|Z I N D A M A G A Z I N E|
|Adaar 21, 6749 Volume VI Issue 5 March 21, 2000|
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|The Lighthouse||The Akitu Festival: Twelve Days of Rebirth|
|Good Morning Bet-Nahrain||Turkish Interior Ministry Forbids New Year Celebrations
Assyrians in Jordan Pleas for Papal Help
|News Digest||Assyrian-Syrian-Chaldean Delegation in Strasbourg
Thank You Letter to Assist Secretary Edward S. Walker
Hannibal Alkhas Exhibition Opens in Holland
State of Illinois Proclaims April 1 Assyrian New Year Day
|Surfs Up||"The Conspiracy Continues"|
|Surfers Corner||Raabi Nimrod Simono Scholarship|
|Assyrian Surfing Posts||The Ancient Middle Eastern Capital City
New Year Celebration (Kha b'Neesan)
|Bravo||FIU to Examine Middle East Christians|
|Pump Up the Volume||Endurance and Weakness|
|Back to the Future||Free Mesopotamia under Parthians and the Mongolian Convert|
|This Week in History||The First Girls' School|
|Calendar of Events||Kha b'Neesan Party in San Jose|
All blue links throughout this issue are hyperlinks to other sections on this page or featured websites.
THE AKITU FESTIVAL: TWELVE DAYS OF REBIRTH
The New Year's festival, also called the Akitu Festival, dates from about 2000 BC in Mesopotamia. The New Year commenced with the new moon nearest the spring equinox. Akitu lasted twelve days beginning with the first day of the month of Neesan and served several objectives:
The inner logic of these celebrations comes from ancient myths, i.e. the Myth of Creation, or the Enuma Elish, the Descent of Inanna/Ishtar and the Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi in the highlights of the festival celebrations, or the Sacred Marriage Rite. The Descent of Inanna/Ishtar is hardly mentioned by most scholars, but it is there in full symbolism, in the kings descent, the high priestess´ and the city's wailing for the vanished/captive king. The beauty of the Courtship and the Sacred Rite is not overlooked, but it is seldom ignored that it was the most hallowed of all rites, the culmination of events that led to the following day Second Determination of Destiny.
Days 1 through 4 of Neesan: Preparations and Purifications
During the first five days, the rites within Esagila (Marduk´s temple in Babylon) reflected a somber mood, where priests and priestesses attuned to desolation, utter bereavement and grief for the uncertainties of the coming future. It is known that the people of the city also gave expression to misery and anxiety by ritual wailing, which, nevertheless, seem not to have been part of any temple service, though many temple hymns reflect this mood.
Each morning, before sunrise, the high priest, after a ritual washing, entered the temple alone and prayed to Marduk and to other gods. Afterward the other priests commenced their daily tasks.
On the evening of the fourth day, the Enuma Elish, or the Epic of Creation, was recited in its entirety, for each New Year shared something with the beginning of times, when the world was created and the cycle of seasons started. A recital of that triumphant achievement increased the power of all favorable forces to overcome the hazards which had led to the incarceration of the god of natural life. In later stages of the festival, Marduk´s battle with Chaos was actually represented in the ritual, but on the evening of the fourth day the recital of the Epic was only an interlude in the general preparations for the atonement.
Day 5: Day of Atonement for the king
In the fifth day, the king is the main participant in the ritual. In the morning, the high priest again offered prayers of appeasement, this time to Marduk as manifest in the heavenly bodies.
Then the temple was purified. Offerings and incantations continued. Craftspeople equipped the chapel of Nabu (Marduk´s son who was to arrive on the morrow) with na offering-table and a gold canopy from the treasury of his father. While these preparations were going on, the king entered Marduk´s shrine. He was escorted into the chapel by priests, who left him alone. The high priest emerged from the Holy of Holies where the statue of Marduk stood. He took the kings scepter, ring, scimitar and crown and put them upon a "seat" before the statue of the god. Again, he approached the ruler, who was standing deprived of signs of royalty, and struck his face; then, the high priest made him kneel down to pronounce a declaration of innocence:
I have not sinned, O Lord of the Lands,
I have not been negligent regarding thy divinity,
I have not destroyed Babylon...
The High Priest replied in Marduk´s name:
Do not fear... what Marduk has spoken...
He will hear thy prayer. He will increase thy dominion
Heighten thy royalty...
The High Priest then took up the insignia and gave them back to the king, striking his face once more in the hope of drawing tears - which were counted a favorable omen and proof of the god's will.
It is clear that by his penance and confession, the king cleansed himself of the taint of past sins , thus cleansing also the community, becoming fit to officiate in the succeeding rites. It is also clear that his renewed investiture with the insignia of royalty signified a renewal of kingship and the bond with the gods and the community he embodied. At the coronation, too, the insignia had been placed upon seats in front of the god. I would like to point out that the seat is also a sign for the Earth Mother or Ki, as well as a symbol of Anu, the Skyfather, or in the words of the myths "the horned crown upon a shrine". The meaning is thus is very clear. It tells of the link the king has with Anu and Ki as the ruler of the land and shows the bond between the heavenly and earthly powers the king should protect and ensure through wise leadership in all levels and spheres.
Likewise, the ritual humiliation of the king brought him into harmony with the conditions under which the great ceremony of renewal started. Though communication with Marduk was still possible in the Esagila, in the outer world the god had "disappeared", as does Inanna during Her annual descent to the Underworld.
In the city, people were disturbed. The king, the shepherd of the land, had been robbed of his splendor, of the protection of the royal insignia and reduced to a minimum of power which corresponded to the low ebb in the life of nature, to the "captivity" of the god and also to the state of chaos preceding creation. Five days of sacrifice, atonement and purification culminated in the kings degradation and reinstatement.
While the measured rites occupied priests and priestesses at the great temple of Marduk, city dwellers entered a different state of mind. We learn about these popular activities from commentaries, explaining the ritual acts of the people in terms of mythology, for the benefit of a priestly school.
The commentary says that "Marduk was confined in the mountain", and it is a Mesopotamian formula for the death of a god, characterizing the point from which the festival took its start. Death here means the suffering of the god, and here we have a clear allusion to the Descents of Inanna/Ishtar, who descended, were wounded, died and were reborn. Similarly, it is said of Marduk at the New Year's festival that "Into the house of bondage, from the sun and light, they caused him to descend".
And more: "people hasten in the streets, they seek Marduk saying, ' Where is he held captive?'" We assume then that much of the commotion centered around the temple tower, the ziggurat, the man-made mountain that links the Underworld to the Realms Above.
Now, thanks to the Dumuzi/Tammuz hymns, we recognize the goddess who in her sorrow seeks the god and, when she has found him, stays at his side. Her acts clearly represent, on the mythological level, the acts and feelings of the people! Indeed, there is a line in a commentary that says "the dazed goddess who from the city goes, wailing"...
There is an obscure text called Marduk´s Ordeal, which tells of the abduction of Marduk by the enemy and who wails for him is not Sarpanitum, Marduk´s wife, but Ishtar. This is another arcane reference of the relationship of Marduk and Ishtar.
Finally, community participation may also have involved the representation of fights, because commentaries state that "after Marduk went into the mountain, the city fell into a tumult because of him, and they made fighting within it". We do not know whether the fights took place in the night of the fifth of Nissan or whether they accompanied Nabu´s triumphal entry into Babylon and his battle with the enemies of Marduk on the sixth or seventh days. The preparatory rites were completed; the scene was set for the arrival of the avenging son, Nabu, who would defeat the powers of death.
Day 6: The Arrival of the Gods
Nabu, the god of the scribes, goes first to Borsippa to arrive in Babylon on the same day. Meanwhile barges carrying statues of the gods from Nippur, Uruk, Cutha and Kish converge to Babylon. The commentary is quite explicit: "That is he who comes to seek after the welfare of this father who is held captive". Possibly there was a great procession from the quays to the temple led by the king, who is mentioned as being present and pouring out a libation before the gods. In Assur [Ashur], the role of the king was more impressive than it was in Babylon. There, the protagonist of the gods was not Nabu but Ninurta, and the king himself represented the Divine Hero, standing in the royal chariot in the procession or being carried out of the Assur temple with a golden tiara as "Ninurta, who has avenged his father". We can assume that Nabu´s/Ninurta´s arrival brought back renewal and was celebrated accordingly by the people
Day 7: Nabu and other gods liberate Marduk from the mountain of the Netherworld
We do not have accounts of the actual Marduk´s liberation from captivity by Nabu. We do know however that Nabu led the army of visiting gods to accomplish this task. The commentary that refers to events is the following: "The door with aperture as they call it, that means that the gods confined him; he entered into the house and before him one locked the door. They bore holes into the door and there they waged battle".
Iconography shows that on cylinder seals of the middle and third millennium the liberation of the god is from a mountain. The liberator god is Ninurta, a god with a bow, and a goddess is his attendance. Again, a reference to the presence of the Divine Feminine, and I would risk an educated guess that the goddess in the seal is Ereshkigal, the Queen of the Unerworold and Stern Judge of Souls, who is by then appeased and ready to set Marduk free. Iconography also shows the goddess kneeling with the captive god, while another god destroys the vegetation above the ground. This is a clear reference to Inanna/Ishtar and the Underworld events, or the Mysteries that took place in the Underworld, which were known, but not explicitly mentioned, especially to the non initiates. These seals prove the antiquity, if not of the usage, then of the myths which are reflected in the ritual, but are not included in the Epic of Creation.
Day 8: First determination of Destiny
After Marduk´s liberation, the statues of the gods were brought together in the Chamber of Destinies "to determine destiny". This was on the 8th day, and another determination of destiny followed on the 11th day. The two gatherings differed in significance, but both took place in a temple called Ubshu-ukkina, a name designating the place of assembly of the gods in the Epic of Creation and elsewhere. There, the gods proceed to the first Determination of Destiny, when Marduk is chosen king of all gods, according to the Enuma Elish. A text from Uruk describes how the statues of the gods were arranged in order of precedence for the assembly. The king acted as master of ceremonies. Carrying a shining wand or staff, he summoned each god in succession to leave his chapel and, taking his hand, guided the deity to the appropriate position in the great hall where the gods faced the leader.
The gods then put all the power of which they dispose in the hands of Marduk. Marduk´s destiny is now declared to be unequaled, for he actually commands the consolidated power of all the gods. It is in the Epic that this power is given so that Marduk can command all threats of annihilation to existence, and this is also the meaning of the ceremony of First Determination of Destiny. All gods´ powers are conferred to the liberated god, who then is ready to lead the battle against all powers of darkness, death and chaos that could affect Babylon in the coming year.
We know that a hush of reverence dominated the city while the gods assembled, in order that evil influences could be avoided. In connection with the New Year's festival of later times, there is an entry for the eighth of Neesan in a calendar of lucky and unlucky days that says "Show no enmity at all". Thus, there was a sort of Pax Babylonium, tacit agreement to be followed and pursued at least in atonement to the days.
Day 9: Triumphal procession to Bit Akitu
When the late Assyrian kings recorded their annual visits to Babylon, they gave us the purpose of their participation in the ceremony. Sargon II, for example, wrote: " Into Babylon, the city of the lord of the gods, joyfully I entered, in gladness of heart and with a radiant countenance. I grasped the hand(s) of the great lord Marduk, and made pilgrimage to the House of New Year's feast, the Bit Akitu. The gods, too, came to Babylon " to take the hands of Bel" - to lead him in the procession to Bit Akitu. The king was privileged to give the sign for departure, "Come, go forth, Lord, the king awaits thee!... By the side of Ishtar of Babylon, while her servants play the flute, Goes all Babylon exultant!".
The procession was considered so important that every detail of its start and completion was watched carefully and possessed the significance on an omen for the year which was beginning. It seems, therefore, that the procession itself, and not a mock battle, represented Marduk´s victory in the cult. This view is supported by a commentary which enumerates various acts that are evident parallel to phases of the victory as related in the Epic.
Basically, two conclusions can be drawn. Firstly, Marduk´s victory over chaos was celebrated, or realized once more during the New Year's festival. The Bit Akitu was the place where the Creator's victory over Tiamat was celebrated, and the bronze figures on the door of Sennacherib appear relevant, as well as an inscription of Nebuchadnezzar in which he calls the "the temple of the sacrifices of the exalted New Year's festival of Enlil of the gods of Upper and Netherworld". Secondly, this was most probably a time for peace in the region, once high dignitaries and the gods came to Babylon for celebrations, a peace that should at least be a concerted effort to be maintained in the coming year. The gods´ assembly of the Enuma Elish was re-enacted to show union and stability in the region as well.
Day 10: Marduk celebrates his victory
If the victory over Tiamat was achieved on the ninth of Neesan (on the eighth day the gods met in the Chamber of Destinies), the great banquet may have fallen on the tenth. This is also suggested in the stela of Nabonidus: " In the month of Neesan, on the tenth day, when the king of the gods, Marduk, and the gods of the Upper and Netherworld take up their abode in the House of Prayer (Bit Akribi), the House of the New Year's Festival (Bit Akitu) of the Lord of Justice".
In Babylon, the Bit Akitu was always located outside the city. It was build about two hundred meters outside the city walls, and its outstanding characteristic was the richness of the gardens which surrounded it. The courtyard was filled with regularly spaced trees and shrubs. On either side there were porticoes, an unusual feature in Mesopotamian temples. The enormous "stela", 25x100 feet, extends over the whole width at the back and may well have served as a banqueting hall. All around the building were elaborate gardens, carefully watered. They remind us of the fact that the god was not merely a conqueror of Chaos, but also the personification of the life in nature. It is this aspect of the complex figure of Marduk or Ashur that is especially stressed by the Sacred Marriage Rite, or the following phase of celebration. Of Marduk, it is said that "he hastened to the wedding".
Indeed, the renewal of nature in Spring, at the New Year's festival, was conceived as the marriage of the Goddess with the liberated god. Their union took place in the temples, and the change in nature and the temple ritual constituted the Divine Union, being the two events inseparable and equivalent. The king was then made the Divine Bridegroom, and the High Priestess as his Divine Consort, the Goodness incarnate.
It is likely that during the Akitu the Sacred Marriage took place in the Esagila, Marduk´s temple in Babylon, and not in the Bit Akitu. We know that Nabu, Ningirsu and Inanna of Isin celebrated their weddings in the temple. According to our knowledge of Mesopotamian religion, it makes sense to place the Sacred Marriage on the tenth day, because only when harmony and order is restored love and fertility can return to the land in all levels and spheres. Remember that kingship should be acknowledged by the Goddess, from Ninhursag-Ki to Inanna/Ishtar in Mesopotamia.
Day 11: The Second Determination of Destiny
It is extremely meaningful that the Second determination of Destiny is now concerned with the microcosmic scale, and so the gods meet again on the 12th of Neesan in the Chamber of Destinies, Also, remember that in Mesopotamia, by the bond of Heaven and Earth, or Duranki, humankind had been created as a result of the gods´ wish to humanity to continue the workings of existence for Them. Thus, humankind's destiny and happiness was possible only if man and women lived out their destinies carrying out the deeds of existence for the gods. Basically, the auguries for the coming year were aimed at attuning to the future and once again reaffirm that the gods´ designs were of relevance to humankind who lived to celebrate the gods and Their creation in everyday life.
Day 12: The Return of the Gods
It is constantly said in the literature that Mesopotamians viewed life as a burden to be carried by humankind. The picture that emerges when we look at their rituals and meditate on the significance of their values by listening to the words ancient Mesopotamians left inscribed in clay differs from the bleak scenario of more recent times. Think of the cycle of events we have just seen together: there was chaos, there was wailing, but there was also joy, justice and reasons to be happy about, ensured by the right divination procedures, which would aid the king and the land to choose the best courses of actions and guide the requests of help and assistance to the Powers Above and Below when there was a need.
The Akitu festival reaffirmed my personal view of Mesopotamian religion and worldview as faith in life, faith in the world, faith in what will be and become, because most of it will be the fruit of our deeds in the world, and guided by the Light of the Tradition, we will try to make it better... again and again, for as many times as it takes, this lifetime, another time.
Excerpts from the entry Akitu in "Gateways to Babylon"
Frankfort, Henri (1978) Kingship and the Gods: a study of Ancient Near Eastern Religion as the Integration of Society and Nature (with a preface by Samuel Noah Kramer). The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, London.
Wolkstein, Diane and Kramer, Samuel Noah (1983) Inanna,
Queen of Heaven and Earth: her stories and hymns from Sumer. Harper &
Row, New York.
TURKISH INTERIOR MINISTRY FORBIDS NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS
(ZNDA: Istanbul ) The Interior Ministry of Turkey forbade the New Year celebrations, including Assyrian Kha b'Neesan and the Kurdish/Iranian No-rooz in Tur-Abdin. The city of Mardin's mayor, Osman Akkoyun, said that the rejection of his people's demand to celebrate their New Year did not agree with the spirit of the recent peaceful developments in that region. Both Kha b'Neesan and No-rooz (New Day in Farsi), occur on the first day of spring or Vernal Equinox. This year the spring equinox occurred on the 20/21 of March.
(ZNAF: Amman) Over 10,000 Iraqi Assyrians living in Jordan attended the parade in the Amman Stadium on Tuesday, waving the Assyrian flags as shown on CNN News Hour. The Assyrian community was urged by the Catholic priests in the Misdar neighborhood of Amman to greet the Pope and hand him a letter to pray for the end of nearly 10-year-old U.N. sanctions on Iraq. The United Nations imposed sanctions on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990. Earlier this week, some 500 Assyrians had attended the Sunday Mass and pleaded for the Vatican's help in obtaining visas to emigrate to Australia, Canada, the United States and Europe.
“It's very difficult to leave Jordan,” said Souad Ibrahim, who has been stranded with her husband in Amman for the past seven years trying to join her children in Australia. “I want to leave. It's too expensive here. There's no work. It's not good for food,” Ibrahim said following the Sunday mass.
Other Iraqis, pale-faced and wearing their threadbare Sunday best, echoed her appeal, saying there was no work here and they were relying on family overseas to send them money.
In response to the Assyrian demands for papal support, Pope John Paul II commented: "The sons and daughters of the Church in Iraq, and all the Iraqi people who are being so severely tried by the continuing international embargo, never cease to be present in my thoughts. I assure all those who are suffering, especially the women, children and elderly, of my prayerful support." The Pope has frequently criticized the use of sanctions in Iraq and elsewhere, arguing that the weakest - who are already suffering - pay the highest price.
On Monday, Pope John Paul visited a monastery on Mount Nebo from where Moses glimpsed the Promised Land before his death, and a visit to Wadi Al-Kaharrar where, according to some archeological evidence, Jesus was baptized. At the Amman Stadium on Tuesday the Pope baptized 2,000 children.
Jordan is a predominantly a Muslim country. Out of a total of
6.3 million inhabitants, there are only 71,000 Catholics -- 1.13%. However,
interest in the Pope's visit was very great. 77,000 tickets were printed for
the Mass on Tuesday, and all had been distributed. For days the local newspapers
have been referring to this "historic" trip. An intense publicity campaign
has been carried out in the 64 Catholic parishes in Jordan to make people aware
of the visit, distributing shirts, visors and information pamphlets.
"ASSYRIAN-SYRIAN-CHALDEAN" DELEGATION IN STRASBOURG
(ZNDA: Amsterdam) On March 14 and 15, four persons representing the "Assyrian-Syrian-Chaldean" people met EU's Parliamentarians in Strasbourg, France. The group consisted of Fikri Aho, Ozcan Kaldoyo, Yasemin Sekire, and a Swede, Olle Wiberg.
The main subjects of these meetings were the Turkish application for entry in the European Union and the past, present and future situation of the "Assyrian-Syrian-Chaldean" in Turkey. The delegation had prepared for these meetings a dossier, containing among other issues the urgent need of preserving their cultural heritage. The delegation met with the representatives of different political groups in the Parliament. At these meetings a discussion concerning the "Assyrian-Syrian-Chaldean" cause was held.
Here are some of the important developments noted:
(ZNDA: Michigan) Earlier this year, Edward S. Walker, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, invited a group of 13 Iraqi Americans (including two Assyrians: Senator John Nimrod and Professor Emanuel Kamber) and 4 representatives of Arab organizations in the U.S. to participate in a round table discussion on March 7 in Washington DC, regarding US policy towards Iraq. Attached is a letter sent to Ambassador Walker by the Iraqi Americans thanking him for the meeting and confirming points raised by them:
Copy to: Secretary Madeleine Korbel Albright, US Secretary
Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone, Special Coordinator for Transition in Iraq
Dear Assistant Secretary Walker,
We, the undersigned, thank you for inviting us on Tuesday, March 7th, 2000 to participate in a round table discussion with you on US policy towards Iraq. The challenges ahead of you as the assistant secretary for the Near East will not be easy to overcome. We certainly believe that reaching out to the Iraqi-American community is conducive to mutual understanding. We would like to take this opportunity to synthesize the consensus of the Iraqi-American attendees with respect to the issues discussed and the policy that we believe the US administration should adopt to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people:
1. The United States missed several opportunities in the nineties to help the Iraqi people get rid of the shackles of the current regime in Iraq. This has contributed to the wide held perception that the United States is not serious about removing Saddam. Pronouncements of support for the Iraqi opposition are not a substitute for strong action.
2. Economic sanctions are an immoral foreign policy tool if not accompanied by a serious commitment on the part of the US government to help the people of Iraq in the removal of Saddam. Lifting them with Saddam remaining in power is equally immoral. Containment through sanctions does not serve the long-term interests of the United States in the region.
3. In order for the US to win the propaganda war, as well as regain the moral high ground, the US government should press for direct procurement and distribution of food and medicine by UN agencies, NGO's and the Iraqi democratic opposition, the Iraqi National Congress to the central and southern regions, bypassing Saddam's government. This will go a long way to lift the burden of sanctions from the Iraqi people, and allow the Iraqi opposition to build the administrative infrastructure of Iraq after Saddam.
4. We urge the US administration to call for the establishment of an international tribunal to try Saddam and other Iraqi leaders for crimes against humanity and genocide. Ethnic cleansing of Kurds, Assyrians, Turkoman and marsh Arabs and displacing them internally is ample proof that nothing is stopping Saddam from continuing his 'business as usual' policy of dislocating the Iraqi people. The notion of giving Palestinians refuge in the ethnically cleansed regions is further proof of his ill intentions for all Iraqis regardless of their ethnicity. Any policy short of overtly supporting the Iraqi people in their fight to topple Saddam will cause further suffering for the Iraqi people. Conversely, the only policy that can truly offer Iraqis 'a better deal', as you aptly put it, is a policy that hastens the removal of Saddam's regime. We therefore urge the US administration to affirm its commitment to democratic change in Iraq through active support of the Iraqi opposition's struggle against the regime.
We thank you again for a timely and candid discussion and look forward to a rapid revision in US policy towards Iraq based on removing the suffering through the removal of the regime. This turn in US policy will be perceived as starving Saddam of his weapons of mass destruction, rather than starving the Iraqi people of food and medicine. Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank Ambassador Frank Ricciardone, the State Department's special coordinator for transition in Iraq, for his work and efforts to help Iraqi people towards a free and democratic Iraq.
Mahdi Al-Bassam, M.D.
Chairman, Iraq Liberation Action Committee
Azzam Alwash, Ph.D.
President, Iraqi Forum for Democracy
Rend Rahim Francke,
Executive Director, Iraq Foundation
Emanuel Kamber, Ph.D.
Pary Karadaghi, M.D.
Executive Director, Kurdish Human Rights Watch
Hatem Mukhlis, M.D.
Senator John Nimrod,
Secretary General, Assyrian Universal Alliance
Entifadh Qanbar, P.E.
Vice president, Iraq Liberation Action Committee
Maha Yousif, D.D.S.
Vice president, Iraq Liberation Action Committee
President, Iraq Liberation Action Committee
(ZNDA: Enschede) Last Friday, March 17, the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop Mor J. Jeshu Cicek together with the highest officials of the city of Enschede, the Deputy Mr. J. Kristen and the alderman Mr. Swart, opened the exhibition of the Assyrian painter Hannibal Alkhas at the "Jannink Museum" in Holland. Mr. Alkhas' works will be on display until April 23.
Around the same hall where Mr. Alkhas' paintings were displayed, a special section was also dedicated to the Christian Assyrian-Suryoyo culture of Tur-Abdin. For this occasion the Syrian Orthodox Monastery of "Mor Ephrem Suryoyo" has offered three ancient Syriac books, both over 800 years old, the different Syrian Orthodox priestly attires, among them one of Archbishop Mor J. Yeshu Cicek and crosses and church decorations. These and other traditional "Tanouro" and "Gorouzto" customs nicely characterized the life of a Tur Abdin village. The huge crowds of Dutch enthusiasts have been admiring the displays since the opening day, as were the representatives of the different Assyrian-Suryoyo federations, priests and church committees in Holland.
To mark the occasion the Assyrian singer, Mrs. Violet Khosro-Abadi had arrived from Urmia, Iran to entertain the audience with her vocal talents with two songs in the Eastern-Assyrian dialect. She is also scheduled to appear at the Kha b'Neesan celebrations to be held on April 1 in Brussels. The Folklore Dance group of the Culture Section of the Patriotic Revolutionary Organization of BethNahrin (P.R.O.B.), performed in the traditional customs and holding the Assyrian flags in hand. The music for this dance was the Assyrian-Suryoyo vocalist Simon Kaplo's hit song "Babel ou Nineveh". Assyrian-Suryoyo food and drinks were served during the breaks.
Few journalists from different Dutch newspapers, the Assyrian-Suryoyo "Bahro Production" on the Medya TV, and the local Assyrian-Suryoyo TV in Amsterdam, "Beth-Nahrin TV" were at hand to record this cultural event for their newspaper and television audiences. The success of this program was made possible by the "Beth Nahrin Informatie Bureau" (Beth Nahrin Information Agency) and the P.R.O.B.
The city of Enschede in the Netherlands has a population of approximately 100.000. 7000 of these are Assyrians. There are two Syrian Orthodox churches, the Mor Yahqoub d’Sroug Church and the Mor Qouryaqous d‘Arnas. The largest number of Assyrians in Holland are to be found in Enschede of whom 95% are members of the Syrian Orthodox church and the remaining 5% are Eastern Assyrians (Church of the East/Chaldeans).
State of Illinois Executive Department
March 15, 2000
WHEREAS, the Assyrian New year is one of the most important religious and celebrated holidays of the Assyrian community; and
WHEREAS, the color green will dominate the New Year festivities, as it stands for "New Life"; and
WHEREAS, the Assyrian American community has made significant contributions in all areas of life including education, medicine, science, business, arts, government, and public service in Illinois; and
WHEREAS, Raymond Oshana, the Midwest Regional Director for the Assyrian American National Federation, announced that the Federation plans many cultural activities to mark this New Year; and
WHEREAS, the Assyrian American National Federation Midwest Region will sponsor the First Annual Basketball Tournaments, Student Night Festival at the Assyrian American Association, Ishtar Day - educational and cultural events at the Assyrian Social Club, New Year Party at the Hanging Gardens Banquet Hall and the closing ceremony commemoration at the Assyrian American Association; and
WHEREAS, the Assyrian New Year Parade will be held Sunday, April 2, 2000, on King Sargon Boulevard, between Peterson and Pratt Roads, in Chicago, Illinois; and
WHEREAS, on April 1, 2000, the Assyrian American community will celebrate their New Year 6750;
THEREFORE, I, George H Ryan, Governor of the State of Illinois, proclaim April 1, 2000, as ASSYRIAN NEW YEAR DAT in Illinois.
Governor George H. Ryan
State of Illinois
The Conspiracy Continues
“History neither forgives nor forgets; its judgment will be embedded in its books and the minds of the future Assyrians who will tell the tale of Census 2000 to generations and generations to come. The issue will soon be exposed for what it is .... a conspiracy .... a mere duplicate of the 1972 Baghdad's Ba’ath regime's Decree # 251 which referred to the Assyrian nation as "the Syriac speaking people comprising Athouriyoon/Kildan/Siryan". In a closer inspection of the text of the Decree one notices that it does not refer to the Assyrian people as a unique and separate ethnic group, different from the Arabs; rather as the Iraqi citizens who speak the Syriac language. The Assyrian national movement reached its climax during and after the visit of the Late Mar Eshai Shimun, bless be his soul, to Iraq in April 24, 1970. That visit and the eruption of half a million Assyrians in the streets of Baghdad was an eye opener for the Ba’ath government.
Many promises were made by the Iraqi government at the conclusion of that visit; promises which did not see the light or were initiated but abandoned later. The Assyrians lived the drama of the phony Decree 251 of 1972, orchestrated by that regime and with the assistance of Mr. Sheet Nu’aman. He is among those who refer to themselves as Christian Arabs and a member of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq. The Decree brought the Assyrian national identity down to the level of a religious denomination. Indeed it leveled them together in an effort to paint the Assyrian national movement with a religious look. But reality is that the visit of the Late Mar Eshai Shimun, bless His soul, to Iraq, created a situation which shook the Iraqi government to its foundation.
The Baghdad regime realized that it cannot put out the fire that had enlightened the hearts and minds of all Assyrians. One of the tools the regime used to counter that movement or its attempt to contain it was the establishment of the ‘Assyrian Ba’ath Party’. In time, this organization became the laughing stock of the Assyrian people and exposed for it it was. Unfortunately, it continued to exist with the support of the Iraqi government. The president of the 'Assyrian Ba'ath Party' tried desperately to improve his image among the Assyrians with a silly claim stating that it was his life which was intended when his empty car exploded pointing fingers at the Secret Police, or "al-aa-min". What a play that was! The Iraqi Secret Police tried to assassinate an Iraqi citizen but he escaped the attempt and lived in Baghdad to tell about it for years and years to come not fearing the establishment !! What a joke! That man only recently moved to the USA permanently and is living in Los Angeles these days!
In April 12, 1979, the Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa) saw the light, a unique phenomenon in Assyrians’ modern political history. Drastic measures were needed to be taken by the regime in Baghdad to counterattack this young and powerful Movement. Zowaa’s members experienced many reprisals by the regime, including imprisonments, assassinations and executions, a move solely taken to implant fear in the hearts of the Assyrians at large from supporting this newly born Movement. Here a need to revive the old Assyrian Ba’ath Party was due, hence, it was dressed up with a different look and renamed the APP (Assyrian Patriotic Party).
We wait 25 years to live another controversy created by few clergymen, based on that same Iraqi Decree #251 of 1972, but this time in a totally new environment. Today we live many new experiences. Assyrians have finally begun to get the recognition they deserve on various fronts, regional and international. In northern Bet Nahrain, Assyrians and the young Assyrian political movement, Zowaa, have just begun to enjoy a well deserved harvest which they planted with sweat, fed with their blood and protected with their lives. What has been happening in north of Iraq is an experience Assyrians only dreamed of. We notice Assyrians from all Assyrian church denominations working together under one national name respecting each other’s religious affiliation and in reality becoming a non-issue in their daily lives. This new phenomenon in the Assyrians’ lives in Iraq is not to the best interest of the Arabs or the Kurds. The regime in Baghdad figured, well, it is time for another conspiracy to sabotage this movement which began to mature at an alarming rate and what is more convenient than rekindling those old religious disputes ... Nestorians against Chaldeans! I only have one question to ask; Who benefits from the introduction of the chaldeans as a separate ethnic group title?
Fact is that this introduction is the first step towards a disaster for all Assyrians in the coming future. The Assyrians of the Catholic Church (erroneously known as Chaldeans) represent the majority of our community in north of Iraq and within Zowaa’s leadership are many of these Catholics who never looked at themselves as Chaldeans ethnically. These clergymen figured if they played their cards right, they cannot lose due to the sensitivity of this issue and the ripple effect any decision here would have on the Assyrians of north of Iraq. They sculptured the whole matter in a mold seen as a call for unity which Assyrians cannot refuse or a havoc was to be introduced. This does not mean, in my opinion, that they, in north of Iraq, believe in the legitimacy of what had happened here, but they are forced to accept it now while the future hides the unknown.
All consequences resulting directly and, or, indirectly from the census 2000 mess is the sole responsibility of the Chaldean Church diocese in Detroit. Facts are that Mar Ibrahim Ibrahim and Fr. Sarhad Jammo of the Chaldean Catholic Church and other members of that church, like Robert Haisha, an employee in the Census office as a Community Specialist for Detroit; John MacKay, Co-Chair of the Chaldean for Census 2000, Joseph Kassabs, and few more behind the scenes, have instigated this matter and worked on it with the Census Bureau for almost ten years. This group, somehow, succeeded in convincing the Bureau to grant the members of the Chaldean Catholic Church with what the Bureau called ‘a unique ethnic group,’ and hence unique people called Chaldeans. All they needed was a re-written history article by Fr. Sarhad Jammo and a simple study by a sociologist, Mary Sengstock, a study which any one group of people living as a community can obtain. That is the only TRUTH. With the invention of the new language, called the Chaldean language, with the creation of the new flag, new political organization BNNO (Bet Nahrain National Organization), and the new Chaldean Aid Society, they have illustrated, clearly, where they are heading.
The two mentioned clergymen and the other few individuals needed this ‘unique ethnic group’ status for one reason only: to be used as a bargain card to get the ‘Assyrian / Chaldean’ category (Syriac was added later as a tactical move to gain support of the Assyrian/Soryoyo community so I will not discuss matters related to our community of the Syrian Orthodox Church here). It is with this compound classification where Detroit can seriously have an impact on all other future decisions in these so crucial times of the Assyrian national movement. Let’s be honest, members of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church have been living as separate communities in the USA, a practice they brought with them from their home country, a practice dated back to 1681 when the Chaldean title was introduced first by Rome to the Assyrian people in Bet Nahrain. If they went their own way, our separation and division will only have been ‘official’! You see it is a tricky game they played and they played it perfectly. You might say that this does not make sense because they asked for a separate ethnic status for the Chaldeans and it was few individuals of the Assyrian community in Chicago, like John Michael, who made them change their mind.
True, but that was the plan precisely, in my opinion. We need to look at the bigger picture and to understand the reality of the matter. The most devastating point in this mess is that the Chaldean clergymen have succeeded to get the "unique ethnic group," this means that they are different from the Assyrians, but they do not want to be on their own at this time because they are not ready politically yet. But the first step has been taken. Lets read these FACTS together and see if what was discussed will make more sense:
1. The Chaldean Church Heads realize
that if they adopt the separate category, they will definitely lose the
Assyrian Catholics living today in Iran and all the Assyrians who came
from Iran and are living in the USA because those Catholics predominantly
believe that they are Assyrians ethnically and not the so called Chaldeans.
Therefore, ‘Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac’ fits their plan, they make everybody
believe as if they are seeking unity, and at the same time avoid the break
away of the Assyrian Catholics from the Chaldean Church.
2. The so called Chaldeans are not the indigenous people of the land of Ashur. On the other hand, the Assyrians are and have legitimate claims to it. The Assyrian file in the United Nation (previously the League of Nation) is still an unresolved matter (read the Mosul Vilayat file). That claim cannot be won based on some religious title invented by Rome officially in 1681 and 1830. The Arabs can easily prove that they have inhabited that region since the 7th century AD. But Arabs cannot win against the Assyrians’ rights as Nineveh’s (today’s Mosul) indigenous people at least 4000 years before Arabs even knew of its existence. Imagine how silly would we look to the world when some Iraqi official arguing the issue in an international forum would stand, turn and point his finger to the compound title and say: “Can you really support a case where the people claiming it argue among themselves about what their ethnic name is?”
We do not need a fake unity. The Chaldeans, as known today by the Census Bureau, succeeded to do all this damage, i.e. established a unique ethnic group status for themselves, within the last few years and the issue was only publicized the last two years by the Census Bureau as their legal obligation to the other communities involved in ‘code 482 Assyrian’. Few argue that the Chaldean side tried to alert the Assyrian community by talking to Sargon Lewie, the president of the Assyrian American National Federation earlier. Let’s put the issue of what Sargon Lewie did or did not do regarding the Census issue aside and look at it in a more realistic way. Everyone knows for a fact that our communities are unorganized; we do not have one specific organization, leadership or council that speaks on behalf of the majority of the Assyrians. If the so-called Chaldean side had such a serious action being pursued, and told one individual, heading one organization, it is silly then to say that those members of the Chaldean Church, pursuing such a crucial issue, did inform the Assyrians about their intentions! In the USA, and in a simple personal name change case, or in the case of the establishment of a very small club, a person is required to advertise such change in the local Newspaper! The point is that it has to be made public. If that group was sincere in its actions, it should have sent a letter to every major Assyrian organization, Church Parish, Assyrian TV station informing them about their intentions, a process which would have involved simply the mailing of some 20 or 30 copies of one letter costing less that $10 !
Looking back at the sequence of events, one cannot avoid asking the question: “If they have done all this in secret while on their own, what will happen if they have this proposed legal compound classification in their position?” This proposed compound classification says that Assyrian, Chaldean and Syriac are ‘Interchangeable’ terms, meaning that we can be called Assyrians OR Chaldeans OR Syriacs by anyone and by all governmental institutions with no restrictions at all.! I do not know about you, but I cannot entrust any longer my affairs to that group of people. Entrusting Assyrian affairs in those same hands is simply suicide, because they have proven to us with their acts how they do business.
The revolting part in this is now being witnessed as a few ill-hearted people who support the compound title are twisting facts and claiming falsely that those who are against the proposed compound title are expressing some sort of a hate feelings against the members of the Chaldean Catholic Church. This absolutely is not true and is a desperate act on their part to win some sympathy from the members of that church at large. Those who oppose the proposed compound title are simply saying that they opposed to the PROCESS followed to reach this decision and that there are no historical facts whatsoever to support the existence of any ethnic group called Chaldeans during the Christian era until Rome introduced it. I challenge anybody to proof otherwise. When some of us say that Mar Ibrahim Ibrahim and Fr. Sarhad Jammo did this and that, when we say that we do not approve with the manner they did it, we are not attacking the entire Chaldean Catholic Church. Lets put things where they belong.
Assyrian is our National and Ethnic name; Christianity is our religion, and Syriac (Aramaic) is our language. This is how we want to be recognized because we believe in it first, because our forefathers told us so, and because tons of manuscripts, studies, publications and books in the past and present attested to. If a segment of our nation did not approve of such for whatever reason, but were sincerely concerned about the unity of this ONE NATION, then, open dialogue was the answer. A conference attended by representatives from all our organizations, in addition to notable people, scholars and intellectuals, to address the matter, should have been called. Whereas with the present situation, even if the compound title was to be approved by the Justice Department while looking in the Lawsuit filed against the Census Bureau, this nation will live the exact same circumstances few years from now. Because in preparation for the Census 2010, I assure you that many Assyrians, who feel that they were simply cheated in the Census 2000, will file for the Assyrian category.
Despite the numerous massacres and persecutions and despite all plans of Turkization and Arabization, Assyrians are still around, simply because of the resilience we possess. We are still alive because of what is most unique and special within us- the pride we hold so dearly in our hearts for our Assyrian national and ethnic name.”
RAABI NEMROD SIMONO SCHOLARSHIP
Dear Fellow Assyrians,
It's time for new recipients to be selected for the Raabie Nemrod Simono Scholarship. The committee will be selecting Assyrian Students who have achieved the highest results in the 1999 Higher School Certificate.
We would like you to encourage students you know to apply for the scholarship even if your results were not as high as you may anticipated them to be. You may be surprised, this year, you could perhaps be a winner.
The Raabi Nemrod Simono Scholarship application forms can be collected at The Nineveh Club front reception desk any time from now till the closing date. All application forms for the scholarship will be not be accepted after 6.pm on the 22nd April 2000. So we urge you to act now for this highly respected scholarship award.
The winners of the scholarship will be officially announced around 3.30pm on the 21st May 2000 at the Sports auditorium behind The Nineveh club. If there are any questions pertaining to the scholarship please contact either myself, the chairperson, Johnny Chamaki on 0418 11 44 34 or the secretary Majidi Ann on 0404 12 49 30.
We look forward to receiving your completed application form.
Links to Other Assyrian Websites
“They died in silence for humanity had closed its ears to their cry”.
On Tuesday 15th February Iraq commemorated its 9th consecutive year living under the United Nations sanctions. The 9 year anniversary of the sanctions came fittingly during the middle of the Assyrian holiday known as ‘The Fast of the Ninevites’. In the West many Assyrians who voluntarily abstained from food will have some idea of what the population of Iraq, which includes Assyrians, involuntarily endures on a constant basis. Coming after the 1991 Gulf War destruction of much of Iraq's infrastructure, the U.N. sanctions have helped to create a public health crisis forcing the Iraqi people to cope with the cumulative effects of this reality on a daily basis.
The rate of death for children under the age of five in Iraq has doubled as the U.N. sanctions have brought the country to its knees. A variety of international humanitarian organisations, concur with the United Nations, the very same people who are responsible for enforcing the sanctions, with estimates that over 5,000 children die each month of preventable diseases such as diarrhea, malnutrition and dehydration, which were unheard of prior to the Gulf War. Meanwhile, another third of children, that manage to survive, are so malnourished that they face severe physical and mental challenges should they reach adulthood.
One recalls the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp, in which an estimated 900,000 Jews were killed, and the German words wrought in iron across its main gate, “Arbeit Macht Frei”, which translates to “Work Brings Freedom”. This same double-speak, made famous in George Orwell’s famous novel 1984, is today used by the U.N. to isolate the Iraqi people. The slogan used by the U.N. to justify the sanctions today is “Sanctions Bring Freedom”. Sanctions they argue are only being used to free the people of Iraq from the oppressive regime. Meanwhile, Iraq endures living conditions comparable to a concentration camp in which innocent children continue to suffer. Mairead Maguire, the famous Nobel Peace Prize Laureate had this to say after his visit to Iraq, last year. "When I visited Auschwitz I was horrified. And when I visited Iraq, I thought to myself, 'What will we tell the children in fifty years when they ask what we did when the people in Iraq were dying?”.
Just last month, two United Nations officials responsible for getting food to Iraqi citizens quit in frustration over U.N. policy in Iraq. Their resignations resemble the actions of the previous director of the U.N. oil-for-food program, Denis Halliday. The former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq bluntly stated, "We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that. It is illegal and immoral". All three state that they have quit due to a humanitarian disaster initiated by a failed policy of economic sanctions, as well as the unwillingness of U.S. leadership to do anything to change it.
The current situation in the demonised country of Iraq is very bleak indeed. This very same demonisation policy has specifically emphasised Iraq as a non-Christian Islamic population, to the detriment of the indigenous Assyrian Christian inhabitants. This could help to explain why the Assyrians have been ignored by Western media reports over the last 9 years.
Prior to the Gulf War there were approximately one and a half million Assyrians in Iraq. In Iraq today estimates put the estimated Assyrian people at roughly 1 million out of a total Iraqi population of 22 million. Many have fled their ancestral and ancient war-ravaged lands in the hope of finding refuge in the West.
Of those that remain, some basic mathematics will truly show what the U.N. sanctions are costing the Assyrian population of Iraq.
(1 million divided by 22 million) multiplied by 5,000 dead children per month = 227 dead Assyrian children per month
After dividing that figure by 31, the number of days per month, (227 divided by 31) = 7 Assyrian children per day.
Today as you read this article around 7 Assyrian children will die because of the U.N. sanctions against Iraq, hence the title of this article.
Disregarding the human cost in pain and suffering, after 9 years of crippling sanctions the death toll is staggering. Of the estimated 500,000 Iraqi children that have died during the 9 years of sanctions, buried in the cold dark earth of Mesopotamia, never to see the light of day, lie an estimated 27,000 Assyrian children.
The Independent, October 15, 1998
Campaign Against Sanctions On Iraq
Unicef : Results of the 1999 Iraq Child and Maternal Mortality Surveys
FIU TO EXAMINE MIDDLE EAST CHRISTIAN
Courtesy of the Miami Herald: 8 March 2000
The Middle East is the birthplace of Christianity, but in recent years there has been a sharp decline in the Christian presence in the region. Whether in Iran, Lebanon, Sudan or areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, Christians are an embattled community.
A public symposium at Florida International University will explore the reasons for the erosion of Christianity in the Middle East. It will be held March 26 from 2 to 6 p.m., at the Roz and Cal Kovens Conference Center on the Biscayne Bay Campus, 151st Street and Biscayne Blvd. The public is welcome and there is no charge.
Speakers will discuss specific Middle Eastern Christian communities.
Yousef Asad of Freedom House in Washington will speak on the Copts of Egypt.
Dr. Jok Madut Jok, a professor at Loyola Marymount University, will discuss the situation in the southern Sudan.
Robert DeKalaita of the Assyrian Academic Association will talk about the Assyrian Christians, who are found in Syria, Iraq and Iran.
Tom Merhab of the World Lebanese Organization will speak on the Christians of Lebanon.
Walid Phares, a professor of political science at Florida Atlantic University, will speak on the region in general.
Local spiritual leaders from the Maronite, Orthodox, Melkite, Chaldean and Palestinian communities will be part of the program, which will be moderated by Nathan Katz, professor and chair of religious studies at FIU.
The event is sponsored by FIUs Department of Religious Studies,
FIUsCenter for Transnational and Comparative Studies, FAUs Department of Political
Science and the Miami Committee for Middle East Studies.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
Certain documents from this period indicate that Bet-Nahrain (Mesopotamia) may have enjoyed a few years of independence under the Parthian (Arsacid) kings of Persia- Vologases V and Artavasces in particular.
Mesopotamian Chronology of the Historical Period,
The Mongol tribe of Keriats, with a population of 200,000 men, became Christian. The leader of the Keriats is lost in the wilderness during a hunt and despairs for his life. According to early historians, Mar Sargius (Sargis) appears to him and shows him the way. After finding his way home, the Keriat leader sends for Assyrian merchants that he knew and submits to Christ and hence his people.
"The Assyrian Church in the Mongolian Empire...", Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies, Vol XIII, No 2, 1999.
March 1838: American Presbyterian missionaries opened the first girls’ school in Urmia, Iran. Other religious minorities, mainly Armenians, attended the school. Similar schools later opened in Tehran, Tabriz, Mashhad, Rasht, Hamden and other cities in Iran. However Muslim girls were barred to attend the Missionary schools by the religious authorities and public pressure. In the 1870s the first Muslim girls joined the American school in Tehran. The failure of Iran's Parliament (Majlis) to meet their demands forced women to take action.
HANNIBAL ALKHAS PAINTINGS EXHIBITION
Sponsored by the Patriotic Revolutionaries of BethNahrin & Museium Jannink
The gallery opens officially on March 17 by the Syrian Orthodox Church's Bishop Yulius Cicek who lives in the Mor Afrem Monastery in Holland. Gedeputeerde Overijssel dhr. Jan Kristen and Wethouder dhr. M. Swart from Enschede will also be present. The opening ceremony will also feature Beth Nahrin folk music.
Phone: 053-431 9093
KHA B'NEESAN PARTY
Sponsored by the Assyrian American Association of San Jose
Entertainment: Ramsin Sheeno and Robert Bet Sayad
5101 Great America Parkway
AAA of San Jose
LONDON CENTRE FOR THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST LECTURE
"Reading and writing cuneiform past and present"
LONDON CENTRE FOR THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST LECTURE
"Egypt through the Assyrian annals"
INTERNATIONAL CULINARY EVENT
Sponsored by the Assyrian Aid Society
Dinner prepared by famous Middle
Garden Court of the Palace Hotel
For more information contact:
350 Berkeley Park Boulevard
Kensington, CA 94707
2ND INTERN. CONGRESS ON THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST
"Near Eastern Archaeology at the
Beginning of the 3d Millen. AD"
Contact: Secretary of the
FIRST ASSYRIAN MIDI COMPOSERS CONFERENCE
FOOTBALL (SOCCER) TOURNAMENT & PARTY
Sponsored by the Association of
the Assyro-Chaldeans of France
Participation Fee: 300 Franks
Centre Socioculturel des Assyro-Chaldéens
EIGHT ANNUAL CONGRESS FOR SYRIAC STUDIES
Department of Semitic Studies
CONFERENCE: ASSYRIANS AFTER ASSYRIA
An international conference on the subject of the fate of the Assyrian people after the collapse of the Assyrian Empire (612 B.C. - 2000 A.D.).
9:00 am - 9:05 am:
For more information & Registration Fee Detail click here
46th RENCONTRE ASSYRIOLOGIQUE INTERNATIONALE
"Nomadism and Sedentarism in the Ancient Near East"
College de France
Contact: email@example.com or fax 33-1-48-87-82-58
38TH ANNUAL SYRIAN ORTH ARCHDIOCESES CONVENTION
The Syrian Orthodox Archdioceses in Canada and United
Agenda: Review of the past 50 years of history of
the church in North America to identify and cement the strengths and work
In addition to a spiritual and cultural festival, a cruise on the Columbia River, a bus trip to Cascade Range, etc. are planned. Click Here
Professor Emanuel Kamber.............Michigan...............................News Digest
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