Volume V            Issue 24
Tdabaakh 23, 6749                                                                     August 23, 1999

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T H I S    W E E K    I N    Z E N D A

The Lighthouse Parents, Youth , and Rock'n Roll
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain Chaldean Bishop Appeals for End to Baghdad Bombing
News Digest Assyrians Massacres Commemorated in Europe
Surfs Up "Shall we go back to the silence?"
Surfers Corner Assyrian Association Aides Turkey's Quake Victims
Assyrian Surfing Posts Barsom Malke
History of the Christians in Iran (Book)
The Patriarchs of the Church of the East, 15th to 18 Centu's
Pump up the Volume Editor & Journalist
Back to the Future The Phoenician Alphabet & Mar Jacob of Nisibin
Literatus Ya Nishra d'Tkhumee
Bravo Marganita Vogt-Khofri
This Week in History Assyrian Recruits in the Russian Army
Calendar of Events September 1999

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


Ishtar Gate at Babylon, Iraq



I know that I am treading on shaky ground when tackling the issue of conflicts that arise between the parents and the youth.  But I believe that it is one of importance, and a great deal of attention needs to be paid to it.  Obviously I won't be speaking of the positive side of the parent-youth relationship; I will be more concerned with the conflicts that arise, and what results from them.  I should also state that it might seem to be siding with the youth- my apologies to the parents, but this stand is necessary for the point that I am trying to establish.

There are many conflicts that arise between the Assyrian parents and youth.  I am not speaking of armed conflicts; I am simply referring to conflicts of ideas.  They are expected, and it is highly logical that they should occur.  As youth, the values and ethics that we are becoming accustomed to through our interaction with the western culture, differs greatly from what our parents are used to.

Two issues I'll try to tackle here, and by no means will I be finalising the discussions on either.  I would be more than happy to hear other opinions on the matters raised.  My main concerns are the issues of premarital relationships, and the issue of career choice.

When I speak of premarital relationships, I am not referring to sexual relationships- the issue of sex is another conflict that greatly complicates socialising within our community.  I hope to discuss it another time.  Premarital relationships are becoming a necessity within our community.  Why are they a necessity?  Because no matter how traditional we are, we are still affected by the culture that surrounds us.  The values of the Assyrian culture are only experienced on occasions - at parties, during Sunday mass, and so on - which are not enough to force a person to accept them.  We cannot deny the fact that we have become more critical of the person we chose to spend our life with.  So these change of values, and the conflicts that arise are influencing the new generation of Assyrians.  I think that our culture needs to be a bit more flexible and understanding of this.

I will take a small detour just to see where these new values originate.  Well, they are all around us, but the main source comes from the media.  The way couples are portrayed in films, advertising, and television.  The lyrics of songs are about how one person loves the other.  All these sources paint a picture that we take as reality.  Even if we don't take it as reality, we try to fit reality into it.  And I believe that we end up with a misconception of what is important, and what is not.

If we look into the issue of premarital relationships, we realise that there is not much that is wrong with it.  Even when the question is put to parents, I don't believe a very adequate answer is given.  There is nothing wrong with the idea of Assyrian males and females getting involved in premarital relationships.  I think a change in our conception of this issue needs to be taken promptly.

Now to the issue of career choice:  the path that we choose for our life is highly influenced by the ideologies of our parents.  Sadly, sometimes these ideologies are forced upon us in the means of persuasion, or manipulation.  The ideas that the older generations of Assyrians hold vastly differ from those held by the new generation of Assyrians.  Again it comes back to the westernising process, which takes a greater toll on the Assyrian youth than the older generations of Assyrians.

A new concept of what is important is bestowed upon the Assyrian youth.  They are caught between two opposing forces of opinions, which tend to leave them bemused, and without a clear perception of their own objectives.

I choose to tackle these two issues because they have touched me personally.  I don't think that I am the only Assyrian who has felt the pressure of such ideologies that run through our culture.  But we, the Assyrian youth, cannot blame it on our parents or their parents.  If we take a look at ourselves, we realise that we are adding to the fire that is burning us.  We tend to condemn cultural doctrines, which we accept and live by.

The issues that I have raised in this article are two of the many problems we face.  They are limiting our choices, and consequently leaving us in a state of depression.  Due to this many are escaping the culture.  But many can't and many won't.

Sennacherib Warda

Courtesy of Nakosha Magazine, July 1999 [nakosha@hotmail.com]



(ZNZT: Vatican) Iraq lives in daily fear of the bombs launched by Anglo-American aerial incursions. Recently, the French government also protested against the attacks, which have killed numerous civilians. This week, Archbishop Emmanel Karim Delly, Episcopal Vicar of the Baghdad Chaldean Patriarchy, made a dramatic appeal on Vatican Radio. "As an Iraqi citizen, I strongly protest the bombings against Iraqis. Our nation wants to live in peace. These bombings are the continuation of a war that ended a long time ago. How can we live like this? We do not know when the English and U.S. planes will drop their bombs. Meanwhile, children continue to die, as there is a lack of medicines. We cry out: do everything you can to remove the embargo from us."

Courtesy of Zenit News Agency, August 22.



(ZNDA: Germany)   On August 7th in Wiesbaden's Kreuz Kirche (church) a Mass (RAZA) was offered by the Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa).  After the church service, 20 participants gathered at the Viva Vollkost Restaurant to listen to lectures on the background history of the Semel Massacre.  Mr. Aryo, President of the ADM-Germany offered a speech on the relevance of this day to today's Assyrian political situation.

Elsewhere in Holland, the Dutch Assyrian Society of Woudenberg-Netherlands - for the first time, organized a similar program to commemorate The August 7th.   The speakers were Mr. Hermez Izhak, the master of ceremonies;  Mr. Schlimon Hadad, Society president; Mr. Audisho Adam; and Ms. Adrin Takhsh from Germany. After a coffee break, Ms. Nina Gorgis read the poem, Agarta, written by Mr. Ninos Nirary.  A film about the Assyrians in northern Iraq was then shown and a poem was read by Ms.  Iris Peara.  The program in Holland was attended by about 70 Assyrians.


"Criticism is a very good tool to aim correcting the incorrect, that could happen for social, religious and political lives. Even the movie industries have certain groups who's job is to criticize the productions scientifically for the sake of better results for the society and the market. Therefore in our Assyrian community, criticizing does not mean hate or fighting certain target or subject. Hence the aim of a criticism is to show a better and most needed direction than the current. In the civilized world, the groups whom are criticized come back and reply the source of criticism, they accompany that with some answers and or defend what they believe on or they make certain adjustments to accommodate that, i.e. in the civilized world there are no reasons for complete silence, so the communications continues as far as required. That is how they keep their lives alive.

Any person who wrote a correspondence to any US Congressman/woman, Senators or even the President, always the reply was issued in a high level manner. We all know that the above respected civilized responsible persons represent the only super power nation on the face of this earth. To reinforce my Article is to bring some examples, in the past I personally and many other Assyrians wrote letters to his Holiness Pope Shanuda the III and to his Holiness Moron Mor Zakka, the presidents of Assyrian and Chaldean federations, and also reacted some concerns of mine, which I believed many Assyrians share that, through some criticism on certain subjects, in all of that there were no replies and no defend to the subjects rose at a time.

Now, what are the reasons behind that, is it the shyness or laziness or ignoring or inability or escaping from the truth? or is it some thing to do with culture or they do not give values to the opinion of people? or they do not simply care or they think they have the chairs or are they under control of the unknown?

At the end, regretfully I can not speculate and chose a reason from the above, naturally I have no specific answer to my questions, do you? Shall we go back to the silence? I think it is not a good idea, we need to be alive as long as we are above the ground."

Kaiser Shahbaz

"I have received 2 emails about some "very important" meeting in USA, where some Assyrians were to meet an "important" governmental person in Washington.  But, ("luckily" in my view), they were not received by the govermental-person, because the Assyrians arrived with two delegates, and not one of them attended the meeting.

The last letter I received was signed by the three Assyrian organisations:

1. Assyrian Democratic Movement
2. Assyrian Democratic Organisation
3. Assyrian Universal Alliance

All of them claimed that the fault is on Beth-Nahrin Democratic Party that they didn't attend the meeting. I ask those three parties - Is Sargon Dadisho not an Assyrian ?

We usual assyrians are now waiting for the answer from Beth-Nahrin Democratic Party.  Of course the fault is by the ...

I want to ask some questions of all these Assyrian parties:

When are you going to stop playing behind the Assyrian people?  Why do YOU want to meet American & European Politicians when you don't have the REAL mandate to do it?  What do you want to say to these authorities ?  Why don't you make something better among your people?  Are YOU afraid that they will not elect you to be the representatives of these people ?

Ahiqar Barsom



39 Chemin du Canou – 31790 Saint-Jory France
FAX + 05-61-57-59-58

Toulouse, 20 August 1999

Hon. Consul Gakeen
Turkish Consulate
Marseilles, France

Dear Sir,

We are sorrowed by the disaster which has befallen our Turkish brethren, and we cannot remain unmoved by this terrible tragedy.

Pursuant to our phone conversation and as per your instructions, yesterday our organization approved sending a shipment consisting of 297 boxes of medical supplies, including brand medicines, oxygen masks, syringes, surgical tape and gloves, cotton and other disposable, antiseptic solutions, and the like.

The shipment was made yesterday from my residence at 283 avenue de Fronton, 31100 Toulouse. As you can see from the enclosure, the carrier Societe de Transport T.S 2M will deliver these to the airport in Nice. We entrust your honorable office to assure follow-up of the shipment to its final destination.

We send you our good wishes and respectful greetings,

Joseph Rayes
President of A.A.F.


The following article, written by Queena Sook Kim, appeared in the Modesto Bee newspaper on August 16, 1999.

Walk by the Old Tyme Bakery [in Turlock] almost any morning and you'll find 20 men sitting on the patio, drinking tea and chatting.

They aren't part of a club nor members of a 12-step program. They are Assyrian expatriates who gather at the bakery for one reason:

"We used to do this at our home," said Andoul Khomari, 57, who has lived in Turlock for 20 years. By "home," Khomari means Iran.

Cafe culture is relatively new to the Old Tyme Bakery -- it added a cafe three years ago. But it's an age-old ritual in the Middle East.

"We come here to talk about what we did yesterday, what we are going to do today," Khomari said. In other words, they hang out ... from around 6:30 a.m. to noon.

Men only

While most of the patrons inside the cafe are women, the patio contingent is conspicuously male.

No offense, but this is a guy thing.

"American women don't cook, they come here to eat and they work outside the home," said 73-year-old Raymond Khubiai. "But our women cook every meal and take care of the kids. They don't have time to come here."

In Iran, even when women have time, they rarely go to cafes, Khubiai said. But he wouldn't venture an opinion as to why.

"I don't know, that's the culture," he said. The men sitting next to him -- their hair thinning or turned white -- shrugged.

Khubiai and about a dozen of his friends sat side-by-side with their backs to the cafe window. They watched cars whiz by on Geer Road more than they looked at each other. They faced each other only when the conversation evolved into an argument.

"My peppers are bigger than yours," said Khomari, translating part of the conversation of three men speaking in Aramaic.

"He is saying, 'Well, my tomatoes are bigger than yours.' See, he's showing how big his tomatoes are." said Khomari pointing to a man displaying an imaginary tomato as big as a cantaloupe.

Tea, not coffee

The mainstay of American cafes is coffee -- Old Tyme offers a variety. But in Iran, people drink tea.

"They sell only one kind of tea, not coffee, and you smoke from the Qhalyoon," said Khubiai referring to Middle Eastern stand-up water pipes that are used to smoke tobacco. On the table next to Khubiai is a mug stuffed with trash: a tea bag, sugar wrappers and cigarette butts.

"In Iran, they give you cubes of sugar with the tea," added Khomari. "You it put on your tongue while you drink the tea. Even here, when you go to a friend's house, they will give you the same thing."

Khubiai gave a short history of his life in Iran, including the cafe culture. He was a truck driver and covered a route crisscrossing the Middle East and Eastern Europe. But in 1979, when the fundamentalist Islamic government took over Iran, Khubiai fled to the United States. The new government persecuted people who did not abide by Islamic law, Khubiai said: A problem for Assyrians who are mostly Christians.

It was good, then

"We lived on a street with Assyrians, Turks, Iranians, Armenians. ... We spoke four or five different languages and everyone lived together with no problems," Khubiai said. "Only the revolution changed the situation and we could not live there.

"(In the cafes) you could order anything you like: food, fruit, music," Khubiai said. "They had dancing."

Even though Iran was an Islamic country before the revolution, alcohol was easily available.

"Puh," Khubiai said waving his hand. "Hundreds of different kinds. But everything has changed, so I don't like talking about it."

The memories make him miss Iran, Khubiai said.

"Before the revolution we would not have come here," Khubiai said. "We like Iran and we had good livings."

And the United States?

'God loves America'

"Who am I, it doesn't matter what I like or don't like," Khubiai said. "But God loves America. God gave everything to the U.S., and that matters more."

Khubiai's children -- two sons and two daughters -- have embraced America's culture and a fast-paced life, he said.

"There are no young men here," Khubiai said. "Almost everybody is 65 years. In Iran, on rest days the young men go to cafes to eat and drink. But here, my sons go some place with their families or they work. Even in the middle of the night, they call them to work."

Khubiai doubted that younger Assyrian-American men would take his place at the cafe. As Khubiai and his friends pass on, so will that part of their culture.

"But I'm not sad," Khubiai said. "I told you that I've been to many places and America is the best country in the world. Here there are many things for young people to do."


Assyrian Chatrooms and Online Bulletin Boards
Assyria Web Chat
Assyrian Forum
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Links to Other Assyrian Websites

Barsom Malke
History of the Christians in Iran (Book)
The Patriarchs of the Church of the East from the 15th to 18 Centuries


Masculine Editor of ZENDA:  
rishsayoomeh d'zenda
Masculine  Newspaper Journalist (fem.):  
galyoneta d'sparzowna 


BC (1050)

An alphabet created by Phoenicians planted the roots of other writing systems in the eastern Mediterranean, including Syriac script.  Modern Assyrian alphabet (Neo-Aramaic) is a latter form of this alphabet.

The Power of Writing, National Geographic, August 1999.

AD (308)

Mar Jacob is appointed the first bishop of Nisibin, on the border of the Roman and Persian Empires.  By 320 Bishop Jacob oversaw the construction of a church.  Five years later he participated in the Council of Nicea and brought back the Nicene Christianity to Nisibin.

Journal of the Assyrian Academic Society, Vol XII, No 1 (Jan 1999).  Christian Division in Ancient Edessa..., Tina Shepardson


August 30, 1914  :   Assyrian recruits join the Russian army in fighting the Ottoman troops.  The first such Assyrian armed force was led by the Russian general, Sazanov.


Dr. Fraidoun Atouraya (1891-1925)


 O' Eagle of Tkhumee ruler of the sky
 Spread out your wings to Tyaryee fly
 From Urmi to Mosul and both of Barvaree
 To help Assyria our ancient nation
 Let's land in Mosul offer our prayer
 For our people and their salvation
 O! mighty traveler wayward away
 Glide forth no waiver nor delay
 Visit the burials of past martyrs
 Those who to Atour devoted their life
 Let's salute their ways and great deeds
 Swear devotion to their creed
 When we arrive at the given spot
 O! eagle of Assyria and the greater Zab
 Drop me on the cliffs, merciless rocks
 To Atour my nation sacrifice my life
 On the shores of Zab old as Ahure, let me fall
 Bury my remains as one who sacrificed all
Dr. Freidoun Atouraya

Translation from Assyrian by William Mooshabad Warda.



Marganita Vogt-Khofri was born in Kermanshah, Iran, in 1952. She was raised in a family where music and art were a dominant part of everyday life. She started taking piano lessons at the Conservatorium of Music in Tehran when she was in the fourth grade. She continued her schooling in Tehran. But then she went to the United States and finished her high school at a Catholic college. There she started singing spiritual songs accompanied by guitar, and also learned to play this instrument professionally.

Upon returning to Iran, Marganita resumed her studies at the university of Tehran, majoring in Music. Here she earned her Master's Degree in Piano, Opera and Musicology. When she was eighteen years old Marganita began to sing at the Tehran Opera House. This continued through her college years and beyond for twelve years. Further, being a member in the Assyrian Folkloric Dancing Troupe, which was under the management of Raabi Lily Tamraz, Maggie was assigned by the Ministry of Culture in the Arts to go to Cannes, France, to participate in the Arts Festival of the Folkloric Music and Dances of different nations. She was later appointed director of the Women’s Conservatorium of Tehran and managed the academy efficiently for many years, rendering valuable services in the field of music in Iran. Meanwhile, she continued her musical activities with an Assyrian group of talented performers and musicians: Joseph Malik, Shubert Khodabandi and Johnny Khangaldi, in a renowned quartet called Sirinas Quartet (“singing bird quartet”), promoting Assyrian Spiritual and social songs based on Advanced musical arrangements that were accepted and acclaimed by academic circles. On many occasions the group was invited by foreign cultural centers in residence in Iran, such as the German Institute of  Goethe and the Denmark and Dutch cultural centers.

Many concerts were successfully arranged by the Assyrian Youth Cultural Organization and the Assyrian University Graduate Association of Tehran, creating a fine cultural impact on listeners that lingers in the memories to this day. The Sirinas Quartet produced a tape of Christmas songs which is enjoyed by Assyrian families to the present time.

In 1984. Marganita, her husband Edwin Vogt and two children moved to Zurich, Switzerland where they have continued to live. Their son Ilbroon is a freshman in college and their daughter Anokina is a High school and a pianist. Both speak Assyrian, Persian, English, German and French very well. Marganita sings in the Grand Choir of St. George Cathedral with the Symphony Orchestra in Zurich as well as in the Opera Choir in Zurich. She is also a member of the Bach Singers Society. In addition, she also gives piano lessons to students. Marganita is a very devoted Assyrian who, among other things, does volunteer work for Karitas, which is a branch of the International Red Cross in Switzerland, helping Assyrians and Iranians and other people from the Middle East to process their papers for immigration, principally to Canada and the Untied States.

Paulus Khofri

Courtesy of Nineveh Magazine, Vol 22, #1&2 [P.O. Box 2620, Berkeley, CA 94702]


Sept 1-6

Sponsored by the Assyrian-American National Federation
For complete schedule of events and entertainment CLICK HERE (new)
Hotel Reservations:  Los Angeles Airport Hilton & Towers:  Map
5711 Century Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90045
(310) 410-4000 or 1(800) HILTONS

Sept 1
Delegates Registration ~ 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. San Lorenso, Suite A, 2nd floor
Bazaar 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. Alexander’s Lobby Level
Open House Reception 8:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. The Hilton Gardens
Sept 4

Organized by: Nineveh On-Line www.nineveh.com
The 66th Assyrian National Convention
11:00 AM to 4:00 PM 

Jan 28,

Divine Liturgy in the Eastern Assyrian Rite (Chaldean and Malabarese)
Basilica of St Cecilia in Trastevere



This Week's Contributors:
in alphabetical order

 Dr. George Kiraz
 New Jersey
Assyrian Surfing Posts 
 Adrin Takhsh
News Digest 

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