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Volume IX

Issue 15

19 May 2003
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This Week In Zinda

cover photo

  Numbers over Names
  Return to the Homeland of Ashour: Fact or Fancy?
  Anti-Christian Violence in Iraq on the Rise
Iraqi Christians Fear Rise of Shiite Fundamentalism
Assyrians Call for End to Kurdish Terror Raids in Karkuk, Mosul
May 5th Mayoral Elections in Mosul and Nineveh
  Special Meeting Called By His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV
U.S. Troops Vandalize Ancient City of Ur
GILGAMESH Rides Again in Epic

Sacrificing A People For the Sake of Religious Fanaticism
The Assyrian Representation: Legality, Obligation, Qualification…
A Response to the Chaldeans’ Position and Role in the New Iraq
Wake Up Chaldeans!
Dear Bishop Ibrahim & Bishop Jammo
Assyrian Rally at the Los Angeles Federal Building

  Assyrian State Convention of California Schedule of Activities
Internet Conference at the California State Convention
Commemoration of A Most Unique Migration Venture
News Radio Broadcasts in Assyrian
  Assyrians After Decades in Exile, Want to Rebuild Their Native Village
Resettlement of Diaspora Christians Thwarted by Kurdish Muslims
Agatha Christie's Love for Iraq was No Mystery
  Rosemary Yonan Honored as Mother of the Year
Participants at the Walkathon Raise $7,000



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Zinda Says


Let’s be honest with ourselves: the struggle of the Christians in Iraq and Iran and Turkey and Syria and much of the Middle East for that matter is entirely the predicament of the same people in whose hearts believe to be a forgotten bit of the same cultural realm. No matter how we twist and turn this issue, wrap it up with glossy words and historic titles, we arrive at the same conclusion –the Syriac-speaking people of the world that struggle to keep their cultural and political identity identify themselves as Assyrians.

What is then this thing we so warmly label as “the struggle” in our speeches and writings? Basically, it’s resisting extinction or more dramatically-put staying afloat in a sea of anti-Assyrian sentiments. The next logical question is inquring about the nature of these anti-Assyrian actors in the region. This point remains the central issue in the current politics of Iraq.

Darwinian laws of nature and more accurately the political forces within a defined environment (a population of people) abide by the Rule of Numbers. It goes something like this: the more birds of the same feather (could be genetic or cultural), the less chances of the disappearance of their physical and cultural values. Hence, splitting a people into North and South Korea, East and West Berlin, Assyrians and Chaldeans, Shiites and Sunnis, promotes only the ambition of an external entity whose numbers are not as great within the environment in question.

An anti-Assyrian is a group, a people, or even an individual who does not wish to witness the evolution of disparate Assyrian communities (our current state of affair) into a united Assyrian nation and eventually into a nation-state. A Kurdish leader employing cagey tactics to eradicate our people from an oil-city in North Iraq is no less anti-Assyrian than an Assyrian bishop whose fiery speeches push his own kind to the edge of fractionalism and annhilation. If we truly believe, as we certainly do, that the names “Chaldean”, “Assyrian”, “Syriac”, “Aramean”, “Nestorian”, “Suraya”, “Suryoyo”, and so on – refer to the same people, then by definition an anti-Assyrian is an anti-Chaldean, anti-Syriac, etc. He or she who attempts to divide us is not with us, rather with those who wish to see us fall on our faces and be once and for all defeated and extinct.

At last week’s meeting in Chicago, called for by the His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV of the Church of the East, the issue of dealing with the “Chaldeans” was on the agenda. A closer examination of the Press Release produced at the end of this gathering (see News Digest) reveals a very different attitude toward this issue than that presented by the Chaldean bishops in the U.S. in their recent declaration (see last week’s editorial). The assembled group made an accurate inference that the sentiments displayed by the two bishops do not reflect the general will of the Chaldean people.

In Section 2(ii) of this press release we read: “The terms ‘Assyrian’, ‘Chaldean’, ‘Syriac’, and ‘Aramean’ refer to one national ethnic group. The future and fate of this ethnicity is greater than the self-interest of an individual or a group. The various ethnic terms must not be used to divide the oneness of our people. The participants remain committed towards working with Chaldeans, in particular, those who seek unity with Assyrians despite all obstacles presented by a few individuals.” This is a formidable challenge, and requires an extraordinary vision, planning, and patience.

Elsewhere, the Assyrian Democratic Movement reported this week that it held a meeting in Iraq to address the political conditions in Iraq where the members discussed the formation of an interim Iraqi government. The Zowaa Political Bureau also adopted several resolutions on various issues. One such resolution calls for the distribution of letters or statements by the Assyrian Democratic Movement in support of a compound name “Assyro-Chaldean” (with or without a dash) until a larger body of Syriac-speaking representatives can reach a more comprehensive decision at a later date.

Is ADM armed with a clearer perspective on the reality of our politics in Baghdad or is its Political Bureau under pressure from non-Assyrians (anti-Assyians?) to compromise on this time? Have the leaders of our Churches begun a push toward a “Numbers over Names” policy?

In the next few weeks and months we may observe a few groups and individuals catapulting us into an entirely new reality: a new name, new concessions, and new alliances. We shall vigilantly await further developments and prepare to respond accordingly – keeping in mind the validity of the Rule of Numbers for the advancement of the greater good of our collective ethnicity and national idenity.

Wilfred Bet-Alkhas

The Lighthouse


The main objective of this paper is to revisit examine some of the points advanced in my previous paper, “Alienation of Assyrian Political Performance in Diaspora,” (appearing in Zinda, May 20, 2002) and their relevance to the current political situation in Iraq.

The most frequently-stated explanation one will hear from an Iraqi Assyrian who forsook his homeland is that he was persecuted by the Ba’ath regime because he is Christian Assyrian. For this reason, he will explain, he was obliged to take refuge in the Christian West. While there is truth to this rationale, it is probably not the complete picture. But be that as it may, a more critical point of concern is the many past statements of certain Assyrians (who describe themselves as the “leaders” of political parties and nationalistic organizations) who would tell anyone listening that as soon as Saddam and his Ba’ath party were removed from power, they would be returning to Iraq.

There can hardly be a nobler or more legitimate ambition for any genuine Assyrian patriot, than to repatriate to the homeland. But now that the dictator Saddam and his fascistic Ba’ath regime have in fact been ousted from power in Iraq, have these “leaders” delivered on their promise?

As I proceed, may I remind the readers of a few points I mentioned in my previous paper, where I explained why the Assyrian national case is exceptional.

Firstly, Assyrians established their political parties and organizations in the Diaspora while other Iraqi nations -- Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen -- established theirs while in exile. In a political sense, exile is different from Diaspora. The latter is a permanent situation, and does not necessarily have any political content. For example a person in Diaspora typically acquires a new citizenship status. Exile, on the other hand, is seen as a temporary situation for a population which is small compared to that of the homeland. Exile occurs due to political reasons associated with the eventual liberation of the homeland or the removal of an existing regime. As soon as this goal is achieved, it is very likely that the members of these political groups will return to their homeland to take part in the new government, to participate in national politics, and to resume their lives in a place they consider their permanent home.

Secondly, another significant distinction between the Assyrians and other Iraqi subsets is that our Diaspora population actually outnumbers those who remained in the homeland; and the number of emigrants continues to increase unabated. The majority of Diaspora Assyrians, particularly those who have been here for a couple of generations, have planted deep social and economic roots in their adopted country; they have come to take for granted their serene and comfortable life style. There is no evidence that they are giving any serious consideration to leaving the adopted country, including its physical security and economic opportunity, in favor of “repatriation.”

While one can accept this thinking as normal in the general population of the Assyrian Diaspora, it appears disingenuous and even a breach of faith when it is applied to the prominent activists in our political parties and other nationalist “leaders.” After all, their signature trademark was to clamor about returning to the homeland, and they led us to believe they intended to be on hand for the creation of an independent state or for autonomy for our people there.

Today, we find that these same leaders do not hesitate to condemn the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM) for failing to produce some form of Assyrian autonomy in Iraq, or for lacking the requisite vigor in pursuit of Assyrian national rights. While hurling such attacks at the ADM in Iraq, these Diaspora leaders have firmly ensconced themselves in the plush trappings of Western life, without the slightest intention of abandoning any of their comforts for a return to the homeland. Moreover, these so-called leaders in the Diaspora have shown no inclination to lift a finger to assist the ADM or other Assyrian parties in Iraq who are toiling to secure a measure of political standing for our people there. These very same Diaspora leaders have yet to come forward with any constructive plan to marshal some practical assistance for our needy people in Iraq.

Meanwhile, it appears that ADM ( ) has come the closest to fulfilling the responsibility of a genuine Assyrian nationalist organization. Through its charity arm, the Assyrian Aid Society, it has dealt capably with many of the tribulations and unexpected occurrences daily confronting Assyrians not only in the villages of Garbia, but also in the principal cities of Iraq (such as Baghdad, Mosul, and Kirkuk). With a limited budget, and with constant backsniping from sunshine patriots, the ADM has worked diligently in a difficult and abstruse environment, in the interest of our small Christian Assyrian community which lives amid a huge Muslim and non-Assyrian population. As I see it, ADM is practicing national politics in an exemplary manner.

Unlike Diaspora Assyrians, most of the Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen leaders and the cadres of their political organizations in exile have by now returned to Iraq, engaging in homeland politics, and working to secure their place in the forthcoming Iraqi government. The contrast is a stark one. To date, no Assyrian political party or leader from the Diaspora has returned to the homeland, and there is no perceptible sign that any of this is about to change. A few honorable Assyrians, in their individual capacity, or perhaps representing an Assyrian organization, have made the effort to visit post-Saddam Iraq, and such isolated cases deserve our appreciation. But these individuals are unfortunately the exception, and certainly not the rule.

It is appropriate to ask why Arab, Kurdish and Turkmen politicians return to Iraq, while their Assyrian counterparts do not? One obvious way to explain this opposite behavior is to keep in mind the difference between those in the Diaspora and those in exile. The significant contrast between the performance of the ADM and of the Diaspora Assyrian political parties ought to be a cause of great concern. ADM stands out because, among the array of Assyrian organizations and parties, it seems to be the only one pursuing a practical course aimed at actual achievements. We already touched on this in our previous paper, and in view of the current situation in Iraq today, it may be useful to briefly remind the reader of a few points.

We’ve referred before to two theoretical concepts of politics useful in gauging Assyrian political performance: “Demography and Geography,” and “The Art of the Possible”. The first relates to all aspects of life taking place in an area known as the homeland. The second concerns practical activities and the wise use of available resources in order to achieve certain objectives.

Both of these concepts are relevant to the ADM. Firstly, the members of this organization are Iraqi natives, and the live there. The group was established in the homeland for specific Assyrian purposes, and this is the very place where its members are practicing their politics.

Secondly, ADM is trying to utilize all available resources and it is doing so in a very difficult, uncertain and uneasy environment. In such delicate circumstances, the ADM has to deal with a panoply of views, ranging from ultra-Marxists, socialists and nationalists, to the extremist Islamic groups. It is an understatement to say that to achieve its goals on behalf of Assyrians, ADM’s task calls for a high degree of skill. Apparently, the difficulties inherent in this challenge seem to escape a few shallow-minded Assyrians who are quick to issue ungenerous comments about ADM’s political performance. It is very important to any Assyrian interested in nationalist issues to recognize that practicing politics in a friendly and democratic environment (such as in the Diaspora) is a far more benign exercise than its practice in a hostile, untrusting, situation (such as that of post-Saddam Iraq).

If the past decades have taught us anything, it is that Assyrian political parties in the Diaspora are simply flailing at windmills. The time is long past for them to restore a measure of their credibility among the Assyrian by dedicating themselves to a productive course. There are several ways in which this can be accomplished, and one example is for them to pack their national claims in their attaché cases, and fly to Iraq to advocate these claims firsthand. Or they could set aside their “agenda” of Ashour liberation or autonomy, and instead concentrate their effort in Assyrian American politics. In doing this, they can help support Iraqi Assyrians and their homeland political parties, and they can look to the Assyrian American League as a great example of that model.

The abnormal conditions in Iraq and the general lack of security in this time of transition is an understandable reason why ordinary Assyrians seeking to visit family or relatives in the homeland would postpone their travel plans. But this is not an explanation befitting anyone who calls himself an “Assyrian political leader,” and especially in the case of those who publicly insist on an independent Assyria or autonomy. These are the “leaders” who aspire to compete with or even supersede the homeland Assyrian parties, yet they want to do this by long distance only.

Participation in Middle East politics, particularly when it comes to Iraq, is more than a rhetorical challenge. It is fraught with high risk and demands personal sacrifice (sometimes costing one’s life). Those who do not hesitate to step forward to this challenge deserve our greatest respect. As for the rest – their national claims notwithstanding – they deserve to be seen as duplicitous hypocrites.

On 3 February 1985 three members of the Assyrian Democratic Movement are hanged in Baghdad without trial: Yousip Toma Hermis, Youbert Benyamin Shlimon & Youkhana Esho Jajo. Sixteen other ADM members have been murdered since then. The author visited the burial site of Martyr Yousip Toma Hermis at Belejani village in North Iraq in March 2000.

We the Diaspora Assyrians can take a meaningful stand in solidarity with our Iraqi Assyrian brothers and sisters, to help them prove that our claims for national rights are meritorious. Here are a couple of supportive measures which should be considered without delay:

· Convening general conferences for non-political Assyrian organizations in the USA, Europe, Russia and Australia, to be organized by Assyrian Federation organizations of these continents in order to discuss and find out practical ways of providing financial, political and moral support to the Iraqi Assyrians.

· An immediate conference in Baghdad assembling Diaspora and homeland Assyrian political parties and organizations with the coordination of ADM, the key player of Iraqi Assyrian politics in Iraq. This conference would aim to give a boost to the Assyrian claims in Iraq and to assist the struggle of the Assyrian political parties there. This is a very simple and practical duty for any Assyrian political leader who claims to be a nationalist. Those who take this step will act as pioneers for other Assyrians who want to achieve their dream in returning to homeland

We recognize that these are modest steps compared to our national aspirations, or when compared to some of the dreamier claims (such as “establishing a little Bet-Nahrain” in north of Iraq or “calling for a return of all Diaspora Assyrians to the homeland-Iraq, so as to change the demographics on the ground). But for starters, it is imperative that we learn to differentiate between the possible and the impossible. We should not forfeit achievable objectives for a bag of dreams and romantic claims. We should ask our people for a realistic commitment, and we ought not to look for miracles. We should begin in pursuit of the simple and current objectives, and not get too far ahead of ourselves. Such simple measures are very practical, and they can bear fruit in the short-term, which is an essential step on the road to national claims.

The dramatic developments in post-Saddam Iraq were generally unexpected by the Assyrian parties in the Diaspora. Caught by surprise, most of them seem to have assumed a very low profile or, in some cases, entirely disappeared from the political horizon. The only signs of life seem to be random statements and routine press releases containing statements of scant value and improbable application.

It is true that the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA), took the initiative by convening a conference (April 25-27, 2003) in Amsterdam, with high-sounding declarations to unite our nation. This was meant to forge us as one voice in the quest for Assyrian national rights in a reconstructed Iraq. Unfortunately, this gathering stuck to the familiar tune of adopting romantic and unrealizable objectives. Unity is more than mere words or slogans or press releases, as Professor S. Osipov noted perfectly (See Zinda May 15, 2003). If it is to mean much, unity must be evident in deeds, not just words. We are in desperate need of organizations focused on deeds and activities, instead of words and press releases.

Due to its international structure and experience, I still believe that AUA is the appropriate organization to take the initiative at the present time, to mobilize the efforts and the resources of the Diaspora Assyrians toward supporting the homeland Assyrian movement in Iraq. But it cannot do so without first abandoning its Stone Age and romantic claims, and replacing them with factual and practical ones. Regrettably, the AUA continues to bark up the wrong tree, neglecting geographical facts and political borders. While it is true that we are “One Nation, Assyrian,” the political and legal fact is that we are Iraqi Assyrians, American Assyrians, Australian Assyrians and so on. Politics and law deal with real facts not aspirations and fulsome feelings. Politics considers actions and movements, not press releases and paper conclusions.

In the current climate, the Iraqi situation demands that all Assyrians and their organizations divert their efforts toward the Iraqi Assyrians. In this connection, I would like to recall what I wrote in my article, “A Call for A New AUA Secretary General” (Zinda, 30 September 2002). Not surprisingly, that message has fallen on deaf ears, and the logic of having an Iraqi Assyrian at the helm of the AUA at this critical time seems to have escaped the current leadership. Subsequent events in Iraq, including the downfall of Saddam and the Ba’athist government, have proven more than ever the critical need for our case to be presented by an appropriate Iraqi Assyrian voice.

The way things are today, Mr. Bush, Mr. Blair, and other world leaders, and even the various Iraqi political groups, seem to listen to Iraqi Assyrians and to consider their claims more thoughtfully than Assyrians elsewhere. Out of the current chaos, a unique opportunity has appeared after a long century of national deprivation. He who can wrest this opportunity and achieve our national rights in the homeland will be the real statesman. If we fail again, we are going to face another century of chasm, if not longer.

Aprim Shapera
United Kingdom

There are others Assyrian political parties in Iraq and I am referring to ADM just as an example of an active, popular political organization recognized by the Iraqi main political groups, the USA Administration and other world wide political organizations. This exclusive reference to ADM is not deleting the role of other Assyrian political parties in Iraq.





Courtesy of the Ekklesia (18 May)

(ZNDA: Baghdad) Anti-Christian violence which Christians in Iraq have long feared seems finally to have arrived with the brutal murder of two Christian men.

Sabah Gazala and Abdul Ahed who were shot and killed by two Islamic gunmen within ten minutes in separate incidents in Basra.

Like a number of Christians in the city and in other parts of Iraq they were involved in the sale of alcohol, jobs forbidden to Muslims but permitted to Christians under Saddam Hussein’s rule.

In recent weeks such vendors have faced severe threats from Shia Muslim conservatives seeking to impose defacto Islamic law (which bans alcohol completely) in Iraq in the chaotic wake of the victory of coalition forces in the country.

Many Christian shop owners have been forced to close, others to defend their premises with metal bars across the windows.

In Basra, Baghdad and across Iraq some Christians are beginning to suffer harassment, threats, intimidation and even violence at the hands of conservative Shia Muslims who want to impose Shari’ah law on both Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

On Friday 2 May Moqtada Sadr, one of the main Shia leaders in the country openly declared in a sermon in Kufa that “The banning of alcohol; and the wearing of the veil should be spread to all and not only to Muslims.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that last week in Basra Shereen Musa, a Christian woman, was pelted with vegetables to chants of “Shame! Shame!” as she walked with her mother through a market, simply because her head was not covered in accordance with the Shari’ah. “Everyone was laughing at me, and I was crying,” Shereen said.

“When I had to walk back through the same place someone saw a cross on my neck and said: ‘Oh, you’re a Christian. You’ll suffer a terrible fate.’”

Some Christian families like Shereen’s have now begun to leave Basra to return to the traditional Christian heartland around Mosul.

In Baghdad Christians are “terrified”and “hesitating to come to church” as services at one Chaldean church in the city are drowned out by Islamic prayers and teaching broadcast by loudspeaker from a new mosque across the street.

Elsewhere, shopkeepers selling western-style magazines with advertisements containing pictures of women considered unacceptable by many Shia Muslims have also been threatened and intimidated.

Christians are fearful for their future in an Iraq which seems to be slipping into the hands of Muslim extremists who want an Islamic state under Shari’ah.

Both the Vatican and the US Committee for International Religious Freedom have issued statements expressing their concern that religious liberty should be guaranteed for all in the future Iraq.

Iraqi Church leaders from all the major denominations have similarly issued a joint statement asking that the new Iraqi constitution “recognise our religious, cultural, social and political rights … consider Christians as Iraqi citizens with full rights” and “guarantee the right to profess our faith according to our ancient traditions” a clear indication of
their concern.

They want to draw attention to the fact that Christians are beginning to face violence and discrimination at the hands of conservative Muslims in the new Iraq and urge that every possible measure is taken "to protect the Christian minority in Iraq and prevent them from becoming the victims of Islamic extremist violence."


Courtesy of the Charlotte Observer (19 May); by Mark Mueller

(ZNDA: Baghdad) Two weeks ago, Raad Karim Essa arrived home from work to find his furniture on the street. His Muslim landlord wasn't renting to Christians anymore. "He told us not to argue and threatened us," said Essa, 42, a father of four. "He said the government was no longer here to protect us. What could we do? We feared for our lives."

"The Muslims want to destroy us," said Amira Nisan, 38, Essa's wife. "I think we were better off under Saddam." Such a statement, once unthinkable, is voiced increasingly today among Iraq's 800,000 Christians.

Like most of their countrymen, Christians greeted the fall of Saddam Hussein with celebration and hope. But their desire for greater religious freedom has been replaced by fear of the fundamentalism rippling through Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority, which has moved quickly to exert its influence after decades of violent repression.

Christian women say they've been harassed by Shiite men for walking on the street without head scarves. Priests complain that Shiite clerics inflame religious hatred by calling for the expulsion from Iraq of "nonbelievers." The most overt acts have been directed at Iraq's liquor stores and manufacturers, almost universally run by Christians. The owners say they've been threatened with death for selling alcohol, forbidden under a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

"I'm afraid for my people," said Bishop Ishlemon Warduni, the religious leader of Iraq's Chaldean community, which represents about 80 percent of the nation's Christians. The remaining 20 percent is comprised mostly of Syrians, Assyrians and Armenians.

"During the war, we were not afraid like we are now. All Christians are in danger," said Warduni, 60. "We have a 2,000-year history in Iraq, and that is now threatened. The fanatics would see us gone."

The worries are most pronounced in southern Iraq, a Shiite stronghold where clerics have issued the most strident calls for the creation of an Islamic republic. But religious tensions are high and rising in Baghdad as well.

"Ten days ago was better than a week ago, and a week ago was better than today," Warduni said. "I have no doubt that tomorrow will be worse. We're losing what little protection we had."

Under Saddam, Christians were permitted to worship but not to publicly express their views or proselytize. It also was forbidden to give children Christian names.

While those strictures have been swept aside, Christians say they feel even less free in the face of growing Shiite pride and power. In the chaotic days after Baghdad's fall, Shiite clerics sent armed followers to patrol neighborhoods and to safeguard schools and hospitals from looting. Still under Shiite control, some of those hospitals now bear signs ordering any woman seeking treatment to wear a head scarf.

The relationship between Muslims and Christians has grown more sensitive with the profusion of new mosques. In almost every Baghdad neighborhood, vacant buildings and former government offices have been converted into Shiite houses of worship.

One such mosque, Jama Al-Wehda Al-Islamiya, or Unity of Islam, sits directly across the street from Warduni's church, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. Before the war, the building served as the neighborhood headquarters for the ruling Baath Party. Later, it was looted and partially burned.

The Shiite mosque moved in three weeks ago, mounting a half-dozen loudspeakers that blare the call to prayer five times a day, sometimes interfering with church services across the street.

The mosque's imam, Sheik Ali Al-Bahadili, said he is supportive of an Islamic state, but he said it should be one that respects the rights of Christians and other Iraqi minority groups. He flatly rejected claims that Muslims have been targeting or intimidating Christians.

Sam Hanna argues otherwise.

One morning recently, the 43-year-old Christian arrived at his Baghdad liquor store to find a note that had been slipped under the door. "It said that if we didn't stop selling alcohol, the shop would be bombed and we would be killed," Hanna said.

The situation is equally grave for the region's distilleries. About 20 miles north of Baghdad, in the town of Baquba, six factories that once manufactured whiskey, gin and arak, a sweet Arabic liquor, have been closed for a month or more. A Shiite cleric went from factory to factory with a large group of armed men, decreeing that only medicinal alcohol could be manufactured in the future.

"Everyone's afraid," said Albert Paul Younan, 42, the manager at the Al-Abraj alcohol plant.

Younan said he sought help from a United Nations facility in Baghdad, where he spoke with an American military commander.

"I told him we need protection, and he said, `I'm sorry. You're going to have to protect yourselves,' " Younan said. "There is no law anymore. There is only Islamic law. God help us all."


Courtesy of the Assyrian International News Agency (16 May). All Rights Reserved.

The precipitous disintegration of Iraqi armed forces towards the end of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" led to a provocative advance of Kurdish forces into the cities of Mosul and Karkuk. The ensuing looting and terror raids against the majority non-Kurdish residents of those cities have led to increased ethnic tension. American forces that were supposed to secure the urban areas in order to prevent just such terror raids by Kurds did not arrive until Kurdish bands looted and ransacked the cities unhindered…

To read this article in its entirety visit: http://aina.org/releases/2003/karkukmosul.htm


Courtesy of the Army Link (12 May); by James Matise

(ZNDA: Mosul) On 5 May the retired Iraqi general Ghamin Al-Basso became mayor of more than 2 million citizens in the city of Mosul and its outlying Nineveh province.

The Mosul Interim Government Convention, held May 5 by local delegates and brokered by the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at the old Ba'ath Party Social Club, marked the first democratic elections held in Northern Iraq and put the first local officials there in public office since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.

"I thank all the people who have come here from afar and made me responsible for all the province," Al-Basso said to the 24-member interim city council that elected him and to the 232 delegates from nine ethnic and geographic factions who also elected the council. "I will be a loyal soldier."

Al-Basso was forced into retirement and briefly imprisoned during the Iran-Iraq war when his brother, Salim Al-Basso, was caught plotting an attack against Saddam Hussein and executed. Yet the mayor remained in Mosul, said local resident Basel Faisel Mohammed.

It was a day of firsts at the convention, which brought together Arab, Kurdish, Turkomen, Assyrian, Yezidi and Shabakh ethnic groups from Mosul and the outlying municipalities in the province. They endured an arduous election process that took the entire day to complete, but in the end celebrated their final product.

Mohammed Rashib, chief justice of the Nineveh province, validated the election for the delegates and vouched for its credibility.

The delegates then broke off in their own groups and went in to a private session to vote for representation to the city council. An officer of the 101st and a local judge observed each group.

Using preprinted ballots with the delegates' names printed in English and Arabic, the delegates voted and cast their ballots in wooden boxes. The boxes were escorted by armed guard in a public room and opened. A division officer and impartial election observers counted the votes, and a judge certified their tallies.

When officials had counted the ballots for the retired generals' faction, the election process took a new twist.

"There was a tie, so they're going to go re-vote," said Col. Richard O. Hatch, 101st staff judge advocate."It's a tie between four people, so they're going to revote with just those four names."

After the first round of council voting, the Arabs from outside the city and the Assyrian Christians, had ties.
Hatch said the groups re-voted, breaking the ties.

The retired generals ultimately had to vote a third time before clear winners for the group's two council seats were established.

After everyone present was satisfied with the election's accuracy, the ballots were taped together and placed back in the voting boxes, which was taped off, signed by a judge and placed on display in the convention's main room. The delegates were called back in, the results were announced, and Mosul's new city council was sworn in.

After the delegates broke for lunch, several hours later than planned, the new council met to vote for its mayor and appoint a deputy mayor and assistant mayors.

The delegates returned shortly after and the ballots were quickly tallied, but before Al-Basso's victory was announced, the delegates were notified that the council had already made its first decision resolving a miscommunication involving the Kurdish members of the council.

"It had been agreed there would be only three Kurdish council members and the deputy mayor would be one of the three. But due to a misunderstanding, the Kurds thought there would be an added member who would be the deputy mayor," Petraeus said.

The council decided there would be no change in the number of representation, so the Kurds asked if they could exchange a member of their council for the man they wanted as deputy mayor, Petraeus said.

"It was discussed with the city council, and they decided that they would allow that member to replace one of three Kurdish members. The city council agreed unanimously and the chief judge validated that."

The deputy mayor, nominated by the Kurds and chosen by acclimation of the city council, is Khusru Goran. Two assistant mayors were also chosen from the Assyrian and Turkomen factions, also nominated by their parties and ratified by acclimation. They are Yousif Lallo and Dr. Ibrahiem Mohammed Salin.

Al-Basso and his deputy and assistant mayors were then sworn in office, completing the formation of the interim government.

Security was extremely tight at the convention to prevent the elections from being disrupted. People seeking access to the convention had to produce a notarized invitation distributed earlier.

Infantry and military police squads were deployed on the streets surrounding the social club and cut off direct access by vehicle with sconcertina wire. A sniper squad positioned itself on the roof, and higher above, Kiowa and Apache attack helicopters patrolled the area continuously. Psychological Operations and Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams stood by for any possible contingency.

Aside from a single thunderous explosion around 11 a.m., which turned out just to be EOD setting off a charge, the convention remained safe and undisturbed.

"Mosul truly is a special city. It is blessed in many ways and our soldiers feel very good about what they are doing here," Petraeus said. "Soon we will all know how to say, 'Ana Maslawi (I am a Mosul citizen)'. I am confident that together we can make a lasting difference for the people of this city and this province."

[Z-info: The article above was written by Private First Class James Matise of the 101st Airborne Division for Army Link, an Internet news service of the U.S. Army.]

News Digest


Press Release
15 May 2003

1. In his continued effort to promote trust, collaboration and unity among the Assyrian and all Syriac-speaking People, His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, on Monday, May 12, 2003, called a meeting of Assyrians from the Chicago area and from elsewhere composed of twenty (20) individuals from various religious, political and civic organizations. The meeting started at 7:00 PM.

2. The meeting began by an invocation by His Holiness who later on spoke briefly about the necessity of this meeting and the issues raised in its agenda. The Agenda included three points: (i) the current political situation in Iraq, in particular the situation of the Assyrians; (ii) the relations between Assyrians and Chaldeans; (iii) the relations between the various Assyrian political parties. Here is a summary of discussion on each one:

i. The participants declared that the current political situation in Iraq obligates all Iraqis, including Assyrians, to do their best to help Iraq restore its proper place among the civilized nations of the world and prosperous countries in the Middle East. Assyrians, however, must also do their best to have the new Iraqi constitution recognize Assyrian national identity and ethnicity and protect their other rights guaranteeing their cultural, administrative and legal rights.

ii. The terms "Assyrian", "Chaldean", " Syriac", and "Aramean " refer to one national ethnic group. The future and fate of this ethnicity is greater than the self-interest of an individual or a group. The various ethnic terms must not be used to divide the oneness of our people. The participants remain committed towards working with Chaldeans, in particular, those who seek unity with Assyrians despite all obstacles presented by a few individuals.

iii. The Assyrians people today again face difficult issues in a tumultuous time. It is imperative that all Assyrian political groups work with diligence and professionalism so that further political or sectarian division does not hamper the hard-earned gains achieved thus far. The Participants look forward to continue this kind of meetings to further coordinate and ultimately organize a strong political leadership for the Assyrians.

iv. The Christian Churches in Iraq - - the promoters of fraternal relations and tolerant coexistence between all Iraqis - like all Iraqis also face challenging times ahead. The participants, therefore, call upon the heads of all the Christian Churches in Iraq (including the Assyrian Church of the East, the Ancient Church of the East, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Maklkite Catholic Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Protestant Churches) to rally for the sake of having the new Iraqi constitution recognize and protect their religious rights guaranteeing their freedom of worship and their administrative, legal, educational and cultural rights.

3. For the conclusion of this meeting, the assembled representatives declared that the work of this group is not finished and there would definitively be a further need in the future for them to gather again under the auspices of His Holiness to discuss future issues and programs for the benefit of all Assyrians and their institutions.

4. At the end of the meeting all the participants thanked His Holiness for this historic initiative and pledged full cooperation for the sake of unity between all the various folds of the Assyrian Nation. The Participants also thanked Saint Mary’s Parish for hosting this meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 PM.

5. The following individuals were present at this meeting:

Head of Assembly:
— His Holiness Mar Dinkha, IV, Catholicos-Patriarch (Assyrian Church of the East)

Religious Participants: (Alphabetically)
— Rev. Alfred Abraham (Assyrian Evangelical Church)
— His Grace Bishop Mar Emanuel Eliya (Church of the East)
— Archdeacon Awikam Pithyou (Ancient Church of the East)
— His Grace Bishop Mar Bawai Soro (Assyrian Church of the East)

Political Participants: (Alphabetically)
— Dr. Sargon Dadisho (Assyrian National Congress & Assyrian Committee of Eight—Iraqi Opposition)
— Mr. Fraidon Darmoo (Assyrian Committee of Eight—Iraqi Opposition)
— Mr. Romel Elia (Assyrian Democratic Movement)
— Mr. Eshaya Esho (Assyrian National Organization)
— Mr. Younan Homme (Assyrian Democratic Party)
— Mr. Pnoel Hormiz (Bet Nahrain Democratic Party)
— Dr. Emanoel Kambar (Assyrian Committee of Eight—Iraqi Opposition) (Excused)
— Mr. Shimun Khamo (Bet Nahrain National Alliance)
— Mr. Abgar Maloul (Assyrian Democratic Organization)
— Dr. Ron Michael (Assyrian American League)
— Mr. Moshe Moshe (Assyrian Liberation Movement)
— Senator John Nimrod (Assyrian Universal Alliance)
— Mr. Kaldo Shmoel (Assyrian Patriotic Party)

Civic Participants: (Alphabetically)
— Mr. Robert DeKelaita, Esq. (Legal Counsel)
— Mr. Atour Golani (Assyrian American National Federation)
— Mr. Shiba Mando (Assyrian National Council of Illinois)

Report prepared by Bishop Mar Bawai Soro
15 May 2003



Courtesy of the Observer (18 May); by Ed Vulliamy

One of the greatest wonders of civilisation, and probably the world's most ancient structure - the Sumerian city of Ur in southern Iraq - has been vandalised by American soldiers and airmen, according to aid workers in the area.
They claim that US forces have spray-painted the remains with graffiti and stolen kiln-baked bricks made millennia ago. As a result, the US military has put the archaeological treasure, which dates back 6,000 years, off-limits to its own troops. Any violations will be punishable in military courts.

Land immediately adjacent to Ur has been chosen by the Pentagon for a sprawling airfield and military base. Access is highly selective, screened and subject to military escorts, which - even if agreed - need to be arranged days or weeks in advance and carefully skirt the areas of reported damage.

There has been no official response to the allegations of vandalism - reported to The Observer by aid workers and one concerned US officer.

Ur is believed by many to be the birthplace of the prophet Abraham. It was the religious seat of the civilisation of Sumer at the dawn of the line of dynasties which ruled Mesopotamia starting about 4000 BC. Long before the rise of the Egyptian, Greek or Roman empires, it was here that the wheel was invented and the first mathematical system developed. Here, the first poetry was written, notably the epic Gilganesh, a classic of ancient literature.

The most prominent monument is the best preserved ziggurat - stepped pyramid - in the Arab world, initially built by the Sumerians around 4000 BC and restored by Nebuchadnezzar II in the sixth century BC.

The Pentagon has elected to build its massive and potentially permanent base right alongside the site, so that the view from the peak of the ziggurat - more or less unchanged for 6,000 years - will be radically altered.

Each hour, long convoys of trucks heave gravel and building materials through checkpoints and the barbed wire perimeter extends daily.

There are reports that walls have been damaged by spray-painted graffiti, mostly patriotic or other slogans, and regimental mottos. One graffiti reads: 'SEMPER FE' - Always Faithful - the motto of the Marines, who stormed through this region on their way to Baghdad, and form a contingent at the base.

Other reports by groups who cannot be named for fear of losing access to medical patients being treated on the base say there has been widespread stealing of clay bricks baked to build and restore the structures at Ur.


Courtesy of Variety.com (17 May); by Cathy Dunkley

(ZNDA: Los Angeles) Michael Madsen, Omar Sharif, Billy Zane and Robert Davi have inked to star in a production of the classic tale "Gilgamesh" for Stonelock Pictures.

Pic, budgeted at $12.5 million and financed through Ben Atoori's Dutch bank Abn Amro, is skedded to start shooting Sept. 20 in Morocco.

Roger Christian ("Battlefield Earth") is directing from Mitchell Cohen's screenplay. Atoori will produce with Sabrina Atoori co-producing.

Epic action-adventure follows the story of the warrior king (Madsen) on his quest to find the answers to happiness and immortality. Other cast members approached for roles include Dennis Hopper and Peter O'Toole.

Madsen stars in "Blueberry" and Miramax Films' "Kill Bill." Sharif completed his role in "Return of the Thief of Baghdad." Zane was recently in "Sea Devils" and "The Kiss." Davi most recently starred in Disney's "Hot Chick."


Surfs Up!
Letters From Zinda Magazine Readers


There is a historic tendency of self destructiveness among the Syriac speaking people which accounts for the unending tragedies that our people have lived through. In the Acts o Martyrs written during the early centuries of christianity in Mesopotamia we read about christians rushing into the burning churches supposedly to hasten their entering into heaven or bravely volunteering to be executed for the sake of their religion.

The declaration of the Chaldean Bishops Sarhad Jammu and Abraham Abraham to divide our people ethnically based on who goes to what church seems to flow from the same destructive mentality. The Bishops are ready to sacrifice the collective interest of our people in Iraq so that they can glorify their church and pretend that its name denotes not only a religious denomination but also the ethnic identity of its members.

They knowingly make false statements to further their unholy crusade to fool the unsuspecting novice. In their Memorandum under the heading of the “Chaldean Ethnic and Cultural Identity” they write:

“Since the middle of the 16th century until the present time, the majority of Christians of Mesopotamia, today's Iraq, restored their ancient name "Chaldean" as the expression of their ethnic and cultural identity.....”

The name “Chaldean” was given by the Pope Julius III to a Church established in 1553 by John Sulaga in union with the Catholic Church (see “Chaldean Catholic CHurch”, New Catholic Encyclopedia, second Edition Vol.. 3 , 2003 pp. 366-369). Almost a century earlier the same name was bestowed on the Nestorians of Cyprus who had no ethnic connection to Mesopotamia other than their being Nestorian which proves that the term Chaldean was intended as a religion identity and not as ethnic origin. Furthermore from the 16th century to mid 18th century the chaldean church existed as a small minority mostly in Diarbekir and Amedia in today’s Turkey. In fact unlike Bishops Sarhad Jammu and Abraham Abraham members of the Chaldean church from that region have proudly acknowledged their Assyrian ethnicity as evidenced by the “Chaldean Assyrians of France” .

The Chaldean church gradually grew in population as more Assyrians joined the new church during the 19th and the 20th century . It is preposterous to claim that those who joined it rather than embracing a religious denomination did so to trade their Assyrian identity for something else. Even the Chaldean website “http://www.chaldeansonline.net/church.html” under the title: “ HISTORY OF THE CHALDEAN CHURCH OF THE EAST” states that the Assyrian inhabitants of the villages in the Plain of Nineveh became known religiously as Chaldean after mid 18th century when they joined the Catholic church.

In the section titled, “ Catholicism in the Plain of Nineveh “ we read: “As can be seen, Catholicism started spreading in the plain of Nineveh around the 18th century, however, with the beginning of the 19th century most of those villages were turned Chaldean. Consequently, most of those who kept their old faith left their ancestral villages to further north to the mountains where the "Nestorian" Patriarch had his domain. They fled fearing persecution by the Mosul Ottoman Governors who were encouraged by the Catholic missionaries who were hoping that such persecution will help their Catholic conversion efforts.”

In fact it was not only the Catholic Missionaries but also the leaders of the newly established Chaldean Church in the plain of Nineveh who made life impossible to live for those who remained loyal to their ancient faith. With the help of the Catholic Missionaries, the pope, the influence of France and the power of the Ottoman government the new denomination confiscated the church properties, the wealth, the land and prevented the followers of the Church of the East from even burying their dead in the graveyards where their forefathers were buried for thousands of years. Some accounts tell of Kurds being employed to terrorize the priests of the Church of the East.

Rassam who was from a prominent Catholic family in his book “Ashour and the land of Nimrud” writes: “the Nestorians of Shakh told me that the Chaldean Catholics of Jezeerah, who were their co-religionist, [before joining the Catholic church] had always tried through their influence with the local authorities to bully them into submission to the Pope." (Rassam, p.389)

The Bishop’s Declaration is a continuation of the same destructive religious fanaticism which has served to undermine the unity and the strength of our people by wasting our precious resources on wrecking havoc on our common national identity by confusing their church identity with ethnicity. They claim to he leaders of a Christian denomination but they preach discord and divisiveness which is contrary to the teachings to Jesus Christ who wished for peace and brotherly love among men .

Contrary to the Bishops’ claim that belonging to the Chaldean church means being ethnically Chaldean most members of that church consider themselves ethnically Assyrians. Even his beatitude Mar Bidaweed Patriarch of the Chaldean church has stated on several occasions that members of the Chaldean Church are exclusively of the Assyrian descent. In an interview on the Lebanon Radio Station on Feb 2001 he stated:

" The Catholic church gave us the name 'Chaldean' with respect to those wise-men who went from Mesopotamia to Bethlehem. [who were called Chaldean or magi which meant astronomers].. My ethnicity is Assyrian but my sect is Chaldean, but we shouldn't mix ethnicity with the church”

At a time when the Shiite extremists threaten to terrorize the Christians of Iraq and the Kurds for the first time have established foothold in the Christian villages near Nineveh the two bishops are busy provoking petty quarrels within our people and dividing us according to who goes to what church. What our people needs now more than any time before is to unite under one name and work collectively to find a solution to the new problems which if left unresolved threaten to undermine the survival of our people in the land of their forefathers. Any attempt to divide us by attributing conflicting identities to our people serves to confuse our friends and help our adversaries who wish to pit one group against the other.

William Warda



Last week in Chicago, a series of meetings took place. Among the participants were Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV of the Assyrian Church of the East, who in fact called for these meetings, Mar Bawai Soro, and several Assyrian leaders, representing various political and civic organizations. Many Assyrians have been demanding for such meetings in order to unify the Assyrian stand, especially after the outrageous declaration of the two bishops of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Mar Sarhad Jammo and Mar Ibrahim Ibrahim (Read last week's issue of Zinda). Days have elapsed since those meetings and we have yet to hear anything from these leaders. Does the public has the right to know what went on and what was decided?

Assyrians, who participate in any meeting, whether on the national or international level, do so as representatives of the Assyrian people obviously. They all claim that they represent the Assyrian people in one way or another, whether they were elected, have imposed themselves on the scene due to particular circumstance, or have been involved in the political and national affairs and through their diligent work throughout the years have earned the status of representing the Assyrians. I am not here to question who is legally in position to represent the Assyrians and who is not; it is not the right time to address that now in details, I simply wanted to point to it here.

Therefore, if these "representatives" were representing Assyrians truly, as they all proclaim, then they naturally owe the Assyrian people certain obligations. Now I understand that the Assyrians are in the middle of an environment that is influenced by various factors, some of very sensitive natures. Still, there are certain basic requirements or obligations that these representatives must abide by, whether of legal or moral nature; withholding information from the public is not one of them.

It seems to me that as long as we do not adapt certain rules of holding these "representatives" accountable for their actions, we will never live to witness real progress. Issues dealing with international affairs demand capable individuals. The Assyrians are in the middle of the international scene today; therefore, the presence of qualified individuals in the middle of such demanding scene is essential. Let us face it; some, if not many, of the Assyrian "representatives," have limited capabilities when dealing with qualified world negotiators and politicians. In addition, if these "representatives" were meant to be there, for whatever reasons, then communications between these "representatives" and other Assyrians could be of valuable experience for both sides. Additionally, these "representatives" cannot carry the affairs of their people and decide their faith without certain consent from the general population. Yes, I understand that our affairs, especially those national in nature, are primitive because of the lack of an organized system or structure that control such activities. Still, that does not mean that these "representatives" cannot report to the people what steps they are taking and in so doing keep the public aware of where they stand. There are many means through which the public can participate in the decision making process and ultimately in its own future, one of these is through the many media sources. These meetings decide the future of millions of people and not individuals; this is not the issue of an individual gambling with his/her own money.

In my opinion, the public cannot continue being so passive from the inefficient and nonproductive process of "inadequate and non-inclusive representation." It seems to me that as long as there persist the lack or none existence of accountability in our affairs, Assyrians will continue to suffer setbacks in their road to better future. The "Assyrian representatives" are part of society and since they represent that society, they must learn how to perform as such, i.e. represent the people. They cannot continue to be so alien from the public at large.

If a century from today, history was to blame Assyrians for failing or succeeding in accomplishing their national dreams, let Assyrians as a whole then stand courageous or proud in taking that blame or credit. We tend to be so passive from our cultural, national, and political affairs yet turn around quick enough to point our fingers at Assyrian representatives for our failures or take credit for our success. Who gives us the right to do so when we chose not to demand our involvement in the national affairs? Who gives us the right to blame these "representatives" when we "the people" chose not to be in the middle of the political and national scene? We must find, set, and execute basic guidelines of holding any Assyrian representative accountable for his/her actions and of any consequences stemming from their behaviors?

Let me remind our representatives and leaders that this is not the era of World War I and the following dark years in the Assyrian history when certain individuals jeopardized the Assyrian national dream in Iraq and where the public remained unaware of them for so long. Not today. The clouds will soon dissipate from the Iraqi skies and the good, the bad, and the ugly will be exposed to all Assyrians. I guarantee you.

Fred Aprim

[Z-info: Mr. Aprim’s article was submitted to Zinda Magazine before the receipt of the Press Release which appears in this week’s NEWS DIGEST.]


Unauthorized Translation from the Arabic
The Arabic article is at

Few days ago, certain venerable bishops from the Chaldean Catholic Church in the United States issued a declaration that was published on "al-nahrain" and other sites regarding the position and role of the Chaldeans in the new Iraq. Based of the principles of freedom of press and mutual respect, I found myself obligated to express my own opinion from this "infamous" declaration. I do not subscribe to those who are involved in the name debates, but at the same time I believe that those who agitate this issue in this particular time have special interest and questionable agenda. Perhaps this agenda was represented in the plans to undermine what has been accomplished for Iraqis in general and Assyrians in particular after the disappearance of Saddam's regime.

The declaration of the bishops begins by stating that, quote: "Contemporary Chaldeans are the descendants of the inhabitants of ancient Mesopotamia, and are the heirs to and the continuation of its civilization, particularly through their preservation of the Aramaic language, culture and heritage." Unquote. By this, Bishops Sarhad Jammo and Ibrahim Ibrahim needed to buy up and monopolize Mesopotamian civilization and ascribe and relate it to Chaldeans solely and presented it as the sole legitimate heir to that civilization. In doing so, the two bishops went against history by intentionally distancing Assyrian cultural influence in the region, knowing that there is no difference between the two terms from the cultural and linguistic perspective.

In his book, "al-Kaneesa al-Suryaniya al-Sharqiya," the Dominican Jean M. Fiey states that after all these were known in their language as Athurayeh (Athuriyeen), and this name meant Assyrian (Ashuriyeen) according to "ahil al-Mosul" (The people of Mosul), a tenth century lexicon by al-Hasan Ibin Bahlol. Then came the 1910 publication of Wigram's "Ancient and Modern Assyrian", in which he states that the Assyrian is the present Chaldean and Nestorian, who represent the aromatic mixture of the ancient Assyrians and are the descendents of Sargon and Sannacherib.

In fairness, the language used by the Ashuriyoon Kaldan Suryan was always known, and until this moment, as Surith or Suraya, or Suroyo, or Suryoyo, where all originate from Assur or Ashur, hence the Assyrian language (or Syriac as a modification or transformation from Assyrian). I have no idea how the two bishops boasted and spoke affectedly about their Aramaic language, culture, and heritage. In my personal opinion, the Chaldean title is one of the ancient titles for the Assyrians, but this name was not mentioned in historical references after the fall of the Assyrian Empire. The Chaldean title was mentioned though in the modern era when a segment of the Assyrian people embraced the Catholic faith. It was used in order to distinguish between Catholicism and the Church of the East of the Assyrians despite of our pride in many professionals who served the Assyrian nation whether they were Ashuri, Kaldani or Suryani. In addition, and more recently, it is interesting to know that those who insist that they are Chaldeans and not Assyrians pay no attention and are not enthusiastic towards the national and political aspects of life. They reached the point where they even gave up their language. Their interest is solely and still is in learning how to pray and recite hymns even if in other languages. This was to the degree that many of them began to refer to themselves as Arabs or Kurds (with my respect for the Arabs and the Kurds).

Accordingly, I emphasize that any step to achieve the aspirations of our people in existence and freedom, is surely a step forward; regardless to under whose name that step is undertaken, because it is a gain for all of us without distinction. The distinction and separation propagated by these bishops will not succeed. Their efforts in this direction will not be but an endeavor in the wrong direction because our people, with all their different denominations, have surpassed the sectarian thought and are keener towards the nation's higher benefits.

The said declaration signed by the two bishops then continues towards disintegration and fragmentation. It states that, quote: "…3.5% Chaldeans, 1.0% Syriacs, 0.5% Assyrians," unquote. I believe that the multiplicity of these names in the modern era and the attempts of these bishops to sanctify it as the reality on the ground is no longer an issue of concern in the Assyrians' modern history. Because our people and our political organizations have become very much aware of the sectarian divisions that occurred throughout history and have succeeded lately to confine and end the name multiplicity issue. This they have accomplished through the presentation of flexible formulas in order to take that opportunity away from all those weakened souls who want to conspire against this nation.

Presently, we must accept and liberate the name Assyrian when issues are dealing with our political and cultural rights. Our case has been known under this name in the files of all international treaties, whether old or new. What is happening today in Iraq is only a reflection of those efforts. On the local level, the Assyrian home is ours, whether Ashuriyeen, Kaldan or Suryan. Throughout history, there has been no problem from identifying the one people by multiple names. Allow me to mention some examples in order to explain what I stated. The Arabs, were known once as Quraysh, then under the Islamic Kingdom as ruled by The Guided Caliphs, the Umayyad, the Abbasid, and religious titles as Sunni and Shi'aa but they were Arabs after all. The Jews were known as Hebrews, Israelites, offspring of Zion, sons of Jacob, and the same with the Persians and others.

In conclusion, I would like to remind the eminent bishops that what you mentioned in your declaration is nothing but an attempt for fragmentation on your part to divide our one people. You should re-examine the teachings of Jesus Christ in order for you to repudiate this division. You must give up stands that propagate the superiority of one sect over the other because there exist many formative ethnic elements that bind these sects together like language, history, and sentiments … aren't these elements of one nation?

Aziz Touma


There has been a surge lately in the myth of "chaldeanism" among some of the Catholic Assyrians, and the last of the calamities of this complex was a letter which was sent to the American president by former Baathists (Chaldean National Congress, Chaldean Federation, both bishops Ibrahim Ibrahim and Sarhad Jammo) and some members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (the posse of Abd al-Ahad which is called The Chaldean Democratic Alliance).

Then on Friday night May 09,2003 I was surprised when I read and in shame, the latest declaration from the "Church's devils" who are still trying to fragment the Assyrian people while the sincere Chaldeans in the United States are watching and not daring to silence those two up in any way...Even though these fore mentioned groups which don't represent the Chaldeans because their reputations are doubtful, but we're not going to write about that at this time, especially that the educated class of Chaldeans are the prime supporters of the Assyrian people in and outside of Iraq, and this group also is and will continue to be the prime supporter of the Assyrian Democratic Movement and moreover our Honorable Patriarch Mar Raphael Bidawid has clarified the Chaldean identity in a suitable way and I urge my brethren in The Church of The East to carefully evaluate his words and urge the clergy of The Church of The East to collaborate with this Patriarch seriously and not only as a courtesy.

Since, I'm faraway from that posse which is in the United States, I have seen that it's my duty to at least write this letter in the hopes that it may be posted in all the Assyrian sites (Chaldean, Eastern Assyrian, Syriac) especially in my hometown Telkef, which is also the home town of the Assyrian hero Yousif Malek, and its environs in the plains of Nineveh where the Assyrian flag was raised high after the demise of the tyrant from our beloved Iraq.

My brethren in Church and nationality, a historian I am not, nor am I an author or a theologian, my domain is in communications engineering, residing presently in Cairo. My father God rest his soul, had immigrated to Cairo from Baghdad when he was a young man in 1932,when the indications of a massacre against the Assyrians had begun to appear in the Iraqi newspapers and in the Friday Sermons in Mosques. My father was a naive simple man who had been deluded by the Church, but despite that he used to tell me that he had left Iraq because Muslims wanted to slaughter the "Surayeh" and all that he knew was that the "Surayeh" were the owners of the land from ancient times. I insisted myself to discover those "Surayeh" so I put together a personal library containing some of the most expensive books about the history of Mesopotamia which I didn't notice in any of them the word "Chaldean" except in writings of our clergy and some French clergy(being Catholics like us) at the end I realized the loss of our forefathers for over 150 years. I urge you to read and that's when you will realize the extent of our Church's malice towards our nationality throughout history.

My brethren in Church and nationality, in order to get the protection of the Catholic missions whose duty was that of spying rather than a religious preaching one, and whose main goal was competing against the English missionaries (the English spies) to fragment the Assyrian people into several denominations so that they would have a foothold in the region under the pretext of "protecting" their flock, this was admitted by some of the well known missionaries and English officers after their retirement. Thus we the Assyrians followed these denominations, and this should be explained to the coming generations so that they wouldn't fall like we did.

The English missions benefited from bringing over the Assyrians of Urmia (in Iran) and in its deceptive relation with the Patriarchs of The Church of The East(erroneously known as Nestorian) but at the same time it helped that group of the Assyrian people to preserve its language and name. Today, we notice that the Assyrians who followed the English missionaries didn't neglect their historical name, rather they attached it to their religious denomination, whereby their Church is known as the Assyrian Evangelical Church, so we can clearly notice how they preserved their national name and became the pioneers of the Assyrian culture and thought.

As to the Catholic Church which we belong to, it was more generous towards us, the Assyrians of the plains (North of Iraq and Diyar Bakir...) and it was more risk taking at protecting us from our Muslim neighbors(Arabs,Kurds,Turks) when these Catholic missionaries would buy the conscience of their clergy and chiefs (especially Kurds and Turks) then the same Catholic missionaries would instigate the Muslims to persecute the followers of The Church of The East (erroneously known as "Nestorian",Ashouri,Athourie). This is confirmed by the famous explorer Layard who discovered the city of Nineveh when he passed by the village of Bibozeh near Amadiya middle of the 19th century and he saw the "chaldeanism" of the Assyrians for himself. What did Sir Austin Henry Layard say??

"We saw a Chaldean village called Bibozeh, resting at the top of a high mountain with ten homes overlooking a deep valley, the homes looked as if they were hanging, the people we poor, but they received us with great hospitality. They are Assyrian Nestorians who had been forced yet again to embrace the Catholic rite...(Layard continues...) I visited the little village Church, and saw on its walls few pictures of saints and The Virgin in ugly colours with Latin inscription beneath them, not suitable to this place. I asked: "Do you know what these pictures mean"? They answered: "No, after the death of our priest, a bishop Yousif the Catholic came here and he was the one who hung the pictures and asked us to kneel before them. However, we removed the pictures off the walls of our Church, that's when Mahmoud Agha the chief of the Mezori Kurds came and he gathered our village chiefs and ordered their beatings until the canes were broken on their feet, then they hit us as well, that's why we left the pictures on the walls as the catholic left them, and because the Kurds have sold themselves in return of forbidding any "Nestorian" priest from coming to the village, we are obliged to listen to the sermons of the catholic bishop who comes to the village under the protection of the Kurds". [Searching for Nineveh - (Arabic edition) page 18].

With these "heavenly" methods most of the Assyrians of the plains joined the Catholic Church, which is known for numbing the nationalistic feelings within the wretched groups that belong to it allover the world.

The Catholic missions didn't stop at that, rather they deliberately called the Catholic Assyrians "Chaldeans" in order to drive them further away from other Assyrians, even though the ancient Chaldeans, who don't belong to the region, never inhabited the areas inhabited by Catholic Assyrians (So-called Chaldeans).

Naturally, these events influenced this society which was named "Chaldean" after being forced to abandon its inveterate inheritance after resorting to the "Catholic" empire with all its power, financial, and cultural vanities...No one can blame the simple villagers whom we see today holding on today to the "Chaldean" name which we are proud of, but what about our clergy(of all denominations) who hide behind their beards and crosses when their rotting hearts didn't hesitate one day from breaking up the Assyrian people. Till when will the Chaldean clergy continue to delude their simple parishioners whom despite all that I have mentioned still identify themselves as "Suraya" and their language as "Sureth" without recognizing the true meaning of the words, because the "beard growers" don't explain the meaning during their trivial sermons.

Dear brethren let's for once in our history stand proudly in the face of Catholicism which numbed us, let's stand to face the posse (the groups which were mentioned at the beginning of the article) which is an agent to the Arabs and Kurds because this same posse is playing today the same dirty role which was played before them by the missionaries.

Majdi Qarana

[Z-info: The translation from Arabic by Mr. Ashor Giwargis who lives in Beirut, Lebanon.]


I write to you today without criticism, disbelief or degradation. I write to you today regarding the recent article I have come across that involves an enormous blow to our heritage, culture, and possibly, the future outcomes of our children. The recent article intended for distribution to Washington will greatly impact the way we live in this great country God created, America and the World. It also demonstrates the poor communication we have with one another. This will neither help the Assyrians nor the Chaldeans. This will make both suffer even more. It is a true testament to the way we have been living for the past 2500 years. Why should God ever let us live in peace with one another? Why should God allow us to have liberty in our homeland and promote our ways of living so that others may prosper amongst us?

When we degrade one another, or say we are not the same. Trust and loyalty is fore mentioned and integrity is questioned. With the article sent to Washington, our credibility is decreased and as a result less can be accomplished. The closer we are together the more will be done. In a sense, others such as the Kurds, Turkomen and Arabs will have the upper hand in the game with the United States backing them. While we argue about points such as this, others proceed and move forward and we as a group divided remain in the dust and continue to do so. As you will see nothing will come of this, as it has been proven for the past 2500 years. I guess this is a way of saying that God is punishing us for the ignorance we continue to portray. What good is our great language and culture if we as a whole are idle in our positions in the world? Eventually we will continue to blend into the nations we have become apart of, and as it’s been proven, we will eventually diminish in thi s world and become no more, unless we unite and join as one in an organized manner.

This controversy has been going on long enough. However, I just wanted to share my opinion on this matter. In case your history needs refreshing, Ashurbanipal and Chaldo were brothers, from one father and one mother. They are of the same bloodline and your statements in the article point back in history and fume up dispositions that have been created by the same two people, Ashur and Chaldo, during the year 652 B. C. The argument these two great individuals had continues to grow with us and our children. We need to put an end to this 2500 year argument that continues to divide us. I hope that you will find it in your hearts to start the mending process.

Bishop Ibrahim and Bishop Jammo, the Assyrians, the Chaldeans and I beg you to put a stop tearing us apart. We need to compromise and come to a conclusion on this matter immediately. We cannot say that we are different from one another when we are both the same. We should be working to make things better for the both of us for we are one.

In closing, my wife is Chaldean Daughter of Janan Sawa Mansour and Monaira Akeed and I am Assyrian son of Benyamin Ora Younan and Surma Gewargis Khawshaba. We have two daughters, Jasmyne Nicole baptized at St. Ephrem's Church (Chaldean) in Chicago, IL and Alexys Natalia was baptized at Mar Gewargis (Assyrian) in Chicago, IL. With this, I hope that others will follow in our footsteps to unity. I hope that we can influence you on your decision making process the next time this subject arises. We are one. We will live and die as one.

Michael Benjamin Younan


As I watched Assyrians assembled at the Federal Building, in Los Angels screaming, shouting, and rejoicing to the great opportunity that our brothers and sisters in our homeland might finally be able to enjoy this freedom that is freely God-given to us in this country of ours; I recalled the First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Unfortunately, dark forces—created either by outdated obscurantism or by the alienating myths of single-minded beliefs—have endeavored in recent years to multiply verbal, legal and even physical onslaughts against Assyrians of thought whose only fault is to believe differently or to represent relative minorities.

It is high time for all nations to stop the practice of signing international documents with one-hand, while the other hand repudiates them with the utmost illegality and immorality. It is high time for the ordinary Assyrians to realize that their rights on the basis of basic of human needs and desires. One day will come, when a rally similar to this one is assembled in Bet-Nahrain guided by a different noble goal similar to this one.

The Gospel summons “woe unto those through whom offenses come.” The offense is not that there are groups which believe differently from ours, struggling for our specific identity. The offense is that intolerance should covertly or overtly attempts to destroy our spiritual freedom or to reduce it of conscience to a very narrowly delimited arena. No more, we will never let this happen.

O Lord, God [Nehemiah 1:4-6] of heaven let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying for Assyrians to live comfortably with injustice–keep calling us to justice! Often we pursue our own self-interests, closing our eyes to the suffering of others–move us to mercy! We fail in our efforts for community. Empower us through the Holy Spirit to persevere and be obedient to you! Have mercy on Assyrians-Representatives especially when they act from motives other than love. Please change them by your grace into faithful and loving people-servants! May they hear and share your guidance that brings about abundant transformation in Jesus! Amen.

Shamasha Dan Daniel

Surfer's Corner


For More Info, Please contact the Assyrian American Association of Modesto @ 209-551-1746
Hotel Discounts: Red Lion ( 1612 Sisk Rd., Modesto , Tel. 209-521-1612)
Ramada Inn (2002 W. Orangeburg Ave., Modesto, Tel. 209-521-9000)
For updates to this schedule visit: http://www.auoc.org/state_convention.htm


Nineveh On Line is organizing a small gathering during the Assyrian State Convention in California. Assyrian internet activists and web masters and anyone interested in promoting and supporting Assyrian presence on the net are invited.

The main objective is to exchange ideas, discuss future plans on what we can do to better promote our Assyrian heritage, culture, language and identity on the net.

When : Sunday, May 25th,
Time : 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
Location : DoubleTree Hotel in Modesto

No registration is required, but please inform us of your attendance in advance.

Web Masters are invited to give a short 5 minute presentation on the progress of their work. To date, the following web sites have confirmed their participation:

Assyria On Line
Nineveh On Line
Peshitta.org (via Video Conferencing or Pal Talk from Chicago)
Zinda Magazine

We hope to see you at the Internet Meeting next weekend in Modesto.

Albert Gabriel
Nineveh On Line


In 1903 an unprecedented event happened that is unique in the history of present-day Assyrians: there was a mass migration of Assyrians from Urmia region to Canada. The descendants of the pioneer generation still live in the original location, North Battleford, and invite all Assyrian-Americans and particularly the descendents of the pioneer generation who now live in the United States, to participate in this historical centennial celebration, which will take place during the last week of September, 2003.

The descendents of the pioneer generation who later moved to the United States are the families of Isaac, Joseph, and Abraham Adams, the descendents of Odishoo Backus, Michael George, the Lazars, Shabaz , Jacob, and the Tamraz families. The majority of these families live in California now.

Let’s Celebrate New Lamps For Old (1903-2003)
100th Anniversary of the Arrival of Assyrians in Canada

A “Homecoming Weekend” for all Assyrians & their families
September 26, 27, 28th in North Battleford, SK

Please fill in the online registration form at: Online Registration Form.
Group rates for airfare and accommodation can be arranged


Listen to the following Assyrian radio interviews and programs on SBS Radio:

His Holiness Mar Adai Escaped Looters Attack In Baghdad
Bet Nahrain Democratic Party Report From Baghdad
Mosul Interim Government
Assyrian Representitives In The Civilian Administration
Severe Acute Respiratoray Syndrome
Iraqi War Day 12
Iraqi War Day 12


Wilson Younan
Program Director
SBS – Assyrian Language



Courtesy of Sonntagszeitung (18 May): by Susanne Guesten

(ZNDA: Kafro-Turkey) Looked at from the roof of the church in the evening sunlight, it all seems possible. The velvet-green hills roll off into the distance, the birds chirp in the stillness, and even the ruins are picturesque in the warm light of the setting sun. In this light, one can even believe that history can be overcome, and that a new beginning is possible.

The people who have gathered on the roof of the 1500-year-old ruined church in Southeastern Anatolia believe this. They speak to one another in Aramaic, the language once spoken by Jesus, which had almost been doomed to die out. They have come back to Kafro from Zurich and Truellikon, from Augsburg and Goeppingen, in order to save their culture, a millennium and a half old, from dying out, and to try for a new beginning in their original homeland.

They need a firm faith, for the soft light is deceptive. The houses have been destroyed by war and plunder, the vineyards burned down, and the fields taken over by weeds. And it is still, because no human being has lived here for a long time. “My father was one of the last to leave,” says Bedros Demir as he points toward a ruined house downa below. “There, that was my parents’ house.” Only the foundations of the walls can be seen, but Bedros and his companions are able to fill in out of memory what is no longer there. They speak of the 17 different types of grapevine that once grew here, of the oak forests that surrounded the villages, and of fig and almond trees.

“Certainly rebuilding things will be difficult,” says Bedros, a shoemaker by trade. Even so, the 40-year-old wants to give up his secure life in Zurich, plant is wife and four children here, and invest his life savings in the reconstruction of the village. Just like the other people assembled on the roof of the church.

It is almost a miracle that they are back. In 1995, the last three families in Kafro got the order from the military to leave the area. The Christians of the area of Southeast Anatolia known as Tur Abdin were caught between the two sides in the war between the Turkish army and Kurdish separatists. Yet that was, after hundreds of years of torment, only the final blow for the “Suryanis”, who are also referred to as Assyrian, Aramaean, or Syrian-Orthodox Christians, and who have lived in Tur Abdin since the 5th Century.

Scorned as Unbelievers and Treated as Second-Class Citizens

Scorned as infidels by their Kurdish neighbors, and treated by the Turkish state as second-class citizens, many Suryanis emigrated [to Europe] as guestworkers in the 1970s. Today over 150 000 Suryanis live in Western Europe, while hardly 3,000 still live in Tur Abdin.

In the nearby monastery of Mar Gabriel the Bishop of Tur Abdin and a few monks and nuns held out even though the years of the war. “Our prayers have been heard,” says Malfono (Master) Isa Gulten from Mar Gabriel today. The war ended, Turkey is trodding the path toward the European Union, and so return now beckons to the Suryanis.

“If we don’t come back then soon there will be no Suryanis left here; then our 1,500-year-old culture will die out,” says Bedros, who has lived in Switzerland for almost 25 years, has a Swiss passport, and speaks excellent German. On Tuesday, there will be a celebratory groundbreaking for the rebuilding effort. By the coming spring, the “Kafro Development Association” wants to have the village in a livable condition once again. More than als 70 Suryanis, most of them families with children, want to return to the village from Switzerland and Germany.

In a less-mild light, the project would seem hopeless. The wells of the village have long been sealed up, the electricity for the construction work will have to be provided with temporary cables, and only a dirt track leads to Kafro. “We won’t be able to return without making sacrifices,” says Bedros. “But my grandfather and my father built the village three times over in any event. Now it’s my turn.” There are Return Associations in Western Europe for other Suryani villages as well. If the return to Kafro succeeds, thousands of Suryanis will follow the pioneers and return to Tur Abdin, says Malfono Isa Gulten.

“Sergeant Mehmet, there are strange flocks of sheep on our land.”

Not all observers share this confidence, but the initial signs are encouraging, as Turkish officialdom is showing itself to be cooperative. The returnees even try to have good relations with the paramilitary gendarmerie. “Hello, could I speak with Sergeant Mehmet please?” says Bedros, speaking in Turkish on his cell-phone with the local barracks. “Sergeant Mehmet, there are some strange flocks of sheep on our land; could you please send a couple of men over?”

Sergeant Mehmet himself soon arrives hurriedly in a jeep, greets the Suryanis with a handshake, and sends his troops after the Kurdish shepherds. The Kurds in the area have taken over use of the fields and meadows of Kafro in the intervening years, and they do not want to give them up. Recently, as two young Suryanis from Goeppingen were shoveling sheep manure out of the village church, built in the 5th Century, and working to repair a ruined house in order to stay temporarily in Kafro, they were set upon by shepherds from a neighboring Kurdish village and beaten to the point of requiring hospitalization. The returning Suryanis are not being welcomed by everyone.

Yet the returnees are not letting themselves be intimidated. “We have to trust the Turkish authorities; they promised us their protection,” says Yahko, who has come from Truellikon, near Zurich. Temporarily, however, the Suryanis go into the monastery at night, and only go to the ruined church in the daytime to work out their plans. Kafro is to get a sports field, and then perhaps even a small hotel, explains Yahko to the Turkish sergeant. The young soldier looks a bit skeptically at the field of ruins out of which a prosperous village is supposed to grow.

You have to have the right light in order to be able to see all of that -- as well as strong faith.



Diaspora Christians who were forced to flee from the south-east of Turkey in the last 30 years because of persecution by the Muslim Kurds and who try to settle back in their villages are again persecuted by the local Kurds.

On April 19, 2003, Nuri Demir and Garabet Demir were busy working in their native village of Kafro, which was deserted in 1995 and is now empty, when they were attacked by nine men from the Kurdish village of Barmunes armed with axes, clubs and stones. Garabet Demir was immobilised and beaten by four Kurds. Nuri Demir was beaten by the other five Kurds and injured at his head but he managed to escape, grab a gun, shoot and injure two of his assailants. Due to the turn of events, the aggressors fled from the village. The victims of the attack called the military commander of Midyat who immediately sent the injured to hospital. Nuri Demir and one of the assailants were arrested while the others were released. Later on, the same aggressors destroyed the window panes of Nuri Demir’s house. A criminal procedure has been initiated.

Nuri Demir, now a German citizen but a native of Kafro, went back to his village two years ago to start its reconstruction. To this end, he and others created an association called "Development Association Kafro". This association plans to organise the return home of nineteen Christian families living now in Germany and Switzerland but in 2002, the local mayor issued a decree forbidding foreigners to use the village Kafro. Since then, Nuri Demir has been prohibiting the non-authorized grazing of cattle, sheep and goats in and around Kafro by the neighbouring (Muslim) population.

Garabet Demir, also a German citizen and a native of Kafro, went back home in 2002 to restore the damaged house of his parents. He was also mandated by the "Development Association Kafro" to start the construction of new houses.

The Archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church in the monastery of Tur Abdin, Timotheos Samuel Aktas, was informed about the incident and contacted a lawyer to defend Nuri Demir.

The president of the "Development Association Kafro", Yahko Demir, has written to the German embassy in Ankara to complain about this aggression against two German citizens who try to implement the resettlement project backed by the Turkish and German governments.

It is obvious that this event is the logical continuation of a process of ethno-religious cleansing which started at the end of the 19th century, reached a peak during WW I with the mass killing of two million Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Christians and led to the massive emigration of Christian minorities until the 1990s

Willy Fautré
Human Rights without Frontiers


Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune (13 May); by Paul Salopek

(ZNDA: Mosul) Almost no one remembers Dame Agatha anymore. This is understandable, given the painful realities of modern Iraq. Survival focuses the mind on the present, not the past. Agatha Christie knew this. She used it as a device in dozens of her mystery novels.

The best-selling British author of "Murder on the Orient Express" lived here once, in a rambling stone house with vaulted ceilings in the historic district of Mosul. Today the old place is crumbling.

A few neighbors--poor people, hawkers of rubber sandals and menders of worn clothes--still can point it out. But that's only because the BBC stopped by before the war and filmed a documentary there.

"Only a small number of educated Mosulis really know about her," said Saba Shidfa al-Omari, a curator at the looted Mosul museum. "But it makes us very proud. She loved us so much, they say."

Christie--unquestionably the most popular whodunit writer in history, with a staggering 66 novels and such enduring characters as inspector Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple--did love Iraq.

She first visited as a tourist in 1928. She met her future husband, the distinguished archeologist Max Mallowan, while exploring the ancient city of Ur. And over the next three decades, the couple returned again and again, enjoying made-for-movie lives that cry out for the talents of Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

There were Model-T journeys across Iraq's harsh deserts. There were camp dinners with eccentric archeologists and Orientalists. And there were steam train stops at exotic outposts of the waning British Empire: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul.

Christie mined her Iraqi experiences to produce two books, "Murder in Mesopotamia" and "They Came to Baghdad."

"I fell in love with Ur, with its beauty in the evenings," she wrote in her autobiography, "the ziggurat standing up, faintly shadowed, and that wide area of sand with its lovely pale colours of apricot, rose, blue and mauve changing every minute."

She last traveled to the ancient, sun-scorched nation in the 1950s, about 20 years after its independence. She died, very old and highly honored as a Dame of the British Empire, in 1976, three years before Saddam Hussein rose to power.

Little of the Iraq she knew is left.

In Mosul's old city, where some houses date from the Middle Ages, entire streets are collapsing slowly into boggy land near the Tigris River.

American Humvees zip down trash-strewn highways on their own secret detective missions: trying to find remnants of Hussein's alleged arsenal of banned weapons of mass destruction. And the biggest whodunit of all--whether Hussein is alive--is a question that could frustrate even the fastidious Hercule Poirot himself.

"All I know about Agatha Christie is that she was an archeologist's wife," said Awad Omeri, 47, a guard at Nimrud, a stunning Assyrian ruin near Mosul that was excavated by the couple half a century ago.

Omeri showed the way to a remote "dig hut" where Christie and Mallowan had lived, unearthing treasures under bottomless blue Iraqi skies.

Even that humble building was ersatz; the original structure is gone, replaced with cinder block. Yet as Omeri stood there in his flowing djellaba, contemplating the vast Mesopotamian plain spangled with dying wildflowers, it was almost possible to hear the faint ticking of an old-fashioned typewriter.



(ZNDA: Turlock) The Assyrian-American Civic Club of Turlock has named Rosemary Yonan - Mother of the Year.

Yonan is the mother of four and grandmother of nine. She received the surprise honor at the AACC on May 9, the day before Mother's Day.

She was married for 45 years to Babajan "Bob" Yonan, a Turlock jeweler who died last August. She was born in Iran, emigrated to Chicago in 1974 and moved to Turlock a year later.

Yonan is a 28-year member of the civic club and has been active in the Women's Auxiliary at St. Thomas Assyrian-Chaldean Catholic Church.



On 10 May at the Human Race Benefit Run/Walk held in Mountain View, California, Ms. Jermaine Soleymani won an award for the largest team present. Ms. Soleymani and her team of more than 70 Assyrians raised $7,000 to provide emergency services and support for the Assyrian families in Iraq.

Calendar of Events

Visit the Zinda Magazine Calendar at http://www.zindamagazine.com/calendar

Thank You!

Zindamagazine would like to thank:

Jude Calvillo

Ashor Giwargis

Dr. Arianne Ishaya

Petr Kubalek
(Czech Republic)

George Atoraya Simonov


ZINDA Magazine is published weekly.  Views expressed in ZINDA do not necessarily represent those of  the ZINDA editors, or any of our associated staff. This publication reserves the right, at its sole discretion, not to publish comments or articles previously printed in or submitted to other journals.  ZINDA reserves the right to publish and republish your submission in any form or medium.  All letters and messages  require the name(s) of sender and/or author.  All messages published in the SURFS UP! section must be in 500 words or less and bear the name of the author(s).    Distribution of material featured in ZINDA is not restricted, but permission from ZINDA is required. This service is meant for the exchange of information, analyses and news.  To subscribe, send e-mail to:  z_info@zindamagazine.com.

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