Z I N D A  M A G A Z I N E
Tishrin I  12, 6750                     Volume VI                      Issue 26               October 12, 2000
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T H I S   W E E K   I N   Z I N D A
The Lighthouse An Assyrian was the Developer of Oracle Technology
Good Morning Bet-Nahrain Police in Turkey Arrest Assyrian-Syriac Priest
Iran to Open an Office for Iraqi National Congress
News Digest U.S. Federal Judge Rejects ANC's Census Protest
Surfs Up "getting depressed over it"
Surfers Corner Patriarch's Consecration to be Celebrated in San Francisco
Literatus Easterners We are Despite the Sad Truth
Bravo! Dr. Ephrem-Isa Yousif
Milestones Joash E. Paul
Assyrian Surfing Posts Latest Issue of Nakosha Magazine
Pump Up the Volume Window & Door
Back to the Future Akhenaton of Egypt & the Ottoman Assyrians
This Week in History Mar Dinkha IV
Calendar of Events October 2000

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



In September an article written by Walter Gottesman of the Chicago Tribune shocked the Assyrian communities when the name of an Assyrian man was mentioned in association with the second-largest software company in the world.  The article entitled "High-Tech Donor Helps Out Roosevelt Millions Given by Sister of Man Behind Oracle" revealed the identity of Robert Miner, an Assyrian from Urmia, Iran who was also the developer of the relational database technology used every day a majority of Fortune 500 companies.

Robert Miner, who died six years ago after a year-long battle with Mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung, designed the first commercial relational database management system in the world.  The Miners, an Assyrian family, emigrated from Ada, a village in northeast Iran, after several members of their family, including the father and his two sons, were killed during the 1914-1918 massacres against the Christians in Iran and the Ottoman Empire.  After a stay in Chicago the family settled in Cicero where Robert, his three sisters and two brothers grew up.  Robert Miner graduated from the University of Illinois in the 1960s.

After college, Robert Miner pursued a career in computer science. In 1977, after gaining computer design experience in France and the United States, he co-founded Software Development Labs. This later became Oracle Corporation. Over the years, he successfully contributed to Oracle's growth and stature in the software area. Mr. Miner gave anonymously to many organizations. He was particularly interested in giving to educational institutions to provide opportunities that many young people otherwise might not have.

One of Robert's sisters, Florence Miner, was honored last month with a plaque unveiled by Roosevelt University President Theodore Gross, for her family's donation of millions of dollars.  The exact amount was not revealed per Ms. Miner's request, but according to the University officials it was greater than the previous largest donation of  $4.5 million.  Miner's donation was used to build two classrooms, each with 24 computers, and a third classroom where students can design computer hardware at Roosevelt University in Schaumburg.  The School of Computer Science and Telecommunications is headquartered at Roosevelt's Albert A. Robin Campus in Schaumburg. It also will have classrooms and offices in the university's new Center for Professional Advancement in downtown Chicago when it opens in November 2000.

Miner's donation also helped create a scholarship fund to aid qualifying students.  The donation was made possible by transferal of Miner Family's shares in Oracle Corporation.  Over 730 students study telecommunications and computer science at Roosevelt University.  In his speech Gross noted that "Robert Miner revered education...The Miner family's story is one of the great American stories ... an immigrant family braving persecution, coming to America."

Oracle Corporation (Nasdaq: ORCL) develops software for information management and after Microsoft Corporation is the world's second largest independent software company.  Oracle's annual revenues are over $10 billion.  96 percent of all Fortune 50 companies use Oracle info-management software in 145 countries around the world.  Headquartered in Redwood Shores, California, Oracle boasts a headcount of 43,000 employees worldwide.  According to Fortune Magazine, the Chief Executive Officer of Oracle Corp, Larry Ellison, is now the second richest American with a personal wealth of over 50 billion dollars.



(ZNRU: Diyarbakir)  Last Thursday, Turkish police arrested a "Syriac" priest after he allegedly told newspapers his Christian minority community had been the victims of genocide carried out by Turks.

Police in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir told Reuters they had detained and questioned Father Yusuf Akbulut about stories in Turkish newspapers quoting him as saying Turks had systematically killed Syriac Christians in the southeast.

Turkish officials have been outraged by a U.S. Congressional panel's approval last week of a non-binding resolution urging U.S. President Bill Clinton to characterize the killings of Armenians in the latter days of the Ottoman Empire as genocide.   Turkey rejects the charges, emphasizing the context of widespread partisan fighting in Anatolia in 1915, and characterizes an Armenian minority as rebels carrying out Russian plans to carve up the country.

Police said a prosecutor had freed Akbulut, who denied having claimed his community had suffered genocide at the hands of Turks.  According to an Assyrian Democratic Organization spokesperson, less than 2000 Assyrian-Syriac families currently live in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast region of Tur-Abdin.  


(ZNDA:  Tehran)  As reported by Radio Liberty last week, according to the London-based "Al-Hayat) Iran has agreed to allow the Iraqi National Congress, the main opposition coalition against Saddam Hussein, to open an office in Tehran.  The funding of this project will be done with U.S. funding.  Last week the U.S. lawmakers agreed to an additional 4 million dollar support of the ANC activities in northern Iraq.

London's "Sunday Times" reported on 1 October that the U.S. and the opposition had reached an agreement to resume military operations inside Iraq for the first time in six years, in addition to opening offices in Washington, Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as Tehran.  According to Frank Ricciardone, the U.S. coordinator of the Iraqi opposition's activities, issues of military activities by the opposition inside Iraq were not touched upon in talks about the opposition's plans for the $4 million.  "Sunday Times" cited INC sources who said that there is an intention "to carry out operations inside Iraq aimed at building support for democracy, helping internal opposition, and providing humanitarian aid."

Elsewhere the Iraqi National Alliance Group issued a statement following its London meetings on 30 September-1 October, accusing the United States, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Turkey of aggression against Iraq, condemned the sanctions and called for a dialogue with the current regime in Iraq.

Radio Liberty report was compiled by David Nissman.


Article from the Modesto Bee; written by Jerry Bier on October 7

(ZNMB:  Fresno)  District Judge  Robert E. Coyle has rejected claims by Assyrian protesters who challenged a Census Bureau decision on how the agency categorizes members of the ancient ethnic group.
In a ruling filed last Friday, Judge Coyle granted a government motion to throw out the challenge by the Assyrian National Congress and affiliated organizations.  Modesto Assyrian leaders were solemn when they learned of the judge's decision and promised to appeal it.

The group -- with many residents from Stanislaus County -- protested in front of the federal courthouse here in July before a hearing over the bureau's decision to change the "Assyrian" category to "Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac" in this year's census.  Assyrians objected because they believe the Census Bureau is lumping together ethnic and religious categories improperly, Modesto's Sargon Dadesho has said.

Dadesho is president of the Assyrian National Congress, which sued the Census Bureau. He was one of the leaders of the protest and said Assyrians believe the Iraqi government is behind the change.  But Coyle said the petition by the Assyrian organization was "long on rhetoric and short on the law. Merely saying so does not prove it."

The judge said there was evidence presented to the court that "Chaldean is an ethnic group as well as a religion. The Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac category tabulates ancestry or ethnicity. It does not tabulate and will not result in the publication of religious affiliations."

The decision to include the Assyrians, whose civilization dates to 661 B.C., in the combined category was made after the Census Bureau conferred with various organizations, including representatives of the Assyrian Universal Alliance and the Assyrian-American National Federation, Coyle noted in his 50-page opinion granting the government's motion to dismiss the case.

"I'm very surprised because I thought we had a strong case," said Janet Shummon, president of Bet-Nahrain, the Assyrian organization in Ceres that owns KBSV Channel 23, an Assyrian-language TV station, and KBES, an Assyrian-language radio station.

Shummon said the Census Bureau contacted only a few key people in the Universal Alliance and the National Federation. And, she said, the National Federation includes member organizations that were not contacted during the decision-making process, and those members later wrote letters to protest the label "Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac."  Shummon and Dadesho said they will appeal the ruling.  "We don't like the idea of dividing our nation into three different nationalities, creating three nations out of one," Dadesho said.

While the ruling may not have an immediately noticeable effect on the lives of Assyrians in the United States, Dadesho said, it will have an adverse effect on the Assyrian national cause in Iraq and is similar to measures taken against Assyrians in Iraq.  "This is the same policy the Iraqi government has followed," Dadesho said. "Trying to split (Assyrians) up into three different nations to weaken Assyrians."

Dadesho said Chaldean was a name given to Assyrians who joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1551, and Syriac is the name of the ancient Aramaic language spoken by Jesus and his disciples. While Assyrians may be Christian, Dadesho said, the overwhelming majority are not Chaldean.

Coyle said the plaintiffs contended that the Census Bureau injured them by confusing them with adherents of the Chaldean religion. But "these speculative assertions do not suffice to demonstrate irreparable injury," the judge concluded.  If an injunction were granted as requested, Coyle said, it would force the Census Bureau to change procedures at a time when it is "also juggling a multitude of other responsibilities involved in counting every person in the country... "

Modesto Bee staff writer Sharokina Shams contributed to this report.


What I have found out from reading your articles and then logging on to some other Assyrian Web sites is that there are efforts under way, initiated by a few individuals, to bring recognition to Assyrians.  What I don't understand is why these efforts are not being supported by our leaders.  The bottom line is that these individual efforts might never become credible unless our political and religious leaders take some action.

Let's face it, there's nothing more disturbing than reading an article in Zinda, getting depressed over it, and then doing nothing about it.  I've decided to write to my local government representatives.  I really, really want to see more Assyrians doing the same.  But I'm still confused over why nothing is being done about the sad news I read about our people in the Mideast.

Stephanie Backus



Please join us this Sunday, October 15th, after Qurbana Qadisha, for a special program celebrating the 24th anniversary of His Holliness Mar Dinkha IV's consecration as the Patriarch of the Church of the East.  There will be a special brunch prepared by The Daughters of the Church.

We hope to see you there.

Jackie Yelda
Motwa of Mar Narsai Parish
3939 Lawton Street
San Francisco



Latest Issue of Nakosha Magazine
Interview with 2 Assyrian youth who took part in the Olympic Games



"Easterners We Are Despite the Sad Truth…Despite the Mockery of Our Fate" was the title of the speech of the president of the Syriac Universal Alliance, Mr. Habib Afram, given during the opening ceremony of SUA Convention in Lebanon on July 28, 2000. The speech was written in the Harmon Magazine on August 6 and then translated by the Beth Suryoyo Assyrian web group.

With the beginning 3rd millennium, we look at the human being. We attempt to understand the human and we see him, in the time of the major changes, torn between looking into invading the galaxies, discovering the DNA maps and the revolution of communications, and between the fighting of AIDS that is killing a continent, the poverty that is destroying countries, illiteracy and the ethnic and racial wars. He has not changed since the beginning of times. Despite all of that, he has witnessed in a single century the fastest change, the proficient conquests and the biggest wars.

Then you look at your own people! How can you, in the presence of such an amazing change, remain constant? How can you win the challenge? How can you remain in your lands, homes and countries until death, so that the winds of emigration do not uproot you and you do not assimilate in the emigration? So that the spreading, the distance and the world do not abolish your history, characteristics and civilization?

That is the Question!!

In this world that is enriched with nationalities, ethnicities, religions, denominations, beliefs and powers, how do we proceed as a part of many human civilizations? How do we proceed confirming modestly that we have contributed to its prosperity and that we still are a beloved color of the diversity of the world, or even in its strangeness?

Easterners we are, here since the beginning of time.

Christians we are, since the Word became a Body [meaning that God became human in the form of Christ]

We are a religious, kind, open-minded people and with Churches that are enriched with faith. We do not monopolize God. We acknowledge Polytheism and we respect and honor all the religions and peoples with whom we have learned to live. Despite that we have suffered, maybe more than others, from the oppression of the past, of the Genocides and the Massacres committed against us.

We have also learned that inclusive and just peace alone is the only hope for people to advance. That no one group should strengthen itself in the might of power or money, but rather with truth and fairness. The acceptance of one of the other as he is and acknowledging him is the logical approach to the domestic and national peace within the frame of the absolute loyalty to the nation.

Freedoms, Human Rights, Human Beings and the Growth by themselves are the road to the dignity of the individual who is the objective of every political policy.

Easterners we are despite the sad and killer truth; despite the mockery of our fate.

The Syriacs of Stockholm are more than those in Qamishly.

The Maronites of Brazil are more than those in Mount Lebanon.

The Assyrians of Chicago are more than those in Nineweh.

The Chaldeans of Detroit are more than those in Tel-Keif and Alqosh.

We have learned that he who loses his land and country loses everything. Thus, we call to always remain in the homeland and to connect to the roots despite how difficult the circumstances become.

It is our duty before we blame it on others. It is our will and decision. It is the responsibility of the regimes, the rulers, all the leaderships, parties and the idealists. Here I am calling from here, will the loss of the Christians continue? All the Christians in the Middle East?

The statistics are frightening!!

Although I do believe that we have mission and that Christianity will not die here because it is from the true nature of the region, it is not an intruder. It doesn't constitute minorities studied in the cultural institutes. It is not attached to political goals rather it is deep-rooted, committed and nationalistic. It is here and it contains the historical existence with Islam.

We have learned that our scattering is a blessing and a fortune if it is correctly exploited for our case, and it is a wrath and a failure if neglected. Wherever in the world we are, the east is our center of attraction, and without it we would perish. We want our ideological, social and educational revival in the world of emigration to motivate our organizations to protect our rights; in order to enter the world interactively and proving our ability to keep pace. As well as, to work in order to make it supportive for our Middle East, helping our sons and daughters living in it and for the revival of our countries.

This is our Syriac Universal Alliance, in the shadows of the United Nations and its Non-Governmental organizations; and in our strong relationship and our full cooperation with the Church, the house of faith, and its leadership; and in our tenaciousness in our rights of existing in our language, culture, freedoms, openness and our love to all the peoples, especially those with whom we shared food, air and the days; in our sensing to the pains of our people everywhere in every wound as if it was our own body.

Here I am inviting all our people to get out of the prisons of individualism, division, denominationalism and tribalism. I invite all to join the spacious horizons of open-mindedness and demolish the walls. Impossible walls have been brought down, why should we leave some of the rocks as obstacles in our minds?

It is my joy and pride to welcome you here in the heart of Mount Lebanon; in this model country, which we have given it its name of "The Heart of God," and in non other than this idealistic, spiritual and nationalistic palace to confirm that the Maronites are the pride of the Syriacs; in the nation of the free, liberal and social life. The nation, which a will freed its land and stood in hope despite its internal war, and despite its falls and some of its setbacks, it has welcomed you all. It has welcomed you in the rising nation from its own ashes. Welcoming you in the nation that is always renewing; promising that we render the title of this convention and meeting of "Lebanon the Heart of the Syriacs" into a scientific reality.

From here, every one of us gives a salute of love to the President of Lebanon, and its symbol and hope, the Lieutenant General Emil Lahoud, asking the Lord to give him the long life in order to finish the journey.

The days pass, you write on the face of the Earth with your blood and struggle whatever you wish; I am two words 'Lebanon' and 'Syriacs'.

Habib Afram
Syriac Universal Alliance
July 28, 2000

Ephrem-Isa Yousif was born in 1944 in Sanate, an Assyrian-Chaldean village near Zakho in Iraq. He studied in Mosul-northern Iraq and, then in emigrated to France to complete his education. He obtained two Humanities doctorates in Philosophy and Civilizations. Dr. Yousif then began teaching Philosophy and Arabic language and literature in University of Toulouse.  Currently he writes books and articles and is the director of  the publishing company "l’Harmattan" in Paris.  Dr. Yousif is a member of the Association of the Writers of French Language (A.D.E.L. F.) and a scientific counselor for the High Council of the French speaking world.

The following is a list of Dr. Yousif's books and articles:

1) Parfums d’enfance à Sanate [Fragrances of Childhood] (Editions l’Harmattan, Paris, 1993)

The story take us to the village of Sanate, in 1950's, lost in the mountains of northern Iraq. It gives us a vision of the life of the unrecognized Assyro-Chaldeans:  the family, the marriage, the death, the life of women, the specific customs. The narrator, Icho, is a sensitive, and keenly observant boy. Endowed with a rich memory, he believes himself to be the heir of a very ancient history and the guardian of the Aramaic language spoken by Christ. He tells us his joys, his sorrows, his delights with the nature, and his childhood dreams.

2) Mésopotamie, paradis des jours anciens [Mesopotamia, Paradise of Ancient Days] (Editions l’Harmattan, Paris, 1996)

The narrator of this story is Icho from Sanate who has now traveled to the picturesque city of Mosul for his studies. Icho goes in search of the ancient Assyria.  He likes everything about this civilization, its art, its languages, its religions, its cities of Assur, Khalu, Dur-Sharrukin, Nineveh.  They come to life in his heart.  He then meets the heirs of the people in the Christian villages who speak the Aramaic language. The young man dreams about a new Mesopotamia....

3) Les philosophes et traducteurs syriaques [Syriac Philosophers and Translators] (Editions l’Harmattan, Paris, 1997)

Dr. Yousif writes about the odyssey of the Syriac-speaking philosophers and translators who between the 2nd and 14th Centuries A.D. searched for the knowledge and philosophy of Greeks, mainly that of Aristotle.   These Syriac philosophers, Yousif contends, were the heirs of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Arameans.  They translated and then taught Greek philosophies that was earlier thought of and provoked in Mesopotamia.  A remarkable phenomenon, was the their role in the transmission of this body of knowledge into the Arabic world.  The Arabs crossed this patrimony onto the West.

4) L’Epopée du Tigre et de l’Euphrate [The Epic of Tigris and Euphrates] (Editions l’Harmattan, Paris, 1999)

The author leads us to the discovery of Mesopotamia and its civilizations which bequeathed us an inestimable patrimony and upset the fate of humanity.  He puts us in touch with the Sumerians, the great creators, who cast a new glance over the universe. The Sumerians invented the first cities and established States. Through their invention of writing, they admitted the Man to the History.  Then the Akkadians took over.   Babylonians and Assyrians continued to engrave the face of Mesopotamia. They developed astronomy, astrology, mathematics, and law. The inheritance of this land does not limit itself only to ruins or to objects in the shop windows of museums.  It awakens our sensibility, our imagination. It allows us better to know our history.

These books can be purchased on the Web:  Click Here



Story by Bob White for Modesto Bee; September 1

(ZNDA:  Turlock)  Former Stanislaus County Supervisor Joash E. Paul, a prominent member of the Assyrian community, died Wednesday at Emanuel Medical Center. He was 80.

Paul, a native of Turlock, was elected to the county post in 1968 and retired from the Board of Supervisors in 1980. During his tenure, he served three one-year terms as chairman, in 1970, 1974 and 1979.

Rep. Gary Condit, D-Ceres, served on the county board with Paul. Thursday, Condit described him as "a tremendous leader for the Assyrian community and for the Central Valley. He was a good man who dedicated his life to his family, his community and our area. He was a friend. He will be sorely missed."

Paul was noted for his outspoken manner on the board. He was highly critical of the closing of Modesto State Hospital in 1970, describing it as a "shocker" because it forced county government into mental health care.

Paul was a rancher for 50 years and lamented zoning laws that established minimum parcel sizes for agricultural land. He said the Board of Supervisors had created a monster that made it impossible for novices to enter farming.

After retiring from the board, Paul served as president of the fund-raising foundation for the county-owned Scenic General Hospital in Modesto. He served on the hospital's board and fought successfully to keep it open when some board members favored closing it.

Later the hospital would become Stanislaus Medical Center, but it eventually ceased being a hospital. County clinics now occupy the building.

Besides ranching, Paul worked in real estate and for 25 years he helped operate his family's business: Paul's Motel and Pixie Pancake House, along what was then Highway 99 through Turlock. He sold the motel and restaurant in the mid-1970s, because by then the Turlock Bypass had been built, taking away traffic and business.

Joash Ephraim Paul was a lifelong resident of Turlock, born Sept. 23, 1919.

Paul was active in many community organizations, including the Assyrian-American Civic Club. He was club president during its formative years.

He was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, as well as UPEC 75 and IDES 68.

And he was a member of many agricultural organizations.

He is survived by his wife, Julie D. Paul of Turlock; children, David J. Paul and Bernadette Paul, both of Turlock, Joan Eshoo of Modesto, Dean S. Paul of San Francisco, Therese Paul of Costa Mesa and Joyce Greer of Austin, Texas; brother, Philip Paul of Laguna Niguel; sisters, Sara Thomas of Riverbank and Victoria Paul of San Francisco; and four grandchildren.


BC (ca 1340)

Babylonian king, Burna-Buriash, disappointed at the Canaanite chiefs’ plundering of his caravans, writes to Akhnaton of Egypt and holds him responsible:  “Canaan is thy land and its kings are thy servants.”  He demanded that the killers be slain.  Egypt did nothing.

A History of Babylon, King

Living in Chicago?  Be sure to visit The Art Institute of Chicago's special exhibition:  Pharaohs of the Sun: Akhenaton, Nefertiti, Tutankhamen on display until September 24.  For more information click here.

AD (1500)

Christians played an important role in the growth of trade with Europe in the Ottoman Empire.  The Greeks that lived in Istanbul controlled much of the trade with the Black Sea, in grain and fur.  Armenians played an important role in the silk trade with Iran.  Assyrians (Syriac Christians) acted as intermediaries wherever European merchants lived in the Middle East.

A History of the Arab Peoples, Hourani


October 17, 1976 :   Mar Dinkha IV is consecrated as the Patriarch of the Church of the East, in
London, England.

Oct 13

Presented by the Bet-Eil Assyrian Church
8:00 p.m.
Bethel Church of San Jose
1201 S. Winchester Blvd.
Donation: $5.00

All proceeds will be used to provide for the needy Assyrians around the world.
Bet-Eil church contact info:
Telephone: (408) 264-7057
E-mail: BetEil@earthlink.net
Web address: www.jps.net/beteilchurch/
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 54184 San Jose, CA 95154

Oct 27-31

3RD Annual Meeting of the Assyrian & Babylonian Intellectual Heritage
Radisson Chicago
Contact:  Dr. Norman Solhkhah at 847-699-9000
Click Here

Jul 2-6

International Congress of Assyriology and Near Eastern Archaeology 
"Sex and Gender in the Ancient Near East"
University of Helsinki

Registration Form:  click here

 Thank You!

Linda Michaels (California)


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