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Volume VIII
Issue 37
16 December 2002
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This Week In Zinda

cover photo
cover photo

  Band of Brothers
  Assyrians in Australia (1877-1928)
  Two Assyrians Appointed to Coordination Committee
The Iraqi Opposition Groups’ Political Declaration
Assyrian Majlis Rep Calls for Unity
Bones of French St. Therese of Lisieux Sent to Mosul
U.S. Priests Pray for Peace in Baghdad Church
  Assyrian Priest in Japan: Stay Out of War
AUA Sec General Letter to President Bush
Chaldean Federation Request to Include “Chaldean”

To the Assyrian-Chaldean Delegates of the Iraqi Opposition
Thank you Evelyn Benjamin
Here We Go AgainCashing on Zowaa’s Success
What Will That Name Be?
Get Your Facts Straight!


Holiday Book Shopping From Gorgias Press

  Iraq’s Christians: A Wall Street Journal Report
  Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash”



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Zinda Says


On December 9, a few nights before the arrival of the Assyrian Delegation to the London Conference, a tired-looking Sargon Dadesho before his television audience was commenting negatively on the prospect of the Conference and its most visible Assyrian representative, Yonadam Kanna of the Assyrian Democratic Movement. He was not alone. Mr. Shimun Khamo of the Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party was hesitant about Sargon Dadesho’s participation and blaming the Kurdish elements for the re-appearance of the chairman of the Assyrian National Congress at these talks. Khamo was coming closer in terms with Dadesho’s ally, Romeo Hakkari of the BNDP-Iraq. Even the Assyrian Patriotic Party’s Nimrod Baito was challenging the seemingly close link between the parties in North Iraq and America.

Hours before the start of the Conference, a frustrated John Nimrod, Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance had nothing nice to say to President Bush: “This is Thursday and the conference being organized by the six opposition leaders in London and endorsed by the Department of State is scheduled to meet on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Dec. 13, 14, 15 and 16 2002). As of this afternoon invitations have not been received nor have any Assyrian representatives been notified or invited to attend the conference. The location of the conference was confirmed today.”

Were the Assyrians heading toward a historic disaster?

On Sunday morning the staff at Zinda Magazine were informed that a Chaldean member of Massud Barazani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) had demanded the combined name “Chaldean Assyrian” as the new identity of the Assyrian people in Iraq. Zinda sources in London explained that by Sunday morning all traces of the name “Assyrian” was being replaced with “Chaldean Assyrian” in the political statement of the Conference and this was expected to follow suit in the future constitution of post-Saddam Iraq.

It was then that the Assyrian Miracle happened in the hallways of the hotel decked with Christmas decorations. An entirely new Delegation with an entirely new “Assyrian” agenda pushed itself through the plush lobby of the hotel and demanded what may become the most ambitious political statement of the Assyrian political parties in regards to the identity issue.

The two independent Assyrian delegates, Mr. Albert Yelda and Dr. Emmanuel Kamber, with the unanimous support of other 8 Assyrian delegates professed the following: “Either Assyrian Only or separate the two names once and for all!”

The cat was out of the Kurdish hat. The Kurdish-Chaldean agent of Barazani, Abdul Ahad Afram, and his cohorts in the United States, were facing an unexpected challenge from the Assyrian “Band of Brothers”. Dadesho, Kanna, Nimrod, Khamo, and the rest of the Assyrian Delegation which included Dr. Jacob Mansour, the former president of the Chaldean Federation of America, effectively introduced a new policy which will surely become the corner stone and the guiding principle of the future Assyrian politics in Bet-Nahrain and abroad. They told the Arab, Kurdish, and Turkoman delegates that the terms Chaldean, Nestorian, Jacobite, Syriac, Aramaic et al, must be held in highest regard as the names historically used to identify the Assyrian people; however, the true identity of the more than three million Assyrians around the world from Telkefe to Tokyo was one – ASSYRIAN.

On Monday afternoon, California time, a Zinda observer called our offices and explained the following: “The Assyrian guys are holding hands, kissing, and congratulating each other. Even Dadesho and Kanna are talking and laughing.” What began as a cruel assault on the historic identity of the only indigenous people of Iraq present at the London Conference had turned into the catalyst bonding together the different Assyrian political groups. For the first time since the creation of Iraq, Assyrian people were declared as a people with political, cultural, and administrative rights equal to all other factions of that country under one single historic identity, that of Assyrian. Article 12 of the revised political statement released on Tuesday evening reads:

“The conference debated the injustice and national oppression exercised against the Assyrians and stresses the importance of guaranteeing their equality with others and agrees to grant them their ethnic, cultural and administrative rights within a defined legal framework, and to protect these rights constitutionally.”

And the small group of fellow Assyrians, taking collective credit for the extraordinary accomplishments in London in subduing the volition of a discredited Christian agent of KDP and his Kurdish bosses, have now become lifelong friends.

The story is not going to end here of course. The Assyrian identity will again and again be challenged in Arbil, Baghdad, Detroit, and San Diego, California. But for now, let us celebrate the victory at the London Conference – one that united our political forces inside and outside of Iraq, and gave us a new hope for a new future of a new Iraq.

The Lighthouse


Australian-Assyrian history does not commence with the post-war migration period that many believe. It goes back to the arrival on these shores of men and women who recorded their country of birth as Assyria, who identified themselves as Assyrians; as early as the 1880s. Even though such a state has not existed since the fall of Nineveh in 612 BCE.

Australia did not yet exist when the first Assyrians came here. It was a collection of six British colonies, who, in 1901, joined together to form the Commonwealth of Australia. Assyrians have an approximately 125-year recorded history in this wide brown land. Under the terms of this country’s White Australia Policy, non-European immigration was very strictly limited. Section 39 (5) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act read that no aboriginal native of Australia, Asia, Africa, or the Islands of the Pacific (except New Zealand) were allowed to vote or to stand as candidates in elections, except under certain exemptions. Even if they were naturalised British citizens. Native born Asians included Turks, Arabs, Iranians and Assyrians, who did manage to settle in Australia and were thus excluded from gaining citizenship. Exceptions were few and far between. Despite years of protests and lobbying this situation did not change for decades.

Interestingly enough, Hellenes, Armenians and Jews born in Asia were considered to be Europeans. A migrant from Syria, Richard Demitri Saleeby wrote to the Secretary of the Department of External Affairs on 5 May 1904 claiming, among other things that “although I am a native of Syria, I am no more an Aboriginal of that Country than the Britisher who is born in Australia or New Zealand, is an Aboriginal of those countries.” Born in ;Sud-el-Garb, Lebanon, Syria on 7 February 1872, Saleeby had arrived in Australia from New Zealand on 15 June 1895. He first enquired about, then applied for, British (and Australian) citizenship on 21 January 1904.

Having not received a satisfactory response, Saleeby wrote once again to the Departmental Secretary on 17 May 1905 claiming, among other things: (1) That the modern Syrian has no relation whatsoever to the Ancient Aboriginal Syrians. (2). That the Syrian language is not spoken by the present nation, although they are called Syrians. (3). That the lineal line of my Ancestors in particular dates back from the Crusaders, as the name of the family bear this contention out, being the literal Arabic translation of ‘Crusaders’. (4). That the modern Syrians are admitted to be of the White or Cocaisian races of the world and no coloured stigma has ever been attributed to my people in any era.

Saleeby settled in Redfern in central Sydney, went as far as to claim in 1905 that certain of his ancestors at some remote and unspecified date emigrated to Syria from Normandy by way of Scotland ; and that qualified him as a European.. Saleeby’s aim was simply to gain naturalisation. In his own words, Saleeby said that his grandparents are Normans ...their immigration to Syria ... place from Scotland where some of this family are residing now (his words).

His application for citizenship was finally rejected on 29 September 1905. As mentioned earlier, what pre-occupied the Australian authorities the most was the maintenance of a White Australia through the severe restriction of immigration from countries outside Europe. The infamous Immigration Restriction Acts, the first of which came into force at the beginning of 1902. Perhaps surprisingly, this policy was actively supported by some migrants from the Middle East. In 1909 the then-Minister for External Affairs, Mr Batchelor, was of opinion that Syrians should certainly be permitted to become naturalised. Perhaps if any modification of the existing practice in administering the Immigration Act is contemplated the position of relatives of persons resident in Australia might be given first consideration. It may be mentioned that the Syrian community of Melbourne has during the recent war crisis shown considerable public spiritedness some of the younger Australian born members of the community having joined the expeditionary forces while others have contributed large sums towards the relief funds.

In letters criticising the Alien Law as regards the Syrians to the newspapers in Sydney and Melbourne on 10 January 1910, a native of Beyrouth, Syria named W. Abourizk, who had been naturalised in Austrlia, wrote: “I am strongly in favour of a white Australia but in a wider sense of the word. Keep Australia free from the Mongolian and black races. Keep it free from those base Europeans whose actions brand them the worst type of convicts about. I am not in favour of admitting all classes of Syrians into Australia. On the contrary I always objected to their coming in great numbers to the Commonwealth merely because some of them were a disgrace to their countrymen; but it is really very unjust to put restrictions on them which are very humiliating in the extreme. Why no Syrian can leave the Commonwealth without being subjected to the humiliating process of hand print and without his photo being taken in four different positions - a process which befits criminals only. I should suggest an amendment of the act in a way enabling educated Syrians with some capital to get into the Commonwealth. Syrians already in Australia should be allowed to travel unmolested i.e. without being compelled to print their hands.

In a memorandum dated 16 March 1910, the Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr Attlee Hunt wrote that Mr. Abourizk, is strongly in favour of a white Australia, and thinks the country should be kept free from Mongolians and the baser sort of Europeans. Young Syrians, educated and with some capital, are always leaving their country because they do not like its Government. Abourizk had lived in Australia for 18.5 years before returning to Beirut in June 1909. According to Mr Attlee, Abourizk thinks he can open trade between Australia and Turkey in leather, wheat, flour, opal, etc. Abourizk wrote to the Minister for External Affairs, Mr Batchelor, on 7 June 1910: “Syrians are a white race, although they are born under an Asiatic sun. (Abourizk wanted Australia to permit more Syrian and European emigration.) Why not admit Syrians who know English and who have at least the sum of 20 (pounds) and why not appoint a Syrian on the examination board of immigrants.” Abourizk received a final response from Attlee Hunt on 16 July 1910: “Admission will not be permitted in the case of Syrians arriving here unless applications have been submitted to and approved by the Department before the persons concerned come to Australia.”

What is curious though is that in a 4 January 1911 letter to the General Secretary, Australian Natives Association, Perth, Western Australia, the Minister for External Affairs, Mr E.L. Batchelor, wrote: “It was the practice in all the States to issue Certificates of Naturalisation to Syrians prior to the 1st January, 1904. Consequently cases are often brought to my notice where some brothers of a family who applied to the States were naturalised and are now fully qualified Australian citizens, while other brothers who applied to the Commonwealth subsequently are refused. Batchelor however offered neither an explanation for these discrepancies nor a solution: “I fear nothing from the inclusion in the ranks of citizens of the Commonwealth of Syrians - men of a race not far removed from our own stock, and whose religion is very often the same as ours.”

In a 27 October 1914 memorandum from the Chief Clerk to the Minister, the author wrote that the “Syrians hold that they belong to the Caucasian stock and that therefore the fact that they have been born on Asiatic soil should not stamp them as Asiatics; in the general acceptation of that term as understood in connection with the administration of the Act. Instances have come under the notice of the Department where different members of the same family have been born, some in Turkey in Europe, and some in Syria (Turkey in Asia), the former being eligible to secure naturalisation as Europeans while the others born in Syria are debarred from securing that privilege on account of the Asiatic birth.” These people make a strong protest that so much difference is shown in administration on the point whether a man is born on one side of the Bosphorus or the other.

In another memorandum from the Secretary to the Minister, dated 27 October 1914, the author wrote that “the question of how to deal with Syrians has caused the Department considerable difficulty. It will be remembered that the Act prohibits no nationalities or races by name. This feature of the law has been valuable on account of the elasticity which it permits to the Department, although at the same time it makes continuity in administration difficult.” Once again, the Australian official underlines the geographic basis of ‘Syrian’ identity. The people whom we roughly describe under this name come from that part of Turkey in Asia which lies to the North of Palestine and of which the principal towns are Beirut, Damascus and Tripoli. In appearance Syrians approximate far more closely to the European types than to those of India or parts of Asia further east. Syrians cannot be distinguished from the people of Southern Spain, Italy or Greece and in fact are considerably lighter in complexion than the Turks. They are practically all Christians being adherents either of the Greek Church or of a Church affiliated with the Roman Catholic. Courts in the United States had decided that a Syrian was a free white person, and consequently eligible to be naturalised.”

The author of the memorandum informed the Minister that the final decision was up to him, but “In my opinion if there is no restriction there will be a considerable influx which I personally would consider undesirable. Moreover the unrestricted admission of Syrians will give rise to administrative difficulties in regard to other inhabitants of Asia Minor many of whom, notably the Armenians, are practically white. Regard should be had also to their clannishness and the fact that they hardly ever engage in the producing industries so that on the whole I consider that unrestricted admission would be a mistake.” The Secretary favoured admitting only the dependants of individuals already here. C.W.C. Mann wrote to a Member of the Legislative Council (NSW) on 12 January 1928: “complaints were made to the Department by several well-known Syrians residing in different States as to the necessity for special care to be taken to prevent the poorer types of Syrians from being introduced.”

All non-British citizens in Australia were required to register with the Commonwealth authorities. During wartime, all countries adopt special security measures aimed at monitoring people from hostile countries resident in their lands. In 1916 Australia adopted the War Precautions (Alien Registration) Regulations Act which required “all persons (male and female) who are not British subjects” to register with the police station nearest to the place they were living. Failure to comply meant a fine of up to 100 pounds or up to six months in prison. The original Alien Registration Forms are now kept in the Australian National Archives in capital cities across the country. Each state kept its own records, so far the purposes of this paper I will be looking at the NSW records. Each form recorded personal information like name, sex, date of birth, birthplace, nationality, residence, occupation and the date the individual entered Australia. Physical features like height, hair and eye colour and notable marks were also recorded. Those who could not sign in writing, did so with a thumb print.

To historians, these documents hold many fascinating details. To scholars of Assyrian history, they are even more special. Here we have men and women, living in New South Wales in 1916, born in the 1800s, declaring their nationality to be “Assyrian”. Some even list their country of birth as “Assyria”, even though the entire region at the time was under the Ottoman Turks. One couple, Roger Andrew Batros and his wife Saleemy who declared themselves to be of Syrian nationality, told Australian authorities on 14 May 1910 that they had come to these shores because: “I am a Christian Syrian and the Christians in SYRIA have been persecuted by the TURKS because of their religion and their sympathies with the Allies.”

There are many Alien Registration Forms that record “Syria” and “Syrian” for the country of birth and nationality. So who were these “Syrians”? These are not to be confused with the citizens of the Arab Republic of Syria, nor with the followers of the Syriac Orthodox or Syrian Catholic Churches. These “Syrians” were predominantly what we now call Maronite Catholic Lebanese. The Governor of New South Wales, His Excellency G. Strickland, wrote to the Foreign and Colonial Office in London on 10 June 1914 on the “Syrians” living in his state: “I am informed that the Syrians in New South Wales number between 2,500 and 3,000. They are as to religious grouping divided into Malachites, Maranites (adherents to the Roman Catholic Church), Greek Orthodox, and Members of the Jewish Community. The Malachites and Maranites each have a church in Redfern. Those professing Greek Orthodox tenets have not got a separate church, but frequent a Greek Church at Surry Hills.”

The point of Governor Strickland’s letter was: “The Reverend Nicholas Schehadie asked that he should be recognised by me as the Head of an Established Religious Community desiring to have their religious services conducted in Arabic.” His Beatitude Exarkos Nicholas Schehadie, from Kura in Lebanon, had been sent to Australia by the Patriarch of Antioch Gregorios IV. A few years after this letter was written, St. George’s Antiochian Orthodox Church opened its doors, again in the suburb of Redfern, where it still stands today. In a letter dated 19 July 1914, the British Consul at Damascus, Mr G.P. Devey, confirmed that Exarkos Nicholas Shehadie was legitimate and that the Syrian Greek Orthodox were Arabic-speaking. He estimated there were about 1,000 in Sydney, another 1,000 in Melbourne and a smaller number in New Zealand. Official recognition was then granted to the Exarkos.

The “Greek Church” the letter mentions is the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity (Ayia Triada) on the corner of Bourke and Ridge Streets, Surry Hills. Still operating today, it is the oldest Orthodox church in the Southern Hemisphere. The church committee was formed in 1897 including two “Syrians”, Aziz Melik and Joseph Malouf, with the foundation stones being laid on 29 May 1898 and the inauguration being held on 16 April 1899. A number of “Syrians” are listed amongst the donors to the building fund and two of them, J. Malouf and Abraham Aboud, were among the church’s original trustees. Orthodox “Syrians” continued to attend services at Ayia Triada until 1920 when they built their own, Arabic-speaking, church. The construction of Melbourne’s first Orthodox church, the Evangelismos tes Theotokou (Annunciation of Our Lady) in 1900-1901 was also accomplished with the co-operation of “Syrians”. These Orthodox “Syrians” were not followers of the Syriac Orthodox Church (Suryoyo, nicknamed Jacobites, not considered to be Orthodox by the Oecumenical Patriarchate) but Arabic-speaking Antiochian Orthodox, as they are known today. The Malachites the letter refers to are the Melkite Catholics, whose church (St. Michael’s, on Golden Grove Street, Redfern) is still operating today. As early as the 1890s there was a Syrian Maronite Church; and a Syrian Maronite Association; operating in Sydney. This church is still operating today, now known as St. Maroun’s Maronite Catholic Church; in Elizabeth Street, Redfern, in central Sydney.

The Sydney Morning Herald published a report from the Independent Cable Association in its 29 June 1916 edition titled “Turkey Starving Syrians”. Speaking in the House of Lords, in regard to the Arab revolt against the Turks, the Marquis of Crewe, Lord President of the Council, said that the conditions in Syria were deplorable. He declared that the Turks had drawn a cordon around the Lebanon district, and were virtually starving the inhabitants. Bearing in mind the fate of Armenia, it was impossible not to feel the gravest concern as to the doom which threatened the inhabitants of Syria. The Turks, he added, were exercising the greatest tyranny toward Syrian notables. Twenty had been sentenced to death, and many others to imprisonment or exile. He understood that representations had been made by Washington, and it was difficult to see what further could be done. In its 16 July 1916, the same newspaper published: “Syrians Left to Starve”. A Mussulman, writing in the Journal de Geneve, protests against the cruelties practiced on the Christians in Lebanon by the Young Turks. He states that 80,000 have died of starvation since the beginning of May, and that thousands of persons of the highest Syrian society have been deported. [The inhabitants of the district of Lebanon, estimated at 220,000, are a hardy race of people of Syrian descent, who keep large herds of sheep and goats. The predominating element is the (Christian) Maronites; next come the Druses and heretical Moslems. After the bloody quarrels of the Druses and Maronites in 1860 the district of Lebanon was separated from the Turkish pashalik of Syria, and put under a Christian governor. European powers constituting themselves the guardians of the new province.] ;

A number of interesting points emerge from this collection of correspondence and media reports. Firstly, they all define “Syrians” not as an ethnic group but as people from the geographic region of Syria, just as Tanya Gogan recorded in her article “East Meets West: Lebanese and Syrian Peddlers in Rural Nova Scotia, c.1890-1914”, published in the Journal of Maronite Studies July-December 2001 Volume 5, No. 2.

Secondly, the Assyrian name and identity is proven to be not a recent invention, as some insist. The National Archives of Australia contain numerous documents completed by migrants from across the Middle East who declare their birthplace as “Assyria” and/or their nationality as “Assyrian”
Thirdly, use of the term “Assyrian” as a national identifier was not restricted to followers of the Church of the East (nicknamed the “Nestorian” church). Although religious denomination was not recorded on the Alien Registration Forms, the fact the majority of these individuals were not from south-eastern Turkey or northern Mesopotamia (the heartland of the Church of the East) indicates that followers of other Christian denominations (such as Maronite Catholic, Syrian Catholic, Syrian Orthodox) also considered themselves of “Assyrian” nationality. The Assyrian community in Australia has been deeply divided over religion and politics for many years and has recently been deeply scarred by the financial catastrophe that has befallen it. It will however recover and rebuild. When the first Assyrians arrived on these shores in 1880s, they set about building a new life for themselves, their families and their nation. They overcame incredible obstacles and laid the foundations for the diverse and vibrant Australian Assyrian community of today.


Alien Registration Forms

The following individuals registered their nationality as “Assyrian” and/or place of birth as “Assyria”, when completing their Alien Registration Forms. Australian-born women who married Assyrian men were also made to register, and are included in this list.


Date of Arrival

Charles Abdullah (Abdulla)

1 March 1895

George Abdullah

June 1888

Michael Abersee


Mary Aboode

5 May 1886

William Abraham


Jacob Ackery

Easter 1893

Nusta Ackery


Saide Ackery

Easter 1893

Violet Ackery (nee Mantton)


Martha Antoni

9 June 1902

Anthony George Anthoni (Anthony)

11 August 1911

Jessie Anthony

11 August 1911

Michael Anthony


Marie Aysenstadt  ;Jewish (Assyrian)

29 May 1921

Leslie Andrew Batros


Mary Coorey Batros

20 January 1910

Susan Betar

9 April 1920

Mary Bowlas

December 1899

Shames Correy (Chames)


Joseph Correy (Corry)


Anthony Dallah


Joseph Dahlah

8 May 1893

Helen Dallah


Bertha Dan


Joe Dan


Mary David

25 May 1900

Peter David

25 May 1900

Harry Deep

October 1899

Moses Deeps

25 October 1899

Silem Frayfer

The end of February 1897

Joseph George

15 December 1910

Nicholas George

November 1897

Jenny Gilles

June 1901

Abraham Gouttman (unknown)


Maurice Solomon Gouttman (unknown)


Mary Hamaty  

January 1916

John Loui (Loui John)  

About 1887

Joseph Joseph

December 1909

Mary Joseph

December 1909

Henriette Jureidine

16 August 1921

Adele Khouri


Farid Elias Daher El Khouri


Murina Khoury

26 December 1920

Raphael Khoury

26 December 1920

Sayeda Abdalla Khoury


Frederick Lahood

17 January 1910

Joseph Lahood

7 June 1892

Rosie Lahood

20 May 1896

George McGuire

19 July 1888

Mary Agnes McGuire

Native Born; Assyrian By Marriage

Ramza Mack


George Malouf

21 July 1892

Mary Malouf

3 May 1915

Sarah Elizabeth Malouf

14 Feb. 1906

(wife of an Alien, George Malouf of Rowena, an Assyrian)

Nasha Marsh

Registered 9 April 1920; Left Australia afterwards.

Martha Mazoud (also known as Martha Elias)

About 1891

Amelia Michael

October 1890

Barbara Michael


Jacob Michael

15 May 1901

Joseph Michael

20 June 1910

Katie Michael

July 1905

Israel Morris

3 January 1913 (1st Austrian, then Assyrian)

Abraham Moses

November 1893

Catherine Moses


Joseph Moses

8 December 1902

Mary Moses

26 December 1910

Jergi Naggar


George Naggar


Charles Mansour Nahra also known as Charles Mansour

November 1901

Mansour Nahra

November 1890

Joseph Mansour Nahra

1 May 1897

Eva Mansour Nahra

December 1896

Annie Naser

October 1898

Edith Nasser

October 1898

Elias Nasser

January 1895

Nicholas Nasser

28 October 1911

Joseph Nezain


Simon Nicholas


Salime Nasre


Leslie Ostritch


Victor Raphael

30 August 1917

Freda Richards


George Victor Saad

December 1909

Violet Solomon


Charles Simons


Kallil Solah

6 January 1892

Sophia Solah Assyrian

Australian-born; the wife of Kallil Solah an unnaturalised

Dora Solomon

15 September 1898

Joseph Solomon

20 March 1911

Rosa Solomon


Sargis Solomon

December 1898

Annie Lenora Sweeton

Australian-born; married to an Assyrian

Michael Sweeton


Saliam George Wehby

22 December 1909

John Zickby

15 December 1899

Mary Nipha Zickby

19 May 1914

There are also a number of other Forms completed by individuals whose names or other personal details indicate Assyrian origin but who declared themselves to be Turkish nationals.

Habib Andrews born at Mount Lebanon, Under Turkish Supervision 

Arrived 1891

George Ellis born in Accha Turkey in Asia

Arrived 1891 (Had a tatoo of crucifix on one hand and signed the Form in Syriac.)

Benjamin Joseph born in Persia, Turkey

Arrived in Australia on 9 February 1877

George Nassoor born in Constantinople

Arrived 28 July 1897

Michael Nassoor born in Constantinople

Arrived in 27 July 1897

Valerie Horrie Nassoor (Australian) Turkish national born in Windsor, NSW

Probably George Nassoor’s wife as they both gave Bosphore in Hodson Avenue Neutral Bay/Cremorne, NSW, as their residence.




Aliens Register Sydney 23 December 1898 - 7 January 1902 {Details recorded: Name, Occupation, Place of Birth, Nationality, Date of Arrival in NSW, Passenger by Ship, Age, Height, Naturalisation, Date of Register and more}

Isaac Betros

a hawker born at Mt Lebanon of  “Assyrian” nationality, arrived in 1892, aged 29 years when he registered on 11 April 1899.

Joseph Ellis Abouchabri

an importer born at Mt Lebanon of  “Assyrian” nationality, arrived in 1890, aged 39 years old, when he registered on 2 May 1899; Naturalised

Abraham Kaser Fyuad

a hawker born at Mt Lebanon of  “Assyrian” nationality, arrived in September 1891, aged 29 years, when he registered on 4 May 1899

Nicholas H. Massard

a draper born at Mt Lebanon, of  “Assyrian” nationality, arrived in June 1891, aged 27 years when he registered on 20 July 1899

Besharh Aboushaker

a hawker born at Mt Lebanon of  “Assyrian” nationality, arrived in June 1891, aged 27 years when he registered on 20 July 1899

Milham Aboushaker

a hawker born at Mt Lebanon of  “Assyrian” nationality, arrived in August 1890, aged 33 years when he registered on 20 July 1899.

Nicholas Jacob

a hawker born at Mt. Lebanon of  “Assyrian” nationality, arrived in 1881, aged 35 years when he registered on 23 March 1900

Elias George

a hawker born at Mt. Lebanon of  “Assyrian” nationality, arrived in 1895, aged 45 years when he registered on 21 July 1900

Jacob Aaron

a storekeeper born in Bagdad,  “Arabia”, arrived in 1896, aged 21 years when he registered on 23 August 1900.

William Habib

a hawker born in  “Syria” of  “Assyrian” nationality, arrived in 1898, aged 29 years when he registered on 13 June 1901

Michael Hannah

a hawker born in  Syria of  “Assyrian” nationality, arrived in 1898, aged 57 years when he registered on 13 June 1901

Betros Canioos

a storekeeper born in Beyrout of  “Assyrian” nationality, arrived in 1882, aged 38 years old when he registered on 18 July 1901

John Anthony

a hawker born in Beyrout of  “Assyrian” nationality, arrived in 1897, aged 33 years, when he registered on 26 July 1901

Joseph Faroar

a hawker born at Balbec of  “Assyrian” nationality, arrived in 1891, aged 33 years, when he registered on 26 July 1901

In the same pages of this Register, there are also 38 individuals who declared themselves to be of “Syrian” nationality.

Panayiotis Diamadis
MA Grad.Dip.Ed. (Secondary)
University of Sydney

[Z-Info: The above article is an extract of the presentation made by Mr. Panayiotis Diamadis at the Second Annual Assyrian Genocide Conference, University of Western Sydney, on 24 August 2002.]





(ZNDA: London) Two Assyrians have been appointed to join 73 other Iraqis on the Iraqi Opposition Coordination and Follow-up Committee, also called the Leadership Committee. The Coordination Committee will be overseeing the implementation of the decisions reached at the London Conference between now and after the regime change in Iraq. These are Mr. Yonadam Kanna, Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement; and Mr. Albert Yalda, an independent. Both were members of the official Assyrian Delegation to the Iraqi Opposition Conference in London this past weekend.

The majority of the members of this committee are Shiite moslems whose number in Iraq, particularly in southern Iraq, makes up 60 percent of the 22 million Iraqi population.

The Assyrian Delegation was given a 3 percent representation of the total number of attendees to the Conference. Consequently, of the 265 participants the Assyrian Delegation comprised of 8 members. They are as follows (in alphabetical order):

1. Mr. Nimrud Baito (Assyrian Patriotic Party)
2. Mr. Sargon Dadisho (Assyrian National Congress)
3. Mr. Praydon Darmo (Member, Assyrian Universal Alliance)
4. Mr. Romeo Hakkari (Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party –Iraq)
5. Mr. Younan Adam Hozaya (Central Comm. Member, ADM)
6. Mr. Emanoel Kamber (Independent)
7. Mr. Yonadam Kanna (Sec. Gen, Assyrian Democratic Movement)
8. Mr. Albert Yalda (Independent)

The other two Assyrian participants, associated with the Assyrian Delegation, were:

1. Shimun Khamo (Sec. General, Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party – U.S.A.)
2. Dr. Jacob Mansur (Fmr. President, Chaldean Federation of America)

There were also five other Assyrian participants at the Conference, two of whom were present as independents and the remaining three representing Mr. Massud Barazani’s Kurdish Democratic Party. They were:

1. Mr. Abdul Ahad Afram (KDP)
2. Ms. Josephine Esho (Independent)
3. Mr. Yousif Hanna (KDP)
4. Mr. Fawzi Fransu Hariri (KDP)
5. Mr. George Mansur (Independent)

The 265 Conference participants are expected to attend another meeting on 15 January 2003 in Arbil, North Iraq.

Delegates to the conference agreed on a list of 49 current Iraqi regime officials - including Saddam and his two sons - who should face trial for war crimes.



(ZNDA: London) The following is the full text of the Iraqi Oppostion Groups Declaration at the end of the London Conference which took place between 14 and 16 December 2002. The political statement was published on 18 December. Note article 12 pertaining to the right of the Assyrian people:

Due to the imposed rule of the sectarian racist regime, its repressive and terrorist actions and the internal and external wars of that regime, Iraq has experienced thirty years of its contemporary history in the worst state. During all these years the Iraqi people continued to struggle and make a series of bold attempts to end the abnormal conditions imposed on our people by the repressive regime. A broad section of the honourable people, including the armed forces and political and national forces of all the nations, religions and faiths participated in this legitimate attempt in every possible way, including armed struggle which reached its climax in the blessed uprising of March 1991. Millions of Iraqi people: civilians, members of armed forces, Arabs, Kurds, Turkomans and Assyrians, Sunni and Shi'i, took part in the uprising which was very close to dealing the regime the fate it deserved. A lot of blood and sacrifices were offered to achieve this aim, but conditions beyond the control of our steadfast people prevented this common aim of the Iraqis from being achieved and from getting the opportunity to rebuild our country on the basis of democracy, justice and peace.

Today, again there is an opportunity for our people and we can take advantage of the elements of the international situation to bring down this fascist regime and initiate positive developments in Iraq. There is a new common prospect open to us and we must remain committed to the inevitability of achieving this patriotic mission, and encourage the process of change in Iraq for the benefit of our people, taking into consideration the interests of neighbouring, regional, Arab and Islamic countries and the international community.

To achieve this aim, the Iraqi opposition conference, which embraces the majority of forces, groups and prominent figures in the Iraqi opposition, which was held in London on 14-16 December 2002, under the slogan: "For the sake of the liberation of Iraq and achieving democracy", reaffirms the main principles and criteria of the previous conferences and meetings of the Iraqi opposition, especially the Salah-al-Din conference in 1992 and the political discourse of the opposition delegation in Washington in August 2002. Starting from these criteria, the [London] conference accepted and approved the following resolutions and recommendations:

1. The role of Iraqi opposition in the process of change

Members of the conference view the role of the national opposition, with all its diverse groups and organizations supported by the masses of our people, as a principal and essential role in the process of change. The conference considers the role of the opposition as a vital and crucial role in all the stages of the anticipated change in a way that corresponds with its abilities and practical conditions.

2. The future of Iraq and democracy

Iraq will be a democratic parliamentary, pluralist, federal (for all Iraq) state and will accordingly enact a humane and civilized concept of citizenship based on equality and elimination of discrimination against all peoples, religions, races and sects. The conference reaffirms that a permanent constitution for the country should be drafted in which the national [ethnic] composition of Iraq and the separation of legislative and executive powers and the judiciary are enshrined. It must also stress commitment to the supreme power of law, protection of human rights and public and private freedoms, and respect for the institutions of civil society.

3. Islam is the religion of the state

Islamic religion is one of the foundations of the Iraqi state and the rules of Islamic shari'ah are a principal source of the sources of legislation. The conference stresses that guidance should be sought from the Islamic sacred values and principles of good and tolerance and take its methods and instructions into consideration for school syllabuses and education with due respect to all other heavenly religions and faiths.

4. The state of law

The conference expresses unanimous agreement that chaos, blind revenge and any other form of lawlessness which may tend to prevail in the future environment of Iraq under whatever pretext, must not be allowed.

All cases [of grievance] should be brought to judicial authorities and internal and international courts through the law and justice. All cases of violations of civil rights; such as confiscation of property, violation of rights and all criminal offences and political crimes including the crimes of ethnic genocide, ethnic cleansing, massacres and war crimes, supported by evidence, shall be brought to court.

5. Political decision-making

The conference resolves that all the constituent elements of the Iraqi people; Arabs, Kurds, Turkomans, Assyrians, Chaldeans and others, and Muslims and Christians, Sunnis, Shi'is and Ezidis, and other believers in heavenly religions, should participate in the political decision-making.

6. Rejection of all attempts to trample upon the will of the Iraqi people to achieve change

The conference asks the international community to support the Iraqi people to become liberated from the dictatorial regime. At the same time, the conference rejects all forms of interference such as occupation, internal or external military rule, external mandate and regional interference and stresses the need to respect the sovereignty of Iraq, the independence of neighbouring countries and the principles of good neighbourliness, regional cooperation, non interference in other countries' affairs; and commitment to all the pledges, statements and agreements which have been approved by the international community. Above all the UN Charter, the international charter for human rights and all the international conventions and agreements relating to them, as well as commitment to the Arab League and the Conference of the Islamic organization.

7. Sectarian problem and eradication of its effects

Throughout the past history of Iraq and especially under the current regime, we in Iraq, as other sections of Iraqi community, have been subjected to oppression; violence; repression; discrimination; and denial of civil, political, national, cultural and social rights. This has destroyed the social balance in the country and greatly jeopardized national unity and the spirit of tolerance and forgiveness, and has led to the predominance of repression, special institutions and the use of deception and falsehood to impose power on the Iraqi society with all its creeds and colours, and its Shi'i majority. As a result, the Iraqi people have lost one of the most important elements of their unity, thus paving the way for dictatorial, racial and sectarian policies which harm all the Iraqi people.

Therefore, the conference believes that all the policies of sectarian discrimination must be prohibited as soon as possible, and respect accorded to the legitimate rights of the Shi'i which have been denied so far. The conference condemns the policy of aggression against the religious seminary authorities of Shi'i (Hawza Ilmiya) and interference in their affairs, their containment and compulsory appointment and imposition [of their religious guides]. It also condemns the murder of their grand religious guides and their families and religious sources of emulation, and the imprisonment and torture of thousands of others whom we do not have the opportunity to list here.

The conference also condemns the policies of aggression against Shi'i religious seminary institutions of Al-Najaf al-Ashraf and other holy cities, the destruction of mosques and husayniyas [prayer house], Islamic centres, libraries and the banning of books, censorship and banning of Shi'i religious processions and the destruction of Shi'i-populated towns and villages and homes, the draining of their areas, their deportation and bringing other citizens and settling them in their places, expressing scepticism regarding their Arab and Iraqi belonging, the deportation of non-Arab Shi'is and denying them their Iraqi citizenship and withdrawing their Iraqi passports, taking away their children and confiscating their property,

The conference believes that the new constitution of Iraq must guarantee that these violations shall not be repeated and that all the constituent elements of the Iraqi people shall be protected without discrimination.

8. About the genocide attacks of Halabjah and Anfal:

The conference condemns all the racial injustice, oppression and ethnic cleansing which the Iraqi regime has carried out premeditatively the people of Iraqi Kurdistan, particularly genocide and Anfal operations which affected 180,000 people, 8,000 Barzanis, 5,000 Faylis and 5,000 people of Halabjah, and the destruction of thousands of towns and villages, all of which moved the conscience of people all over the world. While the conference demands putting an end to this heinous policy, it stresses the need to find out about the fate of the victims, honour them, compensate their families, rebuild the destroyed villages and towns and prosecute those who committed these crimes in international courts.

9. About deportations, ethnic cleansing and change of national identity

The conference condemns all forms of deportations, ethnic cleansing , the use of chemical weapons and forced change of national identity, especially the changing of the national character of the areas of Kirkuk, Makhmur, Khanaqin, Sinjar, Shekhan, Zimar and Mandali, and so on. The conference demands that all the effects of this policy be eradicated once for all in the following way:

a. The return of the deportees to their homes and areas, the return of all their property and possessions, and compensating them for loss and damages.

b. The return of those people brought by the regime to be settled and replace the deportees to their previous areas and homes.

c. The return of the Fayli Kurds and all the Iraqis whom the regime deported outside Iraq under the pretext that they were of Iranian origin, and unjustly took away their citizenship rights from them, and securing their Iraqi citizenship for them, the return of their property and possessions, and uncovering the fate of the Faylis who have disappeared since 1980 and compensating them.

d. Abolishing all the administrative changes implemented by the regime since 1968 with the purpose of changing the demographic reality of Iraqi Kurdistan.

10. Federalism and the resolution of Kurdish question:

Upon examining the Kurdish question and the ways of settling it, the conference stressed again the plurality and diversity of the Iraqi society as regards to ethnicity, sect, and political organization, and also stressed the consolidation of national unity and to achieve this through complete equality among all the citizens. By considering the resolutions and recommendations of Salah-al-Din conference, the subsequent meetings of the opposition in Washington in August 2002 and the adoption of the National Assembly of Iraqi Kurdistan of a complete federalism bill in its session on 7 October 2002, the conference expressed its respect for the people of Kurdistan and the free will of people of Kurdistan to choose proper and appropriate methods for their partnership with the people of one country. The conference debated the experiences of federal systems and concluded that it is an appropriate system of government for Iraq, which must be taken cognizance of as a basis for the resolution of the Kurdish problem within the framework of Iraqi constitutional institutions after the end of the dictatorial Saddamist regime and anticipated changes in Iraq.

In this respect the conference reiterated the unity of Iraqi land and coexistence among its peoples on the basis of voluntary union. The conference also reaffirms the just and legitimate demands of the people of Kurdistan for uprooting all forms of oppression and repression on the basis of international law which affords them the right of self determination and affirms fraternity, unity and partnership in one country.

11. The rights of Turkomans

The conference debated the racism and ethnic cleansing carried out against the Turkomans and stresses the importance of guaranteeing their equality with others and agrees to grant them their ethnic, cultural and administrative rights within a defined legal framework and to protect these rights constitutionally.

12. The rights of Assyrians

The conference debated the injustice and national oppression exercised against the Assyrians and stresses the importance of guaranteeing their equality with others and agrees to grant them their ethnic, cultural and administrative rights within a defined legal framework, and to protect these rights constitutionally.

13. The marshlands (Ahwar) catastrophe

Ahwar areas have suffered a great humanitarian and environmental disaster which has caused the drying up of a large area of the marshlands, the destruction of the topography and cutting off the source of livelihood of the population, the viability of life in these areas and the deportation tens of thousands of the population.

The new government of Iraq must pay a special attention to these areas to ensure the return of their population, compensating them and supporting them for the revival of the area and fulfilling the requirement of a happy life for them.

14. About the unjust laws and decisions

The conference demands the suspension and abolition of all the racist laws and decrees which the regime has decreed against the Kurds, Turkomans and Assyrians, and its sectarian decrees against the Shi'is.

15. About the experience in the Iraqi Kurdistan region:

The conference highly appreciates the experience in Iraqi Kurdistan in areas of freedom, democracy and reconstruction. This is an evidence of that proven reality that the Iraqis can be creative and constructive if they are free from dictatorship. The conference believes that it is possible to benefit from this experience as an advanced step on the path of the anticipated democratic transformation in Iraq and for the resolution of differences through fraternal dialogue and the uprooting of the use of violence in political action. The conference calls for supporting and protecting this experience and dealing with its legally-elected institutions until a new federal constitution is prepared for the country, including the Kurdistan region, and the forces of peshmerga [Kurdish militia] shall be integrated within the Iraqi army.

16. Security apparatuses

The conference blames the regime for the mass killing of thousands of Iraqis and physical liquidation of thousands of citizens, political and scientific cadres and army officers. The conference again stresses the need for uncovering the truth about every crime and prosecuting those responsible in a legal way. The conference deems it imperative that all the repressive apparatuses which the regime has created for the intimidation and repression of Iraqi citizens be dismantled and a new security body be established in a way that will protect rights of citizenship, human rights and the security of the country in accordance with the law.

17. Army and armed forces

The participants reaffirmed the importance of rebuilding the military institutions and armed forces in a proper professional and patriotic way away from internal conflict, militarization of society and sectarian and racist policies; elimination of the weapons of mass destruction projects and of every weapon banned internationally, putting an end to the use of the army for internal repression and external aggression and confining the role of the army to the defence and reconstruction of the country.

18. Economic conditions and eradicating the effects of destructive wars

The conference holds the present regime responsible for the economic collapse, the deterioration of the living standards and social security experienced in Iraq today as a result of its destructive wars and forcing millions of people to leave their country. The conference urges the countries which host Iraqi exiles and refugees to take care of them and offer them refuge and facilities.

The conference also holds the present regime responsible historically, morally and legally for starting two wars against two neighbours of Iraq - Iran and Kuwait. It calls for cooperation by both countries for the freeing of the prisoners of war and detainees, eliminating the accumulated effects of that abnormal period and preventing the use of Iraqi territory for hostility against other countries.

The conference also calls on the international community, fraternal and friendly countries and international institutions and organizations to support Iraq during its transitional period within the framework of a comprehensive project to erase the effects of this tragic period. To achieve this. the conference stresses the need for these planned arrangements:

- collection of a substantial Iraqi, regional and international income.
- Allowing Iraq to reach its maximum capacity for the export of oil
- negotiation with countries which have large debts to Iraq to settle the debt problem and the accumulated interest.

- Asking the international community, particularly the friendly countries, to free Iraq's frozen assets abroad and help us to uncover the wealth of Saddam and those involved with him and confiscate their companies and accounts in all countries as the public property of the Iraqi people.

- The conference calls upon the new government to review all the oil, commercial and economic agreements which Iraq has signed since 1991 with foreign companies and countries as regards of legal status and the extent of consideration for Iraqi interests in these agreements.

- The conference calls upon the new government to cooperate particularly with Iran and Kuwait for the freeing of the prisoners of war and detainees from both sides and ending all the negative effects.

19. The oil-for-food programme

The conference believes that it is necessary to protect the oil-for-food programme which ensures food, medicine and rebuilding economic life for the Iraqi people and to endeavour to address the negative aspects of the programme until such a time when the resolutions of the Security Council are reviewed and a new appropriate plan is devised by the new government to ensure a dignified life for the people, especially the poor classes and those with low and limited income. Also, development plans and equitable allocation of revenue to all the regions throughout Iraq must be carefully considered.

20. A new nationality law

The participants resolve that a new humane contemporary law must be created for granting nationality which will abolish all types of classification of Iraqi citizens that aim at depriving them of their nationality rights. Efforts should be made after the end of the current regime for all Iraqi exiles to return to Iraq and deal with the accumulated negative effects of this inhumane policy.

21. Facilitating the return of Iraqi migrants, deportees and refugees

The participants resolve that the authorities of the transitional period should provide immediate facilities for the millions of Iraqi emigrants and refuges in exile and prepare necessary facilities for them to return to their country to participate in its reconstruction, and to return their property and possessions to them and compensate them for the loss they have suffered.

22. The role of scientific and academic talents:

The participants called upon academic groups, and Iraqi experts and scientists and all those who have a high degree of scientific competence to offer their skills, expertise and services for current and future revival and development plans until the end of the current regime.

The conference salutes the Iraqi martyrs of freedom and expresses its support for tens of thousands of political prisoners and their families who have been spending many years of their lives within the prison walls of the regime.

The conference also salutes all our families in any part and piece of Iraq and expresses its pride in their struggle and steadfastness.



Courtesy of Tehran Times (18 December)

(ZNDA: Tehran) The Assyrian representative in the Majlis (Iranian Parliament), Mr. Yonatan Bet-Kolia, on Tuesday said that Iran currently needs to promote national solidarity more than before, stressing that the Islamic Republic must make a stronger contribution to regional economic and political developments.

Bet-Kolia, speaking during a Majlis pre-debate session, urged the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, to help promote national unity and solidarity.

He recalled the approval of a bill to equalize the amount of blood money for Muslims and non-Muslims in Iran and thanked Ayatollah Khamenei, Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi, and other religious authorities for their efforts in that connection.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the deputy voiced congratulations to the Christian community on the occasion of Christmas and the start of the new Christian year and expressed pleasure that the world had witnessed successful talks among divine religions over the past year.

He said the idea of ‘Dialogue Among Civilizations’, originally proposed by President Mohammad Khatami, had encouraged Pope John Paul II to open a dialogue with Muslims.

Bet-Kolia added that he was happy to see that Assyrian religious traditions are respected in the Islamic Republic and regretted that these rituals have almost been forgotten in other countries.



Courtesy of The Times of London (14 December); by Janine di Giovanni

(ZNDA: London) One of the world's oldest Christian communities is living in fear of another Gulf War. The United Nations sanctions against Iraq evidently do not prohibit consignments of human bones.

Whether some official in New York was asked to determine whether bones were "dual use" is not clear, but those of the French saint Therese of Lisieux have been allowed into Baghdad on a special aircraft from France via Lebanon. From there they were driven on a four-hour journey in an old yellow Mercedes hearse to the ancient city of Mosul in Iraq's northern no-fly zone.

St Therese, who died in 1897 and was known as The Little Flower of Jesus, offers hope to the helpless and desperate. Her bones are contained in a wood and gilt casket, protected by a glass dome, that is now on display in a dimly lit church built on the site of St Thomas the Apostle's former home.

There Mosul's Catholics kneel before them and pray, fervently, for peace.

Well they might.

Mosul is badly in need of celestial help. "If St Therese comes here, maybe she will stop the war," Majde Jemil, a pilgrim who had come to visit the bones, said.

Even as St Thomas's down-at-heel congregation is at prayer, an Iraqi jet suddenly screeches overhead, violating the no-fly zone. The electricity goes down and the priest, Father Pius, has to halt his sermon.

The city has seen more than its share of bloodshed. During the 1991 Gulf War it was frequently attacked by allied warplanes.

Since then bombing sorties have taken out schools and killed 23 people playing football one bright summer day. British jets managed to damage St Matthew the Apostle's tomb, and last summer the city airport's radar was destroyed in a raid.

The 1.5 million inhabitants now live in fear of another Gulf War. They fear not only American and British forces, but the arrival of Turks and Kurds, who covet the local oilfields.

Mosul's 20,000 Christians live in small communities near the churches that are scattered through the old town. They are a mixture of Chaldean, Nestorian and Latin Catholics, and most speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus and the apostles, as well as Arabic.

With ancient roots in Mesopotamia, they have existed alongside Muslims for more than 2,000 years, and say that for the most part they are not persecuted by the Muslim majority or by the Government.

"There are always extreme people," Father Pius conceded, but added: "We have been around for 2,002 years. We're not going anywhere."

For these Christians the bones are a much-needed tonic. Abida Meh, a mother-of-seven who has lost a breast to cancer because there was no pre oncology treatment as an alternative, said: "To have St Therese's remains here is a sign of hope for Iraqis in a dark time. It's about faith."

Father Pius says that the people of Mosul have seen too much death and destruction. "People don't want more war. It's unjust. It's abnormal."

Manhal Jabr, director of the Mosul museum, said: "There are 1,500 archaeological sites in and near Mosul and we are afraid that if there is terrible bombing they will not survive.

"They began at prehistory. It is urgent that we preserve them."

Mosul is, however, doing its best to make practical preparations. The city's treasures have been packed away in secret underground vaults.

In the small hamlets near the Kurdish border that are particularly vulnerable, village sheikhs have taken the responsibility of arming and teaching heads of families how to use Kalashnikovs.

In one community, 30 miles north of Mosul, Haji Hassan, a tribal elder, has trained more than 360 people and says that Iraqi Army officers have visited to offer advice for hand-to-hand combat and how to secure the village. He said that his men would defend the village "with our bare hands, down to our last man".

For many others, however, the only available consolation is prayer. To console the anxious Father Pius initially used soothing words that war was far off. But now worry and concern line the faces of his congregation, who in their shabby clothes and worn shoes resemble ancient Christians secretly praying in catacombs in Rome.

"I used to tell them the war will not be," Father Pius said in a resigned voice. "But now I am truthful. I tell them that I think it will be."

St Therese was canonised in 1925, only 28 years after her death, for her devotion in everyday life and making the ordinary extraordinary. After Mosul her bones will move on to Kirkuk, also in Iraq, then to Syria and Lebanon.


Courtesy of Agence France-Presse (18 December)

(ZNDA: Baghdad) A Roman Catholic delegation celebrated a mass in a Baghdad church this week, praying for peace and reading a message for their fellow Americans not to allow a war to be waged on Iraq.

Some two hundred Iraqis, most of them elderly, attended the service in St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church, and many women cried when the choir sang a hymn asking God to spare Iraq more hardship.

"O God of Goodness, O merciful, accept our prayer and make, O Lord, peace happen in our homeland," went the hymn.

The message, read by Sister Simone Campbell, of Sacramento, California and Father John Grathwohl, of Kalamazoo, Michigan said: "We implore you, our fellow citizens of the United States, to look in the eyes of the people in Iraq.

"See the Jesuit-trained doctor who can barely contain his despair, the Muslim mother who grieves for her dying son, the Catholic sister who cares for pregnant mothers and the orphaned children who sleep fitfully at night waiting for the sound of bombs.

"These are the people our government is preparing to sacrifice as collateral damage in an unconscionable war," they said.

The 11-member delegation arrived a week ago to learn about the impact of the UN embargo imposed on Iraq since 1990. They are to leave Friday.

The Chaldean bishop, Emmanuel Dalleh, urged the delegation "to tell the officials in your country and the owners of the media that Iraq is the cradle of civilisation, the land of prophets, a peaceful country."

Christians make over five percent of the 22 million population of Iraq. The size of the community shrank considerably over the past 12 years, as hardship caused by the sanctions pushed many to emigrate, especially young men.

The following is the text of the message read at the Chaldean church in Baghdad:

To all people of good will in the United States:

We U.S. religious leaders gather with our Iraqi brothers and sisters to pray for the common peace that we all desire. As women and men of faith, we have spent ten days in Iraq during this season of preparation for Christmas. We have met people like ourselves, people who hunger for peace. The Iraqi people have welcomed us with open arms and begged us to share with you the reality of their struggle.

We implore you, our fellow citizens of the United States, to look into the eyes of the people in Iraq. See the Jesuit-trained doctor who can barely contain his despair and the Muslim mother who grieves for her dying son. Listen to the taxicab driver who fears for the safety of his family, the Catholic sister who cares for pregnant mothers, and the orphaned children who sleep fitfully at night waiting for the sound of bombs. These are the people of Iraq-people who share our hopes and dreams for a peaceful world. All they want is to live with dignity in this ancient land of arid beauty.

But the Iraqi people have suffered for the past twelve years under the most comprehensive sanctions in modern history. Water and sewage treatment facilities are not functioning due to the lack of spare parts, and children die of water-born illnesses. Hospitals are crippled by old and broken-down machinery. Depleted uranium from US munitions is linked to a 400% increase in the cancer rate in southern Iraq-and this at a time when sanctions deny the people critical medicines needed for treatment of cancer and other diseases. The Iraqi people live lives of determined endurance, but many have revealed their anxiety and desperation. They ask us, "Why is this happening? Will sanctions end? Why can't we have peace?"

These are the people our government is preparing to sacrifice as "collateral damage" in an unconscionable war. As we speak, Iraqi people live in fear of an attack that could happen any day.

People of good will, we who live in the United States also know what it means to live in fear. We fear for the future of our families and our children. We fear the unpredictable violence of terrorism. We dread the weapons of mass destruction that exist in many nations, including our own, and that threaten the future of our entire planet.

Our government suggests that war is the answer to our fears. But war will never protect us -- it will endanger the entire human family. A war against the people of Iraq will slaughter thousands of innocent men, women and children in a land already devastated by sanctions. A war could also kill and injure countless young Americans. And a war will unleash violent repercussions and terrorist acts that could destroy our world.

War is not the answer. We must seek a path to peace.

Therefore, people of good will, join us in insisting that our government stop this madness and commit to a path of active nonviolent resolution. We as ordinary people can reach out to our Iraqi brothers and sisters, who are people like ourselves. Together we can support the work of the United Nations and other international efforts to build peace. Together we can work to create a world free of weapons of mass destruction, a world free of sanctions, violence and war. Together we can build a world where our voices speak peace, peace for all people. Then we will witness the words of the psalmist, "Mercy and faithfulness will meet, justice and peace will embrace...Justice shall march before us and peace shall follow in our steps." (Psalm 85)

Join us in prayer and action with all people of good will who yearn for this promise to flourish in our times.

In peace we pray,

Iraq Peace Journey: U.S. Religious Leaders Delegation;
-- David Robinson of Erie, Pa., National Director of Pax Christi USA
-- Sr. Kathy Thornton, R.S.M. of Washington, D.C., National Coordinator of NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby;
-- Fr. Roy Bourgeois, M.M. of Columbus, Ga., Maryknoll Missioner, National Coordinator of the School of the Americas Watch;
-- Sr. Simone Campbell, S.S.S. of Sacramento, Calif., Lawyer, Executive Director of JERICHO-an interfaith social justice lobby in California;
-- Sr. Lil Mattingly, M.M. - Maryknoll, N.Y., Maryknoll Missioner;
-- Sr. Beth Murphy, OP of Springfield, Ill., Communications Coordinator, Dominican Sisters of Springfield Ill;
-- Fr. John Grathwohl of Kalamazoo, Mich., Diocesan priest
-- Sheila Provencher of South Bend, Ind., freelance writer and speaker, lay minister;
-- Mary Trotochaud of Western Massachusetts, Member of the national advisory board of School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch);
-- Chuck Quilty of Rock Island, Ill., co-founder, Voices in the Wilderness;

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Courtesy of Asahi Shimbun / Asahi Evening News (17 December)

(ZNDA: Tokyo) Ken Joseph, 45, says he will forever remember what a Persian Gulf War survivor told him while he was aiding refugees in Jordan. This person said, "Japan is a wonderful country. I hear it has laws to ban participation in war." Joseph was in London in November. He was invited to speak to an assembly of Iraqi dissenters. He gave a talk on Japan's post-World War II reconstruction, with particular emphasis on its war-renouncing Constitution. With his deep ties to Iraq, the United States and Japan, Joseph is a close follower of developments in Iraq.

Joseph's grandparents were ethnic minority Assyrians living in Iraq. They emigrated to the United States in 1917 to escape ruthless oppression by the Islamic majority. Joseph's father arrived in Japan immediately after the war to help the nation get back on its feet. Joseph himself has been involved in various humanitarian relief projects for years, operating from both sides of the Pacific.

Last weekend, the Iraqi dissenters met again in London to discuss the prospects of post-Saddam Iraq. But there are many difficult problems. For one, the dissenters cannot topple the regime of Saddam Hussein by themselves. They expect the United States to do the job, and yet want only a limited U.S. presence in their post-Saddam nation. Moreover, there is considerable internal disarray among the dissenters themselves.

Given this reality, Joseph notes, "I want Japan to stay out of an attack against Iraq. Even if a war does start, I would like Japan to concentrate on post-war reconstruction." Non-participation in war will render many things easier for Japan to accomplish. Among them are diplomacy and postwar relief and reconstruction work as a neutral nation.

An Aegis destroyer of the Maritime Self-Defense Force departed for the Indian Ocean on Monday. The tide is moving in the opposite direction from what Joseph is praying for.



December 12, 2002

George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Bush,

I am sending this letter to you out of frustration. This is Thursday and the conference being organized by the six opposition leaders in London and endorsed by the Department of State is scheduled to meet on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Dec. 13, 14, 15 and 16 2002). As of this afternoon invitations have not been received nor have any Assyrian representatives been notified or invited to attend the conference. The location of the conference was confirmed today.

We Assyrians had a successful Conference hosted by the Assyrian Universal Alliance in London November 1, 2 and 3, 2002 resulting in unity among 9 organizations and producing a declaration on the needs of the Assyrians. With all the uncertainty and delay on this conference it has caused a break down in our internal communication. This confusion has resulted in a loss of confidence in our word and some members of our unity team have run off and acted on their own.
I am sure that you Mr. President, all the members of the State Department, the Department of Defense and the Security Council are very concerned about the ability of the six member opposition leadership to be able to work together and be productive.

We would like to restate our position on a future government of Iraq. With all the various factions and in-fighting and unwillingness to have American participation by a number of opposition groups, it is imperative that an American military government similar to that which was successfully done in Japan by the USA be instituted. Iraqi personnel can then be integrated into the government successfully and take over within a limited time.

We are indeed grateful and appreciative of some of the positive actions taken by you Mr. President and the Department of State. I thank God and you President Bush for recognizing the Assyrian Democratic Movement as an opposition group and eligible for assistance under the Iraqi Liberation Act. We also thank the Department of State for involving some of the 62 names we submitted as participants in the working groups. We also are thankful to the State Department for insisting on Assyrian and Turkoman involvement in the opposition meetings.

Please let me restate some of our concerns that we have previously reported with no apparent change. The Assyrian representatives to the conference are being selected by the 6 leadership organizers of the conference. We are not allowed to replace any of our representatives. We have not been given any participation in the leadership either as members or observers. We respectfully request that an Assyrian be included on all committees which the upcoming conference may appoint to ensure Assyrian participation in activities following the conference.

I am including the declaration on Assyrian needs which was unanimously passed at our Assyrian November conference. Should a federal state for Iraq be established attached is a map denoting the Assyrian triangle which we submit for the indigenous Christian Assyrians.

Warm personal regards,

Sen. John J. Nimrod, Ret.
Secretary General

CC: Vice President Richard Chaney
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman
Ambassador Khalidad Zalmay, Assistant to the President
Director Benjamin Miller, for Iraq and Persian Gulf - National Security Council
Director David Pearce, Northern Gulf Affairs
Nate Jensen, Iraq Desk Northern Gulf Affairs
Hon. Henry Hyde, Chairman House Committee on International Government Relations
Hon. Anna Eshoo, Congresswoman – California
Enc: Assyrian Declaration with Map



December 11, 2002

The Chaldean Federation of America representing Chaldean Americans in the U.S.A cares about Chaldean people anywhere in the world to ensure, among other things, that their human, civil and legal nights are protected, as well as preserving their rich culture and heritage and to live decently with dignity.

We realize that after the 1991 Gulf War many Chaldean/Assyrian families fled the country. Over 50,000 people became refugees all over the world including over 10,000 in North of Iraq (no fly zone Kurdistan) joining thousands of other families living there. Historically Chaldean/Assyrian people have lived in those parts since 5000 B.C.

Unfortunately our people are living in critical conditions especially in rural areas that lack clean water, schooling, electricity and many other human needs, due to the damages to the infrastructure and shortages of equipments and resources.

We would like to thank the world community and many humanitarian organizations in lending hands to case the hardship that our people are enduring in the daily basis, our appreciation goes to the Assyrian Aid Society, the Chaldean/Assyrian Churches and many others, but the CFA acknowledges and realizes the great efforts of the Assyrian Democratic Movement in representing and serving our Chaldean/Assyrian people in that part of the country in all aspects of life be it political, social, cultural, educational and others. With their dedication and commitments they were able to have 5 members in the 105 seats Parliament and to have a mandated position of a Minister in the regions Government.

We commend and praise the implementations of many projects such as building schools and providing transportations to K-12 students from far villages and teaching our beloved language in schools. In fact it gives us great pride to see that A.D.M was able to print textbooks in our language that teaches the official subjects materials in schools where the majority of students are Chaldeans. Additionally it has proven to us by facts and actions that the Assyrian Democratic Movement along with many other affiliated organizations are helping the underprivileged, the underserved and poor families with necessities of life such as food and shelters, irrigations to those farms that lack water and in supplying electricity generators to many homes and villages. They have continued to do so since the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War and promises to continue and intensify the good deeds.

We are pleased to have noticed in reviewing the ADM by-laws and platform, in addition to heir actions and plans that they refer to the Chaldean/Assyrian as one nation. However we, therefore, have suggested to the executive committee, among other things, to add the word “Chaldean” to the title so ADM be called Assyrian Chaldean Democratic Movement (ACDM) to reflect the reality of the situation and to make powerful statement and true message of our unity to the whole world.

Subsequently, the CFA is proud to work with and assist the ADM and any entity, be it individual or organization that offers any kind of humanitarian assistance to enhance the quality of life to our great One Chaldean/Assyrian Nation. United We Stand.

Saad Marouf
Chaldean Federation of America


Surfs Up!
Letters From Zinda Magazine Readers


We are one nation – despite our different names

The organisations signing this document look with great grief upon the fact that the Assyrian-Chaldean delegates of the Iraqi opposition have acted as two separate nations. The Assyrian-Chaldean nation has - within the Iraqi opposition - been registered as two nations. We do not need to remind you of the grave losses our people have suffered throughout the years as a consequence of the name-dispute. Nor do we need to remind you of the fact that this dispute always leads to the weakening of our people, making us an easy target for others.

There is today an ongoing process towards harmony and closer relations between the different groups comprised within our nation. The respective churches of these groups seek unity in several questions. An actual example of this development is the statement made on Lebanese national television by the Patriarch Bedawid: "We, Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac, are one people [nation]".

Under the present circumstances the Assyrians-Chaldeans have a unique opportunity to benefit from the above mentioned unity. This opportunity carries with it great responsibility for all those involved. It is therefore urgent to end the dispute of the name. Our Nation (i.e. people) has been overlooked at many crucial moments in time solely because of this dispute. Do not allow yourselves to repeat this mistake and cause irreparable damage for the future.

We encourage you to deal with this historical situation with responsibility and work together as one nation.

The eyes of the world are upon you and the difficult task before you, and so are the eyes of your entire nation. Large parts of the Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac people are - closely and with great interest - following your participation and conduct and the development within the Iraqi opposition.

The signing organisations are at your service for assistance and mediation.

Södertälje, Sweden
December 17th 2002

Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Association (ACSA)
-Özcan Kaldoyo
-Jakob Rohyo
-Olle Wiberg and…

-Chairman Gabriel Kurt, Mor Petrus Syriac Orthodox Church in Stockholm, Sweden.
-Margareta Viklund (KD), Formerly member of the Swedish parliament
-Msgr. Abrohom Garis, Oriental Catholic Mission in Sweden
-Chairman Simon Barmano, Assyrian Federation in Sweden


To all Assyrian Federations, Parties, Associations and individuals,

I feel very happy and proud to express our nation’s gratitude to Miss Evelyn Benjamin, a well-known Assyrian lady presently living in Tehran, Iran, who has during the year 2002 donated more than $200,000 to the Assyrians of Garbia (North Iraq) and Urmia, covering various humanitarian activities. Her aid to the Atra Project up to this date has reached $10,000.

We hereby ask all to express their appreciation via E-mail to the following address: nahiras@yahoo.com

All massages of thanks will be compiled and presented to Miss Evelyn Benjamin.

May God inspire others to follow her example.

Dr. Ashour Moradkhan
Director of Atra Project
North Iraq


Sometime ago another Indian personality was mentioned in Zinda Magazine as being an Assyrian Politician and after researching the matter we found out that the gentleman was an Indian who happened to be a member of the Church of the East.

Abu Abraham is an Indian and not Assyrian. His Faith and the Church he belongs to does not make him Assyrian. When are we going to stop calling every famous person an Assyrian? Are we suffering from Inferiority Complex? Is it not time for us to stop this approach and be proud of ourselves as we are?

We have high expectations from Zinda. I beg you to keep it that way.

Edward Mikhail

[Z-Info: The Assyrian identity in India is understood as a religious distinction, often noted as “Syrian Christianity”. While there may be non-Assyrian parishioners within any of the Assyrian churches in India, Zinda Magazine will continue to stress the historic identity of this growing community of Christians who follow the Syriac liturgy preached by St. Thomas and latter Assyrian/Syriac saints.]



Stop mixing religion with nationality. To start with, I would like to add my voice to all Assyrians to congratulate the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM) for the great achievements in what they did and still doing in supporting and fighting for the Assyrian Cause. The support they get from all Assyrians abroad has helped them financially and morally in their success to protect and help Assyrian inhabitants of the northern part of Iraq. Their dedication and hard work has paid off by the recognition that Assyrians never would have dreamed of when the President Bush had acknowledged our existence as Assyrians through A.D.M. For that as an Assyrian I would like to say thank you “Zawaa” and would love to see all Assyrian parties forgetting their “ideological difference with Zawaa” and stand behind it and support it to serve Assyrians. Let’s stop and think about the benefit of such achievement and let’s build on it to get to better life for All Assyrians.

I believe that we can get off our personal selfishness and support Zawaa to get to the planned aims. I would like to emphasise that Zawaa had been criticized before for different reasons and I hope will be ready to accommodate all Assyrians in changing ideas to serve the Assyrian Case.

What has astonished me is that some people (see the Chaldean Federation Position re Our People in North of Iraq) are trying to cash in such achievement by trying to get credit for what Zawaa has achieved (which was not that easy but a lot of blood of young Assyrians had been spelt for this purpose) by asking to get the name “Chaldean” added next to Assyrians in ADM. I would like to emphasize that Zawaa was never racist party and has helped all Assyrians (including those who deny their origin and like to be called Chaldeans). We know that many of western church (Catholics) have joined and worked under Zawaa’s banner and that is a credit to everyone as those people had acknowledged that their affiliation to the Catholic church does not deny them the identity of being Assyrians . So how come a Federation from America has remembered just now to add another (/) slash to continue dividing our nation, and for whose purpose is that?

It looks like some had acknowledged that there is no more threat to their interests if their name is added to Assyrians at this point of time when everyone is talking about regime change and starting a new democratic Iraq. Why such people did not play part in the hard work and dedication of Zawaa and other Assyrian parties and now asking to add another / to continue the division, and for what reason? And another thing about the name “Chaldean”: I personally think it is wrong and should not be used at all for single reason. Chaldeans were living in the middle part of Iraq and in Nineveh in northern part of Iraq. When both cities were destroyed, Assyrians were scattered from Nineveh to neighbouring countries and some preferred to stay around Nineveh. My question is if those people are really Chaldeans, how come they ALL have origins to villages around Nineveh and not around Babel or (Bawil) and how come there is not even one single village around Bawil that is still proud of being Chaldean. Does not that suggest something??

Finally please let’s have a firm stand toward such issue, because it is not going to serve any one at all and especially Assyrians. As everyone knows we are still proud of calling ourselves Assyrians and now and in future, never called ourselves Arabs or other thing. So let’s be aware of such attempts. We know very well that many Assyrians had converted to Catholicism for different reasons at different times, but that should not deny them the right to be proud Assyrians and not something created for some reason…

John Esho



If we are from one nation, why not just use one name, the name indigenous to our homeland where most of our people are living. That land is Assyria.....

I think we know history and we have all studied it. The question for our people now involves issues which surround our national home Assyria and those who are splitting this nation into different names.

I think if we all just stick with one national name, we can become a large number of one united people when dealing with the current Iraqi crisis and how we are being treated by our fellow Iraqi Opposition groups who are happy that we are split into so many different names.....etc...Politics at its peak

The question now becomes, how can we as an Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac people be willing to compromise on a national name for our people? What will that name be? And what indigenous rights can we achieve from either sticking to the Assyrian name as our political national name or the Chaldean name when dealing with the current Iraqi issue and future Opposition group meetings.

A. Assyrian National Name = Ethnic and indigenous rights to the northern part of Iraq, the homeland of the Assyrians (Assyria). With this name if our political lobbying is strong and foregoing , we can achieve our goals and attain our rights to the land. More so, most of our people who choose either name, Assyrian or Chaldean live in these provinces of our ancient homeland Assyria, so our lobbying can become strong because we have indigenous claims to that part of the land and we have historical documents to prove so.

B. Chaldean National Name = indigenous and ethnic claim to the southern part of modern day Iraq, Ancient province (Chaldea) Sumeria, homeland of the Chaldeans. Logically using rationality as a base, there are no reported Chaldeans living in this part of their ancient homeland, if any Christians are living in this area, they have been Arabized into thinking they are Arab Christians which the current Iraqi Regime has pushed tremendous efforts into Arabizing every Ethnic minority in the country. Southern Iraq is inhabited with 99.9% Shi’ai Arabs. If we choose Chaldean as a national name for our people, we must move millions of our people to that region and claim that as a land of the indigenous Chaldeans. Let us be logical and real. This will not happen.

We as a Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac people must understand the issues which face our future in our homeland. We must speak on political terms and not out of sheer ignorance and stubbornness. We as a people must see the Chaldean as a brother, same as an Assyrian, and the same with the Syriac (Jacobite). If any such ethnic group has survived from ancient times I assure you that neither are pure 100% ethnically Assyrian/Cahldean or Syriac. If Chaldeans have survived through history or if Chaldean is an ethnic race that of itself, I assure you that it is not 100% Chaldean. For example, if throughout history there were such people as the Assyrians/Chaldeans and Syriacs (Jacobites) it is with common knowledge and logic to address that these people have intermarried and interrelated into one primordial nation, they have spoken the same language for thousands of years and have kept their culture and religious beliefs within their own group of family. We must be rational and accept the different names we deal with today, But we must also be political and understand that throughout history these people have intermarried and now are in need of one national name.

Today most of our people in the Middle East live in what I will call the Golden Triangle, Northern Iraq, Southern Turkey, Southern Syria and the north eastern part of what is known as Urmia, Iran. It will benefit our people greatly for if in the future we are blessed with statehood, that we accept and utilize the Assyrian national name for our people without undermining the Chaldean name as well as Syriac. All names are dear to us, but we must understand that most of our people live in our ancient homeland’s historical Assyria in the provinces of Mosul, Arbil, Kirkuk etc… Nineveh, Ashur Assyria etc..

If we as an Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac people want to claim each name as a separate ethnicity, we cannot expect that the Arabs and Kurds will accept us as one nation with three different names. We can only achieve our indigenous rights by where we live and have resided for over thousands of years and that region is Assyria, our motherland. We must fix our internal disputes in order to fix our external ones. Claiming Assyrian as our national name will not only strengthen the political arena for our people, but will ensure us our indigenous and historical rights to our homeland (Assyria) in the international arena if in the future a state is created for our people. With one name we unite a nation - the ancient, the proud, the Assyrian nation. Remember that........

Ilber Eshaya
Los Angeles


I was reading Simon K Hadad's article titled "Look, But Don't Touch". I was not pleased at all with the statements he made in the article, and I wasn't quite fond of all the generalizations he made. He wrote this article based on no sufficient proof, or research. He merely made up theories on his own and decided to submit it in hopes of receiving gratification. I found the article completely biased and one-sided.

You cannot write about a certain incident that occurred if you only have one side of the story, I noticed he mentioned an incident which occurred 7 years ago in Hamilton when an Assyrian young male engaged in a physical dispute with a Portuguese boy and unintentionally took his life. I'd like to begin by stating that the story he gave was completely inaccurate, and he is in no position to state that the young man now has deep psychological problems. Despite the fact that he may know him (which is highly unlikely), to come to the conclusion that the boy is psychologically unstable and state it on a website viewed by Assyrians around the world is not only an invasion of privacy, but it also eliminates any attempts of the young man trying to move on with his life and re-new himself.

Mr.Hadad had no right to discuss the young man’s personal life without his consent, and there is absolutely no need to re-address something that occurred 7 years ago. It serves no relevance, it wasn't a pre-meditated hate crime. The young man he is speaking of is highly intelligent and very patriotic. He is well respected and has made more contributions to his people than most young men his age. To judge him based on that one incident shows how narrow minded people can be, and how we tend to dwell on one another's misfortunes rather than focusing on the good qualities that we possess, not only as human but as fellow Assyrians. If Mr.Hadad took the time to actually sit down and have a discussion with the young man his opinion on him would change completely and he would probably be ashamed to have written the things he did.

I agree that the geographical location does in fact play a role in the upbringing of a child, but it also depends on the morals the parents instill upon their children. Mr. Hadad claims that an extra 200 dollars a month will automatically guarantee a cleaner more socially acceptable home to live in. But 200 dollars isn't always easily accessible, and many people reside in these areas because it is cost efficient and it is a decent starting point. If the parents raise their children accordingly to the Assyrian culture and ensure that they don't follow the wrong paths in life, where they are situated won't be the key factor in any problems they encounter growing up.

Also, his allegations about the Assyrian Society of Canada charging $300 for membership in order to "dictate" who attends these weekly functions is completely absurd. He is defaming the name of a well-respected committee, who has contributed in uniting Assyrians for over a decade. They started this in hopes of uniting the very few Assyrians that were situated in the GTA and it evolved into something spectacular. They went from having 3 families attending in the early 80's, to having a full-house nearly every Sunday evening. This has been a meeting spot for the Assyrian youth, and the location in which most parties and weddings are hosted. The membership is not $300, and I know this for a fact, it is less than $200, my father is a member every year.

Also, he stated that many Assyrians in Canada are poverty-stricken. This also, is a very negative generalization. I strongly disagree with this statement. Assyrians have made a lot of progress. Many Assyrians are moving upon the social ladder, and are on the road to success. We have more successful Assyrians now than ever before, we are moving forward, not backward. It seems as if Mr. Hadad has very little faith in his people, he has a very negative point of view and speaks from very little knowledge. Canada is a melting pot, that fact has been established. It is up to us to preserve our identities and try to build an Assyrian community within Canada, rather than eliminate any of our attempts to do so because there are people like Mr. Hadad who have such little faith in our people, and have such a negative perspective on the Assyrian culture that they think the Assyrians are incapable of prospering. I am not writing this with the intentions of upsetting Mr. Hadad, I would just like to stress how important it is to thoroughly think things through before you submit them. I found his article offensive and tasteless.

Shamiran Yako

Surfer's Corner


Gorgias Press is pleased to offer the following books at a limited-copy pre-publication discount (only 20 copies per title are available at this discount). Both the current (pre-publication) price and the post-publication price are shown under each title.

There is an additional 25% holiday discount (on top of the pre-publication discount) valid until December 26, 2002. This additional discount can be obtained by entering a special coupon code during checkout. Instructions are given during checkout.

Budge, E.A.W. The Book of Governors: The Historia Monastica of Thomas of Marga A.D. 840
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Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal (19 December 2002); a reprint of the article by Jonathan Eric Lewis

With the aim of attracting support from Muslim states, Saddam Hussein has sought to portray himself as a defender of Islam against an imperialist West. To that end, he has abandoned long-standing secularist policies and stoked anti-Christian sentiment within Iraq -- not to mention his support for Hamas in its war on Israel. As a showdown looms with the U.S., no group within Iraq has been more negatively affected than the Assyrians, Iraq's indigenous Christians, who are likely to be pivotal in any long-term U.S. plan for the region. Indeed they might make the difference between stability and simmering civil war in northern areas which are too broadly (and ignorantly) considered exclusively Kurdish.

The Assyrian Christians, a non-Arab, Semitic people with a 5,000-year presence in northern Iraq, constitute some 5% to 10% of the Iraqi population. Despite constant threats from Muslim neighbors, they have kept their ethnic and linguistic identity alive and maintain a flourishing diaspora in Australia, Europe and North America. During the British Mandate that lasted from 1920 to 1932, the British employed the Assyrians as protectors of the Crown's interests in Iraq, only to abandon them shamefully when a newly independent Iraq entered the League of Nations in 1932. A year later, using the Assyrians' prior alliance with the British as a pretext for violence, the new Iraqi government launched an anti-Christian jihad in which scores of Assyrian civilians were murdered and their villages set on fire. Arab nationalists have continued to draw upon this Assyrian-British connection as evidence that Assyrians are agents of the Christian West.

Saddam's Baath Party, which came to power in 1968 as an Arab nationalist movement with ideological roots in European fascism, officially denies the existence of the Assyrians as a separate ethnic group and has implemented numerous policies in order to both ethnically cleanse the Assyrians from Iraq and to erase their identity as a distinct people. Iraqi officials, seeking to physically obliterate Assyrian civilization, have been involved in the looting and smuggling of priceless Assyrian artifacts. Speaking Assyrian in public carries great risks. The recent savage murder and beheading of a nun in Baghdad indicates the lengths to which the regime will go in order to terrify its Assyrian population.

The regime has likewise manipulated the U.N. sanctions to further their persecution of Assyrians. In order to participate in the oil-for-food program, Assyrians (like their neighbors, the Turkmens) must deny their identity on all government documents and register as either Arabs or Kurds, the two officially recognized Iraqi ethnic groups. Should they refuse, they face the prospect of starvation, or banishment to the Kurdish-controlled region in the northeast, where they face educational discrimination and general persecution at the hands of predominantly Muslim neighbors who sometimes derogatorily refer to Assyrians as "Christian Kurds." Indeed, Assyrians have bitterly accused Kurdish authorities, particularly the Kurdish Democratic Party, of deliberately working to undermine their rights in northern Iraq.

Given that the majority of Iraqi-Americans are Assyrians and not Arabs, Assyrian-American organizations should be given ample voice in shaping certain aspects of American foreign policy for a post-Saddam Iraq. It is thus to his credit that President Bush, in his Oct. 7 speech to the U.N. General Assembly, formally addressed Iraq's repression of its Assyrians. The Bush administration has taken specific steps to ensure that Assyrian rights be respected. Partially in response to pressure from Congressman Henry Hyde's advocacy on behalf of Assyrian-Americans, the State Department has welcomed Assyrian participation in planning for an Iraq free from Saddam's grasp. However, despite the fact that several Assyrian representatives are involved with Foggy Bottom's "Future of Iraq Project," the predominantly Muslim Iraqi opposition groups have been generally reluctant to partner with the Christian Assyrians.

This has not stopped Assyrian-American organizations from launching an extensive advocacy campaign on behalf of their brethren in Iraq. This has involved countering Kurdish attempts to declare much of the northern region their own, including the oil-rich towns of Kirkuk and Mosul, a land-grab which they have tried to sweeten by offering the Assyrians and Turkmens representation at a Kurdish parliament-to-be. Understandably, the Assyrians have rejected the offer. But not many Americans are aware of these behind-the-scenes tensions.

The recently formed Assyrian-American League, which calls for a secular and democratic Iraq, has hired former Illinois Congressman Michael Flanagan to be their lobbyist in Washington. Congressmen and policy planners seriously interested in the democratization of the region should reach out and work with this organization, as well as with other credible Assyrian organizations. At the very least, officials tasked with planning for both the coming war and its aftermath should seek out Assyrian-Americans' invaluable knowledge of Iraqi society. Assyrian-Americans have, likewise, courageously voiced their willingness to work with their Jewish compatriots to shape a democratic Middle East.

Given that both Saddam and Persian Gulf-based Islamists might incite mass violence against the Assyrians in the advent of an American-led attack on Iraq, the U.S. has a particular responsibility to prevent a repetition of the aforementioned 1933 massacres, in which the British stood idly by as their former allies were ruthlessly slaughtered. Indeed, the potential for massive ethnic violence in northern Iraq between Arabs, Assyrians, Kurds, and Turkmen remains high, particularly if the Baath regime were to fall quickly. The Bush administration must, therefore, remain cautious in endorsing an officially recognized Kurdish autonomous region for a federal Iraqi state without first providing legal safeguards for Assyrians, as well as for all other ethnic groups in the area.

The dearth of reliable census material and the results of decades of forcible assimilation in the region combine to make it extremely difficult to evaluate competing land claims for oil-rich territories in northern Iraq. Nevertheless, under the auspices of the 1932 Declaration of the Kingdom of Iraq, Assyrians arguably have viable land claims in the oil-rich Mosul Vilayet, a former Ottoman territory that the Council of the League of Nations annexed to Iraq in 1925. Given the fact that Assyrians in northern Iraq have been constant victims of ethnic cleansing, the international community should take their legal claims for land rights and due compensation as seriously as the competing Kurdish and Turkmen claims on Kirkuk, another oil-rich city whose dominion is hotly contested, and which could be witness to ethnic strife in the months and years ahead.

For reasons both moral and tactical, the Bush administration and Congress should continue, and heighten, its concern for the Assyrians in northern Iraq. America now has a golden opportunity to safeguard the rights of one of the Near East's most persecuted peoples, and to create a new reality that could redress various 20th-century injustices that have been perpetrated against them.

Copyright (c) 2002, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

[Z-info: Mr. Lewis, a New York-based political analyst, is working on a history of the relationship between Great Power politics and ethnic minorities in the 20th-century Middle East.]



Do you enjoy reading Science Fiction stories? Then here’s a fantastic book to help you sanely handle the busy holiday season and maybe even save the world: ‘Snow Crash’ by Neal Stephenson, published by Bantem Books.

Hero Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo's CosaNostra Pizza Inc.. but in the Metaverse he's a celebrated hacker, a warrior prince who won't sacrifice principle for profit. He encounters a sinister computer virus that threatens to bring about a collapse of the information system. With the help of a young messenger on one of the coolest skateboards ever described, he traces the virus to its source and confronts his nemesis in person and in the Metaverse. Along the way, he explores Babylonian metaphysics and Old Testament theology [amazon.com].

Snow Crash (1992), which helped earn the word "cyberpunk" a place in history, is set in the not-too-distant future where the Mafia controls pizza delivery, the U.S. is a vast, mall-like patchwork of corporate-franchise city-states, and young Hiro Protagonist (yes, that's the hero protagonist's name) uses his computer game wizardry and pizza delivering skills to combat a deadly new designer drug (and computer virus) called Snow Crash [Publisher’s Weekly].

Only once in a great while does a writer come along who defies comparison--a writer so original he redefines the way we look at the world. Neal Stephenson is such a writer and Snow Crash is such a novel, weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age [Publisher’s Book Description].

If you consider yourself a serious cyberpunk and a Mesopotamian mythology enthusiast, you should be ordering this book as soon as you’re finished reading this sentence. [Z-Crew].

The Cyberpunks at Zinda Magazine

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