14 Yaar 6754              
Volume X

Issue 10

3 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

Hon. Yonadam Kanna, Representative of the Chaldo-Assyrians in Iraq, is greeted by Turlock Councilman, Mr. John Lazar and local civic and congressional leaders as well as the Assyrian community at Yosemite Banquet Hall in Modesto. Mr. Kanna received the Key to the City of Modesto among other accolades during his visits to Arizona, California, Chicago, Detroit, & Washington D.C. (photo courtesy of Debbie Noda / Modesto Bee).

This Week in Zinda

Akitu vs. Newruz

Fred Aprim (California)

Assyrian Air Force Officer Saved British Pilots' Life in 1991


Kanna in Chicago: "Things Look Good for July 1"
Yonadam Kanna's Visit to Modesto
Kanna Pays Visit to Arizona


Why so Much Animosity Against our Church?
The Timing of the Food Festival was not Intentional
Who is Responsible for our Destruction?

Joseph Haweil (Australia)
Michelle Betwarda (California)
Dr. George Habash (United Kingdom)

Assyrian Genocide Demonstration in Germany, 11 May
2004 Assyrian Australian Association Rabi Nemrod Simono Scholarship
Documentary Film: "Good Kurds, Bad Kurds"

Assyrian Seyfo International Committee
Ramena Kako (Australia)
Organizers in Sacramento, California

The Cloaking Clergy
Ashamed of What My Country Did to Assyrians
Imperial Comparisons
A 1930s Lesson in Stillborn Democracy
The Luckiest Man in History & the Church of the East

Edward Baba (California)
Nonna Gorilovskaya (Mother Jones)
Joel Rayburn (LA Times)
Shooma Bet-Malik (United Kingdom)

The Final Hours

Prof. Ninos Isaac

The Lighthouse
Feature Article(s)

Akitu vs. Newruz

Fred Aprim

Many nationalities, ethnic and religious groups in the Near/Middle East and Central Asia, like the Assyrians, Persians, Afghanis, Kurds, and Baha'is celebrate the arrival of spring season. This occasion, mostly celebrated on March 21 (for Baha'is would be on the 22nd since their day starts at sunset), represent the beginning of these groups' national calendar and their own new year. However, since the Kurds of Iraq have aroused suspicion by politicizing this ancient tradition, which is not theirs to start with, it was important to explore and differentiate between the myth on the one hand and the historical and traditional accounts on the other.

The Akitu festival is one of the oldest recorded religious festivals in the world, celebrated for several millennia throughout ancient Mesopotamia. Yet, the Akitu was more than just a religious ceremony—it acted as a political device employed by the monarchy and/or the central priesthood to ensure the supremacy of the king, the national god, and his capital city.

Politics and religion in Mesopotamia were irrevocably intertwined. Myths and their supportive rituals justified social institutions and legitimized rulers. Akitu festival was a tool wielded by the monarchy and ruling class to promote state ideology [1]. The Akitu festival demonstrates the effectiveness of religion as a political tool. Some of the earliest reference date back to the middle of the third Millennium B.C. referring to an Akitu building or celebration at Nippur. In the pre-Sargonic period, the Akitu Festival is attested at Ur, providing for example the names for its months. Economic documents indicate that in the Sargonic and Ur III periods (2350 – 2100 B.C.), the Akitu was a semi-annual festival, being observed first at Ur, Nippur, and Uruk, and later in Babylon and Assyria.

The arrival of spring season was celebrated lavishly in Assyria and Babylonia for 12 (twelve) days in what is documented as the Akitu (Sumerian A-ki-ti) Festival or New Year Festival. The Assyrian and Babylonian Akkadian term used for the festival is called rêš šattim (resh shattim), today's Assyrians continue to use the term "resh shita," meaning "the beginning of the year," which begins in the month of Nisan, the first month of the year for the Assyrians/Babylonians. The history of Akitu Festival is recorded in cuneiform and is translated to many languages as a genuine Mesopotamian tradition. Additionally, parts of these festivities were recorded in the Sumerian Epic of Creation [2].

In Mesopotamia, when it came to agriculture, these festivities were celebrated twice a year. For fallow lands the Spring Equinox marked the important phases of washing the land to remove impurities such as excess of salinity, as well as to ensure the appropriate softening up the soil, whereas the Autumn Equinox marked the beginning of harvest. For cultivated fields, on the other hand, the Spring Equinox marked the beginning of harvest, whereas the Autumn Equinox marked the fallowing season. Furthermore, the highlight of the Akitu Festival was the Akitu procession, which commemorated the god leaving his temporary residence and entering his new permanent residence in his chosen city for the very first time. The inner meaning of the festival was therefore the celebration of the time the god had chosen that specific place as his city, to guard and protect from that moment until the end of times [3].

During the festivities, the creation epic of Enûma eliš was recited, while the people sang all kinds of hymn and songs [4]. Contenau puts the Akitu Festival in Babylon this way. The Akitu Festival came to have a double character. It originated in nature festival, with features which expressed simultaneously nature's grief at the death of all growing things and her joy at their rebirth. On to this had been grafted the glorification of Marduk. In Babylon, Marduk received in his temple of Esagila all the gods of other great cities in the shape of their statues, the first being his son Nabu, worshiped in Borsippa. Marduk disappears, but then grief is changed to gaiety on his reappearance, and the entire company of gods was escorted in a great procession to the temple outside the city, known as Akitu. In between, many sacred performances took place, which glorified Marduk as hero and victorious against Chaos and included a sacred marriage ceremony. After the ceremonies, the statues were returned to their temples [5]. In Assyria, almost similar rituals took place; however, the supreme god was Ashur and he had to fight the monster Tiamat. On the second of Nisan, god Ashur, after receiving a breakfast, left his temple in a chariot drawn by white horses leading a procession of gods to the Akitu House in the open country outside Nineveh where the special rituals took place [6].

When the Medes and Scythians (aided by the Babylonians) attacked Assyria and its capital Nineveh, the Medes came in direct contact with Assyrian civilization. The influence of Assyrian civilization on many dynasties that originated from the Zagros Mountains and beyond, including the Medes, Persians, Achaemenids, and Parthians is well attested by many scholars and history books. The influence of Assyrian art and system of ornamentation at the monumental stairway of the Apadana at Persepolis (Pasargadae) is a living proof [7]. Yet, earlier, it was a civilization of the Iranian plateau, the Elamites, who adopted the written language of Akkadian as the most universal language of the area for two millennia. Furthermore, much of what is known about Elamite civilization comes to us from Sumerian, Babylonian, and Assyrian records [8]. Suffice to know that Akkadian was so important to the Achaemenid Persian King Darius I that he used it in his very famous tri-lingual inscription at the Rock of Behistun.

There are many legends and myths about the Persian origin and Kurdish adoption of the New Year, also known as Newruz (also written NuRoz). To Persians, Nu Roz (new day, time or usually translated to New Year) ceremonies are symbolic representations of the ancient concept of the "End and the Rebirth."

Few weeks before the New Year, Iranians (Persians) clean and rearrange their homes. They make new clothes, bake pastries, and germinate seeds as sign of renewal. The ceremonial cloth is set up in each household. Troubadours (Haji Firuz) disguise themselves with makeup and wear brightly colored outfits of satin. These Haji Firuz parade the streets while singing and dancing using tambourines, kettle drums, and trumpets to spread good cheer and the news of the the coming new year. Last Wednesday of the year (Chahar Shanbeh Suri), bonfires are lit in public places and people leap over the flames, shouting: "Give me your beautiful red color and take back my sickly pallor!" With the help of fire and light symbols of good, people hope to see their way through the unlucky night - the end of the year- to the arrival of springs longer days. Traditionally, it is believed that the living were visited by the spirits of their ancestors on the last day of the year. Many people specially children, wrap themselves in shrouds symbolically reenacting the visits. By the light of the bonfire, they run through the streets banging on pots and pans with spoons (Gashog-Zani) to beat out the last unlucky Wednesday of the year, while they knock on doors to ask for treats. In order to make wishes come true, it is customary to prepare special foods and distribute them on this night. Noodle Soup a filled Persian delight, and mixture of seven dried nuts and fruits, pistachios, roasted chic peas, almond, hazelnuts, figs, apricots, and raisins [9], or seven well-known crops, familiar to the Persians prior to the advent of Islam and the Arab domination.

The Achaemenian Persians had four major residences one for each season. Persepolis was their spring residence and the site for celebrating the New Year. Stone carvings in Persepolis show the king seated on his throne receiving his subjects, governors, and ambassadors from various nations under his control. They are presenting him with gifts and paying homage to him. These scenes resemble greatly the Assyrian art in Assyrian king's palaces. Although there is not too much about the details of the rituals, still, it is well known that mornings were spent praying and performing other religious rituals. Later on during the day, the guests would be entertained with feasts and celebrations. Furthermore, the ritual of sacred marriage took place at this palace. Most of these same rituals were rooted in ancient Mesopotamia [10]. Zarathushtra (called Zoroaster by the Greeks) is said to have lived between 628-551 B.C. Other accounts pin his birth date in 570 B.C. It is documented that it was he who converted the Chorasmian King Vishtapa. Other historians and traditions go further and claim that he lived between 1400 and 1200 B.C. It is also possible that there could have been more than one Zarathushtra. Either way, it is known fact that Zoroaster had great influence and impact on Persian religion. Even if he had lived around 1400 B.C., his influence came about two millennia and perhaps more after the Akitu Festival was practiced in Mesopotamia. The point is that it is very likely that the Persians had copied the principles of the New Year Festival from the much earlier Assyrian/Babylonian civilization than from the latter Zoroaster.

Meanwhile, Kurdish nationals, especially those of Iraq, and for a good reason that I will address later, narrate the most unsubstantiated accounts about the origin of Newruz. For example, Ardishir Rashidi-Kalhur, claims that the Kurds' ancestors started to celebrate this festival in the mountains of kurdistan in 728 B.C. Rashidi-Kalhur goes yet further and claims that the original name of the celebration was the Kurdish word "NuRoj" and not "Nuroz" since Kurdish is the original language of the Iranians, it predates and precedes the Persian language by 1,200 years. The writer, however, admits that the modern Kurdish language was derived from Fahli language (Pahli language, which in ancient times was known as Pahlavi). It was after the Arab invasion, he states, that the "P" in Pahli switched to "F" and thus Fahli [11]. Fact is that historical references or reliable documentation, which prove the presence of specific people under the name of Kurds who celebrated this occasion in antiquity, are absent. As far as the outrageous claim that Kurdish language preceding the Persian, I will leave that to linguists to argue.

Other Kurds have associated the Kurdish Newruz with a Persian legend but manipulated the origin of certain figures in that legend to suit Iraqi Kurdish national objectives. If you ask Kurds of Iraq today what is Newruz; they will immediately reply, "it is the celebration of the victory of Kawa the Kurdish smith over the cruelty of the Assyrian king Zahak." According to the Kurdish version of the legend, two snakes grew on the shoulders of the Assyrian King Zahak, which caused him much pain. Each day these snakes were to be fed the brains of two children to alleviate the king's pain. Every family had to contribute in feeding the snakes by scarifying their children; thus, people hated the Assyrian king and could not tolerate seeing their children being killed. Kawa has already sacrificed 16 out of 17 of his children previously; however, his turn came again to sacrifice his last daughter. Kawa thought how to rescue his last daughter and tricked everybody by presenting the brains of sheep instead of children. With time, the other people began to practice the same trick while the saved children were hid in the Mountains of Zagros. Kawa trained these children on how to become fighters and depend on themselves. In time, Kawa turned the children into an army and one day they revolted and marched towards King Zahak's castle and Kawa smote the king with his hammer and the two serpents withered. Kawa then climbed to the top of the mountain above the castle and lit a large bonfire to tell all the people of Mesopotamia that they were free. Hundreds of fires all over the land were lit to spread the message and the flames leapt high into the night sky, lighting it up and cleansing the air of the smell of Dehak and his evil deeds. The fires burned higher and higher and the people sang and danced around in circles holding hands with their shoulders bobbing up and down in rhythm with the flute and drum. The women in bright colored sequined dresses sang love songs and the men replied as they all moved around the flames as one [12]. Although many groups celebrate Newruz (Nuroz), Kurds state that it is especially important to them as it is also the start of the Kurdish calendar and that it reflects the Kurds own long struggle for freedom.

Few other versions of the legend coincide the day of the revolt of Kawa exactly with the fall of the Assyrian Empire in 612 B.C. These versions claim that the saved children gradually became a community, married to each other, and brought onwards offspring. Kawa then trained them as fighters and established in them the love of freedom and liberty. This Kurdish version then claims that on March 21, 612 B.C., Kawa led them in an attack on the king's palace, and ended one of the darkest rules in the Middle East [13].

Neither Persian nor Afghani people celebrate Newruz based on this precise Kurdish version of the myth that includes an Assyrian king. Although the Persian version mentioned King Zahak; however, there is no connection to Assyrians. In fact, and according to Dr Hussein Tahiri, a 1991 Iranian calendar published by a group called the Guardians of the Iranian Culture, outlines the seventh of October as the anniversary of the victory of Kawa over the Arab Zahak. In view of this group, Zahak was an Arab [14]. This legend is therefore dated to post Islamic Arab conquest, and since there was no Arab influence in the region before Islam, therefore it cannot predate the Assyrian/Babylonian narratives. Other legends claim that Zahak was the last king of the Medes. This latter legend states that the Persians revolted against the evil deeds of the king of the Medes.

Where does this connection between the Persian (Iranian) and Kurdish legends coincide, even if in some aspects? History tells us that the name Iran was derived from the word "Aryana," which meant "the [land] of the Aryans." These Aryans entered the Iranian plateau in around 1,500 B.C. Earlier, the land was occupied by aboriginal Caspians. The two main Aryan tribes were the Medes and the Persians. Later, the Medes lived the northern region of the plateau while the Persians moved south to the Elamite land [15]. The Zagros Mountains became the home of many of these two groups. History tells us further that the Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III conquered and deported 65,000 Medes, replacing them on the Iranian plateau with Aramaeans. Additionally, Assyria's Sargon II defeated dozens of Median chiefs and settled 30,000 captured Israelis in the towns of the Medes in the late eighth century B.C. [16]. This mix of people in the Iranian plateau and Zagros Mountains could have planted the seeds of a new breed of people who became later known as Kurds.

The story of the Kurdish Kawa has been used a lot by Kurdish nationals and resistance movements, especially by Iraqi Kurds. However, Dr. Hussein Tahiri states that when and how Kurdish Newruz began is not clear for the Kurds and that there is much ambiguity about the origin of the practice. The claim by the Kurds that Newruz is the celebration of the victory of Kawa, the Smith, over Azhdahak or Zahak seems contradictory and ambiguous as well. Tahiri adds that the Kurds have done no research on the origin of Newruz. The available research is from the Persians, and they regard Newruz as an Iranian national celebration. So why do Kurds practice or create a blind culture, asks Dr. Hussein Tahiri [17]. Furthermore, why do Kurdish nationalists and history writers invent such a myth, i.e. a Kurdish hero executing presumably the end of Assyrian cruel king and indirectly sometimes and directly in others as being the reason for the end of the Assyrian empire? There is not one reliable historical fact linking the fall of Assyria at the hands of a group of people called Kurds, not even one. Why would Kurds then take a Persian tradition, manipulate it to represent "Kurdish" traditions, and then politicize it in such manner? It is obvious that Kurdish nationalists in the last century, or century and a half, have realized the real historic threat of Assyrians to Kurdish national dream in Iraq. Only Assyrians have legitimately a historical claim to Assyria (northern Iraq) since Kurds are not the original inhabitants as they are mainly from the Zagros Mountains in present Iran and southern Armenia, in the mountains of Hakkari (Kurds call kurdistan). Therefore, they see it necessary to plant this feeling of struggle and conflict in the hearts and minds of common Kurds; such feelings lead naturally to hatred towards indigenous Assyrians. It is the Kurdish nationalist's way to demonize and incriminate the Assyrians so that the Assyrian case in their own homeland be undermined.

In conclusion, the Nisan New Year Festival (Akitu) was rooted in Sumer, Assyria, and Babylonia before any Aryan people (Persians or Kurds) moved to the region of the Near East. Meanwhile, it is very clear from the point of view of many historians that there is an ambiguity in the origin of Newruz for Kurds. Since the origin of the Kurds as people is ambiguous, therefore, it is natural that the origin of their traditions is ambiguous as well. Kurdish nationals must stop fabricating stories like that of Kawa and the mysterious Assyrian cruel king who allegedly was the reason behind killing two children daily. Spreading such illusionary and fanciful stories is geared towards one purpose and that is planting feelings of bigotry and hatred among Kurds towards the Assyrians; the rightful and original owners of northern Iraq lands (Assyria). These mythical stories are regrettable and deplorable; they do not serve mankind in any civil way.


[1] Bidmead, Julye. The Akitu Festival: Religious Continuity and Royal Legitimation in Mesopotamia. Gorgias Dissertations: Near Eastern Studies 2, 2002.
[2] Saggs, H. W. F. The Greatness that was Babylon. New York: Mentor Books, 1968.
[3] http://www.gatewaystobabylon.com/religion/sumerianakitu.htm
[4] http://www.livius.org/aj-al/akitu/akitu.htm
[5] Georges Contenau. Everyday Life in Babylon and Assyria. London: Edward Arnold Ltd, 1955.
[6] Saggs, H. W. F. The Might That Was Assyria. Reprint. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1985.
[7] Andre Parrot. The Arts of Assyria. New York: Golden Press, 1961.
[8] http://www.san.beck.org/EC6-Assyria.html (The Persian Empire).
[9] http://www.aiap.org/norooz/about_norooz.html
[10] http://tehran.stanford.edu/Culture/nowruz.html
[11] www.KurdishMedia.com (Article titled "History of Newroz" by Ardishir Rashidi-Kalhur of the Kurdish American Education Society.)
[12] a) http://www.kurdmedia.com/ac/ac.asp?id=130 (Article by Mark Campbell titled "Kawa and the story of Newroz.")
b) Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou. "Kurdistan and the Kurds." Balinge, JN Wesanin Jina Nu, 1991.
c) http://www.kurdishyoungsters.8k.com/whats_new.html
[13] http://members.lycos.co.uk/peyman01/Kawa.html (Internet page titled Kurdish heroes / Kawa.)
[14] http://www.kurdmedia.com/reports.asp?id=133 (Article by Dr. Hussein Tahiri titled: Is Newruz the Kurdish national day?)
[15] Jack Finegan. Light from the Ancient Past. Vol. 1. London: Oxford University Press, 1969.
[16] http://www.san.beck.org/EC6-Assyria.html (The Persian Empire)
[17] http://www.kurdmedia.com/reports.asp?id=133 (Article by Dr. Hussein Tahiri titled: Is Newruz the Kurdish national day?)


Good Morning Assyria
News from Homeland

Assyrian Air Force Officer Saved British Pilots' Life in 1991

Courtesy of the London Telegraph
2 May 2004
by Philip Sherwell

(ZNDA: Baghdad) The battered faces of John Nichol and John Peters, the British airmen paraded on Iraqi television after their Tornado was shot down, were among the most enduring images of the first Gulf war.

They were beaten and tortured during their interrogation but it has now emerged that they only narrowly escaped execution on the orders of Saddam Hussein's son Qusay.

The intervention of one of Saddam's senior air force officers, Georges Hormis Sada - newly appointed as senior adviser for the American-backed New Iraqi Army - changed Qusay's mind.

Last week Mr Sada, an Assyrian and one of Iraq's leading lay Christians, revealed how Qusay paid an unexpected visit to the air force's emergency headquarters in a Baghdad bunker about a week after the air war started on January 17, 1991.

"He was very angry," said the retired general. "He wanted a Kuwaiti pilot to be shot immediately. The others, including the Britons, were to be executed later or taken to bombing targets to be killed in Allied raids."

At the time, six captured British aircrew were in Iraqi hands, as well as several Americans, two Italians and the Kuwaiti pilot, Lt Col Mohammed al-Mubarak.

As an Anglophile who trained at an RAF base near Oxford in 1967, Mr Sada was determined to save their lives. Initially, he tried - without success - to persuade Qusay, then just 24, that killing the prisoners would breach the Geneva Convention.

Then he switched back. "I told him the prisoners were more valuable to Iraq alive than dead," he recalled. "I said that our men would also be taken prisoner, and that we could swap them."

The next day Qusay returned, saying that he had decided that Iraq should "benefit" from the prisoners. Mr Sada's account is backed by a former senior intelligence officer who was also in the air force headquarters that night. He heard Qusay asking about the interrogation of the captives.

The dictator's son was told that some were "co-operating", though not the Britons.

"He said, 'OK, bring all the pilots outside and kill one of them in front of the others'," the officer said.

"My leg started to shake as this would have been a terrible thing. The prisoners were pilots, and we were pilots. Someone asked him which one. He said, 'Kill the Kuwaiti traitor'."

The intelligence officer said Mr Sada was credited with saving the pilots' lives.

F Lt John Peters

Mr Nichol, who wrote about his experiences in his book Tornado Down, confirmed that they had been threatened with execution. Although they were initially held in the bunker, they were blindfolded and did not see the officers, including Mr Sada. By the time of Qusay's visit, they had been moved to a military police prison on an airbase.

"It is chilling to learn that someone like Qusay was intent on our death," Mr Nichol said. "It would not have surprised me if someone had carried out those executions in front of us. But nor does it surprise me that there were Iraqis who stood up for us.

"The vast majority of Iraqi military and civilians were decent people, although there were clearly very evil elements too. I would love to meet Georges and shake his hand."

Mr Sada, once one of Iraq's top fighter pilots, already had a reputation for speaking his mind. He was forced to "retire" from the air force in 1986 for refusing to join the Ba'ath Party, only to be recalled in August 1990 after Saddam invaded Kuwait.

His intervention saved the foreign aircrew, but ended his air force career for the second time.

"I was detained at the end of January and then told I was being retired a few days later," he said. "It was made clear that this was because I had stood up to Qusay."

News Digest
General News & Information

Kanna in Chicago: "Things Look Good for July 1"

Courtesy of the Chicago Suntimes
1 May 2004
by Art Golab

(ZNDA: Chicago) On a visit to Chicago, a member of Iraq's Governing Council thanked Americans for liberating his country and said that violence there will decline significantly once Iraq's new interim government becomes official in July.

''Day after day, the casualties and incidents and losses will be less and less, especially when our Iraqi people are on the street and Americans are in some safe place where they can support us if something happens,'' said Yonadam Kanna.

Kanna is the only Christian on the 25-member council appointed by the coalition Provisional Authority and one of five council members who met with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and other U.S. officials in Washington, D.C., earlier this week and then embarked on a tour of the United States.

At a news conference Friday, Kanna said he was looking forward to a lower U.S. and coalition profile after power is turned over to a new Iraqi government July 1.

''When we have sovereignty and independence the criminals and the terrorists will lose the effective card in their hand, which is moving the emotion and feelings of the simple people that they are fighting a holy war against the foreigners,'' Kanna said.

But until Iraq can handle its own security, America should not be deterred by the violence, Kanna said. ''We appreciate the losses of American troops, but you have to think that you lost [nearly 3,000] at the World Trade Center. So today the enemy is in Iraq and if you don't stop them there, you will have to fight them here.''

Though Iraq's interim government is not scheduled to take power until July 1, Kanna said the Governing Council would get a head start and select a cabinet in early June. As Kanna spoke, the Iraq Governing Council named the first president of the new government, Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

Kanna called for the death penalty for Saddam Hussein.

"We will never listen to those countries that say please don't kill Saddam Hussein because the death penalty is not accepted by human rights," he said. "Saddam killed 1 and a half million people. He is a hope for criminals, he is a hope for terrorists. If he stays there, you are giving hope for them to go on."

Yonadam Kanna's Visit to Modesto

Courtesy of the Modesto Bee
By Chris Togner; photo by Debbie Noda
2 May 2004

(ZNDA: Modesto) Walking through Dulles International Airport on Saturday, Yonadam Kanna, the leader of the Assyrian Democratic Movement political party in Iraq, saw a sticker on a newsstand that read: Bush is the Butcher of Baghdad.

Later that day, moments before delivering a speech to Assyrian-Americans in Modesto, he said he still was astonished by the sticker.

"I could not believe what I read," he said. "To us in Iraq, he is not a butcher. He is a savior. Yes, maybe he is a butcher to terrorists, but we appreciate that."

Kanna, the only Christian representative on the temporary 25-member Iraqi Governing Council, arrived in the United States on April 23 to discuss the future of Iraq with White House officials and different Iraqi communities across the country.

After Modesto, his itinerary includes stops in other areas with large Assyrian populations, including San Jose and Los Angeles, plus towns in Arizona and Michigan.

He's no stranger to the Central Valley, having visited at least twice before during trips to the United States, including one on Sept. 11, 2001.

Assyrians are a small minority in largely Muslim Iraq. In recent years, most Assyrian immigrants to the valley have come from Iraq, though past waves have come from Iran and other countries.

Kanna said a secondary aim of his current U.S. trip is to counter "misleading" media coverage of the war in Iraq.

"The media is exaggerating only the negative side," he said. "Ninety percent of the new Iraq is good. Ten percent is bad. But the media only focuses on the problems. Where are the stories of our new life, of our liberation, of our freedom?"

Kanna said that in Iraq, much has changed — for the better — since Saddam Hussein was toppled from power.

"The vast majority of Iraqi people are happy that Saddam is gone," he said. "We have a normal life now. In Baghdad, there are over 300 free newspapers and magazines. We have free radio, TV. The schools are opening again, the hospitals and other services are back also."

But the media only focuses on "problems in isolated spots caused by foreign terrorists," Kanna said.

"The media is trying to sell a product," he said, "so they do not speak of anything but conflicts. That is not right."

Kanna also addressed the need for American media to cover U.S. fatalities in Iraq.

"We appreciate the losses and sacrifices of the soldiers who have died there," he said. "In one year, 700 American soldiers, and we will never forget them. But, we have to also remember that 3,000 people were killed in two minutes at the World Trade Center."

Charles Givargis, leader of the Modesto Chapter of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, said he hopes American support for a free Iraq will not waver.

"Democracy is not something that takes place overnight," he said. "It takes education. It takes feeling, touching, tasting democracy. These people knew nothing about democracy, except what they could only read about it."

Kanna, meanwhile, said he still is dismayed by the idea that Americans' support for Bush could waver.

"Bush is a hero in Iraq — he brought freedom to our country," he said. "Yes, (Osama) bin Laden thinks Bush is a butcher. But Americans think so, too? It is a tragedy to think that some Americans share viewpoints with a terrorist like bin Laden."

Kanna Pays Visit to Arizona

Courtesy of the Arizona Republic
5 May 2004
By Daniel González

(ZNDA: Pheonix) A member of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council made a stop in Phoenix on Tuesday to ask members of the sizable Assyrian Christian community living here to invest in the rebuilding of Iraq.

In doing so, Yonadam Kanna, a member of Iraq's Christian minority and the only non-Muslim on the 25-member Governing Council, downplayed the recent surge in violence against U.S. troops and the growing scandal involving U.S. soldiers who reportedly physically and sexually abused some Iraqi prisoners.

Kanna blamed the violence against U.S. troops on a small minority of Saddam Hussein loyalists, criminals and international terrorists who are determined to derail the U.S.-led efforts to bring democracy to Iraq and the Middle East.

"Yes, there are problems left over from the Saddam Hussein regime," Kanna said. "Fortunately, the situation is under control."

Kanna made the remarks during a meeting with reporters at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel in north Phoenix before a political rally with members of the Chaldo-Assyrian community in Phoenix, which numbers about 8,000 people.

Chaldo-Assyrians are Christians who represent about 3 percent of the population in Iraq and experienced persecution under Saddam Hussein.

Phoenix is home to one of the largest Chaldo-Assyrian communities in the nation as well as about 3,000 Iraqi Muslims.

Kanna, who arrived in the United States on April 23, has been meeting with Assyrian Christians in several other cities, including Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Jose, Los Angeles and Modesto, Calif. From Phoenix, he was scheduled to fly to Detroit before returning to Iraq.

"We are talking to our people and calling on them for more contributions in the investment of Iraq," Kanna said.

He did not say how much money he hopes to raise.

Kanna told reporters that withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq prematurely "would be a tragedy not only for the Iraqi people but for the world in general."

Despite the surge in violence, Kanna said he believes the majority of Iraqis continue to support the U.S. involvement in Iraq and are ready for the planned June 30 transfer of power from the U.S.-led coalition to the Iraqis.

Before that, an interim government will either be appointed or selected to prepare the country for elections at the end of this year or the beginning of next year, he said.

"For the vast majority of Iraqis, they (U.S. troops) are seen as liberators, but for a small number, they are seen as occupiers," Kanna said.

Kanna also dismissed the burgeoning prison abuse scandal in Iraq as an isolated incident involving only a small number of "crazy soldiers" and said he was confident all those involved would be punished.

Kanna said he believes the incident is being exploited by some Arab-Islamic television stations under the control of "terrorists" who don't want to see democracy flourish in Iraq.

He also said the U.S. media has "exaggerated" the incident in an effort to "sell their product."

"They just try to find something bad and exaggerate it," Kanna said, adding that he believes the U.S. media has ignored many of the positive developments taking place in Iraq, including the creation of hundreds of new civil organizations.

Phoenix resident Joe Aziz, an Assyrian-American who arrived early for the rally, said he shares Kanna's view that most Iraqis continue to support the U.S. involvement in Iraq despite the surge in violence and the prison abuse scandal.

"We know what is going on in Iraq," Aziz said. "We talk to our relatives and they understand the situation. . . . I know that 99 percent of the American Army is doing a great job."

Sam Darmo, the Arizona spokesman for the Assyrian Democratic Movement, a political party in Iraq, said Kanna's stops in other cities have attracted large crowds, including 2,000 people in Chicago and 1,500 in Modesto.

"He's telling them, 'Please come and invest in Iraq. Please come home,' " Darmo said.

[Zinda: For a comprehensive report on Hon. Yonadam Kanna's visit to the United States and an exclusive interview with Zinda Magazine please read next week's issue.]

Surfs Up!
Letters to the Editor

Who So Much Animosity Against Our Church?

Joseph Haweil

What a wonderful few Surfs Up letters over the past few weeks! (In case you can't tell I'm being sarcastic). Am I mistaken or the last few issues of Zinda Magazine in particular the "Surfs Up" section, have been criticizing the Holy Apostolic Assyrian Church of The East?

It seems to me that lately every letter I have read has been complaining, condemning, attempting to humiliate and to disregard the history of the Church of The East. All you readers who write in and complain about the Church of the East and then pleaded for national unity are most truly a mob of hypocrites. How can Assyrians reach unity if readers keep writing letters that cause further division between our communities?

A word of warning to all; we are only a small population and this is the perfect time to show the global world who we are and what we want. I honestly believe we don't have time to quarrel about small issues such as the 'name debate'.

Get with the times people! You have been waiting for the fall of Saddam for over three decades and now you are not seizing the opportunity to enhance your cultural identity but rather vent you anger at the Church of the East.

Shame, shame, shame on all those who wish to further delay the reconstruction of the Assyrian identity. For shame to all those who keep criticizing the Church of The East ... this is neither the time nor the place for it. Leave the church alone all you angry people out there and begin to restore what is most
important to us, WHO WE ARE....

If any reader thinks that my opinion is wrong please write to Surfs Up and tell me, otherwise let's concentrate on what really counts ...

[Zinda: For a lively debate on this and other issues presented under the Surfs Up section, please post your responses or comments at the Ziggurat forum.]

The Timing of the Food Festival was not Intentional

Michelle Betwarda

I am appalled at Mr. Gavary’s statement in which he places shame upon the Los Angeles Assyrian Church of the East. Who are you to judge any church, or any human being for that matter? Have you not been taught to respect others, especially the House of God?

The purpose of this letter is to inform the community of what really happened in regards to the Assyrian Food Festival held in Los Angeles on April 24th and 25th. I have researched the Assyrian Genocide and am confident enough to say that the persecution of the Assyrians on the Ottoman territory began in August of 1914, not in April. It is true that our fellow neighbors, the Armenian people, recognize April 24th as a day to remember their ancestors who were tortured and massacred by the Turks, but we, the Assyrian people, recognize August 7th for that purpose. I am by no means saying that the church should hold the festival on April 24th every year just because it is of significance to the Armenians.

Let me make one thing clear, the Assyrian Church of the East did not intentionally propose to hold their annual food festival on the same day which Armenians mourn for their ancestors. The dates, April 24th and 25th, were picked at random and one of those days happened to fall on the 24th. Mr. Gavary claims that, “And in such day how dare is the Church of the East in Los Angeles celebrating a food festival. Yes, they did it and every possible effort to stop them failed. To my best knowledge the heads of the Church of the East were informed, but unfortunately it looks like they don't take orders from their bishops and this church is independent.” I strongly suggest that Mr. Gavary checks his facts before appearing before the public with such crucial words. The bishop never advised the Assyrian Church of the East to put a stop to the festival. Please do not put words in the bishop’s mouth.

Mr. Gavary also asserts that, “the Church's lobby is strongly putting every effort to dismantle the Assyrian societies which are there to represent us as Assyrians.” Let me tell you something about the Assyrian Food Festival. This is one of the largest events which requires months of planning. The entire congregation comes out to support the Assyrian cause by celebrating the beauty of our Assyrian heritage and culture to our own people as well as to the rest of the world through food, music, art and dance. All of the people who participated in this year’s festival were proud and loved every minute of engaging in their traditions. It is heartbreaking to see people like Mr. Gavary trying to speak of this event in a negative manner, when it has nothing but Assyrian unity through pride written all over it.

If it is wrong to celebrate our Assyrianism, through say, the Assyrian Food Festival, on a day where the Armenians mourn, then why is it okay for Assyrians to celebrate the state convention by having a picnic the day when the American people mourn for those who died while serving their nation in war (Memorial Day)? Did you ever think about that? Have you proposed to the Assyrian United Organizations of California to stop holding the state conventions in respect to the Americans who died serving in a war? Correct me if I am wrong, but I highly doubt that.

The point I am trying to make here is that first, the Los Angeles Assyrian Church of the East did not intentionally decide to host a festival on the day where the Armenians are in morning. It just turned out like that. Second, the Los Angeles Assyrian Church of the East did recognize this day for the Armenians by announcing it during the festival. Third, the Los Angeles Assyrian Church of the East in no way dismantles the Assyrian society. That is just absurd. They have actually been quite successful in their endeavor to create a sense of unity among the Assyrians in numerous ways. Fourth, in the future, rest assured that the Los Angeles Church of the East will take precaution in scheduling events. Fifth, I have one question for David Gavary: Who gave him the authority to falsely accuse the Bishop of telling the Church to stop the festival, accusing the Church of dismantling the Assyrian society, and worst of all, placing shame on the Church? I have to admit, I am tempted to place shame on him, but I won’t because I am not here to judge. I am here to tell the truth to the best of my ability.

Thank you all for your time and remember united we stand, divided we fall.

Who is Responsible for our Destruction?

Dr George Habash
United Kingdom

The international conspiracies at the many conferences that followed the Great War deprived the Assyrians to have a national homeland in Ashur.
Decimated by the Turkish massacres and forced to assemble close to their smaller heartland and subjected under Arab Islamic rule, the Assyrians had two options either to emigrate or live as slaves.

Assyrians started to leave but with the rate gradually increasing annually even before the Baatheyeen obtained power and turn the nation upside down, goring it and starving it to death.

The reasons for the emigration were multiple some of them due to the deprivation of the citizen from citizenship, the unrecognised Assyrian nationality/ethnicity, lack of representation/share in power and the cultural clash.

During the nationalistic tide of the 1950s and 1960s and although the society still tolerable many Assyrian Christians felt that the society fits Muslims only and started emigrating mainly to the more prosperous western nations feeling that the Islamic culture at home is aggressive and antagonistic; thinking that building a future in the west guaranteed a solid and permanent base for them and their children as they share the same Judeo-Christian culture.

This is true and with the ascendancy of the Baatheyeen and the unopposed Islamisation in public life especially from mid 1970s, many Assyrians including myself started to feel alienated and questioned if belonged to that nation.

With the opposition emasculated and the many bridges forged between tyrannical Baghdad and the outside world, the regime became more arrogant. Confident of a secured grip at home the regime tried to test the waters by expanding regionally. That miscalculated adventure alarmed the very real allies who vowed that the despot must be stopped.

But the countdown has taken nearly 13 years and during these years men and women from oblivion and without national credibility brought themselves upfront to lead the emaciated nation all thinking that they will enter Baghdad and be overwhelmed by the masses to receive the khipyaye and shulkhaye as new leaders forgetting the modern history of the nation how difficult it is to run such nation which requires tough nationalist leader with democratic platform and the gut for solving its problems.

In this countdown the Assyrian parties mushroomed not vertically but horizontally each with leadership and politburo but without popular Assyrian base which is a bad sign that our Assyrian masses would fail to stand for their aspirations.

From the way Baghdad was liberated to the formation of the council of 25 shikhtane to the Tishrin conference all the signs indicate the disaster that will befall on us the Assyrians.

All the Assyrian parties applauded the council of 25 shikhtane which is Islamic in nature and is working to establish a theocratic Imamist and Jihadist state. All the Assyrian parties approved the marginalising of the Assyrian question by drumming up the Tishrin manifesto of capitulation and division and which calls only for the cultural/religious rights and an administrative region from Telkeppe to Sinjar.

The council of 25 shikhtane know well that they come from nowhere and are going nowhere but are formulating the basis for future Baghdad that will be difficult or impossible to revoke should they disappear overnight and the recent blunder is the suggested new Allam for the state based in dominant Hilal as a symbol for Islam, the religion that conquered the hard work of our forefathers. This is the first ever Islamic Allam since the formation of the state of Baghdad in 1921.

This Allam imposed or approved either way by the Christian representative in the council of shikhtane meant that he is more than happy to adopt the Hilalist and Allahakbarist agendas as long as he gets free travel abroad in a delegate among other Jihadists to furnish the future Islamic state of Baghdad.

It seems that there is no voice for the Assyrian people and the Assyrian masses in the so called liberated Baghdad and the same archaic policies are still valid that the Assyrians either emigrate or live as slave but this time it is more serious and the options are tighter either emigrate or Islamize. Be jubilant we have a half Christian in a council of 25 Shikhtane with dozens of semi Christians in western capitals amplifying the non existent of the Assyrian voice in current Baghdadi affairs.

The Assyrians had expectations in the new Baghdad but this has been spoiled by the many ineffective Assyrian parties who all share the same political programmes and the same small party base but loath to come together and stand firm for our national rights allowing us to be crushed between the anvil of the Islamists and the hammer of the Kurdists.

Who is responsible for that we are governed by Islam?Who is responsible that the Kurds take the whole north? Who is responsible that we have Islamic-Hilalic Allam? Who is responsible that we are not counted on our own soil, the soil of our forefathers? What has happened to our aspiration for the national homeland in Beth Nahrain?

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Surfer's Corner
Community Events

Assyrian Genocide Demonstration in Germany, 11 May

Assyrian Seyfo International Committee
Assyria Liberation Party

Let us join our efforts for the commemoration of the Assyrian Christian Genocide of 1915-1919. A systematically implemented genocide, by the founders of today’s state of Turkey and the Kurdish irregular troops, we demand official recognition of the Assyrian genocide, and a more detailed attention to the plight and suffering of the Assyrian people who remain dispersed and oppressed peoples in their ancestral lands.

We, the children of the martyrs, will continuo to demand full acknowledgement of those appalling atrocities which resulted in the annihilation of three quarters of our nation:

We call for your solidarity with the Assyrian Seyfo International Committee (ASIC), an affiliated committee of the Assyria Liberation Party (GFA), as we gather together and demonstrate in front of the US Consulate at the following address, time and date.

11 May
14.00-15.30 (CET)
US Consulate in Frankfurt am main, Germany
Andercke; Bockenhimerland Strasse, Siegmeyer strasse Stattfinden

Nearly 200 years of genocides and oppression against the Assyrian people (1843, 1914, 1915, 1933, 1996. The mountains of Tiyyari and Hakkari, Simele, Souraya, and Tur Abdin), paved the way for the first state institutionally planned genocide in the Assyrian territories of today’s south-eastern Turkey. In 1915, the year of the sword (Seyfo) more than 750 000 Assyrians were slaughtered indiscriminately, and twice that much were forced to face the wilderness where most perished due to fatigue, hunger and epidemics, this human cruelty still exists today in occupied Assyria.

We remind and appeal to the international opinion, especially the coalition forces with the United States at there forefront whose troops hold a presence in the largest part of the annexed Assyria (Iraq):

1. That the Assyrians with all their religious affiliations (Christians, Yezidies, Sabean/Mendeans) get full protection and a secure haven to prevent another genocide befalling these vulnerable.
2. To protect the Assyrian archaeological sites and artefacts from theft and mysterious disappearance, and to returned them to their rightful inheritors.
3. To secure an Assyrian federal state for the Assyrian people in their own lands, as equals to other peoples of Iraq.
4. To oblige Turkey to officially recognise the Assyrian genocide of 1914 and 1915 and to enforce it as a conditioned prerequisite for Turkeys entrance into the European Union.
5. To put an end to the oppression and racism suffered by the Assyrian people in all parts of their occupied land Assyria, this remains divided and colonised by four countries (Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria).

For more information please contact us:

Sweden Tel/Fax: 0046 8 531 706 05
German Cell: 0049 171 52 75 732

2004 Assyrian Australian Association Rabi Nemrod Simono Scholarship

Ramena Kako
AAA RNSS Committee 2004

Applications for the 2004 Assyrian Australian Association Rabi Nemrod Simono Scholarship ("AAA RNSS") are now open (available)!

The AAA RNSS committee invites all New South Wales (Australia) Assyrian Students who successfully completed their Higher School Certificate Examinations (HSC) last year and have now gained entry to an University in NSW to apply for the Scholarship.

This year, the AAA RNSS committee is pleased to announce that the Scholarship award has been amended as follows:

First Prize..................................$1,500
Second Prize.............................$1,000
Third Prize.................................$ 500

The Scholarship will be paid for the period of one year only.

The top 3 HSC recipients who fulfil the conditions of the AAA RNSS will receive the award.

Application forms are currently available from Nineveh Club Reception, 673-683 Smithfield Road, Bonnyrigg NSW.

Good luck!

Documentary Film: "Good Kurds, Bad Kurds"

A war of national liberation or war against terrorism? Filmmaker and acclaimed freelance journalist Kevin McKiernan poses this question at the outset of this stirring, provocative film shot in part by legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler. It's all in how you define "good"and "bad". "Good Kurds" are those in Iraq: they are Saddam Hussein's victims, whom we want to help. "Bad Kurds" are those waging an armed insurrection against Turkey, an American ally: they are the receiving end of US weaponry. During the first Gulf War, McKiernan went to northern Iraq to cover the uprising against Saddam Hussein. Just a few miles away no one was covering the hidden war in Turkey. McKiernan determined he would report the story independently.

"Good Kurds, Bad Kurds" -- nine years in the making -- delves deeply into the U.S.'s complicity in this human rights disaster, indicting the mainstream news outlets that, by staying quiet, help perpetuate the violence. Shot in part by three-time Academy Award winner Haskell Wexler, "Good Kurds, Bad Kurds" travels from Santa Barbara, California, home to a small Kurdish refugee community, to Washington, D.C, where an activist struggles to gain the attention of lawmakers and the media and fight his deportation, and to Turkey, where the anti-Kurd campaign continues. "Good Kurds, Bad Kurds" brings sharp clarity to a complicated history, while providing disturbing insight into immigration practices and US foreign policy.

Mr. McKiernan will be present to talk about recent developments in Iraq along with Kani Xulam of the American Kurdish Information Network.

The organizers ask that Assyrians in northern California join the screening of "Good Kurds, Bad Kurds" and offer their own opinion on the issues related to the Assyrians in north Iraq.

Monday, 24 May
7:00 PM

St. Francis Church, Brunsman Hall
1026 K Street (26th & K Street across the street from Sutter's Fort)
Sacramento, California

Sponsored by Peace Action

Editor's Choice

The Cloaking Clergy

Edward I. Baba

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there lived a young girl named Romina, and a young boy named Sargon. They lived in a hut across a place not too far from Tijuana. One day they decide to frolic and find a striking forest of beauty and enchantment. As they skip inside, they come across a white building with a golden cross illuminating above the rooftop. An attractive and handsome man stepped out the door and noticed the two kids. When they begged for assistance and direction, the man spoke with great charisma and led them inside the church. As they passed the majestic pews and the fluorescent stained glass, the children became mesmerized by their beauty and failed to notice the man’s transformation into a wicked beast. The man led them through the corridors and into a room filled with chloroform. Hours later, as they woke up dazed, they did not realize that they were now living zombies.

Romina and Sargon are two examples of our lost Assyrian nation. Since the disappearance of heroic, political leadership, the church’s hostile takeover has washed the brains of our nation with Palmolive while dust-busting our money that is stacked up so high, one could go skinny-dipping in it. They built their empire on the tattered shoes of blue-collared workers. Instead of promoting unity like religion is supposed to do, they try to break up the nation even more just like the Mongolians tried to break the Great Wall of China. Divide and conquer: the good ol’ British policy.

“Divide and conquer…?” you ask? Hitherto, rather than valuing the importance of religion only, the Assyrian church has deviated into a local pub and techno club. A wise woman name Barbara Ehrenreich, in her book Nickel and Dimed, once explained that “Christ crucified rules, and it may be that the true business of modern Christianity is to crucify him again and again so that he can never get a word out of his mouth.” The leaders of modern Christianity have duties ascribed for their own selves, which are simply to mutate Christianity into something it is not and to metaphorically crucify Christ repeatedly in order to prevent the truthful message of Christianity to arise. They’ve scrubbed our skulls so much with Armor Oil wax that we continuously fail to commemorate those who died for our existence and identity, like they did in Turkey in 1915, for if it was not for them and their heroic actions, we would be wiped off the face of this Earth. Rather than taking the incentives emitted by the Armenian public during their march on April 24th of every year to remember those who were killed in Turkey, the Assyrian Church of the East in Los Angeles chooses to dance and sing to a hypnotic beat filled with amalgamated words that simply don’t make sense.

The Assyrian nation is like a slave, they’re just waiting to be beaten by a whip. The only thing missing is a nice, big, summer boorqa and a Bollywood movie with some popcorn and JuJu Beans.

The joint clergymen alongside the Armenian population stormed down the streets of Hollywood Blvd. demanding recognition for the genocide of 1915 by the Turkish Government. While Assyrian clergymen endeavor to discourage the Assyrian population from attending the event by throwing outrageous parties, potlucks, and picnics.

We need a brawny and powerful leadership with an enormous Super Soaker filled with acetone to remove the wax that has been drugging the nation’s minds while saying, “Rise and Shine!” with a cup of Folgers coffee to get them up from the deep sleep they’re in.

Remember: we were born Assyrian, and baptized into Christianity. Thus, we need more schools, cultural centers, etc. than churches because as “Christians” we are allowed to pray in the darkest corner of the smallest room and still have our prayers accepted. We don’t need a millionaire’s mansion for St. Peter to pop open the gates of Heaven with a crowbar.

Ashamed of What My Country Did to Assyrians

Courtesy of Zaterdag
1 May 2004

The well known turkish author Kemal Yalcin, was invited to Amsterdam last week by the Armenian Club “Ararat”, to talk about his recent book "Seninle Guler Yuregim" regarding the Genocide of 1915.

The Assyrian genocide scholar and author, Mr. Sabri Atman, has been in contact with Mr Yalcin for a long time attended this event also.

Mr. Yalcin spoke about why he wrote about the Genocide of 1915 in Turkey.

Many interesting questions were posed to Mr. Yalcin after his speech. One question came from a man whose mother was Assyrian and his father, Armenian. He asked : “ I am half Assyrian and half Armenian. When my Assyrian friends discuss the Genocide in 1915, they mention Assyrians and Armenians and Greeks! But, when I have the same discussion with my Armenian friends, they say that it is an Armenian Genocide. So, Mr Kemal Yalci:n “Do you think the genocide was only against the Armenians”?

Mr Kemal Yalcin’s reply was very clear: “No, no, the Genocide was against all Christians - Assyrians, Armenians and the Greek.” [photo on the right: Kemal Yalcin (R) & Sabri Atman (L)]

At the end of the program Mr. Yalcin commented: “I am ashamed of my nation and of being a Turk. I am shameed for what we did against the Armenians, Assyrians and the Greeks. My Armenian and Assyrian brothers, I apologise to you for the genocide that the racist Ittihat and Terakki did against you in my nation's name. Again, I apologise to you !"

The lecture also included poetry and music from Armenia.

Imperial Comparisons
What can the U.S. learn from Britain's imperial experience in Iraq?

Courtesy of the Mother Jones
May/June 2004 Issue
by Nonna Gorilovskaya

Weary of the persistent back-and-forth about whether Iraq is another Vietnam? Well, another quite different historical analogy has begun to make the rounds. A number of recent editorials and articles contend that the British occupation of Iraq during the early 20th century is the more apt point of comparison to our current predicament in Iraq.

Among the parallels, the British had to confront religious and ethnic divisions; they installed a pro-British puppet government: and they sought the approval of the League of Nations -- the predecessor to the United Nations -- to legitimize their occupation. The British interest in Iraq, moreover, had much to do with oil.

The British invaded Mesopotamia in 1917, ending Ottoman rule in the region. Iraqis were glad to be rid of their old rulers, but the British were not greeted as the “liberators” they portrayed themselves to be. Instead, much like the American and British troops today, they were resented as occupiers. In 1920, 8,450 Iraqis and 2,200 British troops were killed in an unanticipated revolt led by the Shiites. The British successfully put down the revolt, but not before inflicting massive civilian casualties.

For Niall Ferguson, the British historian who popularized the parallel in the American media, the lessons for the United States from the 1920 revolt are that such uprisings should be expected and that they must be put down immediately and "severely" -- a la the British. Then, the United States can work on putting together a friendly government to which it can transfer power to. Those Americans who believe that all this can be done without heavy American casualties, massive expenditures, or that the responsibility should be dumped on the U.N. are mistaken. As Ferguson writes in the New York Times :

"The anti-British revolt began in May, six months after a referendum -- in practice, a round of consultation with tribal leaders -- on the country's future and just after the announcement that Iraq would become a League of Nations 'mandate' under British trusteeship rather than continue under colonial rule. In other words, neither consultation with Iraqis nor the promise of internationalization sufficed to avert an uprising -- a fact that should give pause to those, like Senator John Kerry, who push for a handover to the United Nations…

Then as now, the insurrection had religious origins and leaders, but it soon transcended the country's ancient ethnic and sectarian divisions. The first anti-British demonstrations were in the mosques of Baghdad. But the violence quickly spread to the Shiite holy city of Karbala, where British rule was denounced by Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi al-Shirazi -- perhaps the historical counterpart of today's Shiite firebrand, Moktada al-Sadr."

Britain installed a Sunni monarch -- King Faisal -- in 1921, relinquished its mandate of the country in 1932, giving Iraq "limited sovereignty," and did not withdraw all of its troops until 1955. The U.S., in other words, should expect to stay for the long haul, if it wants stability in Iraq.

But is the British approach worth emulating? Joel Rayburn, an Army general who teaches at West Point, shares Ferguson’s view that the U.S. must take a hard line against the insurgents, but also notes that the British occupation left much to be desired. Following King Faisal's death in 1933, ethnic conflict ensued, and the military trampled on the powers of what was supposed to be a constitutional monarchy. As Rayburn argues in the Los Angeles Times:

"Pressured by an economic downturn and warnings of 'imperial overstretch,' the British government withdrew the vast majority of its troops from Iraq, leaving the remainder at a few bases near Iraq's oil fields; the British had concessionary oil rights for 75 years ….

For three years, the majority Shiites of southern Iraq intermittently rebelled against the Sunni-dominated government and each time were crushed by the Sunni-led army. In the north, the army took vengeance on the Assyrian Christians, who had served as British troops under the mandate and were thus viewed by Iraqi nationalists as collaborators.

By 1935, the Iraqi army could dictate the membership of the prime minister's Cabinet, while the prime minister's seat was occupied by one army officer after another. As Iraq's civilian politicians faded from the political scene, the government restricted civil liberties and increased the army's size."

The British eventually returned to try and salvage the constitutional monarchy in 1940, after the Iraqi military began negotiating with the Nazis, but the victory was short lived. In 1958, three years after the British withdrew, the military led a successful coup.

Many of the questions facing the United States are indeed the same ones facing the British last century. Are high civilian casualties the price worth paying for putting down rebellions? Or will such tactics be self-defeating in the end, inflaming public opinion against the occupiers, and bolstering the militants' cause? Should an unpopular but loyal government be installed? Or should the occupying power be prepared to accept the rise of popular figures it finds distasteful? Should it play divide and rule among the various ethnic groups and exploit sectarian divisions?

The British favored the minority Sunnis and the Assyrians, just as the U.S. has been accused of favoring the majority Shiites over Saddam's Sunni brethren. The U.S. reversal on the de-Baathification policy -- which excluded members of Hussein's party from serving in the new government has, however, been seen as a move to co-opt Sunni military officers and soldiers, bureaucrats, and the intellectuals. Favoritism, of course, does not necessarily guarantee loyalty. The British faced opposition from the Shiites as well as the Sunnis and the U.S. is already facing separate Sunni and Shiite insurgencies. If the hate of the occupation prevails over sectarian differences, the U.S. may face yet more serious rebellions ahead.

Ferguson has challenged Americans' resistance to view the United States as a modern-day empire. But what is an empire? Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis defines empire as "...a situation in which a single state shapes the behavior of others, whether directly or indirectly, partially or completely, by means that can range from the outright use of force through intimidation, dependency, inducements, and even inspiration."

Ferguson contends that the United States fits this definition and the recent interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan only bolster his case. Whether it is military intervention or economic pressure, the United States has lots of power to force other countries to do what it wants them to do. Most importantly, it not only has, but exercises that power. We are comfortable calling ourselves a superpower, but our national myth of being a young democracy spreading democracy elsewhere, makes us cringe at the thought that we are an empire.

Not that Ferguson considers empire to be a dirty word. On the contrary, he argues that empires can be a force for good. According to this view, the U.S. should take cue from Britain in the late 19th century and mold itself into a "liberal empire" -- one that uses its power to impose all sorts of enlightened reforms in Iraq and elsewhere.

Last year, the Guardian gave Ferguson the dubious distinction of being "new-found darling of the American right." But even the neo-cons shudder at the "e" word. As Ferguson laments: "U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld famously told al-Jazeera 'we don't do empire'. But how can you not be an empire and maintain 750 military bases in three-quarters of the countries on earth?" Then again, how can you convince the public to support a war based on bogus intelligence about weapons of mass destruction and a non-existent Hussein-al Qaeda link?

It is Ferguson's observations about U.S. history that make him skeptical that the U.S. will follow the path of the British Empire. For one, the United States has been usually reluctant to get entangled in long-term occupation. Second, the uncharacteristically sharp fall in public support for the Iraqi venture in spite of military losses far lower than those in previous wars, including Vietnam, suggest that politicians will eschew long-term commitments. While the U.S. occupation of Iraq and the absence of the draft distinguish Iraq, as Ferguson rightly notes, from Vietnam, not all the Vietnam comparisons are "facile." The public's increasing questioning of the purpose of the American mission in Iraq and distrust of the White House on the matter, is quite reminiscent of Vietnam.

There's a problem with Ferguson's endorsement of the "liberal empire" model for the United States. The term, in the end, is an oxymoron because there comes a breaking point when liberal reforms threaten the imperial hold. Imperial installations of unpopular governments through the exploitation of sectarian differences and use of brutal force to put down the opposition -- all in the name of liberalism -- are nothing new. But this hardly gives liberalism a good name. As James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute told the Washington Post:

"If anything defines the history of the last century, it's the sense of having lost control . . . This is not about Saddam Hussein. This is about one more time when Western powers are coming in to redefine the Arab region."

Democratization did not fare well during the British occupation of Iraq and any pretense of reform was killed off when they left. That is hardly an imperial example worth following.

A 1930s Lesson in Stillborn Democracy

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times
2 May 2004
by Joel Rayburn

The agreement struck by Marine commanders in Fallouja to allow former retired generals and soldiers of Saddam Hussein's army to police the city may stem from our rising impatience with the security situation in Iraq. For weeks, the standoffs in Fallouja and Najaf seemed to have pushed a growing number of increasingly restive Americans toward one of two conclusions: Either U.S. troops must leave Iraq as soon as possible or, if they remain, the Baathist-dominated army must be reconstituted to help stabilize the country.

Last month, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), invoking Vietnam, embraced the former, while two articles on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times last week favored the latter. Either idea, however, might abort the birth of democracy in Iraq. In the only other instance of nation-building in Iraq's history, the British failure in the 1930s to nurture a viable democracy to maturity had grave consequences for both countries.

In 1932, the British terminated the League of Nations mandate they had undertaken in 1920 and restored Iraqi sovereignty. Pressured by an economic downturn and warnings of "imperial overstretch," the British government withdrew the vast majority of its troops from Iraq, leaving the remainder at a few bases near Iraq's oil fields; the British had concessionary oil rights for 75 years. The British administration in Baghdad gave way to a large embassy, roughly comparable to the one to be headed by John Negroponte after the U.S.-led coalition transfers sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government June 30. By treaty, the Iraqis were expected to consult the British ambassador, who outranked all other foreign diplomats, on foreign policy matters. The treaty obligated the British to help preserve Iraq's constitutional government, even if that required returning British troops to Iraq.

This arrangement failed almost immediately. The British intentionally wrote Iraq's constitution to give sweeping powers to King Faisal, a former ally, hero of the Arab revolt of World War I and expected underwriter of British interests in the country. But Faisal's ill health and untimely death in 1933 left a political void that his young son and successor, Ghazi, could not fill. With the father dead, Iraq splintered along ethnic lines.

For three years, the majority Shiites of southern Iraq intermittently rebelled against the Sunni-dominated government and each time were crushed by the Sunni-led army. In the north, the army took vengeance on the Assyrian Christians, who had served as British troops under the mandate and were thus viewed by Iraqi nationalists as collaborators.

In Baghdad, the British-created parliamentary system began to disintegrate. The brutal but popular expeditions against the Assyrians made heroes of the leading army officers, who used their new stature to meddle in Iraqi politics. By 1935, the Iraqi army could dictate the membership of the prime minister's Cabinet, while the prime minister's seat was occupied by one army officer after another. As Iraq's civilian politicians faded from the political scene, the government restricted civil liberties and increased the army's size.

Despite warnings from its officials in Baghdad and pleas for assistance from more liberal-minded Iraqi politicians, Britain did nothing to preserve its constitutional creation. With their access to Iraq's oil secure, British leaders lost interest in Iraqi politics. Distracted by an outbreak of Arab-Zionist violence in Palestine, they concluded that the British army was stretched too thin to return to Iraq in force. Besides, in their eyes, Iraq's new authoritarian government hardly posed a threat.

But that assessment changed with the approach of World War II, as the Iraqi state became increasingly militaristic and pro-German. By 1940, the Iraqi army had opened back-channel negotiations with Italy and Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. A year later, Iraqi army officers seized the government and threatened to join the Axis powers. Faced with the prospect of an enemy between British Egypt and India, the British army returned to Iraq to reclaim Baghdad once again. As British troops approached the capital, Iraqi thugs, reportedly along with some soldiers and police, went into the streets and slaughtered hundreds of Iraqi Jews. The incident prompted tens of thousands of Jews to flee to what is now Israel.

Seven years of costly and unpopular British military occupation followed, during which Britain again attempted to shore up an Iraqi constitutional monarchy. Its army and air force remained in Iraq until a general British withdrawal from the Middle East in 1947-48, although the British Embassy continued to pull the levers of power in Iraq until 1955. Three years later, the Iraqi army seized power again, ending constitutional government in Iraq for good.

Britain's experience offers some clear lessons for today's U.S.-led coalition. The premature withdrawal of British troops in 1932 set the stage for the Iraqi army's seizure of power and vicious suppression of Shiites and ethnic minorities. Who can say today that, after restoring stability, an army of pardoned Sunni Baathists would not try to follow suit, especially if the U.S. withdrew?

Building an Iraqi army from scratch is maddeningly slow but is probably the only sure way to guarantee an apolitical force in Iraq that would follow civilian orders and respect the constitution. If the Fallouja deal succeeds in restoring peace and quiet, it will set a tempting precedent. But if in the interests of short-term stability more remnants of the Baathist army are tapped to help restore security, who is to say that the U.S. would not in a few years find, as the British painfully did in 1941, that it had sacrificed long-term security by creating a new enemy in a strategically vital region?

In such a case, a U.S. re-invasion would probably be both unavoidable and far more difficult. All this speaks against culling through Saddam Hussein's henchmen in search of Baathist generals with hearts of gold. They aren't there and never were.

[Zinda: Joel Rayburn, an Army major, teaches history at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.]

The Luckiest Man in History & the Church of the East

Shooma Bet-Malik
United Kindgom

He was not an Assyrian, he did not speak a word of Assyr ian/Aramaic language; he was not a member of The Church of The East (The Assyrian Church); Furthermore, the Holy Apostolic Church of The East was founded before his great great great great great great great grandfather was born ( It was founded in 33 AD by a few Disciples of Christ and It is the Oldest and the First Church).

Yet this very Church was labeled after his name- 'the Nestorian Church'; his name was 'Nestorius'. And if that is not being "the Luckiest Man in History" , then I don't know what it is. But leaving 'lucky Nestorius' aside, let us ask the fundamental question: How did this ridiculous, unjust, and bizarre state of affair come about? The 'Nestorian Church' means or implies that The Apostolic Church of the East followed the Doctrines or the Teachings of Nestorius. But I have already stated that this man had no link (and was not associated in any shape or form) with the Holy Assyrian Church whatsoever; he was the Patriarch of Antioch (428-431). Moreover, the establishment of the Church of the East dates back, more or less, to the time of Our Lord and Saviour. Then why Nestorian? Where is the relevance of this unjust and unjustifiable and absolutely ludicrous label 'Nestorian'? This 'ridiculous irrelevance' to Nestoianism emerged out of spite and hatred as we shall see later.

By the end of the 4th and the beginning of the 5th centuries, the 'fever' of Christological Controversies began to strike the Bishops and the heads of the Churches of the East and West. It was specifically centred on the nature of Jesus Christ ---- the interrelation of His Humanity and His Divinity. These controversies mostly began after the Council of Constantinople (381). And the climax of such disputes took place in the Council of Ephesus, a notorious council, which was summoned by the emperor Theodosius ll (408-450). The man who chaired this Council was Cyril, the Patriarch of Alexandria (well-known for being a ruthless and over-ambitious man). The Church of the East refused to attend the Ephesus Council on 'good grounds and valid reasons'. Cyril and Nestorius, the former the Patriarch of Alexandria and the latter the Patriarch of Antioch, were bitter rivals. Cyril hated Nestorius; but then he could easily hate anyone. In fact, he detested the Church of The East, and he could not stand the Assyrians. But then such detestation of the Assyrians and their Church, more or less, applied also to the rest of them. None of them liked the Assyrians and the Church of the East.

The outspoken Nestotius, inside and outside the Council, made it known where he stood on this theological matter. As a participant member of the Council of Ephesus he started by saying that the Blessed Virgin Mary should not be referred to as the Mother of God but the Mother of Jesus. He maintained that Mary was not Theotokos (God-bearer) but Christotokos (Jesus Christ-bearer). Nestorius held the view that the Lord and Saviour has Two Natures--Divine and Human. And these Two Natures of Complete God and Perfect Human are in Union--------in Union in One Person, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This all means that Nestorius was a 'Dyophysite'----the belief that Jesus had Two Natures (Divine and Human) united in One Person, Jesus Christ.

Such belief and Christological Doctrine has, in essence, been part of the theological doctrine of the Apostolic Church of The East from the day of its foundation.

The rest of the Churches in the Council of Ephesus took the 'Monophysite' position, which was championed by none other than Cyril himself. (A Monophysite is one who believes that Jesus Christ has only One Nature, Divine Nature.)

Nestorius was accused, by a 'nasty logical distortion' , of believing that Jesus Christ was two persons. His opponents charged him with committing heresy. He denied the charges and the false accusation made against him. And here comes the insidiously unjust part of the story : The term 'Nestorian' was deliberately and wickedly invented and then imposed upon the Apostolic Church of The East, which (they knew) had always held the Dyophysite position as part of its theology. The chief purpose of such 'labeling' was to discredit the Church that they despised so much, and to tarnish the image of the First Apostolic Church.

They publicized 'Nestorianism', and endeavoured to belittle the Holy Church of the East -saying to the world that the Church of the East is unimportant; it is a Church that theologically follows Nestorius, a heretic. This was an orchestrated ploy carried out more or less by all churches chiefly out of cultural envy, ecclesiastical jealousy, doctrinal bigotry, dogmatic arrogance, and theological hatred.

The Council of Ephesus deposed Nestorius and later his politically-motivated and powerful opponents (they were not just Bishops) sent him to exile in Egypt .
All these theological disputes gave rise to the popularity of Nestorius followed by his having many 'followers' who later were persecuted, so much so that they fled to Persia. To cut the story short, years later they (re)-joined the Church of the East, and Nestorius too came to the Apostolic Church of the East whose 'Foundation' is Eshoo Msheekha (Jesus Christ), and he felt 'welcomed and at home'.

But this is not the end of the story.

Twenty years after the Council of the Ephesus, the Council of Chalcedon (in 451 AD) was summoned by the new emperor, Marcian. The Church of the East gladly took part in it. Things had changed and the participant members were not 'the bully-boys' of the Council of Ephesus. In the Council of Chalcedon all the members (delegates and heads of the Churches) agreed unanimously to the Doctrine of Dyophysitism----that Jesus Christ has Two Natures, Divine and Human, in Union in One Person, Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. This is the Doctrine that was stated by Nestorius in the Council of Ephesus, and also held by the Church of The East from the day of Its Foundation.

Nestorius died the same year as the Council of Chalcedon was held, in 451. He Lived 'Just Long Enough' to Receive the news of the doctrinal decision being made unanimously by the Council of Chalcedon! He saw for himself that ultimately SHRARAH (the truth) wins!

But why so much resentment against the Assyrians?

There are 'three main factors' for the seemingly unexplainable resentment that other peoples and nations have had throughout the centuries against the Assyrians. These are: cultural envy, ecclesiastical grudge, and and linguistic jealousy

Assyrians had the greatest Empire in the World. They built 'the Cradle of Civilization'. They generously contributed to the other nations' civilizations, mainly to the Persians and the Greeks. Greeks owe their 'prosperity and civilization' largely to the Assyrians. But the 'ungrateful Greeks' betrayed all the benefits that they received from the Assyrians. Not only that, but also, as Paul Younan puts it, "They claimed credit for everything". They learned everything (almost everything) from Assyrians and also to some extent from the Babylonians. The eminent Assyriologist, Simo Parpola, of Helsinki University in his well-known paper, "Assyrians After Assyria" , says,

"...We know that The Greeks and the Romans from Plato till antiquities kept learning Spirituality and Science from the Assyrians and the Babylonians."

Encyclopedia Britannica tells us that Nestorius was of Persian parents. I am afraid Encyclopedia Britannica on this particular point is wrong. Nestorius was a Greek- of Greek parents but was not born in Greece. The word 'Nestor' in Greek refers to 'an old and wise man'; besides, 'Nestorius' is still today A Greek Name. The world wanted to say that the Assyrian Church of The East follows the teachings of a 'Greek Heretic' called Nestorius!

The Ecclesiastical Grudge - jealousy and grudge are usually interrelated. Even to this day the Churches, mostly Western Churches, cannot stand the fact that the Assyrian Church of the East is the First Apostolic Church which was Founded in 33 AD in Seluqia-Ctesephon, Babylon; and Shimun Keepa (Simon Peter) in his first Epistle makes a mention of it. He writes: "The chosen Church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you. And so does my son Marcus." ( 1 Peter, 5:13 )"

Linguistic Jealousy has always been a highly important factor in arousing resentment (among many peoples and nations) against the Assyrians and their Holy Church.

Eshoo Msheekha (Jesus Christ) did not speak Italian or Latin nor did He speak in Greek, and He did not speak in Hebrew. Jesus spoke in Aramaic which is referred to as the linguistic heritage of the Assyrians. Indeed Assyrians 'inherited' Leeshana Aramayah (Aramaic Language) from their 'Cousins' , The Arameans. Aramaic became the first lingua franca, however, ' the heirs' to this precious language are the Assyrians. Christ did all His teachings and preachings in the Aramaic language, and He spoke Aramaic with his Disciples. Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour, spoke that rich version of Aramaic (enriched by the Assyrians) in Galilean accent which by some Aramaic scholars is referred to as ' the Galilean Aramaic' . And who were the Galilean's? The late Doctor George Lamsa and Victor Alexander tell us that Galilean's were originally, Ashuraye or Assyrians. In fact, Lord Jesus spoke Aramayeh d'Ashurayeh.

These inherently cultured and instinctively courageous people, the Assyrians, throughout the centuries have been despised, hated, persecuted and sometimes in large numbers massacred. Yet they have been able to preserve their culture, their precious language, their Christianity, and they have upheld their traditional values and of course have dearly kept their Holy Apostolic Church whose Patriarch ( 120th on the Line of Succession ) is His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, who is the only (the true) successor to Shimun Keepa, Simon Peter.

Whether the world likes or not, Assyrians, the builders of civilization, will rise up again - the world needs them once again!

The Chariot

The Final Hours

Prof. Ninos Isaac

What a sad day it was when the infidel armies came charging into our lands from the south. With their machines of war, they landed at the gates of our city on the Tigris. The coalition of our enemy was united in one ungodly goal: to destroy our culture, to destroy our religion, and most of all, to destroy our glorious leader. Their army marched up the banks of the Euphrates and the banks of the holy Tigris and with shock and awe they laid waste to our famed city. I will spare the details of the months of valiant battles whereby we repelled the invaders, those crusaders. In those final hours, our nation was lost. This was not Iraq of 2003 AD, but Assyria in 612 BC.

The Devastation

The Persians, the Medes, and the treacherous majority of Babylonians all joined to form a powerful alliance against us. They couldn't’t just defeat what was left or our might, they had to tear down the city walls, flood the city itself, destroy our homes, and even desecrate our temples. They raped our women, killed our children, stole our property, and demonstrated in one fell swoop why it was right to rule over them for the many centuries that we did. After all, they never embraced our freedoms: our religious tolerance, our cultural diversity, our love of capitalism, our sciences, our love for the arts and literature. There would be no more acceptances of the monotheism that was embraced by a majority of Assyrians living side by side with the ancient worshippers of Ishtar of Nineveh and Ishtar of Arbela. The daily free market pricing and trading of commodities established by Sargon the Great in the Square of Enkidu would be gone forever. The famous and lovely Hanging Gardens on the outskirts of the city of Nineveh – that were built for Sennacherib’s wife to remind her of home – were completely covered in salt and laid to waste. The aqueducts that ran for miles and serviced the gardens and the city itself were heavily damaged. There would be no more astronomy and no more scientific testing and discovery – all funded by the palace. But most depressing for me wasn’t the destruction of those wonders of the world, but the fact that there would no longer be those fantastic weekly re-enactments of the Gilgamesh and Enkidu story by the poor children’s theatre. How we will miss that!

They Spared the Library by Accident but They Spared the Palace Walls on Purpose!

Only the library of Ashurbanipal was spared from what I hear. Ironically, one other thing that survived apart from the initial damage caused by a few coalition soldiers, were those awful propaganda reliefs on the walls of the palaces. I always hated those things, and yet they will probably last forever. Those reliefs were a combination of depictions of royal lion hunts, attacks on cities, and punishment of rebellious governors. They were the scenes that were placed on palace walls to intimidate foreign ambassadors and the like. They were a complete distortion of our national personality but they were a necessary part of our foreign policy and had been so since the time of Ashurnasirpal, and his Nimrud palace. Now the leader of the coalition, Cyaxeres, said that he would leave those intact in the hope that generations to come would look at the Assyrian kings and think it was they who were cruel and not their barbaric neighbors. But I laugh at this really, because no one in their right mind could come to that conclusion when they recall our contributions to civilization. My mother says that all they will ever need to do is look at Princess Atalia’s jewelry and they will see the sheer elegance of Assyria. She is probably right, but I care little for gold jewels.

The Real Cause

Ever since Ashurbanipal’s reign, our nation was destined to collapse. I mean, let's face it, he was an irresponsible monarch, spoiled by his father, Esarhaddon. Esarhaddon, for all his greatness, spoiled his favorite son and in making the entire world promise to recognize Ashurbanipal as his legitimate successor, he displayed the paranoia that was bound to result from his own experiences, the betrayal by his own brothers. The Assyrian empire was spread too thin as well. The Egyptian campaign took us to the edge of the world, but we went to far. We would have been better having our Phoenician allies sail us to the Greek islands. And speaking of the Greeks, they are lucky to be so far away. Had they been closer we would have ravaged them for the disrespect they showed Ashurbanipal for writing plays about how he was the feminine king that he liked to behave as a woman. Scandalous. But Ashurbanipal was artsy, and his obsession for literature and fashion was a little out of control. The styles changed not yearly or bi-annually with him, but every other month! Our military itself became more concerned with the way it looked than the way it fought. But in the end, it was not Esarhaddon’s obsessions or Ashurbanipal’s fancies that were our undoing. It was the politics of the policy towards Babylon had split the Court at Nineveh for centuries. The split was typified by the split between Esarhaddon who rebuilt Babylon and his father Sennacherib, who had destroyed it, but it was always a 50-50 issue, and it was a divisive issue in Babylonia itself. Nineveh was always the greatest city ever, but Babylon was the most controversial.

Who am I?

I am Tiglath-Ramsin, and I want to address you, my brothers and sisters of Nineveh, Arbela, Ashur, Nimrud. I want to also send my love to our Assyro-Babylonian brothers and sisters in Babylon city, to that righteous minority that opposed this revolt against a civilized and free society called Assyria.

Egypt: a Great Ally in a Grave Hour

I write you from the city of Harran, home to the patron saint of the Moon, the god, SIN. I am here in the Northwest of our empire where the King of Assyria, Ashuruballit II –our newly appointed King-at this very moment dines with the Pharaoh of Egypt. They plot together and they talk of how the Assyrian nation will continue and that some day we will retake Nineveh from the coalition of thieves and barbarians that destroyed it. All of us here are amazed that less than 60 years after we plundered the Egyptian capital of Memphis, the Egyptians - world’s second most civilized people after us - stand loyal by our side. History will never forget what Egypt did for us in these last days, and you, the Assyrian, should never forget Egypt either.

[Zinda: Prof Isaac is an Assyrian-American political scientist, and an avid student of Assyrian history. The Chariot is a reflection of times in ancient Assyria and is based on historical facts.]

Thank You!

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

Dr. Matay Arsan (Holland)
Hanna Chamoun (Holland)
David Chibo (Australia)
Furkono Magazine (Sweden)
Tomas Isik (Sweden)
Petr Kubalek (Czech Republic)
Mar Bawai Soro (California)

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