Z I N D A   M A G A Z I N E

Volume V                Issue 40
Shvadt 1, 6749                                                                           February 1, 2000

T H I S   W E E K   I N   Z I N D A

The Lighthouse Census 2000 Issue Revisited
-Importance of a Name
-Zinda Magazine's Letter to U.S. Census Bureau
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain Assyrians in Iran Celebrate Islamic Revolution
News Digest ANC Not Accepted to UN Consultative Status
Assyrians Protest at the Holocaust Conference in Sweden
Surfs Up "the most important person was Dr. Sargon Dadesho"
Surfers Corner APP Press Release
Radiothon Appeal from Australia
Assyrian Surfing Posts Nineveh Club of Sydney, Australia
The Code of Hammurabi
Literatus An Ancient Assyrian Marriage Contract
Bravo Afram Rayis
Milestones Adam Matthew Enwiya
Evelyn H. Bedig
Pump Up the Volume Biting & Barking
Back to the Future Ancient Weather Men of Bet-Nahrain & the Urmia Manifesto 
This Week in History The Mosul Vilayat
Calendar of Events February 2000 - lectures in London

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



In the past ten days, several Assyrian organizations in California and the Assyrian Church of the East in Arizona began state-wide campaigns to overturn the U.S. Bureau of Census' 1999 decision to modify the 482 category "Assyrian" to "Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac."  The most vocal proponent of this campaign, Dr. Sargon Dadesho --the head of the Assyrian National Congress and a long-time commentator on the AssyriaVision Television Program in California's Central Valley-- has obtained adequate financial support to begin legal actions against the Bureau's decision.  The Census 2000 tabulations will begin in March.

While the leaders of the Assyrian organizations in western United States were debating the outcome of their letter-writing campaigns and the TV interviews, a group of prominent Assyrian-Chaldeans from Canada, Michigan, and California announced the establishment of the Beth-Nahrain National Organization (BNNO).  As noted in their press release (see this week's SURFERS CORNER), the purpose of this organization is to "utilize the impressive economic achievements and the tremendous resources of our Chaldean community to what is best for our entire nation in the homeland as well as in Diaspora."  The BNNO and the Syriac Universal Alliance voiced their approval for the "Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac" census designation.

Some observers fear that the "No-Slashes" campaign in California may alienate the Assyrian-Chaldean community in Detroit and compel their religious and civic leaders to request a separate "Chaldean" category.   Despite such concerns no serious discussions or dialogs are being conducted between the Assyrian-Chaldean organizations in Michigan and California.  Earlier this year the Assyrian-Chaldean Diocese in America distributed a "2000 Calendar" in which the modern Syriac language is referred to as "Chaldean" and a "Chaldean" flag appears on the last page.  Mar Aprim Khamis, a Bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East, in a letter to the Census Bureau writes: "We are convinced that to corrupt the norms of history would be an insulting act: a violation of history...We are Assyrians; therefore, we request that you keep the 'Assyrian' category separate."

Zinda Magazine


At a time of extreme anxiety and where the surviving dispersed Assyrians were trying to retrieve the old splendor of their forefathers; when this badly disrupted community was in urgent need of how to consolidate its dissipated portions into a more resurgent phenomenon, a clique of some nation-mongers have so grievously ventured to desecrate the virtuous value of this nation's symbolic title "Assyria" by subjoining to it additional terms, such as "Chaldea" and "Syriac". Be it known that the Semitic race has had numerous appellations, such as "Akkadian, Babylonian, Chaldean, Aramean, Philistenian, etc.". But, when the mighty Assyrians came into dominant power, as recorded, all the former aforementioned categories vanished into less important status, rather, they were assimilated into a final most glorious national appellation known as "Assyria".

The recent utilization of the words "Chaldea" and "Syriac" came into practice subsequent to a religious schism; they denote the denominational church factions formed by discordant Assyrians. Those few persons that have so brutally resolved to contaminate the term "Assyria" have acted on their own impulsion. Their insidious procedure has as of yet to be vindicated by the Assyrian masses, thus, befitting their actions they are and/or should be ear-marked as "nation-mongers". Any unbiased Assyrian realizes that such a prejudicial procedure serves nothing by to subvert the people's attention into another interminable controversy that erodes the very structural fabric of an already shattered people.

Shamasha Yosip Zaya
January, 2000


Dr. John F. Long
Chief, Population Division
U.S. Department of Commerce
Bureau of the Census
Washington D.C.  20233-8800

Dear Dr. Fong,

Historically, the Nestorian, Chaldean, and Jacobite Christian communities of the Middle East, who speak the eastern and western dialects of the neo-Aramaic (Syriac) language,  have agreed to use the unique term “Assyrian” to enlighten other nationalities of their historic ties to the ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia (Bet-Nahrain).   In the past one hundred years, as delegates to international conferences the term “Assyrian” has been used to represent political oneness of the  Assyrians of Nestorian, Chaldean, and Jacobite faiths.   Today, the national and religious leaders of these same Christian communities uphold the judgment of the fathers of Assyrian national movement in affirming common historic and linguistic heritage of all three religious denominations.

Our “Assyrian” identity is a symbol of our past achievements and our high moral qualities.  It has always demonstrated our national unity, our political stand, and our determination to take our rightful place among the nations of the world.  The manifest content of such proposition may seem ideological, but the geo-political circumstances dictated by the current political forces in the Middle East attest to the viability of this progressive gesture.

Among the many segments of every living and evolving nationality, one may find revisionists and idealists in disagreement with the volition of the majority.  Such individuals, be it for self-interest or seeking the praise of a few public figures, may even succeed in reinterpreting the past history and practices of a people.  Their voices must be heard, but not acted upon without first considering the will of the majority of the constituents.

In seeking the welfare of every religious and social stratum of the Assyrian nation and to remove the ambiguity created through lack of coherent communication, I urge you to re-consider the calamitous decision made last year by the U.S. Census Bureau to alter the recognized identity of the Assyrian-American people.  I ask that the 1990 classification of the category 482 be retained under the single title of “Assyrian” so that the Assyrian-Chaldean, Nestorian, and Jacobite residents of these fifty great States may correctly identify their true national heritage and ethnicity.

Respectfully requesting your immediate attention to this most urgent matter,

Wilfred Alkhas
Zinda Magazine

Following are samples of the letters submitted last week from various Assyrian organizations in the United States in response to the 1999 decision of the U.S. Census Bureau to modify the Census category 482 from "Assyrian" to "Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac":

Assyrian Universal Alliance
Mar Aprim Khamis, Bishop of Western Diocese of America (Assyrian Church of the East)
Assyrian United Organizations of California
Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock
Assyrian Club of Urhai, Modesto
Assyrian American Association of San Jose
St. John's Assyrian Presbyterian Church Response
Dr. Arian Ishaya (University of California, Santa Cruz)

"Importance of a Name" was courtesy of Ms. Sheren Jasim in Chicago, Illinois.



(ZNDA: Tehran)   According to the Islamic Republic News Agency,  the Assyrian communities in Iran have agreed to participate in a ten-day ceremony marking the 21st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.  In a joint statement with other religious minorities- Zoroastrians, Armenians, and the Jewish groups-- Assyrians announced on Saturday that they are "ready to participate massively in the special ceremonies."  The statement also congratulated the leaders of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei and President Mohammad Khatami.  The statement read:  "As the citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran, all minorities voice their strong determination to participate in the construction of the Islamic Iran... and despite the foreigners' hostile propaganda against Iran, the Islamic Republic has always been the messenger of peace, friendship and freedom for people across the globe."

Today air raid sirens sounded and trains blew their whistles throughout the country, kicking off 10
days of commemorations.  Sirens were heard at exactly 9:33 a.m., the time when the late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile in France on Feb. 1, 1979. The government of the U.S.-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi fell 10 days later.

Due to such public display of satisfaction with the government's treatment of the Iranian Christian minority groups, the governments of Austria and Pakistan are refusing to issue visas to the hundreds of Assyrian refugees abandoned in Vienna and Islamabad.  Discremination at workplace based on one's religious beliefs and discouraging minorities from holding government and school administrative positions are among the many types of prejudices suffered by the religious minorities in Iran.



(ZNDA:  New York)   Last Thursday, the United Nation's Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations decided to recommend that the Economic and Social Council not accept the application of the Assyrian National Congress for consultative status. At the request of the representative of the United States, the Committee voted on Lebanon's proposal to reject the application, approving it by a vote of 11 in favor to one against (United States), with six abstentions (Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, France, Ireland, Romania).

The Committee is charged with making recommendations to the Economic and Social Council on which groups should be granted roster, special or general consultative status. It makes its decisions based on the criteria set out in the provisions of Council resolution 1996/31, and considers issues such as groups' capacity to contribute to the work of the Council and support the aims of the United Nations Charter, as well as matters such as membership and financial regimes.

When the Committee was discussing the application of the Assyrian National Congress, Lebanon's representative said the Committee should recommend rejecting the application on the grounds that the group's goals and objectives contradicted the provisions of Council resolution 1996/31, as well as the Charter. It did not respect the principles of States sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Assyrian National Congress had not clarified its definitions of "minority" and "indigenous" people, despite the Committee's repeated questions. The Congress's most recent response to the Committee's questions indicated a lack of respect for the Committee.

A letter addressed to the Committee dated 23 January from the Assyrian National Congress states, in part: "No matter how many questions we answer or how many representatives we send, the opposition to our application will not go away. In such circumstances our only option is to appeal our case to the Economic and Social Council or other higher up organs of the United Nations." The letter also states that the Assyrian National Congress has for years been answering questions raised by the Committee, but has been "confronted by an orchestrated campaign carried out against our application by the 'Iraqi Observer' and few [sic] other representatives from the Arab countries". The reason for that, the group writes, is that it monitors abuses against human rights, "including the linguistic and cultural rights, of the indigenous people in Iraq, where a campaign of 'ethnocide' and 'Arabization' have been carried out against the history and culture of those indigenous people".] The delegate from the United States suggested that the degree of frustration expressed in the organization's reply was a reaction to the length of time the Committee had taken to reach a decision.

He also felt that the Assyrian National Congress' stated intention to appeal to the Economic and Social Council if no action was taken on its request during this session was not a threat to the authority of the Committee, but might be a reflection of ignorance of the Committee's rules and procedures.

"Frustration and ignorance was not an excuse for a lack of respect for members and observers of the Committee", Egypt's representative said. In addition to the fact that the group was promoting historical inaccuracies, he wondered why it had suggested meeting separately with members of the Committee instead of sending a representative to speak to the Committee.

Algeria's representative said the Committee had been trying for several years to determine what the work of the organization was. Repeated requests for clarification had been met with contradictory responses. If the Assyrian National Congress had been serious about dealing with any of the sensitive issues that had been raised, it would have sent a representative -- particularly as distance was not an issue.

India's representative said the Committee had tried to have a dialogue with the group in question. But the organization had removed itself from the dialogue. It was engaged in political activity that did not respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States.

Courtesy of M2 PressWire.  All rights reserved!


(ZNDA: Stockholm)  Last week an international conference on the Holocaust was held in Stockholm, Sweden.  The purpose of this conference was to "galvanize efforts to educate others about the extermination of two-thirds of European Jewry in World War Two."   The gathering came amid a number of related developments, including a prominent trial in London involving a notorious Holocaust-denier, several official inquiries by European states into their nation's role during the Holocaust, and the possibility of a xenophobic right-wing party's entry into the ruling coalition in Austria.

The Assyrian community of Sweden, majority of whom are Suryoyo-Assyrians, protested the disregard for the occurrence of other genocides in the past century- namely the 1915 massacre of the Assyrian and Armenian populations in Turkey.

Members of the Patriotic Revolutionary Organization of Beth-Nahrin (PROB) led the protests by handing out newsletters and pamphlets describing the 1915 Massacre or Seyfo.   Bishop Ablahad Shabo of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Sweden offered the PROB members an opportunity to deliver a message during the Sunday Service and inform the public of the group's involvements at the Holocaust Conference.

In 1997, the Swedish government used a program called "Living History" to educate their youth on the horrors of the Shoah or the Jewish Holocaust. This successful campaign sparked worldwide interest, prompting a nine-nation task force on Holocaust education and this week's Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust. The first such meeting occurred in London in 1997, while a second encounter took place in Washington in 1998. World leaders from 45 nations, including Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and leading Holocaust scholars made presentations.

This week in Austria, the conservative party charged with forming a government after recent elections has agreed to allow the right-wing Freedom Party, lead by controversial politician Joerg Haider, into the ruling coalition. Haider once praised Hitler's employment policies and described veterans of the Waffen SS as "men of character." He ran a populist campaign in the recent election against foreigners, raising concerns of a resurgence of anti-Semitism.


"In my opinion the most important event was a group of people trying to change our Assyrian name; and the most important person was Dr. Sargon Dadesho who stopped them.

Romina/Assyrian/Cakufirbua "

Romina Pourtaverdi

"The Assyrian National Congress (ANC) with a strong support from the Assyrians around the world has filed a temporary court junction in Fresno CA, to stop the Census Bureau's decision to change the "482-489 Assyrian"  to "482-489 Assyrian/Caldian/Syriac" category.

To support ANC's action more than 400 Assyrians attended gathering in Ceres, CA U.S.A, which was televised Live on KBSV-TV 23. Also, singed petitions were collected to be presented to the Census Bureau.

The Assyrian community strongly protests the Census Bureau's decision without consultation from the Assyrian masses for their unilateral decision."

Ninous Bebla


On the Occasion of the International Holocaust Conference
Stockholm, Sweden
January 26-28, 2000

January 27, 2000

To those in the spotlight of the mainstream
From those in the dark of SILENCE and DENIAL
of genocides UNTOLD
against peoples UNTOLD
of individual human souls UNTOLD
still suffering from pasts UNTOLD
still living in an present UNTOLD
towards a future of sufferings
towards a future of annihilation
if remaining UNTOLD

Shlama (Greetings),

The undersigned Assyrian organisations are sending greetings and best wishes to all participants of the international HOLOCAUST conference in Stockholm on January 26-28, 2000 which is addressing a topic of such overriding importance for the future development of human civilisation as dealing with the holocaust and taking lessons from it to prevent further genocides.

However, we are also sending our worries that this conference might fall short of its goals to initiate any proclaimed "education, remembrance and research" on the Holocaust in the true and deep sense of those words as it is arbitrarily restricting its reality outreach to an arbitrary tunnel-vision.

"The danger lies in our failure to learn from history, in our failure to see the connections."

(from the conference opening speech of the Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson, 2000-01-26)

There are a scientifically established historical and causal connections between the highlighted Jewish holocaust and the first but yet mostly untold genocide of same century which has been committed against Assyrians and Armenians, Greeks in the Ottoman Empire and later on in Turkey.

Three-fourth of the Christian Assyrian people, at least 700,000 Assyrians of all denominations (Syrian-Orthodox, Nestorian, Chaldean), 1,5 million Armenians, at least 300,000 Greeks from the Pontos region and many other more were exterminated in unbelievable horror scenes of massacres and deportations, with additionally hundreds of thousands of children and women being abducted and forced into Turkification, Kurdification and Islamisation.


But the world choose to take another lesson:

The lack of awareness of the world community at that time and the impunity of that genocide, perpetrated with the knowledge of the German ally of Turkey, however, resulted in encouraging Hitler to ask on the eve of his assault on East Europe when he gave green light to his death squadrons "Who is still remembering the annihilation of the Armenians?"

That lesson of impunity of the Assyrian and Armenian genocides being a reflection of the weakness of the world's attention and consciousness is still feeding the aftermath of that first genocide:

While in Stockholm the holocaust is dealt with only in terms of the past, it is still today that Assyrians are victims of oppression of their culture, persecution, murder, rape, expulsion, destruction of their national identity in all forms in their homelands in Turkey and particularly in Iraq where Assyrians and other Iraqi minorities were and are being subjected to ethnocidal policies practiced by the current regime.

"...Have you noticed how the Holocaust deniers are spreading their lies..."

(from the conference opening speech of the Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson, 2000-01-26)

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence political opportunism preferred to deny the reality of the Assyrian-Armenian genocide. Denial of genocide, however, is the last step of genocide. However, while perpetrators of that past and ongoing genocides and/or ethnocides and its deniers are participating in the conference the victims have not been invited, such as the Assyrians who are furthermore denied the international recognition of their existence as a nation. Nor was offered any participation to the Armenians and other nations who fell victim to genocides and who are still suffering from their aftermath.

Against this background we wish that a real lesson may be taken form the Stockholm holocaust conference.  A lesson which will not eclipse the whole panorama of the historical truth, past, present and future.  A lesson that will take care of the forgotten past victims but also today’s victims of that first, but nevertheless still ongoing genocide, ethnocide and their denials. And thus we wish that the conference participants will not fall prey to the self-complacency of a superficial festive alibi event fed by the international media spot-light but that they may find the courage to face the unmasked reality that is beyond hand-selected parcels of reality around the Holocaust.

Thus we wish that the holocaust may not be instrumentalised to blind-fold the world but that its remembrance will be a blessing for the world by increasing the world community's awareness to fight the evils and demons of genocide in a brotherly spirit encompassing all mankind and in order... "to mend and repair the WHOLE world".
Quotations from the conference opening address of the Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson and invitation from the Prime Minister's Office, Stockholm, Sweden 30 June 1999

Assyrian Democratic Party ADP
Postfach 1146
D-46359 Heiden

Assyrian Liberation Party GFA
Box 11
14501 Norsborg

Assyrian Patriotic Party APP
Otto-Wels-Str. 56
D-65197 Wiesbaden

Detroit, Michigan
January 27, 2000

In an effort to meet the challenges facing our Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac nation and to fill the political vacuum that exists within the Chaldean community, a group of committed nationalists joined hands to establish Beth Nahrain National Organization (BNNO).  An organization created to utilize the impressive economic achievements and the tremendous resources of our Chaldean community to what is best for our entire nation in the homeland as well as in Diaspora.

With that in mind and with a spirit full of hope and a strong belief in our nation's just cause, a meeting of Beth Nahrain National Organization was convened on January 22, 2000 to discuss and approve its mission statement, constitution and internal rules, as well as the organization's positions on several national as well as foreign issues.

The meeting was successfully concluded with the election of an Executive Board that will run the organization's day-to-day activities for an initial one full year, after which a new board will be elected for the complete 4-years constitutional term.

The following day, members of this board met with the public and answered questions as to the organizations agenda and means of achieving it.  Many valuable suggestions were made and a constructive dialogue took place. Criticisms were also made as to the poor advertisement for the meeting which resulted in a small audience attending the event.  Emphasis were made on the need for reaching out the entire Chaldean community in the US as well as in the homeland and other countries.

In summary, BNNO is very pleased with the extremely positive response to its agenda.  All the speakers agreed on the need for political organization like BNNO to act as the conduit of the Chaldean community as well as that of our entire Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac nation in its struggle for recognition of its legitimate national rights.

The meeting was also attended by a delegation from Chicago representing Assyrian Democratic Organization (led by Mr. Abger Mallol), Bet Nahrain Democratic Party (led by Mr. Gelyana Younan), Dr. Norman Sulkha and Ms. Leila (from the Mesopotamian Museum), Dr. John Michael and Mr. Tony Khoshaba, and a visiting guest from Syria.

The following are the names of the Executive Board members of Beth Nahrain National Organization:

1. Joseph Kassab, President - Detroit, Michigan
2. Ghassan Hanna Shathaya, Vice President - San Francisco Bay Area
3. Hirmis Aboona, Political Affairs Adviser - Toranto, Canada
4. Munir Hormis, Secretary of International Affairs - Toranto, Canada
5. Kais Younan, Secretary of External Affairs - Detroit, Michigan
6. John Mackey, National Security Adviser - Detroit, Michigan
7. Firas Jatou, Secretary of Information and Media - Toranto, Canada
8. Raed Polus, Treasurer - Toranto, Canada

Our organization has passed its first hurdle and we are sure we will overcome others.  Also we could put our resources to the service of our great nation and in full collaboration and coordination with all the existing political groups within the Eastern Assyrian and Syriac Communities.  Only in combining all the resources of our three communities and employing them wisely, will our nation be able to achieve its legitimate rights in Beth Nahrain and defeat the plans of its enemies.

Glory to our Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac nation. Glory to all our martyrs; those who died due to massacres and those who died fighting for their nation's rights.  May God bless their souls. Glory to all who put their nation's interests before their owns.

Beth Nahrain National Organization
Detroit, Michigan


Dear Sir/Madam:

The Assyrian Relief Fund (ARF) is a charitable organization duly registered in New South Wales. ARF is authorized and governed by the New South Wales Government to conduct public appeals to raise funds for needy Assyrians. (ARF’s aims and objects are available upon request).

January 15th, 2000 marks the ninth anniversary of the United Nation's sanctions imposed upon Iraq. The ARF is conducting a radiothon on Friday 28th January 2000 on the Echo of Nineveh program (2GLF FM 89.3, 6pm-8pm) to raise money in order to help our needy Assyrians living in Iraq.

Assyrians as a Christian minority are the most disadvantaged in the Iraqi society today, and recent reports and video tapes sent to ARF from Iraq indicate that the Assyrians are in a great need of medical assistance, food, clothing and other daily needs.

We hereby invite you to respond to our appeal by donating to this noble cause before or on Friday 28th January 2000. Your company's name and donation will be mentioned on the Echo of Nineveh program and printed in the Progressive Assyrian magazine, and a receipt will be issued to you upon receiving your donation.

We are hopeful that you will respond to our appeal favourably.

Yours truly,

Dr. Maraim D. Joseph
PO Box 1032 Valley Plaza,
Green Valley NSW 2168
Fax 61 2 9755 7571
Email: arfaus@hotmail.com

For more information visit: Click Here


Adam Matthew Enwiya

Born on Sunday, January 16
Parents:  Mazin & Helen (Chicago)

Evelyn H. Bedig

86, of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
died January 13 at the Armenian Nursing Home in Jamaica Plain
a retired supervisor in the actuarial department of Paul Revere Insurance Co;
also worked at the Worcester Envelope Company.

Links to Other Assyrian Websites



Laqipum has married Hatala, daughter of Enishru. In the country (i.e., Central Anatolia) Laqipum may not marry another (woman)—(but) in the City (i.e., Ashur) he may marry a hierodule.[1] If within two years she (i.e., Hatala) does not provide him with offspring, she herself will purchase a slavewoman, and later on, after she[2] will have produced a child by him, he may then dispose of her by sale wheresoever he pleases. [3] Should Laqipum choose to divorce her (text: "him"), he must pay (her) five minas of silver- and should Hatala choose to divorce him, she must pay (him) five minas of silver. Witnesses: Masa, Ashurishtikal, Talia, Shupianika.

[1] Akk. qadi$tum, who, according to Middle Assyrian Laws § 40, may be married to a free citizen, but her status would probably have been inferior to that of a "first" wife under the circumstances envisaged in this contract.
[2] The translation assumes that the subject is the slavewoman, but it is equally possible that Hatala is the subject, if the verb is rendered "provided" rather than "produced," but the sense is not materially affected either way.
[3] The rendering is based on the fact that the pronoun and the verb are masculine, but considering that the masculine is also used throughout in the following two clauses, even when Hatala is clearly the object of the first and the second, it might be presumed that she is the subject here also, which would configure better with the fact that it is she who was to provide the slavewoman to begin with, and presumably would also retain the right to sell her.

Translator: J.J. FinkelsteiN
Old Assyrian, 19th century B.C.
Text: B. Hrozný, Inscriptions Cunéiformes du Kultépé (Praha, 1952).
Transliteration and translation, Hrozný, in Symbolae Koschaker (Studia et Documenta II, 1939), 108ff. For bibliography of discussions cf. H. Hirsch, Orientalia, xxxv (1966), 259f



Afram Rayis was born in the village of Aradin, in north Beth-Nahrain (present day Iraq) and came to the U.S.A. in 1956 as a student. In 1958 he organized the Iraqi Student Association through the Detroit Institute of Technology before graduating with a degree in business in 1963. For one year he worked as an instructor at the DIT and then went on to a teaching position for three years at St. Pius catholic school in Southgate, Michigan. While continuing college he was also employed as import-export and traffic manager of the Detroit processing terminal (one of Detroit ports). In 1967 he started his own business and continue to do so until now.

In the early 60's as more and more Chaldeans were arriving in Michigan, Mr. Rayis felt the need to help organize and establish the Chaldean Iraqi Association of Michigan and also the Chaldean Heritage Association.

In 1973, Mr. Rayis became a supporter of the Assyrian Universal Alliance. He attended the 1974 Chicago congress, 1975 Geneva Congress and 1976 Congress In Skockholm. In January of 1978 he was elected by the Executive Council as Secretary of the Americas headquarters Chapter, following the death of the late honorable Michael Rasho. While attending the 1978 Congress in Australia, he was reelected to the same position obtaining the highest votes from all the nominees on the election list. He would soon be elected as Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance at the 13th congress in Los Angles.

In 1993 he founded the Assyrian Chaldean Association of Detroit. Mr. Rayis was one of the representative from this association that founded and formed the Chaldean Federation of America. This association later joined the Assyrian American national Federation in 1977 and hosted its first convention in Michigan at the Michigan Inn of Southfield in 1981. Mr. Rayis was General Chairman of this convention.

On march 31, 1981 the city of Southfield Chamber of Commerce honored Afram Rayis with the Man of the Year for "LIBERTY" by dedicating his time, efforts, and talents to improve life in the community. In August of 1996 at the Detroit Convention of the Assyrian American National Federation he was the Assyrian Man of the Year.

He attended the 22nd Assyrian Universal Alliance in Tehran, Iran in November of 1998. The A.U.A. delegation met with the Iranian President Honorable Khatami who addressed the opening of the conference. Mr. Rayis visited Northern Iraq on his own behalf to access the situation first hand of the cities and villages and meet with Zowaa leadership. In September of 1999 Mr. Rayis made yet another humanitarian trip to Northern Iraq to distribute funds and medical supplies to the villages.

Mr. Rayis dedicated his life and energy to improve the life of others throughout the world. He has demonstrated unselfish devotion to new immigrants to this country through numerous hindrances.

Married to Joliet, he has 7 children and 15 grandchildren.

His dream: To see true autonomy established in Beth Nahrain and to see all Christians in the Middle East United.

As Dr. Elliot Burns, Director of Education introduced Mr. Rayis …

"On the Statue of Liberty it say in part:

"Send me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to be free" and Afram Rayis, symbolizes liberty to thousands of Assyrian/Chaldeans who search for freedom, and he does it Unselfishly and Willingly."

"Chaldean Detroit Times"
Vol. 10, No. 205

Submitted by Mr. Tony Khoshaba in Chicago



BC (7th Century)

Weather lore is recorded by the Assyrians in cuneiform writing. The concepts of condensation, rarefaction
and the different states of wind, rain and clouds were first discovered in 570 B.C.

Pat Shingleton's Weather News, January 10, 2000

AD (February 1917)

Hakim Freidoun Atouraya, Rabbie Benyamin Arsanis and Dr. Baba Bet-Parhad establish the first Assyrian political party, the Assyrian Socialist Party.  Two months later, Kakim Atouraya completes his "Urmia Manifesto of the United Free Assyria" which called for self-government in the regions of Urmia, Mosul, Turabdin, Nisibin, Jezira, and Julamaerk.

Dr. Freidoun Atouraya-  an essay by Fred Aprim


February 4, 1923:   The "Mosul Vilayat" discussions at the Lousanne Conference are tabled.  The government of Turkey was disputing the ownership claims of the Iraqi and British governments and the Assyrians of northern Iraq over the oil-rich region of Mosul in northern Iraq.

Feb 10

"The birth of the multinational: 2000 years of ancient business history, from Ashur to Augustus"
Prof Karl Moore 
6:00 PM
School of Oriental and African Studies
Russell Sq WC1. Brunei Gallery
Enquiries 020-7935-5379, e-mail PEFund@compuserve.com

Feb 19

"Symbolism in Assyrian art"
Paul Oakes
11.15 AM
British Museum, Great Russell St. WC1. 
Gallery talk in Room 19

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

Mar 28

"Reading and writing cuneiform past and present"
Christopher Walker
6:30 PM
British Museum, Great Russell St. WC1. Lecture theatre.
Tickets 7.50 pounds
Contact 020 7323 8566

Apr 12

"Egypt through the Assyrian annals"
Paul Collins
6:00 PM
British Museum, Great Russell St. WC1. Lecture Theatre
EES and BM Dept. of Egyptian antiquities.
Non-EES members contact the EES 020 7242 1880

May 27

Double Tree Hotel
2:00 PM-10:00 PM PST
Organized by: Nineveh On Line
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