Z I N D A  M A G A Z I N E
Tdabaakh 3, 6750                     Volume VI                      Issue 18                      August 3, 2000
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T H I S   W E E K   I N   Z I N D A
The Lighthouse "Don't Slash My Name"
Contesting the Census Bureau's Decision
Assyrians in California Challenge U.S. Census Bureau
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain SUA: "Make Syriac an Official Language in Lebanon!"
Ethnic Minorities in Armenia, Authorities Are Indifferent
News Digest Saddam May Have Cancer
Surfs Up "Where were you on Jul 25th?"
Surfers Corner Installation of Sumuramat Statue Canceled
Martyrs Day Commemoration in Germany
Literatus Syriac Orthodox Church
Bravo! Business Journal's Book of Lists
Assyrian Surfing Posts Assyrian Relief Fund
Live Assyrian Music
Ahikar, Grand Vizier of Assyria
Pump Up the Volume Sharp & Quick
Back to the Future The Nimrud Lens & the Attack of the Druze in Lebanon
This Week in History Dr. George Lamsa
Calendar of Events August-September 2000

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



Nearly 200 Assyrians in California gathered last week in front of the Federal Building in Fresno, California to demonstrate against the Census Bureau's controversial decision to combine the religious designation of "Chaldean" and the linguistic terminology "Syriac" with the national identity of "Assyrian".   While chanting "Don't Slash My Name" and waving the American flag, the crowd marched incessantly in the hot Central Valley sun.  A short distance away, District Court Judge Robert E. Coyle was hearing the testimonies of the lawyer employed by the Assyrian National Congress and with the financial support of a few other Assyrian individuals and groups.  ANC is demanding an injunction to bar the Census from using the new "Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac" category, and the U.S. government has asked for dismissal of the case.   Judge Coyle took the motions under submission.

The law suit which was initiated by the Assyrian National Congress has been endorsed and supported by the Assyrian Legal Fund and various other organizations in California.  Dr. Arianne Ishaya (see article below) tells Zinda Magazine that: "the underlying purpose of the lawsuit is to object to the determination by the Census Bureau that Chaldeans are an ethnic group distinct and separate from the Assyrians.  Since the slashed designation is a confirmation of this determination, the lawsuit automatically extends to, and includes the slashed designation as well.  There has been an assumption on the part of some Assyrians that the slashed designation somehow combines the three categories, and has a unifying effect. It is therefore necessary to clarify that The Census Bureau in its declaration to the court, has made it clear that the slashed designation is not intended to be a compromise; rather, it conforms to the Bureau's determination that Chaldeans are a distinct ethnic group.  Although nothing is mentioned in this respect regarding the distinctiveness of the category "Syriac", it is clear that the slashes are meant to separate, and not to combine."

Once again the topic of Census 2000 has found listeners on radio and television shows and on the Internet forums.  The primary reasons are a series of events that have taken place since the Zinda Magazine's feature articles in February (click here), beginning with the letter written by Mar Aprim Khamis- a Bishop of the Church of the East.  In his letter, dated January 31, the Census Bureau's decision was said to be "corrupting the norms of history" and "an insulting act".  Likewise, Mar Melis of Australia noted similar fervor in defending the inclusive nature of the Assyrian identity.  In less than two months, both bishops of the Church of the East were accused of un-Christian acts, adultery and in the case of Mar Aprim Khamis money extortion and blackmail (click here).

As the vilification of the Church of the East bishops was being ignored by the other senior Church leaders, the two "Chaldean" organizations in Detroit calling themselves the Arab American partners of the Arab American Institute in Washington were working diligently to recruit more "Arab Americans" in the Census 2000 count (click here).  The hypocrisy portrayed in the matter of so-called "unity of different ethnicities" came to an abrupt end when Mar Raphael Bid Dawid, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, during an interview in April on the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (click here - video) asserted that: "There is no Chaldean nationality.  I am an Assyrian and my nationality is Assyrian...My church is Chaldean."  The interview was broadcast on Assyrian television shows and on the Internet.  His Holiness' statement on LBC pointed out the clear division between the convictions of the Holy See of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Baghdad and its local leaders in Detroit.

By the end of April the Census 2000 issue had culminated into an "internal denominational factionalism" and was threatening the collaborative gestures of Christian harmony between the leaders of the two major Assyrian Churches (Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church).  To avoid further bloodshed the Internet forums began deleting messages regarding accusations against the Church leaders.

And then there was Sargon Dadesho and the Assyrian National Congress.

Mr. Dadesho of the Bet-Nahrain Inc., AssyriaVision television program, and the Assyrian National Congress embraced the issue with passion.  He invited the local and national leaders to re-ignite the discussions on the Census 2000 issue and galvanized the Assyrian communities in the United States to help finance a lawsuit against the U.S. government*.  The money was swiftly collected, majority of which was financed by the Bet-Nahrain organization in Ceres-California and the ANC, and so began the lengthy court proceedings.

Last Monday, the ill-informed lawyer for the U.S. government was humbled in the Fresno courtroom when she presented an Assyrian identity different from that known to the Assyrians marching outside of the Federal Building.  The attendees laughed and quietly mocked the humiliated attorney.  Everyone present realized the irrational element of the malicious glee in the Census 2000's decision.  This was an appropriate time to acknowledge the candid and self-analytical essays and interviews written and conducted by the concerned individuals and groups to demonstrate the absurdity of the Census 2000 decision.

The reputation of too many Assyrian and Assyrian-Chaldean religious figures and Assyrian activists has already been scarred for both pros and cons of the Census issue.  Nevertheless the battle that began in Baghdad in 1972 and was re-introduced in Detroit in 1997 will surely engulf more victims and threaten the unity of our Assyrian Churches (East, Chaldean, and Syriac Orthodox).  As one demonstrator noted: "our struggle is about our allegiance to historic facts.  Without truth there is no meaning and no reason to continue."

Wilfred Alkhas
Zinda Magazine

*The legal complaint against the U.S. Census Bureau was filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, as "Assyrian National Congress of America, Sargon Dadesho (Plaintiffs) vs. Bureau of the Census, United States Department of Commerce (Defendants)."

An Update

Among the Assyrians who received the Census 2000's Long Form, there was considerable confusion as to how to fill out the form.  Since the categories in the combined designation Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac  are not mutually exclusive, they did not know  how to choose between Assyrian and Syriac since ethnically they identify themselves Assyrian, but  Syriac is their language too.  Some Chaldeans were even more confused.  Those who identify themselves as Assyrians ethnically, Chaldean denominationally, and Syriac language speakers, wondered which category applied to them.  The problem is that the U.S. Census Bureau has combined ethnicity, religion and language all under one designation.

Regarding the ancestry question, the Bureau seems to have considered the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups an authoritative source since it used the Encyclopedia's criteria to determine whether or not a group qualifies for a separate ancestry category or not (P. 5:11-15).  This being the case, then why the Census Bureau was not satisfied with the Encyclopedia's categorization of “Chaldean” as a religious designation and not an Ethnic one distinct from Assyrian? (Harvard Encyc. P.116.)

1. Mr. Reed claims that Chaldeans satisfied more than the minimum four characteristics of ethnicity pursuant to the Encyclopedia's criteria.  The following five criteria are listed on Page 7, lines 2-4:  (1) common geographic origin,; (2) language and dialect; (3) shared traditions, symbols; (4) settlement and employment patterns; (5) institutions that maintain the group.  Using the defendants’ own sources, we can easily demonstrate that this conclusion is false on four of the five criteria.

Geographical Origin:

The Chaldean representatives presented Mary Sengstock as their expert witness to validate their case that they are an ethnic group distinct from the Assyrians.     Yet passages written by herself contradict such a standing.  Note the following:

“The name “Chaldean” was selected for the rite, probably because most of the adherents inhabited the ancient land of the Chaldeans and were believed to be descendants of Babylonians.  Actually, “Assyrian” might have been a more accurate term.  Since most Chaldeans were from Northern Iraq which is nearer to the ancient city of Ashur and the old Assyrian Empire.  Babylon and the Chaldeans were in what is now Southern Iraq” (APP103).

“Most Chaldeans claim to be descendants of the Assyrian people” (APP105).

“Not all members of the Detroit Chaldean community identify themselves as Chaldean.  Rather they use this name as a religious denomination and ethnically identify themselves as Assyrians” (APP116).

Gassan Hanna, Editor of Al-Muntada, a Chaldean magazine in Detroit in an article titled “One Nation Two Names:  the Chaldean/Assyrian Dilemma writes:

“I presented historical records as to the origin of the religious name “Chaldean”’ a name given by the Catholic Church to its followers in Bet-Nahrain as well as those in Malabar, West India.  That the current day “chaldeans” are but true descendants of Assyrians of antiquity, a fact that even the Roman church agrees” (APP 216)

Language and Dialect:

 “Other people in the area [meaning Iraq] including Chaldeans, are not Arabic, but Aramaic speaking and trace their linguistic and cultural heritage to the Assyrians and Babylonia Empires of the Pre-Christian era.”  (APP114)

 “Chaldeans and other Aramaic speaking Christians emphasize their linguistic tie to this ancient empire by calling themselves “Assyrians”.  (APP119)

 “Chaldeans of today still speak the Aramaic (Chaldean) language, the language of ancient Babylon, the language spoken by Jesus Christ.  Classical Aramaic is used in the Chaldean liturgy; the vernacular Aramaic Chaldean is used at home and in daily life.”  (App137).

Needless to say, this is exactly the language of contemporary Assyrians.

Shared Traditions & Symbols:

“Chaldean and Nestorian religious rituals are almost identical..” (M. Sengstock.  Chaldean Americans. 1982, P. 13).       More on shared symbols below.

Institutions that Maintain the Group:

The Assyrian-Babylonian Club has been an affiliate of the Assyrian-American National Federation.  Mr. Aprim Rais, a prominent Chaldean of the Detroit community was the president of Assyrian Universal Alliance for two terms.  The Detroit Chaldean Community has hosted several of the AANF annual conventions.  The Chaldean Community in San Diego has also been an affiliate of the AANF.  If this is not evidence for institutions that maintain the group, what is?

These institutions and their activities have revived and reconstituted the ethnic and linguistic ties between Assyrians and Chaldeans.  Alas that the action taken by the Census Bureau has undermined the painstaking process of ethnic reunification and revival,  by supporting the group that for its own sectarian interests, wants to create false barriers between the two communities.  A few months into the Census 2000, already the divisive ramifications of the Bureau's decision are apparent.  The Chaldean separatist faction is rewriting history by simply replacing the term “Assyrian” by “Chaldean”.  The slashed designation has passed the Census boundaries and has spilled over the websites and publications.
The Assyrians are a stateless people; they lack geographical or state political boundaries to protect their national identity.  They emerged at the turn of this century from the ruins of the Ottoman and Persian Islamic theocracies with a fractured national identity.  This is because the Islamic states identified their minorities on the criteria of religion, disregarding the identity of people who shared the same language and cultural heritage.   With the disintegration of the Islamic states, and the rise of nation states in the Middle East, the Assyrians too, began to regroup on the basis of their common historical and cultural unity.  This process was in progress in the Chaldean community in Detroit as attested by data under (5).  The Census Bureau, contrary to the desire of a large number of Assyrians and Chaldeans, has inadvertently helped to halt and even reverse this process.  The baseless recognition of Chaldeans as an ethnic group separate from Assyrians, is not only divisive internally, but has dire consequences on the Assyrians and Chaldeans in the Middle East, and indeed throughout the world.  This action plays into the hands of despotic regimes in the Middle East who want to see Assyrians divided so that they can more easily play one faction against the other, and deny the Assyrians their cultural and human rights.  I am confident that the American citizens, were they aware of the facts, would question the State Department regarding the action of the Census Bureau in helping to trample the Assyrian national unity, and endanger its status in certain Middle Eastern countries.

The combined designation Assyrian/Chalden/Syriac does not mend this divisive step, since the fact remains that Chaldeans and Assyrians are still falsely identified as two separate ethnic groups.  This is the crux of the problem.

Dr. Arianne Ishaya

Dr. Ishaya is an professor of anthropology at University of California in Santa Cruz.


Article published in the Fresno Bee on 25 July 2000;  written by Jerry Bier

More than 100 Assyrian protesters took a battle with the Census Bureau to the federal courthouse here on Monday in an effort to force the agency to change the way it categorizes members of the ancient ethnic group.

"Don't slash our names," protesters shouted while carrying signs and small American flags on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse.

The Assyrian National Congress and affiliated organizations called the protest to focus attention on the Census Bureau's decision to change the "Assyrian" category to "Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac" on the 2000 census questionnaire.

"They are lumping us together with a religious name (Chaldean) and a linguistic name (Syriac)," said Modesto's Sargon Dadesho, president of the Assyrian National Congress, which is suing the Census Bureau.

At a District Court hearing Monday afternoon, the first time the court has taken up the lawsuit, the Assyrian National Congress asked for an injunction to bar the census from using the new "Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac" category, and the government asked for dismissal of the case.   Judge Robert E. Coyle took the motions under submission.

Dadesho said Assyrians believe the Iraqi government is behind the Census Bureau's change.

"We think they've influenced the Census Bureau," Dadesho said, adding that he believes it is part of the Iraqi effort to eliminate ethnic Assyrians, whose civilization dates to 661 B.C. He said Iraq adopted a similar formula against the Assyrians in 1972.

The protesters sang "God Bless America" in front of the courthouse, which is where they believe their best hope lies at the moment to stop the erosion of their national identity.

"We know only in America do we have this opportunity to even fight the government. This is unbelievable for a lot of us who come from the Mideast. In our homeland, you can't even open your mouth and question the government," Dadesho said.

From its Modesto headquarters, the Assyrian National Congress monitors human rights abuses against Assyrians throughout the world.

In a news release, the Assyrian National Congress stated that "agreeing to be labeled as Chaldean and Syriac automatically declares that the Assyrians' identity is questionable, therefore weakening and even destroying any rights Assyrians had-have-could have in the homeland."

Assyrians were dismayed that the Census Bureau's attorney called them a religious group.

"Assyrians are the oldest nation. That's just really, really sad," said Janet Shummon, president of Bet-Nahrain, an Assyrian organization that owns local television and radio stations.

Dadesho said Chaldean was a name given to Assyrians who joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1551, and Syriac is the name of the ancient Aramaic language spoken by Jesus and his disciples. While Assyrians are Christians, Dadesho said, the overwhelming majority are not Chaldean.

Most of the protesters Monday came from the Modesto-Turlock-Ceres area, Dadesho said, and others came from San Jose and Los Angeles. Assyrians have immigrated to the United States from Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and Syria, he said.

John E. Smith, a Justice Department attorney representing the Census Bureau, declined comment on the lawsuit or the protest.




Courtesy of The Daily Star Online; August 2

Participants at the convention of the Syriac Universal Alliance, held in Beirut, Lebanon, recommended in their final statement that the Syriac language be considered as an official language of the state or at least become an optional second language.  The four-day conference ended on Monday with an official statement from the organizers of the meetings in which it was recommended that a non-sectarian committee be set up to pursue the matter with the Education Ministry in Lebanon

Mr. Habib Efrem, the head of the Syriac Universal Alliance read out the final statement and along with the other participants recommended the establishment of a Syriac Museum, as well as a housing complex to accommodate all impoverished families who were considering immigrating to Lebanon from other Middle Eastern countries.  SUA plans to encourage members of the diaspora to return to their homeland and urge officials to facilitate the return of expatriates.

Participants in the conference also gave praise in their final statement to newly elected Syrian President Bashar Assad for dispatching a high-level Syrian delegation to the conference for the first time. Syria is home to the world's largest Syriac community. Among the most prominent participants in the event were His Holiness Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, Patriarch of the Maronite Church, Assyrian figures and representatives from the Chaldean American Federation.


(ZNDA-BBC)   Ethnic minorities living in Armenia are experiencing serious difficulties in preserving their national language and culture. This conclusion was drawn by those taking part in a round table organized by the Union of Nationalities of Armenia, which took place at the National Academy of Sciences on July 21. The speakers pointed out that all ethnic minorities face common problems stemming from the difficult socioeconomic situation in the republic. A. Sardaryan, the chairman of the board of the Association of the Kurdish Intelligentsia, complained about the Armenian authorities' indifference to the problems of ethnic minorities and spoke negatively of their activities. He said textbooks have not been published in Kurdish for almost 20 years and that the Armenian Education Ministry has not yet reacted to a request from the Kurdish community to restore the two hours of national language and literature lessons which took place under Soviet rule in schools in Kurdish villages. Tamrazov, a representative of the 7,000-strong Assyrian diaspora, recalled the absence of representatives of the Atur Association of Assyrians and the Jewish secular community from the coordinating council under the adviser to the Armenian president. He said this was a flagrant violation of agreements reached before the congress of Armenia's ethnic minorities in the spring.

Source: Snark news agency, Yerevan;  Translated from Russian.




By Michael Theodolou and Giles Whittell for Irish Independent

(ZNDA)  Saddam Hussein of Iraq, the world's most resilient strongman, is seriously ill and is thought to have cancer, according to reports from Baghdad.  Word of his deteriorating health will intensify a power struggle between his two sons and undermine the myth of invincibility that he has carefully fostered during two decades of autocratic rule.  ``We know Saddam is unwell and understand it may be cancer, but we don't know how bad it is or how long he can go on for,'' an Iraqi businessman in Jordan said. Other well-connected Iraqi travelers, who are not connected to opposition groups, have made similar claims in recent days.

Dressed in a dark suit and tie for the televised speech, the 63-year-old Iraqi leader appeared haggard but there were no other signs of illness. His hair, as usual, was dyed a virile jet black.

Iraqis suft the web for the first time as the first Internet Cafe opens its doors in Baghdad in late July.  Photo courtesy of AFP.

Rumours that Saddam has cancer have circulated before but have proved impossible to confirm, given the secrecy of his regime. The Iraqi leader has always prided himself on a healthy lifestyle. He once ordered Cabinet ministers to lose weight and took a well-publicised dip in the Tigris River to demonstrate his political buoyancy during a period of tension with the West.

The unconfirmed reports of his deteriorating health came as President Putin welcomed Tariq Aziz, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister, to the Kremlin last week to discuss lifting UN sanctions.

Proceeds from oil smuggling in the past ten years have ensured that the regime remains immune from the suffering caused by sanctions. There is little organised opposition within the country and Saddam's Western-backed exiled opponents remain weak. Assassination attempts, coup plots and an uprising in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War failed to unseat him.

Any succession in the Iraqi regime is unlikely to be as smooth as that in neighbouring Syria after the death in June of President Hafez al-Assad. The reins of power in Damascus were passed uncontested to his son, Bashar, a British-trained eye doctor.

The rivalry between Saddam's sons is compounded by his reluctance to make clear which one will succeed him. Uday (36) is portrayed by defectors as a torturer, serial rapist and killer. The less mercurial Qusay (34) controls the intelligence and security apparatus.


Where were you Zinda on July 25?  Not in Fresno demonstrating against the census decision. Your actions don't equal to your words.  You had no excuse to be somewhere else.  If you're the voice of our people then you must go to these rallies and report truth for your readers.

Yubert K.

Zinda Magazine has ignored and not published the most important news effecting Assyrians today, and that is the ANC law suit against Census 2000 category name change. This type of censorship does not make Zinda an independent and credible magazine.

Ninous Bebla

So that I'm not accused of writing ONLY when I have (constructive) critisism, let me start by applauding your tireless effort and devotion to this publication.  La sharsheetoon.  Now some thoughts....

During a time when one of our Nation's most critical battles is raging against the U.S. Census Bureau, I was perplexed to see that you had the birth of Carlo Ganjeh's daughter and his AANF candidacy as your cover story in the July 27 issue.  With all due respect to Carlo and his family, I fail to see how the court case filed by the Assyrian National Congress against the Census Bureau did not take priority.

As one of the more vocal groups working to inform and educate your readers, I would have expected some coverage of this event (even a line or two) particularly because of the event notification submitted by Ninous Bebla in the week prior.

I'd like to encourage Zinda to keep this issue in the forefront until the courts have reached a conclusion.

Yolanda Bebla

On July 27, Zinda Magazine decided to dedicate this week's issue to the topic of Census 2000 and the ANC court case against the Cenus Bureau.   Zinda Magazine therefore chose to include the Fresno Bee article in the current issue.  Z-Crew promises its readers continued coverage and timely reporting of any new development regarding the pending court decision.




In 1998, the year the Ashurbanipal Monument was installed in San Francisco, work began on a monument of Queen Sumuramat, our Shumirun. In 1994, Helen Schwarten of Chicago agreed to sponsor the project and gave responsibility for fund-raising to the Assyrian Universal Alliance and its president, John Nimrod her brother. Helen was an exceptional woman who, over the years that I knew her, commissioned me to make several bronze pieces for her collection.

That same year the city of Chicago Public Art Committee under the direction of Michael Lash and Lee Kelley, Curator of Public Art, accepted our monument, presented as a gift from the Assyrian community. The monument was paid for by donations from Assyrians across this land and Europe. Chicago is justifiably proud of its Public Art collection and it was a personal honor for me and all Assyrians that our gift was deemed worth to be included in such prestigious company. Within the year an excellent site was chosen, near the Oriental institute, on the campus of the University of Chicago. The Institute, which has been closed for the last several years for remodeling and expansion, is one of the earliest pioneers in the study of Assyriology and excavation. It boasts a magnificent collection, several priceless pieces of which will go on display before the public for the first time when the Assyrian Gallery finally opens in the year 2002. Furthermore the faculty, student body and visitors to the Institute and the general campus consist of an educated group of people who will return to their native cities and countries, playing the part of ambassadors for our heritage, relating what they saw and read about our culture on the monument.

From the beginning John Nimrod was opposed to the chosen site and, although he demanded and received additional time to find another location, never followed through with a single alternate site. Three years ago, frustrated by her brother's inability to raise a single dime. Helen donated $120,000.000, over Mr. Nimrod’s protests, to complete the monument and install it. In 1999 believing they had deferred to one man long enough, the Public Art Committee voted unanimous and final acceptance for that one, original site. In the interval, sadly, Helen Schwarten had passed away without being able to see or unveil the monument, as I’d promised her she would.

Before her death, Helen had commissioned me to create several sculptures, including portraits of herself, first husband Jerry James and two sons, among others. As usual there had not keen a contract written out between us, and though this turned out badly, still I do not regret not asking far one as she lay in the hospital the last months of her life. Upon her death Mr. Nimrod told me he would not pay the balance due and began spreading the word that I had acted on my own, and had not been authorized by him to proceed, something I had never had or needed in the past. It must be borne in mind that all the money of the AUA came from and still comes from Helen Schwarten. He has persisted in telling this story even though he knows full well that Helen had sent me photos of her family and that his own wife had finally delivered photos of himself, for Helen had wanted a portrait of her brother as well.

After receiving no answer from letters sent to the sons, or satisfaction from John, initiated a lawsuit against the estate, controlled by her sons who are acting upon John's version of events. On being informed of the suit John warned me that this would create problems for the monument of Hammurabi for Detroit, which was under way and had collected over $60,000 in donations. Within the week I understood what he meant whom copies of letters he'd sent to prominent leaders in Detroit came into my hands. The letters warned people not to deal with me, that I was irrational and "out far money". To their credit the community in Detroit loudly told him off, and yet some damage was done.

This May I met with the Arts Committee in Chicago to plan the final details for the installation of Sumuramat. The city had agreed to pay the installation costs and cover the cost of the concrete and granite pedestal, a savings of over $23,000.00 on the pedestal alone. In addition they would close certain streets and advertise the unveiling to insure a large and enthusiastic turn out. The unveiling was planned for Labor Day, September 2nd. I returned to California and set two foundries working, one in Arizona, to complete the figures and bronze base. On June 12th I received a call from Lee Kelley, Curator of Public Art, regretfully informing me that, due to a letter received from Mr. Nimrod hinting at legal complications should they proceed, the city was forced to cancel plans for installing our monument. I was forced to stop all work and called John for an explanation. He claimed in his letter that the attorneys for the estate were contemplating a counter-suit and it was that which he warned the city might get entangled in. But he and Helen through the Assyrian Universal Alliance were the ones who had presented the monument to the city in the first place. What reason was there to threaten the city now for going thorough with the installation? I, and over the following weeks, several others asked him to write the city and take back the empty, implied threat. To me he said he would do so if I dropped my lawsuit. I reminded him that there was no link between the two, that one was a personal matter relating to payment for other sculptures, there was no contention over the Sumuramat and besides there were several other people, not to mention the entire community, who'd donated to the project and didn't deserve to be harmed in this way. He insisted I drop my lawsuit and to this day has refused to write the letter.

I believe Mr. Nimrod knows there is no link between the two but I also believe he wants to avoid having to repeat, under oath, the many slanderous and false remarks he's made in this matter. And, of course, he doesn't wish to pay the money, even though it is his sister's money and these were sculptures and portraits of her family, including him, which she very much wanted and had already made a payment on. I also believe there is something else at work here. In the two offers to settle this case which have been made so far, it has been a condition of my receiving anything, that I deliver the monument to the city of Chicago. I and my attorney, find this puzzling as I was trying to do just that and was prevented by Mr. Nimrod’s letter. Recalling that John tried to get his sister to agree to placing the monument at an as yet to be built AUA community center, something she refused to consider, I think it is his intention to create enough trouble so that the city will eventually cancel the gift altogether, thus, he believes, returning the monument to the entity which gave it, namely his AUA. At that time he would be free to put it where he always intended, frustrating his sister's desire, as well as that of several other donors and the community as a whole. I believe now that this was his real intention all along and that his dislike of the site chosen had nothing to do with the site and, further, that he never intended to find an alternate at all, but simply waited until there was no one to stop him. With his sister gone he believed he had a claim to the entire monument because she gave the most of any donor. He blocked the installation of the monument, and will continue to do so. But, he wants the statues delivered to the city so that he can eventually get possession of them. This is only my belief, but it is based on my experience with the man.

For my part, I have worked on this monument for twelve years and though I am most personally affected by these developments, there are many people who share my disappointment. I did what I said I would do...I made the monument, it was given to Chicago, it was accepted and an excellent site provided and the city was willing to pay for its installation in time for the convention. All this was stopped by Mr. Nimrod’s efforts to force me to drop my legitimate lawsuit. I think most people, if they trouble themselves with the facts, will agree that there is no link between the one, which is a personal matter and right guaranteed to any person who feels cheated, and the other which was paid for by everyone except Mr. Nimrod and who have nothing to do with the matter between us.

The Monument of Sumuramat would be welcome in many cities in this country and abroad. I would prefer to install it in Chicago for I promised Helen, all the other donors and all the people over the years who heard me speak of the project. Perhaps after my suit is heard Mr. Nimrod will give up his threat to embroil the city of Chicago and we can go on. If, that is, the city of Chicago still wants to deal with us. Until then we are all being held hostage to this one man.

For my part, I have worked on this monument for twelve years and though I am most personally affected by these developments, there are many people who share my disappointment. I did what I said I would do...I made the monument, it was given to Chicago, it was accepted and an excellent site provided and the city was willing to pay for its installation in time for the convention. All this was stopped by Mr. Nimrod’s efforts to force me to drop my legitimate lawsuit. I think most people, if they trouble themselves with the facts, will agree that there is no link between the one, which is a personal matter and right guaranteed to any person who feels cheated, and the other which was paid for by everyone except Mr. Nimrod and who have nothing to do with the matter between us.

The Monument of Sumuramat would be welcome in many cities in this country and abroad. I would prefer to install it in Chicago for I promised Helen, all the other donors and all the people over the years who heard me speak of the project. Perhaps after my suit is heard Mr. Nimrod will give up his threat to embroil the city of Chicago and we can go on. If, that is, the city of Chicago still wants to deal with us. Until then we are all being held hostage to this one man.

I include copies of the letter sent by Mr. Nimrod to Michael Lash (click here), Director of The Public Art Committee, along with his response (click here) and another letter sent to me (click here). I include also a letter written to me by Mr. Nimrod (click here) inviting him to debate this issue before an audience at the upcoming convention. I believe people should hear both sides and judge for themselves. And finally, I truly regret not being able to install the monument of Sumuramat in time for all the visitors to this convention to be able to see.

Fred Parhad


Under the direction of Mr. Tilman Zülch, president of the International Society for the Threatened Peoples (Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (GfbV) International) a commemoration of the Assyrian Martyrs' Day will take place on August 6th in Wiesbaden, Germany.

We are very pleased to present our keynote speaker, Minister Yonadam Yusuf Kanna, from
northern Iraq.  Mr. Kanna will be discussing the current condition of the Assyrians in northern Iraq and in their involvement in the international political arena.

Where: Cicero, City Passage
Kirchgasse 48 in Wiesbaden

For more information please contact:  atakhsh@zedat.fu-berlin.de
Tel: ++49-(0)179-29 111 93 or: ++49-(0)6134-67 81



unter der Schirmherrschaft von Herrn Tilman Zülch, Präsident der Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (GfbV) International findet am 06.08.00 eine Gedekfeier zu diesem Anlaß statt.  Der Assyrische Minister in der unabhängigen Regierung des Nordiraks ist der Gastsprecher an diesem Tag und wird einen Vortrag zur aktuellen Situation der Assyrischen Nation im Nordirak sowie in der Weltpolitik halten.

Adresse: Cicero, City Passage Kirchgasse 48 in Wiesbaden
Für mehr Informationen bitte nehmen Sie Kontakt auf:
Email: atakhsh@zedat.fu-berlin.de
Tel: ++49-(0)179-29 111 93 oder: ++49-(0)6134-67 81

Adrin Takhsh

Links to Other Assyrian Websites

Assyrian Relief Fund
Assistance to newly arrived Assyrian persons who intend to settle in Australia

Live Assyrian Music
Presented by AssyriaClub

Ahikar, Grand Vizier of Assyria
The Wise, Vizier of Sennacherib the King



A few Christian denominations can claim the antiquity of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch (Syr. `idto suryoyto treeysath shubho), whose foundation can be traced back to the very dawn of Christianity. It justifiably prides itself as being one of the earliest established apostolic churches, if not the oldest. It was in Antioch, after all, that the followers of Jesus were called Christians as we are told in the New Testament. "The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch." (Acts 11:26)

The Church of Antioch is the second established church in Christendom after Jerusalem. The prominence of its Apostolic see is very well documented. In his Chronicon (I, 2), the church historian Eusebius of Caesarea tells us that St. Peter the Apostle established a bishopric in Antioch and became its first bishop. St. Peter was succeeded by Evodius. In another historical work, Historia Ecclesiastica, Eusebius tells us that Ignatius the Illuminator, "a name of note to most men, [was] the second after Peter to the bishopric of Antioch" (III, 36).

In the mid of the 5th century, the Bishop of Antioch, and his counterparts in Alexandria, Byzantium and Rome, would be called Patriarchs. Since 1293, the patriarchs of Antioch adopted the name Ignatius, after the Illuminator. The See of Antioch continues to flourish with His Holiness Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I, being the 122nd in the line of legitimate patriarchs.

The patriarchate was forced to move from Antioch in ca. A.D. 518, after a period of turbulent history, to various locations in the Near East until it settled in Deir az-Za'faran monastery in Mardin, Turkey, during the 13th century. After another period of heinous violence during and after World War I, which took the lives of a quarter million faithful, the patriarchate was transferred to Homs, Syria, in 1933, and later to Damascus in 1957.

The Syriac Orthodox Church is quite unique for many reasons. Firstly, it presents a form of Christianity which is Semitic in nature with a culture not far from the one Christ himself experienced. Secondly, it employs in its liturgy the Syriac language, an Aramaic dialect akin to the Aramaic spoken by Christ and the Apostles. Thirdly, its liturgy is one of the most ancient since it has been handed from one generation to another. Fourthly, and most importantly, it demonstrates the unity of the body of Christ by the multiethnic nature of its faithful: A visit to your local Syriac Orthodox Church in Europe or the Americas would demonstrate, for example, the blend of Near Eastern and Indian cultures in the motifs and vestments of clergy. The Syriac Orthodox faithful come primarily from Middle Eastern countries and the Indian state of Kerala, with many communities in the diaspora.

The Syriac Orthodox Church has been a member of the World Council of Churches since 1960, and is one of the founding members of the Middle East Council of Churches. The Church takes part in ecumenical and theological dialogues with other churches. As a result of these dialogues, the Church has issued two joint declarations with the Roman Catholic Church and another with the Eastern Orthodox churches.

The Church has been referred to by the name "Syrian Orthodox Church" in English. The Holy Synod of the Church adopted the name "Syriac Orthodox Church" in its session of Mar 28-Apr 3, 2000 due to the common identification of the term "Syrian" with the Republic of Syria in the English speaking world.

Courtesy of the Syriac Orthodox Resources website (click here).



Congratulations to the following Assyrian individuals and businesses residing in Silicon Valley for their entry in this year's Silicon Valley Book of Lists 2000.  The list is compiled by the San Jose Business Journal after careful review of hundreds of businesses and organizations from 111 industries in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Dr. Sam Haddad
President & Chairperson
Silicon Valley Engineering Council
No. 1, Largest Businesses & Professional Organizations
Total membership:  55,000
SVEC is a nonprofit organization representing over 40 engineering and professional societies in Silicon Valley.

Youra Tarverdi
Continental Building Maintenance
No. 8, Largest Janitorial Companies
CBM operates in over 200 accounts, maintaining over 15 million square feet of service area in Silicon Valley.  With 300 employees it prides itself as a premier source of corporate cleaning service company.

Homer Younan
No. 14, Largest Web Design Firms
Having developed over 20 major corporate web sites, Grafeex has been offering superior quality in design and production to e-business and informational web clients.  Zinda Magazine, until this year, was completely designed and maintained in the studios of Grafeex in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Helbard AlkhassAdeh
Zinda Video Productions
No. 10, Largest Film & Video Companies
No. 15, Largest Multimedia Companies
From CD-ROMs to sophisticated video and multimedia productions, nothing seems too small or too large for the Z-Crew at Zinda Video.  Zinda Magazine's paid staff are employed by Zinda Video Productions located in San Jose, California.

 Sharp (i.e. knife)
 kha/ree/pa (ta)
 Masculine (fem)
 Quick (i.e. speed)
 rhee/va (vta)
Masculine (fem) 



BC (2500)

Giovanni Pettinato of the University of Rome claims that a rock-crystal lens created by the ancient Assyrians proves that Mesopotamians were gathering information about the planets in general and Saturn in particular. Pettinato asserts that the Nimrud lens, which was found in 1850 by Sir John Layard at the
palace of Nimrud in modern Iraq, was used by Assyrian astronomers to study the planets. The Assyrians believed the planets were deities and depicted Saturn as a god surrounded by rings of snakes.

Viking Conquest of the Heavens? , Kristin Kizer

AD (April 1860)

The Druzes in Lebanon began massacring the Maronite Christians at the instigation of the Ottoman authorities.  By July the attacks spread to Damascus, resulting in 10 days of rioting.  Napolean III sent a French army to Beirut.  As a result of this uprising a special charter was enacted for Lebanon under which only a Christian approved by the Great Powers could govern the state.  This charter lasted until the First World War.

A Short History of the Arab Peoples, Glubb


August 5, 1892:   born, Dr. George Lamsa, author of the Lamsa Bible, in the village of Marbeeshoo in Urmi, Iran.  (click here).  Dr. Lamsa founded the Aramaic Bible Society in 1943.


Aug 5

Organized by the Assyrian American Association of San Jose
Presentations by a panel of scholars and experts in the area of genocide and the persecution of Assyrians in the Middle East:

  • Dr. Gabriele Yonan (Germany), a research scientist, scholar and author of "Lest We Perish – A Forgotten Genocide".
  • Dr. Abdul Massih Saadi (Chicago), professor of Middle Eastern studies at the Lutheran School of Theology.
  • Ms. Thea Halo (New York), author of "Not Even My Name", a newly published book on the Assyrian-Armenian-Greek Genocide of 1915-1916 by the Ottoman Turks.
To register:  Click Here

Zinda Magazine is a major sponsor of the "Assyrian Genocide and Persecution Conference 2000" in San Jose, California.

Aug 5

Assyrian American Association of San Jose 

  • Premier showing of the "The Untold Holocaust"
  • Solo musical performances by Arbella Issabey
  • Nineveh Choral Group under the direction of Maestro Nebu Issabey
  • Thea Halo, Author of "Not Even My Name"
  • Poetry & dramatid performances by our own young talents
7:00 PM
Santa Clara Convention Center Theater
5001 Great America Parkway
Admission: $5

For ticket information:  AAA of San Jose        408-927-8100
                                  Etminan Market          408-226-5992
                                  Linda Kaldani             408-356-3953

Aug 30- 
Sep 4

Hilton Hotel & Towers
720 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60605 
1-312-922-4400, Fax: 1-312-922-5240 

Phone:  312-922-4400  or 1-800-HILTONS
To obtain the convention rate refer to the AANF Convention
Location Map:  click here
Directions from Airports: click here
AANF Convention 2000 Information: click here

Sep 4

Conducted by Maestro Nebu Issabey
Presented by the Assyrian American Association of San Jose

8:00 PM
Santa Clara Convention Center Theatre
5001 Great America Parkway
Donation:  $20.00 
No tickets will be available at the door

For ticket information:
Nancy Isaac        408-229-2100    Josephine Molhem  408-323-1816
John Khangaldy   408-723-4726   Ramina Ziyeh          408-448-6225
Jackie Yelda        415-664-5825


Thank You!

Ninous Bebla (California)........Albert Gabrial (California).......Paul Newey (Chicago)

& to our special news staff, Mazin Enwiya and Evelyn Anoya


ZINDA Magazine is published every Tuesday.  Views expressed in ZINDA do not necessarily represent those of the ZINDA editors, or any of our associated staff.  This publication reserves the right, at its sole discretion, not to publish comments or articles previously printed in or submitted to other journals. ZINDA reserves the right to publish and republish your submission in any form or medium. All letters and messages  require the name(s) of sender and/or author. All messages published in the SURFS UP! section must be in 500 words or less and bear the name of the author(s). Distribution of material featured in ZINDA is not restricted, but permission from ZINDA is required.  This service is meant for the exchange of information, analyses and news. To subscribe, send e-mail to: z_info@zindamagazine.com.

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