Volume V                Issue 14
Yaar 24, 6749                                                                              May 24, 1999

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T H I S  W E E K I N  Z E N D A

The Lighthouse Assyrians of Armenia
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain Drought in Northern Bet-Nahrain
Pope will Visit Iraq in 2000
News Digest Chaldean Family Killed in Detroit Store Shooting
Stolen Assyrian Relief Located in London
Surfs Up "example of cronyism, buffoonery, and backwardness"
Surfers Corner Wanted:  Photo of Ashurbanipal Monument
Assyrians Arrested in Cuba
Apologizing for the Crusades
Message in the Bottle Ashoor S.D.
Assyrian Surfing Posts Voice of Tur Abdin
The Assyrian Legacy & the City of Harpout
Near Eastern Think Tank:  Oxford University
Mor Athanasius Yeshue Samuel
Kingdom of Osroene
Pump up the Volume Desperate & Cautious
Back to the Future Alexander in Babylon & Shapur's Siege of Nisibin
Literatus Ta Chin Chiao
This Week in History George Aprim Hoyen
Bravo Jeff Moorad- the Assyrian "Jerry Maquire"
Calendar of Events 1999 Assyrian State Convention of California
ACNC '99
Khudra May 1999

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



In 1828 about 100 Assyrian families settled down in Armenia. Today, most of their descendants live in four villages of Verin Dvin, Dimitrovo, Arzni and Shahiryar.  The desire to study the Assyrian language and to preserve our national culture was never extinguished for the Assyrians of Armenia. As of 1970, the flames were rekindled. Through the efforts of some Assyrian patriots, we regained the option of studying the Assyrian language in schools where the student population is preponderantly Assyrian.

One of the founders of this Assyrian movement was Lev Mikhailovich Sargizov. Assyrians in Armenia benefited in many other ways thanks to the tireless efforts of this activist and patriot. He would later became the first President of the Assyrian Association "Atour" in Armenia, which was found in 1989. By then, official statistics indicate that our Assyrian population exceeded 10,000. Lev Sargizov's contributions are seminal, in that they furnished the first impetus for the subsequent creation of the Assyrian language study program. This was one of several firsts made possible through his energetic work. Unfortunately for all of us, Sargizov died in 1993. No doubt you are all familiar with the difficult political and economical situation which has prevailed in Armenia. Inevitably, these personal hardships have distracted the attention of Assyrians from problems of vital importance for their identity. Frankly, it has enabled illiterate persons whose preoccupation is greed to assume leading positions in the Assyrian Association. I am sorry to say that their vision and their actions could not be further from the lofty ideals espoused by Sargizov, and it has been agonizing to bear witness to the dismantling of the edifice which had been created by this patriot. In 1995 I became Vice-President of the Assyrian Association "Atour". It quickly became apparent that I would be unable to advance the Assyrian cause while in that position. Consequently, I left this post with the intent of forging ahead by separate avenue.

At first, I was working alone; people with lost hope did not believe it possible we could make a difference for the better. Most Assyrians who cared also felt that our so-called "leaders" would never allow us to do this work. But although they erected several obstacles to my efforts, we persevered in our effort to strengthen Assyrian language study.

In 1997, we reached a new plateau. The Armenian Ministry of Education has made the introduction of the Assyrian language program official and mandatory in these select communities. Most significantly, the policy was established in concert with us, thereby assuring us of quality control in Assyrian language instruction. As the lead person in this effort, I must present a one-year Education Plan to the Ministry of Education for confirmation. The failure to submit such a plan will immediately terminate our effort to provide Assyrian language instruction. Following approval by the Education Ministry, this plan will be tantamount to the official charter of the schools where Assyrians study (in three villages Verin Dvin, Demitrovo and Arzni).

In 1998, an Assyrian language class was opened in Yerevan. This work is also carried out with sanction of the Ministry of Education. This was a first step in our broader plan for an Educational Program. However, the lack of finances had stymied us and it threatened complete collapse of the program. Since August 1998 I have feverishly sought to establish contacts with foreign Assyrian organizations in search of financial support. But foreign Assyrian organizations have been deaf and silent. Frankly, I had abandoned hope. It was my intention finally to accept reality and (with great reluctance) to end language instruction following the New Year holidays.

It was really by chance that finally I succeeded in connecting with one group of diaspora Assyrians. Their initial support led me to believe that all is not lost, and there is reason to carry on. The moral support and personal efforts of these newly-found friends has renewed my desire to move ahead with efforts to save the class.

Today, I do not stand alone. Sonya Alekseeva and the parents of children who study at this Assyrian class are an important part of the whole. And at last, I can imagine the fulfillment of this project thanks to the help and support of overseas Assyrians, the Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock, and other Armenian Assyrians. I could not have continued my work if not for the support of all of these people. And it is a fact that our children in Armenia would not begin the study of their Mother Tongue but for the critical financial support of the Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock. On behalf of myself and Assyrian activists of Armenia, I want to express my appreciation to all who gave support, moral or financial, throughout this ordeal. It is my hope that those who refused to believe, or who declined to help, will reconsider their position and join with us. We pray God for the strength needed to justify your trust in us.

Irina Sagradova-Gasparyan
President of Assyrian Youth Center "Ashour"

The following letter was written by Ms. Sagradova-Gasparyan to acknowledge the financial assistance recently provided by the Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock.  Mr. Ramin Odisho is the current president of the AACCOT.

Turlock, California

Dear Mr. Ramin Odisho,

All Assyrians of Armenia and I would like to express our sincere gratitude to your organization for the timely help and support it has given us.

Although such an outcome is the result of hard work by many people, we especially wish to signal our gratitude to the efforts of Mr. Martin David of your organization. He has been steadfast in his conviction that the mother tongue is at the heart of our identity. We certainly share in that belief.

As the President of AACCOT, you deserve our special thanks as well, along with all the Board members of your organization who dared to say "Yes" to a project so far from your current homes. I can only repeat that, without the assistance from AACCOT, the creation of the Educational Center for Assyrian language study in Armenia would have come to a screeching halt. We will do our best to justify your trust in us. We can only pray that the actions of your organization will provide a model for others to follow. We can ill afford to remain indifferent to the critical problems facing our nation, and activists who are prepared to work for the cause should be given reason to hope that their sacrifice will not be in vain.

Again, please accept our profound thanks for your support. God Bless you.

I. S-G



Courtesy of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:  David Nissman, reporter

(ZNRF: Prague)  A severe drought in northern Iraq is forcing the people to leave their towns and villages.  According to a statement by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan the drying up of wells and the sharp drop in water levels of small rivers and streams is affecting hydroelectric power production by the Dokan and Darbandikhan power facilities. The Iraqi Ministry of Humanitarian Aid and Cooperation recently issued an appeal for outside assistance in order to limit the effects of the drought.


(ZNAF: Baghdad)  Pope John Paul II has promised the Saddam Hussein's Chaldean delegation to Vatican that he will visit Iraq in the year 2000.  The delegation was led by the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Raphael I Bidawid.  The pontiff "promised to visit Iraq at the appropriate time," the Chaldean Patriarch told Baghdad Radio over the telephone.  The Vatican's secretary of state Angelo Sodano said in December that the pope still wanted to visit Ur, Abraham's biblical birthplace in southern Iraq, to mark the millennium in the year 2000.  The pope wants to visit Iraq's ruins of Ur, the ancient Sumerian capital on the Euphrates River where the Bible says Abraham was born, His Beatitude Mar Bedaweed said in a telephone interview. The site, 186 miles (300 km) southeast of Baghdad near the city of Nasiriya, features a ziggurat, or terraced pyramid.  "(The pope) has long called for unity and Abraham is the father of all believers," said Mar Raphael. Abraham is revered by Muslims, Christians and Jews.

A papal visit would "provide (Saddam's) regime with moral ammunition to persist in its violation of human rights and cover up the crimes and atrocities ... against our Iraqi people," said the London-based Campaign for Democratic Iraq in a July 1998 letter to the pope.

The sanctions themselves create problems for a papal visit because they bar direct flights to and from Iraq. Travelers to Iraq often have to fly to Amman, Jordan, and make a 12-hour drive to Baghdad -- a long trip for the frail, aging pope.  Mar Bedaweed said it would be up to the Vatican's diplomats to persuade the United Nations to grant permission for John Paul's aircraft to fly to Baghdad.

Another problem is the threat of airstrikes during the visit. U.S. and British warplanes patrolling northern and southern Iraqi no-fly zones have been attacking Iraqi air defense sites on an almost daily basis since December.  Mar Bedaweed said the allies should halt their airstrikes during a papal visit.

Courtesy of  The CNN/Associated Press



Reported by George Hunter for Detroit News

(ZNDN: Detroit)  ZENDA was recently informed that a Chaldean family of three were killed last month in a shooting on the east side of Detroit, Michigan.  Jamal Akrawi, owner of the Prestige BBQ on Warren near Outer Drive; his son, Tommy; his older brother, Abed; and Paul Flemings, a 19-year-old cook were killed inside the restaurant. "We were all going to meet up and go to church," said Akrawi's cousin, Tony Kalasho. "The family always meets here at the restaurant before we go to mass." Robbery may have been the motive, according to homicide inspector Bill Rice.  Money from Saturday's sales was missing. He said the place also appeared to have been ransacked. Family members told investigators a former cook of the restaurant was fired about two weeks ago. Neither police nor the family will say why the man was let go. The man, whom police said is not a suspect, is being sought for questioning. Akrawi's wife, Hana, discovered the bodies. She became worried when the restaurant's alarm company called to tell her that the alarm hadn't been set as it normally is when the restaurant closes at 2 a.m. She drove from her Oak Park home to the restaurant and found the bodies of her husband, son, brother-in-law and the cook on the floor. Each of them had been shot a number of times in the head.

Akrawi, a 50-year-old Chaldean immigrant who moved to the United States in the late 1970s, had no enemies, Kalasho said. "He had a heart of gold," Kalasho said. "I can't understand this at all. The worst part of this is (that) Jamal had a 4-year-old daughter. I don't know how they're going to explain this to her." Akrawi's son, Tommy, usually worked the late shift with his father, relatives said. "Tommy and his father were inseparable," said Jamal Akrawi's cousin, Frank Nofar. "He went everywhere with his dad. This is rough on everybody, but for someone so young to lose his life in a such a senseless manner ... it's a tragedy." Flemings, who worked as a cook at the restaurant for four years, was about to graduate from high school, his sister, Lorita Flemings, said. "I don't know what to say," she said. "This is just terrible." Bess Stanfield, a frequent customer of Akrawi, was on her way to church when she heard the news. "He was the nicest man you'd ever want to meet," she said. "He was the kind of man who, if you didn't like your food, he'd give you your money back, no questions asked. There aren't a lot of business owners around here who'll do that."

A former cook and another man are being questioned by police according to Gerald Stewart, commander of the Detroit Police Major Crimes Division, who stressed that the two men are not suspects in the killings. "At this point, we're just questioning them," he said.  Funeral services for Jamal, Tommy and Abed Akrawi were held at the St. Mary's Chaldean Church in Southfield.

Detroit News Staff Writer David G. Grant contributed to this report.


Courtesy of the Assyrian Youth Group of Victoria, Australia

(ZNMV:  London)  A 7th century BC alabaster relief from the Palace of Sennacherib depicting prisoners of war towing a boat, currently in the possession of a noted London collector, appears to be the same piece that Dr. John M. Russell photographed at Nineveh in 1989.

The collector acquired it in Geneva and then legally imported it into England. He later applied for an export license to loan the relief to a museum in Israel. The museum contacted Dr. Russell, a professor at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston and a specialist in Mesopotamian art who had photographed all of the reliefs in situ at Nineveh in 1989. Following the confirmation of the theft the sixty-centimetre square relief, the Metropolitan Police were informed at the loss by Dr. Russell.
The collector’s solicitor is currently protesting the legal action being taken by the Iraqi to recover the relief, since he had acquired it in good faith.

The International Review of Ancient Art & Archaeology, January/February 1999


(ZNAF: Nicosia)  A Maronite Christian from the Turkish-occupied area of Cyprus was found guilty earlier this month of spying against the Nicosia government on behalf of Turkey.  George Josephides, 43, was arrested last October while trying to cross into the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus at the official Nicosia checkpoint and found to have a number of classified documents in his possession. He was also carrying a list of names and addresses of senior officers in the Cyprus National Guard, which police said he intended to sell to Turkish intelligence. His arrest followed a police surveillance operation. Josephides, was jailed for six years last Friday.   A second Maronite was arrested in January on charges of spying on the Cyprus National Guard.

Unlike Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, the 6,000 Maronites on the island are allowed limited rights of movement between the north and south to visit relatives. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the northern third following a Greek-Cypriot coup aimed at uniting Cyprus with Greece. The TRNC declared independence in 1983 but is recognized only by Ankara, which has about 35,000 Turkish troops stationed in the north.  Josephides had pleaded not guilty charging that a written confession had been obtained under duress, but the court rejected his accusations.


"I look forward every Tuesday morning to turning on some background music, grabbing a hot cup of coffee, and reading the latest issue of Zenda magazine!"

David Chibo

"The difference between respectful journalism and its opposite is the first will not publish low level personal insults the like of Mr. Adam Hadad against me, Mar Orahem, and Mr. Hanna Hajjar.

You might disagree with our line of thinking, but to allow insults to be posted against me, Mar Orahem, and others is truly lowering of your magazine's respectability that I valued.

Hope I see an apology posted for your mistake.  Thank you."

Ghassan Hanna

"It has come to my attention through an e-mail posted on the Assyrianlink that the Census Bureau is planning to change the Assyrian category in the USA census chart to a different designation, namely Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac. As an American of Assyrian descent and a Christian belonging to the Chaldean Rite of the Roman Catholic Church I strongly and vehemently oppose this change. The name "Chaldean" refers only, and I must repeat with emphasis only, to a Christian religious sect, a branch of the Assyrian Church in communion with the Roman Catholic Church since the 16th century. This fact is attested to by His Beatitude Mar Raphael Bidawid Patriarch of Babylon, the head of the Chaldean Church and by His Grace Mar Ibrahim Ibrahim the Eparch of the Chaldean Church in America. Chaldeans, meaning Catholic Assyrians, are indistinguishable linguistically or culturally from their Assyrian brethren who have remained faithful to the Assyrian Church of the East or their Orthodox, Protestant and Evangelical counterparts. Syriac, the Greek distortion of the name Assyrian, merely refers to the language spoken by the majority of Assyrians in its richly varied and beautiful dialects.

The Assyrian ethnic identity is a matter open to discussion only among Assyrians. I greatly resent any attempt by the Census Bureau, or any other group, to reduce my rightful ethnic identity into a religious designation."

Sarkis Sargon Elia

Mr. Elia has submitted a copy of the above letter to Mr. Manuel de la Puente, Chief of Ethnic Statistics Branch of the U.S. Census Bureau.

"As an Assyrian who lived among the Muslims and has seen first hand what they are all about, I must say that was I feeling a bit unconvertible reading your magazine at times. Some of the views printed in your magazine regarding how great Iran is treating us now makes me wonder if AUA is really out to help Assyrians or is it there to help itself get back some of its credibility.

I would like the AUA to explain to me, since they think so highly of the Iranians and their leaders the reason why after all those years of the Iran-Iraq conflict there are still so many Assyrians being held as POWs? I for one have talked to people about this and learned that the only reason they were held was that they were trying to convert them to Islam. As well, the fact that they were Christian and wanted to stay Christian made them greater targets for abuse and humiliation.

Getting back to the Kosovo Conflict, since day one I have always sided with my Orthodox Christian brothers in Serbia.  They are a great people who have suffered greatly if not as much as us Assyrians all through their history. The Serbs repelled Hitler's forces at great losses only to have them go through it all again with the help of the U.S.  Does it make sense to anyone that what Nazi Germany couldn't do in the 1940s is now being done successfully with the help of the Americans? One Albanian leader said "if we cant beat the Serbs in battle, we will beat them in population growth". Does this ring a bell my Christian brothers? While they push us into Diaspora and persecute us, they keep breeding and growing their population. There will come a time when we Christians will lose all claim to our ancestral land and that is what is most troubling to me.

What NATO is telling Christians all over the world is that it is okay to love your land and think it is sacred to you only if you are a Muslim. Serbs love their sacred land just as much as any Muslim loves his land and as Christians we must see past what CNN is trying to do and help our Christian brothers in anyway possible. Long live serbia!!"

Mani Youhanna
New York

"I would like Mr. Sargon Lewie to clarify his claim that the Assyrian American National Federation (AANF) and its 32 member organizations represent more than 100,000 Assyrian American members (AANF press release published in Zenda Volume V, issue 12, May 10, 1999). When were these 100,000 Assyrians given the opportunity to go to the ballot box to elect the board of the AANF? I also would like to know how many votes were cast by the Assyrian people for Mr. Sargon Lewie to make him the president of the AANF.

Organizations like the AANF are the root cause of our problem in this country; of why we Assyrians are mired in such a sorry state of affairs. We Assyrians comprise one of the most highly educated and successful ethnic groups in America (our ranks are filled with thousands of skilled, technical people and businessmen who collectively earn over a billion dollars annually), yet throughout its long history the AANF has portrayed nothing but a pathetic image of weakness and irrelevance for the Assyrian people.

Indeed the AANF, which ironically was established here in a country that exemplifies freedom and individual liberties, has always lacked a democratic, pluralistic, popularly elected structure to represent the Assyrian people. Instead of fostering an environment where the Assyrians are empowered to exercise their right of self-determination by electing representatives who gather in a national assembly to discuss the Assyrian agenda, the AANF has chosen to become an affiliation of Assyrian entertainment clubs and represents the worst example of cronyism, buffoonery, and backwardness in the Assyrian society. The damage done by the AANF to the Assyrian cause in this country is so extensive that it will take us years and perhaps decades to reverse."

Ramin Daniels

"The May 3, 1999 issue of Zenda included an interesting profile of the Assyrian Victor Kamber, a Washington lobbyist par excellence.  Taken together with sturm und drang in the May 10 issue of Zenda, the Kamber piece dramatized the great gap which exists between claim and reality, between self-promotion and earned achievement. Although I have not read any of Mr. Kamber's writings, I have followed his guest commentaries on some of the TV news programs. I have met others who are professional lobbyists. Like Kamber, they are all highly-paid, consummate professionals who operate on the premise that "politics is the art of the possible."  Lobbyists are hired to represent the general interests of an organization (such as an ethnic group) or to promote specific programs or proposals which the organization may wish to advance. They are richly paid, and they are invariably a great investment (especially for the long term). In my opinion, it is a sign of a group's sophistication to have such representation in Washington.

I have met a number of such lobbyists, and I know that not one of them would accept an organization as a client where the group fails to speak with a single voice and can only provide mixed signals. Lobbyists know by experience, and we all know by common sense, that you can't hope to advance a project according to a predictable plan if you are dealing with a group whose history is mostly fractious.

The current fracas within "our family" over the issue of the U.S. Census is an apt illustration of our inclination to be captious rather than constructive. Various of our "family members" identify themselves as Assyrian, or as Chaldean, or as Syriac, or by some other names. Each group can point to historical weaknesses in the name of the other groups, and I believe that each group has a point. But more importantly here is the hilarious image our sandbox debates must generate when they spill over to the outside, such as with the officials of the U.S. Census. Little wonder that any lobbyist foolish enough to accept us as a client would truly be facing a "Mission Impossible."

During my last visit to France, I spent some time with our immigrant community in Sarcelles, just outside Paris. The association is known as the "Association des Assyro-Chaldens de France." One of the leading members of the organization gleefully showed me his French identity card, which identified his nationality of origin as "Assyro-Chalden". There was unmistakable pride when he explained that this was probably the first case in modern times when our people could finally identify their origin without being categorized as "Turkish", "Arab" or "Persian". It was also clear that his identification as "Assyro-Chaldean" had very specific meaning to him, and it was rooted in deep personal conviction. It would have never occurred to this person that he should identify himself as "Assyrian", or as "Chaldean."  And it would have insulted him deeply if he had been disassociated from the rest of "our family" While this hyphenation strikes many as historically invalid, it is eminently rational to this individual and to most of the 8,000 in his community.

By now, several generations of Assyrians (and Christians from the Middle East who identify themselves in a variety of ways) have lived in North America. Yet this conglomeration of people has never been known by one common name. The effort to capture various factions or groups under a single Census category is hardly revolutionary. This is usually done to maxime the political profile of several constituencies who have a number of shared goals and problems. In our case, it is also intended as an interim but necessary first step towards a closer amalgamation of the various family members.
Even when it is completely united as one, the size of our family is not very large, but each faction is a lot more insignificant in the absence of some form of unity. Modest efforts to bring us all back to the same fold deserve more than knee-jerk suspicions. In the past, anyone who has proposed the mere discussion of this problem has been accused of sowing "seeds of division". How much longer can we tolerate a "Chicken Little" approach which papers over what constitutes a critical question?

Can this issue be solved by men of goodwill who bring an open mind to discussing their differences? Perhaps so, but it is by no means assured. While "politics is the art of the possible", we must accept that some objectives are simply impossible. But in the long run would it not be more productive (and ultimately less painful) if the issue were tackled, dissected and decided with some finality?

In the past, I have often been critical of the failure of our body politic to articulate specific objectives, short-term or long-term. The current fray over nomenclature reminds me why this is so. On the one hand, some of our leaders represent us to third-parties as if we are a single cohesive group. On the other hand, most if not all decisions taken by these estranged communities is considered irrelevant and ignored by the rest. I submit that this state of habitual ambiguity and limbo is counterproductive. Whether the factions unite or more clearly separate, at least it will remove the uncertain value presently attached to our public declarations."

Francis Sarguis

"We understand that the churches in the Assyrian community played a big role in occurring major splits in the Assyrian nation several centuries ago. However the same churches realized, at least for the last several years that they belong to one church and one nation. The said recent stand is the most valuable demand by the Assyrian people. To this decision it is worth it to bow and cheer our church leaders for this historic stand.

Hence to achieve the goal of unity and going back to the roots, it should start from the first step from the ground to above, but not the opposite. Lets, in short, get into what did those splits affected our people in the Chaldean and or Syriani church denominations through the said centuries of split:

1. Assyrian people within the Chaldean or Syriani church do not recognize, in general, their roots as Assyrians, or the national (Assyrian) feeling is missing.

2. Assyrian people, a considerable number, do speak Arabic language. Remember it is not the fault of our people at this generation, rather than it was the result of the aforementioned split. That foreign language did implement the feeling that they are different than Assyrians.

3. Rejection of being part of the Assyrian people, part of the assyrian heritage, and being taught to hate any thing connected to the Assyrians, at least by the past church clergy.

What straightens the above negative elements and solve the problem to get into real unity?

Question: Is it to change the name of the nation into multiple or complex name to include all Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriani to make every body happy?

Answer (A): No, it do not resolve a problem, I think what counts is the national feeling, to be part of a nation. Therefore it is the responsibility of all to teach and plant the nationalism, by restoring the Assyrian, pardon, or Nation's language and heritage among the Arabic speaking Assyrians. This will take a generation as far as the time is concerned. You see my dear reader, it takes a generation for the first step, when the leadership got the will to do it, that by itself is a huge task.

Answer (B): Lets look into the Iraqi people, some say it consists of Arabs/Kurds/Turkumans. That title is correct, it describes the Iraqi people whom are all Muslims, but different nationality regarding the language, heritage and so forth. What is Assyrian/Chaldean/Styiani means?  they all speak one language, same heritage, history, blood and origin, what is the name of that triple thing?

Who controlled the world 2500 years ago and beyond? Whose name was mentioned in the Bible as the arm or God? as far as the religion concern. Whose name is well stamped in the history?

If the Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriani all feel are one nation, then let them as responsible organizations and leaders resolve this dilemma in a right responsible and honest way.

Personal note: The Assyrian Identity has been protected by the blood of our forefathers, therefore this name is untouchable."

Kaiser Shahbaz

"Just when I thought that our people couldn't take us any lower in life, they did. This issue regarding who we are is a very simple mater. When you take away all religious title, name, and what ever else, and go back to pre-Christian era. What would you ethnic name be?

a. Assyrian
b. Chaldean
c. Syriac
d. Arab

If you look at real history and not biblical history, you find that there is no ethnic group of people by the name of Chaldean/Syriac/Jacobite, this is reality. What ethnic group is Syriac? I've never heard of people being called Syriac's in any time in history.

It not a question of the name Assyrian, you can go back thousands of years the name of a people that we come from existed, so the real issue is who are you? A question that has not been answered by the so called Chaldean's or by the Syriac's (who ever that maybe?)

'So who are you?'" The Assyrian shall stand as is

Joseph Warda
New York

"Two topics dominated the last issues of ZENDA and those were the Kurdish census and the American census 2000.

The Kurdish revolt against the central government in 1961 started as a tribal feud between the organised political versus the traditional tribes. The defeated traditional tribes attacked our Assyrian Christian people sequestering their villages, lands and properties. This pattern of systematic cleansing of our people from their land continued unabated over the years in times of revolt and peace. The central government as well played its role in cleansing areas from our people in a deliberate eviction policy to obliterate our people's claim of national rights. This caused the the disperse and migration of our people to safe places southward. The current Kurdish mini state in the North East no doubt is depleted of our people and this is a fact and we have to face it.

The figures given may be correct, but I am sure many of our people were not counted because a Church based count does not work in modern time. People are mobile and not all the Churches were counted. besides some people do not have a representative Church in some areas.

We do not want to live under Kurdish rule. The Kurds are not our allies but our neighbours. Therefore The North East is not our heartland but the North West is. We have to claim our lands from the Kurds and ask for compensation of land by land and to this we stand firm and demand demarcation of the boundaries between the North East and the North West along areas drawn between the surroundings of Zakho, Dohuk, Aqra and Erbil. The American census 2000 relates only to our people living in the USA but not to the rest of us. Therefore this subject should not divert us from focusing on the main topic and aim and that is ending the Islamic occupation of our land and the establishment of our nation in our ancestral land .

We have been under inhumane, despotic, tyrannical and oppressive Islamic rule for nearly 1360 years and it is time to put aside the three words Assyrian, Chaldean and Syriac. What unite us is much and what differentiate us is trivial and it is a digression from the main cause to debate identity. Our identity is that the land east of the Mediterranean is our homeland, called Christland ARA D'MSHIHA, for example.

Our voice now is loud and is being heard and our struggle will continue until we land home and live free in our homeland. In our new nation we will have a new name and the three ecclesiastical names linked to our present classification will disappear.

With executive and legislative bodies embodied with power the old names will be replaced by a new ecclesiastical authority and with education, intermarriage and time the nation will be one once more.

It is no use to say Assyrian if we are not able to establish an Assyrian nation and the same applies to the Chaldean and Syriac, but together we can. In the previous census our people were counted under 14 categories and that is nonsense. There is nothing wrong when that is reduced to trinity but in one-Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac. One does not negate the others and remember this is for the purpose of census and would not to determine our fate as a nation.

We have to have depth and vision that transcend these minor hassles which lead us nowhere and which achieve nothing. A compromise for the varying ideas would be that our be given two category options:

1 Assyrian 2 Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac

and see how our people cast their voice. Groups can campaign for what they see is right for them and that be taken as a pilot study. God knows by the next census we may be all at home and if not we may reduce the two categories to one agreed by most. God bless."

Dr George Habash
United Kingdom

"Recently, for the sake of argument I looked up the word "Chaldean" in the world's highly regarded authority in the western world, the Encyclopedia Britanica, and found that it has been used primarily to identify those of our ancestors who left the Church of The East (aka Nestorian) to become in union with the Roman Catholic Church and thereby designated as the "Chaldean Rite" less than 500 years ago. This, of course, dispels any argument that there are any so called ethnic or racially identifiable "Chaldeans" who have been designated as such since antiquity like the Assyrians - - but the term has only been used to identify a select group of Assyrians who left the Church of the East and joined the Roman Church ----thereby making it necessary to distinguish themselves from their real brethren, the Assyrians of that time and of those today. Under these circumstances I think it might be acceptable to call our people in the U.S and world wide ASSYRIAN, a/k/a Chaldean, a/k/a Syriacs.. However, it might be more politically correct to capitalize the designation ASSYRIAN for emphasis. I'm sure that we can all agree that Syriac is a term describing a language and neither a race nor ethnic group of people, just as English or Arabic is a language and not necessarily a people.

Can the above mentioned suggestion be a compromise that will make everyone happy? I wonder? Nevertheless it's good to debate this matter regardless and with no animosity.. The exchange of ideas is always good if it's done peacefully An American missionary back in the 19th century once wrote that the "Chaldeans" were, "so to speak", the "Protestants of the Church of the East", having left the church of their Eastern Assyrian Catholic forefathers much like the followers of Martin Luther did with his followers who left the Western Catholic Roman Church. So I still think this argument is really "a tempest in a teapot" and shouldn't divide us or get our Assyrian noses out of joint."

Paulos David Nweeya,
a/k/a Paul Davis Newey

"Yaar" or "Ayaar"

One reader has questioned our use of the term "Yaar" instead of "Iyaar" in the heading of our May issues.  The ancient Assyrians used the term Airu for the second month of the year.  In Aramaic Airu was written as Iyyar which has remained the same in other Semitic languages (i.e. Arabic and Hebrew).  In modern Assyrian (Syriac) the first letter allap is at times "silenced" as in "nasha" (human) instead of "anshan or insaan (Arabic)".



Our staff in Australia is requesting a high resolution and clear image of the the Ashurbanipal monument in San Francisco, California- USA.  This picture will be used for an article in an upcoming issue of Nakosha magazine. If there are any Assyrians who have a scanned image of this monument and can send it to us here at Nakosha it would be appreciated.

Thanking you in advance,

The Staff of Nakosha Magazine

The 15-foot-tall "Ashurbanipal Statue" is displayed at the entrance to the city of San Francisco's Main Library.  It is the creation of the Assyrian artist, Fred Parhad, currently residing in California.  The statue was dedicated to the City of San Francisco in 1988.  Mr. Parhad's "Queen Sammuramat" or Queen Shamiram's statue will be erected at the campus of the University of Chicago later this year.  King Ashurbanipal of Assyria is credited with the construction of the world's first library, built in Nineveh, where he collected over 10 thousand clay tablets.

Related ZENDA Story:    Click Here
Nakosha Magazine:      Click Here


On April 12th, Mr. Alex Barkho, a Canadian Assyrian, arrived to Cuba for what he thought would be a normal vacation. While on one of the beaches in Cuba he ran into a few Assyrians and he befriended them as it is the natural reaction when Assyrian meet in foreign lands. A few days later while he was at their place of stay they were all arrested by the Cuban Authorities.

Apparently the four Assyrians were in transit to illegally enter a Western country, specifically the USA or Canada. They had, supposedly, paid each $10,000 US to smugglers in Jordan for their services to smuggle them into a safe country such as USA Canada or Australia.

According to Barkho, he was placed under investigation for eighteen days, that included four days of house arrest. He claims that he was robbed of his watch and some $500 US by the Cuban Police. While under house arrest he managed to bribe the policeman with Five dollars a day to drive around the city.

Barkho says that he was released and allowed to leave Cuba upon signing an agreement that if he goes back to Cuba he understands and agrees that the Cuban Government can either imprison him for a period of ten years or execute him.

According to Mr. Barkho, the four Assyrian along with others who had fled from today's Iraq, were robbed of all their valuables by the Cuban Police. They were incarcerated, and according to Barkho they were subjected to harsh means of questioning, following which they were deported to Jordan. The Jordanian authorities refused to allow the individuals to remain in Jordan. They were told that they would be handed over to the central Government of today's Iraq. Eventually they were allowed to leave to Yemen and Libya. According to Barkho, Libyan President has declared publicly that Iraqis of all religious denominations are welcome to Libya and has instructed the Libyans to welcome any iraqi wishing to remain in Libya, and make them feel at home.

A large number of desperate Assyrians have fallen victims to the parasites (smugglers) who have left them stranded, after taking their money. Barkho, upon return to Canada, was stripped of his travel documents, and placed under investigation by the RCMP. He has not been charged, but the investigation is to determine if he had any connection with the smugglers.

Ninus Younan


Beginning in the Rhine Valley near Cologne, Germany on Easter Sunday 1996, a group of devout Christians, mostly evangelists, started their long "reconciliation walk." In the German valley, the Christians met with a group of local rabbis and "apologized" for the atrocities committed against them by the Crusaders 900 years ago.

It is no gimmick, nor some group of fanatic Christians fearing the apocalypse with the coming of the millennium. These are a well-organized, diverse group of people from the United States, Australia and Europe who feel very strongly that, in order for there to be real peace and understanding between peoples of the world, in particular between the peoples of the east and the west, Western Christians must account and apologize for, the wrong doings of their Crusader forefathers.

The idea for such an endeavor began in 1989 when two American women came to the Middle East. Their experience in the region and their realization of the misconceptions Westerners have of the people of the Middle East, in particular Arabs, spurred them to try to bridge these gaps between the East and West. So they returned, and the idea for the reconciliation walk was born. Participants have so far walked through Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Palestine. The aim of the walk is to follow the route taken by the Crusaders, apologizing to the people who suffered under their swords as they go along. The culmination of their walk is a gathering in Jerusalem on July 15, 1999 where they will hold a final ceremony to apologize to Jewish, Muslim and Eastern Christian communities. So far they have met with rabbis, Muslim and Eastern Christian leaders, who they admit, also suffered the brutality of the Crusaders. But more importantly, they concentrate on people, visiting cities and villages, hoping someone will inquire about their T-shirt (explaining their mission in English, Arabic and Hebrew) so they will get a chance to mend the wounds of the past.

Those who walk do so at their own expense. Each walker is brought to the Middle East for a period of two weeks for orientation and training. They then go back to their native countries to speak to their local communities about their experiences. A total of 2,000 walkers is expected to be present in Jerusalem in July. "We have all kinds of people walking with us," says Michael Neibur, the spokesperson of the group at a press conference in Jerusalem. "Our youngest participant was a six-month-old baby who came with his parents and our oldest was an 81-year-old woman." The group says it has been well received wherever it goes. "In Turkey, we were met with flowers as we crossed the border," says one walker. In Israel and the PA territories, both Palestinians and Jews have expressed their gratitude for such a sincere attempt at reconciliation. But the reconciliation walk's mission is also to educate the people back home, many of whom, Michael says, "do not know anything about the Crusaders or the people of the East." As evidence, one walker who visited Lebanon went back to the United States, expressing her amazement that the Lebanese were " like us" and not just some gun-toting people who have no other lives than war.

The group, however, seems to be the most focused on the Jews, ironically not the main victims of the Crusaders in the Middle East almost a century ago. The reconciliation walkers say they are trying to alleviate the Jews' fears of a Christian apocalyptic experience in the Holy Land in 2000, showing the people of present-day Israel, that these Western Christians are coming in peace. However, the question remains whether such an attempt to make amends for the past will carry over to more recent atrocities, which have still to be accounted for.

Joharah Baker
The Palestinian Report



Ashoor lives in Toronto, Canada and is originally from Iraq.
He writes "I speak Assyrian, English, Arabic, Greek.
My hobbies are reading, playing games on my PC,
surfing the web, and chatting also."
Our 18-year-old Assyrian net-surfer loves Greece and
has been to Albania & Yugoslavia.

Personal Website:    Click Here
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Email:                     ashor@idirect.com


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Links to Other Assyrian Websites

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Near Eastern Think Tank:  Oxford University
Mor Athanasius Yeshue Samuel
Kingdom of Osroene


 Masculine Desperate Doctor:  aasya asya 
 Masculine Cautious Driver: daaryana ee-raa 


BC (323)

After conquering much of the known world of his time, Alexander (the Great) decides to make Babylon the capital of his empire.  Upon his return from his conquests in Persia, Afghanistan, and India he travels to Babylon where he becomes ill and dies at the age of 33.

The Ancinet Orient, Soden

AD (337)

Shapur, king of the Persians, with his army of elephants besieges Nisibin for two months.  He completely surrounds the city, setting up machines of war, erecting palisades, and builds towers against the towers of the city.  Unable to penetrate the walls of Nisibin he decides to stop the course of the river flowing past the city.  He releases a vast amount of the water accumulating behind a dam.  The walls of Nisibin collapse.  Bishop Jacob of Nisibin then leads the people of Nisibin to pray for their city's salvation.  "He spoke and the Lord, Persuaded as he was by Moses, delivered." The Persians were mortally wounded by a cloud of gnats and mosquitoes.  Their horses and elephants broke their tethers and escaped.  Shapur then condemns his advisors to death and returns to his royal palace.

Relations between the Roman & Persian Empires, Dudgeon



In the year 635 A.D.. a party of foreigners from the distant West, a vague area known to the Chinese for many centuries as Ta Ch'in, reached the capital city of the Great Chinese Empire, Ch'ang-An, later called Hsian-fu. It was in the early years of the T'ang dynasty.

They indicated that theirs was a religious mission to bring to the empire knowledge of the doctrines and salvation of Jesus Messiah. The emperor gave them permission to practice their religion which he officially named the Ta Ch'in Chiao, the Ta Ch'in religion. They themselves used the name Ching Chiao, Luminous Religion (or illuminating?), and referred to their home church as The Church of the East. The Church of Rome, however, called them "Nestorians," and Its thirteenth-century envoys and missionaries to the Far East always referred to the churches of these early missionaries from "The Church of the East" as "Nestorian" churches.

Who were these early missionaries? Where did they come from? Were they holders of the "Nestorian" doctrine condemned as heresy at the Council of Ephesus in 431? Did Nestorius himself hold it, and what was their attitude toward him? What do the nine Chinese and two Syriac manuscripts, discovered in north China this century, and the famous "Nestorian" monument inscription, discovered in 1625 by Jesuit missionaries near Ch'ang-An, reveal about their mission, theology, and particularly their christology? Was there anything unique in their theology or christology which motivated this great missionary zeal?

Continued at CLICK HERE

Mission of The Church of the East, To 1400, John M. L. Young


May 27, 1970 :  dies George Aprim Hoyen, Assyrian musician and orchestral conductor in Los Angeles, California.


The Assyrian "Jerry Maguire"

Jeff Moorad, the 41-year-old Assyrian-American currently residing in Southern California, is America's premier sports attorney, representing more than 150 professional football, baseball and basketball players, boxers, Olympic stars, retired athletes and media personalities. Over the past five years, he and his partner Leigh Steinberg have negotiated more than $1.5 billion in contracts for their clients.

Moorad and Steinberg's clients include Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Drew Bledsoe, Derrick Thomas, Bruce Smith and Desmond Howard; baseball stars Matt Williams, Will Clark, Raul Mondesi, Eric Karros and Ivan Rodriguez; and boxer Sugar Ray Leonard.

Mr. Moorad is the managing partner of his California-based firm, Steinberg & Moorad and has been named to The Sporting News¹ list of the 100 Most Powerful People in Sports for the past four years.  He and his partner served as technical consultants to director Cameron Crowe for the Oscar-nominated 1996 film Jerry Maguire. Moorad's Newport Beach office setting was re-created for star Tom Cruise's now famous "Show me the money!" phone call scene with Best Supporting Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. Moorad also made a cameo appearance with client Eric Karros in a 1997 episode of the TV program, "Arliss."

Three of Moorad¹s baseball clients Travis Lee, A.J. Hinch and Mark Kotsay starred for the USA Baseball Team in the 1996 Olympics at Atlanta. Clark, Lee, and Kotsay were winners of the Golden Spikes Award, presented to collegiate baseball’s top player, and six other Moorad clients were Golden Spikes finalists.

Over the past several years, Moorad was also instrumental in negotiations that resulted in multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts for NFL stars Aikman, Young, Bledsoe, Kerry Collins, Darrell Russell, Warrick Dunn and others.

Moorad, a native of Modesto, Calif., was student body president of Modesto Junior College. He received the school¹s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1998. Moorad was a 1976 summer intern with Congressman Bernie Sisk (D-CA) in Washington, D.C., before entering UCLA, where he majored in political science.

Moorad earned his undergraduate degree at UCLA in 1978, then took his law degree from the Villanova University School of Law in 1981. He began his career as a litigation attorney at a Newport Beach, Calif. law firm, then opened his own practice in 1983 to specialize in athlete representation.

The following year, Moorad was retained by Clark and four other members of the U.S. baseball team that competed in the 1984 Olympic Games at Los Angeles. All were top ten draft choices. In 1985, Moorad and his baseball player clients joined forces with Steinberg, whose ten-year-old firm then was almost totally devoted to the representation of football players. Steinberg has said his partnership with Jeff Moorad is the 'best business decision' he ever made.

Steinberg & Moorad clients have contributed millions of dollars to deserving community programs, including their own non-profit foundations, youth baseball programs, medical research, literacy programs, and college scholarships. In 1995, Moorad himself endowed a $100,000 scholarship to the baseball program at UCLA.

Jeff and his wife, Jan, have two sons, Justin and Christopher, and divide their time between residences in San Francisco and Newport Beach.

Information Courtesy of Steinberg & Moorad, 500 Newport Center, Suite 800, Newport Beach, CA 92660


May 27-31
May 29
A C N C  '99

The Fifth Assyrian Community Networking Conference
Double Tree Hotel 
10:30 AM to 2:00 PM 
Organized by: Nineveh On-Line (www.nineveh.com)
Click Here

Jun 11

Music by "Nights of Babylon"
The Crystal Room, San Jose Fairmont Hotel
8 PM
$12 in advance, $15 at the door
For more information: 408-468-8529
AANYA is a committee of the Assyrian American Assoc of San Jose

Jun 12

With D.J. William
Sponsored by the Assyrian Youth Group of Victoria
8 PM until Midnight
Dave's Place:  371 Settlement Road
$10.00 per Person
Strictly over 18

Jun 18

The aim of this series of forums is two-fold: firstly, to give academics and professionals who work on computational projects related to Syriac studies an opportunity to meet and share their work and experience; secondly, to provide scholars and computer users with presentations and talks which may
be of help in practical applications such as word processing, fonts and other user-related software.
Location:  University of Notre Dame, Indiana
For all matters regarding SyrCOM-99, contact:
Dr. George A. Kiraz (SyrCOM-99)
Language Modeling Research
Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies
Room 2D-446, 700 Mountain Ave., Murray Hill, NJ 07974
Fax. +1 908 582 3306 (Attn. G. Kiraz)
E-mail: gkiraz@research.bell-labs.com

Sep 1-6 

Sponsored by the Assyrian-American National Federation

Jan 28,

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

New Releases of Books, CD's, & Magazines

New Book:  "La Question de Mossoul, de la Signature du Traite d'Armistice de Moudros
               or The Question of Mosul, the Signing of the Armistice of Moudros

Constantinople Imprimerie Ahmed Ihsan & Co

Appears to be an official report, in French, on the disputed boundary between Turkey & Iraq, including information on the Kurds. Contains the text of the treaty between Great Britain & the Ottomans, including the various communiques, diplomatic reports, correspondence, etc. dealing with violations of the armistice "relatives au front de la Mesopotamie", the occupation of the town "et d'une partie du Vilayet de Mosul", the reconvening of the League of Nations conference at Laussane, & the final resolutions.

Illustrated by map illus. Book# 003992
US$ 125.00

Contact:  Linda K. Montemaggi
244 West 101st Street , New York , NY , U.S.A. , 10025-8411

Phone (212) 662-5712 / Fax (212) 865-2565 , Email montemag@earthlink.net

Click Here

Cycles & Observances of the Middle Eastern Christian & Assyrian Liturgical Calendars

Feast of St. James
Memorial of Mar Addai the Apostle
Commemoration of Mar Giwargis, Mar Sargis, Mar Bacus
Feast of St. John, the Evangelist
Commemoration of Mar Addai (Thaddaeus)
Feast of St. Simon, the Disciple
 The Holy Feast of Ascension
Intercession of St. Mary for Crops
 Golden Friday

AAC = Ancient Assyrian Church of the East
ACE = Assyrian Church of the East
CCC = Chaldean Catholic Church
COP = Coptic Church
MCC= Maronite Catholic Church
MSO = Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church
SCC = Syrian Catholic Church of Antioch
SKC = Syrian Knanaya Church
SOC = Syrian Orthodox Church


 American University of Beirut

This Week's Contributors:
in alphabetical order

Mazin Enwiya
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain
Dr. George Habash
United Kingdom
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain
 Dr. Zaineb Istrabadi
New York
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain
Firas Jatou
Francis Sarguis

Thank You For Referring A Friend to ZENDA:

Vivian Hermiz
Robert Zaya


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