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Volume IX

Issue 36

10 November 2003
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This Week In Zinda

cover photo


The Assyrian Nation from Tishreen I to Tishreen II

  Two Assyrian Artifacts Found in a Baghdad Cesspool
  Press Release of the 3rd World Assyrian Conference in Moscow
Assyrian “Motva” of Tehran Election Results
Australia: Assyrian Family Members Arrested in Police Raid
An Update on the Karl Suleman Case in Australia
Assyrian Man Killed Crossing a Street in Los Angeles

Where Things StandI
Vote Yes to Chaldo-Assyrian Name!
Political Awakening of the Christians
The Baghdad Conference
Let’s Set the Records Straight!


Yonadam Kanna on an Official Visit to the United Kingdom
New Year’s Eve Party in San Jose


Establishing a Secular Iraq
Give Assyriska the Swedish Grand Prize!

  Simo Parpola’s “The Assyrian Prophesies”




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The Lighthouse


Part I Subdued Nationalism in Baghdad

When the American tanks started rolling into southern desert last March it signaled that the days of the tyrant of Baghdad were numbered and the liberation and the freedom of Assyrian Christianity at last had come after two millennia and a half.

On Tishaa b’ Nissan Britain’s stooge in Baghdad concedes defeat and the dictator sees in his own eyes the brittle power he established by fear crumbles like an old pottery jar.

Dictators often know history but do not heed its lessons. Hitler made the same mistakes of Napoleon. Notorious Saddam and Idi Amin knew the fate of dictators like Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin but thought that they were reformers and larger than size human beings things those three also thought to be.

Britain’s stooge in Baghdad, a bedouin boy from Alouja, believed that he will establish an Arab kingdom on the Mesopotamian soil that would embody the historic might of Sargon of Akkad or Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon or both.
He saw in his own eyes the tragic political failure of Nasser and the end of the Syrian revolutionaries and the demise of the Arab Marxists in South Yemen but failed to foresee his inevitable and ultimate fate of defeat in disgrace. He relied on his sword, but forgot that all who live with the sword shall perish by the sword (New Testament).

Britain’s stooge is gone and the noble people started breathing the oxygen of liberation and freedom after 35 lean years. The Assyrian Christians should make this liberation as a launching pad for our national emancipation and for claiming our historical land usurped for many centuries.

We will no longer accept the fifth-rate status and we no longer remain passive overtaken by others to speak for us and we will never remain the punching bag for others in our own homeland. The days of Arab nationalism and Kurdish regionalism and Islamic despotism are over.

Their time is up and everyone not with us, within and without, must know what we want and what we want we mean it. The world has changed and will change more and all the dogmas and illusions of the past are no longer valid and must disappear and the history of the past century will be obliterated and a new dawn for small nations shall arise and the exhausted old geriatric nations shall wane-they are waning indeed.

The Tishreen meeting in Baghdad was overdue and has come in a crucial time in the history of our people and our nation when our nationalistic intelligentsia and group leaders especially those in exile lamented the indifference of our political leaders on the ground for their inertia to press ahead with the demand of our people for national homeland in our heartland of northern Mesopotamia.

Since the fall of Baghdad on Tishaa b’ Nissan our political leaders in Baghdad have failed to advance our national cause even an inch and what has been achieved is general and came as a windfall for all by God’s grace and not by our works (New Testament).

Since Tishaa b’ Nissan, Zowaa Democrataya Ashuraya had failed to bounce and go beyond its jammed programme of recognition-the old archaic manifesto of 1979.

Zowaa stop drumming the recognition card because we do not want recognition-that was for 1979 and not for 2003.
Zowaa stop hallucinating about democratic Baghdad because Baghdad, Cairo and Islamabad will never be democratic. Zowaa move forward with policies and slogans our people are shouting suitable for the 21st century in a new world that is changing fast and daily.

What Zowaa says is not what our people are saying. We want a homeland in our ancestral fatherland.

It seems that Zowaa with encouragement from Mtakasta Democrateta Ashuretha have found that they can not remain insular and have to listen to our people before it is too late and I personally am moved by such change of direction.
The first point I want to make is to know how the attendees were selected and invited while others, groups and individuals were shunned from invitation. News came that some groups were not given the required time to prepare their contributions and send delegations a matter that requires multiple of weeks if not months.

Browsing through the list of attendees it seemed that even some of our peoples at home were not represented.
Now for the declaration adopted at the meeting the first issue is the opting for an ‘administrative region’ in the plain of Nineveh and though this is the first time that Zowaa has agreed to follow such path but the words ‘administrative region’ remain vague.

What is the size of this region and why we do not call it an Assyrian province and how to demark such region? It may be that adopting such cryptic words is meant to send appeasing signals to the Kurdish bandits.

The other point is that the meeting opted for a federal state but this is also a vague statement and also meant to please the Kurdish aghas because they are the ones who are keeping drumming such ideas. Now as Assyrians where we stand in this federation? Are we going to be under the Kurdish rule or have our own regional federal status? Answers are required.

Our people have said that if the country is federated we must be part and parcel of that federation too.
At the meeting it was agreed by the attendees that the term ChaldoAssyrian be used for ethnic identity and the term Syriac be used for our language and this is just to please the three churches to whom our people belong but the term which is already in use and I like it is to say that we are ethnically Assyrian (also known as Chaldean and Syriac). This is historically and logically more accurate.

I applaud all who raised the ethnic cleansing issue that started in the autumn 1961 with the launching of the Kurdish revolt by Mullah Mustafa and the resort to the pre-republican census of 1957 to establish the victims of such cruel Kurdish inhumanity.

I also applaud all for raising the question of the right of return for all within the country and from outside. The important issue is to undo the ethnic cleansing committed since 1961 and the retreat of the Kurds from our towns and villages.

The return of the exiled will not begin unless a great work is done in the direction of our national homeland in our heartland in full. No one will return to a village surrounded by armed Kurdish thugs.

The people at the meeting in Baghdad ended their gathering with somewhat positive signs though small but I personally scent not a pure nationalism but a much subdued nationalism because the men on the ground still lack courage to defy the armed men with turbans but I must say that our men started to listen.

A section of our people were excluded from that meeting by not giving them the required time to send delegations but I hope that in the coming meetings our people’s representation be fully considered so that their contribution will be more robust. Having full representation means that we would no longer issue vague declarations and instead of saying an ‘administrative region’ we will say it plainly an Assyrian province or even an Assyrian autonomous region.

Part II Treason in Baghdad

I have just finished drafting part I of my article with a sense of elation that lasted only for a few days of inebriation about the outcome of the Tishreen meeting and its final declaration and just to be shocked to find out that the Shikhtana council of Baghdad is about to re-structure the administration map of the country based in dividing the nation into 9 states.

I was really devastated to learn that Mosul and Ramadi will be carved up into one state and Arbil and Duhok into another state. While the rest of the merger looks possible because of homogeneity factor.
The losers and the only losers in this conspiracy plot are the Assyrians and the Yazidis the native people of Nineveh.
In linking Mosul and Ramadi into one state and Arbil and Duhok into another one means the death of the Assyrian nation in our ancestral land. It is a deal between the Kurds and the Arabs to swallow us. How can a member of Zowaa who sits among the Shikhtane council vote for ending our nation?
Did Zowaa know beforehand about this destructive scheme so they invented the ‘administrative region’ idea to offset the later failure by approving the merger of Mosul and Ramadi? What is the common factor between Mosul and Ramadi? The answer is none and if the merger were to happen it would boast the reactionary tribal dominance and triumph of Islamism and the surrender of the Assyrian nation.
No Assyrian will vote for such scheme of self-annihilation and only the traitors of our nation can go along with such conspiracy.

We ask our people of our nation to lift their voice and demand for the Province of Mosul to be kept alone and also ask for the creation of the Assyrian province based in the Assyrian triangle (minimum) that is already known and defined.
As Assyrians we condemn any Assyrian who knowingly approved or will approve or did not veto such antagonism against the Assyrian people and the Assyrian nation. Only Assyrian traitors can do that and these must be condemned and isolated.

We also ask the attendees of the Tishreen meeting to voice their anger and lambaste all local and regional and former outside powers in their attempt to downsize the status of our people as a nation with its firm right for self-determination along with other suppressed small nations worldwide especially the Christians of the Middle East.

Dr. George Habash
United Kingdom

Good Morning Assyria


Courtesy of the Daily Telegraph (6 November)

Two priceless pieces of Iraq's ancient heritage, looted from Baghdad's main museum in the chaotic days after Saddam Hussein's fall, have been recovered from a Baghdad cesspool, American officials said yesterday.

The Akkadian Bassetki, a copper statue of a seated man dating from 2300 BC, and an Assyrian brazier carved in wood and bronze dating from 850 BC, were found by police investigators.

The Bassetki statue is considered the most important of Iraq's ancient artworks after the Warka Mask of a Sumerian goddess, recovered in September.

"I would describe this as a spectacular find and we're extremely pleased," said John Russell, an art expert who is helping to restore recovered artefacts. "As far as I can tell their condition is OK, although they still need a bit of cleaning up."

Most of the 42 pieces missing from the museum's public galleries have now been recovered.

News Digest


Two International conferences regarding “The Assyrians Today“, which were devoted to “Issues and Perspectives” and “Historiography and Linguistics” were organized in Moscow in 2002 and 2003, respectively.

By the decision of the Organizing Committee, the Third World Assyrian Conference entitled “The Assyrians Today. National Issues and the Mass Media” will take place in May 2005. Such a decision is connected with the fact that the Assyrian organizations in Russia and CIS have planned to hold in 2004 two important meetings, which will also have a national character, and many guests from the entire Assyrian Diaspora will be invited to these meetings.

In the year 2004 the village of Urmia in Krasnodar Territory will be 80 years old. The village was founded in 1924 by the decision of Soviet Russia government, which gave a chance to the Assyrian refugees from Iran and Turkey to live in proximity, keeping their traditions, their language and national culture. The village was founded not far from the city of Armavir, where soon a teachers’ training school started training teachers of the Assyrian language, not only for the village of Urmia, but also for the Assyrians living in Georgia and Armenia.

Next year the Assyrians of Armenia and Georgia will also celebrate another important date – the 175th anniversary of the first settlement of the Assyrians in the Russian Empire, particularly in Armenia and Georgia.

The ties of the Assyrians with their coreligionists in these countries have centuries–old history of brotherhood. Yet, mass migration of the Assyrians from Iran (then Persia) began in 1829 after signing of the Turkmanchay Peace Treaty between Russia and Persia, in compliance with which the Christians of Persia were permitted free migration to Russia. In order to sign this Treaty, the mission with the Great Russian writer and diplomat Alexander Griboedov at the head, was sent to Tehran. The Treaty was signed in 1828, and the following year the Moslem fanatics attacked Griboedov’s mission and punished him brutally. Griboedov was also killed. His body was brought to Tiflis where he was buried.

This incident confirmed that the religious fanatics were very dangerous, and could have resulted in the bloody massacre of Christians, Assyrians and Armenians in Persia. That is why rather a big number of the Assyrians began migrating to the neighboring cities of Yerevan and Tiflis (Tbilisi). Thus the Assyrian villages of Dugyun (Dvin), Koylasar, Arzny in Armenia and villages of Kanda, Karayaz in Georgia were founded.

For 175 years the Assyrians were able to preserve their heritage, language, customs and traditions in these villages. As time went by, their descendants gained an opportunity to receive good education, many of them graduated from the best universities of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Kharkov, Saratov and other cities in Russia.
Today all traditions are kept in these villages and after the collapse of the Soviet Union there appeared an opportunity of close collaboration with the people of their own tribes living in other countries. Also there appeared a chance to return to the bosom of their native church – the Assyrian Church of the East. Today public prayers in the Assyrian language are conducted entirely in all Assyrian villages.

Jubilee celebrations in the village of Urmia in Krasnodar Territory are planned for May 2004, including the festival of the Assyrian art and sport games. In September of the same year jubilee celebrations with participation of guests from the numerous Assyrian Diaspora will take place in Tbilisi and Yerevan. Among holiday celebrations holding of the meetings with guests’ participation are planned in every Assyrian village of Armenia and Georgia. Lectures and concerts of the Assyrian science and art figures will be considerable events in social life of these sister nations, which are the second motherland of the Assyrians.

The Organizing Committee is applying to all people and organizations involved with a request to send suggestions and applications about their participation in these celebrations.

daniel_sarkisov@yahoo.com (in Tbilisi, Georgia).

Dr. Sergei Osipov
Moscow, Russia

[Z-info: In conjunction with next year’s jubilee celebrations in Russia, Armenia, Georgia and other former Soviet Union republics, Zinda Magazine is pleased to announce the launching of the Russian edition of this publication on January 2004. At presstime the “Z-Russia Crew” is busily working on the development of our Russian website and the first all-Russian issue. The Assyrian communities of Russia and CIS comprise the second largest collective Assyrian population outside of the Middle East.]



(ZNDA: Tehran) The general membership of the Assyrian Association of Tehran or “Motva d’Tehran” recently held elections for the new executive committee. A team of nine officers, under the leadership of Mr. Albert Kochoei, who ran on a single ticket received a majority of votes and was voted in as the new Board of the AAT. Mr. Kochoei is a well-known Assyrian-Iranian journalist and radio-television commentator. The other members of the elected board are as follow:

1. Mr. Albert Kochoei Chairman
2. Mr. Avshalim Avrahim Vice Chairman
3. Mr. Albert Badal-Davood Treasurer
4. Mr. Yosip Amirian Secretary
5. Mr. Mleelan Amirkhas Member
6. Mr. Carlin Eshoo-Nejadian Member
7. Ms. Jacklin Mirzaei Member
8. Mr. Yourbert Toumasian Member
9. Mr. Yazdan Sarhadi Member

Three other officers” were also elected to assist the elected Board. They are:

1. Mr. Johnny Sheer-Abadi
2. Mr. Polous Bet-Mamou
3. Mr. Sargon Ramesh

Each member assumes a term of three years in office. Of the 1,200 paid members over 700 cast their votes at the Bet-Motva in Tehran between 9 am and 4 pm.

The elections for the office of the “Representative of the Assyrian and Chaldean minorities to the Majlis (Iranian Parliament) will be held in March 2004. His Honorable Yonatan Bet-Kolia is the current representative in the Majlis .


Courtesy of the Daily Telegraph (7 November); by Angela Kamber

(ZNDA: Sydney) In the minutes before 5am on Thursday an armoured vehicle more likely to be seen on the mean streets of Belfast moved slowly through Fairfield.

The high-powered vehicle, packed with heavily armed police officers in bullet-proof vests, was there to search for the people responsible for a number of shootings caused by a family feud in Sydney's west.

The spectacular raid, as dawn first coloured Sydney's sky, had nothing to do with the death of a man gunned down at a Punchbowl service station last week.

The police where there because of another bloody Sydney family feud – this time among members of the Assyrian community.

While the new police armoured vehicle spearheaded the raid on three adjoining houses in Mandarine St, Fairfield, dozens of uniformed officers and detectives stormed three homes and a workshop in Villawood, Bossley Park and Seven Hills.

Police closed off the entire length of Mandarine St and pyjama-clad women and children were led to safety before they entered the three, unrenovated weatherboard homes.

Police earlier met at Fairfield police station for a briefing before heading to their designated locations in an operation designed to end the cycle of retaliation violence.

Yesterday's raids follow a number of drive-by shootings, the first in December last year when 28-year-old Dimitri Debaz was shot dead outside a hotel in Clapham Rd, Sefton. A later attack on a Fairfield car sound shop left customers injured.

"There's been a number of drive-by shootings and persons who have been shot," said Superintendent Mark Henny from Taskforce Gain – which is also investigating several drive-by shootings and attempted abductions linked to people associated with Lebanese Muslim families in the area.

"All matters of a violent nature that are linked to these crimes are being investigated."

Two men were arrested during yesterday's raids.

A 19-year-old man who was still being interviewed by police last night and 58-year-old Pierre Debaz – the father of murder victim Dimitri Debaz – was taken to Fairfield Local Court.

Looking tired and speaking through an Arabic interpreter Mr Debaz faced firearm, attempted murder and abduction and maliciously inflict bodily harm charges.

Detective Sergeant Greg Berry from the State Crime Command opposed bail, saying Debaz was charged with very serious offences.

He said there would be "a very real fear . . . that witnesses will be interfered with" if Debaz was granted bail.

He said there was a "relentless pursuit of other people he [Mr Debaz] feels are responsible for the death of his son Dimitri".

Magistrate Anthony Spence refused bail – for "the welfare and the protection of the community" – and adjourned the case for mention to Liverpool Local Court on November 21.

Yesterday police Commissioner Ken Moroney warned criminals: "When you least expect us, expect us."

And Premier Bob Carr promised that Sydney's gangs and gun culture would be defeated.

"Our police force – professional, well equipped, well armed – is coming after you with the support of the people of Sydney," he said.

"We will run this taskforce as long as is required, until these criminal cowards are surgically removed from the streets of Sydney and put where they belong and that is behind bars."


(ZNDA: Sydney) Periodically Zinda Magazine returns to the justice halls of Sydney, Australia and while keeping an eye on court proceedings against the Assyrian entrepreneur, Karl Solomon, provides readers with fresh insight into the trial.

According to the minutes of meeting of creditors of Karl Suleman Enterprizes on Monday, 3 March 2003 in Sydney, the year 2002 was spent mainly in gathering information and publicly examining individuals in relation to the financial affairs of Mr. Karl (Khalid) Suleman. In February 2003, the Australian Securities and Investment Commisson began taking actions against the major agents and advisors.

Horwath, an association of independent accounting practices in Australia, in a report explains the flow of money in and out of Karl Suleman Enterprizes (KSE) bank accounts as follows (m = million, $ = Australian Dollar):

• Investors contributed a minimum of $138m. to the failed scheme with $123m. passing through KSE bank accounts and $15m. identified in cash.
• $91m. was returned to investors and agents.
• $4m. was spent on property and $1m. on luxury cars.
• $10m. has been identified as being invested in the Froggy Group of Companies.
• $4m. was withdrawn in cash from ATM’s to finance lifestyle and gambling activities.

A difference of twenty eight million dollars still cannot be explained, but the Horwath investigators believe that these funds have probably been put back into the Froggy Group and the purchase of Karl Suleman’s lifestyle assets.

Paul Weston & Neil Cussen Liquidators on 31 October 2003 reported that claims totaling $38.8 million have been admitted in full or in part and a total of $970,312 has been distributed to investors. The timing of a second dividend wa not confirmed. They anticipate several hundred claims will ultimately be rejected.

The Liquidators’ report also explains that action against Ms. Suzy David, Dominic David Stamfords and others in respect to their role as legal advisor to Karl Suleman has begun. Suzy David is the Deputy Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance. The claim is similar to the claim against Philip Pham (and others) which was commenced late 2002. Karl Suleman has been committed for trial next year in respect to earlier charges laid against him. Mr. Adam Oshana’s whereabouts are still unknown, according to the report, and he has failed to respond to the claims against him. Recovery action was started against a number of individuals.


Courtesy of Argonaut (6 November); by Cindy Frazier

(ZNDA: Los Angeles) Jack Tarwardy — longtime owner of Jack's Shoe Repair in Playa del Rey, California — was struck and killed in a crosswalk near his Culver Boulevard shop at 5:55 p.m., Thursday, October 30th.

A city spokesman said street lights in the area of the accident had not been operating because of an earlier transformer fire.

The incident is highlighting concerns about pedestrian safety and traffic issues on Culver Boulevard in the Playa del Rey "village" area.

Tarwardy was 74 years old and lived in Hollywood, according to Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Detective Terry Pearson of the LAPD West Traffic Division.

Tarwardy had operated the shoe repair shop at 324 Culver Blvd. for more than 25 years.

On Friday, as word of the fatality spread in the area, mourners brought flowers and memorials to the shoe repair shop.

A memorial for Tarwardy is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., Sunday, November 9th, at La Marina, 119 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey.

Tarwardy was struck by an eastbound 1997 Buick as Tarwardy crossed Culver Boulevard at Pershing Drive.

The driver, a 19-year-old Playa del Rey woman, was not cited and no charges have been filed.

"She didn't see him," Pearson said. "It's a tragedy."

Tarwardy sustained massive blunt force trauma and was taken to Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:09 p.m., Pearson said.

Pearson said the incident is still under investigation.

Residents complained that street lighting was poor at the site of the accident.

"There have been no street lights for the past three nights," said local resident Larry Farris. "There should have been light at the crosswalk."

Sharon Sandow, field deputy to Los Angeles Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, said that a transformer fire occurred in the area the day before the incident and the streetlights had been shut off until the transformer could be fixed.

"The problem is being immediately remedied," Sandow said Friday, October 31st.

Tarwardy was considered "a fixture" in the Playa del Rey village, an eclectic area of apartments, small shops, service businesses and restaurants catering to the local beach community.

"Jack was part of the fabric of this town, a real character," said Bob Hughes, a local resident and acquaintance of Tarwardy.

"He had a great sense of humor and liked to tell women [customers] that he wouldn't fix their shoes very well because he wanted to see them again," Hughes said. "A lot of people have great stories to tell about him.

"It's a great loss for the community."

Farris said that Tarwardy had been trying to sell the shoe repair business and retire.

Hughes said Tarwardy often jokingly asked if Hughes wanted to buy Tarwardy's shoe repair business.

"When I'd say that I didn't know anything about repairing shoes, he'd say he didn't, either," Hughes said.

CLOSE CALLS — In the wake of the incident, many in the area feel that traffic problems in the congested village area have been ignored.

Area merchants and residents say they have had many "close calls" in the village because of the high volume and high speed of vehicles — especially commuters who pass through the village on their way to and from major roadways.

Shop owner Merry Duclos says she has tried in the past to get a signal at the crosswalk where Tarwardy was struck, but was told that the intersection was too close to another signalized intersection.

"A lot of people have been hit but nobody had been killed" when she requested the signal, Duclos said.

Farris said he recently witnessed an incident in which a dog being dropped off at a local grooming business ran into Culver Boulevard and was struck by a vehicle, but the dog's owner could not retrieve the injured dog for some time because other vehicles didn't stop.

"People don't stop and you can't get out of your driveway," Farris said.

Hughes echoed other comments that the area is in need of more pedestrian safety features.

"The traffic issue needs to be addressed," Hughes said. "There is habitual speeding and too much traffic, and nobody's watching.

"We need a blinking light at that crosswalk so drivers will at least put their feet over the brake and off the accelerator," Hughes said. "Maybe now something will be done, but it shouldn't take a tragedy" to focus attention on traffic issues.

Tarwardy is survived by his brother, William Tarwardy, of Hollywood; and sisters Tamara Moushoul and Valentina Karam, of Granada Hills.

A funeral service was conducted at 10:30 a.m. Friday, November 7th at St. Paul Assyrian Caldean Catholic Church, 13050 Vanowen St., No. Hollywood, 91605.

He was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, 6300 Forest Lawn Dr., Los Angeles.

Surfs Up!
Letters From Zinda Magazine Readers


[Z-info: The following is the letter our reader submitted last week for publication in Time Magazine].

Thank you for bringing attention to the "other" side of the Iraq - to those areas where things have only gotten better after the toppling of Saddam Hussein. However, your description of Alqosh, Iraq simply as a "Christian village in Northern Iraq" certainly does not tell the whole story. There are 1.2 million Christian Assyrians living in Iraq today. The Assyrians are descendants of the ancient cradle of civilization which was known as Mesopotamia, the area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, now modern day Iraq. These ancient people were the first to embrace Christianity 2000 years ago and have since struggled for survival - not just in Iraq, but in all the middle east, suffering persecution from Muslims over and over again. There are over 6 million Assyrians in the world today, scattered across the globe, having had to flee their homes for better life. You owe it to this proud people to identify them for who they are, the Assyrians. Yes, they are Christians, but they are a proud minority, with their own language (which happens to be the language that Christ spoke) and customs. The Assyrians are hoping that the riddance of Saddam Hussein will end the prejudice which they have had to endure in Iraq and will finally offer them a better life with representation and recognition in the newly formed government. Assyrians should finally be recognized for their proud heritage and contributions to civilization.

Denise Alkhas


I vote yes, because it is a very good step to go up, or what ever step you want to call. I look at it as that step the child takes when he really stands up without falling down, especially regarding the outcome of the conference. It took place in Baghdad on October 22 to 24 under the name of Chaldo-Ashur. Believe me that this is a big step. All those news conferences that the Assyrian Night Star Radio in Chicago did through the interviews with the attendants of the conference were awesome. Every body spoke as one as Chaldo-Ashur brothers and came back home to live with their parents to hold the family together again. I ask God to give us the will and power to go through this big and good step that I'm calling now. As you see the turnout of the voting for Chaldo-Ashur.

I think you should change the logo of the Zinda Magazine to “Zinda Magazine – “Think Chaldo-Ashur". Thank you and God bless you.

Farhat Rustam Moshi


At a conference which was held in Baghdad from 22 to 24 October, all the streams of the Iraqi Christian community proclaimed the unity of their people despite the diversity of their religious denominations, agreed to adopt one and the same name, Chaldo-Assyrians, and chose a common leader, Yonnadam Kanna, to represent them in and outside Iraq.

Among the participants, it is worth mentioning representatives of the Assyrian, Syrian and Chaldean communities in Iraq and from the diaspora (United States, Canada, European Union, USSR, Australia, New Zealand), as well as Ishlemoun Wardouni, who will be chairing the Iraqi Chaldean Church until the designation of the successor to Patriarch Raphael Bidawit I, who recently died.

In the final resolution of the conference, the Chaldo-Assyrians plead for the unity of Iraq and advocate "the building up of a federal, pluralist and democratic system of governance which accepts the principle of peaceful political succession and the separation of powers." They claim the recognition of their community under the name "Chaldo-Assyrians", along with the other ethnic groups such as the Arabs and the Kurds, in the future constitution which will be drafted by the Provisional Governing Council in the next few months. They want their language to be recognised under the name ‘Syriac" and wish to enjoy the same ethnic, political, administrative and cultural rights as the other communities of Iraq.

Shiites are said to represent a little more than 50% of the 22 million Iraqi population and Sunnis about 40% while Chaldo-Assyrians are estimated to be between 700,000 and 1 million, according to various sources, but these statistics are much debated. A new national census is claimed by the only Christian representative in the Provisional Governing Council, Yonnadam Yussef Kanna, who is the leader of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, the main Christian political party. "This census will contribute to the refinement of a more accurate representation of the various communities in the Iraqi institutions," he told Human Rights Without Frontiers Int. in Baghdad "but when the Governing Council was set up, the Christian community accepted the distribution of the positions on the basis of the existing statistics so as not to create a political obstacle."

In their final resolution, the Chaldo-Assyrians insist on the necessity to create "an administrative region in the plains of Ninivah" in the North of Iraq, where a number of Christian villages are concentrated, and ask for "the promulgation of specific legislation for their self-administration in order to guarantee their administrative, political and cultural rights". This dream as such is however less susceptible of being fulfilled as it would entail some territorial reduction of the regions under the Kurdish rule of Barzani’s and Talabani’s governments and some amputation of the latter’s power. Self-governance of Chaldo-Assyrian public schools, cultural and media activities in Syriac, though, is possible through the creation of other institutions which would grant each ethnic community or minority the right to run their own educational and cultural activities in their own language. In this regard the institutional engineering of the Belgian model of double federalism (territorial and community-based) can be a useful source of inspiration.

Willy Fautre


Having been in Baghdad since March it was a great joy for me to see for the first time the faces of the many Assyrians I have seen in so many places finally together in Baghdad!

For those of us who have been in Baghdad for a long time things are fantastic - the electricity works, the water is on, there are police in the streets and the people are happy.

For those visiting for the first time it was all new.

Most of all, though I was happy that finally so many had come. Over and over I have spoken, written, begged for people to come. Six months since the fall of Baghdad and finally people were coming.

That was the wonderful part of the conference.

Others have written about the details of the conference, those who did and did not come, what was talked about and more.

I experienced the intense anger of many if not most of the Assyrians in Baghdad who were not at the conference at feeling they had been betrayed. This was the pattern from the very beginning - the `silent majority` always strong, spiritual, guided and ignored and others often out of touch.

My role has always been to take the side of the `regular people` - the `silent majority` as it were who everybody claims they represent but who so few actually know.

For us `regular people` it was a relief that finally a large group of Assyrians had come to Baghdad. The familiar faces were finally there.

I spent much of my time at the conference besides in the sessions meeting, hugging and visiting with friends. How wonderful to be together not in London or Chicago or San Jose or Tokyo but in Baghdad. Dear and longtime friends of our family, those who had stayed in our home in Tokyo over the years.

How wonderful to be with `family`.

During the discussions I disagreed with much that was presented - probably most.

The fundamental issue I fear is still not understood by those making decisions an it is this. The numbers are not important.

I have stressed this many, many many times but apparently it is still not understood. In a Democracy number are important, majorities are important but there are also other safeguards for those who are minorities.

Strongest of all is the protection that is built in for indigenous peoples. The American Indians, the Inuits of Canada, the Aborigones of Australia, the Ainu of Japan each of these groups as the original or indigenous people of a country do not worry about their numbers - in some cases very small.

The constitutional and legal arrangements of any democratic country guarantees special rights for indigenous peoples that have nothing to do with their numbers.

This is the fatal mistake made by the conference and all other gatherings I have been to. There is a lack of understand of Democracy. In many meetings with various administrators both within an without Iraq I have mentioned this simple point - `We do not have a lot of numbers but we are the original people - remember Jonah` and immediate understanding.

The Assyrians are not just another people group living in Iraq that need to justify their rights by their numbers in local villages or areas. They are the original people of the original land of Assyria. They are historically recognized and as such even if there were only dozens of Assyrians in the whole country as has happened in a number of cases involving indigenous peoples in other countries they have rights to the land and special rights that have nothing to do with their numbers.

It is the failure to understand this critical point and the subsequent dealings out of weakness - we need to compromise because we do not have the people on the ground` that formed the core of the conference.

It reminded me of the swallowing up of a smaller company by a larger one carefully couched in terms of a `merger` or `Joint venture` when everybody knew one was being absorbed by the other

But something happened at the Baghdad conference that nobody planned on. As usual God, even though He was ignored had a plan.

After the sometimes very heated discussions the people would be together in the lobby of the hotel, in the restaurant, later at an exhibition of art, at a play.

In spite of the efforts of many to politicize the atmosphere the victory that came out of defeat was that people sat together, laughed together, worked together, talked together and never did any name other than `Assyrian` come out of their lips.

How interesting I thought! They took God completely out of the conference - at no time was there any prayer opening the regular sessions, they tried to push through a political point which they succeeded in doing but they forget something very important - as part of the process people who had been divided for centuries sat in the same room, laughed together, spoke the same language and found out that in spite of all they had been told that in fact they were one.

Victory out of defeat! I think it happened! It is too late? No! Two groups of people who have always been on opposite sides came together and in spite of the efforts of their leaders to convince them they were different and needed to compromise realized that they were in fact the same.

When this people understand this simple truth and then realize that the promise of Democracy is not simply that the majority wins but that indigenous people have special rights and returns to the source of her power - not clever names, associations, organizations, leaders but the simple root of what is the Assyrian people - their God the victory will come!

In scripture it says `Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit Smith the Lord`. Truly, sitting in a hotel in Baghdad, surrounded by the people I love I realized that in fact in spite of being shut out of a conference of His special chosen people, the God of the Assyrians through the person of Jesus Christ and through the power of his Holy Spirit which was there had guided and taken what some had planned for defeat and turned it into victory.

The hollow victory of some was defeated by the deeper bonds forged in `defeat`. One people divided by different names gathered together to compromise. Instead, for the first time together they realized that they were in fact one!

The Assyrians are still the Assyrians and now they are even stronger because many who didn't realize they were, for the first time sat together in the same room, sang the same songs, laughed, ate and cried together and God brought them together!

In God`s kingdom everything is always backwards - give to receive, die to live and as I experienced in the Baghdad Conference Victory comes out of Defeat!

Rev. Ken Joseph


I would like to respond to the article published in your issue # 35, titled “Please Show Some Action And Spare Me The Talk”, to provide the readers with facts and accurate information.

In the above mentioned article, many attacks and insults were directed at Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party (BNDP), Bet-Nahrain Organization and AssyriaSat staff members.

I would like to first address the question raised in that article as to what has BNDP done for the Assyrian nation since its establishment 30 years ago?

BNDP was the first Assyrian Political Party in Iraq and has always kept its faith in the Assyrian nation and it has been the most supported and well respected Assyrian Political Party. BNDP has never compromised anything in regards to our Assyrian identity, name, language and culture. As the famous author, Rabbi Babajan Ashouri said once, quote “There isn’t enough oil in Iraq to buy off the BNDP members.”

Unlike some other Political Parties, i.e. ADM, currently known as ChaldoAssyrian Party (CAP) which has followed the Ostrich Policy, hiding their head in sand and refusing to look up to realize and acknowledge other Assyrian Political Parties in Iraq. CAP must stop undermining the legitimacy of other Parties and stop living in its drunken stupor caused by its own self centered superior attitude and give credit to hundreds of nationalist men and women who have spent their lives working toward the Assyrian Cause.

As it is so evident now, CAP’s short sightedness has led them to give up on the Assyrian nation and compromise our glorious name and rights as the indigenous people of Iraq. They have served our enemies and allowed them to name the Northern Iraq “Kurdistan.” My question to CAP is besides selling the name of our nation, the name of our lands, the name of our language and culture, what else is left that you have done? Their answer usually is “we built schools”. One can’t help but reach the conclusion that CAP has abandoned its political purpose and became the Educational Administration for the Assyrians. Not even that statement holds true, because if you refer to KDP websites and search under Education, you will notice that all the “Assyrian” schools in Northern Iraq were established by the Regional Government of KDP!

Some argue that CAP had to submit to Kurds due to being in the Kurdish controlled territory. Question is what is stopping them in today’s free Iraq? What keeps them from opposing the Kurds now? Every news, every declaration coming from Iraq Governing Council proves the lack of proper Assyrian representation which leads us to believe that CAP is still fighting for “Kurdistan.”

In a recent Declaration issued by “Kurdistani” Parties, ADM’s name topped the list. The Declaration asked for the “Kurdistani People” their full political rights in Northern Iraq. Nothing was mentioned regarding the Assyrians rights.

BNDP also had the option to join the Kurdistani Parties, but as I have mentioned before BNDP has always kept its faith in the Assyrian nation and maintained its loyalty to the Assyrian Cause. BNDP had joined the armed struggle against the Central Government of Iraq before ADM was born! BNDP was a member of the Iraqi National Front under the leadership of General Mustafa Naghib along with some other Arab and Kurdish Parties, all under the leadership of Iraqi National Front. BNDP lost a few of its fighters in that armed struggle. If you like proof of that statement please refer to Bet-Nahrain Magazines (1994 & 1995) issues. The pictures of those beloved martyrs are often shown on AssyriaSat.

The ChaldoAssyrian author of the article I am responding to had asked “What BNDP fighters?” Please see the below pictures of some of BNDP fighters. These too are the sons of your nation. CAP must stop glorifying only its own fighters and martyrs.

That author has also undermined and questioned the truthfulness of the events of September 1996, when Iraqi troops invaded Arbil and Mr. Kanna and ADM fighters abandoned their main centers in the city of Arbil and he fled to Syria. Yes, it was the BNDP fighters who protected the ADM centers, their properties and some of the remaining ADM members. BNDP fighters in Ankawa were surrounded by Iraqi tanks and the stand off lasted 4-5 hours before the Iraq tanks pulled back. All you have to do is a little research and ask your CAP’s Information Bureau or better yet ask your ChaldoAssyrian leader, Mr. Kanna to confirm. The Kurdish newspapers also reported this stand off in their newspapers at the time.

In regards to the ChaldoAssyrian Conference which took place in Baghdad this past October, eye witness reports indicate that only 350 people attended the opening ceremony. Out of the 350 people, only 45 delegates participated in deliberations. Some Prelates of the Church were present in the opening ceremony, but that does not mean they agreed with the ChaldoAssyrian Party and its conspiracy. CAP had been planning this conspiracy for some time. The Assyrian Students and Youth Union of Iraq who are against the combined name were refused to enter the conference by Mr. Kanna’s nephew who blocked their entrance with the assistance of a few armed guards!

The author claims that 160 (1000) delegates participated in the conference, but only provides the name of 54 delegates which include the 12 Prelates Dignitaries who did not participate in the conference deliberations. Where are the other 106 delegates? Assyrians who lived under the rule of Saddam totally boycotted the conference. The remaining delegates (42) were from Diaspora and Northern Iraq.

The CAP has always manipulated people’s emotions by mentioning its humanitarian achievements. A political party can not interfere in humanitarian or religious activities. Thousands of Dollars were collected from Assyrians around the world so CAP could compromise their National name in their own homeland!

Over the past 12 years Bet-Nahrain Organization donated more than $350,000 to the humanitarian needs of our people in the Middle East. You may ask the Prelates of the Church of the East how some of the money was sent to Assyrians who had fled Iraq into Iran. In addition, donations were sent to Assyrians who fled Iraq and Iran into Pakistan, Jordon and Greece. But, here again, you have followed the Ostrich Policy, refusing to look up and around you and to see the other Political Parties achievements in the past years.

It was BNDP’s idea to develop the Assyrian National Congress in 1983, when Zowaa was only 4 years old and Mr. Younadam Kanna was its Chairman of Foreign Relations Committee while he was living in Iran. Our purpose was to write a Constitution for the Assyrian National Congress, but unfortunately all Zowaa wanted was to dominate all the other Political Parties in attendance. This is nothing new; Zowaa has always demanded to be recognized as the superior to the other Political Parties. This has been an old habit of Mr. Kanna same as Saddam Hussein to attack all who are close to him, to weaken their resolve so that he can govern over them. History shows that BNDP is the only Assyrian Political Party that has resisted Zowaa’s inappropriate aggressiveness.

BNDP members in Diaspora used their Media to bring National Awareness among Assyrians worldwide. BNDP was the only Party which publicly opposed Saddam’s brutal regime and has always participated in anti-Saddam meetings and activities. Therefore it was the only Assyrian Political Party that Saddam Hussein worried about. That is why out of all the other Assyrian Political leaders he ordered the Assassination of Dr. Sargon Dadesho. Last April, Dr. Dadesho was awarded 2.4 Million Dollars from the Iraqi frozen assets in U.S.A. Do you understand this?

It was BNDP who maintained its firm stand and opposed the Kurdish Parliament’s decision to use the term of “ChaldoAssyrian” in its proposed constitution for Iraq. At a meeting in the town of Kousenjek BNDP’s delegate was the only Assyrian delegate who stood up and confronted the Kurdish officials who were referring to Assyrians as “ChaldoAssyrians” in their Constitution. If any inquiring minds are curious as to what the reaction of ADM’s delegate in that meeting was, well there was none. The ADM’s delegate had no response what so ever much less an opposition.

It is evident that the few remaining ADM (CAP) members and supporters, including those so called Authors/Politicians/Historians have lost their credibility and integrity by failing to report accurately. Therefore, we are offering this response to set the records straight. BNDP has proved over and over again in its 30 years history that it does not believe in changing objectives and positions.

In the article that I am responding to many attacks were directed at AssyriaSat. We have one very simple policy in AssyriaSat which is “tell the truth”. Apparently the ChaldoAssyrian Party’s definition of truth is insult!

AssyriaSat’s mission is to empower the Assyrian nation with knowledge, because through knowledge comes power. It is our national duty to inform our people, unlike some, we do not believe in the Ostrich Policy!

Another misleading statement was made that Mr. Kanna was chosen by the American Government. This is simply not true. The American Government had nothing to do with Mr. Kanna’s membership in the Iraqi Governing Council. If you get past your inflated egos you will admit that it was indeed the G8 Committee who gave Mr. Kanna the authorization letter which got him to where he is now. Sadly, once again he was able to trick his friends. After all, where are his friends, the three founders of the original Zowaa today? They too were tricked by Mr. Kanna’s slick character and did not predict how he would betray them and their national aspirations. History keeps repeating itself, indeed.

We, the AssyriaSat members are saddened to have lost one of our old fathers who used to be “on pins and needles to get to Modesto area so he could watch AssyriaSat” as his son, the author puts it. The reality is that we have thousands of elderly fathers and mothers that faithfully watch AssyriaSat and call us often just to tell us that we are in their prayers. We hope someday we can gain that one father back as a viewer (that is IF he is not influenced by his son!)

KBSV AssyriaVision was founded on April 19, 1996. For the past 6 years we have never made negative comments regarding Mr. Kanna or his party. In the past few months we at AssyriaSat have been reporting information based on reports from News Agencies in Iraq and International Media, also information made available to us by some Assyrian and non-Assyrian scholars from within Iraq and Diaspora. We work diligently to separate facts from fictions, where Mr. Kanna has been doing nothing but misleading our people and insulting his opponents by calling them “sakhleh and shneezeh.”

It’s funny how the ChaldoAssyrian author has took upon himself to judge AssyriaSat in his article, yet he has always claimed that he is not a regular viewer and he watches our programs only when he is visiting friends and relatives in Modesto area (note: author lives in San Jose). So, I think it is safe to assume that the author watches 10% of the AssyriaSat programs and he does not realize that the other 90% of the time when he is not watching, we are criticizing the Kurds and other external enemies. When was the last time that Zowaa criticized the Kurds and their invasion of our villages? Just a short while ago a few Assyrians were killed in Shaqlawa. Local Assyrians who were infuriated by those murders were organizing some demonstrations to show their outrage, but their attempts were curtailed by Mr. Kanna. He was not about to let his nation make him look less than adequate in front of his Kurdish Masters!

One other ridiculous accusation made regarding Bet-Nahrain Organization and AssyriaSat was to imply that these are “paper only” organizations!

One must ask the author the following questions:

· Why was his father so eager to get to Modesto area to watch the AssyriaSat on paper!?

· Why did you wait 30 years to criticize Bet-Nahrain?

· If your statements are true then why has Zinda Magazine praised Dr. Sargon Dadesho in its Bravo section of issue # 40 date: 13 January 2003 ?

· Why did Zinda Magazine call Dr. Dadesho as one of the experts in Assyrian affairs in their issue # 12 date: 28 April 2003 ?

· If your accusations regarding Dr. Dadesho are accurate then why was he selected as the “Man of the Year” and received the well respected Naoum Fayeq Award by our Assyrian brothers from the Assyrian Sweedish Federation which has many Assyrian and Suryoyo Organizations as affiliates?

The author has also accused the Bet-Nahrain and AssyriaSat of invading the Internet, mainly the Assyrian Forums. Are we the only people criticizing CAP? Are you blind to other people’s criticisms? The Assyrian Society is not limited to the participants of one or two forums and the readers of a couple of on-line magazines. The title “traitor” is given to you by the majority of Assyrian nation, not just us! It is a self-earned title by ChaldoAssyrian Party.

It’s neither professional nor ethical for an author to twist the truth, especially one who in the past was known as the staunch believer in the Assyrian name. How could one claim to be a politician but can not understand that if your nation’s name is changed in the Iraqi Constitution (in your own homeland), you will never be able to preserve that name in Diaspora? What kind of a politician are you when you can’t tell the difference between Assyrian-Chaldean religious names meant to unify our Churches and the ChaldoAssyrian name which is intended to compromise and destroy our historical name? I sincerely hope that our respectful religious leaders will respond to your misleading statement, blaming them to have taken initiative to change this nation’s name.

It is interesting how you have mentioned the fence in your article, as we all can see you have crushed the fence and the gates too by exposing our innocent people to Kurds. Your solid plan was to sell our nation; do you expect us to have a solid plan similar to yours?

BNDP, Bet-Nahrain Organization and AssyriaSat will not adopt a passive attitude regarding the events that concern our beloved nation. It is not logical to expect a nation to sacrifice its glorious 7000 years old name, history, language and culture only to ensure the safety of a Christian representative in Iraq. It is not logical to stop and sabotage our nation’s resolve to demand its rightful recognition in the Iraqi Constitution only so your leader Mr. Kanna can maintain his favorable status with his Kurdish masters. After all, a Constitution is not an article in a newspaper or a magazine that can be rewritten often.

You had quoted Dr. Dadesho from his priceless book “The Assyrian National Question”, by mentioning his words “unity of our nation”. Dr. Dadesho did not mean a union of traitors by those words. He has referred to the unity of our nation. Apparently the contrary has occurred. You have joined the unity of traitors because you have supported the combined name.

I would like to inform you and your so-called Rabbi Kanna (the traitor) who keep asking us to go back to Iraq, we ARE in Iraq. There are thousands of us who are and have always been in Iraq and they share our opinions of you and the ChadoAssyrian Party.

Also, let’s not forget that BNDP and AssyriaSat are already in Iraq for those who have eyes to see and have ears to hear. As you are well aware by now, Assyrian delegates from Iraq and Diaspora are preparing to develop a preparatory committee to hold an Assyrian Congress in the near future in Baghdad. This is not about just a few individuals opinions. This is about a nation rising above its barriers to rid itself of a few traitors and demand its rights in its ancestral country. They have enough courage to demand their rightful recognition as the indigenous people of Iraq in the Iraqi Constitution, and secure national, cultural, and educational rights of the Assyrian people in the Assyrian Triangle in Iraq. Something we have given up expecting our so called “Christian” representative to accomplish and unanimously reject this “CAP” he has sewed for our nation. The Assyrian Congress will be the turning point in the Assyrian history, that’s when the ChaldoAssyrian Party and its few supporters will BE history!

Soon the entire Assyrian nation will say this historical verse in a unified voice:

“Can’t you see the writing on the wall that you are finished?”

I will be more than happy to receive a logical response from you. So far I have not seen any logic in your numerous articles.

Shamiram Daniali
Vice President of Bet-Nahrain Organization

Surfer's Corner


Mr. Yonadam Kanna, the official representative of the AssyrianChaldean Christians of Iraq and Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, is currently in London, England, conducting a series of high-level meetings with various British Government officials, Religious institutions and Royal Family members.

On Tuesday 11th November 2003 at 7.30am (GMT - London time), Mr. Kanna will appear on a 15-minute live interview on CNN, which is to be aired globally.

During the evening of Tuesday 11th November 2003, at the Assyrian House, from 8.00pm (GMT), Mr. Kanna will give an insight to our local community in to the issues surrounding everyday life in Iraq, in particular relating to our people, focusing on current circumstances and future aspirations. A question and answer session will follow. Various National and International newspapers as well as a number of well known TV stations have been invited to attend and I am happy to report that so far a good number have confirmed their attendance to the event. We hope to air the audio of the meeting at some point this week on PalTalk, in addition we will upload the video of the entire meeting on to www.zowaa.org in the very near future.

On Wednesday 12th November 2003 at 10.30am (GMT), Mr. Kanna will appear on a 30-minute live interview with SKY News, a popular satellite news station in the United Kingdom.

Further news and updates will follow shortly.

Johnny Michael
Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa)


The Assyrian American Association of San Jose proudly presents New Year’s Eve Dinner Dance with two Assyrian musical sensations: Ashur Betsargis & Julianna Jendoo.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

The Westin Hotel
5101 Great America Parkway • Santa Clara
Dinner served at 7:30 p.m. sharp


11-08-03 thru 11-22-03 $85 member $95 non-member
11-25-03 thru 12-11-03 $90 member $100 non-member
12-16-03 thru 12-30-03 $95 member $110 non-member


Saturday, November 08, 2003 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 15 and 22nd 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Every Tuesday and Thursday 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Please note: There will be no sales on November 27th and December 25th.

The Assyrian American Association’s new home is located in the heart of Willow Glen on Lincoln Avenue, between Minnesota Avenue and Willow Street. The two story rustic brown color building in on the same side as Starbuck’s Coffee shop, which is located on the intersection of Lincoln and Minnesota. The Vin Santo restaurant is located on the first floor of our building.

*Please No children under the age of 12 *on site babysitting service is available

Purchase your ticket from the Assyrian American Association’s New home:
1352 Lincoln Avenue, San Jose (408) 482-1949



As the new post-Saddam Iraqi government takes shape, there is growing agreement among many in the administration that the country is likely to become officially an Islamic republic when the new constitution is drafted in coming months, according to informed sources in Iraq and several administration officials.

With the U.N. resolution moving forward — and the United States already signaling a willingness to give Iraqis at least more symbolic autonomy — attention will soon shift to drafting a constitution, which seems unlikely to include a provision declaring Iraq a secular democracy.

Conversations with various officials reveal that civilian administrator Paul Bremer and State Department officials — who serve as his principal advisers — are not planning to push for a clause in the new Iraqi constitution that would guarantee a secular democracy. This, despite the disturbing rise in notoriety — and possibly popularity — of Moktada al-Sadr, whom the New York Times describes as a "radical, anti-American Shi'ite cleric."

State Department officials, who all spoke on the condition of anonymity, stressed that their department would work to ensure that laws guaranteeing religious freedom would be passed to supplement any constitution that named Islam as Iraq's official religion. But, as many critics of such an approach are quick to point out, laws tend to be much more ephemeral and less permanent than constitutional provisions.

Even with legal protections, religious minorities such as Assyrian Christians and the Yezidis (who are neither Muslim nor Christian nor Jewish) have great reason to worry if Iraq becomes an Islamic state, not the least reason being the history of persecution experienced by religious minorities throughout the Muslim world. Mr. Bremer's statements that religious liberty will be ensured — though he has made such comments while allowing that Iraq could become an Islamic republic — should offer some consolation, but the Islamists on the Iraqi Governing Council should not.

Drawing largely upon the advice and counsel of State Department officials — who comprise the bulk of Mr. Bremer's support staff — the civilian administrator placed a number of avowed Islamists on the IGC. When Secretary of State Colin Powell ventured to Iraq last month, the only member of the IGC he met with individually (aside from the secretary of state's counterpart) was Islamist Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, spokesman in the 1990s for the Dawa Party, which is responsible for the 1983 bombing of the embassy in Kuwait that killed six and injured dozens.

Pressed several weeks ago by Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, at a hearing about whether or not the United States would insist that Iraq become a secular democracy, Mr. Bremer responded, "the Iraqis are writing this constitution, not me." That prompted one frustrated administration official to ask, "Who is Bremer referring to, the Islamists he stacked the council with?"

The State Department has long been obsessed with stability and not challenging conventional wisdom. With the apparent rise of Islamists — at least that's the perception created by the media — the State Department is more likely to accommodate them than to ward them off with even stronger guarantees of secular governance in the constitution. And, the ever-present violence — particularly the assassination of one of the 25 members of the IGC—makes it much less likely that the secularists on the council will fight vigorously for an Islam-free constitution.

Further complicating matters, it is unclear at this point, of course, who is really controlling Iraq policy. From the Washington perspective, it is National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice — or apparently now Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld again. But from the standpoint of the people implementing policy and making the day-to-day decisions that often have greater collective impact than larger policy directives, the State Department personnel are clearly in the driver's seat. The Department of Defense has few civilians in Iraq — by the Pentagon's own choice — leaving most of the key U.S. positions to be filled by State Department careerists.

Before Mr. Bremer took the reins this spring, State Department officials in Iraq had placed several top Ba'athists — meaning Saddam loyalists — in positions of power, in direct conflict with the president's goal of de-Ba'athification. With those same people on the ground today, a legitimate question is: How effectively — or vigorously — will they fight to guarantee religious liberty for millions of non-Muslim Iraqis?

And, with even public indications from Mr. Bremer that Iraq is quite likely to retain Islam as the official state religion (which he stated in a briefing to the Pentagon on Sept. 26), a more important question may be: Will legal protections passed subsequent to the drafting of the constitution be enough in the long run to protect religious minorities in an official Muslim nation?

Warns one administration official, "We are heading down a very dangerous path."

Joel Mowbray
Washington Times
16 October 2003

[Joel Mowbray occasionally writes for The Washington Times. He is the author of the recently published, “Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security”.]



It is the day after. I have spent 12 hours on the bus. A boring game, a jittery ride, and a Jugoslav busdriver who cannot tell between the E4 highway and R?sunda is still in my mind. It sounds sad.
But I am mighty proud.

This weekend I sat in the R?sunda soccerarena and it felt like an enormous Assyrian association. We were around 10,000 supporters.

The mood outside the arena, during the unloading of a bus after another, was fantastic as the drums were heard, flags were high up in the air, and people singing songs of joy. It was like the scene when the troops gathered before the last battle in the Tale of the Two Towers, where you could see the banners of the Assyrian people raised and putting an end to the oppression. The waiving of the banners and flags and siging led to the southern entrance of the arena. There was a lot of faith, hope, and an unruly will. No one there even imagined a loss in the game. Maybe that was the reason why most of us took it rather hard. Assyriska lost the game, but we won practically everything outside of it.

That is why I can only smile when anyone tries to maliciously gloat. People think that it is only about soccer. You can be sure that when people cry outside the arena when they see the flagg up high, and hear the songs, that it is so much more. Last saturday it was Assyriska, the team, Zelge, and all the suporters that together joined in a great manifestation for the rights of the Assyrian people. It encouraged the young ones to feel the pride in
beeing what they are, and brought tears in the eyes of the elderly. It was so much more than just soccer.
The Assyrian people have few opportunities to give an oppinion or an expression as great as the one that made us feel that our hearts would shoot out our chests because of this particular feeling of indentity. That is why the elderly cried.

We played in the final of the Swedish national Cup in front of the whole world, and the whole world wanted to watch. We were in the focus of the media as never before the whole week before the final. Everybode now knows about the Assyrians, and Assyriska. They all know that:

* we are from Beth-Nahrin, the land between the two rivers
* we originate from the ancient Assyrians
* we speak a form of Arameic, the language that Jesus spoke
* we have been oppressed
* we are currently working to adapt
* we can enjoy our success with respect to our environment, surroundings, and ourselves.

Assyriska, is the positive Sweden, and that is why the attention has been so great.

I want to thank Assyriska S?dert?lje and their greatest fan club, Zelge, for an amazing show that has been running since this summer, from the day when we beat IFK Gothemburg on the day of the martyrs.
The team of Assyriska has created heroes, given us reason for happyness, made us proud, told about our history, shown us where we stand, and the team of Assyriska has represented us the best way possible. It is natural that we love AFF.

The climax was the long party the same saturday, 1 of November. While the rain of gold confetti fell from heaven we all sang ”Othur Ithwole arye gabore.” Thousands of Assyrians sang in unison.

It was the proudest moment of my life, Yuhanon Zhaco said in the interview. When I was a kid I dreamed of singing the national anthem i in an arena filled with people. That dream has been fulfilled.

Yuhanon held the microphone.

I myself get the shivers when I watch that short videosequence on auf.nu. The greatest happening, maybe of all times, came shortly after the second half started. For the thousands of Assyrians in the souther part of the arena, the sky suddenly transformed to a proud and enormous Assyrian flag and covered a 1500 scuare meters wide section, as it was lowered from the section above, as if lowered down by angels. It was might and beauty that ruled, though the true feeling is indescribable. At that moment I cared less about the result. “This was worth everything,” I thought to myself. All the hours in the bus, a boring loss of the game, a week of stress and nervosity and disappointment... it was worth all that.

When the sun in the Assyrian flag shined upon us over the arena of R?sunda, we were strong, united and proud. The first of November, history was made and the team of Assyriska and the Assyrian people have once and for all found a place in the consciousness of the Swedish people.

The weak tactics of Coach Conny’s that particular time was a fact, as fear of the players, the level of seriousness, the players’ bad play, the nightmare at the start, was nothing we could have changed. But, we did our best to support and encourage.
But of course, the feeling was not so good when one learns that about 290 supporters were happy on the opposite side, when the happyness could have
spread across the world if Assyriska would have won.

When Svenska Dagbladet, one of the largest newspapers in Sweden, gives its award for the sports accomplishment of the year, the Swedish womens national team that got the silver in the world cup of 2003, will be a politically correct choice. But many people know that the womens’ world cup is not much to talk about compard to the mens’ world cup. There are maybe 5-6 countries that fight for the gold medal, and Sweden is one of them. I am hereby nominating Assyriska S?dert?lje to receive the sports accomplishment of the year. Not just because of the strong sports accomplishments of beating three great teams of the highest divison in Sweden, but also for the reason of meaning and the importance of the team to all of the Assyrian people. And because the angels who sent the Assyrian flag to the world are called Zelge.

Abraham Staifo

[Z-info: This article has appeared on www.auf.nu and was translated from Swedish by Moris Esa. Photo courtsy of Assyriska’s fan club site www.zelge.com ]



State Archives of Assyria: Vol. IX
The Assyrian Prophecies
Dr. Simo Parpola
Helsinki University Press

The Neo-Assyrian prophecy corpus is extant on two kinds of clay tablets, which differ from each other in size and in shape. Texts 1-4 are relatively large, vertical tablets containing several oracles in two or three columns. Nos. 5-8 are smaller, horizontal in shape and contain only one oracle each. By its format, no. 9 belongs with nos. 1-4, although it contains one oracle only; nos. 10-11 are fragmented tablets. The 28 oracles can be assigned on the basis of the extant authorship indications to (13) different prophets, (4) of whom are male and (9) female. The comparatively high number of women is paralleled by the prominence of prophetesses and female ecstatics in Mari and OT prophecy, as well as in Gnosticism and early Christianity. (8) of the prophets come from Arbela, (2) from Ashur, (1) from Calah (Nimrod), possibly (1) from Nineveh, and (1) from a town "in the mountains".

The original text of the Assyrian prophecies which was published by George Smith in 1875 under 'Addresses of encouragement to the Assyrian king Esarhaddon' did not in the beginning attract any attention. The first to recognize its significance was Alphonso Delattre who published it in 1888 in an article entitled 'The Oracles given in favor of Esarhaddon.' Later Pinches, in 1891, published another article about the same subject labeled 'The Oracle of Ishtar of Arbela'. It was virtually still unknown to biblical scholars hundred years after its discovery even though it provides a much closer parallel to Old Testament prophecy than the early 2nd millennium prophetic texts of Mari, now well known to every serious biblical scholar. Many attribute this to the misleading terminology. Assyriologists have applied the labels 'oracle' and 'prophecy' to other texts unrelated to inspired prophecy, hence when this collection came out it was neglected too. Some tried to argue that since these prophecies appeared during the reign of Esarhaddon, then it was related to the deportations from Israel under Tiglath-Pileser III and Sargon II, and thus an 'import from the West'. But this is untenable and has to be rejected since the prophecies have a tight link to the cult of Ishtar and Assyrian royal ideology, mythology and iconography, hence a genuinely an Assyrian phenomenon.

Dr Parpola writes " For all their similarities, Assyrian and Biblical prophecies have one conspicuous difference, and it appears to be fundamental. While the biblical prophets proclaim the word of Yahweh, the god of Israel presented as the only true God, the Assyrian prophets do not proclaim the word of their national god, Ashur. In most cases the oracular deity is Ishtar, the goddess of love, but other deities, both male and female, also appear in this capacity in the texts. Ashur speaks only once in the corpus. As far as I can see, he says, nobody seems to have ever been bothered by this state of affairs. On the contrary, it seems to have been taken as the most natural thing in the world, a simple reflection of the contrast between the monotheistic religion of Israel on the one hand, and the 'pagan' polytheistic religion of Assyria on the other." However, Dr. Parpola writes; "a closer acquaintance with the texts reveals a number of difficulties with this view. Leaving aside the fact that the content of the prophecies has absolutely nothing to do with 'fertility' or 'vegetation cults,' the multiplicity of oracular deities appearing in them is largely illusory."

In oracle 1.4, the deity first speaks as Bel, then as Ishtar of Arbela, and finally as Nabu, the son of Bel and the keeper of celestial records. It is as if in this short oracle the deity were repeatedly putting on new masks to suit the changing themes of the discourse, and one cannot help being reminded of the Holy Trinity of Christianity, where the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are explained as different hypostases of one indivisible Divine Being. Similar shifts in the identity of the oracular deity are also observable in other oracles of the corpus as well as in other contemporary texts.

Most important, in no. 3, a collection of oracles referred to in the text as "the covenant tablet of Ashur," the identities of Ashur and Ishtar blend in an unexpected and absolutely baffling way.. Oracle 3.3, in accordance with its central position in the text, constituted the essence of the "covenant tablet of Ashur". However, in the very next oracle 3.4, it is not Ashur but Ishtar of Arbela who actually concludes the covenant. In a scene reminiscent of the Last Supper, the Goddess invites "the gods, her fathers and brothers" to a covenant meal, in the course of which she addresses them as follows: "You will go to your cities and districts, eat bread and forget this covenant. (But when) you drink from this water, you will remember me and keep this covenant which I have made on behalf of Esarhaddon." the formulation of the passage makes it clear that Ishtar is not acting as a mere mediator here. The covenant in question is between her and the other gods -- it is her covenant with "the gods, her fathers and brothers." Accordingly, the phrasing of oracle 3.4, considered with 3.3, unquestionably implies that, in a way or another, Ashur and Ishtar were considered identical by the author of the text. On the other hand, in no. 3.2 and other oracles of the corpus, the Goddess refers to Ashur in the third person and thus evidently as a distinct divine entity. This creates a theological problem that seems serious indeed: How can two gods at the same time appear as identical yet distinct entities in one and the same text? The solution to the problem lays in the Assyrian concept of God, which defined Ashur-- "the only, universal God"-- as "the totality of gods." Ashur himself was beyond human comprehension. Man could know him only through his powers pervading and ruling the universe, which, though emanating from a single source, appeared to man as separate and were accordingly hypostatized as different gods. On the surface, then, Assyrian religion, with its multitude of gods worshiped under different names, appears to us as polytheistic; on a deeper level, however, it was monotheistic, all the divine deities being conceived of as powers, aspects, qualities, or attributes of Ashur, who is often simply referred to as "(the) God." On the human level, the underlying doctrine of God's "unity in multiplicity" mirrored the structure of the Assyrian empire -- a heterogenous multi-national power directed by a superhuman, autocratic king, who was conceived of as the representative of God on earth. The idea of God as "the sum total of gods" is attested in various parts of the ancient Near East already in the 6th century BC, and later in several Hellenistic and Oriental philosophies and religions (e.g., Platonism, Orphism, Neoplatonism, Hinduism, Tantrism). It certainly also was part and parcel of first-millennium BC Jewish monotheism, as shown by the biblical designation of "God," elõhîm, which literally means "gods." What is more, the idea of a divine council is well attested in the Bible and unquestionably formed an essential component of the imagery of Jewish prophets from the earliest times through the end of biblical prophecy. Consider, for example, the following passage, quoting words of the mid-ninth-century prophet Micaiah: Now listen to the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD seated on his throne, with all the host of heaven in attendance on his right and on his left. The LORD said, "Who will entice Ahab to attack and fall on Ramoth-gilead?" One said one thing and one said another; then a high spirit came forward and stood before the LORD and said, "I will entice him." "How?" said the LORD. "I will go out," he said, "and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets." "You shall entice him," said the LORD, "and you shall succeed; go and do it." You see, then, how the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, because he has decreed disaster for you. The key elements of this vision --God, seated on his throne, presiding over and conversing with a heavenly council or court-- not only recur in most major biblical prophets and Job, but in later Jewish and Christian traditions as well, from post-exilic times down to medieval Kabbalah. Several further elements of biblical imagery (e.g., a furnace or lamp burning at the throne of God, a succession of heavens and heavenly palaces, ladders leading to them, heavenly gates and gatekeepers, and a heavenly city and kingdom) likewise continue as integral elements of later Jewish and Christian traditions, and what is particularly important in this context, they also figure prominently in the Assyrian prophecy corpus and Mesopotamian cosmic geography at large.

The various celestial beings or spiritual entities populating the heavens in Christianity and Judaism are explained partly as creations, partly as hypostases of God. In Christian dogma, angels and saints belong to the former category; God the Father, Christ, and the Holy Spirit to the latter. In early Jewish mysticism, by contrast, angels are conceived as powers of God, and they are actually invoked as (quasi) independent gods in Jewish magical texts of the early first millennium AD. The fundamental unity of all divine powers is, however, basic to Judaism, and is encoded in its central symbol, the menorah, now well established as derived from the Ancient Near Eastern sacred tree or "Tree of Life." Though the Tree itself is well known from the Bible and has a prehistory reaching long back into pre-exilic times, its precise symbolism was long kept secret from the masses and therefore surfaces only in medieval Jewish mysticism Kabbalah. The Tree of Life of Kabbalah is a multi-layered symbol in which the metaphysic structure of the universe (macrocosm) and the model of the perfect man (microcosm) converge as the "image" of God. It is composed of ten divine powers called sefirot ("[primordial] numbers," lit., "counting"), defined as aspects or attributes of God and systematically associated with parts of his "body," so as to constitute an anthropomorphic whole. It thus effectively depicts God as the "sum total" of his divine powers, "gods".

From the viewpoint of Assyrian prophecy, it is of crucial importance that the tree with its entire associated doctrinal apparatus can be based on a Mesopotamian model perfected in Assyria in the 2nd millennium BC. That this model could be made an integral part of Jewish religious thought underlines the basic similarity of the Assyrian and biblical concepts of God. The Assyrian sacred tree, which occasionally takes an anthropomorphic form, can be analyzed as consisting of the "great gods" of the Assyrian pantheon and taken as a schematic representation of the "divine assembly," with Ishtar occupying the "heart" of this divine "body." Like the sefirot, the "great gods" making up the tree were prominently associated with numbers. This fact gives the tree an important mystical dimension. Equipped with this information, we can now return to the problem of the identity of Ashur and Ishtar left pending above. On the surface level, we have a scene in oracle 3.4 in which the prophet, personifying Ishtar, administers a ritual meal to gods summoned from various cities and districts of Assyria to participate (along with the respective governors and vassal kings) in a divine covenant in favor of Esarhaddon. On the allegorical level, this corresponds to a meeting of the divine council, convened to terminate a period of divine wrath with Assyria and to initiate a new era under the rule of a savior king, Esarhaddon. On a deeper, mystical level, the passage describes a process taking place within Ashur himself, with Ishtar, the "heart" of his cosmic body, playing a key role in the process. The same pattern of thought is reflected in Tablet XI of the Gilgamesh Epic, which tells that the heart of the convened great gods induced them to cause the Flood, and later specifies that it was Ishtar who commanded it. Thus, while Ishtar in the oracle appears as the primus motor of the covenant, it was the council in its entirety, that is, Ashur himself, who concluded it. All things considered, the conceptual framework of Assyrian prophecy emerges as largely identical with that of ancient Israelite prophecy. Both shared the same basic concept of God as "the sum total of gods" and the same religious concepts and imagery.

Fred Aprim

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