Tishrin 11, 6749 October 11, 1999
|The Lighthouse||Images of Iraq|
|Good Morning Bet-Nahrain||"Erbil Citadel" Listed Among 100 Endangered Sites
Saddam Embellishes Ur for Pope's Arrival
|News Digest||News from Europe|
|Surfs Up||"if we truly are the descendants of ancient Assyrians"|
|Surfers Corner||Renyo Hiro
Zahrira Dictionary Ready for Publication
|Assyrian Surfing Posts||Bahra Magazine: New Site
Qala d'Ashur (Voice of Ashur)
|Pump up the Volume||Letter & Existence|
|Back to the Future||Hammurabi & Yazdegerd II|
|This Week in History||Mar Dinkha IV|
|Bravo||Disney Awards Assyrian Teacher|
|Calendar of Events||Assyrian Spirituals Concert|
All blue links throughout this issue are hyperlinks to other sections on this page or featured websites.
One of these situations was particularly memorable. In Mosul's Children and Maternity Hospital, we were energetically lectured by Bushra Radhi, a pharmacy assistant, on the hourly tragedies caused by the absence of routine medications because of the US/UN sanctions. She pointed out that children were regularly dying of diarrhea, minor infections, dehydration and other easily preventable diseases. She asked us why we brought cameras instead of medicine, and pointed out that several delegations had come to visit, but "nothing changes".
Unknown to us, Ms. Radhi's sister was giving birth in the next room, and we were soon presented with a minutes-old beautiful baby girl. Sterile conditions long ago disappeared in Iraqi hospitals due to the absence of cleaning chemicals, spare parts, and other difficulties, so we each held the baby in turn. Coincidentally, it was my birthday, and as I mentioned that fact, I was honored by being asked to name the baby, by none other that the aforementioned Ms. Radhi, the infant's aunt. It was an emotional moment for us all, and it reflects, I believe, the true character of the Iraqi people, a people we have been taught for many years to fear and demonize.
Later that day we traveled outside of Mosul to Baasheeqa village, where on August 23 of this year, Mufawak Attoo (23) and Shakri Khadher (24) were killed by cluster bombs while constructing a simple concrete block structure in the middle of the desert. About a quarter of a mile distant we visited an open area in which on April 30, shepherd Ahmad Jirgis Ayyoub, his father Jirgis Ayyoub Sultan, and four of his sons (Lukman-15, Mohamad-12, Sultan-7, and Murtahdi-3) were killed. Witnesses described an aircraft that made a reconnaissance pass, followed by repeated bombing passes, resulting in the death of the 6 people, some 40 sheep, and the sheep dog. Not a living being was spared. We found remains of the animals, as well as a sandal and a child's slipper, plus hundreds of cluster bomb fragments.
While I am not a military person, the official explanation of "military retaliation" rings hollow when standing among remains in the middle of an empty desert. Simple target practice seems more likely.
Overall what we observed was appalling--hunger, trauma and needless deaths. Our visit confirmed the basic facts as reported by the United Nations: one of every four Iraqi children is seriously malnourished, more than 4,500 children under the age of 5 are dying each month from hunger and disease; over one and a half million people (out of a population of 23 million) have died as a result of medical shortages and malnutrition due to the US/UN sanctions.
Along the way we met many of the principal players in the situation, such as Nizer Hamdoon, former Iraqi ambassador to the US and the UN, Abd El Baqi Sadoon, the governor of the Southern Region of Iraq, Ahmad Ibrihim Hammas, the mayor of Basrah, Deputy Ministers of Health Khalid Jameel and Ali Sindhi, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Rafed Hussein, H. C. Graf Sponeck, the current head of the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program, and numerous other officials, professors, and physicians. All confirmed the story of malnutrition and lack of basic life support, especially in the area of medical treatment.
And we were privileged to met with the children as well, with Shakawan Rashid, 2 years old, malnourished, and afflicted with respiratory infection and diarrhea. Shakawan looked me in the eye and tried to grasp my finger, but had insufficient strength. This was on September 1st; Shakawan is no doubt dead by now. In Baghdad we met Yasheia, dying of leukemia and bleeding to death because of the absence of drugs to stop his hemorrhaging. He has certainly joined Shakawan in death by now. In the "terminal room" we encountered beautiful Fatima Abdulla, dressed in her finery and cared for by her mother. Fatima had dancing eyes and an engaging smile, but she most certainly has died by now from renal distress. In Mosul we met Hiyam Fadheed, 14 years old. Her father blind, her twin brother assists her mother in making a living by selling gasoline out of open plastic containers, a profession with an expectedly short life expectancy. Though Hiyam speaks English quite proficiently and is obviously very intelligent, she is unable to continue in school because she is needed to care for her four younger siblings. In Basrah we met Mustafa Saleh, age 5, the victim of a "smart bomb" dropped in his poverty-stricken neighborhood, a neighborhood with raw sewage flowing through the streets because we refuse to allow sewage pipes to be imported. Mustafa was lucky; though he still carries shrapnel in his small body and is missing two fingers from his left hand, his 6 year-old brother Heider was killed. At least I think Mustafa was lucky.
We also met countless other children, ravaged by war and sanctions, who were nonetheless filled with a contagious spirit of optimism and stamina. If they can avoid infection and normal childhood disease; if they can sufficiently process contaminated water and inadequate nutrition, they may reach adulthood.
Currently adulthood in Iraq means inability to find meaningful work, and thus inability to marry and support a family. It means trying to pull together $400 for an exit visa to a neighboring country where wages are more than the $3-4 per month that teachers, nurses and other professionals can earn in Iraq. It means trying to raise a family in which a child can often beg as much in a day as a parent can earn in a week. It means considering prostitution as a viable option to support an extended family.
These are the conditions that the sanctions have created for the citizens of Iraq. We are destroying children. We are destroying adults. We are destroying the elderly. We are destroying an entire culture, one of earth's original cultures, located in the Cradle of Civilization.
If you would like to assist in ending this tragedy, attend the National Organizing Conference on Iraq to be held in Ann Arbor, MI at the University of Michigan Law Quad October 15-17. Arrange for a speaker at your local synagogue, mosque, church, service club or place of business. Mohandas Gandhi reminds us to "recall the face of the poorest and most helpless person you have seen and ask yourself if the next step you contemplate is going to be of any use to that person."
As James Douglass put it after his 1995 trip to Iraq, "How many Iraqi children should we kill in order to depose Saddam Hussein? 10,000? 50,000? 100,000? How many? You decide. Because the United States government has been deciding this question on our behalf, with increasing numbers of dead children."
Dr. William Thomson
Dr. Thomson is a clinical psychologist, a faculty member
at the University of Michigan/Dearborn, and a coordinator for the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti
(MI) Campaign to End the Sanctions in Iraq. He may be reached by email
GOOD MORNING BET-NAHRAIN
"ERBIL CITADEL" AMONG LIST OF 100 ENDANGERED SITES
(ZNDA: New York) The World Monuments Watch program has chosen the "Erbil Citadel" (Assyrian Arbella) among its List of 100 Most Endangered Sites according to an announcement on September 14, 1999. The city of Erbil was the principal center of worship of the Goddess Ishtar from 2000 B.C. until the 2nd Century A.D. The "Erbil Citadel" is perched 26 meters above the surrounding ground level. It has an area of 102,000 square meters and was inhabited possibly by 5000 people at one time. The World Monuments Watch Program comments: "Up to the beginning of this century it served as a cultural and administrative center, where elegant buildings stood and prosperous families lived. Some houses have now been subdivided and lack proper infrastructure and sanitation. Many buildings are either structurally unsound or collapsing outright. Only now has it been possible for international agencies to gain access to cultural heritage sites in Iraq. A preservation action plan is needed to call world attention to the cultural, archaeological, and historical significance of the site, now within a city inhabited by over 750,000 people."
Announcement of the List of 100 Most Endangered Sites is intended to focus local and international attention on the perils confronting these sites as well as increase awareness of the techniques to counter these perils. The World Monuments Watch is intended to call public attention to opportunities for initiating conservation efforts.
For more information: Click Here
(ZNAP: Baghdad) Iraq and the Vatican are pressing ahead with preparations for a proposed visit by Pope John Paul II to the ancient city of Ur, government and church officials said Thursday.
A senior church official said the Vatican has nominated Nuncio Monsignor Giuseppe Lazzarotto, who is based in Iraq, as the papal envoy to discuss the visit with Iraqi authorities.
Lazzarotto is scheduled to meet Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz and Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf over the weekend, said the Rev. Joseph Habbi, a spokesman for the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch, Mar Rafael Bidaweed. It was not clear if the envoy will meet President Saddam Hussein, who has yet to formally invite the Pope to visit Iraq. Mar Bedaweed is the head of nearly one million Chaldeans Catholics in Iraq.
Iraqi authorities have started a facelift of Ur, capital of ancient Sumer and the birthplace of Abraham, the biblical prophet revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims. Travelers visiting Ur recently have reported large-scale preparations including the construction of a new road from Nasiriya, about 190 miles south of the capital, Baghdad. Saddam has allocated about $500,000 to spruce up Ur and its surroundings in anticipation of the papal visit. He said he hopes that when the pope visits Ur he will see how the house of Abraham looked like more than 4,000 years ago. The house is currently a heap of mud and rubble. The house will be partly reconstructed and roofed. A special road of gravel and bricks also is being constructed for the pope to walk from the center of Ur to Abraham's house.
The Pope's visit to Ur will be part of a proposed tour of pilgrimage sites in the Middle East linked to upcoming celebrations in 2000, when the church marks the start of Christianity's third millennium. The visit could begin as early as December, although no date has been fixed.
A picture of the Pope embracing a copy of the holy Muslim book of Koran offered to him by a delegation of Iraqi clergy in July drew a series of complimentary columns in the state-run newspapers. Several printed the picture on their front pages, usually reserved for the president. The proposed trip has also raised concern in Washington and London. The U.S. government and Iraqi opposition groups say a papal visit would lend credibility to Saddam's government and help break the international isolation imposed on Iraq since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine
said on Saturday that France does not see any reason to
oppose a visit by Pope John Paul II to Iraq.
Courtesy of Associated Press Information Services &
Xinhua News Agency, all rights reserved.
NEWS FROM ASSYRIAN COMMUNITIES IN EUROPE
Assyrian Satelite TV Programs
Through the use of MEDYA-TV regular Assyrian television programs and documentaries are broadcast throughout Europe and the Middle East. Each week, in a one-half hour news program called "TEBE" the national and international topics are discussed in Assyrian language. Furthermore, a discussion on the Assyrian language continues as interviews with several Assyrian language teachers from around the world continues.
Recently, a series on the history of the Assyrian churches and the causes of the religious factionalism among Assyrian groups was aired. The program was called "a profound study" on the causes religious factionalism among Assyrian groups. Several Assyrian clergies from different denominations were interviewed on this program.
Other recent topics of discussion included "living in the Homeland", "Nokhrayoota (Diaspora), and the "Youth". Viewers are often give the opportunity to share their opinion during the programs as telephone calls from Europe and the Middle East indicated the level of interest and success of the Assyrian programs on MED-TV.
The "Coordination Committee" to Unite Political Parties
Several representatives of the Assyrian social and political organizations in Europe have formed a "Coordination Committee" to resolve internal issues and work towards a unified national goal. These organizations include Patriotic Revolutionary Organization of Bet-Nahrin, Assyrian Democratic Organization, Shuraya, Assyrian Patriotic Party, the Assyro-Chaldean Association in Paris, and several Assyrian federations and associations in Europe. An important goal of this committee is to prepare a study on the Massacres of the Assyrian nation.
"Congratulations on your new enterprise. Your new undertaking is the natural process of your several years of hard work. It was necessary that after 5 years of hard work Zinda come up with a new face and an enhanced team. I am glad that you have been successful in taking this important step. The 21st century in history should be marked as the era of "Assyrian Revolution" and I believe we can make this a reality if we truly are the descendants of ancient Assyrian."
Zinda is teaming up with the Assyrian computer
programmers such as Mr. Khoshaba in Chicago and the Assyrian language scholars
to begin the publication of Zinda Magazine in Assyrian language in the
year 2000. This monumental effort, called "Bardaisan Project" will
bring Zinda magazine to readers of both eastern and western Assyrian scripts
and speakers of Suraya and Suryoyo dialects. If you are interested
in supporting us in advancing the "Bardaisan Project" contact us at Zinda
I really enjoy your online magazine."
Thank you for your suggestion. Our Z-Crew artists will soon replace our "blinding" banner with a new "pleasing-to-the-eye" gif for our subscribers reading pleasure.
Do you know if Zinda plans to sell Assyrian-related items such as books, flags, bumper stickers, posters, etc.? I know you would get quite a positive response if you did.
Keep up the excellent work. I am proud to be an Assyrian."
The "Think Assyrian" Campaign to promote Assyrian nationalism, awareness, and education was announced at the Assyrian National Convention in Los Angeles, California on 4 September, 1999. A group of Assyrian webmasters initiated this campaign to organize community efforts throughout the world. The logo which appeared last week on the first issue of Zinda Magazine was designed by Sargon Tavour of Los Angeles, California, the webmaster of www.ashur.com. Zinda will inform its readers of future plans to publish and distribute "Think Assyrian" items including the posters and accessories.
To participate in the THINK ASSYRIAN campaign
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We are the staff of Renyo Hiro, a magazine which expresses the voice of the free youth of Bethnahrin. This magazine is published each month by the Assyrian-Aramean-Chaldean-Syrian(Suryoye) youth from all over Europe. We, as the staff of Renyo Hiro, are interested in the aims of our Assyrian-Suryoye nation. Because of that we want to get in contact with our youth and people in all over the world.
We write to you [Zinda] because we want more contact with each other. Please send us any information, magazines, and publications.
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1060 Saint Gilles
Dear sisters and brothers:
Shlama U Khubba Umtanaya,
We are pleased to announce the good news that the greatest Assyrian linguistic project in the last decades which we began with God's blessing in 1992 in the city of Nohadra (Dohuk) in the Homeland is now ready for publication. We are pleased to announce this as the first Arabic–Syriac (Aramaic) dictionary available for printing. The Zahrira Dictionary of is more than 1200 pages and 16 X 23.3 centimeters in length. The dictionary was named “ZAHRIRA” to commemorate the 150th anniversary of "Zahrira'd Bahra"ZAHRIRA D’BAHRA, the first Assyrian newspaper. The dictionary is based on a wide range of references to made to well known Syriac and Arabic dictionaries. First, the Augen Manna Dictionary was transcribed into an Arabic– Syriac version. Then it was compared with other dictionaries of Costaz, Michael Murad, Al-Qardahy, Toma Audo, Al-Munjid, Smith, etc. Thousands of words were added including Syriac neologisms in different fields. It is the first and only Arabic-Syriac (Aramaic) dictionary that covers the crucial shortages in our nation's education and literature.
We aspire to bring the Zahrira Dictionary into your hands before the end of this year (century). The estimated cost of printing the dictionary is around $ U.S. 17,500.00 for 2500 copies. This is beyond our personal financial abilities. Therefore, we appeal to ALL of you to assist in covering the costs by:
As the dictionary will include an "honors" page which will include the names of the donors. A free copy of Zahrira Dictionary will be delivered to every organization or institution, free of charge, upon a donation $300.00 or more. A copy will be delivered to every person (individual) who may donate over $150.
Your advance purchasing-
The price of a single copy based on advance order is 65 $ (postage included), while the regular price after the publication of the dictionary will be 75 $ (postage included). The deadline for this special price offer is 15 November 1999. The donations and the prices of the copies are to be transferred to this bank address:
Name: Emanuel Youkhana
Account number: 21014702
Bank: Wiesbadener Volksbank,
Wiesbaden - Germany Bank
code: 510 900 00
For further questions and information, please contact
Rev. Emanuel Youkhana on the following address: Rev. E. Youkhana
Hessenring 14 65205
GOD bless you.
ZAHRIRA dictionary authors:
Rev. Shlimon Isho Khoshaba - Sarsink, Iraq
Rev. Emanuel Baito Youkhana - Wiesbaden, Germany
Links to Other Assyrian Websites
Bet-Eil Assyrian Church
Qala d'Ashur (Voice of Ashur)
BACK TO THE FUTURE
King Hammurabi produces his famous Code of Laws in Babylon.
153,000 Assyrians are massacred by the Persian king, Yazdgerd
Both references from: "Timeline of Assyrian History" by Peter Jasim (Chicago).
THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
October 17, 1976 : Mar Dinkha IV is consecrated as the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, in London, England.
The 1936 discovery of a pottery jar at Khujut Rubu'a, near Baghdad, continues to stir curiosity among the public and controversy among the experts.
At first sight the pottery jar was not all that unusual; it was long and cylindrical rather than bowl-shaped, but jars with such a shape are not unknown from the period at the beginning of the Christian era. Only when the archaeologists began to remove the dirt that filled the jar was the unusual part discovered. The interior of the jar was lined with copper and this inner copper cylinder was, in turn, filled with bitumen. Firmly fixed into the bitumen was an iron rod. Various suggestions were advanced as to the purpose of this curious contrivance. Archaeologists have a tendency, when confronted with the unusual, to describe it as a "ritual object" and no doubt this would have satisfied most.
Indeed, as recently as 1989 a certain E. Paszthory published a paper in MASCA Research Papers in Science and Archaeology entitled, "Electricity Generation or Magic? The analysis of an unusual group of finds from Mesopotamia" in which he outlines the magical meanings of metals and argues that the objects were containers for incantations written on papyrus.
The controversy really began, however, when someone pointed out that if the jar was filled with an acid solution such as vinegar or lemon juice, there should be a current flowing between the two metals. The thought that electricity might have been invented 2,000 years ago was more than most historians and scientists were prepared to admit and their skepticism seems justified. As some experts have pointed out, high school science experiments notwithstanding, lemons do not produce much current. Benzoquinone is a more effective electrolyte, but although quinones occur naturally in the secretions of some beetles and centipedes, the chances of someone stumbling across this fact are pretty small and the difficulty of collecting sufficient material seems formidable. Even more to the point, the jar found by the archaeologists was, thanks to its bitumen coating and copper lining, air tight. Oxygen is consumed by the reaction that produces electricity and once the oxygen in the container was used up, current flow would sink to virtually zero.
However the controversy continues, mainly due to the fact that similar jars were found at Seleucia-on-the-Tigris and a Ctesiphon. The Seleucia jars had bronze cylinders inside which were sheets of papyrus while the Ctesiphon jars contained rolled bronze sheets. Both these jars were porous, which would allow oxygen to enter.
Back in the 1930s a certain gentleman by the name of Konig studied the techniques used by jewelers in Baghdad and observed, rather to his astonishment, that the silversmiths were using primitive batteries for gold plating.
Electro-plating was supposedly developed by John Wright, a Birmingham inventor, in 1839 and Konig assumed that the Baghdad artisans had somehow heard of Wright's work and copied it.
We may, however, wonder whether that assumption is correct. Is it possible that the Baghdad jewelers were working according to a tradition that is at least 2,000 years old and that the curious objects were indeed batteries? Possibly we shall never know, but we can at least speculate.
DISNEY AWARDS ASSYRIAN TEACHER
Our reader, Grace
Yohannan, was recently announced as the recipient
of one of Walt Disney
World's Teacherrific Awards in Orlando, Florida. She was awarded a $1,000 check and a "Mousecar" (the Disney version of an Oscar) for her work with students with disabilities in the field of pragmatics.
Congratulations to Grace and her students in Florida!
For more information on Disney's Educational Resources CLICK HERE.
ONE-DAY SEMINAR WITH NATE MIRZA
Bet-Eil Assyrian Church presents One day Seminar with
Lunch will be served at 12:30 PM
Hosted by the Assyrian Athletic Club & Assyrian Media Communication
Entertainers: Walter Aziz,
Amanouel Bet-Younan, & Fatin Shabo
Bring Your Customs for Prizes & Fun!
ASSYRIAN SPIRITUALS CONCERT
A Bet-Eil Assyrian Church Presentation
THE MILLENNIUM GALA
The Assyrian American Association of San Jose proudly
Package includes complete dinner with appetizer and dessert, two complimentary
Wine/Beer drinks or four soft drinks, Champagne toast , after mid-night
coffee/tea service and the best Assyrian and international dance music
Tickets will only be sold at the Assyrian American Association of San Jose
20000 Almaden Road, San Jose
October 2nd to October 21
member $120 non-member $130
MEMORIAL OF ST. EPHREM
Divine Liturgy in the Eastern Assyrian Rite (Chaldean
"There is one crime against humanity in this last decade of the millennium that exceeds all others in its magnitude, cruelty and portent. It is the US-forced sanctions against the twenty million people of Iraq... If the UN participates in such genocidal sanctions backed by the threat of military violence --and if the people of the world fail to prevent such conduct -- the violence,terror and human misery of the new millennium will exceed anything we have known."
Former US Attorney General
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