Z I N D A  M A G A Z I N E
Shvadt  5, 6750                     Volume VI                      Issue 38             February 5, 2001
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T H I S   W E E K   I N   Z I N D A

The Lighthouse Valentine's Day, Christian Style
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain Northern Watch - News from Northern Iraq
Chaldean Bishop Reflects on "Hopeless Situation"
Pope to Visit Iraq in Summer
Rare Copy of Old Testament Seized by Iraqi Customs
US Amb. Compares Genocide to UFO Siting
News Digest Archeologists Work to Save Nestorian Monument in China
Abraham Linked to Lebanon's Fares Family
Surfs Up! "Islam spread in the land of Atour"
Surfers Corner Hugoye - January 2001
Assyrian-Iraqi Refugees Reflect on Gulf War
Reflections on Assyria The Sins of Commission and Omission
Literatus Coming From Assyria
Milestones Rabbie Marona Arsanis (b. 1918)
Professor Oliver Gurney (b. 1911)
Zaia Zaitona (b. 1911)
Emmanuel Youkhana (b. 1941)
Assyrian Surfing Posts Sargon Boulus
Concordance to Syriac New Testament
Pump Up the Volume Good & Evil
Back to the Future Minasheh of Judah & the Dakil Isue Massacre
This Week in History Israel Ronald Yonan
Calendar of Events February 2001

All blue links throughout this issue are hyperlinks to other sections on this page or featured websites.




The Feast of St. Valentine was always considered a Christian religious holiday. Our forefathers would be shocked at the use of cupids, as they were characters from pagan mythology. They would also be offended at the secularization of this holiday by the substitution of erotic love at the expense of the agape-type love reflected in this remembrance. Historically, this holiday was a day Christians remembered and celebrated in faith. It reflected upon the faithful example of a Christian martyr named Valentine who died for his faith.

“Be My Valentine,” is one of many phrases conjuring up different thoughts associated with the celebration of Valentine's Day. Exchanging cards with hearts and little poems, candy and flowers given to express erotic affection, and images of cupids flying while shooting arrows of love into unsuspecting youths. Today, young and old alike celebrate Valentine's Day to express their affection for those they love. February 14th for many just means cards, candy, flowers, and cupids. Not for Christians.

According to church tradition, St. Valentine was a Roman nobleman and priest near Rome in about the year 207 A.D. At that time the Roman Emperor was imprisoning, torturing, and killing Christians for not worshipping Roman gods. Being a Christian was illegal and subject to death or imprisonment. Valentine was arrested during this persecution. Some say he was arrested because he was performing Christian marriages, while others say it was for helping Christians escape prison and death. Tradition has it that Valentine passed messages to fellow imprisoned Christians with comforting words from Scripture. These messages were smuggled to prisoners with red-colored heart-shaped parchments verifying the authenticity that each message truly was from Valentine.

During Valentine's trial, they asked him what he thought of the Roman gods Jupiter and Mercury. Valentine told them they were false gods and there was only one true God. He told them of his faith in Jesus Christ. So the Romans threw him in prison because his witness contradicted their beliefs and insulted their gods. While imprisoned, Valentine continued to minister to those with whom he had contact, including the guards. One of the jailers was a man who had adopted a blind girl. Valentine prayed to God and the girl was given her sight. The guard and his whole family of about 46 people then believed in Jesus and were baptized. Because these people had come to believe in Jesus, Valentine praised God openly in his prison, and later died as a martyr.

Valentine knew the consequences of his Christian activities. He knew that if he told the court the truth about Roman gods he would be thrown in prison. He knew that if he continued to witness Christ in prison he would anger his captors. Yet he continued, because he loved the Lord with all his heart, and loved his neighbor as himself. He was willing to risk his life to free Christian prisoners and spread the good news of Jesus Christ to any who needed to hear it.

Rev. Nenos Michael
Assyrian Church of the East
Mar Narsai Parish
San Francisco

Rev. Michael's article appears in the February 2001 issue of "The LIGHT", the church bulletin of Mar Narsai Parish in San Francisco.


Zinda News From Northern Iraq

  1:    A new issue of the monthly "Bahra" magazine is published in Arbil in Arabic and Assyrian by the Assyrian Democratic Movement.  The Assyrian National Party publishes a new issue of "Quyamin" monthly newsletter in Arabic on this day in Dohuk also.
18:  Assyrian Democratic Movement Secretary-General attends a meeting of political parties in Salah-al-Din.
22:  A Kurdish delegation in Dohuk visits branch-2 of Assyrian Democratic Movement.
27:  A bomb explodes at the house of Rafael Dawud Hilo in the Shorish District in the city of Arbil.  Mr. Hilo's wife is a teacher at the Assyrian school in Arbil.
NA:  In a decision by the Iraqi Kurdistan regional parliament, a General Directorate for Assyrian Education is appointed.


Courtesy of St. Louis "The Post Dispatch"; article by Deborah L. Shelton; 5 February 2001

(ZNDA:  St. Louis)  Archbishop Mar Jabrail Kassab of Iraq, in his first visit to the St. Louis area, painted a bleak picture Sunday of life in his country after a decade of economic sanctions.

Kassab is the archbishop of Basra for the Chaldean Catholic Church, which is associated with the Roman Catholic Church. In an interview at St. Francis Xavier College Church, Kassab described a country beset with economic hardship, social breakdown and general hopelessness.

Three-quarters of Iraqi adults are unemployed, and as many as 5,000 children under age 5 die every month from malnutrition and diseases that go untreated because of chronic shortages of basic medicines, he said.

"There is minimal access to food and minimal access to medicine," Kassab said, speaking through an interpreter. "Young people are living in a hopeless situation."

The Iraqi archbishop was in town to participate in a six-day conference on the 10th anniversary of the Gulf War and the beginning of the United Nations' economic sanctions against Iraq. Although it was the archbishop's first trip to St. Louis, it was his 29th visit to the United States, where he has been campaigning to lift economic sanctions against his country.

The U.N. embargo prohibits the sale of a range of products, including pharmaceutical equipment, insecticides, education supplies and chlorine to disinfect water. The sanctions were imposed in 1990 to force Iraq to admit international weapons inspectors.

Some people at the conference asserted that the embargo has remained in place in an attempt to heighten political tensions that could lead to the ouster of dictator Saddam Hussein.

But "economic pressure has not translated into revolution," said Hans-Christof von Sponeck, former U.N. assistant secretary-general, who also attended the conference. "Saddam Hussein's life is fairly normal."

For 17 months, von Sponeck headed the U.N.'s oil-for-food program, which allows for the sale of up to $5.6 billion of Iraqi oil every six months in exchange for food and medicine. But he quit last year because, he said, the program was a total failure.

"Wherever you look socially, sanctions have brought about a very destructive reality," he said.

"We must see the Iraqis disarm, but economic sanctions should not be linked to disarmament."

Kassab's message was taken to heart by some of the approximately 1,000 people who heard him speak at Sunday Mass at St. Francis Xavier, 3628 Lindell Boulevard.

"He asked us to be a voice for suffering people," said Jim Fears, a retired teacher from Kirkwood. "And I'm very sympathetic. The American government is trying to force the Iraqi people to revolt, but it's poor people who are paying the price."

Jane Mix of suburban Glendale said: "This was the first time I've heard the (Iraqi) situation described in human terms."

Kassab was ordained a priest in 1961 and named archbishop of southern Iraq by Pope John Paul II in 1995. About 1 million of the country's 21 million people are Christian, most of them Chaldean-Catholic.

The St. Louis University Mission and Ministry is sponsoring the conference, which continues through today at the university.


Courtesy of Sunday Times-London, 21 January 2001

(ZNDA:  London)  The Pope plans to visit Iraq by the summer despite opposition from Britain and the United States, which fear he will hand a propaganda coup to Saddam Hussein.  Last week Vatican sources said a team would soon begin preparing Pope John Paul II's pilgrimage to the birthplace of Abraham in the ancient town of Ur, near the southern city of Basra.

The visit was called off a year ago, when Baghdad said "abnormal conditions" made it impossible. Iraq blamed the United Nations embargo and British and American air attacks, but there was also resistance within Saddam's regime to the visit.

That resistance has weakened in recent months as Iraq has attracted some international support for an end to sanctions.

Officials in Baghdad are thought to accept that the Pope's presence could help their case against the embargo.

A British diplomatic source said airstrikes in southern Iraq's no- fly zone would be suspended for a papal visit to Ur, but warned that any meeting with Saddam would be manipulated by the dictator. "The visit is completely inappropriate because Saddam is sure to exploit it politically," said the source.

Last week the 80-year-old Pope, who condemned the 1991 Gulf war and has criticized subsequent UN sanctions, named a new nuncio, or papal envoy, to Baghdad. In a sign of warming relations with Iraq, he also approved the election of four bishops of the Chaldean Catholic community in the capital.

He is expected to fly to Baghdad and travel from there by helicopter to Ur.

Although Vatican officials insist there is no guarantee that the Pope would meet Saddam in Iraq, protocol dictates that he should do so - and he has rarely visited a country without meeting its head of state.


Courtesy of Agence France-Presse; 6 February 2001

(ZNDA:  Baghdad)  Iraqi customs have arrested a man for attempting to smuggle out of northern Iraq a rare copy of the Old Testament written on gazelle skin and worth 100,000 dollars.

The smuggler, whose nationality was not revealed, was also in possession of several other archaeological pieces when arrested in a customs sting operation in Mosul 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Baghdad, the weekly Nabdh al-Shabab said.

Iraq imposes a maximum penalty of death for smuggling in antiquities. Ten smugglers were executed in Mosul in early 1998 for chopping off the head of a winged bull dating back to the Assyrian era.

On November 12, Iraqi customs said they foiled an operation to illegally export 570 rare pieces.

Northern Bet-Nahrain is a treasure-trove of more than 10,000 archaeological sites, most of them unexplored. The country used to attract several foreign expeditions before it came under UN sanctions in 1990.

The government has since banned exports of works of art, and even modern pieces require an export license in a bid to protect the national heritage.


Courtesy of the Armenian National Committee Newsletter

(ZNDA:  Washington)  The U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Robert Pearson, was quoted in an article in the major Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet comparing the Armenian Genocide to a fictional event, specifically likening the first genocide of the 20th century to a sighting of an Unidentified Flying Object (see full article below). According to the January 25th article, "Armenian Question is Like a UFO," written by Ayten Serin: "The American Ambassador to Turkey Robert Pearson today said that the Armenian Genocide is like the rumors of flying objects. 'Some say I saw a flying object, and some say I did not see it. In reality, there are no flying objects, and the Armenian Question is similar to this,' said Pearson."

On January 30, Amb Pearson made the following statement to clarify the remarks he had made on January 25th:  "I want to address the misinterpretation of comments that were reported in the Turkish press on January 25th during an official event in Istanbul. I was asked to comment on whether there would be efforts in Congress to introduce legislation recognizing the tragic events that befell the Armenian people during World War I. I indicated that it would not be productive to speculate about any such possible legislation, underscoring that it was more important to support efforts by Turkey and Armenia to work together to improve their relations."

Text of Article in Hurriyet

Armenian Question is Like a UFO
By Ayten Serin
Hurriyet (Turkey)

The American Ambassador to Turkey Robert Pearson today said that the Armenian Genocide is like the rumors of flying objects. "Some say I saw a flying object, and some say I did not see it. In reality, there are no flying objects, and the Armenian Question is similar to this," said Pearson.

Pearson compared the Armenian cause to that of the UFO rumors that the American people spread. He said that the Genocide resolution that the French House of Representatives voted on will not have any effects.

During a ceremony for the constructing of a new building for the American Embassy in Istanbul, a reporter asked the Ambassador, "Will the Armenian Genocide be back on the US government's agenda again?" To which Pearson answered, "This question is similar to the UFO question."

Pearson continued, "Sometimes, a person would say, I saw a flying object (UFO)' and another would say, there is no UFO.' There is an enormous debate over UFOs, yet there is no such thing as UFOs. I do not know the answer to that question. However, we know where the US government stands: we believe that these resolutions will not be helpful. We believe that Turkey's wish to develop good relationships with Armenia is strong and sincere. We also know that Turkish historians will investigate and handle this subject. We strongly support these efforts on Turkey's side and we will not change our position in this matter."

Another journalist asked Pearson, "Turkey is being accused of committing crimes against the Armenian people, and Turkey wants to become a member of the EU. How does the US see this situation?" Pearson answered, "Washington supports Turkey's EU membership, and nothing will affect our position. We believe that Turkey will have a very important role in Europe, and good Turkey-EU relation is good to the US. We believe in this because we believe in the Turkish people's abilities, power and aims."

Pearson also said that the new US Consulate building will further certify to our belief in Turkey. "Today's ceremony is a physical proof of our support. We are in a dynamic city (Istanbul); we are in the most beautiful city in the world. This city is the proof of the future for Europe and the other regions."

During the ceremony for the opening of the new Consulate building, Pearson said, "Turkey cannot be seen as only an important bridge." Pearson saw Turkey important not only for its Hazar Oil but also for the Middle East Peace process. He confirmed that Turkey will set a very good example in its economic and political reforms for Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Ambassador W. Robert Pearson, of Tennessee, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, has a broad background in European and Security issues as well as wide management experience overseas and in Washington. The Senate confirmed Ambassador Pearson as Ambassador to Turkey on July 9, 2000. He officially assumed his position in Ankara on September 21, 2000. Last October, Amb. Pearson flew to Washington from Ankara to testify before the U.S. Congress against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Ambassador Pearson was Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy to France from July 1997 to July 2000. He followed closely the evolution of European Union policy regarding the candidacy of Turkey for membership, and defense and security issues within the Atlantic Alliance and the EU. He actively promoted business ties between France and the U.S. and helped in the opening of five new offices in France s regions. He served twice at NATO, from 1993 to 1997 as Deputy Permanent Representative to the U.S. Mission during the Balkan crisis and NATO s enlargement, and from 1987 to 1990 on the international staff as Chair of NATO s Political Committee. From 1991 to 1993, he was the Executive Secretary of the Department of State. He served as Deputy Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (1985-1987). He served in Beijing, China as a political officer (1981 to 1983), was staff assistant in the East Asia and Pacific Affairs bureau, and began his Foreign Service career with a two-year assignment in Auckland, New Zealand (1976- 1978).

Ambassador Pearson served in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps from 1969 to 1973, and is a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School in 1968. He is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. He speaks French and Chinese. His wife, Margaret, is a career diplomat. The Pearsons have one son, Matthew, who is a student in the United States.

Zinda Magazine urges its readers to take action and contact the State Department and ask whether the offensive quotes attributed to the Ambassador in the January 25th Hurriyet article reflect the views of the State Department.

Tel: (202) 647-9626 - European Bureau at State Dept.
Fax: (202) 647-0967

The Hon. James Dobbins
Assistant Secretary
Bureau for European Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C St NW #6226
Washington, DC 20520

The Embassy in Ankara can also be contacted directly:

Tel: 011 (90-312) 468-6110
Fax: 011 (90-312) 468-6145

Mail:  The Hon. Robert Pearson
Ataturk Bulvari 110 Kavaklidere



Reprinted from an article by Erling Hoh; Chicago Tribune, February 6, 2001

Eleven years ago, while excavating a meditation cave in the northern part of Dunhuang's Mogao Grottoes complex, archeologist Peng Jinzhang made an exciting and puzzling discovery: four beautifully preserved pages of white-linen paper filled with a script he could not identify.

Scholars at Beijing University helped him solve the mystery.

The language was Syriac, and the pages were from the Psalms in the New Testament.

Passing through this oasis town eight centuries ago, Marco Polo may have met the owner of this Syriac Bible, dated to the Yuan Dynasty. "Thepeople are for the most part idolaters, but there are also some Nestorian Christians and Saracens," he wrote in his "Travels."

Peng's find confirms that Christians did indeed live, pray and die in Dunhuang's Mogao Grottoes--one of Buddhism's most hallowed sanctuaries and an unparalleled repository for the cultures and creeds that funneled into the Silk Road here on China's doorstep.

The Syriac Bible find, announced recently, is only one of several illuminating discoveries made by Peng and his team during their six-year excavation of the northern part of the Mogao Grottoes.

The grottoes are a complex of 750 caves carved out of the sandstone cliffs along the Daquan River 15 miles southeast of Dunhuang in China's Gansu province.

Among the 243 excavated caves--the monks' living quarters and meditation and burial chambers--the team found movable wooden type for the Uyghur language, unique documents, Persian silver coins and countless other artifacts.

"Our work confirms that the Mogao Grottoes was an integrated complex, where monks lived as well as prayed and studied," said Wang Jianjun, a member of the archeological team.

Founded in the 4th Century A.D., the Buddhist cave temples at Mogao flourished for a thousand years as a haven for Buddhism, scholarship,

meditation and artistic creativity. They were abandoned when the Chinese withdrew their garrisons in 1372 after the maritime route proved itself more reliable than the Silk Road.

In 1900, Taoist priest Wang Yuanlu stumbled upon the famous Hidden Library, where some 50,000 artifacts, including the Diamond Sutra, the

earliest-dated printed book known, had lain untouched for hundreds of years.

In 1907, British-Hungarian archeologist Aurel Stein arrived in Dunhuang. Paying Wang only four silver pieces, Stein carted off thousands of manuscripts, silk scroll paintings and other artifacts that are housed in the British Museum, the British Library and the National Museum in New Delhi.

French, American, Japanese and Russian explorers followed.

By the 1930s, what remained at Mogao were 2,000 Buddhist sculptures and the caves' murals, which depict daily life, trade, customs, legends and sutras covering a span of 800 years.

Today, the Mogao Grottoes are the mainstay of Dunhuang's economy, attracting thousands of visitors to this remote outpost at the western

end of the Great Wall each year, as well as the locus for an esoteric, thriving field of scholarship.

In the 1960s, the eroding cliff face was reinforced with an unbecoming but functional concrete facade. In 1987, the Mogao Grottoes was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

For the past decade, an international team of experts, led by the Dunhuang Reseach Academy in cooperation with the Getty Conservation

Institute and other organizations, has been trying to save the caves' wondrous paintings.

A 3-mile-long windbreak fence has reduced by 60 percent the amount of sand blown over the cliff's face. Iron doors have been installed in all the caves to reduce dust and humidity. Up on the cliff, a solar-powered meteorological station records basic weather data, while substations in selected caves record information.

Other work focuses on documenting the paintings, analyzing the color pigments, understanding the reasons for their deterioration, and

developing new materials and techniques to preserve them.

In one Tang Dynasty cave that has 16 illustrated sutras, Japanese tissue paper temporarily is being used to hold the flaking paint in place until a permanent solution is developed.

Nearby, a technician from Osaka University is measuring the underlying rock's moisture content, while an international group of experts huddles to examine the results of a thermography test, which identifies detachments in the plaster through the measurement of minute temperature differences.

"These paintings deserve the same kind of attention and preservation as a Rembrandt or a da Vinci. And they are much more threatened than paintings on canvas," says Neville Agnew, a conservation scientist from the Getty Conservation Institute.

Humidity and salt that leeches from the underlying rock are the main culprits in the deterioration and flaking of the murals. As Agnew and his colleagues race against an unforgiving clock to preserve this unique historical record, they face another foe.

The thousands of tourists from China and the rest of world who make their way to Mogao every year, bringing much-needed cash to the region, also pose a growing threat to the paintings.

Because of the deleterious effect of too many visitors, a standard tour of the Mogao Grottoes is restricted to brief visits to a few caves.

The conservationists are devising ways to light the murals without causing further damage, and in the adjacent museum, several well-made

reproductions allow visitors to contemplate the murals' intricate, multifarious artwork at a more leisurely pace.

While the conservation work at the Mogao Grottoes is one of China's most successful international collaborations in this field, the dispersal of the Hidden Library's manuscripts around the globe, and their restitution to China, remains a controversial issue.

"From a moral point of view, the artifacts should be returned. The Chinese government should, at the appropriate time, through the appropriate legal and diplomatic channels, try to retrieve the artifacts," said Rong Xinjiang, a Dunhuang expert at Beijing University.

At the same, however, the dispersal of these treasures has turned Dunhuang studies into a global endeavor, with scholars from many countries laboring hours on end in musty libraries to decipher and interpret the manuscripts.

Written in rare, dead languages ranging from Tangut to Runic Turkic, the manuscripts deal with a gamut of concerns, including historical records, Buddhist sutras, Taoist tracts and medical treatises, calendars, astronomical charts, literature, poetry, folk songs, real estate deals, and even the model for an apology from a drunken guest to his host.

Prompted by the desire to see all Dunhuang artifacts in one place, the International Dunhuang Project was launched in 1993 at the behest of the British Library, and the treasures from the Hidden Library are now being made available through the project's Web site, http://idp.bl.uk/.

The Mellon Foundation also is spending $3 million to reunite a selection of the treasures from Mogao in cyberspace.

"The comprehensiveness of Dunhuang is its most outstanding feature: 800 years of pictorial history," says Dr. Sarah Fraser, an art historian at Northwestern University who heads the Mellon Foundation's project and who has studied the relationship between the sketch books found in the Hidden Library and the finished murals.

The Silk Road region where Marco Polo traveled is rich in many peoples' heritage.

For further reading:  The Nestorian Tablet in China


Based on an article by Damon Chappie for the Roll Call, "the Newspaper of Capitol Hill since 1955"

The family of Lebanon's deputy prime minister, already under scrutiny for large donations to George W. Bush's inaugural committee and a speech payment to Secretary of State-designate Colin Powell, has strong ties to another Bush administration official, Energy Secretary Spence Abraham.

Abraham is the son of a Lebanese immigrant. During his Congressional career, Abraham pushed legislation to increase aid to Lebanon and acted as an advocate for politically active Arab-Americans.

Abraham has received political contributions from family members of and groups associated with Issam Fares, a wealthy Lebanese businessman who oversees a worldwide conglomerate of energy and real estate interests. Fares ascended to the post of deputy prime minister last year.

Questions about Fares' ties to U.S. politicians arose after the Bush inaugural committee reported a $100,000 donation from Fares and another $100,000 donation from his son, Nijad Fares, a Houston-based businessman with permanent resident status in the United States and a citizen of Lebanon.

After the Wall Street Journal reported the inaugural donation last month, the inaugural committee said the donation listed from Issam Fares came from the Link Group, LLC, a company headed by Nijad Fares and that the son had attempted to give credit for the donation to his father.

Both father and son have a long history of intimate political connections with U.S. politicians and have been major supporters of groups promoting Lebanon's interests. The family's main U.S. business holding, a Houston-based firm called the Wedge Group, is a major player in the oil services industry and is headed by William White, the former number two official at the Energy Department during the Clinton administration.

A Bush official, describing the confusion over the listing of Issam Fares as a donor, noted that federal law doesn't bar donations from foreign nationals to groups like the inaugural committee but that it had voluntarily agreed to abide by federal election laws which do prohibit donations to political campaigns by foreign nationals.

During the last three election cycles, Nijad Fares and his wife gave $17,000 to Abraham's campaign and his leadership political action committee. Nijad Fares was also president of the American Task Force for Lebanon, and its PAC gave $7,500 to Abraham.

While foreign nationals are prohibited by law from contributing to U.S. campaigns, election law allows donations from persons with permanent resident status in the United States even though they are not allowed to vote in U.S. elections.

Nijad Fares bluntly laid out his strategy for increasing the clout of Arab-Americans in an opinion piece he authored that appeared in the Detroit News on Dec. 16, 1996.

"Arab-Americans must substantially increase contributions to political candidates,"he wrote. "Even modest contributions help ensure that Members of Congress and their staffs take phone calls and are more responsive to requests. Furthermore, the contributor must make explicit an interest in Middle East-related issues." The disclosures about the Fares family's contributions have alarmed some campaign finance watchdogs.

Abraham supported legislation to increase aid to Lebanon, a country trying to rebuild from a devastating civil war and occupation by Israel.  Last year, Abraham secured an additional $3 million for Lebanon, boosting that country's annual aid package to $18 million. Abraham urged Congressional appropriators and the Clinton administration to raise Lebanon's yearly aid package to $256 million.  In 1999, Abraham supported a $4 million earmark for educational institutions in Lebanon, including the International College, which has Nijad Fares as a board member.

A filing last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission listed Nijad Fares as a citizen of Lebanon and a director of the Wedge Group, which has his father, Issam Fares, as chairman. But Richard Blohm, general counsel for the Wedge Group, said in an interview that Nijad Fares has no connection to Wedge and that he is president of Link Group. He said the two companies are not housed together.

But Nijad Fares and the Link Group occupy offices in the Wedge Group's Houston skyscraper, according to Wedge's receptionist. Nijad Fares was travelling and did not respond to several phone messages.

A search of several databases found no information on the Link Group. Blohm said the Link Group is "a company wholly owned by Nijad Fares" and that it is involved with investments. Wedge Group, however, has extensive energy interests, holding an 80 percent stake in the oil service firm Howe-Baker, which was acquired in a complex transaction last December by Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., another energy firm in which Wedge holds a major stake.

Issam Fares, who serves as CEO of Wedge and a network of companies based in the Cayman Islands and the Netherlands, was named Lebanon's deputy prime minister last year and he has served in that country's parliament since 1996. His Web site describes him as an "empire-builder, philanthropist, politician and parliamentarian."

He has long enjoyed close ties to former President George Bush and was Bush's guest at last year's Gridiron dinner. An endowment at Tufts University has paid for speeches by the elder Bush as well as a $59,500 speech in November by Powell. According to the Jerusalem Post, which first reported the payment to Powell, Fares said in a statement after the story that he was happy with the "noble relationship" linking him with several political leaders in the United States and added: "If the Zionist lobby and those revolving in its orbit are displeased with this relationship, it's their own business. Anyway, envy is a killer."


Thank you for Zinda Magazine.  My family looks forward to reading it every week... A question about the president of AUA.  Was he born in the U.S. or is he a native of a middle-eastern country?  Your article did not specify his birth place.  Keep up the excellent work!

The Shemshoun Family

John Nimrod, Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, was born in Chicago.  He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and the Korean War and was a member of Illinois State Senate's 4th District from 1973 until 1983.

YES THERE ARE MUSLIM ASSYRIANS!  Once I read the title of Mr. Fred Farhad’s article ‘Assyrian Muslims Vs Assyrian Christians’ published in the Reflection of Assyria section of your respected electronic magazine (Zinda) I was impressed and automatically drawn to read the whole article. After reading the whole article which I must admit I agreed with some bold points that Mr. Farhad critically approaches, I was left with the feeling of writing my opinion on the rest of the portion which I did not agree with or had some points to make about it.

The reason why the title of your article attracted me was that I also hold the same opinion “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” because:

1-  Not all Assyrians adapted Christianity with the famous King Abkar Okama. There were for example the Assyrians of Haran, which came to be known as the infidels (Khanpeh) and others that we know them today as the Yizides and the Mandaians.

2- That Islam spread in the land of Atour (Today not only Iraq, but also Iran, Turkey, Syria.) with power of the sword therefore was able to convert a lot of Assyrians to Islam either from their original believes or from Christianity such examples are ample. For example Tikrit which is Saddam's tribe is well known among Arabs themselves as Assyrians that were originally Christians and the remains of the first Assyrian church in Tikrit bare witness to the originality of the Tikarata. The well known Arab tribe of Al-jibur is also another example, Al-jibur means the forced in Arabic, the Sheikhs of this tribe still admit that they are Assyrians forced to Islam as their name states.

3- The Assyrian ancient or Christian culture has left its prints in the daily life of a lot of Arab and Kurdish tribes and these prints also bare witness to their originality.

4- The Mhalmoyeh people who dwell in and around Mirdeh (Merdin which is in Atour of Turkey) were originally Assyrians that adopted Islamism after they were Mokhrimeh by one of Patriarch of our western church around 300-400 years ago. And there is a few intellectual individuals within the Mahlmoyeh community that still pride themselves as Assyrians and are members in Assyria Liberation Party.

But the portion, which I disagree with is:

1- Your opinion “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 and varied culture which has been a player in the world, the Christian Assyrians, having given nothing to deserve the recognition they crave” I will not go into the contributions of the Assyrian culture to the world from the ancient times and their Assyrian contributions in progressing the Muslim religion, Persian, Arab, Turkish cultures and also the spreading of Christianity, not to forget the active role of the Assyrians in serving the western allies. Not because they were only left with no other choice than joining the allies, but also because they believed there was a war between good and evil so being true Assyrians they joined the allies against the evil powers GERMANY. I will simply ask you to research that yourself.

2- Because the Assyrian lost most of its population in the world wars more than any nation compared to the size of its population.

3- Because Assyrians have become victims of multiple massacres prior to 7th of August which I will also leave it for you to research.

4- Because the Assyrians were and are victims of Ethnocide which I will also leave for you to research.

5- Because the Assyrians lost their land Atour.

What is there more that can the Assyrians contribute and give to the people of the world that allows us to say that they do not deserve the recognition they crave.

I also do not agree with your expressions when you try to make it look like that the Assyrians deserve those massacres because it was their fault for siding with the west and their only reason was that their neighbors were Muslims and therefore Assyrians have a lot of stored hatred towards Islamism. Because I will again ask you to research that yourself, but I will only ask you this question "if you believe that that was the reason then tell me why were the Assyrians of Tur-Kashireh (Tur-Abdin) who did not side with the west but showed their loyalty to their Muslim neighbours got massacred?

Also in regards this opinion “What if the British had chosen the name "Assyria" instead of Iraq for that region, and everything remained the same” I say great, we all would have been happy and do not forget that the problem is not the name because Iraq is also an Assyrian name it comes from Uruk, but the problem is the Slogan that says: “ONE ETERNAL MESSAGE OF ONE ARAB NATION”.

In regards the assistance of the Iraqi people in general I tell you with confident every Assyrian cried their lives away when Iraq was fired with missiles because its their land and they treasure it while it's needless to say that the so called Arab nations sided and laughed with the west.

The Assyrian church and organizations have assisted the people of Iraq with no discrimination.

The Assyrian people are not only assisting their Assyrian families that are victims of the sanctions but there is also a lot of them that assist their Muslim friends or neighbours, I myself know a lot of such Assyrians. And they do not do it as Irwana. But they do it because they are Assyrians and humanity is their culture.

Finely I have to thank you for your courage in expressing your opinions so boldly and I have to say that I have a lot of respect for your articles and you as a Great Assyrian artist.

Nineb Tooma
Assyria TV

My name is Hani Aboona.  I am in Bulgaria for 9 years. I am a refugee from Iraq.  If you know my family please ask them to contact me. It is cold here and there is snow, no work, no bed.  If you or someone you know might be able to help me please contact me
through Pastor James Duke.

James & Audrey Duke
Pier Degejtar IV. Blk. 1,
Fl. 7, Apt. 26
Sofia Bulgaria 1113
To call from US 011-359-2-9712192
e-mail:  alight@geobiz.net



The Syriac Computing Institute has published the January 2001 issue of its academic periodical Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies. The issue is free and contains two in memoriam articles, two long papers, three short papers, two book reviews, and a number of conference reports and announcements.

The two in memoriam articles are on Fr. Yousef Habbi (1938-2000) by George Kiraz, and on Prof. Julius Assfalg (1919-2001) by Hubert Kaufhold.

The first long paper is in French and discusses the origin of the name of Bar cEbroyo by Jean Chelhod. The second paper is on Simeon of Qalca Rumaita, Patriarch Philoxenus Nemrod, and Bar cEbroyo by Hidemi Takahashi.

The three short papers discuss exciting new recent discoveries: 1) Papyrus fragments from Deir al-Suryan by Fr. Bigoul El-Souriany and Luk Van Rompay, 2) inscriptions from Takrit by Amir Harrak, and 3) inscriptions from Deir al-Suryan by Luk Van Rompay and Andrea Schmidt.

Book reviews include a review on Hollerweger's Tur Abdin: Living Cultural Heritage by Edip Aydin, a bibliography of books published in 2000 by Dr. Sebastian Brock, and a review on Falla's A Key to the Peshitta Gospels by Andreas Juckel.

The issue also contains one conference report, and three announcements. The Journal is available free of charge.

Published semiannually since 1988, Hugoye is the only peer-reviewed academic journal that is dedicated entirely to the Syriac tradition. The journal is a founding member of the Association of Peer-Reviewed Electronic Journals in Religion.

Syriac Computing Institute
New Jersey


Courtesy of The Dominion Independent Newspapers, 17 January 2001

For Iraqi refugees Jan Benjamin and brothers Youael and Brikha Zomaya, the 10th anniversary of the outbreak of the Gulf War marks a far happier time than for their compatriots caught up in the conflict.

In January 1991 the three were just completing formalities for emigrating to New Zealand after being based in neighboring Iran for five years as refugees of the devastating Iran-Iraq war.

As the first bombs from United States-led allied coalition forces began falling on Baghdad, they were packing their bags for a life a world away from the uncertainty of a country at war.

Brikha Zomaya had already lived with that uncertainty. During Iraq's vicious border battle with Iran in the 1980s, he had served in the back lines as an army telephone technician before fleeing in 1986.

"We didn't want a war. We didn't want to kill people we just want peace," he said.

With the penalty for desertion being certain death, Brikha Zomaya, with members of his family in tow, fled to the Iran-based refugee camps. A fellow Assyrian, Jan Benjamin, was there and together they were granted the right to move to New Zealand.

Over the years each has joined manufacturing engineering firm of AE Tilley at Rongotai, Wellington, where they enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in contrast to those left in Iraq.

"We work harder here but we are free and that's the important thing," Mr Benjamin said.

Assyrians comprise between 3 and 5 per cent of Iraq's population but unlike the Muslim majority they follow Christian beliefs.

The three urged people to recognize the debilitating effects of economic sanctions against Iraq. "It's wrong for Iraq to go inside Kuwait but it's wrong to put sanctions on the Iraqi people," Youael Zomaya said. "All the problems in the Gulf are with the Iraqi Government. All the Iraqi people are innocent, they don't know much about (the politics)."

All three are adamant that if the US-led coalition had wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein he would not have survived the war. "If they wanted to kill him they would have done so in 1991," Brikha Zomaya said. It was in the US's interests to keep Saddam in power as it gave it a legitimate economic interest in continuing programs like regular weapon inspections there.

The three said they would watch with interest US Secretary of State-designate Colin Powell's attitude to Iraq in an administration featuring many faces who were driving forces in Operation Desert Storm.
Fred Parhad's


If one could hover above this planet and look down, seeing at will any portion of it, what would be seen of our Assyrian people. The astronauts who first saw the earth from far away, marveled at how small and lovely a place it seemed. They, almost to a man, reflected on the world Man had created; how in every land mass conflicts between and within groups had developed since the beginning of time and how ,since then, people had managed to split themselves into ever increasing and smaller groups, dividing along every conceivable line, each pitted against the other until the planet became a very battlefield of division and bloody argument. As if each knew it was wrong in some fundamental way, all found a god to sanction their otherwise destructive behavior towards the whole and, ultimately, the ruin of their own people.

How would we Assyrians appear to a person from such a vantage point? The person would see that we all changed religions (Christianity) at about our half-way point (2000 years ago), with some of us changing yet again (Muslim) some time later. The Christians among us were gradually forced to leave our ancestral homelands, finding a place to practice our religion in the Christian lands of the West. Those of us moving there began to be influenced by the West, gradually seeing our children absorbed by the dominant culture. Those remaining became increasingly influenced by the nations around them with whom they shared a common religion (Islam) if not culture, and saw their offspring likewise pulled away.

Those of us in the West gradually felt our loyalties begin to merge with those we lived among, so that their wars became our wars until we even accepted and took part in violence and aggression towards our homelands. Those who remained behind felt their loyalties drawn towards their co-religionists who they could see were being set upon by the West in its efforts to gain trade routes and resources culminating in an insatiable desire for oil at the lowest prices, those obtainable only if that region were kept in a constant state of turmoil, forced to sell oil just to recover from the ravages that same oil brought with it.

In the West our people did not pull together to form a common culture in exile. They split even further along religious lines and regional distinctions. On top of a bewildering array of “true” versions of Christianity they felt jealousies between East and West coasts, cities and states, political parties and clubs. The fabric, first torn when we changed religions to follow a carpenter and a camel driver, continued to rip until a very patchwork of small rags barely stitched together was all that remained in the West.

In the West our people clung to the hope of preserving a language, but the language itself was split and divided among dialects, as was everything else. Divided along religious, regional, political and linguistic lines, tugged at by an unrelenting Pop culture and having none of their own, our people, not only facing certain death as an ethnic group, have as a result of this very shredding gone so far as to participate in the destruction of what remains of their “family” in the ancestral homelands.

Those who participate commit the sin of commission, those who watch the victim bleed commit the sin of omission. One commits the violence, the other omits to come to the victim's rescue. In the eyes of the law the behavior of BOTH parties is wrong and action could be taken against them both.

I’m not an artist in any sense of the word. I avoided it as long as I could. I had no interest in the trappings or the rules of the game. I despise “openings”, never been to one and look forward to skipping my own next month. I left art school after one class session and it was only the sight of my own peoples’ fragments and antiquities which brought about a commitment to do the work. But even that wasn’t because of a desire to join the art “scene”. I could see, standing there in the Museums, the way people looked at the art we’d produced. They were moved, they were impressed, they took notice. We, as a people in the modern era, had not even succeeded in resurrecting ourselves from the “dead” for hardly anyone knew we existed and we’d done nothing in over 100 years to disabuse them of that belief. Yet the art of our ancestors “got” people’s attention.

I used art and culture as weapons and tools. If the ancients drew the worlds’ attention to us, even after thousands of years, then perhaps we could do it again through the arts. The arts of our people would be the one uniting factor, if there could be any, which could constitute a culture for us in exile. An ethnic dance, music, or theatre troupe, professionally trained and managed, could spread our fame as a culture around the globe, as could any good writing, painting and sculpture. But over time I’ve discovered that the old divisions among us lead each faction to resent bitterly any attempt at unification for each will lose the precious little it has and fears being overshadowed and swallowed up.

We are like the children of a once wealthy person. who lost most of the treasure before we were born. All our lives we’ve heard what a great person this one WAS, how much wealth, how much respect, how much influence this person HAD. And when the time came to divide up the little inheritance which was left for us, each of us went out in the world clinging desperately to a little shred of satin or broken crystal which was to be all we’d ever have to remember our great ancestor by. In clinging to that fragment, we’ve continued to become fragmented as heirs and individually. Seeing only a small part of the whole we’ve not been able build with these hands and minds a new basis for a new wealth. We sit, rocking back and forth in memory of the past, our eyes rapt upon a broken piece of a whole which, like us, is shattered and gone forever.

If we could put down the piece of an inheritance, or better yet bring all the treasure together again and consecrate all of it to our own museum of memories, close the door upon it to preserve it...then with our hands free to toil once more, our hearts lightened by the knowledge that each person’s small piece treasure is safe, we could begin to build a new wealth, made by us all and for our children to come in the centuries spreading before us. We could do it. We’ve survived this long against all odds for some reason. But we have to let go of a part in order to grab onto something much bigger, much more grand, with a chance of life to it. And, as of yet, we’re far too frightened by this little we have, afraid that to let it go will mean we’ll have nothing at all. Like a child clinging to a float, we’ll not drown, as long as nothing damages the float, but we’ll never swim free either, leaving, what only keeps our heads barely above water, for the exhilaration which comes from dashing through the water secure in our abilities.



Marona Bar Benjamin Arsanis passed away in Moscow, Russia on 4 February 2001. The Assyrian people have lost one of their most outstanding national activist, writer, translator and brilliant teacher.

Rabbie Marona was born in Urmia, Iran in 1918 into a family of greatest Assyrian writer, historian, educator, enlightener and diplomat Rabbie Benjamin Arsanis.  After finishing school in Tehran in 1937 Marona Arsanis went along with his brother Gewargis to study in the USSR. That was their father’s will who believed in the communistic ideals all along and hoped for the better life for his people in the USSR but, alas, the children of Rabbie Benjamin became only the victims or even hostages taken by the communist regime. Therefore Rabbie Marona could not leave for his homeland to pay tribute to his ancestors until 1995.

In 1939 Marona Arsanis was called up for service in the Red Army and fought in the conflict with Finland. After the Second World War Rabbie Arsanis took over as a Farsi language editor of a foreign literature publishing house.  In the late 1950s he took a job of the announcer and translator of the USSR State Committees for National Telecasting and Broadcasting Systems.

In the early 1960s Rabbi Marona began to organize a small study group of the Assyrian language in Moscow. Some three hundred people, adults and children, came to attend his classes at people’s homes and in the clubs. In the 1970s the Arsanis brothers launched a mass campaign to raise the Assyrian literacy level not only among Assyrians in Moscow, but also in Armenia and in the USSR Republic of Georgia.

Some special focus should be placed on the diversity of Rabbi Marona’s talent. He was an excellent painter and piano player as he had spent much of his spare time on both disciplines during his lifetime. But literature remained his favorite pastime. His philosophical mood and broad speculations brought him over to the creation of over 15,000 aphorisms. He was the author of five books, including a large 282 page foliate “Aphorisms and Thoughts”. Two lovely books penned by the Arsanis family were published recently in Moscow. The well-known story “The Fall of the Assyrian Kingdom” written by Rabbi Benjamin Arsanis, was translated by Rabbi Marona and published at the beginning of 2000 in the Russian language. And the second book is a biographic story “Benjamin Arsanis and his family” by Rabbi Marona Arsanis. This publication is a great tribute to Rabbi Benjamin from his beloved son with faith and love.

Rabbi Marona Arsanis has touched the hearts and lives of many people in his lifetime. We will never forget his unconditional love to our nation and support for us all. He will be deeply mourned and ever loved by his friends and sympathizers. As we mourn his loss, may he rest in peace and may the Lord bless his soul.

“Melta” Magazine Bulletin Staff
Moscow, Russia


Courtesy of The Times of London, 24 January 2001

Professor Oliver Gurney, FBA, cuneiform scholar, was born in London on January 28, 1911. He died on January 11 aged 89.

Oliver Gurney was the most distinguished British cuneiform scholar of his generation, and one of the last links with the first era of Assyriology, through A. H. Sayce, who inspired his uncle, John Garstang, to write The Land of the Hittites in 1910. It was Garstang, Professor of Archaeology at Liverpool, who persuaded Gurney himself to take up this study. Gurney described Sayce as a spiritual ancestor, and remembered meeting him, at the excavations of Jericho in 1931 - a vigorous old gentleman of 87 in full clerical dress despite the oppressive heat. Sayce himself was the last of the Assyriologists of the school of Rawlinson, Oppert and Hincks, and had been a friend of Schliemann, Georg Curtius and Gladstone.

Oliver Robert Gurney was the only child of Robert Gurney, a noted zoologist of the Norfolk family, and of Sarah Gamzu. From Eton, he went in 1929 to read Greats at New College, Oxford, where he became interested in Homer. His uncle drew his attention to the cuneiform archives in Hittite, the oldest Indo-European language, recently excavated in Turkey, that were beginning to reveal the history behind the Homeric epics. The enthusiasm this fired for the infant discipline of Hittite studies never waned.

Before taking his finals he called on the Professor of Assyriology, Stephen Langdon, to say that he wished to learn Mesopotamian cuneiform as a stepping-stone to Hittite. Gurney recalled that Langdon looked him up and down before asking, "Is your health good?" He debated ever afterwards whether this was a joke or a serious question prompted by an anxiety that Gurney's health might not withstand such a strenuous career.

He spent 1935-36 at Berlin University being initiated into the mysteries of the Hittite language before completing an Oxford doctorate with an exemplary edition of the Prayers of the Hittite King Mursili II, published in 1940.

During the war he served in the Royal Artillery, reaching the rank of captain, and was attached for four years to the Sudan Defence Force, taking part in campaigns in Eritrea and Abyssinia. He used to say that he had learnt the necessary Arabic on the boat out.

While still in the Forces he was invited to take up the Shillito Readership in Assyriology at Oxford, which he held until 1978, dividing his time between Assyriology and Hittite studies. He became a Fel- low of Magdalen in 1963 and ad hominem professor in 1965.

Although he took part in two of his uncle's excavations in southern Turkey, he decided that his own best contribution would be the copying and study of cuneiform tablets. Among his publications was a newly excavated Assyrian scribal library from Sultantepe in Turkey, including the amusing tale "The poor man of Nippur". With Samuel Noah Kramer he produced a volume of important Sumerian literary compositions from the Ashmolean Museum, and copies and editions of Kassite period documents from Ur. Embracing in his seventies the newest technology, Gurney typeset the volume himself. A further meticulous volume of Babylonian literary and scientific works followed.

He then became interested in Babylonian music, and wrote several papers on it. Although no ancient music survives, one of the tablets from Ur which he had copied contained the names for the strings of a harp, and with the collaboration of musicologists he was able to prove that the Babylonians used a heptatonic scale with seven octave species anticipating the Greeks.

His deservedly popular Penguin book The Hittites was published in 1952 and has remained in print ever since, most recently revised in 1999. Gurney shared John Garstang's longstanding fascination with the problem of the geography of the Hittite Empire, and finally published their joint work on the subject in 1959, the year he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. His 1976 Schweich Lectures were published as Some Aspects of Hittite Religion.

He was closely associated with the establishment of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, of whose council he was a member from the first, and president from 1982. From 1956 until 1997 he was editor of its journal, Ana- tolian Studies. He was also a long-time member of the council of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq. Other honours included foreign membership of the Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters, and an honorary doctorate from Chicago.

At the time of his death he was deep in a new book on Wagner, whose music he loved. He remained in academic correspondence with several scholars, teasing out philological and historical problems with his customary patience, courtesy and acuity. With exaggerated modesty he would describe himself as "just a bookworm"; those who knew him will remember him, on the contrary, as a scholar of the broadest learning, always ready to engage in friendly but determinedly honest discussion or to be enthused by some new discovery.

He is survived by his wife Diane, whom he married in 1957, and by a stepdaughter.


Zaia Zaitona, 90, of El Cajon, California died on January 19. He was born in Iraq on January 1, 1911. Mr. Zaitona was a manufacturing supervisor.

Survivors include his wife, Selma; daughters, Mary, Khalida and Bushra Zaitona; and son, Tariq Zaitona.

Services were held at St. Michael Chaldean Church, 799 E. Washington St. in El Cajon.


Emmanuel Youkhana, 60, of Peoria, Arizona, died January 11, 2001.  Born in Iraq to his parents Petros and Soreya. He was a graduate from the University of Chicago. Also a church member at the Assyrian Church Of The East, St. Peters Parish.  He was a private kind of person. He helped out lots of different charities. He will be deeply missed by all that knew him. Those that knew him know he is with "Jesus" now. He is survived by his two former wives: Peronia and Shirley; three daughters: Carol Oshana, Nehran and Nineuah Youkhana; one son: Robert Oshana; three sisters: Sanam Youkhana, Shamerian Arsanis, Youlia Youkhana; one brother: Youkhana. Funeral services were held on Saturday, January 13, 2001 at Assyrian Church Of The East with Interment at Phoenix Memorial Park.


Sargon Boulous

Concordance to Syriac New Testament



Is there any influence in my work from my Assyrian background? Well, as a child I was writing in Arabic, although I have written certain things in Assyrian. But I soon realized that Assyrian is a very limited language in the sense of an audience. First of all, throughout the whole Middle East where Assyrians exist their language is suppressed - they don't have schools, they don't have magazines, they don't have books, but almost secret societies. The first school I went to was in a church in Al-Habbaniya where the priest used to teach us and I read Assyrian. It's a beautiful language, it's a great language and sometimes I feel like writing a fantastic elegy for the Assyrian language, how it's dying and I'm seeing its death.

But then I realized, when I was struck by the Arabic language, when the gift came to me, that all languages are really one. I mean, Arabic is almost like Assyrian to me, that's strange, but it's really true. For me the sound of Arabic is like some kind of cover for hat's beneath it - meaning all these ancient languages never really die. They are there. This might sound like an illusion but they are there, they are steamed up into Arabic and they are right there.

Of course, throughout the years I went and studied these things, I studied Turath, which is the classics of Arabic language. I found out that some of the greatest Arab poets were in fact Assyrians. They changed their names, they're all in history. Emr Al-Quais was Assyrian and Nabi Al Dhubiani, who was the poet of the kings, of the palace, was actually Assyrian. He was Monovesian, a kind of Christian at that time. Now who could be Christian in Iraq and not be Assyrian - either Assyrian, or Syriac or Chaldean, Assyrians considered all these people one. Then, Abu Tammam was Christian - he changed his name. Ibn Al-Abri, a great historian, is Ben Khafri in Assyrian, so he's Assyrian. I can tell you hundreds of names like that. Ibn Ar-Ruhmi, he was in fact Greek and Christian. These things are facts in Arabic literature. So, the way I see it is that there is no such thing as pure Arabic literature. It all is from here and there, especially from Iraq and Syria where the tremendous movements of classic poetry took place, the revolutions of Abu Tammam in Syria and Al Muttanebi in Iraq, these movements just dragged with them all the past of mixed origins, mixed languages, mixed knowledge, mixed terminology - and this past is all there in the poetry and the prose.

I think that s what most of the poets, throughout history, have done. They have done exactly that. Because what finally counts is not the language, it's what the languages say.

In my books, particularly the last three, I have been doing exactly that. I've been putting in Assyrian phrases or sentences, such as "Shimmet baba bruna rukhet kutcha" (In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost), sometimes without translating them. They're obviously Assyrian, but not in the sense of being just Assyrian, that would be just chauvinistic.

Sargon Boulos

Sargon Boulos was born in Habbaniya, Iraq.  To learn more about Mr. Boulos click here.




BC (687)

Manasseh (Minasheh), King of Judah, begins ruling peacefully as a vassal to Assyria under the Assyrian Kings Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal.  He was taken to Babylon in chains but allowed to return home.  Manasseh died in 642 B.C. and buried in the garden of his palace.

II Chronicles 33

AD (884)

During the Patriarchate of Mar Youhannan III, a mob of Arabs attacks and plunders the monastery of Dakil Ishu.

The Ashurbanipal Library Committee for www.atour.com


February 9, 1956:  dies, Isreal Ronald Yonan, president of the Assyrian American National Federation between 1954 and 1955.  Mr. Yonan had met with Iraqi authorities in an effort to establish closer ties between Iraq and the AANF.





Feb 10


Presented by the Assyrian American Athletic Club of Modesto
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: 
  Samir Zoudo.............209-551-0933
  Martin David.............209-577-6700
  Edward Shumoun.....209-574-0997
  Wilson Jacobe...........209-526-3014

Feb 15

"Frescoes & Syriac Inscriptions in Medieval Churches in Lebanon"
by Dr. Erica Dodd, Victoria University
8:00 PM
Auditorium, Earth Sciences Centre, Room 1050
5 Bancroft Avenue
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

Feb 17

Mar Narsai Parish, Church of the East

Bring your family and friends to join us for an evening filled with fun, music, and shaykhane! This is a good opportunity for your kids to warm up to Assyrian chain dancing. Pizza and beverages will be available for sale. 

7:00 pm
Church Hall
3939 Lawton Street

For more information contact Edward Mikhail at (925) 485-0966.

Mar 29

"Syriac Heritage at the Northern Silk Road: TheArchaological& Epigraphic Evidence of Christianity in Kirghizia"
by Dr. Vassilios Klein, Bonn University
8:00 PM
Auditorium, Earth Sciences Centre, Room 1050
5 Bancroft Avenue
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

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

 Thank You!

        Lynnette Farhadian (Washington D.C.).......Dr. George Kiraz (New Jersey)........Ashur Simon Malek (Canada)........Vasili Shoumanov (Chicago)


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