Volume IV, Issue 37
Kanoon II  25, 6748                                                           January 25, 1999

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T H I S   W E E K   I N   Z E N D A

The Lighthouse The Reason for the Rogation of the Ninevites
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain  Washington Selects Opposition Groups to Receive Aid
News Digest Christian Numbers Dwindle in the Holy Land
Surfs Up "derangement verging on sheer madness"
Surfers Corner Chaldean On Line
Christian/Moslem Scholars Discuss Social Injustice in Iran
Calendar of Events Entertainment & Cultural Events
Assyrian Surfing Posts Dashna d-Seybooti:  A New Book by Odisho Bet-Barzana
Terror Campaign Against Assyrians in Northern Iraq
Alan Aldawood's Assyrian Topics

The Great City of Nineveh
Pump up the Volume Crime & Murder
Back to the Future King Sarduris of Van & Margret Gewargis
Literatus Love & Unity
This Week in History Malik Yacu d'Malik Ismael
Bravo David Warda

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



The Book of Jonah in the Old Testament is the story of a Jewish Prophet who is instructed by God to go to Nineveh and condemn the inhabitants of this city for their evil deeds.  Jonah instead runs away and boards a ship to Spain.  The ship is nearly destroyed in a sea storm, hence its passengers decide, by casting lots, that Jonah must be thrown into the sea.  A giant fish finds Jonah and swallows him.  After three days inside the fish, Jonah escapes and once again is instructed by God to go to Nineveh.  Jonah finally goes to Bet-Nahrain and preaches to the Ninevites.  The more than one hundred and twenty thousand people of Nineveh repent and God forgives their sins.

Today, every year for three days, Assyrians commemorate "the Rogation of the Ninevites" in the form of fasting and prayers.  Here's why:

There was a petitioning of the Ninevites which at the time took place as a result of the preaching of the prophet Jonah, during which they appointed a fast and clothed themselves in sackcloth, as it is written; and when God saw their repentance he turned from them the heat of his wrath and did not destroy them.

Also there is another reason for which a Rogation is observed at this time among these Assyrians: There
was a pestilence, which is called in the world “the plague”, which took place at one time in the kingdom
of the Persians, in these our lands, during the days of Mar Sabrisho, the metropolitan-bishop of Beit
Slokh. It came about because of the multitude of men’s sins, almost consuming and bringing to an end all
the men of Beit Garmai, of Assyria, and of Nineveh.

When Mar Sabrisho prayed to God because of the rod of wrath which was destroying his flock he heard
the voice of an angel saying, “Proclaim a fast and make petition, and the pestilence will be removed from
you.” At once this holy man commanded that the people of the Lord should assemble with him in all their
ranks at the house of the Lord; and on the first day of the petitioning, which was a Monday, the hand of
the destroying angel drew back, and no one was smitten. Only a few died, that is, some of those who had
been [previously] struck down and afflicted by the pestilence.

Now when the sixth day of the week arrived, which is the Day of Preparation, the people had fellowship
in the Sacrifice of the living Body and holy Blood of Christ, and by it were pardoned and sanctified.
Indeed, utterly none of those into whose bodies the corruption had spread died, not even one.

From that time, when the Church, the shepherds and their flocks, saw the mercies which had come upon
them by reason of the petitioning which they had done, they appointed and ordered that this intercession
should be done yearly, and it has continued and has been handed down and fulfilled carefully from that
time until now in these our lands. And those who ordered the petitioning commanded that a Memorial of
the fathers, the teachers, should be celebrated on the Friday of this week of the Rogation, since on the
day of this Memorial mercies were shown and the pestilence was removed.

Propers Appointed for Qurbana
Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East
The Electronic Messenger

Children's Version of Jonah's Story:  Click Here
Picture Courtesy of The Virtual Church



(ZNAP- Washington)  President Clinton has designated seven organizations opposed to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to receive U.S. support under the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998.  The act, rushed to passage by Congress before last year's elections, called for spending up to $97 million in overt military aid to Iraqi opposition groups. Clinton signed the bill last November.  While the groups can expect political and logistical support, Clinton has until later this month before he must decide about who will receive military aid.  The groups named were:

The last group is a Tehran-based coalition which dominates Shi'ite Muslim resistance to the government.  The Assyrian Democratic Movement or Zowaa maintains close ties with the Iraqi National Congress, based in London, and the two Kurdish groups- KDP & PKU- in northern Iraq.  Clinton has certified that the seven groups are committed to democratic values, human rights, Iraq's territorial integrity and peaceful relations with Iraq's neighbors.  The INA claims to have support among serving officers in the Iraqi army.  Ahmed Chalabi of INC who is wanted in Jordan for allegedly embezzling tens of millions of dollars from the Petra Bank he managed, has welcomed his group's designation. The SCIRI's Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim, however, rejected the offer and criticized US policy on Iraq, saying it did not take into account that "the real party responsible for change is the Iraqi people, including the real opposition forces."  The other groups had not made their decision at press time.

Last Thursday, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright appointed Frank Ricciardone, a career diplomat now serving in Ankara, Turkey to coordinate the opposition groups to Saddam Hussein.  Meanwhile Iraq continues to beef up its defenses and challenge the legality of "no-fly" zones by flying its warplanes into these zones.



The following are excerpts from a series of articles printed this month in Boston Globe by Staff Writer, Charles M. Sennott.

The exodus of Christians from the Holy Land poses grave political consequences. In an age of rising Islamic and Jewish fundamentalism, the Christians have provided a buffer against intolerance by demanding that the rights of their religious minority be protected. Their dwindling numbers in the Holy Land raise concerns that if they vanish, pluralism will too.

The Christian community in the Holy Land has witnessed an exodus that began in earnest about 100 years ago and has steadily continued to the present.  The Christian presence in what is now modern Israel and the disputed West Bank and Jerusalem has dropped from as much as 20 percent of the population in the early part of this century to no more than 2 percent today. Even in Nazareth and Bethlehem, where for centuries Christians were an overwhelming majority, they now comprise less than one-third the population.

The effect is more devastating in small villages, many of which are among the world's oldest Christian communities. In the West Bank hamlet of Berkain, where according to biblical tradition Jesus healed a colony of lepers, there were 500 Christians in 1948. Today, there are fewer than 25.

In the shadow of Mount Tabor, in the village of Na'in where Jesus is believed to have raised a widow's son from the dead, there are no more Christians. A Muslim family opens the church for tourists.

In Jerusalem, the Christian population has declined from 45,000 in 1940 to under 10,000 today. Just steps from the Old City path on which Jesus carried the cross, a bishop tells of a recent sparsely attended funeral of an elderly parishioner.  Crushing political, economic, and social pressures have pushed tens of thousands of Palestinian Christian families to emigrate to the United States, Latin America, Australia, and Europe in the last half century.

Palestinian Christians live mostly in Nazareth and the small villages of the Galilee. They complain that they are viewed by Israelis as indistinguishable from Palestinian Muslims and have suffered under Israeli rule.  Within Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian Christians are concentrated in Bethlehem and scattered throughout the West Bank. They say they are viewed suspiciously as non-Muslim and treated as outcasts amid the creeping Islamic influence of Palestinian society.  More Christian Palestinians live abroad than in the Holy Land.  Christians emigrate at four times the rate of Muslims.

According to a recent Palestinian census, 2.8 million Palestinians live in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem - territory captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War. There are only 45,000 Christians there today which means that Christians make up about 1.8 percent of the population.

The Christians' traditional economic strength, higher levels of education and links to Western churches have helped them emigrate to cities like Boston, Detroit, London, Toronto, and Melbourne.  Statistics show that the remaining Christians tend to be elderly, poor, and female.  ''The biggest issue for Christians is the brain drain,'' says Columbia professor and Palestinian Christian Edward Said. ''The ones left behind are increasingly the powerless and the poor.''

Uri Mor, the director of Christian community relations in the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs claims that there are "thousands of applications of [West Bank] Christians who want to become citizens of Israel.  That is because they don't want to live under Arafat's government. They know what will be the future.''  When asked if he believes that Christians within Israel and parts of the West Bank still under Israeli control are afforded equal rights, he said, ''I will not say there are no problems.''

Christian leaders have complained loudly about the unequal disbursement of government funding, in particular the Religious Affairs Ministry's budget. Arab Israeli citizens, who make up nearly 20 percent of Israel, pay the same taxes as other Israelis yet receive only 1.5 percent of the funding. With most of the money going to the Muslim majority, Christians end up with a small fraction of the funding.

Many Palestinian Christians fought alongside their Muslim compatriots in the intifadah, but the Christians were often suspected of being aligned with the West and therefore sympathizers with Israel.   Palestinian Authority President Arafat has actively condemned religious intolerance. He has long cultivated Christian support for the Palestinian cause and frequently invokes references to the church spires of the Old City along with the minarets when he speaks of reclaiming Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. His wife is Christian.  But Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi says that Arafat, like Netanyahu, faces religious extremist forces within his government.  Ashrawi, one of the most powerful Christians in the new government, recently resigned from her post in Arafat's cabinet. She is tough and independent. But she adamantly denies that there is any persecution of Christians under the Palestinian Authority despite ''deliberate attempts by Israel to create this impression.''


"You are still holding your finger on the Assyrian pulse. Good job!  Jeboo!"


"The articles appearing in your so called magazine (dear me), newspaper, seem to be symptom of some
sort of deranegemnet verging on sheer madness, like most of clap trap relating to these Assyrian sites lack intellectual through put, if you are sick why do not seek medical treatment, or perhaps read the most suitable book for your health, the one by the illusteriou Don Miguel de Cervantes, with title of Don Quixod(Don Qui Jote, de Lamanch), all has been lost, the homeland is emptied, is being emptied, in short life is a bore fortune is whore, most trash put by you people is, if not out right lies; but is inaccurate, do wake up, or grow up!

Maxime Rozanoff

Dr. David Perley, a founder of the Assyrian American National Federation, in 1973 made the following remarks:

Don Quixote sang in joy that his only guiding star was his Quest, where to win or lose becomes immaterial.  What is material however, is that he follow the Quest both as a matter of duty and as a matter of privilege.  What gleam of hope may we have, yo may ask further?  That gleam of hope I find in the statement of the late William B. Ziff, who declared: "The Assyrian Past "is a record in which the downtrodden Assyrian remnants can find a bright gleam of hope for the future.  For the sacred fire of the great creative genius is buried in the wombs of these women and will one day burst forth again in the persons of children perhaps yet unborn."

The Knight-errant of Cervantes had but one dream- to follow his Quest no matter how impossible his Dream- to follow the Star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how unreachable.  To fight for the Right, he was willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause.


It belongs in the city which was built to music, and therefore never built at all, and therefore built forever.
Assyria will never die?  This is my ultimate "passion."

"...I do read ZENDA all the time. It is my only source of information about Assyrians around the world.  Again thank yo for providing this resource."

Joseph E. Tamo
Little Rock, Arkansas

"To Francis Sarguis:  Keep in mind we are still following the Kurd move toward our recognition and freedom.  Instead of they should ask us for permission in their establishment. The British and Zionist are still playing their ugly unfair towards Assyrian Chaldean nation.  Thank you for your article.

Michael Benjamin



In an effort to present the history and heritage of the Chaldean church and its Assyrian followers in Mesopotamia, the staff of al-Muntada magazine (published in Detroit, Michigan) have completed a site "Chaldeans On Line" (Click Here) that we hope will serve that purpose.

Hence, we would like to invite you and your readers to pay our site a visit.

Thank you for taking the time to visit our site and making it available to your readers.

Ghassan Hanna


When a group of Christian and Muslim scholars met in Iran recently, the opening question showed how far apart they were. But the conversation soon showed up some common concerns...the Organisation of
Islamic Culture and Communications was hosting six of us brought together by the Centre for the Study of Islam at Selly Oak in Birmingham (United Kingdom), was some measure that things were opening up. President Khatami had been elected in 1997, bringing a period of political change. This change could not adequately be described as "liberalising" or "modernising" though; it remained predominantly in a Muslim idiom and it was subtle.

[At the] formal opening ceremony of a Christian-Muslim seminar on social justice and poverty from a
scriptural perspective, the Anglican bishop Iraj Mottahedeh read out a message from the Archbishop of Canterbury before a large audience that included leaders of all the religious minorities, Protestant, Armenian, Jewish and Zoroastrian.  Several of those present and their churches had suffered greatly in
the early years of the revolution.

Yet the relationship between Christianity and Islam in Iran was ambiguous.  The Iranians felt that they had achieved an unusual degree of integration.

In our own dialogue there were frustrations built into the process of bringing together the intellectual tradition of the Muslim religious seminaries and that of Western academic theology. The deductive method of the Muslim thinkers - deriving all arguments from Muslim sacred texts and first principles - required the methods of medieval disputation to rebut.  Social, economic and political issues did not earn the same degree of scrutiny from the ayatollahs as they do from Western Christian
theologians;  they left such matters to economic "planners".

Following an admission from the Christian participants that a range of views was represented on our side, the leading representatives of Shiite Islam, Ayatollah Muhammad Khamenei and Ayatollah Muhammad Hadi Marefat, made it clear that not everyone on the Iranian side agreed with each other either. Nowhere was this more clear than on the issue of the role of women. All women present - and there were fewer than 10 - wore regulation black, a full dress covering the ankles, in contrast to the more relaxed style
visible on the street, with headscarves worn well back.

The Muslim women were particularly interested in the behaviour of Jesus towards women as related in the Christian scriptures, though none of them spoke until after a paper on Catholic Social Teaching which described the evolution in papal thinking about the gender issue - despite Pope John Paul II's hard line against the ordination of women, he has over the last 10 years laid increasing stress on the dignity and equality of women. The frustration of one or two of them with contemporary Iranian society was evident. It may well be that Iranian women will represent the most effective pressure for change in Iranian Shiite Islam. As we gained height over Tehran - Lufthansa thoughtfully avoids Iraqi airspace - there was not
a headscarf to be seen.

Ian Linden
The Independent, 23 January 1999

Ian Linden is the Director of the Catholic Institute for International Relations.



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

Jan 30

Free Billiards from 8 to 10:30 PM
Featuring DJ William
Mr. Pockets at 221 Mickleham Road
7:00 PM
Admission:  $8 before 10 PM, $10 after 10 PM
Dress:  Smart Casual

Feb 6 - May 5

A presentation of 140 artifacts excavated in the 1920's by Sir Leonard Woolley at the 5000-year-old Sumerian site.

Frank H. McClung Museum

Mar 13

Conducted by Mastro Nabu Issabey
An Assyrian American Association of San Jose Event
Also: an honorary award presentation to a renowned Assyrian singer
Santa Clara Convention Center Theater
5001 Great America Parkway
8:00 PM (SHARP)
Tickets:   $ 20.00     To purchase your tickets call:
Nancy Isaac:       408-229-2100          Josephine Malhem:  408-323-1816
John Khangaldy:  408-978-8743          Ramina Ziyeh:        408-448-6225
No Tickets will be sold at the door.


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

Links to Other Assyrian Websites

Dashna d-Seybooti:  A New Book by Odisho Bet-Barzana
Terror Campaign Against Assyrians in Northern Iraq
Alan Aldawood's Assyrian Topics
The Great City of Nineveh


 Crime of the Century:  masklanoota d'dora
Investigating A Murder:  mbasyanoota d' kha getdla 


BC (745)

King Sarduris of Van (in Turkey) prepares to attack the cities of Ashur and Nineveh.  Due to internal weakness of the central government in Nineveh, cities such as Ashur had by this time broken away from Nineveh and a civil war was raging in Assyria.  At this time, a revolution overthrew the weakened Assyrian monarch and a military general, Tiglath-Pillasar III, became the new Assyrian ruler.  He re-organized his army and secured the northern and southern frontiers of the Assyrian empire.  He then attacked Van, ravaged the country over a space of 450 miles, and massacred its inhabitants, including its ruler- Sarduris.

The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume III

AD (1969)

The Assyrian freedom fighter, Margret Gewargis, is killed in combat.

Assyrians-A Great Nation with No Homeland, David Sam David



The progressive nations who have powerful standing governments, do not depend upon love for the implementation of their laws and order, rather on the efficiency of a well organized and disciplinary system.  But as we have mentioned more than once, our case is unique; there is not one like it.  We have no government to enforce its laws; we have no land where such an act of enforcement could be carried out.  If there were to arise another Hammurabba today, and if he were to receive the Code of Law from the hands of the Almighty again, we would profit by it as much or as little as an experienced helmsman would from his beautiful and well-built ship in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

Let us repeat once more: we are scattered all over the globe; we have been shopped into pieces by our religious sentiments; we have not the smallest piece of land that we may call our own; we have no political leadership recognized by majority; we have no funds oa any kind ot support our educational and welfare activities, which are at a pitifully low level.

What is worst of all is that with all the foregoing handicaps we pride ourselves in imitating the advanced societies with our sham progressive activities such as our annual conventions celebrated in top-most class of hotels, our honorary awards, our pompous dinners, our senseless and useless radio programs, our election of man or lady of the year etc., etc.  All these gaudy activities are nothing but a coat of thin bright paint on the boards of a coffin of which the contents are decomposing rapidly and radiating repulsive odors.

William Daniel
"Assyrians of Today, Their Problem and a Solution", 1969



January 25, 1974:  Malik Yacu d'Malik Ismael dies at age 80.  Revered as a national hero, Malik Yacu led the Assyrian troops during the two World Wars.


David Warda

David Warda originally trained for a career in theater receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater Design from Wayne State University.  he also did post-graduate work in make-up design,, computer graphics and photography from the University of Cincinnati.

He has owned a variety of "image" related businesses including Mr. Iggy and Botts Ltd., an eclectic gallery of design featuring his own line of clothing; D for Design, an award winning visual merchandising firm and David Ward/Image Artist specializing in make-up, hair, wardrobe consultation, photography and graphic design services for the performer.

He is presently on the faculty at the School for Creative and Performing Arts, where he teaches costume design.

This year David Ward introduced his first foray into writing: "Assyrian Cookery:  Foods That Outlasted A Civilization."  Warda is not only responsible for the writing but also the stunning visual design of the book.  He brings to the project his intense pride in his Assyrian ethnicity, his outstanding skills as a cook, and his brilliant visual approach.

To order David Warda's book call:  (513) 681-5900 or email: dwia@cyberusa.com.



This Week's Contributors:
in alphabetical order

Rita Pirayou California Good Morning Bet-Nahrain

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