22 Adaar 6754
12 March 2005
Z I N D A M A G A Z I N E
A 2000 BC Cuneiform fragment with inscription in Akkadian sold on eBay for $13.00.
|Assyrian Heritage Sold on eBay||Wilfred Bet-Alkhas|
|Marem Reshakh: Assyrian Women's Human Rights||Andrew Michael &
|Between Extremists' Hammer and Kurdish Militia's Anvil|
|U.S. Marine Bakes Cookies to Preserve Iraqi Culture|
Buy Back Our History from eBay
San Francisco Bay Area Human Race Walkathon
|The Fate of Kirkuk||Soran Dawde|
|Petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nid||Ivan Kakovitch|
|Assyrian American Christian School of Los Angeles||Romena Jonas|
Assyrian Heritage Sold on eBay
Nearly two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, despite U.S. assurances to protect Iraq's cultural heritage and an ineffectual Iraqi effort to guard ancient archaeological sites, the plundering of ancient Assyrian, Babylonian, and Sumerian artifacts continues in Mesopotamia.
As of now some 15,000 pieces of art, implements and ancient records carved in stone stolen from the Baghdad Museum have not been recovered. However, according to prominent archaeologists who have visited Iraq in the last two years, this is nothing compared to the enormous number of artifacts still unearthed at archaeological sites dug out everyday by armed thieves.
The Archaeological Institute of America estimates that at a minimum, contractors pay looters in Iraq $10 million to $20 million each year for artifacts that fetch $100 million to $200 million on the black market. The AIA estimates 100,000 to 150,000 tablets and cylinder seals are looted each year.
In fact each of the thousands of tablets and cylinder seals stolen may be as important as a royal decree of a king, or an every-day description of a small business transaction between two individuals. Everyday in Iraq an unread page of the Assyrian history book is stolen and sold on black markets in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Kuwait, and elsewhere.
Below are a few of the cylinder seals, cuneiform tablets, foundation cones and other objects that are being offered for auction at Zinda Magazine press time on eBay.com and featured on Baghdad Museum homepage. The price below each millennia old artifact shows the final auction bidding at the time of the writing of this editorial.
The Baghdad Museum says: "Thieves stole thousands of such objects from the Iraqi museums in Baghdad and Mosul, and continue to dig Iraq's archaeological sites for more. However, there is no warning on eBay about new global efforts to hunt down black market dealers and collectors in order to recover these artifacts."
According to the Baghdad Museum, in April 2003, Kevin Pursglove, a spokesman for eBay, said it is possible that such items stolen from Iraq could end up on eBay, but eBay cannot check every single sale on its site. "If an item like this appears on eBay and we are approached by the authorities, then we would remove the item from auction," he said.
The company, headquartered in San Jose, California, has 114 million registered members worldwide, and derives its income from fees charged to the sellers.
Here's what you can do to help:
In an interview with Bloomberg News Service on 14 January, the Assyrian director of the Baghdad Museum, Dr. Donny George, commented: "An archaeological site is a kind of book. This book has to be read page by page. If you destroy these pages, you lose a tremendous amount of information."
There remain over ten thousand such 'books' in Iraq, unread and undeciphered. It is impossible to put a value on the crimes being committed everyday against our ancient history. Preventing the sale and purchase of these 'pages' of our history - thousands of artifacts retelling wondrous stories about our past - should become our individual and national commitment and priority for the preservation of the Assyrian heritage. Educate yourself about our ancient past and draw public attention to the crimes against cultural properties from Iraq. The return of even a single cylinder seal or tiny tablet can be the key to the most enigmatic portion of a historical puzzle.
Assyrian Women’s Human Rights
Andrew Michael and Miriam Jaso
The human rights of the Assyrian women finally came to the forefront, predominately raising their issues, delivering them to the public in a two-day informative conference on 5& 6 March 2005, at the Assyrian House in London.
The viewer was given very extensive information relating to the subject, and raised issues of debate and discussion. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers and speakers namely, Prof. Amelie Kuhrt, Ms Meryem Demirel, Dr Nadia Milanova, Mr Sabri Atman and of course our resident speakers Dr Victoria Zado, Mr Ninos Warda and Mr Nineb and Mrs Shoshan Lamassu, and the AWHR.
Mrs Shoshan Lamassu began with a heartfelt, emotional diary of a woman, and what she saw with her eyes, the repression and lack of rights felt over many years. Prof. Amelie Kuhrt, a specialist on the Assyrian royal women told the viewers about exclusions of women in society and their depictions in ancient reliefs. Assyrian women, even those with high status, had no official place in the government. The lecture was very in depth and informative in relation to women’s perspectives related by the reliefs and treasures.
The historical facts narrated by Mr Ninos Warda on how our people suffered in the Genocide committed by the Turkish and Kurdish people, and how until this day this suffering continues in our homeland, highlights the importance of human rights and the impact they can have for our people once they are enforced. Some historical facts and stories will be memorable for a long time to come, in particular Mr Sabri Atman’s story of the woman who was saved from the clutches of fire by a Kurdish family, and was married into their culture and the words, “I am living as a Kurdish Muslim woman now, but I will die an Assyrian Christian”. This will always remain in our minds.
We were given the pleasure of hearing from Ms. Meryem Demirel, representative of the Women’s Federation in Sweden, who illustrated the women’s role in the Federation and their significant input in organizing community events.
A unique association with music and the Assyrian women’s role and portrayal in the Assyrian society was made by Mr Nineb Lamassu, regardless of the time constraint. Mr Lamassu demonstrated that music has been an integral part of our nation’s survival, and illustrated the progression of women’s role in historical times until today.
All of our speakers taught us that if we work together we can achieve more and give our people the rights they deserve today. As in the words of Ms Meryem Demirel: “We are all one nation, one language, and together we are stronger”!
We are confident that AWHR’s first step forward has been a success, and hope to see more issues in relation to women today, their depiction of a "subordinate" at home, in a relationship, and the society. The controversial topics such as domestic violence are important in this learning process, and we look forward to having these issues more directly addressed in the future events from the AWHR.
[Zinda: Marem Reshakh in modern Assyrian is an imperative phrase meaning "Hold Your Head Up!" to a female listener. Zinda Magazine invites its readers to submit articles and opinions (i.e."The White Cloth") on the social, political, and cultural issues related to the status of women in the Assyrian society and communities around the world.]
Christians of Mosul: Between Extremists' Hammer and Kurdish Militia's Anvil
Courtesy of Sawt al-Iraq
(ZNDA: Baghdad) The Assyrian Christians of Mosul (also known as Chaldeans and Syriacs) live in fear and anxiety as they move around the city and the neighboring Christian towns and villages, whether it is to attend school or work.
They are still afraid to attend churches after a series of bombings that killed dozens of Christians or destroyed church structures in Baghdad and Mosul in 2004. The Christians of Mosul are stuck between the hammer of Islamists threats that have already killed shop owners and other civilians, and the anvil of the Kurdish militias and their harassment, obstruction, and oppression.
In a statement to al-Hayat, Mr. Dinkha Potrus, the Bet Nahrain Union representative in Nineveh stated that there is a constant anxiety in their movement around Mosul, especially after the church bombings, threats to the clergymen, and kidnappings and murders of a number of Christians employed with the Coalition Forces and in certain government positions.
Mr. Potrus stated that there is a designed plan by certain groups to evict the Christians from Mosul whether directly or indirectly. Some of these extremist groups consider the Christians as American Allies. Others attack women and try to force them to wear the hijab (Islamic Veil) or target liquor store owners who are considered kuffar (infidels).
The presence of Kurdish militias in Mosul plays a role in pushing the Christians to either leave Mosul for Baghdad or to leave Iraq all together and emigrate. Christian representatives consider the Kurdish provocations and agitations in Mosul as an important factor for this evacuation. These Christian representatives state that the Kurds are forcing the Christians to leave their homes and ancestral lands due to their harsh treatment and their immoral offenses against Christian morals.
Ishaq, who is in charge of Public Relations with the Assyrian Democratic Movement, stated to al-Hayat that there is Kurdish trespassing against the Christians living in the villages around Mosul who are government employees or are part of certain political groups.
Mr. Dinkha stated that the nature of the Kurdish trespassing could be summarized in their efforts to break up the Christian- Moslem relations in the region to force Kurdish-Christian relations instead and the Kurdification of the Christian towns and villages in north of Iraq.
U.S. Marine Bakes Cookies to Preserve Iraqi Culture
Already well on his way to falling in love with Iraq, Captain Tommy Livoti stood on the roof of Saddam Hussein’s palace about 50 miles south of Baghdad one hot summer day and looked down on the ruins of Babylon.
“I was a part of history, literally, and I was looking at history,” he said. “I was proud as an American and a marine to be there, but, as an archaeologist, I was just soaking it up.”
This was a dream come true for Livoti, an archaeology student at the University of Montana who is now trying to raise funds to save ruins like this. The company he was a part of was based near the palace. Looters had mostly ransacked the palace already — they had even taken the light fixtures.
And, as he looked down on the big clay brick ruins of the ancient city, he noticed something else was out of place. Long before the invasion of Iraq somebody had started to rebuild the bricks of Babylon with one noteworthy difference: Now the bricks were imprinted with Saddam Hussein’s name.
Livoti’s love affair with Iraq was often interrupted by the destruction of historical and culture sites. Sometimes it was the looters the U.S.-led invasion failed to plan for. Other times it was the emblazoned name of a former dictator on some of the oldest ruins of civilization. For someone with such a deep appreciation for these sites, Iraq was a little heartbreaking, too.
So, Livoti decided he’d do something about it. He decided to bake.
The brawny Marine, who still wears boots, will tie on an apron and, with about 30 other members of the Anthropological Student Association and faculty, bake some cookies this weekend. They will also bake other items like zucchini bread, fry bread and, of course, brownies. Then they will peddle their baked goods on Monday from 10 a.m. until they are gone outside the Social Sciences Building. They plan to send the money they make to the Stoneybrook Foundation, a group that is helping to combat the widespread looting and destruction of Iraq’s cultural and historical artifacts.
Specifically, the money will go toward purchasing a satellite that will compile data of southern Iraq’s historical and archaeological sites. The maps will help to locate and identify sites that need protection. The anthropology club is asking local businesses to match the amount of money the club makes at its bake sale Monday with their own donations.
Although he’s calling on locals to contribute, the amount of money the sale raises is, perhaps, not as important as the awareness it might help to spread.
During his tour, Livoti said he passed so many archaeological sites that he could no longer count them. “The whole country is beautiful,” he said. “The whole country is an archaeological site.”
But those sites have also been ravaged by war. Following the invasion, the Baghdad Museum was looted. The museum in Mosul was also looted, as well as the country’s national archives. Baghdad’s Islamic Library was ravaged by fire, which housed one of the oldest surviving copies of the Koran. News stories as late as February said the looting was still occurring in archeological sites across southern Iraq.
It’s difficult to find up-to-date information about which artifacts are still missing and what sites have been destroyed. Some estimates say there are still 10,000 missing artifacts. The first reports said artifacts such as 80,000 cuneiform tablets with the world’s earliest writing, a 4,000-year-old silver harp from Ur and a 4,600-year-old headless statue of the Sumerian King Entemena were missing. One Web site lists the names of 35 archaeological sites, many of them unexcavated, which have been pillaged.
Some artifacts were stored in Baghdad’s central bank and others were kept in secret hiding. Many artifacts were brought back by the looters in pieces, like the Warka vase.
The 5,000-year-old Warka Vase weighed about 600 pounds intact. It was brought back by a few men in a pickup truck who offered little explanation as to why they took the priceless vase. It was in 15 pieces.
Because groups such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization declared a ban on the sale of Mesopotamian art from Iraq, some believe it would be hard to sell such priceless artifacts, even on the black market. But, as Livoti points out, there is a huge demand in the United States, Japan and Europe for such artifacts. Many are still missing.
And everyone can agree on the historical significance of what has been lost. Civilizations in Mesopotamia were among the first to enforce legal codes, develop a written language and study the stars.
“In any anthropology class anywhere in the world you learn about the Tigris-Euphrates River area,” said anthropology professor Kelly Dixon. “All of us teach that. All of us learn that as an important place in the timeline of the history of the world.”
It’s a place that graduate student Eileen Flannigan, who is helping with the bake sale, has learned about in her classes.
“It seems like such a shame to have (the artifacts) stolen and ruined,” she said. “And to lose access to such a large part of our past.”
And Iraq’s history should be everyone’s concern.
“It’s everybody’s history,” Livioti said. “It’s Iraq’s, but it’s also the world’s — it’s where civilization began.”
In the aftermath of the looting and destruction, many critics said the government had not done enough to protect Iraq’s precious cultural antiquities. Three members of the White House’s cultural property advisory committee resigned after they said the lack of planning was “deeply troubling.”
As a marine and an archaeologist, Livoti has a unique perspective. He agrees that there was a lack of awareness on the military’s part. But he stresses that this was not intentional. And, what many of the critics forget, is that in war human lives are at risk, not just cultural artifacts.
“If you are getting shot at, and the only place to take cover is behind a site, you are going to take cover there to save your life,” he said.
Livoti has some of the same criticisms as other archaeologists and anthropologists, but he thinks that, instead of complaining, it’s time to do something about the situation. Hence the baking.
“If we make $100, that’s $100,” he said. “If we make $500 that will be well worth the effort.”
Buy Back Our History from eBay
Following the fall of the Baath Regime and Saddam Hussein as you would know many buildings and in particular museums in Iraq were sadly looted.
It recently came to my attention that many of these artworks, cuneiform tablets and historical items are being sold on e-bay for low prices. These items in fact are priceless.
The National Iraqi Museum, headed by the Assyrian Dr. Donnie George, has posted on the internet a list of what is being sold.
I appeal to all Assyrian, Chaldean, and Syriac people to buy these items and inform the proper authorities to have them returned to Iraq.
For Gods Sake, this is OUR history, OUR past and what we will be remembered by historically. I appeal to Zinda Magazine and all appropriate agencies to find a solution so that OUR history does not fall into the wrong hands.
The task at hand is tough but something must be done!
Lessons Never Learned
Recent last two years events in Iraq and abroad have uncovered and unleashed very serious problems within all ethnicities of Iraq without any exceptions that were hidden under tyranny and dictatorship of long decades.
The Arabs were split into Shi’it and Sunni and even more division within each group.
But, Arabs were smart enough to negotiate there issues and create major coalitions that led them to win 148 for Iraqi Coalition and another 40 for the Iraqi Slate (total of 188 or 68% of the 275 seats!) not counting the Sunnis who boycott the elections that could add another 10% or more and yet they are still engaged into serious further negotiation to be more powerful and successful.
Kurds were even smarter as they united into one major slate that led them to win 78 seats (or 28% of the total seats) even though they make only 15% or less of the population!
I don’t know a lot about how did the Turkumans in the elections but I think they were big losers! They have the same problem that we have and I am really concerned now that this is becoming an issue with all minorities! They spread their votes among the above Arab and Kurd slates in addition to their own and thus did not win significant number of seats that reflects their actual population. But let them solve their problems by their own because we have our own problems that need our full attention much more than anything else.
Now let us look deeply into the situation of our great slates and genius politicians and our blessed people in general. Let us try to face the facts and learn or may be just try to understand first what is going on with this careless and aimless, yet blessed!, nation and I only wonder what could have more worse happened if weren’t blessed!
Well, in brief, we won 6 seats or 2% out of the total 275 assembly seats for which 5 of them we should thank other slates in which our candidates were listed! In other words, we had only one candidate who really won our votes (47,000 total votes combined out of 2,000,000 or may be more in other more optimist statistics!). Outstanding Efforts!
Despite the fact that only 10 seats were allocated for us, we were smart enough to create three different slates (imagine!) in order to win all those 10 miserable seats. In fact, at one time we even objected this unfair number because it did not reflect our actual population! Quite Ambitious!
Some voices keep on singing the same scratched old song and are trying to blame it all on one person, i.e. Mr Younadam Kanna of the ADM even though he is the only candidate who won his seat under the name of his ethnicity. Nevertheless, one should also mention that this seat was way below the expectation of his own slate and party for which they expected at least 6-8 seats! Poor Judgment and Lack of Analysis!
But let us forget that ugly past (or present) because mistakes can be made and we would be fool if not expecting them. But we should always look forward and learn from the past and from mistakes rather than chewing on them!
However, it seems nothing has changed or improved and everything is pretty much the same as we started two years back if not worse. Here are some ‘interesting’ features that we still insist on keeping them being convinced that they reflect the only way for our success:
We refuse even to admit that the recent elections were a slam dunk failure for all of us.
Yet, with all the above outstanding features, we are still expecting to win in the next elections, in December of this year, not only the dedicated 10 seats but may be even 5 more!
Well, good for you all and I am sure that all other Iraqi factions are looking at us with a lot of pity and sorrow because they are witnessing the real death of a great nation they knew for long centuries. As a matter of fact they are trying their best to help unite ourselves and make us succeed more than we are doing to destroy ourselves.
Sometimes I really wish I had the power, even though been cruel thought, to kick off all these corrupted deceitful people out of our sight. They only look and act like the trash and the dirt that blocks the fresh stream of water from running smooth and healthy.
It is really shameful and saddening to see our nation reaching this shallow level of ignorance and recklessness.
(ZNDA: San Jose) Barwari Bala is an Assyrian region situated on the Iraqi-Turkish borders. It includes many villages with its center at Kani Maseh, known by Assyrians as 'Ayna d' Nooneh. This region has been the center for many armed conflicts between Iraq, Turkey, Iraqi Kurds, and Turkish Kurds. It was for this reason that many of its Assyrian population were forced to abandon their villages. During the past Ba'ath regime, fights between the Iraqi government and Kurdish irregular armed forces turned these Assyrian villages and their churches into rubble.
After the 1991 uprising and the establishment of the No-Fly-Zone in north of Iraq, many families began to return to their villages while taking advantage of the assistance of certain international aid groups. However, during this period, many Kurds have taken advantage of the situation and have left their own villages and settled in these Assyrian villages. One example of this is the presence of more than 15 Kurdish families in Kani Maseh since 1993 despite the repeated Assyrian complaints to the local authorities that these families are illegally occupying Assyrian lands. In fact, the Kurdish authorities did not stop there, they have tried repeatedly to build residential compounds inside the village. The Assyrians of Kani Maseh protested and refused to allow such illegal construction on Assyrian lands. The local municipal office found other ways to infiltrate the village. The local authorities of the municipal office built 15 homes under the pretext that these homes were for local municipal office employees. However, after the completion of construction, the homes were distributed to common Kurds who have nothing to do with the municipal office of the village.
In recent years, the meticulously planned oppressive policies of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of Mas'ood Barazani against the Assyrians of Kani Maseh have intensified. Persecuting Assyrians who are not members of the KDP, especially those who are members of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM), is one of such policies. These Assyrians are under direct threat from the local Kurdish authorities. One of the dirtiest games that the KDP plays is economical. The KDP control the employment department assigned to fill governmental positions in the region. Since people are in dire need for employment, especially as the economy in the region has improved in recent years, the KDP authorities pressure the Assyrians to enroll in the KDP in return for a job. Assyrians have experienced harsh times and Assyrian men must find employment to support their families. The KDP realizes this fact and takes advantage of the situation.
Additionally, the KDP refuses to grant the ADM permission to open an office in Kani Maseh despite the fact that an Assyrian landlord in Kani Maseh has donated the required lot for the building to the ADM. Furthermore, the KDP has threatened that same Assyrian landlord, confiscated a piece of his land adjacent to the lot donated to the ADM, and built its KDP office on that land without the willful permission of the owner. Today, the KDP is adding another story on top of what they built already in order to expand the office and increase the Kurdish presence in Kani Maseh.
1. Where are the rights of the Assyrians who make a majority in these regions?
San Francisco Bay Area Human Race Walkathon
Assyrian Aid Society of America
The proceeds of this event will again fund the needs of Assyrian towns and villages, especially in heart of Bet-Nahrain, the Nineveh province.
You can participate in this great cause by either walking 5K on behalf of the AAS or making a pledge to sponsor our participants. This year again National Semiconductor is sponsoring our chapter and will match your donations. The Walkathon will start at 8:00 am on Saturday May 7th, 2005 at the Shoreline Park located on 3070 North Shoreline Boulevard in Mountain View. Your support is crucial to preserve our nation in our Homeland.
If you would like to sponsor this event, please make your check payable to the Human Race and mail it to the address below by April 8th. Your donation is tax deductible. For more information regarding the registration or making pledges, please contact Jermaine Soleymani at (408) 460-4957 or Nora Joseph at (408) 595-8516.
The Assyrian Aid Society of America is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. Federal ID # 94-3147517. All contributions are tax deductible.
Assyrian Poetry Night in San Jose
The Assyrian American Association of San Jose proudly invites you to a night of songs and poetry. Participants are welcome to share their own material, or selections from other Assyrian artists.
Please join us for this evening, and as always your continued support is greatly appreciated.
Sunday, March 13th, 2005 at 7:00 pm
AINA Speaker Referral Service
The Assyrian International News Agency has launched two new services, a Speaker Referral Service and Community Forums.
AINA Speaker Referral Service
AINA's free Speaker Referral Service connects you with experts qualified to speak on Assyrians and the Middle East, including Iraq, Syria, Iran, Turkey, the Kurds, Christian-Muslim relations, History, Politics and Religion.
AINA maintains an extensive database of speakers in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East. Speakers are experts in their fields and are versed in many languages.
To request a speaker referral click here.
AINA Forums are designed for productive dialog and discussion by registered members of AINA. Forums cover general discussions, politics, language, history and religion.
To view the forums click here.
The Fate of Kirkuk
Turkoman Front Signals a New Approach to the Kurds’s Federalism Demands
Courtesy of al-Houra &
After losing badly in the Iraqi elections, the Turkoman Front signals a more nuanced approach to the Kurds’s federalism demands.
By Soran Dawde in Kirkuk (ICR No. 116, 09-Mar-05)
The main Turkoman political group in Kirkuk is rethinking its strategy as a result of its failure to make gains in the January elections.
In a dramatic turnaround, a leading official in the Turkoman Front indicated the group was now willing to countenance a federal Kurdistan, as long as the disputed city of Kirkuk retained a special separate status that gave all ethnic groups a say in how it is governed.
The front, a major Turkoman political force which is aligned with Turkey, has come under pressure to change since the January 30 ballot, and now looks set to reform itself.
The oil-producing area around Kirkuk makes the city a highly desirable asset, and many Kurds view it as the future capital and economic heart of a future autonomous Kurdish entity. But as Iraq’s boundary lines are currently drawn, the city lies outside the three governorates that together make up the Kurdish-administered region.
Besides the Kurds – tens of thousands of whom have returned to the area after being forced to move by Saddam Hussein’s ethnic policy of “Arabisation” - there are significant Turkoman, Arab and Assyrian communities who all have an interest in the city’s future.
Leading Turkoman political groups, in particular, have always opposed the Kurds’ plan to win more autonomy and to claim Kirkuk as their own.
Like other Iraqis, Kirkuk voters took part in two ballots on January 30 - one for the National Assembly and for the governorate council, in this case of Taamim province.
The latter was won by the Kirkuk Brotherhood List – a 12-member coalition that was set up specifically for this region and included the two main Kurdish parties plus Turkoman and Arab representatives. The list got 26 of the 41 seats in the provincial council.
The major Turkoman political bloc, the Turkoman Front, performed worse than it had hoped at both provincial and national levels, winning only eight seats on the local council.
In the National Assembly vote, the front won only three seats in the 275-member body, making it an insignificant player compared with the victorious Shia-led United Iraqi Alliance and the Kurdish Alliance List, which came second with 75 seats.
Riyadh Sari Kahya, who heads Turkmen Eli, a leading party in the Turkoman Front and one of the winning candidates, admits that he had been hoping to see the bloc win 30 seats in the national legislature.
With these hopes dashed, Kahya now says the Turkoman Front would accept a federal arrangement when the National Assembly drafts the new constitution.
The Kurds have been pressing for Iraq to be reorganised so that large federal units such as a Kurdish region – possibly expanded to take in Kirkuk – would become the basic sub-national entity, rather than the current 18 governorates.
“The Turkoman now accept a federal solution,” said Kahya, “but they want Kirkuk to be a [separate] federal entity, administered by Kurds, Turkoman and Arabs.”
In terms of national strategy, Kahya said the Turkoman Front had decided to join forces with the United Iraqi Alliance in the transitional parliament, having turned down a coalition offer from the Iraqi List, the group led by interim prime minister Ayad Allawi which came third in the ballot.
But he said the front would also be seeking to open up a dialogue with the Kurdish parties in the hope of building a new relationship with them.
He said it was now up to those parties to take the initiative, especially the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan led by Jalal Talabani, who is tipped to become Iraqi president.
While still advocating separate status for Kirkuk rather than accepting that it should be incorporated into a Kurdish federal entity, Kahya’s comments signal a significant softening of the Turkoman Front’s line because it embraces the idea of a federal Iraq in which the Kurds would get their own region.
That change of position may have been prompted by a new policy in Turkey, which has lent the Turkoman Front political and diplomatic support since the group emerged in 1995.
The Turks have until recently opposed Kurdish demands for a federal entity in northern Iraq, for fear it could inspire secessionists at home to push for parts of southeast Turkey to be attached to an emerging state of Kurdistan.
As well as its concerns about the political future of the Kurds and Kirkuk, Turkey has maintained a strong relationship with the Turkoman minority in Iraq because of common ethnic bonds.
Last week, Talabani met a visiting high-ranking Turkish delegation headed by the country’s special envoy to Iraq, Fahri Koruturk. According to the Turkish newspaper Zaman, delegation members told Talabani that Turkey no longer objects to the Kurds’ call for federalism, as long as there are guarantees that Iraqi’s territorial integrity is maintained and Kirkuk is given special status.
Apart from forcing a radical change of tack, the election outcome could prove to have far-reaching consequences for the Turkoman Front itself.
Media reports have circulated in both Iraq and Turkey that the bloc is considering dissolving itself in the wake of its ballot-box failure.
But Kahya denied the rumours, saying that plan was instead to go back to the drawing board. A wide-ranging Turkoman Congress scheduled for April 22 would discuss “all options”, he said.
He added that in all likelihood the umbrella group’s constituent parties – his own Turkmen Eli plus the Turkoman National Party, the Independent Turkoman Movement, and Turkmen Ocagi – would coalesce into a single political party.
Although there appears to be greater flexibility on the issue of Kurdish self-rule, Turkoman politicians outside the front as well as in it appear determined to prevent Kirkuk being subsumed into a future Kurdistan.
Younis Bairaqdar, a political independent who was a member of the outgoing provincial assembly, highlighted his community’s wish to maintain its own identity, especially given widespread fears that Kirkuk could be vulnerable to “Kurdification”.
Tahseen Kahya, a former head of the same regional council who represents the Islamic Union of Iraqi Turkoman – which was part of the United Iraqi Alliance in the national-level ballot – underlined that the question of who governs Kirkuk remains highly sensitive because of the area’s complex mix of ethnicities and sects.
The only way that the city could be merged into the Kurdish region to the north, he insisted, would be through a democratic and constitution-writing process that involved all of Iraq’s citizens. In that case, he said, "We will accept the people’s decision no matter what it is."
is a correspondent for al-Hurah Television
Petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nid
(Little by Little, A Bird Builds Its Nest)
"The good of the people must be the great purpose of government. By the laws of nature and of reason, the governors [rulers] are, invested with power to that end. And the greatest good of the people is liberty. It is to the state what health is to the individual." [Diderot]
Liberty is a bridge too far for non-Moslem Assyria of Iraq that has to perpetuate under a non-secular rule. That rule, is a mockery of democracy altogether.
Ab Ovo (Of the Egg)
Now that the pieces of the governing body of the State of Iraq are unfolding with the efficacy of the major players, a special breakfast of two raw eggs with no accompanying accoutrements, is entered as a main and only dish on the menu of the new Constitution to be enacted. Definitely, there shall be a fig and a sour grape added. The latter two are to indicate democracy by injecting a few Sunnis and a Christian, to complement the Ministerial Portfolios of the Cabinet, ostensibly that of the Shi'as and the Kurds.
The name 'Concordat' is given to the convention of July 16, 1802, whereby Pope Pius VII and Bonaparte, First Consul, re-established the Catholic Church in France. Since it worked so well for both adverse forces of the era, a 'Lateran Treaty' [Concordat] between the Holy See and the Kingdom of Italy was signed in 1929 in the Lateran Palace, Rome. One of the important negotiators was Cardinal Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII.
The ingredients inserted into this Concordat were that Vatican would mind its own affairs, without interfering into the realm of the Fascist State of Italy, just as much as the latter would abide by the identical rule and leave Vatican to conduct its own affairs, without meddling into its international obligations.
Initially, Vatican and the Roman Catholic Hierarchy paid dearly for adhering to this treaty. The socio-political persecutions went unchecked in Italy immediately at the ascendancy of the main party at the negotiation, namely Pope Pius XII.
Then, the horrific Spanish Civil War took its toll. Some of the clauses of the Concordat prohibited Vatican's humanitarian stance on international theaters of operations, even as the specter of inhumanity was unleashed against a whole nation, Spain, with a staunch Catholic following.
But there was a solace for Vatican as well. Its hierarchy, its monastic hegemony, and its treasure were left intact.
Although prohibited from supporting pro-Allies underground forces and Jewish community of Italy, the hierarchy left the door ajar for its monks to personally contribute to compassion for Italians and humanity, in any way possible.
On the other hand, the Fascist Regime of Mussolini also let some of its senior officers go with impunity, when they sympathized with the Allies against Germany, a staunch Italian ally.
It would be irresponsible and inappropriate to state that the Kurds shall abolish their justifiable demands for sovereignty and statehood for the sake of Iraq, just as much as the Shi'as would drop their demands for a non-secular Iraq.
Each one of these powerful forces shall slowly but surely inject some of the benefits obtained from the newly structured Iraq for their political aims, and eventual gains.
"Acta Est Fibula" (The Play Has Been Played) [Rabelais]
In Latin, there is a saying 'Bis repetita placent' (works that please are deemed repetitions, those that are not, even once is too many).
Never before did Assyria need its disjoined socio-political activities to blend into a single, and perpetually solemn unison.
Now, more than ever before, Assyria is to garner its bravados and converting them into an awesome voice from outside of Iraq, to quench the cries of its brethren in their sea of nihilism, by the forces it cannot combat.
Now it is a definable moment to speak as one, for our rights, our integrity, and the gravity of our survival as a nation.
An advent, coupled with enigmatic moves on the international arena by a few nationalistically inclined activists, is a spark that just might result in fruition of initial goals of a sporadic unison, until such a moment when an election for filling the tubes of the vacant projectiles of our voices are therefore enunciated, 'Consensus Omnium'(by universal consensus).
A volatile guiding force is to replace the discords and the disagreements.
Wittiness and common sense, as well as the most common of causes, must lead the way. The sages support the coups of adversity. There is a multitude of such individuals among the Assyrians.
The stance facing our brethren in Iraq is more ferocious than our disagreements and our disarray in dealing with internationally orchestrated designs against us.
'Adhuc sub judice lis est' (the process is still in front of the judge) [Horace]. The question in neglecting Assyria and Syro-co-nationals of all faiths and beliefs have not been resolved as yet. There is no room for failure, which is imminent, unless we commence to act.
Due to the fact that for decades, if not centuries, we have witnessed mediocre leadership, we are not naïve to believe that the hordes of spread out Assyria in the entire world shall engulf themselves with our webs, magazines, placards, demonstrations, forums and gatherings to preserve our depleting interest of ethnic and cultural survival. But, we can act as proxies, and perhaps one day they will join us in our undertakings.
But our leadership was exactly what one could expect from a thinly educated, ranks and files Assyria had to produce, under the harshest of the conditions available to it. The trend has been rapidly developing in our favor, and never before have we had such an array of educated and talented individuals as in our possession today.
Triumph is attained by many difficulties. This could serve as our motto. Is it not possible to overcome them? Not all at once, but one by one, we can tackle such difficulties. However, that single work has to be undertaken by most if not all of us, by a singular effort.
Once we perform as a group of dedicated adherents to our cause, some of the ills will just fade away, and perhaps some kind of affection, respect, aid and dedication may arise from among the great majority of the Assyrians that have been and are staying on the sidelines. Who knows? Perhaps some might even begin to contemplate to love us. We ought to welcome their affection, and those affected ought not to feel that they have been robbed of their wits and their personal instincts. "Love robs those in love of their wit and gives it to those that have none." [Diderot]
>From all observations and assertions, we notice the volume of meetings, gatherings, associations, plans and sheer adventurism, we have had for the past seven decades, without a single identifiable benevolent effect has touching our nation. Right now this talk has to stop and to make room for action.
The action is be permeated into negotiable ways and means, so that we can come up with a not-so-perfect, but an amalgamated and a consolidated pre-conditioned pathway to launch our international cry with one voice, one press feature and one single affiliate to deal with the world governments.
That pathway is strictly a dogmatic basket, into which an international lobby is weaved. True many will opt to say that a basket is no match for Phantoms and Mirages. Try it. You will be amazed at its results.
For the past three decades many plans have been introduced. Some have been executed, some haven't. Make your recommendations. Put them in writing, rather than talking about their fruitfulness or their destructiveness.
'Verba Volant, Scripta Manent' (the words fly, the scripts stay).
I have presented the latest this past year to the Delegates of the CANF Convention. Probably out of kindness and respect for me, no one has commented on it, one way or another. I would rather to see my brethren not to be kind, but to be forthright and just. To obtain a printed brochure, and/or to receive a web pamphlet, contact:
Interim Committee for the Government of Assyria (I.C.G.A.).
(NOTE TO READERS: I believe I have presented my assertions. It is up to you to judge their merits. In the meantime, I shall alter my column to a discussion on international issues, since I have no more words left to imbue our efforts. I have said all there is that allowed to divulge on an open forum, and publicly. The rest has to be negotiated in a plenary session of elected officials.My move has been made. It is your turn to make yours. Come forward and initiate this genuine indigenous crusade.)
Assyrian American Christian School of Los Angeles
Faces of Assyrians in America
How do we tell them our story? The story about our great empire, Assyria, the cradle of Civilization! The Only Solution is Education. Help us tell our/your story.
Why an Assyrian American Christian School
The proposed project is to establish an Assyrian American Christian School in Tarzana, California whose
Most Assyrians living in California are recent immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria and other countries.
The Aramaic language, the 'lingua franca' of the ancient world is spoken by a few million Assyrians and
The Assyrian nation is scattered throughout the world. As learned from our ancestors, in order to preserve the
Surveys and studies conducted in October 2004 have identified approximately 100 students who are interested
The Assyrians for Education, a California 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization, is asking for financial
Thank you for considering this proposal. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call. We
Please make you checks payable to:
School Mission: The purpose of the founders of this institution is to promote education for our young. The curriculum will include those areas of study which will help our younger generations to understand and to appreciate their rich heritage and roots.
The student will be exposed to areas of learning in language skills with a major emphasis on the ability to read, write and speak conversationally the Assyrian language, with serious study in the root language: Aramaic.
They will be given a thorough understanding, through instruction, of the glorious and great history of the ancients from their homeland of origin; the Assyrians and Assyrian Nation.
The Holy Bible and the roots of our Apostolic Faith from the time of the Apostles will be presented to help students learn of the richness of their Holy Christian Faith.
The American Assyrian Christian School will provide your student with the proper classroom environment, with dedicated teachers whose purpose is to present nothing but the best for their students within a Christian environment. The Assyrian American Christian School will meet the academic accreditation required in the State of California. When students have completed their education in our school, they will have the knowledge skills essential for success in life, either to add to their education by entering a college or university, or the work field of their choice or interest.
This is the commitment from the Assyrian American Christian School of Los Angeles.
[Zinda: The list of current donors includes the following Assyrian organizations and individuals: Assyrian Foundation of America, $10,000; Assyrians for Education, $5,000; Jonas and Associates Inc., $5,000. Zinda Magazine urges its readers to support the establishment of Assyrian schools around the world. Please add your name to the list by making a tax-deductable donation to: Assyrians for Education and mail your check to the address shown above. A total amount of $300,000 must be raised by July 2005.]
The following individuals contributed in the preparation of this issue:
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