|Z I N D A M A G A Z I N E|
|Tishrin I 5, 6750 Volume VI Issues 25 October 5, 2000|
|The Lighthouse||Thirsting for War|
|Good Morning Bet-Nahrain||Iraq Intensifies Persecution of Assyrians
U.S. To Provide $4M to INC
Congressional Reps Offer Support to Assyrian Groups
|News Digest||Last Assyrian-Chaldean Detainee Leaves Mexico|
|Surfs Up||"Please keep the magazine coming!"|
|Surfers Corner||Food Festival Offers Taste of Assyrian Culture|
|Literatus||Our Own Worst Enemies|
|Milestones||Michael (Mikhael) Amrikhas|
|Assyrian Surfing Posts||Armenian, Assyrian & Hellenic Genocide News|
|Pump Up the Volume||Assembly & Organization|
|Back to the Future||King Sennacherib & the 1898 Synod of Russian Orthodox Church|
|This Week in History||Iraq Gains Independence|
|Calendar of Events||October 2000|
All blue links throughout this issue are hyperlinks to other sections on this page or featured websites.
This week's article is about a film produced by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) that was shown last week in the United Kingdom. The river Euphrates travels through Turkey, Syria and Iraq. "Thirsting for War" traces the political and environmental impact of Turkey's project to harness Euphrates through a series of dams, and exposes the extent to which people's lives in all three countries are being affected by the Turkish scheme. Previously, Zinda Magazine has written articles on the devastating impact of this project on the socio-economic conditions of the Assyrian communities in north-east Syria and Iraq, and the archeological sites in Bet-Nahrain.
The GAP Project
For more than 30 years, Turkey has been building its giant Southeast Anatolia Project, commonly known by its Turkish initials as GAP. The project will eventually include 19 hydroelectric power stations and 22 dams, built across both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. By diverting their waters, the Turks intend to bring 1.7 million hectares of new land under cultivation, and to double the country's energy production.
This hugely ambitious development scheme has been funded, to the tune of $32 billion, by Turkey itself. The Turks had to go it alone because the World Bank, normally keen to support such major infrastructure projects, made the highly unusual decision to refuse Turkey assistance for the GAP. This was on the grounds that the project would harm the interests of Turkey's downstream neighbours Syria and Iraq, and could therefore destabilise the region.
Both Syria and Iraq depend greatly on the two rivers. Syria is overwhelmingly reliant on the waters of the Euphrates, the only major river to flow through Syrian territory, while Iraq, through which both the Tigris and Euphrates flow, is the furthest country downstream and therefore suffers from the removal of water by both Syria and Turkey.
Like many people, I had been aware of the GAP for some time, and was also familiar with the concept of Water Wars - the fear that the 21st century would be the era, not of the struggle over oil, but for water. The largely arid Middle East is commonly regarded as the most likely location for the first such conflict. The region is dependent on three major waterways: the Nile, the Jordan, and the Tigris-Euphrates system.
Struggling for Clean Water
Each flows through more than one country; all of these countries have sharply increasing populations (Iraq's is set to double, to 50 million, in 25 years' time); and all are committed to developing their agriculture, their industry and their energy output. Not only are these states using more water, they're also polluting the sources which remain. Given the bad relations between most of the water-sharing states, and the history of conflict and instability in the Middle East, you don't need exceptional gifts of divination to fear what the struggle for clean water could mean for the region.
When I read an extraordinary quote by Suleyman Demirel, Turkey's former president, I became hooked on the idea of making this film. On 25 July 1992, at the opening of the Ataturk Dam, kingpin of the entire GAP scheme, Demirel said the following: "Neither Syria nor Iraq can lay claim to Turkey's rivers any more than Ankara could claim their oil. This is a matter of sovereignty. We have a right to do anything we like. The water resources are Turkey's, the oil resources are theirs. We don't say we share their oil resources, and they can't say they share our water resources."
It's this naked assumption that Turkey can do what it likes with the Tigris and the Euphrates which underlies the Turks' argument that they don't need to pay attention to their neighbours' concerns. Two years earlier, the Turks had already demonstrated that they meant what they said: when the Ataturk Dam was being flooded, in January 1990, Turkey cut off the flow of the Euphrates completely, for three weeks. There was near-panic in the Syrian capital, Damascus, and black-outs in the towns which depended for their electricity on hydroelectric power generated from the Euphrates - there simply wasn't enough flow to turn the turbines.
For the Syrians and Iraqis, the political message was clear: if they chose to pursue policies disapproved of by Turkey, they risked losing their water supply. And though, when I interviewed Ugur Ziyal, Turkey's chief of Middle Eastern affairs, he denied that the dam could be used as a weapon of war, it's still true that the Syrians and Iraqis no longer have control over their main sources of water.
Ironically enough, the Syrians have also experienced the mixed pleasures of control over the Euphrates. In 1975 the Turks were completing their first dam over the Euphrates, at Keban, while the Syrians were completing theirs at Tabka. War almost erupted between Syria, Iraq and Turkey when both the dam-building states tried to halt the flow of the river by filling their dams at the same time.
We travelled almost the length of the Euphrates during the making of Thirsting for War, from Basra in southern Iraq to the mountains of eastern Turkey. Everywhere we went we talked to the people whose lives are most directly and intimately affected by the river and its changes: boatmen and farmers, archaeologists and doctors. It became clear that the GAP project is having a dramatic impact all over the region, and its repercussions are felt as far downstream as a date orchard near the mouth of the Euphrates in the Persian Gulf.
The Distant Past
One of the themes I was anxious to work into the film is the constancy of water management in the history of the region. Damming, diversion and irrigation have been features of the Fertile Crescent for millennia. Some of their associated problems, such as the way irrigation can destroy land as salt rises up through the soil, are as present now as they were during the time of ancient Mesopotamia, four and a half thousand years ago.
The distant past has been part of this film in another way. The civilisations of the Tigris-Euphrates basin have mostly been on or near the two rivers. This has meant that, almost wherever a dam has been built, an ancient city has been inundated by the waters rising as the dam is filled. The latest of these cities to disappear is Zeugma, a Graeco-Roman site on the Euphrates at Birecik, downstream from the Ataturk Dam in Turkey.
Over the summer there's been a race against time as a team of British archaeologists from the Oxford Archaeology Unit have rushed to save what they can before Zeugma is covered by the water flooding the Birecik Dam. The drama of the rescue dig and the significance of the finds have attracted a lot of press and radio attention, but Thirsting for War includes the first TV pictures from the site.
The great attraction of making this film has been precisely the range of subjects it's covered - from the beauty and interest of the ancient civilisations which have developed along the Euphrates, and the continuity of so many of the issues they've had to confront, to the absolutely contemporary nature of today's water crisis, and what it may hold for this dangerous yet infinitely fascinating part of the world.
"Thirsting for War" was shown on September 30th
on BBC2. The film is written and directed by Christopher Mitchell, who
has spent more than a year working on the story.
An report of the Assyrian International News Agency; posted October 4,, 2000
(ZNAI: Chicago) Attacks by the central government in Iraq against the Assyrian language and culture have continued unabated despite calls by the international community for the Baghdad regime to respect the rights of all of its citizens.
According to an Assyrian National Congress (ANC) press release dated September 10, 2000, the Iraqi Directorate General of Intelligence in early August summoned several Assyrians, including intellectuals, clerics, and activists, for interrogation in Mosul (ancient Nineveh) and Baghdad. Security agents reportedly interrogated the Assyrians regarding Bet Nahrain Magazine, a California based Assyrian cultural journal. According to the ANC, “Bet Nahrain magazine is the literary organ of Bet Nahrain Organization, an educational and cultural association affiliated with the Assyrian National Congress.”
Apparently, the Iraqi security agents were most interested in determining whether the readers of the magazine were members of the Bet Nahrain Democratic Party (BNDP), an Assyrian political organization that formally calls for Assyrian autonomy in Iraq and is also affiliated with the ANC. After being detained for several hours, the Assyrians were eventually released with demands that they sever all ties to the magazine.
This most recent intimidation of Assyrians by the central government demonstrates the extent of the regime’s crack down against any expression of Assyrian culture. These scare and intimidation tactics are not taken lightly by Assyrians within Iraq and abroad, as the brutality of the regime in general and the previous execution of Assyrian activists in particular have been widely documented by international organizations.
This heightened sensitivity to Assyrian cultural expression follows earlier threats made by the Iraqi Ministry of Education against the Assyrian language schools established in northern Iraq following the Gulf War. In a November 25, 1999 warning published in the Kurdistan Observer, the Iraqi Minister of Education described Assyrian schools in the north as “phony” and “part of a scheme by enemies of the Iraqi people to break up the country.”
The Minister’s statement also threatened to punish those Assyrians who establish and even attend the schools. These Assyrian schools were described as a “betrayal” of the country and an intrusion into its unity and sovereignty.
Although the Behdanani and Sorani leaders in the north are supposedly opposed to the Baghdad government, all parties agreed earlier to prohibit Assyrian secondary schools to open in northern Iraq until an international outcry spearheaded by U.S. Congressmen forced an adjustment of policy in northern Iraq (AINA, 10-20-1998 and 11-05-1998). Today, the single Assyrian secondary school in northern Iraq is privately funded by Assyrians. Growing pressure from the international community has mounted on Iraq to recognize Assyrian grievances and legitimate calls for recognition. Although Iraq has found it relatively easy to at least theoretically recognize their restive Behdanani and Sorani “Kurds,” Baghdad has now hunkered down and increased the persecution of the indigenous Assyrians. Rather than recognize Assyrians as an indigenous ethnic minority, Baghdad, like the Behdananis and Soranis in the north, recognize Assyrians solely as a Christian minority with no implicit national rights. All the while, any expression of Assyrian language or culture is labeled a threat to national sovereignty and strictly forbidden.
Furthermore, reports from Iraq suggest that Baghdad’s response to calls for greater Assyrian political rights from international Assyrian organizations is to create an alternative Assyrian leadership in Baghdad independent of Diaspora based groups. It is Baghdad’s hope that such a vulnerable leadership literally held hostage in Baghdad would more easily serve to whitewash previous and ongoing abuses against Assyrians. Quite understandably, such a leadership would hardly be able to request recognition of Assyrian rights and the full expression of Assyrian culture let alone demand any degree of autonomy for Assyrians. Seen in this context, the Bet Nahrain magazine incident was seen as a threat by Baghdad for two reasons: first, because it symbolized a persistent and growing Assyrian awareness despite decades of persecution and second, it exposed Baghdad’s fears of Iraqi Assyrian ties to legitimate anti-Baghdad Diaspora based Assyrian political organizations seeking real Assyrian rights and democratic change in Iraq.
U.S. TO PROVIDE $ 4M TO IRAQI OPPOSITION GROUPS
(ZNAP: Washington) The State Department said on Monday it has concluded an agreement with the Iraqi National Congress that provides $4 million to advance "ongoing operations and establish new ones.'' Spokesman Philip Reeker said INC activities to be supported by the funds include strengthening its organization and infrastructure.
The new activities under the program include a public information program, preparations for humanitarian relief operations, advocacy missions to international organizations and the opening of branch offices.
An report of the Assyrian International News Agency; posted September 30, 2000
(ZNAI: Chicago) Although recent conventions of the Assyrian American National Federation (AANF) have showcased growing Assyrian political organization and clout in the U.S., especially noteworthy this year were addresses to the delegates by Congressional House Minority Whip David E. Bonior and Congressman Rod Blagojevich. The Congressmen represent districts in Michigan and Illinois, respectively with large, electorally significant Assyrian constituencies. Both vowed continued vigilance and support at the U. S. Congressional level for issues of interest to Assyrians throughout the U.S. and the Middle East. In the past, Congressman Blagojevich has staunchly supported Assyrian human rights in the Middle East and has fought to increase awareness about Assyrians within the Congress and State Department.
Mr. John Bolton, of the the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington based conservative think tank, addressed convention attendees specifically regarding Assyrian human and religious rights. Mr. Bolton is a member of the Commission on International Religious Freedom (CIRF). Although bipartisan and independent, the members of the CIRF are appointed by the U.S. President and Congressional leaders and are obligated to report annually regarding religious persecution throughout the world. Mr. Bolton was informed by various attendees regarding the predicament of Assyrian Christians throughout the Middle East and some states of the former Soviet Union. Mr. Bolton acknowledged the commission’s previous lack of full awareness of the persecution faced by Assyrian Christians and urged Assyrians to relay information about specific abuses to the CIRF for investigation and inclusion in the Annual Report. Formerly from the State Department, Mr. Bolton’s genuine empathy is highly significant since he is expected to return to the State Department in the event of a Republican administration.
An estimated 8,000 Assyrians gathered in Chicago for the 67th Annual Convention of the Assyrian American National Federation between August 31- September 4, 2000. The AANF is an Assyrian American umbrella organization in the U.S. with 30 affiliate organizations across the U.S. The AANF was established in 1933 following the massacre of thousands of Assyrian civilians by the Iraqi army, in the environs of Simele in northern Iraq. The ascension to the Presidency of the AANF by Mr. Atour Golani of Detroit marked a continuation of the AANF policy of inclusion of all Assyrians, irrespective of their self-identification, begun in earnest by the previous two term President, Mr. Sargon Lewie. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Golani pledged to work on behalf of all Assyrian communities. He also pledged to support the Assyrian coalition of the four major Assyrian political organizations including the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA), the Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO), the Assyrian! Democratic Movement (ADM), and the Bet Nahrain Democratic Party (BNDP). Also in attendance during the Presidential banquet was Mr. Sam Yono, President of the Chaldean Federation of America (CFA) who vowed to “go to Washington together with you to demand our rights in the Middle East.” The keynote speaker for the Presidential banquet was Mr. Ninous Bityou, Secretary General of the ADM, who spoke on the current situation of Assyrians in northern Iraq.
In his presentation, Mr. Joseph Kassab, President of the Bet Nahrain National Organization (BNNO) re-emphasized that the titles Assyrian, Chaldean, and Syriac indeed denote one nation. He proposed a mechanism for greater involvement of the entire nation in the political mainstream of U. S. democracy including the long overdue creation of a political action committee along the lines of the Chaldean Political Action Committee, established in 1986. Mr. Kassab also encouraged the separation of the various Churches from the nation’s political domain. Finally, Mr. Kassab proposed greater coordination between the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA), the Syriac Universal Alliance (SUA), and the Chaldean Federation of America (CFA) into an international umbrella organization for the purpose of politically unifying the international efforts of the nation. A senior activist and native of the Chaldean village of Alqosh, Mr. Sallman Estephan argued that Assyrians, including the Chaldean and ! Syriac communities, constitute one people in Iraq and as such are entitled to all the national, political, and human rights of any other people in Iraq. Included in these rights is the right to self determination within the context of a federal Iraq.
Numerous other speakers presented including Mr. Matay Arsan from Holland who spoke on Assyrian activism in Europe with special attention to recent hunger strikes and demonstrations commemorating the 1915 Turkish and Kurdish genocide (Sayfo) of Assyrians. Mr. Arsan spoke on the galvanizing effect on the Assyrian community following the attacks on the hunger strikers by mobs of young Turkish thugs in Holland. Ms. Guita Hourani, representing the Maronite group of the Syriac community, emphasized the burgeoning Syriac awareness among Maronites as well as the growing importance of the Syriac language in enhancing grass roots activism. On the cultural level, the annual AANF convention brought together thousands of Assyrians from throughout the world to join in reinvigorating and sharing their common Assyrian heritage. On the international political front, the convention successfully brought together Assyrian representatives irrespective of the various communities' self-identification, including Chaldeans and Syriacs. With such a fundamental ideological bedrock in Assyrian national awareness actualized, the combined strength of the total Assyrian people figures to be a still greater factor domestically within the U.S. as well as abroad. The focus of this enhanced demographic significance and combined political clout will inevitably remain in those Middle Eastern countries with an historic indigenous presence such as Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria and, Lebanon. Undoubtedly, the politics of division, exclusion, and disenfranchisement as practiced by some Arabist regimes and espoused by some Behdanani and Sorani leaders in northern Iraq against Assyrians will prove to be considerably more difficult to actualize.
LAST ASSYRIAN-CHALDEAN DETAINEE LEAVES MEXICO
(ZNDA: San Diego) The
last of 241 Assyrian-Chaldean refugee crossed the Mexican border last Thursday
into the United States and saught political asylum, according to the U.S.
Immigration and Naturalization Service. At least half of the immigrants
who have so far applied for asylum have been allowed to join relatives
in San Diego and Detroit. Also during the past weekend, the Mexican
government released all Assyrians held on charges of smuggling their relatives
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FOOD FESTIVAL OFFERS TASTE OF ASSYRIAN CULTURE
An article by Elizabeth Leedom; Modesto Bee, published October 2, 2000
(ZNMB: Ceres) If you want to make rice as good as the fluffy separated grains that graced plates at the Assyrian Food Festival Sunday, give it a good bath.
At least that's the recipe of Julia Rameshek of Delhi, who sat with her grown children and neighbor enjoying the kind of food Assyrians have been making for centuries.
Never mind that Assyria hasn't had a country to call its own for the last 2,600 years. Assyrians still cook the same way, still speak the same language, still are "just a little fierce," according to Rameshek's daughter, Mary Moshi.
But back to the rice -- long-grain, grown in the Near East, if possible. Boil it into submission, but not quite done; drain it and douse it with cold water. Then steam it dry in a little water and butter. It wouldn't dare come out starchy and sticky. Take Rameshek's word for it.
Outside in back of the Assyrian Cultural Center, a deftly converted church at 3119 S. Central Ave., Bill Dadesho, his wife, Marusa, and their crew were busy charcoal grilling the heart of the Assyrian feast: lula kabob (beef) and chicken kabob.
Marusa's secret: lemon, pepper and lots of onion. Throw in a pinch of allspice, a dash of sumagh (a tart paprika-type substance made of berries) and eat your heart out.
Inside the light and airy hall, where several hundred people ate Assyrian on Saturday and Sunday, the sponsoring Bet-Nahrain Organization offered Chai (tea) in one corner and pastries in another, linked along the walls by colorful book and art displays.
Many thousands of years ago, the Assyrians ruled a warrior kingdom stretching from Egypt and Turkey to the Persian Gulf, until their neighbors got together and did them in. That was more than 600 years before the birth of Christ, and the Assyrians have not had a country of their own since.
"We are few but proud," said Rameshek, polishing off the last rice on her plate. "We use that word to keep our nation together. We have no more country, but there are Assyrians all over the world" -- 15,000 of them in Stanislaus County, according to literature distributed at the festival.
A couple of Modesto Junior College students suggested you don't even have to think Assyrian to get to an Assyrian food festival. You can be assigned to it by your sociology instructor. Nancy Jimenez and Bertha Dias said their instructor in ethnic studies is expecting a five-page paper out of them.
Inside at the ticket table, Joe Kambell estimated the third annual Assyrian Food Festival would wind up feeding more than 1,000 over the two days.
OUR OWN WORST ENEMIES
The AANF convention in Chicago over the Labor Day week-end was our last opportunity to install the Sumuramat Monument in that city. I met with John Nimrod but was unable to convince him to write to the Arts Committee of Chicago and remove his threat of legal action which had halted their efforts to have the monument installed by Labor Day. The only other possibility was to circulate a petition at the convention to record as many signatures as we could, urging the Public Arts Committee to ignore Mr. Nimrod's threats and proceed over his objections with the installation of the monument on the campus of the University of Chicago, next to the Oriental Institute. I was blocked in this attempt by Mr. Alladin Khamis, chairman of the convention committee, and Sargon Lewie, outgoing president of the AANF .
The material I'd displayed explaining our predicament and calling for the petition drive was removed by the convention committee. I was threatened with expulsion and arrest (police were called) when I displayed them again. And finally, Mr. Nines Lazar and Mr. William Youmaran, chief of security for the convention, said they would knock my teeth out, put me in a hospital and break all the sculptures on display. I called the police because of the threat of physical violence who advised hotel security to provide increased protection for me and my family for the remainder of our stay.
On Sunday, having been frustrated at every turn, I addressed the delegates, saying that, as I had received no support from them, and, as no one had been able to convince Mr. Nimrod to drop his opposition to the monument, I was forced to withdraw the Sumuramat as a gift to Chicago. Until its installation, I was the one responsible for the statue and I would not suffer the final indignity and humiliation of having our monument rejected by the city. There were other cities in other countries with Assyrian communities and organizations already eager to have our monument.
In the world today it seems abundantly clear what so many of us have believed for years and years; We are our own worst enemies. No one in the West today is an enemy of ours. No one there wishes us any harm. On the contrary, if they only knew more about our existence and survival, knew more of our modern history and our situation today in the ancient homeland, help would be forthcoming from many quarters. Not just the help to re-build, but the kind of protection and vigilance which might stop future destruction. Public opinion, if it could once shine on us, would provide the kind of illumination which scares away thugs who gang up on us in the dark and those, unconcerned now, with what the world thinks, because the world doesn't know we exist.
For years I've spoken about the need to go "public" to go outside the confines of of our little tribal councils, recreated in the Western countries we call home. For twenty years I've labored to create public monuments reflecting our culture, inscribed with our history, of a quality which would earn them excellent locations in major cities where they could engage in the act of educating non-Assyrians about our people. The resources of our own communities are nothing when compared to the pool of money and expertise our own tax dollars provide for the benefit of all sorts of other ethnic groups around the world and in this country today. So far our tax dollars have rained dawn more destruction on our homelands and people than all the charity we've sent, or will ever be able to send. Charity which will soon result in a dulling dependency upon the benevolence of others of very limited means and a loss of initiative. I fear those who call themselves our leaders, though no o knows when or by whom they were elected, for their own selfish reasons...for a pathetic kind of glory and illusions of power, prefer to keep us locked up in ourselves and far from the sources of real power. For instance, they seem content to raise a few token dollars through emotional pleas, not to our sense of outrage or justice, but our feelings of pity. These funds they hand-carry to our homelands at a disproportionate cost to benefits bestowed. In that ravaged land these funds appear to be far greater than they are, though nothing when compared to what could be available or what is spent on destruction. These leaders bask in the heartfelt gratitude of a desperate people, their hearts filled with the conviction that they've helped our people.
Would these same leaders welcome millions in grants and loans to create businesses, light manufacturing and industry, to create jobs instead of poor-relief? Would they seek meaningful aid, or avoid it because there would be no room in any grand plan for them? I ask this because I don't know how else to account for the fact that so much effort went into stopping me from bringing the Sumuramat Monument to Chicago. The only issue which seemed to animate the people was that the monument had to go to an Assyrian neighborhood, or in Mr. Nimrod's case his own community center. It had to be "theirs", in other words; kept from the public at large. These monuments are intended to spread our name beyond our own little world, to get attention for our presence, our survival, our hopes, our needs, our aspirations. There are countless resources out there, but we must go looking for them and any real leader would make certain that we did. Such a leader would open paths for us, not block our way instead. Our children, our heritage...as we ourselves, are orphans in this world. In a room full of children accompanied by parents ours have no guardian, no champion, no defender to give praise or provide guidance. Imagine how the child must feel that sees the pride in other childrens' eyes whose parents achievements are applauded by all. Ours have to make do with rejoicing in the accomplishments of others, to find satisfaction in being allowed into the home of others, to get at second hand the left-overs from the feasts of others.
Our child must approach obliquely, humbly, projecting a willingness to be "good" to be obediant, even to agree to and help in the bombing and starvation of its brothers and sisters in its own homeland. Where is there any cause for pride in this? Our child can demand nothing, insist upon nothing, and when it feels slighted or wronged, must look only to itself for help, developing in time a self-hatred, mingled with anger at the absent parent for leaving it so weak, unprotected and invisible. It doesn't help to remind the child that once, long ago, its ancestors were rich and powerful, that a handful of fragments left over from those glory days are displayed with reverence in museums. It just increases their misery for it reminds them how far they have fallen.
Any attention, any kindness, the Assyrian orphan receives it knows is thrown its way because of the goodness of strangers, not because it is earned or merited, for if the child is worthy, where are the parents to proudly claim it for their own? our heritage is that orphan child seeking a safe place for itself from which to shine. Our Assyrian children in Chicago could have had such a place. The city itself certainly welcomed us and waited eagerly and patiently for four years to honor us, our parents, our heritage. Indeed Assyrians from other cities and countries donated thousands of dollars to make such a place.
We are our own worst enemies. The police came in Chicago to protect me from my own people. We do ourselves more, far more, damage than is done to us. We keep the child an orphan, a beggar, homeless, with little cause for self-respect. We do it. We did it in Chicago just this year.
Ms. Ramsina Betisho of Tehran-Iran, ranked
first in her graduating class, completed her Masters Degree in Biology with
honors from Beheshte-Tehran University. She was congratulated earlier
this year with a gold medal from the University's board of directors.
She's the daughter of Shimoun & Anyes Bet-Esho. Ms. Ramsina also teaches
Assyrian language and religious studies in Tehran.
MICHAEL (MIKHAEL) AMRIKHAS
Rabbie Mikhael Amrikhas, son of
Shimoun and Soriya, passes away on September 20th in Tehran, Iran.
He was born in 1909 in the village of Ada in Urmie, Iran. Rabbie
Mikhael was a deacon of the Assyrian Evangelical Church in Tehran, author
of a book of poetry in Assyrian entitled "A History of World War II", and
a well-spoken and much-loved community leader. Before retiring in
1984, Rabbie Amrikhas was employed by the American companies in Iran as
an administrator and languge interpretor. From 1943 until 1957 he
taught English at a school for boys and girls in Urmie. He was fluent
in Assyrian, English, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Hebrew, and Kurdish.
Rabbie Amrikhas is survived by his wife, Mary; his sons, Mleelan and Mloan;
daughters, Nohra and Nadleen; sister, Batishva and several grand children
in Iran and the U.S. Earlier this year, Rabbie Amrikhas and his wife
celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary in Tehran.
King Sennacherib's armies encounter the invading Elamite
forces on their way to capure Nineveh. He
writes "Like the advance of locust swarms in spring, they came on together against me to do battle, the
dust of their feet covering the face of the wide sky like a pouring storm in harsh cold weather. They
placed themselves in battle order against me at Halule on the bank of the Tigris. They blocked my access
to drinking water and prepared for battle." After his victory in the battlefield, Sennacherib writes "I put
them to rout and turned them back. I transfixed the troops of the enemy with javelins and arrows. I cut
their throats like sheep...I filled the plain with the corpses of their warriors like herbage." Sennacherib
claims that the enemy lost 150,000 men.
The Might That Was Assyria, H.W.F. Saggs
The synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and the representatives
of the Tsar Nicholas II assemble in
St. Petersburg to discuss the future of the Assyrian churches in Persia, the Mission of the Russian
Orthodox Church in Azarbaijan, and their non-Christian neighbors. Following this meeting the
representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church were sent to Urmie in the fall of 1898. At this time, for
the fear of persecution in the hands of their Moslem enemies, nearly 15,000 Assyrian villagers abandoned
their Assyrian churches and joined the Russian Orthodox Church by signing the following petition: "In the
name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, By the Grace of the Life-giving Holy Spirit, we, the
Syrio-Chaldean people, followers of Nestorius, determine to unite again with the Greco-Russian, one, true,
holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church, to unite free from deceit or insincerity, in truth and with a right heart,
according to the words of our Great Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, that 'there shall be one flock
and one shepherd.' Our fathers and ancestors, fourteen centuries ago were separated from the unity of
the Church, but hereafter let this division and separation not be, between our Nestorians and the
Orthodox." The Times of London reported that "thousands of Nestorians have adopted the
Greco-Russian tenets in the hope of enjoying some day Russian protection." In 1905 the Russian army
was defeated by the Japanese forces and the Constitutional Revolution in Iran further increased the level
of disorder in Persia. In the spring of 1909 Russia captured Tabriz, Iran to impose greater control over
northern Iran. In the winter of 1917 the Russians entered into negotiations with the Moslem enemies of
the Assyrians and following the Bolshevik Revolution withdrew their troops from Persia. The Assyrians
of Urmie were then left to the mercy of their Moslem neighbors. In a matter of weeks the greatest exodus
of the Assyrians began from Urmie towards central Iraq. During this time three-fourths of the refugee
population perished due to hunger, cold and the enemy attacks.
"Conversion of the Nestorians of Persia to the Russian
Church", Samuel G. Wilson
October 3, 1932:
Iraq gains full independence from Britain and joins League of Nations.
Ten months later, Iraqi army with the support of Kurdish troops begin the
massacre of Assyrian population in northern Iraq.
A CONCERT OF SPIRITUAL SONGS
Presented by the Bet-Eil Assyrian Church
All proceeds will be used to provide for the needy Assyrians
around the world.
ASSYRIANS 2600 YEARS AFTER THE EMPIRE
3RD Annual Meeting of the Assyrian
& Babylonian Intellectual Heritage
XLVIIe RENCONTRE ASSYRIOLOGIQUE INTERNATIONALE
International Congress of Assyriology and Near Eastern
Registration Form: click here
Ninous Bebla (California)...Sharokin Bet-Givargiz (Chicago)
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