|Zinda Moves to Washington||Wilfred Bet-Alkhas|
|History on the Internet!||Alfred Alkhas|
|Assyrian Women Appointed to Iraqi Cabinet Position
Ankawa.com Interview with Abd al-Ahad Afram
|What History will Say
Assyriska & the Assyrian Struggle Are Inseperable
Assyrians in Poland ?
|An Awakening Call to Our Assyrian Nation Worldwide
The Day Seattle Roared
|Can Danny Dinkha Save Iraq?||Scott Jacobs|
Got paper and pencil? Write down Zinda Magazine's new address: 1700 Pennsylavania Avenue in Washington D.C.
Beginning Monday, May 1st, Zinda Magazine will be operating from its new offices in Washington D.C., only one block away from the White House.
In an effort to centralize its worldwide operations and to develop better relationships in the capitol of the world's most powerful nation, Zinda Magazine recently completed its move from California to Washington DC.
Zinda Magazine, internationally recognized for its multimedia services and publications, will now help Assyrian organizations develop strategic allliances and promote partnerships with governmental agencies.
Located in an impressive building across from the White House, the new offices of Zinda Magazine are ready to serve the meeting needs of the Assyrian lobbying and political groups and prominent figures.
Zinda Magazine is very optimistic about the future of Assyrians in the Middle East and around the world. We feel the good vibrations emerging from every corner. The energy is positive and very very uplifting.
We believe that a very large constituency within our readership has strengths that far outweigh a few weaknesses brought to our attention in each magazine issue. When Assyrians come together they form a formidable force. When Assyrians understand their challenges and their responsibilities, they just keep moving ahead until they get results. This is what our pride and joy, the football team of Assyriska, did for the last two decades. Today, it is a voice stronger than that of any Assyrian political party. Zinda listens, delivers an opinion, sometimes may even commit a mistake, learns from its error, and moves on. Just like an Assyriska player in a foodball field.
From the accomplishments of an Assyrian football team in Sweden to the appointment of another minister in Iraq, we swim in an ocean of positive energy resulting from the relentless efforts of our readers in over 60 countries. These are truly exciting times. Just think of every bright new Assyrian featured in the Bravo section of every issue of our publication. The possibilities are endless.
In the next few months all of us will be defining the tasks that need to be completed in the next few years. During this period of transition, we will have to pull together many resources, political, civic, intellectual, artistic, and so on. And then all these will be put in some kind of order to focus on the most important issue at hand: the rights of the Syriac-speaking populations in the Middle East.
With so much changing around us in so little time it was necessary for the most vocal advocate for the rights of the Assyrians around the world to take the next serious step in the right direction. Zinda means business in every sense of the word! The next five years are the most crucial years in the development of an entirely new Assyrian social and political front.
With our readers' support and the volunteer contributions of so many activists, artists, writers, educators, students and the youth we now have a solid opportunity to achieve goals that seemed impossbile a few years ago. The big key, of course, is the availability of resources.
In the next few weeks we will work very closely with our political parties, activitst, and many opinion makers in developing a strategy to realign our resources across ethnic and religious backgrounds.
You and Zinda Magazine! We have already consumed a great deal of our time discussing the What-if's. Take a deep breath and prepare for the most exhilirating ride of your life. We're moving to the execution phase now - boldly and unforgivingly.
Feel the good energy, inhale in the positive vibes, tune out the nay sayers and negative opinions! Today, anything is possible
Last night, our staff watched the first-ever Assyrian video played on Dandana Music Channel. When Linda George's "Ana Hura" appeared on our television screens we jumped up high, higher than the gusty remarks we heard earlier this week from the chauvinist sports journalists in Stockholm. Think of the number of books Assyrians have written in the last 12 months. The political appointments, the academic honors. We're flying higher than ever. Coincidence?
Ten years ago Zinda Magazine began recording history in the bedroom of a California dreamer. Today from our offices in Washington D.C. and with the support of its 20,000 plus readers, it reflects the varied opinions of a force of unparalleled views. Hardwork, perseverence, and relentless focus on basics are the ingredients of our success. We're proud of what we have achieved in the last ten years. Luck exists not in our vocabulary.
So let's pump up the volume a couple of notches higher - make that three notches. One dreamer in California has now become an army of dreamers in Australia, Sweden, Canada, Iraq, Germany, Japan, Russia, and over 50 other countries. Dream up Assyrians! Author more books, paint more masterpieces, produce more CDs, organize more demonstrations, write more letters, attend more rallies, chain yourselves to more public buildings, and anger more governments because of your support for our political prisoners, challenging their human rights violations, and negating their attempts to ignore your existence.
And know that Zinda Magazine is here to record your triumphs, every day of every week. Right here, right now from our brand new offices, right across from the West Wing.
If only Malfono Naom Faiq and Dr. Freidoun Atouraya could see us now !
History on the Internet!
History is defined in Merriam-Webster Dictionary as: Latin Historia from Greek, inquiry; history, from histOr, istOr knowing, learned; akin to Greek eidenai to know.
Or simply, we can go by ‘History is The Record of Time’.
Based on the definitions or explanations given above, it is quite obvious that History should deal with the ‘actual’ records of nations, persons, lands, events, universe and everything that happened during the past regardless of its current status whether ceased to function or being extinct or still exists!
History is regarded as one of the fundamental sciences that possess its own academic curriculum and syllabus. However, being Historian as such could be also achieved thru intensive study and research of the past time without the need, even though could be equivalent, to obtain any academic degree.
Historians are the individuals who usually investigate and research historic events. They eventually would reach certain conclusions based on the pieces of historic evidence or facts they found and researched. The evidence could be of any type such as archeological excavations and artifacts, old documents, natural events, cultural and religious traditions, individual people records and so on.
Historians in principle and as basic part of their job requirements are not supposed to be subjective in their research, analysis and conclusions. They are rather expected to be objective, honest and completely unbiased during their research of the historic facts as well as in recording their conclusions.
However, unfortunately on one hand, it was noticed that substantial part of the written history was ‘influenced’ by the power of the rulers under which the historians were ‘advised’ to record the subject matter and hence the facts were ‘manipulated’ for the benefits or at the will of certain beneficiaries.
On the other hand, some historians were found willingly ‘interpret’ and hence record the historic events as they would like them to be and based on their own preferences rather than on the actual events and how they really occurred!
Alas, we have seen quite few historians and rulers whom eventually caused substantial perversion and fabrication to the historical facts that resulted in writing false records of the events and of the people as well. However, thanks to some honest historian critiques that major parts of the falsified records were corrected by time. Ironically, most of the historic fabrications became another type history when tossed into the waste bin of history itself!
Nevertheless, certain nations and events associated with them are yet to be revisited or rectified being neither part of the concerns of historians nor of the interests their rulers. These nations suffered in the past as they are suffering now from the serious historic defects that are still shaping their fate.
For the purpose of this discussion, we will concentrate specifically only on the history of the people and events in the Middle East and will not discuss any historical records of other parts of the world being beyond the scope of this discussion.
Observations from Historic Records
History books and sources have proved to be reliable and credible to some extent and the archeological artifacts, documents, events that were found and researched during the last 200 years have revealed a lot of the unknown history of the people, lands and events in different parts of the Middle East region.
However, it was also observed that side by side to these important history records there were also a lot of ‘distortion’ to the facts and deviation in recording the actual events that really occurred during any recorded time or event. Among the various reasons of these defects were the major two that were mentioned earlier, i.e. ruler-individual preferences.
There are plenty for such ‘distortions’ that can be easily observed and recognized in the historical records of the nations and the countries as well as the events that could be easily attributed to the ruler-individual preferences reasons.
The oldest history book ever known was the Bible until the important archeological discoveries made during the last two centuries or less in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Turkey and other parts of the Middle East. It was found that there are some serious contradictions and various potential differences in recording some historic events between the Bible and other sources that were discovered later in the archeological excavations.
In addition, new important information was found about the Flood story and Noah Arch, the Creation story, Prophet Moses story, the Right Triangle theory, the Baghdad battery, the Sumerian Beer, and other important discoveries that changed the shape of ancient historical ‘facts’ pf the region and its people. However, we must mention also that these historical contradictions could be attributed simply to the lack of credible source of information because it is not proven yet whether this misrepresentation to the historic events was due to the absence of enough sources or was it due to intentional ruler-individual preferences.
The other important part of misrepresented history is the historical records related to various nations lived in the region. Again these historical records were distorted to large extent for the same reasons two reasons, i.e. ruler-individual preferences, during different times and places. Astonishingly, the ‘process’ of ‘rewriting’ the history of the nations and the events of the Middle east is still in progress and is becoming much more vigorous with the current drastic changes in the region in all aspects!
The Internet Factor!
The scientific advance in technology that is available at the finger tips of the humanity these days and despite its massive effect on various aspects of our life continues to be abused in various shapes or forms. One of the most important and gracious gifts to the humanity is to live in the new era of easy, powerful and reliable communications network and the easy techniques associated with its usage.
The various media outlets such as TV, radio, newspapers, satellite communications and the most recent of all, the Internet, are all contributing to provide easy access to ample amounts of information on every subject and make them available to the people under their finger tip to acquire whether being thru a remote control devise, a computer mouse or a cell phone!
The internet was made available to the public mainly to provide easy access to various types of important information including history records for the purpose of research and development. The Internet was later used also as a tool for entertainment and source for other types of information and businesses as well which is beyond our interest of this discussion.
But at the same, unfortunately, as we already witnessed some abuse of the internet in various fields of interests, we are about to witness the most dangerous and perilous act in the history of recording the historic events due to the abuse of the Internet!
Obviously, the people of concerns in history records are those who feel that less is mentioned about that history or what is mentioned being ‘distorted’ and therefore they are digging into the internet history records. Sometimes, when nothing much is found they would just ‘fabricate’ what is necessary to ‘rectify’ the history record to their desired ‘or preferred’ format!
The art or science of writing history was at one time limited to certain type of people who completely dedicated their time to research and collect original historical documents. They were virtually dealing with historic facts obtained from their original sources. In other words, documenting historic records was virtually a systematic process of recording historic events. Therefore it is fair to say that publishing any history book or a historic article or paper required at one time much more efforts and dedication than what I am doing now!
By just connecting my computer to the internet supplied with abundant tool (word processor software) and using its keyboard that would eventually allow me to write whatever I am wondering about and then post it on the internet and make available for others to be used as source of historic information hence ‘creating’ historic document!
Well, there is no harm in doing what I just mentioned as long as the thought or the information is truthful and credible! But the real issue arises when I ‘fabricate’ something and publish this ‘fabrication’ somewhere and may be in more than one place on the internet.
Next step of such scenario comes into the picture when some organization looking for some information about the same subject of my ‘fabrication’ would run simple search using common keywords that would eventually hit my ‘fabricated’ article and then use it as a ‘reliable’ reference in their article or source for concluding their research.
As simple as that!
The damage obviously is huge and very harmful but who cares as long as I am able to distribute my ‘word’ and nobody is watching nor evaluating the garbage that is flooding the Internet. Well, someone would say that this is not quite true and there are some dedicated historians who usually would respond to such fabrications.
Well, that also might be true to some extent but I am concerned about the future of the process of posting the ‘word’ wherever is reachable! Just imagine what we would have in 10 or 20 or 50 years from now and who would even remember who was what or even who cares!
There are plenty of examples on such fabrications running daily on the internet without any control of whatsoever and the damage to the historic records is very dangerous and out of control becoming completely unbearable.
We must also notice that some damage could be caused by the ‘defending’ side as well!
One source of the damage could be the ‘fabricator’ which we already discussed and the other could be coming from the ‘defender’ himself! The defender could possibly run out of his factual resources and eventually could end up engaged in ‘fabricating’ some historic records as well for his defense purposes!
Certainly, the harm is multiplied in such extreme scenario where the credibility of the ‘defender’ is seriously damaged when questioning his historic resources. Therefore the whole issue of attempting to defend or rectify any defected historic records becomes trivial hence causing the case very harmful damage if not losing it completely!
What is left for History?
Morals and ethics; I don’t think there are much left of them at these difficult times where everyone is trying hard to get the best part of the prey, i.e. history!
May be having diligent and dedicated people to monitor such distortions or fabrications but again, how much can be done and who will accept such historic responsibility and how could we be sure that it will be handled properly?
However, one must not forget that the historic responsibility should also be laid upon the shoulders of the internet websites (publishers). We must remind them to be more cautious to investigate and verify the source of the information prior to posting any such articles of historic nature because the excuse of being the messenger will not work anymore!
We need to have professionalism in our internet websites as same as we had it once in our traditional publishing houses and in our press or other media outlets. Having easy access to the internet should not be allowed to become the sword that will decapitate our history. The easy access to the Internet and the excuse of being the messenger should neither be our means to get our business nor to attract the attention of our clients!
Indeed it is a hard assignment and serious challenge but protecting our historic records is gracious task that deserves whatever we can to keep it neat, accurate!
(ZNDA: Baghdad) The Iraqi National Assembly on Thursday approved the cabinet of Mr. Ibrahim al-Ja'afari, the first democratically elected prime minister of Iraq in over 50 years. Among Mr. Ja'afari's appointees to his cabinet is Ms.
Ms. Potrus is the third member of the Assyrian Democratic Movement to have been elected to Iraq's ministry position after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Mr. Bahnam Polous al-Bazi server as the Minister of Transportation in the Iraqi Transitional Governing Council, followed by Mrs. Pascale Esho Warda who served as the Minister of Immigration and Displacement in the Transitional government of Mr. Ayad Allawi.
Ms. Basima Yousif Potrus was born in 1961 in Ankawa. She has B.Sc. degree in Chemistry from Salah al-Din University in Arbil and a Masters degree in Biochemistry from the same university. She is currently a PhD candidate, studying in Poland.
Ms. Potrus served in ADM's Central Committee between 1997 and 2001.
Ankawa.com Interview with Abd al-Ahad Afram
(ZNDA: Baghdad) On 24 April Chaldean groups and organizations met in Baghdad to orchestrate a unified Chaldean political strategy. The participants selected an executive committee of five individuals to administer and organize the working groups. The committee consists of:
1. Abd al-Ahad Afram – President
In an interview with ankawa.com Mr. Abd al-Ahad Afram, head of the Chaldean Democratic Union Party (CDUP) and a member of the Iraqi National Assembly commented on the successes of the recent conference in Baghdad. Mr. Afram stated that the idea of a Chaldean national gathering has been on the table for over a year, which was initiated by the CDUP and the Chaldean National Congress (CNC).
Mr. Afram said that the presence of Bishop Mar Sarhad Jammo in Baghdad prompted the members to take advantage of the situation and organzie the gathering. The CDUP, CNC, Chaldean Cultural Center in Ankawa, cultural centers in Dohuk, Zakho, Tellesqof, Chaldean Women Union, Students and Youth Union, Dr. Hikmat Hakim, and other Chaldean notables attended the gathering.
However, added Mr. Afram, that members objected to the presence of Mr. Sa'eed Shamaya of the Chaldean Democratic Forum (CDF). Mr. Afram explained that Mr. Shamaya was a Communist, later supported the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM), attended the Chaldean Assyrian Syriac Conference in October 2003, and was a member of the latter's leading committees. Mr. Afram adds that Mr. Shamaya had a negative stand in the meetings of the Planning Ministry regarding the institution of the Chaldean name in the census applications and "was against the Chaldeans."
When ankawa.com asked Mr. Afram about Dr. Hikmat Hakim's communist background and his participation in the Chaldean Assyrian Syriac Conference as well, and that Mr Afram himself is a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Mr. Afram answered that while it is true that he is a member of the KDP; he does not deny his Chaldean identity. Mr. Afram exlained that he uses his position to serve the Chaldean cause.
Mr. Afram says that his group's objection for Mr. Shamaya's participation was his position at the Planning Ministry meeting on the Chaldeans. Mr. Afram adds that two other members of the CDF were invited also. Afram continued to say that his group asked the two members specifically on their stand on whether they consider themselves Chaldean or ChaldoAssyrian. Mr. Afram asserted his group's position on being Chaldean only.
Mr. Afram also notes that the Kurdistan Democratic Party does not deny the Chaldean ethnicity.
Answering a question about the Chaldeans who work within Assyrian or ChaldoAssyrian groups, Mr. Afram stated that his group considers it to be an act of treason for any Chaldean who works with a group that denies the existence of the Chaldeans. "Any person who works for other groups and is proud of his Chaldean idenity, then he is a Chaldean and that is our only balance we use to judge," said Mr. Afram.
Mr. Afram stated that his group is ready to cooperate in any limits if they find the other side cooperative and if that other side admits to or recognizes the Chaldean existence. We are, concluded Mr. Afram, the sons and daughters of one ethnic group and from one source, despite the different names.
When Zinda was first published, I met akhona Wilfred in one of our national gathering. I told him: "Zinda is a long-awaited organ which will provide a guideline for all sects of our Nation". Thanks to our Lord, the message of Zinda has been successfully spread horizontally and vertically. Yes indeed, Zinda had been a messenger our people every week wait for its arrivals and thanks to its mature staff and participants who make us all proud of it.
I am sure history will engrave the names of all Zinda's staff that devot their time to a noble cause of unity for our Assyrian Nation.
Zinda: Raabi (malfono) Hirmis Aboona is the author of several books on the ancient and modern history of the Assyrian people. His arrticles and books often deal with the most contemplative subjects as the origin of the Assyrian ethnicity and the emergence of more recent doctrines and political ideologies among Assyrian groups. Our staff is humbled by the great Malpana's words of encouragement.
Assyriska & the Assyrian Struggle Are Inseperable
An opinion by Nuri Kino in Sweden
In last Monday's review of Assyriska's game against Halmstad, both Aftonbladet and Dagens Nyheter (the biggest Swedish tabloid and the Swedish daily) criticized Assyriska for the manifestation of the ninetieth year anniversary of the genocide perpetrated on the Christians in Turkey during the First World War. Peter Wennman from Aftonbladet goes so far as to writing: “There’s been a lot of cuddling with the newcomer Assyriska in the beginning of the series”.
What does Wennman mean? Cuddling is the last thing Assyriska and the Assyrians have received. Assyrians (the people who are also called Syriac and Chaldean), have been and are oppressed. Assyriska (the football team); players, board and supporters have worked their ass-off to get to where they are today.
The fact that no other premier division team has received this much attention is now old news…… If Wennman and his colleague Johan Esk on Dagens Nyheter had read their colleagues, for example the Arabs and Americans, articles they had known that it is not possible to separate the Assyrians' struggle from Assyriska. However as much as the team wants to and tries to be a “regular” Swedish football team it has always been viewed as an exotic element in the premier division. In “exotic” you count in different culture, history and other standpoints.
Assyrians today are maybe among the proudest Swedes, but they are also Assyrian. A people who have been murdered, butchered and driven out over and over again… that’s why they are in Sweden. And the manifestation was no coup from Assyriska. The team has worn symbolical black bands around their arms and minutes of silence were observed before, even in other divisions, which Esk and Wennman obviously haven’t noticed. That was when Assyriska players were not the ones everyone talked about. That was when Assyriska and the Assyrians' struggle for survival weren’t front page news for news agencies like Reuters and AP.
Journalists must also, not only Esk and Wennman, learn to separate between Assyriska (the football team) and the Assyrian political parties. To say that Assyriska was handing out leaflets is to say that Hammarby was handing out voting papers during an election when and if the social democrats were handing out voting papers, either outside or inside the stadium. Assyriska is a football team, but also so much more. Get with the game Wennman and Esk! Saddam Hussein was!
Two years ago it was uncovered that the Iraqi intelligence agency was keeping an eye on Assyriska. Why is that? Well, Assyrians constitute a threat towards the countries in today’s Middle East, because they are a living evidence of oppression. It is a standpoint in itself to dare and stand up to who you are, to one's origin, regardless if it is punishable or not.
In Saddam's Iraq it was treason to call yourself Assyrian, hence “Christian Kurds” or “Christian Arabs” which Assyrians have endured to be called by ethnic Swedish journalists. If Assyrians and Assyriska exists you will have uncovered forgery of history and genocide. That’s why Saddam demanded to know how the football team Assyriska did in the little Swedish town of Södertälje. That’s why Assyriska's successes and setbacks are being monitored by politicians all over the world.
Do Esk and Wennmann mean that the national team Assyriska should have chosen to ignore that the first premier division home game coincided with the 90th anniversary of the genocide? That’s awkward.
It gets worse when the chairman of the Swedish football association, Lagrell (according to Wennman), says that the victims of Estonia are worth remembering during a football game but not the Assyrians who were almost extinguished during the genocide. Assyrians who until this day are being murdered – either for their ethnicity or their Christian religion – in countries like Iraq.
Zinda: Here's a little backgroudn info for our readers: Hammarby is one of the top football (soccer) teams in Sweden. The Social Democrats are in charge of the Swedish government today and Wennman and Esk are top sportsjournalist in Sweden. It is interesting to note that Sweden's Minister of Education, Mr Ibrahim Baylan (an Assyrian) has stood up for the symbolic wearing of the black bands by the Assyriska players. Assyrians stood up and cried when the team appeared in the stadium wearing the black bands and asked for a minute of silence.
Mr. Nuri Kino is an award-winning freelance Assyrian journalist whose articles appear in prominent European dailys and magazines. The above editorial was also published in Sweden's Debatebureua to which 32 affiliate magazines and 3 million readers are connected. The article was translated to English by Mr. Rabi Masso.
Assyrians in Poland ?
Recently I visited the Czech Republic and Poland while on the school trip to Eastern Europe. In Poland we visited Warsaw, and as we were driving in the bus, I noticed a restaurant with an Assyrian name “Hammurabi”. I took the picture of the place. I apologize for the quality of the photo, it was taken while the bus was moving. Are there any Assyrians in Warsaw or anywhere else in Poland? If yes, it will be wonderful to meet them.
Zinda: Until last week the new Minister of Science and Technology in Iraq was one such Assyrian living in Poland. Several readers subscribe to Zinda from Poland; however it appears that their background is not Assyrian.
Wilson P. Benjamin
I am not affiliated with any organization, only serving my beloved nation Assyria; and willing to meet with any individual or Gabba to discuss issues related to our nation. I only speak from personal experience, and first hand knowledge of our nation’s political issues. Hopefully we may find a formula to create an understanding to unify our aim and to unite our objective!
I was born in Nineveh, Iraq in 1922. Being an entrepreneur for the past sixty years, I have handled some major constructional projects in Iraq. Had offices in Baghdad, Basrah, Fao, Kerbala, kufa and Najaf. This should give the reader an idea how I succeeded, single handed, working peacefully with hundreds of local people who were working for me for over twelve years. The formula is simple ” do onto others, what you expect to be done onto you” In short: respect others, and you will get respect back.
Subjects for discussion
The Political Arena
Our political arena is in turmoil; can it be resolved? Yes it can, If we
Our current leaders are at odds with each other, because of
Please take note of the church’s actions during the past centuries:
The church has a solemn responsibility to take an active and convincing role to separate its involvement in the nation’s politics. At the same time the political leadership should maintain a respectable and an understanding dialog to call upon the church leadership for help when it becomes necessary. His Holiness Mar Dinkha, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, has been saying it publicly that the church dose not get involved in the politics of the Nation!
The interference of the churches has also caused a serious split among the nation, by implying the denominational strategy, and work against each other.
Ultimately, the political organizations and the churches should be two separate entities to serve the same body of people.
The British inteligence began to arrive in Hakkary from 1895 to 1915. Wearing black gowns and pretending to represent the Church of England! They held regular private meetings with Mar Benyamin and with some of the leaders of the tribes.
The leaders of the Assyrian tribes, including Malik Khoshaba and Agha Petros surrounded Mar Benyamin for protection. On their journey down towards Urmia, it was suggested to Mar Benyamin by his black gowned allies that he should stop at Khou-Salamas and meet with Simkoo, the Kurdish leader!
The group of armed Assyrian men of Mar Benyamin suggested very strongly that he should not meet with Simkoo. Being a simple and devoted Christian, and trusting his British advisors, he insisted that he should meet with Simkoo to make peace!
Well, I presume that you know the rest of the story.
During 1915 to 1918, the Turks, Kurds, and Iranians killed several thousands of our people. Thousands more perished through the deadly journey. And when the remaining half-reached Iraq, they were put into camps at Baquba, and some in Mindan. After a year or so we were left alone to survive!
In early 1920’s, Agha Petros decided that the British would not do any thing to fulfill their promise to the Assyrians.
In year 1923 Agha Petros went to Lausanne, the League of Nations and submitted a petition on behalf of the Assyrians demanding our rights.
Guess what happened? The British invited Surrma Khanim to London, England, and decorated her with the Knighthood. Medal.. Officially, she became Lady Surrma! You should guess what happened to Agha Petros?
In 1968 Mar Eshai Shimon, invited the bishops to attend the regular business meeting in San Francisco. . A decision was made to move the Christmas holiday date from the old Assyrian calendar to the Georgian calendar. It was intended to suite the working class of the church members to celebrate the Christmas holiday together with the rest of the Christian communities. December 25th. According to the old calendar, December 25th falls on 7th day of January in the Georgian calendar. And that is how the new church was labeled “ the seventh”.
When the bishops returned to their bases and made the announcement, a contingent of the members refused to change. It became a major issue, it revived the old split which was created between Mar Benyamin and Malik Khoshaba.
In the 19th century, Malik Khosabah Yousep of Tiary asked Mar Benyamin to bestow the official title of Malik onto him. Another story is that all towns or villages have a bishop and the two tiyaries had none. A cool period took place between the two. Remember, Malik Khoshaba was one of the closest supporters of Mar Benyamin.
1n the 1970’s, Mar Shimon was officially invited to visit Iraq. And was received by the president of Iraqi, Ahmad Hassan Albaker. He was welcomed with a red carpet reception, and put in the White House guest quarters, and presented him with gifts. He was provided Assyrian bodyguards, and his Iraqi citizenship was reinstated. An official declaration was made publicly appointing him Mar Shimon the head of all Christianity in Iraq, and his diocese was to be established in Nineveh, Mosul. Before returning to u.s.a. said that he will let them know on his next trip!
On his second visit, Mar Shimon officially refused to undertake the task! Obviously this upset the Iraqi government and destroyed their plans.
I arrived in Baghdad immediately after the first visit of Mar Shimon, to follow up with my private business. I discovered that the Khoshaba’s group were planing to establish a new church! I tried to bridge the gape and aimed to re-unite the church, and guess what? I was refused by Mar Yousep Khnanisho and his brother Shlimon, saying that I should not interfere! They did not know or did’not want to know that I was a strong supporter of the unity of the church and the visitation of Mar Shimon to Iraq..
However, in the meantime Khoshaba’s group invited bishop Mar Tooma Darmu from India and immediately upon his arrival, he was ordained the patriarch of the new church named “The Ancient Church of the East”
The Nestorus Label
In Ephesus in the year 431 AD, at the council of churches, the Greek bishop Nestorus rejected the interpretation of the Roman church that Saint Marry being the mother of God. And the Church of the East supported bishop Nostoorus’s interpretation. Since those days the Church of the East has been labeled by Vatican as “Nostorian”
Between 1972 and 1974 our beloved Mar Dinkha met with the late Pope John Paul II in Vatican to work towards the unity of the churches. It was Mar Dinkha who demanded the removal of the name “Nostoros”
In 1976 the nickname Nestorians was removed and replaced by “the Assyrian “ since then it became: “The Assyrian Church of the East”.
In the early sixteenth century the Church of the East had a misunderstanding with Bishop Youkhana Soolaqa. The Roman Catholic Church took full advantage of the situation. In fact Pope Julius III first appointed Soonlaqa as patriarch of Mosul and Atour, which at that time together with Nineveh were known as the district of Atour (Assyria). And some forty years later Vatican created the Chaldean label and it became “The Chaldean Roman Catholic Church of Babylon”.
Imagine: For centuries and up to this date the Assyrian Nation has been governed and handled, single-handed, by the Patriarch of the Church of the East; who even did not have a body of advisors. And in recent times we have several independent political groups and neither one communicates with the other!
We are living in the twenty-first century, and in the sophisticate era. Therefore
Therefore, it is imperative that the first thing to be done, is to separate the church from politics, so that the nation can have its’ freedom to get properly organized as a nation and follow up with what is required by the United Nations’ Charter. And it is only then that we can claim our human rights and our indigenous status.
It.was Great Britain, in the seventeen century decided to prevent the church from meddling with the country’s political affairs. Even to this day the head of the church, namely the archbishop of Canterbury, is to be confirmed by the British Government
And the founders of the United States of America adopted the same policy,
For centuries the churches have dominated our nation’s political arena, even up to the present day.
It is said that for the last six centuries the patriarch was elected from the same family, the Mar Shimon’s.
The Chaldo-Assyria Name Conspiracy
Above all, the recent disastrous action of some of our bishops, and the highly educated members of the community, almost sold out our nation’s historical name to the stooges of our enemies
They planned to destroy our God given Name:” Assur.”
In the 1990’s, a hidden conspiracy was cleverly designed by three persons: Ghassan Shathaya, bishop Sarhad Jammo, and bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim, and funded by Saddam Hussain; who poured millions of US dollars, building churches and recreation centers for the Chaldeans in San-Diego and Detroit. The intended purpose was to divide and rule.the Assyrian Nation!
Please note, that according to the records of the US Census Bureau, under the Atour’s Name there are eleven groups. The Chaldeans are registered under five similar names, Chaldean, Chaldo, Kaldany, Kaldu, and Telkefee.
They even succeeded in gaining the support of some of our educated people and applied the first stage of their plan.
The slashes. Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac
Then, they applied to the Census Bureau to get recognition as an ethnicity but it did not succeed.
This exposed the whole conspiracy! Especially the four who initiated the conspiracy: Younadam Kana, Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim, Bishop Sarhad Jammo and Mar Bawai Sorro.
Finally, under the pretence of increasing our numbers, the group of four, and several Assyrian dignitaries from the Assyrian Academic Society, Assyrian American National Federation, AUA, and some of our church leaders decided to create a con-joint name. “Chaldo-Assyrian”
It is sad to see that a group of educated people decided to impose on a nation their choice of a conjoined name “Chaldo–Assyrian” and to shovel it through the trough of a nation, and insist that it is for the best interest of the nation to increase the numbers!
And the results are?
Their action caused a split in the nation. And that is exactly what the enemy of the nation wanted; and they gave it to him on a golden plate!
I refer the reader to paragraph seven of the preamble, of the Unrepresented Nations Peoples Organisations “UNPO” This is a branch of the United Nations:
Reading as follows: “whereas the attempts to force people to adopt new identities to suit the political objectives of states have led to violations of human rights and the rights of peoples as inallenable rights in international law and declares
All peoples have the right to self-preservation and physical existence. Peoples with small populations shall not be involuntarily subjected to harmful demographic policies, such as population transfers and coercive birth controls.
For further information click on http://www.unpo.org/
Hence, It is required of them to come home and extend a genuine helping hand to put the pieces together and let us move forward and act united under the banner of a gallant nation “Assyria”
Here befits the story of the two guys at a restaurant, one is painting a picture resembling his friend’s father. His friend refuses to agree, saying you have not seen my father, how come you are insisting that it resembles my father. And the painter friend says you must keep looking at it all the time then you will get used to seeing him as your father!
Also the story is of Mullah Nusradin and the thieve: The wife hears a noise in the yard, wakes up her husband and says go down and see what is happening. Mullah Nusradin goes down and time goes by and his wife calls him come up and no answer. Again she calls saying let him go and come up. Mulah Nasradin says I am letting him go but he is not releasing me! Our Chaldean brothers are releasing us and do not want to beconnected with the Assyria. But, we keep insisting that we want the conjoined name Chaldo-Assyria!
The recent speech of Bishop Sarhad Jammo spells it out clearly. Also, our Chaldean brothers are refusing to be connected with the conjoint name Chaldo-Assyrian, but we are still using this name, just to fool ourselves.
On April 16, 2005 The Chaldean National Congress Convened in Baghdad and declared that Chaldean people lay claim to being the descendants of the native people of Mesopotamia- Chaldeans/Babylonians.
Recommendation to Our Assyrian Brothers and Sisters of the Roman Catholic Church
A special recommendation to our Asyrian brothers and sisters, throughout the world belonging to the Chaldean Roman Catholic Church.
For centuries you have considered our Chaldean brothers ad sisters on equal level as one-nation Assyrians with different dialogue.
Now that they have created a serious problem for you an or themelves, insisting that the Chaldeans are a different ethnicity and are demanding that they should be registered in the new Iraqi constitution as Chaldean without any connection to the Assyrians.
Therefore, please read the two letters, one from His Holliness Patriarch Mar Emmanuel Delly, and one signed by the nineteen Chaldean Bishops. Both letters submitted in September 2003 addressed to the U.S.A Ambassador in Baghdad at that time Mr. Paul Bremer.
Both of these letters were ignored.
Now, on April 16, 2005 the Chaldean National Congress convened in Baghdad declaring “ That the Chaldean ethnic identity is recognized in the Iraqi permanent Constitution and the Chaldeans are recognized as one of Iraq’s ethnic groups."
You can find these letters in the archives of Zinda Magazine. If you wish to contact me I would be glad to send you copies via your e-mail. Email me at email@example.com
The purpose of my recommendation is to suggest that, you should hold a membership meeting and decide to communicate or present your case directly to Vatican, to suggest that you be given the opportunity to prepare Assyrian candidates for priesthood and Bishops to be approved by the Vatican to replace the present Chaldeans. Priests and in time to select someone to send to Vatican to be prepared and ordained as the Patriarch of the Assyrian Roman Chatolic Church.
Let me suggest a hypothetical scenario to test our qualifications
Supposing, within the next six months, Assyrian are given their Human Rights, and recognized being the indigenous people of Iraq, and given a part of Iraq allocated to us , called the Assyrian Home. And it requires the official Assyrian Leadership to come forward to sign Agreement on behalf of all Assyrian to accept
Isn’t that what we are hoping one day to be a reality?
Do we have such a qualified body of leadership to be able to represent us?
I would suggest that we should be discussing such matters among our selves and with one another, so that we can be prepared to face the reality!
God willing, I hope so!
Finally, we are a disconnected nation. Individually we are very intelligent. Politically zero.
Power is in us. We the people.
The Day Seattle Roared
This article will highlight that the news articles written by Herbert Adams Gibbons, a special correspondent of the Christian Science Monitor, mobilized the Greek-American community and Seattle City Council to pass a resolution urging the Harding administration to use its influence on the Turkish Government to halt the deportation and massacre of Greeks who lived along the shores of the Black Sea. An article titled “Turkish Atrocities agitate Seattle. City Council calls on National Government to use influence in direction of humanity “appeared in the Christian Science Monitor , a Boston newspaper, on July 10, 1922. The news story was sent on July 3 by a special correspondent from Seattle, Washington. This article will be divided into two parts with the first section briefly outlining Adams articles and finally quoting the resolution in full.
Herbert Adams Gibbons Articles
Gibbons wrote his news articles from various locations in Asia Minor which were published in the Christian Science Monitor some 4 weeks later or so. Gibbons wrote his news accounts and mailed them back to the Boston in order to avoid the press censorship imposed by Allied and Turkish military authorities in Constantinople, Smyrna and Trebizond. He wrote many articles from April to July 1922 before returning to the US. Some of his published news stories carried the following headlines:
A brief explanation will be offered on the news headings above. Items 1-3 relate to Gibbons’ visit to the Asia Minor front to observe the military situation showing the Greeks readiness to engage and defeat the Kemalists. In item 4 it states that Turkish opinion in Constantinople was divided and that the city contained a mixed population. The last three items discuss the deportation and suffering of the Greeks in the Trebizond region. Prominent Turks such as the Governor and Mayor of Trebizond were disgusted and horrified at the extermination policy of the Kemalist Government towards the Greeks. Some protested to no avail.
At this time Britain, France, Italy and USA discussed the issue of dispatching an allied commission to Kemalist Turkey to investigate American Near East Relief eyewitness accounts of the deportation and massacre of Greeks and Armenians from the coastal regions of the Black Sea into the Anatolian interior. The French got the other powers to agree that an allied commission should also proceed to Greek occupied territory. Nothing came of these allied commissions and the major powers approached the Committee of the International Red Cross (I.R.C) in Geneva to undertake the atrocity inquiries in the Greek and Turkish occupied zones. The I.R.C mission never eventuated.
It can be strongly argued that such news stories read by the Greek Americans and Seattle City Council would have spurred them into action.
Seattle City Council Resolution
The resolution passed by the Seattle City Council is quoted in full below :-
In conclusion, the Seattle City Council and Greek American community roared loudly but the deaf and blind condition of the Harding administration did not assist the plight of the Greeks.
Zinda: Mr. Stavros T.Stavridis is a historical researcher for the National Centre for Hellenic Studies and Research at Latrobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.
In less than a century, Assyria partitioned itself, and was coerced by unwitting forces to assimilate into 42 nations. In most of these nations, it further divided itself into as many communities as there were industrial centers. No less than 10 such communities in the United States alone. When compiled, the communities inhabited by the Assyrian immigrants hover around 100 plus or minus.
"A blessed and indestructible being has no trouble himself and brings no trouble upon any other being, so he is free from anger and partiality, for all such things imply weakness." [Epicurus].
This maxim invites a debate. Thus, an analytical approach between a 6,500 years old civilization and 2,300 years old philosophy clash, and the outcome is a resoundingly multifarious enigma.
The ultimate tool in approaching the teachings of this maxim are that Assyria, despite its destruction and removal from politics, socio-economic community, geography, and lately in the labors of Iraq political machine, that has already de facto removed Assyria, and envisages its removal from history, altogether, has not been weakened, not abroad as yet.
The weakness prevails, and, ails the wounded, maligned, but not crippled body of Assyria. Thanks to the brain, implanted over millennia, this body shall be kept alive, as long as one contemplates and judges it to be so.
In eventuality, no argument with Mr. Epicurus over his prescription of weakness, and his undaunted statement shall stand in perpetuity.
An Italian sociologist stated that in about 3,000 years, Italy would not house a single blood and flesh Italian. Never mind whether the sociologist is right or wrong. What is pertinent that there shall always be Italy, even without Italian blood, running in the veins of its citizens!
By the same token, it is depicted that the United States citizenry shall be absorbed by the immigration trends from Mexico in less than a century. Will this migration transform the U.S.A. into Mexico? The answer is a definitive no. The Mexican immigrants shall thus become U.S. citizens, ultimately, Americans.
The realm of probity of an immigrant within his novel habitat reaches out, step by step, to the encroachment of that sociological pattern, even at the thought of it being, as platitude as can be perceived by the newcomer. All his thoughts, attitudes, behaviors and his art, are formatted in relation to that society. "A man exists only in relation to society." [Balzac].
Assyria X 100 = 0 Assyria
Once a week Assyria is in Churches. Once or twice a year, Assyria celebrates New Years. Four to five times a year Assyria celebrates the festivities of the Saints. Once or twice a year, Assyria convenes in Hotel lobbies and Assyrian Halls for meetings and dances. Then, there are birthdays, weddings, funerals, and once a year a Commemorative for the Semele Massacre. That is when, one presumes, Assyria comes to life, whereas it just doses off the rest of the times. While dosing off, the time still goes by, and Assyria ages with it. One day, in a generation or two, at most, Assyria shall have to depart, and no replenishment is in sight.
The youth goes abreast its societal trends, and discards all that is, or was Assyrian. It harbors novel trends of life, work and the pursuit of happiness. Some of the young raised and reared in urban centers, might opt for humanities and literature, but, most design their future in business, industry, medicine, engineering and other gratuitously guaranteed sources of income and prosperity. This latter group is the result of the young men and women of most Assyrian immigrants that dwell in suburbia. One can sadly note the absence of voices of Assyria in the fields of humanities, e.g., language, literature, history, arts and politics.
"Genuine, progressive art can only mean a complicated art today. It will never be possible for everyone to enjoy and appreciate it in equal measure, but the share of the broader masses in it can be increased and deepened. The preconditions of a slackening of the cultural monopoly are above all economic and social. We can do no other than fight for the creation of these preconditions." [Hauser]. (Social History of Art).
Newer and grand centers are being purchased by both, laic and religious organizations of Assyria. More so Churches than entertainment or community halls. The reasons are rather simple. The Church can afford, because it has larger following than entertainment and/or communal affairs.
The Church is blessed with a two fold criteria of adherents. The throngs of Assyrians attacking the Church grounds in hordes, is not merely religious affiliation. It is rather nationalistic. Otherwise, the masses wouldn't have to drive hundreds of miles to attend a mass, that they could attend in their neighborhood. They just embellish their nationalism by contributing to the Church, because it asks very little from them. A few dollars per year here and there, for building façades, paving of parking lot, paint the Church, new pews, new carpets, new lighting, modernizing the meeting hall, and a few gala evenings at these halls, where the masses are entertained by meeting each other, dining, communicating and dancing together.
Community halls are another entity. If it doesn't produce programs of high interest, then, it is ostracized. If it does embark on a national or an international effort and tries to enliven and inform the masses of the dark days that lie ahead for Assyria, then again, masses shy away, since it is just too much for them to cope with.
The togetherness of Assyria masses on Sunday mornings might be a hallucinating fear of involuntary perpetual migrations, separation from families, relatives and neighbors, resulting in insecurity, nostalgia and loneliness. This consideration is not lightly taken. Assyrians might want to look each other, at least over the shoulders. They might also be inviting others to look over their shoulders, once in a while. And that perhaps, is an alarming oversight imbued in us. "If you always look over your shoulder how can you still remain a human being?" [Wellek]. (A History of Modern Criticism). Could it be that Assyrians, looking for solace only in a distant messianic hope, rather than in a real world, is the result of that insecurity that posts them to keep looking over their shoulders?
A medium to encompass both the attendees of the Churches and those frequenting the communal halls is highly recommended at this junction. A new plateau to envisage full participation of all concerned in the leveling of the events is of utmost necessity. This is work task for the many faces that just keep lamenting about the pluses and minuses of organizations, leaderships and work performed by Assyria at large, all over the world.
Proclamations for such deeds and tasks are to be propagated at all points, and not just for announcing the happy events of dances and celebrations. These events are not crafty or creative phenomena. Everyone can be merry in an omnipotent society, everyone can be happy, if only he will capitulate fully and sacrifice his claim to happiness. The joys and pleasures are personal acquisitions. "A man lives not only his personal life, as an individual, but also, consciously or unconsciously, the life of the epoch and his contemporaries." [Mann]. (The Magic Mountain).
Elucidation vs. Empirical
Ornamentation is one of the vices mankind shall never part from. It is an inhibited form of genetic processes that embodies all living creatures, perhaps even plants. Decorum, beautification, cleanliness, fashion and modernistic tools in life, are all entailed in the physical nature of being. However, they might take a deceptive turn of events, once transferred to the mind.
The mind cannot be deceived, thus, as a result, it cannot be decorated. And, whenever one tries to procreate consternation, or, a desirable feat, it thus becomes hallucination and manipulation. As a pragmatist rather than an iconoclast, without tarnishing the habits and societal customs, it would be fair to assume that most of us that frequent our non-political gatherings are toying with a certain degree of nationalism. That is really an insult to our intelligence, but the fact remains that it could not be far from the truth, at all.
But, then yet, some of us might befall into the entanglement of mental confusion, while analyzing all around us, at all times, and all over. Could all this analysis provoke chaos in our life? Not necessarily. "We must consider both the ultimate end and all clear sensory evidence, to which we refer our opinions, for otherwise everything will be full of uncertainty and confusion." [Epicurus]. Mental confusion is not always chaos. It may strengthen the internal contradictions for the time being but in the long run it will lead to their resolution.
We are creatures with flesh and blood. The flesh receives as unlimited the limits of pleasure; and to provide it requires unlimited time. But the mind, intellectually grasping what the end and limit of the flesh is, and banishing the terrors of the future, procures a complete and perfect life, and we have no longer any need of unlimited time. Nevertheless the mind does not shun pleasure, and even when circumstances make death imminent, the mind does not lack enjoyment of the best life.
Life and pleasure hence, are partners in life. They only part when the former ceases.
Cherish what is desired and what is prescribed. No one has the right or the temerity to proscribe the pursuit of happiness.
All one is searching for is to allocate some of the same to one's brethren that are condemned to exist without the minutest of pleasures. A token here and there, is insulting their pride and their human nature. Cooperation is what they need to inject their veins with pride rather than with dreadful handouts.
The thought is being sought. That thought resulting in a credo of adherents, could foment actions, ostensibly necessary for betterment of life for those that cannot fend for themselves, due to man made imperiled circumstances all around them, back home, in perhaps [one day] Assyria.
Their pride is ours. Work for them, since they cannot do it themselves. They are not allowed. Their lives are in danger. They don't need a handout. They need continuous nationalistic instinct of brotherhood toward each other, when in need.
Make our backbone citizens of Mesopotamia [Assyria] retain their own culture rather than adapting another alien one.
Make our brethren in Iraq stand firmer in their quest to retain what is inherently theirs and ours, rather than to succumb to be adopted and assimilated into nothingness.
This writer shall persevere to invigorate the podium or podiums at every occasion, to stimulate a discourse and cohesion, in order to draw the attention of the youth of Assyria to a predicament of their nation that they are totally unaware of.
Can some of the readers consider doing likewise in their part of the world?
Get out of your balmy environments and prepare seminars, lectures and gatherings.
Call on your associations and request their halls and their facilities for such occasions. And, if they decline, like many do so, just get a few friends together and rent a hall for a couple of hours in Hotels and other social lodges around your areas.
That is how 'petit á petit, l'oiseau fait son nid', (Little by little, a bird builds its nest).
There is a Mexican bodega at the end of my block run not by Mexicans but by three Assyrian brothers named Danny, Sam and Bill.
For the last three years, Pepe’s Groceria has been the unofficial Bucktown command center for The War in Iraq, a war the three brothers take immense interest in since it is happening in their homeland.
Most of their family and friends still live in Ninevah (also known as Mosul) Iraq, once the proud center of Assyria, but they are Assyrian Christians, an endangered minority in a land where Shiite and Sunni Muslims predominate and even neighboring Kurds can be dangerous allies.
Every day, a steady stream of customers comes into Pepe’s to pick up fruits and vegetables, beer, cigarettes, lottery tickets and other sundries. Few notice a small black & white TV behind the counter constantly tuned to the latest news from Iraq or the inconspicuous laptop computer where, when not running the cash register, the brothers are connected over the internet to Assyrian groups around the globe plotting their next move in the Iraqi reconstruction.
The principal owner of Pepe’s is Danny Dinkha (Dinkha being a idiom for orphan Danny used to escape Iraq in 1982 to come to America.)
The eldest of the three brothers, Danny was 16 at the time. His sponsor was an aunt who, having worked for an American oil company in Iraq, lived in Midland, Texas, and so it was to Midland, also the home of a young oil magnate named George W. Bush, that Danny went to get his start in America.
His first job was sweeping floors and cleaning bathrooms for MacDonald’s. He became an assistant manager at Arby’s, took classes at the local community college and, upon graduation, was taken into the management trainee program at Whatta Burger.
Over time, he brought over other members of his family -- his father, his sister and two younger brothers. But seeing little opportunity for advancement in Texas, they packed their belongings into vans and moved first to Detroit, then to Chicago, finally settling in Bucktown in 1989.
“Anyone can make it here if you work hard,” Danny told me one night when I stopped by. “When we came here, we didn’t have anything. We flipped burgers. We slopped floors. We’re not rich or anything, but we’re well off. And we have lived the American Dream.”
The American Dream for Danny turned out to be the Rama Mart at North and Damen. For eight years, he and a brother owned and operated the grocery. He bought a house in Skokie, grew active in his church and became a leader in the Assyrian community here.
In 1997, a developer in Bucktown made Danny an offer he couldn’t refuse, a buyout of Rama Mart (now a Coconuts music store and a restaurant called Mod.) Danny took the money and started over again with Pepe’s on N. Western Avenue. At one point, he had visions of a Pepe’s II, then a whole chain of Pepe’s, but recent events in Iraq have re-focused his attention.
To understand Danny, one must understand Assyria and the 90,000 Assyrian refuges in the Chicago area who make up the second largest concentration (Los Angeles is first) in America.
But where to begin?
In my many visits to Pepe’s, Danny always wants me to understand that Assyria – not once, but twice, from 1350- 600 B.C. and again from 800-1200 A.D. – ruled the world.
In the fertile crescent between the Tigress and Euphrates Rivers, from cities like Babylon and Baghdad and Ninevah, Assyria created the first paved roads, the first postal system, the magnifying glass, iron swords, flush toilets, chariots, aqueducts and the first library in the world. And that was just during its first ascendancy.
In its second ascendancy, as a Christian nation founded by the apostle Thomas, Assyrian monks began in 400 A.D. translating the great Greek works of science, medicine, philosophy and mathematics into various languages that helped the Assyrian Church of The East spread Christianity throughout the Mediterranean and as far east as China and Japan.
By the year 1200, The Assyrian Church had more than 80 million followers – more than the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches combined. But in 1300, Mongol invaders swept into The Middle East destroying the church structure and forcing most of the Assyrian people to take refuge in the mountains of eastern Turkey.
The history of Assyria is a glorious story, no more eloquently told than by Harmaz Gorgis, another Iraqi refuge who has come to Pepe’s to help stock the shelves and manage the internet communications. But it has a sad end.
In 1915, Ottoman Turks began a systematic campaign to wipe out the Armenian and Assyrian populations along their western fringes. More than 1.5 million people were murdered or driven from their villages. Over a million Assyrians wound up living in Europe or the United States, more than there are in all of Iraq today.
To be a Christian in Iraq is a dangerous proposition in country of 25 million people where 95% are Muslims – 75% being Shiite and Sunni Arabs and 20% being the hardy, but recalcitrant Kurds.
From the first moment President Bush included Saddam Hussein in his “axis of evil,” Danny, Sam and Bill have been in his corner. In the run-up to the March, 2003, invasion, whenever I would stop by Pepe’s, Danny would ask whether I thought we might really go into Iraq. The justifications for an attack baffled me, but Danny had no such reservations. “I can only hope,” he’d say.
It was less than a month after American troops occupied Baghdad that Danny himself was off to Iraq, part of an Assyrian delegation on what his brothers called “a secret mission.” He returned with news of joy in the streets of Mosul, but much work left to be done to assure an Assyrian role in the new government.
A month later, it was Bill’s turn to go. He flew into Jordan, hitched an eight-hour ride into Baghdad and spent two weeks traveling around Iraq. Unlike Danny, Bill returned with harrowing tales of the insurgency. One day, he said, he was riding down the expressway behind an American humvee when a passenger car zoomed up behind, waving him out of the way. When he looked back, guns were leveled out the window. Bullets ricocheted off his car’s under-carriage, but no one was hurt.
When I first started going to Pepe’s, I did not know life in a bodega could be so exciting. But the closer Iraq comes to naming a new government, the greater the excitement level. The fax machines are buzzing. The internet is always on.
Through this Assyrian who knows that Assyrian who knows this person in the Bush Administration, Danny Dinkha is doing his part to bring the freedom he’s found in America back home to Iraq.
Can Danny Dinkha save Iraq? Only time will tell.
Zinda: This article appeared in August 2004 courtesy of The Week Behind.
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