31 Yaar 6755
Volume XI

Issue 29

21 May 2005


Office  202-349-1429         zcrew@zindamagazine.com           Fax 1-415-358-4778
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6754 Person of the Year

Sargon Dadesho

Assyrian activist, author, head of the Assyrian National Congress, publisher of the Bet-Nahrain Magazine, and founder of the first Assyrian television station and satellite program

This Week in Zinda

Zinda Says
  6754 Person & Event of the Year Wilfred Bet-Alkhas (Editor)
Good Morning Assyria
  Mar Delly Denounces U.S. Evangelicals
Mar Dinkha IV Meets Iranian Officials on Bilateral Talks
Mar Aprem Back in India after Visiting London and Dubai
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News Digest
  UK University Reviews Artefact Loan
Assyrian Doctrine Holds Him to Faith

Syriac Orthodox Bishop to Join Turkish Janissary Band in NY

Columnist Corner
  An Overture without a Symphony Ivan Kakovitch
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Zinda Says
Editorial by Wilfred Bet-Alkhas


6754 Person of the Year

Sargon Dadesho

He runs a police-state like organization in Central California where he is respected and appreciated as the “King of Assyria”. He even places a statuette of King Sargon II next to his chair during his semi-weekly television show to remind his viewers of the connection made by his followers in his small kingdom in Ceres, California. He has been allegedly target of a Baathist party assassination attempt, has won a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Saddam’s government, and continues to go on the town with his accusations of treason and betrayal on members of almost any other Assyrian political group not associated with his Assyrian National Congress. With a powerful satellite television at his disposal and a multitude of supporters around the world he does not appear to be going anywhere. Celebrated as both an Assyrian nationalist and a nemesis of Assyrian political progress, Sargon Dadesho is selected by the editors of Zinda Magazine as the Person of the Year 6754.

Sargon Dadesho has in the last three decades become an Assyrian icon, due to his unswerving dedication to generating controversies from his opposition to other Assyrian political figures to the role of Assyrian bishops and his revulsion with the Assyrian political leader in Iraq, Mr. Yonadam Kanna. Even Dadesho’s name is a source of controversy among various circles.

To his followers he is “Dr.” Sargon Dadesho, yet no one has been able to furnish proof of Dadesho’s educational records pointing to his successful completion of a post-baccalaureate degree from an accredited American university. He is said to hold a PhD degree in the biological sciences from a northern California university.

Yet what sets Sargon Dadesho apart from any other Assyrian activist is his skillful ability to utilize the media for his political aims. Dadesho’s love affair with the media began shortly after his establishment of the Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party in mid-1970’s. Dadesho runs a radio program, a television station, a magazine, and now a 24/7 satellite television program called AssyriaSat. Dadesho is everywhere, a fact that disheartens his appalled foes in the Assyrian Democratic Movement camps in Iraq and in the diaspora.

In the early 1970’s Dadesho was a vocal evangelist for the Assyrian Universal Alliance. His pursuit of a more militant approach to finding solutions to Assyrian struggle in Iraq led him to leave AUA and with the help of a few former AUA members form the Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party in California. Since then he has built a small socio-political kingdom between Turlock and Modesto founded on the revenues generated from the bingo games run by his 501(c)(03) public charity organization, Bet-Nahrain, Inc.

The source of revenue for the Bet-Nahrain, Inc which fuels Dadesho’s political machine is said to be the members’ donations, memberships, and the bingo games. According to the IRS report in 2003 Bet-Nahrain, Inc.’s revenues totaled a little over $325,000 and the total expenses totaled over $407,000. Yet the cost of running the Assyrian Satellite program and all other media outlets connected with Sargon Dadesho alone are well-over $50,000 a month, according to sources close to this organization.

Sargon Dadesho saw $2.4 million deposited in his bank account from the confiscated assets of the Iraqi government, one of a number of victims to finally collect judgments from lawsuits filed after the first Gulf War. He was awarded the money after a failed assassination attempt by a hired Iraqi hit man (click here). In 1995, Dadesho won a $1.5 million judgment against Iraq for "emotional distress" suffered after the assassination attempt, which was foiled by the FBI.

Sargon Dadesho (R) at his KBSV televsion studios in Ceres, California.

His critics allege that Dadesho may be allowing other more powerful political groups utilize his media for their political objectives and in return providing him with the much needed funds for the operation of his AssyriaSat television propaganda. For example, two separate programs are cited for their anti-Iranian propaganda in which the presenters speak in Azari Turkish and Arabic inviting their viewers in the Middle East to battle the Iranian government in seceding the Azarbaijan and Khuzistan provinces for the Turkish and Arab people, respectively.

In mid-1970’s Dadesho formed the Assyrian National Congress to quickly bring into his sphere of influence the Assyrian organizations formerly ignored by the AUA and the Assyrian American National Federation. His Assyrian National Congress has been a remarkable failure in exciting non-AUA and AANF affiliates, yet it provided Dadesho a solid ground to proselytize his “Assyrian-only” and “Say No to Zowaa” brand of Assyrian politics. Before the liberation of Iraq from Baathist regime, Dadesho called John Nimrod, Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance and Yonadam Kanna, Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa) "our nation's internal foes as is the government of Baghdad our external adversary."

As years have passed since the early caustic attacks by Dadesho on AUA and AANF, more and more Assyrian nationalists – even from within the AUA camp – find themselves closer to Dadesho’s side of the Assyrian identity issue. According to reliable sources to Zinda Magazine, secret meetings between Dadesho and the AUA have taken place as late as this January on the possible collaboration between two groups in pushing an “Assyrian” identity in the permanent Constitution of Iraq. Dadesho remains the most vocal devotee of the “Assyrian-only” camp, a position he has uncompromisingly held since the explosion of the Chaldean identity on the scene of Assyrian politics during the 1990 U.S. Census.

In the second half of the Assyrian year 6754 Sargon Dadesho increased his attacks on the ADM calling for a “true” representation of the Assyrians in Iraq. He helped form and financially support a competing electoral ballot – Slate # 139 as the Assyrian National Assembly – in the hope of receiving enough votes to capture one or more seats in the interim National Assembly. Although he failed in this attempt, he succeeded in creating a sense of doubt and confusion which impacted the overall participation of the Assyrians in the January 30th elections, therefore reducing the total number of Assyrian voters.

Sargon Dadesho has and will always face a rebellion from those he does not consider citizens of his Sargonid kingdom in California. According to Dadesho there are two types of Assyrians, those that love him as their leader and those that don’t. Those of us who fall in the second category he will subject to all types of allegations, legal maneuvers, and media hypes to appear as anti-Assyrian or ungodly. Dadesho has twice before taken legal action against Zinda Magazine for its portrayal of his representatives in Iraq who work with the Kurdish parties as their agents and printing former members of the BNDP accusing Dadesho of falsifying claims that he’s been financially supporting the Assyrians of Iraq.

Whether we like him or not, the jury is out on Sargon Dadesho. As an influential opinion maker and to the dismay of many of his enemies, he’s here to stay, battling everyone outside of his Sargonid kingdom in California in the corridors of political power.

6754 Event of the Year

Assyriska's Ascent to Sweden's Premier Football League

Last year a single non-political event brought more political recognition for the Assyrians around the world than any other spectacle in recent history. It began as a small friendly gathering of newly emigrated Assyrians in Sweden some thirty years ago. And last year it was the most important sports events since the historic Iraq vs. Iran soccer game some 50 years earlier. Zinda Magazine editors call upon the succession of Assyriska Football Team to the premier soccer league in Sweden as the 6754 Event of the Year.

Formed around the same time our Person of the Year established his political machine in California, Assyriska has in the last two years gained worldwide attention from its Assyrian supporters. It is perhaps one of the very few football clubs with so much global support anywhere. It has already been dubbed the “National Team of Assyrians”.

The influence of Assyriska on the politics of Assyrians at home and abroad was anything but preordained. The timing could not be any better. On one hand, the Assyrians were denouncing the bombings of their churches, the kidnappings of their children, and the beheading of their men in Iraq, and on the other they were filling up every empty seat at the soccer stadiums in Sweden cheering for the Assyriska players. The display of the giant Assyrian flag during a final game in Sweden is perhaps one of the most patriotic and emotional moments any of us can remember in the recent years or even decades.

Fortunately this is just the beginning for the heroes of Assyriska. The slow but assured skills of the Assyriska players will have a positive influence on the Assyrian youth and bring even greater recognition for the Assyrians in the diaspora.

Assyriska has proven itself not just a sports club, rather a powerful catalyst of change bringing us closer to one another, uniting us even in our political and cultural efforts, and making us once again proud to be called Assyrian.

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Good Morning Assyria
News From the Homeland

Mar Delly Denounces U.S. Evangelicals

Courtesy of Reuters
20 May 2005

(ZNDA: Berlin)  His Beatitude Mar Emmanuel II Delly, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, on Thursday denounced American evangelical missionaries working in Iraq for what he said were attempts to convert poor Muslims by flashing money and smart cars.  His Beatitude said that many Protestant activists had come to Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and set up what he called "boutiques" to attract converts.

Emmanuel Delly strongly opposed the US-led invasion and denounces the presence of Protestant Evangelicals in Iraq .

Delly said Iraq did not need missionaries as its Christian churches dated back long before Protestantism. As for trying to convert Muslims, he said: "You can't even talk about that here."

Christians make up 3% of Iraq's 26 million mostly Muslim population, the largest group being the 600,000 Chaldeans who are Eastern rite Catholics linked to the Vatican.

Saying the evangelicals were not real missionaries, Delly said they attracted poor youths with displays of money and taking them "out riding in cars to have fun".

"Then they take photos and send them here, to Germany, to the United States and say 'look how many Muslims have become Christian'," he said.

His Beatitude declined to say if the missionaries were a challenge for his church or if US authorities supported them.

Trying to convert Muslims

The idea of converting Muslims has gained some support among US evangelicals since the September 11 attacks, but foreigners who evangelise in Islamic countries must keep very low profiles.

Some were active in Iraq in the first year after Saddam Hussein's overthrow, but deteriorating security since then probably means many have left, Baghdad residents say.

"There may be between 100 and 200 there now," said Todd Johnson, an expert on world Christianity at the evangelical Gordon-Conwell Seminary near Boston, Massachusetts.

"They're mostly aid workers, I don't think there is much regular evangelising," he said.

Many Muslim countries consider Christian missionaries as part of a Western campaign against Islam and punish both the preacher and the apostate Muslim severely. Unnamed Iraqi groups killed at least five evangelical missionaries last year.

Violent attacks

At least 20 Iraqis were also killed in bombings of Christian churches last year as unknown attackers stepped up pressure on non-Muslims there. Christian minorities in Muslim countries usually keep a low profile and do not evangelise.

Four US Baptist missionaries were killed in Iraq in March 2004 and seven South Korean Presbyterians were briefly kidnapped the following month.

That June, an armed group beheaded a South Korean truck driver who was an evangelical Christian.


Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said on Monday, "The government will strike with a fist of iron on every criminal who tries to harm any citizen whether he was a Sunni, a Shiite, an Assyrian, a Kurd or a Turkmen."

Mar Delly had no overall figures for these missions but said he knew of 14 evangelical houses in one central Baghdad neighbourhood alone.

"I don't know where their money comes from," His Beatitude added.

The Patriarch, who vigorously opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq and met French President Jacques Chirac - who also opposed it - on Wednesday, declined to comment on Washington's policy there or whether he had contacts with US authorities.

"Frankly, I try to avoid meeting them as much as possible," he said. "They are the occupiers. The occupied don't want to be occupied. That's human nature."

Delly, 77, ranks as an archbishop in the Catholic Church and is tipped as a possible future cardinal. Eastern rite prelates traditionally do not accept such honours but three - a Copt, an Assyrian and a Maronite - are now "princes of the Church".

Mar Dinkha IV Meets Iranian Officials on Bilateral Talks

Mr. Mohammad Eraqi (center) welcomes His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV (L) to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Photo by Seyyed Mehdi Mir Afzali.

(ZNDA: Tehran)  His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East has been conducting meetings with the officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran since his arrival in Tehran on Friday, 6 May and amid tensions due to Iran's refusal to forgo further development of nuclear program. 

Upon his arrival His Holiness was met by several Assyrian dignitaries and hundreds of admirers at the Mehrabad Airport in Tehran.  His Holiness then met with the Iranian official representative, Mr. Mohammad Eraqi, who welcomed Mar Dinkha to Iran.

His Holiness was a bishop of the Church of the East in Iran in 1976 at the time of his consecration as the Patriarch of the Church of the East in London, England.  Mar Dinkha speaks Farsi (Persian) fluently.

Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani confers with Mar Dinkha last Tuesday evening in Tehran. Photo by Seyyed Mehdi Mir Afzali.

On 6 May His Holiness met with the Expediency Council Chairman, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who recently declared himself as a candidate in the upcoming Iranian presidential elections. 

Last Wednesday Mar Dinkha met with Mr. Qolam-Ali Haddad Adel, Speaker of the Majlis (parliament) and discussed matters of bilateral concerns.  The Honorable Mr. Yonatan Bet-Kolia is the current representative of the Assyrians and Chaldeans in the Majlis.

Earlier, Mr. Haddad Adel met with a 4-member delegation from the Belgian parliament led by the President of the external relations commission of the house, Karel Pinxten, for talks aimed at boosting bilateral parliamentary cooperation.

Mr. Qolam-Ali Haddad Adel is also the head of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Majlis or Iranian Parliament.

Two days prior to Mar Dinkha's meeting with Mr. Haddad Adel, the Beglian delegation met with four Majlis deputies of the religious minorities.

Mar Dinkha IV meets with Mr. Qolam-Ali Haddad Adel, speaker of Majlis. Photo by Seyyed Mehdi Mir Afzali.

The four deputies, including Mr. Bet-Kolia, condemned exaggeration on religious minorities' problems in Iran.  Mr. Bet-Kolia also noted that Assyrians in Iran live peacefully and practice their religious rites in full freedom.

He added, "We have our own churches, as well as our economic, cultural and social associations and in our special schools we teach our own traditions and language".

According to the country's constitution, Majlis deputies from religious minorities have the same power and authority as their Muslim colleagues.

The Constitution of Iran formally recognizes Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians as protected religious minorities who may worship freely and have autonomy over their own matters of personal status (e.g. marriage, divorce, and inheritance). However, members of these groups are subject to legal and other forms of discrimination, particularly in education, government jobs and services, and the armed services. Non-Muslims may not engage in public religious expression and persuasion among Muslims; some also face restrictions on publishing religious material in Persian.

The four deputies reminded the Belgian group that a budget is set by the government in Iran for financial support of religious minorities and the recent judicial reforms indicating country's officials' efforts for the minorities.

The deputies condemned malicious and negative behaviors with Muslims in the Western countries.  However, earlier this month the 2005 Annual Report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom was released in Washington, DC reminding U.S. and European officials of Iran's maltreatment of its non-Moslem citizens.

According to this report over the past 15 years, numerous Evangelical Christians reportedly have been killed at the hands of government authorities and more than a dozen are reported missing or “disappeared.” According to a 2001 report of the UN Special Representative on Iran, some are said to have been convicted of apostasy. Evangelical Christians in Iran continue to be subject to harassment, close surveillance, and imprisonment; many are reported to have fled the country. In the summer of 2004, several Christians in the Mazandaran province in northern Iran were arrested for several days and subsequently eleased. In September, Iranian authorities raided an Evangelical church detaining more than 80 congregants—some were held for days without charge—and imprisoning its pastor, a former military colonel, Hamid Pourmand. Sentenced to three years in prison by a military court in February 2005, Pourmand now faces a second trial before an Islamic court on charges of apostasy, an offense which carries the death penalty.

Belgian parliamentarian Karel Pinxten expressed happiness over being in Iran and said he was satisfied with his talks with Iranian officials.

Nuclear talks between the European Union and the Islamic Republic of Iran could take place in Geneva next Wednesday, EU sources said in Brussels yesterday.

Elsewhere, Iranian Foreign Minister Kaml Kharazzi succeeded in issuing a joint statement by Iran and Iraq during his 3-day trip to Iraq stating that Saddam Hussein was the military agressor of the 1980-88 war between the two countries and of Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.  Iran has said previously it is considering filing a suit against Saddam for invading Iran, which says it is owed billions in war damages.

His Holiness Mar Dinkha is expected to visit the Assyrian churches in the capitol, Tehran, and Urmia (in northwestern Iran).

Mar Aprem Back in India after Visiting London and Dubai, Consecrated Renovated Church in India

(ZNDA: Trichur)  His Excellency Mar Aprem Metropolitan, Archbishop of the Assyrian Church of the East in India returned home in Trichur after completing his travels to the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates last month.  Back in India, last Saturday, 14 May, Mar Aprem consecrated the renovated Mar Mathai Shleeha Church, Marutichal, near Trichur.

Mar Aprem Metropolitan preaching during the consecration service of the Mar Mathai Church , Marutichal near Trichur, Kerala, India.
About 40 priests, deacons, nuns, deaconness of the Church of the East in India standing in front of the altar of the Mar Mathai Shleeha Church, Marutichal after the consecration on Saturday 14 May 2005.

Qurbana in London on 10 April 10

Mar Aprem conducted the Holy Communion (Qurbana Qaddisha) in the Assyrian Church in Hanwell near Ealing, London, England.  The event was well attended by the Assyrians and some Indians.  Mar Aprem celebrated Holy Qurbana in the same church last November.  His Excellency recalled that he conducted an evening prayer in Ealing, London in April 1962, when he was a deacon. There was then neither an Assyrian parish, nor a priest in England.

Qurbana in Dubai on 22 April

Photo taken after Qurbana in Mar Thoma Syrian Church in Jabel Ali, Dubai on Friday 22 April 2005.  Mar Aprem stands in the middle with the Assyrians who atttended the Qurbana. Photo in the centre is the portrait of late Mar Abimalek Timotheus Metropolitan, of the Kelaita family from Mar Bhisho near Urmia, Iran.  Mar Abilamlek Timotheus Metropolitan worked in India for 37 years from 27 February 1908 until his death on 30 April 1945.

Some 80 persons from Kerala and 40 Assyrians from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran attended the services in Dubai. Mar Aprem inaugurated a Mission parish of the Church of the East, subject to the approval of Catholicos Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV. Mar Aprem has obtained the approval and blessing of the Catholicos Patriarch to establish mission parishes in the Persian Gulf region.

Members of the Assyrian Church of the East reside elsewhere in the Gulf region in Kuwait, Muscat, Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.   In Saudi Arabia it is prohibited to build a church.  The Syrian Orthodox Church under the jurisdiction of Mar Zakai Iwas the First has parishes in all these places.

Many of the Indian members of the Assyrian Church of the East are not financially well off as they have to maintain a family back home in Kerala, India.  They find work in the Gulf region after paying huge donations of one to two hundred thousand rupees (nearly $ 5000) to obtain an N.O.C. (No Objection Certificate) to work in the Gulf countries. 

Some members live in the Gulf areas with families and many more keep their families in Kerala.  Since renting a home in Dubai is more expensive than in other areas such as Sharja, more church members live in Sharja.

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News Digest
News From Around the World

UK University Reviews Artefact Loan

Courtesy of al-Jazeera
20 May 2005
By Lawrence Smallman

(ZNDA: London)  A leading international buyer of antiquities is at the heart of a British university inquiry that questions whether part of his multimillion-dollar collection was illegally exported from the Middle East.

University College London set up a committee of inquiry yesterday to question the provenance, or legal ownership, of 650 Aramaic incantation bowls dating from the 5th century AD.

Although Norwegian collector Martin Schoyen is not named in the inquiry, he is on record as having loaned the bowls to the university.

Schoyen, who boasts one of the largest collections of manuscripts to have been assembled in the 20th century, has since faced allegations about how it was acquired.


Martin Schoyen's collection is thought to have 13,500 artefacts including 650 Aramaic incantatino bowls from 5th century AD.

Schoyen loaned the bowls - usually buried under the floor of private houses to protect the inhabitants from harmful demons - to the University College London (UCL) for research and cataloguing, but they may not have been his to loan.

The panel of experts will begin their investigation by finding out how the bowls came to Europe.

Professor Michael Worton, UCL vice-provost, said: "We have established this inquiry because we need to be absolutely clear about the provenance of these bowls, and to satisfy ourselves that they were not removed illegally from their country of origin.

"In addition, we aspire to provide a model for best practice in dealing with the complex cultural issues that can arise from such situations."

"When people buy it [looted antiquites], they create a demand for it”

Atle Omland, a lecturer in archaeology at Oslo University

"Indeed, until recently, most universities have taken a relaxed approach to the acquisition of such objects … but intelligence on the pillaging of archaeological sites has greatly increased and attitudes are changing," he added.

Although the collection was exported from Jordan, its country of origin was almost certainly Iraq, the UCL statement said. And under international law, any and all relics taken out of Iraq after 1991 can only have been exported illegally.

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research in Cambridge, is among the scholars who have questioned the provenance of the material and will sit on the university's investigation.

The committee will go on to audit other collections at the UCL and recommend how the college should deal with future acquisitions of cultural objects.


Schoyen was not available for comment on the inquiry.

Atle Omland, a lecturer in archaeology at Oslo University, welcomed the UCL’s investigation, saying that the material should be seized if it is found to have been taken illegally.

Like other scholars, he dismissed the argument that Schoyen’s collecting passion had helped to save some of the material: "That’s a typical answer collectors have, but when people buy it, they create a demand for it."

Schoyen’s collection also boasts fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Buddhist manuscripts – some of which have been proven to have been illegally removed from Afghanistan.

The investigation has been prompted by allegations against Schoyen in an award-winning documentary by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation made in 2004 by David Hebditch, a British documentary-maker.

The collector complained unsuccessfully to Norway’s press complaints commission and attempted to stop its screening.

Assyrian Doctrine Holds Him to Faith

Courtesy of the Flint Journal
21 May 2005
By George Jaksa

Modern Assyrian Language Guide
Volume I

Tobia Giwargis
(209) 667-6697

88 Pages
U.S. $15.00

(add $2 per book for shipping in the U.S.)

To Order Your Copy Contact:
Assyrian Club of Urhai
Education Committee
P.O. box 577762
Modesto, CA 95357 USA

(ZNDA: Flint)  Earl Smith of Flushing was raised in the Disciples of Christ Church but married an Assyrian in 1950 and converted to the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, where he has become the president of the local church and a walking encyclopedia on the faith.

Smith, 73, a retired General Motors employee, is a 55-year member of Mar Shimun Bar-Sabbai Church, 3112 Lewis St., Flint. He can tell you about the origin of the denomination in the old Assyrian Empire in 33 A.D. during the time of the Apostles to the present, when the worldwide church still speaks the Aramaic language of Jesus.

It was quite a switch for the church leader of Scottish-English descent who with his wife, Anna, raised his six children in the church, half of whom still attend locally.

Q. What do you like about the Assyrian Church of the East?

A. The doctrine. I am not belittling anybody else and their beliefs, but our doctrine makes sense to me. That's why I have been there all these years.

Q. With all your knowledge, you must read a lot about your faith.

A. I do. That includes reading about the history of Assyrians and where they live and a book on "What Language Did God Speak?" as well as a lot of information from the Internet. I try to keep current on the latest books.

Q. In what language is the Church of the East Bible written?

A. It has changed over the years but now you can get a version where each line is written in three languages - Aramaic, Assyrian and English. The earliest writings were on clay tablets with the first Bible dating to 464 A.D. Lines in books in Aramaic are printed right to left and you read them from the back to the front of the book.

Q. Is the church growing?

A. Although we don't have as many at our local church, the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East is growing in various parts of the world. Ground was just broken April 17 for a new church in Warren.

Q. How about Mar Shimun Bar-Sabbai Church?

A. We have about 45 families and recently added four families. It's a lot less than when the church was started in 1923, but some have married and moved away or left because of jobs. And we have lost members through death.

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Surfer's Corner
Community Events


Syriac Orthodox Bishop to Join Turkish Janissary Band in New York

Courtesy of Zaman
19 May 2005
By Emrah Ulker

Turkish Janissary Band will perform today in New York at the Turkish Parade.

(ZNDA: Istanbul)  A janisarry band from Harbiye Military Museum gave a concert before the 24th Turkish Culture and Turkish American Day Festival Parade at Battery Park New York. Americans and tourists watched the show with a great deal of interest.

The Band first performed at the Korean Monument and later at the monument built following the 9/11 attacks at the site of the Twin Towers.

Various association and society representatives will attend the Turkish Parade to be held today, Saturday, May 21.

The Syriac bishop from Mardin, Turkey will also join the parade on the Madison Street along with folk dance and music groups in addition to the Ottoman janissary band. It is expected that members of the Syriac community will join the parade this year as congregations from the New York area. Meanwhile, the first American army band, the Military Band of Connecticut, will also take part in the shows.

State Ministers Besir Atalay and Mehmet Aydin will represent Turkey during the parade and it is expected that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Adviser, Egemen Bagis, who lived in the US for 17 years, will accompany the dignitaries.

The Turkish Parade is organized by the Federation of Turkish-American Associations (FTAA). According to information submitted by FTAA President Ata Erim, a Turkish flag will also be run up this evening at the Bowling Green Park on Wall Street. The traditional Turkish Day Ball will be held on Friday, May 20, at the Marriot Marquise Hotel located in Times Square.

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Columnist Corner
with Ivan Kakovitch

An Overture without a Symphony

A Political Realm

"Whatever can be spoken or thought of necessarily 'is', since it is possible for it to be, but it is not possible for nothing to 'be'." [Parmenides].

Mr. George W. Bush, the U.S. President, inadvertently opted for that last part of the maxim, "it is not possible for nothing to 'be'."

A personal vendetta, a political riddance, a show of force, a mesmerizing spasm of chauvinism, and perhaps even an outlandish euphoria of dogmatically tantalizing Republican attitude in a response to Nine-Eleven tragedy, entrapped Mr. Bush's storm-trooper philosophy, thus, launching his war of liberation of Iraq, rather than the war on esoteric misconception, that is against the sources of the predators, or real perpetrators.

After a devastatingly tragic event of Nine-Eleven, any White House occupant would strike at any outpost accommodating partisans and ideologues of this heinous act. So the President of the U.S., like his predecessors, former Presidents, Reagan and Bush [father], had to hammer, in a strongest possible way, at any tinhorn disagreeing with his policies of revenge. Hence, just like his predecessors, that sent the Armed Forces to Grenada and Panama, President Bush dispatched the U.S. military might to remove the despot of Iraq.

The Gulf War of 1991, planned, instigated, and led by the U.S. Armed Forces, under the command of the 41st President of the United States, Mr. George Walker Bush, the father of Mr. George W. Bush, the 43rd President, was an 'Overture', or perhaps even an Intermezzo. It had the international support, and the territory of Iraq was prone for all the armies to march right through, all the way to Baghdad. Once there, the harsh regime of President Saddam Hussein would definitely fall, and a total democracy, perhaps, in the shade of the Middle Eastern philosophy, could be established.

But, Mr. Bush, the father, opted to stop short of deposing the dictatorship of Iraq, and recalled the more than one half million Americans, assembled there, back home.

Mr. Bush, the father, composed and conducteed an 'Overture Without the Symphony'.

The White House devising a policy of dichotomization, acted harshly and with the highest sense of perseverance, in subduing a nation, namely Iraq, to rubble and infamy, solely, for the latter's political anachronistic behavior.

Today's elucidation of Iraq conforming to the rule of the civilized world is a total misconception, a wrenched misdeed and an unabashed smoke screen.


Sunday, June 26
2:00 - 7:00 pm
at the
Assyrian American Association of Southern California
5901 Cahuenga Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 506-7577

Free to Public

Rare classic books, Bibles, Maps, Syriac books, Contemporary

History books and documents will be on exhibit.

Authors and Book vendors are welcome to participate. Free space will be provided.

Applications for upcoming AAASC's Paul Alex Youhanan Scholarships will be available.

Iraq 'As It Is'

The theory of 'ought to be' is just that, a theory. Theoretically speaking, Iraq is a mere pariah among the nations of the world. Without solidly entrenched centralized government, disciplined armed forces, and haphazardly coerced governing body of ecclesiasts and ethnicities, is exactly what a government, a solid government that is, 'ought not to be'.

The regimen of a centralized form of government based on democratic ideals and democratic platforms have been thrust into the abyss of caveman's rule of order, where all that is not supposed to happen does, and all that is prescribed is unavailable.

The three main factions, the Arabs -- Shi'a and Sunni, the Kurds, along with a smaller entity, namely the Assyrians, are vying for a variety of degrees of dominance. The latter, however, is merely seeking legitimacy over a part of the Province of Ninewa, of its indigenous ancestry, Assyria, in the form of a Geographical Autonomous Region, as a parallel with its neighbor, the Kurds, who have attained their own Geographical Autonomous Region.

This surge to dominate is not evenly perceived by the ethnic related nationals, as it is by the parotid Arabs of their subliminal, however, varying faith to Islamic order.

A Political Paradox

A subterfuge to coerce all the forces of Iraq into one pivotal society in its progress towards a certain degree of democracy has not even been taken out of the blueprint context. It has been drawn, but not executed, and probably never will be. The reason is simply due to the fact that the main ingredient has been either obscured or neglected in that process.

The U.S. is not dealing with a distinct nationality or a distinct religious inconsistencies in its undertaking in Iraq. The Arabs, although of same ethnic origin and background, place their religious inclinations somewhat above national heritage. And, as though that is not enough, there are the Kurds, and to a lesser degree the Assyrians, who are firmly declaring their national heritage above all else, including religion.

So we have a religion versus religion; a national versus a national; a national versus religion, and, nationals versus religions.

Ever since its inception, Iraq political and economic scene has been dominated by one of the factions, the Sunni. Today, amidst the tragic deployment of its incessant support for the Baath Regime, for the past three decades, the Sunni power has been usurped by their religious nemesis, Shi'a, but, even more so, by their other national nemesis, the Kurds.

Bolstered by the occupation and the presence of the U.S. led foreign troops, both Shi'a and the Kurds have been bestowed with a hegemony of power, both political and geographical, to the extent that the Sunni, on one hand, and the Assyrians, on the other have been lambasted as derelicts, in their own indigenous land.

"The great wars of history … are the outcome, direct or indirect, of the unequal growth of nations." [Mackinder]. Supplant 'war' with a political inertia of malcontent, and 'nation' with the Sunni and the Assyrians, et voilà, we have an accomplished dramatic scenario of messianic proportions.

Iraq is a society of diverse nations, diverse backgrounds, diverse philosophies, diverse cultures, diverse tastes, and diverse religions. It was shaped as an empiric society by sheer forces of occupation, from its birth to this last occupation. Hence, since the society was coerced rather than desired to function as a single entity, Iraq is fixed in its character and is incapable of any great change in its mode of existence.

A Political Coup

The U.S. occupation forces staged a political coup, and shoved it onto the throats of the Iraq society, without the slightest of concepts of vision and comprehension of the people of Iraq. It is not enough for the U.S. forces to entail their dogmatic theories of freedom and democracy as merely lawyers defining rights and remedies. The realities of evenness; righteous attributes of rights, both national and ecclesiastic, political and geographical; enabling mutually equal growth and opportunity for all the citizens alike, and seeking a cure rather than administering a prescribed dose, is essential, however, Iraq has been rendered as an incapable entity with certain phantasm of evil and malevolence, discredited and discarded, but not yet buried.

The U.S. foreign policy towards Iraq has been that of an idealist rather than that of a pragmatist. So far, the fragmented societies of Iraq have been treated on two-prong basis.

A part of Iraq fragmented society, namely the Kurds and the Shi'a have been compensated with self-realization. Whereas the other third of the Iraq community, namely the Sunni and the Assyrians, have been degraded to a temperament of self-denial, and to proceed aimlessly to mend for themselves any which way they can, and alone, if not subservient to the Shi'a and the Kurds, one one hand, and to the Kurds, Sunni, and the Shi'a, respectively, on the other.

So much for the preamble of the American Declaration of Independence, all men are created equal and endowed with the rights of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But then, "[E]ven the so-called Democracy of Athens and Platonic Utopia were based on domestic and industrial slavery."

The U.S. occupation forces' distribution of powers in Iraq society is the act of an organizer, whose responsibilities lie directly and solely in essential strategy, whereas, if the U.S. occupation was that of restoring democracy in Iraq, then it would act ethically, and would reassess its geographic, political and economic policies, thus, totally disassociating itself from the de facto Federalism and the Kurdish and the Shi'a militarism that is reigning today in Iraq.

Undoubtedly, and in time, the insurgency, terrorism and mayhem will come to an end in Iraq. The recalcitrant phenomena of arriving to a peaceful solution, however, will be running a mock, and at a more precipitous cornerstone of ambiguities and bloodshed, since that insurgency, and that same terrorism and mayhem will be replaced with a horrifying reign of terror.

Worst of all, this reign of terror will not be conducted within the borders of Iraq alone, since it will invite its neighbors, Syria, Turkey, Iran and perhaps, even Saudi Arabia to try to grab as much territory from the crumbling Iraq State, when cessation and partition become the order of the day there.

Resonant Conclusive Notes

  • Launching the Iraq war under the pretext of WMD first, and then justifying the war under the pretext of democratization, is not systematic with the principles of a democrat who thinks in principles, be they -- according to his idiosyncrasy -- ideals, prejudices, or economic laws.
  • By bestowing a forced and dictated democracy of the powerful political and national iconoclasts, namely the Shi'a and the Kurds, over the disenfranchised and decimated religious and indigenous other third of the society of Iraq, namely the Sunni and the Assyrians, respectively, the problem of Iraq is not solved. Iraq is merely laid down under the symbol or a sign of solution.
  • Eventually, the brutal regime, like all others, would have perished one day, one way or another, but the U.S. foreign policymakers were zealous in their rush to make history, without waiting for history of being made.
  • In its rush to domesticate the Iraq society, and to eradicate the evil roots of dictatorship thereof, the U.S. State Department, along with the Pentagon analysts, behaved as though they were the creators of the trend of democracy and its ideals, disregarding the fact that they are merely components of the democratic trend and its merits.
  • At press time, the U.S. efforts in Iraq is in shambles, just as Iraq is in shambles, and its citizens in despair for law and order. The horizon is bleak, and the ground is inundated with the blood of tens of thousands of mostly innocent citizens.
  • This is phenomena of perfecting the means, while neglecting ends.
  • This is an 'Overture Without A Symphony' ad continuum, from father to son.
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Thank You
The following individuals contributed to the publication of this issue:

Fred Aprim (California)
Dr. Matay Arsan (Holland)
David Chibo (Australia)
Aprim Shapera (United Kingdom)

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