambassador to
Australia and even protests if necessary.  We need you guys to co-ordinate a world-wide protest or movement to show what the Kurds are currently doing."

David Chibo

Through the efforts of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa) and the hundreds of Assyrian instructors in northern Iraq the basic courses in language, mathematics, and sciences, grades one through six, are taught in Assyrian.  This is truly a milestone in the preservation of one of the most ancient languages of the world.  Sadly, the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq has denied the request of the Assyrian groups in the Kurdish Parliament to include an "Assyrian curriculum" through high school.  Sources for ZENDA explain that the Kurdish authorities favor adoption of an Assyrian curriculum only at the expense of the Assyrian community's education budget and not that of their Kurdish counterparts. Such an excuse is unjustified when hundreds of millions of dollars have already been transferred through the Non-Governmental Organizations to support the Kurdish groups in northern Iraq.  It must also be noted that many Kurdish families favor the Assyrian schools in northern Iraq for their own children.  In January 1999 ZENDA Magazine, with the support of other Assyrian organizations around the world, will begin a global campaign entitled "Think Assyrian" to promote Assyrian literacy, arts, and history with an emphasis on Assyrian studies in the Middle East.  To join this campaign or request more information, as individual or organization, contact our staff at zenda@ix.netcom.com before our kick-off day in January.

"I came across your web-site a couple of days ago and found it very informative.  I'm now reading through all your back issues.

I wonder if you could help me with some information:  Several years ago, I saw some copies of an Assyrian publication from Europe entitled "Nsibin".  If it's still being published, might you send me the address (or e-mail address) so that I might subscribe.  (Not being Assyrian, I can't read Assyrian publications, but can read Turkish and Kurdish, which Nsibin used.)  Many thanks, and best wishes."

Forrest E. McMunn

Nsibin Magazine continues to publish in Turkish and Western Assyrian (using Latin alphabet).  Some ZENDA articles can also be found translated in Turkish or Swedish as we encourage our journalist friends in Nsibin to disseminate our material to their non-English readers.   To receive your copy of Nsibin write to:

P.O. Box 6042
151 06 Sodertalje

"Songs of Assyria celebrates it's 3rd anniversary.   A decade in internet-years.   It was started in November 28, 1995.  It was during finals when someone showed me some stuff on this internet thing (still relatively in it's infancy.)  Immediately, like any Atoraya, the first thing I typed in was "Assyrian."  Firas Jatou, the pioneer, had his "Assyria Online" page, one of the first Assyrian sites .  I was amazed, to see such information including the flag.  I immediately got an HTML book and a hand scanner and started on my quest to share with the world the secret of learning our beautiful Syriac language.  The transliteration and the translation of the songs were done with the help of my mom.  Anyone can now learn, whether they speak the language well or just barely have listening skills, as I did.  Songs of Assyria has been the target of 21,155 visitors.  An average of 40-50 guests a day.  To commemorate the anniversary, I have recorded all the songs in their entirety in RealAudio format.  Enjoy the beautiful poetry of Ashur Sargis' "Jiptaa D Aanw'e", let the words of Evin's "Seepaar Smooqtaa" pull the tears from you eyes (read this song while the music is playing), close your eyes and imagine our weddings back home with Robert Bet-Sayad's "Labaaltaa D Chaloo".  Imagine what's in our future, since in 3 short years, Assyria Online has matured drastically, Nineveh Online stunned our community, now atour.com redefined what internet means to the world and how dependent we have become on
this medium.  Needless to say, I did not fair very well in the finals, but shhhh, don't tell my mom.

Assyrian Screen Saver - 6,640 guests since July 11, 1997
Learning Aramaic Online - 14,881 guests since July 8, 1996

Robert Oshana
Chicago, Illinois

By 1898 the most important step in the revival of the Assyrian culture was the use of printing press in Urmia, Mosul, and Beirut.  In this way Assyrian books, magazines, songs, prayers, news and information were printed and delivered from one corner of the Middle East to the farthest corners of India and Europe.  The Assyrian Question was no longer an isolated issue discussed in the villages of Hakkari and the plains of Salamas.  One hundred years later, the use of another medium of communication has given an even stronger boost to the progress of Assyrian cultural renaissance.  The Internet has become the most important tool in reducing the level of isolation experienced as the Assyrian communities continue to physically become more distant and electronically more congested.

The courage, determination, and the vision of the young Assyrians who gave us our first websites, newsgroups, soundwaves, fonts, and electronic images has already cleared the straightest path onto the next major step in our continued struggle for survival.

ZENDA salutes these men and women of the Assyrian cybercommunity for their creativity, inspiration, and the vision of a new Assyria.



Fides: Your Beatitude, what has been your reaction to this new threat of war?

Patriarch: We were horrified to hear there will be another war, another bombing attack, although limited to striking certain "strategic points" in Iraq. These points could turn out to be in fact some of the country's essential infrastructures, as it happened in 1990. We firmly protest with all our strength against this threat.  Among the people there is great fear and disappointment: we were expecting a lifting, even partial, of the embargo which has punished the nation for eight long years.

Fides: What would you say to President Clinton?

Patriarch: I would ask him how he can do this. How can you agree to this genocide? Have you no conscience? No reason can warrant a similar attack on the life of whole nation."

Fides: What have been the consequences of the embargo?

Patriarch: The embargo has crippled the population; most people live in miserable, unhealthy conditions from which there is no escape. It is estimated that the lack of basic food and essential medicines has caused the death of over 1 million Iraqi children. Because of the embargo some 20,000 children continue to die every month, either at home or in the hospitals.  This is a tragedy, if not a genocide, inadmissible in these "civilized" times of ours. If this is the New World Order of which so much is said, then
we reject it.

Fides: The Holy Father would like to visit Iraq. Is this possible?

Patriarch: When I visited Rome last October, the Pope re-confirmed to me his desire-- not to say his determination-- to undertake a pilgrimage following the steps of Father Abraham, beginning at Ur of the Chaldeans. The Holy See's Secretariat of State is examining the possibility of a visit in November 1999. For our part, we are working to convince the government to extend an official invitation to the Pope to visit Iraq.


Lecture:  Zmarta ou Sidra d-Z'maryatae (Songs and their Classifications)

Presented by Mr. Shlimon Bet-Shmuel-   Mr. Bet-Shmuel is a well-known Assyrian composer and song writer whose infamous song, Semelle, commemorated the massacre of Assyrians in 1933.  He studied Music and English Literature at the University of Tehran.  His songs combine themes of romanticism, nationalism, and folklore in all compositions. In addition to writing favored titles such as, Zomeh O' Kozeh, Ashurina, O'rkha D'Nineveh and Arbo Ello, he has lectured widely on Assyrian Melodies and the influence of Assyrian music on Western Chants. Currently, his research focuses on the history and origin of Assyrian musical instruments. Related to this research is a new book that he has been working on. The book is tentatively titled, Musical Instruments in Ancient Mesopotamia.

The lecture will be held at 6:00 p.m., in Edens Banquet Hall on Sunday, November 29, 1998.  Refreshments will be served. All are welcome.

Annual General Body Meeting & Elections

The Assyrian Academic Society will hold its Annual General Body Meeting and Elections of new officers for 1999 on Sunday, December 13, 1998 at the Assyrian National Council Office located at 2450 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, (773) 262-5589.  All are welcome.

Journal of the Assyrian Academic Society

JAAS, Volume XII, No. 1 January 1999 is hot off the press. For a peek into the table of contents for the January 1999 issue, please visit the AAS web site (Click Here).

To receive information about the Journal of the Assyrian Academic Society, please write to:

Assyrian Academic Society
JAAS, The Editor
P.O. Box 3541
Skokie, IL 60076

You may call and leave us a message at (773) 461-6633, or send us an Email. Here is our address:


(ZNDA: London)  The eleventh edition of the worldwide guide to the recognized Eastern Christian Churches has just been published. The directory includes names, addresses and biographical details of the patriarchs and bishops of all the Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Churches and Old Believer Churches, whether in their homelands or in the emigration. It includes maps showing the location
of diocesan seats.  The directory reflects recent changes in jurisdiction. The guide is compiled by Mgr Dr. Nikolaus Wyrwoll at the Ostkirchliches Institut in Regensburg in Germany. He welcomes corrections and additions to the directory from readers.

Available in the US from: Philip Tamoush  <oakwoodpub@juno.com>  Fax (310) 378-9245.
Rest of world:  Nikolaus Wyrwoll
Ostkirchliches Institut
Ostengasse 29-31
D-93047 Regensburg
Tel:  +49 0941 52301
Fax: +49 0941 52846
E-mail: niko.wy@t-online.de


Nov 29

"Zmarta ou Sidra d-Z'maryatae" (Songs and their Classifications)

Presented by Mr. Shlimon Bet-Shmuel
6:00 PM
Edens Banquet Hall
Refreshments will be served.  All are welcome.

Dec 3-6

A Sample of Presentation Topics at MESA '98: 
Gary David, Wayne State University
"Becoming Americanized" vs. "Becoming American": Concepts of Assimilation and Acculturation in the Arab and Chaldean Communities of Detroit
Daniel P. Wolk, University of Chicago
The Emergence of an Organized Assyrian Diaspora: The Role of Discourse Against the Khachaqoghé ("Thieves of the Cross")
Ninette S. Fahmy, University of Exeter
Human Rights of Minority Groups and the Copts of Egypt 
Magnus Bernhardsson, Yale University
Reclaiming History: Iraq, Britain and the Samaraa Antiquities (1918-1936)
Various Presentations on:
Settlements and Settlement Policy in Northern Mesopotamia from the Third Millennium to the Ninth Century AD [4 presentations]
Selcuk Aksin Somel, Bilkent University
Chrypto-Christianity in the 19th Century Ottoman Empire

To Register Click Here

Dec 13

The Assyrian Academic Society Annual General Body Meeting
Elections of new officers for 1999
Assyrian National Council Office
2450 W. Peterson Ave.
(773) 262-5589. 
All are welcome.

Dec 31

Assyrian Aid Society / Santa Clara Chapter 
Awana of the Assyrian Church of the East
680 Minnesota Avenue
Entertainer:  Ramsin Sheno
Dinner by Jora Babaian of  Jora Restaurant
Adults $45.00 if purchased in advance / $50.00 at the door.
$25.00 for kids under 12. 
For tickets and more info call:
Fouad Sada              (408)296-3456
Neil Karaman           (408)944-1711
Sam Karaman          (408)563-0418
Banni Babella           (408)495-1674
Youkie Khanania      (408)226-9724
Fred Aprim              (650)685-8808 
All Proceeds will benefit the Assyrians in northern Iraq.

Dec 31

1999 New Year's Eve Dinner Dance Party
Assyrian American Association of San Jose
Marriot Hotel, Santa Clara
Entertainers:  Ogin & Black Cats
Full dinner, fruit buffet, after midnight coffee and chocolate service
Two alcoholic or four soft drink beverages
Tickets available at BETA, 20000 Almaden Road, San Jose
(408) 927-8100 or  (408) 927-9100
Members:          $80.00   Non-Member:  $85.00       (November 7-28) 
Non-Members:  $85.00   Non-Member:  $90.00       (November 29-December 29)


Hurrian settlements in Bet-Nahrain during mid-2nd millennium B.C.   Hurrians settled between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers during the mid-second millennium B.C.  The Pharaohs of Egypt sought marriage alliances with them and the Hittites feared them.  More than 100 objects excavated by Harvard between 1927 & 1931

Harvard University's Semitic Museum
-cuneiform tablets
-beaded jewelry
-lion statuettes from the temple of Ishtar at Nuzi


 Internet Class for Assyrians
 Mondays 7-8 PM
Quick Internet of Modesto
1031 McHenry Ave. Suit # 18
Modesto, California
Conducted in Assyrian
Call (209) 578-5511
Click Here
Aanya Meetings
7:30-9 PM Assyrian American Assoc of San Jose
20000 Almaden Road
San Jose, California
Young Assyrian Professionals in the SF Bay Area are invited to join
Call 408-927-9100

Links to Other Assyrian Websites

The Mosul Vilayet Project

Human Rights for Northern Iraq by AUA's John Nimrod

Assyrian Artifacts Under Threat in Iraq

Kurdish Parliament in Exile's Recognition of Assyrian-Armenian Genocide


 Capital (city)
Capital of Iraq:  knona d'Iraq
 State of California:  hooparkya d'California

Cycles & Observances of the Eastern Assyrian Liturgical Calendars

Sanctification of the Church
St. Eugene (Mar Augen) & His Companions
 Renewal (Hollowing) of the Church
Annunciation to Zachariah
St. James (Mar Yacu) The Mutilated
 Annunciation of the Virgin Mary
St. Yako Mepaska
St. Mary's Visitation to Elizabeth
St. Jacob of Sarug

AAC = Ancient Assyrian Church of the East
ACE = Assyrian Church of the East
CCC = Chaldean Catholic Church
MCC= Maronite Catholic Church
MOC = Malankara Orthodox Church
SCC = Syrian Catholic Church of Antioch
SKC = Syrian Knanaya Church
SOC = Syrian Orthodox Church


BC (1750)

The Kassites who lived on the east banks of the river Tigris began crossing this river and settling in southern Bet-Nahrain (Mesopotamia).  One significant contribution of these people to Bet-Nahrain was their introduction of horses into Babylonia.

Babylonian Life and History, Budge

AD (1969)

William Sarmas completes the first volume of his comprehensive Assyrian-Farsi dictionary.  The second volume was completed in 1980.  Both volumes were published by the Assyrian Youth Cultural Society (Seeta Sapreta) of Tehran.

Assyrian-Farsi Dictionary, Sarmas


Part 1

The 30-year old Assyrian Universal Alliance was founded with abundant fanfare and high-sounding promises. But for most of its history, it has been the subject of derision, often quite justified. Critics have described the AUA as "another
pint-sized group of Assyrians more preoccupied with pretentious titles than with substance." On the whole, I would say that history has failed to show AUA as any more relevant than the countless other organizations we are accustomed to see sprouting in our midst. But is the AUA about to make an important turn? When the AUA scheduled to hold its 22nd World Congress in Iran, it let other Assyrians know that they could use this as the opportunity for a visit to that country, a cradle of our heritage. I jumped at this opportunity, and I am grateful to AUA for enabling it. My primary motivation was to visit the villages of my parents' memory, though the trip turned out to be more than just that. In an imposing Conference Hall remindful of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, the AUA opened its 22nd Congress in Tehran on November 2. It couldn't have done it with more distinction. Before a jam-packed audience, the keynote speaker was the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khatami. Iran observers consider Khatami a progressive
cleric who seeks fuller contacts abroad, including with the U.S. Judging from his talk, he well fits the description of a moderate. The AUA opening ceremony was remarkable on two levels. First, for what was said by President Khatami.

Second, for the broader implications of such an event. President Khatami's audience was overwhelmingly Assyrian, and his many positive references to the contributions of the Assyrians and to the common values shared by Christians and
Moslems alike predictably warmed our cockles. While he spoke in Farsi, headphones brought us a simultaneous translation. The atmosphere was electric, and one couldn't have asked for a more gracious overture. Hopefully, Zenda will soon receive a complete English transcript of the Khatami talk. When this occurs, it will be a service for you to convey its essence to your readers. But just as important is that Mr. Khatami's remarks were recorded by Irani media and subsequently disseminated throughout the country and beyond. CNN Asia offered up a 12-minute segment on prime time. Newspapers throughout Iran featured articles about the Assyrians. There was also coverage by BBC and one of the American networks. John Nimrod, head of AUA, rightly noted afterwards that this was an unprecedented event for our people.

I agree. It was surely an important morale booster to our diminishing community in Iran. Potentially, it has broader implications. When I consider the most noteworthy Assyrian "political" developments of the past half century, I think of very few. I would point to two of them in particular. First, there is the power-sharing arrangement in Iraqi Kurdistan. Through the efforts of Zowaa and other activists in north Iraq, Assyrians participate in a real and unprecedented way in the administration of a 'homeland' area. How this will eventually play out remains to be seen, but it is noteworthy that the system has already endured several years. The second happening I have in mind occurred November 2, in the Hall of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Assyrians in attendance could not help but feel an unprecedented measure of pride, and perhaps even allow for a glimmer of hope. President Khatami extended a welcoming hand our people are unaccustomed to seeing from a head of state.

Much of the credit for this happening goes to John Nimrod, head of AUA, and to Yonathan Bet-Kolia, head of the Assyrian Motwa in Tehran and a peripatetic cell phone addict. Each of them has his admirers and his critics. But whatever else may be said, together they cobbled a momentous Opening day for the Conference. The resulting goodwill and publicity about Assyrians represents an invaluable and (for a change) credible resource. It remains to be seen whether this can now be parlayed to the further benefit of our people.

Francis Sarguis
Santa Barbara, California


November 28, 1845:  Sir Austin Layard, British archaeologist, discovers his first ancient tablets.  Shortly after he discovers the remains of the ancient city of Nineveh.


Romrama in Melbourne

On Saturday, October 17, five Assyrians were recognized for their lifetime achievements by the Assyrian community of Melbourne, Australia.  The Victorian Assyrian Community Inc. in conjunction with the Bet-Nahrain Cultural Club of Melbourne celebrated the accomplishments of Hannibal Alkhas (Iran) in painting and literature, Nimrod Simono (Iran) in linguistics, Professor Konstantin Matveev (Russia) in Assyrian history, Yosip Bet-Yosip (U.S.A) in poetry, and Ammo Baba (Iraq), the famed soccer player.  A Nakosha Magazine's staff, Arabella Daniel writes the following:

"This evening was certainly an inspirational one as we heard and witnessed the many and varied achievements of these legendary individuals who through their deeds have enhanced, enlightened and uplifted every Assyrian's life around the globe.  It was an inspiration and source of pride for all of us to acknowledge that members of our community could achieve such heights of excellence in spite of the many obstacles we face."


 JPS Communications, Inc.
 University of Amsterdam

This Week's Contributors:
in alphabetical order

Dr. George Habash United Kingdom Good Morning Bet-Nahrain
Surfers Corner
Nadia Joseph Chicago, Illinois Surfers Corner
Tony Khoshaba Chicago, Illinois Assyrian Surfing Posts
Andreas Schmidt Germany The Lighthouse
Surfers Corner

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Matay A. A. Arsan Holland

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The Directory of ZENDA News Sources
ZNAA (Assyrian Academic Society-Chicago)
ZNAD (Assyrian Democratic Organization)
ZNAF (Agence France-Presse)
ZNAH (Al-Ahram Newspaper, London)
ZNAL (Al-Hayat, London)
ZNAI  (Assyrian International News Agency)
ZNAK (American Kurdish
ZNAM (Archeology Magazine)
ZNAP (Associated Press International)
ZNBN (Bet-Nahrain Inc/ KBSV-TV "AssyriaVision")
ZNCN (ClariNews)
ZNIF (Iraq Foundation)
ZNDA (Zenda: zenda@ix.netcom.com)
ZNIN (Iraqi National Congress)
ZNLT (Los Angeles Times)
ZNMN (San Jose Mercury News)
ZNMW (Mideast Newswire)
ZNNQ (Nabu Quarterly)
ZNNV (Nineveh Magazine)
ZNNY:  New York Times
ZNPR:  Palestinian Review
ZNQA (Qala Atouraya- Moscow)
ZNRU (Reuters)
ZNSH (Shotapouta Newsletter)
ZNSJ (San Jose Mercury News)
ZNSM (Shufimafi Lebanese News)
ZNSO (Syrian Orthodox News "SOCNews")
ZNTM (Time Magazine)
ZNUP (United Press International)
ZNUS (US News & World Report)
ZNCW:  Catholic World News