DADESHO’S LAST STAND
Sooner or later, there will be a regime change in Iraq. Yet none of the Assyrian political parties, or other members of any opposition group to Saddam for that matter, has agreed to a specific plan for the day after Saddam’s removal.
A series of negotiations took place last week in Chicago and the members of the Assyrian National Coalition (Awyoota) met to discuss the “Assyrian Delegation” at the upcoming conference in Belgium.
The two major topics of discussion were the future of Mr. John Nimrod and the make-up of the Assyrian delegation to Belgium.
Zinda Magazine has already offered its firm recommendation for both inquiries prior to the Chicago meeting: sack Nimrod and invite Prof. Kamber and Mr. Dadesho to join Mr. Yonadam Kanna in Belgium.
Things were just heating up when last Friday and Sunday, our magazine was made aware of an unpleasantly surprise when we witnessed the juvenile attitude displayed by Mr. Dadesho during his weekly television programs airing from Ceres, California. Mr. Dadesho repeatedly ridiculed the Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement as the “self-proclaimed king of Assyrians in North Iraq” whose “crown can easily be taken away”.
An eloquent spokesperson for the Assyrian struggle, Mr. Dadesho – an Iraqi-born Assyrian nationalist – currently enjoys little public support, of which mainly comes from isolated families in the Turlock and Modesto area and ironically from the Iranian-Assyrian factions. In the past two weeks, a series of interviews on FOX and ABC networks with Mr. Yonadam Kanna have fueled a new interest in the Zowaa leader’s candidacy for heading the Assyrian opposition groups’ march to Baghdad. Mr. Dadesho’s remarks last week were clearly the outcome of his discomfort with the people’s choice for a new headship –particularly one originating from the homeland and not California’s Central Valley.
Right now, what we need is an inclusive team of Assyrian political experts from the leading political parties, including Mr. Dadesho’s Bet-Nahrain group. This “dream team” should formulate a coherent platform to inform the U.S. State Department of our wishes for the future of Assyrians in Iraq. This has to happen quickly - within the next two weeks – before the Conference in Belgium scheduled around the November 5 elections in the United States. The issues requiring our intense focus in such platform should include:
No one person or coalition has the authority or legitimacy to call itself the Assyrian delegation to any important meeting of the opposition groups. Our political parties must not wait for each other’s invitations or the provocation of the U.S. State Department. They must come together at once and begin the long process of transitioning from what is to what should be in Bet-Nahrain.
Without undermining one another’s legitimacy, the heads of major Assyrian political parties must remember that the future of Assyrians in Iraq cannot be sacrificed over personal desires and meaningless internal rivalries. Politics is the art of compromising. Let’s act quickly and plan a win-win situation for our people in Iraq.
With or without Mr. Dadesho, there will be an Assyrian delegation in Belgium and an Assyrian representation in the Iraqi Transition government. However, let’s hope that we will succeed in tackling the challenges of a post-Saddam Iraq with a more united front.
At 9:00 p.m. sharp, she came on stage like a princess from a Mesopotamian fairy tale and in a few moments she held captive the entire gathering of her 600 Assyrian-Swedish fans. This informal act of self-expression continued through the evening long after the tower clocks in Stockholm announced the arrival of another wintry midnight.
Showered in the relentless loud applauses of her admirers, particularly the youth, sometimes the well-deserved adoration of this Assyrian singing legend lasted for several minutes.
Linda George was mercilessly taking the Assyrian communities of Sweden by the tempest of her classic and innovative songs and lyrics. The Assyrian-Swedes were savoring every moment of her majesty’s musical charm.
The dance party in Stockholm was organized by the Assyrian-Syriac groups. Only 600 tickets were sold among the Assyrian-Suryoyo (Syriac) communities of Sweden. Many of these 600 Assyrian attendees had come from other Swedish cities.
Singing and dancing “khigga” continued until 3:30 a.m. without any breaks. Only one 15-minute intermission was allowed for rest, which gave the organizers an opportunity to collect donations for the Assyrian schools in North Iraq.
The cost of admission was 280 Swedish Krons, or 28 U.S. dollars. The ticket included appetizers, dinner, and drinks.
A week earlier, on 14 September, Linda George had held another successful party in Jönköping, another Swedish city. She was accompanied by Nofal, an organist from Germany and a percussionist from Sweden.
The month of September 2002 will be etched in the memory of the lovers of Assyrian music for many long and dark Swedish winters to come. Thank you Linda for a memorable evening and for helping our children in the homeland.
DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE
Despite long hours of clinical rotations and internships in a Dutch medical school, Mr. Matay Arsan has been the most active member of the Z-Crew staff in the past three years. Many of the news pieces were made possible because of Matay’s weekly research contributions to the pages of this periodical.
Finally on Friday of this week Matay will take the Oath of Hippocrates and be proclaimed Dr. Arsan. The entire staff at Z-Crew wishes our colleague the best in his career as a medical doctor.
Great Job Dr. Matay! Now about that article you found last Thursday…
CORPUS SCRIPTORUM CHRISTIANORUM ORIENTALIUM (C.S.C.O.)
A HISTORICAL NOTE
Jean Baptiste Chabot, an eminent Syriacist who had received his training at the College de France, started Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium (C.S.C.O.) in 1903. With Dr. Chabot, four other Orientalist scholars participated in the early work and publication of the C.S.C.O. These were: Baron Carra de Vaux of the Institut of Paris, Louis Cheikho, S.J. Of the University of Beirut in Syria, Dr. Ignazio Guidi of the Sapienza University in Rome, and Dr. Henri Hyvernat of The Catholic University of America (CUA). The purpose of the series was to make available the works of the Eastern Fathers whose writings were in Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, Coptic, and Armenian. Each text of the series was published in two parts: (1) a critical edition of the text and (2) a modern translation.
Scope and Content Note
Within the Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum collection (1911 - c. 1939) there are three series of documents: (1) General Documents, (2) Administration of Corpus and (3) Correspondence.
General Documents : includes proofs of circular, sample title pages, and letters sent to the clergy and laity announcing the transfer of the C.S.C.O. to the Catholic University of American and Catholic University of Louvain.
Administration of Corpus : includes minutes of meetings (1926-1928, 1930, 1936), communications between The Catholic Universities of Louvain and America, expense reports, reports of the Rectors councils for 1912 and 1923, the official reports and correspondence of the General Secretary, J.B. Chabot. Also included is some correspondence of Hyvernat, which was incorporated to this series in 1945 by Rev. Patrick Skehan. Of special note are the letters of the Bishops in response to the transfer of C.S.C.O to the two universities.
Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium
In 1976, R. Macuch tried in his presentation, “Geschichte der spät- und neusyrischen Literatur”, Berlin-New York 1976, to evaluate the Neo-Syriac literature of North of Iraq. He looked at what he called ‘Chaldean Literature’ from three points of view: poetics, diffusion and social function. In the final analysis, Macuch repeated the Nöldeke’s criticism, which basically denounced the scarce poetic value of the Chaldean literature. He argued that the religious poems did not reach the non-literate public. As far as social function was concerned, Macuch compared the successful national character of the literature developed by the Assyrians of Urmia with the exclusively religious character of the poems composed in North of Iraq by the Chaldean priests. He stated that one of the characteristics of the Chaldean literature was definitely based on the Christian religion theme. He argued that there was almost never one case in which a poem was without religion thought as part of it. The Chaldean literature, he stated, had no interest in daily life aspects dealing with national matters and, he added, that it hardly developed. In fact, there is no other literature that is as Christian as the Chaldean literature and the main reason for that is the fact that there was no one beside the priest who was writing that literature. This literature’s aspects of national character stayed almost passive.
The Historical Context
The Christians of North of Iraq represent the glorious diffusion and splendor of the Syriac Church between the 4th and 13th centuries. Since the end of the Middle Ages, the history of the East-Syrians (Suryaye maddenhaye) has been in the territories inhabited by the Kurds too. The “Suraye” lived like subjects (raya) of the Kurdish chieftains or as independent tribes (ashirat) in the Hakkari Mountains.
According to F. A. Pennacchietti, the Ottoman administration, in
a way, stimulated the flourishing of literary activities among the
Christians of North of Iraq. The oldest dated texts in a Christian
dialect are said to have come from the end of the 16th century –
beginning of the 17th century and are preserved in manuscripts from
the 18th century onwards. These early texts were religious in nature
and functioned in a liturgical or para-liturgical context. We know
that the southward expansion of the Ottoman Empire opened the road
for the Western travelers to initiate contacts with the Christians
in North of Iraq. The presence of Catholic missions is well documented
in this period between the ecclesiastic hierarchies of the Church
of the East and Rome. From the ashes of these contacts the Uniate
Chaldean Church rose up eventually, gathering throughout the centuries
an increasing number of East-Syrian (Suraye maddenhaye) Christian
Two of the earliest writers in North of Iraq were Israel of Alqosh and Joseph of Telkepe.
Israel of Alqosh
The fame of Israel of Alqosh in both the Western and Suraye tradition rests upon his work as a copyist and a writer in the classical language and as a poet in the vernacular. Israel of Alqosh is considered a prominent leader and inspirer of what is called the School of Alqosh, a term scholars grouped a number of Suraye maddenhaye writers who worked on the revival of the scribal and literary activities from the second half of the 16th century in North of Iraq.
1611 was a productive year for Israel of Alqosh, who was born in
1541. Yousuf Habbi explained by stating that it was in that year when
Israel of Alqosh had to face a destructive, infectious spreading plague
in his village but nevertheless succeeded in writing the whole of
his production in the vernacular language. According to J. M. Fiey,
1611 was also the year that Israel of Alqosh converted to Catholicism.
In the collection of ‘durekyata’ dated 1879, Fiey read
a version of ‘On Perfection 51’ in which the contraposition
between maddenhaye ‘Eastern people’ and yaqubaye ‘Jacobites’
is dramatically replaced by the contraposition ‘Eastern people’
vs. ‘Nestorians’. According to the text used by Fiey,
it was not the Jacobites who debased the true faith—as the text
recites in all the other available witnesses, but the Nestorians.
Of course, this reading was music to the Catholic ear of missionaries working hard for the (re-)union with Rome from the 16th century onwards.
Joseph of Telkepe
There were two priests named Joseph who lived in Telkepe in 1664, one bearing the title of malpana, translated as ‘doctor,’ and the other qankaya, translated as ‘sacristan’. One of these two Josephs was the collaborator with the Carmelite Fr. Dionysius, the Procurator of the Persian Mission. Fr. Dionysius arrived to Alqosh in 1653 hoping to speak with Patriarch Mar Ilyas (Elias) and secure his re-union with Rome, a union that his predecessor uncle had undertaken (40) years earlier. He found that the Patriarch had withdrawn to Telkepe because of Kurds persecution. Thus he traveled to Telkepe and met with the patriarch. But Fr. Dionysius found that the patriarch was not ready to establish the re-union with Rome. The patriarch had stated that he had left his seal in Alqosh, thus, there was no way for him to write a letter to the Pope regarding the submission to Rome. Fr. Dionysius wrote in his diaries that it was something with the oriental characteristics that one can hardly distinguish between the various handwritings and that seals alone were the mean to differentiate between the different clergy. It was one of the two Josephs, a man of credit and repute, who approached the patriarch and tried hard to convince him to write that letter to the Pope even if without the seal, but the patriarch persisted in making excuses. This Joseph was of much help to Fr. Dionysius in latter days in the prior’s mission of converting the Surayeh to Catholicism. The patriarch said that the conditions were much worse (40) years ago when they needed the diplomacy of the Vatican to secure their well-being from the pressure of the Kurds.
Fr. Dionysius stated that even though Telkepe was a small village, there were some (50) priests in this village alone, many in bad conditions. One can understand why Christianity was so powerful in such villages like TelKepe when this many priests were present.
The other Joseph, son of priest Jamal al-din, became known by many
as Joseph of Telkepe or Joseph Jemdani. Joseph of Telkepe was married
and had many children. One of his children Isho, at least, became
a priest too. One of Joseph’s poems was, as it appears, because
of the death of children of his, among them was priest Isho who he
Interestingly enough and not surprisingly, neither Israel of Alqosh nor Joseph of Telkepe wrote anything about this term ‘chaldeans’. Their poetry, in the Syriac version (Vol. 589 of the Corpus), mentioned about the people they were part of and referred to them as “Suraye” and sometimes more specifically as Suraye maddenhaye, meanwhile, in the English version (Vol. 590 of the same corpus) the Suraye maddenhaye were referred to as the Eastern Syrians.
KURDISH LEADERS COMMENT ON ASSYRIANS IN FUTURE IRAQ
Courtesy of Agence France-Presse (8 October)
(ZNDA: Suleimaniya) The Kurdish parliament met this week, for the second
time since its revival last week in the presence of the two Kurdish
leaders whose factions share control of northern Iraq. The assembly
met in Suleimaniya -- stronghold of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
(PUK) -- in a gesture symbolizing the reconciliation between the PUK
and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), and will return to KDP-held
Arbil on October 15.
The KDP holds 51 seats in the regional parliament elected in 1992 and the PUK 49, while five seats are reserved for Assyrian. The parliament, elected in 1992, has not convened with all its members since June 1996.
This week’s meeting came exactly one month after Talabani and Barzani signed an agreement designed to complete implementation of the 1998 deal.
In Arbil, on 4 October , KDP’s Mas'ud Barzani in his address to the Assembly's joint session said: “The Kurds are known to have had a great spirit of forgiveness. Today we assure our brothers, the Turkoman, Assyrians and the Chaldeans that they are our brethren and that they have an equal share in this country. I speak for my respectable brother Mam Jalal and in my own name, too, that as Kurds we assure them that we uphold their rights.” He then continued: “There is no need for anyone to exercise pressure in this respect or to consider himself as the leader and Godfather of these brethren, because they are our brothers and partners in this home. We hope that they in turn respect their own affiliation to this fatherland. We do not only struggle to secure prosperity and happiness for the people of Kurdistan, but it will be a tremendous glory for all the people of Iraq if we manage to make this experiment an example and model for all Iraq. It is the time for mutual respect, for respecting human rights, the political rights and political freedom for all sides. This will make us victorious.”
PUK’s Jalal Talabani’s remarks regarding the Assyrians were as follow: “We have lost 5,000 people and there are still 2,000 missing. Now the Kurds, the Turkomans and Assyrians are all striving to achieve peace."
Talabani said he is prepared to provide equal rights to Turkomans, Assyrians and other groups and stressed, "If there are people among us who oppose this then we should stop them."
Talabani concluded his remarks by saying that the Kurds wish to be partners with the Turkomans and the Assyrians as well as the Iraqi Arabs in a federal Iraqi republic.
Courtesy of Reuters (9 October); article by Osman Senkul
(ZNDA: Hakkari) On
the bleak, mountainous frontier with Iraq, U.S. ally and NATO member
Turkey is quietly making preparations to handle refugees from a war
it hopes will never happen but may fear is almost inevitable.
Turkey opposes any U.S. attack, fearing also dire economic consequences and an upsurge of Kurdish nationalism across the frontier that could sway its own Kurdish population. But it may ultimately back a U.S. action with bases and other support.
Committees set up by the Turkish Red Crescent, the army and local governors have designated 11 settlement areas in Turkey's Hakkari and Sirnak regions and three at Zakho, in the northern Iraqi territory beyond Baghdad's control since 1991. Here Turkey maintains a constant presence, military and civilian.
"We are determined to handle the entire inflow at Zakho, but we have finished all the necessary preparations on the Turkish side just in case," Baskaya said.
Zakho could handle 80,000 immediately, but its capacity could quickly be built up to accommodate more.
Settlement camps with utilities, food and medicine stores have been set up on the Turkish side at Semdinli, Cukurca and Uludere, where there are passages through the high mountains. All were used as escape routes by Iraqi Kurds in 1991.
In early October, the days here are warm, but temperatures plunge at night, giving a feel for the harsh frosts ahead.
"Only the tents are not set up," Baskaya said. The sight of the tents would only alarm a population with still very fresh memories of the horrors of 10 years ago.
Turkish officials could reckon with 80,000 to 400,000 refugees in the event of war. The conflict of 1991 saw 300,000 registered, but up to 200,000 more Iraqis may have crossed into Turkey and not been registered.
(ZNDA: Midyat) According to an unconfirmed report, on 24 September Turkish Secruity Forces attacked the members of an Assyrian family in the city of Midyat in Turkey’s Turabdin region.
The Haidari Family members are among the many Suryoyo-Assyrians who have been gradually returning to their homes in Turabdin after the Turkish government’s forced occupation of their villages over 10 years ago. Most homes and villages are still occupied by the Turkish Security Forces.
On 24 September, according to a report released on 1 October by the Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac Association in Sweden, the members of the Haidari family were attacked and “heavily beaten” in downtown Midyat as they were leaving the local Police Station. The report indicated that the members of a local Turkish tribe, the Jimo, had threatened to kill the Haidaris if they did not leave Turabdin.
Turkey's constitution provides for freedom of religion; however, the government imposes restrictions on religious groups and religious expression in government offices and state-run institutions, including universities.
Stating that the U.S. Government frequently discusses religious freedom issues with Turkish Government in the context of its overall dialog and policy of promoting human rights, the report mentions that "The Government policy and the generally amicable relationship among religions in society contributed to religious freedom; however, some Muslims, Christians, and Baha'is face societal suspicion and mistrust.
The report also draws attentions to the controversy between laws and implementations on religious freedoms and stated that "Despite the Constitution establishes the country as a secular state and provides for freedom of belief, freedom of worship, and the private dissemination of religious ideas. However, these rights are restricted particularly by other constitutional provisions regarding the integrity and existence of the secular State. The Constitution prohibits discrimination on religious grounds."
Mentioning the fact that Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) reflects mainstream Sunni Islamic beliefs to the exclusion of other beliefs, the report continued to say "the Office of Foundations (Vakiflar Genel Mudurlugu), regulates some activities of non-Muslim religious groups and their affiliated churches, monasteries, religious schools, and related property. There are 160 "minority foundations" recognized by the Vakiflar, including Greek Orthodox (approximately 70 sites), Armenian Orthodox (approximately 50), and Jewish (20), as well as Syrian Christian, Chaldean, Bulgarian Orthodox, Georgian, and Maroni foundations. The Vakiflar also regulates Muslim charitable religious foundations, including schools and hospitals."
According to the State Department report "Some members of non-Muslim religious groups claim that they have limited career prospects in government or military service.
Expressing the Government authorities do not interfere on matters of doctrine pertaining to non-Muslim religions, nor do they restrict the publication or use of religious literature among members of the religion, the report stated "There are legal restrictions against insulting any religion recognized by the State, interfering with that religion's services, or debasing its property."
Stating that non-Muslim religious services, especially for religious groups that do not own property recognized by the Vakiflar, often take place in diplomatic property or private apartments, the report noted that police occasionally bar Christians from holding services in private apartments... According to one Protestant group, as well as other observers and media reports, local authorities asked more than a dozen churches in Istanbul and elsewhere to close or they have been subject to increased police harassment since the publication of an Interior Ministry circular.
According to the report, the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul continues to seek to reopen the Halki seminary on the island of Heybeli in the Sea of Marmara. The seminary has been closed since 1971, when the State nationalized all private institutions of higher learning. Under existing restrictions, including a citizenship requirement, religious communities largely remain unable to train new clergy in the country for eventual leadership. Coreligionists from outside the country have been permitted to assume leadership positions.
Report continued to say that "There is no law that explicitly prohibits proselytizing or religious conversions; however, many prosecutors and police regard proselytizing and religious activism with suspicion, especially when such activities are deemed to have political overtones. Police occasionally bar Christians from proselytizing by handing out literature. Police occasionally arrest proselytizers for disturbing the peace, "insulting Islam," conducting unauthorized educational courses, or distributing literature that has criminal or separatist elements. Courts usually dismiss such charges. If the proselytizers are foreigners, they may be deported, but generally they are able to reenter the country. Police officers may report students who meet with Christian missionaries to their families or to university authorities."
The report also drew attention to the religious affairs of the minority groups and stated that "Some religious groups have lost property to the State in the past, or continue to fight against such losses... Restoration or construction may be carried out in buildings and monuments considered "ancient" only with authorization of the regional board on the protection of cultural and national wealth."
"The trial continued of seven Christians in Istanbul who were charged with holding illegal church and Bible study meetings in an apartment. This group alleges that the trial has been prolonged unnecessarily (it started in 2000) in order to prevent the group from legally re-forming and holding meetings. On June 27, 2002, a criminal court dismissed the charges against Turkish Christian Kemal Timur in Diyarbakir who was arrested in 2000 for "insulting Islam."
Courtesy of Reuters (29 September), article by Mert Ozkan
(ZNDA: Ankara) On Sunday, 29 September, a conference of Iraqi groups opposed to Saddam Hussein called on for an end to his rule in Baghdad. These included, Iraq's Kurdish, Turkmen and Assyrian minorities. The group released a joint statement at the end of the three-day conference on the future of Iraq in the event the United States ousts Saddam for his alleged pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.
"The ethnicities, religions and creeds who make up the population of Iraq believe the dictatorial regime must be brought to an immediate end, and the Iraqi society that has been exposed to destruction needs to be restored," the joint statement said.
The group also agreed "not to allow one or more groups to dissolve Iraq's territorial integrity and sovereignty."
The meeting, organised by the Ankara-based Iraqi Research Institute, had no official authority but was being watched closely by U.S. and Turkish officials. A larger conference of Iraqi opposition groups, including the Iraqi National Congress (INC), is planned for late October, possibly in Belgium or Amsterdam.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) was not represented at this conference. The KDP and Turkish officials have clashed in recent weeks over Ankara's fears that Iraqi Kurds could create an independent Kurdish enclave in a region bordering southeast Turkey.
Courtesy of Seattle Post and Houston Chronicle (9 October); article by Larry Johnson
(ZNDA: Basra) In a small church near the center of Basra, a city of
one million Muslims, a choir of boys and girls sings in Aramaic, the
language of Jesus. The message is of peace at the service amid talk
of war in the world outside.
"There have always been good relations between Muslims and Christians here," Kassab says.
Both Muslims and Christians here find themselves in dire need of bread and many other things to help them return to a normal life. The people of this once prosperous southern city on the banks of the Shatt-al-Arab have suffered from two wars. From 1981 to 1988 the area was at the center of the war with Iran, which killed or wounded 375,000 Iraqis. The 1991 Persian Gulf War added to the toll.
Kassab says missile attacks were so bad during much of the Iran- Iraq War that people had to leave Basra for the countryside. During the Gulf War, helicopters, jet fighters and missiles attacked the city.
Kassab also says the Gulf War never ended for the people of southern Iraq. Almost every day there is a bombing by U.S. or British planes enforcing the southern no-fly zone, he says.
The United States and Britain established the zones after the Gulf War, citing a need to protect Kurds in the north and Shiites in the south. Iraq considers the patrols a violation of its sovereignty and frequently shoots at the planes. In response, U.S. and British pilots strike Iraqi air defense systems and other targets.
Since 1991, according to a 1999 UNICEF report, 500,000 Iraqis died as an indirect result of the war. The main reason was waterborne diseases like typhoid and dysentery brought on by the wartime destruction of Iraq's electrical infrastructure and subsequent collapse of the water system.
Kassab says that despite some positive signs of improvements in conditions here - more paved roads, well-stocked stores, for instance - U.N. economic sanctions imposed after the war keep as many as 90 percent of the people dependent upon the United Nations for food supplies provided under the Oil-for-Food program.
Kassab also blames the sanctions for the exodus of Christians from Basra. Christians here have always been few, but they are dwindling rapidly. Before the Gulf War they numbered about 13,500; just 1,000 families, or about 5,000 people, remain.
He says he is working to develop programs to help families and give them a reason to stay. He runs a kindergarten, works with the Red Crescent to distribute food and medicine, and travels to the United States to raise money.
Much speculation has circulated that if the United States invades Iraq, the Shiites of southern Iraq would rise up against the minority Sunnis who control the government. A violent uprising by the Shiites at the end of the Gulf War, when Saddam's regime was tottering, started in Basra and spread to other cities. It was soon brutally crushed by Saddam's loyal forces.
Kassab says he does not believe such an uprising would happen now.
"I hope with all my heart that we don't go to war," he says. "But, if it comes, I think the Shiites and Sunnis will be united. There is a strong feeling that we are one people."
With most of his extended family living in the United States now, it would be easy for Kassab to emigrate, but he says he could never leave Basra.
"I like Iraq," Kassab says. "Besides, I am responsible
for 1,000 families."
PRESIDENT BUSH REMEMBERS ASSYRIANS IN HIS ANTI-SADDAM REMARKS
(ZNDA: Ohio) On October 8, for the first time since the Gulf War in 1991, a United States president mentioned the name of the Assyrian people along with other Iraqi minorities as victims of Saddam Hussein's rule in Baghdad.
President Bush, in a speech delivered in the Cincinnati Museum Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, explained "America is a friend to the people of Iraq. Our demands are directed only at the regime that enslaves them and threatens us."
He also explained that "On Saddam Hussein's orders, opponents have been decapitated, wives and mothers of political opponents have been systematically raped as a method of intimidation, and political prisoners have been forced to watch their own children being tortured.
America believes that all people are entitled to hope and human rights, to the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. People everywhere prefer freedom to slavery; prosperity to squalor; self-government to the rule of terror and torture."
In an unprecedented move to include all opposition groups fighting against Saddam Hussein's government in Baghdad, President Bush continued to say that "When these demands are met, the first and greatest benefit will come to Iraqi men, women and children. The oppression of Kurds, Assyrians, Turkomans, Shi'a, Sunnis and others will be lifted. The long captivity of Iraq will end, and an era of new hope will begin."
Less than a month ago President Bush, in a speech at the United Nations, failed to mention the Assyrians and used the term "others" to designate the more than one million Christian Assyrians in Iraq. This week's speech in Ohio was a clear indication of the success of the tireless efforts by the Assyrian lobby in Washington, Assyrian media sources including this publication, and several letter-writing campaigns in reversing President's Bush's stand on this issue (See Zinda Editoria on 16 September ("Reduced to Others").
Later this week, the United States Congress will vote on President Bush's request for the use of military power to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Sudan are hostile
to certain minority religions, a State Department report on religious
freedom said Monday. In Iran, the report said, the government sanctioned
discrimination particularly in the areas of unemployment
There were also reports that Iraqi government has engaged in various abuses against the country's Assyrian and Chaldean Christians "especially in terms of forced movements from northern areas," the report said.
The report accused Saudi Arabia by noting that "freedom of religion does not exist" in that country.
In Pakistan, "the government failed to protect the rights of religious minorities, due both to public policy and to its unwillingness to take action against societal forces hostile to those that practice a different faith," the report found.
The report singled out Egypt for having improved its treatment of minority Christian Copts over the past year.
Courtesy of Los Angeles Times (6 October); report by Robin Wright
(ZNDA: Washington) The Bush administration is laying the groundwork for prosecuting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and a "dirty dozen" other officials for genocide, "ethnic cleansing," mass executions, rape and other crimes against humanity. Among the victims of Saddam’s horrific treatment of his countrymen, the report includes the Assyrians.
"We need to do our part to document the abuses, to collect the evidence that points to who is responsible," said Pierre-Richard Prosper, the State Department's ambassador at large for war crimes and a former U.N. war crimes prosecutor for the Rwanda tribunal. "We feel there has to be accountability for what has occurred. You can't brush aside the deaths of more than 100,000 people."
In a massive ethnic cleansing campaign, more than 120,000 Iraqis--primarily Kurds, Turkomans and Assyrians, none of whom are Arabs--have been forcibly expelled from the area around the northern city of Kirkuk to "Arabize" the oil-rich region, government and private groups say.
One of the dozen members of Saddam’s circle is Deputy Prime
Minister Tariq Aziz who is expected to be tried for
(ZNDA: New York) The following proclamation was issued by Governor of New York State, George E. Pataki, in commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of the Asia Minor Catastophe presented to the Holocaust Memorial Observance Committee of Asia Minor on Sunday, October 6, 2002. Assyrians are also noted for their suffering during the 1915-1923 Seyfo Genocide in the hands of the Turkish government.
P R O C L A M A T I O N
State of New York
For Immediate Release
Whereas, the Empire State is home to many ethnic communities whose
members benefit from the freedom and democracy upon which our Nation
was founded; as a global leader in many areas of basic human and social
Whereas, these Greeks, whose ancestors had lived in communities along
present-day northern Turkey near the Black Sea for three millennia,
were singled out by the Turkish authorities for expulsion from their
ancestral lands along with Armenians and Assyrians; from 1915-1923,
Greeks of Asia Minor endured immeasurable cruelty during a Turkish
Government-sanctioned systematic campaign to displace them; destroying
Greek towns and villages
Whereas, in 1922, Smyrna, the largest city in Asia Minor called "the jewel of the Mediterranean", a cosmopolitan hub populated by a highly educated Greek community and flourishing commercial and middle-classes, was sacked and burned and its inhabitants massacred by the Turkish forces; the pier of Smyrna became a scene of final desperation as the approaching flames forced many thousands to jump to their death, rather than be consumed by flame; George Horton, the Consul General of the United States in Smyrna at the time of the catastrophe, is quoted as saying, "...the destruction of Smyrna happened, however, in 1922, and no act ever perpetrated by the Turkish race in all its bloodstained history has been characterized by more brutal and lustful features, nor more productive of the worst of human sufferings inflicted on the defenseless and unarmed. It was a fittingly lurid and Satanic finale to the whole dreadful tragedy..."; and
Whereas, it is believed by many that acknowledgment and awareness of this shameful event will not only teach future generations, but also will help mankind prevent such crimes from being repeated; this concept is particularly important as our State works to instill in youth, a universal respect for other cultures, races, religions and viewpoints; and
Whereas, it is fitting that all freedom-loving people worldwide and
New Yorkers alike, share in the solemn commemoration of the of Great
Catastophe of Asia Minor of 1915-23, and join with the Greek-American
Now, Therefore, I, George E. Pataki, Governor of the State of New York, do hereby proclaim October 6th, 2002 as the 80th Anniversary of the Commemoration of the Burning of Smyrna and the Persecution of the Greeks of Asia Minor in the Empire State.
Courtesy of the Detroit
News (8 Detroit); article by Amy Lee
Crews this week will break ground on a nearly 100,000-square-foot
clubhouse and cultural center addition on the grounds of the golf
club, which is owned by the Chaldean Iraqi-American Association of
"Many, many people define us as Arab, but the cultural center will give the community an opportunity to define ourselves and our history firsthand, rather than letting others do it for us," said Martin Manna, president of Chaldean Americans Reaching & Encouraging, or CARE.
Chaldeans are Catholics from Iraq who began immigrating to the region in the 1900s, lured by the steady work and wages that defined the burgeoning auto industry.
Metro Detroit is home to one of the nation's largest Chaldean populations, with the majority in Oakland County, particularly in cities such as Southfield and Oak Park.
Those in the Chaldean community claim as many as 100,000 Chaldeans live in the Metro area.
The cultural center will be the community's museum, its archives, its library and a central location to celebrate a culture that can trace its roots from ancient Sumer through the earliest auto boom, when parents and grandparents arrived to establish a close-knit merchant community.
"There is a lack of education about the Chaldean culture," said Isam Yaldo, vice president of the Chaldean Iraqi-American Association of Michigan. "We want to show our history, where we come from, how we've blended into society and live the freedom that everyone else lives, while at the same time maintain and preserve our culture."
Like immigrant groups before them, community ties loosen slightly with each generation as children and grandchildren go off to school and marry outside of the community.
The center, which will offer classes in Chaldean culture and writing, will expose Chaldean-American children to their heritage, organizers say.
"We feel this is our generational responsibility," said Adhid "Ed" Miri, 52, a West Bloomfield resident who plans to donate several artifacts to the cultural center.
"This will be a place to reflect, to see the strength of the community and how it has shaped its own physical presence. It's not just religious, it's social, it's historic and it's cultural."
The association is encouraging local Chaldeans to donate books, photographs, artwork and religious relics to adorn the walls and displays they envision will make up the cultural center. Calls for donations will likely be channeled through the Chaldean churches in Southfield, West Bloomfield, Troy, Oak Park and Detroit.
Each donated piece will bear the donor's name and a brief description of its relevance. The group does not plan to charge admission to the cultural center.
Birmingham architect Victor Saroki has designed the facility, but organizers are still shaping the layout and design of the center.
But the group knows one display will be dedicated to the remembrance of the 300,000 Chaldeans massacred during the Armenian genocide, which took place in Turkey in World War I, Manna said.
A coalition of Chaldean families owns Shenandoah golf course and Southfield Manor, the upscale banquet facility where that community has hosted many cultural events.
Plans for the center have been in the works since 1989 when the association purchased the Shenandoah.
The original idea was to build a separate facility on 16 acres of vacant land adjacent to the center, but the community eventually settled on a more central location.
Saroki, the architect, designed the plans for the two-story building, which beside the center will include a massive banquet hall, activity rooms, indoor recreation center, an outdoor pool, a new driving range and expanded parking.
"Most cultures have left their imprints not only in writing, but in architecture. The only way you can really promote and preserve a culture is by having cultural centers," Miri said.
"The things we've preserved in our homes for decades, we'd like to share these with other people so they can get introduced to our background, not just who we are today, but who we were yesterday."
Courtesy of the Toronto Star (5 October); article by Brian Anthony
(ZNDA: Toronto) They have ventured far from the banks of the River
Jordan, where their legendary prophet preached and baptized. These
loyal followers of John the Baptist now make their home by another
biblical waterway - the Tigris River in modern-day Iraq.
Recognized under traditional Islamic law as "People of the Book," along with Jews and Christians, the Sabaeans are monotheistic and "follow the scriptures left by the Prophet John, as well as the teachings of Seth, Abraham, and other prophets," said Sheikh Khalaf Abu Zaydoon, the second-highest-ranking cleric in the faith.
The Sabaeans' chief holy book is the Kenza Rama, or Great Treasure. It is a powerful and poetic text written in a dialect of the Aramaic language. More than 600 pages long, the Kanza Rama is said to transmit the voices of ancient prophets otherwise lost to time.
"Great is thy name, my Lord," it begins. "I mention thy name with a pure heart, Lord of All Worlds."
The Iraqi Sabaeans, who number about 80,000, are quick to point out what they have in common with their mainly Muslim neighbours. They say they enjoy good relations with the other religions of Iraq, and they are proud to claim this land as their own home. "We have been in this land since before the Arabs, but since then we have taken on their language and their customs. At the core, Islam and Sabaeanism are the same, really," Khalaf said.
While politics have put some religious groups in bad standing with Saddam Hussein's Arab socialist government, a range of faiths flourish in this ancient land of the prophets. Sunni Muslims, Shi'ites, Sufis, Chaldean Christians and even the heterodox Yezidis are represented here.
The Iraqi president himself recently launched the construction of a new Sabaean temple in Baghdad, and the Sabaean General Affairs Council credited him for a 50 million dinar donation toward their religious magazine, Mandaean Horizons. "We have all kinds of religions, all kinds of sects here in Iraq," Khalaf said, "We all live in peace."
True to the heritage of John the Baptist, the Sabaeans - who sometimes refer to themselves as Mandaean Sabaeans to reflect their ancient heritage - place a high premium on baptism.
"Baptism carries two meanings," said Khalaf. "We baptize to purify the soul and we baptize for repentance for our deeds." Baptism is an integral part of the Sabaeans' weekly congregational worship, their wedding ceremony and special holidays.
Though traditionally performed in a river, such as the "sacred waters of the Tigris," the baptism ritual has adapted to the times, the sheikh said. The Baghdad temple includes a large pool-like basin with tiled steps for easy immersion. The pool is flanked on either side with the dervish, the shape of a cross with a large white cloth laid over the crossbar. The dervish serves as the symbol of the religion in Iraq.
Parallels between Islam and Sabaeanism run deep. Although the Sabaean holy day is Sunday, when congregational worship is held at local temples, the clerics are called sheikhs, as are Muslim clerics in Iraq, and have a similar appearance. Sabaeans offer ritual prayers three times daily, and number five pillars of faith: monotheism, baptism, praying, fasting and almsgiving.
Some Sabaeans are alarmed at the dwindling numbers of believers. Of about 100,000 Sabaeans worldwide, 80,000 are in Iraq, another estimated 15,000 live in southern Iran, and a few tiny communities are present in the United States and Great Britain, among other locales.
In Iraq, the thinning ranks are blamed partly on conversion from the religion and apathy among the youth.
'You cannot convert to the Sabaean faith. You have to be born into the faith'
Abdul-Razzaq Al-Khamisi, a worshipper at the Baghdad temple, gave another reason for the small size of the community. "You cannot convert to the Sabaean faith. Even if you marry a Sabaean woman, you will have your religion and she will have hers. You have to be born into the faith," Al-Khamisi said.
Khalaf said the current era of suffering has afflicted all Iraqis alike. "Just like everyone else in Iraq, we hate the sanctions. We are suffering under the sanctions, and we condemn them."
The strict sanctions imposed by the United Nations during the Gulf War affect nearly every aspect of life in what was once among the most advanced Arab nations.
"Twelve years of sanctions have hurt everyone in this country and caused so much damage. Even down to the water we use for our rituals. Our rituals depend upon pure water, for the baptism, for making bread. Water is the source of life, it cleans the body and the soul, and the sanctions affect even that," the cleric said.
United Nations officials say that allied bombing and supply shortages have badly corrupted the nation's water supplies and spread a number of water-borne diseases, including cholera.
"But we don't look at the American people as the enemy. It's their government. Their government is trying to impose a system on everyone. It's the same with Iraq as it is with other countries," Khalaf said. "But the American people? We call them to friendship.
"The big problem in the world today is tribalism," the sheikh said. "People saying, 'We are better than these people, we are better than those.' The real goal for all of us should be to serve humanity, to promote justice between all people, and to serve Almighty God."
(ZNDA: Florida) Jaliel Hanna Jallo, 66, of Oldsmar, died last Friday
as the result of an auto accident in Palm Harbor. He was born in Syria,
and came to the U.S. in 1990 from Little Ferry, New Jersey. He owned
and operated the East Lake Mobile gas station and store, Palm Harbor,
for 10 years. He was a member of the St. Athanasius Syrian Orthodox
Church of Tarpon Springs. Survivors include his wife, Ruth; two sisters,
Fahima Jallo in Sweden, and Gorgiea Jallo; and several nieces and
CHICAGO ASSYRIANS: MEET YOUR CANDIDATES!
On Sunday, October 13, 2002, the Assyrian Committee for Civic Responsibility
will host a very important event entitled, "Meet the Candidates Forum."
The forum will take place in Eden's Banquet Hall, 6313 N. Pulaski rd,
Chicago, IL 60645; from 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Nadia E. Joseph
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Event to be held November 15th at The Ritz Carlton San Francisco to raise funds for Assyrian Aid Society
SAN FRANCISCO --- October 3, 2002. If you want to know what celebrity chefs love to eat, join us at the inaugural “Narsai’s Taste of the Mediterranean” benefit dinner and find out! Hosted by Bay Area culinary expert and KCBS food and wine editor Narsai David, “Narsai’s Taste of the Mediterranean” will benefit a new dormitory and youth center for university students in Erbil, Northern Iraq.
According to Narsai, "The Assyrian Aid Society of America (AAS-A) is planning a truly splendid fundraiser with each course prepared by chefs of Middle Eastern backgrounds." As the son of Assyrian immigrants and current president of AAS-A, Narsai is dedicated to helping preserve the birthplace of the Assyrian people. The Assyrian Aid Society is a 501 (c) (3) dedicated to helping Assyrians in need; promoting Assyrian culture and heritage; building a structure capable of responding to unexpected crises that require immediate mobilization, and focusing American and international attention on the needs and humanitarian concerns of the Assyrian people.
The Basic Ingredients. The evening will feature a five-course meal prepared by some of the nation’s finest chefs, including Michael Mina of Aqua, (S.F. and Las Vegas), the 2002 recipient of the James Beard Best Chef Award; Michael Ginor, author and owner of internationally renowned Hudson Valley Foie Gras in New York; Piero Selvaggio (Valentino, Santa Monica and Las Vegas); Haig Krikorian (La Lime), formerly of Narsai's in Berkeley and Israel Aharoni (Golden Apple), known to many as the “Julia Child” of Israel. "Table centerpieces will be made exclusively of chocolate thanks to the generosity of the ever-talented Joseph Schmidt," adds Narsai. Wine for the evening will be donated by two Assyrian vintners: Miner Family Vineyards and Hanna Winery.
“Narsai’s Taste of the Mediterranean” will be held at the San Francisco Ritz-Carlton on Friday, November 15th. The event begins with a 6:00 p.m. cocktail reception, followed by a 7:30 p.m. dinner and live auction with Narsai serving as auctioneer. Chairing the event are AAS-A Director Mona Malik and Lisa Mirza Grotts. Among the growing list of sponsors and donors include KCBS Radio, Fleur De Lys, Macy’s, Willis Insurance Services, San Francisco Ballet, Joseph Schmidt and The French Laundry.
Auction items include a San Francisco Giants Luxury Box for 12, Lake Tahoe Getaway for 8, San Francisco Dining Experience, a Wine Cabinet stocked with 49 bottles of wine and dinner for 10 prepared by Narsai David at his home.
Ticket prices start at $250 and may be purchased by calling 510.527.9997 or by visiting www.assyrianaid.org
About the Host. Chef Narsai David is a successful restaurateur and radio and television personality. He launched Narsai's Restaurant in Berkeley, CA as well as Narsai's Café at I. Magnin in San Francisco. His current culinary endeavors include a partnership in Grasing's Coastal Cuisine and The Carmel Chop House, both in Carmel, CA. His specialty food products may be found at many high-end markets such as Draeger’s, Mollie Stone's and Andronico's.
The Assyrian Aid Society of America is a tax exempt, non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) · Federal ID # 94-3147517.
350 Berkeley Park Boulevard
Youel A. Baaba
Host: Narsai M. David
Michael E. Bradley
A Presentation by Dr. Ashour Moradkhan
Dr. Moradkhan will discuss the goals of the Atra Project and its accomplishments in supporting the Assyrian villages in our Homeland since the project began a year and half ago.During the first phase of the project, 52 Assyrian villages were surveyed to determine the needs of the families in each village.The second phase of the project is nearing completion now as close to 85,000 fruit trees have been distributed to those villages and orchards have been planted. Now we are entering the third phase that has the long-term aim of creating the facilities and infrastructure required for storage, processing, and sale of the produce of the orchards which will become available in the next two to three years.
For the Year 2002 the focus of the Atra Project is the Protein Program. As the families in Garbia are living of food rations donated by the United Nations agencies, they lack fresh meat and fresh dairy products in their diets. Babies and children suffer the most because they are raised on dry milk. Since raising chickens is the most affordable undertaking, the Atra Project plans to supply each family with a few chickens and feed according to the size of the family.
Please plan to attend this important presentation to learn more about opportunities for investment in our homeland.
Date: Sunday October 20th, 2002
The Assyrian Aid Society is a tax exempt, non-profit organization under
Assyrian Aid Society
Hatch, William. An Album of Dated Syriac Manuscripts (With a New Introduction
by Lucas Van Rompay)
Three rare books on liturgy reprinted
Sebastian Brock, et. al. The Hidden Pearl: The Aramaic Heritage
Includes 100s of pictures, mostly in color, dozens of maps and tables.
H. V. Hilprecht et. al. Explorations in Bible Land During the 19th Century
Explorations in Bible Land During the 19th Centuy is a historical sketch on the archaeological explorations in Biblical lands in the Near East: Assyria, Babylonia, Palestine, Egypt, Arabia and Hittite areas. Its authors give "a clear conception of the gradual resurrection of the principal ancient nations of Western Asia and Egypt." One century after its first publication, this reprint makes available this rare book in two volumes. The first volume, written by H.V. Hilprecht, is on Assyria and Babylonia. The second volume is written by four well-known German specialists of the time and covers Palestine (by J. Benzinger), Egypt (by George Steindorff), Arabia (by Fritz Hommel), and the Hittites (by P. Jensen). The volumes are adorned with nearly 200 illustrations.
Anna de Pretis, Anna. “Epistolarity” in the First Book of
Austen Henry Layard, Discoveries in Nineveh and Babylon
George Rawlinson, The Seven Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World
Eric-Jan Steppa, John Rufus and the World Vision of Anti-Chalcedonian
We have also added new items to our forthcoming list. Remember, all of our forthcoming titles are available at a limited-copy pre-publication discount. So reserve your copy now at the discounted rate. Some of the new items added to the catalog are:
Stroud, William (M.D.) The Physical Cause of Death of Christ
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure that we answer you promptly.
We look forward to hearing from you.
The Gorgias Press Team
ASSYRIAN BOGUS COLLECTORS
These documents are from the Australian Archives about a group of Assyrian bogus collectors coming to the attention of Australian authorities in 1932 (1). It should be noted that there are other files in the Australian Archives about Assyrian bogus collectors in the 1920's (2).
A.N Hanna of Trenton, New Jersey, USA wrote a letter to the Chief of Immigration Service, Sydney, Australia notifying Australian authorities about a group of Assyrian swindlers headed by Hirchou Shayine who were travelling to different countries collecting "money...to help the poor of Syria and to foster their school work (3)."
Hanna also mentions in his correspondence of " a copy of the information published by the newspaper L'Orient of [Beirut] of December 20, 1931." The actual newspaper article in French or an equivalent English translation is no where to be found in this file. It can only be assumed that Hanna either forgot to enclose the newspaper article or that Australian authorities simply may have lost or misplaced it.
Hanna listed the names of the 14 swindlers who had been arrested, imprisoned and deported from different countries for their fraudulent activities. He provides a clue as to why he informed the Australian authorities. He states that " I deem it as my duty to report this matter to you, in order that you might do your duty clearing your country of these undesirable persons also we want to clear our race, the Assyrian (4)."
It could be argued that Hanna had some intimate knowledge about the activities of these swindlers. This could be partially explained in having come into contact with some of them during their stay in the United States. They may have attempted to solicit "donations" from Hanna and other members of the Assyrian community in the United States. Hanna may have had friends and relatives living in Britain and Australia who notified each other of the activities of these vagabonds.
The remainder of this file contains correspondence between the Department of the Interior, Commonwealth Investigation Branch, and the Chief of Commissioner of the Victorian Police and Beirut (5). The important thing to be noted is that these bogus collectors would not be permitted to enter Australia. One can conclude that Australian authorities would have looked unfavorably to such individuals, at time when ordinary immigrants of South Eastern European and Middle East origin were viewed with suspicion by white Anglo-Australians in the 1930s.
1. National Archives of Australia, Melbourne Office,
Victoria B741/3 V/10132
This brief article will include 4 pages published in the London Gazette on August 14, 1946 outlining the British military operations in Iraq, East Syria and Iran from April 10, 1941 to January 12, 1942. Our focus will be on the Iraqi revolt.
In early May 1941, the British considered the Iraqi army's attack on Habbaniya, located outside Baghdad, as a serious threat to its strategic communications in Iraq. The revolt was inspired by Rashid Ali, an Iraqi politician, who supported the Axis powers-Germany and Italy. He fled the country to avoid capture by the British.
The British forces along with Assyrian levies inflicted a heavy defeat on the Iraqis " captur[ing] 26 Iraqi officers and 408 other officers, together with considerable amount of equipment." The Royal Airforce using Habbaniya easily destroyed the Iraqi airforce.
It was important for Britain to achieve three important things in putting down the Iraqi army insurrection. Firstly, to ensure that the oilfields of Iraq and Iran remained under British control; secondly to ensure that the key Iraqi cities of Basra, Baghdad and Mosul did not fall to the Axis powers; and finally its other strategic communications around the Suez Canal, Palestine and Persian Gulf remained free from Axis powers threat.
AN ASSYRIAN RESTAURANT OPENS IN KERALA, INDIA
A new restaurant has opened its doors in the Kerala region of
India, which also serves North Indian dishes, besides the Kerala
fare. It calls its offerings as the “Suriyani Christhyani
bhakshanam” or the Assyrian Christian cuisine.
The menue includes kappa and meenthala curry (35 Rupees), which have a universal appeal. The kappa or tapioca has always been the victual of the salt of the earth, the labourers and a fast moving snack at the toddy shops.
Now with boom in tourism, tapioca and fish curry have become the mascot of Kerala cuisine.
At Kumarakom, it has retained the earthy robustness that has taken it to the top. The fish head curry is excellent. It has enough heat and acidity to make your taste buds sing.
The prawn (80 Rupees) and chicken (40 Rupees) fries, Kerala style, are also very good.
The traditional seasoning, shallots, curry leaves and coconut oil, give these the typical finish. Another all-time favorite combination, puttu (20 Rupees) and egg roast (20 Rupees) too is highly recommended.
The other breads, parotta and appam (5 Rupees for each) kept up their end of the bargain. The only dish that strikes a discordant note is fish moilee (60 Rupees). It tastes more like a stew into which pre-cooked seer fish pieces are added.
As there was not a single Mallu veg dish except the black channa curry, we plumped for a palak paneer (45 Rupees). This turned out to be a very pleasant surprise.
Not much choice is there in the dessert section. There is payasam and more payasam. That night it was parippu or dal payasam (20 Ruppes), quite a good one at that.
[To learn more about the Assyrians in the Kerala region of India, see Zinda Magazine’s exclusive report under the LITERATUS section of the 5 November 2001 issue here.]
Zindamagazine would like to thank:
Lisa Mirza Grotts
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