|Z I N D A M A G A Z I N E|
|Kanoon II 30, 6750 Volume VI Issue 37 January 30, 2001|
|The Lighthouse||The U.S. vs Iraq Waging War By Other Means
|Good Morning Bet-Nahrain||Interview: Syrian-Catholic Archbishop of Baghdad|
|News Digest||Pope John Paul Names Patriarch Daoud a Cardinal
Pope John Paul Asks for Greater Freedom in Iran
|Surfs Up!||"We are proud of you"|
|Surfers Corner||Australia's Foreign Affairs & Trade Replies To AUA|
|Reflections on Assyria||Assyrian Muslims vs Assyrian Christians|
|Literatus||Why Does Melik Kaylan Hate Those Pesky Armenians?|
|Assyrian Surfing Posts||Mar Gewargis Church of the East in Modesto
|Pump Up the Volume||Words of Kinship|
|Back to the Future||Gungunum of Larsa & St. Nina of Georgia|
|This Week in History||General Agha Petros d'Baz|
|Calendar of Events||February 2001|
All blue links throughout this issue are hyperlinks to other sections on this page or featured websites.
THE U.S. verses IRAQ
WAGING WAR BY OTHER MEANS
INTERVIEW WITH ASSYRIAN-CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF BAGHDAD
"... I take this
opportunity to thank all of you (and your readers) about the brotherhood and
lovely solidarity which you have shown with our priest Fr.Yusuf Akbulut of Amid
(Diyarbakir). We are proud of you. Thank you so much.It was so kind of you.
Solidarity is vital among the brothers.
I hope that you had had a good Christmas. On behalf of SyrianOrthodox Archdiocese of Turabdin and Mor Gabriel Monastery I wish you a happy New Year.RISH SHATA BRIKHTA. And all of us we pray that the Lord make the New Yearto be blessed and prosperous one for you (the staff of Zinda) and for ourpeople all over the world. Please pray for us as we pray for you.
Our Archbishop His Eminence Mor Timotheos Samuel Aktas sends you his Fatherly blessings and prayers.
Pushun Bashlama, am Huba u ikara raba."
Yusuf Begtas d'Beth Yavsef
Kelayto d'hasyutho d'Suryoye d'Turabdin
"Thank you ZINDA
STAFF for giving us a great Assyrian news source for thelast 7 years. HAPPY
ANNIVERSARY.....Looking forward to the new home pageand interactive web site.
Keep up the great work - it's highly appreciated."
AUSTRALIA'S FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE REPLIES TO AUA LETTER
The following is a reply letter from Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in regards to Father Yusuf's arrest and trial. This is a follow upfor what we published in Zinda Magazine's Volume VI, Issue 32 (December 11,2000):
Assyrian Universal Alliance-Australia
FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE
Assyrian Universal Alliance
PO Box 34
Fairfield NSW 1860
Dear Mr. Shahen,
Thank you for your letter dated 11 December 2000 concerning the arrest in Turkey of Reverend ( or Father) Yusuf Akbulut on October 2000. I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Alexander Downer.
I was concerned to hear about the case of father Akbulut and have sought further details from the Australian Embassy in Ankara.The Embassy has advised that Father Akbulut was charged underArticle 312 of the Turkish Penal Code for "inciting ethnic andreligious hatred." I am advised that this article of the TurkishPenal Code is commonly used to prosecute persons who make statementssuch as those allegedly made by Father Akbulut.
I am advised that Father Akbulut's trial is continuing and that observers from a number of diplomatic missions in Ankara havebeen attending in order to signal to the Turkish authorities theinterest of the broader international community in the conductof this trial. I have asked the Embassy in Ankara to continueto follow the case and to advise me of its outcome.
I can assure you that the Australian Government is fully committed to the universal observance of internationally-accepted standards of human rights.
Thank you for bringing your views to the attention of the Government.
Assistant Secretary, Europe Branch
Last week Zinda Magazine was informed that
the "Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac Union" (ACSU) members in Europe were assured
by the Dutch Embassy in Diyarbakir, Turkey that government representatives
will be present at the February 22nd trial of Father Yusuf Abkulut.
The government in Holland has so far taken the matter of Father Abkulut's
trial under serious consideration. The ACSU has also actively kept contact
with Holland's Jubilee Campanje (The Jubilee Campaign), a human rights organization.
Several evangelical churches in Holland are members of this organization and
will also support the letter campaign effort initiated in November 2000 to
aide in the release of Father Abkulut. The ACSU was established as a
result of the hungerstrikes organized by the Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac demonstrators
in March of 2000. Among the important projects undertaken by the ACSU
are the human rightsissues concerning the Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac communities
in the MiddleEast and the recognition of their 1915-23 Genocide. The
Genocide issuewill be on the March 2001 agenda of the Parliament in Sweden,
thanks to theefforts of such active organizations as ACSU.
REFLECTIONS ON ASSYRIA
ASSYRIAN MUSLIMS VS. ASSYRIAN CHRISTIANS
My sojourn among the wilds of Assyrian forums has ended. I report to you on the state of affairs I witnessed. While people talk of unity, of coming together, their efforts seem more directed at proving that each group, whether religious or "regional"; is the truer one. There is a strong drive to identify anything Muslim as evil. Turks, Kurds, Persians etc. are all "Arabs" and all to be mistrusted. There is a heavy dose of intellectual posturing, mostly achieved by “dueling” quotes from a variety of sources. "Simplicity" is good and any complexities are "bad". Simply put, Christian Assyrians are the only true Assyrians and they have been robbed, through no fault of their own, of what was and is rightfully theirs, that is; their own country where today Iraq sits. They also demand the world's attention to their plight and requests for justice as they define the word. While the Jews, Armenians and Greeks have either their own countries or a rich andvaried culture which has been a player in the world, the Christian Assyrians,having given nothing to deserve the recognition they crave ..except "martyrs", seek to ride in on the coattails of those who've done the hard work.
Needless to say I appeared on the scene like an 800 pound gorilla at a sandbox filled with "mommy's little darlings". I found most of these Lions Of Assyria hiding behind cutesy names and lofty titles like "Hired Help Of Assyria"..."Christian" or "Assyrian". Some of them seemed to pop up in various disguises depending, I suppose,on which pose they were to strike that day. Children playing "office" is a good metaphor for most of what passed by. Here and there one could see flashes of wit and good sense, but they were drowned in a sea of banalities and word tricks.
I saw people hiding... just basically hiding, and in the end I concluded that they knew best and hope they will stay just where they are.
I've decided, for myself, that there can be no peace for Christian Assyrians in the Mid East until we take a lesson from the Westand remove religion as a factor in our lives, in our public lives. In these jealousies and hatreds we feel not, only towards the Muslim but within the proliferating and bewildering sects within Christianity, lie the seeds ofwhat will destroy us every time, no matter how it consoles us for that destruction.Our petty religious squabbles have been played upon by the West, to thisvery day, because it knew we could be counted upon to become so entangledin the coils of its endless hostilities to the extent that we wouldn't know we were being robbed blind. Our sole concern has been to settle thenever ending debate about whose religion is the right and true one, whilethe West takes all religions .... the best from all cultures... and usesthem to build, with the material resources it steals for a song from us alongwith the manpower it either lures or destroys where it remains, to buildits empire over our befuddled, priest and mullah ridden heads. The priestsand mullahs and petty tyrants are a party to this rape because their viewsare so narrow and self-centered, like our own "leaders", that they prefer to have their moment of power and glory at the expense of the very people they profess to lead and guide and love. Hand in hand these two forces crush us, our children and our hopes between them. And they've taught us to thank them for it.
One rationale goes something like this...I stuck a screwdriver in that "Arabs" eye, but thank god it was a British screwdriver because now the British are offering me a box load full of screwdrivers for free. We'll stick as many Arabs in the eye as we can and maybe we'll blind them all and get a country. The box of screwdrivers has NEVER had enough in it, it never will, and eventually the Arabs who can "see" exact their revenge. Then we cry to the world about the treachery of theArab and thank England for standing by us in our hour of need. We've used Christianity as a screwdriver in the eye as well. While Assyrians alwayspoint out that they did nothing to anyone, they neglect to consider that, to the "Arab", our co-religionists in the West who are more directly responsible, have looked to us for sympathy and active support, and we've given it often enough in the past. We're doing it again now by helping to pay for bombs and supporting the Sanctions in Iraq.
I came away with some fresh ideas, for me at least. I believe there are Assyrians all over the Near-East. But the Assyrian Christians only consider themselves to be true Assyrian. The rest are "Arabs". Arabs come from Arabia. The Muslims of the United States, Mongolia, Indonesia,England don't practice Arab culture, they practice Islam, which derived its impetus from Arabia. To call all Muslims Arabs because their religion originated there would be akin to calling all Christians anywhere in theworld "Israeli", because their religion originated in what istoday Israel.
We were driven out of the Near-East because we identified ourselves too readily with the Christian West. We weren't chased away because we were Assyrians, for many, many Muslim Assyrians remained. All Assyrians seem to have converted some time during the past. The first bunch, or maybe all of them, followed the carpenter from Nazareth. Years later some split off and went after the camel driver from Mecca. All of them are Assyrian in heritage though both follow different religions.
Today the Christian Assyrians struggle to maintain their identity in the Christian West. They've achieved their long sought for goal of being able to practice their religion freely...one can practice any religion or none "freely" here. But they have no culture, no institutions outside the church and in time they will all be Americanized, which can be no worse than to be "Arabized", for in both cases something irretrievable is lost.
It turns out that the Assyrian Muslims will inherit Assyria. It is they who defend the land now against, once again, we and our co-religionists. It is they who administer and care for the antiquities, who have the orchestras and dance troupes. They live in the land of Ashur and their religion does not strip them of the claim to be the descendants of Ashurbanipal and Nebuchadnazzer any more than ours does. If to us a Muslim cannot be an Assyrian, then to them, who own the land now...a Christian cannot be an Assyrian.
I care for neither religion. I want to work at preserving theland and the people of Ashur whatever religion they've adopted. I've decided to give the Shumirum Monument to the people of Iraq...ALL OF THEM. I would mention that she was a queen of Assyria, of course. But I would either leave the word "Christian" off, or add the word "Muslim".
I hope we can place it in the north, but I would settle for Baghdad. Our only hope for that region is to mature to the point that the West can no longer pit us against each other, then point to us as savages who can't be expected to govern themselves and wouldn't know what to do withall that oil wealth anyway. If your enemies are sub-human it's easier to kill them and steal from them.. it doesn't really "count" then.
The best way is to downplay religion and emphasize culture and shared ancestry. Our loyalties must begin to be with those we share a common heritage with and not those whose religions we share.
What if the British had chosen the name "Assyria" instead of Iraq for that region, and everything remained the same. Wouldit bother you then that you were helping bomb and starve Assyrians? Whatwould it feel like to see headlines reading "12 ASSYRIANS KILLED INMISSILE ATTACK"....OR "UN CLAIMS ASSYRIAN CHILDREN DYING OF HUNGERAND DISEASE". Would it wake you up, would you think to yourselves thatthey really weren't Assyrian at all because they were Muslim? It'sjust a name the Brits picked, what if they'd have picked Assyria instead?What would America consider those who move to other countries and then attack her? Would you move to Assyria, work for Assyria, love and pine for Assyria if it were Muslim, or would it be the enemy state you're told it isnow. Are Assyrian Christians really Assyrian, or are they Christians firstand foremost who want their lands back and insist on being able to practicetheir religion in those lands?
Imagine that Iraq/Assyria were Christian with a Muslim population as small as the Christian one now there. Imagine Muslims from this smallcommunity migrating to Egypt and calling on Iraq to protect their rightsback in the homeland. Imagine these people actively aiding the Egyptian governmentin a War against Iraq's Christian government aided by several otherMuslim countries in the region EACH with a Christian minority in it. Howdo you think the Christian government and people of Iraq would feel then about their own Muslim minority community within? How do you think the other Muslim countries would feel about THEIR Christian minorities? What if these expatriate Muslims supported a Sanctions program that starved and led tothe death of several Christian children in Iraq? How do you think the Christian government and people of Iraq would feel towards their Muslim minority community?Would they love them, protect them, cherish them and respect their rights?
When the West demands respect and tolerance for all religions, especially theirs yet persists in calling all Muslims "Arabs", so that the paradigm becomes Christian vs. Arabs when it should be, if anything, Christians vs. Muslims, we can see the hypocrisy clearly. But since we and they, with our help, persist in saying "Arab" when we all know they mean Muslim, it doesn't appear obvious to be a case of one religion, Christianity, demanding freedom for itself while it blasts, robs and kills those of another religion, Islam. These dodges and tricks are costing usdearly.
This "nation" of ours as we style it has come to mean a group of Christians who label as anti-Christ, traitor, enemy, "beast of the Apocalypse" etc., anyone who dares to ask these questions or think at all. Our "nation" is made up of people proud of their ignorance, a nation of truck and taxi drivers, petty shopkeepers and the few priests they keep in abject poverty to fan the flames of their narrow-minded bigotry. And they have their counter-parts on the other side. In this country, at least, this "nation" has managed to drive out its educated class, the professionals who deal at higher levels in this open society and cannot tolerate the close-minded foolishness which passes for nationalism and patriotism. A handful of people try to work with and for this "nation" but they are frustrated at almost every step for this "nation" does not wish to join the outside world for it knows full well what a poor figure it would make there. We have also many bemused members who come to stare and gape, as if for entertainment, and of course to perhaps get a wife or "score" at least.
Meanwhile, in Iraq, under a constant, unrelenting attack for the last eleven years, our people, who turned to a different religion than we Christians, are bravely trying to withstand the onslaught and preserve what there is left of Bet Nahrain. The leaders they have are a boon to the West which has no intention of toppling them and sold them the firepower they needed and stroked them into falling into this trap in the first place. Not until it's time to rebuild, when, "Western style" democracy can have its way, will these "leaders" be done away with. Then will come apologies and loans.
If our interest and care and concern is all for the ChristianAssyrians of our homelands then we've helped drive them deeper intothe ground than ever before, gild it as we'd like with Band-Aids. Ifwe cared for our ancestral homelands then we've likewise helped to ruin them beyond anything they'd suffered since the Mongol invasionof the 13th Century. Then just what is our interest here, for whatever wesay it is, our actions have only led to the destruction of the land and the people, Muslim AND Christian.
Mar Gewargis Church of the East - Modesto, California
The modern Assyrian (Syriac) is one of the richest and most colorful languages spoken today. The words pertaining to kinship are good examples ofthe linguistic affluence of this language. Below are but a few interesting and often difficult-to-remember examples.
Husband's Brother's Wife
Wife's Brother's Wife
Wife's Sister's Husband
yaay/sa (singular), yaay/se (plural)
Gungunum becomes the first king of Larsa Dynasty in sourthern
Bet-Nahrain. He soon helps create a new hegemony in that region, a position
held by the city of Isin for 50 years. The city of Ur also declares its
alliance to Gungunum. Having achieved control over Ur, Gungunum begins
to enjoyed greater financial profits from the Persian Gulf trade in the region.
Die 'zweite Zwischenzeit' Babyloniens, Edzard
Georgia adopts Christianity as its state religion as a result ofthe teachings of Saint Nina, an Assyrian native of Cappadocia. St.Nina was the daughter of Zabilion, a military leader in Cappadocia and adevout Christian; and Shushan, a sister of Iunebal, the Bishopof Jerusalem.
"St. Nina, An Assyrian Woman from Cappadocia",
Nineveh Magazine(Q4-2000), Inviyanova
2, 1932: dies, General Agha Petros d'Baz, commander-in-chief
of the Assyrian forces during the First World War, in France.
MODESTOPresented by the Assyrian American Athletic Club of Modesto
VALENTINE DANCE PARTY
Entertainers: Albert Mansour & Ghassan Band; DJ by Johnny Boy Nissan
St. Mary's Hall
810 North 9th St at Carver
Tickets: $12.00 (adults) $ 5.00 (under 12)
For More Info:
CANADIAN SOCIETY FOR SYRIAC STUDIES LECTURE
"Frescoes & Syriac Inscriptions in MedievalChurches
CANADIAN SOCIETY FOR SYRIAC STUDIES LECTURE
"Syriac Heritage at the Northern Silk Road: TheArchaological&
Epigraphic Evidence of Christianity in Kirghizia"
XLVIIe RENCONTRE ASSYRIOLOGIQUE INTERNATIONALE
International Congress of Assyriology and Near Eastern
Registration Form: clickhere
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