26 Adaar 6754
Volume XI

Issue 12

16 March 2005


Fax 1-415-358-4778

Bishop Gabriel Kassab during his visit to London:

"We are the indigenous people of Iraq. We are Chaldeans from Babylon and we are Assyrians from Nineveh."

This Week in Zinda
Good Morning Assyria
  Chaldo-Assyrian General Assassinated in Kirkuk
ADM & BNDP Insist on Uniting People Power
KRG Statement Regarding Christians of North Iraq
News Digest
  Assyrian Delegation in Russia Presents An Appeal
Bishop Gabriel Kassab Visits London
Yonadam Kanna at the Brussels Conference
Assyrian New Year Coming, Kha b'Nisan Parade in Turlock
Iranian-Born Shirvani Becomes CS-Stanislaus President
Surfs Up!

The Last Nail in the Coffin
Australian MP Speaks Out for Iraq's Minorities
Inexcusable Incivility
A Remarkable Progressive Magazine

Edward Mikhail
Hermiz Shahen
Ashuriena-Gozal E. Baba
Zabet Rayes

Kha b'Nisan Party in San Jose
Chrétiens d'Orient : Les derniers araméens


  Maghdelata Sarguis (1906-2005) Francis Sarguis
  Johny Sadak's "Jacob & His Twelve Sons " Antoni Yalap

Good Morning Assyria
News from Homeland

Chaldo-Assyrian General Assassinated in Kirkuk

Wael Yacoub
General Wael Yousif Yacoub was assassinatd in Kirkuk earlier today.

(ZNDA: Kirkuk)   General Wael Yousif Yacoub, a Chaldo-Assyrian, was assassinated earlier today while returning home from Baghdad, a reporter of the Iraqi News Agency said today.  According to eyewitnesses, armed men surrounded the general's car and began shooting; he was killed immediately.

General Yacoub worked as an officer in the Internal Affairs Department of the Kirkuk Police.  He was credited with the re-opening of the Kirkuk police force after the fall of Saddam Hussein.  General Yacoub represented the Christians' voice in the affairs dealing with the local Police Board and was an ex-officer in the Iraqi army.

General Yacoub was also a deacon (shamasha) at the Chaldean Catholic Cathedral in Kirkuk and considerably respected in his community.  Sources to Zinda Magazine indicate that lately General Yacoub had been openly criticizing the Kurdish position on the ownership of the city of Kirkuk.

ADM & BNDP Insist on Uniting People Power

(ZNDA: Mosul)   High ranking officials of two Assyrian political parties in Iraq, the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM) and the Bet Nahrain Democratic Party (BNDP) met on 12 March to discuss the post January 30th elections conditions in Iraq.

The Assyrian American Association of Southern California invites you to join us at the Annual Kha B’Nissan Dinner and Dance at the
Hilton Universal City on March 19th. 2005 555 Universal Hollywood Drive, Universal City, CA (818) 506-2500

Entertainment for the evening is being provided by Edmond and the Haroot band.   Doors will open at 7 pm and the buffet dinner will be served between 9 PM and 11 PM.

Tickets for the event are $70.00 each and are being sold on Saturdays and Sundays between 2 and 6pm, beginning on February 26, 2005 at the association on a non-refundable, first-come, first-serve basis.  Visa/Mastercard and checks are accepted if purchasing at the Association.

For more information, or to purchase tickets
call (818) 506-7577. Seating is limited, so buy early.

The BNDP delegation included Secretary General, Mr. Romeo Hakkari, Mr. Zadoq Adam and Mr. Jirjis Yonan, members of the Political Bureau, and Mr. Arsanis Basa, Central Committee nominee and party representative in Shaqlawa, Iraq.   Mr. Salim Toma, Mr. Yonan Hozaya, Mr. Yousif Potrous, and Mr. Adris Mirza represented the ADM delegation.

Mr. Hakkari is also a member of the Kurdish Parliament in north Iraq.

The meeting addressed the general situation of the Chaldo-Assyrian people in Iraq and abroad. It addressed the latest elections, the logistics of the process, and the unsatisfactory participation of the Chaldo-Assyrian constituency in the Iraqi National Assembly and the local councils.

The two Parties discussed how to prepare for the upcoming December elections and stressed the importance of establishing a common national mechanism for such elections.

The two sides emphasized the continuation of such meetings in order to eliminate all obstacles that would stand in the way of common national agenda and to put forth an inclusive national platform for the participation of all main segments representing the Chaldo-Assyrian groups.

The two sides also stressed the cooperation of all representatives in the Iraqi National Assembly, Kurdish Assembly, and the various Governorate and the municipal councils in order to guarantee the institution of the Chaldo-Assyrian rights in the Iraqi Permanent Constitution. Finally, the delegation emphasized the strengthening of relations between the two Parties.

Both Parties agreed that this matter must be decided upon with the participation of all parties involved. They agreed to work harder and diligently to find a national solution.

KRG Statement Regarding Christians of North Iraq

[Zinda:  The following is the Kurdish Regional Government-Nordic Representation's statement regarding the situation of the Christians in North Iraq released on 16 March 2005.]

Due to some recent speculations regarding the situation of the Christian minority in Iraqi Kurdistan and unfounded allegations directed towards the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in its treatment of this vulnerable group, the Nordic Representation of KRG would like to issue the following statement:

While we do not have authority outside the KRG-area, we condemn the recent violent attacks against Christians and other minorities in areas within the jurisdiction of the federal government in Iraq. We are deeply concerned that the multi-national forces and Iraqi law enforcement units have not been able to effectively stop these acts of violence.

In the areas under KRG, three ministers are of Assyrian or Chaldean origin, Sarkis Aghajan Mamendu (Deputy Prime Minister), Yonan Marqus Hanna (Minister of Industry and Energy) and Yousif Hanna Yousuf (Minister for Regional Affairs), in addition to the Deputy Governor of Dohuk. In the 1992 elections for Kurdistan National Assembly five seats were allocated to the Christians of the region.

Since 1991 Assyrians and Chaldeans have been able to publish newspapers, run television and radio broadcasts in their own language, and establish their own political parties. Within the KRG-area more than 30 Assyrian language schools (consisting of almost 10,000 students and more than 500 teachers), have been supported by government funding; more than 20 Churches have been restored and renovated. This is not the case in the rest of Iraq. Contrary to unfounded allegations against the KRG, Christians recently fleeing to the KRG-administered areas in fear for their lives have been offered all necessary aid and protection.

In the January 30 elections, three Christian political groups joined the Kurdistan Alliance List (Assyrian National Party, Chaldean Democratic Union and Bait Nahrain Democratic Party). As a result of this inclusion in the Kurdistan coalition, Christian candidates managed to enter into the Iraq Transitional Assembly. Unfortunately for the inhabitants of some areas in Mosul governorate, too many votes were lost during these elections, particularly affecting Assyro-Chaldeans and Kurds, as well as Kurdish refugees (in Soran region) returning from Iran. We regret that the authorities in Mosul and Baghdad failed to secure the right of these individuals to vote at such as decisive moment of democratic transition in Iraq and in Kurdistan. Election administrators within KRG-area had no involvement in these events against which we have submitted complaints to the Independent Election Commission of Iraq.

The people of Kurdistan are now working closely together to secure the safety of the region and to secure a better future based on shared values and principles so that we can establish a democratic, pluralistic, secular and federal political system in Iraq based on cooperation and consensus with the rest of Iraq to create necessary conditions for peaceful co-existence of the country’s constituent units.

On behalf of KRG’s Prime Minister, Mr. Nechirvan Barzani, we are prepared to officially invite any sincere international fact-finding mission to visit the region in order to establish the facts on the ground.


News Digest
News from Around the World


Assyrian Delegation in Russia Presents An Appeal to Iraqi Government

On March 11, 2005 the representatives of the Assyrian organizations of the Russian Federation met with the officials at the Iraqi Embassy in the Russian Federation and a know prominent Russian orientalists, political scientists and representatives of the domestic and foreign mass media.  This gathering took place at the the M.I. Rudomino Centre for Oriental Cultures of the All-Russian State Foreign Literature Library in Moscow.

Prof. Sergey Osipov (left) & Prof. Vladimir Shagal discuss the political difficulties of uniting Assyrian groups in Iraq.

The purpose of this gathering was to discuss the status of Chaldo-Assyrians in Iraq.  During this meeting the participants heard an 'appeal' presented by the Assyrians of the Russian Federation to the Iraqi government people.  Then the film documentary titled "In the Name of Christ" which has been nominated for the International Ethnic Film Festival by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation was shown.

An informal discussion among the participants of the meeting continued during a buffet lunch organized by Moscow Assyrian Society of "Khayadta".

On the eve of the meeting at the Centre of Oriental Cultures the Embassy of Iraq informed the organizers that the Ambassador and a number of the Embassy's high officials would take part in the meeting.   However just before the beginning of this meeting there arrived a message that the Embassy of Iraq could not take part in the meeting.

At the same time members of a friendly Association of Iraqi citizens currently staying in Moscow and the leaders of the Arab Cultural Centre in Moscow took part in this meeting.

Professor Nadezhda Stepanova on the Assyrian Question.

Professor Sergey Osipov reported on the reaction of the Assyrians of the Russian Federation to the situation in Iraq and their anxiety about the Chaldo-Assyrian's fate in that country, especially in the northern parts where they are exposed to unconcealed oppression and discrimination from the direction of the Kurdish organizations.

Peculiarities and contradictory opinions of the present interim Constitution of Iraq and the current task of drafting a permanent Constitution were subjects of a report by professor Marina Sapronova, a scientific associate of the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

A member of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, professor Nadezhda Stepanova, illustrated the history of the settlement of the Assyrian Question undecided since the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and the Sevres Conference of 1920.

Professor Vladimir Shagal dwelled on the problem of uniting numerous Assyrian organizations functioning in different countries and having no common coordinating body.

Prof Marina Sapronova discusses the drafting of the new Iraqi constitution.

The representatives of the Arab Cultural Centre supported the demands of the Assyrians of Russia and it was decided that a similar round-table discussion be held at the Arab Cultural Centre in Moscow. Members of the Assyrian Society "Khayadta" were invited to take part at this seminar.

In conclusion S. Osipov answered questions asked by media representatives, including The Voice of Russia, RIA Novosti (Russian Information & News Agency), Monte Carlo radio broadcasting, a news-department of the Arabian States League representative, etc.

On the same day the Vice-president of "Khayadta" Society Mr. Igor Sargizov was invited to report on the radio of the Russian BBC Service. In a live broadcast he covered the objective and the subjects of the meeting.

Zinda:  The following is the full text of the 'Appeal' which will be delivered by a delegation of the Assyrian organizations of Russia to the Embassy of Iraq in the Russian Federation:

An Appeal from the Assyrians of the Russian Federation
to the Government & People of Iraq

We, the Assyrians of the Russian Federation appeal to the leaders and people of Iraq, irrespective of their ethnic origin and religion, regarding our common concerns about the current situation resulting from numerous attempts to remove our indigenous Iraqi population of Chaldo-Assyrians – from participation in social and political life of the country.

Circumstances leading to the current situation in which our population in Iraq is deemed as small and inconsequential have created a negative perception in our homeland. Numerous violations of the Chaldo-Assyrians’ rights during the elections of the National Assembly of Iraq on January 30, 2005 and the insignificant importance placed on the political and cultural rights of the Chaldo-Assyrians in the future permanent Constitution of Iraq, a project currently underway, testify to this conclusion.

The entire history of Mesopotamia – the present Iraqi territory – is based on civilization and cultural heritage of the Assyrians and the allied Syriacs and Chaldeans. There is no doubt that all succeeding nations – the Persians, the Macedonians, the Parthians, the Romans, the Arabs, the Turks who founded their own states and protectorates in this land based their culture on the greatest cultural and technical achievements of the Assyro-Babylonian civilization. The Assyrians have been members of the elite of any of these states at all times. Therefore, we find it utterly offensive and striking that the Kurdish leaders in North Iraq attempt to represent the Assyrians as disappearing aboriginals. The Kurds, currently holding a substantial voting power in the interim Iraqi parliament, use all possible means to remove Assyrians from their native lands in Iraq, in particular completely from the Nineveh Plain around the city of Mosul.

We hope that the Iraqi government and the people of Iraq as well as the entire world community will draw attention to the continual persecution of the Assyrians illustrated in the recent, destruction of the Assyrian churches, kidnapping, rape and assassination of Chaldo-Assyrian civilians and community representatives, and will take urgent and earnest measures to prevent such excessive acts in future.

We believe that the Chaldo-Assyrians’ rights in a free, democratic, and federal Iraq can be protected only if this nation, which founded the first civilization not only in Mesopotamia but in the entire planet, receives an inherent right to found their own autonomy in the place of their compact habitation – in the Nineveh Plain.


Bishop Gabriel Kassab Visits London

(ZNDA:  London)  Mar Gabriel Kassab, Chaldean Catholic Church Bishop of Basra and Southern Iraq, arrived in London and will meet with the officials at the Iraqi Desk at the British Foreign Ministry, Head of Canterbury Bishops, England Cardinal, al-Kho'ei Islamic Institute, and University of Islamic Union..

His Grace has stated that he is not representing the Chaldean Catholic Church in this visit, rather the Christians of Basra and those living in southern Iraq, whether Chaldeans, Assyrians, or Suryan (Syriacs).

His Grace stated that the Christians of Basra did not experience church bombing; however, eight Christians have been killed and their liquor stores were blown up. Today, no Christian operates a liquor store in Basra and those who did in the past have left the city.   The remaining liquor stores in the city are operated by Moslems, who have suffered as well.

His Grace Bishop Kassab commented in London that the Christians of Basra did experience many hardships; however, the conditions are better now. He stated that it could be due to the 14 humanitarian aid projects offered by the Chaldean Catholic Church in Basra, including the opening of a pharmacy that offers free medicine for the sick and the assistance provided for the needy and disabled.

Regarding the Iraqi elections and the disappointing results, His Grace stated that the blame must not be placed on one another for the failure of the Christian representation. "The problem is within us and not in others or with the government. We do not act as one; we do not work together, and we do not assist each other. We wish goodness for all Iraq; however, we must not forget that we are all Suraye and there is no difference between a Chaldean, Assyrian, or Suryani. We must act as Christians and Iraqis at the same time. The unity of Iraq and the cooperation between its various groups is the prime goal for all," noted His Grace in his recent comments.

His Grace Bishop Kassab stated that "We must seek unity and unite our stand and agenda; otherwise, we are going to lose everything."

He concluded that the Synod of the Chaldean Catholic Church will convene on 19 April 2005 without any further delays. If security permits then Baghdad will be the location of choice, otherwise, Amman or some alternative location.  In his final remarks His Grace noted:  "Iraq is going through difficult times and the Church must play a role, show that it is there with open arms, and wants to be part of rebuilding Iraq - because we are not strangers. I say it always; we are the indigenous people of Iraq. We are Chaldeans from Babylon and we are Assyrians from Nineveh."


Yonadam Kanna at the Brussels Conference

(ZNDA: Brussels)  Mr. Yonadam Kanna, Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement and member of Iraqi National Assembly, participated in the Third Conference on Federalism that took place in Brussels between 3 and 5 March 2005. 

The conference convened at the European Parliament with the participation of more than 100 countries, 500 members, and representative, including kings, presidents, and prime ministers.

The objective of this conference was to address the multifaceted question: how can federalism, in its various expressions, contribute to good governance, social and economic welfare, peace and democracy, as well as to respect for identity in the context of globalisation?

Mr. Yonadam Kanna, left, and Abdul-Karim Mahmoud al-Mohammedawi, right, a Shiite, embrace before the opening session of Iraq 's National Assembly in Baghdad, Iraq, today, March 16, 2005. Iraq's first freely elected parliament in half a century began its opening session marking a major milestone on the road to forming a new government in the insurgent-wracked country. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban).

Special attention was paid to conflict prevention, to the efforts carried out in the framework of nation-building (or re-building) and to federalising tendencies in the international co-operation or integration systems.

The Conference was timed to coincide with a series of events aiming to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Belgium’s independence, and the 25th anniversary of federalism in the country.

In an interview with Ashur TV in Baghdad, Mr. Kanna stated that the conference studied ways to develop governing systems which can ensure conflicts containment. It addressed power sharing methods and wealth distribution in countries that has multi ethnic and religious groups, such as in the Iraqi society.

Mr. Kanna stated that there are twenty-five countries that have officially adopted the Belgium federal system and fifteen that are on their way. "Many of these countries might not call their system as federal", noted Mr. Kanna, "however, they have instituted the guiding principles of a federal system. Iraq is on its way to exercise and institute the federal system as well."

Mr Kanna stated that an official invitation was sent to eleven Iraqis who were part of the Iraqi Opposition Groups and to the representatives of the Iraqi groups that won in the January 30 elections and work in the government today.

Mr. Kanna added that participation of Iraq was small.  Three officials attended from Iraq, including Mr. Kanna; Mr. Bakhtiyar Amin, Minister of Human Rights; and Mamo Uthman, Minister of Civil Society Institutions.  The other three Iraqis attended the Conference from Europe representing Mr. Massoud Barazani, head of the Kurdish Democratic Party and Mr. al-Hakim, in addition to Mr. Mohammad al-Dirouki, Iraqi Ambassador to Belgium.

[Zinda:   Interested to learn more about Federalism?  Some excellent papers from the Conference in Belgium are now available online.  Click here.]

Assyrian New Year Coming, Kha b'Nisan Parade in Turlock

Courtesy of the Modesto Bee
14 March 2005
By Blair Craddock

Charles and Mariam Givargis of Turlock enjoy 2000's parade.

(ZNDA: Modesto)  An ancient celebration that honors the first day of spring will also, this year, commemorate the election of a democratic government in war-torn Iraq.

In Ceres and Turlock, Assyrian-American organizations will mark the occasion, Akitu, with processions, parades, music and food.

Traditionally, in the Middle East, "it's a 14- or 15-day celebration," said Ramin Odisho of Turlock. It starts the first day of spring, March 21.

Here, the celebration of the Assyrian New Year is compressed into one afternoon and evening.

In Ceres, Bet-Nahrain Assyrian Cultural Center will host festivities Saturday.

In Turlock, the Assyrian American National Federation will celebrate with a parade on Easter Sunday, March 27.

"They do this celebration in Iraq, also," said Odisho, Western regional director of the nationwide group.

"It used to be just in northern Iraq," he said. "Now there's a new Iraq, and Saddam Hussein is gone, so (the celebration) will be all over Baghdad, also."

In Ceres, Janet Shummon, who hosts an Assyrian television program on Bet-Nahrain's KBSV-TV station, also said this year's celebration is special.

"It has a different meaning, since our homeland has been freed," Shummon said.

The Akitu celebration dates back to before the birth of Jesus. Not only the Assyrians, but the Babylonians celebrated Akitu in the sixth century B.C., according to the Web site of the Near Eastern department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The celebrations in Ceres and Turlock will be held at the following places and times:

Saturday in Ceres: 3 p.m. flag raising, procession, Akitu celebration, dinner and evening concert of Assyrian music. Admission is free. Food and drinks will be for sale at Bet-Nahrain Assyrian Cultural Center, 3119 S. Central Avenue, Ceres.

March 27, in Turlock: Parade floats and marchers will assemble at 2 p.m. at Donnelly Park, at West Hawkeye Avenue and Del's Lane. At 3 p.m., the parade will start, heading north on Del's, then west on Tuolumne to the Assyrian Civic Center, at 2618 N. Golden State Blvd., arriving about 4 p.m. Admission is free; food and drinks will be for sale. Music and other festivities will continue at the center until 10 or 11 p.m., Odisho said.

Iranian-Born Shirvani Becomes CS-Stanislaus President

Hamid Shirvani was named this week as the president of the California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock.

(ZNDA: Turlock)  The California State University Board of Trustees named Hamid Shirvani, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Chapman University, the eighth president of California State University, Stanislaus.

“I’m really very excited about it,” Shirvani said following the announcement in Long Beach. “I’m grateful for this opportunity.” Shirvani, 54, was one of three finalists for the job who recently tour the 8,000-student campus in Turlock, California.

Turlock is home to the largest Assyrian community in California of whom many emigrated from Shirvani's native country of Iran.

Shirvani holds a doctorate from Princeton University, and a master's degree in landscape architecture from Harvard University. He has written three books on architecture and urban design, and numerous articles.

Shirvani, born in Iran, left for Catholic boarding school in England at age 11. He came to the United States to attend graduate school.


Surfs Up!
Letters to the Editor

The Last Nail in the Coffin

Edward Mikhail

It is very sad to see Assyrian heritage sold on eBay. Some of us were in minority opposing the war on Iraq not because we liked the old government, but because we anticipated the aftermath.

To all those who celebrated I say, the entire Iraq was sold and Assyrians in particular were sold. Whether we like it or not, this was the last nail in the coffin of our Assyrian nation in Iraq. The worst is still to come, when Kurds and others finish splitting the spoils of the war among themselves and when they have time, they will turn on what is left of our nation in Iraq like wolves.

This point of view may still be unpopular and I sincerely hope I am wrong.

Australian MP Speaks Out for Iraq's Minorities

Hermiz Shahen
Secretary - Australia
Assyrian Universal Alliance

The Assyrian Universal Alliance –Australian Chapter is pleased to announce that Mr Chris Bowen MP, lodged on Monday, 14 March 2005 a petition in the Federal Parliament of Australia, calling for “Protected Administrative Area” for the Assyrians and other minorities in Iraq. The petition is scheduled for question during May 2005. Assyrian delegates including Hermiz Shahen, Secretary of the Assyrian Universal Alliance – Australia Chapter, Sam Shalalo, a prominent Assyrian and the active members of the governing Liberal Party of Australia, Paul Azzo JP and Zaya Tooma were present during the time of this presentation.

Mr Bowen (Prospect) made the following 90-second speech at (1.50 p.m.):

Mr Chris Bowen, a member of the Australian parliament urged his government to call for a protected administrative area in Iraq for Assyrians.

I rise today to bring the attention of the House to the human rights situation in Iraq and particularly to the status of Iraq’s minorities—the Assyrians, Chaldeans, Mandeans and Syriacs. Each of these groups follows the Christian religion. Some Mandeans follow the teachings of John the Baptist. We have heard much about the apparent success of the election in Iraq but what we have not heard about is the disenfranchisement of many of these groups, irregularities in the voting in northern Iraq, fire bombing of churches and widespread reports of the powder keg of land claims in places like Kirkuk, Dohuk and Mosul.

I would like to bring the attention of the House to a petition, which I will lodge with the Leader of the House, of 2,468 signatures, predominantly from my electorate of Prospect, calling for a safe haven in Iraq for members of the Assyrian community and the other communities mentioned. Whether or not we have a safe haven, it is incumbent on all governments involved in Iraq, including the United States government and the Australian government, and on the United Nations to ensure protection for the fundamental human rights of these people. We fought in Iraq on the basis of two things: weapons of mass destruction and improving human rights in Iraq. We have failed on both counts. I call on the Howard government and this House to ensure the human rights of Assyrians and the other groups who are being so harshly treated in the current state of Iraq.

Inexcusable Incivility

Ashuriena-Gozal E. Baba

Dazed in a trance of national identity, often it is difficult to decipher the capable from the incapable, but if one is wise enough to step back and shift point of views, they are able to discern it quite rapidly. Seeing this throughout these last 4 years through the Assyrian American Association of Southern California during the chief’s two terms, it often makes me ponder why people are so afraid to take that one step back to view the situation in a different perspective. Throughout these seemingly interminable years as a member of the outside audience, I observed and viewed the continuous wrongdoings of the leader and the lack of ability to learn from her mistakes.

Assyrian Continuity from Fall of Nineveh to Modern Times / 309 pages

Hard Cover $30
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Send money orders (preferred) or personal checks to:

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During her terms in office, Ms. Tabar succeeded in rendering the Shotapoota useless with her talented ability to, basically, do the least possible. As she went on in her first term as president, she failed in bringing together the youth under one roof in the AAASC and yet, with the blinded sight of the nation, they re-elected her inabilities for another term only to see her do nothing more again. With our youth being the future of our nation, she left them in their own worlds without uniting them under one thing, one name, and one love.

Accompanying my father to the meetings, I recall the board arguing that “business” must be conducted in order to pull the Shotapoota out of the red. Apparently, when the Shotapoota never rented out its hall, they were never in the red, yet the renting of the hall to non-Assyrians became a major profit loss. Regardless, this never came to a halt and stepped up to another level when a non-Assyrian singer was brought to the New Years party in order to conduct “business”. After pleading for a month to get a non-Assyrian to sing at a Christian New Year, $10,000 were shoved to his band, while the non-Assyrian singer “sang for free”. When disagreeing with this, my father and I were told that “Assyrian singers don’t bring in any profit for the club”. Hmm, that’s funny because last time I remembered, when my father was the director of the Assyrian Aid Society in Los Angeles, a lot of money came in for the AAS when strictly Assyrian singers were brought. Anyway, since this non-Assyrian singer was supposed to bring in so much money, where is the financial statement specifically pinpointing this party as well as other events and how much economic and accounting profit was obtained after each event? Not a financial statement thrown together at the last minute bunching up every single event throughout the year as one, but a thorough financial statement.

It’s the president’s fiduciary responsibility to the people to show integrity, loyalty, and good faith through accurate and ingenuous financial statements. I want to see how much this non-Assyrian singer supposedly brought in after New Years. I’m tired of having these “leaders” beat around the bush and lie around sluggishly as if no one is going to take notice. Sorry, but if no one has told her already, “business” isn’t conducted without economic understanding. Take a course in economics and understand it…it’s a wonderful way of thinking and it will totally allow people to get a grip of “business” if they don’t have common knowledge of it already.

Let me give her some advice: write down the total revenue, explicit costs, accounting profit, implicit costs, and finally the economic profit. Specifics are needed…this is a country of rules and you have to play by them in order to run a “business”.

Unfortunately, I did not have the honor of ditching and had to attend this New Years party with the non-Assyrian singer singing and as the most depressing New Years I’ve ever experienced, I must say, that it was mostly due to the obsession of this non-Assyrian and the viewing of the elegant Assyrian singer, Ms. Julie Yousif, as something inferior. I observed, with scrutinizing eyes the apparent disgust felt towards the respectful singer, Ms. Yousif, yet the joyous feel towards the non-Assyrian singer. It was truly nauseating. How can one do this to their own like that? When the president stepped up to the microphone and said, “eeqara mooteeleeh” in regards to the non-Assyrian singer singing for free, while his band got $10,000.00, my mind kept replaying those words in my head throughout the night as if I were a human DVD player. The more I heard it, the more I began to cackle in amusement. How can someone be hoodwinked like that? Is it really that easy? Honestly, how could someone fall for that? It never fails to amuse me.

Moving on, I was so excited to hear that once again, for the fourth year in a row, we get to celebrate Noruz!! Finally, we can expose our traditional conversion! Did you know how relieved I was to finally expose myself as someone other than my Assyrian identity? Score! Forget Kha B’Nissan, it doesn’t really mean anything anyway, right? I mean, there’s always a better holiday like Noruz! And guess what? We can get other Assyrians to cross over with a cover up of Noruz as “Kha B’Nissan” being celebrated on March 19th. What a great plan, eh? Genius!

C’mon people! Isn’t anyone else going to question Kha B’Nissan’s push to March 19th from April 1st? Do I really have to spell it out for everyone? Why is it that year after year we have to celebrate Kha B’Nissan closer to Noruz? Doesn’t this seem a little weird to anyone else?

I detest people’s ignorant justification of disrespect in regards to questioning such a dramatic move of this holiday. Why is this justified? How can it be justified? It’s time for a reality check. Disrespect is not something that can have reasoning; disrespect comes with lack of appreciation for culture and its beauty. Why is this holiday, as well as many other Assyrian holidays, being disrespected like so? Are we, as a nation, truly to that level of ignorance as to kick dust to cultural traditions? Not only has this holiday been changed, but even Martyrs’ Day was held a day later on August 8th. Give me a break…this is absurd.

[Zinda:  On 20 March 2005, at precisely 7:34 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (4:34 a.m in California) the Sun will cross directly over the Earth's equator. This moment is known as the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.  Zinda Magazine follows the pre-Christian Assyrian calendar by which the vernal equinox marked the beginning of the new year.  Note the different days of the month on top of each issue.  Shortly after the fall of Nineveh and Babylon, the Persians adopted the Akitu Celebrations and the Assyrian calendar.  The result was the New Day or No-Rooz celebration which is also marked each year with the beginning of the spring season.  In the southern hemisphere, Kha b'Neesan is celebrated at the exact time of the autumnal equinox.  The adoption of April First as the beginning of the Assyrian new year was a corruption of the pre-Christian tradition instituted by the Assyrian Church to closely align the liturgical dates with that of the western Christian calendar. For more information see "Zinda Magazine Adopts A New Assyrian Calendar" & "Assyrian Calendar".]


A Remarkable Progressive Magazine

Zabet Rayes

I am so proud of your crew members to start a remarkable progressive magazine in our Assyrian community. I am so glad to have daily updated news about the whole community in the world. I would like to have a little background about the beginning of this magazine and why this name was chosen for the magazine? Is this only online?

There is not much history information available for young generation for our young adult children to learn from this web site. I would appreciate if you could provide more history about the Ziggurat to other people to learn about the Assyrian culture.

God bless you for doing great job in serving your community.

[Zinda:  At this time Zinda Magazine is only published online to curb its publication costs.  Plans are underway for a monthly hard-copy edition in early 2006.  Stay tune for important announcements on expanding Zinda's services for the Assyrian youth in the coming months.  Zinda Magazine began publishing over ten years ago with an initial subscription list of 12 emails.  Today, it serves over 20,000 readers in 62 countries - the majority of whom are Assyrian subsribers.  Zinda in modern Assyrian (Syriac) means "spark (of fire)".   The name was inspired by another revolutionary journal, Iskra (Russian spark), published nearly a century earlier by the leader of October Revolution in Russia - Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, also known as Lenin.  Click here. ]



Surfer's Corner
Community Events


Kha b'Nisan Party in San Jose

Marduk arrives in Babylon during the Akitu Festival.

Assyrian American Association of San Jose proudly presents 6755 Kha b’Nisan Celebration with Assyrian entertainer, Franko.

Saturday, April 2, 2005

Doubletree Hotel
8:30 P.M.
2050 Gateway Place
San Jose, California

Ticket Prices: $25.00 Pre-Purchased, $30.00 at the Door

Tickets may be purchased at:

AAA of San Jose
1352 Lincoln Avenue
Wednesdays, 8 To 10 PM

Etminan Market
5754 Santa Teresa Blvd.
408 226-5992

Setareh Market
4644 Meridian Ave.
408 979-0634

Chrétiens d'Orient : Les derniers araméens

Association des Assyro-Chaldéens de France

Dimanche 10 avril à 17h30

Rencontre avec les représentants des Églises orientales de langue syriaque :
syriaque orthodoxe (père Joseph Aydin), syriaque catholique (père Khalid Karoumi), chaldéenne (Mgr Boutros Youssif), maronite (Mgr Elias Saïd) et syro-malenkare (père Philippe Mattatil).

Les actualités turque, irakienne ou libanaise font très souvent référence à ces communautés chrétiennes que nous connaissons mal.

L'Oeuvre d'Orient, représentée par Mgr Philippe Brizard, Alain Desreumaux (directeur de recherche au CNRS) et Sébastien de Courtois (doctorant à l'EHESS), auteurs tous deux d'un ouvrage sur les chrétiens de Turquie : « Les derniers araméens
: le peuple oublié de Jésus », vous invitent à les rencontrer.

Après une projection de photos sur la « Montagne des Serviteurs de Dieu », (Turquie), chacun présentera l'histoire de son Église, en Orient et dans l'exil, ainsi que leur point de vue sur l'actualité.

Espace Georges Bernanos (St Louis d'Antin), 4 rue du Havre, 75009.
Métro Saint-Lazare/Havre Caumartin
Entrée Libre.


Maghdelata Sarguis
(1906 – 2005)

Francis Sarguis

Maghdelata Sarguis was born in Gavilan (Urmia), Iran, on March 14, 1906.

She was the daughter of Youkhanna and Marian Dooman. She was the youngest of six children, all of whom preceded her in death.

Her brothers were Alexander (Sando), Ishak, and Nimrod. Her sisters were Victoria and Nanasi.

Maghdelata was just a child when her eldest brother, Sando, left for America in 1917. A dozen years later, when Maghdelata was 20 years of age, she left Iran for France, with the intention of joining her brother in New York.

While in Marseille, France, she met Elia Sarguis, who was from Charbaksh (Urmia), Iran. They married in 1931. They had two children of their marriage – Francis and Flora.

Maghdelata’s husband Elia died at a young age in October 1940, due to a kidney problem. This was at the outset of World War II, a difficult time to survive under military occupation. Maghdelata was obliged to take two jobs at the same time in order to provide her children with their basic ne3eds.

Meanwhile, her brother Sando had moved from New York to Chicago, he had married, had three children, and then he passed away. Maghdelata kept in frequent touch with Sando’s children, just as she always kept in frequent touch with her family in Urmia. In late 1947, her niece Ella sponsored the immigration of Francis and Flora to the U.S. Maghdelata followed them to Turlock, California, very soon after.

Maghdelata enjoyed 57 years in Turlock, among her Assyrian friends and relatives. She was extremely fond of this community, where she lived in the midst of countless Urmia relatives whose immigration to the U.S. she had sponsored. During these last six decades, she took a first-hand interest in the activities of the Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock. Perhaps most importantly, she was a constant and devoted member of St. John’s Assyrian Presbyterian Church.

Maghdelata suffered a broken hip on March 9, and she was taken to the hospital in Turlock for medical examination, where she died peacefully on March 11, 2005, just 3 days shy of her 99th birthday. She is survived by her two children – Francis Sarguis (wife Dumarina), and Flora Sarguis Jacob (husband Fred Jacob) – and by three grandchildren: Tay Sarguis, Tod Sarguis, and Nina S. Walker.

An overflow crowd of relatives and friends attended a memorial service at St. John’s Assyrian Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, March 15, followed by a graveside service at Turlock Memorial Park. At a reception in her honor that same day at the Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock, she was eulogized by relatives and friends.

Maghdaleta was a Fanatic about her Gavilan relatives and the catalyst for bringing virtually every single one of them over from Urmia. She loved her years in Turlock, surrounded by nephews, nieces, etc; and she wouldn't have traded Turlock for any other place.

Although she was fiercely proud about her heritage, it wasn't necessarily the heritage that you, I, AUA, ADM, or any of the other Assyrian talking heads like to debate. She felt we were from an ancient and noble background, but her primary concern (beyond her immediate and her extended families) was her Christian faith. She said on more occasions that I can remember that to her, the difference between Chaldean, "Nestorian", Presbyterian etc. was insignificant, and she would happily worship her Christian beliefs anywhere, so long at there was an altar and a prayer.

Maghdaleta did not die of any specified illness. Just old age.

Donations in her memory may be made to St. John’s Assyrian Presbyterian Church, 450 So. Palm Street, Turlock, CA 95380.




Johny Sadak's "Jacob & His Twelve Sons "

Antoni Yalap

Johnny Sadak is a 24-years-old proud Assyro-Chaldean.  Something, however, distinguishes this young man from the rest of his peers:  he has, at his credit, directed several plays all adorned with brilliantly sets.   Johnny Sadak and his actors never have a problem attracting large crowds from the Assyro-Chaldean churches in France, Belgium and Italy. Johnny is the leader of a theatre company called "Orayta, the Door of Our Ancestors", founded a few years back. A young director who emphasizes the use of Soureth (Syriac language) in the plays he writes, Johny attracts crowd to each presentation.

Many may know the history of the Biblical Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob (later called Israel) who was sold by his brothers.   Johnny Sadak has tackled this unforgettable and moving biblical event and put it on stage with astonishing scenary and transitions built around the dialogue written in modern Aramaic for great actors that excellently depict the biblical characters. Johnny took up the challenge as he had done with the other plays he had directed, supported by a remarkable team of actors and actresses.

After months of research (especially theological findings with the support of Father Sabri Anar) and writing, designing scenes, and long nights of rehearsals with his 30 actors, the play "Jacob and His Twelve Sons" went on stage on 17, 18, 19 December 2004 at the Saint Thomas Church overflown with audience members.  Some saw the play three times.

Everything was very well organized: a judiciously chosen decor, costumes worthy of the ancient times, a make-up carefully carried out by Gule Yanan, very beautiful Aramaic songs sung by Warda GulanYalçin (he even uttered the voice of God) and the remarkable interpretation of the characters by 30 actors and actresses! Johnny was hidden from view behind the red curtain at his usual place, guiding his actors until he was deservedly recognized at the end.

Samuel Yalap was there to film this play, but also to present to us a remarkable one and half hour DVD, marked by moving music.   To view some of the pictures he took during the first evenign click here.  The two following evenings were reserved for filming.   The result is exceptional and you can see this for yourself when you buy and view the DVD.

You will be literally captivated by this DVD, first of its kind. Husni, Sekvan, Simon, Ayten, Cemil, Linda, Levis, Jean-Paul, Nail and all the other actors will surprise you by the quality of their acting. Do not miss this DVD even if you saw the play in December. You will have in your collection a great DVD of an exceptional quality!

To buy the DVD of "Jacob and His Twelve Sons" by Johnny Sadak, filmed by Samuel Yalap (15 Euros, colour, in Soureth, 1h 30 minutes), contact Johnny Sadak on his e-mail: click here.

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

Nahera Adams (California)
Fred Aprim (California)
Dr. Matay Arsan (Holland)
Arbella Babaei (California)
Anastasia Bitiyeva (Russia)
David Chibo (Australia)
Ashor Giwargis (Lebanon)

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