Z I N D A   M A G A Z I N E

Volume V                Issue 39
Kanoon II  25, 6749                                                                           January 25, 2000

T H I S  W E E K I N  Z I N D A

The Lighthouse The Most Important Events and Persons of the 20th Century
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain Heavy Snowstorm hits Northern Iraq
Ancient Artifacts Discovered in Southern Iraq
News Digest Pope to Visit Egypt, Coptic Christians
Surfs Up "imagine what they're feeding the young minds"
Surfers Corner Free Internet Directory of Assyrian Businesses
Assyrian Surfing Posts William Saroyan's "Seventy Thousand Assyrians"
Chaldean and Assyrian: Synonym National Names
Hujada Magazine's Forum
Assyrian Forum
Literatus Loyalties Divided Over U.S.-Iran Soccer Match
Bravo Chaldean Town Center
Milestones Julia Odisho
Pump Up the Volume Old & Renew (in Suryoyo)
Back to the Future King Cyrus' Tomb and Yosuf Malik's Athra
This Week in History Malik Yacu Malik Ismael
Calendar of Events January 2000

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



As the Twentieth Century came to a close, Assyrians were still yearning for the messiah promised in the final days of the Nineteenth Century.  Looking back at the colorful pages of the Assyrian history in the last one hundred years, we find several unsung heroes and heroines who could easily fit that profile.  However, they were either thrown out of their homeland, assassinated, or wooed by internal forces.  The Twentieth Century gave us a new sense of rebirth, nationalism, self-confidence, and most of all a political identity.  In fact, it was during this time that the Neo-Aramaic speaking Christians of the Middle East began to identify themselves as "Assyrian" - a term often dismissed as "too political" or even "atheistic".   The name "Assyrian" remains as controversial today as it was a hundred years ago.  Even as our staff is compiling the information for this week's issue, from the Internet bulletin boards and public forums in Europe to the offices of the U.S. Census Bureau, the discussions on the future and the meaning of the word "Assyrian" receive more attention than any other related topics.

In the past four weeks, Zinda Magazine received over 70 responses from its readers on the nominations for the most important events and persons of the last century.  The responses were seldom surprising.  In fact nearly all messages included the top three occurrences listed below as the most influential events.  Interestingly, the top two events were two massacres followed by two assassinations of the religious leaders and two regional wars in the Middle East.  Only five readers had recalled World War II as an important event.  The Internet was voted more important than the political presence of the Assyrian population in northern Iraq.  This was quite surprising, although the effect of Internet communication can hardly be disputed.

What truly surprised our staff was the near-complete absence of the Assyrian political parties in our readers' responses.  Only a very few mentioned the establishment of the Assyrian Democratic Organization (1957), Assyrian Universal Alliance (1968) and the Assyrian Democratic Movement in the 1970's as note-worthy events.  Four readers had noted the founding of Beth-Nahrain organization and the Beth-Nahrian Democratic Party and one reader reminded us of the establishment of the Assyrian Youth Cultural Society in Tehran- the predecessor of the political movements of 1970's and the establishment of the AUA in 1968.

The top 10 most important events of the Twentieth Century based on Zinda Magazine readers' responses are as follow:

1.  The Genocide of the Assyrian & Armenian populations in the Ottoman Empire (1915)
2.  The Massacre at Simel (7-11 August 1933)
3.  The Assassination of Mar Benyamin Shimmun (16 March 1918)
4.  Iran-Iraq War (1980-88)
5.  The Assassination of Mar Ishai Shimmun (6 November 1975)
6.  Gulf War (1990-91)
7.  The Coming to Power of the Baath Party in Iraq (1968)
8.  Emigration of Assyrians from the Middle East beginning in the late 1960's
9.  Internet (1994 to Present)
10. Post-Gulf War Assyrian political involvement in Northern Iraq (1991 to Present)


The people nominated as the most important Assyrian personalities in the last century have three things in common:  they demonstrated resilience despite much hardship, they succeeded in inflaming the fires of Assyrian nationalism and hope, and each instigated a change in the status quo like never seen before.  They led the people through mass exoduses, wrote poetry and love songs, inspired the future generation, and met with the leaders of Middle Eastern and European nations to bring closer unity among the disparate factions of this rapidly dispersing nation.  Often ill-equipped to compete with their social and political foes, they succeeded in surpassing the expectations of their flock and fans.

The most important Assyrian persons of the Twentieth Century according to the Zinda Magazine readers are:

1.  Agha Petros d'Baz (     -1932); commander of Assyrian armies from 1915 through 1920's
2.  Mar Benyamin Shimmun (      -1918); 117th Patriarch of the Church of the East
3.  Naum Faiq (1868-1939); political activist and journalist
4.  Dr. Freidoun Atouraya (    -1924); political activist, author and poet
5.  Malik Yacub d'Malik Ismail (1894-1974); commander of Assyrian armies, author, political activist
6.  Mar Ishai Shimmun (1908-1975); 119th Patriarch of the Church of the East
7.  William Daniel (1903-88); music composer, author, poet, social activist
8.  Yosif Malik (1899-1959); political activist, journalist, author, delegate to international conferences
9.  Dr. Sargon Dadesho (1948-    ); activist, author, radio-television commentator
10.  Ashur Bet-Sargis (1949-     ); musician, vocalist, poet

The result of our public poll is an extraordinarily powerful message to the present and future generation of Assyrians:  the ongoing effort to bring recognition to "Assyrian" identity which began in the last century has cost many lives and required an unimaginable number of sacrifices.  Assyrians underwent a considerable social and political evolution.  A hundred years ago, a large portion of the population lived in the villages of Beth-Nahrain and the former Soviet States.  Look around your local Assyrian community!  What a difference a hundred years of rebellion against religious autocracy and search for better economic conditions can make...

The Messiah of the Twenty-First Century will have to offend many of our current misconceptions and dispute the materialistic choices we have made in the last three decades.  Back to basic values will indeed be the message of salvation.  A leader of the Patriotic Revolutionaries of the Beth-Nahrin once told a Zinda reporter:  "It is unbelievable how much the villagers in Urmia know about San Jose and Turlock; more so than they do of Dohuk and Zakho.  We should be ashamed of ourselves."

In two months from today the Assyrian nation and all its religious denominations and ethnic groups will celebrate the 6750 years of its national conscience.  We have much to celebrate despite of many failures in the past.  Indeed the most important lesson of the past century was that "The Past does not equal the Future."   Learning from our past mishaps, we should look forward to a century of unity, recognition, and interdependence.  Nothing new of course, as both Hakim Freidoun Atouraya and Agha Petros preached the same message before their untimely death.  This time however, we know the change must first come from within.

We thank our readers for their participation in our "Most Important Events & Persons of the 20th Century" poll.

Zinda Magazine



(ZNDA: Dohuk)  A heavy rain and snowstorm hit northern Iraq last week and has already resulted in closing of several roads.  According to the Iraqi al-Zouraa magazine, on Friday the snowfall had reached almost 4 feet (over one meter) in Dohuk, Arbel, and al-Suleimaniyeh.  The storm hit the Middle East last Tuesday evening and has caused damage in Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and Iraq.


(ZNDA:  Baghdad)  Earlier this month, according to the Iraq News Agency, an excavation team at the Department of Antiquities and Heritage of the Ministry of Information and Culture has unearthed 397 artifacts dating back to the middle of the third millennium B.C.  in Basmyia (ancient Adeb), southern Iraq.  The pieces found include pots, cups, jars, clay tablets with cuneiform and Sumerian writing, and a number of cylindrical seals.  One of the seals depicts a pastoral scene and a tall man with horns, possibly King Gilgamesh or Enkidu of the Epic of Gilgamesh. Other finds include weapons of different sizes, round and open clay sewers, animal-shaped toys, wheels, carriages and miniature humans.

The excavation began in November of last year and will continue until 2002.



(ZNZI: Vatican)  According to the Zenit News Agency, Pope John Paul II will be visiting Egypt from February 24-26 where he will give public recognition to the fidelity of the Christian community of that country, the majority of whom are of Coptic.  Violent acts by the Muslim fundamentalists against the Christian communities in Egypt are commonplace as tens of shopkeepers and ordinary Christian citizens of that country have been victims of anti-Christian violence.   The police has already been accused of discriminating against the Copts and torturing several of them during the investigation of such crimes. In the wake of that confrontation, Egyptian human rights organizations denounced the Police for alleged torture of Coptic citizens. The denunciation was published in an article in the British "Sunday Telegraph" newspaper, a publication which was severely criticized by the Egyptian government and Muslim religious dignitaries of the country.

According to tradition, the Coptic Church was founded by the evangelist St. Mark, who carried the preaching of the Christian faith to Egypt.


"There is a text book TAUGHT to our children of 9-12 years of age in schools and libraries called "The Assyrian Empire" by Don Nardo and published by Lucent Books, Inc., San Diego, California.  It states Assyrians are no longer in existence.

Following is the exact wording of a paragraph from page 5:

"Like the Babylonians and other legendary Mesopotamian cultures, the Assyrians had long ago vanished from history's stage; and modern historians had no way even to prove their existence, much less to locate their remains."

Here is another paragraph on page 83:

The animosities that fueled relentless wars between the peoples of the Tigris-Euphrates plains (Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians) and the Iranian highlands (Elamites, Medes, Persians) have their modern counterparts in recent disputes and conflicts between the nation of Iraq and Iran. And the ancient desire to march south to and control the Persian Gulf, a prime goal of conquerors from Akkad's Sargon to Assyria's Assurbanipal, was mirrored in Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, a tiny country occupying what was once
southern Sumer, cradles of Mesopotamian civilization.

Then, the author goes on and quotes the following paragraph from a known researcher Daniel C. Snell (Life in the Ancient Near East, p. 143):

Thus, as Daniel Snell points out, in certain ways the rich mixture of ancient Near Eastern cultures, of which Assyria was a part, did not die but the texts that documented them ceased, their rulers changed, and they became slowly the societies and economies of the region today. It would be wrong to overemphasize the continuities with the past of those societies but it would be equally wrong to ignore that the (present) geographical realities are similar to conditions in ancient times. To (study) the distant past of these
places does not give us keys to policy questions for people of the region today. But it (illuminates) a very long and important part of the human past and helps us to see some of the variety and triumphs of our now dead fellows.

What do you think about this paragraph?

This is just one sample. Just imagine what they are feeding the young minds in schools and libraries.  Is there anything we can do to stop this sham?

Let your readers be aware.

Tony Zango

Don Nardo is the author of a series of books entitled "World History Series" published in 1998 by the Green Haven Press and the Lucent Books in San Diego, California.  The reading level of these books is appropriate for grades 5 through 8.  Mr Nardo, as most other authors of modern children's history books, relies heavily on the "orientalist" views of the turn-of-the-last-century Assyriologists.  While today's Assyriologists, as Dr. Parpolla and Dr. Saggs, emphasize the continuity of "Assyrian presence" after the Fall of 612 B.C. , our schools continue to promote the outdated notion of mass extinction of the Assyrian people after the Fall.  Zinda Magazine invites its readers to write to the Green Haven Press at info@greenhaven.com and demand immediate revision of the errors noted above.  Mr. Nardo must be praised for taking the time to explore the topic of ancient Assyrian history to children and encouraged to continue such noble work- this time with an emphasis on the "continuity" and not "extinction" of one of world's proudest civilizations.

For more information:

The Assyrian Empire by Don Nardo:  Click Here
(858) 485-7424



We would like to announce to you the opening of our "Assyrians in Canada" website's new section called "Free Services". Here Assyrian businesses, both online and real ones, will have the ability to advertise their business online to thousands of Assyrians who visit our site daily. Our site receives a record of about 2000 hits a day and we host both Assyrian text and voice chat.

The Advantages:

By advertising your business on our site, you will have the advantages of displaying it to Assyrians and even non-Assyrians all over the world. Our page has been hitting new records in the number of people visiting it. Here are some numbers about the number of hits our website got in the last week

January 22, 2000     2140  hits
January 21, 2000     1814
January 20, 2000     1913
January 19, 2000     1830
January 18, 2000     1756
January 17, 2000     2580
January 16, 2000     1530

The new page will also be a place for consumers trying to find what they want. The other advantage I put ahead is help create an online Assyrian economy, or as I call it " Virtual Assyrian Economy"

What does it cost?

The service is free and will not cost anything. All you need to do to help us with the costs of displaying your ads is click on our banners that are spread all over our website, at the bottom of every page. The other way through which you can help us, is to send us any voluntary donation, once you know that our website is doing well for you. We are sure it will. But again the service is free of charge.

How to advertise:

Simply send us the details about your business, the location, how to contacts you, and a banner or card of it. The advertisement will be displayed according to its type (i.e: Computers) and location. That is all it takes to put your business online to thousands of Assyrians worldwide.

Our email is:  ashor@idirect.com or assyrianauthors@hotmail.com

Thank you!

"Assyrians in Canada"


Julia Odisho

Born in San Jose, California at 2:31 am on January 11, 2000
8lbs. 4oz. , 19.5 inches.
Parents:  Wilbert & Belona Odisho

Links to Other Assyrian Websites



The following article was printed in the Modesto Bee Newspaper, January 16, 2000.
Article written by Suzanne Hurt, Modesto Bee Staff Writer

Half of soccer coach Edison "Eddie" David's Assyrian club team was missing from Wednesday night's practice in Turlock.

Iranian-born players are so gonzo for their mother country's national team, they were already in Los Angeles to watch Iran beat Ecuador that night.

Several who were at practice said they would join thousands of other Iranian-Americans in Pasadena today when Iran and the United States face off on American turf.

And many other Assyrians throughout the area -- whether they emigrated from Iran, Iraq or Lebanon -- will watch the match on ESPN at 2 p.m. But deciding which team to cheer is as individual as the reasons that brought them West.

Standing on a cold, dimly lit field outside the Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock, Eagles player Josef Givargis said it won't be hard for him to choose sides.

"Even though we're Americans, we're still going to root for Iran," said the 27-year-old right halfback, steam rising from his blue soccer shirt after he left a tiring drill of keep away.

Givargis, who has lived in the U.S. for a decade, bought front-row tickets three months ago. There won't be any American-style head-shaving or face-painting for the game, which is basically a glamorized scrimmage. Givargis said he and his Iranian-American friends from the Bay Area will bring lots of drums and bells into the stands. But 31-year-old team captain Sam David, who was 9 when his family came here, said he is relishing the chance to take the other side and trash-talk his friends' favorite team while barbecuing and watching the game at his Turlock house.

"I bleed red, white and blue," he said, leaning on a fence after practice. "There's a reason why I'm here. From a personal standpoint, we're just glad to leave there. Being Christian in a Muslim country ... it's very difficult. I'm rooting for the U.S."

Many of his teammates were good enough in Iran that they might have played professionally if they had stayed. So naturally, their ultimate dream would have been to play for the Iranian team, said their coach.

Sweat dripped from teammate Claidin Davididof's chin as he explained in Assyrian.

"It's like this. We are from Iran. We will definitely root for Iran," he smiled. "It's not politics. We don't root for them because Iran and America are not good these days."

Davididof said it is not that important who wins as long as they have a good game.

Neither the U.S. nor Iranian soccer teams is top-rated in the world. They fall far behind Brazil, Holland and France. But the game will be the first rematch since the U.S. lost to Iran in the World Cup in 1998.

Soccer is the most popular sport in Iran, where youths play the game in the streets using slightly smaller balls made of plastic. As a result, Iranian players say they often have better technique but less speed than their American counterparts. The Americans, on the other hand, have more money for better equipment and training, they say.

Benny Moradkhan is the goalie for the Bet-Nahrain Civic Club Lion's soccer team in Ceres. When he lived in Iran, his favorite team was the home team. Then his family moved to the U.S. when he was 9. Two years ago, he wanted the U.S. to win. This time, he isn't taking sides.

"The USA is kind of like the underdog right now," said Moradkhan, a 24-year-old business major at California State University, Stanislaus. "But I think it's going to be evenly matched. May the best man win."

The game is being called soccer diplomacy by some. They say it may be one more step toward thawing relations that turned hostile after Iranian militants seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held 52 Americans for 444 days.

"I think it's a good start," said Eddie David, who coaches the Eagles and played on the Iraqi national team for about 10 years. "As sportsmen, we all love each other. These soccer players are people, not government. The American team are people. We don't have a grudge against each other as people. Sports are not part of politics."

Other Assyrian-Americans who were eating dinner at the Turlock club's restaurant Wednesday night said they wanted the U.S. to win. David Paulus, who coaches the Turlock High School freshman soccer team, is organizing carloads of people to go to the game to support the U.S. Some even said they wanted to see revenge for the 1998 match.

But they're not from Iran. They're from Iraq.

Although Givargis will wear the colors of the Iranian flag when the two countries meet on the field, he said all he really wants is a good game.

"When you come down to sports, you speak the same language," he said. "It's good to see there's something that can still bring people together."



Haifa Fakhouri, right, of the Arab-American and Chaldean Council -- shown with Gail Warden of Henry Ford Health Systems -- is spearheading the proposed Arab Chaldean Town on Seven Mile between Woodward and John R.

Watch out Greektown -- Haifa Fakhouri wants to transform a nine-block strip of older stores, restaurants and bakeries in northeast Detroit into Arab Chaldean Town.

Fakhouri, president and chief executive of the Arab-American and Chaldean Council (ACC) in Lathrup Village, is overseeing plans to renovate Seven Mile between Woodward and John R into a lively urban district patterned after successful outdoor marketplaces such as Detroit's Greektown or Mexican Village.

"The Seven Mile strip needs a face-lift with new streetlights, sidewalks, banners, awnings and entry markers," Fakhouri said. The council recently completed a $1-million renovation of a dilapidated building on Seven Mile, west of John R, into its Detroit headquarters and a clinic run by Henry Ford Health Systems.

"We worked for several years with Arab-American businesses and local community leaders to create a festival marketplace on Warren in Dearborn, and we want to transplant that success to Seven Mile," she said. "There is a large population of Arab Americans near Seven Mile already, so the market is there." Fakhouri, who also plans to spur residential development in the area through a combination of private and public funds, recently approached area businesses and officials from Wayne County and Detroit to bring her vision to reality.

"We've created a land-use plan for the area that requires some zoning changes, but we feel the Seven Mile district has great potential," said DeWitt J. Henry, Wayne County's director of the Department of Jobs and Economic Development. "You really have to treat the area as a shopping center. "With common street lamps, banners, courtyards and awnings, people really feel they're part of something that is pleasant and secure, so they'll make regular trips there for lunch, dinner or shopping. We also worked on the Arab district in Dearborn, and that's been a great success."

While Fakhouri is raising funds for the street improvements, she is overseeing several community services at the council's Detroit headquarters, including job training and placement programs, cross-cultural workshops, family preservation services and translation and interpretation classes. Farouk Haddad, who opened Frank Coin Laundry and City Mail on Seven Mile in 1994 and plans to open a restaurant next year, said the creation of a lively avenue of shops and eateries would help increase business and raise property values.

"The ACC has been a very good neighbor for us and has really set a vision for where things can go," Haddad said. "I'm spending $400,000 on the new restaurant, so we are very positive about things. But we do need more businesses in the area so we can become a true destination where people can have fun." Hussein Siblini, who co-owns the New Yasmeen Bakery on Warren in Dearborn, said he would consider opening a second restaurant, deli and pastry shop on Seven Mile once renovation of the strip was under construction. "People like to walk in a safe, friendly atmosphere, and that's what we have in Dearborn with dozens of businesses lining Warren," Siblini said. "There are trees, flowers, benches for people to rest on, and people like to walk from shop to shop and peer in the windows.

"We've been getting offers to open in different locations, and we have long-term plans to expand, so Seven Mile is on our radar screen. You have to have the right surroundings and atmosphere, so if it can be built, we will come."

R.J. King
Detroit News


Suryoyo or Western Assyrian is primarily spoken by the Assyrian communities of Syria, Turkey, and their extended communities in Diaspora- mainly in Europe.  Both Suryoyo and Suraya (Surith or Eastern Assyrian) comprise the Modern Syriac Language often denoted as neo-Aramaic.


BC (530)

The tomb of the Persian ruler in Pasargadae owes its distinctive design to the stepped profile of the Sumerian ziggurats in southern Bet-Nahrain.  A few decades earlier, the Assyrian artisans were brought to central Persia - after the Fall of Nineveh -- to help in the construction of the new Palaces of the Median and Achamenid rulers.

Mesopotamia and Iran in the Persian Period, Curtis (editor)

AD (1938)

Yousif Malik publishes “Athra“ newspaper in several languages in Beirut, Lebanon.  Malik, an Assyrian-Chaldean activist, spend much of his lifetime promoting the Assyrian national movement until his death in 1959.

From a biography written by Fred Aprim and posted on the Assyrian Forum:  click here


January 25, 1974 :   dies, Malik Yacub Malik Ismail, at age 80-  a national leader whose efforts breathed life into post-WWII Assyrian National Movement.   Malik Yacub led the Assyrian armies during several battles between the two World Wars.

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

Feb 19-20

Sponsored by the Assyrian Australian Academic Society
Members $120 and Non-members $145 
Beachcomber Pacific Resort
Toukley NSW (90 minutes North of Sydney) 
The buses will depart at 7am on the 19th and return at 4:45 pm on the 20th
For more information:
   Ramsin Jajoo - 0414 838 410
   Assyat David - 0419 469 076 

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


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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