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Volume VII
Issue 34
November 12, 2001
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This Week In Zinda

cover photo
cover photo

  Behold, Tammuz Has Risen!
  Assyrians in Finland
Life in Oulu: A Zinda Magazine Special
  Albert Yelda of INC Says Christians Suffering In Iraq
3rd Conference of the Assyrian Women Union

Armenian Representative Reminds U.N. of Assyrians’ Plight
ADM Secretary General Visits Germany
Assyrian Foundation of America Election Results
Chaldean Center in Detroit Survives Early Budget Cuts
Peter Oshana Defeated at Mayoral Race in New Britian
Aprim Shapera’s New Book Published
Diamanda Galas To Perform Mass For Assyrian Genocide

  Just Like Walter Aziz Walter Rules!
New Syrian Orthodox Church Website
New Info on Assyrians of India

What To Do at This Week’s MESA Conference
Canadian Society For Syriac Studies

  Mid-East Christians Under Pressure
  Jim Warda
  Joseph Harron Art Gallery
  Conquer and Surrender
  Ancient Weights & the Birthplace of Patriarchs
  The First Airplane



Zinda Says


For 2000 years, beginning with the reign of Shamshi-Adad I, Assyrians ruled the Cradle of Civilization. For the next 2000 years they abandoned the earthly treasures for a different kingdom promised in the pages of the scriptures brought from a distant land. Today, they are at the brink of surrendering both the heavenly and the earthly kingdoms as the most important facet of their existence is slowly vanquishing - their identity.

Whether we seek the realms of an invisible world beyond our imagination or the plains of Nineveh in the traditional homeland of Bet-Nahrain, it is our Assyrian identity that helps us realize these ancient dreams. Without it we vanish and the memories of our 7,000-year-old struggle eclipse for the sake of modern transitory comforts.

Our nation was not expected to be what it has become. From Shamshi-Adad to the last Abgarid king of Urhai (Edessa) Assyrians were expected to continue their most important objective in life: to defend and expand the realm of Ashur. The Assyrian nation was founded on the vision of a united kingdom under one God. This vision brought us great victories in battles and made us a power like no other before its time.

What happened when those great kings and their wise men lost wars and our great cities of Babylon and Nineveh were captured by foreigners? Very simply, we came together and prayed for the return of Tammuz.

The return of Tammuz from the dead played an important role in the psyche of our forefathers. When we were down, completely defeated, and spiritually injured it gave us hope and helped us focus on what we could once again become. And we did!

The men and women of Bet-Nahrain believed in the duality of life: with life comes death and after death life follows. Kings understood that no matter how long there is peace in Nineveh, it will end in war. Nothing was permanent. Therefore, in times of death and dying, war and hopelessness, they prayed to Tammuz. He came back from the dead, every year around what we now call Easter (taken from the Assyrian name Ishtar who was Tammuz’ lover). Tammuz and Ishtar brought back life, fertility, joy, and hope. The grass grew, babies were born, wheels turned, soldiers fought gallantly, and the empire rose to power again. When the Disciples of Jesus Christ brought us the Gospels we understood what they meant by a resurrected God. Jesus was the Tammuz we had forgotten for 600 years. Once again we took heart and began rebuilding a new empire. This time we fought for an invisible kingdom and we fought more courageously than ever.

In a little time, our new empire-- the Assyrian Church-- expanded its dominion to areas we had never seen before. We were walking on foot through China and Japan hundreds of years before the first European even had heard of these lands.

With the atrocities committed by the Mongols, the Turks, and the Kurds once again we abandoned the essential quality of our existence. We abandoned Tammuz for the comfort of a life void of spirituality in foreign lands and in the process we lost our ancestral homeland.

Now that we have experienced the east and the west, the spiritual and the material worlds, should we not demand for the return of Tammuz?

Tammuz was not a deity, unlike what is falsely preached in the western religions. Tammuz is a state-of-mind, that which led us to triumphs in our personal life and collective existence. Tammuz is an ideology that gave us hope in the most dire hour of our need. They threw us down and ran their double-edge swords through our naked bodies, but they could not break us. We focused on Tammuz and we won.

It is now time to rise to the occasion again. We must understand the grave responsibility of being Assyrians in the beginning of the 21st century. The great weight of history pushes down on us and we must either stand tall and walk through time with pride or relinquish the heaviness altogether. Do we comprehend the consequences of our apathy and inaction?

We must transcend ourselves, expecting little earthly joy in these squalid years of degradation. We must hunger for honor, integrity, and courage and place the interests of the Assyrian nation before our own individual interests.

Let us also not betray our rightful destiny; Assyrians must restore their dignity among the nations of the world. This must be done at all costs.

In calling for self-sacrifice, Zinda Magazine announces the beginning of a new period in the history of the Assyrian nation - the new manifestation of Tammuz in the social, political, cultural, and spiritual life of our nation.

The Tammuz Project is the first step toward the building of a new nation built on three fundamentals: education, prosperity, and leadership. Much has been discussed on the importance of each of these attributes in our past 4 issues; it is now time to act.

On the Twelfth day of the Twelfth month of the first year of the new century, a new Assyrian ideology will be born to lead us back to the Assyrian Dream that we carelessly abandoned. Let us gather the Lamasu’s to plow a straight row through the field of possibilities and begin a great new journey. Behol, Tammuz has risen! (www.tammuz.org).

Zinda Magazine

The Lighthouse


Assyrians began to come to Finland in 1991. Today there are 115 Assyrians living here including children, women and men. A majority of them live in the city of Oulu.

Assyrians in Finland have a social club recognized by the Finnish government. This means that Assyrians are invited to participate in the government of Finland’s social functions. Generally, Assyrians go to trips and picnics organized by the Social Services Department.

The club holds bi-annual elections. Mr Paulus is the current president of the club.

Assyrians also have a Seeta (Executive Board). This is the Church Affairs Committee also elected biannually according the constitution of the Assyrian Church of the East. Current Chairwoman is Victoria Yosip.

Three or four times each year Metropolitan Mar Odisho sends a Qasha (priest) accompanied by a Shamasha (deacon) to perform religious services especially on Christmas and Easter. Services are performed in the Lutheran church. Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches are also open to our priests. All the three churches have been very helpful to the Assyrians.

Last year the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church requested the ladies of the Assyrian Church to prepare food for the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the Orthodox Bishopric in Oulu. The women prepared dolma, biryani and other Assyrian dishes for the more than 400 Finnish dignitaries that attended the anniversary celebration.

Assyrian refugees who enjoy permanent residency status and those who have already obtained Finnish citizenship are eligible to vote in this country’s elections. Last year Assyrians voted for the Green party candidate in Oulu and he was elected due to the 40 Assyrian votes cast for him.

Some Assyrians have opened Pizza restaurants. These are called: Nohadra, Nineveh, Mari, Star, Eeve and Tuera.

All Assyrians use their own cars as means of transportation. In the meantime nearly all Assyrians are on government welfare. Finland is technologically a highly advanced country and employs well-educated people. Except for a few Assyrians, most are unemployed and receive generous social services allowances or unemployment allowances. Education from kindergarten through college is free. Medical services, medicines, rent, water, heat, electricity are all paid for by Social Services Dept.

All are required to attend language classes which lasts from 3 to six months. Some have become fluent in Finnish language.

Bearers of Permanent Residence Permit (Green card) can travel to any of the 13 European Union countries without visa and can work there if they can find a job.

We are quite comfortable here. The only complaint is that we want more Assyrians to come here so that we could have a wider audience to socialize with. As the Assyrian adage goes: we will not be happy even in paradise so long as we are separated from our fellow Assyrians and scattered around the world.

Patrous Androw


A Zinda Magazine Special

The city of Oulu was founded in 1605 and is located on the shore of the Gulf of Bothnia. It has the sixth largest population amongst Finnish towns. In January of this year it had almost 121,000 inhabitants.

Every inhabitant of Oulu, including Assyrian refugees, are provided with healthcare and children's day care services.

Oulu is the technology center of Finland, with more than 200 high technology companies located within its Technopolis.

Oulu University, founded in 1958, has a sphere of influence covering over half Finland. It has partnership with Finland’s leading molecular biology research institute Biocenter Oulu and Infotec Oulu. The Thule institute investigates people’s adaptation to cold, the change between light and darkness and among other things, the clearing of impurities in the atmosphere. Basically Oulu is striving to become the Silicon Valley of Northern Europe, if not the entire European Union. Finland became a member of EU in 1994.

A seasonal phenomenon not much known by Assyrians from other corners of the world is the extended length of light and darkness experienced by inhabitants of northern Europe. The people of Oulu for example have plenty of light and darkness, but only during different seasons of the year. Only in March the quantity of light and darkness in a day is the same. When the swallows arrive in Oulu, summer begins. The schools close at the end of May and for a few months there would be absolutely no darkness during night. In the middle of the day the sun only stands in the horizon. Assyrians in Oulu are now familiar with another non-Middle Eastern phenomenon - the midnight sun.

Schools open their doors around the middle of August, when darkness begins to creep in. By the end of September boats are brought to the shore and the cold and dark winter begins. The street lights glitter throughout the day. The dark period lasts until Christmas.

Other than home to over 100 Assyrians, Finland also has made another significant contribution to Assyrians around the world. The Helsinki University is now considered the most active and important center of research in Assyriology, post-Fall of Nineveh periods in particular. Zinda Magazine has previously covered the proceedings of this university’s annual conferences and symposiums.

To obtain more information about immigration to Oulu in Finland contact the following numbers:

Refugee secretary: Kyllikki Höyhtyä-Pikkarainen, tel. (08) 558 44880
Social workers: Seija Matinlassi-Kiuttu, tel. (08) 558 44883
Leena Seppälä-Veijola, tel. (08) 558 44886
Office worker : Jouni Röntynen, tel. (08) 558 44885
Fax: (08) 558 41871

Read Zinda Magazine’s previous article on Assyrians in Finland:



Courtesy of Catholic Worlds News (November 6)

(ZNDA: London) Mr. Albert Yelda, an Assyrian representative in the Iraqi National Congress which operates outside of Iraq and is funded by the U.S. government for its anti-Saddam Hussein propaganda, told United Press International last week that Christians in Iraq are suffering a backlash following the September atrocities in the United States.

"They no longer dare to wear their traditional crosses. They are being called crusaders. They do not receive food rations,” Mr. Yelda told UPI. UPI identified Mr. Yelda as the representative of the Assyrian Christians, mainly the Chaldean Catholics within the INC.

Mr. Albert Yelda was selected by six convening Assyrian political parties at the INC Summit between September 3-5,1999 in London to be the Assyrian representative in the Executive Council of the Iraqi National Congress and endorsed the idea of forming an independent committee in London to support Mr. Yelda in his duties. Each party designated one of its member to Serve in the committee and endorsed the membership of three other independent individuals in the 'Assyrian Reconciliation Committee."

Mr. Yelda called Saddam “an atheist leader” and likened him to Hitler and Stalin, who "hates minorities." “The regime has ordered Assyrian villages and churches destroyed and Saddam's son even raped and killed an Assyrian woman and made the act public knowledge” according to Mr. Yelda.

For more information on Middle East Christians’ Reaction to Sept 11 events see this week’s LITERATUS.


(ZNDA: Dohuk) The following is the press release of the Assyrian Women Union whose 3rd Congress was held earlier this month in northern Iraq:

Under the motto “Developing the Assyrian Woman’s Role Towards Further Contribution to Face National and Social Challenges”, the 3rd Conference of the Assyrian Women’s Union was held on November 1 and 2, 2001 in the city of Nohadra. Seventy delegates out of 89 participated in the conference from different areas of Erbil and Dohuk (Nohadra).

The conference began with one minute of silence as all participants stood up to honor the Assyrian nation’s martyrs. Then, the activities of the conference started by the reading of the Preparatory Committee’s report from the first session. After this the Secretary presented the Central Report. Thereafter, the reports of the Executive Committee’s main officers were presented.

The delegates were divided into 3 committees: Program Committee, Bylaw Committee and Union Affairs Committee. Each group discussed the views and suggestions issued by committees and the Union members and handed it to the Preparatory Committee.

The expanded and the minimnized conference sessions were marked by a positive and democratic spirit, whre the delgates demonstrated responsible opinions freely with a high level of understanding shown by the Union members. They also discussed the mentioned aspects and confirmed the appropriate recommendations.

The expanded final session was held in the same high spirit where the election of the Executive Committee started by attendance and supervision of the legal judge and the representative of internal affairs of Dohuk governorate. The Executive Committee was elected by secret ballot. It is composed of 5 original members and 4 alternates. The elected Executive Committee held a closed session where the duties were distributed among them. The conference ended successfully. It was acknowledged by a solemn and vivid attitude and an accountable sense of participation in order to put practical plans for the union programs concerning the next phase in serving the woman’s march in achieving her goals to obtain her rights.

Execuitve Committee
Assyrian Woman Union
November 2, 2001

News Digest


Courtesy of M2 Communications (Nov 9)

(ZNDA: New York) Sprearheaded by General Secretary Kofi Anan of the United Nations, the UN General Assembly met in New York on November 8 and 9 to debate on Dialogue Among Civiliziations. The proposal for this project came a few years ago from President Mohammad Khatami of Iran in an effort to promote interchange and understanding among peoples and coexistence among cultures and religions.

The representative of Armenia, Mr. Movses Abelian, on the first day of meeting said that the international community must respect the right to cultural self-determination just as it did the right to political self-determination. There were small ethnic groups in today's world which despite their modest demographics were living heirs of great past civilizations. Such ethnic and religious groups must be regarded as the cultural heritage of all mankind. Calling others "inferiors," "barbarians" or "infidels" was a sign of cultural insularity -- fertile soil for ethnic and religious intolerance -- and far too often manifested itself in acts of violence and terrorism. In his reference to these small ethnic groups the Armenian representative used Assyrians as an example.

The following is an excerpt from Mr. Abelian’s speech addressed to the General Assembly:

“There is a growing understanding of the fact that the human race could no longer be weakened by cultural, religious and ideological differences. These differences must be turned instead into an inexhaustible source of strength and inspiration. A dialogue among civilizations was both a sign of mankind's maturity, and an instrument of its progress, he said. In today's world more and more people had begun to realize that they belonged to more than one civilization. Multiculturalism had become a reality, and it could grow to become a universal standard for cultural self-identification in the present century.

This process must not be artificially accelerated or enforced. The unfortunate reality was that each decade several mini-cultures and micro-civilizations vanished from the face of the planet, even in the remote and hardly accessible regions. This could not be perceived as a necessary and unavoidable sacrifice on the altar of globalization.

The international community must respect the right to cultural self-determination in the same manner as the right to political self-determination. There are small ethnic groups in today's world which, despite their modest demographics, are living heirs of great past civilizations. Many of them are forgotten and neglected, some are endangered in their own homelands, such as the Assyrians, who kept alive the Aramaic tongue of Jesus Christ. Such ethnic and religious groups must be regarded as the cultural heritage of all mankind, with special approach to their needs and aspirations.

There is opposition to the dialogue of completely different kind. It feeds on the notion of cultural superiority. Calling others "inferiors", "barbarians" or "infidels" was a sign of cultural insularity, which provided fertile soil for ethnic and religious intolerance, and far too often manifested itself in acts of violence and terrorism.”



(ZNDA: Berlin) Last month, on his way back from the United States, Rabbie Yacob Yoip, General Secretary of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa) visited the Assyrian community in Germany and met with a few German officials. Zinda Magazine’s Adrin Takhsh has compiled a report on Rabbie Yosip’s travels in Germany:

Mr. Yonadam Kanna (Rabbie Yacob Yosip) began his visit to Germany on Oct. 27. He spoke on the political situation of the Assyrians in Northern Iraq and Assyrians in the international politics on Oct. 28 in Wiesbaden and on Oct. 29 in Augsburg.

On Oct. 30 he visited Fraunhofer Institute, an Institute for Digital Communication. Here he met with Mrs. Elvira Gershauser (Head of Public Relations) and Mr. Ernst Eberlein (Chief Scientist). Mr. Aryo Toma (ADM representative in Middle Europe), Mr. Ashur Olca (ADM representative in Germany) and Ms. Adrin Takhsh (ADM PR-Representative in Germany) accompanied Mr. Kanna on his visits. Mr. Kanna also visited the Evangelical Churches and humanitarian organizations, such as Churches help Churches, Bread for the World, Evangelical Church of Baden Wuerttenberg and Evangelical State office in Bavaria. In his reports he referred to the humanitarian work of AASS in the homeland. Later on he was interviewed by IDEA-SPEKTRUM, a magazine of the Evangelical Church.

On November 1, Mr. Kanna along with his ADM delegation from Germany visited Prof. Dr. Udo Steinbach, Director of German Oriental Institute in Hamburg. They discussed the Assyrians in northern Iraq and in the Diaspora
and our national identity and today's situation of our people.

The next day Mr Kanna visited the Assyrian communities in Bad Oeynhausen, Muensterland and the surrounding regions. On Nov. 3, he gave a speech in Guetersloh, and on Nov. 4 he spoke in Eschede in Netherlands. This time he addressed his speech in Suryoyo (Western
Sourath) and discussed our people’s situation in the homeland and the Assyrian Coalition (Awyoota). This is s coalition of several Assyrian groups which include the Assyrian Democratic Organization, Assyrian Democratic Movement, Assyrian Universal Alliance, and Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party. He emphasized the important of an Assyrian joint action group and discussed the Coalition’s visit to Washington D.C. on October 11 where they met with U.S. officials and Congressional representatives.

On the 5th day of November, Mr. Kanna visited Berlin and met Mr. Dietmar Blass, Chancellor of the Middle East and North Africa, and Mr. Raymond Dequin, an official in the Middle East Affairs in Foreign Affairs Ministry. Mr. Kanna spoke about our people and political situation in Homeland and the expected developments in the region, exchanging views with the German authorities.

The same day Mr. Kanna and the ADM delegation met with the Human Rights and the Humanitarian Affairs Committee in the German Parliament from both SPD and CDU factions. Mrs. Angelika Graf, from the leading party of SPD, and Mrs. Monika Brudlewski of CDU were among the German Parliament representatives met. Mr. Kanna addressed about the Humanitarian situation of our people and Iraq in general under the sanctions and the regime of the Iraqi dictator.

Mr. Kanna left Germany to return to Northern Iraq on Wednesday, November 7.



(ZNDA: Berkeley) At the General Membership Meeting on Nov. 4, the Assyrian Foundation of
America elected the following officers for the year 2002:

President - Sargon Shabbas
Vice President - Daniel DeKelaita
Secretary - Joseph Sarkis
Treasurer - Ramin Daniels
Chairman, Education - Robert Karoukian
Chairman, Welfare - Martin Jacob
Chairman, Membership - Voltaire Warda
Chairwoman, Social - Flora Kingsbury

To learn more about AFA, its educational assistance programs and its future activities visit: http://www.assyrianfoundation.org/ or write to:

Assyrian Foundation of America
P.O. Box 2620
Berkeley, CA 94702



Courtesy of Detroit Free Press (Nov 9)

(ZNDA: Detroit) The Legislature of Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs sliced 7 percent from the dollars available to symphonies, museums, zoos, theaters and other cultural groups last week as part of Governor John Engler's massive $320-million package of reductions to close a recessionary deficit.

Only two items in the budget, separate from the arts council, survived last week's cuts. These were the $1 million grant to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit and a $2 million supplemental grant linked to a new Chaldean cultural center in West Bloomfield.

However, the Department of Management and Budget has yet to weigh in on the $2 million, and other groups may end up with some of the money.

"There is support for that money to go to a Chaldean cultural center, but it's not a done deal," said Todd Harcek, chief of staff for Rep. Marc Shulman, R-West Bloomfield, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

With the overall pie shrinking this year, the result is likely to be flat or reduced funding for both large and small groups in southeastern Michigan, where leaders say they are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.



Courtesy of the Hartford Courant (Nov 7)

(ZNDA: New Britain) Three-term incumbent Democrat Mayor Lucian J. Pawlak last Tuesday easily won two more years in office, squelching challenges from the Republican candidate, Peter Oshana, an Assyrian.

There appeared to be no contest as returns showed Pawlak garnering five and 10 times as many votes as his challengers.

At Republican headquarters, Oshana, who had been on the common council, was disappointed as he mulled the reasons for his loss and what he will do now that he won't be holding any elective office for the next two years.

"I think there was probably a lack of education out there in the public," Oshana said. "People complain and complain about taxes. And then you spend half a million on a soccer team, and you owe another half million, and you put the man back in office. Everyone who voted for him had best keep their mouths shut about taxes. They'd best keep their mouths shut about education. If that's how you've set up your priorities, live with it."

"It's a disappointment in terms of numbers," he said referring to the trouncing he took at the polls. "I was hoping it would be a little closer than that."

Oshana, however, said he plans to continue attending council meetings and to take another stab at the mayor's job in 2003.

Mr Oshana took only 1,835 votes as opposed to Mr. Lucian J. Pawlak’s 5,136.

Elsewhere in last week’s local elections held in Connecticut, Mr. Zaya A. Oshana Jr. won the Commissioner’s seat on the Planning & Zoning Commission by defeating 7 other candidates.



(ZNDA: London) Al Saqi Books (www.alsaqibookshop.com) has announces the recent publication of Aprim Shapera’s new book in Arabic, “Assyrians in Contemporary Iraqi Thought”. The book consists of 112 pages of text, along with 15 pictures bound to be of special interest to Assyrians. Although this is the eighth book in a series of books on Assyrians published by this author, it is the first book Mr. Shapera has issued through a publisher of such prominence.

More can be learned about the publisher’s breadth and scope by visiting the Al Saqi Books website. Available at some stores, Aprim Shapera’s latest work can also be ordered directly from the publisher, via the Internet or by fax (+44 20 7229 7492). Specifiy Author and Title.

For Zinda Magazine’s review of Aprim Shapera’s new book visiti:



Courtesy of the Scotland on Sunday, a Scotsman Publications (Nov 11); based on article by Jonathan Trew

(ZNDA: Glasgow) The Greek American singer Diamanda Galas will be performing this week at the recently re-opened CCA in Glasgow. She has been called the "the Bride of Satan", "the Diva of Disease" and a "vocal terrorist" CCA writes that “Diamanda Galas has one of the most striking voices of our time. She creates haunting gospels of despair, desolation and redemption that leave the audience shaken and transformed.” Galas says that the common and often the first reaction to her work is "What the hell are you doing that kind of work for? We don't understand it. Why can't you do something more simple?"

Diamanda Galas possessES four octave vocal range and will surely awake the morally dead or sleeping Scotts with her performances of the shattering DEFIXIONES: WILL AND TESTAMENT a composition for voice and piano.

Ms. Galas will be performing two pieces in Glasgow this week in honor of the Armenian, Assyrian, and Hellenic genocides of 1914-1923. The concerts include music set to the texts of Assyrian-Lebanese poet Adonis and Armenian poet Siamanto. The performances will be held in pitch black, likely to be an unsettling experience for all concerned.

For more information visit: http://www.diamandagalas.com/defixiones
CCA is located on 350 Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, Scotland.

Surfs Up!


“I just finished reading the interview with Walter Aziz and I have to say it felt like I was there too, only that I didn't get to join in for dinner and the pinot noir!

But on a serious note, I felt that Zinda asked all the right questions because I was left with not a single one.

I think as far as tradition goes, we Assyrians are trying to stick with the old because we have this inner fear of dissipating, but we have to realize that there is death in trying not to grow. I think, perhaps we need to recreate ourselves just like Walter Aziz is doing. One day people will look back and thank him for opening the door!”

Susan Warda



“…Walter rules the Assyrian music scene with his new CD. I have listened to it so many times since I bought it last month in Chicago. He was even better live on stage. Thank you Zinda for interviewing the best living Assyrian singer.”

Mariana Jonah



“I writing to inform everyone about a web-page: www.Syrianorthodoxchurch.org. Here you will find a copy of the letter our Arch Bishop sent to the newspaper...in response to the false statement they wrote in a recent interview, after a 40th Memorial Service in remembrance of Sept. 11th. This will clear up any misunderstanding on behalf of His Eminence claiming "Arab Pride".

By no means does this imply that we are prejudice against Arabs, but we are not of them. The Bishop clarified the distinction between us and the Arabs to the editors. An apology by the newspaper to His Eminence and the Syriac Orthodox Community for the false remark, were printed in the following issue. This information is under the News section of the page.”

Daniel Challma
United Kingdom



“I thought I should provide a little extra information and correct some mistakes made in the article about Indian Christians.

First of all, there are more than 300,000 Indian Christians of Assyrian ancestry - or "Knanaye". Of them, 200,000 are members of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church (see: www.ghg.net/knanaya/) and 100,000 are members of the Syriac Orthodox Church. In both Churches they have their own hierarchy and bishops, as they are endogamous. Endogamy means that they only marry within their own community so that they can maintain their ethnic and cultural uniqueness.

The first members of this community migrated to India in 345 AD. This group of 72 families under the leadership of Thomas of Kinayi was sent by the Catholicos of the East in Seleucia-Ctesiphon to rejuvenate the Church which had been established there in 52 AD by St. Thomas the Apostle. This colony was accompanied by Bishop Mar Joseph of Urhai (Edessa), four priests and many deacons. Later migrations further strengthened the community, which was given special rights and privileges by the ruler of Kerala.

I met with a "Knanaya" priest, Fr. Joseph, at last year's Symposium Syriacum. We sat for a while and talked and he admitted, in many ways, that the "Knanaye" are of the same race, blood and origin as the Assyrians-Chaldean-Syriacs, and that they are not our brothers and sisters in faith alone. It was a conversation I will never forget.

Indian Christians belong to many different Churches. More than 3.5 million belong to the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, 1.1 million belong to the Syriac Orthodox Church, 1 million belong to the "Indian Orthodox Church" (a splinter group of the Syriac Orthodox Church), 200,000 belong to the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and 100,000 belong to the Assyrian Church of the East. There are also those that belong to Latin Catholic Church (more than 1 million), the Protestant Mar Thoma Church, the Independant Syro-Malabar Church of Thozhiyur, as well as other Churches. All in all, there are more than 7 million Christians in India - with the majority of them in Kerala.

Let me just say that the period of Portuguese occupation of Southern India in the 1500s was devastating. They not only brought the inquisition with them, they also began a general religious and cultural holocaust of Nestorian Christians due to them being "heretics". Ancient rituals and traditions were completely wiped out regardlessly and replaced with Latin ones.

Before the Portuguese invasion, all Indian Christians belonged to the Church of the East. After that the way was paved for the Syriac Orthodox Church and other Churches to extend their influence into the region and reduce the Church of the East to an insignificant shadow of its former self (it was only re-established in India in the 1850s!). This is something the Catholic Church of Rome has yet to apologise for, and something the hierarchy of the Church of the East have so far been lax in stressing or even addressing.

A good site for general historical information on the intricacies of conversions and schisms and splits in Indian Christianity is: http://members.tripod.com/~Berchmans/chridx.html (but be careful as it is a little biased towards the Catholic Church and makes the Church of the East to be an foreign Church to India).”

Nicholas Beth-Gulawi

Surfers Corner


(ZNDA: San Francisco) This week, the Middle East Studies Association is holding its annual conference in San Francisco, California between November 18 and 20. Here are some suggestions from Zinda Magazine for programs pertaining to Assyrians at this year’s MESA conference:


Sunday, November 18

10:30 AM – 12:30 PM

The Assyrians of Iran: From Contribution to Diaspora

Chair: Richard N. Frye, Harvard University

Speaker: Khosrow Shakeri, Ecole des hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales

"Living in Purgatory: The Assyrians of Iran in the 20th Century"

Speaker: Eden Naby, Harvard University

"With Help from Friends: Zahrira d’Bara: The First Newspaper in Iran

Speaker: Arian Ishaya, San Jose State University

"Urmia to Baquba: From the Cradle of Water to Wilderness"

Speaker: Ronald Thomas-zadeh, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran-Iran

"Iranian Assyrians in the Azerbaijan Crisis of 1945-46"

4:00 – 6:00 PM

Archeology & the Construction of National Identity in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and Turkey

Speaker: Donald M. Reid, Georgia State University

"Muslims, Copts, and the Uses of Archaeology in Constructing Egyptian Identity, 1900-1952"

Speaker: Magnus Bernhardsson, Hofstra Univeristy

"Independence or Dependence?: The Battle for Iraqi Archeology
Speaker: Asli Gur, University of Michigan

"Anatolia: Cradle of Civilization" – Packaging Turkey for the Tourist Gaze through Nationalist Constructions and Archeological Sites.


Monday, November 19

10:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Christians of the Middle East

Speaker: Eleanor A. Doumato, Brown University

"Ethnic Identity in a Faith-based Community: The Revival of Syrian Orthodoxy East & West"


Tuesday, November 20

10:45 AM – 12:45 PM

Migration & Refugees

Speaker: Biray Kirli, Binghamton University

"From Ottoman Empire to Turkish Nation State: Forced Migration and Refugees in Nation Building"

Purity in Islamic Law

Speaker: Kevin Reinhard, Dartmouth College

"Impurifying Infidels: The Status of Non-Muslims in Twelver Fiqh"


1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Identity, Discourse and Material Culture

Speaker: M. Wehrey, Princeton University

"Negotiating Assyrian Identity in Iraq, 1919-1933"




First Annual Symposium - Saturday, November 24

09:00—10:00 First Annual General Meeting (members only)

09:15—10:00 Registration

10:10—10:10 Opening of the Symposium

Prof. J. Reilly, Chair, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations

Chair: Prof. G. Frame, Toronto

10:10—10:40 Trade Routes and the Christianization of the Near East

Prof. Amir Harrak, Toronto

10:40-11:10 Faith & Persuasion: On Bardaisan of Edessa’s Epistemology

Prof. P.H. Poirier, Quebec City

11:10-11:30 Break and Refreshments

11:30-12:00 Becoming Perfect: The Maturing of Ascentiscism in the Syriac book of Steps

Dr. R.A. Kitchen, Regina, Saskatchewan

12:00-12:30 Christianity in Edessa and the Syriac-speaking World: A Review of Past Scholarship and a Proposal For the Future

Prof. S.H. Griffith, Washington D.C.

12:30-12:45 Break & Refreshments

12:45-13:00 In Praise of Learning: A Syriac Poem by Saint Ephrem the Syrian (4th Century)

Choir of the Assyrian Church of the East, Toronto Parish

13:00-13:30 The Archaeology of Christian Kokhe: A Comparative Study

Ms. M. Cassis, Toronto

University of Toronto

Koffler Institute for Pharmacy Management Auditorium

Room 108

CSSS Members: Free

Regular Registration: $10.00

Student, Seniors: $5:00

[Zinda Magazine, as a corporate sponsor of the Canadian Society For Syriac Studies, invites Assyrians in North America to participate at the first annual CSSS symposium. For more information call 416-978-3184.]




Like minorities everywhere, Christians in the Muslim world have learned to live with ambiguity. However nationalist they may be, somewhere there lurks a fear that their loyalties are suspect. These fears, whether real or imagined, have grown in the wake of September 11th, just as they have for Muslims living in the West.

Christian outrage at the attacks on America was louder than their Muslim neighbours’, while Christian concern over the counter-attack on Afghanistan has been more muted. Most Middle Eastern Christians share the belief that American policy in the region helped stoke the fire of fanaticism. But they are also more pointedly critical of their own societies for failing to extinguish those flames long ago. For years, and with growing discomfort, they have watched the flames spread, and now see them moving dangerously close.

The massacre of at least 16 people in a Pakistani church, in apparent retaliation for “Christian” America’s bombing of Afghanistan, was a dramatic realization of such fears. Yet this act, and other communal clashes, remain exceptions to the generally tolerant rule. Unlike most Muslims in the West, the vast majority of Christians in Islamic countries are natives, not immigrants. This binds them to their societies by race, language and culture.

So long as secular ideologies dominated the region’s politics, being Christian proved little hindrance to advancement. Prominent leaders of many anti-colonial struggles were Christian, as were the founders of the Baath Party that rules Iraq and Syria, and of groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The role of Christians in the arts and business was also disproportionate to numbers.

Two decades of growing influence by Islamist-oriented movements have altered this picture. Outright persecution remains rare. In Iran, for instance, Christians hold reserved seats in parliament, where they are sworn into office on the Bible. By tradition, Egypt’s president uses his right to appoint members of parliament to top up Christian representation. By law, Lebanon’s president is always a Christian. Pakistan’s endemic sectarian strife has more often been directed at the Ahmadi and Shia Muslim minorities than at Christians.

Yet the strain of being different, in a tide of senntiment that is replacing national identities with religious ones, has begun to tell. In some cases this has been expressed in violence. Coptic Christians in Egypt, for example, have occasionally been singled out for attack by militant Islamists: 20 Cop-tic villagers died last year in what amounted to a pogrom, after a dispute in a shop. In Lebanon, several churches and Christian properties have been fire-bombed in recent months, rousing scary memories of the 16-year civil war that was partly fought on confessional lines.

  Christians in Millions Percentage of Total Population
Egypt 5.5 8
Pakistan 3.0 2
Syria 1.7 10
Lebanon 0.9 30
Iraq 0.7 3
Jordan 0.1 2
Iran 0.1 0.1
Israel 0.1 10
Palestine .04 2

More commonly, however, Christian discomfort has been expressed demographically. Better education and stronger ties with the West have long prompted Arab Christians to emigrate in larger numbers than Muslims. The trend has accelerated lately, with striking results. Over the past 50 years, Lebanon’s secure Christian majority has become a fast-dwindling minority. In the Palestinian territories, the proportion of Christians has fallen from 15% to under 2%: even Bethlehem and Nazareth now have Muslim majorities. Iraq may have lost half its Christians since the Gulf war to clandestine emigration.

Egypt’s vibrant Coptic church is the largest in the Muslim world, yet it has expanded abroad while treading water at home. Its North American archdiocese had 14 priests in 1975. Today there are 145. Among its news of sundry church affairs, the main Coptic weekly in Cairo carries an advertisement for migration to Canada:
“The leading country for human rights and a secure future for your children.”

But there is now a new danger of being mistakenly victimised by racist vigilantes. A Californian grocer, shot dead by unknown assailants in what is thought to have been a revenge attack on Arabs last month, happened to be an Egyptian Copt.

That irony is particularly bitter, since Middle Eastern Christians tend to be much more pro-American than Muslims. But, in recent years, their enthusiasm has waned a little: Palestinian and Iraqi Christians feel themselves as much the victims of American policy as their Muslim neighbours.

The region’s churches have made a point of matching Muslim preachers in condemning Israel. Despite Egypt’s peace with Israel, for example, the Coptic pope has maintained a ban on pilgrimage to the Holy Land until such time as the Israeli occupation ends. The Middle Eastern Council of Churches, an umbrella group, laments that America’s campaign will be seen as a religious war, with Islam as the target. Christian minorities everywhere in the region are under pressure to make it crystal clear where their loyalties lie.

The Economist Magazine
International Section
November 3, 2001


Assyrian Surfing Posts

Joseph Harron Art Gallery
[ http://www.geocities.com/harron_josep ]

Pump Up the Volume

Conquer KVA / SHA

Masculine Assyrians conquered Egypt: Atourayeh kveesha-lhoon Misren.
Surrender MASH / LMA / NOOTA Feminine Afghans surrendered: Apqanayeh mooshlim-lhoon.

Note: The term mashlmanoota is also used in denoting “conversion to Islam”. To differentiate often the term “tashlamta” (Arabic Tasleem) is used to refer to surrendering oneself or an army.



One of my American friends sent me an email asking if I were related to someone named "Jim Warda". A smile came to my face as I thought… if she only knew that a Warda is to an Assyrian as a Jones is to an American, but I was happy to find out that there is another successful Assyrian out there in this world.

Jim is an American Assyrian that was born in Skokie, Illinois and who has attended Loyola University in Chicago as an English major. I have come to discover that Jim has been a leading columnist for the Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune and that presently, he has his own Internet Column at www.wherearewegoingsofast.com. He is also a contributor to the famous "Chicken Soup for the Souls" series. He has contributed stories to the "Father’s Soul" and the "Expectant Mother's Soul" series. He can also be found at www.souperspeakers.com where he is a member on their speaker panel. This site defines Mr. Warda as an "Author-Speaker-Workshop Presenter-Columnist-Radio Host."

Jim has also written a book of his own called, "Where Are We Going So Fast", He also says, "I write about how amazing we are and how we can change the world with our commitment and courage." He also holds workshops on his theme of capturing and enjoying life's moments. This is also a place where one looks at the lessons learned in parenting and marriage, along with leadership and finding one's own purpose.

I have opened up a line of communication, in which he has been so responsive. I find him to be a gentle soul and a caring man, who says of his father and his mother that, "He taught me about good triumphing over evil. My mother taught me about kindness and compassion." When I asked him to tell me about himself he offered this tidbit, ".... and most important, I have a wife Gina and three children."

Once again.. I smiled!

Susan Warda

[ Jim Warda is also a leading columnist for the Pioneer Press newspapers and writes a popular weekly online column, "Moments Online." published in "The Works" magazine. Jim has also appeared in Chicago and national media, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, WLS-TV, WGCI-AM/FM, WXLC-FM/WKRS-AM, WMVP and WGN-TV.
One critic calls Mr. Warda’s “Where are We Going So Fast” … a warm, touching book that moves us to the rhythms of life, calls us to catch the extraordinary in the ordinary, and celebrates the sacred in everyday moments. Each section begins with an introduction, includes several stories and anecdotes, and concludes with questions for reflection.

If your organization or business is interested in Mr. Warda’s motivational, engaging, and inspirational workshops you may contact him at jwarda@wherearewegoingsofast.com.

Back to the Future

(1800 B.C.)

Weights were measured in Shehs, Shekels, and Minas in ancient Bet-Nahrain. One sheh was equal to 64/75th of a milligram. One Shekel was equal to 180 shehs and one mina was equal to 60 shekels. Shekels and minas were also currencies used in Mesopotamia. Today, shekel is the official currency of the state of Israel.

History of Assyria, Minasheh Ameer

(450 A.D.)

The university of Nisibin was located in a monastery. The instructors were monks of the monastery and their pupils underwent a 3-year course in theology, Greek philosophy, medicine, mathematics, and languages. The main purpose of establishment of this university was to produce patriarchs and bishops for the Assyrian churches.

History of the Assyrian Church, Wigram

This Week In History

NOVEMBER 15, 1913

An airplane piloted by the Russia Kosminski takes flight in Urmia, Iran. This was the first time Assyrian villagers had witnessed an airplane flight in that region.


Calendar of Events


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


Dance Party




November 16

University Recruitment Sessions for High School Students

The aim of these sessions is to encourage our younger students to apply to colleges and universities. Our goal is to provide interested students and parents with the opportunity to learn about the college application process, college life, and the rigors of academia.

* Benefits of college
* Standardized tests
  - ACT, SAT
  - AP and honors courses
* Applying to college
  - College applications
  - Personal statement
* Financial aid 
  - Scholarships & grants
  - Loans
* Community service
* Question and answer session

7:00 - 9:00 PM
Civic Club of Turlock
2618 North Golden State Blvd 

For more info:  contact@assyrianstudents.com

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

Month of

Sponsored by the Mid-Western Region of the Assyrian American National Federation 

”Assyrian Heritage Exhibition” coordinated by Assyrian Students
Skokie Heritage Museum 
8301 Floral Avenue 
Oakton & Lincoln

Open to Public During November
Tuesday-Saturday 12-4 PM 

Opening Ceremony
Friday November 2, 6:00 PM

For More Information visit: www.AANF.org

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:

Dr. Joel Elias

Prof. Amir Harrak

Dr. George Habash
(United Kindgom)

Susan Ninos
(Northern Bet-Nahrain)


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

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