Volume IV, Issue 38
Shvadt  1, 6748                                                           February 1, 1999

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T H I S   W E E K  I N   Z E N D A

The Lighthouse Semiramis- The Legendary Queen of Assyria
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain  U.S. & British Planes Attack Mosul
News Digest Archbishop of Canterbury Visits Christians of Syria & Lebanon
Dr. Sebastian Brock Awarded St. Ephrem the Syrian Medal
Surfs Up No Letters Received!
Surfers Corner Coordination Committee For National Issues
Conference Announcement:  Redefining Christian Identity
Ancient Christian Monastery Attacked in Palestine
Calendar of Events Why is the U.S. Killing Children in Iraq?
Assyrian Surfing Posts Assyrians in UNPO
Subscription to AssyriaLink
1646 A.D. Map of Turkey (mentions Assyrians)
The Khaboris Manuscript:  Ancient Aramaic New Testament
Pump up the Volume Careful & Awake
Back to the Future Ashurnasirpal's Huge Party & the Closing of Nisibin
Literatus Thanksgiving Dinner
This Week in History Agha Petros
Bravo Terrence Malick

All blue links throughout this issue are hyperlinks to other sections on this page or featured websites.



Famed for her beauty, strength, wisdom, voluptuousness, and alluring power, she is said to have built Babylon with its hanging gardens, erect many other cities, conquer Egypt and much of Asia including Ethiopia, and lead an unsuccessful attack on India where she nearly lost her life.  The only complete significant documentation found intact about Semiramis is recorded in the historical writings of Diodorus Siculus (Library of History), a Greek historian about the same time as Julius Caesar.  Semiramis (Assyrian Shamiram), by many opinions, is believed to be totally fictitious and never really did exist, however, there does remain a three-side standing wall between the ancient old and new palace where a detailed etching of a curious hunting-piece, in which Semiramis, on horseback is throwing her javelin at a leopard, while her husband, Ninus is piercing a lion. It is near this last palace that the famous Hanging Gardens were, and so commonly celebrated by both the Greeks and Italians.  It is a puzzling question that an ancient historian of stature and qualifications like Diodorus, would write a document that is built around a rather fictitious and frugal character with very little, or in that matter, of any authentic exploitable structure, unless there was something lost in the fragmentation of Diodorus' writings that we at present are not familiar with.

Semiramis, is the Greek name, originating from a real canonized queen "Sammu-ramat", who was the mother of the Assyrian king Adad-Nirari III (reigned 810-783 B.C.) and wife of Shamshi-Adad V (823-811B.C.) who was the son of Shalmaneser III (859-824 B.C.). Her stela (memorial stone shaft) has been found at Ashur, while an inscription at Calah (Nimrud) shows her to have been dominant there after the death of her husband, before the rule of her son. Her regency was assumed roughly between 810-805 B.C., in the minority of her son Adad-Nirari III.

As the story unfolds, it begins with king Ninus (Greek: tentatively Ramman-Nirari) of Assyria, who builds a great city in honor of his name, and the city becomes Nineveh (Roman: Ninus) the capital of the Assyrian empire. He was a great warrior who subdued the greater parts of Asia, becoming the first great king, and conqueror of the ancient world of his time, and as Diodorus writes...there were none other before him...that of which he knew of. If this be true then some scholars would place him approximately about 2182 B.C., which would be in proximity to Nimrod of the Bible, ruler of the land of Shinar (Sumer) as outlined in Genesis 10:10-11.   The Hebrew historian Flavius Josephus, in the Antiquities of the Jews, depicts Nimrod as a tyrannical leader, demanding complete dominion and control over the people.

The legendary king Ninus, a name perhaps derived from the Assyrian nunu, meaning "fish", was the son of Belus, also known as Cronus (Belus, originated from the Babylonian Bel, which evolved into the Canaanite Baal, and later identified with the Greek god Cronus). He took as his ally Ariaeus king of Arabia, and with him conquered all Asia except for India. At the siege of Bactria, he ran against resistance, however with the aid of one of his viziers wife, he was able to subdue this region, and eventually marry this woman who later became the Great Queen.

This legend that has branched out into many other cultures, and which has found its ruling into different mythical disguises, now seems to be preserved under the Syrian version by Diodorus Siculus who drew largely from Ctesias of Cnide. He tells us that in Ascalon, a part of Syria, a certain goddess was said to live in the lake near the town. This goddess, Derceto, sometimes also known as Atargatis, had the upper portion of a woman but her lower parts were that of a fish (in other versions she was simply a beautiful priestess-maiden...total woman). It was told that Aphrodite (Assyrian: Ashtaroth), the goddess of love, who bore a grudge against her, made her fall violently in love with a young Syrian called Caystrus by whom she gave birth to a daughter. After the latter's birth, Derceto in her shame and guilt exposed her child, did away with the father and hid herself at the bottom of the lake. By an act of miracles, the doves found the infant and brought up the child, stealing the milk and, later, the cheese which she needed from nearby shepherds.

The shepherds finally discovered the little babe, who was of great beauty, hidden amongst the Acacia shrubs and brought her to their chief Simmas of the royal herds, who now took her as his own to raise. He gave her the name Semiramis, which means in Syrian, "the one who comes from the doves [Sumats]." As she grew to the age of a nubility, one of the king's advisors and general, Onnes, (other titles use Menon) was ordered to inspect the flock's when he noticed her surpassing beauty. Captivated by her splendor, innocence, and charm, he took her back with him to Nineveh and immediately married her. They had two children, supposedly twins..Hyapate and Hydaspe. They seemed very happy and Semiramis, being very clever, had given her husband such good advice that he succeeded in all his endeavors.

At about this same time King Ninus, who was ruler in Assyria, organized and expedition against neighboring Bactria. Knowing that this would not be an easy conquest he collected and army of considerable size. After an initial setback he managed to overwhelm the country by the sheer number of his troops and only the capital, Bactra, held out against him. Needing the aide of Onnes, he sent for him, however Onnes, missing his beloved wife asked her to join him. As she watched the battle and after careful study she made several remarks about the way in which the siege was being conducted. Noticing that the attack was being directed from the plain, while both attackers and defenders were ignoring the citadel, she ask to take charge of a group of mountain soldiers, have them scale the cliffs which defended the site and turn the flank of the enemy defenses. The besieged soldiers were terrified and solemnly did surrender. Ninus was magnificently engulfed with admiration for the courage and skill Semiramis displayed. From the first moment that Ninus perused on her winsome face and her astonishing beauty, he had found in her a charm his heart was powerless to resist and he was half subdued already to immediately resolve to have her as his wife and queen. He offered to give Onnes his own daughter Sosana in exchange for Semiramis but Onnes refused. Ninus then threatened to destroy Onnes by gouging his eyes out, whereupon in fear, despair and agony, he surrendered to his kings demand and unfortunately put an end to his life by hanging himself. Ninus then succeeded in marrying Semiramis without difficulty and they had a son they named Ninyas.  Ninus, a much older paramour and extremely subjugating would burn with an enormous jealous rage if ever another man by chance happen to gaze upon her presence.

Semiramis' reign endured approximately forty-two years, while others accounts assume that this dominion was equally shared of which only the last five years - after the death of king Ninus - Semiramis ruled alone as queen until her son Ninyas collaborated the scepter and took the throne from her. According to another account Semiramis may have become bitter and vengeful, tricked her husband by obtaining permission to rule over Asia for five days just to avail herself the opportunity to cast the king into a dungeon, or as is also related, to put him to death, and thus attain the sovereign power for herself. As G.J. Whyfe-Melville states in Sarchedon: A legend of the Great Queen, that she forever carried an amulet at her breast (the shape of a dove in the form of an arrow) given to her by Onnes, and perpetually cherished as to his memory. Others conclude that it was the Prince Ninyas she had imprisoned shortly after the Kings death for masquerading as the queen in public and causing social disorder and disgrace (for their resemblance were strikingly similar). Whatever the case, her fame threw into the shadows that of Ninus; and later ages loved to tell of her marvelous deeds and her heroic achievements.

She began her reign by building a splendid mausoleum in honor of Ninus at Nineveh itself on the Euphrates plain as outlined in the edition of Pyramus and Thisbe (Herodotus). She then went full force on a building campaign and decided to have a large, immaculate city built for herself not far from Nineveh. This was the new city Babylon. It was marked out on horseback on the river bank of the Euphrates, and according to Diodorus, Semiramis employed about two million workman she accumulated from all parts of her imperial realm to complete this task. The perimeter of the walls alone were 66 kilometers long and the width were so wide that 6 harnessed chariots could ride abreast along these walls. They were approximately 100 meters high, though some historians stated that their height was greatly exaggerated and were much less. The city was defended by 250 towers, and the Euphrates, which ran through the middle of the city, was crossed by a bridge 900 meters long that was lined with awesome quays for 30 kilometers.

At each end of the bridge was built a fortified castle, and the queen's residence. They were linked by a subterranean passage under the river, which was diverted in order to carry this out. It was in the citadel of the western castle that the queen had her famous hanging gardens built. However, according to the actual historical account this garden was built on the request of a much later queen of Persian origin, who asked her husband, the Chaldean ruler Nebuchadnezzar, for a representation of the "paradises," a duplication of the vast pleasure-gardens of her homeland in Persia. Diodorus tells us that they were created by superimposing square terraces one on top of the other, like the steps in and amphitheater. Each of these terraces rested on vaulted freestone galleries, covered with a thick layer of lead, on top of which was put rich soil. Inside these galleries, like a number of porticos opening onto a terrace, the royal apartments had been laid out. A system of hydraulic machines brought the water from the river to feed the gardens.

She later traveled further into the land of Asia and built a vast park opposite Mount Bagistan, a number of ornate fountains at Ecbatana, and a reputation that far surpassed any other female warrior for the period of this time. Semiramis was said to have been responsible for many ancient cities on the banks of the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers, and also for erecting many of the most unique and wonderful monuments and sites in all of Asia. Several of these major extraordinary works in the Middle East, were a bit extreme and astonishing for just one person, which became current in later ages; and the authors being unknown, were ascribed by popular tradition to credit these feats to this mysterious queen. Besides conquering Media, she subdued Egypt and a great part of Ethiopia, then quite weary she regressed home to Bactra, the site of her first exploit. While she was in Egypt she consulted an oracle of Ammon - exploring foreknowledge of her future. Instead, the oracle gave her the prediction about the time of her unusual departure. The oracle replied that she would come to her end when her son Ninyas would conspire against her and try to take her life.

When she returned back to Bactra she began making plans to invade India, and for several years she made elaborate preparations, only to become the most grievous mistake of her notorious but flamboyant reign. She raised a gigantic army and succeeded in crossing the Indus, but her troops were soon put to flight and herself suffered an injury that nearly cost her, her life. It was just too insidious of this strategy to match horse and chariots in battle with the size of ferocious, angry war-elephants. During the activity of battle she was severely wounded in one arm by an arrow, and a javelin that pierced through her back from the mighty king Stabrobates of India. She just scarcely managed to escape by crossing the Indus river, drawing her sword and destroying the bridge she had ordered to assemble, since her enemies would not dare pursue after her across the river.

It was not long after her recovery that her son Ninyas along with the eunuchs of the palace plotted against her. Ninyas had always been a troublesome burden for the queen, as in her confession she mentions that she had done so much for him, and received nothing in return. "I was a good mother to him, as any sun-burned peasant who brings her babe into the vineyard on her back; and will you believe, he cared more for a rough word or a rude jest from the Great King than for my fondest caress, my smile, my tears. When I have pleaded with him, even to his own advantage, he has turned his back on me, and laughed outright. He loved the meanest dancing-girl out of the market better than the mother to whom he owed his life, his beauty, his favor with the Great King." As the legend follows, Semiramis reigned an approximate of 42 years then turned the sovereignty of her rule over to her son Ninyas and clandestinely disappeared (at the age of 62 years). Legends were told and flourished throughout the ages that she took flight towards heaven in the form of a dove from which the fabulous nature of this narrative is apparent. That Semiramis became affiliated with the Syrian goddess associated with the name of Astarte of Ascalon, Anaitis of Persia, or Astoreth of Canaan, which were handed down from the earlier renditions of the Semitic Ishtar of Babylon; originating from the earlier profile of the goddess Innana of Sumer - to whom the dove was sacred. Another story that began circulating in Armenia about the "Khaldis-gods" was the mysterious Saris, an abbreviated form of the old Babylonian Ishtar, for it is said that Saris masquerades as Semiramis in the early legends of Indo-Armenia.

Moses of Khorene tells us how the Armenian king Ara was wooed by the Assyrian queen Semiramis. Ara refused her offers and eventually Semiramis marched into Armenia at the head of an army to force him to accept her. A fierce battle was fought, in which Ara was slain, and the Assyrian queen flung herself on the corpse in an agony of grief calling upon the gods to restore his life. And the story went that the gods of Aralez did restore his life. This tale is very similar to the Sumerian Gilgamish refusing Ishtar's affections in the Epic of Gilgamish, or the slaying, death and resurrection of Tammuz and the intervention of Ishtar to rescue him from death in the Babylonian elegy. A story that originated out of the early fertility rites, and lamentation worship of Innana and Damuzi from the ancient Sumerian legend..

Is it possible that he was at the advent of creating a document, or rather a novel with all the mortal characteristics that combine all the attributes of composite human nature; that of beauty, innocence, romance, desire, and love, along with alluring power, lust, manipulation, seduction, greed, betrayal, and eventually a moral twist that leads to an adherent saddening end? In any case Semiramis, the most beautiful chastely maiden that arose to become the all powerful, nobelist monarch in the mysterious Land of Shinar is quite a compelling, courageous saga that should be enjoyed by many.

From an article by George E. Foryan
To download a complete copy of this article CLICK HERE (in Microsoft Word format)



(ZNAP- Washington)  Seven missiles and bombs launched from the US and British warplanes damaged Iraqi air defenses in southern Iraq yesterday, as Baghdad called the UN Security Council initiative to review the eight-year embargo a "procrastination." A missile was fired at an anti-aircraft battery near the city of Mosul in the north.  This was the second attack launched last week as part of an intense military campaign unleashed on "no-fly" zones in northern and southern Iraq since the end of December's Operation Desert Fox.   The no-fly zones, set up after the 1991 Gulf War, aim to protect Kurds in the north and Shi'ite Moslems in the south from attack by government forces. The warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait carried out the raids on the south while the warplanes involved in the northern raid came from Turkey.  The ruling Baath party newspaper Ath-Thawra vilified Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as "poisoned daggers" being used by the United States to provide an Arab cover for a new military onslaught and told them to renounce their policy of "submission" to the United States.  Babel Newspaper, owned by President Saddam's eldest son Uday, accused the United States of trying to impede initiatives by France and other countries to ease the economic sanctions.  Britain also Sunday beefed up its presence in the region with the arrival in the Gulf of the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible and its battle group.

Map courtesy of Digital Wisdom



(ZNAF: Damascus)  The Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, arrived in Damascus last Thursday for a three-day visit, the first by a head of the Anglican church to Syria.  He was welcomed at the airport by Bishop Riad Abu Assal, the top Anglican in the Middle East country. Carey was invited by the Middle
East Council of Churches and by the Syrian government.  "Above all, I am here to listen and learn from the experiences of Moslems and Christians in Syria," Carey said.  "I am convinced that the world needs ever deepening relationships between Christianity and Islam and the particular experience of the two faiths here in Syria has a lot to teach us in the wider context," he added.  Carey also met with the leaders of the Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox and Melkite churches. He left for Lebanon yesterday.

In Syria Carey criticized Israeli policy towards Jerusalem and said the holy city should belong to all three religions associated with it.  "Jerusalem belongs to us all. For Christians and Moslems and Jews it is a holy place, and we believe that all religions should be able to worship freely in Jerusalem," he told journalists.
"I am a Christian leader concerned about Christians in the Holy Land but also I respect the freedom of Moslems and Jews as well," he said.  He said he was greatly impressed by the coexistence of  Christians and Moslems in Syria, and called for further dialogue between the different religious communities.

Yesterday Carey met Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, and discussed the Middle East situation with him.
He was invited to the region by the Middle East Council of Churches.  In Lebanon he will meet the Lebanese president, Emile Lahoud, speaker of parliament Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Salim Hoss.
He is also scheduled to meet leaders of different Christian communities in Lebanon at the house of Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, head of the Maronite church, the biggest and most influential Lebanese Christian group. During his visit here, Carey is due to make two speeches, one on Christian-Moslem dialogue, and the other on the role of the church in the third millennium. Carey leaves Lebanon for home on Thursday.


According to the most recent Patriarchal Journal of the Syrian Orthodox Church Professor Sebastian  Brock of Oxford University has been awarded the Medal of St. Ephrem the Syrian for his contributions to greater understanding of the Syriac language, churches and Syriac studies in general.  This award was presented at the Mor Ephrem Theological Seminary in Damascus, Syria.

Sebastian Brock is an esteemed scholar of Syriac studies, an editor of the Journal of Syriac Studies (Hugoye), and has authored several books.  He is Reader in Aramaic and Syriac Studies Oxford University and the author of many books and articles on Syriac literature and subjects.  In 1987 he published a book entitled Holy Women of the Syrian Orient in which he described the active role of women in the daily activities and the development of the Syrian churches.  Professor Brock's other books include:

Sebastian Brock's books include:
Hymns on Paradise by St. Ephrem the Syrian (translation)
A Classified Bibliography of the Septuagint
The Luminous Eye : The Spiritual World Vision of Saint Ephrem
The Seventh Century in the West Syrian Chronicles
Studies in Syriac Christianity : History, Literature and Theology
Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life


No Letters Were Received Last Week!



We are honored to introduce to you the "Coordination Committee for National Issues of Assyrians/Suryoye".  The committee was formed in December 1998 to deal with the mounting
international (European in particular) interest and concern over the human rights and the rights of the small people (minorities) in the Middle Eastern countries where our homeland exists.

It is a fact that we feel and practice it every day that there is growing concern and interest in the political future of our homeland countries, especially Turkey and Iraq.  We should act before the time is over.
The political actions and procedure will not wait for us. We should run for them.  It is not necessarily that there will be or will not be a conference on minorities in coming future to work for it.  If we are prepared we can create the opportunity and ask the public and official institutions and governments to recognize the genocides practiced against our people. Let us have advantage from Armenian experience.

The committee is opened for all parties, institutions, organizations, churches, persons, etc.

In the last period, the committee held three productive meetings to discuss the structure of the committee and the means to carry its work.

An executive committee was formed. The following are the executive committee members:

We were appointed for communications.  The committee members started already to collect a good quantity of materials and documents.  The committee started contacts with the professional and scholars  in its field:

The committee will start relations with the organizations of other small-oppressed people, Armenians in particular.  The committee plans to have professional lawyers to advise its work.  The draft of the constitution of the committee is being written and distributed to the committee members, it is expected to be adopted in next meeting, planned on 6 February 1999.  The constitution was given to other Assyrian personalities to comment on it. The draft can be passed upon request. Of course the final version of
the constitution will be translated and issued publicly.

Dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to help the committee to achieve its noble goals. Your help is appreciated and welcomed.  We expect you to give your comments, advises besides help on collecting the
documents and later analyzing them.  Our appeal to ALL of you is to contribute with whatever contribution that can help the committee.

Special appeals:

1- To our brothers the directors of Assyrian sites in Internet to bring the issue and the communiqué in their sites.
2- To our scholars, historians and professors to give us their addresses to keep in contact with them.
3- A list of the reference books and researches that can help the committee.

Please don't hesitate to discuss and comment on the issue publicly or privately.

Thanks in advance,

Aboud Zeituone
Rev. Emanuel Youkhana
29 January 1999


    CONSIDERING that the end of the twentieth century is approaching and that now there is an increasing international concern - both officially and publicly - about those fundamental subjects and values such as human rights, civilised society, democratic values and practices as well as peoples’ rights;
    AND CONSIDERING the mounting international interest being taken, both officially and publicly and especially in the last period, in the region of the Near East, its political conditions and future - insofar as this interest is meant towards human rights and the rights of small peoples in that vital region of the world;
    FURTHER CONSIDERING that our Assyrian/Suryoye people counts among the fundamental constituents of the national, educational and cultural structure of this area historically, actually and in future and that any vision of the future of this region cannot but take into consideration the situation of our people as well as the aggressions and annihilating assaults it has been subjected to by the Ottoman, Turkish, Iraqi and Kurdish governments and/or controlling forces in modern history;
    FURTHER CONSIDERING that in this century, in 1923 in Lausanne, already once our people had missed the chance to build its future in freedom and that today we are just about to face a second chance which necessitates us to do intensive preparations and to define and submit our demands towards the world opinion in a clear-cut-way in order to be able and in the position to utilise this opportunity in an effective and fruitful way;
    AND IN ORDER TO ENSURE that our people will be present to raise its own and genuine voice in any mechanism that deals with the above mentioned issues, be it a legal court or an international conference or any other possible device conceivable;
    THEREFORE NOW the “Co-ordination Committee for National Issues of the Assyrian/Suryoye People” has been established.

The committee includes different forces and organisations of our people alongside with numerous independent personalities while the door to participation and affiliation will stay open to the remaining organisations and individuals of our people; now in this, the differences in naming (Assyrian, Suryoye, Chaldean, Aramaic) do not and will not pose any obstacle to committee affiliation and/or to the fulfillment of its duties and the achievement of its goals – just on the contrary : we regard this as a very chance for mounting a concerted action and an effective co-operation by bundling and focussing the forces of our people.  The set goals encompass:

- To establish a documentation of the acts of assaults and aggressive hostility as well as of oppressive and unjust tyranny which within the last hundred years of modern history until today has been inflicted upon our people in the areas where they live in their homeland, Beth Nahrayn, by the governments and powers controlling it, i.e. the Ottoman, Turkish, Iraqi and Kurdish ones.

- To prepare a legal file on these aggressions and to submit it to international competent official and public organisations and bodies with the aim of winning from these organisations international recognition of the reality and full truth of the attacks and practices of collective annihilation that our people has been subjected to at the hand of the aforementioned governments, sides and powers.  Achieving this goal, however, will not come true without the contribution and participation of the members of our people, its organisations and its personalities.  We call upon you through this communiqué to lend your support by way of:

- Presenting written and photographic documents (incl. video etc.) regarding these massacres and aggressions;
- Documenting and submitting eye-witness accounts from members of our people who became contemporaries to those assaults and aggressions and lived to experience them;
- Informing the committee on any (re-)sources containing those documents and testimonies;
- Bringing to the committee's notice members of our people who were contemporary witnesses of the assaults (both the past and the recent ones).

Any relevant information and contributions can be delivered and submitted to the committee via any of the organisations represented in the committee, or by contacting it directly at the phone and fax numbers or email address as given below.

The Co-ordination Committee for National Issues of Assyrians/Suryoye:

Contact Phone  +(49) 0171-52 1 5772
Fax                  +(49) 06122-99 38 89
E-mail:             Nohadraya@Wiesbaden.netsturf.de


Christian Cultural Strategies Since the Rise of Islam
April 7-11, 1999

Next year, April 7 to 11, 1999, a symposium will take place at Groningen University (Groningen, The Netherlands), which is jointly organized by scholars of Groningen and Leiden University. Its main theme concerns the ways in which the various Christian communities of the Middle East through the ages defined their identity in an predominantly Muslim environment.

                     This overall theme will be dealt with from four different perspectives:

                          Christian apologetic literature vis-a-vis Islam.
                          Christian perception of history.
                          Common motifs in Christian and Islamic Literature.
                          Language, Literature, and Identity.

These four themes will cover the period from the earliest encounters between Christians and Muslims in the seventh century till the growing influence of the Christian West on Muslim-Christian relations in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Due attention will be given to the specific characteristics of the different Christian communities in the region, that is, to the Arabic-speaking, Armenian-speaking and Aramaic-speaking groups. Scholars working in these various fields will contribute to the symposium.

The organizers invite those who would like to stay informed about this symposium to contact Dr. Heleen Murre-van den Berg (hlmurre@rullet.leidenuniv) or Dr. Jan van Ginkel (J.J.van.Ginkel@let.rug.nl).

NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research)
KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences)
PEETERS Publishers, Belgium


Salah Ta'mari
Palestinian Legislative Council
Bethlehem District Representative
Palestinian National Authority
PO Box 611 Bethlehem                                                                                        24 January, 1999

Telephone     972-2-647-0370
Fax               972-2-647-0369

Today our peoples' happiness at the long awaited rain that fell in recent days was washed away as Israeli settlers from Efrat suddenly showed up with several huge bulldozers and began digging into the muddy land belonging to Palestinians in Artas and Southern Bethlehem. They were armed to the teeth and threatened to shoot anyone who tried to stop them as they slashed into Palestinian soil, including the land of Artas' ancient, historic monastery.

I found myself standing knee deep in the mud of the village of Artas, at the side of a young Palestinian man, Issa Senad, praying to God for help - help to save his few dunums of land from these Israelis. It's little wonder he turned to God for help. Our numerous, earthly appeals to save our Bethlehem district from being swallowed up by surrounding, expanding settlements have repeatedly fallen on deaf ears.

The nuns and the peasants called out, pleading for the bulldozers to stop, but their voices were drowned out as the monstrous machines unearthed olive and fig trees. The settlers finally left at sunset, but we are sure they will return, even if what they are doing is not only immoral but also illegal.

It's not surprising that the settlers think they can rip us from our land without a second thought, considering the actions of this Israeli government. This government has allowed settlements like Efrat to expand at an increasingly alarming rate and approved construction of scores of new by-pass roads, resulting in further confiscation of Palestinian land and demolition of Palestinian homes. I am also sure the settlers plan to take advantage of the current preoccupation with the upcoming Israeli elections to create further facts on the ground.

It's scandalous to have the fate of both Palestinians and Israelis lie in the hands of a few ultra right right-wing ideologues that want to ignore and destroy the possibility of a new way of living here: a way of living together in peace, as equals, instead of just that of occupier and occupied.

The recent surge in settlement activity in the Bethlehem district is nothing short of a major catastrophe in the making. It not only continues to eat away at our land. It erodes our peoples' faith in the peace process - which may sweep away not only the process but also the very idea of peace in the region.

Don't say you that didn't know.


Salah Ta'mari
Palestinian Legislative Council

According to the Evangelical Press News Service in response to repeated attacks against Christians in Israel by ultra-Orthodox mobs, Israel's church leaders have called for better protection of Israel's Christian community.  A Knesset member with the ultra-orthodox Shas party currently supports an "anti-conversion" bill which would imprison and fine anyone preaching with the goal of convincing someone to change their religion.



Hurrian settlements in Bet-Nahrain during mid-2nd millennium B.C.   Hurrians settled between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers during the mid-second millennium B.C.  The Pharaohs of Egypt sought marriage alliances with them and the Hittites feared them.  More than 100 objects excavated by Harvard between 1927 & 1931

Harvard University's Semitic Museum
-cuneiform tablets
-beaded jewelry
-lion statuettes from the temple of Ishtar at Nuzi

Feb 6 - May 5

A presentation of 140 artifacts excavated in the 1920's by Sir Leonard Woolley at the 5000-year-old Sumerian site.

Frank H. McClung Museum

Feb 12

Eyewitness Accounts and Panel Discussion
Panel discussants are:
Brad Simpson (Voices in the Wilderness)
David Finkel (Solidarity National Committee)
Laurie Hasbrook (American Friends Service Committee)

7:30 p.m. 
DePaul University (Lincoln Park Campus) 
Schmidt Academic Center  (Fullerton and Sheffield)
2320 North Kenmore, Room 270
Entrance Fee(s):  $4.00 (regular) $2.00 (students)
For more information call (312) 409-5150.

Mar 13

Conducted by Mastro Nabu Issabey
An Assyrian American Association of San Jose Event
Also: an honorary award presentation to a renowned Assyrian singer
Santa Clara Convention Center Theater
5001 Great America Parkway
8:00 PM (SHARP)
Tickets:   $ 20.00  To purchase your tickets call:
Nancy Isaac:       408-229-2100          Josephine Malhem:  408-323-1816
John Khangaldy:  408-978-8743          Ramina Ziyeh:        408-448-6225
No Tickets will be sold at the door.


 Internet Class for Assyrians
 Mondays 7-8 PM
Quick Internet of Modesto
1031 McHenry Ave. Suit # 18 
Modesto, California
Conducted in Assyrian 
Provided by Nineveh Online
Call (209) 578-5511 
Click Here
Aanya Meetings
7:30-9 PM Assyrian American Assoc of San Jose
20000 Almaden Road 
San Jose, California
Young Adult Assyrians in the SF Bay Area are invited to join 
Call 408-927-9100

Links to Other Assyrian Websites

Assyrians in UNPO
Subscription to AssyriaLink
1646 A.D. Map of Turkey (mentions Assyrians)
The Khaboris Manuscript:  An Ancient Aramaic New Testament


 Moving Carefully = bijwaja b'zheerota
An Awakend Spirit = kha rookha salleela


BC (879)

King Ashurnasirpal offers a banquet in his city of Calah to the entire population of this city.  No less than 69,574 guests are entertained and wined, bathed, anointed and fed for 10 days.

Ancient Iraq, Roux

AD (489)

Emperor Zeno closed the Assyrian university/monastery of Nisibin.  The students here underwent a 3-year curriculum to become clergy, monks, bishops, and patriarchs.

Early Mysticism in the Near and Middle East, Smith



On the fourth Thursday in November, the entire Warda family gathered in Mama and Papa Joe's basement ot celebrate Thanksgiving.  A dozen first cousins, all the aunts and uncles, and any others who were not involved in the family feuds were expected to attend.

My grandmother would prepare the main dishes: her perfect diamond-shaped cabbage dolmas, fragrant baked rice that came all the way from Pakistan, and two large turkeys stuffed with a light and buttery dressing seasoned with dill.  Vegetables and dessert were usually prepared by the aunts.

Once my cousin Annette, who was attending beauty school, arrived with golden yellow hair spun into a shiny beehive and caused quite a sensation!   We had never celebrated with a blonde.  After the dishes were washed, there was dancing.  The line began with Mama Joe and ended with a string of cousins who were trying to learn the steps.  We had so much to be thankful for: a rich and colorful heritage, a new generation of Assyrians, and a new country where we were free to grow and prosper.

Assyrian Cookery, David Warda


February 2, 1932:  dies in France, General Agha Petros Eliya, commander of the Assyrian armies.



Last week at the 56th Annual Golden Globe Awards Director Steven Spielberg won the award for the 
Best Motion Picture in Drama category for his Saving Private Ryan, a realistic account of a group of D-Day survivors.  Another critically acclaimed World War II movie entitled, The Thin Red Line -based on the novel by James Jones- debuted last December.  It too tells the story of a group of men's emotions during the 1942 battle of Guadalcanal- one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific.  Of interest to our readers should be the fact that the director of this film, Terrence Malick, is indeed a second-generation Assyrian.

Known as an elusive man and "Sparky" to his close friends- screenwriter, director, producer, and actor- Terrence Malick was born on 30 November 1943 in Waco, Texas.  He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in philosophy and entered Magdalen College in Oxford as a Rhodes scholar.  He left Oxford having not completed his final thesis.  Back home he became a freelance writer for Life, Newsweek, and the New Yorker.  While teaching as a philosophy professor at MIT, he enrolled in a film course and in 1969 graduated from the American Film Institute's Center for Advanced Studies.  He was able to finance his studies by rewriting the screenplays for such films as Dirty Harry and Deadhead Miles.

His grandfather, Abvimalek Malick was an insurance salesman for New York Life in Chicago and an immigrant from the village of Goghtapa in Urmie, Iran.  Terrence Malick's father, Emil, attended Chicago's Lake View High School in the 1930's.

Terrence Malick directed the following films between 1972 and 1978:
                            Deadhead Miles (1972)
                            Pocket Money (1972)
                            Badlands (1973)
                            Gravy Train, The (1974) (as David Whitney)
                            Days of Heaven (1978)

After the release of Days of Heaven for which he received the Best Director awards from the New York Film Critics, the National Film Critics and the Cannes Film Festival, Malick relocated to Paris- where he lived in seclusion.  Then in 1997 he announced his return to filmmaking with the making of The Thin Red Line.  Malick also wrote the screenplay.  The Thin Red Line's cast include Sean Penn, Jim Caviezel, Ben Chaplin, George Clooney, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Elias Koteas and Nick Nolte.

Malick's next project is the Moviegoer, planned to be released in 2000.   He is currently living in Los Angeles.



This Week's Contributors:
in alphabetical order

Dr. Zaineb Istrabadi  New York Surfers Corner
Paul D. Newey Chicago Bravo
Gabriel Rabo Germany News Digest
Andreas Schmidt  Germany Surfers Corner
Edmond Williams Chicago Calendar of Events

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Matay Arsan Holland

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