28 Yaar 6754              
Volume X

Issue 11

17 May 2004
W h e r e....A s s y r i a n s...G e t...T h e i r...N e w s...&...I n f o r m a t i o n
Fax 1-415-358-4778 zcrew@zindamagazine.com

Assyrian-Swedish baskeball star, Nina Baresso and husband, Daniel Danial hold their son, Enlil. The Assyrian youth in the Diaspora desparately seek positive role models as Nina in their search for identity and purpose in life.

This Week in Zinda
  Remember the Assyrian Titans! Wilfred Bet-Alkhas

Ethnic Discrimination in Funding and Administration of Reconstruction in Iraq

Zinda Magazine / Dr. Eden Naby

Religious Leaders Meet in Mardin for Peace


Patriarch Delly Decries Torture of Iraqi Prisoners


What Did the Armenians Do For Us?
Know Thy True Friends and Foes
I saw Jesus our Maran speak Aramaic
Don't Assume You're Entitled to Respect
I was Killed by a Nation

Joseph Bet-Shmuel (California)
Dean Kalimniou (Australia)
Dr George Habash ( United Kingdom)
Zaya Toma (Australia)
Paul Batou (California)


ASYUM Party in Michigan
Gorgias Press Announces New Books

Mahir Awrahem (Michigan)
Georgias Press


Iraqi Christians Deserve a Homeland within Iraq, Not Empty Promises
The War on Iraq
Time For the `S` Word For Iraq!
Iraq through Australian eyes: Casey-Bruce Correspondence

Romina Khananisho (Arizona)
Zaya Toma (Australia)
Rev. Ken Joseph Jr.
Stavros Stavridis (Australia)

  Younadam Kanna's Visit to California Fred Aprim (California)

Lion Stories

Prof. Ninos Isaac
Zinda Says
An Editorial

Remember the Assyrian Titans!

Wilfred Bet-Alkhas

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.

The Lighthouse
Feature Article(s)


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 ekorhola@europarl.eu.int. 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.]

Question E-1029/04
by Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE-DE) to the Commission
24 March 2004

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.

  1. What mechanisms are in place to ensure that the funding and administration of projects in the future avoid ethnic and religious discrimination?
  2. Can the Commission take measures to scrutinise funding allocation in Iraq, and guarantee that out of the generally allocated funds, an equitable amount reaches all ethnic communities, and that in the North there is no compensation for past discrimination?
  3. Can the Commission take measures to have Chaldo-Assyrian personnel included on the local fund-administration staff throughout the parts of Iraq where Chaldo-Assyrians reside, in order to prevent future discrimination in the distribution of aid?


Good Morning Assyria
News from Homeland

Religious Leaders Meet in Mardin for Peace

Courtesy of al-Zaman
14 May 2004
by Mustafa Ozge

(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.


News Digest
General News & Information

Patriarch Delly Decries Torture of Iraqi Prisoners

(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."

Surfs Up!
Letters to the Editor

What Did the Armenians Do For Us?

Joseph Bet-Shmuel

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

Dean Kalimniou

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
United Kingdom

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.

The film co-written, produced and directed by Mel Gibson who is a conservative Catholic Christian and co-acted by Jim Caviezel (Jesus), Maia Morgenstern (Mary mother of Jesus) and Monica Bellucci (the female near-disciple of Jesus Mary Magdalene) was a great show. Prior to the release of the film in the UK which was nearly one month after its screeing in the US I have read a deluge and watched various media commentaries like newspapers, television and the internet with those for the film and those against especially in the question of anti-Hebraic slots. I have seen quite a few films about the full life and ministry of our Maran and nearly all seems to me similar and the last 12 hours of our Maran's life takes only a short part of each film. To make full film based on the last 12 hours was interesting ie from the Judaic kiss of betrayal to the shout 'into thy hand I commit myself'. I have never noticed any anti-Hebraic scene because apart from Pilate, Claudia and the few Romans the rest were almost Hebrews. Of course the followers of the 'new way' abandoned the kingdom of the earth to follow a Kingdom 'not of this world' and that is why Jesus our Maran was on trial. I have understood little of the Aramaic dialogue and this is mostly due to a large divergence of our current language from the past and not that the actors failed to mimic the exact language. The film is not violent to me and not violent at all apart from the whipping and nailing. I have very much enjoyed the flashbacks and with more flashbacks would have inhanced the film's creativity but anyway this is my reaction and I am not a cinematic critic.

From the reviews I have read each writer gave his segment of what is in the Gospels and the hidden (as the say) alternatives of Pilate, Claudia, Judas, Joseph Caiaphas and Herod, but the only truth I belive in is the authenticity and infallibility of the Gospels. In real life as in the film there was not a single anti-Hebraic action and this is a manifestation that the teaching of Vatican Council II (1963-65) played a key role in the Hebraic-Christian approach. Vatican II did not re-write the Gospels but taught what is written in the Gospels and that is that Jesus was crucified 2000 years ago for the sin of all humanity and risen on the third day-the hope for all humanity.

Don't Assume You're Entitled to Respect

Zaya Toma

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

Paul Batou

I am not Assyrian, nor Chaldian or Akkadian
I am not Christian, nor Muslm or Buddist
.................I am a human
Born in Mesopotamia, Uruk, Nippur, Shurnppak, Sippar.
Born in Babylon, home of Anu & Ishtar

I am the son of Enlil, Shamsh & Gilgamesh
I am the son of Ishtar, Ea, Ninsun
I was killed by flood
and a million times by a creature
................called human
................called a country

I was killed by a nation
or a United Nations

Surfer's Corner
Community Events


ASYUM Party in Michigan

Mahir Awrahem
Assyrian Aid Society

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.

22 May
8:00 PM
$ 36 / $ 46 (at the door)
Royalty House
Warren, Michigan

Call Mahir at 586-524-3988
Call Sargoon at 248-867-6291

Gorgias Press Announces New Books

Baum, W. Shirin: Christian - Queen - Myth of Love
Shirin, the beloved wife of the Persian shah, Chosroes II (b. 628), pulled political strings behind the scenes and supported the "Nestorian" Christian minority in Iran. After the fall of Chosroes, Firdausi remembered Shirin in his epic, the "Shahnama."
ISBN: 1-59333-282-3 | Price: $38.00 | Format: Paperback | Size (in): 6 x 9 | Pages: v + 114 | Photos/Illustrations: 16

Heazell, F.N. Kurds and Christians
Kurds and Christians is a compilation of letters (some translated from Syriac), narratives of journeys and local traditions, and various documents pertaining to the Archbishop of Canterbury's Mission to the Assyrian Church of the East. The documents cover the ecclesiastical and social life of the Church of the East and the Anglican Mission, the School of Urmia, Kurdish troubles in the area (which caused the murder of some native clergymen), and the printing press with its various publications.
ISBN: 1-59333-106-1 | Price: $58.00 | Format: Casebound | Size (in): 6 x 9 | Pages: ix + 239 | Photos/Illustrations: 17
Maps/Plans: 1

Littledale. The Holy Eastern Church: A Popular outline of its History, Doctrines, Liturgies...
One of the beneficial results flowing from what would otherwise have been simply an unmixed evil, the Crimean War, has been a quickened interest in all which concerns the doctrines and practices of the Holy Eastern Church, the most ancient and conservative of Christian communities, the august parent whence all other Churches, even Rome herself, derive their origin, their constitution, and their rites.
ISBN: 1-59333-108-8 | Price: $38.00 | Format: Casebound | Size (in): 6 x 9 | Pages: xi + 102 | Photos/Illustrations: 1

Burkitt, F.C. Early Eastern Christianity
Early Eastern Christianity contains six lectures on the syriac-speaking church, delivered in 1904 by F. C. Burkitt, then lecturer in paleography at the University of Cambridge. The lectures are an attempt to sketch the leading characteristics of the ancient Church of Edessa and the Euphrates Valley from the earliest times to the Council of Chalcedon.
ISBN: 1-59333-101-0 | Price: $58.00 | Format: Casebound | Size (in): 6 x 9 | Pages: xii +228 | Photos/Illustrations: 4

Maclean, A.J. The Ancient Church Orders
The Church Orders are an interesting series of manuals in The Ancient Church Orders, A. J. Maclean makes them better known to the modern reader, and explains the extent to which they throw light on early Christian worship and customs.
ISBN: 1-59333-099-5 | Price: $48.00 | Format: Casebound | Size (in): 6 x 9 | Pages: xiii + 181

Luke, H.C. Mosul and its Minorities
The city of Mosul in Northern Iraq witnessed the misfortunes of war on many occasions in the past 100 years, and its minorities have always been ignored during difficult times. In Mosul and Its Minorities, Harry Charles Luke, once an Assistant Governor of Jerusalem for the British Mandate government, hopes "to make these singularly interesting peoples better known to English readers, and to win for them, if possible, some additional measure of sympathy in the difficult times through which they are passing."
ISBN: 1-59333-107-X | Price: $58.00 | Format: Casebound | Size (in): 6 x 9 | Pages: xii + 161 | Photos/Illustrations: 16

Williams, P.J. Early Syriac Translation Technique and the Textual Criticism of the Greek Gospels
This systematic investigation of the relationship between the Syriac Gospels (Old Syriac and Peshitta) and their Greek Vorlage, formulates clear rules for the use of Syriac witnesses in textual criticism and also shows the errors that can arise if these rules are ignored.
ISBN: 1-59333-096-0 | Price: $65.00 | Series: Texts and Studies, Third Series, Vol. 2 | Format: Casebound | Size (in): 6 x 9 | Pages: xv + 339 |

Rominson, J.A. The Passion of S. Perpetua
In this book, the late Cambridge scholar A. J. Robinson provides a study of the Greek and Latin texts of the passion and martyrdom of Saint Perpetua based on newly discovered manuscripts at the time. The book ends with the original Latin text of The Scillitan Martyrdom.
ISBN: 1-59333-277-7 | Price: $55.00 | Series: Texts and Studies, First Series, Vol. 1, No. 2 | Format: Casebound | Size (in): 6 x 9 | Pages: ix + 131

Chase, F.H. The Lord's Prayer in the Early Church
In this book, the late Cambridge scholar F. H. Chase gives an insightful study on the Lord’s prayer in the early Christian Church. The study first discusses the early Church and the Synagogue, then goes through an analytical study of every phrase of the Lord’s prayer.
ISBN: 1-59333-275-0 | Price: $55.00 | Series: Texts and Studies, First Series, Vol. 1, No. 3 | Format: Casebound | Size (in): 6 x 9 | Pages: xii + 179

Leroy, J. Monks and Monasteries of the Near East
Jules Leroy, the French art expert, spent several months touring the Near East in search of Early Christian remains. During this time he visited most of the monasteries in Egypt, Syria, the Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq, some of them in ruins, some of them still flourishing. He has written a vivid account of his impressions of these monasteries and of the reception he got from the monks in them. Not all the places he visited were Christian, for he describes visits to the Moslem Bektashis in Cairo, the dervishes at Tripoli, and the Yezidi devil-worshippers in the mountains of Iraq.
ISBN: 1-59333-276-9 | Price: $48.00 | Format: Paperback | Size (in): 6 x 9 | Pages: 208 | Photos/Illustrations: 64 | Maps/Plans: 1

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Iraqi Christians Deserve a Homeland within Iraq, Not Empty Promises

Romina Khananisho

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

Zaya Toma

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.
Washington D.C.

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.

My Uncle worked at the prison as a clerical worker. In November of 2002 Sadaam Hussein freed all the prisoners - estimates of up to 100,000 people - and the most hardened prisoners of a generation were put out on the streets.

I used to ask my Uncle why he would continue to go to work every day at the Prison, even though he hadn't been paid in months and there was no longer any paperwork to fill out as the Prison was empty.

He said `You know, if I did not get up each morning, take a shower, eat breakfast, go to work - even thought there is nothing to do there and I never get paid - I would go mad! Just look at our family - already two of them are `mad`. I must do this every day to survive as a human being.`

I looked around the room and quickly saw my two cousins - one staring off into space with a blank look on her face and the other constantly screaming . .

Little by little I began to understand the nightmare that was Sadaam Hussein and how he had not only destroyed a country but destroyed a people. He had broken them and in so doing caused them all to collectively go `mad`.

Another relative puts it more simply - `The Americans might wonder why we do not rise up now that we have been liberated. First, we are all still afraid - after 35 years of terror and 1 1/2 million killed we cannot actually believe Sadaam is gone. Once the Americans are gone `they` will come after us and kill us for anything we say and do now.

Second, though, it is as if we all have lost our minds. It takes time to recover. After 35 years of terror our minds need time to heal, to become normal and free again. But recover we will if just given the time.`

With the wave of incidents from the Abu Gharib Prison situation to the murder of a young man in Iraq and the situation in Fallujah I think it has finally come time, as late as it may be - better late than too late - to discuss `plan B` - the `S` word - Stop!

The handover of Iraq, barely a year after liberation when things are going so well on the ground for the average Iraqi must be stopped.

It for a long time had been abundantly clear to those of us who are in Iraq that it is not realistic to handover power on June 30. It seems to have finally come to a point where the situation is beginning to be understood outside of Iraq. The June 30 handover is just not realistic and should be `stopped`.

There are three main reasons for this.

First, it is just too soon - just when things are going so well! After 35 years of a terror state the basics cannot be put together in a little over a year. From infrastructure to politics to security, 35 years of neglect and abuse cannot be undone in a year. In Japan for example it took 7 years in a similar situation.

Second, the UN cannot take over the responsibilities of the US. In a very unique situation in the world the UN is an absolutely hated institution by all Iraqis. During the time of Sadaam Hussein, instead of supporting them, the Iraqis watch as the UN not only did not stand up to Sadaam Hussein but abused the `Oil for Food` program - their oil funds to enrich itself while doing little to help them. The UN does not have the ability to lead Iraq.

Third, with such a short and arbitrary deadline the `silent majority` the vast majority of Iraqis who support the dramatic progress that is taking place every day are too afraid and intimidated to speak out or even act. Simply put, if anyone outwardly expresses support for the wonderful things that are taking place in Iraq every day they are convinced that once the US hands over power they will be killed. They are the `engine of growth` that needs to be liberated so Iraq can go forward further! They need an atmosphere where they can be assured of a future without fear and given the `breathing room` to stand up for themselves once again without the stifling pressure of an imminent deadlne.

The June 30th handover power must be stopped - stopped not because of failure but because of dramatic success! Iraq is doing fantastic! Yonadam Kanna, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council recently touring the United States said ` The vast majority of the Iraqis are extremely thankful for being Liberated from Sadaam Hussein. A small band of terrorists and former members of the previous regieme are desperately trying to ruin everything. Things on the ground are going very well.` - his purpose in coming to the US? Party to drum up investment!

The reason it must be stopped is precisely because Iraq is so succesful. Like Like a newborn baby that must be taken care of carefully until it can walk on its own, a premature handing over of power will very clearly result in the death of the newborn Iraq.

A simple and time tested plan is all that is needed to take power away from the `thugs` that threaten to destroy the newborn Iraq and return it to the people, the `silent majority` of the people who having finally been liberated from Sadaam are the engine of growth that one can see everyone in Iraq these days. Their greatest weapon is uncertainty - the uncertainty felt among the people that the Americans will `stay the course` until the baby can walk again on its own.

The solution to a reborn Iraq is simple. As happened in Japan, Germany, Cambodia and others there is a `Roadmap`.

First, a secular, `normal` constitution. The current `temporary` constitution has in it the seeds of its own destrution. Hastily Hastily Hastily written it includes article 7 which is the death knell to a successful Iraq. It states much to the surprise of most Americans and most Iraqis as well as the Constitutional Committee of the Iraqi Governing Council. `Islam is the official religion of the state`.

Second, carefully organized and supervised, free and fair elections and a seated Government based on those elections. This will be the signal to the `silent majority` that they will not be abandoned and they will be protected and will cause them to speak out and act according to their true feelings.

Third, a long term `business plan` for the success of the newborn including a security plan, plan for restoring confiscated properties and local autonomy for the indigenous Iraqis to attract investment from the expatriate Iraqi community throughout the world.

Then and any then, to the great delight of the Iraqi people - the `silent majority` that is too intimidated to speak out, even to pollsters will Iraq truly be finally `liberated`!

Can it be done? As one who has been in Iraq since before the war the answer is a resounding `yes`! As an Assyrian Christian for whom failure is very personal - the last time it failed we lost 2/3 of our peole in the Assyrian Genocide these are high stakes decisions.

Finally, though, the most persuasive reason is because it is the right thing to do. It is not Iraq! The whole world is watching. Contrary to the loud voices of those who themselves freely threatened the `silent major` of the world - those suffering under similar regimes are watching to see if the US has the resolve, the moral character and the vision to stand up to totalitarianism and terror.

If the US can `stay the course` through a time tested `roadmap` to put the newborn Iraq carefully and gently once back on its feet again, the resultant `child` will be an example to the region first, and to the world that the age of tyrants and `thug rulers` is over and the `birth` of free peoples has come.

As Yonadan Kanna, the member of the Iraqi Governing Council visiting the US Puts it `If the US Troops are withdrawn fom Iraq too early it would be a terrible situation not only for Iraq but for the whole world.`

If the US `blinks`, and backs down, on July 1 at midnight Iraq will clearly explode into outright civil war with a resultant radical islamic nightmare that will haunt the world for generations and all the `naysayers`, domestic and worldwide will all collectively say a big `I told You So` . . it does not have to be that way!

The Liberated `silent majority` of the Iraqi people are desperate that the United States not leave and hand power over to the `thug rulers` who are waiting in the wings. They deserve a chance - a chance, for once to express themselves, to rebuild their own country with their own hands and in tune with their own drummer!

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!

The way through the current confusion? Iraq is a success! Stay the course! `Stop` the handover until the `roadmap` is complete - clearly the `S`s` have it - `Success`, `stop`, `Stay`!

Don`t let the enemies of freedom turn a resounding success into failure.

Iraq through Australian eyes: Casey-Bruce Correspondence

Stavros Stavridis

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.]

Assyrians at their Best

Younadam Kanna's Visit to California

Fred Aprim

Despite a long, negative and vicious campaign by the AssyriaSat and Bet-Nahrain Inc. against the Honorable Younadam Kanna's visit to the United States, the Iraqi Governing Council member and Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, was cheered by some 750 Assyrians and American dignitaries who packed the Yosemite Hall in Modesto on Saturday, May 1, 2004. They hailed Honarable Kanna as a hero. One day earlier in Chicago, some 1,500 people turned in to welcome the Chaldo-Assyrian representative in the Iraqi Governing Council. In Los Angeles they raised $31,000 during the over night stay of Honorable Kanna.

In Washington D.C.

Earlier Mr. Kanna spent four days in Washington D.C. holding high level meetings with Mr. Lewis Libby, the Chief of Staff for Vice President, Dick Cheney, and members of his staff. The meeting took place at The White House. He also met with Mr. Philo Dibble, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near East Affairs. The meeting was held at Mr. Dibble's Office at the Department of State. Mr. Kanna also met with Mr. Lawrence Rossin, Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director for Strategic Planning, along with members of his staff. The meeting took place at the Office of the National Security Council, at the White House. These meetings were organized by the Office of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

In these meetings Hon. Kanna discussed such topics as the Assyrian self-governance in the Nineveh Plains (Dishta d' Ninweh); the Assyrian villages reconstruction and resettlement; and the role of the Assyrians in the post-UN administered Iraq. Mr. Ashur Youeph, vice-President of the Assyrian Aid Society accompanied Hon. Kanna to these meetings.

Modesto Event of 1 May

The speakers at this event included: Honorable Dennis Cardoza; member of the United States House of Representatives (California, 18th District); Modesto's Vice-Chair of the City Council (Deputy Mayor), Janice Keating; Turlock Councilman John Lazar; Modesto Chief of Police, Roy Wasden; Hughson Chief of Police, Lieutenant Maury Sanders; FBI agent Gary Price; a Representative from the Stanislaus State University; talk show host Rob Johnson; talk show host Don Langman; representative of California Assembly Member Greg Aghazarian and many more. Congressman Cardoza, Deputy mayor Keating, representative of Aghazarian, and the Chief of Police in their speeches addressed Hon. Kanna as "His Excellency" and praised his work for his people and the new Iraq. The Deputy Mayor of the City of Modesto after a warm and enthusiastic speech presented Hon. Kanna with the Key to the City of Modesto.

Dennis Cardoza's Speech (member of the United States House of Representatives -California, 18th District)

Addressing Hon. Younadam Kanna: "I wish the best for your country. The House Resolution 272 expressed concerns for the Assyrians in Iraq. Assyrians deserve to be represented in Iraq's future government; something they have been denied for decades. They paid heavy price under Saddam Hussein and not having adequate representation in government will be great injustice. The resolution calls for freedom of religion and the right of the Assyrians to celebrate their cultural heritage. Assyrian leaders must be part of discussions that address the future of Iraq. I am pleased that Assyrians have a representative on the Iraqi Governing Council, and you Sir (pointing to Honorable Kanna) represent your people, but there is more to do. Assyrians must be guaranteed their rights under the new constitution. I will continue my efforts with the State Department and others to guarantee their rights and have their representation secured. Once again, Sir (looking at Honorable Kanna) welcome to the United States and may God bless you.

Modesto Chief of Police, Roy Wasden's Speech

"Wow, to sit next to His Excellency and listen to his personal story and to understand the struggle and suffering of the Assyrian people … freedom is not free … a heavy price must be paid. We know that when the winds of adversities blow, strong people are made … and the Assyrian people are strong people. God bless you and your efforts (addressing Honorable Kanna)...Never give up on freedom … we will prevail … you will prevail."

Modesto Deputy Mayor, Janice Keating's Speech

"I want you to know how honored and privileged I feel to be here to experience how much you truly appreciate His Excellency … he had come here to you and I am honored to be here to listen to him and what he has to say about Iraq.

Recently, I was in England and spent some time in the British Museum. In the British Museum there is an entire section dedicated to the Assyrians. All the things you brought to civilization; all those artifacts; that culture; and historical items will someday have a home to go to.

Tonight, I would like to honor His Excellency and welcome him to the City of Modesto. I would like to present him with the key to our city. (Vice-Mayor Keating steps off the podium and heads towards Honorable Kanna's head table and presents him with the Key to the City of Modesto).

Assembly member, Greg Aghazarian's Speech

Thank you for all the work you are doing in Iraq. It is phenomenal having you here. You are an extraordinary man and I am honored to have met Your Excellency. I would like to present to you a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Assembly honoring you for all your accomplishments and those that you will reach in your tenor in the Iraqi Governing Council.

Thank you Sir for your work and congratulations. (The Representative then headed to the head table of Hon. Kanna and presented him with the Certificate of Recognition).

Turlock Councilman, John Lazar

Turlock Councilman John Lazar took the podium and gave the guests a brief biography of Honorable Kanna and his position as the Chaldo-Assyrian representative in the Iraqi Governing Council and the Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement and asked him to come to the podium and address the guests.

Honorable Younadam Kanna's Speech

(Congratulated the audience for the first anniversary of the liberation of Iraq and the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Assyrian Democratic Movement) "In Washington we addressed the future of Iraq, its reconstruction, rehabilitation, and its future relations with the United States. We are visiting with the Iraqi and Assyrian communities in the United States to convey to them the real picture of Iraq and to explain that the negative picture you see on certain media outlets is not the whole truth and it is exaggerated. Negative propaganda is coming from those who hate democracy and freedom. Let me assure you that democracy will prevail in Iraq. Iraq is free … Saddam is in the past … we are building a new Iraq, which was not there anymore; there was no Iraq, there was only Saddam.

Some say that the members of the Iraqi Governing Council were appointed by the United States. However, fact is that the Coalition Provisional Authority and the United States selected groups that were present on the ground; groups that have status in the Iraqi affairs; groups that fought Saddam for years. They did not bring anybody. Yes, there are individuals that do not fall in the above category; however, they were selected because they complete the gender, ethnic, and political diversity of Iraq.

Be assured that after June 30th everything will change … the enemy claims that this unrest and insurgency is a holy war against the occupiers. This card will fall after June 30. Iraq will be free then and those terrorists will not be able any longer to play with the emotions of the common and simple Iraqis. The United States is too Christian and lenient with these criminals. After June 30, we will have the Iraqi laws to deal with and take care of such criminals and not Geneva Convention rules. Peace and stability will soon be established in Iraq with the support of a new resolution in the Security Council and thus the help of the United Nations.

(Addressing the Iraqi Fundamental Law and the bills of rights that it protects) "We were here before the war and met with Mar Sarhad Jammo, Mar Ibrahim Ibrahim, Mar Dinkha and we told them that Saddam will fall and that our nation is divided into eleven pieces. We asked, how are we going to be ready then and when the new constitution is ready, how are we going to be represented. We did not get an answer, although Mar Ibrahim insisted on the term Chaldo-Assyrians.

We began to see certain questionable efforts coming from Europe through some clergymen and churches …let me tell you, we are living in Iraq and we can solve our problems there; we do not need foreigners to meddle in our affairs. We will not allow the repeat of what we witnessed in World War I. After much deliberation with many of our groups and authorities, the Chaldo-Assyrian National Council was established and the October 2003 Conference took place and we all decided that in this specific period in our history we shall adopt the Chaldo-Assyrian title to represent our people and Syriac to represent our heritage and language. This does not mean that Assyria and Babylonia are wiped away from history; no one can erase the name of our nation.

Due to ignorance and the influence of certain foreign groups and our enemy, some people are trying to stand against our progress. We will not allow them. We do not want to be recognized as separate groups, one used against another … we must be recognized as one people. I do not understand why is it that we cannot agree. The Jews, who today basically rule the world, were divided, but they decided to reach an agreement. They called their country Israel, their language Hebrew and their people as Jews; they compromised and decided to use the three titles: Israel, Hebrew and Jews.

The decision we have reached is a political decision for this specific and crucial time. Why is it that some do not complain about referring to our people as two separate people as Chaldeans and Assyrians in Iran? One denominator pushes all extremists, who call for separate representations. Regardless of whether these extremists are Assyrians or Chaldeans, that common denominator is the enemy of our people. Let me tell you that 80% to 85% of our people in the Nineveh plain support this move toward our unity and the Chaldo-Assyrian title. Unity is our primary challenge; we hope that the Church will make it its priority as well.

The new Iraqi Fundamental Law (Temporary Constitution) guaranteed our administrative rights. Meaning, we will have our own region … we will elect our own mayors and representatives. Today we have over 100 schools all over Iraq. We need your assistance in the resettlement of our people and reconstruction plan. Some 60% of our villages are still there and 40% need more work in them. We need help with the reconstruction of at least 20,000 homes. This is where you come from. With the $18 billion budget set by the United States government, you need to campaign in your country and with your representatives to allocate some of that budget for this reconstruction. Today, the Diaspora Assyrians have their rights protected as well; you are entitled to dual citizenship and all the privileges that accompany that decision. We passed a special law for property. Today, if you have a claim against the Iraqi government for confiscating your land or home or you sold your property under pressure, you can apply to be reimbursed or you can go back to Iraq and ask for it. Finally, you should go back to Iraq and invest there. We are ready to help you while in Iraq. We are ready to assist everybody, even those who are attacking us today.

I would like to conclude by mentioning some wonderful people who worked for the Assyrian national cause. People whom we will remember; they were among us last year but are not with us today. They are Mr. Evan Giwargis, Mr. Paul Yonan, and Mr. Nadan Younadam.

Thank you and congratulations for the first anniversary of the liberation of Iraq.

San Jose Event of 2 May

The dinner event at the Awana of the Assyrian Church of the East in San Jose was sold out almost a week before the event. Some 500 people enjoyed wonderful performances by six Assyrian singers and several poems were recited. Mr. Sa'id Sipo, Representative of the Chaldo-Assyrian Council in San Diego, welcomed Hon. Kanna and through his moderate stand, he emphasized on unity.

His Grace Mar Bawai Soro's Speech

"We are happy to gather here on this historic day. Throughout the history of Iraq, from Simele until today, this poor nation of ours dispersed throughout the world. We never had an official representative in Iraq as we have today. We are very fortunate that today we, as the people in Iraq first and then those in the Diaspora, have a representative who is our own son, from our own Assyrian flesh and blood. We see the faces of Iraqi people, the faces of our own sons and daughters, who have been oppressed, in your beloved image brother Younadam.

We need to say thank you, thank you to you and all the other brothers and sisters who worked with you for years. Thank you because as we left our homelands you remained to protect our human and national rights. We were selfish; we left our homelands looking for better and comfortable lives, meanwhile, those who remained, especially in Iraq, spilled blood as a price for that protection. For that, we salute those Martyrs and we, as Christians, supplicate to God that he will gracefully accept their sacrifices and have a special place for them in the eternal life.

Thank you for the schools that you built to save our culture, language, and literature. Thank you for being part in raising educated and nationalistic visionaries that understands world's politics and you are an example of such efforts.

We have met many people who have visited Iraq; many of them belonged to other groups. They have utmost respect for Hon. Younadam and all others working with him. They respected them because these people remained and worked hard and are worthy to be called trenches fighters. You made us proud. We pray to almighty God to repay you for your sacrifices and may He multiply those like you, so that our poor nation that has suffered always shall follow a path towards safety and prosperity.

Thank you so very much for the work that you accomplished in the Iraqi Governing Council and the ministry in the Kurdistan Regional Government earlier. We have a request from you. We want you to work on the issue that is most important to this nation and in one simple manner to put it: We want you to unite this nation. This we ask because today there are many questionable efforts in Iraq to divide the Iraqi Christians into pieces and break them into small sectarian groups in order to undermine our national rights. True, we have problems, especially those arguments between Assyrians and Chaldeans. However, to those who love God and love their nation, these problems must be dissolved. We have seen your hard work; a work that promotes the principles of compromise in order to bring our people closer together and ultimately unites them.

We beg you not to stop and to go forward. We will support you as long as this nation, and through your efforts, is working as one and not as two nations. We will support you even if it is one nation with two united names. We will support you with all our true and genuine nationalist love and humbleness; we will communicate with all our people and churches so that an understanding is reached because our national goal must stand ahead of our personal goals and bigger than the goals of each individual Church. Our goal must be an eternal one; a goal parallel with the greatness of our national name, this holy name you picked - Chlado-Assyrian.
Well, we are here to listen to you and not to me. However, before I conclude allow me to add that we are with you with and we will support you and our people in Iraq with our modest capabilities. Our Chaldean Assyrian people in the United States support our people in Iraq with all their hearts. We want you to work yet harder because we do not need a stranger to make us work together and we do not need a stranger to divide us. Today, if we lost as a nation, we can blame nobody but ourselves. Please convey this message to our people in Iraq. Let us pray.

His Excellency Younadam Kanna's Speech

In his speech, Hon. Kanna repeated the message he gave in Modesto and explained step by step what has taken place in Iraq and what is anticipated in the next 18 months and the options available. He stressed unity as the key for the progress of our people in Iraq. He explained the circumstances why the adoption of the political title Chaldo-Assyrian was important at this stage. The challenges were great and the risks were high and only with a compromise to unite our people we could progress as one people.


The Chariot
Back to the Future

Lion Stories

Prof. Ninos Isaac

The Great Tradition: Sculpting the Annual Royal Lion Hunt

Ashurbanipal was set to unveil his latest palace wall sculptures. Crafted in the sturdiest stone, he wasn’t the first to do this. Nazirpal began the tradition of adorning palace walls with these monstrosities that were supposed to last a million years. He had done this in his palace at Nimrud. This time, however, there was to be a big difference. Ashurbanipal had asked the sculptor to document the royal lion hunt in more detail than ever before, and with more beauty than it had ever been done before. In fact, he wanted not just the standard hunt, kill, and libation ceremony scenes, he wanted something else … he wanted the perspective of the lions themselves, he wanted a tribute to nature! When this became news in the city, the unveiling, a boring event that had traditionally gathered crowds of close to 1,000 people in earlier years, was expected to draw over 50,000 this time around! This was also because the commissioned artist would be NinusChamu, renowned for his portraits of the inter-regnum Queen, Shamiram. The Shamiram painting, showing her wounded in a chariot, hung over every Assyrian fireplace. NinusChamu was without question the people’s favorite artist.

Animal Rights, Zoos, and the Lion Hunt Itself

Now even though lion hunts were treated as a sacred and exclusive right of kings, they were largely unpopular with the people. The Assyrian people had in the early years of Tiglath-Pileser protested so vigorously against the internment of lions and elephants that zoos had been completely banned. The only thing resembling a zoo at all was the huge safari park was built by the commission of the king (and under his protection), and which spread over such an area of land west of Nineveh that you would be lucky to sight any of the great animals that lived there. In this way, the beasts of Assyria seemed to enjoy a freedom that no great animal enjoyed anywhere in the world. They roamed wild in the hills above the Tigris.

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

So we came to the unveiling of Ashurbanipal’s hunt scene. As the purple velvet curtain was opened, the standard scenes were displayed: there was Ashurbanipal adorned in his most handsome costume prancing across the terrain, with spear in hand, and so forth … then as the artist was about to pull away some of the curtain, the King himself strode forward in front of the large crowd and said, “Wait, people of Nineveh, my children. Let me tell you, that nowhere in the world are lions honored as in Assyria. Assyrians love nature, and I want you to know that the lion is the closest animal to the Assyrian himself. He is our relative. When he dies he dies with honor, he does not die easily, he fights until the dying breath. And the lioness is as the Assyrian mother. As the mother of Assyria, she provides for all, for her cubs, and when her time comes, she fights with her dying breath, she fights for her people, she struggles and she suffers, and no woman loves as the Assyrian woman loves. In this sculpture which will last for many centuries, my artist, NinusChamu, the people’s artist, shows not only the mastery of the Assyrian over the earth and the beasts, and the libations and our tribute to God and Ninurta; for the first time we show the suffering of the animal that is Assyria, in the form of a beautiful dying lion and an even more beautiful dying lioness. Ashurbanipal himself then pulled away the curtain, and with his arm around NinusChamu, he asked us: citizens, look at the lioness that I killed there. Struck by one of my arrows, blood gushes from her mouth. Veins stand out on her face. Then he asked, “My people, what is her pain like? Do you see her courage? Look at her body? See her muscles? See the arrows? View her expressions? Feel her pain? This lioness here is an Assyrian masterpiece. It is a tribute to God, to nature, but most of all it is a tribute to the beauty and honor that is you, that is Mother Assyria. Long live the Lioness of Assyria. And I tell you, I have never heard such applause like the applause I heard that day. It was absolutely deafening and my ears rang for hours afterwards.

Lectures to the Children in Schools

The artist, NinusChamu became known as Libba’d Aryeh, meaning the one with the heart of lions. Afterwards, Libba’d Aryeh regularly went to Assyrian schools in our major cities to speak of his art. He was always asked not about his famous Shamiram paintings, but about his famed dying lioness, and he would give this speech that immortalized her in the minds and hearts of the children. He would say the following:

“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.


Sir Austin Henry Layard emphasized the essential fact that “the lion symbolized Assyria in its combination of courage, violence and sovereign disdain for any adversary that stood in its path. The lion roamed the hills and plains while lesser beasts fled before it. Just so did the Assyrians tour the Middle East, forcing capitulations from neighboring peoples.”

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.

[Zinda: 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.]

Thank You
Zinda Magazine thanks the following individuals for their contribution in the preparation of this week's issue.

Dr. Matay Arsan (Holland)
David Chibo (Australia)
Ninos David (California)
Tomas Isik (Sweden)
Petr Kubalek (Czech Republic)
Dr. Eden Naby (Harvard University)

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