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Volume VII
Issue 31
October 22, 2001
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This Week In Zinda

cover photo
cover photo

  Body of Mar Luqa (St. Luke) Gains Credibility
  Turkey Calls KDP Outlaws, Response Refers to Assyrians
Temple of Ishtar Unearthed in Southern Bet-Nahrain

Assyrian Delegation Meets With U.S. Officials in Washington
Assyrian Entrepreneur Shocks Australian Financial Media

  Melammu Conference
Aboona's New Book
Changing National Identity by a Governmental Resolution

Yonan's Book on Genocide to be Published in Spring 2002
Academic Society Reception For Pete Dagher
First Symposium of The Canadian Society For Syriac Studies

  Youkhanas vs. United Airlines
  Pete Dagher
  Annemasse: The Assyrian Tragedy
  Internal & External
  Hammurabi & The Syrian Catholics
  Vali-Ahd Visits Urmia
  Party on in San Diego - El Cajon



The Lighthouse


Courtesy of New York Times (Oct 16); based on an article by Nicholas Wade

(ZNDA: Damascus) According to a report by Dr. Barbujani and colleagues at the University of Ferrara, Italy last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, a new DNA analysis gives tentative support to the belief that the remains in an ancient lead coffin are those of St. Luke, traditionally considered the author of the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles.

St. Luke was a native of Antioch, the metropolis of Syria, a junction along many important trade routes of the ancient world, hence very rich, crowded and large. Its inhabitants are said to have been polite, learned and wise. Its schools were the most renowned in Asia, and produced the some of the ablest early Fathers of the Church. Here Mar Luqa (St. Luke) acquired his learning early years, and thereupon traveled to Greece and Egypt to complete his medical studies. St. Paul calls him his most dear physician.

Dr. Guido Barbujani, a population geneticist, has extracted DNA from a tooth in the coffin. He concluded that the DNA was characteristic of people living near the region of Antioch, on the eastern Mediterranean, where Luke is said to have been born. Radiocarbon dating of the tooth indicates that it belonged to someone who died between 72 A.D. and 416 A.D.

The Evangelist, according to ancient sources, was a physician who was born in Antioch and died at 84 in about 150 A.D. in the Greek city of Thebes. The coffin with his remains was taken to Constantinople, the capitol of the Byzantine empire, in 338 A.D. and later moved to Padua, Italy.

Dr. Barbujani and his colleagues speculate that the coffin may have been sent out of Constantinople for safekeeping, either during the reign of the Emperor Julian, who tried to restore paganism, or during the iconoclast period of the eighth century, when many religious images and objects were destroyed.

The coffin is known to have been in Padua at least since 1177 A.D. It was placed in a marble sarcophagus and kept in the Basilica of Santa Giustina. It was last opened in 1562 A.D. and seems to have been somewhat ignored until October 1992. At that time the bishop of Padua, Antonio Mattiazzo, received a letter from Hieronymos, the Orthodox Metropolitan of Thebes, asking that part of the relics to be donated to the site of Luke's tomb in Thebes.

Bishop Mattiazzo, according to an article in November 2000 in Traces, a Catholic journal, decided to investigate the relics under the leadership of Dr. Vito Terribile Viel Marin, a pathologist at the University of Padua. In 1998 the 400-year-old seals were removed from the lead coffin, and the study began.

The dimensions of the coffin exactly fit the tomb in Thebes considered to be Luke's. In the coffin was a skeleton, but not the skull.

Dr. Barbujani and his colleagues say the body appears to have decomposed in the coffin because of matching insect marks on the lead and the pelvis, which has fused to the lead.

The spread in the radiocarbon dating indicates at least two possibilities. One is that the body is that of Luke or a man who died at the same time, the other is that for some reason, a new body was put in the coffin in Constantinople around 300 A.D.

To help distinguish between the two, Dr. Barbujani, an expert on the genetics of European populations, analyzed fragments of DNA from the tooth, a canine, found on the floor of the coffin, and sought to compare them with likely living representatives of the ancient populations of Antioch and of Constantinople. An Antioch match would suggest the body could be Luke's.

Since the present population of Antioch includes many Kurds, Dr. Barbujani sampled the DNA of Syrians from nearby Aleppo [See THE LIGHTHOUSE in last week's issue]. In place of the inhabitants of ancient Constantinople, now Istanbul, he tested Greeks from Attica and Crete.

The DNA from the Padua tooth, a type inherited only through the mother's line, turned out to resemble Syrian DNA more than Greek DNA.

''Our data tell us the body is absolutely compatible with a Syrian origin,'' he said. ''But I am aware of the limitations of the DNA data, and though a broad spectrum of ages is possible, the most likely is 300 A.D.'' Hence both possibilities should remain open, he said.

The body, if indeed it is Luke's, has experienced a simpler voyage through history than the head, which was removed by the Emperor Charles IV in 1354 and taken from Padua to Prague, where it rests in the Cathedral of St. Vitus, in the Prague Castle.

''There were officially two heads of St. Luke, one at Prague and one in Rome,'' Dr. Barbujani said. At Bishop Mattiazzo's request, the Prague skull was brought to Padua and found to fit perfectly to the topmost neck bone. The tooth, found on the floor of the coffin, also fit into the right socket in the jawbone.

Though many relics turn out to be forgeries, executed in modern or medieval times as demand arose, the Padua body seems more likely than most to be what it is claimed to be, although exact proof is lacking.

''I think we should accept that there is no way to tell if it was the Evangelist Luke, but the genetic evidence does not contradict the idea,'' Dr. Barbujani said.

Last October, according to the Traces article, at least part of the body completed the circle to its original resting place. Bishop Mattiazzo sent a rib from the skeleton for Metropolitan Hieronymus to place in the empty Theban tomb.



(ZNDA: London) According to a report by BBC Monitoring the Kurdistan Democratic Party issued a statement in response to a Turkish official's remarks during a Kurdistan Satellite TV show in Salah-al-Din, in Sorani Kurdish last week. The statement also referred to Assyrians and Chaldeans as trying "through peaceful means to get their legitimate right of federalism within Iraq".

The following is an excerpt of the statement by Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) made on 20 October by KDP's Central Information Bureau spokesperson in response to the comments of the Turkish state minister, Abdulhaluk Mehmet Cay.

"At 1930 [local time] on 14 October, Turkish TV Channel D interviewed Abdulhaluk Mehmet Cay. In replay to a question, he rudely and without paying any attention to any journalistic standards and norms, described the leadership and forces of the KDP as outlaws and considered the realization of the legitimate rights of the people of Kurdistan as an act of war. Regarding this, the KDP states:

The gaining of our national right will not in any way become a cause of war or harm to anybody. The people of Iraqi Kurdistan have always tried through peaceful means to get their legitimate right of federalism within Iraq. We hope that now and in the future we will solve our problems with all the people of Iraq -Kurds, Arabs, Turkomans, Assyrians and Chaldean - and solve the problems of Iraq through a democratic dialogue and live together within the framework of a federal and democratic Iraqi state. Such a solution and not war will be the source of happiness and satisfaction for neighboring countries and nations. The only way for war to take place is if the problems were not solved.

For this reason we in the KDP strongly object to what Abdulhaluk Mehmet Cay said. We hope that what he said represents his personal view and not that of a department."


Courtesy of Birmingham Post (Oct 22)

(ZNDA: Baghdad) Iraqi archaeologists in a new find have uncovered a temple dedicated to the Assyrian goddess Ishtar (Sumerian Inanna) in the Bazikh in Zi Qar province 190 miles south of Baghdad. Cuneiform inscriptions on the 25 artifacts found at the temple indicate that the building dates back to the old Babylonian era, and to the reign of King Hammurabi (1730-1687 BC), according to Iraq newspaper Tikrit, quoting Donny George at the Antiquities and Heritage Department.

Ishtar was the goddess of love, fertility and war in Bet-Nahrain
Under various names, the cult of the mother goddess was universal in the ancient Near East. Tikrit reported that excavation teams had also discovered a house with an open courtyard, a number of rooms and graves inside the house in the temple area.

Artifacts included a relief on a clay tablet of a woman breast- feeding her child, the first ever to be found. The excavations also yielded a number of jars, clay tablets, seals used at that time, and toys. A well and two canals used to carry water to the temple and the houses and clay basins to collect water were uncovered.

Dozens of Iraqi archeologists have also been at work since the beginning of the year in Nimrod, 35 kilometers (22 miles) southeast of the northern city of Mosul, on uncovering the remains of an Assyrian temple and statues of winged bulls dating back to the 8th century B.C.

Iraq, and especially northern Bet-Nahrain, contain more than 10,000 archeological sites, most of which have still not been uncovered, according to official statistics.

News Digest

We Stand Corrected!

With an apology to our readers in Australia we stand corrected in making the reference to a location of murder as being Sydney, whereas it was in fact Melbourne. We are of course referring to last week's story "Assyrian Man Kills ex-Girlfriend in Sydney, Blames Moslems". We meant to say "in Melbourne".

Zinda Magazine thanks our reader, Shamasha Genard Lazar for bringing this error to our attention.


(ZNDA: Washington D.C.) Last week a joint delegation of several Assyrian political parties and the Assyrian American National Federation met with U.S. officials, including Henry Hyde (R-6th Illinois)- chairman of the International Relations Committee. While the less organized Assyrian delegation was presenting a simple statement of future cooperation and understanding to the U.S. officials, elsewhere Mr. Barham Salih, the PUK Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government and Mr. Hoshyar Zebari, head of the KDP International Relations team, were meeting with U.S. officials to discuss recent events in the region including the war on terrorism and the stability of northern Iraq and the future of Iraq. Mr. Salih has asked State Department and National Security Council officials for aid in the PUK's fight against the Islamic group Jund al-Islam.

Some observers in the region believe that the Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan is trying to obtain US and Turkish military intervention in northern Iraq by claiming that the Islamic militant Osama bin-Laden is planning to establish an Islamist state in that region. According to a Kurdish report Barham Salih has reportedly held meetings with the Turkish Foreign Ministry officials and the Turkish intelligence units in Ankara regarding Bin-Ladin's activities in southern Kurdistan.

Last week at a press conference Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hussain Dirioz assessed the PUK delegation's information in Ankara and noted that reports were evaluated and that the PUK has been warned.

Later on the government in Ankara stated that Turkey "will prevent the coalition that is being established to combat terrorism from launching an attack against Iraq on the basis of such incitements."

Reports of bin-Laden's men working in North Iraq have appeared in the U.S. journals also. Leading journalists such as William Safire are also trying to influence the White House and the CIA. Safire for example, in an article written for New York Times, claims that 400 armed men from Bin-Ladin's fifth division have settled in northern Iraq. In some Kurdish circles Barham Salih's briefing to the U.S. officials included "the attacks that were launched against the United States as well as the probability of launching an attack against Iraqi President Saddam Hussain within the framework of the retaliation plan will appear on the agenda."

Gasoline prices in northern Iraq have gone up 25 percent as people hoard supplies and Iraq has cut back on sales to Turkish truckers who normally deliver supplies in the region.



(ZNDA: Sydney) Last week, Australian Financial Review took a stab at the illustrious Assyrian entrepreneur, Karl Suleman, the head of Froggy Group [http://www.froggy.com.au] by alluding to his Iraqi origins and asking why he would be willing to shell out $150,000 to sit beside former U.S-president, Bill Clinton at a fundraiser.

Mr. Suleman was born in Baghdad, Iraq and has acquired his undisclosed wealth in running an Internet Service Provider and mobile phone businesses among other establishments in Australia.

Next month, Mr. Suleman is expected to attend the upcoming Melbourne Cup luncheon in Sydney where he will sit side-by-side former-U.S. president, George Bush (the senior).

AFR also notes that Mr. Suleman is Assyrian, "a Middle Eastern race of Christian people, who do not have their own State, but live in muslim-dominated Iran and Iraq. Though he served in Saddam's Iraqi Air Force, Suleman appears to have chosen the business route since moving to Australia, and has made powerful friends in Sydney's Jewish community."

These Jewish friends of Mr. Suleman include the gem prospector Pnina Feldman and husband Rabbi Pinchus Feldman who hold a 10 per cent stake in his internet business, Froggy Holdings.

In a time when the Internet businesses are badly hurting, Mr. Suleman seems to be attracting a different source of cashflow into his loss-making internet businesses, writes AFR. Financial Review identifies Mr. Suleman's shopping trolley collection business as the source.

Yasmin Trolley Services is understood to have recently taken a $150,000 loan, which it is paying back at the rate of $8,000 a month plus 10 per cent interest.

Mr. Suleman remains a generous friend of the Assyrian Church of the East in Australia and the Assyrian performers around the world. At the invitation of Mr. Suleman several members of the Assyrian Universal Alliance in Australia and His Grace Mar Melis, Bishop of the Church of the East in Australia, attended the fundraiser dinner in September and had a chance to discuss the Assyrian issues with former-President Bill Clinton.

Surfs Up!


"In the small charming city of Ravenna, Italy where a branch exists of the University of Bologne, another Melammu conference took place. A wonderful spirit of friendship and cooperation marked the event where papers were delivered in English and in Italian.

The event had many sponsors aside from the University, and Italian and European scholars were well represented. Six persons from the US were scheduled to participate but two of them, Dr. Robert Paulissian and Prof. Edward Odisho cancelled due to the uncertainties of air connections and current insecurities. The proceedings of the Chicago meeting (2000) are being printed under the aegis of Is.I.A.O., the Italian Institute for the Study of Africa and the Orient.

Next year's Melammu conference is scheduled for Innsbrook, Austria in early October.

MELAMMU, as many Assyrians know, is the international scholarly organization established to study the "Intellectual Heritage of Assyria and Babylonia in East and West." Its emphasis brings to light and encourages research on many topics related to the continuity of Assyrian history. For this reason, encouragement of this international effort, begun by Prof. Simo Parpola (U of Helsinki), is in the interest of the Assyrian community, on however modest a scale. Ideas to pursue this thought would be welcome."

Dr. Eden Naby Frye
Harvard University

Learn more about the proceedings of this year's Melammu Conference in the upcoming issue of the Assyrian Star, due out in December.


"I would like to inform you that an extremely important book by Rabbie Hirmiz Aboona entitled "FOLDED PAGES FROM THE HISTORY OF THE CHALDEAN CHURCH". The book reveals all hidden historical documents of the Chaldean Church that will solve many of today's arguments!!"

Albert Nasser



"The Newspapers in Baghdad have published a new resolution of the Iraqi Revolution Commands Council (No. 199, adopted September 2001) which states: "It is the right of any Iraqi 18 year of age or older to change his identity to Arab nationality… To accomplish this, any interested Iraqi citizen should submit his application to the Nationalization and Personal Affairs Department indicating his desire to so change his national identity. The Director of the Nationalization must respond to such application within 60 days".

Congratulations to the "Assyrian Arabist", as they are now privileged, honored and protected by the official Laws of such historical precedent in Human Rights Bill of the Third Millennium!!??. However, these individuals should be reminded of an old Arab saying 'Man Yankur Assluhu Fala Assel Lahu, Wa Man La Assel Lahu Fahuwa Naghal' which translates as this: 'He who denies his ancestry has no ancestry at all. Hence that person is a bastard'."

Aprim Shapera

Surfers Corner


Markus Wiener Publishers has included the long-awaited title "The Assyrian Genocide: A Documentary History" by Dr. Gabriel Yonan's (translated from German by Nancy A. Chapple) in its Winter-Spring 2001 Catalog. The book is scheduled to be published in Spring 2002.

Below is a brief description of the book by Markus Wiener Publishers:

"Between 1914 and 1918, approximately 250,000 Assyrians were the victims of genocides. The author of this book documents local and western eyewitness reports about systemic attempts by Turkish, Persian, and Kurdish troops to deport and massacre their Assyrian neighbors in Eastern Turkey and Western Iran. This sad chapter in the First World War became known as the " Assyrian Tragedy."

Although the Turkish authorities were the perpetrators responsible for this genocide, the German government acted as co-conspirator. The Germans trained and commanded Turkish troops and encouraged their Turkish ally to proclaim Jihad against the Christians, as Yonan ably documents in this book. As a consequence, the Christian minorities allied with Russia, the main enemy of Turkey, which took gruesome revenge on the civilian population.

Yonan's meticulous research and commentary are complemented by a revealing selection of historical maps and photos.

To order the book, contact: Markus Wiener Publishers, Order Dept.
231 Nassau St., Princeton, NJ 08542
Phone: 609-921-1141
Fax: 609-921-1140
Email: inquiries@markuswiener.com

$44.95 hard copy
$22.95 soft copy

The publisher will also be on hand at the upcoming Middle East Studies Association Exhibition at San Francisco's Hyatt Regency Hotel. Look for Booth #36.



The Assyrian Academic Society will proudly host a reception in honor of Peter Dagher, who is running for Congress and representing the 5th congressional district in Illinois. Mr. Dagher is a first generation American whose great-grandfather was Assyrian, and his grandmother was Armenian. He devoted 8 years of service to the Clinton/Gore administration and is committed to public service, empowering voters, and restoring confidence and integrity in the US Government.

All AAS members, along with Assyrian organization and church representatives, friends, and colleagues from the Assyrian community are invited to attend this reception for Peter Dagher. A biography which details his experience and accomplishments is presented under the BRAVO section. For more information about him and his campaign, please visit www.votedagher.com

The reception is scheduled to be held on, Sunday, November 11, 2001 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. in the Assyrian National Council Office of Illinois (ANCI), located at 2450 W. Peterson Avenue, Chicago, IL 60659.

For more information, please contact the Assyrian Academic Society at (773) 461-6633.

We look forward to seeing you. All are welcome.

Nadia E. Joseph
Chair, Membership Committee

Assyrian Academic Society
P.O. Box 3541
Skokie, IL 60076
AAS Voicemail: (773) 461-6633



University of Toronto
Koffler Institute for Pharmacy Management
Auditorium, Room 108
Saturday 24 November 2001

Business Meeting of the CSSS Members

9:00 - 10:00 am Annual Meeting
9:15 - 10:00 am Registration for the Symposium

Programme of the CSSS Symposium: Prof. G. Frame, Toronto, Chair

10:00-10:10 Opening of the Symposium
Prof. J. Reilly, Chair, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto

10:10-10:40 Prof. A. Harrak, Toronto
Trade Routes and the Christianization of the Near East.

10:40-11:10 Prof. P.-H. Poirier, Quebec City
Faith and Persuasion: On Bardaisan of Edessa's Epistemology.

11:10-11:30 Break

11:30-12:00 R. A. Kitchen, Regina, Saskatchewan
Becoming Perfect: The Maturing of Asceticism in the Syriac Book of the Steps.

12:00-12:30 Prof. S. Griffith, Washington DC,
Christianity in Edessa and the Syriac-speaking World: A Review of Past Scholarship and a Proposal for the Future.

12:30-12:45 Break

12:45-1:00 In Praise of Learning: A Syriac Poem by Saint Ephrem the Syrian (4th century)
Choir of the Assyrian Church of the East, Toronto Parish

1:00-1:30 M. Cassis, Toronto
The Archaeology of Christian Kokhe: A Comparative Study.
Refreshments will be served during the breaks and at the end of the Symposium

Registration Fee
Members of the CSSS: Free.
Regular registration: $10.00.
Students/Seniors: $5.00
Regular CSSS membership fee (annual): $35.00




Last Monday, as I was doing my weekly browsing through Assyrian websites on the Internet -- which I hadn't done for more than two weeks -- I noticed the Protest site on Zinda Magazine! After a click, I started reading about what we are asked to protest. I clicked a few more links to view other articles about this matter which brought me to a Chicago Tribune article: "3 Men of Arab Descent File A Lawsuit Over Removal From Flight"!! I signed the Protest Letter. What I did next came to me naturally.

I picked up the phone and called Mr. Youkhana whom I knew from my last visit to the U.S. in 1998. After asking about how he and other friends were doing, I asked him for the story. I asked what happened to them on Sep. 25th and why they are now suing United Airline. I still could not figure out from reading the reports on Internet what was true or fiction. Mr. Youkhana told me that this was the first time he was talking about what had happened to him, his son and other friends. He also said that what I'm about to tell the Zinda readers, is the whole story and the whole truth!! I was very interested to know more about him also, since it is also interesting for me and my research on Assyrians. Now I'm going to share all I heard with you, readers of the only Assyrian electronic Magazine.

Mr. Yonadam currently resides in America. He runs several "parking garage" businesses in Chicago and Phoenix. He was born in a village called Deree nearby Amedia in northern Iraq. In 1961 his village was burned down and destroyed, more than 230 villagers of Assyrian descent were killed in the war between Iraqis and Kurds. He lost his father and brother on the same day and after this loss, he and the rest of his family left the place of his birth. They left everything behind.

He lives in Kirkuk, Iraq as a refugee, and then begins moving to other cities- from Baghdad to Mosul and then Basra - trying to establish an existence for himself and his family. Today he talks about those years as "the most miserable years of my life." Living as an Assyrian in that country with that government was almost impossible, not only for me but also for other Assyrians," remembers Yonadam. While in Iraq Mr.Yonadam became involved with the Assyrian national movement until 1971. He was active in several organizations, societies and associations. Many of his friends were either killed in Iraq, fled to Iran or immigrated. Some of them joined the Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa). Even if he loved his country, he was forced like many other Assyrians to leave.

In October 1971 he and his mother went to Lebanon and stayed there for about four months. They applied for a visa to any country that could take them. They finally obtained a visa to America and came to Chicago in February 1972. In only three years he had already established his own parking garage business in downtown Chicago. His company today is very successful.

In addition to opening similar businesses in Australia, in 1999 he decided to build a new branch in Phoenix, Arizona. Yonadam now lives in Chicago and Pheonix with his wife (married in 1979) and four sons. His oldest son, Ninous, who was also on this United Airline flight, is 20 and the youngest is eleven years old.

Mr. Youkhana is involved in many Assyrian churches and social clubs around the world. At the end of August he attended the Assyrian American National Convention in San Jose, as a member of a delegation to the Assyrian Business Club. Ninous attended this convention also. After the convention, Yonadam and his son along with two other Assyrian friends who attended the convention as official representatives of the Assyrian Democratic Movement from northern Iraq decided to fly to Phoenix.

On September 25th, all four of them were on their way back to Chicago. They arrived at the airport on time and got checked in promptly. Their luggage was searched and every thing seemed okay. Yonadam and Ninous while talking and laughing enter a gift store to purchase stuff. Ninous then tells his father in Assyrian: "Bab, Look at that lady; she's been watching us for a while now!" Yonadam takes a look at her and sees that she's a young lady in her mid 30s and sitting in a wheelchair. There was also a gentleman pushing her chair. Mr. Youkhana tells his son not to worry.

After buying the gifts they decide to buy coffee at Starbucks Cafe, but it was closed. So they come back. At this time, they both realize that this lady and her companion are right behind them. Ninous says in Assyrian: "She is watching me too much!" So Mr. Youkhana says: "Maybe she likes you!"

Then they each buy a slice of pizza and sit on the stools. Again they notice the lady and the gentleman only seven or eight feet behind them. Ninous asks his father to talk to her, since he had the impression she doesn't feel comfortable with them. "Please talk to her. May be she feels we are not good people. I think she will cause us problems!" Mr. Youkhana denies his son's request. By this time their friends, who have been shining their shoes come over and get their pizzas. Ninous pays for them and they all sit there and enjoy their pizza. Again they notice the lady and her companion. "She was looking very serious", Mr. Youkhana told me on the phone. Youkhanas and their friends say a few jokes in Assyrian and were enjoying themselves. When Ninous gets up to use the men's room, the lady and her companion were only 30 feets away from them. Mr. Youkhana told me that: "When Ninous left, the lady stood up and started walking. It was obvious she had some problems walking, but she started walking also to the ladies' room, located opposite to the men's."

"She came out sooner than Ninous and waited for him until he exited men's wash room. Once Ninous got closer to us we joked to him saying he was a Saint who made people walk!", Mr. Youkhana remembers. Ninous says to his father: "Bab, we should talk to her and tell her that we are not dangerous." Mr. Youkhana said that he did not find it necessary to talk to her. She had not reacted to anything.

Their flight number 722 was to leave at 2:40 p.m. When it came to boarding passengers, Ninous and Mr. Youkhana's friends changed their boarding numbers, so that Ninous and Sami Shlemon from Northern Iraq and Mr. Youkhana and his friend would sit next to each other, respectively. Upon boarding the plane, it was announced they would have 15 minutes of delay because of a technical problem. They delayed for 20 minutes and then some more.

During this waiting period, Mr. Youkhana and his friend took a nap. Ninous and Sami were talking and looking through the window. Later Ninous recalls: "During this time we saw police cars come in and park under the wings of our airplane". After a long time of waiting, it was announced the flight would be canceled, so the airplane should be evacuated. Because of the seat numbers, Ninous and Sami got out sooner than the other two.

Walking down to the lobby, Ninous and his friend were shown by this Lady and were called out of the line by two FBI agents. Ninous told them: "I know this lady complained about us". FBI agents asked him, "How do you know? Are you Arab, do you speak Arabic?" Ninous replies: "No I'm not Arab; I am Assyrian and I speak an Aramaic language!"

The Lady who was only 25 feet away says: "They were talking Arabic; I have been in Israel and I know Arabic. It was Arabic" "I have a cross around my neck; I am not Arab", says Ninous. He continues: "I am a proud Assyrian Christian and nobody can stop me from talking Assyrian."

Mr. Youkahna approaches them as he was hearing other passengers verbally insulting them. "I kept on watching the passengers and the FBI agents and heard what was going on. Finally I asked the FBI agents what they wanted from Ninous?", says Mr. Youkhana. The FBI agents ask Mr. Youkhana who he was. "He's my son!", replies Mr. Youkhana. The agents then tell him that this lady has been complaining about them and that they had to conduct a search on them again.

Mr. Youkhana tells the FBI agents that he is sorry for what is happening in the U.S. and that whatever happens today has happened to Assyrians 30 years ago in their homeland! "Feel free to do whatever you have to do; we will cooperate with you completely," Mr. Youkhana says to the agents.

Two FBI agents, two Phoenix police officers, and airport security personnel take the Assyrians to a room about 150 feet away. "The six men apologized for what happened and asked if they could search us and our luggage again? We said that it was no problem and that we understand what is going on," says Mr. Youkhana. Since the two Assyrians from northern Iraq were guests of the Assyrian American National Federation and also guests of the American Government, they gave the FBI some contact information. After checking everything, the six men returned the four Assyrians and told the United Airlines employees and the lady that everything was okay. "But they weren't happy!" said Mr. Youkhana. "The lady was taking pictures of us with her disposable camera."

Despite the fact the neither the lady nor the pilot were still not satisfied, Ninous insisted on boarding the same plane. "I was born in the United States of America and I'm a citizen of this country. If there is no problem then why should I wait for the next flight?" says Ninous. Mr. Youkhana was also insisting that they take the same flight and if this lady has problems, then she should be the one waiting for the next flight. But they were all forced by the Captain to wait for the next flight. After it was clear that they would have to wait for the next flight, Mr. Youkhana took out some of his business cards and gave them to the police officers and the FBI agents as well as to the captain and the crew of this flight telling them he would appreciate an apology from them. He also made sure that one of the policemen would give a card to this lady and also any other passenger who wanted to have one. "But this lady refused even getting the card from this policeman!" Mr. Youkhana says. He continues: "The United Airline crew didn't take my card! I told them, I'll wait five days. If I don't hear anything I'll take legal actions. Only two young passengers in their early 20's hugged me and my son as we passed and gave us some support." While waiting for their next flight, our Assyrian passengers saw that their luggage was moved from the plane they just left.

The next flight would take off at 5 p.m. At boarding time, the new staff - three ladies, the captain, and the system manager- came to Youkhanas and their friends and were very courteous to them. Shortly after the plane took off, the flight attendants offered them some wine on the house. Youkhanas and their friends were brought bottles of wine and champagne.

Upon arrival in Chicago, our Assyrian passengers learned about the "Arabs" who had been kicked out of a United Airline plane. Mr. Youkhana waited for seven days and heard nothing from the United Airline. During these seven days he also heard words of apology from six other passengers, three elderly men, and even an Illinois State official. Mr. Youkhana also received phone calls from teachers of his three other sons saying how sorry they have been on hearing such news. Assyrian priests, leaders of local clubs and other personalities called him in the same way. Even the FBI and Phoenix Police wrote to him asking for apology. They wrote that they had made a mistake. After seven days of waiting, Mr. Youkhana filed a lawsuit.

When I asked Mr. Yonadam Youkhana what he was trying to accomplish with this lawsuit he replied: "I am not motivated by money from the Airline, rather receiving some words of apology for the damages incurred by myself, my son and our guests. Especially from that lady. But my first goal is to publicize the Assyrian case, so that afterwards everyone would know about our Assyrian identity".

Adrin Takhsh

Ms. Takhsh is working on her Masters Thesis at the Free University of Berlin. She has elected the topic of Assyrian national identity and the question of "Are Assyrians a Nation?" for her research. She plans to continue her research on the role of the Assyrian women in the Assyrian national movement during her years as a PhD candidate.


Assyrian Surfing Posts

ANNEMASSE: The Assyrian Tragedy, February 1934
[ http://www.atour.com/Annemasse.html ]

Pump Up the Volume

Internal GA/WA/YA Masculine Internal Issues: nooqze gawayeh
External BAR/RA/YA Masculine External Forces: khilawate barrayeh



Pete Dagher (day-gur) is a first generation American who is fulfilling the vision of the "American Dream". The son of immigrants, Pete grew up in the north side of Chicago and Skokie, Illinois, where his mother raised him and his brother Dan to serve their country and community. Pete's core principles were not only instilled through the influence of his mother, but also through the traditions of a strong Roman Catholic upbringing.

Pete's education includes an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a focus in management from George Mason University. To pay his college tuition, Pete worked nights at Dominick's Finer Foods. As a manager, he promoted customer service and fiscal responsibility and accountability. During this time, he served as the shop steward for the United Food and Commercial Worker's Union Local #1540. Pete is a former member of the Civil Air Patrol, United States Air Force Auxiliary, where he piloted aircraft while participating in disaster relief in the tri-state area. His high regard and continued support for the American Armed Forces is evident w! hen Pete speaks of his only sibling, Major Dan Dagher, who serves at the Pentagon as a pilot in the United States Air Force.

When Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton announced his candidacy for President in October 1991, Pete was among the very first hired by the campaign. After the election of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, Pete served on the Presidential Transition Committee and then the Democratic National Committee. Later, at the request of President Clinton, Pete organized the 1996 Presidential re-election headquarters and served as Chief of Staff and Director of Operations. He also became a guest speaker for programs at Georgetown University and George Washington University.

After the re-election, President Clinton appointed Pete to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). There Pete pushed for efficiency and fiscal accountability while working on state and local issues. These include Chicagoland's highway and public transportation systems, the proposed expansion of O'Hare, and high speed rail. In addition, Pete advocated international issues at DOT by utilizing the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security report. Having built a reputation for getting projects accomplished ahead of schedule and under budget, Pete transferred to the White House Office of Presidential Pe! rsonnel. On behalf of the White House, he developed, implemented, and managed transition policy and activities in accordance with the Presidential Transition Act of 2000.

Pete served the Clinton Administration longer than any other person from the Chicago area. Committed to family, friends and neighbors, Pete frequently returned home to remain active in civic life of local government and the issues important to it's hard working men and women.

Following his work at the White House, Pete continued to be pro-active in his efforts to improve the quality of life of America's youth by co-founding The Tobacco-Free Schools Institute, and serving as Director of Operations for the organization.

With professional experience in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, Pete's no nonsense attitude and commitment to public service would prove to be an invaluable asset in the United States House of Representatives and provide a powerful voice for the residents of Illinois' 5th Congressional District.

Back to the Future

(1760 B.C.)

Hammurabi with astute diplomacy and military leadership defeats local kings of Bet-Nahrain, Elam, Mari, and Eshnunna, and becomes the ruler of a united kingdom extending from the Persian Gulf to the Khabur River in today's Syria. He is primarily remembered for his codification of the laws governing Babylonian life.

(A.D. 1783)

A branch of the Syrian Orthodox Church enters communion with Vatican and begins the Syrian Catholic Church. Many members leave their historic homelands in Tur-Abdin and North Iraq and emigrate to Syria in 1920s. Of the 30,000 plus Syrian Catholics a majority live in Aleppo, Damascus, and Jazira.

This Week In History

OCTOBER 26, 1901

The Prince of Iran (Shah's son or Vali-Ahd) visits Urmia and meets with a delegation of the Church of the East. At this meeting he offers his country's support in expanding the jurisdiction of the Church of the East and prevention of further expansion of the Russian Orthodox Mission in northeast Persia (Iran).


Calendar of Events


 Share your local events with Zinda readers.    Email us or send fax to:  408-918-9201


Dance Party




Oct 23

Dr. Yonan will be addressing the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm on the important events in the last 100 years of Assyrian history.

6:30-9:30 PM

Oct 26

6th Annual Anniversary Party
Featuring Lida Lawando & Martik

Doubletree Hotel
2025 Gateway Place (near San Jose Airport)
8:00 PM
Donation:  $35 ($ 40 at the door)
Hors d'oeuvres included

No Children under 12.  Childcare provided at the hotel.

For more info and tickets contact:
Allen Benjamin        408-997-3592
David Baba              800-283-8088 x6002
Claude Ghorbanian   408-268-3863


In protest to acquiring the services of a non-Assyrian singer at an event sponsored by an Assyrian church or association, Zinda Magazine urges its readers in the San Francisco Bay Area to boycott this event.  Instead please offer your donation of $35.00 or more at the following Sunday’s weekly church collection so that no amount of your offering will be used to compensate a non-Assyrian entertainer and your contribution will be fully expended for the benefit of the Assyrian-Chaldean Church in San Jose.

October 27

Presented by Assyrian Media Center
7:30 PM
O'Hare Expo Center


November 3

Sponsored by the Assyrian TV Committee of San Diego, California
Entertainers:  Julie Yousif & Munadel Yousif
St. Peter's Church Hall - El Cajon
For Information call: (619) 337 0484

November 17-20


Middle East Studies Association of North America Panel
"The Assyrians of Iran - From Contributions to Diaspora"
co-sponsored by the Assyrian Academic Society
& the Society for Iranian Studies

Hyatt Regency Hotel, San Francisco

Dr. Arian Ishaya - Urmia to Baquba: From the Cradle of Water to Wilderness 
Dr. Eden Naby -: Zahrira d Bahra - The First Newspaper in Iran 
Dr. K. Shakeri - Living in Purgatory: The Assyrians of Iran in the Twentieth Century 
Mr. Ronald Thomaszadeh - Iranian Assyrians in the Azarbaijan Crisis of 1945-46 
Discussant:   Prof. Houshang Chahabi - political science - Boston University

Zinda Article:  CLICK HERE
For more information CLICK HERE

November 24

Business Meeting of the CSSS Members

9:00 – 10:00    Annual Meeting 
9:15 – 10:00    Registration for the Symposium

Programme of the CSSS Symposium: Prof. G. Frame, Toronto, Chair

10:00-10:10    Opening of the Symposium
                      Prof. J. Reilly, Chair, Department of Near and Middle Eastern 
                      Civilizations, University of Toronto

10:10-10:40    Prof. A. Harrak, Toronto
                      Trade Routes and the Christianization of the Near East.

10:40-11:10    Prof. P.-H. Poirier, Quebec City
                      Faith and Persuasion:  On Bardaisan of Edessa’s Epistemology.

11:10-11:30    Break 

11:30-12:00    R. A. Kitchen, Regina, Saskatchewan
                      Becoming Perfect: The Maturing of Asceticism in the Syriac Book of 
                      the Steps.

12:00-12:30    Prof. S. Griffith, Washington DC, 
                      Christianity in Edessa and the Syriac-speaking World: A Review of 
                      Past Scholarship and a Proposal for the Future.

12:30-12:45    Break

12:45-1:00       In Praise of Learning: A Syriac Poem by Saint Ephrem the Syrian 
                     (4th century)
                      Choir of the Assyrian Church of the East, Toronto Parish

1:00-1:30        M. Cassis, Toronto
                     The Archaeology of Christian Kokhe: A Comparative Study.

Refreshments will be served during the breaks and at the end of the Symposium.

Registration Fee:
-Members of the CSSS: Free. 
-Regular registration: $10.00. 
-Students/Seniors: $5.00 
-Regular CSSS membership fee (annual): $35.00. 
-Students/Seniors: $5.00

For more information see Zinda Magazine:  October 22 - SURFERS CORNER

November 24

His Lordship Restaurant 
199 Seavall Drive
7:30 PM

Entertainment:  Edmond and His Band. (Ninef)
$45.00 Per Person

For reservations contact Flora Kingsbury at 925-672-4534.

December 2

Daniel Wolk, Univeristy of Chicago
"Family Reputation as a Foundation of a 'Community' among Assyrians in Chicago"
1:00 pm
Marriott Wardman Park
Washington, DC

For more info re AAA Meeting in Washington visit: http://www.aaanet.org/mtgs/mtgs.htm

December 6

"Medicine vs. Magic in Babylonia"
Lecturer:  Mark Geller
British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, SW1.
5:30 PM

Contact: Joan Porter MacIver, c/o British Academy
Telephone:  01440 785 244.        bsai@britac.ac.uk

December 25

Sponsored by the Assyrian Aid Society of San Diego, California
Entertainer:  Walter Aziz
St. Peter's Church Hall - El Cajon
For Information call: (619) 337 0484

December 31

Sponsored by the Assyrian American Association of San Diego, California
Entertainer:  Juliana Jendo
St. Peter's Church Hall - El Cajon
For Information call: (619) 337 0484

March 17, 2002

Revealing Agatha Christie the archaeologist and how her discoveries in the Near East influenced her detective writing. 

The hitherto unknown interests and talents of the great crime writer are told through archaeological finds from the sites on which she worked with her husband Max Mallowan at Ur, Nineveh and Nimrud. Important objects from these sites in the Museum's collections are combined with archives, photographs, and films made by Agatha Christie herself. 

Personal memorabilia and souvenirs of travel in a more leisurely age are only some of the exhibits which range from first editions of those novels inspired by her other life to a sleeping compartment from the Orient Express, from a lethal 1930s hypodermic syringe to a priceless first millennium ivory of a man being mauled to death 

Admissions £7, Concessions £3.50

West Wing Exhibition Gallery Room 28

July 1-4, 2002

"Ethnicity in Ancient Mesopotamia"
Leiden University
Dept of Assyriology & Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten

Registration Form:  http://www.let.leidenuniv.nl/rencontre/mailform.html 
Registration Fee:  Euro 70 by April 1, 2002

Thank You!

Zindamagazine would like to thank:

Nadia Joseph

Dr. Eden Naby Frye
(Harvard University)


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