Z I N D A  M A G A Z I N E
Neesan 4, 6750                     Volume VI                        Issue 6                        April 4, 2000

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T H I S   W E E K   I N   Z I N D A
The Lighthouse Assyrians Ring in Year 6750
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain Kha b'Neesan Celebrations in Northern Iraq
News Digest Sydney to Host Two Major International Conferences
Chaldean Law Students Discuss Secret Evidence Act
Surfs Up "Every honest person knows the answer."
Surfers Corner Bogcheh:  A Visual Contemplation of Displacement
New Book on Assyrian-Chaldean Christians in Mid-East
Armenian Genocide Conference to be Held at UCLA
Assyrian Surfing Posts Ashur Radio (Zowaa) Program - AUDIO -   March 26
Hunayn bin Ishaq (AD 809-873 or 877)
Assyrian Canadian Student Union
5, 7, 9-Day Travel Tours to Tur-Abdin in Turkey
Assyria Club On-Line
Literatus Assyrian New Year Has Begun for Some, But...
Bravo Kha b'Neesan Celebrations in Chicago
Pump Up the Volume Danger & Accident
Back to the Future The Invasion of Kassites & Nur al-Din in Edessa
This Week in History AUA in Pau
Calendar of Events April 2000

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



"Aturai!" cries the black-haired woman in military garb, standing beneath a garland of blinking, colored lights. The festively dressed crowd freezes. Everyone understands the word:  In their native language - closely related to Aramaic-Aturai means "Assyrians." And its use here means that "Hab-Nisan," the Assyrian New Year, celebrated on the night of March 31, was upon us again.

And this March 31, Assyrians in Russia and around the world rang in the year 6750.

As the pipes and drums begin to play, dancers in folk dress - red trousers and shirts adorned with geometrical designs, brown hats with red-and-white feathers - move rhythmically, jumping and shuffling to the beat. The movement is contagious, and the crowd, men and women, link arms and follow along in a line.

"The first wave of Assyrians came to Russia in 1827," says Leonid, a cobbler who seems to know Assyrian history from time immemorial. All week he works away in his street stall waiting for Saturday, when Assyrian radio comes on the air for a single hour.

"But most Assyrians came to Russia from Turkey after 1915, when the genocide of the Armenians began there," he goes on. "As Assyrians belong to the Orthodox Church, they were persecuted then also. Nicholas II let Assyrians move here because during World War I they were on the Russian side, joined with the Russian Cossack military forces. There were even special Assyrian battalions." There were also Assyrians from Iran, who settled in the Cossacks' traditional Kuban heartland. Since they came from the Urmia valley in Iran, the Assyrians called their new village Urmia, which means cradle of waters in Aramaic.

Yevgenia Davitashvili, or Dzhuna, whose father came to Russia from Urmia, became famous in the Soviet Union and abroad for her folk medicine cures. Her patients were high Soviet officials: Central Committee members, General Staff officers - and Leonid Brezhnev. She still likes to wear the military uniform given to her by the General Staff. Even now, Dzhuna is good friends with top military brass-like Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev.

Dzhuna, who was born in the Kuban, and worked as a barmaid in Tbilisi in her youth, now has her private office in the center of Moscow, in the Old Arbat. She's fiercely proud of her Assyrian origins. She says the language, Aramaic, has not changed since ancient times, and was one of the three languages spoken by Jesus - who, Dzhuna figures, was himself an Assyrian.

But the Assyrians' sojourn in Russia has not always been so glorious or picturesque. In 1949, they were declared a "repressed nation of the Soviet Union" (like the Chechens), and were forcibly removed by Stalin from Azerbaijan and Georgia and sent to Siberia and Kazakhstan. They began returning only during Nikita Krushchev's reign. "Families wrote requests to Soviet officials," says Leonid, who was born in exile in Tomsk, "and then they were allowed to come back."

Despite their tribulations, Russia's Assyrians have survived. They still maintain their ancient Aramaic language and culture. For example, Leonid's daughter takes a special Aramaic class at the Assyrian Church on Sharikopodshipnikovaya Ulitsa. Assyrians publish books in their own language, and usually marry within the community, to preserve their ethnic identity.

In the last official census, carried out in the 1970s, there were 27,000 Assyrians in the Soviet Union. But Badri Chugianov, head of the Assyrian Khajata (rebirth) Association, says there were a lot of "hidden" Assyrians then, who kept their ethnic background secret. He estimates that today there are between 25,000 and 40,000 Assyrians in Russia alone.

Whether a cobbler, academic or casino owner, Russian Assyrians believe they are still the same people who arose in Mesopotamia's Fertile Crescent at the dawn of recorded time, and built there one of the world's first great civilizations. Even today, they say, the tongues of the Tigris and the Euphrates still flow through the streets of the Arbat.

Elena Ryumina
Courtesy of the Moscow Times
Saturday, April 1, 2000



(ZNDA: Chicago )  According to a report by the Assyrian Democratic Movement, over 16,000 Assyrians participated in this year's 6750 Kha b'Neesan Celebrations held in Dohuk, northern Iraq.  A parade of jubilant participants, dressed in colorful, traditional Assyrian customs, walked from the St. Mary's Church to the Assyrian Cultural Center.  Several representatives from the Assyrian organizations in Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East joined a delegation from the Arbel University Students in the parade.

After confirmation of several congratulatory telegrams and speeches, Mr. Yaqoub Yousef offered a speech on the impact of the ADM's role in the recent developments and commented on the recent sacrifices made by the Zowaa members "on the road to Assyrian rights."

Similar celebrations were reported in the cities of Arbel and Ankawa, organized by the Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party and the Assyrian Patriotic Party, respectively.  Over 6,000 Assyrians from Ankawa, Shaqlawa, Deyana, Hawdian, Harmota, and Kwesanjaq were reported in the Ankawa celebrations.

To hear the 6750 Kha b'Neesan report from northern Iraq in Assyrian click here.



Courtesy of The University of Sydney News - Portions of this article by Andrew Potter

(ZNDA:  Sydney)  Hundreds of academics and scholars will descend on Sydney University for two major international conferences.

For the first time since 1972, conferences on Syriac Studies and Christian Arabic Studies will be held outside Europe. Rome hosted the first Symposium Syriacum in 1972 and Pope Paul VI received delegates at the Vatican.

"This is an enormous honour for Australia and the University of Sydney," said Professor Rifaat Ebied of the Department of Semitic Studies, who has been elected as the President of both conferences.

NSW Premier Bob Carr has agreed to be the patron of both events.

     Professor Ebeid and NSW Premier Bob Carr
Professor Ebied said: "I expect these conferences will attract many scholars in the general field of Semitic Studies, especially those interested in Syriac, Biblical, Patristic, Ecclesiastical history and the whole area of Christian Arabic Studies.

Professor Ebied has received an Australian Research Council large grant to undertake a study of an important medieval Arabic work dealing with Muslim-Christian relations in the turbulent period following the Crusades.

Although documents relating to the encounters between Muslims and Christians have survived in Arabic manuscripts, most have not been studied or translated, leaving a gap in historical and theological understanding of this period.

"We still possess only a partial understanding of what actually happened in the early encounters between Muslims and Christians, and what manner of arguments were employed by either side in their altercations and accusations against one another," Professor Ebied said.  "Most of the relevant documents remain inaccessible ... and have rarely been the subject of extended analysis by scholars in general and historians in particular."

The text Professor Ebied will edit, translate and analyse, simply called "Response to the Letter from Cyprus", was written as a reply to a treatise written by Paul of Antioch, the Bishop of Sidon. The response was expanded by the Christian Community in Cyprus before being sent to two leading Muslim scholars in Damascus whose opinions on various theological and doctrinal issues were being sought.

Influential scholar and jurist Al-Dimashqi responded, producing a defence of Islam which contained important insights into the origins and development of the Muslim-Christian dialogue.

"This work is important because it throws light on how a leading Muslim theologian viewed Christianity in late 13th and early 14th centuries," Professor Ebied said. "The depths of its insight into the issues that separate Christianity and Islam sets it among the most valuable and comprehensive works of Muslim polemic against Christianity in this early important period."

The expanded version of the original treatise is preserved in three manuscripts in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. The original response is held in the Utrecht University Library, Holland, and a copy of it has been recently discovered in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

Professor Ebied, who has researched and published widely in the general field of Semitic Studies, particularly Arabic, Hebrew and Syriac manuscripts, will work collaboratively with Dr David Thomas from the University of Birmingham. They will edit, translate and study the original, expanded treatise and the response by Al-Dimashqi.

Professor Ebied was elected president of two International conferences:  the Eighth Congress of Syriac Studies and the Muslim-Christian Relationships to be held at the University of Sydney in July of this year.  He said the conferences were "an enormous honour" for Australia and for the University of Sydney.

"They are expected to attract a large number of leading scholars and specialists, especially from the USA, Europe and the Middle East.  In Sydney alone, there are close to 10,000 Assyrians and Chaldeans, and for them, this festival will be of immense significance."


Courtesy of the Detroit News
Article by Lama Bakri

On 21 March members of the Arab-American and Chaldean Law Students Association spent the afternoon with U.S. House Minority Whip David E. Bonior discussing ways they could stop the federal government from using secret evidence to arrest and hold members of the Arab and Islamic communities.  Bonior, a Mt. Clemens Democrat, said more than 20 people of Arab descent are being held as a result of secret evidence, or evidence that wasn't made public. In many cases, defendants were deported without knowledge of the evidence gathered against them. Bonior introduced the Secret Evidence Repeal Act of 1999 that would eliminate the use of such evidence against people suspected of belonging to terrorist groups. "This is one of the most pernicious laws I've seen in my 28-year profession," Bonior said. "We have to change it. Stereotypes and assaults on this ethnic and religious group is something we shouldn't have to tolerate in this country." As House minority whip, Bonior is the second most powerful member of the House.

The hour-long discussion was sponsored by the Arab and Chaldean Law Students Association and coordinated by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's office in Dearborn. Robin Yono, president of the student group, said the discussion was important to aspiring lawyers. "People have to become aware and get involved," Yono said. Many students left the discussion with mixed feelings. "I think the use of secret evidence is unconstitutional," said Robin Park, 24. "I understand they're trying to protect us against terrorism. But I'm not sure compromising peoples' rights will correct the problem." Derek Gaffrey agreed. "This is an atrocious law," said Gaffrey, 28, a first-year law student. "You can come across a bad law and say it's a bad law. But when you hear about someone whose life has been affected by this law, it brings it closer to home." The Immigration and Naturalization Service has used secret evidence to target Arab Americans, said Imad Hamad, the regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. "The use of secret evidence brings pain to many families," said Hamad, who was almost deported under the law. "My experience will always be a painful one, but it gives me an incentive to keep working until we are able to repeal this law."

U.S. Atty. Gen. Janet Reno met behind closed doors with Arab-American leaders last December to discuss the use of secret evidence against people suspected of belonging to terrorist groups. More than 20 Arab-American leaders attended the nearly two-hour session and echoed the message that it is time to end the practice of the federal government gathering information and keeping it secret from those against whom it is used.


As research associate with the Centre for Comparative Genocide Studies at Macquarie University and co-organiser of the Syriac seminar, I thank you for your promotion of it, but must request that you update this promotion as there have been a number of changes.

In order to broaden the appeal of the seminar, it's official title is now "Persecutions and Massacres of the Syriac-speaking Christians". The seminar will cover the fates of all Syriac-speakers, particularly focussing on the 20th century, whether they call themselves Assyrians, Suryianis, Arameans, Chaldeans or any other name.

Due to an unexpectedly high number of papers for the Symposium Syriacum (over 65 and counting), as well as to get greater attendance, the seminar has been moved to Sunday July 2, 2000.

Please visit the seminar website for the complete list of changes and include these in your online publication.

Thank you again for your help..

Panayiotis Diamadis
Macquarie University

To register for this seminar call (02) 9850 8822; fax (02) 9850 8240; or email panayiotis.d@usa.net

The Economic Sanctions on Iraq 'the hidden agenda'

During the early seventies vice president Saddam Hussain demanded an ambitious economic development plan.  On his directives, a scientific committee was set up in each sector of the economy. The members of the committee were to be highly qualified Iraqis. I was one of those chosen in the agricultural sector. My qualifications are BSc (1957, USA); Postgrad Dip (1961, USA); MSc (1967, UK); PhD (1977, UK). The main objective of each committee was to study the sector, identify the problems and design the solutions using the highest appropriate technology available. Each committee was authorised to contact and invite foreign companies and to visit foreign countries in search for whatever was needed.

One evening while in session, vice president Saddam Hussain walked in unexpected. He asked prudent questions and made excellent remarks, but I always remember when he said 'we have the money and you have the knowledge, do your best for the country'. In other words to put power of money at our disposal in order to learn with the power of knowledge to push Iraq forward. It was during those days that vice president Saddam coined the slogan 'every honest iraqi is considered a member of the Ba'ath party even though he is not registered', because he knew that very few Ba'ath party members were qualified.

I personally thought that within 10-15 years, Iraq would be in the upper part of the list of developed countries. Furthermore, (just an idea) when the late president Anwar Al-Sadat of Egypt made his historic trip to Israel, that Israel would be accepted in the arab world, then the Israeli technology together with the Arab oil, the middle east would have been the most powerful region in the world. The worst nightmare for the evil forces of the West. It is with these ideas as background, the evil forces in the west started the dirty work to destroy Iraq. Yes, destroy Iraq and not Saddam Hussain. A US politician once said 'if any country is considered a threat to our interest, we will destabilise that country, by creating a border conflict, a religious war or any war'. The islamic republic of Iran did not see eye-to-eye with the Iraqi leadership, the border conflict of Shat-el Arab was unsolved and besides the age old shi'ite/suni problem a soft spot to provoke violence. This was the opportunity for the evil forces to take advantage of the situation. Both countries where pushed into the long and dirty war that bled both Iraq and Iran to death and economic ruin. No body would try to avert the war, the dirty war that destroyed the future generations of both countries. During the war Iraq was spending one million US dollars a day on military hardware, the same was for Iran. All the military hardware was coming from Europe, USA, South America and China.

As a senior lecturer at Basrah University during the war, I personally saw military hardware from all over the world, as Basrah was considered a war zone. I met European salesmen in the war zone demonstrating new killing equipment. Yes, the evil forces in the west deprived both countries from their young generations and the oil as well, that was the trap both governments fell in.

As a result of the Iraq/Iran war, most of the scientific committees were put on hold, only those with military potential were given priority for the much needed cash. It was then that the nuclear, biological and chemical research shifted towards military purposes. So the atomic energy authority of Iraq, which was established in the fifties for peaceful purposes, was no longer peaceful. Yes, in Iraq we have the knowledge to produce nuclear weapons, but we could never produce them without the nuclear hardware which in turn produces the nuclear software. So, who supplied Iraq with nuclear hardware?

Every honest person knows the answer. Only the hypocrites and the evil persons working according to a hidden agenda to destroy Iraq, always proclaiming that Saddam is producing weapons of mass destruction. The hypocrites within the weapon inspection teams knew exactly who sold what and where to Saddam. The that time prime minister of the UK (Mrs. Thatcher) was informed by MI5, that Saddam was buying high tech electronic equipment from the UK for millions. Such high tech could be used for military purposes. Mrs. Thatcher replied 'it is money, if he wants to play with expensive toys, so be it; just make sure to watch him closely'.

The Scott enquiry and the super gun fiasco, all pointed the finger of accusation to the evil forces in the west, that are hell bent on destroying Iraq and destroy they did. More than 3 million highly qualified Iraqis left the country and millions who could not leave are suffering the evils of economic sanctions. In the aftermath of the Kuwaiti invasion, the south rebelled and so did the kurdish people in the north. Both groups of people encouraged to do so by President Bush. After a while bush pulled the plug and saved President Saddam and the revolution collapsed. Saddam hit back with a vengeance and the result is history.

At present the security council of the UN, the defender of the human rights, the puppet of the evil forces is doing the dirty job of destroying Iraq. Finally, may the lord help the Iraqi people, as no body will.

Dr Awshalim Lazar Khammo
Leeds, UK

A lot of people have been involved in educating our community all over the country about the Census 2000 --  how to fill out the forms, what to write, where and which columns to fill and which ones to leave, etc. And a lot has been going on regarding the categorization of our people (personally I believe it is more of grouping them under three names, which might serve us good), from rallies, interviews over the radio waves, TV programs... but still did not sink in with a lot of us.

I was among approximately 12 guys, and I have asked the question if any body has filled out the Census forms. Almost everybody said yes, and my next big question was what did you check yourself as?  It was very sad, and I mean heart-breaking when only one person said that he did check out the box for WHITE and under others he wrote ASSYRIAN.

All the other guys did not even seem they had any interest in defining themselves as any one of the other names (2 of the guy are Syrian Orthodox, some Chaldeans) they have checked the box for ASIAN, some did WHITE, some as MID EASTERN...

One thing I need to bring to our community leaders and those who where involved very closely in the meeting with the Census Bureau:  there are some categories that are deceiving to other minorities such as ours, when there is categories as ASIANS, MID EASTERN are very unclear for normal people, and it can easily confuse them. Nothing is left but to hope that my statistics are wrong and the Census 2000 can produce an impact that can unite us for the benefit of our future generations.  Happy Kha b Nisan!

George Gindo



Bogcheh (Bundle) is an exhibition resulting from a Fairfield Community Arts Network (NSW) project, exploring the ancestral and personal memories of women who have come to live in Australia from remote parts of the world.  Bogcheh is a familiar object in many regions of the Near, Middle and Far East. The word Bogcheh with slight variations appears in languages such as Assyrian, Arabic, Persian and Turkish.

Migration is at times by choice, which was the case among many tribes of Native Americans, Indigenous Australians and the Bedouins of the Arabian desert. At other times people are forced to migrate because of traumatic situations. Bogcheh has been associated with displacement, migration and movement from one place to another. When one has to carry few of his or her possessions in a small container, a Bogcheh is used. This cloth contains one's personal belongings in its centre, the corners of which are diagonally tied to secure the objects, and it is carried on one's shoulder. Bogcheh may be used in daily transport of food and personal items. In many cultures we find foods that come in the shape of a bundle.

Bogcheh comes in different forms. In many European cultures a small box hides one's precious objects. Indigenous Australians have traditionally used the Coolamon, a wooden vessel, to transport water, food and baboies from one location to another.

Traditionally women have been the holders of Bogcheh, safekeeping the ancestral memories and objects. The spark for this project was the Bedouin widow and her bundles in the far Northern mountains of Syria, rekindled by meetings with keepers of many other bundles in Fairfield. The project Bogcheh brought together five generations of women from different cultural backgrounds. It began with a series of workshops exploring different media and techniques. The women unfold their personal bundles to create a collective bundle. The ancestral and personal bundles have been brought together here to create a space for contemplation.

The Melbourne's Assyrian community is invited to attend and support the female group the majority of whom are of Assyrian descent.

Samiramis Ziyeh
Melbourne, Australia

Bogcheh:  presented in Gabriel Gallery
Footscray Community Arts Centre
45 Moreland Street
Footscray, Victoria 3011

From 30 March - 30 April, 2000
Mon - Fri      9:30am - 5:00 pm
Sat & Sun   12:00pm - 4:00 pm

For workshop schedule and inquiries: (03) 9689 5677

The Gabriel Gallery provides the only program, on a regular basis, of exhibitions for newly arrived visual artists in Australia. Many exhibit in the Gallery for the first time since their arrival. The exhibitions showcase their work and exposing their
art to the Australian Community.

Footscray Community Arts Centre, established in 1975, encourages, assists and promotes the creative expression of diverse artistic and cultural activities with the communities of the Western Region of Melbourne.  The Centre runs a comprehensive arts program in the areas of theatre, music, literature, visual arts and crafts.


Assyrian-Chaldean Christians in Eastern Turkey and Iran: Their Last Homeland Re-Charted
by Fr. J. C. J. Sanders
96 pp.; no date [1999]; ISBN 90-9013410-7

J. C. J. Sanders began to be acquainted with Assyrian Christians in 1959, and during his long career as a Catholic priest and scholar he has made a number of journeys in the Assyrian lands of the Middle East. For more than twenty years he has been spreading his maps out before anyone who could help him in collecting accurate geographical information about Christian villages. This book shows the results of his collecting, and is supplemented with many learned and rare notices about Syriac Christianity in the nineteenth century. Fr. Sanders has also drawn on the papers of Jacques Rhetore, the French Dominican who got to know the country intimately in the years 1874-1921 and wrote notes on his travels. The book is illustrated with photographs, some taken by the author and some reproduced from old documentary sources. Tucked into the book are two large maps, the splendid large-scale (1:250,000) pre-World War I British map of the area (GSGS series 1522, Turkey in Asia, 1901-16; sheets 26 and 27), with many names of extra Assyrian villages overprinted in red.

Fr. Sanders published his book in Dutch in 1997. The English version was produced with the help of some generous individuals and also of the David Barsom Perley Fund at Harvard University. It is a handsome book and, since the edition is small, likely to go out of print quickly at the price of $35.

Copies are presently available from the Al-Itekal Bookstore, 3638 W. Montrose, Chicago, IL 60618.

Michael Hopper
Harvard University


On The Occasion of The Fortieth Anniversary of Armenian Studies at UCLA, 1960- 2000, The Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian History, UCLA, Presents a Conference on:

"The Armenian Genocide & Historical Memory:  Challenge of the 21st Century (1915-2000)"
Organized by Professor Richard G. Hovannisian

Saturday, April 8, 2000
University of California, Los Angeles
Dickson Auditorium

The public is cordially invited to attend the conference on the occasion of the 85th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide commencing in 1915. Distinguished scholars will consider the genocide in the
context of collective historical memory in the new century.

Dickson Auditorium is in  the Dickson Art Center (North Campus).
Parking is available, $5.00 (access from Hilgard Avenue, immediately south of Sunset Boulevard).


Morning Sessions:  9:15 A.M. - 1:00 P.M.

Introduction: 1915-2000
Richard Hovannisian, UCLA

The United States Response to the Genocide
Simon Payaslian, UCLA

Justice Thwarted: The Turkish War Crimes Trials
Gary Bass, Princeton University

From Ottoman Empire to Turkish Republic - The Continuities of Denial
Hilmar Kaiser, European Institute University, Florence


The League of Nations and the Reclamation of Armenian Survivors
Vahram Shemmassian,  Merdinian School, Los Angeles

Bitter-Sweet Memories: The Last Ottoman Armenian Generation
Richard Hovannisian, UCLA

Raphael Lemkin and the Armenian Genocide
Steven L. Jacobs, Temple B'nai Shalom, Huntsville,
Alabama,and Martin Methodist College, Pulaski, Tennessee

Lunch Recess   1:00 - 2:00 P.M.

Afternoon Sessions:  2:00 P.M. - 6:30 P.M.

New Directions in Literary Responses to the Genocide
Rubina Peroomian, UCLA

The Politics of Media and the Armenian Genocide in the New Century
Christopher Simpson, American University, Washington D.C.

The Armenian Genocide and International Law
Joe Verhoeven, Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium

Looking Backward and  Forward: Teaching about  the Armenian Genocide in the Twenty-First Century
Joyce Apsel, New York University

Denial and Free Speech: The Case of  the Armenian Genocide
Henry Theriault, Worcester State College
Healing and Reconciliation
Ervin Staub, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

State and Nation: Their Roles after Independence
Raffi K. Hovannisian, Armenian Center for National and International Studies, Yerevan

Open to the public.  No Admission Charge.
Parking in Structure P3: Hilgard Avenue at Sunset Boulevard

For further information, contact Professor Hovannisian:  Phone: 310-825-3375
e-mail address:  Hovannis@history.ucla.edu

Links to Other Assyrian Websites



Assyrians here and the world over have begun celebrating the beginning of the year 6750 in coming weeks, but some disagree on when New Year's Day is.

The Assyrian new year, called Kha b' Nisan (the first day of the month Nisan), is the reason for events this week at the Assyrian Cultural Center of Bet-Nahrain, where the new year is being celebrated for 12 straight days, according to ancient tradition.

Festivities, including dance parties and variety shows featuring cultural presentations, will culminate Sunday, when Assyrian writers will read poetry and other national writings, said Sargon Dadesho, director of the mass media committee at Bet-Nahrain.

First day of spring

Dadesho said the first day of the new year was Monday, the first day of spring, according to the lunar calendar.

But many Turlock Assyrians will celebrate the new year April 1. Organizers hope to draw more than 7,000 people to a parade that, when held for the first time last year, popularized the Assyrian new year among non-Assyrians.

Dadesho said the April 1 date has been the equivalent of the first day of Nisan since the Middle Ages, when Assyrians began setting holidays according to the Gregorian calendar now used by most of the world. Assyrians felt compelled to make the switch because political pressure was mounting from Muslim populations in the Middle East, who also celebrated on the first day of spring and didn't want to share the holiday, Dadesho said.

"But here in the U.S., we're trying to celebrate it the right way, as our forefathers celebrated it," Dadesho said. Bet- Nahrain also avoided April 1 because it's April Fools' Day, Dadesho said.

Most celebrate on April 1

But Ramin Odisho, president of the Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock, said he is planning the annual parade for April 1, the day most Assyrians around the United States celebrate.

"(Assyrians) in Chicago celebrate it on April 1," Odisho said. "It's a blowout. Everyone celebrates on the same day."

Sharokina Shams
Modesto Bee Staff Writer
March 21, 2000



Assyrians say their culture is 6,750 years old.

It boasts such inventions as the wheeled vehicle and one of the earliest forms of writing, and ancient greats like King Hammurabi who gave the world its first code of laws and King Ashurbanipal, known for amassing the world's first library, a collection of texts on cuneiform clay tablets.

On Sunday, Chicago's Assyrians celebrated that history with a parade along part of Western Avenue to mark Kha b'Nissan, the Assyrian New Year.

"It marks the advent of spring," said Lincoln Tamraz. "It means the beginning of a new life, you're coming back from a dormant type of living and renewing your faith in God."

The area's Assyrian community, which is mostly Eastern Orthodox, numbers about 100,000, the largest center of Assyrians in America. Assyrians, who were among Christianity's earliest converts, accepting the faith in the 3rd Century, are scattered over the world today with large numbers in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Europe and America. They began migrating here in the late 19th Century and are not to be confused with Syrians, who claim Arab heritage.

But centuries ago, before their empire fell in 612 B.C., the Assyrians ruled Mesopotamia, the area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and land now in Iraq.

Back then, they worshiped the god Ashur, from whom they get their name, and the New Year's festival lasted 12 days.

In Chicago Sunday, the parade, which started at Peterson Avenue and proceeded along part of Western--given an honorary designation of King Sargon Boulevard in 1992--took on added significance. It gave the stateless people a chance to revel in the survival of their culture--truly a miracle after years of being persecuted and massacred at the hands of invaders ranging from Mongols to Islamic extremists--and gave parents a chance to teach the young about their rich heritage.

Sam and Lydia David, who have brought their 7-year-old daughter to the parade for six of its 12 years, did so again Sunday.

"We're just trying to teach her about the Assyrians and how we are a very old people," said Lydia.

Sam said he hoped their daughter will remember and pass down the history to her children.

Lessons abounded Sunday.

Besides the women and men in traditional dress, floats carried symbols of that ancient culture such as a human-headed, winged bull, a symbol of Assyrian power.

Young and old waved the flags of their new home, America, and one reflecting their old roots that had wavy stripes of blue and red, representing the two major rivers and the blue four-pointed star symbolizing Nineveh, the ancient seat of their homeland.

Floats from Assyrian churches, social and athletic clubs, and civic organizations carried signs in English and Assyrian. And as women and men danced, ancient sounds played in the background--resounding from the trumpetlike zorna and drums.

But those sounds also brought back dark thoughts.

Ben Toma, a parade organizer, fretted over the fate of Assyrians in Iraq who have allied with the Kurds against Saddam Hussein.

"We are not asking to have our country back," he said. "We just want our human rights, our educational rights and our religious rights."

Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah
Tribune Staff Writer
April 03, 2000



BC (1500)

Around this time a people known as Kassites arrive in Bet-Nahrain (Mesopotamia) from the Iranian plateau and settle in the southern regions.  By 1150 the Kassites had completely assimilated within the Semitic population of Babylon.

The Heritage of Persia, Frye

AD (1146)

The Moslem general, Nur al-Din, captures the city of Edessa (Urhai) in Tur-Abdin and massacres thousands of its Christian inhabitants.

The Age of Crusades, Holt


April 10, 1968:   The Assyrian Universal Alliance is established at its first Congress held in the city of Pau, France.

Apr 23

Sponsored by the Patriotic Revolutionaries of BethNahrin & Museium Jannink

Museum Jannink
Haaksbergerstr 147 

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 
Fax: 053-430 5492 

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

Apr xx

< Postponed until Further Notice >

May 22-26

"Near Eastern Archaeology at the Beginning of the 3d Millen. AD" 
Hosted by Carsten Niebuhr Institute and the University of Copenhagen. 

Contact:  Secretary of the 2ICAANE
Carsten Niebuhr Institute
Snorresgade 17 - 19
DK-2300 Copenhagen. 
Tel. +45 35 32 89 00; Fax. +45 35 32 89 26
e-mail: 2icaane@coco.ihi.ku.dk.

May 27

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

Jun 10-11

Sponsored by the Association of the Assyro-Chaldeans of France
Champions & players will be honored at the party following the games

Participation Fee:  300 Franks per Team
For farther information:
Association des Assyro-Chaldéens de France :
Tél : + 33 1 39 90 87 11
Fax : + 33 1 34 19 84 72
E-mail : acc_f@club-internet.fr

Centre Socioculturel des Assyro-Chaldéens de France
Tél & Fax : + 33 1 34 04 26 47

Nuri Yaramis
Tél : + 33 1 39 33 48 74
Fax : + 33 1 39 33 41 40
Mobil : + 33 6 89 88 85 83

Suphi Oguz 
Mobil : + 33 6 81 90 92 47 

Jun 26-30

Department of Semitic Studies
University of Sydney

For more information on speakers and papers click here

Jul 2

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.).

The Centre for Comparative Genocide Studies at Macquarie University & the Department of Semitic Studies at the University of Sydney

Merewether Building, 

City Road
University of Sydney

9:00 am - 9:05 am:      Official Welcome 
9:05 am - 10:30 am:    Presentation of papers 
10:30 am - 11:00 am:  Morning tea
11:00 am - 12:30 pm:  Presentation of papers 
12:30 pm -  2:00 pm: Luncheon 
2:00 pm -  3:30 pm:    Presentation of papers 
3:30 pm -  4:00 pm:    Afternoon tea 
4:00 pm -  5:00 pm:    Conference Review and Resolutions

For more information & Registration Fee Detail click here

Jul 10-13

"Nomadism and Sedentarism in the Ancient Near East"

College de France
52 rue Cardinal Lemoine

Contact: chrinico@club-internet.fr or fax 33-1-48-87-82-58

Christophe NICOLLE
Chaire d'Assyriologie
College de France
52 rue Cardinal Lemoine
75005, Paris - France

Jul 26-30

The Syrian Orthodox Archdioceses in Canada and United States
Led by His Holliness Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I
Hosted by St. Ignatius Church, Portland
Marriot in Portland

Agenda:  Review of the past 50 years of history of the church in North America to identify and cement the strengths and work on improving

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

Sargon David......................Canada.........Assyrian Surfing Posts
Mar Bawai Soro..................Rome..................The Lighthouse


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