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Volume VII
Issue 19
July 23, 2001
return to zindamagazine.com

This Week In Zinda

  Sex, Lies, & Videotape
  AUA at Marbella: Part 3 "Sunrise"
  Declaration From The Assyrian Democratic Movement
Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party At The Municipal Elections

Ishtar's Temple Discovered In Iraq
Refugee Center Opens In New Zealand
Nick Yohanna, World War Ii Veteran Dies At 78

  "Away O Way O Way O Way… Waw!"

Become A Sponsor At The National Convention!

  A Sentimental Journey: Part II
  Babylonian Mythology
  Katie Toma
  Psychology & Logic
  The City Of Life & Patriarch Cyrus
  Nazar Agha Yamin al'Saltaneh
  Sargon Gabriel Party in San Jose



Zinda Says


Last week His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV arrived in San Jose, California. Among other things on his itinerary, he will be meeting with local civic leaders, the divided Church of the East parishes in California, and perhaps discuss the future of his church's latest embarrassing situation, the fate of Mar Aprim Khamis.

Bishop Mar Aprim Khamis lives in Phoenix and oversees the affairs of the Church of the East's Western U.S. Diocese. These include Modesto, Ceres, Turlock, Southern California, and Arizona. One might expect that all California parishes would be combined into one diocese. However, San Jose, San Francisco, and Sacramento parishes are organized under a different diocese called Western California. Seattle-Washington is also quietly tucked into this last group. The bishop presiding over the Western California diocese is Mar Bawai Soro.

In February 1995, Zinda Magazine reported that Mar Aprim Khamis was assigned to the Diocese of the Western U.S., replacing Mar Bawai Soro. At the time Mar Aprim was the Bishop of the Diocese of the Eastern U.S. and Canada. Mar Bawai Soro was then appointed the Secretary General of the Inter-Church Relations and sent off to Vatican to complete his theological studies. Shortly after, it was revealed that Mar Aprim was brought in to handle his predecessor's mismanagement of funds in California. In no time, Mar Aprim gained and wielded influence throughout California.

In December 1996, Mar Bawai Soro informed the readers of Zinda Magazine that Mar Aprim Khamis, had released Reverend Barkho Daoud from his pastoral duties in the North Hollywood Parish. Rev. Barkho was replaced with Rev. Rasho days after Mar Bawai's letter was published in Zinda Magazine. Rev. Barkho's followers never gave up supporting the renegade father and the division among the church's faithful in Southern California has never fully been appreciated by the Patriarchate. Today the outcome of such dissection can be felt even in the elections of the Assyrian American Association of Southern California.

Tales of scandals, greed over bingo profits, and tribal affiliations later forced the reapportionment of western parishes into their present form. Before digging too deeply into local church issues in California, let's return to the bishop from Phoenix.

Last year Zinda Magazine published Mar Aprim's letter to the Census in which he stated "We are convinced that to corrupt the norms of history would be an insulting act: a violation of history...We are Assyrians; therefore, we request that you keep the 'Assyrian' category separate." The Patriarchate of the Church later commented that it was unaware of the contents of Mar Aprim's letter. It neither accepted nor condoned Mar Aprim's actions toward the Census Bureau's decision to alter the category of Assyrian to Assyrian/Chaldean/Syraic.

In 1998 Mar Aprim was transferred from California to the diocese in Arizona. In October a certain Pakistani woman, Yasmin Khan, invites Mar Aprim Khamis to her apartment in Chicago's North Side for dinner. She then declares her love for the Assyrian bishop and tells him that she wants to marry him. According to court papers, Mar Aprim kisses her several times, but refuses Yasmin's offer.

Mar Aprim meets Yasmin once again on November 10 and engages in "consensual kissing and touching." The next day, he receives a hand-delivered copy of a videotape as well as a threatening voice-mail message from Yasmin. The day after the delivery, Mar Aprim withdrew $17,000 in cash from his personal bank account, hands his Pakistani lover the money at her home and in exchange receives a videotape and numerous audio tapes. According to Chicago Police, over the next several months, the bishop gave Yasmin an additional $41,500. Yasmin Khan had secretly videotaped her sexual encounters with Mar Aprim Khamis.

In May 2000, Zinda Magazine reported that Yasmin Khan was charged in a 10-count federal indictment in Chicago.

Adultery by a bishop leader, according to the canon's of the Church, constitutes a grievous violation of the law of chastity. The council of bishops may either excommunicate or disfellowship an adulterer. It was expected that at the recent synod of the Church in June 2001, Mar Aprim Khamis would be defrocked from all his bishopric duties. He was neither defrocked nor banished from the Church. His bishopric duties were only "suspended" for a period of less than two years. He will also remain on the Church's payroll during the suspension period. Zinda sources indicate that all attendees agreed to this resolution except one - Mar Bawai Soro.

Why did the bishops refrain from defrocking Mar Aprim Khamis at the last synod? Did the bishops and Mar Dinkha know something about Mar Aprim that prevented them from declaring a moral decision based on the Canons of the Church? The answer to this question is quite complex and rooted in a lurid nightmare that began 26 years ago in California.

On 15 September 1973 at the synod of the Bishops in Beirut the late Mar Ishai Shimun, patriarch of the Church of the East, was defrocked from all church ranks. While the late-Patriarch disagreed with that decision, the bishops of the church sent their representative, our very own Bishop Mar Aprim Khamis, to the U.S. as the administrator of the Church of the East in the United States and Canada.

In early February 1975 Aprim DeBaz, Pastor of Mar Sargis Parish in Chicago, sent a telegram to Mar Ishai Shimun speaking against the Patriarch. The Patriarch had transferred Rev DeBaz from Chicago to Michigan in 1970 because he had allegedly embezzled money from his church in Chicago. Sounds familiar?

One month after the correspondence between Rev. DeBaz and the Patriarch who was then living in San Jose, Rev. DeBaz meets with an Assyrian Universal Alliance representative and the brother of the Patriarch's assassin, Zaia Ismail at the San Francisco Airport. A few months later, David Malik Ismail assassinates Mar Ishai Shimun.

Rev. DeBaz knew of yet another Assyrian Universal Alliance representative and friend of Zaia Ismail. In fact, Sam Andrews is still an active member of the AUA and the leader of a group opposed to the re-election of John Nimrod to the position of Secretary General at the Marbella Congress in May 2001.

Rev. DeBaz also admitted that he had seen Mr. Ismail and Mar Khamis in July 1975, four months before the assassination of Mar Ishai Shimun. Currently Rev. DeBaz is an Archdeacon in the Diocesan Chancellery of the Eastern United States diocese.

What does Mar Aprim know about the events leading to the assassination of Mar Ishai Shimun, including the meetings between the Church representatives and the Assyrian Universal Alliance only months before His Holiness' assassination in California? Who is Yasmin Khan and what were her true intentions in producing the videotapes of her sexual encounter with Mar Aprim? Were others involved in the production of those videotapes?

The only thing certain is that the nightmare is not going to be over anytime soon. In 1975 Mar Ishai Shimun was assassinated in his house in San Jose, California. The ill effects of that incident have since overwhelmed every successor to his chancellery in California. With the decision of the bishops at the recent synod, we can expect further finger-pointing and perhaps unique answers to the questions addressed earlier. As one parishioner in Phoenix told Zinda Magazine last week: "Somebody's lying here and before we ALL get angry someone should break this silence and say something to the people."

Getting angry, we think, would be a good start.

A Zinda Magazine Editorial


The Lighthouse

Part 3: "Sunrise"

Dr. Efrem Yildiz was the second person to address the Conference, outside the three members of the human rights panel. Dr. Yildiz is a professor in the Department of Hebrew & Aramaic Studies, at Salamanca University, Spain. He is an Assyrian from Harbol, in southeast Turkey. He obtained his secondary education in Germany. For the next ten years, he studied Philosophy and Biblical Theology at the Pontifical University, Rome, culminating in a doctorate degree in 1997 (Ph.D. dissertation: "La 'Teoria' Biblica battesimale secondo Mar Teodoro l'Interprete"). According to a Georgian who was my Marbella roommate, for several of his years in Rome Dr. Yildiz was a classmate of Father 'Benny', who currently ministers to the Assyrian community in Tblisi. Not yet 35 years of age, Dr. Yildiz's phenomenal repertoire of languages includes Biblical Aramaic, Syriac, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, Hebrew, Greek and Latin.

At Marbella, Dr. Yildiz spoke on the continuity of the Assyrian people from the empire's demise in the 7th century B.C. to the present time. He delivered his panegyric in our language, as well as in English. He referred to documentation attesting to our continuity, which "consists of Assyrian sources written in the vernacular, in Aramaic, in Greek, stretching from the fall of the Empire until well into the Christian era" and, just as importantly, to a "deeply-rooted … oral tradition."

The speaker noted that with the arrival of Christianity, "the institutional church gradually assumed the role of the state." In the absence of political leaders, "Assyrians re-grouped around their ecclesiastical institutions." From the outset, theirs was the "Church of the East," although in due course various other terms emerged (due to "religious and ethnographical problems"). In the early period, it was also known as the "Persian Church," reflecting domination of that empire at the time. Dr. Yildiz speculated on reasons why the institution became known as the "Church of the East," rather than the "Assyrian Church." One possibility, he noted, is that converts were in the habit of renouncing their ethnic-national name, since it reminded them of their pagan past.

Dr. Yildiz finds the names "Assyrian," "Chaldean," "Babylonian," and "Aramaic" "the most scientifically appropriate," as each of these is rooted "in historical and ethnic fact." He recalled that the Patriarchs of the Eastern Church used such titles as "Patriarch of Babylonia," "of the Chaldeans," or "of Assyria."

According to the speaker, our people were never able to re-organize following the fall of the empire, because of constant persecutions. This oppression never relented, as evidenced by the Kurdish and Turkish attacks to counter Assyrian claims of identity, autonomy and independence.

Those who cast doubt on the ancient lineage of today's Assyrians do not question that the French go back to the Gauls, the Spanish to the Iberians and Celts, the Jews to the ancient Israelites, the Turks to the Hittites, and the modern Egyptians to the ancient Egyptians (even though all speak Arabic today). Why, he asked, should we be viewed differently? He deplored the general disregard of scholars for the history and culture of the Assyrians. He noted that modern scholars admit that, even in the face of many invasions and dominations, large numbers of Jews with their own schools and traditions continued to exist in Babylonia up until the Middle Ages, never losing their identity. Then why not the Assyrians? Oral tradition must not be ignored, anymore than when studying the cultural history of Jews, Arabs, and other Oriental people.

Some have pointed to the fact that over the centuries one does not often come across typically Assyrian names. Regarding this, Dr. Yildiz explained that almost all the names of the Patriarchs were biblical, which set the example. He noted also that the constant oppression of Assyrians over the centuries - their religious persecution increasing several fold upon the rise of Islam -- led them to attach much more importance to their faith than to their national identity.

Dr. Yildiz agrees with the conclusion of Professor R.N. Frye who has written: "[T]he modern Assyrians, with more justification, since their language is a Semitic tongue related to ancient Assyrian, claim descent from ancient Assyrians; and history is more the record of what people believe than the mere recording of events." Vol XI:2, Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies). Dr. Yildiz is eager to improve understanding of our language and history. To this end, he has introduced at the Philological Faculty such courses as Aramaic-Speaking Cultures, Eastern (classical) Aramaic (Syriac), and Modern Aramaic.

The charge undertaken by Dr. Yildiz in this presentation is an awesome one. For many modern Assyrians (though surely not all), the issue of linkage to the ancients is an emotionally-charged imperative. One lecture cannot be expected to produce an adequate answer, but it can be a useful building block. His narrative of our heritage leaves some gaping holes, but he was addressing fellow Assyrians eager to be uplifted, and not a pedantic group poring over his scholarship. As such, he did well. At their best, his comments tantalize us in a similar way to those of another scholar (Dr. Edward Odisho, Chapter I of Sound System of Modern Assyrian), though neither would claim to have yet hit the mark. Fleshing out the various assumptions, conjectures and theories, is bound to take time, but Dr. Yildiz is a young, talented, and focused scholar. He will have ample opportunity to find vindication in years to come.

Francis Sarguis

Good Morning Bet-Nahrain


Press Release of the Expanded Meeting of the ADM Central Committee
Arbil, North Iraq
July 10, 2001

The Central Committee of our ADM held an expanded meeting to study the general political situation on all aspects in order to establish plans for the upcoming period and the strategies to advance our just cause on both the internal and external avenues. The meeting discussed details the events associated with the recent municipal elections that took place in Arbil and Dohok on 26 May 2001 for which we clarified our position as outlined in our declaration of 22 May 2001. That declaration explained our diligent and responsible efforts that we had put forward for the sake of obtaining the affirmation for the legitimate national rights of our people in municipal offices in districts, counties, provinces and towns where our Syriac Chaldean Assyrian people historically have lived in.

A suitable method to represent our people's legitimate rights was deemed necessary to provide for the most equitable and fair process to guarantee the principals of partnership and free choice of our people in exercising their political and administrative rights. It is also necessary to guarantee that they can obtain seats within these municipalities based on the demographics of the area and their small population compared to that of our brothers, the Kurds, within the administrative boarders of these districts. Factors such as wars, deportation, the building of forced concentration camps, the movement of refugees and the non-return of large number of people to their villages in the boarder areas due to the unstable situation, were all considered in order to reach the decision for having such a suitable method. This understanding is in line with what was declared officially by the laws enacted by the Kurdistan/lraq parliament when our people elected their own representatives to the parliament in a free election using voting boxes assigned to them specifically

As it was mentioned in the declaration of 22 May 2001, in addition to our diligence and responsible efforts, we had exercised equal share of responsibility towards helping advance the democratic process in the area and strengthening the relationship, partnership and the feel for shared destiny for all the people of the area. We supported the success of municipal elections believing it is a step in the right direction for building the infrastructure of a civil society. We were extremely patient in not declaring a position or passing a resolution on these elections until the last second in order to give ample time to have the situation rectified.

As we approached the Election Day, we finally received assurances from the Kurdistan Democratic Party Leadership that the situation will be corrected after the elections in accordance to the recognized laws.

Au explained in the Declaration, given the assurances that we received and with only one day left for the candidate to campaign, our leadership decided to participate in the elections even though we were convinced that the outcome would not be in favor of our people. The unfair environment surrounding the election process that was known to many contributed to the negative results.

Now, after the passing of considerable time since the conclusion of these elections, we have yet to hear about any legal or practical steps to remedy the situation. We were told that the situation would he corrected within two to three weeks after the elections. Thus, the expanded meeting reaffirms our Movement's position to reject the current situation that deals with the aspiration of our people and their nationalistic rights on a secondary level. Regardless of all the actions that we have witnessed in this period, our Movement is determined to continue its struggle and efforts to strengthen the principals of partnership and sharing in this land. Our people, regardless of what their population number is today given the current changing environment and conditions, will always be the rightful owner of a political cause and historical rights in a land that they have lived in for thousands of years and paid for it by large numbers of Martyrs. Our people have remained faithful to this country and remained committed to the principal of mutual coexistence with all the people of this county. It is these noble and patriotic qualities that exists in our people that have been displayed by our Movement since inception some twenty-two years ago during which we have given a group of unforgotten martyrs who act as shining stars lighting up the path of struggle. Our promise to them is that we will stay faithful to the same principals for which they gave their lives.

Expanded Meeting of the ADM Central Committee


Courtesy of Bet-Nahrain Magazine, May 2001.

(ZNDA: California) During the 26 May Municipal Elections held in two northern KDP-controlled provinces of Iraq, Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party candidates were elected in Dohuk, Sarsang, Arbil, Ainkawa, Shaqlawa, and Diana. BNDP is an Assyrian political party affiliated with the Assyrian National Congress who recently ended its Seventh Annual General Assembly in Stockholm, Sweden.

The BNDP candidates included Mr. Benyamin Esha Youkhana and Espania Oraha Es-Haq from Nohadra (Dohuk), Talia Baito Talia in Sarsang, Nestrois Youkhana Nissan in Bakerat, Gewargis Younan Khoshaba in Arbil, Essam Hana Kabo in Ainkawa, Arsanis Basa in Shaqlawa, and Gewargis Yosip Zaia in Diana.

The candidates ran on an independent ticket and according to the BNDP "were supported by an overwhelming majority of the Assyrian voters." The BNDP also referred to the Assyrian Democratic Movement in these elections as "Another Assyrian group, which has claimed falsely in the past to be 'the only Assyrian representative in Iraq'". In the same report BNDP explains that ADM "was denied permission by the Kurdish Regional Government in Arbil to field 'the only Assyrian candidates" in these municipal elections."

According to the BNDP report, at a meeting in Salah al'Deen two weeks before the Municipal Elections, attended by representatives of 32 political parties including BNDP, Mr. Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, had told the ADM leadership that "he or his group do not represent the Assyrian population in the region and the elections are free, democratic and open to all political parties operating in the region." BNDP goes further by stating that the ADM leadership "knowing in advance that its candidates will loss if ran independently" allied itself with the Communist Party and the Islamic Unity Party (Al Itihad Al-Islami) and ran a joint slate of candidates in Ainkawa, Diana, and Arbil.

On July 10, the ADM leadership released a Declaration (see above) explaining that they "were extremely patient in not declaring a position or passing a resolution on these elections until the last second in order to give ample time to have the situation rectified." Without any direct references to the BNDP election results the Declaration states that the ADM leadership reaffirms its "position to reject the current situation that deals with the aspiration of our people and their nationalistic rights on a secondary level."


News Digest


Courtesy of Agence France-Presse (July 20)

(ZNDA: Nimrod) The team of Iraqi archaeologists reported in last week's issue have unearthed the remains of an Assyrian temple and sculptures in the north of the country dating back to the era of King Assurnasirpal II in the 9th century B.C. The head of Iraq's archaeology and heritage department, Jaber Khalil Ibrahim, said that two giant winged lions, frescoes and reliefs had also been found at the Nimroud site, 30 kilometres (20 miles) south of the town of Mosul.

"It's only the second time in 150 years that winged lion statues have been found on this site," he said, adding that the sculptures stand five metres (more than 16 feet) tall.

"Two identical statues were discovered by a British archaeological mission in 1850," said Ibrahim. "One is currently on display in Mosul museum and the other in Britain."

Dozens of Iraqi archaeologists have been toiling for the past five months at the site, where winged bulls have also been found in the past.

The temple they have unearthed is dedicated to Ishtar, the Assyrian goddess of love and war, explained Ibrahim. A pyramid-like structure has also been found with Assyrian inscriptions.

"The lower parts of the (lion) sculptures are in relatively good condition but their heads are damaged by erosion," added Mozahem Mahmoud Hussein, head of the archaeological team.

The cuneiform inscriptions on the base date them to the 884-860 B.C. reign of King Assurnasirpal. Hussein said the king ordered the winged lions to be erected at the entrance to palaces and temples "because he believed the sculptures prevented evil spirits from entering".

The newly-found temple contains a room 20 metres (66 foot) long and inscriptions of the names of King Assurnasirpal II and his son Salmanasar III and an account of a huge celebration to inaugurate the town of Nimroud.



Courtesy of the Evening Post (July 18)

(ZNDA: Welington) A new self-run refugee and migrant center opened in Wellington, New Zealand last week. The Alay Community Centre on Victoria Street aims to act as a drop-in center to connect new refugees and migrants with their own and other ethnic communities. Alay - which means "to offer" in Filipino - comprises the Refugee Council, Somali People's Trust, and the Cambodian, Assyrian and Latin American communities. Wellington City Council is paying the center's rent for the first year.



(ZNDA: Chicago) Nick Yohanna, 78, husband of the late Vera; father of Kenneth (Jeanine) and Nicholas Jr.; grandfather of Joseph and Alison; brother of Joseph, the late Alex, the late Lillian and the late Alice passed away in Chicago last week. Mr. Yohanna was a veteran of World War II and member of the Assyrian American AMVETS Post #5. His funeral service was held last Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Entombment Elmwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, his family requests donations to The Heart Fund. Info 773- 463-1510.

Surfs Up!

The following letter was sent to Zinda Magazine to acknowledge the receipt of Z-Crew's recent donation of over $500.00 towards a construction project in northern Iraq.

"The Assyrian Democratic Movement presents its greatest gratitude for the support and help that you are offering to your brave brethren who are strongly standing on our native land, Bet-Nahrain (Mesopotamia), protecting and maintaining our entity for the coming generations.

We hope that you will not hesitate from donating to this national cause. Therefore we are looking to recive your donations regularly. Thank you so much and God bless you."

Adam Z. Benjamin
Assyrian Democratic Movement


"Away O Way O Way O Way… Waw!!!!! -- After reading about the new CD from our favorite singer Walter Aziz in Zinda Magazine, and watching his interview on the local Assyrian TV, I could not wait to purchase the ticket for last Friday's event. This was the first time in my memory that an Assyrian singer was going on a tour for his or her CD and was publicizing his CD on TV and the Internet.

The show was supposed to start at 7:30 PM. We got there at 8:45 and to no surprise there were only close to 50 people present. After picking the best strategically located table, I started taking notes of the hall and the stage.

The newly renovated Church of the East Hall in San Jose looked great and could offer plenty of space for Sheykhaneh, Tolama, Janima, etc. The lights around the stage and the equipment were giving the impression of quality and effort of the organizers. Finally around 9:30 the Band showed up. Wow, there were four of them and there was a Spanish Guitar Player. I am so used to the two-men bands at the Assyrian parties that it took a minute for me to believe my eyes. Around 10:00 pm, when the Hall was ¾ filled, finally the show started.

Walter started his first tour party with the new song "AWAY AWAY OWA" with two beautiful Hispanic girls in tight pants and shinny tops singing in the background "Away Away Away Owa".

Mr. Aziz in his opening dedicated the CD to his family and his fans. In broken English and Assyrian, he also asked everyone not to forget their language and their nationality and encouraged us to share the CD with our non-Assyrian friends.

After the short speech and the introduction, Walter got us all ready to dance the night AWAY. I got my handkerchief ready and waited for the Assyrian dances to start. The next song was the 2nd from his album, which had again a Latin melody. Then came the 3rd song; this time it was Assyrian.

Khega got together and the dance started. I waited for the 2nd song to join the Khegha; it never came. After the first song, Walter switched to Arabic and it took him a good half an hour to remember he is not in an Arab party and moved to another language, Persian. My Assyrian friends who could not speak Persian were wondering what was Walter saying by "Dast Dast" (clap clap). It took another 20 minutes for Walter to feel tired and go on a break and leave the show to the DJ. Light got dimmed and suddenly I found myself in an American Nightclub. I still had the handkerchief in my hand for the Assyrian dance, which by now was wrinkled, and non-recognizable. Around 12:30 after not seeing any sign of change at the "Assyrian Nightclub", my friends and I gave up and left the party.

This morning the first order of the day was to listen to the CD and appreciate a year and a half of Walter's effort. After listening to the CD I really understood the meaning of "Away Away Owa". Thanks to Walter, we finally got 'AWAY" from Janiman, Sheykhaneh and other Assyrian dances. Now you can listen to English/Assyrian, Spanish/Assyrian, Kurdish/Assyrian music and language. The good thing about this CD is that you "really" have to listen to the song to know when he is switching from one language to the other one.

I believe our youth will really enjoy the CD and will dance to it in the coming years. I personally enjoyed it and will use it at the Gym to be inspired by and perspire with.

As for the Assyrian Dance Party, I am ironing my handkerchief for Sargon Gabriel party in August. I'm just wondering if he has been influenced by this "Away Away Owa" wave or not?"

Lena Mushell


"Quid novi? -- In a letter appearing in your June 12 edition, Jeff Atto (Michigan) expressed his unhappiness with Jean-Paul Sliva and Kelley Ross, and then some. In a June 19 response also in Zinda, Mr. Sliva's response concluded by citing my name (misspelled).

Mr. Atto complains: "This … guy [Sliva] is obsessed with us. First he claims that he 'knows better' than us darkies about our Calendar, then he insults our past leaders (Agha Petros)."

I had the opportunity of visiting Mr. Sliva and other Assyrians and Assyro-Chaldeans who live in the area of Toulouse, France, where they have an Association. For many years, Mr. Sliva has served his organization in various capacities, including as its President. His group has established important ties with local French officials as well as with several academics interested in our culture. I do not understand the reason why Mr. Atto would imply that Mr. Sliva is some kind of outsider who butts in to insult "us darkies." Furthermore, the expression "us darkies" appears self-loathing, plus a gratuitous insult to Assyrians generally.

That Mr. Sliva has reservations about the date used on the "Assyrian Calendar" hardly breaks new ground. I thought it was the view of many Assyrians that the calendar date is part mythology and part folklore, even if they are glad to celebrate it. Although this is not the place to discuss it, we already know that the majority of rites and celebrations (including those in Western culture) are mired in speculation and ambiguity.

Mr. Sliva has also expressed his doubt about the character of Agha Petros. Is Mr. Atto aware that this is not the view of just one person, but something shared by a number of Assryians, or Assyro-Chaldeans, as the case may be? For example, in my past visits to the Toulouse area (where Agha Petros spent the last years of his life), I have found a sharply divided attitude among Assyrians about the General. To date, I have not seen any evidence to support the doubters.

It is my understanding that Agha Petros left behind some personal diaries which conceivably would enrich our knowledge of his life. However, his one surviving son has consistently denied access to such materials (if they exist at all), even to interested Assyrian scholars. In the absence of such primary sources, many of us would be interested in finding an objective study of Agha Petros, which might take us beyond the extremes of beatification versus vilification. If Mr. Atto knows of any such work (which is not merely a puff piece or a hatchet job), I would urge him to share the reference with the rest of us.

In his recent response to Jeff Atto, Mr. Sliva comments that "French Assyrians know a lot of unavowable things about their self-styled leader [Agha Petros]; many of them have deserted Assyrianism because of him …" This is a titillating and sensationalist remark which gets us nowhere. If Mr. Sliva has specific and verifiable details to justify his negative assessment of Agha Petros, he should proffer such information, by chapter and verse. By doing so, he would serve history and educate the Assyrian people. If Mr. Sliva is concerned about potential liability for libel damages, I can assure him that he has no cause for concern in revealing historical facts regarding a public figure such as Agha Petros. So long as it remains unsubstantiated, Mr. Sliva's broadly-stated defamation of a revered figure is a disservice to one and all.

Going back to Mr. Atto, he compares Mr. Sliva to "Kelley Ross because he arrogantly assumes that by reading one book about us, he automatically knows more than we do about our own history and origins." I know from my exchanges with Mr. Sliva that he has read an impressive number of books, and Mr. Atto would recognize this if he engaged Mr. Sliva in a dialogue. I don't think Mr. Sliva should be faulted for having more questions than he has answers. Blessed is he who knows all the answers.

I'm betting also that both Mr. Atto and Mr. Sliva are wrong about Dr. Ross. I remind both of them that Kelley Ross has a Ph.D. in philosophy, and I am sure he has read an impressive number of books. Dr. Ross said some nasty things about the ancient Assyrians. What's so novel about this? I would refer you to the ancient history of most people, e.g., the Vikings, the Aztecs, and the Chinese. Dr. Ross also questions the linkage of ancient Assyrians to modern Assyrians. Most of our people have formed a strong opinion on this matter without having read anything on the subject. Surely someone who has read a lot on the subject is entitled to form his own opinion, even if it happens to differ from ours. As for Mr. Sliva, his recent answer to Jeff Atto protests: "I am not a supporter of Mr. Kelly Ross (I even wrote against him!) My opinion is that a plant growing in a glasshouse will not withstand a gust of wind or of cold (Assyrians are that way when they refuse to learn the actual facts)." Unless Mr. Sliva has his own double-standard, I hope he strongly supports the right of Dr. Ross to raise questions and express his opinions, even if they do not agree with his own. Let us reject the childish attitude that it has to be "my way or no way." An important mark of a civilized society is that reasonable, even heated, disagreement should be encouraged, not suppressed. A reference to unpleasant facts, and the postulation of provocative conclusions should be viewed as a challenge (academic or historical), rather than the cause for insult and hysteria. Whatever may be said about the ancient Assyrians, we the moderns surely ought to exemplify some polish and class. In this sense, I hope that Zinda will disregard Mr. Atto's request to "not post any more of [Sliva's] e-mails." As for Mr. Sliva, I am still eagerly awaiting biographical details which will 'set the record straight' about Agha Petros."

Francis Sarguis

Surfers Corner


Market your company to thousands at this year's Assyrian National Convention

The 2001 Assyrian National Convention (August 31-September 3 in San Jose, CA) marks the first opportunity for corporate sponsorship of this year's impressive cultural and educational programs. If you are a business or an organization that wants to extend its marketing communications and its support for the preservation of Assyrian heritage, you are invited to consider promoting your company by sponsoring a session at this year's convention. Your sponsorship package will deliver high profile visibility on-site and integrate your brand in the convention-marketing program.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or know of a company that would be interested, please contact Maha Hermes (maha_hermes@yahoo.com or 510-851-3692) for more information. You can also click to our website www.assyrianconvention.org for full convention details.

Please down load the pdf file for full sponsorship details. Click Here.

Thank you for your support.

Assyrian American National Convention Committee
California/New York



Part II

Aissors = Assyrians
Dzelamerok = Now Colemerik
Solozh-bulak = Now Mahabad

The exiled Aissors lived, starved, plundered, aroused the burn-ing hatred of the Persians. They visited the bazaars dressed in small felt caps, multicolored vests and wide pants made from scraps of calico and tied above the ankles with ropes. The Chris-tian religion, which bound the Aissors together, had long since grown slack and subsisted only as another means of differentiating them from the Moslems.

There were religious missions in Urmia-Russian, German, French, American; they all pursued the souls of the poor Nestori-ans and, of course, played politics. The missions meddled in gov-ernment matters and they too constituted a sort of separate state. Each mission extended protection to its new converts. Because of this, there were some who changed their faith two or three times. In one family practically all the Christian denominations were represented.

The French mission in Urmia had a strange appearance. A large monastery with columns, men in black soutanes and round caps with pompons. It was the largest building in town.

The Russian mission, built, incidentally, on land illegally taken from private owners, looked like a large new monastery, with its red-brick walls. During my stay in Persia, the mission had already begun to decline: the bishop had left; its influence had waned.

All these organizations worked among the Urmian Aissors; the mountain Ashurite Aissors were harder to convert.

The Aissors had been living in the vicinity of Urmia for a long time: they had appeared here no later than the seventh century. But in our time, their relations with the Persians had become severely strained. The main reason was the Aissors' participation in the war. They had a guerrilla band which fought on our side. Christianity bound them to us, as well as their respect for the Allies. In their own way, the Aissors are an energetic people:

many of them had gone to America, where an Aissorian journal is even published. I remember someone pointed out to me an Aissor walking down the street in his national costume-patchwork pants and rawhide shoes-and said that he was a doctor of philosophy from an American university.

It was these fantastic people who had their own guerrilla band, men terrible in their thousand-year hatred of the Kurds and the Persians. The leader of this guerrilla band was a certain Aga Petros Elov, a black-haired man with a low forehead, curly hair and a broad, barrel-like chest. His striped pants and formal dou-ble-breasted jacket with red piping made him look like a telegraph operator. Elov had a colorful past. The consul showed me a printed résumé on him in a secret official publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I don't know it by heart, but I'm quoting rather accurately from memory:

"Aga Petros Elov is the party who was in such-and-such a year the Turkish consul in Urmia; in such-and-such a year he governed a certain locality in Turkey and ruined the populace with exorbi-tant taxes; while residing in America, he was sentenced to a term of hard labor in Philadelphia. At the present time, he sides with Russia and is our unofficial dragoman. His services are to be used with extreme caution."

Aga Petros and his guerrilla band had rendered us great serv-ices in the campaign against Oramar. I accidentally saved his life a few days after my arrival in Urmia. Drunken soldiers of the Third Frontier Regiment had arrested him in the street and were threat-ening to bayonet him. I got him away from them by saying that I was arresting him; then I took him to my apartment. He spoke good French and English and bad Russian.

We didn't feed his band; we gave them nothing but rifles and cartridges. And even the rifles supplied were mediocre-the three-shot French Lebel without muzzle rings. You can burn your hand with this kind of rifle if you aren't careful how you pick it up after shooting. This guerrilla band damaged the relations between the Persians and the Aissors, which had already been essentially bad. But in any case, Aga Petros was a daring and, in his own way, an honest man. This is the kind of thing that happened to him:

Several years previously, before starting to serve the Russians, he was summoned before the Persian governor of Urmia on some charge. He handled this matter by arresting the governor himself and forcing the khans to recognize him, the Aga, as governor. The shah summoned Petros to come before him, but he didn't go, wisely believing that home is best; instead, he summoned the shah. Finally, the shah persuaded him to resign by sending him a medal. That's the kind of man this unofficial dragoman was. And I've forgotten something else: he wasn't a malik-the chieftain of ancient times-but one of the maliks, a man named Hamu, worked for him. Mar Shimun's faction looked down on Petros, considering him an upstart.

The third segment of the population-second in numbers-were the Kurds. In peaceful times they lived on the border between Turkey and Persia. More accurately, Turkey and Persia bordered on the lands where they lived. Part of them were Turkish citizens, part Persian. All together, there are about two million Kurds. In the 1880's they had tried to set up an independent state. The initiative came from the Persian Kurds. But the cultural level of the Kurds makes it impossible for them to set up a strong organiza-tion. To this day, they live as clans. With extensive cattle-raising and some farming, they live very well during peaceful times. Our soldiers used to say the Kurds were "richer than Cossacks."

But now they were completely ruined, suffering terribly from the war. Above all, from the fact that the war had closed their nomadic routes.

Formerly they had driven their cattle into Mesopotamia in the winter and in the summer moved into the mountains to escape the heat.

The war had closed the routes. Part of the herd stayed in the valleys and died from the heat; part was lost in the mountains.

Moreover, the Russians came to Kurdistan already hating the Kurds-a hatred inherited from the Armenians and understandable in them.

The formula "The Kurd is the enemy" deprived the peaceful Kurds, and even their children, of the protection afforded by the laws of war.

The general who took Solozhbulak (I've forgotten his name) proudly called himself "the exterminator of the Kurds."

With all their valor, the Kurds couldn't offer resistance to us. They still live not even as tribes, but as scattered clans.

After the February revolution, there was an important move-ment among the Kurds toward a covenant between the free Kurds and free Russia. There were all kinds of meetings and they sent men to us for negotiations.

The envoys returned saying: "The Russians are free, but they understand freedom only in the Russian way."
I know how cruel the Kurds are, but the East in general is cruel. Thirty years before, around Dzhelamerok, the Aissors had skinned alive several Englishmen, who had antagonized them by impru-dently copying down inscriptions. And I didn't even see the Kurds during the time when they were slaughtering the Persians, cutting off the enemy's genitals and stuffing them into his mouth. I saw them when they had been dispersed and bored Russians were killing them for lack of anything better to do. The Kurds were dying of hunger and eating coal and clay in the vicinity of Solozh-bulak, once all abloom.

The Kurds were also living wretchedly in the valleys of Mergevar and Tevgevar.

No, not at all. They had been driven out of these valleys, which they once inhabited as a rich tribe with 200,000 sheep and 40,000 cattle. The Transbaikal Cossacks had settled there. In the army committee, they were referred to as the "yellow peril" and not just because of the yellow stripes on their pants. Broad-faced, very swarthy, they rode ponies that could live literally on roots; the Transbaikal Cossacks were valiant and cruel, like the Huns.

However, without knowing much about the Huns, I think that the cruelty of the Transbaikal Cossacks was more absent-minded.

One Persian told me, "When they slash with their sabers, they probably don't realize they're using sabers. They think they're using whips."

I had a chance to experience the intransigence of these Cossacks first-hand.

I was driving into Gerdyk, our outpost in Mergevar.

A broad valley. On a knoll, a destroyed Kurdish fortification. Beside it, stumps, a lot of stumps. From high, high on the moun-tain fell a waterfall, shattering into dust.

On the other side of the valley, a jet of water the width of a barrel came gushing out of the mountain. Silence. Not a soul in sight. At night jackals howled. Foxes, gray foxes, caught trout from the bank of the river.

I had come to ask these Cossacks not to hinder us from return-ing the Kurds to their homes, where they might be able to live off the millet which had been sown and had not yet completely crum-bled.

I spoke to them about the children wandering around our camps, about the fact that we were leaving anyway. And got nowhere.

In the geographical entity known as Russia live all kinds of people.

By the way, this whole valley apparently belonged to an Arme-nian-Manusurians; and its khan also belonged to him.

That's how the Kurds were perishing in Persia. The Persians themselves were hostile to them because of religious differences. The Persians were Shiites, followers of Ali; the Kurds were Sun-nites. These Moslem sects got along together like Catholics and Protestants (during the era of the Huguenots).

The position of the Kurds in Turkey was not much better. The Turks used them as fighting material, maintaining them as irregu-lar units, not on food allotments, but on grass.

All these tribes-Persians, Kurds, Aissors, Armenians-hated each other. From time to time, out of a feeling of self-preservation, the desire to make peace would appear.

In my time, even a holiday, "Reconciliation of the Nations," was declared. The most eminent representatives of each national group assembled and swore to end internecine war. It was even touching: they all exchanged kisses. They had left their weapons at the entrance.

I don't know where they got the weapons: we had supposedly disarmed the populace.

In honor of this occasion, everyone decided to wear a special green-and-white rosette.

All this was brought off very seriously, slyly and naïvely. Irony hadn't been introduced into their relations as yet.

What struck me about the holiday were the mullahs with their red beards and deliberate, stately movements. They move more gracefully than Europeans.

Russian authority was represented in Persia by the consul, the commander of the army, the commissar, the committees, each official in charge of an outpost, many of whom subjected the populace to extortion, and, in addition, by every soldier with a rifle.

Urmia was restless. Shooting was heard every night-one of the signs that there was no longer any discipline in the garrison. Dull, humdrum complaints trailed in from all sides. The army was quietly rotting. I was miserable in the East, just as Gogol had been miserable in Palestine waiting at the dreary station in Nazareth. The main complaint had to do with fodder. Huge convoys were going hungry. The hay stored somewhere in the mountains near Diza had been carelessly stored, or too cunningly. We didn't get it out in time. There weren't enough ropes and the Kurdish Khan Sinko provided no means of transport. Fall had begun. The springs began to run and the hay was ruined. Task spent a long time looking into this incident, picked fights with everybody, but didn't find the guilty party. The reserve supply of fodder was in the Khoi-Dilman region. This was a rich area, but the location was inconvenient-on the right flank of our front. Sumna-a straw that has been crushed and bound at the time of threshing in special Persian threshing machines-as well as alfalfa and hay, was stored in rather large quantities, but it had to be pressed and the work detail stationed at Dilman sabotaged the pressing operation, pressed the fodder wrong and broke the presses. The loaders worked half-heartedly, as did the hungry men of the convoy.

In Bana, on our left flank, the horses ate oak leaves and bark and gnawed at fences; whole herds of horses died. And cavalry units predominated in our army. The ability to work declined markedly. The army committee sent inspectors to all the harbors -it did little good. The situation was complicated by the fact that the loading and freighting crews at many harbors consisted of German colonists, who had strongly Germanophile sentiments about the war.

The hired crews of Persians could have helped out, but the populace persuaded them to quit work and not help the Russians. The loss of horses was taken very hard by our cavalry, which consisted of Cossacks, men riding their own horses-in other words, sentimental about them.

To add to all this, the army was faced with a currency problem, which soon became critical. To make everything that follows more clear, I'll say a few words about Persian money-"doggies," as the soldiers called it. They called Persian money "doggies" because it bore the picture of a lion.

The monetary unit was the kran-a silver coin which had pre-viously been worth about thirty kopeks.

The five-kran piece was called a half-toman. It was bigger around than our ruble and had been coined at the Petersburg mint. The five-kran piece was worth from one ruble, fifty kopeks, up to one ruble, eighty kopeks.

After we stopped importing goods into Persia, the exchange value of the ruble fell; it was decided to pay our troops in Persian currency, figuring the half-toman at one ruble, eighty kopeks.

Being paid in the local currency would have worked decidedly to the troops' advantage. But we didn't have enough silver for such a payroll. This idea was talked about, then forgotten, but the ruble continued to drop. In the Kuchin Pass, I saw with my own eyes trains of donkeys whose khordzhiny (saddle bags) were crammed with Russian bank notes. They weren't a very precious commodity. The matter was complicated by the fact that the units in the rear were being paid in Persian currency.

The problem got worse. Everyone took an interest; consequently it was impossible to approach the problem rationally.

The Third Frontier Regiment was especially insistent. It was an enormous regiment consisting of four battalions. Finally, with difficulty, enough silver was obtained for a partial payment; for the remaining sum, in line with Task's suggestion, savings-deposit booklets were given out in which the sum still owing was entered as a credit. Then a new difficulty arose. It's impossible to imagine anything more capricious than the rate of exchange in Persia. Small silver coins had one rate of exchange, rubles another. Even gold had its own rate of exchange-not according to weight, but according to where it was minted, so that one weight of gold in Turkish lira was worth much more than the same weight in Russian pieces. Small Russian banknotes had their own rate of exchange.

Hundred-ruble notes and five-hundred-ruble notes had still another rate of exchange, the thousand-ruble note showing the Duma another, the "kerenkas," just issued by the Provisional Government, still another. Moreover, the rate for the Russian ruble would change literally twice a day, depending on the latest infor-mation telegraphed from Tabriz. No need to say that the Russian bank in Tabriz wouldn't take Russian money. The situation got to be such that at each change in value, the soldier felt that he'd been cheated-and, in fact, he had been.

The minute the silver was handed out, the soldiers all rushed to change it into rubles, which they would take back to Russia. The bankers (sarafs) would momentarily inflate the ruble by fifteen kopeks (shai) and more, and the soldiers, feeling resentful, would stage a series of pogroms. The pogroms, however, were constant.

I'll describe one of them. For a long time, there had been rumors in Urmia that there would be a pogrom. Some Jewish soldiers warned a compatriot in the bazaar about it. One morning in winter when snow lay on the stones, I went out for a while. The irrigation ditches were frozen. The wretched Persian beggars, nearly naked Kurds from devastated areas, were huddling almost frozen against the walls. There was hardly anyone on the streets. A Persian I knew ran by and shouted at me:

"They're looting the bazaar!"

I lived across from headquarters, so I rushed to the commander, Prince Vadbolsky. He confirmed my news. Vadbolsky was a dar-ing and honest man. Now he lost his head. Who could be sent to put down the pogrom? There were no disciplined units! Each would only join the looters. The Transbaikal Cossacks could be called from the outskirts of the city, but everyone knew the risk of throwing wood on the fire. The Kubans could be sent-Kubans didn't loot, at least in Persia-but they maintained a shrewd neu-trality of the Khokhol-Caucasian variety and wouldn't interfere with the looting. More than anything, they were afraid to spoil their relations with the infantry. Their maximum program was to get back home. I raced to the army committee. It was meeting in full strength and deliberating on ways of combating hypothetical pogroms. No one wanted to do anything about a real pogrom. Everyone was afraid, and particularly dreadful was the thought of driving off the marauders with weapons. But meanwhile the army committee, together with the town regimental council, would have made up a group of about 150-a force to reckon with. I told the committee members that I would go by myself. Task was away.

I went to the bazaar. Several men were clustered around the entrance. Two or three scared Persian police and a few French officers observing everything with an air of calm, disdainful amaze-ment. Soldiers came running past, bent over, carrying all kinds of stuff in their arms and dropping it. The bazaar itself was dark with dust and there was the constant cry-ow, ow, ow-as in a bath-house. A blind animal rage swept over me. I picked up a board and with a shout ran down the dark tunnel hitting all comers. The broken shutters of the stores hung on their hinges. Men were rummaging in the interiors of the dark stalls, jerking out long strips of material like intestines. Beggars were snatching the pieces and hiding them.

They were robbing the shoemakers. Tools, shoe trees, pieces of leather, assorted slippers of yellow leather littered the ground.

Several Persians squatting in front of their stalls as the intrud-ers broke in were wailing in high, wild voices and gouging their faces. The bazaar thundered from the blows of rocks against the doors, hollow as drums. The dust raised by the vandals made you want to cough and spit up your insides. Ahead of me, I drove a mob as reckless and blind as I was myself.

Most of the men were in the carpet section. One of them, in a leather jacket, very tall and stocky, was breaking down a sturdy door with a crowbar. I rushed over to him and clumsily hit him. He recoiled, but didn't run-instead he threw his crowbar at me. I caught the blow on the shoulder and immediately, automatically, began to shoot point-blank at him, time after time, without hitting him. By doing this, I broke some unwritten law of pogroms.
These thugs weren't armed with rifles and therefore it was all right for me to hit them with a board, but not all right to shoot.

At the sound of shots, men came running.

This happened at a point where the tunnels intersected. I started to run, which didn't demonstrate a lot of valor.
And it all seemed like a dream. I used to have a similar night-mare-I'm running down a low, narrow corridor with white walls which turn into a ceiling. A little like the corridors of the Aleksan-drinsky Theater, only five times lower and narrower. Everywhere doors and more doors. An even white light and, from behind, the sounds of pursuit. I run and hide behind a door.

I remembered and relived that nightmare again while awake in the gray tunnels of the Urmian bazaar.

Behind me, people were running and shouting. At the bend, the tunnels converged from two sides like arrows; a mob was running down each one. I pulled off the fur jacket I was wearing a1171d flung it behind me.
I even managed to take the documents out of the pocket.

The two waves turned and met at my jacket and seized it, temporarily forgetting about me.

I gained a few steps and rushed toward a narrow passageway. Three or four men started to run after me.

I fired without looking back. They disappeared. I sprang out of the bazaar.

It was cold. Snow was falling and melting. The pavement glistened; a wet lantern hung on its bracket just as in Petersburg.

The bazaar rumbled.

I went around the bazaar and returned again to the exit.

The broad-faced Transbaikal Cossacks had arrived. The plane of their temples makes an angle with the plane of their faces-but just barely. I don't know how their heads got to be so round.

They stood there and calmly filled their saddlebags with the cloth that was strewn about-the shabby rough Persian calico. .

I ordered them to leave.

The Kubans arrived on foot. The appearance of these calm men in black fur coats who weren't taking part in the pogrom, who were just walking past these thugs with a half-derisive, half-conde-scending grin, somewhat abated the pogrom.

The Persians were offering no resistance: they knew that if they killed or wounded even one soldier, the pogrom would spread to the town.

A detachment of Aissors arrived; they had heard that I'd been killed.

They couldn't be allowed in, nor could the Dashnaks: we couldn't embroil them with our troops.

Finally, the committee members arrived-with no weapons, of course.

They too thought that I'd been killed.

We picked up boards and went along the passageways driving out the men. They had already been looting for about four hours.

We ran down the tunnels, dragging the soldiers out of the stalls, throwing them out of there, kicking them-despite the fact that the marauders were sometimes in the majority.

And the committee, of course, believed in procedures that were strictly democratic.

I remember . . . the dust in the air. The din of doors being beaten down. A kind, once very honest and daring committee member stood on the high, wide cornice running along the stalls and shouted:

"Comrades, what are you doing! Is this really the way to fight capitalism? Capitalism has to be fought efficiently!"
And sometimes three or four men would gather around one whose shirt was bulging with objects and excitedly babble, "Get rid of it. What are you going to do with that junk? Get rid of it."

It was strange. A man would be running with a dagger in his hand and wild eyes; you caught him, shook him and he had: two gilded frames, two boots for the left foot and several handfuls of currants.

Incidentally, Prince Vadbolsky was right when he told me, "Seventy-five per cent of the soldiers are passively honest, but they're also neutral."

Two soldiers were leading one of these "neutrals"-holding his arms, while he shouted hysterically:

"They're looting. A disgrace . . . I'm a Bolshevik . . . dis-grace. . . I don't believe you."

But all the same, the passive majority looked on the pogrom as a bit of harmless mischief.

We barricaded all but one of the entrances and drove everyone out of the bazaar.

That night, details went around and confiscated the loot The men were all in an ugly mood: "It's wrong to loot. But it's all right to harass the troops?"

The soldiers felt very sorry for me. What a bad deal for a man to lose a fur coat because of some Persians! The coat is expensive. And the man is all right. They looked everywhere for the coat.

Ushnuiyeh, Sharafkhaneh, and many other places were plun-dered in about the same way-and two or three times.
Dilman was plundered later-during the withdrawal of our troops to Russia; however, it wasn't the departing troops who plundered it, but the town garrison. The town was divided into sectors; each company pillaged its own sector. To be able to see better, they set the town on fire.

The town of Khoi was plundered by the troops passing through it on their way to Dzhulf a during the evacuation of Persia.

Tabriz wasn't plundered. The bazaar at Tabriz has goods from all over the world; it's a big city with goods lying about in piles.

It's so big and intricate that when the merchants themselves go into an unfamiliar section, they take along a beggar for a guide.

Looters went into the bazaar several times, but they didn't come back out. . . . They got separated in there and, in all probability, were torn to pieces.

Tabriz wasn't sacked.

I remember the day that one unit stationed in the city departed. They engaged musi-cians, got a pitcher of wine and did Cossack dances for two hours without stopping.

Then, with some difficulty, they mounted their horses and rode away, seemingly sober.

Some Persians stood across the way and watched fondly.

Even the sailors of the Black Sea fleet had taken part in the Dilman pogrom.

Already headquarters was being guarded only by Aissors. By this time, all that remained of the Army of the Caucasus were the various headquarters companies.

Because of the withdrawal, the problem of currency exchange again became critical. The withdrawing Transbaikal Cossacks arrested the new chairman of the army committee, who had been elected at the army conference; that was Comrade Tatiev, a very honest man who devoutly believed in world revolution.

These Cossacks demanded that their currency be exchanged at a rate of nine shahis for one ruble. They rushed to the governor and, by threatening the bankers with sticks, he got the exchange. Ta-tiev was released.

The armistice didn't present much of a problem on our front. We had almost no contact with the enemy. Winter had swept the Turks and us from the mountains into the valleys. Outposts were maintained only at a few points.
The condition of the Turkish army was poor. All they had to eat was fried wheat. They weren't even considering an offensive. The Petrograd government had already concluded an armistice with the Turks.

It was necessary to make this state of affairs official and we received an order to that effect from the regional soviet.

An airplane was dispatched to the Turks to drop proclamations suggesting that we begin negotiations. In addition, we sent a radiogram. The main problem, in general, was to negotiate a line of demarcation.

The Turks answered us with a radio communication in German and proposed that we go to Mosul for negotiations.

I stayed with Tatiev to manage the army. I had the same feeling I'd had when wrestling. You're grappling with a man many times stronger than you are. You have him in a bear hug and you're still holding your own, but your heart has already surrendered. You're holding your own, but you aren't breathing.

And the brakes had to be applied.

It was easier for Tatiev. He had received a telegram that we got by accident about how Russia's peace offer had been received in Berlin-a telegram now forgotten about the tears of joy in the streets-so he told me in his soft voice with a Georgian accent:

"You'll see. Our revolution will save the world." I'm now writing at midnight on August 9.

Hungary has fallen. The banker is raking our stake from the table.

My head aches; I want to sleep all the time. I'm suffering from severe anemia. If I suddenly stand up from my chair now, my head will start spinning and I'll fall.

I can write only at night. I know what that means. The oil has burned up and, by nighttime, when all my strength is gone, the wick burns.

This is how I lived.

I woke up in the morning in a small white room. It was freezing cold. The heat had escaped through the panes of the window, installed without any putty. But the sun was shining. I fed the small iron stove with poplar logs; it got warm, cozy, and smelled of resin.

It was the best moment of the day.

I got up and opened a pile of telegrams-all about one thing: the disintegration that demanded immediate withdrawal and prevented it.

Individual units were already rushing to Dzhulfa, trying to get to Russia as fast as possible.

A bottleneck developed. The escaping soldiers seized the trains bringing us provisions, threw off their cargo, boarded them and turned them back toward Russia.

The Dilman work detail had fled.

I cursed the tracks along which they were traveling and de-layed them.

We were carrying on various negotiations with the local Persian community.

Another evening I went to the home of Aga Petros for a dinner party, to celebrate Mar Shimun's being awarded the Order of St. Vladimir.


To be continued…


Assyrian Surfing Posts

Babylonian Mythology
[ http://library.thinkquest.org/25535/Babylonian.htm]

Pump Up the Volume

Psychology Yolpan/naph/sha Masculine I'm learning Psychology in college: Ana bilyapa-win yolpan-naphsha gow bet-sobeh.
Logic Yolpan/mlee/loo/ta Masculine Assyrians taught logic in the School of Edessa.: Atourayeh k'malpee-wa yolpan-mleelota gow madrashta d'Urhai.



Who says Assyrian girls don't wear the pants? We know one Melburnian Assyrian girl in particular who definitely wears the pants - and she holds them up with a black belt.

She is Katie Toina, master of the Goju-Rvu style of karate.

Goju-Rvu is Japanese for 'soft-hard', a name which aptly describes not only this karate school's philosophy, but also Katie herself. On the outside, she is softly spoken, gentle and petite-that's her 'soft' side. Deep down, she is tough, independent and above all unexpectedly confident - and all this at only seventeen years of age.

Katie first became interested in martial arts at the age of ten - when most girls that age are following the latest teeny-hopper fashions, Katie was studying Bruce Lee's life-story, his movies and his message: rise above your difficulties through determination and succeed in life .... in reality though, being beaten up by two girls at Brunswick High School was all the excuse she needed to take up karate.
(Incidentally, this was all over a young man. Having three girls after him apparently drove him mad - rumour has it that he now lives a secluded life somewhere in New Zealand).

Initially, as with most youngsters who take up martial arts, she used it to 'get back' at others. That quickly changed. Part of maturity is learning your limitations and being able to say "I don't know" or "I can't". Self-knowledge and confidence both replace youthful over-confidence and arrogance - which really all just stem from insecurity. "I didn't speak much English at the time," she tells us, "and things were difficult for me at school. I was a bit of a troublemaker. I had to 'prove myself.

Karate taught me confidence - I learned about anger and how to deal with it - you're braver if you can smile and walk away."

Competitions taught Katie a lot about herself too. Initially, she had to prove she could win, and when she didn't, she would take it out on herself and others. "She wouldn't talk to anyone for a week after she lost a competition," her older sister Vienna smiles, "now she's a lot more philosophical about it all."

Losing a competition simply means she can now identify her weaknesses and do better next time. She'd learned the value of hope -'failure' in karate, as in
life, is not absolute: there is always the 'next tune.'

The Gqiu-Rvu insignia consists of three petals placed around a white circle. Each of the three petals represents a major sensei(teacher) of the school surrounding the pure white circle of life.

Education is very important for Katie too, and her major life influences come in threes as well. The three most important figures in her life have also been teachers of various sorts: her older sister, her school-teacher and her karate sensei-each one has played, and continues to play, a vital role in her education in not only school and sport, but in life.

And Katie has now herself become a teacher. Being a black-belt, it's expected of her. "Before, I hardly had the confidence to speak in front of little kids, let alone grown-ups, and wasn't too confident at school," she explains, "but now, I can stand up and talk to a group of adults."

You may feel that Katie is just brawn and beauty, but you'd be wrong - she's brains too. Currently in Year 12, she plans on studying Law in the future. She attacks life with the same competitive, confident spirit that she attacks karate. "I want to prove to those people who think I can't make it, that I can become a lawyer," she states confidently. Being Assyrian, and a girl, and a future potential lawyer, you could be forgiven for seeing her as a minority within a minority within a minority. But that's exactly the kind of attitude Katie wants to karate-chop to pieces : "I want to show that I'm different from most other Assvrian girls - that girls can achieve. Training six clays a week and studying in order to accomlish these goals, she even manages to squeeze in time for her hobbies - dancing, singing, the guitar, learning the piano and her real passion - acting.

When asked what her greatest triumph in karate is so far, she doesn't speak of competitions or trophies - her answer is unexpected: it's having learned to do the best you can in life today, and to live it as if there's no tomorrow.

With her winning attitude, we're sure Katie will tackle whatever is dished out to her - both in the karate ring and in life..

Sennacherib Daniel
For Nakosha Magazine

Back to the Future

( 303 B.C.)

The Seleucid ruler of Persia, Seleucus Nicator, renames the Assyrian city of Urhai - Edessa.

(A.D. Feburary 641)

Assyrian Patriarch Cyrus, governor of Mesopotamia, after negotiations with Moslems and Byzantium, signs a peace treaty with Moslems and surrenders Babylon.

This Week In History

July 23, 1873

Nazar Agha Yamin al'Saltaneh, Iran's Counsel in France, signs a trade treaty between his country and Switzerland in Geneva. Yamin al'Ssaltaneh's true name was "Lazar" and he was the son of a Polish father and an Assyrian mother.


Calendar of Events


 Share your local events with Zinda readers.    Email us or send fax to:  408-918-9201


Dance Party



July 22 

A festival celebrating the descent of the god Tammuz to the Underworld and the end of spring in Bet-Nahrain.  It is customary to sprinkle water on friends and family members, wishing for Tammuz' safe return to his beloved Ishtar.

July 27

Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock

August 5

7:00 PM
Assyrian Church of the East Hall (Awana)
680 Minnesota Avenue, San Jose

August 7

A day to commemorate the Assyrian martyrs throughout history.

August 17

Presented by the Assyrian Eagles Basketball & Soccer Teams of Bay Area
Introducing new singing sensations:  Ninev & Nina

Gyros/Shawurma provided by George's Catering

7:00 PM
Assyrian Church of the East Hall (Awana)

680 Minnesota Avenue, San Jose

Donation:  $20.00
Proceeds from the raffle tickets to benefit Assyrian Aid Society of San Jose

For Tickets & Infor contact:
Nora     408-927-7376

Yousif   408-261-9908

Fred      408-885-1500

Ninev    408-655-0245

Ghanim 408-243-6033

August 28 - Sept 3

September 19

The Zi-Pang Trio
The Kufa Gallery
26 Westbourne Grove

Entrance Free
Contact  fran@hazelton.greatxscape.net

November 8 thru
March 17, 2002

Revealing Agatha Christie the archaeologist and how her discoveries in the Near East influenced her detective writing. 

The hitherto unknown interests and talents of the great crime writer are told through archaeological finds from the sites on which she worked with her husband Max Mallowan at Ur, Nineveh and Nimrud. Important objects from these sites in the Museum's collections are combined with archives, photographs, and films made by Agatha Christie herself. 

Personal memorabilia and souvenirs of travel in a more leisurely age are only some of the exhibits which range from first editions of those novels inspired by her other life to a sleeping compartment from the Orient Express, from a lethal 1930s hypodermic syringe to a priceless first millennium ivory of a man being mauled to death 

Admissions £7, Concessions £3.50

West Wing Exhibition Gallery Room 28

November 17-20


Middle East Studies Association of North America Panel
"The Assyrians of Iran - From Contributions to Diaspora"
co-sponsored by the Assyrian Academic Society
& the Society for Iranian Studies

Hyatt Regency Hotel, San Francisco

Dr. Arian Ishaya - Urmia to Baquba: From the Cradle of Water to Wilderness 
Dr. Eden Naby -: Zahrira d Bahra - The First Newspaper in Iran 
Dr. K. Shakeri - Living in Purgatory: The Assyrians of Iran in the Twentieth Century 
Mr. Ronald Thomaszadeh - Iranian Assyrians in the Azarbaijan Crisis of 1945-46 
Discussant:   Prof. Houshang Chahabi - political science - Boston University 

Zinda Article:  CLICK HERE
For more information CLICK HERE

November 21-23

Sponsored by the British School of Archaeology in Iraq
British Museum's Clore Centre
Gt Russell St WC1

Cost To Be Determined

Contact Dept of Ancient Near East 020 7323 8315
or email:  TheBSAI@aol.com, tel 01440 785244.

Coincides with Ancient Near East week at the British Museum: 
"Whodunnit in Assyria. For full details contact: Sam Moorhead, Education
Department, The British Museum, London WC1B 3DG, tel. 020-7323-8432

November 24

Sponsored by Canadian Society for Syriac Studies (CSSS)
Five Lectures on the Origins of Syriac Christianity
Syriac hymns by two Church Choruses
Middle Eastern Food
University of Toronto
More information to be provided in the upcoming issues

Thank You!

Zindamagazine would like to thank:

Jackie Bejan

Maha Hermes
(New York)


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