Z I N D A M A G A Z I N E
|Yaar 2, 6750 Volume VI Issue 9 May 2, 2000|
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|The Lighthouse||Meaning Beyond Absurdity|
|Good Morning Bet-Nahrain||Zowaa & Kurdish Groups Issue Statement on Peace Process
Iraq Museum Re-Opens
|News Digest||Habib Afram Discusses Syriac Unity in Berkeley|
|Surfs Up||"no clear recognition according to our information"|
|Surfers Corner||Assyrian Aid Society Walkathon in San Jose
Ankawa Web Site
|Assyrian Surfing Posts||General Condition of Assyrian/Syriac People in Turkey
David Barsoum Perley, J.S.D.
|Literatus||Assyria! My Heritage.|
|Bravo||Assyrians Demand Recognition|
|Pump Up the Volume||Recognition & To Ignore|
|Back to the Future||Gymnasium in Babylon & Assyrians in the Khabour Valley|
|This Week in History||Louvre Museum|
|Calendar of Events||Social & Cultural Events|
All blue links throughout this issue are hyperlinks to other sections on this page or featured websites.
MEANING BEYOND ABSURDITY
“We consider ourselves no longer a nation, but a religious community.” Thus spoke the Jewish reformers assembled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1885. The statement was no great innovation. Similar declaration had already been made by Jews in France, Poland, Holland, and Germany.
For a long time we Assyrians have been considered no longer a nation but a religious community, a minority group, with no national existence and with no national meaning. For twenty five hundred years we have lead this sort of existence, a meaningless existence, an absurd existence.
Excluded primarily on the grounds of our faith and race from the societies upon whom we were economically dependent, we have every reason to feel like aliens even in territories where we had taken up residence long before the populations which were later to constitute their citizenry. Our frequent expulsions from one territory to another only confirm our feelings of our absurd and meaningless existence.
Every alert Assyrian of this century somehow, on the basis of his own experience as well as his own observation of other groups and nations, realizes that his meaningless existence is a profound absurdity. No one has denied our existence, but we have not been given a meaningful existence. To admit the existence of a people, yet denying its rights and privileges is indeed a preposterous procedure. It is like admitting the existence of sun but not denying light. It is like admitting the existence of water but denying H2O. Yet for twenty five hundred years the Assyrian community has endured the nightmare of privation of meaningful existence. No wonder we have lost many things, partly and essentially our language, our customs, Culture, certain standards, our patterns of life. There is a sense of lostness among us today because there is a loss of meaning. Someone has adequately characterized such existence by remarking: “Now there are times when a whole generation is caught…between two ages, two modes of life, with the consequence that it loses all power to understand itself and has no standards, no security, no simple acquiescence.”
To attempt to identify the meaning of a nation or even a group or even an individual is the indispensable prerequisite for bringing order into chaotic existence. It would be unfortunate for a nation to live without a conventional name; it is disastrous for an ethnic minority to live without inner identity. A name we simply receive and cherish, love, and remember; national identity we must strive for, discover, acquire, enhance, and live by. Yet a name hardly we have maintained, and a national identity we have not been able to discover.
Dr. Peter Talia
An Excerpt from "Between Hope and Hopelessness", 1985
ZOWAA, KURDISH GROUPS ISSUE STATEMENT ON PEACE PROCESS
(ZN) Last month, the Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa) and four Kurdish political parties met at the Kurdistan Democratic Party office in Salah al-Din to discuss the progress of the peace process. A joint statement was issued on April 7 in which Zowaa, Kurdistan Islamic League, the Iraqi Kurdistan Communist Party, the Kurdistan Independent Labor Party, and the Kurdistan National Movement expressed their dismay at the sluggish implementation of the Washington Accord provisions. The statement, printed in the Yekgirtu newspaper, added that "the discussions also focused on the search for an efficient mechanism to further prepare the ground for the implementation of this agreement."
Following this meeting, the Zowaa representatives also met with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) officials. Jalal Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) discussed the PUK-KDP peace process in northern Iraq. Talabani noted that: "the obstacles have not been removed" and that "we are far from normalization." Above all, "discussions on the organization and establishment of a transitional government are in deadlock....We are ready to make all sorts of concessions on condition that the normalization of Kurdistan starts."
Last week, the Higher Coordination Committee, a group consisting of ranking members of the Kurdistan KDP and PUK, met at Koi-Sanjaq to discuss Talebani's proposals for normalizing relations between the two major Kurdish groups.
Meanwhile, a senior source at the KDP told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that "the Turkomen Front and all other political parties here in Kurdistan are not subject to any illegal measures or measures of a persecution or oppressive nature. In its political platform and the resolutions of its conferences, the KDP has acknowledged the rights of the Turkomen, the Assyrians and the Chaldeans. These rights were reasserted once again in our last conference held in November 1999."
The senior KDP source added, "As for the realistic and practical standpoint, I would like to point out that there are 38,000 Christians residing in Kurdistan. Chaldeans constitute the majority of these Christians and there are some Assyrians. Christians hold three cabinet portfolios in the government of the autonomous region; namely, the finance, industry, and state portfolios, as well as several other senior posts."
At the end of this Koi-Sanjaq meeting, the Kurdish representatives stated that: "An agreement was reached to convene a session of the proposed interim parliament, after the completion of a comprehensive and fully-elaborated and sequenced program for normalizing the situation in Iraqi Kurdistan."
Courtesy of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty - David Nissman
Courtesy of Associated Press; article written by Leon Barkho. All Rights Reserved.
(ZNAP: Baghdad) After 10 years, the Iraq Museum reopened its doors with a display of 10,000 artifacts from ancient Bet-Nahrain dating back to 6000 B.C. The displays included the colossal Assyrian winged-bull statues. Some 200,000 other pieces remain tucked away in Baghdad warehouses, according to Muayad Saaeed, an Iraqi archaeologist. In the next few months, 10,000 more objects are to be added to the display, said Rabie al-Qaysi of the Antiquities Department.
At the reopening ceremony, the museum's 21 halls were clean, well lit and air conditioned, as visitors and tourists streamed through. Al-Qaysi has imposed a 50 cent entrance fee. Visitors were ushered first into the prehistoric hall, which displayed implements used during the Neolithic age -- such as hammers, grinding stones and sickle-blades. "These are the earliest farming tools in the world,'' museum director Hana Abdulkhaliq said. Several halls brim with Mesopotamian clay figurines, including those of the Assyrian goddess Ishtar, the symbol of fertility and reproduction. Other hallmark pieces of the period included clay amulets, jars and pottery shards showing natural scenes of birds painted in vivid and lustrous colors.
``It is very beautiful. The items are gorgeous,'' said Michael Weigl, professor of ancient Near Eastern Studies at Vienna University. Weigl said he intended to organize scientific excursions for his students in Austria to come to Iraq and visit the museum.
France's charge d'affaires in Baghdad, Garancher Bernard, said his country had helped by giving back some duplicates of Iraqi treasures in the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Currently, there may be as many as 10,000 uncovered archeological sites in northern Bet-Nahrain, according to official statistics. These areas continue to be under file by U.S. warplane bombings during routine patrols over the no-fly zone. Last week, one such attack was made on the village of Bashiqah, 19 miles northeast of Mosul.
Here for an audio-report produced by BBC's Barbara Plett in Amman, Jordan
Photo courtesy of Associated Press
ASSYRIAN DEMONSTRATIONS & HUNGERSTRIKE IN EUROPE
(ZNDA: Brussels) The Assyrian hungerstrike demonstrations in Europe were held last week in Brussels, Belgium; Holland and Sweden to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the Genocide of the Assyrians during the First World War. Hundreds of participants marched in front of the European Parliament in Brussels and called for an official recognition of the first Genocide committed in the 20th Century. Over one million Armenians and nearly two-thirds of the Assyrian population in the Middle East perished in the upper Mesopotamia (Bet-Nahrain) areas of what was then known as the Ottoman Empire.
At the gatherings organized by the
Coordination Committee for National Issues of the Assyrian-Suryoyo People,
several speeches were delivered and the crowds were entertained by the
Mr. George Issa's nationalistic songs.
Here for report from Sodertalje, Sweden
Click Here for report from Holland
HABIB AFRAM DISCUSSES SYRIAC UNITY IN BERKELEY
On the first leg of a two-week visit to the United States, president of the Syriac Universal Alliance, Mr. Habib Afram, urged northern San Francisco Bay Area Assyrians to work toward the unity of the Christians in the Middle East and remove all obstacles hindering the complete alliance of the Syriac-speaking people from Bet-Nahrain to Mt. Lebanon.
Mr. Afram spoke to some 100 Assyrians and the University of California at Berkeley's faculty at the Bade Museum in Berkeley. Mr. Afram gave detail statistics on the population of the Syriac-speaking Christians in the Middle East and noted the importance of reducing the emigration of these communities from Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. "The emigration of the Christian families to the West may result in an economic gain for individuals, but it is a complete loss for our Syriac-speaking people as a whole... We must not abandon our homes and future in the Middle East."
Mr. Afram later referred to his dismay at Zinda Magazine's "unjust" portrayal of him and his efforts as "Pro-Syrian". He commented: "We are not in a position to make enemies of our non-Christian neighbors. Instead, we should work together with all the governments of the Middle East to help our people in the Middle East." Mr. Afram was referring to Zinda Magazine's article printed last month in which a reference was made to his congratulatory message to the officials of the Syriac government.
The Syriac Universal Alliance is the umbrella organization of
the several Syriac-speaking organizations in Lebanon, Europe, North & South
America. A meeting of the SUA organizations is scheduled in July to be
held in Beirut, Lebanon. The complete text of Mr. Afram's speech will
be published in an upcoming issue of the Nineveh Magazine, the official bulletin
of the Assyrian Foundation of America which co-sponsored Mr. Afram's speech
few days ago Zinda Magazine wrote that the Swedish Government has recognized
the Genocide of the Armenians and Assyrians.
Ten days before this another source (mailed by Andreas Schmidt) said that Swedish Parliament has recognized the same Genocide.
None of these is correct. According to the information we got it is a matter of an indirect "accept" of what happened to the Armenians in 1915 (and nothing is told about the Assyrians) from the Foreigner Commitee belonging to the Parliament, in Swedish called Utrikesuskottet.
There is no clear recognition according to our information.”
ASSYRIAN AID SOCIETY WALKATHON IN SAN JOSE
It is that time of the year again when the Assyrian Aid Society / Santa Clara Chapter begins its fund raising drive. This very important event is organized by the Human Race / United Way and this year's walk-a-thon will be held on Saturday, May 13th, 2000 at 7:00 AM. Please note that the location has changed this year to Almaden Lake Park. Come and join us in the 10K Run or the 5K Walk, a fun experience for the entire family, and help your needy Assyrian brothers and sisters in north of Iraq at the same time.
For more info call
Youkie Kanania (W) (650) 215-5260
/ (H) (408) 226-9724
Ashour Yousip (Cell) (415) 559-7050 / (H) (510) 799-6876
Assyrian Aid Society
Santa Clara Chapter - California
ANKAWA WEB SITE
I am very sorry for the long interruption in providing you with an update of the Ankawa site, which has now been moved to a new server and a new address (www.ankawa.com). Private matters have also been reasons for this regrettable delay.
I am happy that this is now over and many new changes have been made as are summarised below:
Ankawa Homepage can now provide all Ankawians and their friends with an e-mail account with the following structure (email@example.com). A homepage with 3 mb space is also available with address: www.ankawa.com:8100/~yourname
As requested by many of the site visitors, I have created a new section with the name: "Obituaries" to let Ankawians everywhere know what is going on in Ankawa. Here you can announce the deceased, God forbid of any Ankawian and send their families your condolences.
Ankawa Forum has been updated to allow easier reading. It is now also easier to post messages and to take part in discussions.
A new poll has been added which will let us know the percentage of our visitors who are not originating Ankawa.
We deeply regret that for those of you who had ordered an Ankawa Watch will not be receiving it in the near future. The provider of watches in the United Kingdom requires a minimum order of 100 watches to produce them. We have negotiated the price with him and he has agreed to reduce it to £18. However we still need an order of at least 100 watches to receive the delivery. At the moment, we have 42 orders and hope to increase it to a minimum quantity of 100.
I would be grateful for your remarks and suggestions regarding the new organisation of the Ankawa site and the new front page.
Links to Other Assyrian Websites
ASSYRIA! MY HERITAGE
I am here!
But still the question broods within
That will not die!
Above the noise of earthly din
There sounds this cry!
You were not always here;
You came from out a vast procession
Of ancient people,
Infinite influence, priceless knowledge,
Urged upon you in endless succession.
If there be something backward
From where we have slowly moved,
Why not something equally forward,
By which our growth be proved?
I am here!
But only as a starting place,
The inner voice within my heart Urges on the race
Stirring, insistent, reaching,
Assyria! My heritage.
Lillian S. Pera
Ms. Pera dedicated this poem to Dr. David Perley (1901-1979).
ASSYRIANS DEMAND RECOGNITION
Reprinted from an article written by Noyan Tapan News Agency in Yerevan, Armenia
The Assyrian organizations of America and Europe have addressed the Armenian government with a petition to acknowledge officially the Assyrian nation and its national and cultural originality, and also the fact of the Assyrian genocide in the Ottoman Empire. The representative of the Assyrians of America and Europe in Armenia, Irina Gasparyan, told this to Noyan Tapan news agency. She reported that the Assyrians of America and Europe have already adopted an official declaration which expresses full solidarity and cooperation with the world Armenian movement in support of the public acknowledgment of the Armenian and Assyrian genocide. So, in the declaration, which has been signed by more than 10 Assyrian organizations, it is indicated that the Armenian genocide of 1915-1916 has a deeper historical context, it was directed towards Christianity, and started from the Assyrian-Syrian nation, half a million of whom were killed, and half a million expelled from their native lands.
Gasparyan noted that Armenia is the only country where the authorities acknowledge the national originality of the Assyrian nation and present a possibility for its cultural development. "Addressing the Armenian government, we consider that Armenia's acknowledgment of the Assyrian nation and the Assyrian genocide will help to unite efforts on the issue of the international acknowledgment of the closely related genocides of two Christian nations," Irina Gasparyan said.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
Under Antiochus IV, a gymnasium and a Greek theater were built in Babylon. These were later enlarged by the Parthian kings. By this time, much of the Babylonian population had deserted the great city.
Ancient Iraq, Roux
On November 16th, Anthony Eden reports to the House of Commons that 8,500 Assyrians from Iraq are in the upper part of the Khabour Valley in Syria.
The Nestorian Churches, Vine
May 1, 1847: The Assyrian section of the Louvre Museum in Paris opens to public for the first time.
ASSYRIAN AID SOCIETY WALKATHON
10K Run or the 5K Walk,
Almaden Lake Park
Youkie Kanania (W) (650) 215-5260
/ (H) (408) 226-9724
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
20TH ANNIVERSARY OF MESOPOTAMIEN-VEREIN WIEN
Dance Party and Soccer Tournament
FOOTBALL (SOCCER) TOURNAMENT & PARTY
Sponsored by the Association of
the Assyro-Chaldeans of France
Participation Fee: 300 Franks
Centre Socioculturel des Assyro-Chaldéens
EIGHT CONGRESS FOR SYRIAC STUDIES
Department of Semitic Studies
For more information on speakers and papers click here
PERSECUTIONS & MASSACRES OF THE
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
ASSYRIAN AMERICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION
Fred Aprim..................California.................Surfers Corner
Monica Benjamin..................California.......Good Morning Bet-Nahrain
Edmond Williams......................Chicago............Good Morning Bet-Nahrain
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