Volume V Issue 23
Tdabaakh 16, 6749 August 16, 1999
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|The Lighthouse||Good For the Soul|
|Good Morning Bet-Nahrain||Assyrians in Armenia|
|News Digest||A Joint Declaration of the Assyrian Political Organizations|
|Surfs Up||"You don't have to translate the Kurdish word at all"|
|Surfers Corner||Silent Slaughter of Children|
|Assyrian Surfing Posts||Mesopotamia
World's Oldest Telescope
|Pump up the Volume||Wool & Silk|
|Back to the Future||Phoenician City of Tyre & the Syriac Translators of Baghdad|
|Literatus||He Knows It All!|
|This Week in History||Marriage of Mar Eshai Shimmun|
|Calendar of Events||New Info on Assyrian National Convention in Los Angeles|
All blue links throughout this issue are hyperlinks to other sections on this page or featured websites.
Assyrian High Priest & King
The History of Customs
By Braun & Schneider - c.1861-1880
GOOD FOR THE SOUL
So it seems that the claw that unfurls into anger is perhaps the most dangerous weapon of all
More dangerous the words spit out over burning-bright coals of anger and hatred.
More dangerous than the glint of a maniacal eye.. the look of anger cutting like split wood ready for the fire.
Oh my anger can be so good for the soul.
Among issues of politics and the rhetoric of Assyrians my anger is simple: my anger takes shape like a claw unfurling its grasp upon the unseeing unsuspecting victim.. the victim busy living a quiet life of self-decay. Having used up all my energy to maintain dignity and decency among the political vultures living off Assyrian flesh I am so tired of their words that mender through my days, words taking up my precious mental space. Words spoken out without thought by our so-called politicians. Oh you men, who rest behind your desks and sit on the discussion panels of self-righteousness. Oh you talking-heads who appear on your television stations, as far away from the public reality as the dictator you have spent a lifetime admonishing. Oh you fearless few who claim the power of the people rests or your shoulder . When in truth, it rests only in your minds.
When will we figure out that words alone are not enough? And while we rest on the laurels of an ever-dimming history, our indigenous counterparts are taking up action and weapons and swords and marching into battles of beauracracy with ease? That while we form new committees and new organizations entitled the Assyrian Universal Group of Anything That There Ever Was and Will be (abbreviated smartly to AUGaATTEWaWEB) others among us are forming simple alliances and moving forward with a common mission?
(and when it reality there are now boys and girls and future men and women who are being fed and clothed, housed and educated on our very soil)
I heard a dirty little rumor the other day and that rumor was the Assyrians in the West are a changing breed of people.. disconnected from a common myth, from a unifying story. If I could tell that story what would it be? Would it be the story the story of my hard working mother, who smiles when she's wrapping gifts to send to distant cousins? Would it be the story of the girl I see in church on Sundays, wheeling her paralyzed father past staring eyes to kiss the cross at the front? Would it be the story of Hannah, who haunts my half-shaded childhood memories with her grandmotherly arms? Would it be the story of a man who wakes up at a quarter to four to make Lawash bread for all of us.
Oh Lord I may be tired and angry sometimes. The claw may still stretch into the flesh of the unsuspecting to cut down to the whiteness of truth. Because I still see the ancient rituals that make up these modern movements. I see them to the bone.
GOOD MORNING BET-NAHRAIN
ASSYRIANS IN ARMENIA
In his inaugural speech, President Robert Kocharian declared his intention to make Armenia a "dear home" for all ethnic minorities living within the borders of the newly independent republic. Despite the expulsion of the largest - the Azerbaijanis - at the beginning of the Karabagh conflict, three per cent of the population still consists of a variety of ethnic groups ranging from the Yezidi and the Molokans to the Jews and the Greeks.
Armenia is also home to an estimated 7,000 Assyrians who - like the Kurds - are a nation without their own state and who have experienced a history that closely mirrors that of the Armenians. Indeed, according to Pavel Tanrazov - President of the 'Assyrians of Armenia' - not only did the Assyrians adopt Christianity in the 1st Century but they were also the main disseminators of the religion in pagan Armenia and elsewhere. In the aftermath of the Russo-Persian war of 1826-28 the Russian government allowed one hundred Assyrian families to resettle in transcaucasia, and in Armenia these families settled in Dimitrov, Dvin, Arzni, Yerevan Province and other regions. Descendents of these families - and other Assyrians that joined them after fleeing persecution, massacre and genocide - are still to be found in these locations, and the community has evolved to form a vibrant component of a cultural diversity that every country requires in order to develop maturely.
However, that is not to say that problems do not exist for the community. As with other minorities in the republic - and for Armenians themselves - the period of Soviet rule and the economic problems now faced by the country today have had their effect. Like the rest of the population one key concern is in the area of education. In 1924, primary schools taught Assyrian children their own language - albeit in Latin script - but in 1936-38 repression of the Assyrian intelligentsia saw the closure of these classes and the Assyrians became a Russian-speaking people. The re-introduction of the Assyrian language into the school curriculum only came about in 1972, according to Irina Sagradova Gasparyan - President of the Assyrian Youth Association - but problems still remain with regards to an absence of teachers and textbooks.
"The situation was very serious in Armenia for so many years," explains Gasparyan. "There were no teachers and no concern with the preservation of the Assyrian language. Faced with the same financial problems as Armenian schools, the only way to protect the language was through self-preservation. For example, as a child I was sent to stay with my grandmother in her village - and only Assyrian was spoken." Indeed, in earlier years, many children were sent abroad in order to learn their mother tongue, but now classes have been established in the Pushkin school in Yerevan, and in schools in the regions. As a result, in villages such as Dimitrov with a mixed population of Assyrians and Armenians, not only do the Assyrians speak Armenian fluently, but so too do many Armenians speak Assyrian. Marriage between the two communities is also common, and at the recent Shekhane festival in Dimitrov towards the end of July both Assyrians and Armenians were in attendance. One other problem for the Assyrian community however, is the absence of an Assyrian priest in the country - priests from the Russian Orthodox Church conduct services instead. However, attempts to preserve Assyrian culture are very much alive, and the Assyrian dance group in the village even has Armenian members.
The Assyrians - like the Armenians - are an ancient nation, and despite the emigration of an estimated 3,000 from the country the Assyrian community has a great deal to offer Armenia. Not only through the continuation of centuries of coexistence, cooperation and mutual friendship, but also by offering an extra-dimension to any development of tourism to the republic. The music, culture and hospitality of the Assyrian community in the Republic of Armenia has an important role to play in the development of a truly independent, democratic and culturally diverse society as the country prepares to enter the new millennium and seeks admission into the Council of Europe.
A JOINT DECLARATION OF THE ASSYRIAN POLITICAL ORGS
Dear Assyrian Compatriots:
For the purpose of strengthening our national endeavors and elevate our struggle in our homeland, especially in the difficult situation that our people find themselves in our motherland. These struggles and the pressure of regional and global conflicts are causing a negative effect on our national cause. The four national organizations of Assyrian Movement and Assyrian Universal Alliance held several meetings in the last few months.
In these meetings we discussed the present issues and plight of our people and made detailed observations on the expected changes in our political posture and the effort of the new Iraqi opposition group whose purpose is to reach mutual agreement and understanding among the many factions including the Assyrian delegates to represent us on the new Iraqi opposition Group. Our delegates will be instructed to represent our Assyrian interests and show their support for peace and the democratic process.
We also discussed the ways and means of implementing common goals and open the channels of communications between Assyrian political parties and organizations in the homeland and Diaspora; thereby bringing hope of furthering our cause and preserve our identity as a nation enabling us to pursue our legal and human rights. In addition we emphasize that the Assyrian decision must be independent reflecting our political aspirations within our national and patriotic interest.
The deliberations concluded by AUA, ADM, and ADO in agreement on this declaration and that in the future our political efforts be united. We seek the acceptance and cooperation of all Assyrian organizations. It is unfortunate that the Bet-Nahrian Democratic Party chose to withdraw and not participate in these agreements and resulting declaration. We trust that they will reconsider their decision of withdrawing from this program.
Long live the cause of the Assyrian Nation
Assyrian Democratic Movement
Assyrian Democratic Organization
Assyrian Universal Alliance
July 15, 1999
"It's great that there are more like us and that they are concerned. And who could even imagine that there would be a medium like Zenda. In this way our people can stay in contact and find comfort. Compliments to you all and thanks a lot for making us aware."
"How can you write "freedom fighters" about Massoud Barzani's KDP Pishmarge, when they kill Assyrians at all times. You don't have to translate the Kurdish word at all in your massages. It was enough to write 'KDP soldiers'."
"I read your main editorial article of "The Massacre" of Zenda's issue of August 2, 1999, and I truly failed to see how while your magazine made all the fuss about the US Census 2000 classification of the combined national name of Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac, you and in the entire editorial of yours, did not disappoint me once in making it clear to all that "Assyrian" is not a national name but one synonymous with the Hakkari and Urmia tribes. Ironically, you start your editorial with the most blatant sectarian statement of all, that of "Ever since the Assyrians entered Iraq in 1918, they on no occasion expressed a desire to remain in that country." You are right the "Assyrians" are not Iraqis, but from Turkey and Iran. In case you did not know, the absolute majority of Chaldean towns are in old Assyria proper IN IRAQ.
Please, either you come to peace with yourself and admit that "Assyrian" is not a national name but one of a group of our nation, or learn how to use that term with more respect than making it one "owned" by that group. You can't have it both ways."
The article mentioned above was written by Colonel Stafford in 1930's on his personal observations of the arrival of the Assyrians into the Bakuba Camp in Iraq. ZENDA Editorials are typically entered before THE LIGHTHOUSE section and/or clearly marked as a ZENDA Editorial. Assyrians are the indigenous people of Iraq and have lived in the Urmia plains since Sixth Century B.C. The Hittite tablets in the Third Millennium B.C. indicate that the Assyrian merchants led extensive trade routes from northern Iraq through Central Turkey into Europe.
On Tuesday, August 10, Mr. Wilfred Alkhas, Editor of ZENDA Magazine, was interviewed on the KBSV Assyrian television program. The following three message pertain to the interview between Mr. Alkhas and Dr. Sargon Dadesho in Ceres, California.
"I just finished seeing you on KBSV. It was a wonderful and very informing program. I am very proud of the fact that there are other individuals, that are also very upset regarding the Census 2000. I like to subscribe to your weekly magazine."
"I am an Assyrian woman, and I am very proud of being an Assyrian. I saw Wilfred Alkhas' interview with Dr. Sargon Dadisho on Assyrian channel the other night.
I was impressed to see our young people get involve with the politics. I wish we could do something to prevent the changing of our name. I am part of this community and I want to do something but I don't know how. There are also lots of people out there that don't know what to do. I wish you could do something like a demonstration just to show them how angry we are. You should get the people involved some how.
The only thing that I was able to do was to write a letter to Gary Condit, the California's Congressman, regarding the changing of our name with lots of signature from my relatives, neighbors and friends. I haven't gotten any answers back yet. That's why I was wondering if we can do something else. Thank you again for all your hard working."
Romina R. Pourtaverdi
"As a Zenda reader and now a watcher of the KVSV-TV23 through the Internet, it saddens me to keep hearing and reading about just how divided we continue to be. As an Assyrian living in Canada, I must say that I am totally disgusted by the path on which some of my brothers are wanting to take us to.
Here in Edmonton, I try to get along with everyone and some of my closest friends which I genuinely think of as my brothers are Assyrian Chaldeans. I cannot believe that our nation is entering the new millennium on a such a sad and divided state.
I would like to know where do the Chaldeans of Detroit get their name from... I see that they are calling themselves Arab Chaldeans. Do they really feel more Arab than Assyrian or are they being misdirected by some who have agendas to keep us divided and thus without any chance to get the recognition we deserve and therefore our rights to be recognized both in Iraq and around the world.
What is it that makes us so different from some Chaldeans that love and enjoy calling themselves Arab and not Assyrian? Are they smarter than us? Is it the other way around? Are they by doing so, being somehow rewarded by the current dictatorship of Iraq? It totally puzzles me that we are still infested with such destructive agendas and individuals who under the guise of fairness try to push agendas that will ultimately destroy all hopes of one day achieving our rights.
I like the so called Arab Chaldeans to answer one question for me (this doesn't include the Chaldeans who genuinely think of themselves as Assyrians): Why are the Kurds and the Arabs afraid of a united Christian party and leadership in Iraq? Why is it that the Kurds keep saying that Assyrians and Chaldeans are not the same? Is it the fact that they know the day my Chaldean brothers join us in our righteous cause; no power in all of Iraq can oppress us any longer. The day all Christians in Iraq say enough is enough, there is no way the tyrants of Iraq can push us and our claims aside for much longer.
I would like to give you a personal experience. Here, a friend of mine who is Chaldean was talking about Assyrians and our shared history and religion when a Muslim friend- out of the blue- says "Oh you are not Assyrian. You are Chaldean and therefore different". Another great quote by this great scholar was: "There are no 100% Assyrians, because if you go back 3 generations you will find that you are not at all Assyrian". To make the story short, my Chaldean brother replied to him in a great way. He said: "We are all Assyrians my friend. The only thing that is different is the different religious denomination which was as a result of the great schism." I couldn't believe how quickly the man was silenced, LOL.
I like many of my brothers and sisters keep the faith and the dream of Assyria even though at times I feel that we are and will miss our chance when that dream is close to reality. Long Live All Assyrians!"
SILENT SLAUGHTER OF CHILDREN
Each month, 4,000 Iraqi children under the age of 5 perish from the consequences of U.S. inspired, U.N. imposed economic sanctions. That's 133 children each day, nearly 50,000 a year. They add up to an incessant, silent slaughter of the most vulnerable population at the direction of the world's most powerful nation. They Perish from complications from malnutrition and sewage-contaminated water, from diarrhea, pneumonia and diseases like polio, cholera and typhoid, which were virtually unknown in Iraq a decade ago. Each month, sanctions claim an additional 5,000 Iraqis over age 5 primarily the elderly and the disabled. They die from heat prostration and hypertension and once-curable cancers.
Saddam Hussein did not fabricate those figures. They are the average of various estimates by the United Nations and humanitarian organizations. Take your pick: a low of 2,700 or high of 6,000 children per month. Either way, sanctions will claim more lives this year than died in the atomic bomb at Hiroshima.
Economic sanctions were imposed in 1990 after Iraq invaded Kuwait. Defensible then, they are reprehensible now. After eight years and perhaps three-quarters of a million lives, they are misdirected and And counterproductive. Yet they have been extended, at the Clinton administrations insistence, with a disquieting nonchalance and moral indifference rarely mentioned in the news media, barely discussed in Congress.
Sanctions have not forced Saddam power, incited the people to rise up and overthrow him. They are struggling to survive; he and his clique remain entrenched immune form the impacts of deprivation.
Sanctions have not forced Iraq to abandon all weapons of mass destruction. U.S. inspectors did track down and destroy dozens of warheads, huge caches of chemical weapons and a biological weapons factory. But Iraq kicked out inspectors last year; only a lifting of sanctions, not their continuation, holds any prospect of the inspectors return.
One can argue that crippling Iraq's economy has checked its capability to rearm- but at what price? Sanctions have wrecked Iraqi society and impoverished the poor and he middle class, those who are victims of Saddams oppression. They have cost the Untied States the respect of Arab leaders and the support of allies, who see sanctions as vindictive and futile. They have embittered the next generation of Iraqis, sowing seeds of future terrorism and instability. Even the leaders of U.S.-funded Iraqi opposition groups have condemned sanctions.
The 3-year-old oil for food program, theoretically allowing the sale of up to $5.6 billion of Iraqi oil every six months, in exchange for food and medicine, has been the Clinton administrations moral slave. But it has failed to reduce Iraqi misery or malnutrition substantially.
The embargo continues on pharmaceutical equipment, insecticides, education supplies even pencils and the water disinfectant chlorine. The oil program has been able to produce at most $3 billion every six months, of which a third is diverted to a war reparation fund. The reminder cannot meet the needs of a nation that had been importing 70 percent of its food.
Iraq should be allowed to rebuild its crippled oil industry with foreign investment. Even with full production, it will take years and tens of billions of dollars for Iraq to reconstruct an infrastructure- water purification and sewage plant and electric power stations- heavily damaged in the war.
Economic warfare should be replaced with a narrower policy of disarmament controls: an international ban on the sale of military equipment and technology to Iraq, and a return to U.N. inspections as a condition for foreign investment.
Yes, Saddam would claim victory if sanctions were lifted; he said the same thing after his military was humiliated in the Gulf War. There is also a risk that he would divert oil money to his military.
But with sanctions lifted, the Untied States would find it easier to build an international consensus on military controls and support for action in the event of violations. It would continue to dominate the skies over Iraq, with the ability to attack Iraq's military when provoked.
U.N. sanctions would end immediately if the Untied States agreed. The time has come for Washington to relent.
Economic sanctions are blunt instrument, foreign policy on the cheap. Continued sanctions against Iraq are morally insupportable and damaging to U.S. interests.
San Jose Mercury News Editorial
August 2, 1999
Assyria Web Chat
Suryoyo Online Forum
ASSYRIAN SURFING POSTS
Links to Other Assyrian Websites
World's Oldest Telescope
PUMP UP THE VOLUME
BACK TO THE FUTURE
The whole history of Assyrian expansion to the west (Syria & Lebanon) followed a plan: to control the southern road of Syria-Palestine, with the aim of attacking Egypt, which King Essarhadon finally did. This strategy involved domination of Hama, Damascus, and Israel, but not Phoenicia. Tyre (in Lebanon) succeeded in sustaining a policy of compromise, reoriented her trade toward Assyria and preserved her autonomy to the end, all this with substantial economic rewards.
The Phoenicians & The West, Aubet
The Arab caliph, al-Mamun, visits Harran and returns to his capital in Baghdad with a large number of manuscripts in Greek and Syriac. He then entrusts these to Assyrian translators in his court including Ibn Naima of Homs, Qusta Luqa, and Hunayn Ishaq. The manuscripts were then translated into Arabic.
Literary History of the Arabs, Nicholson
THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
August 16, 1973 : Mar Eshai Shimmun, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, breaks off from the tradition of celibacy in his church and marries an Assyrian woman during a simple service held in Washington. The controversy surrounding this event continued until the assassination of Mar Eshai Shimmun in 1975.
HE KNOWS IT ALL!
The average Assyrian of today knows everything; he cannot be taught, for he knows it already. If he sees that he doesn't, then he loses interest; which attitude he might either betray by restlessness or he may be very blunt in expressing it, depending upon the level of his social culture. A man with knowledge of any kind is rarely accorded his rightful place or receives due consideration because everybody else is his equal, therefore, such a person is easily dispensable. Consequently, the latter, under such circumstances, has two alternatives either forget Assyrian society and mingle with non-Assyrians, because they have a more agreeable yardstick for the measurement of meritorious values, or withdraw into his own shell and end his life in isolation. This adverse condition is caused by no other factor then the absence of a cultured and well organized system within our society.
A nation that has no home, no recognized head and no reliable social system will not be in a position to take an inventory of its assets and much less utilize them. Geniuses will be born and lost in the very midst of the people, without the least awareness of their existence.
A nation that has no home, no recognized head and no reliable social system will not be in a position to take an inventory of its assets and much less utilize them. Geniuses will be born and lost in the very midst of the people, without the least awareness of their existence.
Individuals here and there may recognize a talent in their own way, but their opinion will not be adopted by the majority. Such a gifted person, in the majority of cases, will have one hundred against, to one or two for him, consequently the usefulness and even the fruit of his single-handed labor shall pass into oblivion.
Did not the giant Yosep Malick sacrifice his position, his income and the insurance of a life of comfort and ease in order to reveal to the world the treachery perpetrated against his people? He worked day and night to let the Fair Justice know the biter truth of how heartlessly his people were betrayed. He was expelled from one land after another because of his unselfish labor of truth. The intensity of his work, his general health failed him, gradually poverty, desolation and despair did the rest; he died a broken-hearted lonely man.
Now let us ask ourselves this question: In which one of twenty-five centers of the affiliates of the Assyrian American Federation or in which of the other Assyrian club organization or centers in the entire world do we have a bust, a picture or an inscription to commemorate the labor of love of this Son of Assyria. Of course the answer is Nowhere! Neither have we of any memorial of the other, previously mentioned, torch bearers. Decidedly the chaos in which we find ourselves robs us of everything that could help to give us some form and plan of action to our society. Indeed the condition becomes a breeding ground for all kinds of seeds of destructiveness.
You my dear reader, must wake up to the realization that because of an absence of a suitable social system we are losing our treasures, our asset; we are turning a deaf ear to the call of our wise and loving guides. We prefer the loud and treacherous call of the Confidence Artist (Charlatan). Let us seek and find the system in which every duty for which he and she are best suited.
Let us discover the system that will enable us to tear away from us those crippling characteristics that have glued themselves onto our person like a skin, s sickly skin which has developed into a second nature.
Let us listen to the voice of wisdom. There still is a lot of room for learning. No, my friend, we Don't Know it All. We need another organized social system that will be suitable and applicable to our condition.
In the foregoing pages we have endeavored to draw a picture or our shortcomings, which have developed partly because of the courses this history has taken and mainly because of our own lack of wisdom. The picture is sad and gloomy, shrouded by clouds of hopelessness, but unfortunately it is a true reflection of reality.
To this, apparently hopeless malady, we have to think of a way to gradual recovery; to prescribe a remedy that will have to be applied mildly but in a persevering and systematic manner, for the patient is not strong enough to hear the shock of drastic surgery. Having noted down the various characteristics of the ailment, the system that is hoped to reestablish healthy relations and understanding of a normal cultured society should embody the following attributes:
1. It should help us to acquire more advanced education, better cultural standards and stronger and meaningful inter-relationship.
2. It should help is to acquire discipline and orderliness in a natural, non-forceful manner.
3. It should eliminate all obstacles from the path of creation of a PEOPLE'S FUND, which is indispensable in the founding and maintenance of welfare, charity, and educational centers.
4. It should be effective in appointing every human asset to his or her suitable post.
5. In a well-organized and durable system one should not expect free service to be given for national prosperity, for free service is never long lasting, and at best very limited. Those who are generous and can afford to do so are very welcome to donate their service, partly or fully, as the cases may necessitate. Let us face the truth that charity, at best, is limited as to degree and duration; its potency is relative to the source that replenishes and sustains it. But no matter how reliable such a source may be, it can never be expected to be adequate to supply sufficiently and constantly in order to run a full scale program of such impoverished people such as Assyrians are today.
6. In the system that we have to discover, the churches should not be an impediment, to unifies effort, rather that they, too, should be an integral part of the general structure.
7. The system should never antagonize the governments of the lands in which Assyrians reside, rather awaken a respectful regard of the authorities towards their culturally and peacefully progressing minor member.
8. The system that we are seeking in expected to have the Natural Power of preventing the Progressive and the Ignored individuals from abandoning their own fold and joining the non-Assyrian society, because there they observe a non-biased discrimination, a better order for evaluation of merits.
9. We need the system in which the Confidence Artist, the Adventure, the Charlatan, the Impostor, the Hypocrites and the Wolf-in-the-Sheepskin, and all other members of that destructive clan will not have the ability to exercise their obnoxious arts. If ever such Artists, through hook or crook, manage to infiltrate, the Efficient System should be able to discover and cast them out.
10. The system has to function like a well-adjusted and well-oiled machine, working smoothly and efficiently, potentiality. The plan for such a system is drawn in Part Two of this manual.
"Assyrians of Today, Their Problems, and A Solution"
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
ASSYRIAN-AMERICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION
Sponsored by the Assyrian-American National Federation
ASSYRIAN INTERNET CONFERENCE '99
Organized by: Nineveh On-Line www.nineveh.com
MEMORIAL OF ST. EPHREM
Divine Liturgy in the Eastern Assyrian Rite (Chaldean and Malabarese)
WELCOME TO ZENDA
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ZNTM (Time Magazine)
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