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Volume VII
Issue 33
November 5, 2001
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This Week In Zinda

cover photo
cover photo

  An Interview with Walter Aziz
  Assyrian Women's Union Meets in North Iraq
New Film Shot by Agatha Christie, Shows A Dig in North Iraq

Syrian Orthodox Memorial in New Jersey For Sept 11 Victims
Housing Program Aids Chaldeans of El Cajon
Menahem Mansoor, Aramaic Scholar, Dead at 90
Obituary: Rose Yohannan

  Join Us in Canada in Support of Our People

AUA Rally in Canada
Assyrian Heritage Month Celebrations in Chicago/Skokie
UC-Berkeley Students Workshops in San Jose & Turlock
U.S. Ambassador in Australia Responds to Condolence

  Kochi & The State Of Kerala
  New Book: Assyrians of Chicago
  Michael Davodian's Assyrian Fonts
  Autumn & Winter
  Sumer & The Crimean War
  Printing Press Arrives!



Zinda Says


Let's continue our discussion on the subject of initiating the Third Phase (Oct 8 & 15). Basically what we said was that Assyrians (of all backgrounds and religious affiliations) have reached a point in their history where it is necessary to begin influencing their environment. This we called the Third Phase, following the first two phases of "Fight Back" & "Survival".

We also said that influencing our environment requires a bottom-to-top revolution. A Control Revolution. Ordinary people coming together and doing a very extraordinary thing: building a stable economic and political infrastructure for a new nation rising from heaps of ashes of massacres and genocides.

Such a long-term national plan in turn requires the collaboration of the "wise men and women" or Lamasu's of our generation. These are the agents of change living among us in our own communities, determined to change the status quo. They will lift us up in their strong arms with perseverance and their fantastic radical new ideas. They're publishing journals in Australia, studying our ancient history in Helsinki and Toronto, preserving classic Syriac texts in New Jersey, monitoring Assyrian websites on their computer servers in Chicago, working in the offices of U.S. congressional representatives in Washington, re-writing the laws of the World Court in Geneva, and teaching Chemistry in the Assyrian language to high school students in North Iraq.

Spend an inspirational day with Albert in Turlock, Peter in Dallas, Evelyn in the Hague, Maha in New York, David in Melbourne, Homer in San Jose, Ashur in Pheonix, Wilson in Sydney, Yacoub in Dohuk, Sharokina in New Britain, Marduk in Tel Aviv, Hannibal in Tehran and any one of our Z-crew teams around the world. The wheels of this revolution are already turning. Are we prepared to push this carriage of hope and progress forward with our moral support? We must reaffirm our belief in the greatness and salvation of the Assyrian people by gladly providing these fine men and women of the Assyrian nation with financial sustenance and unconditional support.

To make the first crucial leap from the "as-is" to the "should" form of our economic and political existence, the value of education must be greatly emphasized at every level of our social strata. While new schools are built in every community, the education of all Assyrian students must be fully financed and completion of post-college education encouraged. In the meantime, through a close network of professional and trade associations we ought to provide for more Assyrian-owned small businesses and elevated positions in Fortune-500 multinational corporations. Prosperity of a nation depends on the affluence of its individual member. Education and Prosperity go hand in hand and are the building blocks of the Third Phase.

To adopt such new radical ideas a new system of revenue-generation must also be adopted. A fundraiser here and an auction there will not bring this nation out of its coma. A potent, constantly flowing, injection of life-giving financial verve into the veins of our comatose being is the only way we can initiate and complete the next phase.

An educated and prosperous people will surely elect capable leaders to administer their nation's finances and politics. Say good-bye to the current "musical chairs" politics of our stagnant national leadership organizations. Our new leaders will manage by consent, not through the Middle-Eastern style of authoritative execution of pointless decisions.

It's time we take our place in history and play a very unique role in the history of our nation. On November 12 we will take our first step toward a future of hope and progress. This time our will is relentless and our journey irreversible.

Zinda Magazine

The Lighthouse


At the start of his career over 20 years ago, Walter Aziz seemed to defy the natural order of things as it concerned the Assyrian listener of that time. Soon he became known as the rebel and iconoclast. Then suddenly Walter Aziz disappeared and left the fast-changing world of Assyrian music. He's now back again with a fresh approach.

Twenty years after he first began his music career, Walter Aziz remains the most controversial and equally popular figure in Assyrian music. He is currently traveling North America promoting his superbly produced CD, "Away", which has already become the fastest selling album in the history of Assyrian music.

Zinda Magazine recently caught up with Mr. Aziz at his home in California. A scheduled two-hour interview lasted six hours. Walter Aziz talked briskly and truthfully about his roots, his musical career, and the factors that resulted in the formation of an unmistakably Assyrian pop entertainer.

We found Mr. Aziz at home with his family, dressed comfortably in his jeans and a shirt on which the word "Chicago" was ascribed in large, bold letters.

Zinda: Let's start by talking about your special kind of musical style.
Walter: I, with all the musicians and producers I've worked with in the past couple years have put together a new style of Assyrian music for today's listener; Assyrian pop music. It's different from the traditional styles of music we're used to. There are and should always be the traditional "khigas". But this is new stuff and I'm glad that people have responded to it so well.

Z: Why are you doing this?
W: I believe that God created each of us to be different and to contribute differently. Music is the soul of the people and people have different tastes in music. I'm giving the people what I feel creatively. The Assyrian listener today is more conscious and appreciative of a better quality production. And when it comes to dance, we understand that we can change with the times yet keep the soul of our music intact. I think we are all learning how to do that together.

Z: What does Assyrian music mean to you?
W: To me it means variety. Assyrian music can mean different things to different people and we need to embrace that. My new goal is to export our music to the world. Take something we are proud of, make it ours, and tell the world who we are. To do that. we need to be able to understand that this music can grow and develop with the times.

Arab musicians were successful in exporting a music that is influenced by Western beats. Who hasn't heard of Amr Diab and Alabina these days? Unless our music doesn't deny that the world is different today and our people are different today, then we will not be able to reach new Assyrian listeners and the non-Assyrians around the world.

Z: Who are these new listeners?
W: The youth. And I'm afraid we might be driving them away. They love "chobiya" and "khigas" as do I more than anyone. I think its time to bring that, but make it sound different from everything that was done in the past. I don't want people to say that the Assyrian music formula is getting old. So with this album, I tried to change that.

Z: You seem to be optimistic about the future of our music in the west?
W: I knew our music was in jeopardy. People come to the conventions, but do not want to come to the parties. The feeling I get is that they're tired of dancing to the same six or seven songs while holding hands in a circle for an hour or so. They want to break free and show their individuality. That's the primary purpose of the new music.

Z: What do you mean by breaking free and demonstrating individuality?
W: Let's take singing of ballads as an example. The first time any Assyrian vocalists sang ballads was in 1960's. This was the time of such greats as Biba and Evin Aghassi. How did the people react at first? They called them "non-traditional" and "non-original". But the more we learned about them, the more we realized that we just weren't ready for something so new so fast. People like Biba and Evin are innovators. I am inspired by both of them.

They showed that Assyrians could dance slow songs together to music of their own language. Love songs. That's what I mean by individuality. They let the audience express themselves in ways they couldn't do before. I don't mind seeing people breaking free from traditional dances and showing who they are.

Z: Do you consider yourself a "career entertainer"?
W: No, not really! That's because singing is not a job for me. It's what I love doing. If I had to I would not even mind singing for free. I love trying to promote our music among other people and other nationalities. It's a challenge for me.

Z: Does this mean that you would collaborate with entertainers from other nationalities?
W: Yes, and I have already. My new CD, "Away" is a collaborative project with several entertainers from various backgrounds.

Z: Tell us something about your background, your childhood.
W: My father was born in Russia and my mother in Iryava. My family moved to Baghdad where my father died when I was eight. I was born in the Geilani Camp in Baghdad. I was raised in a very poor family. My mother was our bread-winner who worked in a bank and helped raising her family and taking care of my grandmother and uncle.

I went to Qasha Khandoo's school where I learned to read and write in Assyrian. I was then accepted to Baghdad College to study free of tuition, because of my academic achievements. I would have never been able to study there for two years had I not been accepted in this way.

My father's aunt in Chicago invited me to live with her. I was 16 when I left Baghdad. She was in her late 70's. I then helped bring my mother to America.

In Chicago I had two more years of high school education and then entered the University of Illinois in Chicago to study Chemical Engineering. (He stops and stares at the candle lit on the coffee table for a few moments). If there's one regret that I have in my entire life, it's that I never completed college.

Z: Why not?
W: I was a very bright student, but early on had to deal with too many obstacles and family difficulties. I was forced to quit school and before I knew it I was in California and married. I thank God that things turned out so well for me, though.

Z: So when did you start singing?
W: I was 19 or 20. At that time I didn't appreciate Middle Eastern music as much. I enjoyed the likes of the Beatles instead. As for my mentors later, I began to look up to Sargon Gabriel, Ashur Bet-Sargis, and the late Isha Zaya. I formed a band called "Kings" in Chicago and Ashur Baba was our guitarist. He still lives in Chicago. My second band was called "Heartbeat".

Z: Which song brought you your initial fame?
W: "Yala, Rappe Eeda" (Let Go Boy!). My sister Claudette performed the song with me. It was her first and last attempt at singing.

Z: Let's go back to your coming to California. When was that and what happened then?
W: I came to California in 1978 where I met my wife at a New Year's Eve party in San Francisco. We got married and two years later I released my first LP called "Assyrian Nation".

Z: You mentioned that you were not much into Middle Eastern or Assyrian music for that matter. Your early music indicates otherwise. What happened between Chicago and California?
W: I owe my sense of nationalism to my father-in-law, Gewargis Yoseph. I was not raised in a patriotic family so I could not be one. It was he and my lovely wife, Nahrain, who taught me all I know of Assyrianism. My father-in-law has been like a father to me.

Nahrin is Walter's closest advisor, manager, promoter, and his biggest fan. She accompanies her husband to his shows and promotion parties. Tonight, she arrived home late from work. In just a few minutes she prepared a delicious Assyrian dinner for Walter and his guests and began speaking boldly about her husband's relentless pursuit of perfection in his art. "Nahi", as Walter calls her, is without a doubt the essence of his continued success in music. Walter and Nahrin are proud parents of two sons: Joey (Yosip) and Benny (Benyamin). Benny is now attending the University of California at Berkeley as a Junior.

Z: Did your father-in-law help you with your music also?
W: One of his earliest contributions to my music was his song "Agha Petros". It's the Title Track from my second album.

Z: This is a good time to ask you a question that has puzzled us for a long time. Where did you find that color painting of Agha Petros on the cover?
W: It's not a painting. Actually it's a colorized photo of our famous general. I took a black and white photo of Agha Petros and gave it to an American artist to colorize. She then did some research to learn more about the French military uniforms worn in Agha Petros' time. The poster turned out to be a memorable gift for fans of my music and those who appreciate our history.

Z: And the music on the album?
W: It was a grand achievement for me. Twenty musicians performed on the album. I can safely assert that an entirely new generation of Assyrians turned to our music because of the music on that album.

Z: Was "Agha Petros" your favorite song on this album?
W: No, I liked "Yama Shleeta" (Quiet Sea) even more. It was a very difficult song. Although my band practiced it, it was tough for them to play that song live. It was a song by Andranik and involved the brass section, trumpets especially, and violins. I never sang it again until the remake in "Away".

I also took the two-inch master of "Agha Petros" last year and digitized the entire album to preserve it. A new rendition of that song is now on the "Away" CD.

Z: It wasn't until much later when we hear of Walter Aziz again. What happened in the late 1980's and early 90's?
W: To speak plainly, my music career declined. There was a renewed interest in the traditional Assyrian music during this time and people moved towards that style. I wanted to stay true to what I wanted to do as a singer and performer. So I didn't adapt to that sound. I didn't want to sing in the traditional style of Assyrian music like everybody else.

Z: What about the behind-the-scene politics and the Assyrian American National Federation's boycott of your performances?
W: (He did not expect this question, clearly obvious in the manner he suddenly began to move around in his chair.) It started with the 1985 Assyrian State Convention held in Turlock and organized by San Jose. I was one of the three invited entertainers at that convention. All three of us were asked to sing for an hour and to bring our own bands and sound system. I did, but the other two bands did not come prepared. They each sang for one hour and then it was my turn to perform. I had not been even 15 minutes on the stage when I was told to leave by the MC.

I was very confused and so was the crowd. "What would people think if I just left the stage after singing for 15 minutes," I asked myself. So I decided not to and I told the person in charge that I was not going to. We continued to play. Then the security showed up. My drummer, Pierre Noghli, became furious and stopped playing. I stopped too. I then turned to the crowd and asked if they were satisfied with our performance. They all cheered for my band. I told them that the organizers of the convention do not want me to sing and have brought the security to take us away. The organizers asked the band to stay on without me, but the band members said that they wouldn't play for anyone else except myself. I left the Civic Club that night crying. I still don't know why they wanted me to leave the stage that night.

The (Assyrian American National) Federation then boycotted me. I was never to sing at any Assyrian party or convention sponsored by any of their affiliates.

After all I had done for our music up to that point, I thought, "How could this happen to me?" It took a toll on me and then I started having stage fright. In fact I did not even listen to Assyrian music for almost 6 or 7 years after that horrible experience. So between 1985 and 1992 I sang for Arabs and Persians and just non-Assyrians in general. I think that helped me build a better world view of music even in the local scene.

Z: So why did you decide to return to Assyrian music?
W: I owe my comeback to Pierre Noghli and David Betsamo (Ogin's younger brother). Pierre was then playing with the Persian singer, Shahram; and David was making music with the Black Cats. In 1992 these two guys proved to me how much I had missed singing in Assyrian. I went to see David on one occasion. He had just arranged a very nice song for Shahram. I was so impressed with what he had done. Of course I always knew he was a very talented musician.

Five or six months later I saw David again. He was playing with Shahram in the Bay Area. He encouraged me to work on a new album. So I gave him five or six songs and we started working together in the studio.

We were concerned that CD's in 1992 may not sell as well among the Assyrians. But I also wanted to come back to the music scene with a big bang. Fired up by this idea, even though it cost more, I did it and became the first Assyrian musician to release his music on a CD.

The "Assyrian Unity Dance" CD saved me and brought me back to life and back to my people. I just wish there was an influential medium of information like Zinda Magazine then. I could not get my message through to the youth who had not heard Assyrian music with new beats until then. I was back again and this time I was about something more than just singing Assyrian music. I wanted to be known as the "promoter" of Assyrian music among other nationalities.

Z: Could it be that this was one of the first CD's produced for a Middle Eastern singer?
W: Iranian performers had already printed CDs by then, but I was told that this was the first CD produced by an artist from Iraq also.

Z: So how come you're singing at the convention and its affiliates' parties now?
W: After I released the CD, Haroot asked me to perform at an upcoming national convention. That was the unofficial end of the boycott. The same guy running the 1985 convention from San Jose also came to see me at one of my performances in San Jose and apologized later.

This was a perfect moment to ask Walter about another source of contention during his musical career. The digressive and intermittently fascinating video "Khoosh, Khoosh" - filled with sexual innuendos and graphic scenes. It remains the most controversial video ever directed for an Assyrian singer.

Z: Perhaps nothing has been as controversial about you as your now famous 1997 music video. Tell us about "Khoosh, Khoosh".
W: The "Khoosh, Khoosh" (Go Away, Go Away) video was directed in 1997 by Sargon Yoseph, who's the most talented Assyrian filmmaker I've seen. He also happens to be Nahrain's brother. He's done work in independent film festivals across America. We shot the video at the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts. There were a few scenes in that video which angered some people. Only Sargon Dadesho agreed to play the video without any editing. The feedback I got was probably split in half; half positive, half negative. But what I noticed was that younger crowd supported it fully, and most of the negative response was from slightly older Assyrians.

I consider that video and song in general a success. I was now known not just for my comeback music, but also for my videos. And that video made the song really work. I don't think one could have existed without the other. A few months later I released a collection of my videos. Then we shot a video for "Guitari". I think that's the video I've done.

Z: Let's come back to the current year and "Away". It seems you have a winner in your grasp this time.
W: I hope so. We worked to make this the best quality album I've ever done. We spent months in the studio working out so many details. It was tiring but fun. But I never tried to settle for something until all the people working with me were happy with it.

I think that the Assyrian singer's responsibility today is greater than ever. There was a time when Assyrian singers used to compete with other Assyrian singers only. Today we're competing with other Middle Eastern artists as well. Assyrians are watching Arabic, Persian, and Turkish music videos on satellite television and are drawn to the music from that region.

You have to realize that it's no longer just about a vocalist and a keyboard. It's the CD, the video, the musicians, the music and so much more - the whole package. There's a lot of pressure on the Assyrian singers these days.

Z: How did you incorporate this philosophy or observation in your latest CD, "Away"?
W: "Away" is an arrangement of World-Assyrian music. I demanded better quality than most Arabic CD's out there. We mixed three songs in Fantasy Studios, where I saw Carlos Santana during recording session. He recorded his album "Supernatural" there. "Away" was also recorded in five other studios in Oakland, San Francisco, and Sausalito. I invited such great musicians like Latif Bolat from Turkey to play on a record. Ishmael, an Assyrian "Qanoon" player from San Louis Obispo also played on a few tracks.

Z: Of all Assyrian singers you picked Sargon Gabriel to do a duet with you on "Away". Why Sargon?
W: Let's be honest. Sargon is probably the most influential Assyrian singer ever. To me, Sargon is the most popular Assyrian singer. The name of Sargon Gabriel is like a trademark for Assyrian nation. People will forever associate that name with Assyrian music. In fact, musicians use him as a standard of measurement to which they compare their quality of musicianship and performance. There is just something about his voice that makes you want to dance. Sargon Gabriel is a legend.

I wanted to utilize the legendary voice of Sargon Gabriel on my CD and he graciously agreed.

Z: We hear very positive reaction to such songs like "Lorque" and "Qa Mani Bayat" at the Assyrian parties. Is that true with your other tracks on the "Away" CD?
W: The reaction has been tremendous. It's been selling very well these past two months. This is the fastest-selling album I've ever made. It might be the fastest selling in Assyrian history. I thank everyone who has supported me.

Z: Some Zinda readers were accusing you of separating yourself from others by singing to the melodies of non-Assyrian music. They even say you have betrayed our music for fame and money.
W: No. First of all I haven't lived in communities with other singers so I haven't had the chance. But musically, I'm influenced by music around the world. For me it's been successful. But no matter what, it is Assyrian music.

In order to grow, we need to be able to create different genres of music. Some Traditional, some "Pop", some Contemporary. The listeners are asking for something different. Our singers are responding also. We're starting to see more emphasis being put on production, and more established singers trying to take their music to directions that they can call their own.

The best examples of that are Evin Aghassi, Ashur Bet-Sargis, and Linda George. These are three singers with three very different, original styles. And lately, all three have better established their musical identities.' Evin's voice and Ashur's lyrics are phenomenal. Linda George has a beautiful voice and an excellent pitch.

I speak for all singers when I say that music production has never mattered more than right now. And good production requires money. And money comes from the support of the people. So we have to constantly bring our best to them. And with this album I feel I bring my best for my people and for the world.

Z: Walter, what can top your current success in the future?
W: I have given myself two years to fully distribute "Away" around the world. It will take me another year and half to record another CD. By that time I have no idea what will happen to the music industry and what kind of new styles will come around. But I already have some thoughts on how the next projects will sound.

In the meanwhile, I want to work with other Assyrian singers as well. We want to establish an Assyrian record label, EastJam Records. Hopefully the success of "Away" can show other artists that anything is possible. Our people need more positive exposure in the world.

I'm so pleased that there will be something like Zinda Magazine then to promote my work and the work of other Assyrian artists. I wish we had you guys back in the old days too…


Our interview was over, as Nahrain insisted that we must now partake in the delicious dinner she had prepared for us at an hour past midnight. There was more wine and more stories that will never make the pages of our magazine.

Walter is a gifted and dedicated Assyrian artist. He's controversial, a skilled marketer who has a knack for popular taste in Assyrian and Middle Eastern music.

For just a few minutes after the interview, Walter disappeared from our sight and came back with a bottle of Pinot Noir and a couple of his albums. As he was filling our wine glasses and watching us admiring his unwrapped albums, "Assyrian Nation" and "General Agha Petros" he quietly told us that he was presenting them to Zinda Magazine as a gift for its dedication to promoting Assyrian arts and artists.

Leaving his residence, speechlessly holding our gifts, we reached an emphatic conclusion about Walter Aziz: he has an unfinished business with Assyrian music and we should brace ourselves for more controversy, tasteful surprises, and just plain-old good Assyrian music.

We can hardly wait!



(ZNDA: Dohuk) The Assyrian Women's Union held its Third Congress between November 1 and 2 in the city of Dohuk (Noohadra) in North Iraq. Eighty nine representatives from seventy different groups participated at this assembly.

Full Report in the next issue.



Courtesy of M2 Communications (Oct 30)

(ZNDA: London) A British Museum curator has discovered a reel of film shot by murder-mystery writer Agatha Christie. The film reportedly inspired the author to write some of her most famous detective novels, including 'Death on the Nile'.

The reel of film, which shows an archaeological dig in northern Iraq in the 1930s, had been thought to be the work of the renowned archaeologist Reginald Campbell Thompson. However Henrietta McCall, curator of the British Museum's major new exhibition about Christie and her love of ancient ruins, claims the pioneering footage was shot by the author during her stay at the site.

The exhibition, Mystery in Mesopotamia, will also screen two other short films that Dame Agatha is known to have shot in Syria and Iraq. The footage, lent to the museum by Christie's daughter Rosalind Hicks, has never been shown, reports The Observer.

News Digest


Courtesy of The Record (October 29); New Jersey- article by Charles Austin

(ZNDA: New Jersey) In accordance with ancient tradition calling for a memorial service about 40 days after a death, Syrian Orthodox Christians from throughout New Jersey gathered in Teaneck on Saturday night to mourn those lost in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The solemn service at St. Mark's Syrian Orthodox Cathedral was conducted in English and Aramaic, the language the church uses for worship. Although the Syrian Orthodox are deeply rooted in the culture of their ancestors, the memorial service had a decidedly American flavor. Boy Scouts carrying an American flag preceded several dozen clergy down the center aisle of the packed cathedral. The service closed with everyone singing "God Bless America."

The Syrian Orthodox Church traces its lineage to the cities of Jerusalem and Damascus and the earliest days of Christianity. Membership is estimated at about 40,000 nationwide. Its New Jersey parishes are in Teaneck, Hackensack, Mahwah, and Paramus, and many of the families have been in Bergen County for decades.

Still, some have felt hostility directed against Middle Easterners since the attacks.

"There have been some glares and sneers," said Sama Khalef, an usher at the Teaneck cathedral. "We felt it also during the Gulf war 10 years ago."

In Syria -- a predominantly Muslim country -- the Orthodox are sometimes maligned for being associated with unwanted influences from "the Christian West."

Teaneck-based Archbishop Cyril Aphrem Karim, one of the church's three archbishops in North America, read a letter signed by all three. The letter asked for prayers for the victims, their families, and rescue workers. "We ask almighty God to grant the leaders of the United States strength, wisdom, and patience in their pursuit to bring the perpetrators
of the horrendous crimes to justice," he said.

Holding the ornate staff symbolizing his office, the archbishop said he grieved for those who are "victims of ignorance and intolerance."

"But through their deaths," he added "they have taught us the value of life. Evil people may kill the body, but they cannot kill the soul."

New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, whose wife is Syrian Orthodox and who was married in the Teaneck cathedral, told worshipers that although Sept. 11 will be seen as "our darkest day," it also will be remembered as a day when thousands were saved by the efforts of police officers and firefighters "who didn't ask about race or religion or the color of skin" before entering the doomed towers.

The Rev. John Peter Meno, rector of the Teaneck cathedral, read additional greetings from Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I of Damascus, head of the worldwide church body.

"At this time of mourning," the patriarch wrote, "we pray God to grant your leaders wisdom that in their pursuit of justice, they may not afflict suffering on other innocent people. We also ask all of you to be God's agents of peace and reconciliation and to remind everybody that evil can only be overcome by goodness."

Members of the congregation were dressed in black. Some wore red, white, and blue ribbons, and several women wore scarves in the same colors. Uniformed Boy Scouts stood at attention throughout the service.

A choir sang from the balcony in both English and Aramaic.

Among the dignitaries were Teaneck Deputy Mayor Emil "Yitz" Stern and Councilwoman Marie Warnke. Stern read a letter of commendation from the council, praising the cathedral for its special attention to memorial prayers following the Sept. 11 attacks.

After the hour-long worship, Archbishop Karim said the Syrian Orthodox Church was taking steps to make itself better known as "proud Arab Americans and faithful Christians."


Courtesy of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Oct 31); based on an article by Matthew T. Hall

(ZNDA: El Cajon) When Ahlam Shamoun fled Iraq five years ago with her three children the adjustment wasn't easy.

She loved her new freedoms, but she also longed for her parents and brother in the Middle East. She no longer feared leaving her house at night, but she had trouble talking to the people she met, especially Americans.

"The first six months when we came here, we had some difficulty," Shamoun said. "We thought no one could help us."
A new alliance may change that for Chaldean immigrants, who now make up more than 10,000 of the city's 95,000 residents. A local group called the Community Coalition for Better Housing is behind the outreach effort.

Fair housing advocates are translating two housing handbooks into Arabic. The manuals have only been published in English, the first in 1982 and the second in 1988. Other community leaders are working to improve living conditions and apartment complexes made up largely of Chaldeans, Kurds and other Middle Easterners.

One coalition member, Maha Ibrahim, is a translator and case manager with the Alliance for African Assistance. She said without any outreach, "They will stay in the house, they will sit there, they will not do anything."

Newer immigrants are the focus of a housing coalition made up of building inspectors, police officers, social-service agents and housing advocates. The coalition formed in 1999 to build up the image of El Cajon's 800 apartments.

This year coalition members received a $25,000 grant from the nonprofit San Diego Foundation to produce 1,000 Arabic copies of the two housing manuals and improve conditions for Chaldeans in at least 10 apartment buildings.

Conditions are being measured by a survey that includes questions about managers, repairs, rent, police calls and child supervision. The questionnaire is available in English and Arabic.

Zina Toma is translating the Heartland Human Relations and Fair Housing Association's handbook on renting and its fair housing handbook into Arabic.

"Since it's something good for the community, why not do it?" she said. "It's going to help them know their rights and responsibilities. They come here, they are strangers, they don't know anything about the rules."

Some Chaldeans are hesitant to answer questions at first. But she said they tend to open up when she speaks their Aramaic language and hands them apartment satisfaction surveys she has translated into Arabic.

Hikmet Pauls is the lone Chaldean on the board of directors for the Heartland Human Relations and Fair Housing Association. He called the outreach helpful, but said new Chaldeans will likely have more pressing matters on their minds: Bringing other family members to the United States.

The main priority, he said, is "to find a way we can help other immigrants come to the United States and lessen the suffering that they endure through the long way they come."

About 120,000 Chaldeans live in the United States now, said The Rev. Michael Bazzi, pastor of the St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Church in Rancho San Diego. There are 600,000 remaining in Iraq, where they live as a small Christian minority in a country governed and largely populated by Muslims.

Many of the Iraqi Catholics of the Chaldean community arrive here with little money and little grasp of the English language, Bazzi said. About 15,000 have immigrated to San Diego County since 1951.

He estimated that one-third of them live in apartments, sharing stories in their native tongue even as they work on English at school and on the job.

Bazzi said language and culture barriers make seemingly trivial things like arranging for baby sitters and attending PTA meetings tricky for parents with one car and a reluctance to let others care for their children.

Milad Isho, an El Cajon Valley High School senior, said the younger generation of Chaldean-Americans has an easier time of it.

Isho moved here 10 years ago. He speaks fluent English but very little Aramaic, the opposite of the older generation of Chaldeans who settled here.

"This is the most important thing for Chaldeans," Shamoun said. "Getting used to the second language."

When a housing coalition member approached her last week, Shamoun welcomed the chance to talk about her apartment complex in English. She said she is studying to be a teacher and soon will become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

"We don't want everything to be perfect," she said. "We want it to be reasonable."



(ZNDA: Madison) Menahem Mansoor, 90, who had taught Hebrew and Semitic studies at the University of Wisconsin from 1955 until retiring as professor emeritus in 1982, died of cancer on Oct. 21 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Dr. Mansoor, who founded the university's Hebrew and Semitic Studies department, was born in Port Said, Egypt, attended high school in what is now Tel Aviv and graduated from the University of London. He received his doctorate in Biblical studies and Semitic languages from Trinity College, Dublin.

He was the author of more than 80 books and technical articles, including 15 textbooks. He had worked on the Dead Sea scrolls and had developed early correspondence courses in Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic.


(ZNDA: Turlock) Rose Yohannan died on September 15 in Turlock, California. She was 88 years, 10 months, and 21 days old. She was the beloved wife of Ephraim Yohannan and the daughter-in-law of the late Hannah and Absalom Yohannan of Elizabeth, NJ, and Urmia, Iran. A life-long educator, Mrs. Yohannan spent many hours volunteering to tutor Assyrian immigrants in the English language, helping them to gain employment and housing in the U.S. She and her husband Ephraim moved to Turlock more than 20 years ago. Surviving members of the family include husband Ephraim; brother-in-law James, Turlock; brother-in-law John, Whiting, NJ; niece Grace Yohannan, Apopka, FL; niece Rosemarie Yohannan, Ft. Walton Beach, FL; nephew John J. Yohannan, Queens, NY. A Rosary Mass was held at Sacred Hearth Catholic Church, Turlock, on September 20th; interment was at Turlock Memorial Park. Casket bearers included: David Balswick, Richard Vierira, Albert Yonan, Joe Gova, Jessie Yohannan, and Mick Zuniga.

Surfs Up!


"Here is a call for help that you can be proud to be part of. Our people need help, and if we extend our help one by one, we will find the true meaning of a family, and sense of joy in a world that is full of strangers whom don't know us- the Assyrians. Our people need help, and here is what you can do. Your financial donation of any amount can do a lot in helping Lina Nissan for example. She is being admitted to a hospital in Ontario.

Financial help of $10, $20 or more can save a person, and makes us proud of standing up to help humanity and unity of Assyrians. Our Assyrian population in Canada is over 20,000, and if each can donate $10, it will fulfill our goal. But we don't have Assyrian media in Canada capable of disseminating information to Assyrians, nor do we have proper Assyrian institutions /societies that can work toward helping Assyrians in need. The one that exists in Ontario, if not the entire Canada, has been used for their own tribal group and discriminates against other Assyrian people.

It is a shame to have lack of our own institutions, while other cultures and nationalities rose from nothing to become recognized in Canada. Now, let us move forward, and get out of this negative cycle by joining hands across the globe, from Canada to Middle-East and elsewhere in helping our people.

Hope you enjoy your visit to our Assyrian Students' Association of Mohawk College website, and we hope that you join in by donating directly to Lina Nissan's bank account.

Your help is needed, donate and feel good."

Assyrian Students' Associationof Mohawk College

Surfers Corner


The Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) branch of Canada invites the Assyrian people to attend a rally on Sunday, November 18, 2001, at 3:00 PM at the Assyrian Society of Canada, Mississauga, 1150 Crestlawn Drive.

Senator John J. Nimrod (retired), Secretary General of the AUA, the Honorable Homer Ashurian, AUA Executive
Board Member, and Mr. Carlo Ganjeh, the AUA Americas Secretary, will report on the activities of the AUA on
behalf of Assyrians worldwide.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the rally, and hope that you will be prepared for an open question and answer session with our distinguished guests.

Assyrian Universal Alliance
Canada Branch


The Mid-Western Region of the Assyrian American National Federation Presents The Assyrian Heritage Month (November 2001)

"Assyrian Heritage Exhibition" coordinated by Assyrian Students at the Skokie Heritage Museum
8301 Floral Avenue
Oakton & Lincoln
Skokie, Illinois

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



The Assyrian Student Alliance, a student run group at UC Berkeley, will initiate a series of university recruitment sessions for high school 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.

Students and parents should expect to find information on

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

Program information

Location: San Jose
Date: Friday, November 9, 2001
Time: 8:30-10:30pm
Where: Hall of the Assyrian Church of the East
Address: 680 Minnesota Avenue
San Jose, CA 95125

Location: Central Valley
Date: Friday, November 16, 2001
Time: 7:00-9:00pm
Where: Civic Club of Turlock
Address: 2618 North Golden State Blvd
Turlock, CA 95382-9504

Assyrian Student Alliance
University of California, Berkeley
Website: www.assyrianstudents.com
Email: contact@assyrianstudents.com




15 October 2001

Assyrian Universal Alliance- Australia Chapter
P.O. Box 34
Fairfield NSW 1860

Dear Members of the Alliance and Assyrian Community:

I apologize for the long delay in responding to your message of condolence. Your warm note to the American people is so comforting. All free men and women every where recognize that the events of September 11th were really an attack on civilization. It gives Americans great encouragement to know that we will not stand alone in the difficult days ahead.

Please know that I will convey your thoughts to Washington. On behalf of the American people let me say how grateful we are to have friends like you in the world.

Warmest best regards

J. Thomas Schieffer




Courtesy of India Business Line

Kochi lives and breathes history. Like the expansive backwaters that once were the arteries of commercial life in this part of India, tales of yore from shores afar are intertwined in this land. Not everyone knows that Christianity in India sprang from the shores of Kochi. St. Thomas, the Apostle of Christ, is said to have set foot on Malankara near Kodungalloor, 50 km off Kochi, and spread the 'Word of God' in this land. Kerala can take pride that the seeds of Christianity sprouted in this land well before its advent elsewhere in the world.

The name Kerala means "land of coconuts," and the palms shade nearly the entire state from the tropical sun; many call the beach as Kovalam the best in India; visitors can spend a day riding small ferries through the backwater lagoons or watching elephants cavort in the wildlife sanctuaries; the spicy food may be the best vegetarian cuisine on the planet.

Kerala is not much larger than the state of Maryland, but has a population as big as California's and a per capita annual income of less than $300. With a large Christian population, among them Assyrians of the Church of the East and the Syrian Orthodox Church, its infant mortality rate is low, its literacy rate among the highest on Earth, and its birthrate below America's and falling faster. Kerala's citizens live nearly as long as Americans or Europeans. Though mostly a land of paddy-covered plains, statistically Kerala stands out as the Mount Everest of social development; there's truly no place like it.

The Apostle St. Thomas is said to have founded seven churches in Kerala (some say seven-and-a-half churches, as the Saint left Kerala for the Coromandel Coast with an unfinished church under construction). These are the ones at Palayur near Chavakkad in Thrissur (about 100 km from Kochi), Malankara near Kodungalloor (about 60 km), Kottayal near North Parur (about 40 km), Kokkamangalam in Kollam (150 km), Niranam in Thiruvalla (about 80 km) and Nilakkel near Chayal.

The visit of another missionary, Kana Thoma in 14th century A.D., who brought a colony of 400 Christians from Baghdad, Nineveh and Jerusalem, is also considered a milestone in the history of Christianity in Kerala. Kana Thoma or Thomas of Cana is believed to be a descendant of Jesus Christ. Cana is believed to be the place where Jesus turned water into wine.

Kerala today has the highest percentage of Christians in South India. The Portuguese connection with Kochi dates back to 1500 A.D., when on Christmas eve that year, the first Portuguese fleet under the command of Admiral Pedro Alvares Cabral anchored in the port of Kochi. The first Portuguese to land in India, near Kozhikode, was Vasco da Gama in 1498. The Portuguese gave tremendous support to the then ruler of Kochi.

After the war between the King of Kochi and the Zamorin of Malabar that lasted for about five months in 1504, the Portuguese were able to cripple the Arab interests at the South Indian ports and bring the Malabar coast under Portugal's command. Out of the seven settlements in Kerala, Kochi was the primary province of the Portuguese in India, even after the capture of Goa in 1510 and until the transfer of the capital to Goa in 1530. The others are Kollam (150 km from Kochi), Kodungallore (50 km), Ponnani near Palakkad (180 km), Chale near Kozhikode (225 km), Kozhikode and Cannanore (320 km).

There are some important monuments raised by the Portuguese in Kochi. The fort built in 1503 is in Pallipuram, off Vypeen in Ernakulam, and one of the oldest European monuments in India. The Catholic Church here is an important pilgrim centre. It is said that there used to be an underground passage from the Bishop's Palace in Mattancherry, a sleepy township in Fort Cochin, to the Pallipuram Fort, running beneath the sea. The place, called Palliport by the locals, is said to be one of the sea mouths that enabled the Europeans' entry into Kochi in the past.

Vasco da Gama returned to Kochi in 1502 to renew the Portuguese friendship with the King of Kochi. He breathed his last in Kochi and his mortal remains were interred in the St. Francis Church at Fort Cochin on Christmas Eve of 1524. Though 14 years later his bones and ashes were taken back to Portugal, the tombstone stands in the church even today as a testimony. In 1663, the Dutch, who captured Kollam and Kochi, took possession of the church. There is a Dutch Fort in Mattancherry, built by the Portuguese and handed over to the King of Kochi in 1555. Since the Dutch spruced it up in 1663, the Mattancherry Palace came to be known as the Dutch Palace. Strangely, neither the Dutch nor the Portuguese stayed in this palace! There is a Franciscan college established by the Portuguese in 1546 in Kodungalloor.


Assyrian Surfing Posts

Rolands Collection of Films on Ancient Mesopotamia

Michael Davodian's Assyrian Fonts
[ http://www.assyrian.dk/ ]

Pump Up the Volume

Autumn TISH / REE / YE
(Two Tishrins)

Masculine Autumn Leaves = Tdarpeh d'Tishreeye
Winter SAT / WA Masculine Cold Winter = Satwa Qaareera



Assyrians in Chicago was published in September 2001 by Arcadia Publishing. This new title is part of Arcadia's successful "Images of America" series.

The pictorial history of Assyrian immigration to Chicago encompasses more than 100 years. Assyrian pioneers came to the United States in the late 1800's. Eventually, by the turn of the century, they began to reside in Chicago. Following several waves of persecution in their homeland, they continued to migrate to America, and now the largest concentration of them reside in Chicago. Through the medium of historic photographs, this book captures the evolution of the Assyrian community of Chicago from the late 1800s to the present day.

These pages bring to life the people, events, and industries that helped to shape and transform this vibrant ethnic community in Chicago. With more than 200 vintage images, Assyrians in Chicago includes photographs from the collection of the Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation. This book depicts the many faces of the Assyrian American in various facets of American life interwoven with traditions from their homeland.

Author Vasili Shoumanov is a librarian at Ashurbanipal Library, as well as a history researcher and curator at the Assyrian Heritage Museum. Join them on this remarkable journey through the years of the Assyrian presence in Chicago.

Assyrians in Chicago is available or can be ordered at local Chicago bookstores and retail outlets. It can also be purchased online (barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com.) or directly from the publisher (arcadiapublishing.com, 888/313-2665).

$18.99 Paperback- 128 pages

Please contact Holly Zemsta, Publicity Coordinator, at 773-697-0104 if you wish to:

Arcadia Publishing, as an imprint of the Tempus Publishing Group, Inc.

Back to the Future

(3500 B.C.)

The Sumerian civilization, one of the world's earliest, develops in the area around the rivers Tigris & Euphrates in about 3500 B.C. The region is known as Mesopotamia (between rivers) or the Assyrian Bet-Nahrain (the land of Two Rivers). Both rivers flow southward from Turkey through Iraq. Euphrates is about 1,700 miles long, and Tigris is about 1,180 miles long. Both rivers meet in southern Bet-Nahrain and form the river called the Shatt al Arab before emptying into the Persian Gulf. Only small boats can sail on the rivers, as they are too shallow for large ships. Today, in Turkey, these rivers are the site of a massive dam-building construction project called the Tishrin Project (see Pump Up the Volume).

(A.D. 1854-56)

During the Crimean War British and French archaeologists withdraw from excavation sites to the south in Mesopotamia, where they were uncovering the palaces and cuneiform tablets of Babylon and Assyria.

This Week In History

NOVEMBER 7, 1840

A small printing press arrives in Urmia, Iran and is brought to the American Mission building in Urmia. The American Mission Press became an important factor in the revival of the Assyrian language in the second half of the Nineteenth century.


Calendar of Events


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


Dance Party




November 9

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

8:30 - 10:30 PM
Hall of the Assyrian Church of the East
680 Minnesota Avenue

For more info:  contact@assyrianstudents.com

November 10

Sponsored by the Assyrian American Social Club of Michigan

Featuring for the first time in the U.S. (arriving from France), Ms. SEMA ZAIA
& Banipal Musical Band

8:00 PM
St. George Cultural Center
2160 E. 15 Mile Road (between John R and Dequindre)

Advance Ticket: $20.00, Door Ticket: $25.00 {CASHBAR}
(Children Full Ticket)

For Advance Ticket Resevation Please Call The Following Numbers:

(810) 977-8193
(313) 274-4545
(248) 651-4333

For Scholarship Applications & Inquiries:
Janey Golani at (313) 274-4545, jgolani@aol.com
Youel Isho    at (313) 551-7740, atouraya@aol.com

November 11

An Evening with Hannibal Alkhas - artist (painter), poet, & teacher
Sponsored by the Assyrian Aid Society of Santa Clara

6:00 PM
St. Mary's Assyrian-Chaldean Catholic Church in Campbell
109 North First Street

Rabbie Hannibal Alkhas will be reading selections from his collection of poems and children's songs and rhymes.

A few of Rabbie Alkhas' paintings will be sold at this event to benefit the Assyrian Aid Society.

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

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.


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:

Assyrian American National Federation

Martin Mirza

Hermiz Shahen

Emil Soleyman-Zomalan

Grace Yohannan


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.

Zinda Magazine™ Copyright © Zinda Inc., 2001 - All Rights Reserved - http://www.zindamagazine.com