THE THIRD PHASE
After spending only a few months as a volunteer on an Assyrian civic, political, or church committee one can quickly recognize the need for an effective administrative and financial mechanism. Soon many of us become disillusioned by internal bickering and lack of continued business success.
A successful project requires "long-term planning", a concept non-existent in the Assyrian dictionary of project management. We're not alone! This is also true with other ethnic and religious minority groups who wander around the world without a permanent resting place.
Our actions and decisions are the result of our attitudes toward our environment. For a very long time we have been forced to accept the fact that nothing, including our existence, has a permanent status and our actions have been carried out in reaction to our ever-changing milieu.
An example of this debilitating state of mind is the current situation in North Iraq. As was stated in Zinda Magazine's recently produced video, "Assyrians of North Iraq After the Gulf War", Assyrians in the north are fearful of the day when Saddam Hussein will move his troops into the Safe Haven. While they continue to build new schools and other structures, there may be an unspoken feeling among the local activists about the impermanence of their struggle carried out every hour of their short-lived existence. If given the opportunity, most of our sisters and brethren in the North would purchase a one-way ticket to Turlock or Toronto.
How do we then switch from our "nomadic" style of decision-making and organization to a more stable form of existence?
First, we must realize that three phases of existence follow every major life-threatening event: first we fight back, we then try to survive in our new environment and after gaining a control of the situation begin to influence it. Historically we have never been able to successfully initiate the last phase. Let's take the Seyfo Genocide as an example.
In 1915 a series of massacres were carried by the Ottoman Empire (today's Turkey) against its Christian citizens (Assyrians, Armenians, and the Greeks). Assyrians faught a good fight and won some battles in Persia. The Russians and the British left them to their own devices and so they began to escape the enemy (survival) by taking the long journey from Urmia to Bakuba, Iraq. The stabilization phase continued from late 1930's (after the Semel Massacres) through early 1970's. Only when there were talks of "political negotiations" with the governments in Tehran, Baghdad, and Beirut between 1969 and 1974-- once again Assyrians had to flee their homes again in the late 1970's.
Living in the west we must now successfully carry out the Third Phase. All of us are fed up with the ineffectiveness of our political leadership and the impermanence of their objectives. But instead of pointing fingers at them WE must begin to sort through our priorities and implement a long-term plan to build a stable framework for economic power and political influence.
Zinda Magazine believes that popular support for such a view is certain; however, the masses lack trust in current leadership and are hostile toward any new ideas from the "Congresses", "Alliances", or "Democratic" this or that. Our political entities have done more to undermine our efforts than to defend them. The bravest act of protest carried out by any one of them are the weekly press releases they fax to government agencies around the world.
Then who shall speak for the people? The people shall, says Zinda Magazine. People must become committed to the re-building of the Assyrian nation in all its colorful ethnic, religious, and social flavors.
Technology advances now can help us carry out the Third Phase. But first the people must demonstrate a desire for change. On November 5, Zinda Magazine will outline a new program for the implementation of the Third Phase. This, we believe, will be the largest undertaking of its kind in our modern history. Zinda Magazine believes that the PEOPLE, not the so-called leaders, know best what serves the interests of our nation. The general will of the Assyrian people must then be directed toward a common objective and carried out to the end.
In the next few weeks the general premises of this new program will be discussed in this column. Altering the incapacitating psyche of our conscience begins with the first step toward the completion of a long-term plan that we have never traveled together. We have a historic opportunity, in light of the recent world events, to realize our 100-year old vision. With the aid of modern technology it is now possible to imagine the unimaginable.
So long as we desire the endurance of our Assyrian heritage, language, identity, and faith; and are acutely aware of our fragile existence here and in the Middle East, then any common efforts to construct a new framework for economic and political strength must be explored. The risks may be great, but not greater than not initiating the Third Phase.
Our time has finally come!
ALEPPO MASSACRE OF 1850
The city of Aleppo in Syria is one of Middle East's most ancient cities dating back to 2000 B.C. The Assyrians invaded Aleppo in the 9th century B.C. It rose to prominence again as it became a center of commerce after the death of Alexander the Great in 330 B.C.
The Moslem invaders conquered Aleppo which they called Halab in 636. Most of Aleppo's population at this time was Christian and would remain the same way for many centuries later. Soon Aleppo became an arena of strife and political maneuvering between the Moslem and Byzantine rulers.
During the Crusades, Imad al-Din Zangi - governor or Aleppo and Mosul (1087-1146) - attacked the city of Urhai (Edessa). This was the first Christian city to fall to Moslem reconquest.
It enjoyed a time of peace during the Ayyubid rule in the 13th century. Its famous citadel was repaired during this time and several famous schools and a hospital were constructed.
The Mongols attacked Aleppo in 1260, ending the era of peace and the citadel was once again destroyed.
Between the 16th and 17th centuries, Aleppo became a vital trade center for the Ottoman Empire. Venetian, French, British, and Dutch consulates established trade stations here. The growing prosperity of the Christians in Aleppo, because of their ties to European traders, was being resented by the Moslems.
Beginning in 1839 the new Ottoman Empire's new bureaucratic and military establishment known as Tanzimat hoped to strengthen Turkey against the European influence. To accomplish this, Ottomans set up new administrative regulations reformed military practices, promulgated new laws, and established schools and communication means based on European models. Tanzimat also improved Christians' standing by declaring legal equality for all subjects regardless of their religion. Moslems in Syria believed that the Ottomans were favoring the Christians in order to appease the Europeans.
In 1850 the Ottoman authorities had recently completed the first census on Aleppo's adult males and there was widespread apprehension that a broad conscription would follow. A crowd of Muslims gathered before the governor's building to protest, but the governor refused to deal with them.
On 17-18 October 1850, Muslim crowds attacked Judayda, a prosperous Christian suburb of Aleppo. There the mob entered homes and churches, plundered and looted, and murdered many Christians.
As word of the atrocities spread, Christians living in other quarters took refuge in the homes of Muslim neighbors and in the commercial district. On 19 October, the leader of the local servicemen headed off further violence by promising to present the Ottoman governor with the crowd's demands, including a promise not to carry out conscription and to prohibit public processions by Christians.
After the August 1933 massacres in north Iraq, over 9,000 Assyrians fled into Syria and settled along the Khabour River in the Jazira Province. For 8 years the League of Nations operated a special administration to assist their settlement and economic integration.
10 percent of Syria's population is Christian today. With a population of over two million, Alepp remains the cultural and commercial center of northern Syria and home to a large Christian minority.
A Zinda Magazine Special
This week Syria, a country on the U.S. list of states sponsoring terrorism, was elected to a seat on the prestigious 15-nation United Nations Security Council. Syria's presence on the Council gives it access to all council deliberations, including a new British-led committee which will enforce counterterrorism measures.
Yesterday Syria blamed Israel for the escalation of world terrorism. The official Syrian daily newspaper Tishreen said in September that attacks on the United States were a result of what it called Israeli terrorist actions against Arabs.
FRANSO HARIRI ASSASSIN KILLED IN PUK vs JUND AL-ISLAM CLASHES
(ZNDA: Dohuk) Last week the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan's Military Command issued a statement of its successful campaign against the Kurdish Islamic group called Jund al-Islam in its North-Eastern Bet-Nahrain territories. It was reported that Hiwa Keyor, a top Jund Al-Islam commander and suspected assassin of the Assyrian Governor of Arbil, Franso Hariri. Mr. Hariri was gunned down on 8 February 2001. Hiwa Keyor was killed along with nearly 40 other Jund Al-Islam terrorists near Halabja, in North Iraq.
The Jund al-Islam is reportedly linked to Osama bin Laden's terrorist networks. The Iraqi National Congress has already linked Osama Bin Laden to the government in Baghdad in a press release this month. It stated that in December 1998 Faruq Hijazi, a senior Iraqi intelligence official, visited Bin Laden in Afghanistan, accompanied by Iraqi intelligence officers. Hijazi is Iraq's ambassador in Turkey and has served as head of the foreign covert operations division of the Mukhabarat.
According to the same report, noted in a recent Radio Free Europe article by Mr. David Nisman, Muhammad Atta --one of the terrorists involved in the World Trade Center event on 11 September-- met an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague. The official is known to be a close associate with Hijazi.
Massoud Barazani's Kurdistan Democratic Party has also promised financial, material, and military help to the PUK in the fight against the extremist Muslim group. A week prior to this new development between the two historically rival Kurdish political groups (PUK & KDP) the Jund al-Islam beheaded and then mutilated several PUK Pishmargas.
The Patriotic Union links the Jund al-Islam to Osama bin Laden and says some of its fighters were trained at camps in Afghanistan.
Barham Salih, prime minister of the PUK-controlled region in Iraqi Kurdistan, met in Ankara with Turkish Foreign Ministry officials on the recent clashes between PUK troops and the Jund Al-Islam. He is now in Washington D.C. to meet with the U.S. officials this week. He will be joining KDP's Hoshyar Zebari in a meeting with the State Department and other officials this week.
A delegation from the Assyrian Democratic Movement, Assyrian Universal Alliance, Assyrian Democratic Organization, Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party, and the Assyrian American National Federation will also visit Washington later this week to meet with U.S. State Department officials and other government officials to review the recent developments in the region.
Bilateral discussions between the Kurdish groups and the Assyrian delegations are also expected in Washington at the same time.
of Agence France-Presse (Oct 4); article by Jean-Michel Cadiot
"We hope that in the near future, the world will no longer know
war and poverty, but peace and goodness," Khatami said during the
Wednesday night conversation, which marked the first time a leader of
the Islamic republic has telephoned a pontiff.
Khatami -- the leading force behind 2001 being declared by the United Nations as the year of "Dialogue among Civilizations " -- also said there was a need for "collaboration between Islam and Christianity to save humans and establish a real peace in the world."
Pope John Paul, cited by Iranian television, answered that: "Cooperation is needed between the different religions, notably Christians and Muslims."
This kind of dialogue between the pope and Muslim leaders like Khatami is "very important," Bishop Ramsi Gramoi of Iran's 15,000-strong Assyrian-Chaldean community.
"We even hope it can prevent war," he said. "Sincere discussions between Christians and Muslims can have good consequences. The two religions together group almost half of humanity."
Around 99 percent of Iran's 65 million people are Muslim, but it also counts around 250,000 Christians, 30,000 Jews and 30,000 Zoroastrians.
3 ASSYRIAN MEN KICKED OFF FLIGHT SUE UNITED AIRLINE
Courtesy of Chicago Sun-Times (Oct 4); article by Steve Warmbir
(ZNDA: Chicago) Three Assyrian men are suing United Airlines for allegedly being kicked off a Phoenix-to-Chicago flight, four days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, because a passenger erroneously believed they were Arabs and posed a danger--even after the men were cleared by the FBI and security.
Younadam Youkhana, 52, and his son, Ninos, 20, who are in the parking lot business in Chicago and who are American citizens, were on the flight along with two Iraqi friends, one of whom is also a plaintiff in the suit.
Youkhana fled Iraq for the United States in 1971 and became an American citizen. His 20-year-old son was born and raised here and lives with him in Northbrook, Illinois
The Youkhanas and their guest, Mr Sami Shlimon, 31, the head of the Assyrian Students Union in Dohuk, North Iraq, filed suit Wednesday against United, charging discrimination.
The Youkhanas and Shlimon, who had attended fund-raisers for the Assyrian Democratic Movement, went through security without a problem in Phoenix, according to their attorney, Terence Moran.
They took their seats on board, but after a 40-minute wait, everyone was told to get off for a mechanical problem.
After a fellow passenger pointed the men out, Moran said, officials from the FBI, the Federal Aviation Administration and police escorted them to an office.
They consented to a pat-down search, a search of their bags, and an explosives test on their checked luggage, as well as a background check of their identification.
The men did not object to the investigation, following four fatal hijackings Sept. 11.
"They realize the times we're living in, and that the FBI needed to check it out," Moran said.
The FBI informed a United agent the men were cleared of suspicion.
But the United agent at 2:40 p.m. told the men they couldn't get on Flight 722, Moran said, because a female passenger was uncomfortable with them and the pilot didn't want them on board. Instead, they had to wait for the next flight home.
"They chose to bar our clients because of suspicions based on the way they looked and sounded," Moran said.
The plaintiffs seek unspecified financial compensation, but not millions of dollars, Moran said.
They want United to admit it behaved unlawfully and to put in place procedures to make sure the same thing doesn't happen again.
ASSYRIAN WOMAN AMONG 8 CAPTURED AID WORKERS IN KABUL
(ZNDA: Sydney) According to a report from the SBS Assyrian-Australian radio program, one of the eight captured human rights workers in Afghanistan is a 52-year-old Assyrian woman from Australia. Diana Thomas was arrested on August 5, along with -- two Americans, one Australian and four Germans by the ruling Taliban on charges of promoting Christianity. Ms. Thomas is a member of the German charitable organization called Shelter Germany.
Diana's uncle, Mr. Nimrod Thomas, explained in a September 28 interview with Mr. Wilson Younan of SBS Radio that his niece is "not being ill-treated" and is waiting for an Afghani lawyer to help her with the trial. The American Jesse Jackson had earlier indicated a desire to negotiate the release of the 8 Christian workers.
The fate of Diana and the other seven international workers is now less certain after the commencement of attacks on Afghanistan earlier this week.
PAUL FREDERIC SIMONI OF WETHERSFIELD DIES AT 61
(ZNDA: Hartford) Paul Frederic Simoni, 61, of Wethersfield, Connecticut passed away on 2 October 2 at Hartford Hospital. Mr. Simoni was born in Palo Alto, California and was the son of the late Guido and Beaulah Simoni. He was predeceased by his beloved wife Marilyn (Timmins) Simoni (June 8, 2001).
Paul received a bachelors degree from San Jose State University in 1968
and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Connecticut in 1971.
He served in the United States Navy from 1958 to 1962. Paul had a career
as a social worker in private practice since 1974. He was also employed
as a crisis counselor at Middlesex Hospital since 1999. As a member of
Sacred Heart Church in Wethersfield, he was a director of their youth
group. He is survived by his daughters and a son-in- law; JoLynn and Gregory
Sargis of Hartford and Cheryl of Florence, Massachusetts; sons, Christopher
of Ventura, California and Justin of Boulder, Colorado; his beloved twin
granddaughters; Rachel and Kaitlyn Sargis; his brother and sister-in-law,
Donald and Barbara Simoni of Los Altos, CA; his sister-in-law, Ellen Simoni
of Punta Gorda, Florida; his in-laws, John and Esther Timmins of Wethersfield
and many nieces and nephews.
Paul will be remembered for his love of sailing, running, cooking, playing with his granddaughters and spending time with his family and friends. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, October 10, at 10 a.m. in Sacred Heart Church, 56 Hartford Ave., Wethersfield. The family will greet friends in the church hall following the service. The family would like to thank the staffs at the Palliative Care Unit at Hartford Hospital and at the Connecticut Visiting Nurses Association for their compassion and wonderful care. Donations in Mr. Simoni's memory may be made to; Mikey's Place, c/o Mary and Dan Daversa, 92 Chamberlain Rd., Wethersfield, CT 06109. Farley-Sullivan Funeral Home, 34 Beaver Rd., Wethersfield has care of the arrangements.
Debbie Schlussel is a political commentator and attorney. She is a frequent guest on ABC's "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher" and Fox News Channel. The following is her article which appeared on WorldNetDaily's Monday, September 17th issue (www.wnd.com):
New York may be Ground Zero for the World Trade Center (WTC) victims, but I live at Ground Zero for those who aid and abet the perpetrators.
Southeastern Michigan is home to the largest concentration of Arabs outside the Middle East. It's insulting for peaceful, tolerant Americans to hear every news anchor and even President Bush call for them not to physically attack Arab-Americans. While we've heard trumped up complaints that they've been harassed over the past few days, it's the exact opposite. As an attorney who has successfully represented Arab-Americans in civil rights cases, it's my view we've been far too tolerant.
To be sure, most Arab- and Muslim-Americans are decent, hard-working, law-abiding Americans who want strong national security. Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University and WND.com Editor in Chief Joseph Farah - who regularly risk their lives to expose terrorism and hatred in the Middle East, as did the late Seifeldin Ashmawy - make me extra proud to be an American. I take pride in patriotic Cleveland Browns fullback, Tarek Saleh, and moderate, tolerant Islamic leader W. Deen Mohammed. And, besides those who died or were injured and their family and friends, my heart most goes out to the over 250,000 Chaldean- and Assyrian-Americans who live here. A Catholic minority primarily from Iraq, they were persecuted by Saddam Hussein, and now, their numbers are shamelessly claimed by Arab groups with whom they don't identify, for political and financial gain. Chaldeans are among the most patriotic, decent Americans I know. Now, because they have Middle Eastern looks and names, some may be wrongfully blamed.
But then there are those Arab- and Muslim-American leaders that allow terrorists from their communities to flourish in this country and actively defend them. They oppose reasonable measures to prevent terrorism here and support those living here that are suspected of committing and/or facilitating it. Arab and Muslim leaders, like Arab American Institute head Jim Zogby and Arab-American News publisher Osama Siblani, actively oppose the use of secret evidence and racial profiling for terrorists. Secret evidence, intelligence from agents abroad about individuals' involvement with terrorist groups, is the strongest counter-terrorism tool we have in matters involving the entry into the U.S. of potential terrorists. The evidence cannot be revealed because it will compromise U.S. foreign intelligence gathering and result in the certain death of our agents.
But thanks to the pressure of the Arab community, it is rarely successfully used, and federal agents are crippled without it.
President Bush kowtowed to the Arab community here and then-senator and now Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, an Arab American, campaigning against both secret evidence and racial profiling of Arabs. "The present administration has pursued policies that, in practice, have adversely affected your community," Bush said in a campaign video to Arab-Americans regarding secret evidence and profiling, according to The New Republic. Once in office, in his first address to a joint session of Congress, Bush spoke about ending the practices, and in February, he issued a directive to Attorney General Ashcroft, ordering him to "work in cooperation with state and local law enforcement in order to assess the extent and nature of any such practices." With secret evidence and profiling in place, we could have prevented many of Tuesday's terrorists from entering the U.S. But Arab American leaders actively defend and support many suspected terrorists, primarily Muslims, who are charged as terrorists by INS officials.
But even without profiling, Arab-American leaders dismiss even the strongest cases against Arab-American terrorists with the convenient "profiling" label. In November, the FBI's joint counter-terrorism unit and U.S. Customs agents caught Arab-American brothers, Ali and Mike Boumelhem, trying to ship weapons and weapons parts to Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, intercepting them at the Ambassador Bridge to Canada. In 1982, Hezbollah killed 240 U.S. Marines in Lebanon. Hezbollah also tortured, murdered and hung the body of U.S. military attaché Col. Higgins on display. Ditto with the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon's CIA Agent Butler.
But U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh, an Arab American, ordered Mike Boumelhem released on an unsecured bond and dismissed two counts in the indictment, because a witness recanted. And rather than hailing this anti-terrorism success by law enforcement, the bust - the culmination of tips from FBI-informants and an extensive nine-month investigation - was quickly attacked by Arab leaders Siblani and Adrian Baydoun, as profiling. Siblani's wife, M. Kay Siblani, also an officer of his Arab American News, is an official of the Council on American Islamic Relations, a group that actively defends Arab terrorist groups, Hamas, Hezbollah, and others that kill Americans.
In 1997, Detroit Arab leaders objected to the official release of the State Department list of terrorist groups. Siblani told the Detroit Free Press that Hezbollah does "wonders for the Lebanese." American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee legal director Houeida Saad announced the group was preparing legal challenges to antiterrorism laws that prohibited donations to terrorist groups. Ismael Ahmed, executive director of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services said it would be hard to find Arab Americans who didn't support at least one of the groups.
In June 2000, Arab American leaders objected to most proposals of the National Commission on Terrorism, including monitoring of foreign students, fund-raising in the U.S. by terrorist groups, and involvement of the military in domestic terrorism cases, according to the Detroit Free Press. Imad Hamad, regional director for the ADC, who objected to the anti-terrorism measures, was a suspected terrorist the INS wanted to deport, but is now a U.S. citizen, thanks to Arab-American political pressure against the use of secret evidence.
Don't blame federal agents for Tuesday's lapse in national security. Blame my neighbors - the Arab American and Muslim leaders who've actively blocked the fight against terrorism for years.
This document is the property of His Majesty's Britannic Government.
In regard to the disturbance at Tabriz mentioned in last week's report [p. 6], Sir C. Marling, telegraphing on the 7th March [No. 188], said that on that occasion the Syrians had been guilty of many excesses; they had got the upper hand, and in com-pliance with their orders the Moslems were being disarmed. It was feared that the truce was only temporary. His information came from the American consul, who also said that 100 Syrians and several hundred Moslems had been killed.
Telegraphing again on the 9th and 10th March [Nos. 196, Th'7, and 200], he said:
(1) that the acting consul at Tabriz had reported that the Democrats were becoming more anti more menacing towards tee British ; (2) that information had been received of the seizure of Ardebil by the Jangalis; and (~3) that the situation at Kasviu was somewhat disquieting.
On the 10th he also reported [No. 202] that the following had been received from Hamadan :-"Famine increasing; starving villagers flock to (?town) ; starving people useful to Extremists. If we (?assisted) we should have whole of the people on our side. About 100,00 necessary to support populace till harvest."
April 4, 1918
Urumia.-Sir C. Marling telegraphed on the 31st March [No. 268j saying that the consul at Tabriz had reported the arrival of three persons from Urumia, who had stated that, in consequence of the murder of the patriarch Mar Simon, the Syrian Christians had risen and massacred all the Moslems they could find, and had then gone, with ten cannon, towards Dilman to attack the Moslem villages. The town was being policed by the Armenians, who had tried to separate the combatants. Twenty of the more notable Moslems were held as hostages in the house of the Russian general who com-manded the Syrian formations, and 500 others had taken refuge in the French military hospital.
April 9, 1918
Request for Financial Help for the Jelus.--Sir C. Marling telegraphed on the 9th April [No. 288] asking for instructions in regard to an application which had been made through the Russian consulate-general in Tabriz to His Majesty's consul in that place. There was a force at Urumia known as the Jelus, consisting, of Nestorian levies, commanded by a Russian officer who had stated that the, ammunition of this force was almost exhausted and the force itself impaired, so that it would be obliged to return to Van unless it received 100,000 tomans. This force was brought into Persia when the Russian troops were withdrawn, it having been originally raised in Turkey. Were it withdrawn, the safety of the Christian population of Urumia and the adjacent districts would be endangered, as the battalion which attacked the Persian Cossacks near Urumia, and had committed other excesses, especially since the murder of Mar Shimun, was a similar formation, if, indeed, it did not actually form part of the force in question. Sir C. Marling therefore thought that the supplying of the cash asked for was a necessity; there was more than sufficient lying in the Imperial Bank of Persia at Tabriz, but without. the real co-operation of the Persian Government it would be practically impossible to send so large a sum from that place to Urumia, and the one wish of the Government was to bring about the withdrawal of the Jelus.
The consul at Tabriz had been confidentially informed that the Tiflis staff had decided to disband the force; but he was not satisfied as to whether it would obey such orders or permit its Russian officers to leave; the commander's idea, however, seemed to be that if he could get money he and his officers might escape. In their own mountains the Jelus were good fighters) but they were quite undisciplined; and they would probably make their way back to the Julamerk districts and, as in the past, defend themselves against the Turks unless British o~1icers came to take them over, as they had been led to believe would be the case.
On the 15th April Sir C. Marling telegraphed again [No. 3053 saying that the consul at Tabriz had been informed there were in the Urumia district from 2,500 to 3,000 armed Armenians. His informants were a deputation of Armenians who had called upon him, and had strongly deprecated the disarming of the Jelus, on the ground that if this were done the Moslems would have the Syrians and Armenians at their mercy. Enquiries were made by the delegation in regard to the British officers who they had been told by Captain Gracey would be sent by the Tiflis staff to drill the Jelus.
Policy Follows Assyrians Into the West
Remain After Release of Youkhana Khaie
SHOOPRA RESTAURANT IN SAN FRANCISCO
Courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle (Oct 3); article by Robin Davis
When I first sat in Shoopra, a tiny Middle Eastern restaurant in the Marina, I couldn't help wonder what the space had been in a previous life. An office, maybe? A coffee shop?
"A pizza place," owner Albert Youkhana told me.
Youkhana remodeled it on a budget, but it's warm and inviting, despite its size and straightforward layout. One wall is sponged a rust color that matches the lace curtains on the glass doors. Another wall is a golden yellow and the back wall is a luscious mossy green. Shelves of wine and an open kitchen occupy most of the remaining wall of the simple square space. Gilded lizards and snakes adorn the walls. Oil candle sconces as well as candles set into glass mosaic holders on each table give the room a moody glow.
The food is based on the cuisine of Assyria, a territory now comprised of northern and northwestern Iraq, southeastern Turkey and northeastern Syria. Customers will find some familiar Middle Eastern dishes such as fattoosh, hummus and falafel, but many others are less frequently seen. An appetizer called musta ($5), for example, consists of three balls of rich yogurt cheese -- yogurt that has been drained until it is the consistency of a creamy feta. The dish is served with triangles of pita bread and a judicious drizzle of fruity olive oil.
Rizza ($4) is a celery and rice soup, similar in texture to Greek avgolemono, but with the flavor of long-cooked celery and the luscious addition of butter.
Hummus ($5) comes in a shareable portion garnished with cucumbers, olives and tomatoes. The silky smooth garbanzo bean puree tastes pleasantly of tahini.
Another familiar starter is fattoosh ($5), a salad of crisp romaine with tomatoes, cucumbers and toasted pita croutons in a lemony dressing. Only the fried vegetable appetizer ($4) disappointed -- but only slightly. Strips of zucchini and eggplant aren't battered before being fried so they soak up a lot of oil, but the fried tomatoes add their color and juices, giving the dish a spark.
Simple flavors and ingredients make up most of the entrees. Kebabs ($11), for example, feature two skewers of well seasoned chicken or beef on a pile of fluffy white rice. A dish called k'teta ($12) is exactly as the menu describes:
steamed chicken legs served with rice and mashed potatoes. The appearance isn't dramatic nor are the flavors intense, but it's still a homey, comforting combination.
Portion sizes, however, can be inconsistent. A plate of falafel ($9) features a mere four patties of the spiced fried garbanzo bean mixture with a yogurt sauce. Cooba ($12), by comparison, comes with three portobello-size semolina dumplings filled with ground beef and herbs in a zesty tomato broth. Both are good, but when two people at the same table order these dishes, the size difference is apparent.
Vegetarians have another option besides the falafel: dolmas ($11). Here boiled cabbage leaves replace the often used grape leaves and are stuffed with a delicious mixture of rice, dill and tomatoes.
Desserts are limited to baklava ($5), two kinds to an order. One is pale, buttery and not too sweet, enclosing finely chopped pistachios. Youkhana tells customers, "It's the best baklava in the city." And he's not exaggerating. The other type is less satisfying, tough shredded phyllo dough enclosing a coarser mixture of nuts.
The wine list here is varied as well as fairly priced, with many dishes that play well with the mild food. Customers can find the 1999 Chalone Chardonnay for $45, or budget-minded diners can opt for a 1999 Echelon Central Coast Merlot for $20. A handful of wines also are available by the glass.
Service is another of the pleasures of this tiny restaurant. Youkhana treats each of his diners like p ersonal friends, but does it in a way that's not obtrusive. He keeps the tables cleared between courses, and water glasses refilled. He'll let customers linger over wine if they wish before moving on to dessert.
In the end, Shoopra offers the neighborhood a place that is cozy enough for a romantic meal and equally good for a quick bite at lunch or after work.
Address: 3301 Buchanan St. (between Chestnut and Lombard), San Francisco
Hours: Lunch from noon-5 p.m., dinner from 5-11 p.m. daily. Beer and
The Arabs controlled the important trade in incense and spices in southern Arabia. Assyrians were in contact with desert Arabs at this time and slowly increases their influence by intervening between rival tribes.
The Might That Was Assyria, Saggs
Zangi, the Moslem governor of the Mosul district captures the Christian city of Edessa.
Arab Historians & Crusades, Gabrieli
OCTOBER 11, 1855
Mar Toma Odo was born in Algosh, northern Bet-Nahrain (today's Iraq). Mar Toma is credited with the writing of the most comprehensive Assyrian dictionary and the book of grammar of the past 150 years. An accomplished theologian and poet, Mar Toma was martyred in 1918 during an attack of the Kurdish forces on Urmia, Iran.
Share your local events with Zinda readers. Email us or send fax to: 408-918-9201
Thru Oct 14
GALA HISPANIC THEATRE
"El Arquitecto y el Emperador de Asiria (The Architect
and the Emperor of Assyria),"
MELAMMU: THE ASSYRIAN AND BABYLONIAN INTELLECTUAL HERITAGE
Sponsored by the University of Bologne
LECTURE: DR. GABRIEL YONAN at SWEDISH PARLIAMENT
Dr. Yonan will be addressing the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm on the important events in the last 100 years of Assyrian history.
ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH PARTY
6th Annual Anniversary Party
No Children under 12. Childcare provided at the hotel.
For more info and tickets contact:
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.
MIDDLE EAST STUDIES ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE
Middle East Studies Association of North America Panel
Hyatt Regency Hotel, San Francisco
Dr. Arian Ishaya - Urmia to Baquba: From the Cradle
of Water to Wilderness
FIRST UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO's CSSS SYMPOSIUM
Sponsored by Canadian Society for Syriac Studies (CSSS)
AFA ANNUAL DINNER & DANCE PARTY
His Lordship Restaurant
Entertainment: Edmond and His Band. (Ninef)
For reservations contact Flora Kingsbury at 925-672-4534.
AMERICAN ANTHROPOLIGICAL ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING
Daniel Wolk, Univeristy of Chicago
For more info re AAA Meeting in Washington visit: http://www.aaanet.org/mtgs/mtgs.htm
BRITISH MUSEUM LECTURE SERIES
"Medicine vs. Magic in Babylonia"
Contact: Joan Porter MacIver, c/o British Academy
March 17, 2002
AGATHA CHRISTI & THE ORIENT
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
48TH RENCONTRE ASSYRIOLOGIQUE INTERNATIONALE
"Ethnicity in Ancient Mesopotamia"
Registration Form: http://www.let.leidenuniv.nl/rencontre/mailform.html
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