8 Adaar 6754
26 February 2005
Z I N D A M A G A Z I N E
|“As long as my Assyrian people in Iraq have no voice, I will be their voice, and I will be their voice until I have no voice left.”
|Basic principles of the Permanent Constitution of the New Iraq||Dr. Munther Al-Fadhal|
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Basic principles of the Permanent Constitution of the New Iraq
[Zinda: The following is the full text of a speech by Dr. Munther Al-Fadhal deliverd on 26 February 2005 for the conference of Federalism and the Future of Democracy in Iraq that will be held in April 2005 in Poznan University, Poland. Dr. Al Fadhal has a PhD in Law and is an expert in the Middle Eastern laws. He has been a visiting professor of law at London's College of Law and the College of Law in north Iraq. He is a member of the CEELI Institute in Prague and an advisor to the Kurdish Regional Government. Dr. Al Fadhal uses the term "Kildo—Assyrians" in his remarks regarding the "ChaldoAssyrians" of Iraq. Zinda Magazine, in respecting the opinion of this author, has left this spelling error intact. The International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) in Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses events in the Middle East and the Balkans. Dr Munther Al Fadhal, Member of Council of International Institute IFIMES, presents the basic principles of the new Iraqi constitution. We have published his complete proposal of the Basic Principles of the Permanent Constitution of the New Iraq.]
Dr. Munther Al-Fadhal
In 1925, the first constitution of the State of Iraq was issued under the name of Basic Law. This was brought about by constitutional institutions built by all Iraqi ethnicities, religion followers and communities; with clear transparency. That was the first permanent constitution of the state of new Iraq that has not witnessed any other permanent constitutions so far. Since the monarchy rule was toppled down on July 14, 1958, many constitutions have appeared and lots of modifications in them have indicated political turmoil, instability and the lack of institutional work in Iraq; constitutions in which the law of force dominated the force of law.
The Basic Law went under lengthy discussions before being issued. It included numerous texts that organized the relationship among the three powers: the judiciary, the executive and legislative powers. Mr. Abdal Muhsin al-Sa’dun became the first Iraqi Prime Minister who dreamt of founding a state of law. His vision about the rights of the Kurdish People and respecting the rights of the other nationalities was clear. The Iraqi State took a simple form and the rule was central in the Iraqi capital city Baghdad. The monarchy system continued from 1921 to July 1958 witnessing much turbulence and so many political crises including the Kurdish Revolution led by the Sheikhs of Barzan such as, the revolution of Sheikh Abdussalam Barzani and that of Sheikh Ahmed Barzani in the beginning of the thirties. Those were followed by the leader Mustafa Barzani’s revolution in September of 1961, which was a continuance of the revolution led by Sheikh Mahmud al-Hafeed after World War I. Many attempts that have been made to build democracy through resolving the Kurdish Question justly and peacefully have failed and, thus, influenced all life aspects and conditions of Iraq.
The conditions in Iraq have not stabilized since July 14, 1958. Many interim constitutions have been passed; their contents and laws being disrespected. The independence of the Judiciary power was also disrespected and the ruler was above the law. There is no doubt that such deterioration, the absence of law, the violation of human rights, and the phenomenon of monocracy that had brought disasters to the Iraqis commenced with the coming of the Ba’thist Rule to power in 1968. It became even worse and more dangerous when Saddam seized power in 1979 who over extolled national integrity and led Iraq to a civil war against the Kurdish people. He acted treacherously towards the eastern and western neighbours. He destroyed the country due to his dictatorial rule, crippled the constitution and dismissed the law. The consequences of the internal and external wars on the Iraqis can be felt up to the present and their impacts will continue for a long time.
For the sake of a pluralistic and democratic Iraq that enjoys stability and peace based on the principle of freely chosen federation, which respects the Basic Law, operative laws, human rights, and the international commitments. An Iraq which is free from discrimination due to sex, colour, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and thought. An Iraq in which women play a role that corresponds with the human values in life. For the sake of a neutral Iraq away from the wars. An Iraq in which constitutional institutions, civil society, and the integrity of law, are established. This is to be away from the idol-worship and the military and totalitarian rules that are totally at odds with the principles of democratic rule. For the sake of an Iraq in which all the nationalities enjoy freedom, stability, and security; in which every party recognizes the others’ rights, respects the peoples’ rights of self-determination and consolidates principles of peaceful succession; there should exist a permanent constitution for the country. This is to be equivalent to the Basic Law or as the Supreme Law of the Iraqi Federal State to which all should yield, the ruler and the ruled. This is because the basic fundamentals of the state of law are to have a permanent constitution, to work for the separation of powers; to consolidate the integrity of law; to respect the progression of legal rules; to protect the rights of the people and to work for the independence of the tribunal system.
To activate the role of women in life as they constitute half of the society and to make them equal to men in their rights, which maintain and confirm their human identity and repeal all forms of discrimination against them. In order to spread the culture of human rights and the right of opposition, to build up the principles of tolerance and moderation; to cast away prejudice and partiality, to fight terrorist actions wherever they come from; and to build a civilized state that plays its role in the regional and international scenes; the basic principles of the permanent constitution of the New Iraq should be formulated. What are these principles? To investigate this the subject should be divided as follows:
First: Legal Observations on the Law of State Administration
After the liberation of Iraq on April 9, 2003 from the most repulsive and fascist regime since the downfall of Nazism in 1945, the Governing Council that had been established after the liberation to run Iraq for a transitional period drafted the Iraqi Law of State Administration on March 8, 2004, which was formed after the liberation to administer the Iraqi State for the transitional period that had o precede the constitutional institutions. The Law of State Administration included the basic rules and principles of the permanent constitution of the New Iraq. To grasp the rules that will determine the identity and future of Iraq after dictatorship (The Arabic Nazism), some observations should be stated about the aforementioned Law so as to be acquainted with the basics of the Permanent Constitution of the New Iraq.
After real diligence the Interim Constitution appeared. That was on a famous international day, the Women’s Day, on March 8, 2003. It was an occasion that brought to mind what was agreed on Saddam and the Shah of Iran on March 6, 1975 according to which Saddam gave up half of Shat al-Arab in return for Shah’s pledges to stop the Iranian logistic support to the Kurdish liberation movement in Iraqi Kurdistan. The event also brought to mind the courageous Kurdish uprising as well as that of the people of the south against the Tyrant and his regime. In 1991 which eventuated in the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in the country. The defeated regime bombed the uprising cities with missiles and buried thousands of innocent civilians in mass graves. The occasion also reminded us of many other significant events on the level of Iraq as well as on the international level.
Various conflicting reactions were noticed after the issuance of the Law. Some supported it, others rejected, and some were in-between. Therefore; we will not touch on to the regional and international impressions regarding the Law as this is purely an Iraqi internal affair. We also do not mean to touch on some of the political reactions by some religious authoritative references that take a biased and chauvinistic standpoint like most of the Arabs and some of our brothers from other ethnicities. This is because what appeal to us are the legal aspects and the organization and management of the Iraqi State and its institutions until the issuance of the Permanent Constitution of the Iraqi Federal State. It seems that one of the legal issues that are raised is the question always asked: can a council, which is not elected, be incumbent upon an elected one? Does the Governing Council have the legitimate right to pass such a law? And what is the difference between the law and the constitution. To attempt such questions it should be stated that the venerable Governing Council is a legitimate council even if it does not represent all the Iraqi community. According to the Geneva Convention of 1949, the occupying authority should administer the occupied country and protect its civilians. One of the duties of that authority is to form an administration from the Iraqis to run the state affairs. Besides, the parties in the Governing Council constitute the majority of the political parties and the influential political movements Iraq’s had so far. Hence they constitute the majority of the Iraqis such as, Kurdistan Democratic Party, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the Iraqi Communist Party, the Da’wa Party, the Supreme Islamic Council, the Iraqi National Conference, and the Iraqi Islamic Union. This is in addition to some Iraqi personalities who have struggled against dictatorship and are locally famous and well-reputed.
Thus, in spite of all the trouble and opposition from the inside and outside of Iraq, the Council gains legitimacy to exist and to take power in co-operation with the Coalition Authority or the Occupation Authority. What further asserts the legitimacy of the Council are the resolution passed by the United Nations that organized the relationship between the Council and the Coalition Authority and recognized the former as legitimate. These resolutions include, the 1483 UN resolution on May 22, 2003, the 1511 resolution on October 16, 2003 which was concerned with the preparation for the transference of integrity to the Iraqis, and finally the 1546 resolution on June 2004 regarding the transference of integrity. It is therefore inferred that though the Governing Council was not elected due to legal and incidental circumstances, it is legitimate and it can pass laws and judgments like an elected council after the approval of the Civil Ruler of Iraq; the latter being in support of the Geneva Convention. Geneva Convention states that the Ruler can pass laws and resolutions, and after he approves of the Interim Constitution, it will acquire legitimacy under obligation according to the international legal prerogatives of the mentioned Civil Ruler. Besides, this law is an equivalent to an interim constitution of the country for it is called the Supreme Law of the Country. Restrictions are laid on any modifications or changes that might be done to its items and provisions in a way that are in correspondence with its importance and constitutional characteristic; as usually constitutions are known for their flexibility and inflexibility to change. In addition to all that, the coalition intervention in Iraq to topple the regime down was legitimate according to the Security Council resolutions to protect security in the world and to the respect of human rights which is not an internal affair.
However, there are some observations about the Law. Some of these are related to aspect of form and techniques of legislation that the Law lacks. Others are objective and are related to the essence of the Law and its items, whether stated or not, which should be redressed. We hope to explicate some of these observations and the intention is to be constructive and not to deconstruct, to show opinions and not to impose them. This is for the sake of general interest and protection of the rights of the Iraqis and in support of building the state of law and constitutional institutions. The major points can be seen as follows:
When the provisions of the law are reviewed, the reader who specialized notices a clear weakness in the legal formula. It was written by politicians and jurists who seem not to be well versed about the formulation of such laws. There should be a clear-cut relation between the wording and the content. They are usually clear and transparent quoted expressions free from repetition and wordiness. It would have been rather preferable to show the Law to a number of jurists in the State Consultative Council at the Ministry of Justice in cooperation with some other jurists and specialized academicians in Kurdistan in order to set a sound legal formula.
This is in addition to many typing mistakes. And it seems that some of the participants are not well versed in Arabic and thus have translated the provisions from English, which has brought about a poor style. Therefore; it is hoped that the Permanent Constitutions might be written in partnership with some Iraqi experts who believe in democracy to avoid the shortcomings discussed; especially when it comes to the fact that the Permanent Constitution will represent a crucial stage after so many years of absence of the law and the paralyzing of the constitution terms. The following are some other examples:
1- The political characteristic of the preamble: It is likely for the preamble to have a legal mark that justifies the appearance of the Basic Law. The preamble should depend on legal items rather than political ones.
2- The Law has ignored the possibility of the fact that some of the Iraqis may wish for the restoration of the monarchy system to Iraq as well as the kind and nature of government in Iraq. This made the Secretary of the League of Arab States state that the views and standpoints of the Iraqis should be appreciated as respect to the principles of democracy.
3- The 2nd article (B) includes a typing mistake.
4- The terminology used to describe the law is sometimes overlapping. It is somewhere called “The Administrative Law for the Transitional Period” and called “The Supreme Law of the Country” somewhere else. There are also hard restrictions concerned with modifications in it that ascends it to the level of a permanent constitution. There should have been one unchangeable term to describe it: either a law inferior to a constitution or a constitution that is superior to a law. This overlapping terminology is there because the political stamp dominates the legal one. Besides, the lack of Iraqi experts while the final draft of the Constitution was being discussed. We believe that it should be called “The Supreme Law of the Country” until the Permanent Constitution is issued.
5- The Law does not point to the appended articles attached to the Administrative Law for the Transitional Period that constitutes an independent part of the articles as stated in item 1—B of the 2nd article in the Law.
6- The 4th article talks about (the system in Iraq) whereas the correct expression should be the political system in Iraq. Besides, the provision is at odds with the desire of some people for a political monarchy system. It has imposed the republican system; while the Iraqis in a referendum should have decided this after making a clear and general census. Such census, however, can not be made if the problems brought about by the former regime are not resolved such as, the Kirkuk issue as well as the other cities that underwent Arabization and ethnic cleansing. It is also appears that the provision is an English translated one that has a poor style. Accordingly, it is of crucial importance to distinguish between the form of the Iraqi State which is a federal state and the system or political system be it a monarchy or republican.
7- A notable mistake can be seen in article 2 where mention about the elections is made without asserting the necessity of a general census of the Iraqis. There are about four million Iraqis scattered all over the world in addition to half a million Faili Kurds who have been deported and deprived of citizenship after confiscating their properties. These live in banishment and others were recently born and have seen Iraq only on a map; they do not know where does lie due to the policy of the former regime. There are also hundreds of thousands of displaced people who are the victims of deportation and ethnic cleansing of the cities of Kirkuk, Mandali, Khanaqeen, and Zarbatia as well as other cities to which the people have did not go back and so their original identity has been changed. Therefore; it is not recommended to make the elections without considering the deported people; and legally elections can not be made without a general census so that all Iraqis, in and out of Iraq would have the opportunity to participate. This point has to be considered as it affects the legitimacy of the elections. Thus, the main question is: how do we start making elections and writing the permanent constitution without having a census? And should the food rations card be such reliable evidence that the voters are Iraqis? We certainly know that Saddam dropped so many of these cards after displacing a lot of people. Other Iraqis who live abroad do not have and do not need a food rations card and they certainly are looking forward to take part in the elections through the Iraqi embassy as any other civilized country in the world would do. The food rations card is a primitive style adopted by the former regime for political reasons. Besides, there are many people who have more than one card in hope for getting more than one ration of food.
8- In article 3 this statement appears “Or is likely to affect Islam or any other religion or ritual”. We believe that this is a superfluous and an unjustified statement.
9- Article 6 states: “the Iraqi Interim Government will take substantial steps to end the impacts of the repressive deeds by the former regime such as, the coercive displacement, denaturalization, the confiscation of movable and immovable properties, and firing people from their positions in the government for political, ethnic or sectarian reasons.” We believe that this text is deficient for it ignore an important issue which the compensation of the aggrieved and wronged Iraqis for religious reasons such as, the Christians, the Jewish people, the Ezidians and the Sabi’a.
10- An item about Kirkuk occurs in article 58 of the Law of State Administration for the transitional period to resolve the problems resulted from Arabization, the splitting of districts and sub-districts from this city, and altering its Kurdistani identity. It states: “the former regime acted fraudulently with the administrative boundaries of the city to achieve some political goals. The Iraqi Interim Government or the presidency have to give recommendation to the National Assembly to alter such partialities. If the presidency did not approve collectively of a number of recommendations, they have to appoint neutral arbitrators to achieve that. And in case the presidential council could not agree on proper arbitrators, they need to appeal to the Secretary General to appoint a known international personality to do that.”
We think that the aforementioned statement is also deficient and it does not serve peace or the interests of the nationalities in Iraq for the reasons below:
First: The case of Kirkuk is an Iraqi pure issue and its file should not be forwarded to international arbitrators, even if they are neutral or collectively approved of, because that will allow other parties to interfere on the basis of having other nationalities such as the Turkmans. This has already been seen earlier when the media channels in Turkey maintained that the Kirkuk case is not an Iraqi internal issue. Moreover, an Iraqi expert would be certainly better than a foreigner in understanding what has happened to this city and its history as a problem of building peace in Kurdistan.
Second: The Law of State Administration formed the Constitutional High Court devoted to settle the problems and conflicts between the government of any region and the federal central government. Hence, any dispute on Kirkuk can be forwarded to that Court for settlement. Any decision passed by this Court about the issue should be lawful and just and should consolidate the principles of the state of law.
Second: General Principles and Basic Rights of the Permanent Constitution of the New Iraq
There is no doubt that the Law of State Administration for the transitional period—if it did not provide the Kurdish people with all their rights—can be considered a remarkable step towards resolving the Kurdish Case justly and peacefully after years of internal fighting and after offering huge sacrifices to assert the national rights of Kurds. It has considered the rights of the Kurdish people sincerely at the moment and it is hoped that the Faili Kurds issue may be also considered as well as the victims of Arabization, ethnic cleansing, deportation, the lost and all other victims of the former regime.
The Law, furthermore, is a promising step towards respecting the rights of the other nationalities such as, the Turkumans and the Kildo—Assyrians; it is also a noticeable step towards securing the rights of other religion followers and towards the practice of religious rituals and the political and cultural rights. It is the first time that such a Law confirms that the form of the Iraqi State will be changed from a simple autocratic State to a pluralistic, democratic, and parliamentary State based on federalism.
Before referring to the basics of the Iraqi Permanent Constitution of the New Iraq after the liberation, it is necessary to state that the American Bar Association (ABA) will form an Iraqi Constitution Work Group (ICWG) at the beginning of 2005. This group will be formed from Iraqis in and out of Iraq including the Iraqi Lawyers Union, academicians, and people from human rights organizations, non-governmental organizations, women organizations as well as some Iraqi judges. These will draft the permanent constitution of the country supervised by the ABA to build a federal, pluralistic and democratic Iraq in which the human rights and principles of law are respected. It is noteworthy that I presented a proposal for the project of the permanent constitution of a federal, pluralistic, and democratic Iraq while I was working with a group of Iraqi experts to build democracy in Iraq that worked under he supervision of the American State Department in the years 2001—2002 called DWG.
That proposal was approved by the Iraqi experts as well as by the participants in the Iraqi Opposition Conference held on December 14, 2002 with two other proposals: the Bill of Iraqi Rights, and the project of Federalism for the New Iraq after the Saddam era. As the drafting of the Permanent Constitution and the of the New Iraq is approaching, it is essential to demonstrate some of the most important principles and basic rights of the Permanent Constitution of the New Iraq. The following are thus taken from my proposal that was presented to the American State Department and the Iraqi National Forces several months before the Operation Iraqi Freedom.
First Principle: People are the source of the authorities and their legitimacy.
1- Iraq is a federal, pluralistic, and democratic state based on a freely chosen federation between two essential partners, which are the Arabic People and the Kurdish People.
2- The State of Iraq is based on ideological, political, religious, and national pluralism dominated by the law.
3- The Arabs of Iraq are part of the Arab Nation.
4- The Kurds of Iraq are part of the Kurdish Nation.
5- The rights of other nationalities such as the Turkumans, Kildo—Assyrians, and Armenians should be protected by virtue of the Law.
The system in Iraq is Republican. Powers are divided between the federal government and the regional governments, governorates, and local administrations according to the principles of federalism.
1-Integrity and the land of Iraq are one. They are not to be abandoned. The right of the Kurdish people to self-determination is legitimate as well as its right to found an independent state if the constitutional institutions approve of that after having a general referendum in Kurdistan supervised by the United Nations.
2-The referendum to such determination is only limited to Kurdistan; and the participation of the rest of Iraq would be illegitimate.
1- Iraq is a neutral state and it does not go into any war.
2- The Iraqi armed forces are controlled by civil institutions.
3- The armed forces are absolutely banned from indulging into politics or political work.
1- Those who were hurt by the former regime should be compensated morally and materially. A proportion of 5% of the oil revenues should be for compensation and the reconstruction of the harmed areas in Kurdistan and the south of Iraq.
2- Those who were killed, lost, people of the mass graves, the victims of Halabja and Anfal, and the Faili Kurds, and the victims of the middle and the south of Iraq are all to be recorded as the martyrs of Iraq’s National Movement.
3- The traces and remnants of Arabization, ethnic cleansing, and displacement should be transparently cleared by virtue of the law.
1- The Iraqis who were deported and who left the country, and were deprived of citizenship, should be naturalized again; including the Faili Kurds. The confiscated money and property should be restored and those who were fired from their positions due top the repressive policy adopted by the former regime should go back to their work.
2- The period passed should be counted as years of service for pension reasons.
The flag, slogan, and national anthem of Iraq should be set on the basis of a law that takes into account the existence of two main nationalities (the Arabs and the Kurds). They should symbolize fraternity, multi-nationalities of Iraq and tolerance among them and among different religion followers, and they should indicate neutrality.
1- Arabic and Kurdish are the official languages in Iraq.
2- The other nationalities like Turkumans, Kildo—Assyrians, and Armenians have the right to education in their own languages.
The Universal Declaration of the Human Rights that appeared on December 10, 1948 and the supplement conventions should not be segregated from the principles of the Permanent Constitution. The international conventions and agreements that the Iraqi government signs should be part of the legal system and should be respected and committed to.
1- The Iraqis have equal rights and duties regardless to sex, attitude, colour, ethnicity, belief, nationality, and religion; and are equal before the law.
2- The Iraqis should not be denaturalized, banished, or prohibited from entrance to Iraq.
3- As an exception to the above item, the person who is known to have given false substantial information to obtain citizenship should be deprived of it.
1- Iraqi citizenship and its regulations should be organized by the law.
2- Iraqis should not remain without citizenship and passports.
3- Iraqis are allowed to have more than one citizenship.
All kinds of freedom, public and private, should be preserved and the individual’s privacy should not be transgressed.
The right to freedom of thought and expression should be protected.
1- Every citizen has the right to the freedom of holding peaceful meetings, establishing unions, and peaceful strike and demonstrations.
2- Every citizen has the right to the freedom of possession, movement and travel to any place as well as to return according to the law.
Every Iraqi has the right to security, education, and health and social insurance.
Any three governorates (provinces) or more have the right to form a region in accordance with the law. The border of any region should not be drawn on the basis of sect, ethnicity, or nationality. Iraq consists of the following regions; considering the fact that each region has the right through a referendum to shape its relation with the central federal government.
Kurdistan Region: Its geographical and administrative borders are drawn on legal and historical basis. Kurdistan region should also include Kirkuk according to the general census of 1957. The conditions should be normalized and the impacts and remnants of Arabization, ethnic cleansing, displacement, and the crimes of the former regime should be eliminated. These should be done by restoring the conditions geographically, administratively, and legally to the period before the March Agreement of 1970.
The Center Region: It includes some of the other governorates with out Baghdad which is the Capital of Federal state.
The South Region: This is the south federalism the borders of which should be drawn on geographical, not a sectarian basis. It administratively includes three governorates or more.
1- Military service is a voluntary one; and should not be compulsory.
2- No group or party is allowed to form militias or semi military bodies. People are not allowed to trade in, carry, and circulate weapons or else permitted by the law.
1- Death sentence or execution should not remain any more in the Iraqi legal system after the trial of the former regime agents.
2- Death penalty should be cancelled in the Iraqi law.
3- Punishment should be there for reform, not for revenge.
1- A High Constitutional Court should be formed to monitor the constitution of laws, specify them, and to preserve the separation of legislative, judiciary, and the executive powers. This is considered as one of the constitutional principles of the state of law and the respect and promotion of the independence of law.
2- People who will hold judicial positions should not be discriminated on the basis of religion, sex, belief, nationality, or sect.
3- The judge is absolutely prohibited from practicing political or partisan work.
4- All people have the right to carry on a lawsuit.
5- No special or exceptional courts should be formed.
6- Trial sessions should be open unless otherwise decided by the court.
7- The law decides how tribunals are formed as well as the conditions of appointing the judges.
Twenty First Principle:
1- A Supreme Body to combat financial and administrative corruption should be formed. Severe legal measures should be taken against people who are involved in such corruption regardless to their positions and responsibilities. This is in addition to attempts that should be made to handle the aspects of corruption by virtue of the law.
2- No official or high official should have constitutional or legal immunities.
Twenty Second Principle:
1- Right of asylum is guaranteed to any person who is considered a refugee according to the international conventions.
2- People who have political asylum should not be extradited.
3- International criminals should not be given the right to political asylum or forgiveness. They do not enjoy any insusceptibility and their crimes should not be dropped through prescription.
Twenty Third Principle:
1- People have to pay financial taxes that should be imposed by the law. One unified currency should be minted by virtue of the law.
2- The writing on the currency should be in Arabic, Kurdish, and English.
Twenty Fourth Principle:
1- The constitutional institutions for the federal state consist of a national parliament and the council of nationalities of the regions in accordance with law and democratic principles.
2- Women participation should not be less than 50% in those institutions.
Twenty Fifth Principle:
The Law determines the functions of the prosecution and its institutions and bodies in the Iraqi Federal State.
Twenty Sixth Principle:
1- The laws and regulations should be published in the official newspapers in Arabic and Kurdish and they should be effective on the day of their release unless otherwise stated by the law.
2- The law or judgment should not be retroactive if it is not in favour of the accused.
3- The Permanent Constitution should not be modified unless one third of the members of the National Assembly agree.
Twenty Seventh Principle:
1- The accused is innocent until the court proves him guilty.
2- The right to defense is a sanctified in all the stages of the trial on the basis of law. Violence or torture to win confession is prohibited.
3- One’s dignity should be protected. The practice of any form of physical or psychological torture is prohibited. One who is hurt should be compensated for. No person should be put to custody or imprisoned except by virtue of the law.
4- Houses have sanctity. They should not be penetrated or inspected except according to the law.
5- Punishment is personal; and there is no crime and no penalty without a provision. Punishment is for the deed, which is considered a crime by the law after being committed. No more severe penalty than what is decided should be carried out.
Twenty Eighth Principle:
The confidentiality of posting, telegraphing, telephoning, and electronic messages should be warranted.
Twenty Ninth Principle:
The freedom of embracing religion, beliefs, and the practice of religious activities and rituals should be legally insured; provided that they should not be at odds with rules of decorum or conduct.
1- Inheritance is an insured right that is organized by the law.
2- All Iraqis and non-Iraqis have the right to real estate and ownership. Ownership can not be expropriated from a person except due to a judgment passed by a relevant court after a fair compensation made for the person.
Conflicting statements were heard from the members of the Governing Council and the Civil Governor of Iraq, Ambassador Paul Bremer, regarding nonintervention of external parts in the preparation of the Basic Law or the Interim Constitution. On the one hand, Mr. Bremer made it clear that neither he nor the British representative did interfere in any Iraq-related issue regarding the Interim Constitution. On the other hand Dr. Mohammed Bahr al-Aulum stated that the CIA imposed some provisions, which were in English and were added by a person to the Interim Constitution. Elsewhere, the president of the Governing Council Mohammed Bahr al-Aulum confessed that the CIA had a role in the writing of the constitution, but their role did not exceed consultation. However, other members of the Governing Council stated that most of the articles of Interim Constitution came from the outside of Iraq and were written in English.
Review the aforementioned statement on the http://iraq4allnews.dk/viewnews.php?id=43640
Review the provision of the two articles below, from the Law of State Administration for the Transitional Period, regarding the preparation for the permanent constitution.
The National Assembly is to present a draft of the Permanent Constitution of Iraq. The Assembly is likely to do that by encouraging discussions about the constitution in open, public, and periodic meetings all over Iraq and through the mass media. It should also take proposals and suggestions from the people of Iraq.
a—The National Assembly should prepare the draft of the Permanent Constitution before August 15, 2005.
b—The draft will be shown to the Iraqi people to approve it through a general referendum. In the period before the referendum the draft should be published so that the people might have the chance to discuss it in advance.
c—The referendum is successful and the Constitution is approved if the majority of the voters of Iraq agree on it, and if it is not rejected by one third of the voters in three or more provinces.
d—When the Permanent Constitution is approved through the referendum, general elections should be made before December 15, 2005. The new government will take charge of authority before December 31, 2005.
e—If the Constitution is not approved through the referendum, the Assembly will be dissolved and a new assembly should be elected before December 15, 2005. The new National Assembly and the new Government should take charge of authority before December 31,2005. Yet the final dates to issue a new draft of the Permanent Constitution might undergo changes provided that they should not exceed a year. The National Assembly will be entrusted to issue a new draft for another Permanent Constitution.
f—When necessary, the president of the National Assembly is allowed after the approval of the majority of the members to demand for extra time for the completion of the draft before August 1, 2005. The presidential council then may extend the period to six months that can not be extended again.
g—If the National Assembly did not finish the draft before August 15, 2005, and did not demand for extension of the period as mentioned in item (d) above, then the provision of item (c) can be applied.
Assyrian Engineer Killed in Baghdad
(ZNDA: Baghdad) Mr. Pethyo Shimon, an Assyrian Engineer working at the Baghdad Airport was killed on Thursday by a group of unidentified criminal elements as he was leaving his home in the Dora district of Baghdad in the morning.
Mr. Shimon has an extended family in Phoenix, Arizona - brothers William and Wilson, sisters Janet, Maria, sister in law Helen and his mother.
Swedish Government Directly Negotiating Release of Minas al-Yousifi
Report by Nuri Kino
(ZNDA: Stockholm) The Swedish Foreign Office confirmed on Wednesday that the Swedish Ambassador in Amman, Karin Roxman, has been in Iraq and has made diplomatic contacts to save the life of the Swedish Iraqi, Mr. Minas al-Yousifi.
In Iraq it has been speculated that al-Yousifi has been kidnapped by a Sunni Moslem group – a group with whom he was allied prior to the election. At the same time Minas al-Yousifi’s wife and children are appealing to the Swedish monarch that he should comply with the demand made by the kidnappers for direct contact with the country’s head of state - that is to say - the king himself. That the situation has become increasingly critical for al-Yousifi has been confirmed by Riyad Dawoud, his fellow party member in Mosul, who claims that the kidnappers will not be satisfied dealing with a representative for the Swedish government. “It’s only the Swedish king that will do” he says.
Al-Yousifi’s family in their letter to the king reminded him that his intervention actually saved the lives of three other Swedes captured in Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s time.
They wrote as follows: “The statement that was issued by the Swedish court claimed that the king could not do anything to help since the Swedish constitution states that this responsibility is incumbent upon the Swedish government.
In the fall of 1993, three Swedish citizens, Christer Strömgren, Leif Westberg and Stefan Wihlborg sat in the, at that time, unknown Iraqi prison, Abu-Ghraib for over a year. They had been accused as spies by Saddam Hussein. Saddam did not release them until he was able to negotiate directly with Your Majesty as the Swedish Head of State. It wasn’t sufficient for Saddam to be in contact with Prime Minister Carl Bildt; consequently they want to negotiate with the nation’s highest ranking person. Your Majesty, you first sent Marshal of the Court Hans Ewerlöf to Baghdad to deliver a letter from yourself directly to Saddam. You appealed for the life of the three Swedes. The next day Strömgren, Westberg and Wihlborg were released. The situation here is somewhat the same; the Iraqi kidnappers want to negotiate with the Swedish king and not with the government. We sincerely hope that Your Majesty can make the same gesture for our husband and father as you did for the three other Swedes in 1993.”
Minas al-Yousifi’s wife, Akeela al-Yousifi currently in Iraq to search for her husband, related to Expressen on a scratchy telephone line from there: “Our relatives and other party members have already been both threatened and shot at when we tried to find out where he had been hidden and who kidnapped him.”
“He was against the occupation and boycotted the election since he did not feel that there were democratic conditions for it. He fought for a united Iraq. You who captured him must understand that you kidnapped the wrong man,” said the Chaldean-Catholic bishop, Shleimoun Wardoni, at the press conference. The Mullahs, the Moslem leaders also condemned the kidnapping and pleaded for his life to be spared.
As early as 1989 when Minas al-Yousifi was interviewed by the Swedish Radio’s Assyrian producer, Gabriel Afram, he said that he would return to Iraq one day to fight for the rights of his people, the Assyrians. In the same interview he predicted that that it could be dangerous to resume the struggle in his homeland. “But,” he said, “if you are descended from the original people of this country and see how the nation is being crushed and destroyed you can’t just stand by and do nothing.”
Earlier, this standpoint cost Minas al-Yousifi a year of his life when he sat imprisoned in Iraq accused of separatism. This also drastically changed his life several times; from being a highly regarded judge in Iraq to a broken-down, ill, refugee in the Swedish city of Jönköping who was either unemployed or, when he could find work, had to do manual labor to support his family.
In the beginning, Minas was the leader of a secret Christian resistance group but in 1983 he and his comrades changed over to a political party. Minas al-Yousifi now became the chairman for Iraq’s Christian Democratic Party CDP. This was not looked at kindly by Saddam’s Baath Party and al-Yousifi was forced to flee. He allied himself for a short time with the Kurdish opposition and its militia but he quickly recognized that his political views and those of the Kurdish Democratic Party differed. He and his family eventually came to Sweden and settled in Jönköping.
Minas al-Yousifi was kidnapped almost a month ago, the 28th of January, two days before the Iraqi election. He drove from his party’s headquarters in Mosul in north Iraq to Baghdad for a stop-the-election meeting with other political parties. He predicted ballot rigging since, among other things, Assyrians in certain areas would be hindered from voting. He allied himself with Sunni Moslem leaders and boycotted the election.
The person who saw him last was a Sunni Moslem leader, Khaled El-Hayeli, party leader for the Islah Party. They had lunch together half past one in the afternoon. El-Hayeli says that al-Yousifi then took a long-distance taxi to Mosul.
Who could have kidnapped him and why?
Many Iraqis in Baghdad that Expressen has spoken to, all of whom want to remain anonymous, say that it mostly points to the Sunni Moslems.
The negotiator that the kidnappers have appointed is a well known Sunni Moslem leader, Sheik Aqram Qaser. The video tape that shows a machine gun pointed at al-Yousifi’s head was left in a Mosque run by a popular Sunni Moslem leader. The Iraqis that boycotted the election with the same demands as were made in the letter to the king are also Sunni Moslems.
The four million dollars that the kidnappers demand are, according to Expressen’s sources, only a diversion. A means to deceive. If the kidnappers demand money then the kidnapping is not political.
Al-Yousifi’s family’s worst fear is that his life can end like Raymond Shamoun’s. Raymond was a 23 year-old Assyrian who was beheaded in front of the kidnapper’s camera to the accompaniment of fundamentalist slogans and a mixture of Arabic soft pop and folk music.
An Islamist propaganda film in which several Assyrians are beheaded because they are viewed as traitors, “Christian swine,” who are siding with the Americans. The purpose of the film – which has been distributed all over the world – is to frighten the Iraqi Assyrians to flee the country - just that which al-Yousifi is fighting to stop.
[Zinda: Mr. Nuri Kino, one of the most prominent European journalists was last week nominated for the 2005 Golden Spade Award - Sweden's equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize in journalism. Mr. Keeno has been the recipient of this award for three consecutive years. Mr. Kino was born in the Assyrian city of Midyat in the region of Tur Abdin, southeast Turkey. He left Turkey when he was four. After fleeing Turkey with his family, Mr. Keeno attended schools in Germany and Sweden. In Sweden Mr. Nuri worked in various jobs including teaching and pizza making and finally settled for freelance journalism. In 2000, Mr. Nuri along with Wolfgang Hansoon won his first 'Golden Spade' award for investigating human smuggling in Europe. Mr. Kino's other awards include 2002 Save the Childrens Journalism Award, The Golden Pen, Finalist in the award for the Scoop of the Year, 2004 Ikarosprice (Public Service Personality of the Year) and 2004 Role Model of the Year presented by the Assyrian Youth Federations in Europe. Mr. Kino is a regular contributor to Zinda Magazine.]
Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Demands Representation in Lebanese Parliament
Courtesy of the al-Nahar Newspaper
The Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Mor Zakka I Iwas, has asked for the choice of a seat for his people or to share the current seat with the Armenians in Zahla, Lebanon.
A letter from the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch was delivered to the Lebanese President Emil Lahood regarding the representation of the Syrian Orthodox Church in the Lebanese Parliament. Similar letters were delivered to the Head of the Lebanese Parliament, Mr. Nabih Berri; Lebanese Prime Minister, Omar Karami; and Interior Minister Sulaiman Franjiyya.
Mount Lebanon Archbishop George Saliba delivered the letters on behalf of the Patriarch.
In his letter to the Lebanese President, the Patriarch requested a separate seat in the Lebanese Parliament if the new Lebanese constitution was amended and the number of seats were increased. Should this request not be granted, then the Patriarch asked that the current seat for the Armenians from Zahla be shared with his flock.
The Patriarch stated that the Syrian Orthodox feel that they have been misled and defrauded.
In his letters, Patriarch Zakka I Iwas reminded the officials that in 1992, the Lebanese government instituted the creation of a seat in Zahla for the members of the Syrian Orthodox Church. His Holiness added that they make the fourth largest Christian sect in the region after the Maronites, Rum Orthodox, and Rum Catholics; however, the promise was not fulfilled.
The seat in question was instead granted to the Armenian Orthodox. The Patriarch asserted that the Interior Ministry records indicate that there are around 80,000 Syrian Orthodox in Zahla, including some 40,000 eligible voters.
(ZNDA: New York) On Saturday, 19 February, Assyrians of from several East Coast associations - including members of the Connecticut's United Assyrian Association of Massachusetts, the Assyrian Ladies Association, the Ashur Assyrian American Association, and the Assyrian National Association gathered in front of the United Nations Building in New York City to protest against the injustices perpetrated against the indigenous Assyrians during the recent Iraqi elections.
Together with a dozen Iraqi-Turkoman, flags were waved high in the air; signs in Assyrian, English, Arabic, and Chinese, condemning the elections were held by the youth; and chants of a free Assyria resonated through the crowd.
From “Naum Faik” to “Atoraye Dmikhe b'shinta”, nationalistic songs both in the Western and Eastern Assyrian dialects were sung, as well as prayers for all our Assyrians in Iraq spoken.
A petition demanding the immediate allocation of 25 seats and the creation of an Assyrian Administrative Region in North Iraq for the indigenous Assyrians was passed around, while an end to all acts of terrorism committed by the Kurdish Democratic Party against the Assyrians Christians was demanded by all who attended the event.
Young and old alike endured harsh weather conditions to show their unwavering support for their Assyrian brothers and sisters living in Iraq. When asked why he attended the demonstration, one young Assyrian summed it up best, “As long as my Assyrian people in Iraq have no voice, I will be their voice, and I will be their voice until I have no voice left.”
[Zinda: Special thanks to Mr. Ninos Donabed for compiling this report from New York.]
FBI Returns Eight Ancient Stone Seals Looted From Iraq
Courtesy of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation
(ZNDA: Washington) Some five thousand years ago, the ancient Mesopotamians came up with a clever way to protect their valuables from theft and fraud.
They took small, cylinder-shaped stones and carved intricate, one-of-a-kind designs into them. The stones—when rolled across wax or soft clay that later hardened—formed an imprint or "signature" that marked a piece of property and uniquely identified its owner.
Fifty centuries later, the tables have turned. The same cylinder seals that once helped safeguard ancient valuables are now treasures in their own right—and have been targeted by thieves.
Two years ago, the looting of these seals and other cultural artifacts reached epic proportions in Iraq following the fall of Saddam Hussein. When we were called on to assist, we were ready. We sent agents to Iraq to help with criminal investigations. We issued global police alerts on the potential sale of stolen Iraqi art and artifacts on both the open and black markets. And we publicized the stolen treasures at fbi.gov!
In the meantime, we kept our eyes open in case any of these stolen treasures showed up in the U.S. Recently, we made our first recovery of looted Iraqi artifacts in this country.
Here's how it happened: In late 2003, a U.S. Marine serving in Iraq bought eight stone seals from a trinket vendor for several hundred dollars. He was struck by their designs and wondered if they were important historic artifacts. So when he got back to the U.S., he took them to a university archaeologist, who quickly verified their authenticity and cultural value.
The Marine then did the right thing: he came to us. After doing the necessary legwork, our agents in Philadelphia contacted the Iraqi authorities with the news.
Last Wednesday, in a ceremony at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, we officially returned the seals to Said Ahmad, Minister of Iraq's Mission to the U.N. To help educate the public on the looting of cultural objects worldwide, the Iraqi government has agreed to display the seals at the University museum for several months before they are returned home.
At the ceremony, the FBI also unveiled its new Art Crime Team, a group of eight agents nationwide who will serve as regional experts and points of contact for global art theft investigations. Stay tuned for a full story in the days to come!
Its 10 minutes past 11 on a beautiful Monday morning on the 14th of February.
A handful of Assyrian activists, a long with The Hon. David Clarke MLC are standing outside the American consulate in Sydney, waiting and wondering that if a peaceful demonstration to protest against the prevention of Assyrian participation in the Iraqi National Elections would transpire.
A few of us become anxious about the success of the day worried that no one else was coming. Then like a thunderstorm coming closer, the sound of drums beating gets louder, an army of 200 invade a usually quiet street (much to our relief) and march down to the steps of the US consulate chanting ‘God bless America, God bless Australia, God bless Assyria”.
With only 2 police officers required to keep this protest peaceful, the program began with the first of many speakers.
Renee Dinkha a 21-year-old Assyrian Australian, spoke about the daily attacks on the Assyrian Christians in northern Iraq, in her maiden speech she pleaded for help from the US and Australian Governments. She outlined why the Assyrian people had come there to protest, the reasons behind the prevention of their voting, and mentioned that vote prevention was one of the many voting irregularities reported to have occurred. She outlined the concern all Assyrians around the world shared for the situation in Iraq. She said that the Elections in Iraq couldn’t be considered “significantly successful” until such time that the Assyrian Christians were allowed to vote and the people who prevented the Assyrians from voting were condemned for their undemocratic behaviour. Renee then called on the Australian government to conduct its own impendent inquiry into the Iraqi national elections and if the investigation confirmed that Assyrians were purposely prevented from voting, the necessary measures be taken to ensure the complete integrity of Iraq’s first democratic election.
Then the guest speaker, The Hon. David Clarke MLC, walked on stage and opened by stressing that the protestors who had gathered there today, did so in support of Australia and America. All of us were united in our support for the coalition forces serving in Iraq and Mr Clarke on behalf of the people gathered there commended our soldiers and thanked them for the sacrifices they made for the freedom of all Iraqis. But the fact remains that Assyrian Christians who were oppressed under Saddam are still oppressed today, not only by an intolerant Islamic insurgency but also by the Kurdish Democratic Party, which wants to fuse its control of the area around northern Iraq. The Hon. David Clarke MLC urged the governments of the United States and Australia to not forget the small Christian nation, which sacrificed one third of its population to support the allies during both world wars and most recently the two gulf wars.
The Hon. David Clarke MLC then made an undertaking to the crowed of protesters, promising that he would personally see to the delivery of an official letter from the organisers of the protest, to the prime minister of Australia, The Hon John Howard PM.
Finally the demonstration outside the US Consulate ended with Nicholas Al-Jeloo, a long time advocate of Assyrian rights reading a passage from the official letter (see below). Then handing one copy to The Hon David Clarke MLC and taking another copy to a representative of the US Consulate General in a symbolic gesture of good will.
I thank The Hon. David Clarke MLC for attending the demonstration and honouring the Assyrian Australian community with his kind words, I thank all of the organisers of the protest including, Samir Shiba, Adsen Iesho, Albert Iesho, Ninve Yakou, Renee Dinkha, Nichols Al-Jeloo, Janet Kenna, Aneeta Iesho and Kaise Stephan. The success of the protest is testimony to the effort made by the organisers, who managed to achieve such a large crowed in such a short time on a day like Valentines Day. The demonstration proved that the Assyrian Australians have the resolve to mobilise when needed and defend the rights of Assyrians in a country where too often their voice goes unheard.
Hopefully the success of the protest is not an end but a stepping-stone that will motivate a revival in a movement to secure the rights of Assyrians in their native homeland of northern Iraq.
From: The ChaldoAssyrianSyriac Nation in Australia
PO Box 344
To: The Honourable John Howard
We, the ChaldoAssyrian community of Australia, would like to voice our concern regarding the recent election in Iraq, which has prematurely been hailed as a resounding success in bringing democracy to Iraq. In this regard we would like to highlight the exclusion of an electorate of nearly 200,000 voters in the Nineveh Plains in Northern Iraq, and the questionable voting processes which led to this exclusion. We maintain that the omission of this electorate was a deliberate act.
The Iraqi elections have thus disenfranchised the ChaldoAssyrian community. Hundreds of thousands of ChaldoAssyrians were deliberately blocked from exercising their democratic privilege to vote and, hence to secure recognition and representation in the new democratic Iraqi government.
As the indigenous population of Iraq, ChaldoAssyrians have suffered persecution, oppression and repeated attempts at genocide in its various forms. The ChaldoAssyrians comprise approximately 5% of the total Iraqi population, a large proportion of whom reside in the northern towns that were prevented from taking part in the election. Their prevention from voting and being represented in the new democratic government amounts to political genocide. It denies them representation, recognition and rights as citizens of Iraq in the new constitution.
Mr Stephen Pound MP in his address to the Parliament of the United Kingdom in December 2004 stressed that unlike the Kurds and the Arabs in Iraq, the ChaldoAssyrians are highly vulnerable and under siege. There is a real and genuine possibility that this community in Iraq will be reduced to a tiny remnant.
The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) is the official body responsible for ensuring the prompt delivery of ballot papers, boxes and voting materials to all polling stations throughout the country.
We maintain that the IECI have failed in their fundamental duty and function to act independently and without bias in ensuring that all Iraqi citizens are equally afforded the opportunity to vote. We also maintain that in addition to the omission of the ChaldoAssyrian electorate, the outcome of the election is further undermined by irregularities including massive scale stacking, registration of ineligible voters and more importantly the failure to deliver ballot boxes and materials to various voting centres.
Due to the unreliable conduct of the IECI, we reject the findings of their subsequent investigation of this issue. We hold that the exclusion of the ChaldoAssyrian community was deliberate and call upon the US and Australian Governments to conduct an independent investigation into the alleged voting irregularities.
From the outset, the governments of Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom have stressed their commitment to establishing a true democracy in Iraq. In keeping with this commitment, we respectfully ask that you take the necessary steps to rectify this situation and ensure that the ChaldoAssyrian population of Iraq are finally afforded political recognition, security and rights as citizens of Iraq.
Exploring Another History Bush
Filham Y. Isaac
The truth is that I did not want to respond to Mr. Youkhana Odisho’s article in Zinda titled “Malik Khoshaba”, other than to highlight the same old trend used by many which is to adopt the opinion of another person as one of their own.
If you want to learn how to assassinate a character the book of the late Shamasha Gewargis Beth Benyamin is a great example, but if you are seeking to find the truth about our historical events of the 1920 then I suggest you look for a better documentary evidences that deal with this era. As an Assyrian my intentions, is never to glorify one person and dunk the others. In my humble opinion all what I have read on this era is nothing more than personal views and back-stabbing of this nature.
Such innuendos may be an effective way to demonize a person but this would only work on the gullible. Please know, today’s highly educated generation need to have and are looking for credible analysis and I am certain they would want to challenge the late Shamasha’s assessment of malik Koshaba’s profile. I quote “he [malik Khoshaba] had the tendency towards destruction; looking to gain leadership and hating the prelates”. Now the question is; how many psychiatrics examined the Malik to come up with such an ad hoc profile? For Mr. Odisho, I say. Of course you are free to read what you want and believe what goes well with your agenda.
Allow me one other quote “When the American missionaries saw that they now held a tool in their hands [the Malik] to destruct our church”.
Who are we kidding? It is a known fact the English and the American missionaries practically stole a good portion of our church right from underneath the prelates’ noses. This was taking place long before malik Khoshaba was born. Missionaries were a factor in weakening our church and nation and one of the reasons that led to the Badr Khan 1842 massacres and the heinous crimes committed against our people.
Indeed, malik Khoshaba did kill his wife and daughter. It is a despicable act any way you look at it. Having said this, one has to be able to separate wanting to know the truth about our HISTORY with all the dynamics and tribulations that took place then vs. personal issues of nay one man/woman. Had they slammed this person in jail for his act we would perhaps, not have had these many controversial views to sift through.
Malik Khoshaba did indeed, marry a younger women “his daughter’s age” but so did the late Patriarch and this begs the questions, who am I to comment on the matters of the heart? However, it is obvious why the late Shamasha had to mention this. It goes well with the package.
Just for the record, the late Shamasha Gewargis had his own issues with the late malik Khoshaba. The one incident that changed their relationships was that at one point a group of Assyrians in Mosul had bought a piece of property in Dawaasa quarters to build a school and a residence for the priest. The deed was entrusted to the late Shamasha Gewargis and the deed stayed with him until the time when an Assyrian contractor (Mr. Hommeh) was assigned to begin the work. The contractor needed the deed to apply for a permit but the late Shamasha would not surrender it. The group tried to convince Shamasha but to no avail and when they could not they approached malik Khoshaba who too tried and failed. Shamasha surrendered the deed to the property only after malik Khoshaba sent the authorities after him. This was enough to strain the two men’s relationship.
It is worthy to note that the older brother of Shamasha Gewargis, the late Shamasha Dawood, a most respected person who was a close friend of malik Khoshaba and has many worthy mentions of malik Khoshaba and the two men remained good friend for life.
I am yet to see some clear and objective analysis that steers away from personal opinions and instead focuses on the facts and not the character. One wonders if Mr. Odisho sees the political savvy of the ex-President Clinton or does he just remember his Lewinsky caper.
The ad hominem felt here greatly detract from what the real facts are and it would be useful for Mr. Odisho to explain:
Just a sincere wish on my part, whoever can give us a true glimpse on this era using good logic and some valid documentation then it would truly be appreciated. All other stuff can be filed under the historical gray matter bin.
We need to drill down to the substance of our historical data and not beat around the yet another history bush to stir the personal demons and goblins. Only the facts please?
I am certain the late Shamasha Gewargis was a decent and honorable man, but at the same time let it be clear that we are not interested in personalities and psycho-analysis of an individual. We are dealing with National analysis, period.
The Gabriel Afram Dictionary Release Group
Thousand Thoughts – One Dream!
That which once was only of thoughts transformed into a dream and is today a reality. Our nation has during the last decades been patiently waiting for a dictionary to see the light of the day.
Gabriel Afram has during the last 15 years – with surgical accuracy – produced a Swedish-Assyrian dictionary with more than 100,000 words and phrases. After extensive research, his lifetime achievement is now finished.
With this dictionary the Assyrian language, being considered as a classical church language, has now taken a huge step into the 21st century and comprises modern terminology. This we wish to celebrate together.
We therefore want to invite you to this historical moment when professor Gabriel Afram's Swedish-Assyrian Dictionary will be presented.
Sunday, 13 March 2005
Contact: Hikmet Ego 0734-38 64 73
Free Admission. Coffee and snacks will be offered.
[Zinda: Special thanks to Assyriska Ungdomsforbundet at www.auf.nu.]
A leading private commercial bank in the Republic of Iraq is currently in the process of expanding their business in conjunction with a group of GCC region's financial and banking institutions. They are looking for:
Chief Executive Officer's responsibilities:
Compensation package is attractive and commensurate with qualifications.
Please forward your resume and other pertinent information to to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assyrian Christians of Iraq Wanted to Vote But Were Not Allowed
Frankfurter Rundschau Online
Mubarak Sliva, 58, sits in front of "Muntaka" coffee shop by an old table and drinks tea out of a little glass with his friends Michael and Jacob, He watches Shiites and the Kurds celebrating their election victory which will allow them to rule the country. Again and again Mubarak looks at this but seem like every time he feels like being stabbed in the heart. His friends feel sad also. The "Muntaka" is social center of the city of Qaraqosh located 15 kilometers distance from Mosul. All 30,000 inhabitants are Christian Assyrian who were prevented from voting during the Iraqi elections."No one heard our voices, we were deprived of our constitutional right as in the Saddam Hussein's time, nothing has changed", shouts Mubarak Sliva.
East of Mosul, there are many places where only Christians live but because they wear the typical Arab clothing they are not noticed.
Out of the 200,000 Assyrians in the region 90 percent were not allowed to vote. "The large iraqi parties celebrate, and the USA wants to establish democracy in Iraq but the minorities will not be part of it", complained Mubarak Sliva: " not even once any body cared to mention in Baghdad that we were deceived. It was alleged that they did not know what happened. That is a lie . Three weeks ago the American consul from Mosul visited us."
Louis Markus Ayoob, 45, the deputy mayor and representative of the electoral committee for Qaraqosh, has testified that it was Kurd's intention to keep Christians from voting. The KDP ( democratic party of Kurdistan ) has a large party office with police, secret service and soldier in Qaraqosh where no Kurds live. The Christians do not speak Kurdish language and the Kurds do not speak Arabic or Assyrian.The Christians wanted to elect their own representatives in Baghdad and not be represented by the Kurds.
In Mosul, the organizers of the elections were predominantly Kurd members of the KDP. Louis Markus Ayoob testified, that the 24 trained election helpers were planned to leave Mosul and arrive in Qaraqosh bringing with them the ballot boxes and the election documents but were sent instead to a remote neighborhood west of Mosul. The deputy mayer called the election committee in Mosul informing them that there has been a misunderstanding and the documents and helper had not arrived in Qaraqosh. Similar incidents were reported from other Christian villages. Some had received few ballots other nothing because were stolen.
In Qaraqosh, a spontaneous demonstration was organized by several hundred people on the election day which had never happened before. They chanted "We don't need Kurds in Qaraqosh . We want to democratically select our own representatives". People were disappointed and asked Louis Markus Ayoob to call the US-American consul in Mosul at 5:00 P.M. He reported what had happened and was told two Helicopters will bring the ballots to Qaraqosh and would be delivered to Ayoob personally.
The election committee planned to make an exception to allow christians to vote late at night because a fraud had been committed to prevent them from doing so. But the vice-mayor Louis Markus was unable to get to the Helicopters when they landed. According to a report he was was stopped by Kurdish soldiers of the KDP who approached with weapons and pulled him out of the car. What subsequently happened, has left behind its marks on Louis Markus Ayoob's body and face even after the physicians mended his wounds and fixed his broken nose.
Ayoob reports that he was taken to the KDP party office and beaten brutally.
The local Kurdish party chief Mohammed Amin had told him this was a punishment for the demonstration against the Kurd in the city. The bleeding election leader of Qaraqosh was held as a prisoner in the party office when the Helicopter landed. Since no one had come to the the landing field to claim the ballot boxes the helicopters waited for a couple of minutes then they returned to Mosul. Around eleven fifteen p.m. the badly injured Louis Markus Ayoob was finally allowed to leave the KDP party headquarter.
'How the Steel was Tempered'
Et l'acier fût trempé /
Kak Zakalyalas Stal
The Semele Massacre & its Effect
The greatest impact of The Massacre of Semele of August 8, 1933, was enunciated on the river, dividing New York and New Jersey.
In a small two-story brick structure in the township of Hackensack, New Jersey, a dozen expatriates of the Ottoman Empire, all Assyrians, converged and, one of the ever-lasting and most formidable association ever enacted by the Assyrians was born.
Assyrian American National Federation (AANF)
The American-Assyrian National Federation, led by nationalistically bitter and compassioned Assyrians, was brought to fruition as a brain-child of David and Rose Dartley, David Perley and a throng of other die-hard and suffocating Assyrians that saw to it that they would spend the rest of their lives hammering and building a foundation to revive Assyria and its nationalistic embodiment, on the shores of the Hudson River, if it was not feasible to do likewise on the shores of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
AANF withstood the desertions, dissidences, floods, bankruptcies, wars, persecutions, deaths, illnesses, and financial crisis on top of another World War. Yet, because of the determination and vigor in a group of dedicated men and women, it continued to flourish and to re-educate our migratory masses from all over the world that landed on the shores of the New World.
For the next forty years, AANF offered chances and challenges to the Assyrians of all ranks and files, and from all corners of the globe, to meet, discuss, communicate and work toward the betterment of life for those left behind, and condemned to dwell in Turkey and Iraq, in particular, and the Middle East, in general.
AANF continued to prosper and to flourish. It brought nourishment for the hungry genealogical Assyrians, who were starving to meet with their brethren, and to propagate their ideas, as well as soliciting the ideas of the ones they would never have a chance to meet otherwise, in their lives.
Fraternizations and sometimes recognition of kinship became abundant. Amplitude of opportunities to continue further encounters became rampant. Some Assyrians, living blocks from each other, began their weekly, if not daily visitations. They began to wine and dine together, just like they used in Atra [old country]. Clubs were formed. Churches were erected or purchased. Parties and gatherings took effect, and suddenly Assyrians felt at home in an alien society. All these aspects were the result of the Yearly AANF Conventions.
The AANF Conventions were not only conveying their tasks in societal and political affairs, they had created a plateau for garnering entertainment and along that, the most vital of aspects of life, love and marriage between the people that aspired to intermarry into their own genealogy, perhaps out of a sense of nationalism, but, more so for the sense of common sense, and that was the fundamental roots they had, and they felt for each other, their culture, their language, their food, and their entertainment.
A Political Coup
In early seventies, the past Presidents of AANF, although die-hard Assyrians, with great sense of nationalism and compassion in their veins for national endeavors, converged and formed an organization by the name of Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA).
AUA was a great step forward in the arena of Assyrian nationalistic movements. However, the problem occurred, when these past Presidents, due to their prominence and influence, suddenly staged a coup, and usurped the undertakings of the AANF.
Suddenly, there occurred a disparity and an unstoppable havoc, in the workings and the ranks and files of the AANF, and a state of anarchy prevailed. This disorder continued for another 30 years, until it was reduced somewhat to practically dislodging AUA from the Federation, if not in totality, at least in the spirit of the matter.
Rejuvenated AANF Administration
The changes that occurred, beginning with the Detroit Convention of 2002, and then continuing into that of Chicago of 2003, although not unexpected, promulgated a breadth of fresh air for all the Assyrians concerned.
The Detroit Convention of 2002, alarmingly, injected an array of amazingly elaborated ideological paths of the founders of the Convention. It fortified and obeyed the founding fathers of the AANF in their approach to internationalism and activism.
Assyrians from all over the world were invited to make presentations and to participate in the numerous and variable, ideological, political, social, artistic and literary events that took place during the 4-day process of the Convention.
This trend did not stop at Detroit. It continued with the Chicago Convention of the following year, and the results and the achievements were broadened to their highest scope ever since the Assyrian Conventions of USA were convened.
A Coup De Grâce!
Then, on October 24-26, 2003, there occurred the massacre of highest proportions against our nation, Assyria.
No, it was not from the Turks, Azaris, Kurds, Arabs, or any other fundamentally oriented ideological group.
The onslaught was perpetrated by our own. On that infamous weekend, the elected leaders of the AANF, and the spokespersons for its surrogate associations, took it upon themselves to abolish the name Assyria, and to implicitly imbue our nation under the dogma of catechism and all it bears.
This most heinous act against our nation was disseminated, despite the fact that for millennia under the yoke of the bloodiest regimes of Persia and Syria, namely the Sassanides and the Abbassides, the Ottomans, the Arabs, and most of the times under the Kurdish onslaughts, Assyrians were not forced to abandon their name, nor were they told to re-baptize themselves under alien sacerdotal theology.
Just as an admission to, a guilt, by a signed confession is an invitation to a guilty verdict, abdication in the name Assyria and dismissing a nation as the inherent heir of historical Assyria, is obstructive, incompetent, treacherous and, therefore unforgivable.
In 2004, just as the way AUA went about demolishing the spirit of the AANF with its incompetence in international and national affairs, there appeared on the horizon a new entity copycatting exactly where AUA had left off.
A new breed, much younger, and far more educated of Assyrians under the banners, first as American Assyrian League, and then becoming entrenched in the affairs of an older association, namely the Assyrian Academic Society (AAS), under the guise of revitalizing the former AANF, and propagating Chaldoassyrian American National Federation (CANF) [they don't dare to call it as such] in its international dealings, took over.
No seminar, gathering, lecture, lobbying, demonstration, issuance of petitions, or presentation was left intact. The members of AAS built their nest in CANF, and repulsed all and anyone around it.
Egocentrism Vs. Incompetence
AUA members despite all their malaises were deeply dedicated nationalists. They just didn't have the tools of knowledge in their dealings with the ever-changing world affairs and its alignments.
However, with the AAS members it is a totally different picture. Most are professionals. The echelon membership of AAS are educated, and somewhat dedicated individuals.
There should be no doubt on anyone's mind that the young men and women of AAS knowingly attempt to control all there is on the horizon for the Assyrian communities in the United States. However, the irony is that CANF has allowed AAS to continue to procreate itself as spokesperson for the nation Assyria not only in the United States, but also overseas.
Is there a need for CANF at this stage of the game?
The AAS members continuance of spreading pamphlets, writing brochures, encouraging the signing of petitions, filing petitions, arranging demonstrations, speaking at the rallies, and attempting to meet with officials of the U.S. Government at all levels, under the name of Assyrian Academic Society is like contracting a carpenter to build the rocket launching pad, as well as the rocket itself.
It is one thing to be a scholar or a professional, and it is another to revamp the policies for the benefit of a nation on the run.
It is one thing to be an academician, and it is another to be a pragmatic political savvy.
It is one thing to possess knowledge and to theorize, and it is another to implement and to buttress, such a task.
Just why is it necessary for an academic association to drop its cultural agenda and to enshrine itself in the international affairs of political nature?
Why is it that these same individuals don't leave the work of the academic society to academicians, and register themselves to the workings of perfecting the CANF, under its proper name instead?
Why is it necessary to retain the positions of American Assyrian League, Assyrian Academic Society and work within the framework of CANF?
The answer to the above and many more questions could simply be that of egocentrism among our educated elite.
It seems, they decline respect to all and anyone who is not walking within their realm. And, worst of all, they prove it by their behavior in regards to communications and intermingling skills with the ones that are not part of their league of leagues.
These individuals rotate their positions among themselves as though they have been issued such a mandate. They trot the globe and world capitals, they attend many international events dealing with the Middle East, and worst of all, they make deals at the spur of the moment that endanger our feeble nation and its future, without the slightest of consultation with at least some elected officials of Assyria, if not Assyria itself. Their style is that of Speedy Gonzalez, and there are always in rush, because they want to make news as soon as possible, despite the fact that such news and such undertakings are detrimental for Assyria.
AANF, by slowly moving itself away from AUA, has been supplanted by a special group of oligarchs. Their scope and their vision are strictly those of control, and all else is secondary.
Political Arena of Assyria in U.S.A.
All the past Presidents of AANF that have not been deceased have one vote in all the matters of the CANF.
Some of the members of the voting machine of AANF are remnants of defunct clubs and associations, but they still carry the unison vote power.
Obviously, the Presidents and Delegates of the viable Assyrian Associations do participate in the voting process and, they happen to be duly elected by the members of their local association members. But, on most important issues, they could be in a minority, due to the vote distribution among the Delegates and voting power of the past Presidents of AANF, and the influence exerted by the members of AAS.
In conclusion one can aptly describe the political arena of Assyria in USA as puny, irrelevant, ostracized, inconsistent and inept. However, most prevalently, the political machine is haphazard, sporadic, inactive and decentralized.
With over a third of a million of Assyrians in the USA, no single media, single center of communications, no single permanently functioning office, no continuity in tasks and activities, the political scale of Assyria is lamentable and disheartening.
(Next Week: Recommendations for Political Procedure)
Jozef Essavi Elected to Winnetka Board
(ZNDA: Los Angeles) The unofficial results in last week's elections for the Winnetka Neighborhood Council indicate that Mr. Jozef Thomas Essavi was elected to his community's board in Southern California. He has been living in the area since 1989.
Mr. Essavi is currently completing his Masters in Political Science at California State University at Northridge and runs an insurance agency. He has been elected to several community positions.
Mr. Essavi ran on a platform of urban renewal family values, faith and community. The issues Mr. Essavi tackled head on during his campaign included the gang infestation problems, graffiti, street maintenance, quality of life, inclusionary zoning, and advocacy on behalf of the Winnetka stakeholders in the city, county, state, and federal levels.
Mr. Essavi is a former vice president of the Assyrian American Association of Southern California and contributes toward the production of the weekly local television program.
The following individuals contributed in the preparation of this week's issue:
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