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Volume VIII
Issue 15
3 June 2002
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This Week In Zinda

cover photo
cover photo

  The New Saddam Husseins of North Iraq
  A Zinda Magazine Interview with Rabbie Yonan Hozaya
  Iraqi Kurdish Official Criticizes UK's Daily Telegraph Over Kirkuk
  Nisibin Dormitories

Congressman Hyde Expresses Concern For Assyrian Rights
Zowaa Rep Attends Iraqi Opposition Seminar on Iraq
P.C. Alexander May Become Next Indian President
Obituary: Violet Shabbas


More Can Be Done At Our Conventions
Proud To Be An Assyrian


Rabi Nemrod Simono Scholarship Presentation Day
Unity Prayer of All Assyrian Churches in Southern California

  Reflections on Prof. Jaako Hameen-Anttila's Lecture
  New Farsi-Assyrian Dictionaries by Sharokin Sargizi
  Benefit and Harm
  Earliest Records of Administratia & King of Denmark's Expedition
  Lecture in Augsburg



Zinda Says

Political games threaten peace in the North.

Saddam Hussein's method of control is simple - wipe out opposition by force, dissolve ethnics groups by homogenizing them in collective towns, prevent the learning of one's own language and encourage divisions within ethnic groups. In short, divide and rule. The racist Baath party's tactics reached their peak in the dreaded Anfal campaign of the 1980s.

The 1991 uprising brought new hope that things would change. The Assyrians and Kurds struggled side by side to formulate a new government, one far removed from the intolerant, racist, totalitarian style of Baath rule.

Unfortunately, a number of events over the last decade, and most conspicuously over the last week, confirm quite the opposite. Racists among certain Kurdish political groups are the new Saddam Husseins of North Iraq, intent on dividing the Assyrians with methods not unlike those of the Baath. Foremost among their tactics is financing divisionists among Assyrians and making the Assyrians known as a group of separate religious denominations (churches) rather than a distinct, specific ethnicity.

After the 1991 uprising, Assyrians had good working relations with the various political groups in North Iraq. All the same, elections in the spring of 1992 would be a harbinger of problems to come - ultra-nationalists among some Kurdish parties tried and succeeded in exerting their influence over any Assyrian involvement in North Iraqi politics by creating a puppet "Christian Kurdish" party linked to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the so-called United Kurdistan Christians (UKC). In 1993, the UKC changed its name to the Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party (BDP) and is today linked with Sargon Dadesho of California. The name change wasn't accepted by all, and those who didn't jump over to the BDP - mostly Chaldean Assyrians - were retained by the KDP as members.

The clearly dirty, divisive games of the KDP were against all of the principles of the region, laid down and approved by every political party of North Iraq, including the Iraqi Communist Party and the ADM, which represented - and continues to represent - the Chaldeans, Syriacs and Assyrians without bias.

But the problems didn't end there.

One of the most prominent members of the UKC was Abdul Ahad Aphram (Abdul Ahad "Tkhoomnaya"), still active today. After running for a seat in parliament and failing, the KDP appointed him Deputy Minister of Health and Social affairs. In 1996 he was removed from office because of corruption. Nonetheless, he was still a member of the Dohuk branch of the KDP and was used by that party for divisive purposes. While other groups suffer financially in these extremely difficult economic times, Ahad enjoyed KDP funding in order for him to attract the poor among our people. The Chaldean Centre for Arts and Culture was then propped up by the KDP in Dohuk.

At the same time, two xenophobic KDP leaders, Samir Abdul Rahman Sinjari and Fazil Mirani (1), through their ties with ex-Saddam puppets such as Paulus Mangeshi, Fahmi Matte and Shabu Auda - who have links with Baghdad to this day - established the Chaldean Cultural Centre in Ankawa, again for divisive purposes.

And these two are still trying very hard to divide our nation. Over the last few days, they have applied increased pressure and force to make every Chaldean Church member a part of a new Chaldean political party in Iraqi Kurdistan. Meetings took place about a week ago between Mangeshi, Auda, Matte and their ring leader, Abdul Tkhoomnaya. Sinjari and Mirani are also using their influence to curry favour with and garner the support of religious leaders, namely bishops, in the region. The KDP leadership has, if not actively given its blessings, remained silent and therefore complicitous in these games.

In this era of democracy, human rights and globalisation, it is an alarming sign for the future of North Iraq for Barzani to be a part of these dirty games against Assyrians and Christianity. One wonders what the D in KDP stands for - certainly not Democratic, maybe Divisive. And it's surprising to see the ADM adopt such a passive role and sit back and watch this happen. The KDP and ADM have had good ties in the past and have worked successfully together and resolved problems through dialogue - such as when Saddam's tanks rolled into Arbil in August 31st, 1996.

The No-Fly zone, especially the Northern Iraq portion, enjoys its current freedoms on the condition that those in the area believe in and support peace, human rights, democracy and multiculturalism. In a free world, opposition political parties are a healthy thing, but only if they are real and created by the people with sincere intent - not false parties propped up by racist elements intent on ruining any chance for a peaceful future.

Unfortunately today it is all too obvious that justice, equality and the force of law have not been given a chance to take place and flourish in North Iraq. Particularly now, when the ADM has been working hard, along with several other political parties, to create positive bonds between all the groups of North Iraq for a more peaceful future, the KDP's Machiavellian politics are especially damaging. The Kurds would do well to continually remind themselves of the oppression suffered under Saddam's regime lest they themselves repeat history and become today's oppressors, the new Saddam Hussein's of the North.

Notes: (1) Samir Abdul Rahman Sinjari betrayed the late Edris Barzani and has continually attacked the Barzani household until 1993 when he returned to the KDP. Fazil Mirani was the KDP strongman in Bahdinan (Dohuk governate) from 1991 to 94, a period infamous in recent Assyrian history as one of numerous crimes and gross human rights violations against individual Assyrians, as well as the illegal occupation and stealing of Assyrian lands, most notably Fesh-Khabour.



The Lighthouse


For nearly ten years, Mr. Yonan Hozaya, has successfully combined grass-roots politics of the Assyrian Democratic Movement in North Iraq with his progressive potpourri of literary achievements in what should rightfully be called the "Renaissance of Syriac Education." Not since the founding of the Assyrian cities of Nisibin and Urhai (Edessa) during early Christianity have so many Assyrian children and teachers assembled in one small geographical area to study a multitude of courses ranging from biology to chemistry and economics. Mr. Yonan Hozaya has been the indefatigable force behind the translation of nearly every book taught in the school curricula for grades one through 10 in North Iraq.

In 2001, Mr. Hozaya was appointed the Minister of Industry and Energy for the Regional Government of North Iraq, replacing Mr. Yonan Marqus Hanna. In the same year he joined the Executive Committee of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa).

This is not your old-fashioned soapbox spokesman, discussing the issues of his day with reference to his own personal achievements as is often cited with other Assyrian politicians. In fact, never did he mention the word "ana" (Assyrian 'I') in his entire speech to the Assyrian community in San Jose on Sunday evening.

He is neither a provocative speaker nor an eloquent orator. Yet his quiet and humble demeanor puts his listener at ease, even if a great portion of his speech could hardly be understood. Mr. Hozaya's relentless choice of difficult Assyrian words in his speeches leaves many of his admirers staring into a vacuum of centuries of ignorance and apathy. Last Sunday evening, as he stood behind the podium at the Assyrian Church of the East hall in San Jose and faced a group of more than a hundred Assyrians in the audience, the fact of the matter became vividly clear to us. Only a man as determined and dedicated as he could pave the way for the future leaders of this nation, growing proudly in their ancestral Assyrian homeland. For those of us struggling with cultural assimilation and fighting against our children's growing apathy and ignorance of our history and language, there may be left only one predicament - to watch and wonder in awe.

Last week Zinda Magazine caught up with Mr. Hozaya as he was sallying forth on his whirlwind tour of the Assyrian communities in North America. He kindly accepted our invitation for an interview, conducted in San Jose, California.

* * * * *

Zinda: Mr. Hozaya, welcome to the U.S. Having followed the trail of your educational and now 'Ministerial' accomplishments in the Assyrian homeland, it is an honor to have finally made your acquaintance.

Hozaya: Thank you for your invitation. It is my desire to visit as many Assyrian communities and activists as my schedule permits. I thank you for your great work in publishing Zinda Magazine, a great service to our Assyrian people indeed. I personally enjoy your articles every week.

Zinda: Let's begin by your recent visit to the American University?

Hozaya: Although visiting Assyrians is my number one priority, I began my brief journey in the U.S. with a visit to Washington D.C., where I spoke at the American University on our understanding of the prospects of democracy in Iraq.

Zinda: …and then you gave a talk at last week's State Convention in California.

Hozaya: Yes, I was among a panel of Assyrian political leaders at the rally on Sunday. I also spoke to the guests at the Sunday night banquet. After the State Convention, I met with State Senators and Assemblymen in Sacramento. I'll be meeting with more local and national politicians as I continue my trip to Chicago, Detroit, and then Washington. I plan to leave for Arbil at the end of June.

Zinda: Where does the Ministry of Industry and Energy fit in the Kurdish Regional Government in North Iraq?

Hozaya: Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) is made up of the Parliament in which we have 5 seats for the Assyrian constituency and the Council of Ministers. Our offices are located in the city of Arbil. The Parliament legislates the laws and the Ministers, designated by the Prime Minister execute these laws and administer the day-to-day activities of the region. Our jurisdiction includes the two northern provinces of Arbil and Dohuk (Noohadra).

Zinda: What does the job description of the Minister of Industry and Energy say about your day-to-day work?

Hozaya: (smiling) I am responsible for five important departments. These include the Power and Electricity, Oil and Minerals, Factories (Manufacturing), Administration, and Research and Planning. I oversee the activities of over 4,800 employees within these departments. The most important of these is Power and Electricity, of course. It has the largest budget.

Zinda: Even more important than oil?

Hozaya: Under the Oil-for-Food Program, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is responsible for the installation and commissioning of electrical equipment, in three northern governorates… Dohuk, Arbil and Suleimaniyah. Power used to come to the North from Mosul and Kirkuk before the war, because our electricity system was part of the Iraq's national grid. During the Gulf War, transmission lines were damaged and substations destroyed. Until a few years ago we had power outage few hours each day and some areas did not have any power at all.

Today two hydropower stations of Dokan and Derbandikhan supply power to the North. Our biggest challenge now is building a better system to allow power to be distributed throughout the region.

At this time I handle a budget of 23 million dollars, provided to us through Resolution 986's Oil-For-Food Program, renewable every six months.

Zinda: Do you produce or purchase your oil currently?

Hozaya: We purchase our oil from Kirkuk and Mosul, solely for internal use within our jurisdiction. This could be in the form of Petrol (Benzene), oil for home heating, and natural gas for cooking.

Zinda: Let's talk about the Assyrians in North Iraq. Do we have an accurate estimate of how many Assyrians are currently residing there?

Hozaya: I personally do not have an official figure on the population of Assyrians, and neither does anyone else. We estimate roughly about 50,000 Assyrians living among 2.5 to 3 million Kurds and Turkomans. The Turkomans live mainly in Arbil and Kifry.

Zinda: That's almost 2 percent of the entire population. Where are they mainly concentrated?

Hozaya: In Ankawa, Shaqlawa, Dohuk, Zakho, Sarsang, and the surrounding villages.

Zinda: You don't have to respond to our next question if it makes you uncomfortable, yet it has been a question on the mind of our readers ever since September 11. Are you preparing for another war between Iraq and the U.S., and its allies?

Hozaya: Ever since September 11 we have been expecting a major change in Iraq. There can be two possibilities: either the Iraqi forces will attack us in the North and advance into Arbil and Dohuk, or they will be caught off guard with an unexpected attack from the U.S. and its allies in the region.

Zinda: You seem to be very confident about the imminence of such an attack.

Hozaya: America made its decision on September 11. It is only a matter of finding the opportune time. Let's not forget that what happened on September 11 was as important as any event leading to the start of the two world wars. Both major political parties in Washington have agreed on some type of military action. I believe that the attack will most likely occur within the next few months.

Zinda: What's keeping the Americans from advancing into Baghdad now?

Hozaya: The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. However, this time the attack is going to be made without directly involving the Arab countries in the region. It will be quick and direct, giving no chance for Saddam to ponder about using his chemical weapons or missiles.

Zinda: The Assyrian Democratic Movement is a member of the Iraqi National Congress. Is INC still as effective as it was once thought to be?

Hozaya: INC missed a great opportunity to unite all Iraqi forces at the 1999 meeting in New York. The U.S. should not and will not ignore the strength of the INC member parties, but Mr. Chalabi's organization does not present a viable force in deciding the future of Iraq. The most important factor of course is the missing Islamic (Shii) groups within this organization.

Zinda: You've been actively working with the leadership of the Assyrian Democratic Movement since 1994. What do you feel has been your greatest accomplishment?

Hozaya: My work in expanding Syriac education and language. I helped in the translation of dozens of books for grades one through ten. This year we will complete the preparation of the textbooks for the eleventh grade and by 2004 our students will complete an entire high school curriculum in their own language.

I have also authored a book of songs for children, a book of poems, and a book of short stories. All three books are written in Assyrian of course. With the help of my friends, Mr. Odisho Malko and Mr. Benyamin Haddad, we compiled a lexicon of Assyrian to Arabic. Shamasha Andrious Youkhanan and I then completed the Arabic to Assyrian lexicon for our teachers and students. Shamasha Youkhanan and I are working on an English-Arabic-Assyrian lexicon at this time.

Zinda: As the Minister of Industry & Energy, when do you find the time to do all this?

Hozaya: When you have love for your people, you will find the time to do as much as it takes to do miracles. In fact, I am also a father of four wonderful kids - three boys and a girl. They are Ninous (15), Rabiel (10), Ramiel (2), and my daughter, Neesha (13). I married my wife, Jandaark Hozaya, in 1986.

Zinda: Let's then talk about Yonan Hozaya. Tell us about yourself.

Hozaya: I was born in 1956 in the city of Zakho in North Iraq. I studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Mosul and graduated in 1980. I lived in Baghdad, working for the Oil Ministry in Iraq until 1994, when I came to the North.

Zinda: For a man who has accomplished so much to advance Syriac language and education in Iraq, the most intriguing question would of course be your background in Assyrian studies. Where did you learn to read and write Assyrian?

Hozaya: (smiling again) This is the part that astonishes many of my comrades. I learned the Assyrian alphabet not as a child, rather a second-year university student in Mosul. I have never been trained under an Assyrian Rabbie, rather taught myself to read and write. It can be done - as an adult and without direct supervision. I'm a living example.

Zinda: In a few weeks, you will be leaving the West having encountered many local and national Assyrian leaders. You have and will also meet many Assyrian activists who may be looking to our people in the North for direction and guidance. What is your most urgent appeal to those of us living in the Diaspora?

Hozaya: We expect financial support from every Assyrian community in the West to continue our educational and rebuilding efforts in the North. The Assyrian-Americans, I must emphasize, have yet another very important role in the future of our nation. We need them to push the Assyrian agenda through an effective lobby in Washington. Without this we cannot accomplish much in the North. If we fail this time, we will have failed the expectations of an energetic generation of our people in the homeland. We may not be able to recover from it for a very long time.

Zowaa works for our nation and not for Zowaa. This is why our people support us in Iraq and this is why we have been able to accomplish so much in such a short time. We have left behind us many challenges, but greater challenges lay ahead of us. We need everyone, here and everywhere to help us move beyond our limitations.

Zinda: Rabbie Hozaya, before we ask you one last question we want to thank you for your valuable time with us. Zinda Magazine will continue to chronicle our people's history, politics, and accomplishments as it has for the past eight years. Our websites and online resources are at the service of our people in our homeland. Finally, is there anything that we may have failed to uncover during our interview and that you may wish to ask or expound upon for our readers?

Hozaya: Yes, there is one thing. I am happy to know that Bishop Sarhad Jammo has been appointed the Chaldean Bishop for the Western United States. As you know, His Grace and Bishop Mar Bawai Soro of the Assyrian Church of the East were instrumental in forming the historic understanding between our two churches. We are all parts of the same nation with many religious denominations and even more names and designations. I have a great hope in the furtherance of the process begun by our two beloved bishops and bringing our two historic churches closer. Let us not allow the multitude of name by which we call ourselves move us away from a common direction. We are one people with one destiny.

I thank you for inviting me today and I invite Zinda Magazine and every one of your readers to visit us in our homeland.






Courtesy of BBC (3 June)

(ZNDA: Suleymaniah) In an interview with the Kurdish weekly "Brayati", Dr. Barham Salih, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan's head of the Kurdistan Regional Government corrected his earlier statement to the British newspaper "Daily Telegraph" and commented that "We don't say Kirkuk is a city of Kurds alone, but it is an ancient Kurdistani city".

Brayati newspaper is published by Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). In a recent interview with UK's Daily Telegraph Dr. Salih said: "The issue of Kirkuk is a very sensitive one and we must do our best not to upset the Turks… We cannot say that Kirkuk is a Kurdish city. Because Arabs, Turkomans and Assyrians have been living in the city for hundreds of years."

Later in order to appease an angry group of Kurdish activists, Dr. Salih corrected his stand on this issue and explained to Brayati that what he really meant was to say that "according to the historical, political and legal documents [Kirkuk] constitutes a part of the Iraqi Kurdistan region. From ancient times, along with Kurds and Turkomans, other peoples have lived together in that city… But it is apparent that the Daily Telegraph has published [my answer selectively] following the example of those who quote the first half of a verse of the Koran 'don't pray' - and omit the second half 'when you are drunk'."

In fact, the city of Kirkuk neither has a Turkish nor a Kurdish origin. The ancient Assyrian name of Kirkuk was Arrapkha. Under Shamshi-Adad I, King of Assyria, in 1813 B.C. the city of Arrapkh was united with the cities of Ashur, Nineveh, Nimrod to form the basis of the Assyrian Empire within the area bordered by the river Tigris and its tributaries, the Lower and the Upper Zabs. During the Christian era Assyrian residents called their city of Arrapkha "Karkha d'Bet-Slookh". The city later became known as Kirkuk.

Also visit: http://www.assyriansofkirkuk.com/

Northern Watch


According to Rommel Moushi of the Assyrian Aid Society's (AAS) Iraq branch. "The AAS's primary goal is the teaching of the Syriac language. Our major focus is on the schools that have been established in North Iraq."

The Syriac language makes the AAS' major focus the Syriac Immersion schools and mixed schools that have been established in North Iraq after the Gulf War.

Their work includes the establishment of privately run AAS funded Immersion schools such as Nisibin School, in which the entire curriculum is taught in Syriac.

Other support activities include buses that are used to transport Assyrian students; as well as dormitories to house Assyrian students during the school year. These last two activities are especially important considering that public transportation does not exist in North Iraq and the fact that many Assyrian students live in remote villages and must live in dormitories if they are to attend schools such as Nisibin, Urhai and Ur high schools.

AAAS' Rommel Moshe and ADM's Yosip Kanna at the Foundation Stone


The site for the new dormitory was originally 150sqm, but was increased to 270 sqm after it was decided that the new AAS-Iraq office and Beneil Day Care Centre could also be built on the same site.

Construction on the new site began on March, 2001 and it is expected that the buildings will be completed by June, 2002.

Beneil Day Care Center and Nisibin Dormitories

The site boasts an impressive array of 4 buildings.

1. Nissibin Dormitory:
Two buildings featuring over 150 beds in 2 buildings, with 28 rooms and a maximum of 4 beds in each room. The cost of the dormitory was $100,000 U.S. and was funded by AAS-America.

2. AAS Office:
With the need for a permanent office for the AAS-Iraq, the construction of this vital building will allow the AAS in Iraq to establish a permanent HQs in Nohadra as well as save a lot of funds that they currently use for rent. The cost of the dormitory was $10,000 U.S. and was funded by AAS-Iraq.

3. Beneil Day Care Centre:
Having established a Day Care Centre called Demeil in Arbil, Jacklin Bejan - president of the Assyrian American Association of San Jose - funds another Day Care Centre in Nohadra called Beneil Day Centre. Work on the site is expected to be complete within the next couple of months.

With the near completion of such an impressive series of buildings it is expected that such infrastructure will assist the AAS in serving the indigenous Assyrians of North Iraq and allow them to stay in their ancestral homeland.

Dormitory Building in Dohuk Under Construction


In the months ahead we look forward to brining you a report on the official unveiling ceremony of the site's 4 buildings.

David Tiglath Chibo
Photos by Sennacherib Daniel


News Digest


(ZNDA: Chicago) According to a report released by the Assyrian International News Agency on 2 June, Congressman Henry Hyde (6th District, Illinois), Chairman of the Committee on International Relations on 25 April in a letter addressed to Secretary William Burns, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, expressed his concern for the future of Assyrians in relation to the future of Iraq.

Congressman Hyde refers to a number of issues including the arabization process enforced by Baghdad, treatment of the Assyrians under Saddam Hussein's regime, the religious persecutions by the government in Baghdad and the Kurdish groups in the North.

"How will the political and human rights concerns of the Assyrians factor into any future Iraqi political equation especially in Northern Iraq?", asks Mr. Hyde as he affirms his support for President Bush's policy in that region.

In a formal response to Mr. Hyde's inquiry, Mr. Paul Kelly, the Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, noted that "Iraqis of Assyrian, Turkman, and Kurdish ethnicity suffer additional abuses due to the ongoing Arabization' campaign of ethnic cleansing." Noting other abuses including the prohibition of all non-Arab broadcasting and publishing and the forced Arabization of personal names, Mr. Kelly added that "Abuses like these are a long-standing part of the Iraqi government's decade long campaign dedicated to eliminating the non-Arab presence in villages and towns under regime control in northern Iraq."

Congressman Hyde's letter follows an earlier letter to President Bush and Secretary of State Powell signed by 19 U.S. Congressmen advocating constitutional recognition of Assyrians in any future Iraqi governmental reform.

For full text of the AINA report visit: http://aina.org/releases/2002/henryhyde.htm



Courtesy of India's Economic Times (1 June); article by Devesh Kumar

(ZNDA: New Delhi) Maharashtra governor P C Alexander is likely to be his party's presidential candidate. A formal announcement will be made by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee after his return from Kazakhstan this week. If nominated, Alexander - a Syriac Christian from Kerala, India- is likely to be elected the next President unless the equations within the electoral college get altered. He will be the first Christian to hold the post.

Millions of Christians affiliated with the Church of the East and the Syrian Orthodox Church are refered to as Syrian or Syriac Christians in India.

Alexander has built up a good reputation among leaders from almost every ideological background, and has developed a good rapport with leaders of all religious affiliation.



Courtesy of the State Department Press Releases and Documents (30 May)

(ZNDA: Washington) On May 24 and 25 Mr. Yonan Hozaya, Minster of Energy and Industries in North Iraq, attended a two-day seminar on "Prospects for Democratic Change in Iraq," held at American University in Washington D.C. The seminar, was organized by the Iraq Institute for Democracy, an Iraqi non-government organization headquartered in Arbil in northern Iraq. Sponsored by Freedom House in Washington, and hosted by the American University Center for Global Peace, the seminar welcomed about 200 participants from Iraq, the United States, and Europe.

In addition to the Iraq Institute for Democracy, representatives of other opposition groups -- including the Iraqi National Congress, the Iraqi National Accord, and the Free Officers Movement -- also participated in the seminar.

Mr. Hozaya discussed the advances made in promoting Syriac education and grades 1 through 10 curricula in over 30 schools in North Iraq. Mr. Hozaya, a member of the Assyrian Democratic Movement's Executive Committee, also shared his vision of Iraq after Saddam and Assyrians' desire for a democratic, tolerant, and free Iraqi society.

Mohammed Ihssan Sulaivani, a human rights official from the Erbil administration in northern Iraq explained at this seminar: "We [residents of northern Iraq] don't have a history of fundamental issues, not nationality, not religious fundamentalism." Sulaivani said the Erbil administration created an office for human rights to promote the culture of human rights in the area. For the last year, he has been setting up a human rights curriculum in the schools, and human rights training programs for police and security forces in northern Iraq.

According to Sulaivani, Saddam's regime destroyed 4,600 villages in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq in 1991. About 75 percent have been rebuilt. Sulaivani explained that the regional administration seized this opportunity to rebuild not only villages, but also "the personality of people living in our society -- Kurds, Arabs, Turkomens, Assyrians, and other minorities living in the Kurdish area."

Related web sites dealing with the future of Iraq:

Department of State/Iraq Update: http://www.usinfo.state.gov/iraq
Iraq Institute for Democracy: http://www.iraq-democracy.org
Iraqi National Congress: http://www.inc.org.uk
Iraqi National Accord: http://www.wifaq.com and http://www.wifaq.com/index_e.html
American University Center for Global Peace: http://www.american.edu/academic.depts/acainst/cgp/
Freedom House: http://www.freedomhouse.org



(ZNDA: San Francisco) Violet Shabbas assed away on 1 May 2002. She was born on 22 September 1917. She is survived by her husband, Julius, and her children: Semiramis, Dumarina, and Raman. Mr. Julius Shabbas is the former editor of Nineveh Magazine, published in Berkeley, California. The funeral service was officiated by Pastor Gary Bell and Archdeacon Nenos Michael of the Mar Narsai Parish in San Francisco, at the Sunset View Mortuary in El Cerrito, California.


Surfs Up!


On behalf of hundreds of Assyrian I do agree with the article written by Ashurina Baba about how wasteful are our conventions. If we are in need of having conventions, then they should be based on the following;

·Scholarship fund for every Assyrian Chaldean student that are in need attending Colleges & Universities. And do not tell me we do, because we don't.

·Build or plan in building an orphan home for our needy Assyrian children from homeland that have lost their parents during wars and crimes committed against them by the Iraqi, Kurdish, Turkish, Iranian fanatic Muslim. By doing this the Red Cross will step in and help. What is wrong with the elected leaders of different Assyrian organization?! Quit playing politics (cheating) among each other while you can not settle love and bondage among your own immediate families.

· Have an outside auditor check where the money is going. And if any Assyrian leader steals a penny from any organization he should be cursed and not to see light through their life and should be announced at so called
Assyrian Conventions. In another word we cannot afford thieves to run our highly educated people with some unqualified idiots with their empty stomachs.

There are more and more issues I can bring to benefit our people, but those three items are enough for now.

Michael S. Benjamin


I want to thank you very much for including the story about my cancer fundraiser on May 30th, 2002 (see last week's issue). I am very proud to be an Assyrian and very proud of the work you are doing to help spread the good work of the Assyrian people.

Dave Shabaz

Surfers Corner


The Rabi Nemrod Simono Scholarship Committee in conjunction with the Assyrian Australian Association is inviting you to attend the Scholarship PresentationDay.

We will also announce the new winners of the Rabi Nemrod Simono Scholarship for 2002.

We have chosen this year to celebrate the Scholarship Presentation Day on Queen's Birthday. So this year we will eagerly anticipate you to attend. It will be an exciting day full of fun and activity for all and to congratulate the outstanding HSC achievers of 2001.

Date: 10th Monday, June 2002 (Public Holiday)
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Address: The Nineveh Club
673 - 683 Smithfield Road,

On Scholarship Presentation Day, we encourage you to bring your friends and family to make it even more special!

RNSS Committee


The United Assyrian Relief Committee invites all Assyrians to join us at the Assyrian American Association of Southern California's Assyrian Center for a "Unity Prayer" attended by all our churches:

Pentecostal Assyrian Church of Nineveh, Rev. William Nissan
St. Ephraim Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, Rev. Dr. Joseph Tarzi
St. Mary Assyrian Church of the East, Rev. George Bet-Rasho
St. Paul Assyrian-Chaldean Catholic Church, Rev. Noel Gorgis
St. Shaleeta Ancient Church of the East, Rev. Aprim Younadam

Friday, June 14, 2002
7:30 - 9:00 PM
Assyrian Center
5901 Cahuenga Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91601

Free refreshments will be served after the program.

For more information contact the AAA of Southern California at (818) 506-7577




A small audience gathered in a tiny room at the Barrows Hall in Berkeley on Tuesday April 30th, 2002, to listen to Prof. Hameen-Anttila of Helsinki University present his lecture, which disappointed quite few who were present. Every time the word Nabateans comes up, a person cannot but think instantly about the ancient Nabatean civilization of Petra, in today's Jordan. I personally prepared some notes and questions regarding those ancient Nabateans of Petra. But we found out at the beginning of the lecture that the term Nabatean in the title, and as explained by the presenter, has nothing to do with those Nabateans! Prof. Hameen-Anttila used the word Nabatean in the same capacity the early Arab Moslems of Iraq used when they called everybody who did not speak the Arabic language a Nabatean or Nabat! I believe that Prof. Hameen-Anttila should have been careful in that regard and should have stated the lecture title differently to avoid such anticipated confusion.

Prof. Hameen-Anttila's lecture was built in its entirety around an Arabic book by Ibn Wahshiya, a pagan Chaldean who converted to Islam and lived in the 10th century. Ibn Wahshiya claimed that he translated his Arabic book from Syriac manuscripts. Interestingly, Prof. Hameen-Anttila admited that there are doubts about those alleged Syriac manuscripts and their existence and there is additionally suspicion regarding the authenticity of Ibn Wahshiya's text. Many scholars today, stated Prof. Hameen-Anttila, have voiced their concern about this Arabic text and called it a forgery. Ibn Wahshiya in his book claimed that he met these pagan Nabatean families who possessed those alleged Syriac manuscripts and paid them money to get their permission to translate them to Arabic. One cannot hide his concern about this last note of Ibn Wahshiya, which I will come back to it later.

Prof. Hameen-Anttila started by stating that there is a difference between empires and people; empires disappear, but people don't. He added that the Assyrians, for example, in Medieval times continued to live in Assyria where they practiced farming and concentrated on the religious aspects of life, mainly Christianity, rather than on the nationalistic side. Still, Prof. Hamen-Anttila mentioned that Ibn Wahshiya had stated that the ancient people of Assyria slowly forgot their ancient traditions. What Prof. Hameen-Anttila opted not to mention was the fact that Ibn Wahshiya was himself a Chaldean, who converted to Islam and was motivated by nationality! Ibn Wahshiya claimed that the Nabateans consisted of the Assyrians and the Kasdanians (Chaldeans) as Prof. Hameen-Anttila mentioned but again the professor failed to mention that Ibn Wahshiya was ready to say anything to glorify his own past. Ibn Wahshiya, in fact, stated Professors Patricia Crone and Michael Cook, quote: "directed his hatred indiscriminately against all who threatened his Chaldean primacy, be they Arab, Persians, Greeks, Assyrians, or even Syrians. The Chaldeans having articulated their identity in terms of universal concepts, civilization had to be Chaldean outright or to leave the Chaldean alone. But since the Chaldean concepts came in a cleaner version from Greece and Iran, they lost the copyright; and since they lived in lower Iraq, they could not be left alone; and so for all the initial vividness of their afterimage, the Chaldeans lost their ethnicity in that of the Arabs as they had lost their truths in Islam." Unquote. (Read "Hagarism", by Patricia Crone and Michael Cook, Cambridge, 1977, p. 88)

The two authors stated that there is no proof that the Chaldeans (the magicians or soothsayers) could have generated ethnic unity, social solidarity, or historical meaning. (Read "Hagarism", by Patricia Crone and Michael Cook, Cambridge, 1977, p. 85)

It is well documented that paganism during Islam was not tolerated. I reminded Prof. Hameen-Anttila, during the Q and A session, by the pagan Harranian experience with the Islamic Caliph who gave them an ultimatum to either become Muslims or join ahl al-Kitab (i.e. be Christians or Jewish). I even explained that if paganism was not tolerated during Islam and those practicing paganism were persecuted, how did pagan Nabateans agree to sit with Ibn Wahshiya and accept to communicate with him about their pagan beliefs and practices and allegedly allow him to translate the pagan mysterious Syriac manuscripts into Arabic? I did not get a clear-cut answer from Prof. Hameen-Anttila who simply stated that since Ibn Wahshiya was originally a Nabatean simplified matters! My point, which found no answer, was that by allowing the alleged Syriac manuscripts of pagan people to be published in Arabic and hence be read by every Moslem, those Syriac speaking people were openly exposing themselves to persecution, a rather unprecedented act. Worth mentioning that the Mandaeans in Iraq who still preserve some pagan practices in their rituals are today, in the 21st century, very careful from opening up to anybody about their rituals, out of fear of persecution. One can imagine the situation in the 10th century when expansion of empire and the spread of Islam were the Moslem caliphate holiest missions and paganism was outright prohibited.

Later I asked Prof. Hameen-Anttila in private while few others were standing around listening, what he meant by the title Kasdanian mentioned in the lecture, he stated it meant Chaldean. I said, you hinted directly or indirectly about Kasdanians in Nineveh, what brought Kasdanians of southern Mesopotamia to Nineveh? He answered I do not know, Ibn Wahshiya says so. I have to admit here that I was very loose in stating Nineveh when Prof. Hameen-Anttila was more general when he stated that the general locality of the people in question was centered in a region between Mosul and Baghdad. If Prof. Hameen-Anttila is then generalizing with the region were the Nabatean populations existed, i.e. in that larger region from Mosul to Baghdad, then that could make a lot of difference.

To have Chaldeans or Kasdanians in a region around Baghdad is understandable since Baghdad was very close to Babylon and Baghdad was always confused with Babylon. Interestingly, more solid evidence on the survival of ancient Chaldeans in mid and southern Iraq is represented through the present-day Mandaeans than the unreliable accounts of Ibn Wahshiya. In 1604, Gerolamo Vecchietti, a Tuscan and one of the finest of narrators, who was entrusted by the Pope and other European sovereign to look for manuscripts in Oriental languages, was traveling along the Baghdad-Basrah route. He stopped by a small village where he found a group of Mandaean Christians who spoke a language they called the Chaldean language. After arriving in Basrah, Vecchietti met many other Mandaeans. Having gathered what he could from the Mandaeans in term of news and information, Vecchietti deduced that the Mandaeans were "a generation of the ancient Chaldean Christians," reduced to ignorance by Islamic persecution. (Read "The Mandaeans: The Last Gnostics" by Professor Edmondo Lupieri). Historical evidence in fact does not show links between these true Chaldeans of southern Iraq, who are known as Mandaeans, and the modern term Chaldean given to the Nestorian converts to Catholicism, who live in northern Iraq. We, from the other hand, have to agree that in the eye of an Arab Moslem there was no difference between the various Christian religious sects and when they did not speak the Arabic language they were simply labeled Nabateans.

I believe that Prof. Hameen-Anttila was not prepared well for his presentation; he was not sharp with his argument. He did read some passages from Ibn Wahshiya's Arabic book, which was translated to English, but did not try to defend the legitimacy of Ibn Wahshiya's book and source. Prof. Hameen-Anttila, in addition, failed to analyze the disputed and questionable character of Ibn Wahshiya in his presentation. He finally ended his presentation somehow abruptly, perhaps due to shortage of time, by quitting the translated text of Ibn Wahshiya and stating his final sentence and very generally mentioned that the people of Assyria and Babylonia did not disappear!

Fredrick Aprim


Pump Up the Volume

Fem Benefit of Our Plan: motranoota d'oo-tadan
Harm NIKH - YA - NA Masc He is harming us: Ellan mamtdooya leh nikhyana



For the first time in over twenty years, after the publication of Rabbie William Sarmas' two-volume Farsi to Assyrian and Assyrian to Farsi dictionary, a new lexicon of Assyrian and Farsi languages were introduced last month.

Mr. Sharokin Sargizi, a native of Iran and currently living in Germany, describes his dictionary project the result of his "desperate attempt to find adequate words for his songs." Mr. Sargizi is an accomplished musician. For the past four years he has spent over 2,300 hours on compiling thousands of Assyrian and Farsi (Persian) words for his two-volume dictionary.

Mr. Sargizi is at this time working on expanding his dictionaries to include German, Swedish, and English vocabulary. In the near future he plans to augment his multi-lingual dictionary project with Arabic lexis.

To learn more about Mr. Sargizi's Dictionaries and/or purchase a copy contact the author at SharokinSargizi@aol.com
(Fax: 0049 - 711 - 6157106).

In Sweden, contact Mr. Benjamin Syreh at (Tel: 0046 - 361 - 85697).
In U.S., contact Mr. Robert Davood (Turlock) at (209) 656-0737.


$40.00 registered via regular-mail (4-6 weeks)
$55.00 registered via air-mail (7-10 days)


Back to the Future

(3300 B.C.)

The discovery of 500 to 600 small clay tablets from the city of Uruk from this period with imprints of pictographs and symbols indicate the earliest recording of administrative affairs by any human civilization.

Sumer: Cities of Eden, Time-Life Books

(A.D. 1756)

The king of Denmark commissions an expedition to the Middle East "for the advancement of knowledge." Five of its six members die there of disease, but the sixth, a German named Carsten Niebuhr, reaches Persepolis in Persia (Takhte Jamsheed) and takes careful copies of its inscriptions.

This discovery soon leads to a chain of scholarship that finally culminates in the finding of the Sumerian, Babylonian, and Assyrian cities in the 1840's.


Calendar of Events




Lecture & Film on North Iraq


The Bethnahrin Association of Augsburg (Germany) presents:


A lecture by Mr. Eryo Touma:  “The Current Situation of Assyrians in Northern Iraq”

Followed by a documentary film on the 2002 Kha b’Nisan celebrations


8:00 PM

Bethnahrin Association

Mendelssohnstr. 21, 86154







“The Babyloniaca of Berossos & its cultural setting”

A Lecture by Dr. Geert de Breucker

5:15 PM

Room G51, SOAS, Russell Square WC1 (followed by wine)







“Spatial Organization in early Mesopotamian cities: new contributions from microstratigraphic analyses”

A Lecture by Dr. Wendy Matthews


5:30 PM

British Academy

10, Carlton House Terrace

London SW1. BSAI

Bonham Carter Memorial lecture.

Lecture follows forum at 5:00 PM


Non-members are welcome to attend. 


Please confirm  your attendance to:

BSAI Sec., Mrs. JP MacIver at bsai@britac.ac.uk

Tel:  01440 785 244,   fax:  020 7969 5401







The United Assyrian Relief Committee invites all Assyrians to join for a “Unity Prayer” attended by the following churches:


Pentecostal Assyrian Church of Nineveh, Rev. William Nissan

St. Ephraim Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, Rev. Dr. Joseph Tarzi

St. Mary Assyrian Church of the East, Rev. George Bet-Rasho

St. Paul Assyrian-Chaldean Catholic Church, Rev. Noel Gorgis

St. Shaleeta Ancient Church of the East, Rev. Aprim Younadam


7:30 – 9:00 PM

Assyrian Center

5901 Cahuenga Blvd


Free refreshments will be served after the program.


For more information contact the AAA of Southern California at (818) 506-7577







The St. Andrews Assyrian Church of the East Youth Association Presents

A Father's Day & Fundraiser Dinner Dance Party


Come enjoy a beautiful ambiance and live entertainment by our international singer

Isam Behnam


Lone Tree Manor Banquet

7710 Milwaukee Avenue



7:00 PM

Dinner will be served at 8:00 PM

Semi-Formal Dress, no jeans or gym shoes.


Price: $25.00 adults & children over 13

$15.00 children under 12

Tickets available at all local Churches & at:


Ashtar Imported Foods, 6410 N. Oakley in Chicago

Diana Styling Salon, 8016 Waukegan Rd. in Niles

Oakton Bakery, 4512 Oakton in Skokie

Zander Import Groceries, 8811 Milwaukee Ave. in Niles







The Mar Yosip and Mar Narsai Parishes of San Jose and San Francisco, respectively, invite you to attend a dinner in honor of His Holiness, Mar Dinkha IV, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East.  His Holiness will give details about his recent trips to other Assyrian communities and parishes around the world.


5:00 PM

Mar Yosip Church of the East

680 Minnesota Avenue


Tickets:  $25.00


Tickets will be sold each Sunday after the church service.  There are only a limited number of seats and no tickets will be sold at the door.


For more information and tickets contact:

   Domarina Bet-Polis      408-927-8485

   Carmen Benjamin         408-829-3403


Note:  His Holiness will offering “Qurbana Qadisha” (Holy Sacrament) during the Church Service at the Mar Yosip Parish on June 9.


JUNE 26 – JULY 7




"The Silk Road: Connecting Cultures, Creating Trust,"


Held outdoors on the National Mall

Admission is free.


The Festival will be an international exhibition of Silk Road traditions with some 350 musicians, artisans, cooks and storytellers from the United States and more than 20 other countries telling the complex story of the Silk Road, its peoples and cultures, and the intercultural exchange it inspired.


Included are three Assyrian contributions: singers and musicians, jewelry makers and a calligrapher.


Ten Assyrian singers and musicians are coming from Qamishly, Syria, two Assyrian jewelry makers from Midyat, Turkey, and the calligrapher is none other than the very talented Issa Benyamin of Iran and Illinois. 


Festival hours are 11 AM to 5:30 PM. with special celebrations, performances and concerts continuing until 9 p.m.


Bring your children.




JULY 1-4





"Ethnicity in Ancient Mesopotamia"

Leiden University

Dept of Assyriology & Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten


Registration Form:  http://www.let.leidenuniv.nl/rencontre/mailform.html 

Registration Fee:  Euro 70 by April 1, 2002



1 - 13


Habbaniya Union School Students' 5th Reunion



AUG 30–SEP 2






NOV 23-26





(Overseas travel partially subsidized by the AANF)


1          Sargis Osipov (Russia):  “Russian-Assyrian Military Communications (1915-1918)”

2          Florence Hellot-Bellier (France):  “The Consequences Of World War I On The Population Of Urmia”

3          Adrin Takhsh (Germany): “Assyrian Women And Their Role In The National Homeland Movement”

4          Robert DeKelaita (U.S.): “The Road To Nineveh Revisited”


Chairperson and organizer:  Dr. Eden Naby




1          Eden Naby (U.S.):  “Winning Recognition: The Key To Group Identity”

2          Werner Arnold (Germany):   “The Relations Between Christians And Moslems In The Western Neo-Aramaic Speaking  Minority Of Syria.”

3          Hovann H. Simonian (Switzerland): “The Hemshin Of Northeast Turkey:  Muslim Armenians Or Armenian-Speaking Turks?”

4          Mathijs Pelkmans (The Netherlands):  “The Shifting Frontier Between Islam And Christianity: The Contents And Dynamics Of Religious Change”


Chairperson:  Prof. Wolfhart Heinrichs


Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

2660 Woodley Road, NW


202/328-2000 phone

800/228-9290 toll free

202/234-0015 fax


For more information:

Assyrian Academic Society:  http://aas.net/

MESA Conference 2002:  http://w3fp.arizona.edu/mesassoc/MESA02/02hotel.htm

Thank You!

Zindamagazine would like to thank:

Dr. Matay Arsan

Peter Pnuel BetBasoo

Tomy Doomany

Jozef Essavi

Dr. Emanuel Kamber

Aryo Makko

Jan Picton
(United Kingdom)


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