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Z I N D A  M A G A Z I N E
Neesan  10, 6750                 Volume VII                      Issue 6             Neesan 10, 2001

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Assyrian Interviews from SBS Radio - Australia
T H I S   W E E K   I N   Z I N D A
The Lighthouse Malfono Youhanon Qashisho
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain Northern Watch
News Digest Father Akbulut, A Free Man
Assyrian Man Arrested For Drug Possession
Assyrian-Chaldean Entrepreneur Dies in Costa Rica
Cyrus Gordon Dies at 92, Studied Akkadian
Surfs Up! "Jeez, give us a break!"
Surfers Corner Assyrian Refugees in Pakistan
Furkono Magazine
March to Remember the Genocide
Lecture:  Chicago Assyrian Dictionary Project
Literatus King Sennacherib's Mighty Works
Bravo Assyrian Day in Silicon Valley
Assyrian Surfing Posts Latest Issue of Nakosha Magazine
Foreigner But Your Brother,Chaldean Church in Belgium
An Interview with the Publisher of Zinda Magazine
Pump Up the Volume Jewel & Pearl
Back to the Future The Babylonian Astronomy and Nestorians in Yemen
This Week in History Mirza David Malik Spourghan
Calendar of Events Twin Lectures in Chicago
All blue links throughout this issue are hyperlinks to other sections on this page or featured websites


As the chief "Western-Syriac" literary interpreter of the modern Assyrian experience and educator, Malfono* Youhanon Qashisho can be considered as one of the most influential figures in the Assyrian literature of the last half of the Twentieth Century.  His writings created a power base from which many Assyrian political and cultural movements in Syria and Lebanon have emerged in the last four decades.

Youhanon Qashisho was born in the year of the Great Assyrian Exodus, an event which foreshadowed the fate of his and nearly every other Assyrian family for the next 100 years.  Born in 1918 in the village of Beth-Zebday in the Turabdin region of Turkey, he quickly demonstrated a great affection for the Assyrian language.  In Qamishly, Syria Malfono completed formal studies under the direction of George Ma'ilo, a learned deacon in the church.

For several years Malfono Qashisho taught at and administered the Assyrian schools in Qamishly and Aleppo.  His family then moved to Palestine, where his father ministered a church in Bethlehem.   In 1948, the Qashisho family returned to Syria and in 1970 Malfono moved to Sweden where he remained until his passing on the first day of Neesan 2001.

Malfono Qashisho's literary works in Assyrian language (modern Syriac) include over 200 poems, school texts, story books, and Assyrian-Swedish and Swedish-Assyrian dictionaries.  He skillfully recorded his nation's glorious past and today's challenges in his writing.  His children's stories include the Dolabani, Hammurabi, Ishtar, July/Tamuz, Mor Afrem, Sargon, Senharib, Shamiram, Stories from the East, The Tree of Raspberries.  While his school texts remain the standard of teaching Suryoyo-Assyrian in the Middle East and Europe, his impressive insight on the current condition of his people is nothing less than remarkable.

Malfono Qashisho wrote with a pen dipped in honesty and frankness.  Judging by the color of diction and imagery used in his poetry, it is easily evident that he placed great importance on the education of his people, the youth in particular.  Like his contemporary Eastern-Assyrian counterpart in Iran, Rabbie Koroush Benyamin, he was a dedicated educator whose pupils moved on to make significant contributions to the political and cultural heritage of their people.

Undoubtedly, years after Malfono Qashisho's death, generations of Assyrian students will continue to study his texts and nationalists will find inspiration in his literary sentiments.   For those of us who had the distinction of living during his life-time, the most important way of recognizing and celebrating his achievements should be the publication and the realization of his dreams in his poems, journal articles, and books.

Malfono Youhanon Qashisho was no ordinary man.  He will be sorely missed!

Wilfred Alkhas
Zinda Magazine

*Malfono = Malpana = Teacher or Rabbie
Dates and early biographical facts are courtesy of Beth-Suryoyo website.  For the children's recital of Malfono Qashisho's poem, "O'l Rehmat Itan" click here.

Zinda News From Northern Iraq

March 22-24:  The Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa) held its Third Congress in the cities of Arbil and Shaqlawa.  The ADM Congresses are held every four years in northern Iraq at which time a new executive committee is elected.  136 representatives met in the cities of Arbil and Shaqlawa to "stabilize the democratic practice, ideology and organization" and elected Mr. Yacob Yousip (Yonadam Kanna) as the new Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement.  Mr. Yousip's predecessor, Mr. Ninos Petyo, earlier had decided not to run for the office.  He will be working closely with the newly elected officers.   The following individuals comprise the new Central Committee of the ADM in northern Iraq:

Enwia Youkhana
Issaq Issaq (on reserve)
Issaq Zekharia
Narsay Warda
Nazar Hanna
Romel Moshi (on reserve)
Sami Issaq
Shmail Nanno
Sliwa Toma
Toma Khoshaba
Toma Talya (on reserve)
Yonan Hozaya
Yousif Pettros

March 29:  Yacob Yousip, the newly elected Secretary General of the ADM, meets with Masoud Barazani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party; and Jalal Talababi, head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

March 31:  Masoud Barazani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, offers greetings on the occasion of the Assyrian New Year.


(ZNDA:  )  Faced with a mounting pressure from human rights groups and an international campaign organized by Assyrians, Armenians, and Greeks, last week the State Security Court in Diyarbakir, Turkey acquitted the 36-year-old Father Yusuf Akbulut, a priest in the Syriac Orthodox Church of the charges that he provoked religious enmity by his comments recorded and published last October in the Turkish media.

At the final hearing on the case, the State Prosecutor declared that the analysis of a video recording of the priest's comments indicated that this case was "an issue of freedom of thought." Although Fr. Akbulut had in fact made the statements quoted in the Turkish press, the prosecutor observed, these privately stated opinions did not constitute a public attempt to incite hatred.  The previous hearings were held on December 21 and February 22.  At the third hearing there was a large Swedish delegation and two members of the German Parliament, along with other diplomatic representatives, and several members of the press.

The Court last year indicted Father Akbulut on charges that he had incited "racial hatred" during a private conversation he had held with a Hurrieyet Newspaper staff writer last October.  Defense attorney Abdul Kadir Pekdemir argued that certain journalists, who had tried in an unethical manner to contrive a sensational scoop from the clergyman's informal comments, had deliberately targeted his client.  Fr. Akbulut had testified that he refused to be interviewed and agreed only to talk to the journalists "off the record."  During this time the Armenian Genocide Resolution was under consideration in the U.S. Congress.  Father Akbulut's conversation was secretly taped by the journalist and later published in an article entitled "A Traitor Among Us" (See Hurriyet Newspaper-October 5 issue).

Dr. Gabriele Yonan, a Middle Eastern Scholar in Berlin, commented:  "The article in Hurriyet was published in direct connection to the recognition of the Armenian genocide by the French parliament. It is likely that conservative political circles, not wanting Turkey becoming part of Europe, were trying to disturb the negotiations by a provocation a court case based on the genocide issue."

Accordingly, with no proof found to substantiate the indictment the State Prosecutor, Oner Tuncay Ipek, who issued an indictment against him on October 18 asked the court to acquit the defendant.  If convicted of violating Article 312 of the Turkish penal code, Fr. Akbulut could have been jailed for up to three years.  The judicial bench required less than five minutes of consultation before announcing their verdict.  Many observers in the courtroom reportedly broke into applause when the presiding judge announced the acquittal.

"This is a very positive and important decision for Turkey," Pekdemir commented.  "I believe it can only help our relations with Europe, to emphasize the direction we are going to encourage and strengthen freedom of thought among all our citizens."

Following the hearing, Father Akbulut said that justice prevailed and that he had expected this decision.

He subsequently appeared before State Prosecutor  Since last fall, various foreign governments have tabled resolutions labeling the death of Armenians during World War I as genocide. Seen as a political ploy, the "genocide resolutions" have sparked a fierce debate within Turkey, where the government categorically rejects the accusations against its Ottoman forebears.

"Father Yusuf's release represents a triumph of grassroots activism in support of human rights," said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America. "Both here in the United States and in Europe, we are witnessing a growing impatience with Turkey's irresponsible conduct and, hopefully, an end to the cycle of impunity which has allowed - and at times encouraged - Turkey to violate human rights and international standards secure in the knowledge that there would not be any meaningful response from the international community."

German parliamentarian Monika Brudlewski said: "All of us feel relieved and we are content with the decision of the court, but we regret that it took so much time. Turkey obviously only reacted this way due to the international pressure."

Hamparian later commented: "the campaign for the release of Father Yusuf was a new high water mark for Assyrian American activists, who have emerged as forceful and effective advocates for issues of concern to their community as well as on those held in common with Armenian, Hellenic, and Kurdish Americans. We look forward to continuing our partnership into the future."

In its final recap of the trial, the Turkish News Agency for the first time used the term "Assyrian" instead of "Surani" or "Syrian" to denote the ethnicity of Father Akbulut.

Dr. Yonan explained in a letter to Zinda Magazine that: "The case of Yusuf Akbulut teaches us a lesson: that historical decisions sometimes are only possible when an individual has the courage and steadfastness to defend the truth at any personal cost.  As I said in my speech during the protest demonstration of the Assyrians in Stockholm in December, shortly before the first day of the trial, it is very easy to speak up for Christian genocide outside of Turkey, but it is dangerous even as to death to do the same in Turkey, where you can lose your freedom, your family, and even your life."


Zinda Magazine acknowledges the support of the following friends of the Assyrian people in their tireless efforts to help release Father Akbulut:

The Honorable President of the German Parliament, Mr. Johannes Rau
German Parliamentarians Monika Brudlewski & Mrs. Graf;  (Ms Brudlewski attended all three trials)
The Parliamentarians from the Netherlands and Sweden
The diplomatic staff from Great Britain and USA
The Human Rights Organizations
The Journalists covering the events
The Armenian National Committee of America
American Hellenic Institute


(ZNDA:  Chicago)  Ashor Odisho Jajou, 25, a Chicago resident, was arrested last Wednesday and charged with possession of marijuana after a police officer stopped his car for a traffic violation on the 700 block of Wood Hollow Lane. An officer found marijuana in the car. Mr. Jajou's court date was set for April 23.


Courtesy of the National Post; April 10

Joe Azaria, who has died in Costa Rica at the age of 71, was a pioneer in the world of supermarket tabloids. In 1954, with $14 and a $1,000 line of credit from a Montreal printer he started Midnight. Although he sold it in 1969, Midnight became The Globe, still the third largest selling newspaper of its type after National Enquirer.

Midnight dealt in gossip, UFOs and the tabloid art of taking one small fact and blowing it into a huge story. Headlines such as Man Bites off Ear and Eats it in Sandwich were standard fare. Many of the writers and editors at Midnight went on to careers in mainstream newspapers and on television.

Midnight seemed risque, although it contained in reality just hints at sex and no nudity. The raciest pictures were of women in bathing suits. It was a contrast to Joe Azaria's own life. He was a feature in Montreal night life for years and when celebrities visited Montreal he was on hand to greet them. Such visitors included TV impresario Ed Sullivan and world heavyweight boxing champ Rocky Marciano.

Joseph Amin Azaria was born on Oct. 9, 1929 in Baghdad into an Assyrian-Chaldean family.  His father, Georges, was a merchant who exported such things as dates and carpets, and imported luxury goods, in particular whisky.  In Baghdad, young Joe attended a Jesuit school.

Georges Azaria was prosperous as a financial advisor to Iraq's King Faisal, but he saw no future for minorities in the country so he left for Lebanon and then Canada, his second choice after the United States. The family settled in Montreal in 1949 when Joe was 19.

Joe held a series of odd jobs, including a stint as a waiter at a resort in Ste-Agathe, one of the jobs of the fictional Duddy Kravitz in Mordecai Richler's novel The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Ambitious, and from a family accustomed to success, Joe Azaria applied for better jobs, including one as a reporter with The Gazette. He was turned down and in 1954 started his own newspaper, Midnight.

The first few years of the paper were like something from a movie about a hustling entrepreneur. There were so many bills he would put them in a hat and have a weekly draw to see which got paid. Any creditors who threatened him were told they wouldn't even make it into the hat.

Midnight made it big when it stopped being a Montreal newspaper and went for the U.S. market. The editorial line changed and it began being distributed across Canada and the United States. It wasn't the only Canadian tabloid of its kind. There were at least two in Toronto, Flash and Hush, though they never attained the same success as Midnight. At its peak circulation in the 1960s Midnight sold 750,000 copies a week.

There was one famous lawsuit. In 1963, actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr. sued Midnight for $250,000 after the paper linked him with Christine Keeler, the party girl behind the Profumo scandal in Britain. Mr. Fairbanks went to Montreal to testify but lost the case when he admitted he knew Christine Keeler, but wouldn't say how he met her.

Joe Azaria was loyal to the people who helped him along the way, in particular the late Pierre Peladeau, his printer, who went on to found Quebecor Inc., the printing and media empire. Mr. Azaria also helped bankroll projects such as the Sir Winston Churchill Pub, which became one of the most successful bars in Montreal.

A rich man, he went on big-game safaris to Africa and bought a game farm south of Montreal where he raised pheasants, buffalo and white-tailed deer. Later, the 240-hectare estate was sold to the Peladeau family and it is used as an executive retreat.

He published four other tabloid newspapers, owned the Police Gazette --famous for the recurring headline Hitler is Alive --and started a successful weekly newspaper in Montreal called the Sunday Express. But it was Midnight that made him rich and, in its heyday, famous.

One of his few failures was the Daily Express, a daily version of his Sunday paper. It lasted less than a year.

In 1985, he retired from publishing and split his time between Florida and Costa Rica, where he helped set up a nature reserve. He was interested in farming and always maintained a vegetable garden at his country properties. At his estate in Ormstown, Que., he raised pheasants for restaurants in Montreal. In Costa Rica, he grew black pepper commercially.

Joe Azaria was an outgoing, quick-witted man who loved a good time.

He was married four times and had six children.


Courtesy of the The New York Times; April 9- by Eric Pace

(ZNDA:  New York)  Dr. Cyrus H. Gordon, a scholar of Near East culture and a leading expert on ancient languages, died on March 30 at his home in Brookline, Mass. He was 92.

Dr. Gordon's series of books on the ancient language known as Ugaritic was widely thought to have been his greatest scholarly achievement.

Ugaritic was used in coastal Syria, mainly in the 14th century B.C., and its literature reflects the many contacts that its ancient speakers must have had with speakers of Hebrew at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. It was discovered by the modern world in 1929, when Ugaritic inscriptions were unearthed by French excavations at the site of the ancient city of Ugarit, capital of the kingdom of the same name, in the west of modern Syria. Dr. Gordon published the first of his books on the language in 1940.

Dr. Gordon also gained attention in 1962 when he said he had determined that ancient Crete's Minoan tongue was Northwest Semitic or, broadly speaking, Phoenician. He said in an interview then that this conclusion was a distilling of his earlier theory that the Cretan tongue might have been Akkadian, a Semitic language spoken in ancient Mesopotamia.

The kingdom of ancient Crete attained its economic and cultural peak around 1600 B.C. It then broke down, but prospered anew after being settled by Dorian Greeks.

Dr. Gordon's conclusion about its ancient language was based on his study of an ancient Minoan script that scholars call Linear Script A. In the 1962 interview, he said his analysis of Minoan texts furnished new corroboration of his long-standing theory that the Greek and Hebrew cultures stemmed in common from a Semitic heritage that spanned the eastern Mediterranean from Greece to Palestine in the Minoan era.

That view conflicted with the conventional opinion of classical and Near Eastern scholars -- that the Greek and Hebrew cultures, though in contact in ancient times, had separate roots -- and Dr. Gordon's opinion never gained broad acceptance among academics.

Dr. Gordon also contended that Hebrew inscriptions many centuries old had been found at two sites in the southeastern United States. Those inscriptions, he further maintained, indicated that Jews had arrived here before Columbus. Frank Moore Cross, a retired professor of Hebrew and other Semitic languages at Harvard, said in an interview recently that Dr. Gordon was ''in many ways a great scholar'' but that this belief ''simply did not make sense.''

Cyrus Herzl Gordon was born in Philadelphia. After earning bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, he received a doctorate in Semitics there.

Dr. Gordon was professor of Near Eastern studies at Brandeis University from 1956 to 1973 and chairman of its department of Mediterranean studies from 1958 to 1973. He was a professor of Hebrew studies at New York University from 1973 to 1989, when he retired from that post. For some years, he was also director of N.Y.U.'s Center for Ebla Research. (Ebla was an ancient city in the north of Syria.)

His numerous writings include his autobiography, ''A Scholar's Odyssey'' (Society of Biblical Literature, 2000), for which he won an award from the Jewish Book Council.

Dr. Gordon married Joan Elizabeth Kendall in 1946. She died in 1985.

He is survived by his wife of 14 years, the former Constance Victoria Wallace; three daughters, Deborah Friedrich of Chicago, Sarah Krakauer of Williamsburg, Va., and Rachel Gordon Bernstein of Greenburgh, N.Y.; two sons, Noah, of Mansfield, Mass., and Dan, of Wellesley, Mass.; two brothers, Maurice, of Wellesley, and Norman, of Claymont, Del.; and 10 grandchildren.

“Glad to know you are aware of problems & are fixing them.  Zinda serves a great void for readers.  Not enough info. elsewhere for/about Assyrians.  Would like to see more recipes/local news.  Thanks for service.”

Tish Simon

Then how about a great recipe for the Easter Bread, Syriac Orthodox Church-style?

The Syriac Orthodox monasteries and churches around Mardin and Midyat start their Easter liturgy either an hour before midnight on Saturday or at dawn on Sunday, depending on the curfew.  After the service as with all other Assyrian communities, the Syriac Orthodox community plays a game similar to conkers with eggs painted red. Their Lenten fast has eschewed all animal products.

Breakfast on Easter Sunday is comprised of yogurt, cheese, eggs and milk puddings - and round, oval or plaited flat loaves of this mildly spiced bread. Similar recipes can be found in all Orthodox cuisines.

This bread recipe serves 4-6.

1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast (about half the normal packet)
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons warm water plus another 150ml
450g plain white flour
1 teaspoon ground spices (most importantly cinnamon, perhaps cloves and allspice too)
120g salted butter
big pinch bicarbonate of soda
1 beaten egg to glaze
optional blanched almonds to decorate

Beat yeast and half a teaspoon of the sugar with the 5 tablespoons of warm water. Leave in a warm place for 10 minutes or so to froth.

If you have access to a food processor, whizz the flour and spices with the butter (cut into small cubes) for a few seconds until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the bicarb and rest of the sugar, then the yeast mixture. NowWith the machine running, gradually add the warm water until you have a medium-soft dough. This takes anything from a couple of tablespoons under 150ml, to 5 or 6 tablespoons over. When the texture is right, exchange the metal blade for the plastic one and process until smooth and well "kneaded" (1-2 minutes). If you're not using a processor, rub the butter into the flour and spice mixture. Stir in the bicarb, sugar, foamy yeast and water. Then knead for about 10 minutes.

Put dough in a loosely covered bowl in a warm place until it has doubled in size and the surface has begun to crack. Then knock it down, knead briefly again and cut into three pieces. Form each of these into a ball. Roll the balls out into flat circles about 1cm thick and put on oiled baking sheets. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise again for 20 minutes or so. Before baking, press almo-nds into the surface in hearts, crosses, stars and flowers, or indent similar shapes with your fingertips, keeping the patterns appropriately crude, primal and ageless. Brush all over with beaten egg. Bake at 220-230C/425-450F/Gas 7-8 for 15-20 minutes.

The recipe was extracted from `The Independent Cook' by Jeremy Round.

Happy Easter!

Letter written in response to an article published in the last issue entitled "Museum Carves Out Room for King's Ego":

“What does she mean a room to "Sargon's EGO". A throne room represents the seat of authority and everything else which goes into building and maintaining an empire, including the care of its inhabitants. Is the Senate a room built for this nation's "ego"?  Jeez, give us a break...don't break us.”

Fred Parhad

“I was very disturbed when I read your interview posted in the last month’s issue of the Via Dolorosa. The interview in question was with Dr. George Kiraz, founder of the Syriac Computing Institute, under the title: "Assyrian or Syriac? Common language and heritage, different denominations."

As much as Dr. Kiraz is knowledgeable in issues relating to modern Syriac language, we have to admit that his knowledge in history in general and Assyrian history in particular must be somehow considered inadequate. First Dr. Kiraz stated, and I quote: "Aramaic was used by many peoples and nations. It was the native tongue of the ancient Chaldeans, a second language to the Assyro-Babylonians, an official language of the Persian Achaemenians..." unquote.

To put a sentence in the above way is very deceptive, for lack of words. First, the Aramaic language was the native tongue of the ancient Arameans before anything else, and everybody else in the Near East borrowed it from them, which Dr. Kiraz failed to mention. Then to mention that the language was the native tongue of the ancient Chaldeans, who had a very minor impact on the history of Mesopotamia (ruled 87 years only), out of all other peoples who used the language, raise many questions. Among historians, there are still unanswered questions regarding what the native tongue of the ancient Chaldeans was. One theory, only for example, state that the ancient Chaldeans were from Elam and they originally spoke the language of the Elamites.

later, Dr. Kiraz stated, and I quote: "In the context of Eastern Christianity, the term "Assyrian" (its native form in Syriac is aturaya, in Arabic ashuri) has been used by the members of the Assyrian Church of the East as an ethnic designation since the 19th century, and more so after 1900...." unquote.

The above is absolutely false. Here are two historical accounts and testimonies regarding the issue, we hope that Dr. Kiraz would refer to in the future before making such claims.

1. The Church of the East Patriarchal succession list contain the names of patriarchs who identified themselves as Atourayeh (Syriac for Assyrians) from the early days of Christianity. Syriac documents lists a Mar Mari Atouraya (Assyrian) between 967 and 1000 and an Mar Abd Eshoa’ II (Bar Ars) Atouraya (Assyrian) between 1072 and 1090, as Patriarchs. [Patriarchal list of the Church of the East]

2. The titles Atourayeh and Ashourayeh (Syriac for Assyrian) were in use in the 16th century, as the Dominican Fr. John M. Fiey admitted to in the publication of the "Eastern Syriac Church" translated by Fr. Kameel H. al-Yasoo’ai, Beirut, 1990, pp. 38. The names appeared in addition in a Vatican document in connection with the Christians whose Patriarchate had its see in Quchanis, Hakkari. [Odisho Malko Giwargis, "We are not but from an Assyrian origin" an article in Syriac, Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies, Vol. XIV, No. I, 2000, pp. 41]

There are many accounts attesting to the fact that the Assyrian name was used, ethnically, continuously from the fall of the Assyrian Empire till this very day. The accounts available to us today can fill a whole newspaper, but we believe that the above will suffice.

The national phenomenon in general, and in the way we understand it today, is a new concept to all of us, including to the Europeans as you are aware of. It is new to the modern Greeks, modern Turks, modern Arabs, and every other modern nation out there. Why insinuate that the Assyrians are the only ones whose national aspirations are of modern times unless there are certain motives behind such unfair claims?

I would appreciate it if this simple note is published in response to Dr. Kiraz's remarks.

Thank you and God bless you.”

Fred Aprim

“After the release of a recent report commissioned by the Turkish State Security Council , it appears that not only the Turkish government, but also the government controlled Turkish media has now taken a special note of the increasing activities of Assyrians/Syriacs in diaspora on the issue of recognition of the 1915-1922 genocide, and the ongoing human rights violations in that country. I want to bring your attention to an article that just was published a few days ago in the fundamentalist nationalist Turkish daily newspaper, Turkiye. This article was regarding the meeting between Syriac Orthodox Church Metropolitan Isa Gürbüz and the German President Johannes Rau. Although the article by itself may not be that significant, but very interesting enough, it was chosen to be printed on the first page right next to an article titled, 'Ermeniler hesap verecek', The Armenians will pay!! You may find it equally interesting that the title of the article about the Syriac Bishop's meeting was '?imdi de Süryaniler', And now the Syrianis (Assyrians)!!

In our ongoing effort to bring recognition to the past and present atrocities of the Turkish government, we are continually taking steps in forging closer working relationship with both the Armenian and the Greek people. I once again want to urge you to help our Greek friends by signing the Hellenic Genocide Petition urging the Greek government against the removal of the word genocide from a pending law. It will take you no more than a minute to complete the form. When asked about your affiliation with any organization, please identify any membership that you may have with any Assyrian organization, or simply write Assyrian American. I also urge you to take special notice to the letter from Archbishop Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece and notice that for the first time a person of his stature is mentioning the Assyrians.

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Dr. Racho Donef, a good friend of Assyrians for his continuos look out and masterly translation of the Turkish articles, and to our own Dr. Gabriele Yonan for the photo and her relentless work for the recognition of the Assyrian Genocide.”

Jacklin Bejan

On Sunday, Mrs. Bejan was re-elected for a second term as the president of the Assyrian American Association of San Jose.  Mrs. Bejan is also the chairperson of the Assyrian American National Convention to be held later this year in San Jose, California.

Courtesy of Wall Street Journal:  March 29 (Copyright (c) 2001, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)

“As an Assyrian American, I commend you on Nicholas Kulish's provocative and interesting March 12 page-one article on the Assyrian-Chaldean debate and the 2000 Census. You suggested, however, that "the first split for the two groups came in 431, when they broke away over a theological dispute." In fact the split occurred in 1552 A.D., not over a theological dispute, but rather a dispute over patriarchal succession.

You also explained the Syriac portion of the unified "Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac" category as symbolizing "the name of the Aramaic dialect that Assyrians and Chaldeans speak." Syriac is used by a large portion of our people including the Syriac Catholics, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Maronites, not solely in reference to our language but also as a term of self-identification.

The article asserted that Iraqi governmental intrigue was somehow involved in effecting the unified category of Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac, when in reality the official Iraqi policy has always been to distinguish between the various communities as distinct entities. Rather than attributing the sentiment to a dissident Assyrian view, it was attributed to Assyrians in general who were ostensibly concerned that "Saddam Hussein . . . supports visibility for Chaldeans in order to hurt Assyrians' pursuit of an independent homeland." You added that "State Department gurus had no advice to offer on how to count Assyrians and Chaldeans," when in reality the State Department, at that time preoccupied with forging a cohesive Iraqi opposition to the Iraqi government, in no uncertain terms asked that Assyrians not be split in the 2000 Census.

Perhaps a dozen mainstream Assyrian, Chaldean, and Syriac organizations including the Assyrian American National Federation, the Assyrian Universal alliance, the Chaldean Federation and the Syriac Universal Alliance supported the unified category. But the article leaves the reader believing the dissident view that these organizations in concert with both the U.S. State Department and the Iraqi government conspired to create the unified category in order to thwart Assyrian political aspirations.

In the end, the unified category was supported by Assyrian, Chaldean and Syriac organizations specifically because it most precisely reflects our current reality: that we recognize we are one people who currently identify ourselves by different names. There will always be dissident views, but allegations of foreign intrigue and conspiracies notwithstanding, the unified category will allow Assyrians of all types -- irrespective of their self-identification -- to work to respectfully and civilly debate such matters essential to our identity.”

John C. Michael, M.D.
Lincolnwood, Illinois


Open Letter to all Assyrian Organizations
From Bet Eil Church Welfare Committee:

This is a plea to all Assyrian political and social organizations to take action regarding the grave condition of Assyrians who have fled to Pakistan from Iran and Iraq, and are now stranded there. The government of Pakistan does not grant asylum to people who have entered the country illegally as refugees. Such people cannot seek employment and when the police learn that they do not have legal residence, they are apprehended and jailed. Our contacts whose identity we cannot reveal, have informed us that there are several Assyrian men languishing in Pakistani jails, and several others are living in hiding.

The Assyrian refugees with whom we are in contact have informed us that the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Islamabad has been very slow and of not much help in processing refugee cases. In fact in December of 2000 newspapers reported that more than 100 frantic Kurdish refugees from Iran who were seeking asylum in Pakistan, stormed the UNHCR office protesting the attitude of indifference taken by the UN officials towards the asylum seekers. The police confronted these refugees who included women, with tear gas shells and batons, and forced them to vacate the UN building.  Reliable sources among the Assyrians of Iran have informed us that several Assyrian families, who had fled to Pakistan in the hope of joining relatives in U.S.A., were forced to return back because of hopeless conditions of refugees in that country.

The Bet Eil Church Welfare Committee has sent donations to alleviate the dire condition of the Assyrians in Pakistan.  But donations are not enough.  Substantial legal effort is necessary to rescue these Assyrian families from their desperate situation in Pakistan.


Arianne Ishaya
Chair, Bet Eil Church Welfare Committee


Furkono Magazine is published bimonthly by the Assyria Liberation Party (GFA) under the banner of "For a Free and Independent Assyria."  GFA was established on 15 June 1995 and the first issue of Furkono was published in July 1997.

To subscribe to Furkono Magazine email or fax the following information to info@furkono.com .

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Furkono Magazine
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Dear Assyrian Brothers/Sisters,

I want to inform you about a 50,000-people demonstration the United Armenian Students is organizing for April 24. It will be held in the Little Armenia district of Hollywood, CA. We hope that the march will help bring recognition to the Armenian Genocide of 1915. We also hope to promote public awareness of all crimes against humanity including the Genocide of the Assyrians and Greek-Hellenes in the Ottoman Turkish Empire.

Please spread the word through your web page and e-mail resources, inform your communities, and join us on April 24 in Little Armenia. Below you will find our Press Release which has been sent to nearly all major publications and broadcast media in California and abroad.


Harout Semerdjian
United Armenian Students
Los Angeles


A march in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide will take place Tuesday, April 24th at 11:00 a.m. in "Little Armenia" located at Sunset and Hobart.

The march is an effort organized by the United Armenian Students (UAS) to promote public awareness of crimes against humanity and bring recognition to the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923 perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish Government.

"We must keep the memory of the Armenian Genocide alive to ensure that history does not repeat itself," said Harout Semerdjian, graduate of UCLA and history editor of UAS.

UAS is presently based in Los Angeles and represents Armenian students from more than a dozen schools in Southern California.

UAS members include students from UCLA, USC, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, Loyola Marymount University, Pepperdine University, Woodbury University, American InterContinental University, Cal State LA, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Long Beach, Cal Poly Pomona, Glendale Community College, Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles Valley College, Cleveland Chiropractic, UCLA School of Law, Loyola Law School and La Verne Law School.

In addition, a coalition of other groups will participate including the Armenian Church Youth Organization, Armenian Society of Los Angeles, Armenian Youth Federation, Gaidz Youth Organization and Usanogh Periodical of Armenian Students.

UAS strategically organized the march in Hollywood's "Little Armenia" district, which gained its inception last October due to the region's large and solid Armenian presence.

UAS plans to promote its spirit of student participation and public awareness of cultural diversity, human rights and other important issues through information workshops, historical evaluation and community-enrichment projects. April 24 will mark UAS' first public project in an array of future activities.


Now, eighty years after scholars began the enormous task of recording and defining the oldest written language, the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary is nearing completion.  It's a good time to reflect on the intellectual moment that inspired the dictionary project, on dictionary-making impulses in general, and on how scholars move from ancient cuneiform clay tablets to the modern printed and soon-to-be-online dictionary. Assyriologist Martha Roth, who joined the project in 1979 and is now editor-in-charge, will discuss the making of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary and what it has helped to recover from the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia.

See this week's "CALENDAR OF EVENTS"

Latest Issue of Nakosha Magazine

Foreigner But Your Brother, the Chaldean Church in Belgium

An Interview with the Publisher of Zinda Magazine (Part I, Part II)



Courtesy of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; March 31

When Nineveh needed water for irrigation, Sennacherib had his engineers divert the waters of a tributary of the Great Zab River. The canal had to cross a valley at Jerwan. An aqueduct was constructed, consisting of about two million blocks of limestone, with five huge, pointed archways over the brook in the valley. The bed of the aqueduct was sealed with cement containing magnesium.

Parts of this aqueduct are still standing today. Sennacherib wrote of these and other technological accomplishments in minute detail, with illustrations.

Sennacherib also built a huge palace in Nineveh, adorned with reliefs, some of them depicting the transport of colossal bull statues by water and by land. Many of the rooms were decorated with pictorial narratives in bas-relief telling of war and of building activities. Considerable advances can be noted in artistic execution, particularly in the portrayal of landscapes and animals. Outstanding are the depictions of the battles in the lagoons, the life in the military camps, and the deportations.

In 681 B.C. there was a rebellion. Sennacherib was assassinated by one or two of his sons.


On Monday, 26 March, around noon time, a historic event for the Assyrian community of Silicon Valley and perhaps for every Assyrian around the world, took place in San Jose, California.  On this day the Assyrian flag was raised among the flags of the other nations while more than 50 onlookers watched in awe.   They had come from different Assyrian organizations and churches.  They had put their differences aside and had come together to see this historic event: the raising the Assyrian flag.

The joy of being here was a rare emotion seldom felt in such cultural events.  People were happy for one common reason, the flag which represented them among the nations of the world.

The Master of Ceremony began the program by welcoming the attendants.  The Assyrian church representatives included the Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic Church, and the Assyrian Evangelical Church.

Santa Clara County Supervisor, Pete McHugh, was the first speaker.  He spoke very highly of the Assyrians:  “Thanks for coming here to add value to this land of opportunities.”  Rev. Shmuil Dinkha of the Church of the East called this a historic event "for our flag flies besides the flag of democracy [American flag]."   The the blessings offered by the Patriarch of the Church of the East, His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV; Bishop of the Chaldean Catholic Church,  Mar Abrahim Abrahim, and Bishop Mar Bawai of the Church of the East were presented to the audience.

Mr. Ninos Bebla of the Assyrian National Congress congratulated the Assyrians on this historic event and Mr. Sargon Dadesho's message.  Mr. Dadesho is the chairman of the Assyrian National Congress and had conveyed his well wishes to the organizers and participants.  He explained that our flag represents love, peace, and harmony.

Ms. Dorien Zaya spoke about Assyrian history and noted that there are three million Assyrians worldwide of whom 350,000 reside in the United States.

After the raising of the Assyrian flag, Mr. Pete McHugh announced that April 1 would be recognized as the ASSYRIAN DAY in Santa Clara County.

Tomy Doomany


BC (500)

The Babylonian astronomer, Nabu-Rimanni (560-480 B.C.) determines the solar year to be 365 days, 6 hours, 15 minutes and 41 seconds.  His accurate results were obtained without the benefit of modern tools and telescopes.  He used a water-clock to measure the days, five hundred years before the birth of Christ.   His work, "Observations of the Moon and the Stars", has since acquired a great fame in the history of science.

Contributions of Assyrians to Pre-Islamic Iranian Civilization, Yana  [Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies; Vol XIV,#2)

AD (597)

Yemen becomes a Persian province and Nestorianism is introduced there.  The Nestorians made an impression upon the minds of the Arab leaders including Mohammad when he came to formulate the doctrines of his new faith - Islam.

Early Mysticism in the Near & Middle East, Smith

April 14, 1909  : Mirza David Malik Spourghan, Assyrian poet and author, is elected the chairman of the Church of the East Committee in Urmia, Iran.  Attendees at this gathering included a bishop, a representative of the Patriarch, 20 priests, 12 deacons, 48 representatives of other Church of the East congregations and 30 guests of the Patriarch.


Apr 18

Co-sponsored by the University of Chicago Alumni Association and 
the Graham School of General Studies

Speaker:  Martha Roth
"Only Millennia Matter: 4,000 Years in the Making of the Assyrian Dictionary" 

5:30 PM
Cost:  Free
The University of Chicago Gleacher Center 
450 North Cityfront Plaza Drive

Contact:  Alumni Association   773-702-2150


"From Edessa to the World: Assyrian (Syriac) Revival and Continuity in Eastern Christianity."

Guest Speaker:  Professor David Bundy
Associate Professor
Christian Theological Seminary, Indiana

Assyrian National Council Lecture Hall
2450 W. Peterson Avenue
7:30 p.m.

For more information (773) 461-6633. 

Professor David Bundy is a renowned Scholar in the field of Syriac Studies. He is an Associate Professor of Church History at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN.  He supervises and oversees the
cataloguing of the largest Syriac manuscript collection in the world. The manuscript collection is located at the Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago. 

Prof. David Bundy has written and published an extensive collection of articles and books on various topics--most notable is his analysis of the cultural influence in Christianity and vise versa.

Illinois and Non-Illinois residents who would like to purchase a video taped copy of this lecture, please notify us by calling the AAS (see # below); or email the AAS at: [webmaster@aas.net]
Assyrian Academic Society
P.O. Box 3541, Skokie, IL 60076
May 6
Objects from one of the most important archaeological finds

The Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Avenue

Adults $8, Children $5:  includes audio tour and museum admission

May 24
KALU SULAQA :  Bride of the Ascension Festival

This year marks the 600th anniversary of the remembrance of the men and women who died in 1401 A.D. when Timurlane attacked the Assyrian villages near Nineveh.  Each year children dress-up as brides and grooms and go to homes in the neighborhood to collect sweets.

Nakosha "Assyrian Holidays" Calendar
May 25-28

Click on the photo for more information

Hyatt Regency Long Beach
Rooms at special convention rates
(562) 491-1234 or 1-800-233-1234
Reservations should be made no later than May 10th
Single and Double Occupancies $109.00/night 
Triple and Quadruple Occupancies $134.00/night. 

PICNIC:  Rainbow Lagoon Park

Please mention that you are attending the Assyrian United Organization of California's Convention when making your reservation.

For more Info contact Shamriam Tabar at shamiramt@hotmail.com

AUOC's 35th Annual Convention Website

Jun 2-3

Dinner on Saturday -
Catered dinner (American) and Middle Eastern music (a mix of Assyrian, Turkish, Greek and Armenian)

Picnic on Monday -  Lots of fun, food, and music

Tickets $35 for adults (less for students)
After 9:30 - 10 PM,  just $15 for dancing.

Location:  Church Ballroom of St. Thomas Assyrian Church

Jul 2-6

International Congress of Assyriology and Near Eastern Archaeology 
"Sex and Gender in the Ancient Near East"
University of Helsinki

Registration Form:  clickhere

Jul 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.

Aug 7

A day to commemorate the Assyrian martyrs throughout history.

Aug 28 - Sept 3
 Thank You!

David Chibo (Australia)....Nadia Joseph (Chicago)......Anuiel Lamasu (Sweden)


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

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