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Volume VII
Issue 40
January 7, 2002
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This Week In Zinda

cover photo
cover photo

  Opinion & Reflections nn Prof. John Joseph's Latest Book
  Christmas Finds Iraq's Christians in Somber Mood
Politics of Christmas in North Iraq
CNN Video: Iraqi Christians Celebrate Christmas

Rabbie Giwargis Benyamin Arsanis Passes On
Mar Dinkha to Attend World Day of Prayer in Italy
Mass to Honor Slain Chaldean Retailers
3 Iraqi Chaldeans & the Miami Immigration Office
Obituary: Esther D. Oshana
Obituary: Taft Emerson Armandroff
Obituary: John Sargis

  Christmas & New Year Wishes
Man of the Year
Our Ungraceful Bishop
Our Beloved Bishop
Head Conqueror
This is Our Church!
Can We Be Honest And Mature In Facing Problems?

Beth Mardutho Publishes Mardu (December 2001 Issue)
Fundraising Dinner For Pete Dagher in Chicago
San Jose Assyrians For Mayor Ron Gonzales

  Al-Jazeera Editor in Chief
  Stephanie Neri: Cook of The Year 2001
AUA Annual Gala VIP Dinner: Part 3

Mar Narsai De Baz' Letter
Dr. Gabiele Yonan's Lectures in Sweden
Library For Assyrians in Sweden
Aleppo Music

  FExports & Imports
  The Year of the Eclipse & Sissy Spacek's Necklace
  The First Assyrian From Iran
  Canadian Society For Syriac Studies Lecture



The Lighthouse


The Modern Assyrians of the Middle East

Encounters with Western Christian Missions, Archaeologists, & Colonial Powers

This book is a revised version of Dr. John Joseph's "The Nestorians and Their Muslim Neighbors, a study of Western influence on their relations", originally published by Princeton University Press in 1961.  The author's scholarly research and description of the history of Modern Assyrians enlightened this Assyrian reader.  It is not my intention to embark on a task of blind criticism nor it is an attempt to undermine the noble efforts of the author.  However, it is hard to suppress ones nationalistic sentiments whenever our true identity is at stake. Nonetheless, I would like to shed some light on what it is believed to be of interest to most Assyrian readers, i.e., the linkage, or lack there of, of the Modern Assyrians to the Ancient Assyrians. While acknowledging the author's vast knowledge in Middle Eastern studies and dare not challenge the historical facts and hypothesis in regard to the origin of modern Assyrians, I am prepared to engage into an intellectual debate on our national identity.  There are other Assyrian scholars including Dr. Edward Y. Odisho who have come out in the defense of the linkage in a scholarly and analytical manner.  "To be the native of a land for more than three millennia and yet to have the authenticity of one's nativity questioned or even denied is the most flagrant violation of one's human rights", (Dr. Odisho's presentation at Melammu Symposia, Helsinki 2001).  Dr. Odisho eloquently describes his presentation, "…… this study was a practice in scientific research aimed at making judgements that are fairer and more objective…".

This reader’s opinion in the defense of the linkage is expressed in a philosophical rather than a scientific manner.  It is a simplistic and instinctive reflection of thoughts.   With humbleness and a sense of humility, I must confess, it is that of an innocent 9-year-old child whose unadulterated mind was not yet influenced by the diverging views on this debate.  The question posed by a prominent American missionary several decades ago "How could you prove that you are an Assyrian?" (Refer to this reader's editorial "Assyrians..Hope and Despair", Nineveh Magazine Volume 2, No. 1 January - February 1979):

What nationality are you? The missionary asked.  "Assyrian!" The boy replied.  "Assyrian? Those ancient people became extinct thousands of years ago.  To believe your claim, you must provide me with proof" the missionary pulled his passport and pointed to his identity as an American and said, "This is my proof. What is yours?".  "I am Assyrian because my father told me so.  You know my father never lies" the child exploded, his eyes gleaming with confidence.  "Who told your father that he was Assyrian" the missionary asked.  "His father" and "His Grandfather told his father" the boy went on and on repeating those words."

One must not neglect, though, to praise the author for the depth of his research and the wealth of information regarding our history as depicted through out the book.  Specifically, his in-depth and concerted effort on addressing the horrible conditions endured by Assyrians in the early part of the twentieth century.   However, further elaboration with greater details on the Assyrian Exodus during their migration from the Plains of Urmia to Baquba, Iraq would have done more justice to those who suffered and particularly those who perished during that terrible ordeal.  The Author did, however, mention this tragic exodus briefly yet eloquently, (109) "the story of how thousands of these refugees suffered and died; how they were reluctantly received but humanely treated and brought to Iraq by the British has often been related.  One reason why they were transported to Iraq was the famine conditions in Persia, where thousands of Persians and Kurds starved.  That is the ugly story of war when man's natural enemies, cold, hunger, disease and fear combine with religious hatred and blind passion to overwhelm the dictates of humanity and conscience."

Moreover, The "Assyrian Genocide" by the Ottomans’ could have been addressed more thoroughly and in the same manner that the Simile Massacre was described. The author’s analysis and commentary on the socioeconomic, political & and humanitarian aspect of the Assyrians as indigenous people, is superb.  His distinction between the Assyrians as Eastern Christians and their Muslim neighbors is expressed delicately, (222) "While the Eastern Christians and their Muslim neighbors have a great deal in common, religious differences still set them apart.  Members of each faith have their own distinctive religious custom and tradition; they conduct their marriage ceremonies differently, celebrate different feast and holidays, fast and worship differently, and more importantly what each religious community holds holy is different.  Because of the important role that religion plays in the social and political life of the people, religious differences between them, strengthening their self awareness and sense of ethnic identity, this being true especially among the members of the minority"

In the preface writes the author" I am grateful to Dr. Spindler for accepting also a revised title for the book.  The reasons for choosing the name Nestorians in the past are given in the original preface reproduced below.  The more controversial name "Modern Asyrians" is now used because of its greater unambiguity.  To my surprise, there were a number of people, among them specialists on modern Middle Eastern history, who, while familiar with the "Nestorians" and with the modern "Assyrians," were still unaware that "Nestorians" of my original title referred to very same people who since the turn of the century came to be commonly called "Assyrians" in English.

A justification, not mentioned by the author, for changing the name from Nestorian to Modern Assyrian, is the fact that the church had never identified itself as a "Nestorian Church" but rather, called itself by its true identity "The Church of the East".  Furthermore, this is a denominational identity and not of neither ethnicity nor nationality.  The author quote from a speech by The Archbishop of the Assyrian Archdiocese of Lebanon, Mar Narasai de Baz  (254) "the Assyrian Church of the East, is not a 'Nestorian' Church.  Though Nestorius, the patriarch of Constantinople, is honored and venerated in her thought and liturgical action, the Church of the East was established in Mesopotamia during the apostolic age centuries before the birth of Nestorius".

"Yet another proof" writes the author (22) "that the Aramiac speaking Christians are descendents of the ancient Assyrians argues that the language of the two people are the same.  Layard wrote that the Nestorians spoke "the language of their"Assyrian' ancestors, an opinion expressed by Layard's Aramiac-speaking assistant, Hormuzd Rassam: that the ancient Assyrians "Always spoke the Aramiac language" and they "still do" We have just seen that the ancient Assyrians did not always speak Aramiac; their mother tongue was Akkadian, the language of the famed cuneiform tablets and monument that Rassam himself helped excavate."

The author seems to insinuate lack of proof for linkage of modern to ancient Assyrians by emphasizing to what Hormuzd Rassam wrote, "Assyrians, Always spoke the Aramiac language," rather than what Layard wrote?  Layard did not use the word "always", because it was obvious to him that Assyrians adopted the Aramiac language and they had spoken their mother tongue before.  Furthermore, the author had concurred with that the Assyrians spoke entirely Aramiac in the years preceding their downfall and that they had forgot their mother tongue, "Unlike the Assyrians, the Persians did not forget their own mother tongue" (13).

The author's emphasis on disproving the belief of Modern Assyrians that "Suraye" and "Aturaye" are synonymous (17-21), is an apparent indication of his advocacy of the "lack of linkage" hypothesis.   Equating "Suraye" to "Syrian" from the geographical Syria further undermines the linkage hypothesis.  Based upon this logic, the Modern Assyrians who called themselves "Suraye" from time immemorial are actually "Syrians" from the geographical "Syria". This reader favors the opposing logic that the modern days Assyrians are from "Geographical Ancient Assyria" or the "Plains of Ninveveh".  The hypothesis presented by the author failed to convince this reader that Assyrians of Hakkari and those living in the various villages of the Mosul plain (Modern days Chaldeans) are geographically from any other place but the Geographic Ancient Assyria. The Assyrians also spoke Aramaic, as did the Syrians from Syria. The Syrians from Syria were Arabized, therefore, forgot their mother tongue of Aramaic. The "Suraye" synonymous to "Aturaye" from the 'Plains of Nineveh" continue till this day to speak Aramaic.  I am of the opinion that the author's study, despite its scholarly and impressive presentation, failed to disprove the linkage of Modern Assyrians to the Ancient Assyrians.

It is apparent that the author, (27-29) Assyrian survival after the fall, had attempted to perform a balancing act of the many different views on linkage issue.  Citing Dr. Edward Y. Odisho and Simo Parpola advocating linkage in counter to the views of many western historians, most notably Sidney Smith. (28-29) Modern Assyrian writers usually cite a statement that Assyriologist Sidney allegedly made early in the twentieth century--namely, that the Assyrians disappeared "immediately" and "vanished" after the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C.  To "disprove" Smith, they cite another Assyriaologist, W.W. Tarn, who noted that for centuries after the fall of their empire, Assyrian "survivors" perpetuated old Assyrian names at various places on the site of ancient Ashur.  Edward Y. Odisho refer to "a few" historians who "talk about continuation of the (Assyrian) identity" until establishment of Christianity in geographical Assyria, some eight centuries after the fall of the Assyrian empire. (Footnote 102 page 29), The author quote Simo Parpola, that the Assyrian empire had, in the final analysis,  "never been destroyed at all but had just changed ownership: first to Babylonian and Median dynasties, and then to a Persian one." The Assyrian Empire "continued to live on despite the fact that the Assyrian themselves were no longer in control of it."  The author, did however, express his own conclusion in a general manner open for different interpretations and perhaps a justified criticism.  (31-32) "The people who today call themselves Assyrians are, strictly speaking, members of a cultural and religious group, molded together into a minority by ties of a common language and, until the nineteenth century, a common church membership which, until the birth of the modern nation-state in Middle east, was the strongest tie among people."

This book could be characterized as an elaborate study and an outstanding textbook in Middle Eastern affairs and Islam in relation to the Western cultures, Christianity and modern day world politics.  (223) "but in the eyes of the majority, Western presence was foreign and oppressive.  It took another World War (1939-1945) before the British and French rule came to and end, but hardly had they departed from the scene, when the Arabs were faced with a new and more permanent enemy in the Jewish state of Israel, created in the midst of the Arab-Muslim world by the departing Western Powers, joined by the United States of America.  For the entire second half of the twentieth century Israel would symbolize not only Palestinian homelessness but also the powerlessness and humiliation of millions of Arabs and non-Arab Muslims (see Marin Kramer, "the Muslim Middle East in the 21st Century)…….Combined with other factors and grievances of the region, the festering Palestinian problem and the triumph of Islam in Iran, gave rise in the region to an Islamic renewal and new self-assertiveness.  Among those joined the movement were the young and educated classes; as leader of the next generation, they were disillusioned with the ideologies and strategies that had failed to work out a solution for their parents (see James r. Kind "The Theme of Alienation in contemporary Middle Eastern Literature").  They longed for something different, but familiar, with native roots; uniting them was the mistrust of the West."  One could only hope that the leaders and the general public of our beloved nation, the United States of America, would read this book, get an insight and be enlightened with the treasure of knowledge that the author presents in this area of constant conflicts.  Acquiring knowledge in the true but rather sad history of the middle east as demonstrated in this book, would certainly enrich the policy makers of the roots and causes of terrorism by Islamic extremists so they may be better prepared to deal with it effectively.

There are many zealous, but well-intentioned Assyrian nationalists, who have been critical of the author's writings.  While the published work of the author has been unfairly portrayed as a betrayal of our Assyrian heritage, I must regrettably admit that the author's controversial views regarding the linkage issue open itself to valid challenges.  For those of us who are passionately convinced that we are descendents of ancient Assyrians, this may not be the proper book of history, nor the author, is the ideal historian, to further prove our conviction of the linkage.  However, Assyrians should learn from, be proud and respectful of our author, who has written such a scholarly book of history even though they may disagree with his conclusions.  Our national identity as it has been engrained in us from time immemorial, is deeply rooted in the soul of every Assyrian.  The Author's presentation of hypothesis disproving the linkage would not change the perception of the Modern Assyrians who are passionately convinced of their ethnicity.  It is obvious, however, that the author’s foresight is far more reaching to the world beyond that of the Assyrian readers.

In conclusion, I could not resist the urge but to draw from my poetic mind a handful of philosophical words, paint a picture of abstract and meditate:

May God bless the author with another hundred years of healthy and prosperous life.

May God give him a relentless wisdom so he may record the "yet to unfold" history of "future Assyrians".

May God lead him to the path of discovery where the Assyrians of ancient, modern and future are one of the same "Assyrian".

Sargon R. Michael


[ Professor John Joseph is a Louis Audenreid Professor of History, Emeritus at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Mr. Michael's article will also appear in the next issue of Nineveh Magazine. For a review of Prof. Joseph’s book in Zinda Magazine visit:

http://www.zindamagazine.com/html/archives/2000/zn053000.htm#Bravo ]



Courtesy of Agence France-Presse; Report by Farouk Choukri

(ZNDA: Baghdad) Iraq's Christian minority was celebrating Christmas in a somber mood Tuesday, with the country suffering through its 12th year of UN sanctions and with the threat of a US strike looming.

Hundreds of Christians attended mass in the capital's 50-odd churches, but they were evidently not in festive spirits.

"In all churches we prayed for the peace which Christ preached 2,000 years ago to reign in our region, notably in Iraq," Bishop Emmanuel Delli of the Chaldean church.

There are some 750,000 Christians in Iraq, most of them from the Chaldean faith. Prior to the sanctions, imposed when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, there were some two million out of a population of more than 22 million, most of them Shiite Muslims.

"We need peace more than at any time in the past," Delli said. "Our children are getting killed in Palestine and elsewhere, and dangers are lurking for our country."

In his last pre-Christmas sermon, Father Mushtaq Zanbaqa of the Virgin Mary Church in Baghdad said it was painful that Christmas "should come once again with Iraqis living in deprivation and lacking medicines as a result of the embargo.

"The church is doing its utmost to ease the suffering of those worst hit" by the sanctions," he said.

In a Christmas message to the country's Christians on Monday night, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said the United States and Israel were dragging the world into "catastrophes.

"What is happening in Palestine and Afghanistan and the many other developments will drag humanity toward catastrophes and tragedies which will have consequences for the whole world that only God can know," he said.

"This Christmas is coming at a time when terrible crimes are being committed, as the whole world can see, here (in Iraq) ... where the people have suffered for 11 years under an unjust embargo."

These hardships were "accompanied by the continued military aggression of the United States and Britain at the urging of the detestable Zionist entity (Israel)," Saddam said.

Yet, many Iraqi Christian families have tried to have a quasi- normal Christmas.

Christmas trees have introduced a note of festivity in the homes of those who could afford them, as prices ranging from 5,000 dinars (2.5 dollars) to 60,000 dinars (30 dollars) are prohibitive for most Iraqis.

The ministry of religious affairs Sunday organized a ceremony during which gifts offered by Saddam were distributed to Christian charities and orphanages.

Religious Affairs Minister Abdul Monem Ahmad Saleh told representatives of various Christian communities the Iraqi leader wished them "glory and success."

This year's Christmas comes at a time when Iraq faces the prospect of another US military strike.

Newsweek magazine reported in its latest edition, published Monday, that top US military officials were studying the possibility of invading Iraq from both the north and the south in order to topple the Iraqi leader.

Under heavy political pressure, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff have been looking at a study that suggests deploying 50,000 US troops on Iraq's southern border and another 50,000 on its northern border, it said.

US President George W. Bush and his national security team have decided that Saddam has to go, said the magazine, quoting unidentified US officials.

"The question is not if the United States is going to hit Iraq, the question is when," the report quoted a senior US envoy in the Middle East as saying.



(ZNDA: Kirkuk) On December 28 reporter Jacob Shir of the Khabat weekly Arabic newspaper interviewed Archbishop of Arbil Chaldean Parish regarding his visit to the Vatican and meeting his Holiness Pope John Paul II. The Archbishop made the following statement: "I have reported to the Pope that by virtue of the Kurdistan Regional Government everyone's rights are granted. The Pope is pleased about the unity observed in the region of Kurdistan."

Next day, a meeting between the Relation's Bureau of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Chaldean Cultural Group was held in North Iraq. Prior to this meeting on the occasion of Christmas and the Christian New Year, a high-level delegation of Kurdistan Islamic Yekgirtu Party visited the Assyrian Democratic Movement on 22 December and the Virgin Mary Church in Sulaymaniya.

Jalal Talabani, head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan also congratulated the Christians in Iraq as he was visiting Virgin Mary Church in Sulaymaniya. During his visits to the Mar Yosip Church in Ain Kawa, the Assyrian Democratic Movement headquarters, the Chaldean Cultural organization headquarters and the Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party headquarters the leader of the Turkoman Front party congratulated the Christians on the occasion of Christmas.

A Kurdistan Democratic Party delegation, representing Masoud Barazani, offered their congratulations to the Christian inhabitants of North Iraq during a visit to the Mar Giwargis Church in the Shoresh District and to the headquarters of the Assyrians Democratic Movement, the Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party and the Chaldean Cultural Group.



CNN: Live at Daybreak; Reporting for CNN: Rym Brahimi

(ZNDA: Baghdad) On Christmas Eve, members of the dwindling Iraqi Christian community gather at Baghdad's various churches to attend mass. Since the Gulf War, Iraqis say religious celebrations for both Muslims and Christians have not been as effective as they once were because of the sanctions. This Christmas there's also something else to worry about: The U.S. may target Iraq next in the war against terrorism.


RYM BRAHIMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On Christmas Eve, members of the dwindling Iraqi Christian community gather at Baghdad's various churches to attend mass. Since the Gulf War, Iraqis say religious celebrations for both Muslims and Christians have not been as effective as they once were because of the sanctions. This Christmas there's also something else to worry about.

SOLOMON WARDUNI, AUXILIARY CHALDEAN BISHOP: Our people sure is not happy now because we are hearing every day that they want to bombard Iraq. They want to do that - why? Why to do that? There is no need to do all of these things.

BRAHIMI: The majority of Christians in Iraq are Chaldeans. They follow an ancient Eastern Catholic rite performed in Chaldean, Arabic and Aramaic, the language said to have been spoken by Jesus.

Other churches here follow a Syrian - Syriac Orthodox and Armenian rite. In this recently built Chaldean church, the faithful begin their Christmas mass by lighting a fire, a symbol, they tell us of the fire lit to warm the manger where Jesus was born.

About three to four percent of Iraq's population is Christians. It lives side by side with the country's Muslims and is left to worship however it pleases. There are no incidents, but most Christians keep a low profile and are reluctant to discuss their concerns on camera.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If the Americans are saying they want to bomb us, isn't there something to worry about?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Surely the American people feel for the Iraqi people and doesn't want to see us in this situation.

BRAHIMI (on camera): Privately, many Iraqi Christians acknowledge they were afraid at first that events following the September 11th attacks would put them in an awkward position. Nothing happened, they say, but statements by accused terrorist Osama bin Laden about waging a war against Christians and infidels or the use by U.S. President Bush of the word "crusade" made them feel uncomfortable. (voice-over): So far, however, they seem to have no reason to fear. The Iraqi leadership's party, the Ba'ath, adheres to secularist values, and President Saddam Hussein himself has made clear he would not tolerate any attempt to divide Iraqis by using religion.

On Sunday, Iraqi TV broadcast the annual ceremony in which the minister of religious affairs hands over gifts of money from the president to Christian charities. Public displays of support to the Christians that appear to reassure the clerics. Reassuring the people, it seems, is another issue. Of great concern to the Chaldean Church, since the Gulf War, is the increasing number of youth that leave Iraq, mainly because of the economic situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These sanctions are causing very bad situations for our people. So the youth has no hope.

BRAHIMI: Out of the one million estimated number of Chaldeans in the world, only about 600,000 still live in Iraq so most Christian youths here try to join their families abroad. In the meantime, as the church works on how to make them want to stay, their prayers this Christmas remains those of most Iraqis regardless of their faith.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We pray for our country, for sanctions to be lifted. Lifting of sanctions is the most important thing for us. Rym Brahimi, CNN, Baghdad.


News Digest


(ZNDA: Chicago) Assyrian poet, teacher, linguist, Rabbie Giwargis Beniamin Arsanis, passed away on December 22 in Russia. Born in Urmia in 1916, he was the oldest son of the famed Assyrian literary figure and educator Benyamin Arsanis. Rabbie Giwargis Arsanis received his from the famous Assyrian school of Yousip Qalata in Mosul. He then graduated from high school in Tehran, Iran and in 1937, he and his brother were sent by their father to the former Soviet Union to complete their education under the prestigious curruculum in Russia.

In 1941 Rabbie Giwargis served in the Soviet Army against the German attacks and in the same year entered the Institute of Orientalistic in Moscow and completed his studies in 1950. In 1954 he began teaching Farsi language in the International Institute of Foreign Relations (the Diplomatic school). Soon after he became a specialist in the Persian literature and its dialects as a professor. He published several books and monographs on Persian language.

Rabbie Giwargis, for many years, taught the Assyrian Language for Assyrians of Russia, Armenia, and Georgia. In 1973, 1988, 1992 he published three volumes of the Modern Assyrian Language (Assyrian elementary book)". Hundreds of Assyrian students and educators owe their knowledge of the Assyrian language to Rabbie Giwargis' works and instructions. Rabbie Giwargis is survived by two daughters: Suzanna and Ekaterina. They both live in Moscow.

[ Rabbie Giwargis' short biography was provided by Mr. Vasili Shoumanov of Chicago. Mr. Shoumanov was born in St-Petersburg, Russia and graduated from St-Petersburg University with a degree as "Orientalist". In the Middle East Department of this university he studied Arabic, Hebrew, and Classical Syriac). Mr. Shoumanov is also credited with the establishment of the first Assyrian club, "Semiramis", in the former Soviet Union in 1986. In 1990 he was the editor-in-chief of "Homeland" magazine. In 1993 he published a Russian-Assyrian dictionary. Since 1996 Mr. Shoumanov has been living in Chicago and working at the Ashurbanipal Library of the Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation. Find out more about Mr. Shoumanov's recent book "Assyrians of Chicago" on the Zinda Magazine home page.]



Courtesy of the Commission on Inter-church Relations and Education Development of the Church of the East & ZENIT News Agency, Vatican

(ZNDA: Rome) According to His Grace Mar Bawai Soro, Bishop of the Church of the East, His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV has accepted an invitation from the Catholic Church to attend a World Day of Prayer, to pray with His Holiness Pope John Paul II, the Bishop of Rome, and with other patriarchs and world religious leaders, on Thursday; 24 January 2002, in Assisi (Italy). In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Pope invited religious leaders around the world to participate in a meeting "to pray to overcome clashes and promote authentic peace. John Paul II and leaders of world religions will travel by train to Assisi on January 24 to take part in the day of prayer for peace

His Holiness will arrive in Rome on Monday; 21 January 2002. He shall be received at the Airport as the guest of the Holy See and will stay at the Vatican for the duration of his visit to Rome. This is the fourth official visit of His Holiness to Italy since 1978.

All participants will take the train in the Vatican, which has a small station built in 1933 by Pope Pius XI. The train will have only three or four compartments to accommodate the religious leaders accompanying the Pope.

Upon arrival in Assisi, His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, the Pope and other guests will attend a ceremony in the
morning, during which they will hear testimonies of peace. The religious leaders will then go to various places in St. Francis' city to pray, each one according to his custom.

To avoid any suggestion of syncretism, the Holy See is emphasizing that this will not be a meeting for joint prayer.

The participants will meet again in front of the basilica in the early afternoon to confirm together their commitment to peace. They will all return to the Vatican in the afternoon.

A private meeting between the two heads of churches, Their Holiness Mar Dinkha IV and Pope John Paul II, is also scheduled on Friday; 25 January. The Patriarch and Pope are expected during their encounter to discuss issues related to the general situation of Christian communities around the world and the progress of ongoing relation between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East. In addition to this, other meetings and visitations with various Vatican dignitaries and members of the Roman Curia have also been planned.

While still in Rome, His Holiness Mar Dinkha will attend the doctoral defense, graduation and dinner reception of His Grace Bishop Mar Bawai Soro at the Saint Thomas Pontifical University in Rome on Wednesday; January 23,
2002. The Assyrian Patriarch will also meet with the five Assyrian Church of the East student-priests who live and study in Rome since 1996.

His Holiness departs Rome on Saturday 26 January; 2002. On his way back, he is scheduled to pay a pastoral visit to the Assyrian Church of the East community in London, England.


Courtesy of Detroit Free Press; Report by Alexa Capeloto

(ZNDA: Detroit) Friends and relatives of Joe and Jack Yono, Chaldean retailers killed in an apparent armed robbery in Detroit on Dec. 14, gathered for a special mass in Southfield, Michigan on December 31 to honor the father and son.

The Associated Food Dealers of Michigan organized the mass in part to promote better understanding among police and retail owners, and to eradicate violence in local businesses.

According to the group, more than 300 Chaldeans have been killed in metro area retail robberies since 1970.

The mass took place for 6:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Chaldeans Cathedral (Mother of God Parish), 25603 Berg Road.



Courtesy of the Miami Herald; based on a report by Andres Viglucci & Alfonso Chardy

(ZNDA: Miami) Three Iraqi Chaldean-Assyrians came to Miami seeking political asylum and expecting an understanding reception from U.S. authorities. Instead, they ran smack into the government's domestic war on terrorism.

All three have been held by the Immigration and Naturalization Service for months, as the agency - already leery about releasing any man with an Arabic-sounding name in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks - appears to be extending the policy to women, at least in Florida.

The detention of the women, who under normal circumstances likely would have been freed by now, is the latest element in a strict new regimen of sharpened scrutiny and prolonged detention for foreign nationals from the Middle East and South Asia. The government is holding more than 500 men who were detained after the attacks, most of them on immigration violations.
The women's experience also lends weight to claims that some of those new measures, intended to strengthen the government's hand in rounding up terrorism suspects and safeguarding intelligence information, are being applied to Middle Easterners even when no connection to terrorist groups has been alleged - which is the case with one of the two women and her husband, who are Christian.

In at least one other local case, that of three Iraqi men detained when they tried to visit a friend working on a cruise ship at the Port of Miami-Dade, the INS used special post-Sept. 11 powers to close usually open hearings in immigration court, even though the FBI has publicly cleared the trio of any connection to terrorism.

The government alleges the men, who were legally in the country as refugees, were trying to smuggle in their friend, a charge they deny.

For one of the two detained women, 46-year-old Chaldean Christian, the new regimen has meant nearly four months of separation from her husband and imprisonment at a Miami-Dade County jail, where she is subjected to body searches and handcuffing for trips to court.

Her husband is being held at Krome.

Because she speaks Arabic, the only person at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center with whom she can communicate is a distant cousin of her husband, 24, also a Chaldean, who arrived in Miami a month ago.

She, too, is being held by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which uses the jail to house detained women.

The women were hoping to join relatives in Michigan.

The younger woman's sister is a U.S. citizen and her mother a permanent U.S. resident.

Both say they were in trouble with Saddam Hussein's regime - the first woman because her 51-year-old husband, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war, refused an order to rejoin the military; the younger woman, a university student in computer science, because she refused to join Hussein's Baath political party as most college students are expected to.

The women also said they faced discrimination as Christians in a majority-Muslim country.

Neither of the women speaks much English.

They weep frequently and say in a phone interview that they don't understand why they are being treated harshly when they fled an oppressive regime hostile to the United States.

They complain they get bad food and little sleep at the jail because of noise and frequent checks of their cells at night.

"We are very scared," said the younger woman, speaking through an interpreter, who asked that her name not be published for fear of retaliation against relatives back home.

"I thought the American authorities would help me. We were shocked at this treatment. We never dreamt of being in jail. We are not criminals."

During their detention, they say, they have seen dozens of women of other nationalities released from INS detention after just a few days - normal agency practice when it comes to asylum-seekers.

Both of the Iraqi women and the husband weeks ago cleared the first hurdle to asylum, an interview in which they persuaded an INS officer they have a "credible fear" of persecution at home.

INS policy is to release asylum-seekers who show credible fear while an immigration court makes a final determination in the case, a process that can take a year or more.

"In cases where an arriving alien asserts an asylum claim, INS policy favors release from custody if the alien is found to have a credible fear of persecution," said Joseph Greene, the INS's acting deputy executive associate commissioner for operations, speaking Wednesday before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Immigration.

The INS publicly insists it has not singled out Middle Easterners or Arabs for special treatment.

The acting INS district director for Florida, John Bulger, declined a request for an interview on his office's detention policies, even after The Herald provided, at his request, a letter outlining the subject.

Agency policy is not to discuss individual cases.

But federal officials concede that INS officers and agents who deal with aliens have been instructed not to let any Middle Easterner or South Asian out if they are not fully satisfied that they are clean - even if it takes months.

``There is a heightened state of awareness that each person seeking entry into the United States needs to be checked out as thoroughly as possible, so people who arrive without proper documents or without documents are detained while their stories are checked out, and if we need to hold them while we are checking them out, then we are going to hold them,'' one official familiar with INS practice said.

Another federal official familiar with immigration enforcement said: "No one is going to let someone go unless they feel absolutely sure the person they are releasing is not going to go out the next day and hijack a plane."

The INS is also making it harder for journalists to visit Middle Eastern and other detainees since the attacks.

The Iraqi women were interviewed by phone because an INS spokesman in Miami, Rodney Germain, said it would take at least two weeks to respond to a Herald request to visit them.

Before Sept. 11, such requests were handled by the local office and routinely approved within days.

Now the requests must be approved at the regional level and in Washington.

Immigration lawyers and advocates, while conceding the need for stepped-up security measures after the attacks, say the INS is needlessly jailing people who pose no threat.

"I can understand that policy for my Islamic clients, even if I don't agree with it," said Wilfredo Allen, a Miami immigration attorney representing the younger Iraqi, noting that Christian women are unlikely to join a jihad against the United States.

"I can't understand it for the Iraqi Christians. It's nonsensical."

The agency is releasing at least some Middle Easterners.

Last week, a male Iraqi asylum-seeker was released from Krome.

The agency has also been willing to release an Iranian woman who came to South Florida seeking asylum with her two teenage sons.

All three, converts to Christianity, have been detained since September -the mother and her 17-year-old son at a guarded motel the INS uses to confine families, and her 18-year-old son at Krome.

The agency set bond for the family, a total of $15,000, but they have been unable to come up with the money so far.

Advocates say it's rare for a family to be held so long at the motel.

``Most people go very quickly through the hotel,'' said Charu Newhouse Al-Sahli, detention advocacy coordinator at the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center in Miami.

Immigrant rights groups say they don't know of other cases of Middle Eastern women held for inordinately long periods by the INS.

But at least two other women were held for several weeks in one of the oddest episodes after the attacks. The two women were among 11 young Israeli Jews picked up in Ohio, apparently because tipsters and agents may have mistaken their Sephardic names for Arabic ones.

Their lawyer, David Leopold, said one of the first questions that federal agents asked his surprised clients is whether they were Muslim.

The Israelis were charged with working illegally, put into closed court proceedings reserved for national security cases and denied bond.

Nine, including the women, were eventually freed under a promise to leave the country.

Two others agreed to leave but are being held until their departure.

Leopold said one of the women, 23, was "terrified" to find herself in a jail cell. He blamed what he called INS's "institutional incapacity" for the apparent mix-up.

"It raises serious questions about the quality of the investigation," he said.



(ZNDA: New Britain) Esther "Nana" Daniel Oshana of Osterville, Massachusetts, formerly of New Britain, died Thursday in Hyannis, Massachusetts. She was 89.

She was born in Iran and was a former New Britain resident. She lived in Aspen, Colorado, for 15 years before moving to Cape Cod in 1997. She was formerly employed at General Electric in New Britain.

She is survived by a daughter, Kathy Oshana of Osterville, Massachusetts; a son, Zaya Oshana of Southington; a brother, Elisha Daniel of Albuquerque, New Mexico.; four grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Her husband, Zaya Oshana, died previously.

A graveside service was held Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in St. Thomas Cemetery, Barbour Road, New Britain. Donations may be made to St. Thomas Church of the East, Assyrian, Cabot Street, New Britain, CT 06053.



(ZNDA: New Britain) Taft Emerson Armandroff of Southington, Connecticut passed away on December 21 at Bradley Memorial Hospital. Taft is survived by his devoted wife of 47 years, Semiramis Semmie Moorad Armandroff. Also surviving are son, Taft Jr., his wife, Elizabeth and their daughter, Olivia of Tucson, Arizona; son, Dean and his wife, Brooks of Alexandria, Virginia; and sisters, Lillie Mae Gillespie of Metairie, Lousiana, Marilyn Wehr of Bastrop, Texas and Jackie Zilker of Houston, Texas. Taft was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and was educated at University of Cincinnati and University of Missouri. He served in the Ohio National Guard and the U.S. Army during World War II. He was employed by General Electric Company, starting in Cincinnati in 1950, transferring to Plainville in 1954, and retiring in 1990 as a systems analyst. He was a member, former deacon, and usher of South Church. He served as Treasurer of the Erwin Home, a residence for women under the auspices of South Church. Taft participated in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program and volunteered as a computer coach at the Calendar House. He played in the Calendar House senior golf league and the senior bowling league. He enjoyed travel and participating in Elderhostel programs. A memorial service was held at South Church, corner of Main Street and Arch Street, New Britain on Saturday, December 29 at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to South Church Assyrian Memorial Parlor Fund, 90 Main Street, New Britain, CT 06051; or The George Bray Cancer Center, New Britain General Hospital, 100 Grand Street, New Britain, CT 06052.



(ZNDA: Chicago) John Sargis, 77, beloved son of the late Michael and Lillian Sargis; loving brother of Ruth (the late Slim) Daniel and the late Eli M. Sargis; fond uncle of Connie, Mike and Michele.

Surfs Up!


"Wishing the Assyrian Nation all around the world a Christmas filled with peace and joy, a happy and prosperous New Year. May the light of his peace shine in your heart all through the New Year......Christmas Blessing."

Assyrian American National Federation


"Moulada qaddeesha d'Maran wsheeta khadta hawee breekhe al batwatoukhoon."

Bailis Yamlikha Shimun
North Carolina, U.S.


"Thank you indeed for your wishes for the New Year and Xmas, in the meantime I take this opportunity to wish you the same and that 2002 will be better for all of you and in many years to come."

Francis Ishu Thomasoro
United Arab Emirates


"May God's blessing be with you all in this holiday season and the new year."


Layth Jato
AAC of Toronto



"Merry Christmas to all the staff at Zinda Magazine and we hope your Christmas is a healthy and full of abundance from what God has created take care and God bless."

Nanajan and John Tooma


"Merry and blessed holy time of christmas and Epiphany and a happy new year!! Thanks for your envoys and confidence. I hope to hear of you sooner and to welcome you sometime. We Argentines as well as Americans have passed critical times and shocks and crisis, still on the way, along 2001. But light (bahra d isho Mshikhan u parooqaan) of the Born Christ is the unique way and comfort, and for ever in darkness (that pass) shines. Let's go ahead with spiritual renewal along 2002 (year aniv of St. Thomas Shleekhan) go bahra d'Kukhwe d'moreeshaa d'maran!! Towards his real Millenium!!. Baseema raba!! "

Jose Luis Ludueña Rufino



"THE ASSYRIAN MAN OF THE YEAR: Our Brave Priest, Father Yusuf Akbulut."

Aprim Shapera
Great Britain



"I read the article issued by "Genard Lazar" defending the Assyrian Church and here I would like to advise everyone that it is completely foolish to mix between an individual's attitude with the Holiness of the church, and that what Genard tried to do in his article, to enable him defending the Bishop Joseph Meelis Zaya, after the interview given to Channel 31 and then SBS radio in Australia. I would like to make these comments.

  1.  In the articles issued by Zinda Magazine, and also in public discussion, people keep repeating the sentiment of "Karl's generosity", which I find regrettably offensive to the Assyrian intelligence and to all those people who had been victimised by Karl's dodgy investments in KSE (Karl Suleman Enterprises) simply because Karl was spending extravagantly the very money lent to him by those Assyrian battlers whom were seeking (as promised by Karl) a good return. So I suggest that people understand exact meaning of the word generous before describing Karl of being so.
  2.  On 11th of December 2001, "His Grace" gave an interview to the Assyrian community TV (this interview was repeated by Assyrian program on SBS radio on 14th of December 2001). And again I had found some comments made by "His Grace" unacceptable due to the lack of logic and cohesiveness, when he was responding to the presenter's questions, As follow.
    • "His Grace" had expressed his discomfort to the presenter, because his name was mentioned in the meeting held by the administrators of KSE and the investors (creditors), as the bishop holds 5% shares of Froggy internet company. Then tried to show some "compassion" when the presenter Mr. Wilson Younan faced him with the fact that shareholders had lost thousands of dollars and they are entitled to know everything.
    • "His Grace" tried to explain why he was given "those 5% in Froggy Internet shares, few months ago". Knowing the word (few) suggests something lest than 3 or 4, while Froggy was established more than one year. And the reason for giving him these shares, as he had explained was " that the money was intended to be donated to the establishment of Assyrian school… but because this school did not have at the time Australian Business Number (ABN), (which is a number given to Australian registered companies..), then the money was put in HIS TRUST till the school get ABN" knowing that, such shares could have been put in the St Hurmizd Church's account. which is a registered company instead of an individual account!. On the other hand "His Grace" mentioned that Karl had donated over a period of time, to the mentioned school a total of ($154,000). Knowing that the school did not acquire an (ABN) as the "His Grace" had suggested, my question is how was this money put in the school's account when it did not have an ABN , knowing that it is against the Australian law to behave like a company and not having an ABN!?. I believe "His Grace" has the answer.
    • The other question is ,"His Grace" had insisted (in the same interview) that the 5% of froggy shares belong to the Assyrian school, and not to him personally (which is debateable), but my question is how come those shares have not been transferred to the Assyrian school till the day of the interview, which does not need a Solicitor to do this task, as "His Grace" had claimed that the church's Solicitor Mr. (Fred David). "had been asked 4 or 5 times to transfer the shares from HIS account to the schools account". I cannot understand why a solicitor ignores or forgets about his client no matter how busy such a solicitor is.. that is if he was asked to chase such task in the first place. As it affects the credibility. Knowing that Fred David is a director and/or investor in the "Froggy Music" which is with Froggy internet, part of Froggy group, which Karl Suleman owns the majority shares.
    • "His Grace" enjoys driving BMW cars so Karl Suleman gave him a 2000 model of BMW. I cannot understand how the person who was defending the Church's position denies in the article published by Zinda that "His Grace" did not know Karl ? , "His Grace" claimed, the car was leased and not owned by Karl, either way "His Grace" is enjoying the 5% of Froggy shares and the car he is driving, while Assyrians battlers whom had foot the bill did not know how their money was used and who was enjoying the extravagant life.
    • In all of that discussion, in the mentioned interview, "His Grace" smartly had offered to return the donated money to the Assyrian school, and the 5% shares and the BMW car ONLY IF KARL ASKS HIM. And here it is worth mentioning that [Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC)], (which is the government body investigating KSE) had banned Karl from any involvement or advise in the management of KSE and Froggy group as an administrator took over to liquidate KSE and probably Froggy group in near future, and is investigating the above mentioned businesses. Therefore "His Grace" is not willing to return what was given to him by Karl knowingly that 13 millions from the investors money was used to bail out Froggy internet, therefore the money does not belong to Karl but to the shattered Assyrians whom have been betrayed by Karl and now the Bishop is literally refusing to return the money.
    • "His Grace" enjoys the culture of secrecy he lives in, but I believe that ASIC will be asked to investigate 2 pieces of land bought by "His Grace" in Cecil Hills a Sydney suburb. One under his name (lot no.84) and the other one sharing the land with a woman named Eva Robin George (lot no. 86), the ex-wife of the Assyrian entertainer Raad Zaya. A copy of Title search for the lots 84 & 86 Cecil Hills in Sydney. And the intention here should be to find out if any money from the investors' was used to purchase these two lands.
  3.  About the Bishop's denial of encouraging Assyrians from joining KSE investments. My question is what the Bishop calls the procedure of praising Karl on Sundays using the alter for that to get much needed attention, if it is not promoting as Karl was more than happy to know people were getting the message that his investment is at least to say not opposed by "His Grace the Bishop Joseph Meelis Zaya" if promotion or advertising is not the right name to it."

John Esho



"If Mr. Antar doesn't believe that His Grace Mar Meelis Zaia, our beloved Bishop was not involved in Karl Suleman Enterprises Scheme, and then simply he is a non- believer.

If Mr. Antar knows that " In our closed Assyrian society, the Church and Civic Leaders are good target for such operations" . Doesn't he think that our beloved Bishop is aware of it too? What about other people who reside in USA, UK and other countries? How they become involved in this scheme? Who persuaded them? What was the incentive? How can he blame our beloved Bishop for their action? My understanding is that Karl Suleman donated to other religious organizations in Australia and overseas too.

Personally I don't believe that Mr. Antar's heart burns to see poor Assyrian people suffer as much as our decent Bishop feels, because of his devotion, difficult and hard work serving God in the field of Christianity and Assyrian community in Australia and New Zealand proves that he is a very good leader.

Mr. Antar can enquire from those Assyrians who visited Australia, Habbaniya Reunion or those individuals who comes to this country from time to time about the great progress and achievements our Church and Assyrian community has reached mainly through the wise leadership of our beloved Bishop. He too may visit Australia to see the good fruit of the trees that our Bishop planted together with Assyrian and Church members.

The dedication, support and commitment of the Assyrian people in Australia under the honest leadership of His Grace resulted in building a beautiful Cathedral, a big and beautiful hall (Edessa Hall), a big and beautiful Bishop residence, St. Mary's Church in Sydney and St, George in Melbourne Victoria (ALL PAID IN FULL BEFORE KARL SULEMAN'S SCHEME), and three big halls in Melbourne and near completion of St. Hurmizd Assyrian School, First of its kind outside Middle East countries.

Mr. Antar should realise that any person who speaks or writes evil against our decent Bishop, His Grace Mar Meelis Zaia, is either a jealous person or can't work hard and achieve what our Bishop has done. Jealousy is non-constructive but destructive, and such person should not be trusted.

I am very surprised that Mr. Antar is accusing our beloved Bishop of involvement in this scheme. Those people who invested in this scheme were responsible for their actions. Why does the Bishop have to be accused?

How dare Mr. Antar writes "that our Bishop can sleep peacefully and clear his conscience from guilt" ? What guilt? It appears that he has a personal hate against our beloved Bishop His Grace Mar Meelis Zaia or he has been pushed by someone to do so.

I don't believe that Mr. Antar's heart burns for these people. He is either full of hatred or being pushed by somebody else who hates our beloved Bishop personally.

I want Mr. Antar to sleep in peace and may our almighty God bless him."

Roumi Shamoon


"I read with great fascination, Mr Frank Alkhas's reply to Mr. Antar's article titled, "BLOOD & SWEAT". I will not irk you with the same old words we have heard time after time. However, there is just one point I would like to stress immensely regarding the Church in Australia, using just one word, "CONQUEROR". In unison, I will yet again use one word, portraying His Grace Bishop Mar Meelis Zaia, "HEAD CONQUEROR".

In the hymn "Amazing Grace" the lyrics go something like this, "I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see." The Amazing Grace that has fulfilled the above lyrics within our Church in Australia for the past 18 years is Mar Meelis.

I think it all started when God gave his blessed mother a gracious gift and she in turn presented that gift to the Assyrian Church and the Nation.

I ask every person who wants to, as we say here in Aussie land, "have a go" at OUR Church here in Sydney and OUR Bishop, please study vigilantly, the above two words, CONQUEROR and HEAD CONQUEROR.

Mr. Alkhas, if one requires printed figures to ascertain what his/her "BLOOD & SWEAT" have achieved, one must ask the Church and in particular His Grace Mar Meelis, the following question: Church, Bishopric, Reception, School...... QASI, "WHAT IS NEXT ON YOUR CONQUERING AGENDA?"

Mr. Antar, Has he ever been DOWN UNDER? He should come down some time, I would love to joyfully and proudly show him around the Church."

Happy New Year To All!

Ilbra Yaghoubpour


"I am honored to have served in the administration of our Church for over 30 years. When one associates himself with a noble establishment for such a long time, one becomes a part of it and it becomes a part of you, too. My pure
faith and honest convictions entice me to be alert and be proactive against anything that may harm our Holy Church and cause damage to her faithful.

At this time, I urge Mr. Shalalo to try to understand the contexts of my statement concerning His Grace Mar Meelis Zaia. On one hand, I have stated very clearly that his intentions "may have been good" in associating himself with Karl by accepting donations, however he should have been aware that Karl was utilizing him to gain a good reputation amongst the Assyrians all over the world. I think it is clear that I am not the one who has involved H.G. Mar Meelis in the Karl Suleman's enterprises; but it is the Australian Media. See for yourself what the Australian Financial Review, on December 1, 2001, is saying about the Bishop. These are their words not mine "… Bishop Zaia is a 5 percent shareholder in Suleman's Froggy Holdings and is known as a warm supporter of Suleman's enterprises and efforts to support the Assyrian community."

Here is how the US Justice Department, for example, warns the various church and ethnic groups about such schemes. "An individual solicits funds from members of his/her church or religious faith. Investors believe in the individual because of his/her affiliation with their church and, therefore, trust him/her with their money and to not make appropriate inquiries. Likewise, members of ethnic groups are targeted by members of their community. Shared language and ethnic background allow the perpetrator to win the trust of his/her victims. Recent immigrants are often targets of these schemes. In both situations, the victims are reluctant to believe that their trust has been betrayed and, therefore, may be unwilling to complain about the perpetrator." (Reference) 5- Church and Ethnic Schemes @

Mr. Shalalo seems to be a concerned member of our church. But, we just cannot ignore or shove under the carpet the problems that we have in our church today. This is our church. This is the holiest and the most important institution of our Nation. The salvation of our souls depends on its legitimacy and trustfulness. If the church, through the acts of some of its hierarchy, fails in the eyes of her Assyrian people, what percentage of our youth do you think will stay in for the next generation?

EPH 5:25 Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Let us all join hands and work together toward one goal, that is the protection of our church and the vindication of her name and reputation among other people. If a bishop or a priest does something good, then let us support, praise and encourage him. But if from time to time we have to criticize the action of our hierarchy, then let us have the courage to do so; and they should be accountable to their actions and accept criticism in a positive and constructive way; for the Bible tells us that no one is perfect but God. But if the church hierarchy threatens its members whenever their
actions are criticized by taking legal steps against them, then it is a shameful and sad day in our life and we may not even reach the next generation."

Shimshon Antar


"I started reading your magazine lately and I am proud to say, finally there is someone who is willing to publish Assyrian issues, in a balance way and for that I say " Bravo" and well done.

I would like to contribute to the scandalous investment of Karl Suleman by

1. This person (Karl) has no respect to Assyrians tragedies in the history and in fact I can compare him with people who hated Assyrians and Christians like "Simko" who had killed Mar Binyamin and "Bakir Sidky" who had ordered (Semele massacre). And I believe that Assyrians should learn that forgiveness wont help in healing the wounds, therefore I appeal through your magazine for anyone who knows any information about Karl's assets and money to come forward and inform the Administrators, to retrieve his money and return as much as possible to the shattered Assyrians whom, they have been betrayed by this Dirty person.

2. About the involvement of Joseph Meelis Zaya, known as "Mar Meelis". I would like to appeal to all Assyrians to be wise and prudent in their judgment attitude, and we should remember that we are human beings and therefore no one is immune from mistakes. But to find some people knowingly and unknowingly defending "Joseph Zaya" (and here I would like to refer to his name not his position in the church). As absolutely ridiculous, simply because such people mix between personal behaviour and the position held by this person. I cannot understand why people Rush to defend people carrying (the holly cross on their chests). Does that mean they are attacking the cross?

As a matter of fact Joseph Zaya had behaved in an immoral and unethical manner by getting involved in Karl Suleman's scheme. And I call it immoral because he acquired 5% of Froggy Company, and still had appeared on Community TV and radio in Australia pretending unknowing that he had been "granted" 5%. Does it make sense? Well he had contradicted himself in different ways. Once when he claimed that he did not know Karl previously then by saying Karl had donated the shares to the proposed "Assyrian School" but been put to "Joseph Zaya's) account as a trustee.

And here I would like to ask why Karl did not put these shares into the Assyrian Church's account, which is a registered company under the Australian law, as Joseph Zaya had claimed that Assyrian School was unregistered company..? Well this problem could have been avoided by first acknowledging that the Bishop had known that these shares were given to him personally and not to the Assyrian school, as it had been proven that Mr Zaya till the time were he gave the interview did not return these 5% to the Assyrian school, and in fact kept blaming others for not transferring these shares, while he could have suggested to Karl to put these shares in the Church's account to avoid any unnecessary misunderstanding. But here I believe that in addition to the 5% of froggy shares Mr Joseph Zaya had enjoyed a brand new BMW from Karl and I am pretty sure, that Joseph Zaya is happy to drive such a car that not many Assyrians can afford buying.. And I believe that Joseph Zaya went too far in his attempt ridicule Assyrians through the interview mentioned above, by denying the rights of Assyrians to know, the names of (SHARE HOLDERS) in Karl's investments including Froggy where Joseph Zaya owns 5%. Which is not fare while Assyrians had been denied any knowledge about the way the church's money had been spent for the last 18 years in Australia.

3. It is not fare for Joseph Zaya to deny the shattered Assyrians when they had been interviewed and been shown on national TV. the right to speak up and express their bitterness, when everyone involved wanted to keep everything wrapped under the carpet. And here I would like to ask Joseph Zaya, why he went to national TV in 1987 to call Assyrians of old Calender as "PREMITIVE PEOPLE". Why he had the right while Assyrians do not?

4. I would like to call on people who are willing to rush and defend Joseph Zaya just because he is the Bishop, to wake up and realize that he is not the perfect person in the world. And what had been achieved to the Assyrians is not under his leadership but by the efforts made by Assyrians. Stop deceiving everyone by claiming what had been achieved in Australia is because "Mar Meelis" had done it. He could not do anything without the full support of our community in Australia. And the credit should be given to the people who had opened their purses to donate to the built of the Assyrian Church, however these Assyrians have no right to know how or were their money is being spent. Especially when Joseph Zaya goes overseas regularly with or without reason, and does everyone know that Joseph Zaya bought two pieces of land, one that is shared with a woman??? . Well Sydney Assyrians know. Then why those who defends Mr Zaya are quiet? Whose money was used to buy two lands in Sydney - Liverpool area? Please wake up.

5. So called Assyrian leaders were involved in Karl's scandal but they had denied it. For example Suzy David, and her brother Fred David put the pressure on the Director of Froggy Internet to resign. The question is why? We will find out in future when this issue will be raised to the Administrators.

And if you believe in freedom of speech publish this letter to find out the reaction from those people who had chosen to hide their head in the sand.

Samy Odisho Bara

Surfers Corner


(ZNDA: New Jersey)  Mardu, the official quarterly newsletter of Beth Mardutho Syriac Institute, has recently been published.  The December 2001 contains the following stories:

1. Syriac Under Windows XP.

2. Duke University Joins the Syriac Digital Library Project.

3. Nelson Receives SyrCOM's "Mtakhnono" Award.

4. Hugoye in ATLAS.

5. eBethArke: Syriac Digital Library Headline News.

6. Launching the Deir al-Suryan Inscriptions Database Project.

7. Gifts and Donations to Beth Mardutho.

8. Welcoming the New Friends of Beth Mardutho.

9. Syriac in the World Wide Web Consortium's XML Proposal.

The issue includes advertisements from TEA.HOSTING.net, Gorgias Press (www.gorgiaspress.com), Brill Academic Publishers (www.brill.nl), and Via Dolorosa (www.via-dolorosa.com).

Beth Mardutho mails its newsletter to the "Friends of Beth Mardutho" free of charge. To join the friends online, please visit www.bethmardutho.org (click on 'Membership'), or write to membership@bethmardutho.org. (Address: 46 Orris Ave., Piscataway, NJ 08854. Fax: 732-699-0342.)


The Assyrian Community Proudly Hosts a Fundraising Dinner in Honor of Pete Dagher

Candidate for the 5th Congressional District of Illinois

Please join the Assyrian community in welcoming and honoring Pete Dagher, first generation American who is of Assyrian and Armenian heritage. Pete is running for the 5th Congressional District of Illinois and your support is appreciated.

Bring your family and friends. All are welcome.

Dinner Information:

Date: Sunday, January 20, 2002

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Location: Edens Banquet Hall (Assyrian Social Club)

6313 N. Pulaski, Chicago, IL 60646; (773) 478-8808

Donation: $100.00

For ticket information, please contact:

Nadia E. Joseph, Assyrian Academic Society: nadiaejoseph@hotmail.com

Nadia Mirza, Assyrian Academic Society: nmirza@pedersenhoupt.com

(773) 461-6633

Joseph Tamraz, Assyrian American National Federation: jtamraz@attbi.com

(773) 383-9600

Omar Villafranca, Dagher For Congress, Press Secretary: omar@votedagher.com

(773) 283-7383

Assyrians For Pete Dagher



The city of San Jose's mayor, Ron Gonzales, is seeking re-election for a second term.  Members of the Assyrian community in the Silicon Valley played a key role in getting him elected the first time.  He is asking for our support again.  Let us show our support once again in 2002.

Assyrians For Ron Gonzales




Regarding the comments made by Mr. Ishmael Muhammad on the History of Iraq

We, the Assyrian people observed for the last 30 to 40 years New Phase One of the plots to eradicate the Assyrian people from their existence, compose and tear apart our people into several nations, cultivating hate and confusion into an unorganized and poor powered people. Such serious efforts by some Arab dictatorship regimes to subdue the Assyrian people from their history, language and existence. Then beginning with the Arabization of Assyrian people by claiming that Assyrians are Arabs, as phase II.

Before I proceed further, I do request from the decent Arab people, men and women, and there are many and/or are the majority who were and are victims of such dictatorship regimes themselves and experienced persecution in a way and another for long time, to realize and recognize the intention of this Article. Besides, I do express my love and respect for such decent body of said Arab people who are rich with caring and understanding.

The efforts are put into effect by assigning some individuals or groups, make use of the national unawareness and to use the various Arab media as a base to poison the minds of people with the Arabic dictatorship made virus, excuse my wording, in addition to poison the brain of our children by teaching them false and re-routed history stuffed with ill intentions. This happened at a situation were they have the upper hand to do it, those ill individuals who are abusing the power and being unfair to the solid history of the Assyrian Nation and to other nations as well. Such groups will have no problem, when their power grows at certain period of time, they will claim the same in some other place and people, also by referring to some references! Such groups and regimes caused major setback to the normal and majority of Arab people and prevented them from enjoying better life and dignity for long time.

The latest article of Mr. Ishmael Muhammad published in the Arabic language "Al-Jazeera" web site (http://www.aljazeera.net/in-depth/Iraq_file/2001/2/2-21-.htm) were he claimed that the Assyrians at the stages of Sumerians, Akadians and Babylonians were Arabs and by enjoying confidence he backed up by some references at the end, and that was the good part of it. It is very essential to have very good and solid references, however if the dear reader examine and discover the references, he/she will find most of them were made by the current Iraqi regime with the help of Ahmad Sosa, besides some books with unknown authors and published date and place.

Going back to Mr. Ishmael Muhammad, he said (…The Sumerians shared to build that history with the mismaric letters, while Arab shared with their experience in Irrigation and Agriculture engineering and the industry of various types of tools and the internal and external commerce…), to begin with he distinguished between Sumerians and Arabs in his sentence, however Arabs or other people, in the Arabian peninsula, never had the opportunity to learn Irrigation and Agricultural Engineering at the time of the Assyrian periods, for the reason that the Arabian land is a desert type and they were barely finding a well to drink some water and let their animals enjoy that after a long desert and hot weather journey, and that basically is nothing to do with Arab people but the case is the desert land. Therefore, Mr. Ishmael Muhammad put himself into a very critical spot were he is obligated to answer some easy questions tough to answer.

The truth and the only truth comes with the Cuneiform Clay Tablets discoveries and the history written by the Assyrians in their Ancient Cities. Such evidences were ignored totally, because it would not serve their ill intentions. But Abdul Wahab Al-Kayali, Shaker Mustafa and the rest possible cheep books with unnamed authors and Iraqi governmental documents were taken very serious and truer than the Cuneiform Clay Tablets written by the True Assyrian People at their time.

I hope Mr. Ishmael Muhammad will think carefully on this subject and awake to the reality of respecting other nations like Assyrians, especially when he is enjoying all the privileges of living status on the Assyrian Soils.

Kaiser Shahbaz


Assyrian Surfing Posts

An Article by Mar Narsai de Baz, Bishop of the Church of the East - Lebanon & Syria (in Arabic)

Dr. Gabriele Yonan's Recent Lectures in Sweden

Library for Assyrians in Södertälje, Sweden

National Public Radio's Recent Segment on "Aleppo Music" - All Things Considered

Pump Up the Volume

Exports SHDAAR / YA / TEH
Plural A country's exports: sh-daar-ya-teh d'kha atra
Imports M' AAV / RAA / TEH Plural This year's imports: M'aav-raa-the d'aha sheeta



(ZNDA: Chicago) Chicago Daily Herald has selected Ms. Stepahnie Neri of Chicago as one of its Cooks of the Year 2001. It writes:

Stephanie Neri may be an Assyrian without a country, but she is a woman with a sparkling sense of humor, a gift for laughter and a freezer full of butter. She gets that last part from her grandmother, who used to fill an entire shopping cart with butter when it went on sale at her local Happy Foods grocery store. The store limit on butter meant nothing to grandma, who could sweet talk the manager into cases and cases of the stuff.

Today, Stephanie cheerfully carries on her family's artery- clogging tradition with a recipe for Nazookis, a cross between a cookie and bread with a butter and flour filling. It calls for - please remain calm - eight sticks of butter (that's two pounds) and three gallons of sour cream. All right, it's only 16 ounces of sour cream, but the effect is the same.

"It can clog any artery," says Stephanie, who remains mystifyingly slender.

"I never had weight problems because you can only eat a little bit and you get riched out."

Stephanie also takes comfort in grandma's assurance that Assyrians never get cancer, they die quickly, of heart attacks.

Thanks, grandma.

Nazooki Recipe

8 cups flour
2 packages dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
16 ounces sour cream
6 sticks (1 1/2 pounds) softened butter or margarine

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg for brushing

In a large mixing bowl place flour. Make a well in the center of the flour, put in dry yeast, salt, vanilla, sour cream and butter. Blend well with pastry blender and then with hands until all the flour and butter are blended and the dough is smooth. Refrigerate overnight.

Next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Form 10 balls the size of an orange out of the dough. For the filling, mix the flour, sugar, butter and vanilla with a pastry blender until crumbly. Roll one ball in the shape of a rectangle 7- or 8-inches by 10- to 12-inches. Dough should be as thin as a pie crust.

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of filling. Roll up like a small jelly roll. Cut into eight to 10 pieces with a corrugated garnishing tool (if available). Brush tops with beaten egg. Place on greased cookie sheet about an inch apart. Continue to do the same for each ball. Bake for 30-35 minutes.


Part 3: 2001 Assyrian Award Recipients

Rabee Jacob A. Miraziz
Social And Literary Achievements

Currently is the principal of the Assyrian School in Sydney. Was born in the city of Kirkuk in Iraq, and completed his school studies in Baghdad. He migrated to Australia in 1973, and commenced his nationalistic activities by teaching his mother language in 1976 at the Assyrian School of the Assyrian Australian Association (AAA), continuously for 22 years, 11 of them as a teacher and another 11 as the principal.

He was a member of the administrative committee of (AAA) for two years in 1996 and 1997, when he was also the president of the Chaldean and Assyrian Church Council. He managed Ashur Banipal Library for 7 years between 1995 and 2001.

Rabee Jacob co-edited "Dkhareh Simonayeh" (Simonian Memoirs) magazine with Rabee Philimon Darmo, in memory of Rabee Nimrod Simonov's visit to Australia in 1985. The magazine was published in Sydney in 1986.

He has been a member and representative of (AAA) in the Rabee Nimrod Simonov Scholarship cultural sub-committee for 9 years. He was also a co-editor of the Kin'arah magazine, which was published in Assyrian and English on the twentieth anniversary of the founding of (AAA), 1969-1989. By the same token, he also co-edited a magazine dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Assyrian School, 1974-1984; and another one for its twentieth anniversary.

Rabee Jacob was a member of the NSW Federation of Ethnic Schools for 2 years in 1988-1989. He has a Diploma in Taxidermy from USA in 1954.

He has written two books "Assyrian Reader" for the second and third year students, printed in 1988 in Sydney and published by (AAA). He also wrote the book "Assyrian Language Grammar For Beginners", printed in Sydney in 1994. Furthermore, he hand-turned onto plastic plates the Assyrian Language Alphabet, for the school students in 1992. While in the same year, he wrote an article titled "Rabee Nimrod Simonov Scholarship", which was printed in the Progressive Assyrian newsletter in Sydney.

Among his many published articles in various magazines:
1. 'A prayer by playing cards', published in Nineveh magazine in 2001.
2. 'Our language:Where to?', printed in the Union of Assyrian Writers book in 1990.
3. 'Our Schools In The Free Countries', published in the above magazine.
4. 'Listen To Your Son's Word', published in the historic Assyrian School magazine in 2000.
5. 'A Dialogue Between Keen and Lazy Students': published in the same magazine.

Rabee Jacob has been actively involved in the following Assyrian community projects:
a. Co-editor of the 'Assyrian National Federation' magazine, published in Sydney in 1995, and again in 1998.
b. Co-editor of the 'Kin'arah' magazine on the 30th anniversary of the founding of the 'Assyrian Australian Association'; 25th anniversary of the founding of the 'Assyrian School'; and 19th anniversary of the founding of 'Nineveh Club'; published in Sydney in 1999.
c. Member of the 'Rabban Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School Committee' since 1996.
d. Co-editor of the 'Assyrian School 2000' magazine published in Sydney in 2000 and distributed by the Assyrian School and the Assyrian Australian Association.

Hermiz Shahen
AUA Australia Chapter

Back to the Future

 (763 B.C.)

Ancient Assyrians left behind a list covering 261 years of kings and important events. Under King Assur-dan III there was an eclipse of the sun, which modern astronomers can place in 763 B.C. Given that foothold, scholars can fix a time line for Assyrian rulers from 649 B.C. back to 901.

 (A.D. 2000)

Miramax Films released In the bedroom, starring Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek and Marisa Tomei.  Ms. Spacek’s character, Ruth, wears a necklace that is a replica of the type worn by ancient Assyrians to ward off “the evil eye”.  In the Bedroom is written and directed by Todd Field.

In the Bedroom Official Site:  http://www.miramaxhighlights.com/inthebedroom/index.html

This Week In History

January 11, 1842

Mar Youkhana, an Assyrian bishop, arrives in America as the first Assyrian-Iranian to visit the United States.


Calendar of Events


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


Dance Party




January 16
La Societe Canadienne des Etudes Syriaques

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

University of Toronto
St. George Campus
8:00 PM

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


January 20

Candidate for the 5th Congressional District of Illinois

Time: 6:00 p.m. 
Location: Edens Banquet Hall (Assyrian Social Club)
6313 N. Pulaski, Chicago, IL 60646; (773) 478-8808
Donation: $100.00

For ticket information, please contact:
Nadia E. Joseph, Assyrian Academic Society: nadiaejoseph@hotmail.com
Nadia Mirza, Assyrian Academic Society: nmirza@pedersenhoupt.com
(773) 461-6633
Joseph Tamraz, Assyrian American National Federation: jtamraz@attbi.com
(773) 383-9600 
Omar Villafranca, Dagher For Congress, Press Secretary: omar@votedagher.com
(773) 283-7383 

 March 6
La Societe Canadienne des Etudes Syriaques

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

University of Toronto
St. George Campus
8:00 PM

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

March 17, 2002

Revealing Agatha Christie the archaeologist and how her discoveries in the Near East influenced her detective writing. 

The hitherto unknown interests and talents of the great crime writer are told through archaeological finds from the sites on which she worked with her husband Max Mallowan at Ur, Nineveh and Nimrud. Important objects from these sites in the Museum's collections are combined with archives, photographs, and films made by Agatha Christie herself. 

Personal memorabilia and souvenirs of travel in a more leisurely age are only some of the exhibits which range from first editions of those novels inspired by her other life to a sleeping compartment from the Orient Express, from a lethal 1930s hypodermic syringe to a priceless first millennium ivory of a man being mauled to death 

Admissions £7, Concessions £3.50

West Wing Exhibition Gallery Room 28

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

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

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

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

May 1
La Societe Canadienne des Etudes Syriaques

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

University of Toronto
St. George Campus
8:00 PM

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

July 1-4, 2002

"Ethnicity in Ancient Mesopotamia"
Leiden University
Dept of Assyriology & Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten

Registration Form:  http://www.let.leidenuniv.nl/rencontre/mailform.html 
Registration Fee:  Euro 70 by April 1, 2002

Thank You!

Zindamagazine would like to thank:

Matay Arsan

Jeff Atto

Mazin Enwiya

Nadia Joseph

Wilbert Odisho

Mar Bawai Soro


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