Volume IV, Issue 26
Tishrin 19, 6748                                                            October 19, 1998

T H I S   W E E K   I N   Z E N D A

The Lighthouse An Ancient Political Sex Scandal
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain  US Congress Votes $97M in Military Aid to Iraqi Opposition Groups
News Digest International Conference on Assyrian Culture in Sweden
Surfs Up "Fix your clock, my friend.  It's 1998."
Surfers Corner Congressman Rod Blagojevich on Religious Freedom
The Narsai David Scholarship and Donation
Karmo: A New Syriac Language Magazine
Calendar of Events Stockholm's Assyrian Conference-  Oct 24-31
Assyrian Surfing Posts Chaldean Church and Its Assyrian Heritage
Khudra October 1998
Pump up the Volume Line & Angle
Back to the Future The Largest City in Antiquity and Omar's Capture of Jazira
Literatus Shame, Have No Mercy Upon My Soul!
This Week in History German Archeologists Enter Bet-Nahrin
Bravo Issa Benyamin

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



Hey, does this ring a bell?  Dogged by an aggressive prosecution, a political leader denies an illicit affair--"I did not have sex with her!" -- although one of his own associates swears to it. In addition, the leader is accused of hitting up constituents for illicit contributions, of using government employees and resources for his own purposes and even of sending operatives out to threaten people Washington, 1998? Try Mesopotamia, circa 1400 B.C.

In a coincidence confirming that sex in politics is truly ancient news, the Semitic Museum of Harvard University is exhibiting cuneiform tablets from a corruption-and-sex investigation about as old as Moses. You might even call these tablets the original Starr transcripts. They were unearthed in northern Iraq in the late 1920's thanks largely to years of digging by Richard F.S. Starr, an archeologist from the Fogg
Art Museum at Harvard. Could he and Kenneth W., the independent counsel, be related?
The exhibition, "Nuzi and the Hurrians: Fragments From a Forgotten Past," opened in April. James Armstrong, the curator, said it was planned well before the news broke in January of the Presidential sex
scandal involving Monica S. Lewinsky. But the parallels soon became

The tablets, from the museum's collection, record a judicial panel's impeachment proceedings against Mayor Kushshiharbe of Nuzi, a regional center of the ancient Mittani empire, near present-day Kirkuk in Iraq. Alas, not all of the impeachment tablets are on display, since some were left behind in Baghdad- including the testimony covering the illicit affair. But not to worry: those and others, many having a lot to do with sheep, were previously translated, and are excerpted here:

The judges took testimony that the Mayor and his henchmen took bribes.

Naniya, a witness:  Peshkilishu (a mayoral crony) released my brother from his feudal work, taking one maid, one complete ox hide and wood for two yokes as a bribe.  (The mayor was also accused of abducting people for ransom)

Ninuari, a farmer:  Kushshiharbe removed me from my thresting floor. Two shekels of gold, one ox and two male sheep I gave to Kushshiharbe and he allowed me to return.  (The mayor and  his band also allegedly stole at will)

Shukriteshup, a villager:  Peshkilishu took one ass for a price, but the price he did not pay, and verily he has not returned it.

Zikanta, another witness:  I was coming back from the land of Hanigalbat, when Kipiya (a mayoral henchman) took away my clothes. Two (measures) of barley I had to give him, and my clothes he released.  (The Mayor was even accused of expropriating manure to fertilize his gardens).

Mar-Ishtar, a farmer: The manure for (one plot) of land the gardener of Kushshiharbe took away from me. So I said: "Why did you take away my manure?" and thus he spoke, "As for you, he (the mayor) has ordered you to be flogged, and your district he has ordered to be devastated."  (The case against the Mayor was expanded to include charges that he had committed adultery with a woman named Humerelli. The Mayor vehemently denied the charge. But even one of his agents, Ziliptilla,a became an accuser).

Ziliptilla: Last year Pizatu made Humerelli stay with her. Shimitilla and I went over at night, we called to her and brought her to the place of Kushshiharbe; and he had sex with her.

Mayor Kushshiharbe:  No! Emphatically not! Not a word of it is true! I did not have sex with her!

Palteya: I called to Humerelli and took her over to the brother of Tilunnaya, and Kushshiharbe had sex with her.  Mayor Kushshiharbe: May I perish if Palteya did bring Humerelli over to the brothel of Tilunnaya that I might have sex with her!  (The scandal produced evidence of a wider conspiracy involving the mayor of a nearby town. It even had its own gate. But in this case the gate was not a suffix. It seems that Mayor Kushshiharbe was accused of adorning his private home with a gate fashioned from wood taken from the palace. Shades of Oliver L. North's security fence in the Iran-Contra affair.)

Turari, a witness:  Thirty pieces of wood were placed in the (palace) gate, and Kushshiharbe took them away.

Mayor Kushshiharbe:  I did not take them!

Palteya, another witness:  Forty pieces of wood belonging to the palace Hutiya the carpenter took away and made into a door for Kushshiharbe...and I transported the wood.

Mayor Kushshiharbe: The wood was mine, so I had it made into a door. And wood belonging to the palace for the making of a door I did not take!  (But the carpenter, one of several John Deans to turn against the Mayor in the scandal, finally 'fesses up)

Hatiya, the carpenter: I made the door....and as for that wood, I knew that it belonged to the palace, but I made it  into a door for Kushshiharbe.

In another twist with echoes in modernity, this scandal has no clear resolution - not however, because the investigation continued interminably. Rather, because the records of the final verdict on Nuzi's
infamous Mayor have never been found.

Tom Kuntz
New York Times

With permission of New York Times, Sunday, 18 October 1998

Translation from ancient Akkadian by E.A. Speiser, in "The Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Vol. XVI, for 1935-36"  Mr. Speiser's translation purposely echoed Akkadian syntax; for readability, some passages above were altered.



(ZNAF: Washington)   The US Congress voted to give up to 97 million dollars in "direct and overt" military aid to Iraqi opponents of Saddam Hussein's regime.  The resolution from the Republican majority in the Congress, was passed by the Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives on Monday.  "Our interests in the Middle East cannot be protected with Saddam Hussein in power," Senate Majority leader Trent Lott said.  Lott said the resolution showed "congressional support for a new policy ... that overtly seeks the replacement of Saddam Hussein's
regime through military and political support for the Iraq opposition."

The bill calls on President Bill Clinton to contribute up to 97 million dollars toward Iraqi opposition efforts to overthrow Hussein, and two million dollars to support US radio transmissions into Iraq. Congress had previously approved 10 million dollars in aid to the Iraqi opposition, half of which was allocated to launching "Radio Free Iraq."



(ZNDA: Sweden)  The Ashour Society of Stockholm, Sweden is organizing its first conference entitled  "Assyrian Culture- Past, Present and Future"  to be held 24-31 October 1998.  Participants will include Assyrian, Iraqi and Swedish writers and artists in addition to a number of  Swedish academic figures and representatives of the Swedish government and  international organizations. The program will include:

The Arab Iraqi Participants are :

The Swedish Academic Participants and Swedish and International officials are :

In addition to these educational activities there will be a number of scientific, artistic and literary programs including:

There will also be open discussions among the guests and the audience concerning a variety of topics:


"Mr. Albert Mulhim:  After reading your comments in last week's Zenda about Assyrians from Iran, I couldn't help but to feel anger, humiliation and outrage.  Initially, and in an emotional stage, I wrote you a reply which I later decided to bury in my thoughts for good—it would prove me to be as disrespectful to my brothers and sisters as you have been to me and an entire nation.  I personally believe that one requires not a Ph.D. in law, history or political science to practice nationalism.  Nationalism means an unconditional love for a soil in an unconditional state of being.  Furthermore, practicing our political opinions in a state of democracy makes it more than justified if one is utterly furious, when asked to replace the name of his/her nation with the name of a language (e.g. ASSYRIAN to SYRIAC).  To better illustrate my own feelings about Assyrian nationalism, here's a little poem for the more sensible ones in us..."

Homer Younan
San Jose, California

Read Mr. Younan's Poem in this week's LITERATUS (click here)

"Dear Mr. Mulhim, I must admit that I was astonished and disappointed to read your letter directed to Mr. Alkhas in last weeks Zenda.  I have three points to make to you.  First, were you in Chicago to witness the Human Rights conference where many Maronites, including Dr. Chamoun, presented their
ideas to the community?  If no, my advice to you Sir is never "judge a book by its cover."  More specifically, Dr. Chamoun's lecture on Sunday was a continuation of what was being discussed in the hallways of the conference building and in hotel rooms.  The adoption of the term "Syriac", a linguistic term, to identify the Assyrians is very complicated.  However, Mr. Mulhim, you do not need a "Ph.D. in Politics, History or Law" to understand the ramifications of such a complex issue.

Second, the fact that a person has not acquired a Ph.D. in the fields you have mentioned in your letter does not revoke that person's right to challenge or question other people's ideas.  We know that Imad
Chamoun has a Ph.D. but that doesn't mean his thoughts have to correspond to mine. Furthermore, Mr. Alkhas did not attack Dr. Chamoun as you suggested, he simply "questioned" his ideas by sharing his own opinion about the issue. You must be able to distinguish between an "attack" and a mere expression of one's viewpoint.

Finally, my third point is regarding your blatant generalization about the Assyrians originating from Iran.  As an Assyrian from Iraq, it is your comment I consider to be an "attack."  I believe this type of remark is exactly what Mr. Alkhas was addressing at the state convention in Modesto.  You should, whether you have a higher degree or not, understand that generalizations such as yours are blatantly offensive. Unlike your comment,  Mr. Alkhas' comments showed deeper understanding and higher intelligence. If you do not understand this, I recommend that you make the effort of researching the Maronite history and
try to deduct for yourself why they are interested in developing a coalition with our community.  Meanwhile, Mr. Alkhas, the person who does have more to offer our people, will continue to unite us through the world wide web without asking us to pay the cost.  The cost, Mr. Mulhim, is to change our identity in the name of a cause that contributes to the cycle of hate, violence, and bigotry.  I am sure this will make more sense to you once you have attempted to gather objective information pertaining to the topic. Oh, by the way, did I mention that you do not need a degree, only a curiosity to do the study?

Evelyn Anoya (Enwiya)
Chicago, Illinois

P.S. I am forced to disclose my identity, but I would have preferred to stay anonymous for I fear that you will attack my person, instead of challenge my thoughts.  And so now I think of the words of another that seem to make more sense:

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."          --Voltaire

"Albert Mulhim, as I am typing a reply to your asinine comment which appeared in last week's Zenda, I can't help but to wonder why it is that some of us wish to remain so undeserving of the very name ASSYRIAN.  What would motivate someone like you to think in such a way.  Far irrelevant from your apparent personal/psychological thought processes, I think you ought to take a few moments and fix your clock, my friend.  It's 1998.  The world is dealing with far more important issues than the identity of a people whose very existence means nothing to the political movers of shakers out there.  The mankind is now cloning itself, technology and science have far surpassed the invention of a basic calculator, and you are still stuck exploring your little miserable world of tribal and ethnic differences.

What do you exactly mean by saying that Assyrians from Iran should not claim Assyrian nationalism?  For your information Assyrian nationalism was born in the Assyrian schools and churches of Urmia and Hakkari, not in the Maroonite bazaars of Lebanon.

Forgive us, Assyrians from Iran, for not topping off THEIR contributions to Assyrianism, not to mention those to mankind.  We were perhaps too busy adopting a Persian name at the time, ALBERT.
Oh boy... they weren't kidding when they said some of us could be from Mars.

Here's it is in a nutshell; I love my people, regardless of what they are, where they were born, and in what dialect they converse.  Frankly you are far too small and way too late to inject your hatred into us.

Sankhiro S. Givargiz

p.s. obviously where I live (California) is not in the same universe as yours.

"I enjoy reading Zenda every week. And it seems you do your best to cover all events throughout the Assyrian world. You have tried to project a picture of Zenda as an independent, unbiased and a fair magazine.

However with eagerness, I have been waiting, for the past two years, for Zenda to cover the establishment of MOTWA in San Jose and the Greater Bay Area. Other than a couple of minor details you have not mentioned MOTWA in any of your issues. Unfortunately my patience has reached a
level that I think you may not ever cover the upcoming elections that will be held on next Sunday, October 25. I would like to know why Zenda has ignored the news about MOTWA. If there is a reason then Zenda should state that.

I have decided to run for a position in MOTWA and I expect Zenda to be upfront with its coverage of this important step in the history of the Bay Area. MOTWA, I believe has a very significant value for our people as it will provide a platform for all Assyrians, with no exception to their affiliation to any religious or political institution, to take part in our progress. This along with the possibilities of advancement for Assyrians is good reason for me to encourage you to cover MOTWA as well as other events in your calendar section of Zenda.

May I take this opportunity to ask all my brothers and sisters to set aside all our differences and to join me in supporting MOTWA. I plead to all Assyrians to work together to bring peace and cohesiveness to our community.  God Bless all Assyrians."

Ovrahim Oushana
San Jose, California

Please forward information about your community's upcoming events and activities to ZENDA's address and fax number listed at the end of each issue.  To ensure proper entry of such information make sure that ZENDA is listed on your organization's mailing list.

"I can't believe what is happening to us Assyrians.  First the soc.culture.assyria, our newsgroup is becoming useless ( thanks to some of us) and now the most professional Assyrian site Atour.com is closing up. And why?  All because of the same reasons from years ago until now.  Are we going to change one day.  God knows!!!  So I was wondering who can we blame here.  Back home we blame the government.  Are we going to put the blame here also on the government."

Samir Younan

"Feeling down?  Like your girlfriend just broke up with you?  Like you lost something important to you?  Can't express yourself because no one will understand?   You probably heard the news that atour.com is closing it's doors.  Why is this a big deal?  It's only a website!  No it wasn't.  It was much more.  It also reveals a deep and tragic problem plaguing the Assyrian community.  Why is it being shut down?  Certainly not money as the excuse is told.  What do you need for such a website?  Love, passion, drive, and time.  Lot's of it.

The time is extracted from our busy lives by the love for your nation and your people and a desire to survive after thousands of years.  My three pages took over 500 hours, but barely cost me anything.  The amazing and detrimentally important pages like nineveh.com, Assyria Online, AAS, Zenda, and many others need relatively very little funds but countless hours.  Even if they had millions of dollars, they would not survive or be uneffective without the passion and love that the amazing creators possess.

Which leads to the problem that will never unite us.  BAAKHILTAA OO SNETAA (Jealousy and hate).  The tribal superiority will never unite us.  Jealousy will kill us as it did atour.com.  What makes me think that atour.com went down because of jealousy?  Unless Iraqi agents who were threatened by the
effectiveness and potential of the site threatened Sargon and his family, jealousy has a deep history in our community.  For atour.com wasn't just a website.  It was the closest thing we've had to a country of our own since WW1.  It was virtually ASSYRIA.   Government, which can unite the different organizations, help people with immigration, have forums, etc.  Education, in which anyone can learn our Syriac-Aramaic language and history.  Religion, where people can exchange ideas, documents, know our past greatness, and reference the bible.  Museums, where people can see and read about our ancient
relics, read Assyrian poetry,  and visit art galleries by Assyrian artists.  Music, where people can hear, learn, and purchase songs and albums.   Archives (the most important part), where rare and secret documents regarding wars, British, etc. are available for all to see.  TV, radio, books, daily news,
calendaring of events, free E-mail and free business promotions.  The Martyr's page that the whole world should read and now can since he translated it into so many languages. The list goes on and on.  So you see, when you visit atour.com, you enter ASSYRIA!!  There is nothing like it on the net.

Overnight, Sargon became king of the Internet.  It amazed newbees who just saw the superficiality, and it amazed techies who new what it took to get this job done.  Now imagine it was only 1/20th done.  What potential!!! People couldn't handle that.  BAAKHELTAA OO SNETAA.  I know, when you sacrifice and give to your people 100% and open-heartedly, you feel really deceived because the people you care about are who you are vulnerable to and you want to just quit.  When an Assyrian becomes successful, certain people drag him or her down.

BAAKHELTAA OO SNETAA.  They can't stand to see a successful Assyrian.  It highlights their failures.    Instead of emulating the person or trying to reach the person, we knock them down.  BAAKHELTAA OO SNETAA.  These few people are the ones responsible for our chaos.  But remember, if it happens to you, think of the 50% of the people who value you, who learn from you.  You are important.  Don't think of the ones who don't care, are indifferent, or that evil 1%.  That enough should be your driving force.  If that 1% wins we all lose for each one of us who plays a role is invaluable.  Why is the Israeli military the most proficient in the world?  Because every soldier knows that they count.  Their survival depends on each individual.  How quickly we've gotten to known this 'state.'  How much it could have offered us.  We've lost a great, important,  and crucial asset... again.  BAAKHELTAA OO SNETAA, YAA KHAAYIN!!!

I'm working on a major project for the Assyrian community. After that, in couple of years, atour.com will be back, you shall see.   Alaha minokhoon."

Robert Oshana
Chicago, Illinois

"Dear Dr. Mariam Doreen Joseph:  Shlama, with great interest I read you article in the last issue of Zenda (a link to Dr. Joseph's website on Nineveh Online).  While you diagnosed the frame of our nation modern problems.  I beg to disagree with you on the substance of the subject.

While you correctly presented the relation between the Church and State, (if we may say),  however, you did not reveal the roots of our problems.  The following was missing in your article:

1 - The role of the church in the live of our nation is not something new.  It goes back to the period of losing our political and military control on our own affairs.  This loss led to finding a new means by which the Assyrian Character could express itself.  >From 612 BC to the advance of Christianity nothing could convince that character to adhere to its own fundamental self.  Following the fall of Nineveh, our nation was fragmented among many kingdoms, which we once possessed.  These kingdoms could not serve our nation as a platform to replace what we had during our heydays.  This was the first departure in the "Assyrian Character" which led to the adoption of Metaphysical thoughts and believes. In other words, and ever since our people changed the "goal".  Their goal became "paradise" in Heaven and not on earth.

2 - During the Christian era, the new Assyrian Character revealed itself.  Its aim was gaining paradise, not only for themselves, but also for all humanity. Hence, was the building of the second empire, the empire of religion and culture (the character proved as being the same as of the old days in relations to "target" and the ability for achievement). Needless to say how the new character acted during the last 2000 years. I am sure, you are aware of the monastic establishment, which absorbed most of our nation's energy.

3 - Now, I will come to my main point: Church and Politics.  Let me admit that all what you are saying about what the role of the church and that of political organizations should be is correct.  However, our Assyrian "phenomena" could not have existed without its reasons.  This what I believe you failed to address properly.

From my humble research on this topic, the following brief notes might give you an idea about my opinion:

A - From what I understand; what you are addressing in your article is only one sect of our nation, that is the followers of the Church of the East.

B - What you are complaining about, has its roots way back through the centuries of stable pattern of relations between the church and its followers.  It also has its roots in the present-day situation which again, goes back to the old conditions which were in existence among the said people when they were in their homeland: Tiyari and Hakkari.

C - If we compare the followers of the Church of the East with that of other sects of our Assyrian nation (e.g. the Chaldeans and Syriacs) we can agree that the follower of the church of the east have no past experience in the field of politics.  As a mater of fact they never experienced modern politics with all its schools of thought.

In the old days (in Tiyari and Hakkari) the political system and establishment was - as you are well aware- formed from the patriarch, bishops, and tribal chiefs.  People were to follow this primitive establishment in whatever it decides.  People had no part in any decision making of any issue that concerned them.  They put all their trust in their leaders.  Thus, when we want to evaluate the role of this "political system" prior to WW1, we can observe that this primitive political system succeeded for centuries in implementing its duty, due to the geographical location and historical accumulated customs and traditions of fighting.  It was able to maintain the independence of the Assyrian tribes for centuries.  But when new elements challenged its role (the presence of western interests in the first half of the 19th century), we find the failure of this political structure in meeting its historical duty.  On that account was the loss of independence, following the mass massacres of Bader Khan during 1843 - 1846.

D - During World War I and after, the political structure of this sect of the Assyrian nation collapsed completely when the cunning British political school challenged it.  In addition to that of the local political elements (Turks, Persians, and Arabs) who were concerned with the Assyrian cause and who were by far more mature in politic than this old school.  To summarize the role of the political body who represented the Assyrians from 1918 to 1933 we can describe it as taking the fish out of the water.
No doubt that the Assyrian tragedy in general, and that of the followers of the Church of the East in particular, has its impact on the thoughts of many concerned individuals who belongs to this sect.  Many attempts were made to take the nationalist matters in their hands from 1933 to 1975.  But all of them did not establish any effective role to change the course of events or destination.  Having said that, serious attempts were made from 1975 to the present time.  Some intellectuals tried to inter the field of politics with unlimited ambitions.  These modern political movements could be evaluated by observing the following points:

1 - No doubt that many Assyrian political parties and organizations came into existence after 1975.  They all were frustrated by the pattern of failure of the old political system (church and tribes), and the tragic events that the people went through which the old system could not find any remedy for.

2 - The first thing that an observer of the history of these movements could notice is the lack of political experiences.  In addition to copying the same political methods of the political schools of thoughts which exists in the Middle East whose profile shows a continuously serious  failures.  They have not established a clear objective and goal.  In some cases the goals are so vague that the movement makes more harm to Assyrian cause than already exists.  Beside these all present-day parties and organization do not comprehend the need for an Assyrian ideology by which a guide could be set for political aim.

3 - The attempts to create successful political movements among the follower of the Church of the East had too many front to fight.  In addition to non-Assyrians, there is the old establishment which still has a dominant influence among the vast majority of people.  This is a fact, that no one can correctly gauge the role and control which the church and tribal system posses at present.  Therefore, the Assyrian political movements need a transitional period to establish what we can call a separation between the church and state. This could not be achieved by calling for it as much as by educating the people to accept it.

Finally, the present situation is as you correctly presented.  What we can do about it?  It needs a lot of work. We should keep in mind that the only remarkable establishment we have today, is our churches.  I am not saying that they are up to expectations, but that what we have today.  However, if we are looking for alternatives, then that's a different subject which we can exchange ideas about in future."

Hirmis Aboona
Toronto, Canada

"I am very happy to have heard from you guys. As you probably know from my e-mail address I am in Guadalajara, Mexico. I am attending Medical school here. However, the sad part of this situation is that I am the only Assyrian here... I wish that there were more Assyrians here so that I could be proud and backed up by my people when I have to defend my honor and nation to the Armenians, Persians and the Arabs. This really affects me as a minority. Even in Mexico. All I ask of you is that, please inform our young readers with a passion for medicine that there is a chance for them here if they have lost all hope of entering the U.S. medical schools. I am willing to help anyone who has an interest in medicine and wants to pursue their dream.

I am very glad that you have found my address, from who or where I don't know. However, I am truly happy to hear from my own people. My God help you and strengthen you love for the Assyrian Nation."

Sargon Benyat
Guadalajara, Mexico

"I agree with Rita Pirayo’s comments that appeared in Zenda, Volume IV, Issue 23, September 14, 1998, and I totally disagree with Esha Tamraz ‘s apparent “rebuttal on Rita Pirayo’s protest …”.

Rita Pirayo is correct in protesting against the actions of the AAA of San Jose that brought a non-Assyrian cause to the homes of those Assyrians who feel the Assyrian Martyrs Day is about Assyrians who died for being Assyrian.

I was thought that  (August 7 of each year), is the Assyrian Martyrs Day. For this I expect the elected officials in the AAA of San Jose to understand the significance of that day and do their utmost to provide us with the programs to enrich our pride in being Assyrians. I do not see any point in replacing our cause with a non-Assyrian cause unless we are totally unaware of our own identity and pride. I believe our own national Martyrs Day is for all of us to remember at least one day per year.

I agree with Rita that the main responsibility of the AAA of San Jose is to promote Assyrian culture, history and language. Otherwise the Association should revise its by-laws and omit any word that is spelled as “Assyrian or Assyrians” from its by-laws. Then I will even have no problem even when the Association consistently brings a Persian singing band to its parties.

I, however, agree with Esha that every Assyrian is a page in our history book. So let's not tear pages from non-Assyrian history books and place them in our own.

Ovrahim Oushana
San Jose - California

"This is a response to a letter to Zenda’s magazine dated Sept. 28th. 1998.  A brother from the Pishy Myaw Myaw Institute,  a graduated of the School of the AAA has spoken - by default I shall say.  He writes about how insensitive Rita Pirayov’s letter was to such organization whose main goal is profit.
I don't know my sister Rita,  but  I sense that she may be wondering what is the relationship between the Assyrian Martyrs day and the Armenian massacre?

In the beginning of his letter he agrees that Rita Pirayou is right by asking what a youth is to learn from a program that is not a  perfect picture of what happened in 1914.  Then he tells us no matter how sincere you are to the Assyrian cause, you may not question your holiness.   The Masters have spoken. 'One shall not justify questioning authorities'  for you shall be punished dancing  Shish O’ Hasht until reincarnated in an AAA fantasy world of the Black Cats.   It is troublesome to us Assyrians to know that your organization has been having difficulties making mortgage payments.  Is it possible that this is a reflection of your incompetence and ignorance?

This brother is confused 'Ma Ma khlapoo'.  What I think you are lacking is credibility at the AAA !!
“In between the lines“ you are saying:  please  don't interrupt our great ineffective organization.  We know how to run this oligarchy; we use McCarthyism techniques,  and it's working.  No intellectual stands a chance for a day- what do you know?

Assyrians would like to see such psycho-babble stopped for a change.  For once,  open your books, and be honest about it.  Assyrians would like to know how you are managing organizations like the AAA,  and who is really in charge.  Lets take some responsibility for our actions.   Credibility and  respect comes only when there is sincerity."

Albert Isaaco
Sutter Creek, California

Shish o'Hasht (Persian "Six and Eight"):  a popular form of Persian dancing.
Black Cats:  A musical band comprised of three Persian and one Assyrian musician in Southern California.


A Report Released by the Assyrian International News Agency
October 15, 1998

America was founded on religious freedom, and settled by people who were  seeking a land where they could worship free from persecution. The Freedom from Religious Persecution Act was written in this spirit.

When we speak of the need to promote democracy in our world, religious freedom should not be considered ancillary to this goal. In fact, freedom of conscience is a cornerstone of all democratic rights. Our own freedom of speech and freedom of association grew out of the efforts of the first European immigrants to this land to worship, to preach and to form churches of their choice. One of the founding documents of our democracy is the Mayflower Compact, an agreement resting on the idea of the mutual consent of the governed, and written by people who voyaged halfway around the world to find a place where they could worship according to their conscience.

Today our freedoms serve as an inspiration for others around the world. That is why so many people seek to come to these shores, to live their lives in the manner they see fit, to raise their families with their values and their beliefs, and to search for truth and inspiration as they define it. The Freedom from Religious Persecution Act is our answer to those people who look to the United States as a beacon of
religious liberty.

One of these is the Assyrian people. Our esteemed colleague from California, Anna Eshoo, is of Assyrian descent.

In recent years, Assyrians have been subject to gross violations of their rights. Murder, rape, assault, and forced conversions to Islam have become commonplace as armed death squads attempt to force
Assyrians out of their ancestral home.

In Iraq, Assyrians suffer at the hands of both the government of Saddam Hussein and the Kurdish rebels who battle for control of the northern part of that country. According to Amnesty International, the two main Kurdish factions in Iraq support "assassination squads," who hunt Assyrians and other minorities.

But much of the assault on Assyrian culture is less overt. Last week in northern Iraq, every Assyrian student was told that he or she could only attend Kurdish secondary schools. This oppressive move forces Assyrians to sacrifice their language, their culture and their identity.

Just last week, the members of this house voted to support opposition to Saddam Hussein's regime. But our support for an alternative to Hussein's dictatorship is hollow if we do not insist that the alternative
also uphold democratic values and respect the rights of all people.

The Freedom from Religious Persecution Act will provide the United States government with a powerful tool to ensure respect for religious diversity and freedom of conscience.

We often view America's role as a global leader in terms of economic wealth or military might, But as Henry Kissinger said, "our nation cannot rest its policy on power alone." America's leadership comes from our commitment to powerful ideals. I urge my colleagues to support the Freedom from Religious Persecution Act to further those ideals.

Congressman Rod R. Blagojevich
501 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4061 in Washington
Phone: (773) 868-3240 in Chicago

Assyrian International News Agency
Chicago, Illinois


The Narsai David Scholarship is now available for qualified students enrolled at California State University, Stanislaus.  Students may pick up their applications at the Financial Aid Office.  Application deadline is January 2, 1999.  Requirements are:

For further information on this scholarship, please contact Elki Issa at elkiissa@toto.csustan.edu, or at (209) 667-3507.

Mr. Narsai David has also offered to donate a replica of the sculpture of King Ashurbanipal which stands in front of the San Francisco Library to California State University, Stanislaus.  The 15-foot statue will be placed in front of the library building, which is also home to our campus administrators.  The unveiling is tentatively scheduled for this Spring.   Additionally, Dr. Walter Strong, Vice-President of Business and Finance at CSU, Stanislaus is currently in the planning stages of creating an "Assyrian Heritage Room" in our library that would house all books and artifacts related to Assyrians.  As a one-stop-shopping for anyone interested in research related to Assyrians, this room is expected to be
completed within a year.

Elki Issa
Turlock, California

Mr. Narsai David is the president of the Assyrian Aid Society of America.  California State University at Stanislaus is located in Turlock, California.


Fellow Assyrians,

This is to let you know of a new journal dealing with Assyrian (Syriac) language, literature, and culture.
The name of this new publication is : Karmo or The Vine.  It is published in Western and Eastern Assyrian, Arabic, and English.  It promises to be very informative and enlightening with many articles
never before translated from rare Syriac manuscripts.

Karmo (The Vine) is a quarterly publication issued by Mar Ephrem Institute for Syriac Studies, which is a branch of Northbrook Institute for Research and Development.

Please support this publication by subscribing to Karmo (Click Here).

Firas Jatou
Toronto, Canada


Oct 16

Assyrian American Association of San Jose
at San Jose Capitol Club (formerly San Jose Athletic Club)
196 North 3rd Street
Admission: $20.00 ($25.00 at the door)
8:00 PM
Tickets:  408-927-8100

Oct 24-31

The Ashour Society of Stockholm, Sweden
"Assyrian Culture- Past, Present and Future"
Participants include Assyrian, Iraqi and Swedish scholars, writers, artists, & government officials

Oct 24

Dinner/Dance Party 
Entertainer:  Ogen
Location:  Edens Banquet Hall
               6313 N. Pulaski Avenue
Cocktails at 7:30 PM 
Dinner at 8:00 PM
Tickets: $35 per guest
To order tickets call (773) 461-6633

Oct 31
CD Entitled: "Change"

Walter Aziz will be performing at Bet-Nahrain Club
Admission: $16.00 (includes free CD or Cassette)
7:00 PM
For more information/Tickets:  (510) 724-8207
No Video Cameras Allowed

Nov 14

Organized by the Assyrian Aid Society (United Kingdom Branch)
Location: Assyrian House, Ealing
Time:  8:00 PM
Entertainer:  Nawfal Shamoun from Germany
All proceeds will be sent to the Assyrian Aid Society in Northern Iraq
Our aim is to raise a minimum of £10,000 < > ~ $16,000.

Nov 18

Lecturer:  S. Parpola,  Asian and African  Studies, University of Helsinki
Location:  University of Toronto
Presented by:    The Canadian Society for Mesopotamian Studies
The Society was founded in 1980 to stimulate interest among the general public in the culture, history, and archaeology of Mesopotamia (ancient Iraq and parts of Iran, Syria, and Turkey). Each year it presents a symposium and lecture series. 
For further information, Grant Frame at gframe@chass.utoronto.ca

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


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

Links to Other Assyrian Websites

Chaldean Church and Its Assyrian Heritage

Zigzag Line:  sirtda masara 
Right Angle:  zoweeta trista

Cycles & Observances of the Eastern Assyrian Liturgical Calendars

 Mar Adday & Mar Abay
 Mar Sergius & Mar Bachus
 Mart Shmoone
Mar Assia
Mar Isaiah
 Mar Elia the Prophet

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
SKC = Syrian Knanaya Church
SOC = Syrian Orthodox Church


BC (3000-600)

The sizes of the Mesopotamian cities in hectares:

The largest city in antiquity until imperial Rome was Babylon, where the outer wall encircled an area of 890 hectares.  Aristotle describes Babylon:  "a city that has the circuit of a nation rather than a city, for it is said that when Babylon was captured a considerable part of the city was not aware of it three days later."

The Ancient Mesopotamian City, Van de Mieroop

AD (640)

The Arab conquest of Jazirah (part of today's Syria) was led by Omar and his Moslem generals who had already conquered much of Bet-Nahrain and Syria.  One by one the Christian cities of Harran, Nsibin, and Ruha (spirit) were captured and the dhimmis (people of protection, referring to Jews and Christians) were forced to pay jizyah (tax).  Omar's decree upon the Christians was the following: "For those living in the Arabian peninsula, there is nothing but strict surrender to Islam.  But leave the rest be, on the condition that they do not bring up their newborn in a Christian fashion and accept it when they do embrace Islam.

The History of al-Tabari, Volume XIII



In these frying times of dissolution,
in this soil that you and I have made us a home,
in the last beats of our dissipating vision for life,
and in the dying rays of our living sun,
we are so foolishly lost in our eroding skin.

You and I may have lived through the crossfire of enemy.
We have made it to the land of the free, maybe.
You and I may have outlasted hunger.
We may have survived our way through the nights of hopelessness.
And we have evaded every rule of evil, maybe.

But our home, we have fled.
Freedom we are given, and not earned.
Food we are fed, while hunger still remains at large back where the heart is.
Rules we have escaped and hopelessness we have left behind,
but none, we have yet shattered indefinitely.

You and I, my countryman, have grown tall but are still fed by our unselfish roots that tie us to this very
    ground of our existence.
We have not been abandoned, but set free to better realize.
We are sent not to the heavens of man,
not to the land of forgetfulness, but behind the lines of our enemy.
This is not a chance we are given to forgive the past.
We are not left to rot in some foolish drama of man.

In your confusion, you disown your blood, my countryman.
In your frustration with times, you pour your anger upon your own.
In your race for freedom you trample over the very feet that run in the same direction as yours.
The fires you set to light your way are destroying the paths of your comrades.

Call up to your madness to stop at once, you are not feeding but the hunger of another.
Don't pass your judgment upon me, I am not the one you were raised to break.
I am as wounded as your bleeding soul, let us live to last for another day in this battle for our hearts.

And if you and I won't love and can't belong side by side,
then, I call up to shame, to have no mercy upon our souls my countryman.

Homer Younan
San Jose, California


October 23, 1897:  The first team of German archeologists from University of Berlin begin their journey to Mesopotamia.  No German archeology team had previously been engaged in a formal excavation of the Mesopotamian sites.


Issa Benyamin

Issa Benyamin is the only Assyrian calligraphist of modern age who has artistically created a new life and character for the Assyrian alphabet.  Mr. Issa (pronounced "eesaa") Benyamin has devoted more than fifty years of his life to preserving and advancing the Assyrian alphabet.  One of his major contributions to the Assyrian art and literature has been formulating the principles of Assyrian writing (published in a booklet).  the fact that writing was originated and developed in Mesopotamia makes his art even more unique and valuable as he remains the Father of Assyrian Calligraphy.

Issa Benyamin was born Mirza Benyamin and Esther Kaldani in Tabriz, Iran in 1924.  While he was still an infant his family moved to Urmia.  As in most Assyrian families, his father was his first Assyrian teacher.  When he was only 17, Issa became interested in the art of "beautiful" writing an d took lessons from Bishop Havil Zaya, the archbishop of Urmia and Salamas.  He then spent the majority of his time actively involved in Assyrian cultural events.

Last month, the Assyrian American Association of San Jose organized Mr. Benyamin's largest exhibition to-date with a display of over 150 calligraphies ranging in color, complexity and texture.

CalligRam Inc. of Bloomington, Illinois currently owns the exclusive rights to all artistic creations of Mr. Issa Benyamin.  For more information contact CalligRam at (309) 664-5060


 YESIC Communications
Northern Illinois University

This Week's Contributors:
in alphabetical order

Ramsin Benyamin Chicago, Illinois Bravo
Albert Gabrial Turlock, California Assyrian Surfing Posts
News Digest
Irene Kliszus Belvidere, New Jersey The Lighthouse
Raman Mikhael Chicago, Illinois Surfers Corner
Ed Williams Chicago, Illinois Calendar of Events

Thank You For Referring A Friend to ZENDA:

Hirmis Aboona Toronto, Cananda
Firas Jatou Toronto, Cananda

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