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Volume VIII
Issue 19
22 July 2002
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This Week In Zinda

cover photo
cover photo

  The Amorite Miracle
  Reflections From the 48th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (RAI)
  ADM - Talabani Meeting at Qala Cholan
Zowaa Leader Comments on Baghdad's Deportation of Assyrians
  Two Christians Hold Powerful Positions in Saddam's Administration

Chaldean-Assyrians Celebrate The Ordination Of Bishop Sarhad Jammo
Assyrian Officer Elected to Iraqi Opposition Military Alliance
Karl Suleman to File for Bankruptcy
School's Mesopotamia Website Links to Porn Pages


Look Who's Talking!
Sargon: Beloved Son of Assyria


Atra Project Update
Assyrian Martyrs Day Commemorations in Chicago
Assyrian Martyrs Day Commemorations in Australia
Invitation To Participate at The National Youth Excellence Pageant

  Holy War Made in Germany: New Light on the Holocaust Against the Christian Assyrians During World War I
  The Syriac Chroniclers": A New Book by Dr. Ephrem-Isa Yousif
  Sick and Hospitalized
  Sexual Impotence in Bet-Nahrain & Mor Yacub's Alarming Statement




Zinda Says


After an endless and confusing period of costly campaigning for and against the use of the term "Assyrian" in indentifying the nationality and ethnicity of several Syriac-speaking populations around the world, we have finally reached the most important point in the history of our people since the 1919 meeting in Paris. Once again we have an opportunity to attain certain civic, cultural, and even political rights in our homeland. And once again the same question raised over eighty years ago stands before us today: "As Assyrians, how can we make life better in Bet-Nahrain?"

Our immediate response at the Paris Peace Conference was the same as that of our Kurdish neighbors. We demanded our lands, properties, reparation for the atrocities committed against us, and more. We had lost our trust in our western Chrisitan allies and were dismayed at the unjust favoritism shown by the Great Powers toward the Arabs.

The Arabs, on the other hand, put forth a different reply: they opened their homes to the Great Powers and offered them a share in the wealth of their to-be-established nations. Both Assyrians and the Kurds were sent back empty-handed.

Two thousand years before the time of Christ in Bet-Nahrain, a group of people called Amorites ("the ones from the West (M'Arwayeh") arrived in southern Bet-Nahrain. They spoke a slightly different dialect, thus were easily distinguished from the native Babylonians. They were also very gifted with administrative and political skills and had fresh ideas. Babylonian tablets relate the stories of these hard-working people. Two hundred years later these same "foreign guests" had completely saturated the vital positions in the local governments and military offices. Finally in 1792 B.C., Hammurabi --an Amorite- was crowned the king of Bet-Nahrain. He was a very confident ruler and quickly took upon himself the domestic challenges of renewing Bet-Nahrain. He enacted world's first code of law and re-built the major cities of Mesopotamia.

Today, the United States and the Iraqi opposition leaders are keenly alert of our people's ability to repeat the "Amorite Miracle" in Iraq. Even today, two of the most important posts in Saddam's cabinet are held by two Chaldean-Assyrians, Naji Sabri and Tariq Aziz.

Our activists and intellectuals are also keenly aware of the competencies absent within our ranks, preventing us from duplicating the Miracle. These include lack of a collective vision, a misplaced understanding of our common identity, and a general disinterest in advancing the welfare of a any country in the Middle East.

The attack on Iraq is forthcoming. A week after Saddam Hussain is handed over to the World Court in the Hague and placed in a prison cell next to Milosevic, our leaders will be asked to attend a "Post-Saddam Conference" similar to the "Post-Taliban Conference" held a few months ago. What will our leaders offer the foreign occupiers of our ancestral land in exchange for our human, cultural, and political rights?

Nothing except a commitment to democratic rule in Iraq, we hope!

The Amorites could have taken the same route as the ancient Chaldeans (not to be confused with today's Chaldean-Assyrians) did in 612 B.C. when they aided a foreign occupier in the final destruction of the Assyrian rule. Instead, the Amorites ignored the crouching Hittites and decided to "integrate" into the Babylonian society and help re-build their adopted country. The Chaldean rule lasted only 70 years before another foreign invader -namely Persians - arrived at the doorsteps of the neo-Babylonian rulers and devastated the last stronghold of our ancestors. Our Mesopotamian might was indefinitely interrupted in 539 B.C.

The balkanization of Iraq will not be in the interest of our people. This will lead to unnecessary bloodshed and the final destruction of our existing infrastructure in the north and in Baghdad. Simply put, the future of Assyrians is closely linked to the future of Iraq. Deviating 180 degrees from our position at the 1919 Conference, we must now reassure our Moslem neighbors with a serious commitment to the rebuilding of a new Iraq. We must work closely with the Arabs (both Shiites and Sunnis), the Kurdish groups, and the Turkmen, and implement genuine democratic rule, and provide human capital to strengthen the economy and military power in Iraq. This requires a change in our national attitude and a significant alteration of our approach to regional politics in the Middle East. The first step is the scrutiny of our leadership.

Our current leaders, both political and religious, can be divided into two ideological camps: the isolationists and the integrators. The former group is skeptical of any other nationality and insists that non-Assyrians and even certain religious and tribal groups within the Assyrian nation seek to dominate the entire nation. Isolationists do not believe in cooperating with other groups unless there is a definite and immediate gratification in so doing.

The integrators, on the other hand, believe that our nation cannot exist on its own merits among the Islamic nations of the Middle East. Instead of "isolating" oneself and consistently appealing for the support of the invisible "Christian" friends in the West, the integrators work closely with the Kurdish, Arab, Turkish, and Iranian governments to bring a collective security. The Assyrian Democratic Movement, for example, works with the Kurdish groups and the Turkomen, as does the Assyrian Universal Alliance with the government of Iran.

Despite its rich oil reserves and an abundance of a very educated population, Iraq remains a very politically unstable place. Its government has been overthrown 23 times since the Paris Conference. Its infrastructure at every level has been devastated because of the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988 and the Gulf War in 1991. Its people, including the 800,000 plus Assyrian-Chaldeans, continue to suffer some of the most stringent economic sanctions yet imposed by the United Nation and the U.S. allies.

We are the Amorites of the 21st century. We must neither remain idle nor help support the utter destruction of Iraq. Indeed our hands must be used to help re-build a new nation that will recognize the rights of its only indigenous people.

Are we willing to make such a commitment? Are we even motivated to avail ourselves to such a unique opportunity? World's recognition of the Assyrians is connected to the improvement of the domestic conditions of Iraq. In 1919, the answer to the question addressed at the beginning of this article was already given to our representatives. Our leaders failed to see the writing on the wall and focused on an "isolationist" position. The United States, Barazani, Talabani, INC, and every serious military and political recruit in Iraq is aware of our administrative capacity to take action to solve the challenges facing Iraq after Saddam. Let's keep the "isolationists" away from any future conferences and allow the "integrators" take hold of our destiny.



The Lighthouse


The 48th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (RAI), or the International Congress of Assyriology and Near Eastern Archaeology, took place in Leiden, Netherlands (Holland), between July 1 and 4. The theme of the Congress was "Ethnicity in Ancient Mesopotamia". Some 80 papers were presented by scholars from all over the world.

The focal point "Ethnicity" was presented from the various perspectives of anthropology, history, language, religion, and archaeology. Interestingly, the subject of ethnicity was not argued from a political science perspective. Efforts were made to define this term that many consider to be a modern phenomenon related to the last three centuries of industrialization and nation-state formation. Nevertheless, some believe that ethnicity is in fact a much older form of identification.

Dominique Collon in her paper "Aspects of Ethnic Differentiation on Assyrian Reliefs" showed clearly that Assyrians left detailed records of the way they viewed those of different ethnic background. This was generally indicated by the variations in headdress, hairstyle, moustaches, dress, footwear, equipment, context and, occasionally, facial features.

"A panoramic photo of all registered participants at the 48th RAI; #1, Author Fred Aprim; #2, Prof. Richard Frye; #3, Dr. Simo Parpola; #4, Dr. Norman Solkhah."

Ethnicity is one of the most complicated matters to argue. Few believe that ethnicity is in the eye of the beholder, and as Prof. M. Rivaroli put it "a people or group is only how they see and represent themselves". Many scholars deeply think that it is specific attributes that make one group of people different than another. Such features, argued Prof. A. Starting included language, religion, custom and habits, food, dress, folklore, common destiny and others. Prof. Starting argued that what makes one group to be distinctive from another is not the consideration of one of these attributes alone, rather the whole of these features combined, since it is easy to show that any one of the attributes mentioned above on its own can hardly distinguish a unique ethnic classification. But when we combine a group of people's specific dress, with a certain religion, combined with a settled language, mixed with a particular custom, added to a fixed destiny, one can create a unique group of people of a special ethnic background.

In the United States, the term ethnicity began to be used in 1960s due to the influx of different immigrant groups from various foreign countries. Ethnicity, in today's political world, has become a powerful phenomenon, a strategy to mobilize a group of people in opposition to other in order to achieve certain goals, and today, 90% of political conflicts are ethnic difference generated, stated Prof. Starting.

How important is territory in relation to ethnicity? Prof. R. Van Der Spek in his paper "Ethnicity in Hellenistic Babylon" stated that territory within the concept of "ethnicity" is 'symbolic' while for the notion of "nation" it is physical and vital. In order to define the two terms "ethnicity" and "nation" one can say for example that an Assyrian can live in Asia, North America, or Australia and still be ethnically an Assyrian. But when Assyrians succeed to establish their own defined territory with defined borders, then the Assyrians fall under the definition of what is known as a "nation".

Prof. Richard Frye speculated in his paper "Ethnicity in the Assyrian and Achaemenid Empires" whether people changed because of political manipulation. He questioned whether deportees or prisoners from other regions became Assyrians, with time, after pledging allegiance to Assyria. Assyrians, he argued, had seen many phases ethnicity. First it was during the Imperial Era; secondly, it was purely religious with the coming of Christianity. Any people prior to this latter phase were now considered ignorant, which explains why Assyrians forgot their pagan past. Thirdly, the Assyrians lived and exercised the rise of nationalism in the 19th century just as did the rest of the world. Prof. Simo Parpola argued and in fact answered Prof. Frye indirectly when he stated that even though there are records for Neo-Assyrian kings with Aramean wives or mothers, the empire had a unified Assyrian identity.

How important are names in this complicated picture and are names an indication to ones ethnicity, asked Prof. T. Boiy in his paper "Akkadian-Greek Double Names in Hellenistic Babylonia"? The answer is a clear 'no'. During the Hellenistic period, double names were much in use. The phenomenon was especially known from Ptolemaic Egypt, and it happened in Hellenic Babylon. Inscriptions indicated that people had Greek names, but they were identified as Babylonians. The double-name phenomenon was present yet earlier in Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods. Inscriptions show that in Assyria, for example, Aramean parents who were brought to Assyria gave their children Assyrian-Akkadian names.

One of the best presentations was that of Prof. Simo Parpola titled: "National and Ethnic Identity in the Neo-Assyrian Empire." (See NOTES below) Here is an abstract from that paper:

"The Neo-Assyrian Empire was a multi-ethnic state composed of a plethora of previously independent polities and nationalities. The openly stated mission of all Assyrian rulers was world dominion and the expansion of the borders of the Empire in all directions. Contemporary and later Greek, Egyptian, Persian and Jewish sources make it clear that outsiders regarded the territories controlled by the Empire as uniformly Assyrian, and that these territories continued to be identified as Assyrian for centuries after the fall of the Empire.

However, just how far did the masses of population outside the so-called Assyrian homeland share this identity? A scrutiny of the available evidence indicates that the policy of cultural, social and economic integration pursued by the Neo-Assyrian rulers did indeed, with time, result in the obliteration of previous ethnic identities in favor of an Assyrian one in the territories annexed as provinces to the Empire. Once established, this identity has persisted in the relevant territories until the present day."

One final remark: I would like to express great appreciation for two scholars who were there defending the Assyrians in every possible way and in every opportunity possible. They are Prof. Richard Frye and Prof. Barbara Porter. I cannot say enough regarding their remarks and responses whenever needed.

Finally, next year 49th RAI is to be hosted by the London Center for the Ancient Near East, acting for the British Museum and the University of London, between 7 and 11 July 2003, and the theme of the Congress will be "Nineveh".

Fred Aprim

NOTES: To listen to Dr. Simo Parpola's talk please visit one of the following links depending on the speed of your modem. Audio-streaming is made possible by Nineveh.com.

56KB Connection: http://www.nineveh.com/DrSParpolaSlow.wma
DSL/Cable Connection: http://www.nineveh.com/DrSParpola.wma

Dr. Parpola's hand-out can also be obtained at: http://www.nineveh.com/DrSimonParpola.jpg





From the article entitled "Forced Into Refugee Camps, Non-Arabs Await Hussein's Removal", Reprinted with permission from San Francisco Chronicle (15 July); article by Joshua Kucera

(ZNDA: San Francisco) A dusty refugee camp in the northern no-fly zone is home to several hundred victims of ethnic cleansing -- Iraqi-style.

Most are Kurds from the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, ground zero for a policy they call "Arabization," by which their lands are confiscated and given to Arabs. The refugees, now sheltering in the area carved out for Kurds after the Gulf War in 1991 and protected by U.S. and British warplanes, say Saddam Hussein's regime has intensified the program in recent months in an attempt to solidify its control of the Kirkuk area.

Kirkuk, a Kurdish city, is the center of the Iraqi oil industry and agriculture. Going back as far as the founding of Iraq after World War I, successive Arab-controlled governments in Baghdad have been expelling non- Arabs such as Kurds, Assyrian Christians and Turkomans, say
non-Arabs and international rights groups.

"Iraq is accelerating the process so they can control us," said Nasih Ghafoor, a member of the Committee for Confronting Arabization in Kurdistan, based in Erbil. "These areas are very strategic areas, and the economy of Kurdistan depends on them."

According to a 2001 report by two French human rights groups, Kurds living in Kirkuk are subject to "harassment, intimidation, arrests, torture and expulsion."

In recent months, the Iraqi government has reportedly dug wells to smooth the way for the settling of the maximum possible number of Arabs, destroyed Kurdish shops, allocated residential plots of land in Kirkuk and its suburbs to Arab army officers, brought Arab tribes southeast of the city for settlement, and banned Kurdish sheepherders from selling their wares.

In other cases, entire Kurdish villages have been torn down and replaced with government housing for Arabs.

When Great Britain took parts of the crumbled Ottoman Empire and created Iraq after World War I, they included Kirkuk because the fledgling Iraqi state had few natural resources. The decision dashed the hopes of Kurds who wanted an independent state.

"From the beginning of the Iraqi state, they have feared Kurds," Ghafoor said. "They never considered Kurds to be first-class citizens." Kurds hope that will be remedied once Hussein is gone - possibly through a much-anticipated U.S. invasion.

Just this month, one of the two main Kurdish groups controlling the self- rule area drafted a wish-list constitution for a post-Hussein state that would divide Iraq into two federal regions -- Arab and Kurd, with Kirkuk acting as the administrative capital of the Kurdistan region, according to the London daily the Guardian.

Under Arabization, non-Arabs are required to change their ethnicity on identity cards and census documents. If they refuse, they can be deported to nearby Kurdish-controlled territory.

The invitation to change ethnicities has not had many takers, said Mohammed Osman, a resident of the Benaslawa refugee camp, 12 miles outside Erbil.

"We are Kurds. We refuse to be Arabs," said the 55-year-old truck driver, who lives in a mud-brick, concrete house with a well-tended garden. Even those who change their classification still face discrimination in Iraq. They are not allowed to work in top government or oil industry jobs and may have to assume an Arabic name.

In Kirkuk, no education in the Kurdish language is offered, and the only media in Kurdish is a two-hour daily television program of propaganda from Hussein's Baath Party.

"When we were in Kirkuk, they forbade Kurds from owning houses or cars or marrying Arab girls. If we wanted a car, we had to register it in an Arab's name," said Azad Ali, 25, who was a high school student when he was evicted from Kirkuk in 1996 and is now a Kurdish soldier. "The relations with ordinary Arab people weren't bad," he said. "The problem is with the authorities."

In 1996, Ali's father was arrested and held for a month after refusing to change his ethnic classification. Upon release, he was allowed to go home to pack his belongings and accompany his 13 family members to Benaslawa. They were not allowed to take furniture and appliances.
Since then, Ali's mother has been able to visit Kirkuk only once and found an Arab family living in their house.

There are no precise figures on how many non-Arabs have been forced to leave Kirkuk. The Committee for Confronting Arabization estimates that since the 1960s, 190,000 people have been expelled from Kirkuk province. The committee is preparing a census to get more accurate numbers and expects the results in a few months.

Significant numbers of Turkomans (who are related to Turks) and Assyrian Christians also have been evicted from Kirkuk.

Yonadam Kanna, general secretary of the Assyrian Democratic Movement and a member of the autonomous Kurdish parliament, said Assyrians have been deported who are suspected of allegiance to the two main political parties in the U.N.- protected self-rule zone -- KDP (the Kurdish Democratic Party) and PUK (the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan).

"If you support (KDP President Massoud) Barzani, they push you into KDP territory," he said. "If you say (PUK President Jalal) Talabani, they push you into PUK territory."

The Kurds say that most of the Arabs who move into Kurdish areas receive financial incentives -- a new house with modern amenities, a plot of land to farm, or a better job -- and are even paid to rebury their relatives in Kirkuk to make it appear that the Arab presence has been a
long one.

Baghdad also has imported thousands of palm trees into Kirkuk in an attempt to make the city look more like the Arab parts of Iraq, the committee said. The climate refused to cooperate, and the trees died.

Meanwhile, the Kurds are content to remain in their refugee camps until Hussein's removal.

"As long as the Baath Party is in power in Baghdad, I don't want to go back" to Kirkuk, Osman said. "I prefer this area."


Courtesy of BBC Monitoring (28 July)

(ZNDA: Suleimaniyah) The Assyrian Democratic Movement representative, Mr. Toma Kako, along with the delegations of five other political parties in north Iraq met at Qala Cholan to political conditions in that region. The morning meeting lasted about five hours. Other groups included:
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Kurdistan Communist Party, Kurdistan Toilers Party, Kurdistan Democratic Socialist Party, and the Islamic Union in Kurdistan.

Mr. Jalal Talabani, leader of PUK, explained in details the current political situation in Kurdistan, Iraq and the region. He presented the possible events that are likely to occur. Mr. Kako also explained the views and approaches of the ADM on these same issues.

The attendees also condemned the recent acts of aggression by the Kurdish Islamic militant group, Pishtiwanani Islam la Kurdistan (PIK) in which the sacred shrine of the leader of Naqshbandi religious order were desecrated.

Northern Watch


Courtesy of the Washington Post (19 July)

(ZNDA: Baghdad) Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is waging a concerted campaign to improve relations with countries in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere in the Middle East in an attempt to forestall any U.S. effort to topple him.

Hussein hopes that regional countries can be wooed into saying "not from my turf" if the United States formally requests their assistance in a military move against Iraq. Anthony H. Cordesman, a former Pentagon official now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that because Hussein "cannot win a conventional war with the U.S.," his "best strategy is to defuse the political momentum for a major U.S. attack."

Central to Iraq's campaign is its foreign minister, Naji Sabri, who took office last fall when Hussein held a major housecleaning of his foreign affairs team. Like his predecessor, Mr. Sabri is Chaldean-Assyrian. He used to teach English literature at Baghdad University and was director general of the information ministry during the Gulf War.

Described recently as "smart and smooth" by a U.N. official, Sabri is seen as much more effective than Tariq Aziz, who moved up to the post of deputy prime minister. Sabri "is a type that appeals to Westerners," the official said.

Sabri in January took the unusual step of visiting Iran and meeting with its leaders. In February, he was in Turkey, hinting at some movement in the Iraqi position on allowing resumed U.N. weapons inspections.

Since March Sabri has been involved in nonstop diplomacy in the Middle East and Europe. He visited Moscow prior to talks with U.N. officials on arms inspections, and last week, in return for his January visit to Tehran, met in Baghdad with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

Sabri announced the exchange of prisoners captured in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war and said, "Iraq wants to establish good neighborly relations with Iran through a comprehensive settlement of unresolved issues."

In March, Baghdad secured a declaration at the Arab summit that called for "respecting Iraq's independence, sovereignty, security, territorial integrity, and regional safety." This has been echoed in public statements from regional leaders since, as the Bush administration pressed its case for ousting Hussein.


News Digest


(ZNDA: Troy) On Thursday, July 18, 2002, the Reverend Father Sarhad Jammo was ordained to the rank of Bishop according to the Chaldean Rite and the Rite of the Church of the East in Troy, Michigan. The event took place at St. Joseph Catholic Chaldean Church, where Mar Sarhad had served as Pastor for almost twenty years. This celebration was one of the biggest and most significant that the Chaldean Church has had in the United States. The main celebrant was His Beatitude Mar Raphael I. Bidaweed who was assisted by Mar Emanuel Dally and Mar Ibrahim N. Ibrahim. His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, the Assyrian Catholicos-Patriarch, was present and participated in the ordination rites by reading one of the consecration prayers and by the laying-on-of-hands.

Representing the Holy See (Vatican) was the Syrian Catholic Patriarch Cardinal Mar Mousa Dawood along with the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Detroit Cardinal Adam J. Maida.

Present with these heads of churches and representatives were more than 15 other bishops from the Chaldean, Assyrian and the Syriac Churches. Almost 50 other priests and 100 deacons chanted the Aramaic hymns while 2000 Chaldean and Assyrian faithful prayed along the ordination ceremony that started at 4:30 PM and lasted for one and half hour.

After the ordination, Reverend Sarhad Jammo was declared by the Patriarchal Master of Ceremonies to be the new Chaldean Bishop Mar Sarhad Yawsip Jammo, the head of the newly established Diocese of St. Peter of the Chaldeans in the Western United States of America.

Immediately after his ordination, according to the ritual of the Church of the East, Mar Sarhad Yawsip Jammo celebrated the Holy Qurbana with all the presence of all the gathered hierarchy, priests, deacons, Assyrian-Chaldean official dignitaries and tens of hundred of the faithful. In his sermon immediately after the Gospel, the new bishop reiterated his commitment to the advancing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the cultural particularity of the Chaldean Church (similar to the Assyrian Church) and the full church unity between the Church of the East and the Chaldean Church.

A week after his ordination in Michigan, Mar Sarhad Yawsip Jammo was installed as the Bishop of the Chaldeans in his newly established Diocese of St. Peter, in San Diego, California. Present for the installation ceremonies were His Beatitude Mar Raphael I. Bidaweed, Mar Emanuel Dally, Mar Ibrahim N. Ibrahim, a number of Chaldean Bishops and Bishop Mar Bawai Soro of the Assyrian Church of the East.

Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, read the letter of the Papal appointment which indicate also the communion of the new bishop with the whole Catholic Church in the world.

During the same solemn celebration the new bishop again reiterated his commitment to the unity of the Church of the East today split into Assyrian and Chaldean branches.

Mar Sarhad Jammo was born on 14 March 1941 in Baghdad, Iraq. He moved to Rome at 17 and in 1964 earned a Masters Degree in Philosophy and Theology from the Pontifical University of Urbaniana. He then obtained his Doctorate in Ecclesiastical Eastern Studies. The thesis of his dissertation was "the Structure of the Chaldean Mass."

In Baghdad he was appointed Pastor of St. John the Baptist parish from 1969 and 1974. In 1974 he was appointed Rector of the Chaldean Patriarchal Seminary. Three years later he moved to the United States and was appointed Associate Pastor of Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan. In September 1980 he was appointed pastor, succeeding Msgr. George Garmo. After three years, he moved to Troy, Michigan and became pastor of St. Joseph Church where he served his parish for 20 years. In 1991 he was assigned as Vicar General of the Chaldean Eparchy of the United States.

In 1979 Mar Sarhad Jammo became a member of the Consultation Declaration of the Catholic Conference of Bishops in the dialogue with the Eastern Orthodox Churches. He and His Excellency Mar Bawai Soro of the Church of the East's work toward improved relations between the two historical Assyrian churches led to the 1994 Joint Christological Declaration between the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Church of the East.

On 21 May 2002, Pope John Paul II accepted the election of Mar Sarhad Jammo by the Chaldean Bishops and named His Excellency the bishop of the newly-created Eparchy of St Peter in San Diego which covers 19 states stretching from Alaska to Oklahoma. It comprises 35,000 Chaldean faithfuls and seven parishes in California and Arizona.

For a Photo Album of this celebration please visit:

For Audio Links for some of the features of this celebration please visit:



Courtesy of the AUA Newswatch & the Associates Press (14-16 July)

(ZNDA: London) The Assyrian Universal Alliance was invited to attend the opening session of a three-day meeting convened by the Military Alliance of the Iraqi National Coalition on Friday, 12 July.

The AUA delegation included Secretary General Mr. Senator John Nimrod; AUA European Secretary, Mr. Praidon Darmo, and the AUA Executive Board Member, Mr. Peter Shimon. According to an AUA report, 15 Assyrians attened this meeting of whom 4 were are former officers in the Iraqi army.

"John Nimrod at the opening session of the Iraqi
Military Meeting. Photo courtesy of AUA"

On Friday, July 12th former State Senator John Nimrod met with Brigadier Tawfiq al-Yasiri, Secretary General of the Iraqi National Coalition and the spokesman for the new Military Council, and with Brigadier Dr. Saad al-Obaidi, spokesman for the Military Alliance. Senator Nimrod had met both officers during his last visit to London in January 2002. He also met with Dr Ahmed Chalabi, a member of the leadership committee of the Iraqi National Congress, which supports the Iraqi Military Alliance.

On Saturday, July 13th the AUA delegation met with Sheikh Mohammed Mohammed Ali, a member of the leadership committee of the Iraqi National Congress.

On Sunday 14 July Assyrian Major Dr. William Warda was elected to the new 15-member Military Council formed during the closed-session meetings. Major General Warda will represent the Assyrian military block in the Military Alliance. Mr. Albert Yelda, a co-founder of the Iraq National Coalition, was placed in charge of the London meeting's Public Relations.

Two days after the closing of the London meeting, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz met with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and Defense Minister Sabahattin Cakmakoglu, the chief of staff and other top military officials to gather support for possible military action against neighboring Iraq. Wolfowitz clearly expressed his country's firm opposition to a Kurdish state in northern Iraq. Until this meeting Turkey disapproved of any U.S. attack on Iraq. "We respect Iraq's territorial integrity, political unity and sovereignty," state-run TRT television quoted Cakmakoglu as saying.

On this same day Paul Wolfowitz dramatically mischaracterized Turkey's treatment of minorities in an interview with Nuri Colakoglu of CNN Turkey. He stated: "I think a real test of whether a country is a democracy is how it treats its minorities. And actually it's one of the things that impress me about Turkish history - the way Turkey treats its own minorities."

Mr. Wolfowitz entirely ignored the Armenian Genocide, the World War I era massacres and deportation of Greeks and Assyrians, and the ongoing campaign against Turkey's Kurdish population, the invasion of Cyprus, and the restrictions on the remaining Armenian, Greek, and other Christian communities.

Support by Turkey, a member of NATO, would be crucial to U.S. in any operation against Saddam Hussein. Turkey was a staging point for U.S. airstrikes on Iraq during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and U.S. jets, deployed at a southern Turkish base, have been patrolling a "no-fly" zone over northern Iraq to protect Iraqi Kurds.

The visit coincided with the political crisis that threats the stability of Ecevit's government. Several cabinet members and lawmakers have already defected Ecevit. New elections are expected in November.

On 15 July London's "The Guardian" newspaper wrote that there were 60 former senior Iraqi officers, several with the rank of general, attending the meeting. Prince Hassan of Jordan, the brother of the late King Hussain and uncle of the present King Abdullah, was also in attendance. Prince Hassan was photographed sitting next to his distant relative, Sharif Ali bin Hussain, a cousin of the King Faisal II of Iraq, who was assassinated when the monarchy was
overthrown in 1958. Four days later, "The Guardian" explained that Prince Hassan may be emerging as a strong contendor to succeed Saddam Hussain. The idea has support in the Pentagon and among conservative thinkers in the US. Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute comments that "Prince Hassan is someone who has not been poisoned by the past 40 years of chaos in Iraq and is perhaps the only person who can transcend the ethnic and political complexities," Hassan, 55, was crown prince of Jordan for many years and effectively ruled the country during the terminal illness of his eldest brother, the late King Hussein. But a few weeks before his death in 1999, King Hussein removed him from the succession and nominated his own son, now King Abdullah. On April 8 this year, Prince Hassan had talks at the Pentagon with Paul Wolfowitz, the US deputy secretary of defense.

Finally last Friday, the Bush administration invited Ahmed Chalabi and Sherif Ali Bin Al-Hussein of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), Kurdish leaders Jalal Talabani and Masoud Barzani, Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim of the Iranian-based Shi'ite Muslim opposition and Ayad Allawi of the Iraqi National Accord to Washington on 9-16 August for meetings on the future of Iraq. The invitation was from Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman and Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith. Grossman ranks third in the State Department hierarchy.


INC = Iraqi National Congress, headed by Ahmed Chalabi, financially supported by the U.S.Congress & CIA
Mr. Albert Yelda >> elected member to the Central Committee in 1999

INC = Iraqi National Coalition, headed by Brigadier Tawfiq al-Yasiri, not supported by the U.S.
Mr. Albert Yelda >> co-founder, in charge of Public Relations

INCMC = Iraqi National Coalition Military Council, formed at recent London Meeting
Major Dr. William Warda >> elected member on 14 July

AUA = Assyrian Universal Alliance, headed by former State Senator John Nimrod


Zinda Magazine and the Armenian National Committee of America urge you to send the following letter to Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz expressing your profound concern about the erroneous statement and urging him to issue a retraction. ANCA has already shipped Mr Wolfowitz 16 copies of Samantha Power's book, "A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide," for use by his senior staff as reference material as they address issues of human rights and genocide around the world.

Sample Letter
The Hon. Paul Wolfowitz
Deputy Secretary
Department of Defense
1010 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1010

Dear Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz:

I am writing to voice my grave disappointment with your recent remarks praising Turkey's historic treatment of minorities.

Your remarks, during a July 14th interview with CNN Turkey, entirely ignore the Seyfo Genocide of 1915, the World War I era genocidal massacres and deportations of Assyrians, Armenians, and Greeks, the ongoing campaign against Turkey's Kurdish population, and the restrictions on the remaining Assyrian, Armenian, Greek, and other Christian communities.

Our government's relationship with Turkey should not be based upon a version of history falsified for the sake of political expediency by Turkey's undemocratic and human right-abusing government. We must have the wisdom and courage to speak the truth and to always promote American values as we advance our national interests around
the world.

I respectfully request that you publicly retract this statement and ask that, in your future remarks, you accurately characterize Turkey's treatment of its minorities. I would very much appreciate being informed of any action that you take on this important matter. I can be reached at ____________________.

Thank you for your attention to my concern.





Courtesy of Sydney Morning Herald (23 July); article by Anne Lampe

(ZNDA: Sydney) Karl Suleman, the man who last year offered investors in his group returns of 17 per cent a month, and his wife Vivian have been ordered by the New South Wales Supreme Court to pay $20 million in compensation to his former Karl Suleman Enterprizes Pty Ltd, now in liquidation. He is expected to file for bankruptcy within weeks.

Around 2,000 investors lost money in the scheme, many of them members of Sydney's Assyrian community. Liquidator Paul Weston says if Mr Suleman goes bankrupt the $20 million will not be paid and the only asset left to take is his private home.

"That's worth several hundreds of thousands of dollars but there are mortgages on it and all the numbers I'm not familiar with in detail at the present time, but we don't expect there to be significant amounts of money that unfortunately, from that asset, to come out available for the creditors," Mr Weston said.

Karl Suleman Enterprizes collapsed last year owing an estimated $65 million to investors. The court was told that investors' money went in a variety of directions. Some was used as a deposit on a $3.3 million yacht; some paid for an executive jet for Mr Suleman, and for more than 20 cars including Ferraris, a Lamborghini and several BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes. Associates were given six-figure amounts for various business ventures. Some was invested in Mr Suleman's Froggy group of companies, which Mr Suleman told the court he intended to float and use the proceeds to repay investors who wanted their money back.

The Assyrian investers learned about KSE by word of mouth. Funds were collected by agents who received a commission for their efforts. During Supreme Court examinations earlier this year, evidence was given by KSE agents of money arriving at the KSE office in plastic bags with no receipts being issued nor any systematic records of what came in and what went out.

Mr Suleman's answers to many questions about the source of the funds were vague. Several times he answered: ``I have no idea.'' He directed to his accountant or to other employees questions about checks and loans written by KSE.

While investors received their returns for a short period, when the flow of interest payments ceased and investors found they could not redeem their funds, complaints were made to Australian officials, which launched an investigation.

The court disqualified Vivian Suleman last week from managing a corporation for 25 years after finding that she had operated a managed investment scheme that should have been registered with Australian Security and Exchange Commision and carried on a securities business without holding a dealers' licence.

Last May Mr Suleman was banned for life from running a corporation. He and his wife were also stopped from dealing in any of their assets.

Of the $20 million in compensation, Mr Suleman is to pay KSE $17,463,839 for breaches of director's duties. Mrs Suleman is to pay KSE $2,571,022 and the two are jointly and severally liable to pay $2,412,070 of the combined compensation orders.

Further damages against Mr and Mrs Suleman may be claimed by the liquidator of the Froggy group of companies at a later date.


Courtesy of Associated Press Newswires (26 July)

(ZNDA: Cedar Rapids) The superintendent of the North Tama school district said a link to a pornography site on the school district's Web site will be removed immediately. "We have no idea how that link was connected," Superintendent Tom McDermott said last Thursday when told of the site. "Until I know more, I have nothing else to say."

The link was found on a Web page by the ninth- and 10th-grade classes about the Mesopotamia civilization. A link on that page leads users to the porn site and does not allow them to return.

The school district is based in Traer, a city of 1,594 in central Iowa, about 50 miles northwest of Cedar Rapids.


Surfs Up!


In this world, anyone can express anything in any way they want. No one has the authority to dictate over someone's beliefs and opinions. If Sargon Dadesho's statements were such "'baseless' claims and lies" then John Nimrod can sue for character assassination. He should know what that is, he was a former senator after all. For your information, I am NOT Sargon Dadesho's follower nor am I a follower at all. I am a very open-minded Assyrian and I can weigh any person's opinions and beliefs depending on the authenticity of the statement. I just want to ask you a few questions: 1) Within these 60 years, John Nimrod, which was one of the founding fathers of the federation, what kind of obliging projects has he attained for the Assyrian youth?! He did not leave an ounce of legacy for the Assyrian youth for remembrance. 2) With all the money he stockpiled (not only from those decadent and debauched conventions, but also, from Assyrians in the poorest conditions, health, and livelihood) how many schools did he establish for the Assyrian youth?! 3) How many youth gathering centers has he constructed for the Assyrian youth?! 4) During the years he was a senator, did he ever endeavor to get the Assyrian name to be recognized as a nation by the United States?! Furthermore, did he try to convince the government to recognize the Assyrian Genocide of 1915 by the Turkish Government and the Assyrian Genocide of 1933 by the Iraqi Government like the Armenians did?! Now, the Executive Branch of the American Government has acknowledged the Armenian Genocide of 1915!! He never took advantage of his position in the government, so why are the people so proud of him being a senator? He never did anything for the Assyrians except establishing this federation that creates these conventions which are the equivalent of a brain freeze. Look who's being biased now? If you are a true Assyrian…


It was Sargon Dadesho who raised the Assyrian flag in the Santa Clara Center and gained recognition of the mayor.

In addition, I would like to say, why is everyone so enraged about someone's remarks against bishops, churches, etc.?! Look at how they are acting, and now you expect us to say something nice and pleasant about these bishops?! Who do you think ruined the name of the Assyrian Church in Chicago?!?! Guess who's name was in the Chicago Tribune?! Please think again my friend.

Pithily, "our leaders" have sedated us, and have torn a deep hole in our pockets. I used to think that the Assyrians in America were in a deep sleep, but apparently, from what I hear, Australia has nicer beds; that must be a great place to catch up on some sleep!

Ashuriena Baba


Let me tell you who is this beloved son of Assyria. First, he is your "tormentor" or "terminator"; he is the spearhead, vanguard, of our national struggle; he is the only one accomplishing things we dreamed about.

The personal attacks against Dr. Sargon Dadesho is an old story. It was a tool used by the Baath Government to smear the reputation of this Assyrian hero. The well-financed campaign began in 1980's when the Assyrian National Congress was formed by several Assyrian political parties. The campaign started with newspaper articles in Baghdad and USA questioning the motives and the educational degrees of Dr. Dadesho, the classical examples of how Baath agents operate in their quest to character assassinate their opponents. When they failed, Andrei Shamdanani, one of their Assyrian dogs, serving at the Iraqi United Nations Mission in New York, was given $40,000 and sent to assassinate Dr. Dadesho in Modesto on February 13, 1990. This would-be assassin was caught by the FBI. He confessed and served five years in the Federal prison in southern California and died of cancer in Chicago few months after his prison term expired. It seems that only Saddam Hussein, and his regime know very well what Dr. Dadesho has accomplished in the Assyrian national arena.

Personal attacks against Assyrian heros have been with us for many years. It is a part of our history. The same smearing campaigns and personal attacks were directed against other Assyrian heros, such as Agha Petros, Fridoun Atouraya, Adi Alkhas and John Alkhas, the "two brothers" (similar to "Dadesho brothers"), Malik Yacu, Patriarch Mar Eshi Shimon, Mar Toma Odo, and many other heroes who sacrificed a great deal on the alter of their Assyrian Nation. So, our present hero, Dr. Sargon Dadesho, is in good company with these Assyrian heroes. No words, or lies, by "Robert Isaac", will in any way mask the truth about Dr. dadesho and his monumental accomplishments for the Assyrian Nation.

Come down to Ceres, California and see for yourselves what this son of Assyria and members of Bet-Nahrain Organization have accomplished for all of us. Let me give you some facts regarding Bet-Nahrain, Bet-Nahrain democratic Party and Assyrian National Congress. Bet-Nahrain Organization is now the largest and the most viable, financially sound, Assyrian organization in the world, with a total membership of more than 1600 families (Members of the Assyrian Cultural Center, AssyriaVision and AssyriSat Television Networks, and Bet-Nahrain Magazine). BNDP is the first Assyrian political party formed on August 22, 1970. It has eight branches worldwide, with its first branch in Iraq. In Iraq, the party has centers of operation throughout northern Iraq and in other parts of the country, including areas under the rule of Saddam. The party has several radio and TV stations and programs in Australia, North America, Europe, Russia and Middle Eastern countries. The Assyrian National Congress has many affiliates (Assyrian political parties, organizations and prominent Assyrian individuals). It has been recognized as an NGO with the United Nations and its contacts with USA government and other European countries are excellent. ANC is a founder and an active member of the Iraqi National Congress and has formed a confederation with the Iraqi Free Officers Movement All this is carried out by one person!? Sargon Dadesho!?

By the way, your secretary general of AUA, who un-invitedly ( the usual way of operation for him) attended the opening ceremonies of the recent Iraqi Military Alliance Conference in London, was seen sitting in the back asleep. There is a video tape showing this. I am told AssyriaVision might play the tape soon.

I don't want to answer all questions (Garbage) asked by "Robert Isaac"; it might hurt his pride.

Thank you AINA for your service and your efforts to expose the Kurds hatered toward the Assyrians.

I ask that you work closely with Dr. Sargon Dadesho and all the decent Assyrians who are working day and night to benefit our nation.

Shmoel Younan

[AINA is the Assyrian International News Agency.]

Surfers Corner


Dr. Ashour Moradkhan, Youel A Baaba, and Mr. Narsai David recently met to evaluate the working relations between the Atra Project and the Assyrian Aid Society. It was agreed that Atra Project will be integrated with the Assyrian Aid Society but still managed independently.

All donations to the Atra Project should be made payable to the Assyrian Aid Society with a notation on the check "for Atra Project". Donations should be mailed directly to the Assyrian Aid Society, 350 Berkeley Park Boulevard, Berkeley, CA 94707. A receipt issued by the Assyrian Aid Society will acknowledge all donations.

Due to other personal commitments, I have resigned as US Director of the Atra Project. Dr. Moradkhan will announce my replacement. I will continue to support the project financially and also continue to seek donations from organizations.

Atra Project has proven that there is hope in reviving the love of our homeland. Hundreds of families have been assisted to develop means of generating income through agricultural projects. We pray that our friends and supporters will continue their commitment to ensure that Atra Project remains active and helpful in assisting our brothers and sisters in Garbia. God bless you all.

Youel A Baaba


The 7th of August has been designated as a Memorial Day for Assyrian Martyrs. Although this observance is of a comparatively recent date, it has gained widespread acceptance among the Assyrian people. And this is justly so. Every nation needs to have a day set aside for the remembrance of those who gave their lives for the preservation of their cultural and ethnic identity. This is especially important for the Assyrian Nation, which has given so many martyrs in the defense of their national, cultural, heritage, and ethnic rights.

The following programs have been dedicated to the remembrance of the Assyrian Martyrs Day

3:00 PM, Wednesday 7 August
Tribute to the Assyrian Martyrs Monument
Montrose Cemetery
5400 North Pulaski

7:00 PM
Special Assyrian Martyrs Day Commemoration Program
Assyrian Social Club
6313 North Pulaski

7 PM, Sunday 11 August 11
"Gonkha": A Special Play By Gilgamish Artistic Theater
Northside College Preparatory High School
Auditorium 5501 N. Kedzie

Monday, 5 August - Friday, 16 August
Assyrian Display at the Main Lobby of Thompson Building
100 West Randolph Street
Downtown Chicago

Assyrian Radio & TV programs will run special programs during their respected airtime.

Visit http://www.aanf.org for more information



The Assyrian Church of the East, the Assyrian Universal Alliance and the Assyrian Australian National Federation invite all Assyrians to attend a memorial service for the Assyrian Martyrs and Genocide Remembrance Day details of which are set out hereunder:

Sunday, 04 August 2002
Time: 9:00 am.
Place: St Hurmizd's Cathedral
5-9 Greenfield Road, Greenfield Park

Immediately afterwards at Edessa Hall a special ceremony is organised to remember the victims who gave their lives for the preservation of our cultural, religious and ethnic identity.

Hermiz Shahen
Assyrian Universal Alliance-Australia Chapter


The Assyrian American Social Club of Michigan and the Eastern region affiliates for the 69th National Convention, along with the National Youth Excellence Pageant Committee would like to invite qualified college students to participate in the Eighth Annual Assyrian American National Federation's Assyrian Youth Excellence Pageant (YEP)
to take place during this years AANF convention August 29th, 2002 to September 2nd, 2002 in Detroit, Michigan

The Pageant is a program to promote and reward education, talent, and knowledge of the Assyrian language and history and good character among our youth.

Phase One Friday, 30 August 4:00-6:00 PM
Phase Two Saturday, 31 August 12:00-4:00 PM

Hotel Room Accommodations will be provided for the contestants (One room for the female contestants and one room for male contestants)

Cash Prizes:

First Prize $ 1200.00
Second Prize $ 800.00
Third Prize $ 600.00
Fourth Prize $ 400.00


Assyrian College Freshman to College Seniors, aged 18-24

For more detailed information and an application please contact:

-2002 YEP Chairman Zeena Tawfik-Yonkers at 646-325-7996 / email: zfhawi68@earthlink.net
-YEP National Committee Member, Dr. Arianne Ishaya at 408-227-4531 / email: arian_ishaya@yahoo.com




[The following paper by Dr. Gabriele Yonan was delivered on 26 April 2002 at the conference on "The Genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks" held by the Assyrian Seyfo International Committee (ASIC) at the Residential Palace in Brussels.]

HRWF International Secretariat (01.07.2002) - Website http://www.hrwf.net - E-mail info@hrwf.net - The Assyrians used to hold the British responsible for the destruction of their homelands in Turkey and Persia during WW I. This responsibility was always misplaced, however.

As a consequence of post-war negotiations in the years 1919 to 1925, beginning with the Conference of Paris (1919) and the unratified treaty of Sèvres (1920) and ending with the Conference of Lausanne (1925) which confirmed the Curzon Line, except for the areas of former Assyrian settlements the Assyrians were never able to reclaim their homeland in Turkey but instead were scattered all over the world. It is useless to speculate about what would have happened to the Assyrians had they been successful in garnering enough political support for resettlement and for achieving political autonomy. The area was (and still is) populated by a majority of their old enemies, the Muslim Kurds, and it is not far fetched to compare the situation of that time with today's ethnic conflict between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo.

Undoubtedly the post-war negotiations finally led to new atrocities against the Assyrians, due to the fact that from the 1920s they settled in the North of Iraq (on the other side of the Curzon Line) among Arabs and Kurds, where on August 7, 1933, a year after Iraq became independent from the British mandate, they were massacred in Semile by Arab forces. The British still maintained a presence in the area but were neither able nor willing to protect their former "smallest ally" from the murderous Arab troops under the command of a Kurdish general. The disaster of Semile resulted in the deaths of about 1000 people, mainly women, and old men (according to the statistics given by the Patriarch Mar Shimon to the League of Nations).

Though for the Assyrians Semile became a national tragedy, today Assyrian organizations all over the world still observe August 7 as the Day of Assyrian Martyrs. It remains uncertain why the Assyrians did not, like the Armenians, declare a special day (April 24, 1915, the beginning of the siege against the Assyrians in Turkey) to commemorate the great massacres that took place between 1914 and 1918 in which approximately 100,000 Christian Assyrians perished by the "sword" of Islamic aggressors. Undoubtedly the Assyrians are conscious of being victims of this genocidal treatment--not for political reasons but due solely to their Christian beliefs. In many publications written by Assyrians these events are referred to as the Great Massacres, or "The Year of the (Islamic) Sword." But it was the massacre of Semile in the context of British post-war policy in the Middle East that became a key factor in shaping an Assyrian national movement. The Assyrian writer Yusef Malik, who was a former assistant of the British Mandatory administration service in Iraq (and who therefore had access to confidential documents), published a well documented book in 1935 under the title, "The British Betrayal of the Assyrians," which is still used as a textbook for modern Assyrian history. It might be a matter of opinion whether it was a "betrayal" or a tribute to the shift of power and changes in international policies that finally prevented the Assyrians, Armenians and Kurds from reclaiming any of their previous territory.

But is there any justification for blaming the British for the destruction of roughly two-thirds of the Christian Assyrians during WW I?

When one is interviewing Assyrians of the older generation about responsibility for the massacres, the answer usually is: it was done by the Muslims. The more accurate answer would be: it was done by the Kurds, Turks and Persians. But the British are typically exenorated entirely. American, English and French archives now report that the Turkish army attacked the Assyrian villages and, using Kurdish auxiliary troops from the Assyrian neighbourhood, who supplied the Turkish forces with arms and equipment, destroyed the Assyrians by seizing their land, livestock and possessions. In Northwest Persia the Persian and Azeri Muslim population joined the Turkish army to loot and slaughter the Assyrian Christians. The genocide carried out by the Muslim forces against Assyrians and Armenians would never have been possible without the declaration of Holy War (jihad), by which the Muslims sought to destroy all Christian peoples in the name of the prophet Mohammed. It is well known that Islam is a religio-political concept; thus the political and religious elements were equally at work, especially in the case of the onslaught against the Armenians, who were seeking independence. By contrast, the Christian Assyrians were an ethno-religious group under the leadership of their Patriarch. They lived living as a tribal and clan society, with absolutely no secular political aims. On 12 November 1914, the sultan-caliph unveiled a decree of war, signed by the Turkish ministers, and shortly thereafter he addressed an imperial declaration to the army and navy, demanding their participation in the jihad. Nevertheless, the very idea of "Holy War," it should be noted, at least in the WW I setting, originated not with the Turks but with the Germans, who encouraged the Turks to slaughter the Assyrians as well as many other people groups. Thus the responsibility for destruction of the Assyrians and their homeland during WW I rests not with the British, nor even primarlily with the Turks, but ultimately with the Germans.

This paper is a summary of the activities of the "Intelligence Service for the Orient" of the German Foreign Office in Berlin, which, with the assistance of German scholars and the German Propaganda Machine, and under the able leadership of the German Ambassador in Constantinople, put forth the "Holy War" idea and pressed it upon the Turks, which of course was to result in the destruction of millions of human lives across the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere during WW I .


It remains a difficult task to link an event in world history like the First World War with the little-known historical facts about the genocide of a people largely unknown in the West, the Assyrians. While the genocide was perpetrated at the same time as the war occurred, it hardly left any traces in historical writings. The backdrop to this drama includes the World War, 1914-1918 the emergence of the German-Turkish alliance on the basis of 19th-century policy-making in the Orient, and the course of the war in the Middle East. It is in the context of these events we must seek out Assyrian strands of evidence in what the West has inadequately termed the "genocide of the Armenians".

Vast documentation exists on the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the young Turks, headed by the murderous triumvirate of Enver, Talaat and Jamal. But the numerous volumes provide few clues about the annihilation and expulsion of the Christian Assyrians in the same area at the same time. Numerically much smaller than the Armenians, two-thirds of the Assyrians were killed. Research and analysis are rendered more difficult by the fact that the word "Assyrian" is rarely found in the title of the various reports and documents treating the question.

This fact can be illustrated on the basis of two important works of documentation. The first one was edited by James Bryce: The Treatment of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire (London 1916, 684 pp.). This documentation was published during the war by the British Secretary for Foreign Affairs, James Bryce. It consists of eye-witness reports to the genocide, and includes 21 documents substantiating the crimes committed against the Assyrians in Turkey and in Persia. The material was assembled for the Foreign Office by Bryce's assistant, Arnold Toynbee, later a distinguished historian. The original title of the Toynbee papers was "The Treatment of the Armenians and the Assyrian Christians in the Ottoman Empire". Bryce was co-founder of the English-Armenian Society, and when he published this collection in late 1916, he changed the title to mention only the Armenians, although the work still contained more than one hundred pages of detailed reports on the Assyrians. The French translation presented at the Paris Peace Conference (1920) omitted the documents on the Assyrians altogether. A new and complete English edition of the documentation was only published in 1972 (in Beirut). There have been no translations into other languages, but the collection of materials has been used by many historians researching the Armenian genocide.

The second work was edited by Johannes Lepsius: Report on the condition of the Armenian People (Potsdam 1916 and Germany and Armenia 1914-1918; Collection of Diplomatic Files; Potsdam 1919). The German theologian, missionary and founder of the German Mission to the Orient (Deutsche Orient-Mission), Johannes Lepsius, produced two publications containing unique documentary material about the political links between imperial Germany and the extermination policy of the Young Turks. A considerable number of the reports and documents concern the Assyrians. (I published a selection of these in 1980, in pogrom, No. 72/73). Because the focal point of his efforts and his life-long mission was to rescue the Armenians, it is not out of the question that, hitherto unpublished documents exist in German material archives, though ignored by Lepsius. In any case, his documentation and reporting are representative enough to support the thesis that the Armenians and the Assyrians suffered the same fate.

In addition to these two works of documentation, added evidence of the forgotten genocide can be seen in the founding of the American Committee of Armenian and Syrian Relief (ACASR). The committee was created in the wake of the terrible news from American missionaries who worked among the Assyrians in Northwest Persia. Under siege at their mission for four months beginning in January 1915, they experienced inhuman conditions alongside 18,000 Assyrians, while 25,000 to 30,000 Assyrians fled towards Russia to escape from the Turkish army. It was not until the summer of 1915 that the American missionaries were able to send extensive reports to their mission committee in Boston. Their letters, reports and diary entries would later be included in the Toynbee papers.

Persecution of the Assyrians on Turkish territory began as early as December 1914, reaching its first high point between January and April 1915. It would be several months before the start of actual deportations from the Armenian provinces, where parishes of Syrian Christians also resided. The Armenian uprising in Van (May 1915) occurred at the same time as the Assyrian tragedy in the Hakkari highlands, barely 100 kilometers south. Only half of the 160,000 people in question managed to escape to Persia.

In 1916, and again in 1917, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson appealed to his countrymen to donate to both of these needy Christian people. The American relief organization ACASR, for which two Assyrians also worked (Paul Shimmon and Abraham Yohannan), published several works on the annihilation and expulsion of the Assyrians in Turkey and Persia.

In his extensive report on refugees (The Refugee Problem: A Report of a Survey, London 1939, John H. Simpson, High Commissioner of Refugees for the League of Nations, would devote Chapter IV to the Assyrian refugees. His predecessor, Fridjof Nansen, fails to even mention the Assyrian tragedy in his well-known book A People Deceived - a Study Trip through Georgia and Armenia as High Commissioner of the League of Nations, Leipzig 1928, which was translated into several languages. A number of shorter texts and articles on the fate of the Christian Assyrians was published during and following the First World War. The Archbishop of Canterbury's Assyrian mission was committed to awakening a sense of political responsibility in the consciousness of the English public. Influential politicians such as Lord Curzon presented the Assyrian question to Parliament and to the press. Lord Curzon made every effort to ensure that Assyrian representatives would be admitted to the Paris Peace Conference.

At the same time, books by Assyrians were also published in English and French; personal experiences were described and collections of eye-witness reports were published (see, inter alia, Bibliography: J. Naayem, Paris 1920; Y. H. Shabaz, Philadelphia 1918; P. Shimmon, London 1916; Surmad-Bet Mar Shimun, London 1920; A. Yohannan, London 1916). Politicians and important personages in England, France and America encouraged Assyrian authors to write and sponsored the publication of such works. These acts were motivated by political interests, linked with upcoming decisions on how territory would be divided and who would influence regions of strategic and economic interest in the Near and Middle East, including areas of settlement from which the Assyrians had been expelled. After these decisions were made in the years that followed, Assyrian publications were completely forgotten; they can now be found in only a few of the world's libraries.

Writings by the German Lutheran mission from Hermannsburg and other small German aid societies which had contact with the Assyrians between the turn of the century and the First World War had disappeared. During a research visit in 1983, I discovered the complete collection of these materials as well as unpublished correspondence in the archives of the Hermannsburg mission. A portion of this has been included in the present documentation.

On the other hand, a source which would otherwise have been very difficult to get hold of, an Assyrian war diary containing detailed reports on the regional events in the First World War's most out-of-the-way sites, the Hakkari Highlands and the border area between Turkey and Persia, was available in German. Rudolf Macuch published a translation of this diary in summary form in his History of Late and Modern Syriac Literature (Berlin, 1976). It forms the basis of the excerpt included here, along with the original Assyrian text which appeared in Teheran in 1964.

Unfortunately, that valuable documentary material in the state archives of the former Soviet Union was inaccessible until recent years. The documentary material in Turkey is still not accessible for historical evaluation. The Turkish government announced in 1989 that it was ready to open up and grant access to the Ottoman archives for international science and historical research. Turkey has not yet come to terms with its past with reference to the annihilation and expulsion of the Christian population during the First World War.

The Question of German Culpability

To date, neither German nor Turkish historians have reappraised the question of shared guilt or responsibility for the catastrophe of the annihilation and expulsion of two million Christians (Armenians and Assyrians) in Turkey during the First World War. Memoirs by German diplomats and military officers, as well as contemporary political writings by German pacifists, are no substitute for careful and precise historical research on this

Ulrich Trumpener researched this issue using U.S. archival material. In his book Germany and the Ottoman Empire 1914-1918 (Princeton, 1968), he exonerates the German political and military leadership from shared responsibility in the formulation or implementation of the extermination policy pursued by the Young Turks. In Germany's attitude to these events, Trumpener perceives only moral indifference and an inability by German officials to make a balanced judgement about the reports provided by responsible diplomats and personages.

In fact, even Johannes Lepsius, the most important observer, had come to the same conclusion. In his own overwhelming collection of evidence collected on behalf of the Foreign Office shortly after the war, he would discern only "inadvertent German shared guilt." He was reproached by many for his ambivalent approach: it was said he used the collection of diplomatic files only to morally exonerate the imperial German government.

It is indeed true that there is no evidence which incontrovertibly implicates the German government. No German soldier participated personally in the annihilation campaigns executed by Turks and Kurds. No German general issued any field orders, nor received any orders from the Turkish Minister of War. The German army headquarters, which had reorganized the Turkish Army, had no political say in decision making and no influence on decisions made in Berlin and Constantinople. They were - like all armies - an amoral institution used as an instrument of power. But none of this can exonerate the imperial German government, where the emperor pursued autocratic colonial policies against the judgement of many. Nor can one overlook the significance of the fact that Germany's Oriental Propaganda Department in Berlin counselled and urged the government of the Young Turks to declare a "Holy War." Certainly the attitude of the German government and its Foreign Office, once the extent of the Turkish annihilation of the Christians became known, hardly argues acquittal or exoneration from shared responsibility. This attitude consisted of maintaining silence, rationalizing the events, and denying them altogether. German public opinion was manipulated according to government instructions, while a standard of "blind obedience" was expected of German diplomats and generals in Turkey. Those who spoke up for the victims were recalled or publicly defamed as "traitors to their own country." Whether the Young Turk government could have been deterred from their annihilation plans if the German allies had exerted pressure is mere speculation, and not the task of historical analysis.

We judge the events of that time based on our knowledge of ensuing German history. Thus, the fact that Adolf Hitler mentioned in passing in 1939 the Young Turks' policy of extermination while seeking to legitimize his own plans can be related to Germany's refusal to pass moral judgement on the first genocide of the 20th century. By now, of course, the annihilation and expulsion of the Armenians and Assyrians between 1915 and 1918 has been overshadowed by Hitler Germany's genocide of the Second World War.

Today, tens of thousands of Christian Assyrians live in the four corners of the globe, having fled in recent decades from the various parts of the former Ottoman Empire. They are descendants of the survivors of a genocide that still is not part of our historical consciousness. This documentation is offered in honor of these unknown victims. It is also intended to serve as a link in the history of repression, persecution and expulsion of the Assyrians in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Persia, a process which continues to date.

Dr. Gabriele Yonan
Berlin, Germany

For more information on the proceedings of the 'genocide' conference contact:
Information and Press Service
Human Rights Without Frontiers
Avenue Winston Churchill 11/33, 1180 Brussels, Belgium
Phone: 32 2 3456145 - Fax: 32 2 3437491

Editor-in-chief: Willy Fautré
Project Manager: Sara Vann (Emory Law School)
Website: http://www.hrwf.net
Email: info@hrwf.net


Pump Up the Volume

Sick, Ill MREE / AA
MASC Sick with fever: mree'aa b'khamkhamta
Hospitalized KREE / HA MASC Hospital: Bet-Kreeha



The Syriac Chroniclers, Editions l'Harmattan, Paris, Juin 2002, 467 pages.

The period between the 3rd and 14th Centuries is a crucial era in the Middle East history. Until A.D. 640's Assyrians were living in an area dominated by the Byzantine and Persian empires. Between the 7th and 12th centuries, the Syriac-speaking Christians of Middle East evangelized the east while Moslems moved westward. The Seljuk Turks and the Mongols arrived in the beginning of the 12th century and completely interrupted the expansion of the Assyrian churches in Asia. The rise of Ottoman power in Anatolia was the next significant event which dominated the politics and affairs of every ethnicity in the Middle East until World War I in 1914.

Much of the interpretation of the events taking place in this period are attributed to the writings of the Byzantine, Latin, Arabic, and Mongolian historiographers. Now Dr. Ephrem-Isa Yousif adds one more list of historians - that of the Syriac speakers. His latest work, "The Syriac Chroniclers", sheds light on the annals of Syriac historians, their local and universal chronicles, ecclesiastical histories, and chronographies. They provide us with a different perspective of events and a more panoramic view of the Greek, Islamic, and the Steppe Peoples civilizations.

Table of Content

Chronicle of Edessa
Chronicle of Joshua the stylite

West Syriac
John of Asia, Ecclesiastical History
The Zuqnin Chronicle
Michael, Chronicle
Chronicle to the year 1234
Gregory Abu'l Faraj, Chronicle

East Syriac
Chronicle of Seert
Elia of Nisibis, Chronography
Mari, Chronicle
Sliwa, Chronicle

Dr. Ephrem-Isa Yousif was born in 1944 in Sanate, an Assyro-Chaldean village near Zakho in Iraq. He studied in Mosul in North Iraq, then 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 at the University of Toulouse. Currently he writes books, articles, and is the Director of Publishing at " L'Harmattan", a publishing company in Paris. He is a member of the Association of the Writers of French language (A.D.E.L.F.) and is a scientific counselor for the publications of the High Council of the French speaking world.

For more information visit: http://www.yousif.fr.fm


Back to the Future

(1900 B.C.)

To help overcome sexual impotence, special Babylonian incantations were prescribed and the afflicted persons were asked to place small figurines in the shape of a penis or vagina at the head of the bed during sexual intercourse. Several models of human sexual organs with holes for attachment or suspension have been discovered in the Temple of Ishtar in the city of Ashur.

Gods, Demons, & Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, J. Black & A. Green

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The Nostra Aetate's declaration from Vatican regarding the issue of Judaism angers the Christians in the Middle East world. Vatican's comments were interpreted as favoring Zionism. Mor Ignatius Yaqub, Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church, issues a statement from Damascus striving to prove the responsibility of the Jews for the death of Jesus.

Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, Busse


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