2 Shvadt 6754
Volume X

Issue 59

21 January 2005


Fax 1-415-358-4778

Linda George "Ana Hurra"


This Week in Zinda
  Assyrians…Contemporary Achievements and Aspirations Nancy & Sargon Beth Shlimon
Good Morning Assyria
  Assyrian Woman May Have Made False Claims  
News Digest
  Apathy Keeping Iraqis From Registering
Assyrian Bishop Suspends A Church Member in San Jose
Surfs Up!

Soldier Missing the Al Qosh Baseball Team
SPC Andrew Figo
Assyrian Aid Society Does Not Endorse Political Candidates
Boycott the Elections?
Disappointed with "The Last Assyrians"

SPC Andrew Figo
Assyrian Academic Society
Narsai David
Ashur Shiba
Linda Pecho

Assyrian Classes at Oakton College in Chicago Begin in Feb


  What is the Real Purpose of the Iraqi Elections...?
Iraq Elections: An Apolitical Compendium
Fred Aprim
Ivan Kakovitch
  Linda George's Single Firing Up Mid-East Air Waves  

The Lighthouse
Feature Article(s)


Assyrians…Contemporary Achievements and Aspirations

Nancy & Sargon Beth Shlimon

Assyrians, the owners of a great civilization, had suffered a series of crisis throughout the history. These sufferings had direct effect in defusing the main and important parts of the Assyrian nation. Whatever is our impression about their current situation; the Assyrians' achievements had added many important aspects to improve their future.

In Iraq, there are many achievements aiming for the Assyrian voice to reach remote points of the country and to promote the Assyrian identity all over the world. These achievements are considered very significant and necessary step to revive the Assyrian reality. They are considered one of the unique steps especially in politics and media. The establishment of many Assyrian political parties and organizations are significant and a healthy sign of a modern nation. The Media witnessed the opening of several radio and TV stations, which are good evidence of the improvement in the Assyrian media. They broadcast their programs in Baghdad, Arbil, Nineveh and Nohadra for long hours and it is expected to be broadcast through satellite in near future. Moreover, the increase in the publishing of newspapers and magazines are also another evidence. Bahra, which is a weekly Newspaper published in Arabic and Assyrian languages, is considered the first newspaper in the Assyrian political press field in Iraq. In addition to that, there are many books, magazines and newspapers issued by different organizations.

The other great achievement is teaching the Assyrian language (the mother tongue) in official public schools. So, the desire of the Assyrian people to learn their mother tongue proves their national awareness that leads to the disappearance of gaps and separations among the Assyrian nation.

All these achievements led to the improvement of the national awareness and its phases. These phases could not have been achieved without the sacrifices made by the Assyrian people.

Internationally, Iraq has a big share in the new map of world politics for it needs a real and basic change. It plays a great role in the international arena because of its strategic place and infinite abilities. This stage is so important in the history of Iraq, at the same time is an urgent one, since it is a stage of preparation for the waiting change. It is represented by the elections, which will be held on 30 January 2005. Therefore holding the elections on the exact time is an urgent matter in order to reach the aims, which make the Iraqi people live peacefully and safely.

Let us have a little glance at the reality of the Assyrian national case. This reality is so significant and urgent especially in this time when the international arena is witnessing many improvements and changes in different aspects. We have to think awhile about the Assyrian role in this stage. Assyrians have to be ready nationally, politically, and socially preparing themselves to practice their role in the next transitional stage. They must be united to play their role perfectly in order to secure their rights in the new Iraq. As well as we must admit the important role of the Assyrian parties and organizations in the world in this critical stage. They also have to unite their efforts to work together in building the Assyrian future. So these parties and organizations have to represent the Assyrians internationally discussing their legitimate case.

Actually these parties are able to identify and present to the world their national case discussing the sufferings and ambitions of the Assyrians in Iraq. They clarify the Assyrian aims in the next stage towards the futuristic challenges neglecting the secondary aspects. Therefore reaching to a convenient situation that the Assyrians deserve is the main object in Iraq. This enables them to have one voice since separation leads to retardation and eventually delaying the democratic movement. So, all Assyrian parties need a unity in order not to feel frustrated as their ancestors in the past.

Consequently, history is an open book, we have to read it and look closely at what actions did this nation go through. It is necessary to stop and think about the tragedies and troubles the Assyrians faced because of the multiple powers and decisions. The separation in the Assyrian lines was the reason of their scattering, which led them to failure in different fields. So it is a good chance to make a precise and comprehensive revision of the past Assyrian situation. The previous stages need to be analyzed to reach the best ways for a brilliant future to the next Assyrian generation, under the big challenge facing the Iraqi society, especially the Assyrian people. Therefore, it is better to have the opportunity, which is prepared for them now under these difficult conditions, leaving their quarrels aside. These quarrels will divert them from the main objectives that have been waited for by all of them for a long time.

Let our procession begin today, perhaps we can catch what we missed in the past, and the hope we have is enough to enlighten the way for us and for the generations to come.

Good Morning Assyria
News from Homeland

Assyrian Woman May Have Made False Claims About Husband's Death, Torture

Courtesy of the Washington Post Foreign Service
20 January 2005
By Peter Finn; Khalid Saffar in Baghdad

(ZNDA:  Washington)  The story of the Assyrian woman, reportedly tortured and sexually assaulted by members of Saddam's family, which appeared last year in Zinda Magazine may have been fabricated according to an article in the Washington Post.  Jumana Michael Hanna was granted refugee status in the United States after telling The Washington Post and U.S. officials that she had been imprisoned, tortured and sexually assaulted in Iraq during the 1990s.

Jumana Michael Hanna also claimed that her husband, Haitam Jamil Anwar, had been executed during the rule of ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. Her testimony led to the arrest of several Iraqi security officials. Based on her testimony, U.S. officials took her into protective custody in Baghdad and then to the United States.

Jumana Hanna, the Assyrian-Iraqi refugee who claimed to have been imprisoned, raped, and tortured by Saddam's regime was exposed as a fraud in The American Dream, an article by Sara Solovitch that appeared in the January 2005 Esquire.
A writer later who was interested in collaborating with Hanna on a book concluded that she was not telling the truth. The writer's article appears in the January issue of Esquire magazine.

In recent interviews in Baghdad, Hanna's in-laws -- including her husband's brother, uncle and cousin -- all said the husband was alive and had left Iraq several months ago. They also said that although Hanna was imprisoned in Baghdad in the 1990s, it was not for the reason she told The Post.

"I don't believe this," Hanna said in a telephone interview Wednesday about The Post's finding. "You write what you like. I have nothing else to say." Hanna lives in Chicago. Her mother and two children were also granted refugee status.

This Post reporter met Hanna in July 2003 in Baghdad at the Human Rights Society of Iraq, where she was seeking assistance. Over the next week, she was interviewed three times in the company of an Iraqi interpreter and a Post correspondent who spoke fluent Arabic.

Hanna said at the time that she was imprisoned after she had eloped with her husband, who she said was of Indian origin. The marriage, she said, was not valid under Iraqi law because she had not received the proper permission to marry a foreign national. She said she went to the Iraqi Olympic Committee building in Baghdad, hoping that Saddam Hussein's son Uday would help.

Instead, she said, she was arrested and, between November 1993 and early 1996, was held in cells at the adjoining police academy, where she said she and other female prisoners were beaten and raped.

In July 2003, a Post correspondent, photographer and interpreter asked her to accompany them to the police academy. She appeared to know the grounds well, pointing out certain landmarks that she had described in interviews. While at the academy, she appeared to be deeply traumatized. Photos taken of her at the academy showed her wailing and on the verge of collapse. American officials took her into protective custody shortly afterward.

Toma Kalabat, a cousin of Hanna's husband, offered a different account in an interview with The Post. He said that Hanna had been imprisoned but that he believed she was jailed for cheating people out of money on the promise that she could get them visas to immigrate to Western Europe. Kalabat and other family members said Anwar, the husband, had also been imprisoned.

In a separate interview this week in Baghdad, a priest who knew Hanna and spoke on condition he not be identified by name said she had conned people out of money on the promise of getting them visas. The priest was contacted at the suggestion of Hanna, who said he could verify her story.

In 2003, The Post interviewed members of Hanna's family, including her mother, and people Hanna said had sheltered her mother while she was imprisoned. They supported Hanna's story. This week, some of her relatives in Iraq who had earlier corroborated parts of her story again told a Post correspondent that her husband was dead.

Hanna also produced Iraqi documents, including a stamped certificate of naturalization, that said her husband was Indian and gave his original Indian name. Anwar was a Christian of Indian origin, according to his family and Iraqi documents, but he adopted an Arab name.

Hanna claimed in 2003 that none of her husband's relatives were in Baghdad, that she believed his mother had returned to India and that she had no contact information for his mother. But the husband's family said Anwar's mother was living in Baghdad. The Post was unable to reach her Wednesday at her home, which was visited by a Post correspondent. Anwar's brother, Faisal, said his mother had Anwar's phone number abroad, although The Post was unable to locate him.

For the past three weeks, Hanna has continued to insist in telephone interviews that she told the truth.

She said Faisal had moved to Jordan and could corroborate her story. Jordanian government officials checked all border crossings at the request of The Post and said no such person had entered Jordan since 2000. Faisal works as a parking lot attendant in Baghdad, where a Post correspondent met him Wednesday.

Hanna also directed a Post correspondent to one and then another graveyard between Baghdad and Baqubah where she said her husband was buried. He was not interred in either place, a Post correspondent found.

She then directed a Post correspondent to a man who she said had transported her husband's body from Baghdad to the graveyard. That man died 10 years ago, but his job has been assumed by his son, Toma Kalabat, Anwar's cousin.

Kalabat said Anwar was alive and directed a Post correspondent to his brother, uncle and mother. The brother and uncle confirmed that Haitam Jamil Anwar was alive. Kalabat said that Hanna remains in touch with him.

After she was taken into U.S. protective custody in 2003, Hanna identified a number of Iraqis, including a brigadier general, as among those who participated in torture at the jail. Based on her testimony, a number of Iraqis were subsequently arrested by U.S. and Iraqi security forces. They were all released after Hanna was flown to the United States and the case languished, officials said.

Donald Campbell, a New Jersey superior court judge who oversaw the case in Baghdad as one of the American advisers to the Iraqi judicial system, said Hanna had convinced investigators and other Iraqi and American officials in Baghdad that she was telling the truth. He noted, however, that an Iraqi doctor had examined her for evidence of past torture and rape and did not believe her. The doctor's opinion was dismissed, he said. The Post was unable to independently verify or refute her allegations of abuse.

"She was interviewed many times over many months and she was always consistent," Campbell said in a telephone interview from New Jersey. "I recall asking, 'Is she telling the truth?' The investigators told me that there was no way she could make this up."

U.S. officials also said before The Post article was published in 2003 that they found her credible.

After arriving in California, where she was first resettled, Hanna met Sara Solovitch, the author of the Esquire article, and the two agreed to work on a book about her experiences. However, her claims began to become more and more outlandish, and Solovitch began to doubt her, according to the Esquire piece.

Hanna told Solovitch, for instance, that she attended Oxford University in Britain, although she could speak very little English; she had told The Post that she had taken business courses in Baghdad. She told Esquire that she had a bizarre, direct encounter with Uday Hussein, although she had told The Post that she never saw or heard him. She also told Esquire that other female prisoners were killed in a gruesome fashion. In interviews with The Post, she spoke of beatings and rapes of female prisoners, but not of killings.

"I went into this project anticipating that I would be working with a genuine hero," Solovitch said in an e-mail to this reporter. "Now, I believe that she is at best a pathological liar, at worst a highly intelligent con artist. Jumana took advantage of all of us."


News Digest
News from Around the World


Apathy Keeping Iraqis From Registering

Courtesy of the Associated Press
22 January 2005
By Maraiah Foley

(ZNDA: Sydney)  Apathy and apprehension are keeping exiled Iraqis from registering to vote for Iraq's Jan. 30 elections, the head of Australia's overseas voting program said Saturday.

Despite predictions that as many as 50,000 Iraqis living in Australia could join the electoral rolls, only 6,500 have so far registered to vote in their homeland's first independent election in nearly 50 years.

The voter registration period was originally scheduled to last seven days, but officials on Saturday extended the timeframe by two more days to help boost turnout.

Earlier this week, election officials also extended the operating hours of polling stations around the world to help accommodate registrations outside business hours.

Nevertheless, Australia's voter registration numbers continue to lag behind expectations.

Zinda Magazine salutes Assyrians of Australia for embracing the elections with open arms in such large numbers.

Bernie Hogan, the head of Australia's overseas voting program, on Saturday revised his registration target to 10,000 Iraqis and said he has been disappointed by the response.

"It's a mixture of apathy and apprehension," Hogan told The Associated Press, explaining why he believed Australia's Iraqi community was keeping away from the polls. "The apathy comes from people who say nothing's going to happen, it's a sham, I'm comfortable here in Australia and I'm not going to get involved."

But a larger section of the community is simply suspicious of the process, he said, afraid of adding their names to a government-sponsored list they fear could be used against them.

"They're very distrusting," Hogan said. "After decades and decades of tyranny and government abuse they're not confident about the future of government and they're not confident about the use of registration material."

Hogan said registration turnout had been lowest in the Shiite and Kurdish communities, while members of Australia's thriving Assyrian community have embraced the election with open arms.

"This is a historical moment for all Iraqis," said Oberon Yalda, 52, at a voter registration station in Sydney. "Especially (the) Assyrians - this is the first time we can vote for our own people."

Alber Oraha, a 40-year-old cabinet maker who fled Iraq in 1986, said he could not wait to cast his vote.

"This thing is really something big for me, coming in to vote, to chose which one I want to rule my country in a democratic way," he said "It's like a dream, a dream come true."

Assyrian Bishop Suspends A Church Member in San Jose

(ZNDA: San Jose)  Based on Zinda Magazine sources, on 9 January 2005, during the celebration of the Feast of Epiphany at the St. Joseph (Mar Yosip) Church of the East Cathedral, an unusual incident took place at the fellowship hall next to the church while the Holy Communion was being distributed to the faithful. Mr. Yosip Bet Kolia, a church member, began to verbally abuse the staff of Mar Yosip Parish at the church’s gift shop desk in the fellowship hall. According to eye witnesses, when Mr. Bet Kolia noticed a few calendars of the Assyrian National Council of Illinois on the gift shop desk, he began throwing them around and verbally abusing and threatening the church staff for holding such items that included the term "ChaldoAssyrian". The calendars featured on their cover the Council’s new community center in Skokie (a suburb of Chicago) named “the ChaldoAssyrian Community Center”.

His Grace Mar Bawai Soro presides over the suspension of a church member in San Jose during last Sunday's service.

On Monday, 10 January, Mr. Yosip Bet Kolia appeared on his weekly 30 minutes community channel TV Program and made numerous statements against the “Prelate” in San Jose. In his remarks, Mr. Bet Kolia targeted Bishop Mar Bawai Soro who resides in San Jose and denigrated the Bishop and his actions. Mr. Bet Kolia, according to viewers, made at least two threats against the bishop. The threats alarmed the church members in San Jose.

According to Zinda sources the TV program was taped and submitted to the AT&T community channel before 9 January which may mean that Mr. Bet Kolia’s behavior against the Bishop may have not been triggered by noticing the calendars at the Church on Sunday, January 9th.

Zinda Magazine has been informed that after consultation between the bishop, his two priests in San Jose and a number of church elders, a decision was reached to suspend Mr. Yosip Bet Kolia from the Church of the East and inform the civic authorities of his actions in the church and his derogatory remarks on public TV channel.

On Sunday, 16 January, an “Episcopal Decree” was read in Mar Yosip Cathedral before a jam-packed church on the suspension of Mr. Bet Kolia from the Church and depriving him from all spiritual and social privileges to which a a church faithful is entitled.  According to the decree, the duration of this suspension is for two years during which time the church hopes that Mr. Bet Kolia will "have ample time to think about his action and repent to God for his deeds."

According to witnesses the bishop made a few short comments after the reading of the decree on Mr. Bet Kolia.  In one case His Grace vowed that "the Church in San Jose shall be purified from all such people”. He added that "the Church shall never abandon her true mission which is to preach the Gospel of the Crucified Christ, to work for the unity of all Christians and to reform and renew the liturgy".

Mr. Yosip Bet-Kolia is the brother of MP Yonatan Bet-Kolia, the representative of the Assyrian people in the Iranian Majlis (parliament).

Surfs Up!
Letters to the Editor

Soldier Missing the Al Qosh Baseball Team

SPC Andrew Figo
United States

I am an American soldier that recently returned from a 10 month tour in Iraq which encompassed the Arbil, Dohuk, and Nineveh provinces. We have focused most of our efforts in the cities of Al Qosh and Mosul. When I left Iraq however, I had an incredibly EMPTY feeling. This feeling was because I would never see the town Of Alqosh again.

I would like to know if you could send me information on how to keep in constant contact with my AL Qosh brothers; ways on how they can receive mail and other donated goods.

Many of the people that I bonded with were the Hanona and Entwan Families. I also have many of pictures if you would like me to share them with you. I also have pictures of their first "baseball team".  All of the children loved it!

[Zinda:  If you can help with providing contact information for Al-Qosh, please email SPC Figo at alqosh@zindamagazine.com.]

Every Vote is Significant

Assyrian Academic Society

We at the Assyrian Academic Society urge every Assyrian eligible (see eligibility below) to register to vote A.S.A.P. There are [a few] days remaining for the registration. If you have not registered [already], you must register now (official registration started Monday January 17). Any prior registration attempted before January 17 was unofficial and will not count.

We are facing a real crisis and a real opportunity. The crisis is that security concerns will prevent many of our people from voting in the upcoming Iraqi elections for a Transitional National Assembly. This Assembly will be tasked with writing the Constitution for the country. We can not afford to be underrepresented during this critical time. We will never have as great opportunity again as we do now.

The opportunity we have is to try to minimize the effect of the low turnout in Iraq by making sure we get out and vote here in the US. We are very aware that the organization running the elections here (IOM) has stacked the process to our disadvantage... however, we still must do all that is in our power to register and vote. Because of the low expected turnout, every vote will be very, very significant.

Please take the time to register TODAY. More importantly, make sure you personally call all of your friends and relatives and send an e mail to all of your contacts to do the same.

Remember, 25,000-30,000 votes can effectively result in a representative. It should be our goal to claim at least three representatives from the US.

We have come a long way. Please help us overcome our disadvantages. Help us help our people in Iraq. If we forego this opportunity we will lose yet another great opportunity to help our people in Iraq – We cannot afford to let them down for they are counting on us.

Country Registration Figures as of 21 January

Please forward this message to every members of our community.

Registration and Voting Locations in Chicagoland :(Free parking at both)

1) Rosemont Convention Center
    5555 North River Road
    Rosemont, IL 60018

2) 9131 Niles Center Road (By Church/Skokie Blvd.)
    Skokie, IL 60076

Please make sure to register and vote in the same location. You can call 847-647-4716 for more information.

Monday, Jan. 17
Sunday, January 23
8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (extended hours)


Friday, Jan. 28
Saturday, Jan. 29
Sunday, Jan. 30
7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


In order to register, you must provide at least two documents (one with photo) to prove that you are over the age of 18 and to prove you were Iraqi citizen earlier, born in Iraq or your father was born in Iraq. When you register, you will receive a registration ticket. You must retain this ticket to vote. Do not lose this receipt.

For more information, please call 1-800-916-8292 or visit www.iraqocv.org

Assyrian Aid Society Does Not Endorse Political Candidates

Narsai David

It has come to our attention that flyers are being circulated in the Chicago area and on the Internet falsely declaring that the Assyrian Aid Society of America (AAS-A) has endorsed the candidates of the Assyrian National Assembly (List 139) in the coming national elections in Iraq.

AAS-A is a 501(c)(3) humanitarian non-profit organization and as such does not engage in any political activities, including the endorsing of political candidates or political parties.

With this letter and on our website I and the AAS-A Executive Committee publicly declare that this use of our organization’s name is deliberately misleading, deceptive, and unauthorized. We wish to make clear to our community that ours is a charitable organization, not political.

The coming elections are a milestone in the history of Iraq and we at the Assyrian Aid Society of America look forward to the blessings of peace in the Homeland. Our mission and our legal standing with the governments of the United States and the State of California, however, compel us to be resolutely non-political as we continue our second decade of rebuilding Assyrian villages, delivering medicines and medical services, educating our children, and helping needy Assyrians.

[Zinda:  Mr. Narsai David is the president of the Assyrian Aid Society of America.]

Boycott the Elections?

Ashur Shiba

That's exactly what the Kurds and the Arabs want! They will do anything to put us down and make us run the other way. It's our duty as Assyrians to overcome any obstacle and show the world that we will no longer bow to unfair actions made against our people.

If we boycott here in the Central Valley and the Bay Area it will hurt our numbers. Those in Chicago, Detroit, LA are not going to boycott. This means we are going to lose thousands of votes and the the Kurds and Arabs will win the battle.

Wake up people of Assyria! Nothing will be handed to us. It's our job to take what belongs to us no matter what the cost.

Disappointed with "The Last Assyrians"

Linda Pecho

Thanks for all the advertising your magazine does. I have found so many links, books, and now the long awaited Assyrian documentary by Mr. Robert Alaux from France. The movie is titled, "The Last Assyrians".

Although I applaud Robert and Zinda's efforts to unify the Assyrians and their cousins the Chaldeans, I was deeply saddened by his movie. His focus is on the Chaldeans and their history and religion. He throws little bits of Assyrian faces, but mostly he interviews and shows the everyday lives of Chaldeans all over the world. I wonder if he is Chaldean himself? 

Look, I just am very disappointed in the movie. Assyrians are not Catholic, nor do we speak Arabic as our primary language. We speak Aramaic and our religion is that of the Ancient Syriac Orthodox Church.

Surfer's Corner
Community Events

Assyrian Classes at Oakton College in Chicago Begin in Feb

The Assyrian Academic Society of Chicago in conjunction with Oakton Community College is pleased to announce the continuation of two Assyrian language classes for our community in the Chicago area and suburbs.

We coordinated these classes with Oakton College in order to provide an appropriate academic and professional environment for the prospective students. Furthermore, the success of this program will facilitate our future commitment to transition these classes into full college credit classes that will be transferable to other educational institutions.

There are limited seating for these classes, therefore it is essential that you act quickly and register in advance.

Credits awarded are adult education credits. These credits are non-transferable and not applicable towards a degree. Enrollment in these classes is limited to adults eighteen years of age or older.

Assyrian I

Empires in the Fertile Crescent

January 29

Click Opposite Photo

Learn basic Assyrian vocabulary, pronunciation, and writing skills. Course will incorporate reading, writing, and some speaking practice.

Course Name: LSY B01-01
Location: Niles West H.S., 5701 Oakton Ave, Skokie, IL 60076
Duration: 8 Weeks (Once a week)
Class Begins: Tuesday, February 01, 2005
7:15-9:45 pm
Instructor; Mr. Ibrahim
Ref. No. 05644
Fee: $154

Assyrian II
This course is a continuation of Assyrian I. Continue to improve your vocabulary, pronunciation, and writing skills.

Course Name: LSY B02-02
Location: Niles West H.S., 5701 Oakton Ave, Skokie, IL 60076
Duration: 7 Weeks (Once a week)
Class Begins: Thursday, February 03, 2005, 7:15-9:45 pm
Instructor; Mr. Ibrahim
Ref. No. 09289
Fee: $145

For further information on the class and/or registration, you can e-mail AAS at info@aas.net or contact us at 847-507-4612 or go to the following links:

Oakton Community College - Alliance for Lifelong Learning
Students can phone Oakton for more information about registration at 847-635-1498

Continuing Education - Registration Information:  click here

Note: The Assyrian Academic Society would like to recognize the Assyrian National Foundation for its assistance and support in arranging this class.


What is the Real Purpose of the Iraqi Elections and For Whom Should We Vote?

Fred Aprim

On January 30, 2005 three elections will be conducted simultaneously regarding the future of Iraq. The first election will decide the 275 seats of the Interim Iraqi Parliament or National Assembly (those outside Iraq can vote in this election). The second election will decide the 111 seats of the Interim North of Iraq Kurdish regional parliament (those outside Iraq cannot vote for this). The third is to decide the members of the local Municipal Councils (for those living inside Iraq only). The Interim Iraqi Parliament will write the Iraqi permanent constitution. Later, new elections will take place within a year, which will be in accordance to this Iraqi Constitution.

Therefore, these elections are of great importance since they set the roadmap for the future Iraq. However, if we look at the various groups' programs and goals, we find that most are basically presenting identical programs and vision. Most of what they call for has been already instituted by the United States in the March 8, 2004 TAL (Transitional Administrative Law). Therefore, from one side, the various basic rights of the people of Iraq in general is being guaranteed to certain degree. From the other side, these election results will empower the winning groups to seek other more specific rights.

If we pay attention to the programs of almost all Iraqi slates, political groups, individual lists, etc., we notice that they emphasize the integrity of Iraq, freedom for all Iraqis, women's rights, etc. Does this mean that all groups are the same? Of course not.

It seems to me that the real goal of all these groups is something different and what they present in the campaign is the husk or the shell and does not present the heart of the struggle. The fact is that the majority of Iraqi voters will pay less attention to the programs presented by the various slates. The other fact is that every Iraqi will vote for his/her own group. The Shi'aas will vote for the Shi'aa slate, the Sunnis will vote for the Sunni slates, the Kurds will vote for the Kurdish slate, and the Turkomans will vote for the Turkoman slate. Therefore, it is safe to state that the elections are not about programs and agendas; they are rather denominational or sectarian in nature so that each ethnic and religious group will prove its power in the future Iraq. As one analyst puts it, the January 30 Iraqi elections are not about democracy but about domination.

Whom should Assyrians (ChaldoAssyrians) vote for?

The Assyrians (also known as Chaldeans and Suryan or loosely Syriacs) cannot afford to vote for any group that does not represent them directly. Regardless of all the differences the Syriac-speaking Christians of Iraq are experiencing (Assyrians vs. Chaldeans), they must put all those differences aside and in this vital moment vote for their independent slates. Voting for a Nestorian, Chaldean, or a Suryani individual, who is on other slates such as the Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan slate (the united slate of KDP and PUK) or the People's slate (qaa'imat al-Sha'aib) of the Communists, will not do the ChaldoAssyrians any good but harm. Furthermore, it is less likely that a candidate who is on the Kurdish slate would work later (if he/she wins that is) to promote ChaldoAssyrian matters because he/she first has obligations to that Kurdish slate. Of course, the People's slate (qaa'imat al-Sha'aib) of the Communists is less threatening than the Kurdish slate for the obvious reasons.

Allow me to give an example!  With their population, the Kurds are expected to gain some 40 to 50 seats in the Iraqi Parliament, depending how many will turn out to vote. Meaning if, and I stress if, all candidates on the Kurdish list from slot # 60 to # 165 were ChaldoAssyrians, none of them will win a seat. Here, I have intentionally left the slots from 50 to 60 aside and I will come to that now.

If all the eligible ChaldoAssyrian voters in Iraq (and not the total population of course), estimated at 300,000 to 400,000, voted for the Kurdish slate, and since 30,000 to 40,000 voters will decide one seat in parliament, ChaldoAssyrians could dictate and control the outcome of 10 seats in the Iraqi parliament. If any ChaldoAssyrian on the Kurdish slate is sitting on the 60th slot, he/she will still not win a seat. However, Kurdish candidates in the 50th, 51st, 52nd, and all the way to the 59th slot will win these 10 additional seats for themselves courtesy of the ChaldoAssyrian vote. Therefore, because of these ChaldoAssyrian votes, Kurds become 10 seats more powerful since all the candidates in these slots, i.e. 50 to 59, are ethnically Kurds and they will be in the parliament and not ChaldoAssyrians. Thus, we lost all our voting power.

It is important to understand what we are getting into here. We must look at the slate or list, and see the position of the ChaldoAssyrians on that slate before we decide to offer our vote. If we cannot figure out where a candidate is on a certain list, it is better to play it safe and vote for a slate about whose candidates we are sure. The Kurds care less about the north of Iraq (Sulaimaniya, Arbil and Dohuk) regional elections since they are not challenged there and will always be the absolute majority. They would place as many ChaldoAssyrians as possible on that regional slate to win the sympathy and thus support of the ChaldoAssyrians. What is more important to the Kurds is the Iraqi Parliament. The Kurds want to win as many seats as possible in that parliament. We cannot give the Kurds that power and free ride while taking that power away from our own people.

Consider voting for these three slates only: 204, 148, or 139. Do not vote for the Kurdistan list or other lists simply because there are ChaldoAssyrians on them. You have to compute how many candidates on each list have the chance to win and see on what slot is your candidate and go from there. Again, if the Kurds receive 40 or 50 seats in the Iraqi Parliament, the remaining candidates on their list, even if 1000 and all ChaldoAssyrians, will mean nothing because they will be out.

Furthermore, if you have to decide between these three lists, i.e. 204, 148, and 139, consider which list is working for the unity of our people in Iraq, because unity is power.

Consider all this, and then vote smart !

Iraq Elections:  An Apolitical Compendium

(A Non-Political Brief)

Ivan Kakovitch


"If my name is Ivan Kakovitch, and not Youkhanna Kikia; if born in Russia and not in Iraq; educated in Kiev, Teheran, Paris and Washington, D.C., instead of Baghdad, live and work in the U.S., instead of Iraq, it is your fault, not mine. You made me homeless by delineating yourselves as sole masters of my country," was my response to His Excellency, A.S. ¹, the Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations, in New York, when he stated:

"Mr. Ivan Kakovitch! Mr. Ivan Kakovitch!" -- repeating the name for emphasis. "Born in Russia, educated in Russia, Iran, France and the United States. Live and work in America. What gives you the right to interfere [sic] meddle in the Iraqi affairs?"

Assyrians of Iraq and Non-Iraq

This writer like a million more individuals, are not qualified to participate in the voting process of our ancestral homeland.

Our forefathers, just like their descendants, and our parents were ostracized for being citizens of Assyria, because on the eve of World War I, when Europe was embroiled with its own devastations at home, the ferociously unfriendly forces of the Ottoman Empire, along with roving bands of militant Arabs, Azaris [Turks of Azerbaijan of Persia], and Kurds, had created a cradle of fire in Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization.

No Assyrian town, village, farm, family, was left unimpaired. The ravage went on for the duration of the WWI and beyond, well up to present day. Havocs, mayhems, pillages, massacres and sheer adventurisms, drove Assyrians from their indigenous homes, only to roam as neglected citizens of no nation, and a nation of no country. For years, they tried to fend for what was left of them, and seeking refuge anywhere and in any country that would take them.

This genocide perpetrated against the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks, was conducted on a vast geographical scale, encompassing hundreds of thousands of square miles, and stretching from as far West as Adana, on the Mediterranean shores of Western Turkey, down to the Persian Gulf.

Obviously the onslaught had decimated the Armenian and Greek populations in the area, however, it had halved the Assyrian population, since it lost over 750,000, out of a population of no more than 2 million.

Colonial Powers

As though this was not enough, in the late 1920s, while creating a country by the name of Iraq, The British Colonial Empire, halved Assyria, geographically as well, by surrendering the Hakkiari Mountains and half of the Province of Mosul to Turkey, thus, rendering the remaining Assyrians stateless, and at the merci of unfriendly and alien powers to reckon with².

The elections in Iraq are no more than an embellishment and, a repast, for the hungry politicians, who have swayed their allegiances, and will do likewise, if not tomorrow, probably, the day after.

The Election Process

Elections are intended to screen out a democratic process. Needless to point out that these same elections are imposed, therefore, they are not democratic. An imposed rule of government is nowhere near democratic ideals, much less democracy itself.

Democracy is freedom. Freedom is being free from something or someone, otherwise, it is meaningless.

The Assyrians -- both within Iraq and outside -- will go to the polling stations. Of course there shall be fewer participants, since a great number may have to pay with their lives. However, the Assyrians of Iraq will be harbored pretty well, since the majority live in the zones that are protected by the Kurds in the north, where most of the Assyrians reside; by the U.S. forces and some military units of the Iraqi apparatus in Baghdad, and by the British forces in the city of Basra.

The out of country polling stations in 14 countries, U.S. included, are mischievously machinated to render the least impact for the million and a half Assyrians, spread out in the world.

But, that is a minute problem when compared to a political one.

Fallacious Hierarchy

Greed, egotism, egocentrism, chauvinism, self-adulation, inexperience, decentralized, apolitical, negativism, mischievousness, jealousy, and, most of all, sheer indifference, render the prospect of the elections overseas, inadequate at best, and meaningless at worst, to sway any results of the electorate body, in some, if not all parts of the world.

In the United States, a great majority of the Assyrians are not Iraqi born. Most come from Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia and a few from other parts of the world.

Their lament is not so much disinterest in the Iraqi affairs, but the absurd nomenclature injected into the Assyrian heritage, by certain Assyrian malevolent thinkers, both in Iraq, and abroad.

The majority of the Assyrians in the United States and in most European countries resent dastardly concocted religious nomenclature. These are the children of the same Assyrians that have gone through generations, suffering from the hands of the fundamentalists because they did not relinquish their national claims, by stringing along with their national identifiable name , yet, they remain proud to retain their name, and shall abide by none other. And, why should they?

A prominent internationally renown scholar, Dr. Simo Parpola says:

"...In order to survive as a nation, they [Assyrians] must now unite under the Assyrian identity of their ancestors. It is the only identity that can help them to transcend the differences between them, speak with one voice again, catch the attention of the world, and regain their place among the nations."

Excuses of Some Political Parties

Some of the political parties in Iraq and elsewhere are proclaiming that this is a necessary step in order to gain more power in internal politics of Iraq. They claim that it is a perfunctory venture, and doesn't mean that they are really abandoning Assyria. Are we to believe that the Assyrians that prefer to be known as Chaldeans, are so naïve as to fall for this scheme? The divisive signs are written all over. The Chaldeans do not wish to go along with the Assyrians, unless the Assyrians succumb under their auspices, which are totally ecclesiastic rather than national.

Religious Preponderance

Chaldoassyrian is presenting an Assyrian as a religious rather than a national entity. The instrumentalists of this scheme are well aware of the fact that once they engulf themselves and our nation in Iraq as a religious [Christian] minority, it will be a coup de grâce for the wounded and dying Assyria, and their insistence in this matter is interpreted as malicious, mischievous and treacherous.


Dividing a nation, by abrogating its name, and coercing the Assyrians to become a religious entity has brought the popularity of the major players of Assyrian political parties in Iraq and in some other countries, U.S., Canada and Australia, in particular, to a nadir.

This is the main reason Assyrians in the U.S. and probably some other parts of the world may not want to partake in these elections, even if qualified, because the impetus of these political parties is somehow tied behind most that is at stake.

Eventually, even the sudden plethora of these elections may have already cooled a great number of Assyrians that perhaps, could have made a bid of a difference for all those remaining in the turbulent land of our ancestors, Iraq.

Culminating the fact, most of non-Iraqi born Assyrians do not, and cannot foment adoration for Iraq per se at the expense of the countries they were born and the countries they reside now, and shall continue to do so, forever.

Finally, a non-Iraqi Assyrian of Aarhus and Washington, D.C., will have no more compassion for Iraq than for Denmark and the United States, unless there shall happen to be an Autonomous Region by the name of Assyria.

Purportedly, Iraq is named for a pre-Assyrian, Akkadian city, and the second most dominant figure for the past three decades of Iraq was an Assyro-Chaldean, who never raised a finger to protect his nation or his nationality.

So, then, why would anyone believe that any of the electorates might be able to do for Assyria, as mere Representatives, in the sea of total anarchy?
1. Omission of full name and dates of the meetings is to protect the participating diplomat and his family.
2. Ivan Kakovitch. Mount Semele. (Mandrill Press, Alexandria, VA, 2002). pp. 61-63; 72-76; 89-98)

(Next Week: Exercise Your Rights)




Linda George's Single Firing Up Mid-East Air Waves

The hottest Assyrian female singer is slowly relishing the title of the hottest Iraqi entertainer.  Linda George's dance song "Hulla Hulla" is fast blazing through the Middle Eastern radio waves and has already caught the attention of the Lebanese radio listeners.

According to Ms. George's management, Dali & James, the most anticipated song by the Queen of Assyrian Music her maxi single "Ana Hurra" (I'm Free), is certain to become her most listened song in Iraq and abroad.   The Arabic song is dedicated to the people of Iraq who enjoy their new freedom and look ahead to a new Iraqi nation.

Last month the shooting of the "Ana Hurra" video was completed in the U.S. and a clip from this video will be released this weekend on Ashur TV.  Next week the video will be televised on most Arabic networks and stations.

"Hulla Hulla" is being aired on Delta radio station live in Beirut, Lebanon.  It can be requested at www.radiodelta.com .

For more information on Linda George's songs, videos, and press releases visit LG's Official Site at www.lindageorgemusic.com.

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

Fred Aprim (California)
Dr. Matay Arsan (Holland)
David Chibo (Australia)
Mazin Enwiya (Chicago)
Tomas Isik (Sweden)
Petr Kubalek (Czech Republic)
William Solomon
Ed Williams (Chicago)


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