Z I N D A   M A G A Z I N E

Volume V                Issue 38
Kanoon II 11, 6749                                                                           January 11, 2000

T H I S  W E E K I N  Z I N D A

The Lighthouse Naom Faik Assyrian Book Fund at Columbia University
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain Assyrian Business Owner Killed in Arbil
Maronite Nun Killed by Islamic Militants in Beirut
News Digest Illinois Congressman to Help Form Assyrian Caucus
Heads of Orthodox Christian Churches Gather in Jerusalem
Jordan Opens Jesus' Baptismal Site
The Metropolitan Museum Re-Opens Near Eastern Gallery
Surfs Up "Yimma Atur must be proud of you"
Surfers Corner The Untold Holocaust
Proposal to Form Assyrian Physicians Assembly
A University Seminar on Coptic Studies
Assyrian Surfing Posts Your Own ASSYRIAN.COM Email and Internet Connection
Professor Simo Parpolla's Sons of God
Mothers and Daughters in Early Syriac Hagiography

Download Church of the East Calendar 2000 in Adobe PDF
Download Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church 2000 Calendar
Is the Theology of the Church of the East Nestorian?
Literatus Beneath the Watery Deep
Bravo Union of the Assyrian Students and Youth Election Results
Milestones Henry Grzelak
Pump Up the Volume Grudge & Hateful
Back to the Future The Library at Sippar & Malik Shalita
This Week in History Lord Curzon
Calendar of Events January 2000

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



The Assyrian community living in the New York and New Jersey area constitutes one of the oldest immigrant communities from the Middle East.  Relocating from Ottoman lands and Iran to Manhattan, Yorkers, and Bergen County, New Jersey, the flow of immigrants began during the late 19th century with young men who came to study, and expanded to include those who came to work, often temporarily, in order to return with funds to better their family circumstances in the Middle East.  From 1914 onward the immigrants were refugees.

Events around World War I proved devastating to the Assyrians in Ottoman lands.  As Christians they suffered massacre and pillage in eastern Turkey and when Turkish armies marched into northern Iran, the Assyrian community there likewise became a victim of war.  Up to two thirds of the entire Assyrian population died or disappeared.  A limited number found means to flee to Europe and the United States where they joined existing communities along the East Coast.

Naoum Faik (1868-1930) was a leading Assyrian intellectual and patriot of the new Assyrian renaissance generation crippled by the Massacre of Assyrians during World War I.  Born in Diyarbeker with the full given name of Naoum bin Elias bin Ya'qub Balakh (Palek), he became an educator, publisher of the first western Syriac periodical, Kovkab al-Sharq (Star of the East), and a poet in Suroyo Assyrian and Arabic.  Among his poems is the Lebanese National Anthem.  Having experienced previous attacks on Anatolian Christians living under the Ottomans, at the age of forty-four, Faik fled to the United States.  In northern New Jersey he became a key member of the Assyrian community as it struggled to maintain itself in a foreign cultural setting.  Under the name N.E. Palek, he continued publishing his most widely read periodical, Bet Nahrain - "land between two rivers" - from 1916 until his death.

The Naoum Faik Assyrian Book Fund is a library endowment fund intended for the use of Columbia University in building and maintaining a collection of materials related to Assyrian history and culture during the Christian era.  While it is expected that the University will collect materials in all necessary languages, particular attention is directed to Assyrian language materials, including manuscripts.

Every year, the University is requested to deliver a statement regarding the Assyrian holdings to the Assyrian Academic Society which will publish such information in its journal.

Regular meetings about the Fund are undertaken by a three member ex-officio committee composed of the head of the Middle East Division of Columbia Libraries, a member of the faculty from the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures, and a member of the Assyrian community.

If you or your family have books, photographs, documents such as birth, marriage, citizenship or other papers, consider donating them to the Columbia collection.
Make a generous contribution to the Faik Fund so that there will be adequate money available to buy, maintain, and preserve the record of our past for the sake of our future.

All donations to the Naoum Faik Assyrian Book Fund are fully tax-deductible.  Checks should be made out to "The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York" (write N.F. Assyrian Book Fund in the memo field) and send to:

Office of University Development
Columbia University
450 Riverside Drive - Room 948
New York, NY 10015



(ZNDA:  Chicago)  A 60-year-old Assyrian-Chaldean man, Habib Yousif Dekhoka, was killed in Arbil, northern Iraq on 15 December of last year.   Mr. Dekhoka was a resident of Ankawa.  According to AINA, Mr. Dekhoka had been threatened several months earlier by armed thugs and on one occasion his store had been firebombed.  On December 15, 1999 Mr Dekhoka did not survive the second bomb planted in his store.

An Assyrian Democratic Movement's press release indicated that the automobile of another Assyrian business owner in Arbil was destroyed using a bomb.  The victim escaped the attack with serious injuries.

While the AINA report points to the Behdanani and Sorani Kurdish groups as possible perpetrators of this crime, no official investigation of this case has been initiated at press time.


(ZNZT: Beirut) On the evening of January 3, the body of a 60-year-old Maronite-Lebanese nun was discovered in a Beirut university. According to security guards, Sr. Antoinette Zaidan was raped and strangled by Islamic militants.  The same day, two Christian women were massacred in northern Lebanon by the Islamist group "Al-Takfir Wal Higra."  One of the women was pregnant, and was found hacked to pieces. The New Year opened with a car-bombing in the Christian village of Kolaia. Several churches have been directly attacked, with four attacks occurring in the month of November.

As Syrian-Israeli peace talks continue, Lebanese Christians worry about the outcome. Israel is to pull out of the security zone in July, leaving the Christians that populate the area alone to face Syria, the Hezbollah, and the pro-Syrian Beirut regime.

Mervyn Thomas, CEO of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, stated, "It is becoming increasingly clear that the plight of the Christian minority in Lebanon will become intolerable once Israeli troops pull out of Syria unless preventive action is taken quickly by the international community. Pressure must be put on the Syrian government to respect the conditions of UN resolution 520 and the Taif Agreement, and to withdraw their forces from Lebanon. In the meantime, the international community must look at ways in which it can assist the southern population as they seek to establish the necessary structures for local government."

Courtesy of ZENIT Vatican News Agency



(ZNAI: Chicago)  On 3 December 1999 the representatives of various Assyrian social and political organizations in the United States and abroad attended a Chicago fundraising dinner on behalf of Congressman Rod Blagojevich of the Fifth Congressional District in Illinois.  The Assyrian representatives formally asked for the creation of a special Congressional Caucus for greater awareness of the Assyrian issues.  Congressman Blagojevich promised to continue working with Congresswoman Anna Eshoo of California in forming this Congressional Caucus.

Congressman Blagojevich explained that the success of this Caucus will depend on the level of support of the Assyrian communities in the U.S.

For more information visit AINA:  Click Here


(ZNAP:  Jerusalem)  The biggest and the first in nearly 60 years gathering of the heads of the world's Eastern Orthodox churches in Jerusalem took place last Wednesday.  Among the topics discussed were the church history and the transition to the future.

Outside the meeting, some 200 protesters chanted hymns, calling on the Holy Mother of God to observe their plight. These members of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem prefer to call themselves Arab Orthodox, and they say the Greek clergy are outsiders who look down on them. They point out that there's not a single Palestinian or Israeli bishop. They say they want the hierarchy to identify with who they are -- their pain, their hopes, their history, their needs.

"We need preachers, we need churches, we need schools for our children," Rizk said. "My question to them is this: Are you here for festivities or for what the Bible is teaching us to do?"

Some protesters accused Greek Orthodox Patriarch Diodoros I of Jerusalem of selling church holdings to the Israelis and not promoting Palestinian priests.
Diodoros' flock numbers about 250,000 Christians in Israel, the Palestinian areas and Jordan.

Church officials refused to comment on the allegations about selling church property. But they said not enough local Christians were seeking the priesthood and, as a result, there were no Arabs in the higher ranks of the church.

As for the church politics, the biggest dispute is over the role of the patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, called the "first among equals" of the Orthodox patriarchs.

He has been accused by some of attempting to centralize the church and of getting too close to Orthodoxy's oldest foe, Catholicism. Orthodoxy's traditional domain encompasses Russia, much of Eastern Europe, the Balkans and pockets around the Black Sea.

Russian Patriarch Alexy II is still irked by Bartholomew's recognition of the autonomy of the Estonian church after it broke off from Moscow. Alexy II fears the Ukrainian Orthodox could ask the same from Bartholomew's ecumenical seat in Istanbul, Turkey.

Diodoros asked his colleagues to work for the stability of their churches -- not an easy task considering the rivalries that plague the Orthodox church, with more than 200 million followers around the world.

Report courtesy of Correspondent Jerrold Kessel and the CNN

On January 6, members of the Ancient Assyrian Church of the East celebrated Christmas based on the Julian Calendar.


(ZNRU:  Damascus)   Last Friday, thousands of Jordanians flocked to the site where Christ is believed to have been baptized in a symbolic pilgrimage to mark the official opening of the location to tourists.  The ceremony ended more than two years of preparations to make the site a centerpiece of millennium celebrations ahead of Pope John Paul's visit to the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan on March 20, part of a tour to biblical sites in the Holy Land.   Jordanian archaeologists, whose claims are supported by leading Christian clerics, say a cluster of old Byzantine churches and mosaics recently unearthed prove the site called Wadi Kharrar is where Jesus was baptized.

Senior Christian clerics from the main Orthodox and Latin churches delivered sermons and hymns were sung as dozens of Jordanians underwent a second baptism. The ritual copied the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist as narrated in the New Testament.   Hundreds of pilgrims rushed to get some of the two thousand candles that were lit to mark the new Christian millennium.   On Friday, Moslem Jordanians who make up a majority of the country's population of over 4.8 million celebrated the first day of the Moslem Eid al-Fitr festival that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.   According to last year's official census, Christians make up four percent of Jordan's population.

Article courtesy of Reuters; Copyright ©1999 ABC News Internet Ventures


Courtesy of Discovering Archaeology, January-February Issue, #7

New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art reopened its Galleries for Ancient Near Eastern Art to the public October 19. Closed for 18 months of renovation and installation of new exhibits, the galleries contain almost 9,000 years of art works, dating from 8000 B.C. through the Arab conquest of A.D. 651.

The new installation features Assyrian reliefs illuminated by natural light, plus sculpture, metalwork, seals, and other objects from ancient Mesopotamia, Iran and neighboring Anatolia, the Indus Valley, and Central Asia. Objects excavated from Nippur, Nimrud, and Hasanlu are on display, along with silver and gold objects from Iran and ivory from Anatolia, Syria, and Mesopotamia.

Although the Department of Near Eastern Art opened in 1956, some objects, such as certain cuneiform tablets and seals, were acquired as early as the nineteenth century. Among the department's premier attractions are the glazed brick lions of Nebuchadnezzar.


"Happy New Year and New Century Zinda.  All media and information organizations around the world are coming up with persons of the century, events of the century etc.   I would rate your organization as one of those making most significant contributions to the preservation of the Assyrian culture and heritage and to the advancement of our survival in the century about to end.   Judging from the manner you have embraced the latest technological developments in the dissemination of information and have been
conducting your online services to the Assyrian nation, I am sure you will continue to make even more fruitful contributions in the coming century.  Yimma Atur must be proud of you."

Philimon Darmo

In our next issue, Zinda will present 25 most important events and Assyrian persons of the 20th Century.  Send your votes to z_info@zindamagazine.com.

"Congratulations to the improvements.  May peace and prosperity be brought to the Assyrian people in the New Year of the "New Age".  Kull 'ahd wa-antum bi-khayr !"

Petr Kubalek
Czech Republic

"I would  like to congratulate the Zinda team for working so hard in publishing this valuable online newsletter without fail. Too bad we don't have thousands  devoted Assyrians like yourselves  to lead on our fight for survival as you do.

I would like to make some suggestion which will make the Zinda more interesting to read:

1- The first page should open at "home" this eliminates one extra waiting time to get there.

2- The Chapter heads are fine but there are no headlines to grab the readers attention to excite his/her interest in reading  the story or the article. One has to go from one loading to another to find a subject
to read. It is like entering a house with many rooms but not knowing which  room is what until one gets there.

3- The scroll down style of Zenda which allowed one to go from one subject to another was much more reader friendly because there was no need to wait for each page to load independently which is time

4- Make the type face a bit larger so that it is easier to read.

5- Advertise Zinda on Assyrian Forum also.

Thank you again for such valuable service to the Assyria people.  Happy new year to all of you may year 2000 be the beginning of a happy and prosperous period for our people around the world. Perhaps in this
coming century Assyrians will have a peaceful place in their ancient homeland to gather once more and call it home."

William Mooshabad Warda
United States

"I just found your new website.  Very impressive... Can you tell me if it is true that two Assyrians were elected to the new Kurdish party in north Iraq!  Keep us the good work!"

Paul Reubenov

Three Assyrians were recently elected to the 4th Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq.  They are as follows:
1.  Mr. Sarkis Aghajan Mamendu             as Minister of Finance and Economics
2.  Mr. Younadim Y. Kenna                     as Minister of Industry and Energy
3.  Mr. Yousif Hanna Yousif                     as Minister (without portfolio)



The Assyrian Australian Academic Society (TAAAS) is proud to present the documentary video "The Untold Holocaust" on the Assyrian genocide.

TAAAS has worked hard through its research committee to produce this documentary.  The video depicts the most devastating Assyrian genocide, which occurred in the Asia Minor, between 1900 and 1925.  This
film contains interviews recorded with survivors of the massacres of Assyrian people in the Asia Minor, in the first quarter of the 20th century.

For more information:  Click Here

If you would like to order a copy of the video contact TAAAS by telephone, facsimile, or email:
Cost:$20 AUD
Orders:  Name, Address, & Phone Number

PHONE - Australian orders: 02 9723 0390 (Other countries: 61 2 9723 0390)
FAX - Australian orders: 02 9723 0391 (Other countries: 61 2 9723 0391)
EMAIL - taaas@cia.com.au


I am honored by, and proud of all Assyrian intellectuals who went through enormous difficulties on the way to higher knowledge and education. And so is our nation that is in desperate need not only for more educated people, but also for a strong leadership that can lead the way into the new millennium.

As a physician, I am proposing the establishment of an assembly for all Assyrian physicians out of which a leadership for our physicians can be elected.

Obviously, this assembly must be a non-political, non-profit organization that will be governed by established bylaws, the details of which can be sorted out during the first official meeting, or even through a virtual meeting on the internet by using E-mail.

The way I see it, an organization like this will have many advantages not only to our nation, but also to our practice.       Click Here for the full story

Samir Denkha Johna, MD


The Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo offers a seminar
                        in Egyptian archaeology, papyrology and Coptic studies for
                        university students and others interested in Egyptian history
                        (Willem Harlem, tel.: 011 20 2 3322522; e-mail: nvic@rite.com)

Birth Announcements and Obituaries

Henry Grzelak

86; of New Britain, Connecticut;  dies on 12/17/99

Links to Other Assyrian Websites

Your Own ASSYRIAN.COM Email and Internet Connection
Professor Simo Parpolla's Sons of God: The Ideology of Assyrian Kingship
Mothers and Daughters in Early Syriac Hagiography
Download Church of the East Calendar 2000 in  Adobe PDF Format 23K
Download Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church 2000 Calendar in MS Word
Is the Theology of the Church of the East Nestorian?


Recovering Gilgamesh's Opening Lines

The Gilgamesh epic has been pieced together from clay tablets found around the Fertile Crescent. But these tablets, inscribed with cuneiform characters, are extremely fragmentary; after almost 150 years of decipherment, about 20 percent of the epic remained missing--including its opening lines.

But Theodore Kwasmann, an American scholar working in Germany, has changed that. In September 1998, after searching among the vast collections of the British Museum (only about one percent of which is on display), Kwasmann joined together two tablets that provide the epic's initial stanza. According to Andrew George, a University of London scholar and the author of a new translation of Gilgamesh, this miracle of detective work has changed our understanding of the ancient poem.

Written around the beginning of the second millennium B.C., the epic tells of the journeys of Gilgamesh and Enkidu and of Gilgamesh's quest for eternal life. In the Sumerian king list, Gilgamesh is listed as the fifth king of the first dynasty of Uruk (c. 3500-3100 B.C.), in southern Mesopotamia. Whether or not a king named Gilgamesh actually lived, his story was kept alive for centuries: A number of tablets containing portions of the epic were found--by the British explorer Austen Henry Layard in the 1840s--in the library of the Assyrian king Assurbanipal (668-627 B.C.). The epic was probably even known by the biblical authors, who may have borrowed its description of a vast flood for the Noah story.

After linking up a tablet on display in Room 956 of the museum with one from the museum's storerooms (the joined tablets are shown above), Kwasmann realized that he had found the long-lost opening of the Gilgamesh epic. He and Andrew George then published the opening lines in Nouvelles Assyriologiques Brèves et Utilitaires:

[sha nagbu iimuru i]shdi maati [x x x-ti iid]uu kalaama hhassu [Gilgamesh sha n]agbu iimuru ishdi maati [x x x-t]i iiduu kalaama hhassu

George initially felt that the join translated, "He who saw all, who was the foundation of the Land." But after discussions with Alasdair Livingstone, a cuneiform expert at the University of Birmingham, a new possibility arose.

The first part of the opening line, sha nagbu iimuru, means "he who saw the nagbu." What is a nagbu? The Chicago Assyrian Dictionary translates nagbu as "totality" or "spring, fountain, or source." So did Gilgamesh see all of something or the source of something?

The rest of the line provides the answer. Livingstone suggested that ishdi maati, "the foundation of the land," may refer to the nagbu--so that the nagbu, not Gilgamesh, is the foundation of the land. George offers the following translation:

He who saw the nagbu, the country's foundation, who knew ... was wise in all matters! Gilgamesh, who saw the nagbu, the country's foundation, who knew ... was wise in all matters!

Livingstone and George reasoned that nagbu probably refers to something specific--not simply to the "All"--meaning that Gilgamesh sees the source of the land's foundation. Searching for eternal life, Gilgamesh dives into the ocean, literal or figural, tofind its secret.

This watery deep, according to George, is the nagbu: "The Deep (nagbu) is the cosmic domain of the god of wisdom, Ea ... the source of ancient wisdom that underpins human society and government. Ea civilized mankind." After the Flood, according to this interpretation, Gilgamesh returns to the land with knowledge of civilized life that he acquired beneath the waters of the Deep.

Ronan James Head
Archaeology Odyssey
July/August 1999, Vol. 2, No. 3

Archaeology Odyssey is published by the Biblical Archaeology Society and explores the archaeology and history of the Mediterranean region, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Persia and the Arabian peninsula--from Paleolithic times through the Arab Enlightenment.



Last month, students in northern Iraq held a week-long student body elections in Dohuk and Arbil.  According to the results announced on 5 December 1999,  nearly 90 percent of the officers and student body representatives elected are Assyrian.

The election results were as follows:

Dohuk Region Schools & University

  Available Seats:  28
  Assyrians: 27
  Independents: 1

Arbil Region Schools & University

  Available Seats:  15
  Assyrians:  11
  Kurdish:  3
  Independent:  1

 Grudge (to hold - against)


BC (1500)

A recent discovery of a complete library at the neo-Babylonian city of Sippar features over 800 individual tablets still standing on almost 50 original shelves.

Archives and Libraries in the Ancient Near East 1500-300 B.C., Olof Pedersén

AD (1340)

Malik Shalita is born in the city of Nineveh where he and his father, Malik Sahrouna, governed the affairs of that city.  Malik Shalita obtained his education in Greek and philosophy in Cyprus.  Malik Shalita faught against the Mongolian army of Tamer Lame (Taimur Lang) and was able to save Nineveh from complete destruction.  10,000 Assyrian women and girls lost their lives among the thousands killed in the battlefield.

History of Assyria, Mnashi Amira


January 9, 1923 :   The British Foreign Secretary, Lord Curzon, reads his speech on the plight of the Assyrians in the Lousanne Conference.

Jan 17

Organized by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology
Open 10 AM to 5:30 PM Daily
Closed December 25
1050 Independence Avenue, SW

On view are approximately 150 artifacts excavated from the ancient city-state of Ur in 1922 during an expedition led by British archaeologist C. Leonard Woolley. Many of the objects are from the tomb of the female Puabi and include jeweled headdresses, chokers, necklaces, rings and earrings, musical instruments, games, furniture, and vessels. Ur, the traditional birthplace of the biblical patriarch Abraham and the city under protection of the ancient Mesopotamian moon-god, was located on the western bank of the Euphrates River in what is now southern Iraq.
Click Here

Jan 28

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

Jan 29
SUPAFLY @ Sydney Harbour! 

Organized by the Youth Crew of the Assyrian Australian Academic Society

Come aboard the Southern Star, a new 20 metre double deck two room cruise liner 

Entertainers:  2 DJs, featuring a DJ Jewelz of DCM Sydney
Ticket includes dinner, complimentary wine/champagne at arrival and great give-a-ways. 

Strictly 195 tickets will be sold
Departure address: - Commissioner's Steps, Circular Quay
Arrival address: - Commissioner's Steps, Circular Quay
Time: - 8pm 'till 1am
Ticket pricing: - $30 members/$35 non-members/$40 Door
Ages: - Strictly 18+ event
For more information email  youthcrew@altavista.com

May 27

Double Tree Hotel
2:00 PM-10:00 PM PST
Organized by: Nineveh On Line
Click Here for more information
What is MIDI?  Click Here

This Week's Contributors:
in alphabetical order
 Walter Ebrahimzadeh 
Assyrian Surfing Posts
Albert Gabrial
Surfers Corner
Shamasha Lawrance Namato
Assyrian Surfing Posts
William Ramsini
Assyrian Surfing Posts


ZINDA Magazine is published every Tuesday.  Views expressed in ZINDA do not necessarily represent those of the ZINDA editors, or any of our associated staff.  This publication reserves the right, at its sole discretion, not to publish comments or articles previously printed in or submitted to other journals. ZINDA reserves the right to publish and republish your submission in any form or medium. All letters and messages  require the name(s) of sender and/or author. All messages published in the SURFS UP! section must be in 500 words or less and bear the name of the author(s). Distribution of material featured in ZINDA is not restricted, but permission from ZINDA is required.  This service is meant for the exchange of information, analyses and news. To subscribe, send e-mail to: zenda@ix.netcom.com.

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