Z I N D A  M A G A Z I N E
Yaar 9, 6750                     Volume VI                      Issue 10                       May 9, 2000

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T H I S   W E E K   I N   Z I N D A
The Lighthouse Polous Khofri
Surfs Up "Where the Assyrian Politician Are"
Surfers Corner Syriac Universal Alliance Gathering in Lebanon
Bet-Eil Assyrian Language Classes in San Jose
Assyrian Surfing Posts The ATOUR Web Site
Architectural Marvels of Ancient Mesopotamia
Literatus Jesuits in Bet-Nahrain
Bravo Assyrians at the Armenian Genocide Commemoration
Pump Up the Volume Song & Composition
Back to the Future The Gatekeeper of Egypt & the First Script
This Week in History The Victory in Urmie
Calendar of Events Social and Cultural Events

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


Polous Khofri

Polous Khofri can be regarded as the most significant Assyrian composer of the twentieth century, along with Raabie William Daniel and Maestro Nebu Issabey.  Throughout his career, Khofri made highly individualistic choices which removed him from the Assyrian musical mainstream.  As with the other Assyrian musical composers of his day, he chose to spend his creative life among his people, where he found his inspiration.  However, when his colleagues moved to the Western countries in the 1960's and 70's, Khofri remained with his students and worked more diligently to realize his vision of elevating the Assyrian folkloric music to classical status, a personal statement which mirrored his very own personal convictions in all his artistic achievements.   Khofri's compositions range from music for piano, one to many voices, to the grand orchestral scales.  His music much like that of his contemporary fellow composer, William Daniel, is quite accessible to the Assyrian audiences and notably characterized by intensely emotional and colorful movements.  

Polous Khofri was born on August 7, 1923 in Baghdad, Iraq.  His father, Israel Khofri, was a gifted artisan.  During World War II, when heavy truck parts were almost non-existent, he single-handedly manufactured the spare parts stamping them with the Assyrian characters "oomanotha atoureth" or The Assyrian Arts.  These parts outlasted and surpassed the quality of those manufactured abroad.

His mother Victoria, a good natured woman, tended the family.  When Polous was five years old, his family moved to Iran settling in Kermanshah.  After graduating from high school, Polous was employed by the British Bank of Iran.  His love of music was evident in these early years in Kermanshah where he had a four piece band and played at the bank functions at his leisure.  Following the closure of the bank in 1950, Polous began work at the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in Abadan.

Khofri was a dedicated member of the Assyrian community in Abadan.  He gave numerous concerts to raise funds for the establishment of an Assyrian school and club in this southern Iranian city.  The proceeds from the one-man shows of his original oil paintings and water colors also helped finance the new school project.

When he was transferred from Abadan to the National Iranian Oil Company in Tehran, Khofri's studies and love of music did not diminish.  Despite early auspicious intentions to concentrate on playing, composition finally ended up receiving a greater share of his energies.  He began his formal musical education and decided to compose music.  In a serious pursuit of a musical career, he received intensive training in composition, harmony, an counter point.  In May of 1964, Polous obtained his diploma in Composition and Harmony from the prestigious Port Washington School of Music in New York.  His study of music included the works of Paul Hindemith of Yale University, Arnold Schonberg and Walter Piston of Harvard University.

At this point, Mr. Khofri requested a two-year leave of absence from the National Iranian Oil Company to attend the Royal Academy of Music in Great Britain.  His request was denied as his experience and knowledge was regarded by his employer as "too valuable."

Mr. Khofri then began concentrating on his compositional works, leading to the creation of numerous number of original compositions.  He transcribed his compositions, lyrics, and notes by hand.  He even designed and illustrated his song sheets himself.

His love for his church and the religious music marked his life and personality to an extraordinary degree.  Polous Khofri attributed his creative burst of energy, his passion and single-mindedness to the Grace of God.

Mr. Khofri's musical compositions comprise of vocals, instrumentals, and orchestral music.  All motives of music are original and without any adaptations.  Moreover, all illustrations in tiny pen nibs and ink are his original work.

Polous Khofri tutored and trained over 1200 students of music in Iran, some of whom compose music for the films produced in Iran.  He distinguished himself with works that reflected the reality of contemporary Assyrian lives.  He composed the church hymnals, the humming of a farmer tilling the field and the joyful whistling of an anxious young man on his way to meet his beloved.  The blaring of the brass instruments in anger, the wailing of the oboe, the intimate chatter of the string instruments paint a vivid picture of life as heard through the ears of this giant of Assyrian music.

Mr. Khofri passed on to eternity on May 5, 2000.  He is survived by his daughters, Touvanita Le Fevre and Marganita Vogt; granddaughters, Lisa and Anokina; and grandson, Ilbron.  The Assyrian nation mourns the loss of another Assyrian Renaissance artist; a composer, lyricist, painter, and above all a preserver and defender of the Assyrian cultural heritage.

Zinda Magazine

Reference:  Waw Allap's Fourth Annual Assyrian Soorgada.
1452 West 9th St. #B, Upland, CA  91786 -  Click Here


Khofri's Compositions:

Vocal Music
Book 1:  Yoomani d'Eda Sora (Christmas Days), composed in 1972 for piano and choir (illustrated)
Book 2:  Zamrakh am Ikhdadi (Let Us Sing Together), composed in 1975 for piano and choir (illustrated)
Book 3:  Sheeta d'Isrei Arba Yarkhi (The Year of 24 Months), composed in 1982, two songs for each month
Book 4:  Zamrakh am Ikhdadi (Let Us Sing Together), composed in 1984, folkloric songs for 2,3, and 4 voices
Book 5:  Qali d'Zoomari (The Sound of the Melodies), composed in 1998, for piano and skilled singers (illustrated)
Book 6:  Zmoor b'Leeshanookh (Sing in Your Language), composed in 1998 for young singers
Book 7:  Hymnals for organ and various voices, composed in 1998

Instrumental Music
Book 1:  Braqala d'Nemati #1, 1979 for piano
Book 2:  Braqala d'Nemati #2, 1979 for piano with four hands
Book 3:  Assyrian Folkloric Music, 1984 for virtuoso pianists
Book 4:  Nemati m'Bazqa #1, 1987 for piano
Book 5:  Braqala d'Nemati #3, 1998 for piano, violin, flute and guitar
Sonata in G minor for violin & cello
Sonata in G major for piano
Fantasia in G minor
Suite in D minor
Dipha d'Aina in D minor

Orchestral Music (for 80 players)
Book 1:  Assyrian Classic
Book 2:  Epic of Gilgamesh


Look at the Iraqi map in this article, the north part is all Kurdistan. So I do not understand where the Assyrian politician are. I think Saddam is fighting our war against the Kurds.

Michael Benjamin

For complete article:   Click Here




The Syriac Universal Alliance invites you to a "universal alliance" gathering in Beirut, Lebanon between July 28 and 31.  The activities scheduled include the following:

-Grand Opening:   speakers include representatives from the Office of the President of Lebanon
-Mass celebrated by His Holiness Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I

-Performances by a Maronite University musical group

-Art Exhibition: Art works from artists of our community throughout the world

-Dance party for the youth attending the conference

-Book Exhibition

-Suryoyo singers and folkloric dances

-A visit to Zahle  (lunch will be provided)

-Various social events

-Banquet in honor of the Patriarch

-Finale : A special concert performance by George Badro, Suryoyo musician from Canada.

This is a great opportunity for everyone to visit Lebanon and learn about the exciting events shaping today's Middle East and its Christian communities.

Fush beshlomo,

Habib Afram
Syriac Universal Alliance




The Bet-Eil Assyrian Church announces the start of a new series of Assyrian language classes in San Jose, California.  The Level I classes will commence on Tuesday, May 16 at the BETA of the Assyrian American Association of San Jose.  This class is designed for ages 12 through 24 and will cover the Assyrian alphabet, vowels, and basic reading and writing.

Session:  May 16 -  August 15, 2000
Location:  20000 Almaden Road, San Jose

Time:  Tuesday, 6:00 PM

Instructor:  Dr. Manfred Alkhas

For more information:  contact Dr. Manfred Alkhas at (408) 265-2868


Links to Other Assyrian Websites



 In 1583 three Jesuits went on a mission to Mesopotamia to resolve the Nestorian schism (and possibly other schisms). However, they were not successful. Around 1870 two more Jesuits went to Baghdad, from St. Joseph University in Beirut, to see if the time was ripe to start a mission in Iraq. They were robbed on their way over across the Syrian desert and also were robbed on their way back to Beirut. They reported that: "The time was not yet ripe for a Jesuit mission to Baghdad." In 1921 the Chaldean Patriarch requested Rome to send Jesuits to start a "college" in Baghdad. Four men arrived in March, 1932 and started a college that fall which gradually grew into a high school/junior college with 1,100 Iraqi students (roughly half of whom were Muslin and half Christian). Later a Jesuit university (Al Hikma) was started in 1956. This Jesuit mission ended 30 years ago in 1969 as the last Jesuits were expelled from their two schools by the Baathi Socialist party, who put an end to ALL private education in Iraq.

Joseph MacDonnell, S.J.
Fairfield University


Further Reading:  Click Here



The 85th Anniversary of the commemoration of the 1915 genocide of Armenians was held at the Willoughby Town Hall, in Sydney, Australia on Monday 24th April 2000 at 7:30 p.m. The evening was very informative and moving, a mixture of speeches, poetry, political addresses, youth addresses and song. There would have been at least 1000 people at the Town Hall that night, and a few Assyrian representatives from Beth-Nahrain Organisation, AYGV, Nakosha and TAAAS went along in solidarity with the Armenian genocide, a crime inflicted also upon our people at the hands of the Young Turks and Ataturk's Policy of "Osmonisation".

The Youth Address was given by Sonia Derderyan in English. She spoke of the need of Armenians to come to terms with their bloody past in order to heal the future. Instead of focusing on the suffering and hardship of Armenian culture, we must focus on the promoting the SURVIVAL of the culture, she passionately stated. She also called on Armenian youth to get ACTIVELY INVOLVED, as they are the leaders of Armenia's future.

In 1985 the UN finally recognised the genocide of the Armenians at the hands of the Turks. Yes, Armenians want "justice", but not through anger and hatred which are such destructive and ruthless emotions. Derderyan was promoting a justice based on Armenian's working to prosper through fostering a POSITIVE and PEACEFUL focus and outlook. The question I would like to put to all of you is, can Assyrian's learn anything from the Armenian example?

There were many statements given by various political leaders, Armenians and non-Armenians. John Watkins spoke as a representative for Bob Carr, Premier of the state of NSW, Kerry Chikarovski spoke of the "tragedy that we must not forget", Meg Lees of the Democrats Party had her representative present. The audience was also reminded of the fact that the NSW State Government has officially recognised the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and has even erected a statue "Hachka" at State Parliament House (those TAAAS members will remember when we saw it when visiting John Hatzistergos MP). Justice Marcus Enfield QC (Justice of the Federal Court of Australia), as well as the Australian minister for reconciliation (whilst not doing a great deal to apologise to the indigenous of this country) also wrote a letter of support. The Armenian people through passion and dedicated activism have worked to get their genocide publicly and officially recognised by various international governments. The Assyrian people at this very time are also working hard to get international governments to recognise that we were massacred alongside the Armenians and Pontian Greeks.

Baroness Carolyn Cox, The Deputy Speaker of the United Kingdom House of Lords, was given the keynote address. Her account was moving and very factual - this woman has worked with Armenians for many, many years and has visited Armenia's "holy land" no less than 46 times. Her affiliation with Armenia as a white, western woman, was due to the fact that Christian heritage as well as Western civilisation and culture originated in Armenia's homeland (don't forget Assyrian's have been living side-by-side with Armenians for thousands of years).

In an open letter to the Armenian people, Carolyn Cox wrote about the threat of Armenian's facing another genocide, this time at the hands of the Azeri's, an Islamic group living in between Iran and Azerbaijan. In the interests of the "Christian community worldwide", Cox has asked the Armenian people to make their case as publicly known as possible. She reminded the crowd that the Armenian struggle was also an "information war"-and the international Armenian community must "take action now" to prevent further atrocities committed on their people.

The evening closed with a short speech by His Eminence Archbishop Aghan Baliozian as well as a prayer. This priest however was criticised about his speech by a few members of the public. His address seemed to preach hatred and racism against Turks - he stated that "we cannot shake hands with Turks because they are the children of the masterminds of the genocide". This seemed to go against the general spirit of the evening - the spirit of hope, reconciliation, healing and progression.

Many lessons can be gained from the Armenian example for the Assyrian struggle. A few Assyrian young people met with Nora Meguerditchian, a representative of the Armenian Youth Group, who were all present in their special T-Shirts handing out candles for the candle light ceremony that followed. They seemed very pleased to start a dialogue with us, and for our forces to join together in this COMMON HUMAN STRUGGLE for peace, recognition, equality and freedom.

Yours In Solidarity,

Majidi Ann Warda.
Sydney, Australia




BC (732)

As a follow up to the final smashing of Damascus and the destruction of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser III - king of Assyria- appointed the chieftain of an Arab tribe south of Gaza to the post of "gatekeeper over Egypt".  Such was the preparation for the future Assyrian conquests in Egypt.

Egypt, Cannan, and Israel in Ancient Times,  Redford

AD (6)

This is the year of the earliest found Aramaic script in the post-Christian Mesopotamia.  The script was found in Birecik, west of Edessa (Urhai) in Tur-Abdin, Turkey.

The Early Alphabet, Healey


May 7, 1918:   The victorious Assyrian army in Urmie hands over the 150 surrendered Turkish soldiers to the local government of Azerbaijan in Iran.  The victory of the Assyrian troops guaranteed the safety of the residents of Urmie during the final attacks of the Ottoman troops.


May 13

10K Run or the 5K Walk,
Sponsored by the Santa Clara Chapter

Organized by the Human Race / United Way

Almaden Lake Park
7:30 AM

Youkie Kanania (W)  (650) 215-5260 / (H) (408) 226-9724 
Ashour Yousip (Cell) (415) 559-7050 / (H)  (510) 799-6876 

May 22-26

"Near Eastern Archaeology at the Beginning of the 3d Millen. AD" 
Hosted by Carsten Niebuhr Institute and the University of Copenhagen. 

Contact:  Secretary of the 2ICAANE
Carsten Niebuhr Institute

Snorresgade 17 - 19

DK-2300 Copenhagen. 

Tel. +45 35 32 89 00; Fax. +45 35 32 89 26

e-mail: 2icaane@coco.ihi.ku.dk.

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

Jun 9-11

Dance Party and Soccer Tournament
Entertainment by Juliana Jendo & Habib Mousa


Jun 10-11

Sponsored by the Association of the Assyro-Chaldeans of France
Champions & players will be honored at the party following the games

Participation Fee:  300 Franks per Team
For farther information:

Association des Assyro-Chaldéens de France :

Tél : + 33 1 39 90 87 11

Fax : + 33 1 34 19 84 72

E-mail : acc_f@club-internet.fr

Centre Socioculturel des Assyro-Chaldéens de France
Tél & Fax : + 33 1 34 04 26 47

Nuri Yaramis
Tél : + 33 1 39 33 48 74

Fax : + 33 1 39 33 41 40

Mobil : + 33 6 89 88 85 83

Suphi Oguz 
Mobil : + 33 6 81 90 92 47 

Jun 26-30

Department of Semitic Studies
University of Sydney

For more information on speakers and papers click here

Jul 2

An international conference on the subject of the fate of the Assyrian people after the collapse of the Assyrian Empire (612 B.C. - 2000 A.D.).

The Centre for Comparative Genocide Studies at Macquarie University & the Department of Semitic Studies at the University of Sydney

Merewether Building, 
City Road

University of Sydney

9:00 am - 9:05 am:      Official Welcome 
9:05 am - 10:30 am:    Presentation of papers 

10:30 am - 11:00 am:  Morning tea

11:00 am - 12:30 pm:  Presentation of papers 

12:30 pm -  2:00 pm: Luncheon 

2:00 pm -  3:30 pm:    Presentation of papers 

3:30 pm -  4:00 pm:    Afternoon tea 

4:00 pm -  5:00 pm:    Conference Review and Resolutions

For more information & Registration Fee Detail click here

Jul 10-13

"Nomadism and Sedentarism in the Ancient Near East"

College de France
52 rue Cardinal Lemoine


Contact: chrinico@club-internet.fr or fax 33-1-48-87-82-58

Christophe NICOLLE

Chaire d'Assyriologie

College de France

52 rue Cardinal Lemoine

75005, Paris - France

Jul 26-30

The Syrian Orthodox Archdioceses in Canada and United States
Led by His Holliness Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I

Hosted by St. Ignatius Church, Portland

Marriot in Portland

Agenda:  Review of the past 50 years of history of the church in North America to identify and cement the strengths and work on improving

In addition to a spiritual and cultural festival, a cruise on the Columbia River, a bus trip to Cascade Range, etc. are planned. Click Here

Jul 28-31

Speakers include representatives from the Office of the President of Lebanon
Mass celebrated by His Holliness Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I
Performances by a Maronite University musical group

Art Exhibition: Art works from artists of our community throughout the world

Dance party for the youth attending the conference

Book Exhibition

Suryoyo singers and folkloric dances

A visit to Zahle

Banquet in honor of the Patriarch

A special concert performance by George Badro, Suryoyo musician from Canada.

For more information:
Daghelian Bldg. - Bloc A - 2nd Floor - Jdeideh Blv.

P.O. Box: 55414 - Tel: 961-1-884810 / 961-1-884811

Fax: 961-1-884812 - E-mail: sua@lebmail.com

Aug 30 - 
Sep 4

Jackie Bejan....................California....................The Lighthouse

Walter Ebrahimzadeh............California.........................The Lighthouse

George Khawahie.......................Chicago....................Assyrian Surfing Posts



ZINDA Magazine is published every Tuesday.  Views expressed in ZINDA do not necessarily represent those of the ZINDA editors, or any of our associated staff.  This publication reserves the right, at its sole discretion, not to publish comments or articles previously printed in or submitted to other journals. ZINDA reserves the right to publish and republish your submission in any form or medium. All letters and messages  require the name(s) of sender and/or author. All messages published in the SURFS UP! section must be in 500 words or less and bear the name of the author(s). Distribution of material featured in ZINDA is not restricted, but permission from ZINDA is required.  This service is meant for the exchange of information, analyses and news. To subscribe, send e-mail to: zenda@ix.netcom.com.

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