Volume IV, Issue 23
Eelool 14, 6748                                                            September 14, 1998

T H I S   W E E K   I N   Z E N D A

The Lighthouse Modern Assyrian Studies at Harvard University
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain  Assyrian Monastery in Turkey Under Siege
News Digest Assyrian Heritage in Classical Antiquity Project & Symposium
Egypt to Promote Christian Tourism for the Year 2000
Surfs Up "publicly undo the mistake this article has made..."
Surfers Corner British Newspaper Writes About Assyrians on the Internet
Assyrian Origin of the Name "Persia"
Calendar of Events AUA Congress in Tehran Postponed
Assyrian Surfing Posts An Assyrian Wordprocessor from United Kingdom
Encarta's ASSYRIA
A Long March to Immortality
Khudra September 1998
Pump up the Volume Marching & Running
Back to the Future Ahiqar & Mar Givergiz Church in Khosrawa
Literatus The Great Below
This Week in History Mar Dinkha IV
Bravo Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas

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

ZENDA Says...
ZENDA is back from a brief but a joyously unforgettable trip to the quiet city of Waterbury, Connecticut.  It was still too early to enjoy the red and yellow coloring of the leaves in New England and the temperature had not dropped to below 70 degrees.  At least not until the AANF election day on September 6.

As predicted in our last issue, Sargon Lewie, was re-elected for the second term in office to preside over the affairs of the Assyrian American National Federation.  His challenger, Ashur Adadseen simply walked out of the meeting room on Sunday afternoon and left the hundred plus Assyrian delegates with no other alternative but to re-elect Mr. Lewie.  Mr. Zuhair Behjat of Connecticut was elected as vice-president, winning with a considerable margin over the incumbent candidate, Carlo Ganjeh.

The 65th AANF Convention was also one of the smallest and quietest in recent history.  No more than 250 guests attended the Sunday Night Banquet and as of Friday night the organizers feared the possibility financial loss.  No figures were officially released at press time.

The most laudable events of this convention were the educational seminars organized by the Assyrian Academic Society which also included two panel presentations on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  ZENDA was surprised to see more convention guests at this year's seminars.  Saturday's Panel Presentation drew over 150 attendees who had come to hear the various views of the Assyrian scholars, politicians and journalists.

Apparently the only worthy proposal approved at this year's 4-day-long National Executive Committee Meeting was a request for the funding of an "Assyrian Information Management System."  The proposal called for the implementation of an information system to coordinate the activities of all AANF and Assyrian Universal Alliance affiliates' activities.  AIMS will consist of a database of names, email and scheduling, archiving, and project management tools accessible by all AANF and AUA affiliates.  The delegates approved an initial $10,000 budget for this task.  It is comforting to know that no AANF delegate is employed in one of today's hi-tech companies, for their lack of vision and understanding of the true cost of the implementation and maintenance of such a system would bring the engines of technology to a screeching halt.  The AIMS proposal was presented by Mr. Youra Tarverdi of the Assyrian Universal Alliance and Carlo Ganjeh of the AANF.

With Linda George, Ogin, and a bright new star, Ramsin Resho, the nightly entertainment could not be more enjoyable.  Due to an unforeseen change in weather, the traditional Labor Day Picnic was held indoors.

From listening to the corner conversations and the clandestine meetings, certainly it can be argued that today's Assyrians look closer to thier brothers and sisters in America for political leadership.  However, once again the AANF's overseas guests were sent back disappointed, having failed to set higher standards of morality for their own European, Russian, and Australian organizations.   The Assyrian Federation in the United States must heed the call of its active affiliates and friends abroad, and set into process a number of legislation which will transform this currently stagnant and defective national organization into an efficient political machine.  If Sargon Lewie and every officer of this organization do not think that this transformation process should be the most important part of their job description, then maybe another look is warranted.

Finally, here's a top-ten list of names and events by which to remember the 65th Assyrian National Convention in Waterbury, Connecticut:

# 10.  The Truck Stop!    Where most of us enjoyed a cheap and hearty  meal.
#  9.   $17.00 per plate of buffet dinner at the Four Points Hotel   Hence  #10
# 8.    The multi-talented president of the Assyrian Federation of Sweden, Ninib Lahdo Watch out Ogin
#7.     Your Choice:  Picnic Inside vs Picnic in the Parking Lot
#6.     The Assyrian Dance Group from Connecticut
#5.     The Blue Eyes from Krasnador, Russia
#4.     Ashur Adadseen's Walkout
#3.     Johnson's Saxophone rendition of the "Titanic" song at the Youth Excellence Pageant, while next
         door, Mr. Dekelaita's was discussing Assyrian Nationalism  "Near, far...whereever you are!"
#2.     Dr. John Michael's Introduction of ZENDA's Wilfred Alkhas   No, there was no call from his mother!

And the number one reason for remembering this year's National Convention:

#1.     "Where is the UMBRELLA?"  You just had to be there!

ZENDA wishes to thank the hospitable Assyrian community of Connecticut for their warm reception and the members of the Assyrian Academic Society and Mr. Elias Hanna of the Assyrian Bet-Nahrain Organization in Massachusetts for the opportunity given to our publisher, Mr. Wilfred Alkhas to moderate the Saturday and Sunday panel presentations.  The former event presented Dr. Abdullmasih Saadi, Director of Syriac Institute for Manuscript Studies;  Mr. Hermiz Aboona of Al-Muntada Magazine; John Nimrod, Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance; Dr. Walid Phares, Florida Atlantic University; and Habib Ephram, president of Syriac Universal Alliance.  This program is expected to be broadcast via Lebanese Broadcasting Company to the entire Middle Eastern countries.



The study of modern Assyrians has emerged from the general study of the modern Middle East and from studies of classical Syriac which support research in theological fields within Christianity and Judaism.  At the Department of near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University, to the study of classical Syriac was added instruction in the modern language of the Assyrians and thus the beginnings of modern Assyrian studies began to take shape.

Recent impetus for the expansion of modern Assyrian studies came in 1979 with the establishment of the David B. Perley Memorial Assyrian Fund, an endowment intended to expand library collections and subvent book publication.  The wide support of the Assyrian American community for this endowment led to the recognition of Widener Library as the chief repository of materials on modern Assyrians.

A second endowment, the Mishael and Lillie Naby Assyrian Lecture Fund established in 1997, aims to engage the Harvard community, together with the Assyrians of New England, in expanded study of the culture and history of modern Assyrians through regular lectures and a prize.

The support of modern Assyrian studies requires further financial effort in the following direction:

Language Teaching
Classical Syriac is one of the staple languages taught by the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.  Harvard is one of the very few universities in the United States to offer Syriac on a regular basis an at an advanced level.  There is a two-year cycle of elementary instruction and reading of texts in all the Syriac scripts and ecclesiastical traditions ao the Syriac churches.  this is supplemented by a regular reading group for advanced students who want to improve their skills and read texts related to their dissertation work.  In addition, the modern language of Turoyo is taught in a one-year class.  Syriac teaching is surrounded and supported by courses in the other Aramaic dialects, in Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish, as well as Semitic philology - not to mention courses outside the Department; for example in modern Middle Eastern studies and in Bible and church history.

Syriac Manuscript Collections

The Harvard Semitic Museum actively bought Syriac manuscripts in its early years around the turn of the century, including the very important collection of J. Rendel Harris in 1905.  The manuscripts now number 165, ranging from the sixth to the nineteenth centuries, eastern and western Syriac, and a good number of yet unpublished texts.  Another small but significant collection came to Harvard from missionary sources, and includes some texts in the modern Assyrian language.  These two collections, along with a few other single manuscripts, make Harvard's holdings, (located as special collections in the Houghton Library) by far the biggest and most important in this country.

Missionary Archives

Most of the primary sources for the history of the modern Assyrian people in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries come from Western missionaries. the most important missionary society in this regard was the American board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, whose arches have teen at Houghton Library since 1942.  The ABCFM had an active station in Urmia, Iran from 1934 until it was transferred to the Presbyterian church in 1870.  The importance of the Urmia mission and its local adherents to the literature of the modern Assyrian language, and to the history of the Assyrian people generally, is well known.  The archives contain letters to and from missionaries at all these stations, reports, maps, printed books, and photographs.  they are extensive and rich, and in regular use by scholars.

Widener Library Resource

The Harvard University Library is the oldest library in the United States and the largest university library in the world.  The library holdings now include almost thirteen million volumes and are supplemented by extensive collections of manuscripts, microforms, maps, photographs, slides and other materials.  Harvard's collection of material on the Assyrian people is particularly rich.  Widener Library resources constitute one of the finest research collections on the Assyrian people in this country.  The collection covers all aspects of the Assyrian people and includes printed books, serials, microforms, music and sound recordings, and videocassettes.  Syriac language materials constitute an important part of the collection and a range form historical, grammatical, and religious works to feature films and local church event son videocassettes.  This part of the collection is now approaching 700 titles.  The Syriac language works ar supplements by numerous works in both Middle Eastern and Western languages.

The Fogg Museum Fine Arts Library

The rich collection of Middle Eastern visual materials at Harvard's Fine Arts Library have been supplemented through a collection of 200 slides of Assyrian art and architecture from northwest Iran.  Harvard Libraries continue to enhance their modern Assyrian collections through acquisition, cataloguing and preservation.  Support for these activities through location and donation of materials, as well as support of personnel to organize the collection, would be welcome.

Harvard University
Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Modern Assyrian Studies

The above article was provided by Dr. Eden Naby, a fellow at Harvard University's Center for the Study of World Religions.  Harvard University's other personnel in Modern Assyrian Studies include J.F. Coakley, a specialist on 19th and 20th century Assyrians in the Middle East; Wolfhart Heinrichs, specialist on Turoyo, Semitic philology, and modern Assyrians; Michael Hopper,Widener Library; Estiphan Panoussi, Visiting Scholar; and Jeffrey Spurr, Fine Arts Library.



With the permission of the Los Angeles Times:  August 21, 1998-   Article written by Amberin Zaman

[ZNLA: Midyat]  Tucked amid rugged mountains where Kurdish separatists are fighting the Turkish army, the ancient Syrian Orthodox monastery here usually draws only a trickle of intrepid Christian pilgrims.  But lately, a new kind of visitor is turning up.

These days, Turkish secret police and government inspectors arrive several times a month. They are trying to stamp out a 1,600-year-old tradition at Mor Gabriel, the world's oldest functioning monastery, of teaching children the Syrian Orthodox faith and the Aramaic language. "Should the authorities
pursue this ban," said Timoteus Samuel Aktas, the archbishop responsible for the monastery, "we won't be able to train new priests."

Clutching a heavy silver crucifix encrusted with purple stones, Aktas added,  "I'll die before I allow that to happen." Founded in AD 397, Mor Gabriel is the spiritual home of the estimated 3 million Syrian Orthodox Christians scattered across the world. Until the 12th century, Christian families sent their firstborn sons here to train as monks, priests or teachers. Then Turkey came under Islamic rule, and the monastery, a target of frequent Muslim raids, fell into disuse and became a cowshed for Kurdish farmers.

Turkey's 20,000-member Syrian Orthodox community was allowed to revive Mor Gabriel in the 1920s after the birth of the modern Turkish republic. But under the republic's secularist rules, Mor Gabriel's monks were legally barred from teaching their religion and their language, which is believed to have been
spoken by Jesus.

In practice, however, for decades, authorities looked the other way as Christian boys came for evening lessons at the monastery after attending state schools during the day. Monastery graduates include the Syrian Orthodox archbishop of Los Angeles, Eugene Kaplan. That official tolerance ended late last year with the first of a series of demands to stop the lessons. Asked about the crackdown, government officials say they are simply enforcing a law barring any form of education that is not regulated by the state. They will not explain why they decided only recently to enforce the ban.

Many Christians say they believe that the decision was made by Islamic zealots who remained in the bureaucracy here in Mardin province after Turkey's Islamist-led government resigned in June 1997. They say the Islamists view the Syrian Orthodox monks as rivals who convert Muslims to their own faith.

John Shattuck, the assistant U.S. secretary of State for human rights, told reporters in February that the Islamist provincial governor, Fikret Guven, had assured him that the pressure on Mor Gabriel would end. It has not. The governor's office has since ordered all restoration work at the monastery stopped. Aktas says inspectors have filmed and measured practically every square inch of the sand-colored complex and have returned to make sure nothing has changed.

The religious and language instruction continue but are interrupted whenever the monks spot a government vehicle climbing the hill. Provincial authorities have threatened legal action unless the archbishop sends home the 30 pupils who board here. An exotic figure in his flowing scarlet habit and embroidered black skullcap with earflaps, Aktas points to newly restored Byzantine mosaics speckling the ceiling of a small chapel where he had just said Mass. "We thought they would applaud our efforts to preserve a treasure that belongs to all Turks," he said. "Instead, they told us we were breaking the law."

The monastery is also hurt by a law allowing only Turkish citizens to serve as priests. Immigration to Europe and the United States in recent decades, Atkas said, has reduced the region's Syrian Orthodox population from 50,000 to fewer than 3,000. With only eight priests left, he said, he is facing a "serious personnel problem." The exodus has picked up because of fighting between the army and Kurdish guerrillas, who are Muslim. Residents of Haberli, a small Christian village 12 miles from the monastery, said they feel pressure from both sides to join the conflict. Visitors must register at a military checkpoint before entering the village, which is guarded by a tank.



(ZNAI:  Chicago)  Dr. Norman Solkhah, the founder and curator of the Mesopotamia Museum in Chicago, was recently asked to join Dr. Simo Parpola, an Assyriologist at the University of Helsinki, in initiating a new project to study Assyrian contributions through the Roman era. Dr. Parpola, the head of the prestigious State Archives of Assyria Project, stated in a letter that a long-term research project entitled "The Intellectual Heritage of Assyria in Classical Antiquity...will investigate the continuity of Assyrian ideological doctrines, religious concepts, etc., in later Near Eastern empires including Rome and Byzantium until the 7th century A.D.".  According to the Assyrian International News Agency Dr. Parpola has emphasized that "an important goal is to study the survival of Assyrian national identity, culture, and political and religious attitudes and infrastructures in post-empire times, especially in Seleucid and Roman Syria/Assyria". The project will continue for several years, in the course of which an extensive public-domain database on the subject will be built up and several interdisciplinary symposia devoted to the subject will be organized. Dr. Parpola commented that "the project will open many new
perspectives, encourage collaboration between Assyriologists, Classicists and historians of religion, and contribute significantly to the history and ethnic identity of the present-day Assyrians".

The opening symposium will be arranged on October 8-1l (Thursday through Sunday) this year in Tvarminne, Finland, and will be largely devoted to planning the database and future collaboration. Two days are reserved for papers addressing the general issue of Assyrian/Near Eastern cultural continuity. In addition to Assyriologists, participants include well known Classicists and Iranists, like Walter Burkert, Martin West, Kurt Raaflaub, Robert Rollinger, and Antonio Panaino, who have made significant
contributions to the subject in their past work.

Dr. Parpola has invited Dr. Solkhah to take part in this project and attend the opening symposium, "both as an observer and as an active participant in the discussions". Dr. Parpola explained that it is important for the project "not become a club of specialists only but will also include representatives of modern Assyrians who understand its importance and are ready to work for its realization by publicizing it and rallying support for it among their compatriots".

Dr. Parpola added that, "the symposium venue, Tvarminne Zoological Station of the University of Helsinki, situated in a scenic location near the southernmost city of Finland, Hanko, was chosen to guarantee undisturbed peace of work for several days in an informal atmosphere. The site offers excellent opportunities for outing and relaxation, and the colors of nature will be magnificent in mid-October".

Dr. Solkhah, an Assyrian from Chicago, stressed that, "the enormous significance of the continued
success of this project cannot be over emphasized.  It is in the benefit of our nation to consistently promote, publicize, assist and participate in this landmark project." He also stated that "the work of these great scholars will go a long way in disproving those who reject the link between us and our glorious ancient Assyrian ancestors".


[ZNAF: Cairo] Egypt is seeking to cash in on tourism during the millenium of Christ's birth by promoting interest in the places the Christian Holy Family stopped during its flight into Egypt.  Egypt will distribute more than three million copies worldwide of a brochure describing the places where Joseph, Mary and Jesus sought refuge shortly after Christ's birth to escape a massacre of new-borns ordered by King
Harod.  The brochure will be available in about a month and published in eight languages: English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.  A number of churches and monasteries in Egypt are believed to be built on sites visited by the Holy Family during its flight.  They include Saint Serge in the Coptic Christian quarter of old Cairo, the Church of the Holy Family in the north of the capital, and the convent of Dronka near Asyut, south of Cairo.  Christian pilgrims also frequently visit the Tree of the Virgin in north Cairo, a sycamore tree where Mary is said to have taken rest. The original tree died in the 17th century but was replaced in 1672 by another whose shoot still survives today.


"In addition to Zenda and a friend's usually colored newsletter which was printed in black and white just in time for August 7th, our Assyrian association in San Jose also had a 20 minute special TV program to commemorate the Assyrian Martyrs Day.  The program consisted of a short video which was preceded by an introduction given by the president of the Association which was followed by a poem read by another member of the Association.  You might say what is so special about this to write about.  Well, you see the video was about the Armenian Genocide and during the introduction, the date commemorating the Armenian Martyrs Day was mentioned more than the Assyrian one. The reasoning behind showing the video was that during W.W.I, Armenians were also killed along side the Assyrians by their Moslem neighbors so we can substitute one for the other.  Imagine a Romanian TV program showing a video of Russian people killed in W.W.II instead of their own people.

With any other nation, this act would have had serious consequences, but not with the Assyrian nation.  We have tolerated the atrocities of our neighbors, the betrayal of our powerful friends for so long that we have become numb and indifference towards our incompetent leaders and organizations.  This is not
the first time that our organizations and our so called leaders ignore the importance of our history, language, culture, and music and compromise our national identity.  The insensitivity of our leaders towards these vital issues is practically killing the nationalistic spirit of our nation in the US.

What did an Assyrian youth learn about his / her history by watching this program?  What kind of a message are we sending to our younger generation?  If an Assyrian organization is incapable of rightfully honoring our nation's historical events, it should not use the word "Assyrian" in its name."

Rita Pirayo
San Jose, California

"On behalf of the Assyrian Youth Group Of Victoria, we would all like to express our thanks for including us in your Bravo section of Zenda magazine. We are proud to have received this great honour.
You will read more about this in our magazine which should be arriving in your mail box very soon.
We have also released our September issue on the Internet for access to the world-wide Assyrian
community. We would therefore appreciate it if you could provide the following link in your assyrian
surfing posts.

The Assyrian Youth Group Of Victoria Presents
Nakosha Magazine :  September Issue

Thank you for all your help.  Always Assyrian! (Motto of the AYGV)"

David Chibo
Chairperson AYGV

"I'm writing to you to protest the claims made in one of the articles your newspaper published. The article was in the Arts & Ideas/Cultural Desk section and was titled "Too Late to Say 'Extinct' In Ubykh, Eyak or Ona" and was published on August 15, 1998. The author, Mr. Paul Lewis claims "many languages have already died out, including those of major civilizations, like Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian and Latin." The common myth is that the ancient Assyrians died out completely and therefore their language became extinct. This may have resembled the case for Sumerians but this is not the case for Assyrians. It is accurate to say that the Assyrian empire came to an end in 612 BC when the Assyrian capital Nineveh fell or more accurately in 609 BC when the Assyrian city Harran fell. The
end of an empire does not always mark the end of a nation. The Assyrian nation continued to survive and survives till this day. The ancient Assyrian language was not static during the time of the Assyrian Empire and did not remain static after that time. It has evolved like all languages do and is currently spoken and written by 2 to 4 million Assyrians living in their homeland and in the Diaspora. The Assyrian nation was a persecuted nation similar to the Jewish or Armenian nation.  Assyrians were persecuted after the fall of the empire, with respect to their ethnic identity, religion, and geographical location. Assyrians suffered a major genocide in 1915-1918 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks and Kurds when two thirds of the entire nation perished! Today, they suffer under Iraqi rule and at the hands of the Kurds who outnumber them in north Iraq.

It's interesting to note that the University of Helsinki's prestigious State Archives of Assyria Project, headed by Dr. Simo Parpola, is taking on the issue of Assyrian continuity. They are currently organizing a long-term research project entitled  "The Intellectual Heritage of Assyria in Classical Antiquity" (see this week's NEWS DIGEST)... In light of such new scholarly endeavors, I hope that your respected
newspaper will publicly undo the mistake this article has made and positively contribute to ending the myth that the Assyrian nation and its language is extinct. If you require further information please email or send a letter to the address listed below.

Raman Michael
Assyrian Academic Society
P.O. Box 3541
Skokie, IL 60076, USA
Telephone 773-461-6633

"An open letter to His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I, Patriarch of Syrian Orthodox of Antakia and the East:  c/o Bob Touma
P. O. Box 22260
Damascus, Syria
Tel  011-963-11-543-5918,
Fax 011-963-11-543-2400

Your Holiness, allow me to express my concern as an Assyrian to you, as one of our beloved Religious Leaders. Let me start with my humble understanding of Christ as a Christian. I believe Christ came into our world to set certain rules that will benefit all human being. What that mean to my interpretation is:
Remove all kind of oppression and unjust created by the oppressors, whom are also human being driven by their selfishness and personal or group gains. Elevate the sick and poor humans to fair and healthy lives.  Cultivate love and respect between human being, men and women, in this world. Our Lord taught us to ask for our rights, whenever are stolen, because He started that by sacrificing Himself for it. In other words, our Lord Christ struggled for our happiness.

Since this world consists of many nations with different races and believes, I think we should move to the best interest of immediate family, our Assyrian Nation as one family. My humble thinking is that
every struggle or movement starts with the smallest CELL. And that smallest cell in this world is the Assyrian Nation, for us.

It is hard to imagine how complicated issues became in the Christian world. The more we complicate issues, the more problems and difficult to find solutions. The simplest we look into the it of the daily life from 2000 years till today, the fastest and easiest we find the solutions to improve our lives. So referring back to your Holiness meeting with His Holiness Pope Shanuda III and His Holiness Mar Aram I (excuse my spelling, if any) on 10/11, March, 1998, it is very complicated, for an average Assyrian if not the majority, to live in the past centuries to understand of what happened on 325AD, 381AD, 431AD and 444AD and the type of personality of the running the show at those and other dates, just for example. Or to what we should call Mart Mariam. What we, the people, think is important in our daily lives are the core of the Christ teachings that affects us directly today and future and as Assyrians,
Christians and or human being, as simple as possible, and one of them is the Unity and Survival.

Our Lord struggled for our unity, unity of the human being. But since the human kind failed to accomplish that Globally for many reasons known to the average individual, therefore lets work to reach that noble goal for our Assyrian Nation, through an easiest way.

I'm honored to have the opportunity to communicate with your Holiness and ask you in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to give the priority for gathering the Assyrian segments into one solid strong Nation. The new educated Assyrians, men and women, are determined and targeting this noble goal. We will be honored to observe you as a part of this struggle. That way will help our people to be more closer to the Church of Christ, the United Assyrian Church.

If your Holiness ever ask me to whom "I" belong, I will state proudly, to the Assyrian Nation. Although it does not matter to what church I'm a member, but only for the records I'm part of the "Assyrian Church of the East", however believe me I with honor consider you one of my Assyrian Patriarchs.

I will be more than delighted to hear and learn from your wisdom, that will contribute in strengthening our Assyrian Nation and build very strong ties with our Church as well. The sooner the better, we, the
Assyrians, need blessings from all of our religious leaders for our progress, all of us. We believe our progress will result in wonderful reflection on the Christianity and the human race.

Your Holiness, thank you very much for taking your valuable time in reading this letter and God Bless you.

Kaiser Shahbaz
Turlock, CA



The following article was published in the British newspaper, The Independent, on September 6th.  With the permission of the Independent we publish the article below in its entirety:

Any dispersed ethnic group with a presence in the United States is likely to have a presence on the Web, but few have taken to hypermedia with the flair of the Assyrians. For a people whom much of the world assume to have disappeared along with ancient Babylon, their profile is astonishing. For a people only three million strong, victims of perennial massacres, and unfortunate enough, politically speaking, to have their homeland in Iraq, every such asset is valuable.

Their approach to the Web combines two styles that are incongruous, but reconciled by the conviction with which they are implemented. One is the upbeat, transnational English idiom of Web presentation; menus, slang phrases, facilities such as weather maps and datelines for the visitor's convenience. These are taken to the limit on the Atour site, with its audio voice-over, its button marked 'Government', and its greeting, "Good afternoon and welcome to the State of Assyria". Exile politics has always entailed a
degree of fantasy, its ministers with portfolios and without power, but now it has Web software.

The other style is the dense and bitter reiteration of suffering, as comprehensible in its rhetoric to a nineteenth century Irish peasant as a 'what's cool' link is to an American teenager in a suburban bedroom. A recent issue of Zenda, a clever and thoughtful Assyrian ezine, brought the two traditions together in its regular Assyrian vocabulary feature. Under the headline 'Pump Up The Volume', the two words of the week were 'martyr' and 'massacre'. You will not get very far on an Assyrian site without
encountering them.

Zenda is unusual in its reflective attempts to combine realism with a commitment to its nation's martyrology. The effort can be anguished:

My body is weary and my mind confused.  I am tired of admonishing the so-called educated.  Some laugh at my persistence, some ignore my remarks, and others are telling me that I may not even be yours.  They have abandoned your faith and your God.  I am even more tired of blaming the English, the French, the Jews, and the Arabs, Persians and the Kurds for your own faults and shortcomings.  I have now succumbed to a dark corner of my fantasy world and silently shed tears for those yet unborn.  Wake up Assyria and face the reality!  - Wilfred Alkhas

For heritage, Assyrians can call upon Babylon and Nineveh, Hammurabi and Semiramis. Among the online cultural exhibits appropriated are Hammurabi's legal code and the 4,000-year-old Epic of Gilgamesh. High culture isn't the half of it, though. A delightful page of links on the Assyria Online site claims Assyrian responsibility for the invention of bows and arrows, glassmaking, backgammon, tumbler locks, the can opener, mortgages, and the use of bullet points to mark text. Not to mention sanitation - this is where I came across theplumber.com, featured in Technofile last week. And to round it off, there is a link to a Swiss page about the history of the St. Bernard Dog, also known as the Assyrian Dog.

All these are the flowers, some cute and others magnificent, but the soil is soaked in blood. A massive document posted on Assyria Online records Assyrian martyrs from the fall of Nineveh up to last December. It is a shocking text, but it is also unsettling for the wrong reasons. The reiterated motifs in the accounts of perfidy and atrocity suggest an element of national mythmaking, as do the elderly references for the sources of many of them. Of course it is perfectly possible, if not all too likely, that a
people can suffer atrocities that acquire a traditional form over the centuries. Nevertheless, it left me with an uneasy feeling and a desire for corroboration.

After a frustrating trawl through the Web pages of human rights organisations, Middle Eastern academic resources, and several search engines, I realised that the fault lies not with the Assyrians but with the
rest of the world. Assyrians have a monopoly on Internet representations of themselves because nobody else gives them more than a passing mention. On human rights sites, Kurds feature as an oppressed people; on Assyrian sites, Kurds feature as oppressors. Western audiences don't care for plot
complications like that.

Assyria Online declines to acknowledge Byron's poem The Destruction Of Sennacherib - "The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold / And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold" - but it is available elsewhere, along with other Byronia, including the home page for the Lord Byron Bar in
Portugal, which offers a poem and a cocktail of the week.

Pauline Jasim at Assyria Online explains that the wavy lines on the Assyrian flag represent the three great rivers of the homeland. The dark blue line is the Euphrates, whose name means abundance; the red one is the Tigris, which stands for courage and pride; the white in between is the Zawa, representing
peace and tranquillity.

Robert Oshana of Chicago has produced a downloadable screen saver featuring images of Assyria's ancient heyday.


The name Parsa is by no means of Iranian origin. The nomads who migrated to Iran (long before 1000 BC, read about the Mittani for example or the Medo-Assyrian wars) called themselves Aryans (the archaic form of the word Iranian).

In the Achaemenian inscriptions the "Persian" kings never refer to themselves as "Persian" but rather as "Aryan".  However it is true that the area which the Achaemenes clan originated from was called Parsa (Persis in Greek).  However the name was not an ethnic designation and was merely a geographical one rooted in Aramaic. According to the "Cambridge History of Iran", the Assyrians had two appellations for the people of Iran, the Parshuash (meaning those of the border country) and Umman Mada (meaning the people of the mountain). The native name for Persis was Anshan which dated back to the period of Ilamite rule. Aramaic became the language of the empire and consequently many of the administrative terminology of the Assyrian empire crept into Persian.

Greeks referred to Iranians as Persians and Hellenic historians were aware that people living between the Euphrates and the Sindh in fact called themselves "Ariani". Even the language was never called Persian or even Parsi before the advent of Islam.

Arash Salardini
Faculty of Medicine
University of New South Wales
Sydney, Australia


Postponed Until 

For more information see ZENDA:  JUNE 8: SURFERS CORNER

Sep 14-15
by Issa Benyamin

Starlite Hall (680 Minnesota Avenue, San Jose "Assyrian Church of the East")
6:00-9:00 PM
A collection of over 100 pieces of Assyrian calligraphies, hand printed with ink on leather and paper. Each exquisite piece reflects upon fundamental concepts of our rich culture and demonstrates the mastery of Mr. Benyamin's talent.

Sep 17


University of California, Berkeley
South Entrance of the Main Library
Near the Security Desk
4:00 PM

Sep 18

The Anniversary Party 
The Fairmont Hotel (downtown San Jose) 
Entertainer:  Juliana Jindo & a surprise 
No Children under 12 
Donation:  $25 in advance, $30 at the door 
For Tickets Please Contacts: 
  Church Office:         408-378-6212 
  Ramil Eisho:            650-482-3913 
  Khalid Elias:            408-927-5959 
  David Gewargis:      408-617-1467 

Sept 18

Rheinstraße 24,
Rüdesheim am Rhein

Neueröffnung eines Assyrisch-historischen Schmuckladens,
Ab Freitag, der 18.Sep. 
in der Rehinstraße 24 (zum Marktplatz)
in Rüdesheim am Rhein
wird Herr Edvin Takhsh ein Assyrischer Schmuckdesigner seinen
Handgefertigten Scmuckstücke in "ISCHTAR SCHMUCKLADEN" zur Schau stellen.
Sie sind herzlich zu diesem ereignis eingeladen!


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

A New Assyrian Wordprocessor from Assyrian Cultural Society, UK

Encarta's ASSYRIA

A Long March to Immortality

Soldiers' March: psaa/aa 'd palkheh
Running Gazalle: eilah rahaatdta

Cycles & Observances of the Eastern Assyrian Liturgical Calendars

Mor Malke
 Memorial of Mar Qardagh
The Fast of Mar Elijah
 Memorial of the Birth of Mary
Nativity of the Virgin Mary
Mor Julian the Hermit
 Memorial of St. Papa the Patriarch
Feast of the Holy Cross
Discovery of the Cross (Patriarchal Day)
Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
St. Matthew the Hermit
Mor Eugene & Mor Demitrius
Memorial of Mart Meskanta

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 (680)

The most prominent scholar at the ancient Assyrian court was the ummanu of King Esarhaddon or Aba Enlildari whom we now know as Ahugar or Ahiqar.  His wise sayings are well known in the Middle East:

The Ancient Near East, Kuhrt

AD (1845)

Mar Gevargis Church (St. George), a Chaldean Catholic Church, was built at the site of a sixteenth century church in Khosrawa (Urmia region), Iran.  The church was destroyed in the great earthquake of Salamas in 1931.  One of the largest Assyrian churches in the area it served 400 families before 1918.  Mar Gevargis became the See of the Chaldean patriarch Simon IX (1581-1600) who after his conversion to Catholicism could not return to Jilu.

Assyrian Christian Architecture of Iran, Naby


The Great Below

From the Great Above she opened her ear to the Great Below.
From the Great Above the goddess opened her ear to the Great Below.
From the Great Above Inanna opened her ear to the Great Below.
From the Sumerian Tale of "The Descent of Inanna"

Inanna (Assyrian Ishtar) is Queen of Heaven and Earth, but she does not know the underworld.  Until her ear opens to the Great Below, her understanding is necessarily limited.  In Sumerian, the word for ear and wisdom is the same.  The ear, which is located mostly internally and is coiled like a spiral or labyrinth, takes in sounds and begins to transform the imperceptible into meaning.  It is said of Enki, the God of Wisdom and the King of the Watery Deep, who lives directly above the underworld, that his ears are "wide open" and that "he knows all things."  In order to fully appreciate or "know" what is said or meant, a great understanding is needed  an understanding of all things.  It is the Great Below, and the knowledge of death and rebirth, life and stasis, that will make of Inanna an "Honored Counselor" and a guide to the land.  The moment Inanna opens her ear to the Great Below, her journey begins.

Inanna- Queen of Heaven and Earth, Wolkstein and Kramer


September 15, 1935:  born in Arbil, Iraq, His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East.


Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas was born in 1932 in Mosul, Iraq.  After the completion of his formal education at St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox School he entered Mor Aphrem theological school at Mosul in 1946 where he completed his education in 1954. He was ordained priest and became a monk in 1947. He completed a Masters degree in English at City University of New York and a Master's degree in Pastoral Theology at General Theological Seminary, New York. He was ordained Metropolitan Zakka Mor Severious by Patriarch Yaqub III in 1963. In 1964, Mor Severious discovered the remains of St. Thomas in the sanctuary wall of the church at Mosul. In 1969, Mor Severious became the Metropolitan of Baghdad, where he also served as the Head of Syriac Studies and a member of the educational academy. Mor Severious also served as a member of the World Council of Churches. On September 14, 1980, Mor Severious was consecrated the Patriarch of Antioch when he assumed the title Ignatius Zakka I, in a rite officiated by Catholicose of the East, Baselious Paulose II along with the archbishops of the Holy Synod.

Simhasana Church, Kunnamkulam
Bab Touma, P.O. Box 22260
Damascus, Syria

Souvenir of St. George's Church, Karingachira, 1980


 GE Nuclear Energy

This Week's Contributors:
in alphabetical order

Albert Gabrial Turlock, California Surfers Corner
Firas Jatou Toronto, Canada Assyrian Surfing Posts
Tony Khoshaba Chicago, U.S. Surfers Corner
Raman Mikhael Chicago, U.S. News Digest
Gabriel Rabo Germany Good Morning Bet-Nahrain

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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
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)