29 Tishrin I 6754
Volume X

Issue 36

20 October 2004


Fax 1-415-358-4778

Assyriska soccer team from Sweden is hotter than ever this year!  Visit Sweden and check out the finale games!

This Week in Zinda
  Assyriska Faces New Challenges Fred Aprim (California)
  Chaldean Patriarch: Why Should We Leave?
BNDP 6th General Congress Held in North Iraq
AUA Congratulates Prime Minister John Howard

Assyrian Woman's Husband Faces Death Penalty in Iran

Release Azad Darwish Ali and His College Friends
His Holiness Does Care!
Mar Dinkha Ignores Iraq and Other Assyrian Churches
Prof. John Joseph: Selective or Objective
Australia's PM Candidates Ignored the Iraq War

Ashuriena-Gozal E. Baba
Yezidi Students (Mosul)
Joseph Haweil (Australia)
Sargon Peera (Michigan)
Fred Aprim (California)
Joseph Haweil (Australia)

  The Issue of an Assyrian Homeland Stavros T.Stavridis (Aust.)
  Chicago Indoor Soccer Team "Storm" Enlists Two Assyrians  
The Lighthouse
Feature Article(s)

Assyriska Faces New Challenges, Has a Chance to Advance to Premier League

Fred Aprim

A fireball was left in Edmond Lotaj's home's mailbox the other day. Edmond Lotaj is the Assyrian coach of Assyriska soccer team from Södertälje, Sweden, which has been enjoying great successes this year again, including appearing in the European Final Cup.

Furthermore, anonymous people or groups have threatened Lotaj lately. Certain groups do not want to see an Assyrian team in the Swedish Premier League, which attracts much attention and all its matches are televised on Swedish TV.

Assyriska is currently in the Swedish Superettan ("Super-1", that includes 16 clubs). It is on the verge of advancing to the Swedish Primer League ("Allsvenskan", that includes 14 clubs), if the team finished first or second place in the Superettan. The first and second place finishers of the Superettan advance automatically to the Premier League, while the two worse teams in the Premier League (thirteenth and fourteenth place teams) will drop to the Superettan. Until a week ago, Assyriska had 54 points (sharing second place with Gefle IF) with three games remaining.

Unfortunately, some events lately have caused disturbances in the club. Lotaj, who was the assistant coach, took over coaching job when its original coach resigned in the middle of the season with a great record of 29 points from the first 13 matches. One of Assyriska's players, Alexanros Pappas, has ended his contract with the team as well after he received threatening phone calls.

Despite the organized attacks and threats, the team won two matches; however, it lost a crucial match against Falkenbergs FF (0-2) and dropped to third place.  Meanwhile Gefle IF won and has now 57 points and holds second place solely. The closest team challenging Assyriska on third place (Åtvidabergs) lost its match as well and remains at a far distance with 48 points without any chances to challenge Assyriska, who has third place guaranteed.

Interestingly and fortunately for Assyriska, the Swedish system gives the third positioned team in the Superettan Division additional chance to advance to the Premier League. The team at third place of the Superettan would enter a special qualification face-off (two matches, home and away) with the third team at the bottom of the Premier League (the team in twelfth position) and the winner would advance to, or remain in, the Primer League.

Bollklubben Häcken sits now on the top of the Superettan with 59 points. Assyriska still has a chance to advance automatically to the Premier League if it won its two remaining matches (thus totaling 60 points) and Bollklubben Häcken lost the remaining two games, thus remaining with 59 points. However, one of Assyriska's remaining games (last match) is with the top seated Bollklubben Häcken on October 23. On the other hand, there are other chances to advance automatically, without going into the special qualification match, and that is if the second place team Gefle IF lost its remaining games and Assyriska won one and tied the second or if Gefle IF lost one and tied the other while Assyriska won its remaining two. If none of the above options helped Assyriska, and it remained at third place, it still can play the special qualification match with the team in 12th position of the Premier League and if it won on aggregate (the totals of home and away results) it still could advance to Swedish Primer League "Allsvenskan."

On October 17, Assyriska (in third place) lost to Oster (1-2). Gefle (in second place now) lost too.  Most importantly, Åtvidabergs that was in third place lost as well and dropped to 5th place. And the new fourth place Gais (with 49 points) is too far to catch Assyriska.

Assyriska is now guaranteed a third place. It has one last chance still to win the final match against the leader and if Gefle loses its game so that Assyriska does not have to go through the qualifying matches.

If Assyriska loses the last game next week, it has to play a final qualifying match (home and away) with the team in the 12th position - Allsvenskan (Premier League). If Assyriska wins, it will advance to the Premier League from Super-1 division.

[Zinda:  Assyriska is the hottest Assyrian sports club in the recent history, thanks to its players' superiority in the field and the unfair coverage of certain Swedish news sources.  The media has even gone as far as asking Assyriska's sponsors if they will continue to sponsor Assyriska.  Check out the team's official site for dates, photos, articles in Swedish newspapers, and even wallpapers for your PC.  Photos are courtesy of Assyriska official web site.]

Good Morning Assyria

Chaldean Patriarch: Why Should We Leave?

(ZNDA: Baghdad)  After the bombing of churches, and messages calling on Christians to leave Iraq, His Beatitude Mar Emmanuel Delly, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church exhorted his flock to stay in the country to build peace.

On Saturday morning, bombs exploded in five churches of Baghdad. Fear spread among Christians, and some stayed away from Sunday Mass.

Attacks against churches began last August when four churches in Baghdad and one in Mosul were hit. Seven people were killed and dozens injured.  88 Christians have been killed in Iraq since April 10, 2003.

Because of the violence and insecurity, the Synod of the Chaldean Church, which was to be held this week in Baghdad, has been postponed.

The procurator of the Chaldean Church in Rome, Father Philip Najim, told AsiaNews that the decision was made before the attacks on the five Baghdad churches.

"It is clear that these attacks were carried out to impede Christians of all rites from participating in Sunday religious ceremonies," he said. The priest attributed the attacks to "dark forces that come from abroad; they are not Iraqis. Iraqi Muslims don't attack their Christian brothers."

Messages and pamphlets are being distributed on some streets reading: "Christians go; leave Iraq."

Bushra, a young Christian student told AsiaNews that the director of her school has been threatened by Muslim terrorists, who insist that he must not allow girl students to come to school without a head scarf.

During the "Hasad al yawm" program transmitted by Al-Jazeera television, Imam Mohammed Bashar Al Fayyaadh assailed Christians for not condemning the U.S. attacks on mosques of Ramadi, in western Iraq.

In an interview with AsiaNews, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Emmanuel Delly said: "Iraq is our homeland, our land. Why should we leave? Why should we go?"

Patriarch Delly pointed out that terrorists have also attacked mosques and said: "We must collaborate to build the peace and welfare of our country."

Christians in Iraq total 800,000, or 3%, of the population. The Chaldeans, united to Rome, represent 70% of Christians.

BNDP 6th General Congress Held in North Iraq

(ZNDA: Dohuk)  The 6th General Congress of the Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party (BNDP) convened between 4-5 October in Shaqlawa, Arbil, north Iraq.  The last such gathering took place in the U.S. in 1998.

The final declaration stated at the 6th congress announced the election of the new 15-member Central Committee of BNDP, a new Secretary General, and the new members of the Political Bureau.  At press time, the members of the new committee were not officially identified.

The Final Declaration recognizes that the names Assyrian, Chaldean and Suryan (Syriac) as different but equal titles, for a single nation..

In other place, the Final Declaration states that BNDP withdraws from the Assyrian National Congress.  ANC is based in Ceres, California (between Turlock and Modesto) and is led by Dr. Sargon Dadesho.

The Final Declaration, in the mean time, recognizes north Iraq as the region of "Kurdistan" and defends the northern Iraq's regional government and parliament.

In an October 8th interview conducted by the SBS Assyrian radio program in Australia, produced by Mr. Wilson Yonan, with Mr. Romeo Hakkari, the current Secretary General of the BNDP in Iraq, Mr. Hakkari explained that many members from throughout Iraq attended the Congress. Mr. Soro Soro and Albert Oshana from Australia were among the attendees as well.

According to Mr. Hakkari, the United States members, including Mr. Sargon Dadesho and those in Europe were unable to attend the Congress due to certain difficulties. It was unclear as to why the Australian delegation was, on the other hand, able to attend the Congress.

Mr. Hakkari also noted that the Congress addressed the important "name" issue and has concluded that "we are Assyrians, known by different names and that BNDP respects all these names." Hakkari stated that "we are one nation whether known as Assyrians or Chaldeans or Suryan (Syriac) and will work together to obtain our rights in Iraq."

Hakkari did not mention any names from the leadership committee during the interview.

AUA Congratulates Prime Minister John Howard on Re-Election Victory in Australia

[The following is the full text of the congratulatory letter from the Assyrian Universal Alliance submitted to the office of the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, on 13 October on the occasion of his re-election.]

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

I seize this opportunity to extend to you on behalf of the Assyrian Universal Alliance and its affiliate, the Assyrian Australian National Federation, our heartfelt congratulations on your re-election as Prime Minister of Australia. I am confident that with your profound experience and the dedication with which you led your Liberal Party to a fourth consecutive electoral win, you will continue to guide our beloved country Australia to new heights. Your astute management of our economy and your unflinching leadership in matters of defence and national security have resulted in a stronger nation.

Mr. Prime Minister, the events of September 11 and the Bali bombing shocked the conscience of all decent human beings and brought to the forefront new challenges confronting peace and international security. We, Assyrians all over the world, relate to the pain and suffering of the people of the United States and Australia in a very profound and special way. We totally support your commitment, leadership, and magnificent work in liberating the people of Iraq from the evil regime of Saddam and opening a new chapter in the modern history of that country.. in addition, we would like to state that the Assyrian people are committed to supporting Australian policy to remain in Iraq until democracy prevails and to fight terrorism and extremism in the world and particularly in the Middle East. The Christian Assyrian people of Iraq have been subjected to a reign of terror perpetrated by the Kurdish Warlords in the North and the insurgents in the Middle and South particularly after the liberation of Iraq.

Extremists will exploit situations of injustices and imbalances as well as conflicts against Christians in the currently fragile and unstable environment of Iraq. The international community is under moral obligation to come to the aid of our people so that they do not become vulnerable to the evil forces of terrorism. In this context, we recall the special breakfast event for community leaders in Parramatta on Friday 28 May 2004, with your Honourable Self and the Hon. Rose Cameron MP and our delegation's talk with you on that special occasion. We explained the perils confronting our nation. We also presented your honour with an official letter detailing the situation, seeking the support of the Australian Government for our demands in Iraq, and requesting an immediate appointment to discuss the mater further. It was during this meeting that you advised us you would be raising this issue with Mr. Colin Powell in the course of your U.S. visit the following week.

We urgently need your assistance, the goodwill of the Australian government and of the international community. It is our sincere hope that you will respond positively to our appeal for urgent and immediate assistance.
May Almighty god bless your efforts in bringing continued prosperity and well being to the Australian people.

Yours faithfully,

Hermiz Shahen
Assyrian Universal Alliance- Australia Chapter


In a concerted effort to better serve the interests of all Iraqi nationals, the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Washington, D.C. has included a registration form on its website that will help the Embassy to communicate better with Iraqis and Iraqi-American citizens residing in the United States.  To register click on the image above.

News Digest

Assyrian Woman's Husband Faces Death Penalty

Courtesy of the AsiaNews
18 October 2004

(ZNDA: Tehran)  Hamid Pourmand is a Protestant minister of the Assemblies of God Church and married to an Assyrian, whose identity is not revealed due to the nature of Rev Pourmand's situation. Rev. Pourmand converted from Islam several years ago. Since September he has been held in prison at an undisclosed location and under Iranian law he can be put to death for “apostasy against Islam”. He was arrested on September 9 in Karaj, a town 30 kilometers west of the capital Tehran during a police raid against the annual General Council of the Assemblies of God Church.

Reverend Pourmand is 47-year-old, with two children, and a colonel in the Iranian army based in the city of Bandar-i Bushehr (380 km south of Tehran). If brought before a court martial he could face espionage charges and sentenced to death. Although laws instituted after the Islamic revolution prohibit non-Muslims from holding officer rank, he continued to serve as an officer in the Iranian army. “Hamid did not keep his conversion secret,” a friend said, “but he is an honest man and people liked and respected him.”

Pourmand was arrested along with 86 other Protestant leaders among whom were three Assyrians; 76 were released the evening of their arrest whilst another 9 were let go three days later. But Pourmand was the only one who is still in prison. According to eyewitnesses, Iranian police had detailed information about each one of them.

Since his arrest, Pourmand has been able to talk briefly to his wife by phone and tell her that he was alright. At the time of his arrest, she and their children were in Tehran visiting relatives. Upon her return home, she found that their home had been searched and family documents and photos taken.

The September raid against the council of the Assemblies of God comes in the wake of several arrests of Christians in northern Iran in May and June.

In July 1994, Mehdi Dibaj, another minister of the Assemblies of God Church who was also a convert from Islam, was killed after spending nine years in prison for refusing to abjure his Christian faith and return to Islam.

Under Iranian law, capital punishment is reserved for apostasy, murder, armed robbery, rape and drug trafficking.

Some months ago Shiite cleric Hasan Mohammadi from the Ministry of Education said in a speech to Tehran high school students that “on average every day, 50 young Iranians convert secretly to Christian denominations”.

There are about 360,000 Christians in Iran out of a population of 65 million.

Surfs Up!
Letters to the Editor


Ashuriena-Gozal E. Baba

Regarding Mr. Wilson P. Benjamin’s “Assyria, A Nation Without A Leader”:

Mr. Benjamin, frankly, I must say, is dancing around the main point like Alex Owens from Flashdance. He seems to quote the Bible quite frequently so here’s a quote from the Bible, “When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’” (John 8:7)

He talks about how everything is up to us and how we must help each other, but what has he done to help another fellow ChaldoAssyrian? It’s easy to sit over here in California and criticize the ChaldoAssyrian nation in Iraq. If someone wants to start something, they shouldn’t expect others to do it for them, but for them to do something about it. If he wants to help our people, he can help through the Assyrian Aid Society. If he is true to his identity, he should financially assist our people in Iraq if he is not capable of assisting in other means. By a bunch of jumbled up words slabbed onto a document on Microsoft Word, one cannot make a difference. To make change, one must instigate change. Did the Americans in the American Revolution call on others to start it for them? No, they started it themselves because they wanted to make a difference and thus, participated in it. A person true to his/her identity participates in our cause for a better future.

The writer mentioned that we, as a nation, do not have a leader. Where was he when members of the ADM were being brutally murdered for standing tall against the vicious dictator—Saddam? Where was he when the members of ADM gave their lives for our identity? The ADM demonstrated leadership as they fought against the most atrocious tyrant in the world. How dare he tell us that we have no leadership?

Let me tell everyone something. ADM leaders demonstrated leadership and fought with Saddam’s regime. You want someone who has not even fought for his nation to be a leader? Or someone living in luxury outside Iraq? That does not make sense.

Compromise for Unity. That is one of the most imperative tools of modern politics in order to reach the main objective. Our adversaries are seeking our collapse and are doggedly trying to do this to us. By uniting with our brothers and sisters—the Chaldeans and Syriacs—we are becoming a stronger, more powerful nation. When attacking the unity, a wrong signal is being sent to our nation in Iraq and this will assist our adversaries to relish in our demise.

Power is in numbers, the economic/financial status, and the military. Assyrians alone are low in numbers, our financial situation is not doing very well, and we don’t have a well-established military. By uniting with the Chaldeans, we gain momentum and increase in numbers. Economically, we’ll be doing much better and if God forbid, a people attack our villages, we will have stronger defense.

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I think the writer is trying to create another division by trying to create a new organization. We already have a lot of groups throughout America and Europe. If he really wants to help, he can start with the unity between organizations, not by creating another ineffective division.

Mr. Benjamin wrote, “And since our Chaldean brothers did not succeed in getting their independent recognition from the Iraqi Authority they came back seeking shelter under the Assyrian Name, on condition that to be replaced by ‘Chaldo-Assyria.’ While the majority of Chaldeans, His Beatitude Mar Emmanuel Delly and the Bishops, (with exception of His Excellency Mar Sarhad Jammo, A new title recently bestowed on him by his Assyrian dignitaries) are adamantly against accepting the fact that their origin is Assyrian. And do not want to be connected to the Assyrians.”

What? Chaldeans would gain recognition and rights anyway because a DEMOCRACY is being established in Iraq, not an authoritarian state like it was before. That means, EQUALITY. Chaldeans are a part of Iraq’s citizens and thus, gain recognition and equal rights as any minority living there. Uniting Chaldeans and Assyrians is for the sake of strength. Chaldeans and Assyrians are brothers and sisters.

Zero level? The ChaldoAssyrian nation is at a zero level? We’re currently being recognized by the biggest superpower in the world and also by the new Iraqi Government for the first time in history. What is he trying to say? Why is he trying to break the ChaldoAssyrian spirit? Is that a way to show encouragement to our people in Iraq?

Moreover, “Assyria” was not a God-given name as the writer presumes. In fact, it was a name given to us by the Greeks. We were named after our then present king, Ashur. According to Ancient Iraq by Georges Roux, we were not just called Assyrians, but we were also called, “Chaldean”, “Assyro-Babylonian”, “Sumero-Akkadian”, and “Mesopotamian”. It’s just a name for unity. It’s not taking our identity away from us. We were called things that didn’t even say the word “Assyrian” in it.

I personally don’t understand Mr. Benjamin’s statements. At first, he states that we should put God above all, and then he states that religion should be in second place. What is this, a marathon? Religion should simply be separated from political matters. That’s it!

Release Azad Darwish Ali and His College Friends

Yezidi Students
University of Mosul

The security forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government have arrested the student Azad Darwish Ali (who is a Yezidi attending the College of Civil Engineering in the University of Mosul) with a group of nine youths from the Yezidi village of Bozan [the village is not under the administration of the Kurdish controlled region of North Iraq]. The collegiate Azad had composed a document signed by a group of youth enclosing in the document some of the demands concerning their village [one of the demands included allowing the teaching of Arabic in their village and not only Kurdish]. The Barazani led Kurdish security forces detained Azad two weeks ago with the group of endorsers consisting of nine other people, and their fate still remains unknown until this very moment.

We are calling the authorities to resort to the civilized dialogue and approach instead of the repulsive approaches of Saddam Hussein, which are based on silencing the people's voices and throwing them in prisons. It was more appropriate for the officials to go to the village that is deprived of the standard services as are the other Yezidi villages and begin to tackle the situations of those villages that have paid a large number of casualties during the Kurdish uprising and suffered a great deal from the fascist Baath regime.

We demand to be treated in a democratic and humanistic manner and ask that those who are responsible for these arrests are held accountable for their actions. We also demand the immediate release of the detainees in a fashion that meets the standards of the democratic future of the new Iraq.

His Holiness Does Care!

Joseph Haweil

In response to Sargon Y. Yonan's letter regarding His Holiness Mar Dinkha's consecration anniversary, I would like to express how much I was insulted and deeply offended by his comments.

How dare he put forward the notion that His Holiness does not care about his flock and the patrons of the Church he leads.

As a member of the church let me assure him that His Holiness does CARE about His Church and the well-being of his congregation.

Although what was most [insulting] about his comments was the fact that he thinks Mar Dinkha should travel to Iraq with his health problems and be able to receive the same level of treatment he does in the United States.

Well, I beg that Mr Yonan retract his insulting, rude and uncorroborated comments.

Mar Dinkha Ignores Iraq and Other Assyrian Churches

Sargon Peera

I will refrain from using quotes from the Bible, and I will tackle the issues strictly from business ethics and morality aspect of it, in order to be as objective as possible.

First of all, I was hoping that His Holiness the Patriarch would cancel his celebration due to the recent attacks on our Churches as a symbol of care, and self-denial. But then it requires someone with grace and meekness.

For the last 28 years about this time, I get depressed, and the reason being is, the tiny sliver of hope to see the Assyrian Church and the great people of our nation united and strong, fades away. And I wake up to the harsh reality of the wrong practices in our beloved Church.

Our beloved Patriarch is celebrating his 28th year as a Church leader (the CEO if you will); although He refuses to move his headquarters to where our forefathers established it with their strong faith, and dear sacrifices. The reason being is to re-establish grass roots in our homeland, and to be the pillar of strength and hope for those left behind in Iraq.

There are no dialogues between us and our brethren in the Old calendar disreputably known as (shaw-wayee).
Furthermore, His Holiness Mar Dinkha disconnected all channels of communication between our Church and our family, the Chaldean Church, especially nowadays where unity is vital in our homeland.

Finally, I say this with sadness and regrets, there is minimal or no achievements in our Church under the watch of His Holiness.

In conclusion I am hoping the readers of Zinda will grade His Holiness’s performance as the CEO of the Church.

Prof. John Joseph: Selective or Objective

Fred Aprim

In his article posted on Zinda magazine (October 18, 2004 issue), Prof. John Joseph accused this author of being "selective" when trying to prove a point. He claims that I was misleading the readers about our Assyrian ethnic identity and that the villages of Telkepe, Alqosh, Baghdeda, Bartella, etc. of northern Iraq were not Assyrian villages according to certain references that I have used.

Nothing in the publication world, whether a book, an article, or a piece of art, is objective. Every one in life has a mission and an agenda and we manifest this agenda in our work. So why does an Assyrian question the Assyrian identity? Do certain students after their graduation have certain obligations to institutions that assist them in obtaining their higher education?

I was very surprised from this sudden reappearance of Prof. Joseph on Assyrian Internet media (Zinda) after years of absence. Why would an Assyrian professor reappear only to respond to what an Assyrian nationalist would say in these troubled times and when Assyrians are trying to unite? Why would Prof. Joseph question that these towns and villages are Assyrian and based on what logic? Why does Joseph not question for example Yousuf Hurmiz Jammo (Bishop Sarhad Jammo's father) and his book "The Remains of Nineveh or the History of Telkaif"? Why does he not question Habib Hannona and his book "The Church of the East in the Nineveh Plain"? Why does he not question what these authors stated about Telkaif and other Catholic and Orthodox towns in northern Iraq and these towns Assyrian heritage?

I have stated in an earlier article that few historians had adopted a basic psychology technique, which teaches us that when looking for a mean to deny or question a certain crucial issue, a person needs simply to implant the factor of DOUBT in the mind of the vulnerable reader or listener. The establishment of this DOUBT is enough to create a disturbance in the thoughts of the members of that certain ethnic group, which weakens the thrust power of the community and its movement to defend itself. Prof. Joseph uses this method of implanting doubts about our ethnic identity being Assyrian through what he presents as an objective approach. Certain authors would question the modern Assyrian identity by providing certain favorite quotes of their choice, then after they have implanted that doubt in the readers' mind, they would say, however, there are those who agree that this group is ethnically Assyrian. They call this being objective.

I ask: Is John Joseph not being "selective" when he uses certain references he picks so carefully to put doubts in the readers' minds about modern Assyrian identity? Isn't he being "selective" when he questions the presence of Assyrians and equates the term "Suraye" with Syrian and Aramean and not with Assyrian by providing particular quotes to prove that claim? Why would an Assyrian write two or three books on Assyrians and in his books tries to question the modern Assyrian identity? Since he is expert in Middle East history, why does not he question the Kurdish claims for being Medes for example and devote a book on them?

Background on Joseph's Books

First, in his 1961 book “The Nestorians and Their Muslim Neighbors”, page ix, Joseph wrote that the name Assyrian did not appear before the 19th century, and in page 14 he attributed the emergence of this name to archaeological finds and Western missionaries who brought the name to the local people. And on the back cover of his 2000 revised edition of the above book, which he titled “The Modern Assyrians of the Middle East: Encounters with Western Christian Missions, Archaeologists, and Colonial Powers” it is stated: “When archaeologist Layard further publicized the historic minority [Joseph refers to the Aramaic-speaking Nestorians Christians] as ‘Assyrians’, the name acquired a new connotation when other forces at work in the region—religious, nationalistic, imperialistic—engaged these modern Assyrians in vagaries and manipulations in which they were outnumbered and outclassed.”. Here Joseph is implying that it was the archaeologist Layard who created the modern Assyrians in the 19th century. In addition, John Joseph wrote: “While the name Chaldeans was already, as we have seen, appropriated by those Nestorians who had embraced Roman Catholicism, the illustrious twin name ‘Assyrians’ was eventually adopted by the Nestorians as a name for themselves.”

Prof. Richard Frye in his article “Assyria and Syria: Synonyms” has shown, contrary to Joseph, that some people had used the term Syrian and others Assyrian even before the 19th century.

Joseph returned to discard the Assyrian population of the vast Assyrian empire, and accepts that migrants took over the empire when there was no decisive proof of such claim. There is no solid proof that the Assyrian Empire disintegrated from within because of any migration or prisoners policies, and that its population disappeared. Fact is that the empire fell after long resistance by the Assyrians, i.e. there were great numbers of loyal Assyrians to cause that resistance, unlike Babylon’s fall that took place with no resistance. A fact that proves that Assyria was the backbone of Babylonia during the first half of the first millennium B.C. and when Nineveh fell in 612 B.C., Babylon followed within only 73 years after a very short greatness. Secondly, all Assyrians were not soldiers that perished in the war; many were peasants who continued their lives after the Medes controlled Assyria. Joseph wrote:“…With a much larger Aramean population now under its rule, far removed from the Assyria homebase, the smaller, ethnically-Assyrian population could not resist aramization, a process that gradually transformed the cultural face of the empire, ‘leading to the Assyrians being outlived and absorbed.’".

Prof. Joseph is not expert in ancient history; he is not an Assyriologist and his information here is wrong. The Assyrians at the time of the fall of Nineveh and the Empire had been speaking the Aramaic language for some 150 years, however, recent discoveries show that Assyrian Akkadian language and the cuneiform writing system was still in use well into Christianity. Who would use Assyrian Akkadian but Assyrians?

Later Joseph stated:  “… Unlike the Assyrians, the Persians did not forget their own mother tongue, they maintained their national-linguistic identity, largely because their own Aramaic-speaking subjects did not predominate from within Persia as they did in the core region of Assyria, later known as Bait Aramaye—home of the Arameans. (With the advent of Islam, centuries after the Achaemenids, Sasanian Persians were also able to resist arabization; they liberally borrowed from the Arabic vocabulary and even adopted the Arabic script, but they were able to Persianize what they borrowed. In the case of the Assyrians and other ethnicities aramization was total just as the absorption of the various other peoples would be, centuries later, through arabization.)”. We need to remind Joseph that the modern Italians have abandoned their Latin language and script too. Would Joseph dare to argue with the present-day Italians that they are not the descendents of the ancient Romans? Furthermore, I have stated already that Assyrian Akkadian was still in use after the fall of the empire.

Joseph continues to confuse the reader in a very methodical way yet trying not to show himself as a blind antagonist, when he stated in another paragraph: “In the eighteenth century Assemani used “Assyrian” in reference to the Nestorians but with no implication that they were the descendants of the Assyrians. Assemani, according to Fiey, found a certain Assyrian descendance in all the peoples in the region: Jacobite, Nestorian, Sabaeans, Yezidis, and a great deal among the Kurds.”

And then he continues to claim that the Nestorian Assyrians were Arameans and even more when he wrote: “Members of the Aramean community of Iraq, mostly Nestorian Christians, and many of them Persian converts who had held offices of trust under the Sassanians, now served the Arab administration.” Joseph failed to stress on the issue that many missionaries have admitted that the Christians of the Mosul plain, Urmia region, and Hakkari Mountains have referred to themselves as “Surayeh,” which we know today that it is the Christian version of Assurayeh or Ashurayeh, the Syriac equivalent for the English Assyrian. Again, it is Joseph’s thought against many others.

The question here is: Why should we listen to what an expert in religion or a physician and missionary, who traveled to the Middle East, would say about the word "Suraye" and not consider the opinion of an Assyriologist like Prof. Simo Parpola or linguist like Prof. Edward Odisho for example who assert that "Suraye" meant simply Assyrians. Why is it that when an Assyrian nationalist chooses his quotes to prove the Assyrian continuity he is branded "selective"; however, when some one like John Joseph and his likes select quotes for their work, the work is not branded selective rather scholarly and objective?

Some Other Claims by Prof. Joseph

According to Mark Marcus, Prof. John Joseph made a presentation in an early 1980s MESA Conference in Chicago. In that conference, Joseph referred to Assyrians as Christian Kurds (http://www.aina.org/bbs/index.cgi?read=26971). He made many Assyrians angry during his presentation and was confronted by fellow Assyrians in the audience including Ashur Beth-Shlimon (http://www.aina.org/bbs/index.cgi?read=26972).

Prof. Joseph's Higher Education

James Petras reports that from the early 1950s, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has intruded to a large degree into philanthropic foundations. Such foundations included the Ford Foundation (FF), which by the late 1950s, it possessed over $3 billion in assets. The leaders of the Foundation were in total agreement with Washington's post-WWII projection of world power. Citing Saunders, Petras writes: "The CIA considers foundations such as Ford "The best and most plausible kind of funding cover" (Saunders 135). Petras continues to state that by 1954, John McCloy, the new president of the FF, epitomized imperial power by integrating the FF with CIA operations. Citing Saunders again, Petras writes that according to a former CIA operative, the Agency influenced many universities and publishing houses (Petras, James. Paper titled "The Ford Foundation and the CIA: A documented case of philanthropic collaboration with the Secret Police." Posted December 15, 2001. http://www.rebelion.org/petras/english/ford010102.htm).

The FF is very selective in providing certain students and researchers from throughout the world with grants for advanced studies in American universities. John Joseph was one of the FF recruits and received grants for his education in the United States. According to Petras: "the FF imposes conditions such as the "professionalization" of academic personnel and "raising standards." In effect this translates into the promotion of social scientific work based on the assumptions, values and orientations of the U.S. empire; to have professionals de-linked from the class struggle and connected with pro-imperial U.S. academics and foundation functionaries supporting the neo- liberal model". This does not mean that the FF does not occasionally provide grants to individuals who might have conflict with U.S. foreign policies, yet seek academic research (Petras, James. Paper titled "The Ford Foundation and the CIA: A documented case of philanthropic collaboration with the Secret Police." Posted December 15, 2001. http://www.rebelion.org/petras/english/ford010102.htm).

So I ask:  what is John Joseph's agenda?

Few Final Remarks

I want to thank Prof. Joseph for reading my articles. I want to add that whatever is in the articles about the Assyrian towns of northern Iraq have come from the references provided in each of those articles. Using the term Assyrian instead of Suraye, Chaldean, Nestorian, etc. is not something new. This is now a common knowledge and has been proven by many scholars. It is only regrettable that professor Joseph continues to live in isolation and refuses to look beyond his domain of old references provided by missionaries, physicians, and certain travelers, who were agents of Imperial Powers.

To comments on Prof. Joseph remarks, Xenophon's and Ainsworth's accounts in my articles were for example from Jammo and Hannona's books. If Prof. Joseph has an objection here, he should read those books and criticize their authors. Additionally, I need to bring to Prof. Joseph's attention that I did not refer to Patricia Crone and Michael Cook as "ANTI Assyrian," as he opted on his part to conclude. In fact, if Prof. Joseph had read the article much closer, he would have realized that it was to him that I was hinting of being Anti-Assyrian. There has been plenty of negative opinion due to the Old Testament and certain missionaries about the Assyrian history. When I find a bright note in a book, I will use it to make my point despite what other material that same book includes. We need to reconstruct the Assyrian history that some authors have corrupted. In doing so, we need all the positive points that we can collect. Those like Joseph can get busy publicizing the negative and questionable material.

Lastly but not least, John Joseph states that he is not interested in my personal opinion. That is strange because if he's not, why then is he reading my articles. On the other hand, I thank Joseph for giving my work the attention to the degree which he analyzes them.

Australia's PM Candidates Ignored the Iraq War

Joseph Haweil

The Iraq War is without a doubt a key issue that is plaguing both Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry throughout the American Presidential campaign. But as a spectator during the last 6 weeks in the lead up to the October 9th Australian Election it is rather important to bring to the attention of Assyrians around the world that it looks like Australian Prime Minister Howard and candidate Mr. Latham have forgotten the issue. In addition to this I have not seen one iota of evidence to suggest that either side is attempting to look the issues that are being faced by Assyrian Christians in addition to other Christians in Iraq.

Has the Australian political spectrum become embroiled so deeply in party antics, extravagance and politics that they have overlooked issues that are fundamental to the advancement of the Iraq situation and the current 'out of control' conflicts around the country?

Well personally I feel we as Assyrians, in particular Australian Assyrians, should lobby any new political group or party that is elected to the Australian Government this week, be it the major Liberal or Labour party. Regardless of who is elected it is indubitably essential to enhance the issue of Christian Assyrians in Iraq!


Feature Article(s)

The Issue of An Assyrian Homeland

Stavros T.Stavridis

The document below provides an excellent and succinct overview of Assyrian history from 1914-1944. This article must be read in conjunction with my recent piece titled Assyrian levies. There are certain important themes that emerge in the reading of this document from the National Archives of Australia collection.

These are:

  1. The Assyrians were driven out from their ancestral lands in the Hakkiari mountains of Eastern Turkey during the First World War. The collapse of Tsarist Russia in 1917 did not assist the Assyrian cause. They were abandoned by an Allied friend and left to fend for themselves;

  2. The defeat of the Greek army in September 1922 by Turkish Nationalist army led by Mustapha Kemal Pasha paved the way for the establishment of the modern Turkish State in October 1923. The Lausanne Treaty signed on July 24th, 1923 established peace between Greece and Turkey. Articles 37-45 of this same treaty guaranteed and protected the religious and political rights of Christian minorities domiciled in the new Turkish State. The Assyrians, however, were not wanted in Turkey;

  3. The issue of ceding territory around Hakkiari to Iraq was something that Turkey would not even contemplate. After all Turkey had begrudgely ceded Mosul Vilayet to Iraq in1926. This was one territory that she coveted because of the oil potential of this region;

  4. During the 1930’s attempts by League of Nations to resettle Assyrians in other nations did not succeed. The British Dominions- Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa –were simply not interested in assisting the Assyrians. Even France wasn’t prepared to assist in Assyrians in Syria;

  5. There is an interesting quote from the document that needs to be drawn to the reader’s attention.“Mohammedan Iraqis dislike of the Christian Assyrians led to constant friction between them which culminated in fighting between the Assyrians and Iraqi forces in 1933 involving massacre of several hundred Assyrians at Simel.”
    This is an important event in modern Assyrian history that is commemorated on every August 7 in remembrance of the murdered victims at Simel by Iraqi forces. Furthermore this brief quote also underlines the disdain of Iraqi Moslems towards Assyrian Christians;

  6. The British recognised the Assyrian levies contribution in putting down the Iraqi revolt of May-June 1941 that threatened the British airbase at Habbaniya; and finally the British would try to get the Assyrians resettled in her Dominions fearing that the Iraqi Arabs might seek revenge for the events of May-June 1941. They would make excellent farmers, if allowed to resettle in the Dominions. The document doesn’t state the British making a commitment to resettle the Assyrians in the United Kingdom. The author believes that Britain shirked its
    responsibility towards the Assyrians hoping that “ [some] state would consent to receive them.” On the other hand, one can understand that Britain was still actively involved in fighting Nazi Germany. Britain was simply passing the buck onto other nations.

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[Zinda:  Mr. Stavros T.Stavridis is a historian and researcher at the National Center for Hellenic Studies and
Research at Latrobe University in Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.  Mr. Stavridis is currently visiting the United States on a lecture tour.  For more information please contact Zinda Magazine.]


Assyrians at Their Best

Chicago Indoor Soccer Team "Storm" Enlists Two Assyrian Players

(ZNDA: Chicago)  On Monday, the Chicago Storm of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) announced its inaugural roster for the 2004-05 MISL season at in Chicago. Head Coach and General Manager, Frank Klopas, unveiled all 20 players to the public and media.  Among these were two Assyrian players, Awadalla Morad (F 5-10 155 4-25-78 Burbank, Illinois) and Lazo Alavanja (D 6-0 165 1-18-77 Crown Point, Indiana University).  Both players are members of the Assyrian Winged Bull soccer team-- the Chicago club that just won the U.S. Amateur Soccer Association national championship.



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Thank You
The following individuals contributed in the preparation of this week's issue:

Dr. Matay Arsan (Holland)
David Chibo (Australia)
Ramin Daniels (California)
Tomas Isik (Sweden)
Pauline Jasim (Chicago)
Petr Kubalek (Czech Republic)

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