Z I N D A   M A G A Z I N E

Volume V                Issue 36
Kanoon I  21, 6749                                                                           December 21, 1999

T H I S  W E E K I N  Z I N D A

The Lighthouse Mor Ephraim's 4th Hymn on Nativity of Jesus Christ
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain ADM Officials Meet British Secretary in Ankara
Turkomen Meet in Arbil; Seek Closer Relations w/Assyrians
News Digest Austria Expels Assyrian Families
Christian Cemetery Desecrated in Haifa
Surfs Up "What a Superb gift"
Surfers Corner Christmas in Baghdad - Is This Not A Crime?
First Assyrian MIDI Conference
"The Hunger Site" in Assyrian
Assyrian Surfing Posts Assyrian History (Part I-III)
City of Ur
Aramaic Language Links on the Web
WawAllap's New Website
Literatus On Beer Drinking & the Invention of the Alphabet
Bravo AYFM Boyz
Pump Up the Volume Happiness & Renewal
Back to the Future The Assyrian Ummane of Persepolis and Mrs. Neesan's Girls
This Week in History Alphonse Mingana
Calendar of Events December 1999

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



St. Ephraim (Mar Aprim) was born in Nisibin, under Roman rule, early in the fourth century.  He served the Nisibian community during several Roman and Persian sieges.  A story is often related that on one such siege he cursed the Persian attackers from the city walls and a cloud of flies and mosquitoes settled on the army of Shapur II and compelled it to withdraw.

To escape the cruel Persian persecution of the Christians, Assyrian populations of the Bet-Nahrain communities abandoned their homes.  Mar Aprim, too, accompanied his flock from Nisibin and finally settled at Edessa (Urhai), the capital of Osrhoene (Atouriya or Little Assyria).  Living as a monk and a prolific writer, he spend the remaining years of his life defending his theology against the heresies of his time.

Mar Aprim remains one of the most influential fathers of the Assyrian (Syriac) Churches and he is revered as the "sun of the Syrians," the "column of the Church", the "harp of the Holy Spirit". According to St. Jerome:  "Ephraim, deacon of the Church of Edessa, wrote many works [opuscula] in Syriac, and became so famous that his writings are publicly read in some churches after the Sacred Scriptures. I have read in Greek a volume of his on the Holy Spirit; though it was only a translation, I recognized therein the sublime genius of the man".

Mar Aprim (Mor Ephraim, Mar Ephraim) died in June 373 A.D.  At his death he was taken without any pomp to the cemetery "of the foreigners".

On the occasion of the nativity of Jesus Christ (Eesho Mshikha) Zinda presents the following hymn written by Mar Aprim more than 1600 years ago in Edessa:


This is the month which brings all manner of joy; it is the freedom of the bondsmen, the pride of the free, the crown of the gates, the soothing of the body, that also in its love put purple upon us as upon kings.

This is the month that brings all manner of victories; it frees the spirit; it subdues the body; it brings forth life among mortals; it caused, in its love, Godhead, to dwell in Manhood.

In this day the Lord exchanged glory for shame, as being humble; because Adam changed the truth for unrighteousness as being a rebel: the Good One had mercy on him, justified and set right them that had turned aside.

Let every man chase away his weariness, since that Majesty was not wearied with being in the womb nine months for us, and in being thirty years in Sodom among the madmen.

Because the Good One saw that the race of man was poor and humbled, He made feasts as a treasure-house, and opened them to the slothful, that the feast might stir up the slothful one to rise and be rich.

Lo! The First-born has opened unto us His feast as a treasure-house. This one day in the whole year alone opens that treasure-house: come, let us make gain, let us grow rich from it, ere they shut it up.

Blessed be the watchful, that have taken by force from it the spoil of Life. It is a great disgrace, when a man sees his neighbor take and carry out treasure, and himself sits in the treasure-house slumbering, so as to come forth empty.

In this feast, let each one of us crown the gates of his heart. The Holy Spirit longs for the gates thereof, that He may enter in and dwell there, and sanctify it, and He goes round about to all the gates to see where He may enter.

In this feast, the gates are glad before the gates, and the Holy One rejoices in the holy temple, and the voice resounds in the mouth of children, and Christ rejoices in His own feast as a mighty man.

At the Birth of the Son the king was enrolling all men for the tribute-money, that they might be debtors to Him: the King came forth to us Who blotted out our bills, and wrote another bill in His own Name that He might be our debtor. The sun gave longer light, and foreshadowed the mystery by the degrees which it had gone up. It was twelve days since it had gone up, and to-day is the thirteenth day: a type exact of the Son's birth and of His Twelve.

Moses shut up a lamb in the month Nisan on the tenth day; a type this of the Son that came into the womb and shut Himself up therein on the tenth day. He came forth from the womb in this month in which the sun gives longer light.

The darkness was overcome, that it might proclaim that Satan was overcome; and the sun gave longer light, that it might triumph, because the First-born was victorious. Along with the darkness the dark one was overcome, and with the greater light our Light conquered!

Joseph caressed the Son as a Babe; he ministered to Him as God. He rejoiced in Him as in the Good One, and he was awe-struck at Him as the Just One, greatly bewildered.

"Who hath given me the Son of the Most High to be a Son to me? I was jealous of Thy Mother, and I thought to put her away, and I knew not that in her womb was hidden a mighty treasure, that should suddenly enrich my poor estate. David the king sprang of my race, and wore the crown: and I have come to a very low estate, who instead of a king am a carpenter. Yet a crown hath come to me, for in my bosom is the Lord of crowns!"

With rival words Mary burned, yea she lulled Him, [saying,] Who hath given me, the barren, that I should conceive and bring forth this One, that is manifold; a little One, that is great; for that He is wholly with me, and wholly everywhere?

The day that Gabriel came in unto my low estate, he made me free instead of a handmaid, of a sudden: for I was the handmaid of Thy Divine Nature, and am also the Mother of Thy human Nature, O Lord and Son!

Of a sudden the handmaid became the King's daughter in Thee, Thou Son of the King. Lo, the meanest in the house of David, by reason of Thee, Thou Son of David, lo, a daughter of earth hath attained unto Heaven by the Heavenly One!

How am I astonished that there is laid before me a Child, older than all things!

His eye is gazing unceasingly upon Heaven. As for the stammering of His mouth, to my seeming it betokens, that with God its silence speaks.

Who ever saw a Child the whole of Whom beholdeth every place? His look is like one that orders all creatures that are above and that are below! His visage is like that Commander that commandeth all.

How shall I open the fountain of milk to Thee, O Fountain? Or how shall I give nourishment to Thee that nourishest all from Thy Table? How shall I bring to swaddling clothes One wrapped round with rays of glory?

My mouth knows not how I shall call Thee, O Thou Child of the Living One: for to venture to call Thee as the Child of Joseph, I tremble, since Thou art not his seed: and I am fearful of denying the name of him to whom they have betrothed me.

While Thou art the Son of One, then should I be calling Thee the Son of many. For ten thousand names would not suffice Thee, since Thou art the Son of God and also the Son of man, yea, David's Son and Mary's Lord.

Who hath made the Lord of mouths to be without a mouth? For my pure conception of Thee wicked men have slandered me. Be, O Thou Holy One, a Speaker for Thy Mother. Show a miracle that they may be persuaded, from Whom it is that I conceived Thee!

For Thy sake too I am hated, Thou Lover of all. Lo! I am persecuted who have conceived and brought forth One House of refuge for men. Adam will rejoice, for Thou art the Key of Paradise.

Lo, the sea raged against Thy mother as against Jonah. Lo, Herod, that raging wave, sought to drown the Lord of the seas. Whither I shall flee Thou shalt teach me, O Lord of Thy Mother.

With Thee I will flee, that I may gain in Thee Life in every place. The prison with Thee is no prison, for in Thee man goes up unto Heaven: the grave with Thee is no grave, for Thou art the Resurrection!

A star of light which was not nature, shone forth suddenly; less than the sun and greater than the sun, less than it in its visible light, but greater than it in its hidden might, by reason of its mystery.

The Morning Star cast its bright beams among the darknesses, and led them as blind men, and they came and received a great light: they gave offerings and received life, and they worshipped and returned.

In the height and the depth two preachers were there to the Son: the bright star shouted above; John also preached below, two preachers, an earthly and a heavenly.

That above showed His Nature to be from the Majesty, and that below too showed his Nature to be from mankind. O great marvel, that His Godhead and His Manhood each was preached by them.

Whoso thought Him earthly, the bright star convinced him that He was heavenly; and whoso thought Him spiritual, John convinced him that He was also corporeal.

In the Holy temple Simeon carried Him, and lulled Him, [saying,] "Thou art come, O Merciful One, showing mercy on my old age, making my bones to go into the grave in peace. In Thee shall I be raised from the grave into Paradise!"

Anna embraced Him, and put her mouth to His lips, and the Spirit dwelt upon her own lips. As when Isaiah's mouth was silent, the coal which approached his lips opened his mouth; so Anna burned with the Spirit of His mouth, yea, she lulled Him, [saying,] "Son of the Kingdom, Son of the lowliness, that hearest and art still, that seest and art hidden, that knowest and art unknown, God, Son of Man, glory be unto Thy Name."

The barren also heard, ran, and came with their provisions: the Magi came with their treasures, the barren came with their provisions. Provisions and riches were suddenly heaped up in the house of the poor.

The barren woman cried out, as at that which she looked not for, Who hath granted me this sight of thy Babe, O Blessed One, by whom the heaven and earth are filled! Blessed be thy Fruit, which made the barren vine to bear a cluster.

Zacharias came and opened his venerable mouth and cried, "Where is the King, for whose sake I have begotten the Voice that is to preach before His face? Hail, Son of the King, to whom also our Priesthood shall be given up!"

John approached with his parents and worshipped the Son, and He shed glory upon his countenance; and he was not moved as when in the womb! Mighty miracle, that here he was worshipping, there he leaped.

Herod also, that base fox, that stalked about like a lion, as a fox crouched down, and howled, when he heard the roaring of the Lion, who came to sit in the kingdom according to the Scriptures. The fox heard that the Lion was a whelp, and as a suckling; and he sharpened His teeth, that while He was yet a child the fox might lie in wait and devour the Lion ere He had grown up, and the breath of His mouth should destroy him.

The whole creation became mouths to Him, and cried concerning Him. The Magi cried by their offerings! the barren cried with their children, the star of light cried in that air, lo! the Son of the King!

The Heavens were opened, the waters were calmed, the Dove glorified Him, the voice of the Father, louder than thunder, was instant and said, This is my beloved Son. The Angels proclaim Him, the children shout to Him with their Hosannas.

These voices above and below proclaim Him and cry aloud. The slumber of Sion was not dispersed by the voice of the thunders, but she was offended, stood up, and slew Him because He aroused her.

Translated by Rev. J. B. Morris, M.A.
The Catholic Encyclopedia



(ZNDA: Ankara)  According to a report cited in Bahra Newspaper, the official organ of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, two ADM officials met on 1 December with First British Secretary Alastair McPhail in Ankara.  Yaqub Yosuf and Toma Khoshaba of ADM (Zowaa) visited Mr. McPhail, the First Secretary at the British Embassy in Ankara, Turkey to discuss the situation in northern Iraq.   Mr. Yosuf was elected to the 60-member Central Committee of the Iraqi National Congress at the meeting held in New York last month.  He is currently the Minister of Housing and Development in the Kurdish Regional Government and a member of the Kurdish Parliament in northern Iraq.


(ZNRF:  Prague)  According to a report of the Radio Free Iraq, the Iraq Turkoman Front (ITF) met in Arbil last week for two days and issued a declaration.  The Iraqi Turkomen rejected the choice of the Leadership Council at the Iraqi National Congress meeting in New York last month, since it did not include a Turkoman representation.  According to this report the ITC Council is an umbrella group representing the Turkoman Fraternity, the Turkoman Independence Movement, the Iraq National Turkoman Party and the Turkmeneli Party, the Istanbul-based Iraqi Turkoman Culture and Assistance Association, and the Ankara-based Turkmeneli Cooperation and Culture Foundation.

The ITF declaration expressed Turkmen "loyalty to Iraq's territorial integrity and unitary structure" and called for "strengthening the ties of friendship and brotherhood" between the Turkmen and Kurdish peoples.  It added that "it is necessary to enhance our existing relations with our Arab and Assyrian brothers."  The statement said that the Turkoman people "want to have equal rights as other groups and live in unity, togetherness, and tranquility with their cultural values."

The Free Radio Europe report was written by David Nissman



(ZNRU:  Vienna)  Last week Austria announced the expulsion of two Assyrian-Iranian families to France, a move praised by the anti-immigration parties in that country.  The families are expected to leave Austria within weeks by gaining visas to the United States, where they have relatives.

"An expulsion would be inhuman and fully incomprehensible,'' said Joerg Haider, who heads Austria's anti-immigrant Freedom Party.  Haider was expected to intervene with Interior Minister Karl Schloegl to stave off a decision by federal authorities to force the Assyrian families, two couples and four children, to leave.

The Freedom Party became second largest party in terms of votes in the October 3 election after campaigning against what it called "overpopulation by foreigners'' and for a freeze on immigration.  Increasingly, anti-immigration sentiments are displayed at the public rallies and election forums in Europe- in response to last year's Kurdish demonstrations and Turkey's capture of Kurdish rebel leader,Ocalan.

The Assyrian-Iranian families had been staying since August in Carinthia, where Haider is state governor, and that they were seeking asylum in the United States.  The families fled Iran because they were discriminated against for being Christian, but Austrian authorities planned to deport them to France, their most recent residence.  The Freedom Party said that both families have good chances of obtaining U.S. visas at the end of January and should be allowed to stay in Carinthia until the matter was clarified.  Both families have relatives in the United States.


(ZNDA: New York)  According to the Palestine Report of December 15, last week a group of Jewish extremists attacked the Armenian cemetery in Haifa and destroyed the 25-meter cemetery fence and uprooted vegetation, in order to widen a road leading to a Jewish grave. In addition, a section of Sheikh
Mu'ness Islamic Cemetery in Tel Aviv was also desecrated by being transformed into a parking lot.  Meanwhile, according to Israel's Ha'aretz Newspaper, the Islamic Movement in Nazareth has re-established a tent on the disputed plot of land, despite Israeli threats to revoke its decision to build a mosque there. Arafat has repeatedly requested that the mosque be built elsewhere and Cairo's mufti called on Muslims not to pray at the site.  The construction of a mosque is to  proceed in Nazareth in the square adjoining the Christian Basilica of the Annunciation in the area where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born. The decision and actual laying of the foundation stone has caused friction between all the Christian Churches present in the Holy Land and the Israeli government, and between Tel Aviv and the Vatican.


"Shlomo si`thed zindo, Edaykhun z`uro howe brikho,w tolebno men moryo Aloho kul bo`utho dilkhun nofqo w tawdiyotho lu pulhono shapiro komahwitun.  Shlama se`ted Zinda,

Edohkun z`ura hawe brikha,u betlabewen men marya Alaha kul ba`otha d' etlokhun napqa,u hawitun bassime qa pulhana shapira kemakhzitun."

Pushun bashlomo/pushun bashlomo

Michael Gabriel

What better Christmas gift to receive but a greeting in both Western (Suryoyo) and Eastern (Suraya) Assyrian (Syriac) languages.  The text reads:  "Merry Christmas and I pray to God to grant you all your wishes... Thank you for your wonderful work."

"What a superb gift you have given all of us for Christmas.  Bravo and best wishes!"

Professor John Joseph

"I have been looking forward to reading the latest in ZINDA. Thank you for the e-mail reminder, it is much appreciated. Having said that, when I attempted to connect to the MAGAZINE site, I must have clicked the REFRESH button at least 12 times, and came up ZILCH, nothing and NADA.  I certainly hope that you may have been working on the web page, because nothing will replace the frustration at trying to connect...Keep up the good work of ZINDA....."

Sarman b.a.s.c.

Last week Zinda Magazine received over 70 messages thanking us for our "weekly email reminder".  Well, we got the message and yes, we are resuming our "weekly email reminder" service.  What were we thinking anyway?  With a ton of junk mail coming through your email boxes everyday, the stress of work and family- it's easy to forget about your Zinda each week.  Thank you for helping us improve the quality of our service.

"I have really missed my text version of the Zinda Magazine, and I am just curious as to whether maybe I got removed from your text list or not. Maybe you don't even offer the magazine to customers in text format anymore, but I hope so! Your new web site is outstanding, and I am really glad to see that you all have your own domain name now! Please let me know if you have the "text only" service for your magazine as you used to... May you have a very Blessed Holiday season!!!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all at Zinda Magazine!!!!"

Shane Jackson

Can't have readers out there that miss us this much!  Zinda Magazine is once again pleased to announce our "TEXT-ONLY" service to anyone wishing to receive our entire magazine in email format.  Simply write to us at z_info@zindamagazine.com and ask for "TEXT-ONLY" subscription.  Leave the rest to our friendly staff.  We will send you a free copy of our magazine, each week, after our web-posting of the same issue.  How else can we make sure that your favorite Assyrian magazine is serving you better?  Let us know!



This time of year, people of different faith traditions recognize the value and dignity of children by honoring them with gifts and lifting them up as a sign of hope for the future.

We come to this hospital on Christmas eve to bring gifts of medicine and toys to Iraqi Children.

We call ourselves Voices in the Wilderness and by bringing these gifts here today, we publicly challenge the morality of the economic sanctions against the people of Iraq.  We are the ninth delegation to come to Iraq in the past two years, and we will continue to bring desperately needed medicine to Iraq and to work for an end to the sanctions.

During our visit here in Iraq, we have gone to hospitals and seen children suffering from various forms of malnutrition.  Prior to the sanctions, death from starvation  was  unknown in this country.  Today on Christmas, nearly one million children are at risk of dying from chronic malnutrition.  We have seen children struggling to breathe - their lungs congested by pneumonia and no antibiotics to treat them. We have seen parents who wait without hope with their children, who are dying from treatable forms of leukemia because they cannot purchase the medicine they need.  We have heard of parents selling their personal belongings and even their homes to buy medicine for their children.  We have talked to representatives of UN agencies and relief organizations and visited Iraqis in their homes. The message is constant and clear:  the sanctions have led to more and more hunger and disease, shattering the lives of Iraqi families.  UN Resolution 986, "Oil for Food", has not even begun to ease their suffering.

Today, we are delivering antibiotics, aspirin, and vitamins to help save the lives of few Iraqi children. According to the US government, this is a criminal act.  At the same time, the sanctions have taken the lives of 600,000 Iraqi children under the age of five.  Is this not a crime?

We rush to give aid to our Iraqi brothers and sisters.  Our government considers this a criminal act. The US through the  Sanctions Committee delays and vetoes contracts of food and medicine while hundreds die each day - over one million deaths in seven years.  Is this not a crime?

On this Christmas eve, the US is once again threatening military action against Iraq.  Inflicting further harm upon the people of Iraq will never bring peace and goodwill between our countries.  Only the complete lifting of the sanctions will allow Iraqis to employ their people and to rebuild their schools, their factories, their hospitals, and their lives.

In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, we oppose any development, use, or sale of weapons of mass destruction by all nations of the world.  We also recognize that the sanctions against the Iraqi people have become themselves a weapon of mass destruction.

In a few days, we will return to the US with photographs and journals which record the conditions imposed upon the people of Iraq by the economic sanctions. The previous delegation had such documentation seized by US customs agents who claimed, "These items are evidence of a crime."  We think they are right.  They are evidence of a crime against humanity. In this Christmas season, in this time for children we call on all nations to end this crime against humanity.  End these sanctions now.

Michael Bremer, Chicago, Illinois
Arthur Gelmis, Washington, DC
Rev. G. Simon Harak, SJ, Fairfield, Connecticut
Richard McDowell, Akron, Ohio
Mira Tanna, St.Louis, Missouri


Dear all,

This site contains disturbing facts about hunger in the world [CLICK HERE].   Read all about it in our Assyrian language!.

The text was submitted to the site in collaboration with 3 other Assyrians who I would like to thank very much for their willingness, ability and their readiness to make this possible:

Marina Shapira (Chicago),
Maryam Pirayou (San Jose)
David Zaia (San Jose)


Arbil Bet-Shliemoun


May 27, 2000
Modesto, California Double Tree Hotel
2:00 PM-10:00 PM PST
Organized by: Nineveh On Line

The goal of the conference is to invite Assyrian Midi composers, musicians, producers, distributors, artists and community activists to discuss a wide range of issues related to the preservation of Assyrian folklore, electronic music composing, and the future of Assyrian music in general.

This gathering will also serve as a good opportunity to all participants to get to know each other, exchange ideas and to explore the possibilities of joint projects.

Particular emphasis will be placed on how to establish a networking infrastructure among Assyrian musicians around the world. In addition we will study how to utilize the information super highway to help preserve Assyrian folklore and support our artists.

Few particular objectives of this conference will include:

1. To provide information and case studies on Assyrian projects which have proven viable and to study similar proposed projects and their financial needs.

2. To help Assyrian Clubs, nonprofit organizations, foundations, businesses and media sources understand the importance of their support for our musicians and how to invest in new projects to boost production in quantity and quality.

3. How to use the information super highway to help advance the goals and needs of our Assyrian artists.

4. To discuss the possibility of establishing a committee which will act (or react) in timely fashion to issues of Assyrian concerns as they may arise. In addition, procedures by which such a committee would operate under will be discussed too.

5. To assess the financial needs of the Assyrian musicians networking projects under discussion, and to consider their source of funding.


The evaluation of current Assyrian music presence on the Internet based on the experience gained from different current internet activities.

The improvement of the infrastructure for Assyrian musicians and composers networking which will include a discussion about the financial needs for networking projects.

Case studies on how to use the Internet to interact with the local and international Assyrian and non-Assyrian musicians and composers for everybody benefit.

Conference Program will also include live Midi music by Assyrian and non-Assyrian composers.


Papers related to the topics of the conference are welcomed and must be submitted electronically. All correspondence should be sent to:

Albert Gabrial

Assyrian Midi Composers Conference 2000


In all cases, papers, Midi files, Audio files or Real Player files must be received no later than April 15, 2000.

A short Biography of the speaker must be attached to the papers submitted along with a 2x1 Inch photo in gif or jpg format.

Please state the author's name, address and telephone number, as well as e-mail and /or Fax # if available.

Notifications of acceptance or rejection will be sent by May 1st, 2000. Our youth are strongly encouraged to participate in this wonderful event.

Currently we are looking for sponsors to cover this event's expenses and the possibility of covering the cost or inviting Assyrian musicians from other states or countries to participate in this important event.

Organizations and local businesses are strongly encouraged to take the initiative and support their local Assyrian musicians and artists by supporting them financially to cover their travel and Conference participation expenses.

Instrument distributors and dealers from California will be invited since we are planning to have a Show Room for the latest Technology in Midi Software, Keyboards and other supportive hardware.

For more information visit Nineveh Online or write to amc2000@nineveh.com.

Links to Other Assyrian Websites

Assyrian History (Part I-III)
City of Ur
Aramaic Language Links on the Web
WawAllap's New Website



Language existed long before writing, emerging probably simultaneously with sapience, abstract thought and the Genus Homo. In my opinion, the signature event that separated the emergence of palaeohumans from their anthropoid progenitors was not tool-making but a rudimentary oral communication that replaced the hoots and gestures still used by lower primates.  The transfer of more complex information, ideas and concepts from one individual to another, or to a group, was the single most advantageous evolutionary adaptation for species preservation.  As long ago as 25,000-30,000 years BP, humans were painting pictures on cave walls.  Whether these pictures were telling a "story" or represented some type of "spirit house" or ritual exercise is not known.

The advent of a writing system, however, seems to coincide with the transition from hunter-gatherer societies to more permanent agrarian encampments when it became necessary to count ones property, whether it be parcels of land, animals or measures of grain or to transfer that property to another individual or another settlement.  We see the first evidence for this with incised "counting tokens" about 9,000 years ago in the neolithic fertile crescent.

Around 4100-3800 BCE, the tokens began to be symbols that could be impressed or inscribed in clay to represent a record of land, grain or cattle and a written language was beginning to develop.  One of the earliest examples was found in the excavations of Uruk in Mesopotamia at a level representing the time of the crystallization of the Sumerian culture.

The pictures began as representing what they were, pictographs, and eventually, certain pictures represented an idea or concept, ideographs, and finally to represent sounds.

Eventually, the pictographs were stylized, rotated and in impressed in clay with a wedge shaped stylus to become the script known as Cuneiform.   The pictograph for woman, as seen above became .

Written language was the product of an agrarian society.  These societies were centered around the cultivation of grain.  A natural result of the cultivation and storage of grain is the production of beer.  It is not surprising, therefore, that some of the very oldest written inscriptions concern the celebration of beer and the daily ration allotted to each citizen.

It's tempting to claim that the development of a writing system was necessitated by the need to keep track of beer, but perhaps we can be satisfied that it was just part of it.

The signs of the Sumerians were adopted by the East Semitic peoples of Mesopotamia and Akkadian became the first Semitic language and would be used by the Babylonians and Assyrians.  The Akkadian characters continued to represent syllables with defined vowels.

Meanwhile, in the North another experiment in a consonantal alphabet was taking place.  Excavations of the ancient city of Ugarit, modern Ras Shamra,  has produced texts in a cuneiform script that was also consonantal.

The Semitic languages diversified along geographic lines as Northwest Semitic, Northeast, Southwest and Southeast.  Northwest Semitic consists of 2 major groups, Aramaic and Canaanite.  Canaanite is represented by Ugaritic, Phoenician, and Hebrew. Northeast Semitic consists of the ancestral Akkadian, represented by Babylonian and Assyrian.  The Southwest and Southeast Semitic languages consisted of North and South Arabic and Ethiopic.

The Phoenician Alphabet was adopted by the early Greeks who earned their place in alphabetic history by symbolizing the vowels.  Therefore, the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek scripts all came from the Phoenician.  The Greek alphabet led to Latin and Cyrillic.  Aramaic led to Arabic and most of the scripts used in India.   The entire Western World became the inheritors of those beer drinkers in Mesopotamia...

Jack Kilmon
From The Scriptorium Website



The boys of AYFM have decided to take a break and temporarily turn off their microphones.   Every Wednesday, for an hour in the evening, Fraydon, Ninos, Nayel, and Sankho entertained their growing Assyrian-Australian audience with jokes, commentaries, and let's not forget the "Letters of Love".

The Assyrian Youth FM radio program was often criticized for its abrasive and pointed dialogue.  The four-member team freely spoke against the "oppression that our culture imposes on our women" and "freedom, peace, and love".  In a time when most "adult" Assyrian organizations continue to ignore the existence of the Assyrian youth, AYFM BOYZ was a fresh breath of "corny" and "shallow" entertainment that appealed to the Assyrian youth of the 90's.

For eighteen months the loud and funny AYFM BOYZ taught us an important lesson: the voice of the Assyrian youth must not be silenced.  As more and more Assyrian organizations shut their doors on the faces of the Assyrian youth, the start of similar radio and Internet chat programs is inevitable in the coming years.  While we hope that the BOYZ will soon return to the sound proof studio of their Wednesday night radio program, Zinda Magazine encourages other Assyrian youth groups, friends and individuals to utilize their school and university radio hours and PUMP UP THE VOLUME in 2000.


This week's vocabulary courtesy of Nakosha Magazine (#22, November 1999).


BC (605)

After the Fall of Assyria (Nineveh in 612 & Harran in 605), the Assyrian ummane or craftsmen were carried off by the Medes to work in metal and stone.  The labor of these men resulted in the later architectural glories of Persepolis (Takhte Jamshid) and Ecbatana (modern Hamadan) in Persia.

The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol III

AD (1889)

Mrs. Neesan opens an Assyrian School for Girls in Urmia, Iran in preparation for the arrival of the Sisters of Bethany.  Four sisters of the Community of the Sisters of Bethany with their chaplain, the Rev. A. S. Jervis, left London traveled via France and Turkey to Urmia.

Kurds and Christians, Heazell


December 23, 1881 :   born in Mosul, Iraq - Alphonse Mingana, Assyrian linguistic scholar who traveled throughout Europe and Asia to collect ancient Aramaic scriptures and writing.  The Mingana Collection in Europe and America are among the most important research documents in the study of Aramaic and Syriac languages.

Dec 31

The Assyrian American Association of San Jose proudly presents
"Year 2000 Dinner Dance" with Ogin & Martik
Westin Hotel, Santa Clara

Package includes complete dinner with appetizer and dessert, two complimentary Wine/Beer drinks or four soft drinks, Champagne toast , after mid-night coffee/tea service and the best Assyrian and international dance music
Ticket Information:
   Saturdays from   10:00 AM to  2:00 PM
   Wednesdays from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Tickets will only be sold at the Assyrian American Association of San Jose

20000 Almaden Road, San Jose 
408-927-8100  or  408-927-9100

October 2nd to October 21           member $120   non-member $130
October 23rd to November 21      member $130    non-member $140 
November 24th to December 30   member $140    non-member $150 
          ***********Absolutely no refunds or exchanges***************

Dec 31

Celebrate the Millennium
St. Paul Assyrian-Chaldean Catholic Church
Entertainment:  Julie Youseff & Leila Forouhar & Ishtar Band
Hollywood Park Casino
Sit-down dinner, buffet dessert & coffee station, free soda bar, 10 special Middle Eastern appetizers, special meal for children and all night Disney movie on a big screen tv.
Tickets:  $80-95 (adults)    $45-60 (children)
   Walter (909) 982-7237
   Lawey (909) 605-0695
Tickets sold every Sunday at St. Paul Church Hall, 12-1 pm
Limit one week to hold reservations.  No refunds on purchased tickets

Jan 17,

Organized by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology
Open 10 AM to 5:30 PM Daily
Closed December 25
1050 Independence Avenue, SW

On view are approximately 150 artifacts excavated from the ancient city-state of Ur in 1922 during an expedition led by British archaeologist C. Leonard Woolley. Many of the objects are from the tomb of the female Puabi and include jeweled headdresses, chokers, necklaces, rings and earrings, musical instruments, games, furniture, and vessels. Ur, the traditional birthplace of the biblical patriarch Abraham and the city under protection of the ancient Mesopotamian moon-god, was located on the western bank of the Euphrates River in what is now southern Iraq.
Click Here

Jan 28

Divine Liturgy in the Eastern Assyrian Rite (Chaldean and Malabarese)
Basilica of St Cecilia in Trastevere

May 27

Double Tree Hotel
2:00 PM-10:00 PM PST
Organized by: Nineveh On Line
Click Here for more information
What is MIDI?  Click Here

This Week's Contributors:
in alphabetical order
 Dr. Zaineb Istrabadi 
 New York
News Digest 
Walter Ebrahimzadeh 
Assyrian Surfing Posts


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