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Volume VII
Issue 17
July 3, 2001
return to zindamagazine.com

This Week In Zinda

  AUA At Marbella: Part 1 - “Sun Spots”
  Municipal Elections In Northern Iraq Marred By Threats Of Violence
Assyrians Visit Nemrut, Celebrate Adiyaman Church Foundation

MECHRIC Warns, Oppression Against Christians In The Middle East
Mesopotamian Tablets Go Online
Blue Suede Sandals, Elvis Sings Sumerian
Jahad Hakim, Successful Grocer Died At 82

  "There Is One Assyrian Behind All These Efforts”

Anthology Of Poems By Malfono Gabriel Afram

  Simo Parpola’s “The Assyrian Concept of God”
  A Collection of Contracts from Mesopotamia, c. 2300 - 428 BCE
Fred Parhad’s Sculptures
  Aprim Shapera’s New Book
  Faith & Religion
  Ashurbanipal’s Wife & the Dissension in the Church
  The British Arrive at Golmankhaneh



The Lighthouse

Part 1 of 3: “Sun Spots”

I was among three persons recently invited to make a presentation on “Assyrians and Human Rights,” at the 23rd Congress of the Assyrian Universal Alliance (May 15-18). The AUA meeting took place in Marbella, Spain (on the renown Costa del Sol). So far as I could tell, Mr. Praidon Darmoo of London, England, was the principal reason for the choice of this bucolic venue. Soft-spoken and gregarious, Mr. Darmoo is the AUA Secretary for Europe. Equally significant, he is the owner of Bahia Blanca, an apartment complex on the Costa del Sol. Mr. Darmoo very generously donated these premises to the attendees for the duration of the gathering; and throughout the week he capably saw to our needs at the meeting. All those in attendance - with one singular exception -- seemed quite happy with the arrangements, and grateful to the host for his generosity and his hard work.

Participants in the Congress included the usual Yank and Aussie faces, as well as less familiar ones from Tblisi, Yerevan, Tehran, and even North Iraq. A few of the delegates were accompanied by their spouses. Two Dutch Assyrians were among the observers, but the absence of any Assyrians from nearby France was palpable. I was interested to discover among the observers several Assyrians who have made their home in Spain.

Mr. Yonathan Bet Kolia, the impresario who had smoothly choreographed the 22nd Congress in Tehran (including the personal attendance of President Khatami), attended this Congress as well. Since our last encounter, Yonathan has been elected to the Assyrian seat in the Majlis, the Iranian Parliament. Definitely a quick study, he was still hard to separate from his cell phone; but in Marbella he often took to the microphone to deliver stentorian oratory. This culminated in his final peroration where he convinced the tiring assembly to select Gerbia as the venue for its next Congress.

Armenia’s delegation consisted of four persons: Pavel Tamrazov (President of the Association), Arsen Mikhailov, Leva Yukhanaev, and Gegham Iosipov. Pavel and Arsen had also attended the Tehran meeting in 1998. But Pavel had come to Tehran with a long-standing cardiac problem, and throughout his stay in Iran he was plagued with ill health and discomfort. Understandably, AUA organizers tried to discourage his attendance at this Congress, but he did not heed their plea. Sadly, on the first evening of his arrival, he experienced a severe cardiac episode obliging his hospitalization. As far as I know, when the meeting broke up several days later, one Assyrian Armenian remained in intensive care in a Spanish hospital.

Ivanov Ioseb was the sole delegate from the Republic of Georgia. As luck would have it, it was arranged for me to share an apartment with him. This paved the way for late night sessions, where I learned a good amount about our small Assyrian community in that country. Ioseb pretty much confirmed everything I had heard about the miserable living conditions prevailing in Georgia.

I was surprised to meet a man named Nimrod Baito Youkhana. I thought I already knew the political landscape of north Iraq, based on my visit there in late 1992, but I learned much additional information from Nimrod’s first-hand experience. Mr. Baito Youkhana is the General Secretary of the Assyrian Patriotic Party (APP), which is based in Dohuk (where he lives), but which also has branches in the Diaspora (although I have never been in contact with any of them so far). Heretofore, I had assumed that only one Assyrian political party exists in north Iraq. But Baito Youkhana reminded me that there are three Assyrian parties there: ADM (Zowaa), the APP, and BNDP-2 (“the smallest by far”). In conversation, Nimrod referred to the APP newspaper (Quyaman), and to ‘nilraq’. Throughout the Congress, Baito-Youkhana was an active and constructive participant. One of his mantra-like concerns was the future right of Assyrian representation in the Parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan. He noted that the 1991 election law provided 5 seats for the Assyrians, but the way it was written, it is only a one-time concession. In other words, it becomes critical to persuade the Kurdish political leaders to continue granting 5 seats to the Assyrians in future referenda. If the Kurdish leadership declines to do so, Assyrians would probably fail to win even one seat in any election at-large. It is interesting to speculate whether the crude name-calling by some American Assyrians directed at the Kurds is done with the deliberate intent to complicate the Assyrian-Kurdish entente in north Iraq?

The Congress began with a detailed talk by Sheik Mohammed Mohammed Ali of the Iraq National Congress. This was followed by three presentations on Assyrians and Human Rights, and capped off by Dr. Efrem Yildiz, Professor of Syriac and Semitic Studies at Salamanca University, who spoke on the continuity of our heritage. In the final phase, the AUA adopted several Resolutions, and elected its new team. We will touch on all this in a follow-up essay.

In a recent letter to Zinda, Ramin Daniels referred to the visit of an AUA delegation to the Republics of Georgia and Armenia, and to the delegation’s meetings with government officials in both these countries. This occurred a couple of weeks before the AUA Congress in Marbella. Mr. Daniels wants to know where these individuals got their mandate to represent the Assyrian people, since the Assyrian people never elected them. Mr. Daniels touches a quintessential point regarding political (or other form of) representation.

I am not a member of the AUA nor am I its authorized apologist; it is up to that organization to answer such queries. However, it is my guess that part of the answer lies in the fact that the AUA has never been based on the membership of individuals. I have not examined AUA’s initial Charter (1968; Pau, France) but, according to Article IV of the current AUA Constitution, the group’s membership consists of organizations from member countries. In other words, the AUA is not “the elected representative of the Assyrian people,” but rather the collective voice of its affiliates.

Francis Sarguis

Good Morning Bet-Nahrain


The following is a report from the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), submitted on July 4.
For more info visit www.aina.org/

The May 26th municipal elections in the so-called "Safe Haven" in northern Iraq were once again muddied by discrimination against basic Assyrian political, civil, and human rights. In a lead up to the elections, the predominant Assyrian political party in northern Iraq, the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM) sensed that the impending elections were jury-rigged and consequently prepared for a possible boycott of the election.

In the past few years, Behdanani and Sorani tribal chieftains have been at great pains to present themselves to the world as respecting political rights as well as diversity within their area of military occupation. In the recent past, international sympathy for the Behdanani-Sorani struggle for occupation of northern Iraq has greatly suffered on account of repeated accounts of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) persecution of the indigenous Assyrians. Fearing still greater erosion of international support, the Behdanani and Sorani political organizations proposed a meeting with ADM leaders aimed at ensuring ADM participation in the election process. The hastily arranged meeting was held prior to the May 23 date that the ADM was scheduled to issue a formal election boycott declaration to Assyrians in northern Iraq.

In a surprise reversal, however, the May 23 ADM press release instead urged Assyrians to participate in the elections. Recognizing no real chance for fair elections or proportionate Assyrian success in the pre-rigged election process, the ADM claimed that later integrating elections would increase Assyrian representation in the future. The predetermined outcome of the election materialized as predicted by Assyrian political analysts with overwhelming victories for Behdanani tribal elites even in some mainly Assyrian towns with the token exception of 3 Assyrian towns including the most prominent, Sarsing.

ADM participation was desperately needed by the KDP-PUK alliance since the smaller Assyrian political parties in northern Iraq had already been pressured into compliance. It is now widely believed that the ADM-KDP meeting was highlighted by overt threats of violence against the Assyrian leadership throughout northern Iraq. Fearing more assassinations of Assyrian leaders as well as unprovoked attacks against unarmed Assyrian villages and civilians, the ADM leadership apparently acquiesced under duress.

Already sounding the alarm, Assyrian leaders in the Diaspora have described this as "gun barrel democracy." In an interview with Mr. Abgar Maloul of the Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO), Mr. Maloul stated "Coercing political participation by threats is not consistent with democracy." He added, "Democracy is not a commodity to be haggled over or a privilege to be granted or taken away. Assyrians have inalienable political rights. Assyrians have the right to elect their own officials at any level of government. If those in northern Iraq do not appreciate that basic right, then how do they differentiate themselves from the government in Baghdad? We remain deeply troubled by reports of intimidation or threats against Assyrians anywhere in the region." Alluding to future action in the Diaspora, Mr. Maloul added that "It is unreasonable to expect Assyrians to remain silent in light of these reports."

Even prior to the overt threats made by the Behdanani-Sorani coalition leaders, some Assyrians spanning the political spectrum had been apprehensive about the contemplated election boycott out of fear of still greater reprisals by the PUK-KDP coalition. Assyrians were still vividly recalling the assassination of the Assyrian governor of Arbil, Mr. Franso Hariri whom most Assyrians suspect had been killed by KDP insiders intent on removing an Assyrian from political prominence within the KDP. In another example, in their 1995 human rights report on northern Iraq, Amnesty International squarely blamed the KDP in the assassination of an ADM leader, Mr. Francis Shabo, whose chief responsibility as a member of parliament in northern Iraq was the adjudication of land claims by Assyrians against illegal settlement by Behdanani and Sorani tribesmen.

As if to underscore KDP-PUK threats against Assyrian civilians, Behdanani villagers and security forces from Ozman and Naveshga surrounded and attacked the Assyrian village of Koso on May 17th at 2:00 a.m. There were reports of severe beatings requiring hospitalization. The exact excuse for the attack is not known, but the attack itself and the subsequent inaction by the authorities is believed to have been a warning to Assyrian leaders contemplating a boycott.

The attack on Koso is reminiscent of the earlier KDP attacks on the Assyrian villages in the Nahla region. In the aftermath of those midnight raids into Assyrian villages, KDP security forces continued to threaten Assyrian leaders until they signed a KDP drafted letter denying that such attacks ever took place. KDP tribal leaders were politically embarrassed when their primitive disinformation scheme was exposed with independent confirmation of the attacks by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

For years now, the KDP and PUK political leadership have struggled to reconcile two mutually exclusive currents in their struggle for occupation of northern Iraq - namely, their desire for an area of northern Iraq ethnically cleansed of its indigenous Assyrian residents and, their need to present themselves internationally as democratically respectful of Assyrian rights. Having failed at convincing Assyrian leaders in northern Iraq that Assyrian political rights will be formally and institutionally respected, the KDP and PUK have instead decided to threaten Assyrians into participating in a political process predetermined to guarantee a spiraling deterioration of Assyrian political rights within the very heartland of Assyria.


(ZNDA: Ankara) According to a report this week in the Turkish Daily News a group of Assyrian tourists referred to as “Syriacs” visited Mount Nemrut in the Turabdin region to attend a religious ceremony to celebrate the foundation of a chuch in Adiyaman, accompanied by Istanbul, Izmir and Adiyaman Metropolitan Filuksinos Yusuf Cetin.

Mount Nemrut (Assyrian Nimrod) is the site of seven statues belonging to ancient Greek and Persian deities. The heads of these statues have fallen down to the ground. The headless statues are an important source of attraction for American and European tourists to Turkey. They are sometimes called the "The Eighth Wonder of The World," and Mount Nemrut is climbed for its perfect view of the sunrise and sunset.

The Assyrian tourists were visiting from Europe and the United States. They were also accompanied by the Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan for Central Europe, Metropolitan Isa Cicek; and the Metropolitan for Istanbul and Ismir, Metropolitan Yusuf Cetin. The Syriac Orthodox Church in the province of Adiyaman was founded in the 5th Century and is served by Fr. Melki Urek, who was appointed last year.

Metropolitan Cicek commented that: "This is my first time in Adiyaman and I consider myself lucky to see this place, as I have no chance to see the same sunset and sunrise in Holland, where I live. The beauty of Nemrut is worth seeing and I shall mention this to our community and friends living in Holland.”

Nemrut Mountain is on the list of the Cultural Heritage of U.N. Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Metropolitan Cetin commented to the Turkish Newspaper that he believes “Adiyaman will have a great contribution to social and economic life, in terms of improving Tourism."

News Digest


Washington DC

Fax: (305) 858-3405

June 28, 2001

The Middle East Christian Committee MECHRIC, a coalition of several ethnic organizations and associations representing the American communities from Mideast Christian descent launched a year ago in Washington DC, expressed its concern "towards the recent escalation of oppression against the region's minorities"; In a press-release issued in the capital as a result of an evaluation of its members reports on abuse and suppressions striking its communities in the region, MECHRIC addressed the situation of the latter in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Sudan as well as other countries including Iran and Algeria. Based on the reports by its member organizations, MECHRIC underlined the following main crisis:

1) Egypt: According to reports by the US Coptic Associations and the various international human rights organizations, the mistreatment of the Coptic Christian community has increased over the past year. The Christians of Egypt, estimated at around 12 millions, were submitted to a systematic political and social discrimination over the past few decades. Recently, Coptic demonstrations initiated as a result of Church symbols bashing, were met with excessive Police and security forces violence. Anti-Copts violence in Egypt is not only generated by Radical Islamist forces, but also by Government agencies. MECHRIC expresses its serious concerns with regards the persecution of the Copts in Egypt, the largest Christian community in the Middle East.

2) Lebanon: Lebanese Christian opposition and Human Rights groups have reported an intensification of political and security repression of the Christian community at large (about 1.6 million) and of its youth in particular. This broadening of oppression, which started in the early 1990s, has reached an apex this past year with the resuming of abduction, torture and jailing of hundred Lebanese Christians and non-Christians, accused of being either anti-Syrians or pro-Israeli. In his historical journey to North America and his subsequent expressions inside Lebanon, Maronite Patriarch N. Peter Sfeir has clearly underlined the necessity for the international community to intervene to force Syria out of Lebanon. The Maronite Council of Bishops and many Lebanese Christian groups in exile have also called for the withdrawal of the occupiers.

3) Syria and Iraq: The Christian Assyro-Chaldeans, Syriac and others communities (about two million) are still submitted to forced Arabization and assimilation. The Baath regimes in both countries are pursuing a policy of cultural and eventually ethnic cleansing, by abolishing the native languages and dispersing the population across the land. In the "safe haven" in northern Iraq, Kurdish military groups have similarly targeted Assyrians with expropriation of lands, persecution, and assassination of Assyrian political leaders. Human rights abuses are systematic against the ethnic nationalist movements.

4) Sudan: As reported by world media and international monitoring associations; policy of Khartoum against the mostly Christian seven million Southern Sudanese is increasing in violence and scope. Slavery, ethnic cleansing and forced Islamization are destroying the ethnic fabric of the African Nubian communities of the South and the Central West.

5) Iran and Saudi Arabia: In Iran, the Mullah regime and despite the leadership of pragmatic President Khatemi, still maintains a religious apartheid system against the non-Muslims, particularly the Christians and the Bahais. In Saudi Arabia, the legal system systematically discriminate against Christians. By Law, Saudis cannot be Christians, by law, Christian foreigners cannot worship in freedom.

6) Muslim Minorites: MECHRIC also deplores the continuous oppression of Muslim minorities as well as Christians. Particular concerns is towards the renewed threats by Saddam against the Kurdish free enclave in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Baghdad regime is mustering forces to invade the no fly zone and commit a genocide against the Kurdish population, similar to the Halabja massacre in the 1980s. Also, MECHRIC expresses its concerns towards the suppression of cultural and historical rights to the Berber people in Algeria, and the assassination of Berber intellectuals, artists and families.

The Middle East Christian Committee (MECHRIC) calls on the international community and on the US Government in particular to raise the issue of survival, freedom and human rights of the Christians and other Minorities in the Middle East as an international question, and take the appropriate action. MECHRIC demands from Washington to apply the same parameters it has devised in the Balkans and towards the Palestinians, in all other parts of the region. For we, as representatives of three million Americans from Middle East Christian descent, will not accept to see American values and support not available to our mother communities in the Middle East just because they are Christians.

MECHRIC was formed in June 2000 with the aim of raising the profile of the concerns of the various Christian communities in the Middle East. Participating organizations include:

American Maronite Union
Arabic Baptist Church (Washington, DC)
Assyrian Academic Society
Assyrian Universal Alliance
Beth Nahrain National Organization
Chaldean National Federation
Christian League of Pakistan
International Coptic Federation
Iranian Christian International
Southern Sudanese Voice for Freedom
Syrian Christian Organization
The American Coptic Association
U.S. Copts Association
World Lebanese Organization (America)



Courtesy of Newsbytes News Network (June 28); by Ned Stafford

(ZNDA: Berlin) Last week, the first cuneiform digital library was launched on the Internet - a collaboration between University of California in Los Angeles and the Max Planck Institute in Berlin. Creators of the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI) are convinced that the site's launch (http://cdli.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de) represents a major step forward in global scholarly teamwork.

Peter Damerow, a research scholar at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, says: “the rich historical source of cuneiform literature" is spread out in museums around the world. This means only a few specialists able to spend a lot of time traveling and hanging out in museums are now able to view the tablets online. Damerow said: "Making these sources easily available by means of computer technology will fundamentally change the situation of a whole discipline."

The digital library, whose director is Robert K. Englund, professor at UCLA, now contains 3,200 tablets from the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin (http://www.smb.spk-berlin.de/vam/e/s.html). But tablets from other museums will be added to the digital collection, including the Louvre in Paris, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the Yale Babylonian Collection in New Haven (USA).

The project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Putting digital photos of the tablets online is only a first step. For those who never learned how to read cuneiform, the group is developing Web site transcription and translation tools. "In short, a hidden treasure of our cultural heritage will be made accessible by applying the power of information technology," Damerow said. He added: "The humanities are still hesitant to use the potential of modern information technology in order to solve old problems in a more effective way. Cuneiform literature is just one minor, but specifically convincing example of the enormous potential of the Internet if used as a new form of cooperation."


Courtesy of Reuters, July 2

(ZNDA: Helsinki) A Finnish academic whose quirky recordings of Elvis Presley songs in Latin have gained cult status has now put the King of Rock 'n' Roll back a few thousand more years -- with a record in the ancient Sumerian language.

Jukka Ammondt will on Thursday release his record featuring the rock classic "Blue Suede Shoes" in Sumerian, one of the world's oldest languages spoken in 4000-1800 BC in southern Mesopotamia, an area that now lies in southern Iraq.

"I'll be wearing a loin cloth and blue sandals," Ammondt told Reuters, describing his attire for the launch to be held at an international conference of Assyriology and Near Eastern Archaeology in the Finnish capital Helsinki this week.

Professor Simo Parpola, who translated the lyrics, settled for sandals in the song's famous refrain "Do anything that you wanna do, but uh, uh honey, lay off of my shoes".

In his version it comes out "but my sandals of sky-blue leather do not touch" or in the world's oldest written language: nig-na-me si-ib-ak-ke-en, e-sir kus-za-gin-gu ba-ra-tag-ge-en.

"I believe this record will give people an understanding of their roots and that we here in Finland respect those roots," said Ammondt.

Ammondt's Elvis songs recorded in Latin won him a following around the world and an honorary medal from the Pope.


Courtesy of the Detroit News (July 4); by Charles Hurt

Jahad M. Hakim, successful grocer Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Southfield man was giving, hard-working

(ZNDA: Detroit) Jahad M. Hakim, who immigrated to Detroit in 1949 and built a successful life as a grocer, died on Tuesday in his Southfield, Michigan home. He was 82 and died of complications stemming from a fall he had 6 months ago. Born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1918, Mr. Hakim brought his family to the United States so that his son, who was born deaf, could benefit from more advanced medical treatment and have a better chance at leading a normal life than if he remained in Iraq.

"My father is the traditional successful immigrant who worked from dawn to dusk," said his daughter Inaam Mansoor. "He put all of us through college. We all have advanced degrees. Sacrifice was his middle name." He started out learning the grocery business from friends and relatives and started his own store, called Freeland Market, on Six Mile in Detroit. Over the years, he owned and ran four stores where his customers knew him as "Jack." His last store was Kappaz Market on Jefferson Avenue near Grosse Pointe. Mr. Hakim enjoyed gardening and traveling and was a member of the Chaldean Iraqi American Association of Michigan.

Survivors include his wife, Fasiha; five daughters, Inaam Mansoor, Vivian Nalu, Susan Penrice, Kimberly Hawes and Bernice Hakim; two sons, Raad and Victor; 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Burial will be at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield.

Surfs Up!

“…I am happy to inform you that my book: "The Epic of the Tigris and the Euphrates," which was published in France recently, has just been translated into Arabic language and published in Syria, by the publishing company Dar-al-Hiwar, just one month ago. I am satisfied that our Assyrian people, who also speak Arabic language, can read this book. Here’s a short description of the book:

The Epic of the Tigris and Euphrates (L’Epopée du Tigre et de l’Euphrate)

The author leads us to the discovery of Mesopotamia and its civilisations which bequeathed us an inestimable patrimony and upset the fate of humanity. He puts us in touch with the Sumerians, the great creators, who cast a new glance over the universe. The Sumerians invented the first cities, established States. By their invention of writing, they admitted the Man to the History. Then the Akkadians took over. Babylonians and Assyrians continued to engrave the face of Mesopotamia. They developed astronomy, astrology, mathematics and law. The inheritance of this land, does not limit itself only to ruins or to objects in the shop windows of museums. It awakens our sensibility, our imagination. It allows us better to know our history.”

Dr. Ephrem-Isa YOUSIF

“I was delighted to see your article about William Daniel. I read your magazine as often as time permits.

I am sure that when you received the news about the music of William Daniel being played in Tampa Bay, you asked yourselves: how did those musicians find out about William Daniel? We are largely an unknown people, and our musicians don't have worldwide recognition. Then how did they discover William Daniel?

It must be clear to you that without an intermediary, and the moneys associated with his efforts, those musicians would not have come across William Daniel's music, especially that this music is in private hands, and not within the public's access.

The fact is that there is one Assyrian behind all these efforts, devoting his time and money to the promotion of the name of William Daniel and Assyrians.

This person is Dr. Oshana Beblis, from Miami, Florida. He invited me to this concert, but unfortunately I was not able to attend.

What your article and the St. Petersburg Times did not mention is that Dr. Beblis was asked to speak for the audience, which he did. Dr. Beblis spoke about Assyrian music, about William Daniel and about Assyrians. As he put it himself to me he said: "you know I must speak about Assyrians at every opportunity, because if not bit Pakken [I will explode]" Dr. Beblis said that the audience was very interested to hear about Assyrians, and they all applauded.

Doctor Beblis is conducting all his activities under an organization he named "The Society for Assyrian Studies." ”

George Yana (Bebla)

“May I add my comments to the articles by Fred Parhad and Peter BetBasoo with reference to Ross`s comparison of Assyrians to Nazis "not even Hitler got rid of so large a percentage of all Jews" is surprising. Were the Israelites in ancient times in millions? It is reported that SIX million Jews only were killed by the Nazi regime, that is just a few years ago compared to what happened more than 3,000 or so years ago. Dr. Kelly should see the TV documentary report by BBC aired today showing the atrocities and murders perpetrated by modern Jews in Palestine and Lebanon TODAY.

Certain Assyriologists describe the ancient Assyrians as cruel, even if partially true, that was over 3,000 years ago and not TODAY, in 20th or 21st century.

During ancient times the Israelites were not so innocent, obedient to God`s command "you shall not kill." The Old Testament records their cruelty and murders to themselves and others. Here are some quotations from Old Testament:

(And he (King David) brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrow of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through brick-kiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon) (II Samuel 12:31).

"Moses so ordered and 3,000 Israelites were killed (And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses and there fell of the people that day about three thousand people) (Exodus 32:28)

In Shittime 24,000 Israelites were killed on orders from Moses. (So Moses said to Israel’s judges: Each of you must put to death those of your men who have joined in worshipping Baal-Peor ... but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000 (Numbers 25:5 and 9)

25,000 Moabites killed by Israelites (Numbers 25:1-9)”

YP Youkhanna
Oulu, Finland

Surfers Corner


A Double CD (2 CDs) of Malfono Gabriel Afram’s poetry in the Western Dialect, masterly compiled and mixed by Nahro Beth-Kinne of Assyrian Voice Production (Qolo D’Suryoye) of Brussels, Belgium is now on sale.

The 20 poems on the CD have already been produced as songs. They are recited by Malfono Afram and then followed by the original song. Some poems are recited by the poet accompanied by background music. Along with the 2 CDs also comes a beautiful booklet that contains the lyrics for all the poems and songs.

Producer Contact Info:

122, Rue Des 2 Eglises
1210 Bruxelles
Tel: 32(0)2 230 7189

Our website will keep a list of names and addresses of people who would like to obtain a copy of this Double CD. Then we will ask the producer to send us the necessary amount of CDs and we will ship them to the individuals that have ordered the CD.

To order: http://www.bethsuryoyo.com/currentevents/GAfram/CDOrder.html




In recognition of the International Congress of Assyriology and Near Eastern Archaeology held this week at University of Helsinki entitled "Sex and Gender in the Ancient Near East", Zinda Magazine publishes the following passage from Dr. Simo Parpola’s monumental achievement in 1997 “Assyrian Prophecies”.


The solution to the problem lies in the Assyrian concept of God, which defined Assur “the only, universal God” as “the totality of gods.” Assur himself was beyond human comprehension. Man could know him only through his powers pervading and ruling the universe, which, though emanating from a single source, appeared to man as separate and were accordingly hypostatized as different gods. On the surface, then, Assyrian religion, with its multitude of gods worshiped under different names, appears to us as polytheistic; on a deeper level, however, it was monotheistic, all the diverse deities being conceived of as powers, aspects, qualities, or attributes of Assur, who is often simply referred to as “(the) God.” On the human level, the underlying doctrine of God’s “unity in multiplicity” mirrored the structure of the Assyrian empire a heterogeneous multi-national power directed by a superhuman, autocratic king, who was conceived of as the representative of God on earth.

Just as the exercise of the king’s rule was effected through a state council presided over by the king personally, so was God’s rule over the universe visualized in terms of a divine council presided over by Anu, the first emanation and “mirror image” of Assur. This council is referred to in oracle 9 and other contemporary texts as “the assembly of all the gods” or “the assembly of the great gods,” and it is described as functioning like its human counterpart, with issues raised by individual council members and decisions made after sometimes long debate. The human analogy must not, however, obscure the fact that the image of the council essentially was a metaphor meant to underline the unity of the divine powers and their organic interaction. Assur himself never appears as a “council member” for the simple reason that the council in fact was Assur “the totality of gods.”

The idea of God as “the sum total of gods” is attested in various parts of the ancient Near East already in the sixth century BC, and later in several Hellenistic and Oriental philosophies and religions (e.g., Platonism, Orphism, Neoplatonism, Hinduism, Tantrism). It certainly also was part and parcel of first-millennium BC Jewish monotheism, as shown by the biblical designation of “God,” elluhim, which literally means “gods. What is more, the idea of a divine council is well attested in the Bible and unquestionably formed an essential component of the imagery of Jewish prophets from the earliest times through the end of biblical prophecy.


Assyrian Surfing Posts

A Collection of Contracts from Mesopotamia, c. 2300 - 428 BCE

Fred Parhad’s Sculptures

Pump Up the Volume

Faith Hay/ma/noo/ta Feminine Haymanootee msheekheta: My Christian Faith
Religion Tow/dee/ta Feminine Towdeeta katoliketa: Catholic Religion



Aprim Shapera has recently reached an agreement with SAQI Books (London & Beirut), authorizing the latter to publish his latest work, “Assyrians in Iraqi Thought - A Case Study on Iraqi Mentality of Minorities”. The book is expected to be in market by Fall 2001.

Saqi Books (www.alsaqibookshop.com). is a publisher of Arabic literature and Middle East publications. Its decision to publish Shapera’s work marks an important first for Assyrians. Assyrians will finally become the subject of attention in a mainstream publication respected equally in the Middle East and in the West.

In his study, Shapera considers the converging variables, which in Iraq have produced a unique point of view. In evaluating the Assyrian minority - at present as well as in history - the Iraqi elite has consistently revealed not only skepticism, but pathological antagonism. After examining a long list of Iraqi writers - historians as well as political figures - the author observes a consistent attitude towards the Assyrians from 1921 to the present. Interestingly, this attitude seems to transcend any political regime in power, and it prevails among all the non-Assyrian elements of the Iraqi commonweal. In short, whether it is the Arabs, the Kurds, or the Turkomans, and whether it is Shias or Sunnis - all have a common vision of the Assyrians. Understandably, this synthesized vision of the Assyrian has also played inconsiderable role in the attitude of some current Iraqi opposition political parties and organizations. Shapera seeks to better understand the etiology of this persistent Assyrian image among Iraqis of all political stripes. He focuses his analysis of these sources on four particular aspects, namely, Religious/Psychological, Historical/Ottoman, Economic/Political and Internal/Assyrian.

In a separate Chapter, Shapera examines political parties as purveyors of Iraqi thought. He demonstrates that these parties generally ignore all the minorities (not only the Assyrians), because these are viewed as marginal in importance. Official party publications provide no guidance or consideration regarding minority groups, nor for the problems which may be unique to them. But unlike the other parties, the Ba’ath party has adopted a unique approach. Learning from its early mistakes of 1963, and benefiting from its longevity, this party has actually developed a policy towards minorities. The ideology underlying this policy is considered both in its early phase (through the writings of its godfather, Michael Aflaq) and in the ensuing phase when it gained power in 1968, as reflected in Ba’ath conferences Resolutions and in government pronouncements. In pursuit of this policy of accommodation, the government issued a number of edicts and resolutions relative to “Assyrian rights”.

This approach proved successful in the early 1970s with Mar Shimon’s visit to Iraq, followed by the recruitment of hundreds of Assyrians as new members and supporters of the Ba'ath party which culminated in 1973 with Malik Yako Ismail’s visit to Iraq and on that account few Assyrians Ba’ath members raised request to establish an Assyrian Ba’aht party. It was widely believed by Assyrians in that period that they would be allowed to create their own Army to secure rights to be given to them by the Ba'ath. Needless to say, this illusory attitude was deliberately encouraged as a means of, first, pitting Assyrians against Kurds and, second, of seducing them in order to absorb the Assyrians into the Arab nation, consistent with the so called “ Re -writing History” theory of the Ba’ath which holds that minorities, including the Assyrians, are simply a part of the Arab nation. The sole distinction, which is recognized is the religious one. Thus, Assyrians are merely “Arab Christian”!!, comparable, based on Iraqi thought prospective towards Assyrians, is the same as the Kurdish allegation that the Assyrians are merely “Kurds Christians”!!.

Recognizing that there are exceptions to every rule, and seeking to go beyond generalizations, Shapera examines some exceptional Iraqi perceptions, which to him appear more objective and progressive in viewing the rights of Assyrians and other minorities. He notes, however, that these represent no more that a very slight undercurrent, and they have proven politically ineffective in the face of prevalent Iraqi thought.

In his conclusion, Shapera sees the misunderstanding of Assyrian Case in Iraq as a fundamental factor for Iraqi animus towards Assyrians. The author calls Iraqi for better understanding of the Assyrian ancient and contemporary history and encourages them to clarify objectively the facts and circumstances, regional and international that engulfed the Assyrian people during and after World War I. He maintains that explaining the “Legitimated Difference” is another way of reminding the Iraqi people that they consist of rich but varied constellation of groups. Such an understanding is seen as a prerequisite to the elimination of the “Barefaced Antagonism” which prevails today towards minorities and Assyrians in particular.

Shapera’s latest work amounts essentially to a critique of Iraqi political thought rooted in tradition. His thesis is thought-provoking and likely to engender sharp reaction from some quarters of the Arab media.

Aprim Shapera visiting the ancient capital city of Nimrud
Northern Bet Nahrain (April, 1978)

Back to the Future

(660 B.C.)

Ashur-Sharrat, wife of Ashurbanipal, may have been the woman depicted in the famous relief showing the king and his queen dining in the royal garden.

(1968 A.D.)

The dissension which had begun in early 1960’s culminated in the separation of the Ancient Assyrian Church of the East and the Assyrian Church of the East. The “Ancient” church led by Mar Thoma Darmo of India opposed the hereditary succession of the church patriarchy, and the latter under the leadership of Mar Shimmun Ishaya adopted the Latin Easter and Gregorian calendar. The current patriarch of the Ancient Church of the East, Mar Addai II, resides in Baghdad, whereas Mar Dinkha IV of the Church of the East lives in Illinois.

This Week In History

JULY 8, 1919

The British Counsel and 200 armed Indian soldiers, in order to save the American Dr. Packard and 900 Assyrian women and children at the Governor’s complex in Urmia, arrive in Golmankhaneh Port of Urmia, Iran. The children were cared by Judith Khanom, wife of Qasha Yacoub and daughter of Qasha Orahim Moorhaj.


Calendar of Events


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


Dance Party




July 14

"For Such A Time Like This" (Esther 4:14)
Speaker:  Florence Eshagh-Sarkis
See June 26th Issue's SURFERS CORNER

10:00 AM- 4:00 PM
Bethel Church
1201 S. Winchester Blvd.

Donation: $15.00 (includes lunch, tea, coffee, and snacks)

For tickets please contact:
    Julie Aslan   (408) 267-9278
    Greenet Cannon  (408) 225-7469
    Nancy Issac  (408) 229-2100

(Absolutely No Children)

Until July 15

" Between the Tigris and the Euphrates: Mesopotamia" 

About 300 artworks on loan from Le Louvre in Paris celebrate the great civilization of Mesopotamia. The show spans different periods, from the emergence of the first villages of the Fertile Crescent during the neolithic period to the encounter with the Greeks and Alexander the Great. 

For more information: (2) 2361-0270

Closed Mondays!

July 22 

A festival celebrating the descent of the god Tammuz to the Underworld and the end of spring in Bet-Nahrain.  It is customary to sprinkle water on friends and family members, wishing for Tammuz' safe return to his beloved Ishtar.

August 7

A day to commemorate the Assyrian martyrs throughout history.

August 28 - Sept 3

September 19

The Zi-Pang Trio
The Kufa Gallery
26 Westbourne Grove

Entrance Free
Contact  fran@hazelton.greatxscape.net

November 8 thru
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

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 21-23

Sponsored by the British School of Archaeology in Iraq
British Museum's Clore Centre
Gt Russell St WC1

Cost To Be Determined

Contact Dept of Ancient Near East 020 7323 8315
or email:  TheBSAI@aol.com, tel 01440 785244.

Coincides with Ancient Near East week at the British Museum: 
"Whodunnit in Assyria. For full details contact: Sam Moorhead, Education
Department, The British Museum, London WC1B 3DG, tel. 020-7323-8432

November 24

Sponsored by Canadian Society for Syriac Studies (CSSS)
Five Lectures on the Origins of Syriac Christianity
Syriac hymns by two Church Choruses
Middle Eastern Food
University of Toronto
More information to be provided in the upcoming issues

Thank You!

Zindamagazine would like to thank:

Rita Pirayou


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