Standing quietly behind a crowd of Assyrians waiting for Yonadam Kanna at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport was a tiny, gray-haired old man, wearing a pair of old blue trousers and an old gray jacket. While others were acting seemingly important by calling others on their mobile phones, the old man was running his small fingers through his thinning hair, watching his worn-out silver watch, murmuring to himself and wondering when the guest of honor would arrive in the windy city.
As soon as Mr. Kanna was spotted walking through the long security corridors, a big smile crinkled the old man’s azure eyes. Moments later he was standing face to face before the Assyrian member of the Iraqi Governing Council: “Shlamalookh, (in Assyrian) why did you trouble yourself to come and greet me?” asked a surprised Kanna. The old man replied as quickly as he heard Kanna: “If not come and greet you, then who is there to greet?”
That brief encounter between Yonadam Kanna and the old man at the O’Hare Airport in Chicago exemplifies the most basic characteristic of today’s Assyrian society: we lack role models with a national appeal to whom we and most importantly our children can look up.
The Assyrian youth are often bombarded with the images of the martyred saints, assassinated patriarchs, and suffering families during an exodus or exile. Is it any wonder our churches and civic organizations suffer from a diminishing youth membership? Can we expect the youth of today – a product of MTV and Eminem, to connect with an Assyrian leader from 4000, 30, or 2 years ago?
All of us are in desperate need of a role model who can imbue us with self-confidence and pride. She needs not to lead us as a political leader, nor is it required of him to do miracles. We only need to feel the pride other nations feel in their artists, athletes, politicians, and educators.
Similarly, our youth’s desire to be recognized as Assyrians will not intensify when their self-esteem drops. The images of the dying mothers on a field covered with blood and a wounded soldier holding an Assyrian flag at half-mast are no longer effective. They turn our children off to Assyrian nationalism and give them a wrong message, that to be Assyrian means to associate oneself with death, dying, and suffering. This type of negative imagery must stop completely and a renewed desire for positive role models should be instilled in ourselves and in our youth.
A very effective method to help our youth recognize the energetic and positive role models in our society is to provide them with photos and posters of modern Assyrian leaders, artists, and athletes. I would not be surprised if over 95% of the adult readers of this publication cannot successfully single out the photo of the president of the Assyrian American National Federation from the presidents of any European or Australian Assyrian federations? How many Assyrian homes proudly display the photo of an Assyrian patriarch, Hon. Yonadam Kanna, or an Assyrian artist and author. The name David Yonan immediately comes to mind - a virtuoso violinist, uniquely positioning himself as one of the greatest classical musicianists of our times. He is currently the Artistic Director of the Fine Arts Music Society, Chicago. The list goes on. The persons our publication features in the Bravo section comprise only a fraction of the positive role models we possess. Why not then hang a Linda George poster next to Madonna’s or Nina Baresso’s next to Shaquille ONeil’s? How many of us even know about the Assyrian-Swedish basketball goddess, Nahrain (Nina) Baresso?
Stop reading this editorial and check this out: click here!
Nina is Södertälje’s sweetheart and soon she will become yours too. Her photos should be embellishing our children’s walls and school lockers. She proudly writes in her official website that she’s “Assyrian and Swedish, married to Daniel" and has a little boy they named Enlil. She even mentions her religion: Syrian(c) Orthodox. Her favorite music? Madonna, Assyrian and Spanish music. This is not your typical Andre Aghassi who actively disassociates himself from his Assyrian heritage. Leave the Andre Aghassis of the world to Nike and American Express! Nina Baresso is simply the best Swedish baskeball player today. Her team, Solnas, won the 2004 Swedish Women Basketball championship. Baresso's team has won this championship five times. Enlil, Nina's 11-month baby and a large Assyrian crowd were among the audience that attended the final game.
Anwar Oshana of Chicago, like Andre Aghassi’s father back in the 1940’s in Urmia, is a boxer no less talented and admirable than Nina Baresso. Let us not forget the legendary Assyrian-Iraqi athlete, Amo Baba, who is the current head of Iraq’s Olympic Committee! Iraq is expected to attend the Summer Olympics in Athens this year. Imagine Mr. Baba leading the Iraqi teams waving the flag of his nation for the first time in many decades!
The greatest challenges facing the Assyrian youth are overcoming the obstacles to living in the Diaspora and maintaining a double identity at home vs school and work. Everyday they tackle challenges like violence, drugs and alcohol, and racism. If we do not address these problems and look for real solutions, there may not be another generation left to pass on our values and identity.
We need to encourage and cultivate environments that facilitate positive growth, making it possible to teach our children and youth that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to. This can begin with using positive role models who are ambitious, self-confident, and have a strong personality. Nina, Linda, Anwar, Baba, and Yonadam have proven themselves many times on the ball court, on stage and in the frontline of war against tyranny.
No act is more patriotic than to be a positive influence on the lives of our children and our youth and harnessing the exuberance of our youth to accomplish the greatest artistic, academic, and athletic successes. Let us inspire our youth and show them how dedication and hard work can forge success.
The old man followed Yonadam Kanna’s entourage to his first speech in the city of Chicago. He sat in the front row and patiently listened to every word. Let’s expose our youth to positive Assyrian role models much sooner in life; identifying the individuals whom we perceive as exemplary or worthy of imitation. Then as mentors of our youth deliberately support and guide them as they weather difficult challenges and in the process enhance the image of the Assyrian artist, educator, freedom fighter, and leader. Seek the titans among us and transform them into heroes that our children can emulate. Overcoming the stunning challenges facing our youth is an ardent task, but it can be done.
Ethnic Discrimination in Funding and Administration of Reconstruction in Iraq
[Zinda: Persistent efforts do bring about results. The key lies in the follow-up. In February 2004, in the course of the advocacy program promoted by the Assyrian Academic Society in Brussels, Belgium, the longstanding contacts with the office of MEP (Member of Parliament) from Finland, Ms. Eija-Riitta Korhola, have led to her placing a question related to our community in Iraq before the EC. On May 3, Ms. Korhola submitted the following question to the European Commission. The question, basically a long explanation of some of our economic problems in northern Iraq, may well lead to greater attention to our needs in the reconstruction aid that comes to Iraq. The question will be published also in the Official Journal of the European Parliament.
Zinda Magazine urges its readers - after reading the question that follows - to write to Ms. Korhola and thank her for her interest and concern for our community. Her e-mail address is email@example.com. All of us should also consider contributing to the information efforts of the Assyrian Academic Society with a tax free donation. Click here to contact the AAS.]
In the past decade, the Chaldo-Assyrian community in Northern Iraq did not benefit from the UNDP activities under the oil-for-food programme (UN Resolution 986), which was administered through the local government. In 2001, funds were refused specifically in the case of Chakalla in the Dohuk governorate. For that reason, there has been a limited reconstruction of Chaldo-Assyrian villages in Northern Iraq, and the funding has had to be supplied from donations collected by the Chaldo-Assyrian diaspora in Europe, Australia and the US.
The diaspora has had to provide funding for school construction and maintenance as well as for curriculum development to preserve the Aramaic (Syriac) language. Without help for education in areas with concentrations of Chaldo-Assyrians, we may well witness the extinction of this ancient language.
In the same manner, the diaspora has had to supply funds for women's organisations, childcare facilities, and computer training in Northern Iraq.
Diaspora help is limited. Thus it is essential for international funds to be allocated equitably to this oldest of indigenous ethnic groups in Iraq.
The European Union is indirectly involved through the United Nations and directly through its own efforts in the general reconstruction of Iraq. Currently the EC Paper on Medium-Term Strategy on Iraq is being prepared.
Courtesy of al-Zaman
(ZNDA: Mardin) The second International Symposium of Religions and Peace in the Light of the Common Ancestor (Abraham) or the "Harran Meetings", organized by the Intercultural Dialogue Platform of Journalists and Authors Foundation (JAF), took place in Mardin last week.
The conference, which is supported by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Governorship of Mardin and Mardin Education Foundation (MAREV), was held in the Qasimiye (Qasimiyya) Madrasa. Topics such as "Peace in Abraham's Message", "Peace in the Abrahamic Tradition", "Heroes of Peace in the Three Heavenly Religions", "The Place of the Abrahamic Message in the Future World" were discussed in four sessions. 28 academics and 11 religious leaders from Germany, U.S., Sweden, England, Italy, France and Turkey participated at the symposium.
After the opening ceremony, the Kirklar Church, Mardin Ulu Mosque, Hatuniya Madrasah -in which the footprint of the Prophet Muhammad is thought to exist- and the Tombs of Sitti Radviye and her son Qutbettin Ilgazi were visited as part of the symposium.
The Deyrulzaferan Monastery, and the monasteries of Mor Gabriel in the Midyat district and Mor Yaqub in the Nisbin district as well as Hasankeyf were also visited. The program in Mardin concluded with a visit to the tomb and Mosque of Zeynel Abidin. The participants then travelled to Istanbul to complete the symposium.
Vice-Director of the Religious Affairs Muhammet Sevki Aydin, Istanbul Mufti Dr. Mustafa Cagrici, Istanbul Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos, Turkey's Armenians Patriarch Mesrob II, Turkey's Jewish Chief Rabbi Rav. Ishak Haleva, Roman Catholic Apostolic Vicar in Istanbul Monsignor Georges Marovitch, Latin Catholic Congregation Spiritual Leader Monsignor Louis Pelatre, the Assyrian Orthodox Community Metropolit Filksinos Yusuf Cetin and the Assyrian Catholic Community Patriarchal Vicar Chorbishop Yusuf Sag participated in the symposium. The first of the International Symposia of Religions and Peace in the Light of the Common Ancestor Abraham (Harran Meetings) was held in the Harran district of Sanliurfa - the place of birth of the Prophet Abraham- between April 13 and 16, 2000.
(ZNDA: Baghdad) "No man on earth can accept the torturing of a brother," said the patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, reacting to news of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by occupying soldiers.
"This torture is against humanitarian law," Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly said. "No one can accept it, neither Iraqis nor Americans, British or Italians."
In statements to the Missionary Service News Agency, the Chaldean leader said that the "Lord gave us intelligence to speak, explain and convince: This is the only acceptable way."
The Iraqi patriarch added that it is inadmissible "to use this intelligence to torture others; the entire world is in agreement on this point."
Patriarch Delly would not comment on the possible consequences of the torture suffered in the past months by the Iraqi prisoners. "It is not up to us to judge these aspects," he said.
"It will be up to the judges and tribunals to evaluate what occurred," the patriarch added. "But as leader of the Christian community, I have a duty to remind of the principles enunciated by the our Lord: to love one another, doing everything possible to reduce suffering and not inflict it on others."
Few months before the Assyrian food Festival, my 12 year old daughter, with over 30 kids was practicing to learn various Assyrian Dances to perform in the Festival.
April 24th the first day of the festival arrived, and we were prepared as was any other group of volunteers for the two day festival. The festival was in Saint Mary's Parrish-Church of the East, which is located in the prestigious neighborhood of Encino Tarzana. Almost all church members with their families contributed towards the preparation. The festival started by praying and honoring all the Assyrian Martyrs. During this 2-day festival thousands of Assyrians and non-Assyrians visited the festival and had a great time.
Why should it be a shame on this Church that has done such a perfect job in preserving and presenting our culture and traditions to those thousands that attended?
There should be pride, not shame.
Each nation chooses days to honor its Martyrs. Armenians have chosen the 24th of April, Americans have chosen Memorial day which is last Monday of May. Our nation has decided to honor its martyrs on August 7th. Ottoman Genocide against Christians started from 1894 thru the end of First World War. During each day of these years Assyrians have been massacred. Armenians chose 24th of April as Armenian Genecide, and they denied the other millions of Christians including Assyrians, Greeks and Bulgarians were also massacred. They claim that they were all Armenian, without any respect to other non-Armenian victims. Non-Armenians were massacred by the Ottomans and then they were rubbed from their Martyrs rights by Armenians. Why should Assyrians that would not receive any political and territorial gains join Armenians in this day?
Since Armenia got its independence, thousands of Assyrians living in Armenia for thousand of years had to flee their villages under political and economical pressure and move to Russia.
When Saddam Hussein attacked our people in North during 1991 . Assyrians fled to Turkey and were accepted and respected there. Humanitarian help to our people in Northern Iraq came thru Turkey. It is still continuing. At this time we have maintained a good relationship with Turkey and Turkmans in Iraq.
Becoming a member in the European Union, Turkey will become a democratic nation and this will benefit our people who want to go back from being refugees in Europe, and will help the process of democracy in Middle East. We as a nation will benefit from this immensely.
I am very proud of my church, which has always been a base for Assyrian nationalism, and strong belief in Christianity.
Know Thy True Friends and Foes
As a Greek with a particular interest in the Assyrian people I was most interested to read Bet-Malik's article entitled "The Luckiest Man in the World." It is an article that makes one think, not only as to the way history is presented, but also how it can affect the world view of peoples.
I would from the outset, politely draw you to certain inaccuracies contained in his work. Firstly, while Nestorius was indeed Greek, but at the time of his deposition, he was the Patriarch of Constantinople, not Antioch, as he suggests.
Further the doctrine of Nestorius as rejected by the Council of Ephesus was not that Christ had two natures in one person. Rather, Nestorius taught that quite apart from having two natures (human and divine), Jesus also had two PERSONS, one human, one divine. Mary, therefore, cannot be called the Mother of God (Theotokos), he said, because she was only the mother of the human person, not the divine one. At Ephesus in 431 this doctrine was heretical as well, and it proclaimed Mary to be the Theotokos, the true Mother of God, not so much in veneration of Mary, but to uphold the singleness of the personhood of Jesus Christ. One person, divine AND human, at one and the same time.
It is therefore wrong to suggest that at Ephesus the Churches took a monophysite view of Christ's entity. What actually happened was that certain Egyptian adherents of Cyril of Alexandria, Severus among them, misread his argument against the Nestorian doctrine and used it to propound the view that Christ had two 'persons' in one nature, rather than two natures in one person. They did not, as Bet Malik states, believe that Christ was merely divine. Nor is this view (the Orthodox view) the same as the view as expressed by Nestorius.
I do agree with Bet Malik however that these theological disputes were more about individual bishops trying to get rid of their rivals than true theology. In effect, all it was, was a war of words between Greek-speaking bishops. That is why monophysitism has been presented traditionally in the erroneous way that was presented in Bet Malik's article i.e. that Christ is merely divine. Before one wails at the world's misrepresentation of the Nestorian doctrine, be careful not to commit the same mistake yourself. It is this misrepresentation that keeps our Churches sundered to the present day.
By confusing the various doctrinal issues, Bet Malik ignores the fact that there are today, three Churches who believe that they are Orthodox: The Greek Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church (Copts) and the Church of the East. Today, the doctrinal differences between these three groups have been diffused. All patriarchs of these Churches agree that the various doctrines are merely different ways of arriving at the same position, ie that Christ is both human and divine and that is why these Churches are gradually restoring communion with one and other. I would suggest that rather than dwelling upon 2000 years of misunderstanding, that Bet Malik rather dwell upon what unites our peoples: the love of Orthodoxy and Christ and our sufferings under the Muslims.
It is also suggested that the author assure himself of the facts before he makes broad historical proclamations. In particular, it would be most enlightening to have Mr. Bet Malik explain what evidence he has that Patriarch Cyril 'detested the Church of the East and he could not stand Assyrians.' I am assuming that he has had access to documents detailing Cyril's contact with Assyrians that no other historian has ever been able to unearth. if not, making such comments does not assist his argument.
Which brings me to his next point. What is his argument in his article? Is it that the Church of the East is the only true Church or an effort to explain why the world 'hates' Assyrians?
Here once more he falls victim to gross generalizations and historical inaccuracies. While the Assyrian Empire was truly an interesting and historically important empire and civilization, on what basis does he claim it was the 'greatest' empire. Does he mean that it was the largest? or the most important, and how does he justify this?
Bet Malik's claim that the 'ungrateful' Greeks betrayed the benefits they learned from the Assyrians is ridiculous on two counts. Firstly, he deliberately attempts to antagonize perhaps the only race left in the world that truly loves and supports the Assyrian people unconditionally. This is not very smart. Secondly, he will find that nowhere do the Greeks claim credit for anything. The Greek people did not have much contact with the Assyrian Empire and rather learned of Assyrian astronomy and technology from Phoenician traders who came in contact with both races. You will note that the father of Greek history, Herodotus, expresses his great admiration for Assyria and certainly does not denigrate her civilization. If anyone has laid claim to Assyrian Civilisation, it is certainly not the Greeks, but rather later western historians. The Greek civilisation is not built upon technology, temples and conquering other races but upon philosophy and democracy. Finally, it is sad that Bet-Malik can seriously claim that Assyrians 'own' what they invented. One would have thought that ideas belong to mankind, not to one race.
Again on a point of fact. The name Nestor is not the same as the name Nestorius. Nestorius is not a Greek name today and no children are baptized with this name as the Greek Orthodox Church has never canonized Nestorius and thus Greek children cannot be named after him.
As to Bet Malik's nationalistic point as to the language of Christ: the fact that Jesus spoke Aramaic has absolutely nothing to do with the 'superiority' of the Assyrian people. Aramaic was spoken over a large area and by many peoples including the Jews. It was the official language of Persia. So what? Are we by analogy to assume that the Jews are superior because God spoke to Moses in Hebrew or that the Greeks are superior because the Evangelists wrote the New Testament in Greek? The thread of his article is obscure.
I agree with him when he says that Assyrians are cultured and courageous. To say that they are inherently and instinctively so does not support his ever diminishing in clarity argument. Yes they have been martyred by the Muslim and torn asunder by the Catholics. Yet he should be aware that the ancient Assyrians whom he so admires were experts in ethnic cleansing.
The aim of this response is not to denigrate the Assyrian people or their history. Rather, it is to point out that if you want to create sympathy for the plight of the Assyrians, do it in a more effective way. Tell us how they are suffering in Iraq under the Muslims. Point out how the Catholics are trying to Arabise Assyrians and make them change their beliefs and not reject the helping hands of the sister Orthodox Churches who value and esteem the Assyrian Christian tradition. These in my mind are far more important that who was wrong or right 2000 years ago or which race invented the chicken or the egg. If Assyria is to rise again, as I hope it will, it will not be because of you telling the world that the Assyrians are the greatest people in the world (this by the way is a heresy- all people are equal under God) but through hard-work, understanding, communication and prayer.
I saw Jesus our Maran speak Aramaic
Dr George Habash
I saw the film the Passion of the Christ twice and had the intention to see it more had the screeing of the film continued and this was not
out of love for pictures or to re-buttress my already buttressed Chistian
beliefs but for two things only the first was my support for the film
and the second was to see and hear how much I can grasp the old dialect
of my language.
Don't Assume You're Entitled to Respect
I have been a reader of Zinda since the beginning of 1997 when I didn't even own a computer and I needed to go down to the local library to print out your website so I could read it at home. It was cheaper to do it that way since using the internet at the library was $10 an hour. How times have changed!
I am proud to be Assyrian and I am proud to support Assyrian organisations that earn respect such as Zinda and don't just assume they are entitled to it by virtue. I appreciate the hard work and effort the whole Zinda Crew contributes to what I consider to be a logistical feat.
I am also actively involved in the Young Liberal Movement of Australia, which is equivalent to Young Republicans of the United States.
I use the opportunities I get to meet with politicians at a state and federal level to promote the need of Assyrians and I have written articles for the political newsletters in my country as well as speeches.
[Zinda: See our reader's article The War on Iraq in this week's Literatus section.]
I was Killed by a Nation
ASYUM Party in Michigan
The Assyrochaldean Student and Youth Union of Michigan (ASYUM) is hosting its first party with Ashur Bet-Sargis to help our brothers and sisters graduating from Nisibin High School in Iraq.
Gorgias Press Announces New Books
Baum, W. Shirin: Christian - Queen - Myth of Love
Rominson, J.A. The Passion of S. Perpetua
Order Information: www.gorgiaspress.com
Got to Say Something Right Now?
In a recent visit to the United States Iraqi Governing Council member Yonadam Kanna brought a message of hope to Assyrians, who along with Chaldeans are Iraq’s Christian minority. Mr. Kanna’s travels included visits to areas of heavy Assyrian concentration such as Chicago, Detroit, Modesto and Phoenix where I heard him speak.
He told us that great things are happening to Iraq. American and Coalition forces are rebuilding the country and facilitating the establishment of a democracy that will allow all Assyrians to finally have a voice in a representative system of government. He also told us the he and the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ZOWAA) he leads are working hard to make sure Iraqi Christians have a voice and are represented in the new government.
After hearing the speech, excited attendees left thanking Mr. Kanna and ZOWAA for their humanitarian efforts for more than 25 years in Iraq. As an American-born Assyrian, I want nothing more than for all of my people in Iraq to share the same human and civil rights I have enjoyed as an American. I want all Assyrians in Iraq to have the opportunity to learn and grow so that one day they can compete in a free market system that respects work and talent, not religious affiliation. I am overjoyed to think that one day the Iraqi economy will be booming and my people will be able to freely buy groceries and import the goods they need to not only survive, but thrive.
We are thankful for Mr. Kanna’s hard work in paving the way for our families to freely practice the oldest form of Christianity without persecution. Through his and ZOWAA’s hard work and dedication my relatives in Iraq may someday soon experience all of the freedoms and luxuries that I enjoy as an American.
But wait. Now that I think about it, I am not sure Mr. Kanna is the person we Assyrians should be thanking at all. All of these luxuries, all of the freedoms the Assyrians will soon be enjoying are not because of him or ZOWAA, they are the basic human rights that come with a democratic system of government. These are all rights and privileges the Coalition soldiers are loosing their lives to give all the people of Iraq, not just the Assyrians. Each human being, Muslim or Christian, will have the same exact rights. If that is the case, then what are Mr. Kanna and ZOWAA doing there to make a difference for our people? What are they working on that the American government has not already provided through the toppling of Saddam and the creation of a democracy? What big fights are they winning that bring him to the United States to tell us about?
Please don’t read my comments as ungracious. I do believe Mr. Kanna’s work is essential. I know he has a huge role as a humanitarian in a country that really needs many now, especially for the small proportion (3 percent) of Iraq that is Christian. But we also need leaders willing to fight for what is rightfully ours as Assyrians. I challenge Mr. Kanna or any other leader that carries the Assyrian name in this rebuilding of Iraq to take the more important role of giving the indigenous people of Mesopotamia the right to their own home.
Just as it is part of the American Dream to own one’s home, it is an Assyrian’s dream to one day recover part of the land that had belonged to us for over 6,000 years. Our fight cannot be for anything less than a piece of Iraq for the 1.2 million Assyrians in Iraq to enjoy in safety, free from the fear of further genocide. Without this as Mr. Kanna and ZOWAA’s goals, these leaders are wasting the time and money of not just the millions of Assyrians all over the world that support them, but of the American and Coalition nations that have paid a high price for Iraq’s liberation.
It should be their duty to bring the Assyrian population back together so one day we can visit a home that all call Assyria.
I look forward to the day that my children or grandchildren can answer the question, “where are you from?” And say, “I am an Assyrian from Assyria” with a proud grin and a loyalty that will never be lost no matter what country our ancestors were forced to escape too. I want to see the day that my Christian brothers and sisters rule themselves with the right to come and go, free of harsh Muslim rule. No matter how many positions in the new government Assyrians are given, we will always be third class citizens in the land of a Muslim majority.
Mr. Kanna and ZOWAA can cut deals allying the Assyrians with the Kurds and the Turkmen to serve us for the time being. But their deals must be seen as temporary since history tragically teaches us that we have never been safe in the hands of these people.
Once again, the challenge has been issued. If Mr. Kanna is going to tour the world and give Assyrians a message of hope, then he should also bring with him a picture of my flag posted on a land we can call home.
The War on Iraq
On Thursday, 1 May 2003, major military combat was declared over in Iraq. With an end to major military combat also came an end to the torture chambers, the children's prisons and the death squads.
Arabs, Kurds, and Assyrians were all dancing with joy and toppling monstrous statues. Shias, Sunnis, and Christians alike are all celebrating the fall and capture of a tyrant.
It’s been 12 months since the beginning of the end for Saddam’s totalitarian regime and by now everyone has come to his or her own conclusion of how successful the campaign was, or if the campaign was even justified. WMD stockpiles may not have been found but does that mean that they didn’t exist? There was much evidence to support to active development programs and anything could have happened to those weapons. They could have been shipped to Lebanon, Syria or Iran, they could have been hidden in the middle of the dessert or even destroyed at the last minute.
How many people need reminding that these weapons were not mythical objects that our governments conjured up in our imagination? They were tools of mass destruction used by Saddam on numerous occasions. He used these weapons on woman and children, he used these weapons to systematically destroy Assyrian and Kurdish villages, he used the weapons mercilessly on Iranian troops and he would have used these weapons again!
It is sad that the claims of Australia and America “sexing up” intelligence have become so rampant. It is the same intelligence that Russia, France and Germany had. No one in the world denied that Iraq possessed these weapons. The disagreement was with how to deal with this problem. France, Russia and Germany had a significant financial interest in preventing war mainly due to potential oil and weapons contracts as well as already existing unpaid debts.
The United Nations played no helpful role because its voting members were not independent jurors weighing the case for war but self-serving nations. For example, it was not a secret that Mexico sought looser immigration laws in exchange for a vote in America's favour. What did America's immigration laws have to do with a war in Iraq?
One year after the liberation of Iraq, the Coalition continues to work diligently to complete reconstruction projects, both large and small. Together the Coalition and the Iraqi people have begun the process of rebuilding Iraq. The work, although not complete, has produced tremendous results that can be seen throughout the country.
Construction has begun on thousands of new houses. Water and Electricity is reliable, food is readily available. Reconstruction Contracts are flowing into Iraq and oil is flowing out. Every School in Iraq is open and where Aramaic was once banned under Saddam it is now being taught in 35 villages. Likewise, where satellite television was once banned, news from around the world is beamed into the homes of millions of Iraqis.
The results of this war are clear. Besides the fact that Saddam and his brutal regime will no longer pose a threat to Iraqis, the region or the world, Iran, Syria, Libya and North Korea have also come to the realisation that they must abandon their ambitions of destruction or their regimes will be removed with surgical precision.
The Iraqi people see the improvements and are optimistic. However, at the moment we are engaged in a great war, testing our ability to conceive and dedicate a nation to freedom and democracy. We meet on a global battlefield with an enemy that hides among innocent people. We have made this battlefield a resting place for those who gave their lives to end terror.
Leaving Iraq now would mean that we let those soldiers die in vain, that we betray our friends and leave our work incomplete, but more devastating we let the terrorists win. We will ultimately lose the trust and respect of the international community and we would only be creating a deeper sense of hate for our way of life.
[Zinda: Mr. Zaya Toma is the Political Officer for the New South Wales Young Liberals.]
Time For the `S` Word For Iraq!
Rev. Ken Joseph Jr.
The Abu Gharib Prison has a personal meaning to me. As an Assyrian Christian who was in Iraq before the war the Abu Gharib Prison was the most feared place in Iraq. People who went to Abu Gharib `disappeared` never to be heard from again.
The baby is just starting to crawl! Stop its `milk` and it will die. A little patience and it will walk again, on its own!
Iraq through Australian eyes: Casey-Bruce Correspondence
Prime Minister Stanley M.Bruce appointed Richard Gardiner Casey as Australian political liaison officer to London in late 1923. This decision proved to be very important for Australia, at a time when it was trying to chart its own ‘independent’ foreign policy within a British imperial framework.
Casey had direct access to secret British documents and also held conversations with officials of the British Foreign and Colonial offices’. Over the next 5 years Casey was to provide Bruce in form of secret cables and private letters information on British foreign policy covering a multitude of issues. This correspondence contained summaries of secret Foreign Office documents and Casey’s own observations on international affairs. He also forwarded copies of official secret British documents to the Australian Prime Minister.
The document reproduced below refers to the future status of Iraq becoming an independent nation in 1932. It briefly mentions the various treaties that Britain negotiated with the Iraqi Kingdom during the 1920’s. The other two issues that this document raises are the importance of oil and the geo-strategic position of Iraq in Britain’s line of communication with India.
[Zinda: Mr. Stavros T.Stavridis is a Historical Researcher at the National Center for Hellenic Studies and Research, Latrobe University, Australia.]
Prof. Ninos Isaac
The Great Tradition: Sculpting the Annual Royal Lion Hunt
Animal Rights, Zoos, and the Lion Hunt Itself
Now, wild bulls, ostriches, and lesser animals were hunted for food, but it was forbidden to hunt lions for sport. The only exception to this was the Royal Lion Hunt, and this was hardly a sporting event, it was more of a religious event. The lion hunt was an annual religious ritual practiced from ages past by kings of Assyria as a symbolic gesture to Ninurta, and as an act that demonstrated God’s delegation to the Assyrian of earthly authority, whereby the King as an agent of God, would suppress the king of the beasts. Yet for each lion killed, it was also required by God that the King pour libations of oil over the dead animal, and he would publicly praise the courage of each lion killed. The royal record for lion kills on a hunt was by the great hunter-warrior, Ashurnazirpal, favorite of Ninurta. He slew killed 450 big lions on one hunt. With a minimum of 5 minutes per individual tribute per lion, the libation ceremony lasted a stunning 35 hours!!! And he did it all without a break! It is no wonder that Ninurta loved this king!
The Dying Lion and the Dying Lioness: An Assyrian Tribute
“We, the Assyrians, regard the lion as a gallant foe worthy only of a King’s lance or arrow. For this reason, there is empathy, sympathy, and love in the way I have chiseled her. I have captured for all time a split second of violent action where our snarling lioness is at bay, but she is mortally wounded and she is paralyzed in her legs. But indifferent to her pain, our lioness queen raises herself on her forepaws in one final act of agonized defiance.” We are the lionesses, my children, and she is Assyria. We are honorable, we are brave, we are glorious, and although we may suffer, we will never go lightly and we will never surrender our hope. It was this last statement that the children of the great, free civilization never forgot.
There was a very long tradition of royal lion hunts in Assyria from the fourth millennium BC! The connection between kingship and lions was unique to Assyria but would brought to western Europe as a result of the crusades in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries AD when lions begin to decorate royal coats of arms.
Exactly like the King and the people of Assyria believed at the time, the British Museum recently singled out one sculpture from their entire collection: “The masterpiece of the genre, and one of the finest objects in the entire [British] gallery of animal art, is “The Dying Lioness” from Nineveh.]
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