Where Assyrians Get Their News.
101 San Fernando Street, Suite 505
San Jose, CA  95112  U.S.
Voice (408) 918-9200
Fax (408) 918-9201
Kanoon I 17, 6751
Volume VII
Issue 38
December 17, 2001
return to zindamagazine.com

If you are printing the magazine from your web browser, click here.

This Week In Zinda

cover photo
cover photo

  Federation or Autonomy?
  Iskra (Zinda)
  Pope Calls For An End to Embargo Against Iraq

Karl Suleman & Wife to Appear in Court in January
Agatha Christie & Archeology in Mesopotamia
Obituary: Maryam Poliss

  Upset & Annoyed
Blood & Sweat of Our Poor People
Among the Best
Smearing My Name
Ankawa Forum

Normal Islam I Turkiet Innebär Religionsförföljelse
Övergrepp Mot Kristna Trappas Upp I Turkiet

  Negotiating Assyrian Identity in Iraq, 1919-1933 (Final)
  AUA Annual Gala VIP Dinner - Part I
  Is Iraq Next? - An AINA Report
October Issue of Nakosha Magazine
Assyrian Babylon Radio from Denmark
Assyrian Midi Composers Exchange
  Change & Revolution
  Gnawing of the Worm & the Church in Zarang
  Alphonse Mingana
  3rd International Congress on the Archaeology of the Near East




Zinda Says


This is the most burning question tackled - surreptitiously of course - among the Kurdish and Turkoman groups of northern Iraq. In public and in meetings with the U.S. and U.N. officials it makes sense to claim an equivocal desire for a federation of Iraqi ethnicities. On the other hand, there are strong indications pointing away from the creation of a pluralistic Iraq. Let's examine these in more detail.

Last Thursday the Turkish state-owned petroleum company, Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPC), announced that it plans to join the Kurds of northern Iraq in an ambitious oil exploration project in northern Bet-Nahrain. It plans to build 20 drilling sites under a contract with the North Iraqi state oil company. The drilling is to be carried out in the region controlled by the Kurdistan Democratic Party or Masoud Barazani's backyard, where a majority of Assyrians in North Iraq live.

Guess who else came for dinner last week in Ankara? Bin-Laden's worst enemy -- Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Mr. Secretary reassured Turkey that Washington had no immediate plans to extend the war on terrorism to Iraq. At the same time an American delegation was consulting with both Kurdish groups, KDP and PUK, in northern Bet-Nahrain. The delegation, led by senior State Department official Ryan Crocker, met Massoud Barazani and Jalal Talabani and reaffirmed the commitment of President Bush's administration to the protection of the Kurdish region and its 13% share of the UN oil-for-food program. What else has happened this month?:

· The U.S. temporarily transferred the headquarters of its military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia from Georgia to Kuwait.

· President Bush demanded that Iraq open its doors to the inspectors, who have been absent for three years, or face the consequences.

· Eight U.S. legislators called for humanitarian assistance and military training for Iraqi opposition parties.

· Assistant Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz proposed using the Shi'ite south, rather than northern Bet-Nahrain, as the means to overthrow Saddam.

· Committee on International Relations was working on a resolution regarding the monitoring of weapons development in Iraq, as required by United Nations Security Council Resolution 687.

· Assyrian Democratic Movement leadership visited both KDP and PUK leaders to reaffirm its close ties with the rival Kurdish factions.

· The U.S. visitors discussed the implementation of a peace treaty between the PUK and KDP signed in Washington in 1998 - the so-called Washington Accord.

All roads lead to one thing: overthrow of Saddam. So is Washington planning to use northern Bet-Nahrain as a base for attacking Saddam. Of course it is. Then can it guarantee its full support of the local insurgencies when the right time for war is ensued next year? Of course it won't.

Soon after the end of the Gulf War the Iraqi people rose against Saddam and were able to take 14 of the 18 Iraqi provinces. The U.S., influenced by Turkey and perhaps Jordan and Saudi Arabia, decided to stay behind and allowed Saddam to use his helicopters to suppress the revolts. Thousands of anti-Saddam forces perished in these battles. Washington, as with Great Britain of 1918-23, could not be trusted. Assyrians are far too familiar with such bitter after-taste.

Yet, the Kurds and the rest of Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress will certainly fool around with the U.S. cards and let Turkey steal a look as long as North Iraqi oil company can operate independent of Baghdad. After all, "Federation" according to Kurdish diplomats has economic qualities also. Baghdad is not sitting idly here either. Saddam has been asking for dialogue with the Kurds in the north since November. He is assured that northern region will be used as a "launch-pad" for attacks against him. It's not a secret that Barazani has been letting the dictator in Baghdad to peek at his cards a couple of times since August. So who's playing the Assyrian cards here?

A "federation" to Iraqi Kurds is defined as "the full representation of the Kurdish People." Can the U.S. and its allies guarantee full representation of the different ethnic and religious groups in Iraq? Will the Assyrian people be also blessed with the ideals of "full representation" once Saddam and his family succeed in escaping the wrath of the Iraqi people? To Assyrians in Iraq a "federation" means "unclear representation" and autonomy is defined as a few extra seats in someone else's parliament. The Assyrians living outside of Bet-Nahrain, however, use a different geo-political dictionary to define these historical terminologies and are quite prepared to offer direct translations in Sorani as early as next January. It is this latter group that will play the Assyrian cards in January.

Chalabi, Barazani, and Talabani know quite well that Assyrians hold a card that no other player will ever be able to possess in Misters Bush and Blair's cardrooms. Assyrians are Christian and live under constant threat of retribution from any Islamic entity in the region - be it Kurdish, Arab, or Turkish. Thanks to Osama Bin-Laden such terms as "Jihad", "Fatwah", and "Infidels" are household words in most American homes. A pluralistic Iraqi society would mean full inclusion of non-Moslem constituency in Iraq's political and economic affairs. Shiites and Kurdish factions must be willing to embrace such extraordinary conditions as appointment of Assyrian cabinet members and ministers in the new government in Baghdad.

So what must be done now? First, all Assyrian political groups must accept the fact that status quo in Iraq is no longer acceptable and Clinton era policy of containment has failed miserably. Saddam must go sooner than later- even if it means making war on Baghdad, resulting in the death of many Assyrian people. Second, whereas Saddam is allergic to the sight of U.N. inspection personnel around his palaces, his objection to their scrutiny of his chemical and nuclear weapons build-up should be proposed as an ideal pretext to attacking Iraq. Third, in the coming weeks all Assyrian political parties must work closely among themselves and other members of the INC to prepare for the post-Saddam Iraq in 2002. This groundwork must include either a clear definition of "full representation" or "autonomy" for the Assyrian and all Syriac-speaking Christian citizens of Iraq.

A burning question requires an even more smoldering response. Let there be no mistake! Representing over 1.5 million Christian indigenous inhabitants of Iraq, Assyrians are prepared to endure the heat and take part in the power-sharing arrangements in Washington and Ankara.

Zinda Magazine


The Lighthouse


The famous Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, also known as Lenin has gone down in history as the architect of the most famous revolution of the 20th century- the October Revolution of Russia.

His dream was the creation of the world's first Socialist State. Lenin was the avant-garde revolutionary who adapted Marxist theory to the practical realities of a vast, complex and backward Russia.

Lenin specifically stated that: The basis of a Party is the correct expression of a Party view. In July 1900 while in exile Lenin started an All-Party underground newspaper, Iskra (Zinda). Lenin took the name from the Decembrist slogan: "Out of this spark (Iskra) shall spring the flame!"

Lenin was determined to use Iskra (Zinda) in a revolutionary plan, "Iskra (Zinda) must serve to create a Party!" he boldly stated. Iskra (Zinda) was smuggled into Russia by undercover 'agents' who were personally instructed to organise and coordinate an underground party network in the factories,` social-democratic, local committee and study circles all over Russia.

The first issue of Iskra (Zinda) appeared, December 1900, with the secret help of German Social-Democrats, copies are smuggled into Russia inside shoes, books, toys, ladies corsets, and waistcoats.

For the first time in history, a leadership in exile really works together with scattered revolutionaries back home. The importance of Iskra (Zinda) is that it acts as the "Backbone of Party Organization."

Little did Lenin realise that these humble beginnings would lead onto the October Revolution of 1917 which would forever change the shape of the world. Although it could be argued that Communism eventually failed, nevertheless the revolution that it inspired was invaluable in moving Russia away from its monarchist form of government.

Over 100 years later Iskra (Zinda) should serve as a blueprint for a new Assyrian revolution. This new revolution will not be a violent overthrow of government, or an attempt to blindly follow a superpower in the hope that they'll grant us our own homeland. This revolution will not depend on another power to "guide" or "protect" the Assyrian people.

This revolution will be a cultural and social revolution that will lay the groundwork needed in order to tackle the four major problems facing the Assyrian people worldwide.

These problems can be summarised in broad brushstrokes under the following categories:

1. Political (Middle East)

2. Economic (Middle East)

3. Social (Diaspora)

4. Identity (Diaspora)

These problems are so vast that it will require many years and organisation effort in order to address begin to address them.

Yet the first steps in the revolution are already clearly marked for us to follow. Following in the footsteps of Lenin, the groundwork is currently being laid by Assyrians around the globe in the shape of Assyrian owned and controlled media.

As a result Assyrian media groups have begun to spring up and co-ordinate their efforts and have since 1995 acted as a unifying platform to co-ordinate Assyrian organisations, media and activists worldwide.

That's right.

The revolution has already started and is currently taken on the form of the Tammuz project.

Won't you join the Assyrian Revolution?

David Chibo

Introducing Lenin and the Russian Revolution, Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate (pp 57-61)

[Mr. Chibo sits on the editorial team of Nakosha Magazine. Zinda Magazine is the corporate sponsor of this fine monthly Assyrian publication from Australia. It must be noted that despite author's adept comparisons of the October Revolution and the Tammuz Project, Zinda and Nakosha magazines by no means subscribe to any Marxist ideals. To learn more about Tammuz Project please visit www.tammuz.org].



Courtesy of Dow Jones International News & BBC Monitoring (Dec 11)

(ZNDA: Vatican City) Pope John Paul II called last Tuesday for an end to the embargo on Iraq and said the Church would share in the "unjustly inflicted" suffering of Iraqis on Friday, a day of fasting for Catholics. "I implore the Lord to enlighten the understanding and hearts of those nations responsible (for the embargo), so that they may open in favor of re-establishing a just and lasting peace in this region," John Paul told prelates of the Chaldean Catholic Church visiting from Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Turkey and the U.S.

The pope has frequently called for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions which were imposed against Iraq by the U.N. after Baghdad invaded Kuwait in 1990. U.N. resolutions say the sanctions can't be lifted until the U.N. Security Council is convinced Iraq has rid itself of its weapons of mass destruction. While many countries have pressed to lift the sanctions, the U.S. has refused, seeing the embargo as key to preventing the Iraqi government from threatening its neighbors. The pope didn't mention the U.S. by name in his comments.

John Paul invited Catholics around the world to make last Friday a day of fasting and to pray for peace and justice in the world in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He has noted the day falls in the holy month of Ramadan, the month-long holiday of fasting and purification for Muslims. He said the fast would also enable the Catholic faithful to know what it's like to suffer and be closer to those who are deprived of food.

News Digest


Courtesy of Sydney Morning Herald (Dec17)

(ZNDA: Sydney) Karl Suleman and his wife Vivian will be examined by the liquidator of Karl Suleman Enterprizes as early as January 2002 over their failed pyramid-style scheme. They will be allowed to sell some of their assets under a Supreme Court order made last Friday and the proceeds of those asset sales are to go into the trust account run by the liquidator to the failed Karl Suleman Enterprizes. Mr. Suleman's personal assets include suburbs properties, a Ferrari and a Lamborghini cars and some aircrafts.

Mr Suleman raised more than $130 million from members of the Assyrian community and more than 2000 others during the past 18 months. The scheme promised returns of up to 16 per cent a month on parcels of cash of more than $25,000, and money from new investors was used to pay old investors.

About $65 million is now missing. Another $45 million has been returned to original investors and another $20 million-odd is estimated to be recoverable from Mr. Suleman's group and personal assets. That includes loans to the Froggy Group companies of about $13 million.

To recover the missing assets liquidators Paul Weston and Neil Cussen have said they will undertake a "assive'"asset-tracing effort overseas, in particular North America and Asia. Tens, perhaps hundreds of Assyrian investors, are believed to be residing in North America. Mr. Suleman was present at the recent Assyrian National Convention in San Jose, California where he and his "bodyguards" were actively soliciting personal investments. Many of such investors had mortgaged their homes to invest in Mr Suleman's pyramid scheme.

Last week over 20 Assyrian investors showed up on the 11th floor of Sydney's CBD court behind Karl Suleman's legal advisor Suzy David. Ms. David is also the sister of Karl Suleman's business partner, Fred David. Mr. Suleman chose not to appear in court, just like he had chosen not to appear at the Karl Suleman Enterprizes creditors' meeting on previous Friday.

Sydney Morning Herald's Kate Askew writes: "With designer sunglasses perched expertly so as not to disturb her perfectly blow-dried and bobbed coiffure, David sat behind the horde of barristers and put her head down, taking notes as the matter was heard between ASIC and Karl Suleman Enterprizes, Suleman's company that housed his brilliant pyramid-style scheme…Walking back into the courtroom after morning tea break with her Louis Vuitton tote slung over her shoulder, David, who is known not only for her legal work but for her position in the Assyrian social scene, found a bursting courtroom and Justice Campbell already into the matter. Demanding that someone in the back of the courtroom get out of her seat, she then pushed the swivel chair back across the room and sat down to keep taking her notes. It didn't take long before the matter had been dealt with and, in her black patent stilettos, she headed for the door. But not before her sunglasses fell off her head as she bowed to the judge as she left the room (that must be why one never sees any of the legal contingent with sunglasses in their hair and certainly not in the barristers' wigs), sending another waft of her perfume around the court."

The Court set down the date for the hearing of a winding-up application by Australian Securities and Investments Commission for the Froggy group of companies for February 14. This includes Froggy Holdings, Froggy Mobiles and Froggy Music. Mr. Suleman owns some 60 percent of Froggy.com. The court barred him and his wife from managing corporations in the future.



Courtesy of Newsweek International (Dec 17); reprinted from article titled "Digging for Mysteries; Agatha Christie's life as an amateur archeologist" by Tara Pepper

(ZNDA: London) Agatha Christie has mesmerized generations of readers with gripping tales of murder and deceit, set in some of the world's most exotic locales. Her mysteries have sold more than 2 billion copies in 44 languages. But few fans know that Christie was an amateur archeologist who had firsthand knowledge of many of her fiction's settings--and that her characters were often based on real people she met in her travels. Watching archeologists, "the lure of the past came up to grab me," she wrote in her autobiography. "To see a dagger slowly appearing, with its gold glint, through the sand, was romantic."

Now, thanks to "Agatha Christie and Archaeology: Murder in Mesopotamia," an engaging new exhibit at the British Museum (through March 24), visitors can grasp the full impact that Christie's personal adventures had on her work. Her grandson, Mathew Prichard, who wrote the catalog's foreword, says that Christie first visited Baghdad in 1929 to escape "from quite an unhappy period in her life." (Her husband had just left her for another woman.) In Baghdad, she stayed with renowned British archeologist Leonard Woolley and his wife, Katharine, who offered their field assistant, 25-year-old Max Mallowan, as a guide. Seven months later--and despite her qualms about the 14-year age gap--Max and Agatha were married. Did she mind, he asked when proposing, that his profession was "digging up the dead"? Not at all, she replied; "I adore corpses and stiffs." Her ideas about marriage were more conventional. "A woman, when she married, accepted as her destiny [her husband's] place in the world and his way of life," she wrote.

Fortunately, she relished Mallowan's way of life. Each year until she was 68 and suffering from ill health, Christie returned to the Middle East with her husband for three months, roughing it in a tent and helping the crew clean and repair objects they found, sometimes using her own face cream to preserve the ivory. The exhibit includes some of the striking archeological treasures they unearthed over the years, many from Nimrud, the capital of the Assyrian Empire (now in Iraq), where Mallowan launched his own dig in 1949. There Christie developed photographs of life on the dig, which also can be seen in the exhibit along with her maps and drawings of the sites. In her spare time, she wrote classics like "Death on the Nile" and "Murder in Mesopotamia."

Joan Oates, a Cambridge University professor of archeology who was a young student on the Nimrud dig, remembers fondly how Agatha enlivened the little community. "Agatha loved rich food and paid for the extras and the cook herself," she recalls. "Water-buffalo cream was a favorite, and her publisher would send a whole Stilton at Easter." After dinner she would read a chapter from her latest novel or start a game. The expedition house in Baghdad was a lively center for entertaining. "A lot of interesting people came," Oates says. "But Agatha was shy. She would sit quietly in the corner after dinner, then years later one would read a book and recognize a conversation, and it would go back to a dinner party there 10 years earlier."

One of the highlights of the show, a first-class sleeping carriage from the Orient Express, had to be returned to Turkey this week. But the exhibit is still set up to look like the original dining service from the train, and visitors can experience its luxury and claustrophobia. Christie certainly did; just before Christmas in 1931, she was traveling to England when a thunderstorm washed away the tracks, leaving the train stranded. The fear and discomfort she experienced later metamorphosed--along with some of her fellow passengers, barely disguised--into "Murder on the Orient Express."

The similarities between her craft and that of her husband, who was knighted for services to archeology in 1968, were not lost on Christie. Unmasked as the guilty party at the end of "Murder in Mesopotamia," the archeologist Dr. Leidner, who was modeled on Leonard Woolley, pays his captor the highest compliment: "You would have made a good archeologist, M. Poirot. You have the gift of re-creating the past."

The exhibition goes a long way toward revealing Christie in all her complexity. Most important, says curator Charlotte Trumpler, it contradicts the belief that Agatha Christie was "just like Miss Marple, living in her home in England and doing lots of work in the garden." Christie's forays into the field may have stemmed from her desire to support her husband's career, but they had a profound impact on her own work as well. Luckily for millions of readers, while she was digging up artifacts, Hercule Poirot was summoned to Syria from London, and his own investigations took a turn for the exotic.


OBITUARY: MARYAM POLISS (Aug. 21, 1972 -- Dec. 13, 2001)

(ZNDA: Turlock) Maryam Poliss, 29, of Turlock died Thursday at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, California.
Ms. Poliss was a native of Tehran, Iran. She lived in Turlock nine years and was a laboratory technician at Doctors Medical Center, Modesto, for three years. She was a member of St. John's Assyrian United Presbyterian Church in Turlock.

Maryam is survived by her parents, William Khoshaba and Kana Poliss, both of Turlock; and son, Sargis Poliss of Turlock. A funeral will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at St. John's Assyrian United Presbyterian Church. Burial will follow at Turlock Memorial Park.

Remembrances may be made to St. John's Assyrian United Presbyterian Church, 450 S. Palm Ave., Turlock 95380.

Surfs Up!


"I read your previous article regarding Karl Suliman. I was very upset and annoyed with the publication. It was the first time I visited your site well you can imagine what I think of you and your magazine. I strongly recommend that you get your facts before you publish such rubbish in the future. You have no rights to mention people's names in the way you did. It's people like you we don't need in this community. It's times like this when we need to be united. The media has done enough damage; we don't need our own people to make it worse. In my opinion you owe Mar Melis and Miss Suzy David an apology."

Khanna Barutha

[Most other readers of this magazine, particularly those who are familiar with our objective journalism, will agree that our staff hold journalism objectivity as the cornerstone of our media efforts. Truth needs journalistic watchdogs, because Assyrian leaders, even those responsible for safeguarding our spiritual and political existence, may lie mercilessly if there is no one to watch over them. No Assyrian entity owes any recipients of Karl Suleman's "generosity" any apologies- neither this magazine nor ]



"I read with great interest the two articles that appeared in your magazine this week about H.G. bishop Mar Meelis Zaia of Sydney, Australia.

The writer of the two articles was aiming to exonerate the Bishop's role in this disastrous scheme. I kindly refer your readers to my article of last week that successful operators of "Pyramid schemes" must build an image whereby people will trust them and thus participate in their filthy schemes.

In our closed Assyrian society, the church and civic leaders are a good target for such operators. His Grace may have had good intentions to associate himself with Mr. Karl Suleman. But he should have been aware that the source of money , the 5% shares in Froggy Holdings, and the brand new car donated to him personally, or the school bus and more than $150,000.00 in cash donated to the church were all from the blood and sweat of our poor people who did not understand this very complicated scheme.

Most of our people in Diaspora have suffered for years until they made it to safe havens such as The United States, U.K or Australia. Assyrians are by nature decent, hard working and honorable people, but are at the same time simply trusting in such complicated business sophistications

It burns my heart to see these good people suffer so much and hope that this bishop and the other civic leaders who are involved in this scheme can sleep peacefully and clear their conscience from guilt.

Please accept my best regards and Idokhon hawe' breakha."

Shimshon Antar



"Your efforts are countless to get our scattered people around the globe the information about their community as truthful and as accurate as possible. There are minor details that are getting thru all the way to us, mostly typing errors (see church of the east report on Karl S.). Also in the latest issue on the home page it shows Turks' genocide date as Sept 15 and the report it self indicates different date as May 15 being the declared date.

My intention are nothing more than seeing your respected magazine among the best in the world."

George Gindo

[Zinda Magazine thanks its reader for the corrections noted above. The report on the Karl Suleman case was an official letter from the Church, therefore Zinda Magazine refrained from editing the report for grammatical accuracy. However, we have corrected our DATA error in last week's coverage of the Turkish Prime Minister's annoucement. At times, our crew edits official statements and reports from Assyrian churches and political parties operating in non-English speaking counties for grammatical and spelling errors.]



"In regards to the letter of Deacon Genard Lazar, I noticed the following line, "Making statements based on hearsay or sending signals of blame against prominent people in society could have serious legal results."

I hope Genard takes his own advice and apologises to me for "smearing" my name.

People who know me also know that if I were to state something I would gladly put my name to it.

I did not write the article which I have been accused of. However as a part of the Nakosha team we are currently working on a major balanced article in which we interview Mar Melis and Suzy David regarding this very issue.

It should be released in the December issue of Nakosha Magazine. Stay tuned…"

David Chibo
Nakosha Magazine



"I just wanted to inform you about our new section at ankawa.com (Muntadayat Ankawa) which is a discussion forum at Arabic language to publish and discuss every thing about our nation at Arabic."

Amir Almaleh

Surfers Corner


Det är inte bara i Afghanistan, som missionärer och kristna grips, fängslas och ställs inför rätta för sin religions skull. Detta händer dagligen i den påstått sekulära staten Turkiet, som är kandidat till EU. Missionärer förföljs och grips, polisen gör razzior mot kyrkor och församlingar, de kränks och förnedras.

Förutom detta förs omfattande hatkampanjer mot kristna och judar i moskéer under statens kontroll och med statens belöning.

Utövningen av islam och samtliga moskéer styrs i Tukriet av Diyanet Isleri Baskanligi, ett särskilt religionsministerium. Alla fredagspredikningar utgår från detta ministerium till moskéerna.

Dessa predikningar finns återgivna på religionsministeriets hemsida, www.dinyanet.gov.tr. Denna statsstyrda predikning, (Hutbe), är högaktuell och skapar hat mot kristna och judar. Så här lyder en normal fredagspredikan i alla moskéer i Turkiet under rubriken "missionärernas aktiviteter" (Misyonerlik Faaliyetleri).

"Ärade muslimer.

Islam är den sista äkta religionen och dess sändebud är Mohammed. Islam har alltid följt sitt ursprung till våra dagar utan att någon ändrat detta. Men, de andra religioner som sändes före islam och som kallas kristendom och judendom, har manipulerats av människor. Den heliga boken Koranen bekräftar också detta.

Gud har sänt Mohammed och det finns ingen anledning att tro på de manipulerade böckerna. Allah har sagt att Er räddning är endast om Ni förblir muslimer. Islam är den enda äkta religionen.

Med facit i hand vill de kristna sprida sin vantro till hela världen. De spenderar stora resurser för att nå sina mål. Kyrkomissionärer blir inte nöjda förrän hela världen blivit kristen. För att sprida kristendomen öppnar de skolor, sjukhus, bibliotek, läroanstalter för främmande språk, härbärgen för hemlösa och föräldralösa.

De hjälper de fattiga ekonomiskt för att sprida kristendomen. Därför kan en missionär komma i en läkares förklädnad, eller en sjuksköterskas, en lärares, en fredaktivists, en militärs eller någon som alltid springer för att hjälpa de nödställda.

Det är endast muslimer som inte känner islam, som kan bli ett byte för dessa missionärer. Eller föräldralösa barn eller personer med ekonomiska problem. Den muslim som känner sin religion lämnar aldrig islam.

Missionärer smutskastar medvetet islam och vår herre och vårt sändebud, Mohammed. De kan göra detta enbart genom sina ekonomiska resurser. Därför förhindrar dessa alla som vill bli goda muslimer från att bli muslimer. De försöker förmå de som inte känner islam att hålla sig på långt avstånd från islam. Just detta är deras verkliga målsättning.

Till sist vill jag avsluta med dessa ord från Allah. Ni troende, om Ni följer med de som fått andra böcker, (kristna och judar), kommer Ni att förlora Er tro och tillhöra förnekarna. Så här säger den heliga Koranen i sura Nisa 46, Maide 13, Al-i-Imran 100 och Bakara 120 om dagens predikan.

Kristna och judar blir aldrig nöjda om Du inte följer deras religion. Säg till dem; den enda sanna vägen är Allah's väg. Du blir inte frälst av Gud om Du inte tror på den sista uppenbarelsen, Koranen."

Detta är endast en ordinär fredagspredikan som de turkiska muslimerna matats med. Med turkiska statens hjälp och goda minne sprider religionsministeriet detta hat.

Det är därför man inte kan se tolerans gentemot icke-muslimer i Turkiet.

Det är därför 95 % av alla turkar kallar de kristna för gavor (gudlös). En gudlös innebär för muslimer något värre än vad vi kan ana, det innebär nämligen enligt ett exempel en som är beredd att bedriva otukt och ligga med sin mor och sin syster.

Det är detta hat som tillåter att 1000-åriga kyrkor som tillhör assyrier-syrianer, armenier, greker omvandlas till moskéer och även på ett kränkande sätt till djurlador, offentliga toaletter m.m.

Efter den omfattande jordbävningen i Turkiet 1999, tackade hälsovårdministern, Durmuz, nej till blodtransfusioner med blod från kristna greker för de som skadats under jordbävningen. Däremot godtogs ekonomisk hjälp och matleveranser.

Det är dags att lämna budskapet till Turkiet att nu är denna förföljelse nog. De människor som indoktrineras och förgiftas av denna hatpropaganda mot kristna och judar kan aldrig förväntas leva i fred med andra religioner.

Under historien har också visats att just denna typ av propaganda lett till folkmord och utrotning, såsom 1915 mot armenier, assyrier-syrianer och greker.

Kan någon föreställa sig att Sveriges ärkebiskop, K-G Hammar, skulle gå ut på detta sätt mot islam eller någon annan religion ? Ändå har detta skett i en muslimsk stat som betraktas som moderat.

Svenska och europeiska parlamentariker och beslutsfattare måste ta detta på allvar i alla sina beståndsdelar i den fortsatta dialogen.

Nu måste alla kräva att Turkiets löften motsvaras av verklig handling och inte av bara tomma ord.

För de som önskar ytterligare underlag, innehar undertecknade en stor mängd rapporter och artiklar som visar hur det verkligen förhåller sig med religionsfriheten i Turkiet.

Södertälje den 1 december 2001

Assyrian-Chaldéan-Syriac Association
Özcan Kaldoyo
Jakob Rohyo
Olle Wiberg
Järnagatan 6 B



Turkiets nationella säkerhetsråd hade de kristna i landet på sin dagordning den 7 december 2001.

I rapporten som presenteras därifrån uttalas att de kristnas avsikt inte är att sprida kristendomen, utan att splittra och separera Turkiet. Vidare att de gällande turkiska lagarna inte är tillräckliga för att förbjuda de kristnas aktiviteter. Detta betyder att Turkiets cirka 1,5 millioner poliser inte skulle förmå att hålla landets cirka 50 tusen kristna invånare till lag och ordning.

Därför har nu kommendanten för Svarta Havet, general Baki Onurlubas, gått ut i media med ett uttalande och varnat för hotet från de kristna. Han ber allmänheten att ringa till militären nr 156 och ange närhelst de ser kristna i Svarta Havs-området. Enligt general Onurlubas är de kristnas samhällsfientliga avsikter klarlagda, därför att de delat ut gratisbiblar i området.

Vidare har redan innan mötet i nationella säkerhetsrådet utgått ett dekret från inrikesministern till alla lokala styresmän, som lämnat dem fria händer att ingripa och stänga de kristna församlingarna och kyrkolokalerna. Detta dekret var bakgrunden till att den protestantiska kyrkan i Diyarbakir stängdes den 1 december 2001, varpå följde förundersökning mot församlingens medlemmar, totalt 20 st i Diyarbakir.

Det ovanstående har rapporterats den 9 december 2001 i tidningen Aydinlik.

Detta är ytterligare allvarliga hot och trakasserier, som kan komma att rensa de kvarvarande kristna i Turkiet. Efter general Onurlubas uttalande finns inte någon kristen i Turkiet, som inte känner sig hotad. De kristnas minnen är färska från förföljelser, etnisk rensning, mord och våldtäkter 1915, 1934, 1940, 1955, 1964, 1974 med flera.

I och med status som kandidatland till EU, har Turkiet ställts inför krav som man har att uppfylla om man har allvarliga avsikter med sin ansökan. Det turkiska etablissemanget har ställts inför ett vägskäl och har haft att besluta, om man ska gå den av EU begärda vägen eller om man ska hålla fast vid det rådande.

De nu och senaste tiden rapporterade förföljelserna visar att Turkiet valt att hålla fast vid det rådande, utan någon som helst allvarligt menad avsikt till förbättringar. Detta kan också bero på att EU och USA inte nog visat allvaret i de krav man ställt på Turkiet.

Det dagsaktuella hatet mot de kristna, endast 50 tusen i en stat med 70 miljoner invånare, sprids via media, såsom tidningen Aydinlik, utan att de kristna på något sätt får komma till tals. Man kan fråga sig vad nästa steg i denna upptrappning ska innefatta. Man bör inte överraskas om detta följs upp av turkiska påståenden om att man hittat vapen i kyrkor och att de avslöjade kristna haft för avsikt att hota landets säkerhet.

Undertecknade anser att läget nu är så pass allvarligt, att turkiske ambassadören bör kallas till UD och informeras att det som händer är oacceptabelt och att Turkiet kommer ställas till svars om någon kommer till skada.

Vi vädjar till Er partier att Ni framför kraftfulla protester till Turkiets ambassad.

Södertälje den 11 december 2001

Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac Association
Özcan Kaldoyo
Jakob Rohyo
Olle Wiberg
Järnagatan 6 B




Final Part

Preserving ‘Ancient Privilege’: The Assyrian Patriarch

The permanent settlement of the refugee Assyrian community and its political rights under the government of Iraq became a major concern to the League of Nations. Increased attention by the League emboldened the Assyrian patriarch to redefine Assyrian identity in more autonomous political and territorial terms—a transformation that was calculated to preserve the traditional power of the patriarchy.

Service in the Iraq Levies provided a means of income for Assyrian men and their families, yet it failed to resolve the question of the refugee community’s settlement. Various schemes were proposed by the British and attempted; none worked. In January of 1919, British officials sought to reward the Assyrians for their service against rebellious Kurds by creating an Assyrian enclave in the Amadia district near Mosul. To make room for the Assyrians, the British planned to eject the Kurds from their villages in Amadia. Yet the outbreak of the 1920 revolt prevented the implementation of this ill-conceived scheme. In 1921, the refugee camp at Baquba was closed and funds were distributed for the Assyrians to settle in the Dohuk and Aqra area. Many Assyrians drifted across the border to their old homeland to Hakkari, only to be turned away by Turkish authorities in September of 1924.

Subsequent Turkish opposition to an Assyrian presence within or near its frontier with Iraq created new pressures for both the British and the League of Nations. In October of 1924, the Turkish government protested to the League that the "artificial grouping of Assyrians" on its frontier would jeopardize good relations between Turkey and Iraq and threaten the safety of the Assyrians. With the passage of the Iraq Nationality Law of 1924, the Assyrians in northern Iraq were no longer regarded as temporary refugees, but Iraqi citizens. In response to this legislation and Turkish opposition, the League of Nations pressed for guarantees from the Iraqi government and the British mandatory administration for the political and religious rights of the Assyrian community. The League’s report for 1924 states:

We feel it our duty, however, to point out that the Assyrians should be guaranteed the re-establishment of the ancient privileges which they possessed in practice, if not officially, before the war. Which ever may be the sovereign State, it ought to grant these Assyrians a certain local autonomy, recognizing their right to appoint their own officials and contenting itself with a tribute from them, paid through the agency of their Patriarch. (Author’s italics)

By endorsing what it perceived to be the patriarch’s "ancient privileges," the League emboldened the Assyrian elite to resist the centralizing power of the nascent Iraqi state. Perhaps unknowingly, the League had adopted a narrative that did not necessarily correspond to the realities of Assyrian life and did not reflect the self-definition of most Assyrians, but rather one that specifically served the interests of the patriarch. The temporal authority which the Mar Shimun and the League claimed were primordial and "ancient," were in fact the result of recent changes in the community’s political status and, most importantly, the support of yet another foreign patron.

British patronage revived and inflated the temporal authority of the Mar Shimun and the Assyrian aristocracy--known as Maliks--which had waned during the wartime dislocation of the community. When the British sought to recruit the Assyrians for service in the Levies after the war, they purposefully cultivated the political authority of the Mar Shimun and the Malik elite. Acting as convenient intermediaries for the British, the patriarchal family organized recruiting campaigns among the destitute Assyrian refugees. Most Maliks and their sons received commissions as officers. Because the power of the patriarch depended to a large extent upon the geographic concentration of the community, the Levies became an ideal way to strengthen and preserve the channels of his political power.

The impending termination of the mandate, signified by the Anglo-Iraq Treaty of 1930, created a dilemma for the religious elite by threatening to erode these new institutions of power. While Iraqi nationalists opposed the treaty, citing its preservation of British access to Iraq, the Assyrian elite perceived the treaty as paving the way for Sunni Arab domination. For the Assyrian patriarch, the treaty signaled the loss of an important patron, the elimination of the Levies, and the possible dispersal of his community under Kurdish landlords. Adapting to the new political environment, the Mar Shimun sought to preserve the geographic cohesion of his community within the boundaries of Iraq.

Efforts by the Mar Shimun to emphasize the homogeneity and autonomy of the Assyrian community culminated in the submission of the Assyrian National Petition to the League of Nations on June 18, 1932. This document--signed by Levy officers, influential Maliks, and the Mar Shimun--demanded Assyrian self-government in an autonomous enclave within Iraq and threatened a widespread resignation of Levy personnel. By rejecting both the immediate authority of their British officers and the centralizing power of the Iraqi state, the Levies pledged their obedience to the temporal authority of the Mar Shimun. Aptly termed a "mutiny" in British correspondence, this crisis was averted through a combination of British diplomatic persuasion and show of force. The Levies renounced their threatened resignation, pledged to refrain from future political activity, and promised to wait until December for a decision from the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission.

The National Petition was a significant attempt to redefine Assyrian identity in the context of the Iraqi state, yet it did not represent a broad consensus among the community about its place in the new political order. Instead of reflecting an inherent Assyrian incompatibility with the Iraqi state, the National Petition was the product of elite self-interest and a rising trend of factionalism. A growing opposition movement to the Mar Shimun had begun as early as 1930, with significant numbers of lower-ranking Assyrians willing to assimilate into Iraqi society according to the wishes of the Iraqi government. At its core, the National Petition was an attempt by elite supporters of the Mar Shimun to forestall the dispersal of the community by combining the language of "ancient privilege" with the fashionable terms of self-determination. After the independence of Iraq in October 1932, this reconstituted Assyrian identity proved to be patently intolerable to Iraqi nationalists and the fragile Iraqi government.

The Iraqi Nationalists’ Response

Demands for an autonomous enclave in the country populated by armed Assyrians presented an almost existential challenge to the Iraqi government. Yet its immediate response to the Assyrian National Petition of June 1932 reflects a division of opinion about the Assyrian issue, as well as deep fissures within the Iraqi power structure. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Said "regretted" that the lenient policy that Iraq had previously adopted toward the Assyrians "had become a reason for them to put forward demands, most of which are unreasonable." King Faisal, on the other hand, adopted a more moderate response. Although he did not concede to the demands of the Mar Shimun, he was willing to set up a waqf for the building and upkeep of Assyrian churches, and offered to grant a block of land for the Assyrians in southern Iraq. Faisal’s more lenient approach to the Assyrian issue would ultimately become a source of great unpopularity.

On December 15th, the League of Nations rejected the National Petition’s demand for administrative autonomy and urged the Iraqi government to facilitate the settlement of the Assyrians within Iraq. The Mar Shimun adopted an obstructionist policy, refusing to cooperate with the British-appointed land settlement officer, Major Thomson. He argued that a "solution of the problem cannot be formed in the carrying out of any plan that is entirely left to the discretion of (the) Iraqi Government and the ‘foreign expert’ appointed by it." Angered by this intransigence, the Iraqi government summoned the patriarch to Baghdad and presented him with an ultimatum. Iraqi Minister of the Interior Hikmat Sulayman demanded that the patriarch sign a written oath, dated May 28th 1933. The text of the oath reveals the extent of the Iraqi government’s frustration toward the Assyrian problem:

I Mar Shimun...do hereby promise that I will never do anything which may be an obstacle to the duties of Major Thomson and the Government of Iraq...that I will always and in every way remain one of the most faithful subjects of His Majesty the Great King.

Refusing to sign this oath, the patriarch was placed under house arrest by Hikmat Sulayman. King Faisal, in London at the time, opposed this measure, arguing that "if the Mar Shimun is detained against his will, the Assyrian insurgency could expand and Iraq will become weak externally." Yet this accommodating viewpoint did not prevail. Faisal’s absence from Iraq during the Assyrian crisis enabled more nationalist-minded politicians to use the Assyrian issue as a way to undermine the monarch’s authority. It also allowed his nationalist rivals within the Iraqi government to consolidate their control.

Having formed a new Iraqi government only two months before the Mar Shimun was summoned to Baghdad, the Hezb al-Ikha of Prime Minister Rashid Ali held a tenuous grasp on power. The party came under fire from its former allies, the Hezb al-Watani (under the leadership of Ja‘far Abu al-Timman) for its recognition of the Anglo-Iraq Treaty of 1930—widely viewed as a traitorous concession to British demands. With its nationalist credentials under attack, the Ikha government needed a way to restore its legitimacy, divert public attention, and restore relations with the Watani party. The Assyrian problem provided this opportunity. Following Iraq’s independence, Ikha politicians exploited and encouraged popular resentment toward the Assyrians.

On the eve of the massacre, outrage among the Iraqi nationalists toward the Assyrians had reached a fever pitch. Perhaps the greatest source of loathing was the issue of the Levies. As has been mentioned, the creation of the Levies presented a challenge to the nascent Iraqi army, which Iraqi nationalists such as Sati al-Husri and Yasin al-Hashemi viewed as the embodiment of the country’s national strength. Britain’s purpose in maintaining the Assyrian Levies, these nationalists argued, was to prevent the expansion of an indigenous Iraqi army. As early 1923, the nationalist newspaper al-Asimah called for the disbandment of the Assyrian Levies and the addition of an equivalent number of men to the Iraqi Army. By 1933, feelings of professional rivalry and jealousy by Iraqi army officers toward the British-sponsored Assyrian Levies had escalated. As General Rowan-Robinson, head of the British Military Mission in Baghdad stated, the Iraqis, "have always feared as well as hated the Assyrians. They have continually heard the British broadcast the superiority of the latter over the Arabs as soldiers."

The nationalist press used the issue of the Assyrians to promote an anti-imperialist agenda prior to and after the massacre. The July 30, 1933 edition of al-Ahali editorialized on Britain’s patronage of the Assyrians:

We do not agree that our country should alone remain a field for mischief-making and a toy in the hands of foreigners. Britain should be made to understand that the policy of ‘divide and rule,’ which she pursued in the past, is a policy of the past.

Other newspapers, such as al-Istiqlal and al-Ikha al-Watani, echoed this sentiment, arguing that Britain deliberately fostered unrest and disaffection among the Assyrians as a way to keep Iraq weak. Such anti-imperial fervor was not confined to Iraq; the Palestinian newspaper Falastin argued that Britain played an active role in fomenting the Assyrian "uprising" of August 1933.

Prior to the massacre of August, the Iraqi government attempted to foster a split between prominent Assyrian religious leaders and the Mar Shimun. On July 10th, the Iraqi government mutassarif for Mosul, Kahlil Azmi Beg, called a meeting of Assyrian Maliks in Mosul to reiterate once more the government’s policy of rejecting the patriarch’s demands for temporal authority. "You who are present, and who are older than he," the mutassarif urged the attendees, "should advise him to submit to the Government." This important speech also contains a veiled threat of government retaliation against continued Assyrian intransigence:

The long patience of the Government towards some of the Assyrians of fractious temperament and the leniency shown to them, despite their deviation from the lawful path, is only founded on feelings of humanity towards parties of refugees who have settled in its country. But this does not mean that the Government will remain lenient further, since those ungrateful persons who continue misleading do not deserve to receive good.

At this meeting, Lieutenant Colonel R.S. Stafford, British Administrative Inspector for Mosul, urged the Assyrians to learn Arabic, assimilate into Iraqi society, and "get rid of the present spirit of aloofness." Yet at the same time, he intimated that Assyrian men might be able to move to Syria and find employment in French colonial armies.

After the meeting--possibly in response to Colonel Stafford’s comments--an armed group of 800 pro-patriarch Assyrians led by Malik Yaku, a former officer in the Levies, crossed the Tigris River into Syria. Having left their children and wives behind, this group later protested to the League of Nations that it had no warlike intentions. French authorities forced the Assyrians back across the Tigris, where they skirmished with Iraqi soldiers who had been dispatched to intercept them. Following the death of seventy Iraqi soldiers, an Iraqi force under General Bakr Sidqi carried out a wide scale massacre of about 100 Assyrian villagers at Dohuk and Zakhu. The worst atrocities were committed at the nearby village of Summayl on August 11th, where a machine gun company under the command of Ismail Tuhullah, an aide of Bakr Sidqi, massacred a group of unarmed Assyrians.

The Utility of the Massacre

The purpose of this paper is not to debate the extent of Assyrian civilian deaths at Summayl; the Assyrians claim 3000, while the British cite the figure as no greater than 300. The exact details of the event remain murky, with different versions put forth by various parties--the British, the Iraqis, the Assyrians, foreign missionaries, and the US State Department. Unsurprisingly, each account exhibits a pronounced bias. Yet even the most ardent supporter of the Iraqi position, Khaldun S. Husry, admits that the official Iraqi account of events is a "barefaced and clumsy lie."

Most controversy surrounding the massacre centered on Bakr Sidqi’s responsibility for the massacre and the involvement of the central government in Baghdad. Despite Husry’s arguments to the contrary, there is a strong likelihood that Bakr Sidqi ordered the killing, with the implicit consent of Iraqi Minister of the Interior Hikmat Sulayman and the Ikha government.

Since the massacre was linked to the central government, several key questions emerge. How was the massacre utilized by Iraqi nationalists? What indications does it give us about the growth of nationalism and the process of state-building in Iraq? How did it set a precedent for future relations between the Iraqi government and the country’s various sects and ethnic groups? As historian Mark Levene argues in his study of massacres in history, "A massacre is a statement—less of a state whose power is unfettered but one whose power is diffused, fragmented, or unsure of itself." The response of the Iraqi government to the Assyrian threat should therefore be viewed as, simultaneously, an anti-imperialist statement directed at the British and an exhibition of state power by a fragile and immature government.

The return of Bakr Sidqi’s army to Baghdad provides a revealing glimpse of the popular mood of anti-imperialism following the Assyrian massacre. A US State Department dispatch from Baghdad on August 30th describes military parades for the victorious army, soldiers showered with rose water and flowers, and--more ominously--the lynching of a discharged Assyrian Levy officer by an angry crowd. Leaflets dropped by Iraqi aircraft during the parade welcomed the army as "protectors of the fatherland," and condemned the Assyrians as "tools and creatures of imperialism." King Faisal’s son, Crown Prince Ghazi, became the object of popular adulation because of his endorsement of Bakr Sidqi and the Ikha government. A common chant in Baghdad movie theaters and other mass gatherings was "Ghazi shook London and made it cry." In contrast, the ailing King Faisal, before his death on September 8th, watched his prestige plummet because of his moderate stance on the Assyrian issue and his ties to the British.

The Ikha government exploited this wave of sentiment to push forward several specific policies. The first was the passage of a bill for mass conscription—a move which had long been advocated by the nationalists, but had previously been rejected by the British and the majority of the populace. A speech by Prime Minister Rashid Ali in Mosul highlights the Assyrian threat as justification for the expansion of the army:

You no doubt now appreciate the country’s need for a regular force to build a strong foundation for our existence...Yes, the Army should be strengthened in order that it should protect our honor. Service in the Army should be made general and compulsory...Every one of us should share in the honor of performing this sacred duty, in order to fulfill the saying, "If you wish to be honored, be strong."

Following, the Assyrian affair, popular opposition to conscription--particularly among the Kurds--disintegrated. In early September 1933, forty-nine Kurdish aghas sent a petition to the government urging the adoption of conscription and expressing their thanks to the army for suppressing the "Assyrian insurgents." Given previous tensions between the Assyrian and Kurdish communities, this praise is not surprising. What is remarkable is that the Kurdish leaders, traditionally at odds with any government policy of centralization, should openly support the expansion of the Iraqi army. The fact that Bakr Sidqi was of Kurdish origin and that the majority of Iraqi troops involved in the massacres were Kurdish irregulars may offer a partial explanation for this enthusiasm.

In January 1934, the new government of Jamil Midfa'i passed the conscription bill, marking a significant step in the consolidation of state power in Iraq. This move, combined with Bakr Sidqi’s reception as a folk hero following the massacre, heralded the entry of military officers into Iraqi politics. Bakr Sidqi, conspiring with his longtime ally Hikmat Sulayman, overthrew the government of Yasin al-Hashemi in 1936. The army, as a vehicle for personal power, became a regular feature in Iraq’s unstable political arena for the next half-century.

After the massacres, the British administrative position in Iraq became increasingly untenable under a wave of anti-imperialist and anti-foreign sentiment. Bakr Sidqi’s operations against the Assyrian villages in August were intended as a demonstration of the army’s independence and a rejection of British tutelage. By excluding British officers from the zone of operations, he effectively rebuffed British efforts to control the young Iraqi army. Soon afterwards, the nationalist press demanded the arrest of "foreign intelligence officers" who had incited the Assyrian "rebellion." As implemented by the government, this policy entailed the execution of those Iraqis suspected of collaboration with British forces in Iraq. Yet it also provided a convenient pretext for the elimination of the regime’s political opponents.

Anti-imperialist policies of the government were not aimed solely at the British. The Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs complained to the US State Department in mid-August 1933 that two American missionaries working in Mosul and Dohuk had incited the Assyrians to rebel. "It is essential to get rid of them," the Iraqi government argued, "or at least to sever their relations with the Assyrians." In the post-massacre period, the Assyrian issue provided the new Iraqi government with a pretext to demand the removal of all foreign influence--agents, missionaries, and advisors--from the independent state.

To the utter surprise of the nationalists, Britain did not come to the aid of its Assyrian clients. British policymakers reached the conclusion that their security interests in the Middle East were better served by supporting the central government of Iraq. The British position toward its proxies is summed up in retrospect by the British High Commissioner for Iraq, Sir Francis Humphreys:

The fact must be faced that in this modern world--especially in the East--which has witnessed the growth of national aspirations and the consolidation of the authority of central governments, a minority must conform to the laws of the state.

Humphreys continued to shift the blame for the Assyrian massacre away from British policymakers, arguing that the "real villain" was the Assyrian patriarch and his "credulous well-wishers in the US and Europe."

Following the massacre, the British continued their endeavors to find the Assyrians a suitable homeland outside Iraq. In exchange for a large payment by the Iraqi government, France accepted 1,500 Assyrian men, women, and children into the mandate of Syria. But by 1937, settlement efforts were abandoned and those Assyrians remaining in Iraq eventually accepted Iraqi citizenship. Two developments undoubtedly hastened this process of integration: the deportation of the Mar Shimun in 1933 and the disbandment of the Levies in 1955. By dismantling the institutions of patriarchal authority and foreign patronage, the Iraqi government effectively removed two important barriers to Assyrian assimilation.


This paper has sought to challenge the conventional explanation that the confrontation between the Assyrian community and the new Iraqi government represented the inevitable collision of "traditionalism" with the "modernity" of the state. By examining the transformation of Assyrian identity from three perspectives--the British colonial administration, the Assyrian religious elite, and the Iraqi nationalists--I have attempted to show how Assyrian "intransigence" had a certain utility for the interests of each group. Each group, I argue, played a critical role in redefining the Assyrian community’s political identity.

The transformation of Assyrian identity during the period of 1919 to 1933 was thus the result of calculated policies by British policymakers and the reception of this patronage by the Assyrian religious elite. At the same time, the community’s conception of its political status--particularly its willingness to meet the requirements of Iraqi citizenship--was influenced by its confrontation with Iraqi nationalists. Although not representing a shared consensus among the Assyrians, the patriarch’s demands for increased political autonomy were perceived by certain Iraqi officials as a dire threat to the coherence of the Iraqi state. If armed Assyrians were allowed to resist government authority, these nationalists asked, might other ethnic groups and religious sects follow suit? Yet in many ways, the "Assyrian menace" was an exaggerated product of the nationalists’ insecurity and precarious political position. The suppression of this perceived threat became a means for the fragile new government to deflect internal criticism and advance its agenda of centralization, state-building, and conscription.

Beyond its tragic results for the Assyrian community and its subsequent enshrinement in the collective memory of the Assyrian diaspora, the massacre of July 1933 has an additional significance for post-mandate Iraqi history. It was instrumental in setting new parameters for political behavior among Iraq’s ethnic and religious groups. It demonstrated that the Iraqi regime was willing to use overwhelming force to subordinate communal loyalties to the identity of the Iraqi state.

Frederic M. Wehrey

Department of Near Eastern Studies

Princeton University

Primary Sources

Assyria Online. Homepage. 30 November 2000. <http: www.aina.org>.

Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party. An Autonomous State for Assyrians in Bet-Nahrain

(Mesopotamia). 30 November 2000. <http: www.bet-nahrain.com>.

Robin Bidwell, ed. British Documents on Foreign Affairs: Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print, Part II, Series B, Turkey, Iran, and the Middle East, 1918- 1939, Vols. 7, 8 & 9. Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, 1985.

Council of the League of Nations. Official Journal. October 1924, October 1933, December 1933. Microfilm.

al-Hassani, ‘Abd al-Razzaq. Tarikh al-Wizarat al-‘Iraqiyyah. Vol. 3. Sidon: Matba‘at al-Irfan, 1953-1967.

Royal Government of Iraq. Correspondence Relating to the Assyrian Settlement. Baghdad: Government Printing Press, 1933. Microfilm.

United Kingdom. Colonial Office. Report on the Administration of Iraq, October 1920-March 1922. London: HMSO, 1922. Microfilm

United Kingdom. Colonial Office. Report on the Administration of Iraq, April 1922-March 1923. London: HMSO, 1924. Microfilm.

United Kingdom. Colonial Office. Report by His Britannic Majesty’s Government to the Council of the League of Nations on the Administration of Iraq for the Period April 1923-December 1924. London: HMSO, 1925. Microfilm.

United Kingdom. Colonial Office. Special Report by His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Council of the League of Nations on the Progress of Iraq during the period 1920-1931. London: HMSO, 1931. Microfilm.

US State Department, Records on Iraq, Internal Affairs, 1930-1944, Series 890G. Microfilm.

Secondary Sources

Batatu, Hanna. The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq: A Study of Iraq’s Old Landed and Commercial Classes and of its Communists, Ba‘thists, and Free Officers. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978.

Browne, Brigadier-General J. Gilbert. The Iraq Levies, 1915-1932. London: Royal United Service Institution, 1932.

Coakley, J.F. The Church of the East and the Church of England: A History of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Assyrian Mission. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992.

Fuccaro, Nelida. The Other Kurds: Yazidis in Colonial Iraq. London: IB Tauris, 1999.

Hourani, Albert. Minorities in the Arab World. London: Oxford University Press, 1947.

Husry, Khaldun S. "The Assyrian Affair of 1933." International Journal of Middle East Studies, 5 (1974).

Joseph, John. The Nestorians and their Muslim Neighbors: A Study of Western Influence on their Relations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1961.

Kedourie, Elie. The Chatham House Version and other Middle-Eastern Studies. London: University Press of New England, 1984.

Kelidar, Abbas (ed.). The Integration of Modern Iraq. London: Croom Helm, 1979.

Khadduri, Majid. Independent Iraq 1932-1958: A Study in Iraqi Politics. London: Oxford University Press, 1960.

Killingray, David and David Omissi, eds. Guardians of Empire: The Armed Forces of the Colonial Powers c. 1700-1964. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999.

Levene, Mark and Penny Roberts, eds. The Massacre in History. New York: Berghahn Books, 1999.

Longrigg, Stephen H. Iraq 1900-1950: A Political, Social, and Economic History. London: Oxford University Press, 1953.

Lukitz, Liora. Iraq: The Search for National Identity. London: Frank Cass, 1995.

Malik, Yusuf. The Assyrian Tragedy. Annemasse, 1934.

The British Betrayal of the Assyrians. Warren Point, NJ: Kimball Press, 1935.

Marr, Phebe. A Modern History of Iraq. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1985.

McDowell, David. A Modern History of the Kurds. London: IB Tauris, 1996.

Omissi, David. "Britain, the Assyrians, and the Iraq Levies, 1919-1932." Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 17 (1989).

al-Rasheed, Madawi. Iraqi Assyrian Christians in London: The Construction of Ethnicity. Lewiston, UK: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2000.

Silverfarb, Danial. Britain’s Informal Empire in the Middle East: A Case Study of Iraq 1929-1941. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Simon, Reeva. Iraq between the Two World Wars. New York: Columbia University Press, 1986.

Slugett, Peter. Britain in Iraq, 1914-1932. London: Ithaca Press, 1976.

Stafford, R.S. The Tragedy of the Assyrians. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1935.

Tarbush, Mohammed A. The Role of the Military in Politics: A Case Study of Iraq to 1941. London: Kegan Paul, 1982.

Tauber, Eliezer. The Formation of Modern Syria and Iraq. Portland OR: Frank Cass, 1995.

Wigram, W.A. The Assyrians and their Neighbours. London: G. Bell & Sons, 1929.

Wilson, A.T. A Clash of Loyalties: Mesopotamia, 1917-1920. London: Oxford University Press, 1931.


Assyrian Surfing Posts

"Is Iraq Next?" - An AINA Report
[ http://www.aina.org/releases/2001/iraqnext.htm ]

October Issue of Nakosha Magazine
[ http://www.nakosha.org ]

Assyrian Babylon Radio from Denmark
[ http://home1.stofanet.dk/assyrian ]

Assyrian Midi Composers Exchange
[ http://assyria.nineveh.com/midi ]

Pump Up the Volume

Change SHOOKH / LA / PA
Masculine Internal Change: shookhlapa gawaya
Revolution QOO / YA / MA Masculine People's Revolution: qooyama aamaya


(Part I)

The Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) Australian Chapter held its Annual Gala VIP Dinner on Sunday 2nd December 2001, at the Assyrian Church of the East Reception Hall "Edessa Reception" in Sydney. Over 300 Assyrians attended this high profile annual event.

The guests of honour at this function were His Grace Mar Meelis Zaia - Bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East, Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, Senator John Nimrod - the General Secretary of AUA and Mr Youra Tarverdie - AUA Executive Board member. We were also very pleased that Mr. Ahmo Tarverdi arrived from the United State of America on the same day to join us at this memorable function. There were also a number of prominent local figures amongst the special guests including Cnl. Anwar Khoshaba - Mayor of the City of Fairfield, Mrs Khoshaba, Miss Suzy David - Deputy Secretary General of the AUA and Mr. Isaac Youkhana - President of the Assyrian Australian National Federation ("AANF"). The function was also well represented by various sectors of the Assyrian community and organisations in Australia.

The Master of Ceremonies - Mr David M. David, a prominent Assyrian and a well known personality among our Assyrian community in Australia, opened up the function. Mr David is a Chairman of the AUA - Sydney branch, and on the Board of AANF over the past eight years.

The program commenced with the Australian and Assyrian National Anthems. Followed by a warm welcome and introduction by the Master of Ceremonies. Mr David introduced the other speakers for the night, which included the Secretary of the AUA Australian Chapter - Mr Hermiz Shahen, the Mayor of the City of Fairfield - Councilor Anwar Khoshaba and President of the AANF - Mr. Issac Youkhana. His Grace Mar Meelis Zaia, also granted us with an encouraging update on the efforts of the Assyrian Church of the East and the progress on St. Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School, the first Assyrian School in the western world. Following these speeches, an active Assyrian youth, Mr. Brian Berro delivered a beautiful poem in the Assyrian language. Finally the moment had arrived to hear from our special overseas guests. Mr. Youra Tarverdie delivered a speech that was followed by Senator John Nimrod. Senator John Nimrod did not disappoint the guests and always delivered an inspiring and enlightening speech.

In between the speeches, the guests were entertained by a number of Assyrian National songs performed by two famous Assyrian Singers Charles Tooma and George Homeh. The guests were captured by the magnificent instrumental performance of the talented musician and singer, George Homeh. Robert Gewargis (Robbie DJ) was also providing entertainment and background music during the night.

An important part of program was the special award and presentation made to a few selected individuals in order to express the community's appreciation and gratitude for their hard work, dedication and contributions to the Assyrian community and welfare. Senator John J. Nimrod awarded plaques to several prominent Assyrian community members. Rabee Philimon G. Darmo was one of these recipient whose biography was prepared and presented by Miss David. Rabee Jacob A. Miraziz was another recipient who was introduced by Mrs. Carmen Lazar - Vice President of the Assyrian Australian Association and Deputy Principle of the Assyrian Saturday School. Another recipient was Mr. Lewis Batros, our talented Assyrian Artist whose biography and introduction was read by Mr. David. A Certificate of Appreciation was also presented to Mr. Sam Adam - Manager of the Assyrian TV (Channel 31) and the staff of Assyrian TV for their effort and dedication in bringing the standard of the production of the Assyrian program to a professional level.

Following the successful completion of the formal part of the program, the night continued with lots of fun and joy and dancing to the Assyrian songs performed by Charles Tooma and George Homeh, as well as mingling with the overseas and local guests.

One of the main objectives of the AUA - Australian chapter has been to bring the AUA leadership and executives closer to our Assyrian community. So, it has become our practice to invite Senator John Nimrod and a number of the AUA Executive Board members to such an important and high profile event. It has been a privilege for the AUA - Australian Chapter, to have Senator John Nimrod as its special guest over the past few years, not only as the General Secretary of AUA, but also as the Chairman of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) in the Hague and the General Secretary of the UNPO for Americas. So, we always take advantage of such opportunities and organise a number of other important events in Australia during Senator John Nimrod's visit. Our efforts this year included information forums, public rallies, get together and meetings with other community organisations and societies in order to provide updates on AUA's efforts at the international conferences, AUA's general activities, its progress and the general situation of the Assyrian people, particularly in the Middle East.

During his visit, Senator John Nimrod visited the Mayor of the city of Fairfield, Councilor Anwar Khoshaba to congratulate him on his third election as a Mayor of the city. Senator John Nimrod and AUA delegates met with representatives of various Assyrian political parties such as Awyoota (Assyrian Coalition ADM, ADO, BNDP and ANO). They also met with General Secretary of the Assyrian Patriotic Party (APP) - Mr. Nimrod Beto who was in Australia on an official party visit. A special gathering was also organised by the Central Committee of the Assyrian Australian Academic Society (TAAAS), in which Senator John Nimrod congratulated TAAAS on its efforts in the Academic arena and for its wonderful achievement to date. He also encouraged them to use their talents, skill and knowledge in flourishing the destiny of our nation in the future endeavours.

During this visit, meetings were also arranged with the Australian government officials, to discuss the situation of Assyrians at a global scale. It is only through these meetings that we can build strong communication and networking channels with Government officials and delegates who have a significant impact on our community. On Wednesday 5 December 2001, the AUA delegation together with the President of the AANF travelled to Canberra to meet with Mr. Michael Smith - Chief of Staff and representatives from the Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. A formal letter was submitted by AUA addressed to the honourable Alexander Downer (MP) - Minister of Foreign Affairs. The letter was in respect to the US policies on Iraq and the needs of the Christian Assyrians. Senator John Nimrod requested the Australian government to support this application and to involve Assyrians in any future solutions to the Middle East conflicts. He briefed the attendees of the recent activities of AUA and the general situation of the Assyrian people particularly in Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.

On Friday 7 December 2001, a political rally was held in Sydney at the Assyrian Charity and Educational Community Ashour Club (Ashour Club). Senator John Nimrod and Mr Youra Tarverdie were the main speakers at the rally. Mr Shahen, Mr. David and a number of other AUA committee members were also in attendance. Following the rally, the Assyrian Charity and Educational Community (ACEC) and Ashour Club held a special reception in honour of our overseas guests. The guests were welcomed by Mr Hormiz Karimi - President of the Ashur Club and Mrs Melanda Golani - President of the ACEC.

On Saturday 8 December 2001, our overseas guests together with Mr Shahen, Mr David and Mr. Ben Jabro traveled to Melbourne to be greeted by a number of prominent figures of our community in Melbourne and a working committee that had coordinated the Melbourne program in conjunction with Mr. Shahen. They were very excited that Senator John Nimrod could make a trip to Melbourne the second time around. The working committee had organised an excellent program for this visit which included a special dinner that was well attended by selected prominent community members and representatives of many Assyrian organisations and Churches. Attendees at the dinner included Father Tooma Gewargis from the Assyrian Church of the East, Father Nostoros from the Ancient Church of the East, Father Alexander from the Syrian Orthodox Church and Father Sargon Barcham from the Anglican Church. Discussions during the night were based on our nation in the next 50 years. The Master of Ceremonies at the dinner was Decan Antwan Eramia who welcomed all the guests and took the role of introducing all the speakers. Speakers impressed the attendees with their vision for the Assyrians and excellent thoughts and ideas for the future of our nation. It was indeed very encouraging and aspiring to listen to these ideas and visions for the next Assyrian generations. During the speeches the audiences were captured by the magnificent performance of the Assyrian singer Mr. Fiodor Nadjarian who performed a number of Assyrian National songs. They well also inspired by an excellent poem delivered by Mr Yaco Havil - the head of the Assyrian program in Radio 3-ZZZ

On Sunday 9 December 2001, due to time constraints the AUA delegation could only attend three Church masses held at The Assyrian Church of the East, Ancient Church of the East and the Anglican Church. In the afternoon of the same day, a political rally took place at Prince Philip Theatre - Architecture building at the University of Melbourne. Shamasha Yousif Pero opened up the meeting with one minute silence in honour of the Assyrian Martyrs, then he welcomed over 300 attendees that had gathered at this forum. The next speaker at the rally was Dr Yaghoub Sayad-Yaghoubi also known as Dr. Nardin. Dr Nardin was instrumental in establishing the working committee in Melbourne for this visit, whilst closely working with the AUA -branch of Sydney. Dr. Nardin is not only a well known figure in Melbourne for his involvement and contribution to the Assyrian community in Victoria, but also a very highly regarded professional in the academic arena. He recently commenced working in the Monash University, as Principle Material Engineer with the BHP - Monash Maintenance Technology Institute.

There were a number of speakers at the Melbourne rally including Mr. David, Mr. Tarverdie and Mr. Shahen. Senator John Nimrod delivered the key notes. Senator Nimrod delivered a strong message to the Assyrian community advising them on the worldwide significant changes that took place following the tragic event of September 11. For the first time in decades our nation has been provided with an excellent opportunity. He stressed the importance of unity amongst our nation to be able to peruse our national rights as one nation. An interesting issue that was raised at this forum related to the necessity of establishing an AUA branch in Melbourne. It was encouraging to see such spirit and high level of interest amongst Assyrians in Melbourne, particularly amongst our young Assyrians who show so much interest in the aims and efforts of AUA. In this regards we would like to thank all Assyrian Churches, political parties and organisations of Victoria for their support and respect particularly the Assyrian Youth Group of Victoria and the Youth Publication of Nakosha.

Hermiz Shahen
Assyrian Universal Alliance-Australia Chapter

Back to the Future

(630 B.C.)

The Assyrians believed that one of the causes of a toothache was the gnawing of a worm in the gums. The incantation for toothache was found on a tablet from this time in the Library of Ashurbanipal. Even today the phrase "eaten by the worm" is used to denote decaying of a tooth.

The Beginnings of Egypt and Assyria

(A.D. 1003)

An Assyrian church existed in the city of Zarang in the Sistan region in Eastern Iran until the invasion of Mahmud of Ghazna who destroyed both the church and the mosque in this city. Records show that between 1063 and 1072 an Assyrian bishop of Khurasan (northeast Iran) was in charge of the church affairs.

The History of the Saffavids of Sistan & the Mamluks of Nimruz, Bosworth

This Week In History

DECEMBER 23, 1881

Alphonse Mingana, Assyrian language scholar, was born in Mosul. Mingana was a controversial figure. He had drawn the conclusion from his Syriac sources that the conquered peoples in the near East were unaware that their Moslem masters had any kind of holy book before the end of the first quarter of the eighth century.

The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, Ibn Warraq


Calendar of Events


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


Dance Party




December 18

A Public Lecture presented by Georgina Herrmann
London Centre for the Ancient Near East
Basement lecture theatre, SOAS, WC1 
6:00 PM

December 25

Assyrian American National Federation, Midwest Region Proudly presents 

Christmas Party With Multi-lingual Performances by

Bandoleros (from Chicago) 
Albert Mansour (from California)

7:00 PM - 2:00 AM

Hanging Gardens Banquet 
8301 W. Belmont 
River Park

Admission: $15 
Dress Code Required!

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

December 31

Assyrian Athletic Club of Chicago (Winged-Bulls)
Entertainer:  Walter Aziz
Radisson Hotel
For more information call 847-486-1845

December 31

Assyrian American Association of San Jose proudly presents 
An unforgettable New Year's Eve Dinner Dance with Charles Tooma 
Famous Assyrian Singer from Sydney, Australia 

The Marriott Hotel 
46100 Landing Parkway 

Tickets can be purchased at AAA of San Jose starting November 24, 2001: 
Every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 
Every Wednesday from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. 

There will be a special priority purchase for AAA of San Jose on Saturday, November 24, 2001 from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. 

Ticket Price: 
From November 24th through December 14th 
   $75 member        $85 non-member 
From December 15th through December 29th 
   $80 member        $90 non-member 

Please inquire about the special Marriott Hotel's room rate and our Baby-sitting services 

January 16
La Societe Canadienne des Etudes Syriaques

"Women in Syriac Christian Tradition"
Lecturer:  Prof. Susan Ashbrook-Harvey, Brown University

University of Toronto
St. George Campus
8:00 PM

[Zinda Magazine is a proud Corporate Sponsor of CSSS.]

 March 6
La Societe Canadienne des Etudes Syriaques

"Resafa-Sergiupolis:  From A Roman Desert Castle to A Christian Metropolis"
Lecturer:  Dr. Stephen Westphalen, Univeristy of Gottingen

University of Toronto
St. George Campus
8:00 PM

[Zinda Magazine is a proud Corporate Sponsor of CSSS.]

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

April 15-19
Third International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East

Sponsored by Université de Paris 1
Panthon Sorbonne
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (UMR 7041) and 
the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Études (IVe section).

Purpose: To promote cooperation and information exchange between archaeologists working in the ancient Near East, from the eastern Medi-terranean to Iran and from Anatolia to Arabia, and from prehistoric times to Alexander the Great. 

Contact: Victoria de Caste, Secretariat,
email: 3icaane@mae.u-paris10.fr

May 1
La Societe Canadienne des Etudes Syriaques

"Bar-Hebraeus & His Time:  The Syriac Renaissance & the Challenge of a New Reality"
Lecturer:  Prof. Herman G.B. Teule, University of Nijmegen

University of Toronto
St. George Campus
8:00 PM

[Zinda Magazine is a proud Corporate Sponsor of CSSS.]

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


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