Z I N D A  M A G A Z I N E
Tishrin I  19, 6750                     Volume VI                      Issues 27               October 19, 2000
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T H I S   W E E K   I N   Z I N D A
The Lighthouse An Intro to Zinda Magazine's "Reflections on Assyria"
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain Assyrian Soccer Players Killed in Car Accident
Assyrian Tablets Discovered in Diyarbakir
News Digest Mid-East Catholic Patriarchs Meet in Lebanon
Surfs Up "it happens all the time in this country"
Surfers Corner Red Hair:  From Ancient Bet-Nahrain to Broadway's Annie
Reflections on Assyria Seeing Purple
Literatus Refugee Camp at Bakuba
Bravo! Recipients of the AUA Awards in Australia
Milestones Lamya S. Foullon
Assyrian Surfing Posts Assyrian History Archives
Pump Up the Volume Woe & Sadness
Back to the Future The Oldest Assyrian Tablet & Caliph al-Mamun
This Week in History Germans in Bet-Nahrain
Calendar of Events October 2000

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



This introduction will attempt to describe what can be expected to appear under this heading as a more or less regular feature.  The "reflections" in the title will consist of short essays on our condition as Assyrians in the world today and we are the "Assyria?." Not the ancient empire, not even any geographical location today, just us...scattered as we are throughout the world.  We are what is left of Assyria, we are the future of Assyria as well, wherever and however that may exist in the time to come Any topic will be fair game and every approach except sentiment and pity will be used.  People will be named, specific incidents explored while every effort will be made to be clear and fair.  However, by its very nature this column will offend some people. But, as there are several facets of our present condition which are highly offensive, this small venture shouldn't bring the world, as we know it, to an end.  The goal isn't to be offensive or confrontational.  It is, rather, to say what may need to be said, what some would rather not hear, but without which the survival of a meaningful Assyrian consciousness could be jeopardized even further.

There will have to be a little tearing down, a bit of house-cleaning as we go along,  before a new structure can be built the old site has to be cleared of debris.  There is another reason besides clearing away old matter that this must be so.   It seems an undeniable fact of our modern existence that we are our own enemies.  We betray each other, withhold support and knee-cap our brethren faster and more effectively than anyone else can do to us.  Even before we can venture out into the world to make other enemies or friends, someone in our own group tries to undermine us.

The people who engage in this sort of thing aren't formidable adversaries, they do not present any serious obstacle. . .not if they are dealt with, that is.  But left unmolested they do their damage behind the scenes. Their betrayals come at crucial moments, when we are facing challenges to our very existence or engaged in some positive direction...when we would least expect it and from a source which most perplexes and wounds us all the more because it comes from our own.  It is then that quietly, without any finesse, even lacking great malicious intent, they trip us up.  It will be easy to deal with them, to reveal their methods, to make it harder for them to sneak around corners, and then they will disappear altogether.  With a little exposure and the heat which it brings, most of them will be gone, for they are not motivated by any deep passion or conviction...just a vague fear of being shut out or relegated to a less exalted role than they think they deserve or were able to fill because no one cared enough to challenge them.

In any piece of writing the question arises; who is one writing for or to?  These essays, poor as they are, are for everyone.  But their intended target, the bull's-eye, is those Assyrians who feel compelled to deny or ignore their heritage.  Those who can see well enough how to succeed at business, politics or a profession but who don't know what it is to be successfully Assyrian, or what that could possibly mean.  Certainly, there is a kind of definition out there, but the target group find it unattractive or inadequate.

Since the thoughts contained and the point of view will be mine, or expressed by me, some introduction may be necessary. I am 53 years old, born in Baghdad, Iraq.  Half my people escaped there from Urmia in 1915, the other half...those who survived, remained.  I've been in the United States since 1958.  Though I've attended a few universities, junior and regular colleges, the closest I ever came to a degree was in Sociology.  In Seattle I worked with the Public Defender organization to see if lawyering held any interest.

I was licensed to, and did for three years, run a group home for delinquent youths and received a federal grant to strand us all on a deserted island for eight weeks. I attended art class for two days at U.C. Berkeley before moving to New York where I copied sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum for four years while working at various art foundries.  Since 1983 I've been intimately and rather uniquely involved in the Assyrian community nationwide with both individuals and organizations through attempts to create Assyrian public monuments.  In 1988 the Ashurbanipal Monument was installed in San Francisco and, to date, the Sumuramat is still seeking a home, though the city of Chicago would dearly love to have it.  Work is also underway on a monument of Hammurabi, my last I swear it.

I am married, have five children, and live in California...for now.

Fred Parhad



Courtesy of Beth-Suryoyo Assyrian

(ZNDA:  Syria)  On October 10, a bus carrying 12 to 15 soccer players of the Assyrian Athletic Club of Khabour in Syria was involved in an accident which resulted in the death of six of the team mates.  Many others were critically injured.  The team was traveling from Tel-Tamir to Ras al-Din where a soccer match was to be held.  The injuries remain serious.  The oldest member of the team was in his early 20's.

The driver of the van, a Kurdish man from the same area, attempted to cut in front of a large trailer truck, but was unable to avoid a head-on collision with another incoming vehicle.  His van was caught in between two large vehicles.  The severity of the impact was so large that the roof of the van carrying the Assyrian players is said to have been torn off.  The Assyrian coach, in his 20's, was also killed in the accident.  All victims were from Tal-Tamir except one who was identified as a resident of Tel-Tawil.  The brother of one victim lost both legs.

At Zinda press time the identities of the victims and the injured was not received.  The funeral for the victims was held in the Church of the East in Qamishly and Tel Tamir.


Courtesy of the Anatolia News Agency; September 29, 2000

(ZNAN: Diyarbakir)  Fifteen tablets written in Assyrian language and various other historical artifacts were unearthed in the excavations carried out in Hasankeyf township of southeastern Batman province and Bismil township of southeastern Diyarbakir province.

Many historical artifacts were unearthed in the excavations which were held in ten different spots in Hasankeyf and Bismil. Andreas Schachner, the head of the excavation team, said on Friday that they
found architectural constructions built around 5000-4500 B.C. in Grecano Tumulus in Bismil township. Schachner noted that they found 15 tablets written in Assyrian language in the tumulus and that a German expert read one of these tablets.

The tablet was about an Assyrian merchant lived in eight century B.C. and his commercial deals, Schachner stated. They think that all the tablets found in the tumulus were private archive of a person who lived those days, Schachner said, adding that but he thinks all the tablets were about different issues.

Schachner emphasized that they hope they can learn significant information about those days from these tablets.  Schachner added that the excavations carried out in the region and the excavations are very important since they aim at receiving information which will illuminate the history of the region.


Courtesy of Zenit Vatican News Agency

(ZNDA: Beirut)   The Council of Eastern Catholic Patriarchs began its 10th assembly this week amid unrest in the Mideast.  Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of the Catholic Armenians, inaugurated the assembly in the convent of Notre Dame de Bzommar in Lebanon.

The participants from Lebanon and Syria are evaluating a decade of ecclesial and pastoral activities. A key topic is the way the guidelines and teachings, expressed by the patriarchs in pastoral letters, have affected the lives of the faithful.  The evaluations will be made according to three reference points: the testimony offered by the faithful, the ecumenical movement, and openness to the faithful of other religions.

On Monday, the seven leaders of the Mid-East churches prayed together for the political situation in Lebanon. They expressed hope for the establishment of a representative government that will include "all political tendencies" and be able to bring about national unity. The assembly ends Friday.

A week prior to the Assembly, the city of Istanbul dedicated a street to Pope John XXIII, who once worked in the Vatican diplomatic service in Turkey. The gesture was in commemoration of the recent beatification of the "Good Pope," who worked in Turkey from 1935 to 1944. The Pontiff began to learn Turkish to "give example." The street is in the Sisli neighborhood. The Turkish Embassy in the Vatican has organized a series of meetings in Rome to honor the memory of the new blessed.

I read your current issue with great interest as always. There is one story that I would like to comment on. It was very interesting to find out that an Assyrian, Mr. Robert Miner was a cofounder of the Oracle Corp. It is always good news to hear about the success of our fellow Assyrians. However, in this case I am not terribly impressed not because Mr. Miner's achievement was not great, but because of his failure to contribute to the advancement of education among Assyrians. What a great gift it would have been to his memory, his family name, his people, and to the future of Assyrians, if the gift of $5 millions was given to a university for advanced studies in all fields for Assyrian students. It appears to me that when Mr. Miner dropped his Assyrian name and adopted a foreign name he also severed his ties with his heritage and the future of his nation. Nothing unusual about changing names, it happens all the time in this country; however, that does not mean that you should deny your national identify. The behavior of the late Mr. Miner is not an isolated case. There are so many successful Assyrians that do not acknowledge their national identity and distance themselves from Assyrians. Andre Aghassi is a prime example. Let us pray that in time, all these lost souls will recognize that there is nothing to be ashamed about being known as an Assyrian. A people with a great heritage, a force in the civilization of the world, a prime factor in the spread of Christianity, and above all good, descent and loving people. I am always grateful to the Creator for being kind enough to have created me as an Assyrian.

Youel A Baaba



From an article entitled:  "Scarlet ladies' historic roots: by Alex O'Connell, for the Times of London; October 11, 2000

Ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, Persian and Byzantine women won male approval by dipping their wigs in henna. And as part of the dating game, Assyrian and Persian men would dye their beards red to match.

But by the time Shakespeare was writing, red hair was associated with liars and witches. The playwright describes the strawb-topped Rosalind in As You Like It as having hair of a dissembling colour.

Red locks came into fashion briefly while Elizabeth I was on the throne — she had nearly 100 rouge wigs to conceal her own bald patches. But by the 1800s red hair was mostly associated with harlots and ladies of poor character.

It was the Pre-Raphaelite artists, including Rossetti and Burne-Jones, who brought back scarlet fever. They established the redhead as the artist's preferred muse. Rossetti's depiction of his auburn-haired sister, Christina, as the Virgin Mary and his Beata Beatrix and Monna Vanna paintings created a vogue.

Redheads became the essence of fin-de-siècle beauty. This look replaced the Victorian painters' fondness for blondes and brunettes, and inspired Degas, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec and Klimt.

The mid-20th century's best-loved redhaired heroines include the part-time scarlet ladies Rita Hayworth, Lucille Ball and Ginger Rogers.

In the 1970s Johnny Rotten turned Red Hair, No Future into an anarchic punk slogan; then in the early Eighties it became a colour choice among pre-teens with the opening of Annie, the musical, featuring a ginger-haired orphan child.

Redheads have often been branded outsiders and have been psychological and physical punchbags for school bullies. Redheads smell of fish, is one of the kinder sayings.

Even the beautiful Australian actress Nicole Kidman has admitted that her ginger corkscrew curls made her unpopular as a child. Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, Chris Evans, the broadcaster, and Duchess of York regularly receive a media battering for their hair colour.


It would betray a fatal naivete to say one could be shocked, saddened or angered by news that representatives of ZOWAA removed a painting from the art show at the recent AANF convention in Chicago by a nineteen year old Assyrian artist named Rabel Shamuel, a native of that city.  They did this because he used the color purple in what was deemed to be a negative or unflattering manner.  Purple is apparently ZOWAA's color, though what that means exactly I can't say.  It was enough that the use of this color upset one or two officials, who were backed by Sargon Lewie, former president of the AANF.  Would it surprise anyone to learn that these tactics were picked up at Saddam’s knee and that calling themselves democratic could just be a ruse.  If not, this is the risk they run by engaging in this sort of dismal behavior. We shouldn't be surprised by anything Sargon Lewie, John Nimrod, Lincoln Tamraz or any number of Assyrian leaders and organizations do.  We should be concerned that the rest of us allow this kind of thing to happen again and again.  The people who engage in this type of shameful behavior have franchised what it means to be Assyrian.  They determine what is good for Assyrians and what isn't...what they should see and what they can't. And it is these people who represent us to the outside world.  Would anyone trust the meanest product or gizmo to these "salesmen", and do we hand over our six thousand year old heritage to them.

How can ZOWAA and their local representatives behave in such a fashion. Do they think this is Afghanistan? Would it be too much to ask our Assyrian organizations to behave in accordance with the basic tenets of the United States Constitution, whose flag they all but genuflect before?  Is the degradation of our heritage, the suffering of our people to be a meal ticket for them?  Are our children dying from easily preventable causes so that mavens of misery can have a good cry, or to provide humanitarian resume enhancement for our would-be civic leaders?

People deserting a sinking Middle East flock to America in order to reap the benefits of a polital/philosophica1 system they apparently care little for, except for what they can take from it.  It is defense of free speech and a relative lack of censorship, with all its flaws, which helped shape this nation.  The mayor of New York recently made a fool of himself in a failed bid to remove a painting of the Virgin Mary because the artist used elephant dung. As much as one might dislike the example, the incident proves how powerful this country's respect for free speech is.  Can the use of the color purple, any use of it, really harm a heritage as old as ours and having suffered countless real dangers?  The color won't, but the wounded idealism of our young people can...and it is hurting us. ZOWAA, aside from what else it might do, gives local Assyrian men a chance to talk tough.  Photos of Sargon Dadesho back home sporting a gun or young men astride a pick-up truck brandishing rifles so fires the imagination of our men as to tighten their pants and loosen their heads.  We had heroes once, but any nation as old as ours, having suffered untold calamities, lost its best years ago.  They were the ones who responded first in every crisis, and died first.  The rest ran or hid, cowering at home.  These men survived, married and spawned children, and we are the descendants of those who ran.  Only our women have a glimmer of courage, perhaps because it comes with maturity and they were forced into it faster by having to reconcile themselves to the injustice and bitterness of catering to brothers, brothers who became princes and heroes by default.

Assyrian men posture and strut, striking a pose of manliness with each one careful not to betray himself by exposing the other as a fraud. They share the lie and pretend to one another.  They don't expect to be taken seriously, just admired and petted by their mothers, sisters and wives. Is there any reason to believe that the current crop of Assyrian heroes and nationalists will not once again betray those back home who are hopelessly outnumbered and who will either be overwhelmed or run away when the real trouble starts?  How often in our past have we postured and thumped our hairy chests only to hightail it, leaving the weak and helpless to pay the bill?  Where will Sargon Dadesho and Sargon Lewie be if the Kurds or Saddam move against us?  They'll be here...safe.  When it's over they'll come to us with crocodile tears asking for a few measly bucks to hand-deliver back home to their "poor needy brothers and sisters".

Violence and the threat to use force isn't a posture and cannot be justified when so many other avenues haven't even been tried. When starry-eyed American boys raised on John Wayne movies went to Cuba to join the revolution they were told by Che Guevarra to go back home.  If they wanted to help the best way was to go to Washington D.C. to the very seat of power where the Cubans couldn't go.  He urged them to use the refined methods contained in this system of government if they really wanted to be of help. My argument isn't with these people for every nation, every ethnic group has their equivalent.  It is with the rest of us, myself included, who know better but do nothing.  Those who abandon this unique heritage because they're embarrassed by the excess foolishness of some, opting to keep their ancestry a secret.  Those who think they've served Mother Assyria by attending conventions, at reduced rates, losing sleep and being inconvenienced once a year.  The Halls of Power...government agencies, private foundations and the Media in all its forms are open for business.' That is where intelligent appeals could be made and are being made by any number of ethnic groups. But not by this crop of leaders and two-bit organizations, and they themselves know it well.  Their only hope for sustaining themselves in the heroic posture they adopt is to define Assyrian as what they are and the rest of us as some sort of traitors to the cause.  They keep the bar so low that even they can step over it.

We, our indifference, gave that ZOWAA representative permission to remove the young man's painting,  He knew we would stand aside and let him. We've told everyone, by not telling anyone, that we don't give a good damn what's done to our heritage or in its name.  Rabel deserves an apology, but from whom?  He should, at the least, be invited back to show his painting. Among other beneficial results of such a course would be a valuable lesson in democracy and basic civics (something not only ZOWAA needs); that censorship is always counterproductive.

In his article in Zinda Magazine Rabel took great pains to honor ZOWAA's goal and efforts and he should be commended for being so fair minded and generous. I have higher expectations of those who presume to speak in our name, and especially in this country.  I would remind them that the real, untapped resources here for them are our hearts and minds, not a few paltry dollars. If they really want to help our people they can begin by sending better representatives.  If these are the only kinds of people they attract then there is something terribly the matter.  Guns, foolishness, vain authority, male posturing will not do.   And the next time they profess to be concerned about our heritage and choose to throw their weight around, they should pick on someone else...make sure it isn't an Assyrian.

Fred Parhad


Assyrian History Archives



Midsummer 1918 saw the arrival in the occupied territory of Mesopotamia of some 45,000 Armenians and Assyrians from Asia Minor, Lake Van, and Urmia. The majority of these refugees are Christians, who for many years had been fighting against the oppression to which they were subjected by the Turkish and Persian Governments. In the great war these small nationalities saw an opportunity of freeing themselves from the Turkish yoke, and did their utmost to aid Russia in her campaign on the Caucasus and on the Persian fronts. Both Assyrians and Armenians, especially the Turkish Armenians, suffered cruel hardships during the war, and time after time were in imminent danger of total extermination. The Russians would occupy a certain area, retreat suddenly, leaving their unfortunate allies to the mercy of the vindictive Turks, who looked on them as renegades, traitors, and, above all, Christians. Then would ensue a series of gruesome massacres, which would continue until such time as the Russian armies again advanced to reoccupy the evacuated territories. The Kurds, who all through the campaign had been intriguing with the Turks, were on all occasions employed by the latter on punitive expeditions against these unfortunate people.

Early in November, 1917, the Russians having decided to withdraw their forces from North Western Persia, the serious question arose as to what the Assyrian nation would do. It was eventually decided that they would remain and along with the Armenians in the North endeavour to hold the Persian frontier against the Turk. This decision aroused the wrath of the Persian Government, and led to many disturbances. But for Persian interference, the combined force of these two small nations would, undoubtedly have succeeded in holding the Turk back. As it was, they succeeded in inflicting a severe blow against a Turkish force at Ushnu in April, 1918, and proved themselves the most capable of all, the National Troops, which the Allied Governments attempted to form out of the various Caucasian and Persian frontier tribes, after the outbreak of the Russian Revolution had necessitated the, evacuation of all Russian troops. Eventually, however, Turks, Kurds, and Persians proved too much for them to deal with single-handed and without adequate support in the way of arms and ammunition, and these Christians were finally forced to leave their homes the Urmia plains, and to start of on their long southerly journey through hostile country to seek shelter behind the British. A site on the right beak of the River Diala about three miles from Bakuba (35 miles N.N.E. of Baghdad) was chosen for the Concentration Camp, where these unfortunate people were to live.

There they lived under British control, and even after the Armistice, when the Turk was compelled to evacuate the territory formerly inhabited by them, were still unable to return. There is every reason to believe that it will take time to repatriate them, owing to the prolonged hostility of the Kurds, who naturally resent giving up areas which they have acquired by virtue of their doubtful allegiance to Turkey. Persia likewise presents an obstacle to the scheme of repatriation as far as the Van-Bitlus area is concerned, but it has been found possible to repatriate some Armenian refugees north-westwards into Asia Minor. One of the most remarkable triumphs of administration has been accomplished in regard to these people. During an amazingly short period, they have, thanks to British tact, assimilated Western ideas which, normally, it would have taken them centuries to acquire. It is interesting to note that the Administration of the refugees in the Bakuba Camp is now carried out by the refugees themselves, with a minimum of British supervision. The refugee areas have been definitely grouped into Mountaineer-Assyrian, Urmi-Assyrian, and Armenian. Labour, clerical work, education, and internal administration are entirely in the hands of the refugees, whose chiefs are responsible to a British Administrator. The refugees are able to find any amount of employment as sub-ordinates in the transport and animal camps, in hospitals, and in the telephone exchange. All children over the age of 7 are made to attend school. The schools are entirely secular, and physical training is insisted upon. Three hundred acres of ground have been put under cultivation, and any refugee with a trade has the opportunity of practising it; while others who have no trade, are afforded every facility in learning one. From the above it may be gathered that the main efforts made in the camp are directed towards enabling the refugees to look after themselves pending and after repatriation, so that when they are able to return to their own country they will form a greatly more civilized series of little nationalities than they were while under Turkish rule.

The London Times
24 April 1920


The Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) Australian Chapter, held its annual VIP Dinner on 14th October at Edessa Reception Hall, St Hurmizd's Cathedral, Greenfield Park, Sydney. At this function a number of members of the Assyrian community were honoured for their dedication to Assyrian works and their contributions to the Australian community and welfare.

Guests of honour were Senator John Nimrod, General Secretary of AUA from the United State of America; Mr Homer Ashurian, member of the AUA- Executive board, and His Grace Mar Meelis Zaia, Bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East.

In this annual function there were about 600 attendees, including representatives from different organisations of the Assyrian community in Australia and Assyrian representatives from around the world ho had come to honour the members of our community who were presented with awards for their hard work and dedication. These Awards were presented by Senator John J. Nimrod.

Hermiz Shahen
Secretary of the AUA-Australia

Suzy David

"Presented to Ms. Suzy David for her magnificent and pioneering role in preparing and presenting submissions to various UN working groups on the national, cultural and human rights of the Assyrian People."

Suzy David was born in Urmia, Iran. At the age of one and a half her parents and her brother Fred David moved to Tehran where she continued to live until migrating to Australia in 1970, when she was aged 9.

Suzy completed her higher school certificate (HSC) at Nazareth College Bankstown. She completed two degrees at Macquarie University, Bachelor of Economics (1983) and Bachelor of Laws (1984). In 1999 she completed her Masters in Laws degree from University of New South Wales. She was invited by the University to undertake her doctorate in Laws but declined due to time constraints. Suzy is a solicitor and barrister of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and a solicitor of the High Court of Australia.

She has been practicing law in New South Wales since 1984.

Suzy David was instrumental in setting up a law firm in Fairfield in April 1984 with another solicitor. In 1986, upon completion of her practice requirements for partnership she became a partner in the same firm. The firm grew from a small two-partner firm to a medium size firm in Fairfield employing several employed solicitors and support staff. By 1998 the firm had grown into a much larger legal structure. The firm is currently known as Dominic David Stamfords and today consists of 5 partners (including Suzy’s brother Fred David who is also a lawyer and a Master of Laws graduate), 10 employed solicitors and about 35 support staff. The firm has branches in Sydney, Fairfield and Parramatta. It also has an office in Melbourne and a number of associated and branch offices throughout the world. Suzy worked as a broadcaster in SBS radio (formerly also known as Radio 2EA) for more than 11 years until 1989. She speaks reads and writes three languages, Assyrian, Persian and English. Suzy has been involved in a variety of charity and volunteer work, particularly for Assyrians. In her field as a lawyer she has also carried out much pro-bono work for Assyrians and non-Assyrians who are in genuine need of assistance.

Suzy David has been a councillor to many Associations and Organisations including the Service Station Association of New South Wales (SSA), the Ethnic Affairs Commission of New South Wales and the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce. She has been appointed as the international legal counsel of the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) and has served as legal counsel to many other organisations and associations including the Assyrian Australian Academic Society (TAAAS) and the Assyrian Australian National Federation.

Fairfield City Council appointed Suzy as the 1998 citizen of the year.

Lounarda David

"Presented to Ms Lounarda David for successfully organising the Second Assyrian Genocide conference, on July 2nd 2000. And for a successful year of president of TAAAS 1999-2000."

Mrs Lounarda David was born in the city of Tehran, Iran in 1963. She migrated to Australia in 1979.

Lounarda studied year 7-10 of high school in Iran & then migrated to Australia & completed year 11-12 at Nazareth senior college in Bankstown. In 1986, she completed her bachelor of Business Degree with a Major in Accounting and Finance at Macarthur Institute of Higher Education. She also speaks fluent English, Assyrian and Persian language.

She is currently employed by William M. Mercer Pty Ltd that is an investment consulting company. In a short span of time, Lounarda was promoted to a principal Custody Consultant.

Lounarda has been involved with Assyrian Australian Academic Society for the last five years and she is the immediate past president for TAAAS. Mrs David worked extensively with TAAAS committee members and Center for Comparative Genocide Studies at Macquarie University in preparing for the first genocide conference and organising successfully the second Genocide Conferences arranged specifically on Assyrian issues, on September 17-19 1999 and on July 2nd 2000.

Alexander (Shoora) Michailian

"Presented to Alexander (Shoora) Michailian for decades of priceless contribution to Assyrian music and folkloric culture"

Alexander (Shoora) Michailian, son of Peera & Anna, was born in the city of Kharkov in Ukraine in 1930. The family immigrated to Iran in 1938. After the death of his father, Shoora's mother moved the family to Hamadan, then in 1949 to Abadan, Iran. After about 20 years of living and working in Abadan, Shoora's next move was to Tehran in 1969, where he spent the rest of his years in Iran.

In 1980, Shoora, his wife Lily and daughter, Sabrina, immigrated to the United State of America and settled in Flint, Michigan for a short period of two years.

Then Shoora moved with his family to Modesto, California for another two years before settling in Turlock, California in 1984. The Michailian's final and permanent move has been to Sydney-Australia in 1998. Shoora's parent placed him under the direction of two famous Russian music Professors, Mr.Wichman and Mr. Shedroff, at the School of Music in the City of Homel, Belorussia, to study classical violin. He acquired proficiency in playing violin at an early age, and his diligence paid off when as at 8 years of age he was to have his first recital in his School of Music in the presence of parents and teachers.

After immigrating to Iran, Shoora when at the age of about twelve, met the renowned Assyrian musician, the late Rabi William Daniel, and in turn became a student of his. Since moving to Australia in 1998, Shoora was invited by the Assyrian Church of the East, Bishop Mar Meelis Zaia, to help co-ordinate and train the church choir, to which he currently devotes much of his time and expertise. He prepared music programs for children and wrote scores for religious and national hymns. In a short period of time he was able to establish a choral and instrumental group of approximately sixty children. The magnificent performance of these groups during the Assyrian festivals and national days have captivated the audience and government official guests alike. The Assyrian community takes pride in Maestro Shoora Mikhalian who is not merely a master of music but one who has preserved and practiced what it truly means to be Assyrian throughout his life.  Mr Michailian has devoted the longest part of his life to the art of music and still continues to do so with a most dedicated Assyrian spirit.  As he himself puts it. " I am an Assyrian. I have and still am working for my Assyrian people. And, I will die an Assyrian.

Wilson Younan

"Presented to Wilson Younan for the skillful and professional approach in bringing the world closer to the Assyrians of australia"

Mr. Younan graduated from the academy of fine arts in Baghdad, after he had spent 3 years in theatre, as well as 2 years in cinematic studies. He then went on to complete a post-graduate journalism course. He gained further experience, which would prove invaluable for his future career in radio, while working for T.V. Baghdad.

Mr. Younan is also an accomplished musician, he was the head of the ‘Wilson band’, in Melbourne and the former head of 3ZZZ Assyrian radio. Not a stranger to Melbourne’s Assyrian community, Mr. Younan’s Sydney program also broadcasts on Melbourne’s airwaves, when called upon to fill in on certain occasions. After his move to Sydney he began to talk once a week on Nineveh radio. A year after arriving in Sydney he applied for the head of SBS Assyrian Radio. He was successful in his application after undertaking a professional test.  The aim of Mr. Younan's program is "to provide a professional news and current affairs program informing the listeners of local, as well as international news, and events that concern the Assyrian community".  He helped to take the Assyrian voice further by reaching the entire world through the SBS - Radio program and deliver news to and from our Assyrian community in any country they live."  Mr. Younan believes that "Media is the most powerful tool in our hands today. We can deliver education, language and civility to the Assyrian community". He has been awarded in the late convention by the Assyrian American National Federation.

Mar Meelis Zaia

"Presented to Bishop Mar Meelis Zaia for the tireless and valiant efforts of His Grace Mar Meelis Zaia to revive, maintain and enhance our religion language heritage and history."

Bishop Mar Meelis Zaia is the Head of the Assyrian Church of the East in Australia and New Zealand.

He was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1956, ordained Deacon in Baghdad in 1973 by his Beatitude, the late Mar Yosip Khnanisho and His Grace Mar Aprim Khamis.

Mar Meelis completed his high school Certificate in Baghdad and attended the University of Technology, studying Architectural Design.  He then received his theological training in Iraq and in 1979 migrated to America.

His Grace completed a Diploma in Computer Aided Design from San Jose City College in California in 1982. He was ordained a Priest of the Church of the East  in 1982 for the Parish of Mar Yosip in San Jose, California and in October 1984 at Mar Gewargis Church in Chicago was consecrated Bishop for Australia and New Zealand.

Mar Meelis Arrived in Australia in March 1985.  Here he obtained a B.A. in History and Philosophy from Macquarie University in Sydney.  He is currently researching for unedited Syriac documents to complete a Doctorate Degree in Early Christian Studies at the Univeristy of Sydney.

His Grace is the General Secretary for the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East, a vice-president of the Australian National Council of Churches, and a member of the Society for the study of Early Christianity at the Ancient History Documentary Research Centre in Macquarie University. He has written many essays on the history of the Assyrian Church of the East, the early Church and the Christology of the Assyrian Church in Assyrian and English languages.  He has also published two books, "Theodore of Mepsuestia", and "Sabbath in the Old Covenant".  His English translation of the Liturgy of the Assyrian Church of the East was published in 1994.

Since his arrival in Australia, Bishop Mar Meelis Zaia in a short period organised the Parish committees, built the Diocese of Australia, St. Hermizd Cathedral, and the Magnificent Church Reception Hall. He anticipated and involved himself actively in most of the community affairs and needs. His biggest achievement came in laying the Foundation Stone for St. Hermizd Assyrian Primary School on Sunday 20 August 2000, to be the first Assyrian Private Primary School outside our homeland. The school will open doors for registration in early 2002.  All subjects in addition to Assyrian language, culture and Christian traditions will be taught in order to foster the pride in Assyrian heritage, culture, traditions and history in all students. As Senator John Nimrod mentioned in his congratulation letter to the His Grace "You not only are ensuring our continuance but you have added the key to the success of our future, the education of our children. How can they go wrong equipped with the truth about our Christian Faith and understanding of our history, culture and contributions to civilizations?  I thank you for your service and all the accomplishments you have achieved for the Assyrians of Australia. I know it has not been easy for you these past 15 years. I thank God that he has placed you there to provide such effective leadership and understanding to your Church and all the community. You are a credit to us all and I value your friendship".

Younatan Afarin

"Presented to Younatan Afarin for years of devotion for Assyrian community work"

Younatan Afarin was born in Kermanshah, Iran, on 24 August 1931. Mr Afarin completed his high school in the same city he was born. He then joined the workforce in 1948, in the Abadan Petroleum Company. In 1950 he started his university studies in the same Petroleum University. He graduated in 1955 to become the head of the Oil Refinery in the same company.

Mr Afarin was a very active member in the Assyrian community and that has always earned him the respect and trust of the many community leaders and organisations. In 1950, He took part in arranging a Ball for the 1951 New Year in Abadan, Iran for the first time when he was a university student. He also took part in purchasing a block of land for the construction of the church school (Shooshan) and the entertainment hall for the Assyrians in the cities of Abadan and Khoramshaher from 1952 through 1955. The trust and respect of the community was evident when he was elected President of the school/Parents Committee, Head of the entertainment group, Director of the Church Committee and a president for four years.

Mr Afarin played an important roll in promoting the AUA between 1968-1973, and attended two AUA congresses in Iran.

Once he emigrated from Iran to Australia, Mr Afarin began volunteering his time to work for the Assyrian community.  In 1983 he took a great deal of time to establish the Assyrian Charity and Educational Community. He has been one of the active committee members of the same organisation and was elected as president for six times.  He had an active role in establishing the Assyrian National Revival League (1988-1991).

His biggest contribution to bring unity, peace and understanding into the community was in working closely with other prominent Assyrians to establish the Assyrian Australian National Federation, and hold the position of vice president for two years and was the immediate past president of the AANF from 1998-2000.

During his term as a president, the AANF become an affiliate of the Assyrian Universal Alliance.

Homer Ashurian

"Presented to Honorable Homer Ashurian for his outstanding achievement in developing the Assyrian Heritage Museum, thereby preserving our culture, language, customs and traditions for Assyrians of today and future generations. We also commend this legislator, curator, teacher and linguist for his outstanding political , leadership to our nation and the Assyrian Universal Alliance."

Homer Ashurian, former Deputy Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance and presently a member of the AUA Executive Board, was born in the village of Charbash in Urmia in 1936. After finishing high school in his home town, he went to Tehran to pursue his higher education. He studied Archaeology at the university of Tehran and received his Masters Degree Archaeology, majoring in Assyriology.

While he was a college student he was recruited to work in the Ministry of Culture and a year later he was promoted to the position of the Head Curator of the Iranian Cultural Museum in Tehran. He served in this position until 1963.  He was called upon and transferred to the Ministry of Education to head the newly established Shooshan High School of the Assyrian Society of Tehran. Later he was called to head another high school and he served as a principal of high school and a teacher until 1975 when he was elected as a Congressman to represent the Iranian Assyrians in the Majlis (Parliament).

After the 1979 Revolution, he migrated to the United States of America where he lives with Suzy, his wife, and two sons in Chicago, Illinois.

Homer has served in different capacities in the Assyrian organizations such as the Assyrian Youth Society of Urmia, Assyrian Youth Cultural Society of Tehran (Seeta Sapreta), Assyrian Society of Tehran (Motva), and as the Editor of the Assyrian Publications, Kirkha and Shvila.

Homer is one of the five persons who initiated the Assyrian Universal Alliance and made it a reality in 1968. He has served in this global the  organization since its establishment. At the present he works with AUA Foundation in Chicago and runs its several programs including the Ashurbanipal Library, the Assyrian Heritage Museum, the Oral History project and other cultural affairs.

Dr. Peter Talia

"Presented to Dr. Peter Talia who for the first time in our history has translated the Bible (Old and New Testaments) from our ancient Aramaic, the language spoken by Christ, to our modern Assyrian language.:

In Dr. Talia's translation all foreign words have been eliminated.  This is a monumental feat and gives Assyrians the opportunity to read the un-altered Word of God.  We congratulate Dr Talia for this monumental work.

Karl Soleman

"Presented to Karl Soleman in appreciation of his generous donation and support of the Assyrian community and organizations."

Special thanks to Mr. Hermiz Shahen for his compilation of this information for Zinda Magazine.



Merchant and Docent Lamya S. Foullon, 84, a Washington museum docent who owned and operated area restaurants and bookstores, died Sept. 27 in Arlington at the Marriott Brighton Gardens health care facility, where she had spent he past several months. She had Alzheimer's disease.

Mrs. Foullon, who lived in Alexandria, came to the Washington area in the mid-1950s. From then until the late 1960s, she operated Le Paris restaurant in the Culmore shopping center at Baileys Crossroads with her husband. They then ran Le Gourmet, a food and sandwich shop on Georgetown's M Street until 1973, where they gave free sandwiches to anti-war protesters.

In 1973, the couple opened the Da-Lee bookstore in the Barcroft Plaza shopping center in Alexandria. They later opened stores in Fairfax and Springfield before leaving the book business in the early 1980s because of competition from chain bookstores. Mrs. Foullon, an authority on the Middle East, had served as a docent at the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. She had given tours of the gallery's Asian and Middle East art. In retirement, she also had traveled.

Mrs. Foullon was born in Iran to Assyrian-Chaldean parents and came to this country in 1933. She studied sociology and anthropology at Columbia University and was fluent in Persian, Assyrian, French and English and familiar with Turkish, Arabic and Kurdish. During World War II, she was a translator with the Office of War Information in New York. She also had worked Persian-English dictionaries for the U.S. Army and lectured on Middle East topics after the war. Her husband, Bernard H. Foullon, whom she married in 1953, died in 1987.

Survivors include a son, Lee-Pierre, of Falls Church; a daughter, Danielle Foullon of Washington; two sisters, Rosamond T. Chalabie of Annandale and Bella Parhad of Campbell, Calif.; two brothers, Maxime Thomas of Oakland, Calif., and Tom Tarin of San Jose; and a grandson.

Mrs. Bella Parhad is the mother of the Assyrian sculptor, Fred Parhad, whose article appears in this week's THE LIGHTHOUSE.


BC (3800)

The oldest specimen of the ancient Assyrian language are from the time of King Sargon of Akkad (Sargon I) who united the northern and southern Mesopotamian powers.  The language, with slight dialectical differences, was used in Babylon.  In Babylon, for example, the Assyrian “ipisu” was pronounced “ibisu” and the Assyrian “katu” became “gatu”.

Beginner’s Assyrian, Lyon

AD (830)

Caliph al-Ma’mun builds the “House of Wisdom” or Bayt al-Hikmah in Baghdad whose staff were mostly Nestorian Christians.  The best known of these was Hunanyn Ibn Ishaq who translated books from Greek into Syriac.  These included Galen’s works on medicine.

The Modern Assyrians of the Middle East, Joseph


October 23, 1897 :  The first team of German archeologists from University of Berlin begin their journey
to Mesopotamia.

Oct 22

Organized by the Mar Narsai Parish, Church of the East in San Francisco
Coyote Point Park
Festivities start at 11 AM
Lunch and dessert will be available for sale
Please come and bring your family, friends, semavar, and nartakhta.......
Let's have an authentic Assyrian picnic together
There will be music, games and prizes for young and old

Note:  There will be no Church service this Sunday
For more info: 
Samira Hermes at 510-724-5902 or Marlene Antar at 650-697-7488

Direction to the park:

From North and East Bay - Take hwy 101S, take Poplar Ave. Exit, Turn right onto Humbolt until Peninsula Ave., turn right onto Peninsula Ave., go over the freeway, and then circle around and into the park.

From South Bay - Take hwy 101N, take Dore Ave Exit, immediately turn left onto North Bayshore Boulevard, turn right on Coyote Point drive to the park.

There is $4 park entrance charge per car.  For more information about the park, please call 650-573-2592.

Oct 27-31

3RD Annual Meeting of the Assyrian & Babylonian Intellectual Heritage
Radisson Chicago
Contact:  Dr. Norman Solhkhah at 847-699-9000
Click Here

Jul 2-6

International Congress of Assyriology and Near Eastern Archaeology 
"Sex and Gender in the Ancient Near East"
University of Helsinki

Registration Form:  click here

 Thank You!


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