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Volume VIII
Issue 25
16 September 2002
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This Week In Zinda

cover photo
cover photo

  Editorial: Reduced to "Others"
  Dr. Sahakian: The Possible Downfall of Humanity
  More on the Murder of the Nun in Baghdad
  Statement of Iraqi Assyrian Leader Yonadam Kanna
Syrian Orthodox Church Join U.S. Churches in Condemning War
69th AANF Convention A Success
Turkish Schools to Teach Lessons on the "So-Called" Seyfo Genocide
Assyrian American Community Leads Sept 11 Vigil
Crash Leaves Void in Chaldean Family; Better Life in U.S.

The Boiling Pot - Who Represents Assyrians?
What Are Our Civic Responsibilities?
But Who Has Flown?
Not the Ataturk We Know!


Religious Minorities in The Middle East - Assyrians' Future in Turkey & Iraq
Assyrian-Aramean-Chaldean-Syriac Festival
The Tree of Life Festival (Tolfest)
Come Dance With Us in Arizona
More Online Photo Albums

  Kochi Lives & Breathes Syriac Christian History
  Book by Ivan Kakovitch: Mount Semele




Zinda Says


"If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will cease persecution of its civilian population, including Shi'a, Sunnis, Kurds, Turkomans, and others, again as required by Security Council resolutions."

President George W. Bush's Remarks at the United Nations General Assembly
New York, New York
September 12, 2002

Last week the Assyrian people had a golden opportunity to be finally recognized as an integral component of the Iraqi society when President G.W. Bush presented his case for military action against Saddam Hussein. While listing every Moslem group making up the heterogeneous population of Iraq, he completely ignored the Assyrian-Chaldean population and reduced our seven thousand year existence - we, the only indigenous population of Iraq - as "others".

This wake up call should send tremors through Chicago and North Iraq and ignite a renewed call for Assyrian solidarity and targeted political mission.

Assyrians of Iraq cannot be ignored. It is both necessity and an obligation of the Western Christian world to distinguish between the nearly one million Assyrian-Chaldean population of the Christians in Iraq and the majority Moslem groups. With or without a call for military action against Saddam, Assyrians remain under constant threat of religious reprisal as Islamic fundamentalism continues to ravage the region.

Why does Washington continue to treat Assyrians as mere receptacles of the Kurdish and Shiite opposition? Clearly, the State Department is cognizant of our existence and our concerns. We have simply failed to clearly articulate our vision, namely, that we wish to fully participate in leading the development of a democratic, post-Saddam Iraq. Leading, not trailing behind.

According to a 16 September report of the Assyrian International News Agency, the U.S. State Department called the representatives of the Assyrian Coalition and the Assyrian American League (AAL) to formally request Assyrian participation in this week's meeting in New York.

Congressman Henry Hyde, Chairman of the Congressional Committee on International Relations, in a letter to Secretary Collin Powell, explained after the exclusion of Assyrians in the August 8 Meeting in Washington that "It would be a mistake to start the process of determining the aftermath of Iraq without the representation of one of the most significant minority groups in Iraq."

Because of the pressure from Mr Hyde and Mr. Michael Flanegan of the Assyrian American League, Mr. Yonadam Yousif Kanna-- Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM) - was present in this week's meetings and led the Assyrian coalition.

According to the AINA report, a day prior to President Bush's address to the United Nations, Mr. Kanna, Dr. Ronald Michael and Michael Flanagan met with representatives of the State Department and representatives of the Congressional Committee on International Relations to press the point for Assyrian participation in Iraqi opposition meetings. Yet our 11th hour efforts failed to remind Mr. Bush's speech writers to officially recognize the Assyrians before the Security Council and the nations of the world.

The host of assaults against the existence of the Assyrian people are too numerous to list. When the U.S. and British planes hover over Baghdad, death and destruction will come to all, both Moslem and Christian, Arab and Chaldean. However, Assyrians live in the pathway of many ethnic groups who are in a state of frenzy and expansion. Turkomen demand Kirkuk, Kurds demand North Iraq, Turkey has her eyes on Mosul (modern Nineveh), and Iran prays for the greater Shiite domination centered around Basra.

Since nothing will ever justify the sufferings and annihilations of so many Assyrians in the event of a possible chaotic condition following a military action against Saddam Hussein, Assyrians must not tolerate the narrow and ignorant viewpoint the U.S. foreign policy-makers.

Assyrians, unconditionally, must be included in any future communiqué released by the U.S. State Department and the White House.

[For a complete AINA report visit: http://aina.org/releases/2002/opposition.htm.]



The Lighthouse


The recognition by the Christian West of the Armenian and Assyrian genocides of 1915 is necessary not only as a moral gesture (given its religious roots) but is as an essential step towards saving humanity from the threat of its destruction.

The history of mankind demonstrates that in difficult situations, when categories associated with certain symbols becomes urgent (paramount) then the defying of these symbols unavoidably leads to the reverse reaction. Examples in this century include the 1938 Munich Agreement and the bombing of Serbia by the West in 1998.

In 1938 England and France with the mute support of the US sacrificed Czechoslovakia: the symbol of democracy. This led to the fascist yoke dominating over almost all over Europe. Three years later Pearl Harbor was attacked.
In 1998 Serbia the symbol of European Christian steadfastness was bombed, three years later the attack of Islamic terrorism against America took place.

Why do so many disasters occur, placing into question the existence of mankind?

Because the symbol of eternity of humanity has been defied. As a consequence of the 1915 genocide against the Armenians and Assyrians, the link with eternity was lost when the symbol of that eternity, the Mesopotamian civilization, was killed. The most ancient human civilizations come from the region of Mesopotamia. In addition, these civilizations have had a strong influence on the Indo-European and Egyptian civilizations. Through history, the Mesopotamian civilizations disappeared passing their culture to successor civilizations. This continued for 6000 years without interruption. However, this chain was broken in 1915, when by the massacre of 250,000 Assyrians the Ottoman Empire destroyed the last Mesopotamian civilization.

Any genocide from a moral viewpoint is a reprehensible act, however in the case of the 1915 genocides the situation is much more grave, and ignoring it can lead to the destruction of the entire human civilization.

Let me try to substantiate this statement. The main idea was already stated, if you defy the symbol (ie, of eternity) you get the contrary, the downfall of humanity.

Let's delve deeper into this issue to clear up the situation, as well as setting straight the time frame.

In 1915 the Armenian civilization was substantially destroyed (half of the nation was exterminated, those Armenians who survived lost almost all their historical territories) and the Assyrian civilization was once and for all lost.

Who are the Armenians and the Assyrians from the viewpoint of the Christian West?

The Armenians were the first nation to adopt Christianity as a state religion and were the main keepers of the faith in Asia (as an example, note the existence of an Armenian community in Jerusalem since the fourth century) and the Assyrians had attempted to baptize all of Asia up to Mongolia and Beijing.

Historians also note that one of the official goals of Vasco de Gamma's expedition was to find the mythical Assyrian kingdoms. One can say with certainty that the Armenians and the Assyrians are a symbol of Christianity.

The Indo-European people who appeared on the historical stage 4500 years ago played the most influential role in the world after the weakening of the Mesopotamian civilization. Their cradle was historical Armenia with its adjacent regions. Thus Armenians can also be considered to be the symbol of Indo-European civilization.

The genocide of 1915 was aimed at Christianity and Indo-European symbols. Moreover it is clear that the genocide was also aimed at the old Assyrian gods. According to the Christian canon these gods still exist as Satans imprisoned in hell (Velzevul is the old Mesopotamian Beel-Zaab).

A singular event is the result: the genocide of 1915 was aimed at both heaven and hell. From both opposite poles (including the right of humanity to eternity, the Indo-European heritage, democracy, and taking into consideration the genocide of Greeks in Asia) the truth that is revealed has such a horrifying power that neglecting it can lead to the downfall of the entire human civilization.

Why does the recognition of 1915 genocide become timely now?

The experience of modern physics allows us to distinguish resonant and non-resonant interactions (the first is observed even in the most unfavourable conditions). Resonance has been discovered within game theory as well. The latter adequately describes the situation in both the theory of evolution and economics. There is no reason as to why the same analogy should not work in issues connected with history.

Physical analogy (parametric resonance) shows the importance of two aspects. For a strong effect the resonance first of all has to be precise (presence of a real symbol). Of similar importance is the firm connection between a symbol and the reality. In historical issues the latter corresponds to the urgency of the symbol.

The defying of symbols corresponds to the resonant interaction (by reverse phase) - which is whey it is so dangerous to defy the symbol by the one who recognizes the symbol.

From Turkey's viewpoint the extermination of Armenians and Assyrians was an ordinary act (the whole history of Ottoman Turkey is written in blood). However, the genocides of 1915 are not an ordinary act from the viewpoint of the Western civilization. At that time there was no united Europe to save the Armenians and Assyrians. Europe is uniting just now and assuming its final form. Soon the disintegration of Europe into eastern and western parts which has lasted for more then sixteen centuries will finally be over.

Only now there is a chance to solve at least the problem of mitigating to a certain extent the consequences of 1915. If this chance is missed (say Turkey enters the European Union without recognizing the genocide) then the situation will become more resonant, and a more dangerous violation of the symbol will occur.

The last chance to solve the problem of 1915 will be by 2015: the centenary anniversary of genocide. If this chance is missed too, then the whole of humanity will face the danger of downfall. It is important to note that each time the possibility of solving the 1915 problem was missed a serious cataclysm took place.

Germany was the only European country which could have prevented the genocide. This wasn't done. Wasn't the fascist nightmare a punishment for that?

The Russian tsar stirred the Assyrians to action against the Turks, but did nothing to save the Armenians and the Assyrians. Three years later the Romanov dynasty was eliminated and the Bolshevik nightmare started.

In 1945 it was possible to a certain extent to solve the problem of addressing the consequences of 1915. Taking into consideration the heroic participation of Armenians in World War II Western Armenia could be reclaimed from Turkey, the de facto ally of Germany, and returned to Armenians. Also the resettling of the Assyrians there could have been organized. This wasn't done and in 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred. The terrorist attack of 2001 was preceded by a year of irrelevant debates in the United States Congress regarding the recognition of the 1915 genocide.

The people of the world have to demand from their governments the recognition of the 1915 genocide. By refusing to accept 1915 and to soften its consequences, the West is destroying its greatest symbols Indo-European heritage, Christianity, of democracy and eternity. This kind of behaviour is against the interests of both heaven and hell.

Thus, if there is a final failure of solving the 1915 problem (by 2015) then the downfall of the entire humanity is quite realistic.

It is difficult to be certain as to how the end of mankind will come (nuclear war as a result of an electronic error, disappearance of the ozone layer, collision of the earth with an asteroid), but it will happen in a year (Hiroshima, Nagasaki, September 2001) or three years (extermination of the Romanovs). Just like a hopelessly sick person is trying to atone for all his sins so must the humanity for the sake of its survival. The UN has to try to restore at least artificially the Assyrian civilization by gathering one by one all the remaining Assyrians and giving them all possible support.
The Armenians have to receive compensation for the genocide perpetrated against them and at the same time the territory of Western Armenia must be returned to them. Let the people of the world decide for themselves which is primary: the right of 6 billion people to survive or the right of Turkey to enjoy with impunity a war trophy, Western Armenia, received from the crime committed in 1915.

Compensation also has to be given to the heirs of the Asian Greeks who have suffered from genocide, which factually took place in 1915 (after contributing to prosperity of Asia for three thousand years). Let's remember the Miletian philosophers (Asia) from whom contemporary European philosophy originated. Certainly Cyprus has to be liberated. If the average European has a vague idea about the Armenians and the Assyrians, he must at least remember that the word democracy and its essence which comes from ancient Greece.

There's a wise tradition, to bury the victims of massacre together, or in a common grave. It is not necessary to distinguish the 1915 crime against the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks.

Examples of reverse phase resonant situations are the will to die, the presence of suicidal inclinations that sometimes are observed not only with individuals but also with civilizations. The anti-Armenian position of Germany, Israel and Russia possess such shades.

Germany, certainly, is partially responsible for organizing the genocide of 1915. This is in the past already. Present-day Germany with rare exceptions (provoking the bombing of Serbia in 1998) acts as one of the most progressive countries of our time. Moreover its survival may be under a question after a few generations, in any case, if the Turks should form the majority in Germany. Even if the organization of a new German genocide by the Turks is hardly probable (however I should recommend to the German Chancellor and the Bundestag members to follow media publications about Bartholomew's visit to Trabzon), it is quite realistic that the Germans may be turned out from their homeland, as it happened with the Serbs in Serbian Kosovo. In this situation the rejection of the Bundestag to recognize the 1915 genocide in favor of Turkey or the Turkish origin population of its country is a display of the will of the civilization to die. The German nation has to realize this and for the sake of the survival of its future generations should force its leaders to recognize 1915.

I have a great sympathy towards present-day democratic Germany, but for the sake of objectivity I have to touch upon the following. Germany has a not too smart position regarding the question of the genocide, the Serbian incident and the role of the factual Trojan horse that it plays (bringing millions of Turks into the heart of Europe, expressing and protecting their interests). All this makes Germany a possible target in case of collision with an asteroid, if we accept that the asteroid will be sent on humanity by the heavens and hell as a revenge of 1915. The compatriots of the great Kant have to realize this.

Let's turn to Israel. Present-day Israel was created and exists only by the will of the Christian powers. Of course the Jewish Diaspora played its role but the real determinant was the charity of Christian world powers in helping the Jews who had survived through a genocide, the one that Hitler organized following the example of the genocide of Armenians.

The Israelis have to realize that Christianity is the key to their safety and not their military might or the mythical wealth of the Jewish Diaspora.

What do the Israeli rulers do?

In order to win over Turkey (instead of Christianity) they do not recognize the 1915 genocide. The previous regime betrayed the Lebanese Christians who had guarded the northern borders of Israel for decades, the present one is through military actions profaning the Christian sacred places in the Holy Land (the incident with the temple of Bethlehem, and now occupying Armenian Church territories). Here again the danger of attacking symbols is clear. The terror carried out by the Islamic suicide-bombers is irrational: gold or the army is powerless to fight it. There's only one way of defending against this: resorting to absolute moral values.

The Jewish nation who has given humanity so many wise prophets has to realize that the anti-Christian and anti-Armenian position of the Israeli leaders endangers the existence of both Israel and humanity in its entirety. Moreover, for the sake of the survival of Israel the American Jewish community has to ensure by all means the recognition by the Congress of the genocide of the Armenian and Assyrian peoples.

Russia: Let's remember the events that took place a few years ago: the de facto separation of Chechnya from Russia. Georgia and Azerbaijan gave active support to Chechnya. To a certain extent, they were restrained due to the presence of Armenia at their flanks. During that time the situation was very unstable. If it was not for Armenia's position supporting Russia (as it had the only efficient army in the region), the downfall of Russia through a domino effect was a very real possibility. The first to revolt would have been the north-Caucasian Islamic republics, then Tatarstan and Bashkiria, then the spirit of separatism would have been seized by the more remote Russian regions (Far East, Kaliningrad). Armenia played a considerable role in ensuring that this disintegration did not occur in the totally demoralized Russia.

What was the first thing Russia did after standing on its own feet? It organized massacres of Armenians. This again is a display of the determination of civilization to die. The strengthening of such a tendency would above all lead to the destruction of Russia. Wouldn't the repeat of the experience fratricidal wars of the 14th to 16th centuries (Tver, Smolensk, and Novgorod) bring Russia back to the former borders of Moskovia? And when Russia forces Armenians to leave Karabagh, discouraged Armenians would leave Armenia as well.

The West has to realize that if the Armenians lose Karabagh, then the 1915 genocide program of extermination of both the Armenian and the Assyrian civilizations will come to its logical conclusion.

How much longer could humanity last after that, one or three years?

Anti-Armenian or Anti-Christian actions in Israel and massacres of Armenians in Russia took place at the same time.
The officials of Moscow region gave "serious" arguments basing the massacres of Armenians on stereotypes such as "Armenians speak loudly and gesticulate". Nonsense? No this is already a correlation of the display of the will of the humanity to die on international level.

I do not know how the anti-Armenian actions were organized in Israel and Russia: whether it was organized by the country's leaders or at the lower levels of administration. So, I urge the religious leaders of Israel and Russia to vigilantly watch the leadership of their countries, just in case there are leaders who are connected with Satanist sects. It may be possible that the question of mankind's existence is on this scale, and that Armageddon has already started with this scenario?

Even if we suppose that the danger of Armageddon is exaggerated, in any case the following should be clear. For the Russians, putting down the fire of the Chechen war and rousing fascism and anti-Caucasian (anti-Armenian) actions at the same time is as hopeless a task as is the Israeli government's (which does not respect Christian saints) efforts at ensuring the safety of the country and making peace with Palestine.

Let's reflect upon America. It's time that the American people force their government to recognize the Armenian and Assyrian genocides of 1915. Without this recognition, it is impossible to ensure the safety of America. For what reason should the Christian god have protected America which had bombed Serbia in 1998 and didn't recognize the genocide of Armenians during the Congressional debates held between 2000 and 2001. It is the same America that has declared itself the greatest democracy and yet does not even discuss the question of recognizing the genocide of a considerable part of the Greeks -- the nation which has given democracy to humanity.

The attack of Islamic terrorism on America will only intensify (tied with the Israel-Palestine conflict). As I have previously noted, there is only one certain path of defense against these threats: to pin our hopes on absolute moral values - there is no sense in bargaining with God (for example, a choice between profitable trade with Turkey or justice).

Concluding the section concerning America I would like to mention the following. If my hypotheses that some powers are trying to initiate Armageddon proves to be right (drive towards death will at a global level), then it would have been logical to look for Satan worshipers amongst the organizers of September 11th.

Is there an exaggeration of the part of the Armenians and the Assyrians in today's disasters, when there are more wealthy and numerous nations? It is appropriate to note the pointed remark of Toynbee that the appearance of a new God in a remote and poor province (Palestine) of Rome would have been considered a bad joke by the old Romans.

To conclude, I appeal to the world's nations to force their governments to recognize the 1915 genocide of the Armenian and Assyrian peoples, and to solve the problems associated with these tragedies. This will give humanity a chance to survive in this situation when one can hear the sinister ticking of the clock, which measures the timeline of humanity's existence.

Dr. David Sahakian

[Dr. Sahakian is a Professor of Physics and Mathematics and the Head of the Complex Systems Research Group at the Yerevan Physics Institute in the Republic of Armenia. This article was presented at a conference in Taiwan in May 2002. The section on Germany as a target for revenge was added to the article a few weeks before the recent floods in Europe.]





Courtesy of United Press International (28 Aug)

(ZNDA: Washington) A nun belonging to Iraq's Christian minority was found beheaded in Baghdad. Sister Cecilia Hanna, 70, was knifed down savagely and her head was severed from the rest of her body by a group of thugs while she was staying in the Chaldean monastery located in Palestine Street in Baghdad.

When asked about this report, a State Department spokeswoman told United Press International, "We are not aware of this case."

Shortly after the start of the U.S. war on terrorism, Albert Yelda, a London-based Iraqi opposition leader, had warned that Iraq's ancient Christian community would be made a whipping boy for this conflict.

Yelda told UPI at the time that Iraq's Christians "no longer dare to wear their traditional crosses. They are being called crusaders. They do not receive food rations. They are being told, 'Ask the Americans to feed you. You have no business being here.'"

In an interview, Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim of the Chaldean Church's Eastern diocese in the U.S. denied that Christians in Iraq were being singled out for persecution.

However, Chaldean News Agency now ranks Sister Cecilia Hanna among the long line of martyrs in present-day Iraq, whose Christians are the descendants of one of the oldest known civilizations - Mesopotamia. Collectively, these Christians are known as Assyrians.

Assyrians say they were the first nation to adopt Christianity as state religion in 179 AD, more than 100 years before Armenia, which prides itself on being the first Christianized country. The Assyrians also claim to have built the first Christian churches and to have been the first to translate the New Testament from Greek into their vernacular, which still resembles the language of Christ.

The Chaldean Church, to which the murdered Sacred Heart of Jesus nun belonged, is in union with the Vatican and has approximately one million members, half of whom still live in Iraq, while the rest are spread around the world, Bishop Ibrahim said.

Another 300,000 to 500,000 Assyrian Christians belong to the venerable Church of the East. This denomination was once condemned as heretical because it followed the teachings of Nestorius, the 5th-century bishop of Constantinople, who taught that the Virgin Mary was not the "theodokos," or mother of God, but simply the mother of Jesus Christ.

Nestorian missionaries were the first the reach Mongolia, China and Japan in the 8th century. However, in the 16th century, a segment of the Nestorian Church recognized the Pope and united with Rome, which persecuted the remaining Nestorians for centuries, especially in India.

"Today, our two churches are very close," Bishop Ibrahim said. While not in full communion, they practice Eucharistic hospitality under certain circumstances. In other words, they commune each other's members if they have no church of their own denomination to go to.

"Our liturgies are very similar," Ibrahim explained. "Assyrian services consist of 99 percent liturgy with lots of incense," Yelda said. The difference is that while the Chaldeans allow icons in their churches, the Nestorian sanctuaries are as stark as synagogues. Other than a simple cross above the altar, nothing adorns them.

Preserving Christianity

There are other parallels between the Nestorians and the Jews as well. Nestorians call their priest "rabi" (teacher), and like orthodox Jews they eschew mixed marriages. "We want to preserve a Christian people in our country," Yelda explained.

While Bishop Ibrahim allowed that "Christians like all others suffer from the turmoil in Iraq, but are not targeted for persecution," the Chaldean News Service accused Saddam Hussein's government of appeasing "the rising tide of Muslim fanaticism."

This movement, it said, "has at its final goal not only the murder or the complete subjugation of non-Muslims but all those who do not measure up to its doctrine of terror and hatred."

According to Albert Yelda, Saddam Hussein, too, has set out to destroy the venerable Assyrian culture, "not out of any Muslim convictions but because, like every tyrant, he hates minorities."

Yelda described how Saddam had banned the Assyrians' cultural clubs, where their literary language was kept alive. "Saddam had hundreds of Assyrian villages razed, including recently a 2nd-century church."

Yelda also accused Saddam's son, Uday, of raping and killing an Assyrian woman and then making this act public knowledge.

As for the repression of Iraqi Christians in the name of Islam, Yelda said it ran counter the stated wish of the Prophet Mohammed, who was so impressed by the Assyrians' knowledge of medicine and sciences that he issued a Firman, or letter of protection, for them.

The Firman disappeared without trace over 150 years ago.

News Digest


Courtesy of PR Newswire & Association des Assyro-Chaldéens de France (18 Sept)

(ZNDA: New York) As he emerged from a joint meeting of the Iraqi opposition groups this week, Assyrian Democratic Movement General Secretary Yonadam Y. Kanna renewed his call for an end to all religious persecution in Iraq, particularly of Christians.

Secretary Kanna issued the following statement following the meeting at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel:

"To be truly free and democratic, the new Iraq must also be secular and truly tolerant of all religious traditions and unafraid to Constitutionally recognize ethnic minorities. Only then will we see an end to the persecution of minorities, which President George W. Bush condemned in his speech to the United Nations last week. Only then will all Iraqi people be able to live in peace and under justice.

"Somehow, there is a misconception abroad that the Iraqi regime is secular in nature; nothing could be further from the truth. Since it came to power, we Assyrians have suffered both ethnic and religious persecution.

"Assyrian schools have been officially banned, and Assyrian cultural organizations have been forbidden. We have seen 200 churches and monasteries destroyed in 200 destroyed villages. Over 20 members of the Assyrian Democratic Movement have been ruthlessly murdered, and just last month a 70-year old Catholic nun of the Chaldean Order was beaten, raped, stabbed to death and then beheaded in her convent by three men in uniform."

In an interview with La Libre Belgique, Mr. Kanna explained last week that: "All segments of the Iraqi population are represented within the opposition. No political or ethnic group is absent." On America's preparation for war with Iraq, Mr. Kanna noted: "The Americans will not openly engage in armed conflict with Iraq unless there be a military coup d'état in Baghdad before the attack. We are sure that the Americans have already made the decision to attack."

Mr. Kanna concluded his interview by pointing at the possibility of the existence of al-Qaida in Baghdad and even the presence of the Afghan leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in Iraq. He commented that Baghdad maintains links with the al-Qaida members.


Courtesy of U.S. Newswire (12 Sept)

(ZNDA: Washington) Last week the Syrian Orthodox Church joined many U.S. Protestant and Orthodox churches and organizations and leaders of Roman Catholic religious orders in announcing opposition to U.S. military action against Iraq. In a letter to President Bush, the church leaders acknowledged that "Mr. Hussein poses a threat to his neighbors and to his own people, (but) we nevertheless believe it is wrong, as well as detrimental to U.S. interests" to launch an attack on Iraq.

The letter, convened by a national coalition named Churches for Middle East Peace, stated, "We oppose on moral grounds the United States taking further military action against Iraq now." Citing the probable humanitarian consequences, civilian casualties, and the chaotic political aftermath of such a war, the church leaders noted that U.S. military force could easily destabilize the region with possible catastrophic results and further increase anti-American sentiment in the Middle East and Gulf.

The Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, a joint ministry of 36 Protestant and Orthodox churches, stated, "We do not need to march down the path to Armageddon. Pre-emptive military action now being contemplated by the Administration cannot be morally justified." Edgar, a former six-term Member of the U.S. Congress, said, "Among other consequences, consider that a pre-emptive strike by the U.S. presents to the world a model of aggression that may encourage other nations to attack neighboring countries that threaten them."

Releasing their letter after President Bush's statement to the United Nations General Assembly, the church leaders insisted that the President work through the U.N. toward peace, not toward war. Father Stan DeBoe, chair of Churches for Middle East Peace, commented, "Consulting with the U.N. while insisting that the U.N. precisely implement our own policy is not what international cooperation is about. It is not a matter of 'you go along with us or else we'll do what we want,' but rather how does the U.S. work with and through the U.N. to implement the consensus of the international community."

DeBoe continued, "We are urging the President to uphold the values of our great country by working closely with the community of nations, not by rattling sabers nor by threatening to overthrow governments with force."




Map Courtesy of AINA

(ZNDA: Chicago) Last week the Assyrian International News Agency issued a statement praising the political discussions and meetings at the recent Assyrian National Convention held in Detroit, Michigan a success. "Of greatest concern for all Assyrians remains fair political representation for Assyrians in any future Iraqi governmental reform as well as concern for the safety of Assyrians residing both within the government controlled areas of Iraq as well as the northern UN administered region," writes AINA.

On 31 August 31, according to the AINA report, the Assyrian Coalition of political organizations addressed the Assyrian Convention through brief presentations and a panel discussion. Speakers included Mr. Abgar Maloul of the Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO), former Illinois State Senator John Nimrod of the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA), Mr. Shimon Khamo of the Bet Nahrain Democratic Party (BNDP), and Mr. Eshia Esho of the Assyrian National Organization (ANO). Also addressing the gathering of 300 attendees was Mr. Yonadam Kanna, Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM), who had traveled from Iraq. All speakers universally addressed Assyrian concerns regarding inadequate Assyrian political representation in Iraqi opposition meetings. Mr. Kanna added an in depth analysis of the political situation in Iraq and the looming conflict with the international community. Mr. Kanna emphasized the need to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein and placed the blame for Iraq's international isolation squarely on the Iraqi regime.

AINA report continues: "Concluding the political forum were Dr. Ronald Michael and former Congressman Michael Flanagan of the Assyrian American League (AAL). Dr. Michael summarized the current lobbying efforts by the AAL aimed at raising the Assyrian political profile within Washington D.C. and increasing Assyrian political participation in opposition venues. Congressman Flanagan outlined the AAL's networking activities within Congress and the State Department and expressed optimism that Assyrian participation in upcoming opposition meetings would be realized in the near future. The forum was also addressed by Mr. Ator Golani, the President of the AANF who expressed the solid support of the AANF. Mr. Saad Marouf, President of the Chaldean Federation of America likewise expressed support of the Chaldean community for what he described as the "impressive" outlook and achievements of the Assyrian Coalition and the AAL. Mr. Habib Afram of the Syriac Universal Alliance echoed his support and, like Mr. Golani and Mr. Marouf, reaffirmed that the communities of Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Syriacs comprise one nation."

Mr. Nate Jenson of the U.S. State Department, referred to as the "Assyrian Desk Officer" at the State Department, attended the Convention on September 1st at the invitation of the AAL.

For AINA's full report visit: http://aina.org/releases/2002/convention6752.htm


The Diaspora Symposium included four speakers from the United States, Canada, Sweden, and Australia. The Assyrian Identity Conference included speakers from very diverse academic fields including sociology, Syriac studies, Assyriology, and anthropology. The papers presented were The Assyrian cultural heritage, from Survival to Revival, by Professor Abdilmasih Saadi; Maintenance and Transformation of Ethnic Identity: the Assyrian/Syria case, by Dr. Fuat Deniz; Chaldeans and the National Designation, by Mr. Habib Hanoona. Dr. Saadi put out a call for an initiative to build a network of Assyrian scholars and Assyrian intelligentsia.


Opening Night Ceremony

This was a spectacular event despite the fact that the English Speaking Master of Ceremony had canceled at the last minute, and despite the fact that the mic-system blew out twice.

The highlight was clearly a dance piece titled "The presentation of Assyrian History" produced and choreographed by Alwan Shamoun of Canada and his team of young Assyrian performers from Detroit. The Assyrian Youth Dance Group of Detroit included the twin sisters, Edna and Ature Markous, dressed as the Assyrian Queen and her guardian. Nina Toma was also dressed as an Assyrian Guard. The performance was moving, energetic and well-organized. Mr. Shamoun comes from an ROTC background, giving the performance a patriotic edge.

A Candle Light Vigil remembering 9/11 was followed by singer Steve Acho's song "America-United We Stand."

Sa'ad Ma'rouf, chairman of Chaldean Federation of America (CFA), gave a moving speech about the unity of Chaldeens and Assyrians under one name and one cause.

Entertainers throughout the Convention included Mr. Janan Sawa, Ms. Juliana Jendo, Mr. Odi Youel Johnson (saxophone) and the Banipal and Eve Band.


The revered contemporary Assyrian poets -- Ninos Aho, Yosep Bet Yosep, Mikhael Mammo and Samie Benno - entertained a large audience of Assyrian literary enthusiasts with some of their favorite pieces.


Although very qualified candidates were presented at this year's Youth Excellence Pageant, the event was not well-attended. The participants were:

1. Nahira Adams (Modesto, California) - First Prize Winner
Nahira, presenting himself entirely in the Assyrian language, is the son of the current president of the Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock, Dr. Fred Adams.
2. Rachel Thomas (Michigan)
Rachel studies music and presented a short, but moving vocal performance.
3. Nenos Damerchi (Canada)
Nenos, born in Kuwait and a Z-Crew member, has served in the Canadian Air Force and is a winner of two mathematics competitions in Canada.
4. Rewat Najar (Michigan)
Rewat is a Pre-Medical student at Wayne State University and a member of the Chaldean Federation of America. She is fluent in Syriac, Arabic and French.
5. Nancy Odisho (Connecticut)
Nancy, a law student in Chicago, is a member and past President of the St. Thomas Youth Group in New Britain, Connecticut.


This workshop was organized by Bernadette Najor of the Chaldean Federation of America and Ms. Zeena Tawfik. Ms. Najor is a teacher and a Doctoral Candidate at Wayne State University. Ms. Brenda Rosenberg discussed the stereotypes that the Assyrian youth may in confronting racism. Ms. Rosenberg owns a fashion retailing and manufacturing consulting firm. She has worked with many Jewish groups, self-help as well as more broader community services. Trained by Mr. Deepak Chopra, she focuses on working with interfaith groups and uses a methodology called "Integrative Coaching".

It was noted that as many as 3,000 Assyrian youth may currently be behind the bars in Detroit and Chicago.

Ms. Zeena Towfik suggested an Assyrian Summer Camp for the youth between the ages of 8 and 15 with a proposed budget of $125-150,000.


The 70th Annual National Convention will be held between August 28 and September 1, 2003 at Rosemont, Illinois.

Zinda Magazine will present more information on the proceedings of the Women's Conference and the educational conferences in the upcoming issues.



Courtesy of the Turkish Daily News (20 Aug)

(ZNDA: Ankara) Turkey's National Education Ministry is putting forth a new educational initiative to teach issues related to what it defines as the "so-called Armenian genocide claims as well as Greek-Pontus and Assyrians" to the intermediate and high school students in that country. This initiative will commence with the coming academic year.

One hundred and ten teachers will be participating in a training program in Ankara, where they will utilize a text book written by Professor Yavuz Ercan from the Faculty of Language, History, & Geography Department of the Ankara University titled "Some Current Issues and Reflections on the Ottoman Empire".

The purpose of the curriculum is to make students more aware of the issues and lobby activities related to "Armenian Genocide Claims". The issues related to Greek-Pontus and Assyrians are also included in the project which will be applied to grades 5 and 7 and all high school students.

The 5th graders will be given information on the "Armenian Genocide Claims" and will be taught the stutus of the Armenians in Turkey based on the Lausanne Treaty of 1923.

The 7th graders will be taught the "Oriental Issue" and review the politics of England, Russia and France in connection with the Ottoman Empire and the minorities in the Empire (Armenians).

"Why did the Armenians bring up the genocide claims to the attention of the world again?" and "What are the aims of the Armenian terrorist organization (ASALA)'s crimes?" will be the topics covered.

The topics related to the Assyrians and Pontic Greeks will be covered in more detail during the high school years.



(ZNDA: Turlock) The Assyrian American Community of Stanislaus County hosted a candlelight vigil and prayer to help remember the fallen victims of the tragic attack on America September 11, 2001. The community gathered for a candlelight vigil and prayer at 7:00 p.m. at the Assyrian American Civic Club (AACC) of Turlock located at 2618 North Golden State Boulevard in Turlock.

In addition to the vigil, the AACC of Turlock unveiled a commemorative monument as a memorial to the fallen hero's on that tragic day. Leaders of the community were in attendance include the Mayor of Turlock, Dr. Curt Andre, Turlock City Fire Chief, Mark Langley, and spiritual and civic leaders of the Assyrian community.

"September 11 had a devastating impact on all Americans including the Assyrian American Community," Commented Sargon Vartan, Spokesperson of the AACC. "Our mission is to utilize the combined resources of our community to provide a viable local avenue for people to remember and heal."

"The attacks on America last year have served to stimulate people to search their souls and yet have also shown that people can mobilize amid crisis and set aside differences of culture, politics and religion to come to each other's aide," Said Curt Andre, Honorable Mayor of Turlock. "I am happy to be able to take part in this remembrance, and I hope that it serves as an aide to facilitate the healing process."

Additionally, Lazar Piro, President of the Assyrian National Council of Stanislaus remarked, "We are truly delighted to be able to be a part of such an historic event. When people of different cultures and religious beliefs can come together, only truly great things can happen. "

The Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock (AACC) was established on October 29, 1946, the AACC received an official charter on January 31, 1947. The AACC hosts a ladies auxiliary, youth group, cultural committee, athletic committee, education committee, welfare committee, television and radio facilities, restaurant and catering facilities.


Courtesy of the San Diego Union-Tribune (15 Sept); article by Jennifer Vigil

(ZNDA: San Diego) Shamoon Ballo left a Chaldean village in Iraq 20 years ago, propelled by dreams of a safer and more promising life. The shopkeeper's risk paid off.

All but one of Ballo's seven siblings followed him to the United States, settling in and around San Diego. The extended family, now numbering in the hundreds, found shelter in his Spring Valley home and work in his North Park grocery.

A piece of the family's dream died Friday in Rancho San Diego when a van plowed into a car carrying Ballo, his wife Samria, and teen-age daughter Rita, killing them instantly.

The collision on Jamacha Road, in an area neighbors say is known for high speeds and car crashes, also left daughter-in-law Linda Ballo clinging to life.

The driver, Tommy Ballo, Shamoon Ballo's eldest son and the only person wearing a seat belt in the family's Honda, suffered an injured shoulder. The three teen-agers in the van sustained minor injuries.

No citations were issued and the cause remains under investigation, but California Highway Patrol investigators believe speed may have been a factor.

Scores of relatives packed Shamoon Ballo's home off Kenwood Drive yesterday. Others kept watch at a San Diego hospital, where Linda, the wife of one of the driver's two brothers, lay in intensive care.

"We fled Iraq because of the bombing, and we came here and they're all killed by a car," Shamoon Ballo's nephew Fouad Ballo said as he sat outside his uncle's home. "Unbelievable."

Family members remembered Shamoon, 63, as a leader glad to take on the role of peacemaker in his large family; Samria, 56, as a homemaker who happily cooked for dozens of her loved ones; and Rita, 18, as a Valhalla High School graduate devoted to her church.

As they talked on the porch, relatives inside the two-story home listened to tape of an Aramaic prayer that they said begged God for forgiveness and support.

Shamoon Ballo, born in northern Iraq, moved to Baghdad for better job prospects, then traveled west through Jordan and Italy to become one of the first Ballos in the United States.

He and some of his relatives started a store specializing in Middle Eastern goods. Then he branched off, buying S&N Market on University Avenue in North Park.

The family devoted itself to San Diego's large Chaldean community, a minority in Iraq because of its Christian beliefs. They split their time between worship at St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Cathedral and a Chaldean social club, both in El Cajon.

On Friday the family intended to turn north onto Jamacha from the eastbound lanes of Sundale Road, near Tommy Ballo's residence. They were headed to Fouad Ballo's home, about two miles away, for a housewarming party.

A pile of flowers marks the spot on the southeast corner of the intersection where their Accord came to rest, car alarm blaring from the impact, at 9 p.m. Friday.

The force of the Toyota van, traveling south and driven by an 18- year-old El Cajon man, threw two of the victims from the vehicle.

Fady Esho, a Chaldean who lives on the northeast corner, rushed outside when he heard the crash. Only later did he realize the victims were the Ballos, longtime family friends.

Residents have long pleaded for a traffic signal at the intersection, Esho said, adding that a car once crashed into his back yard. At least four pedestrians have been struck and killed in the area since early 2001.

"Three caskets. One church. It's overload," Esho said.

Much of the conversation yesterday focused on the loss of Rita Ballo, a radiant yet quiet churchgoer who taught catechism classes at St. Peter. Esho's mother placed a large crucifix among the flowers at the shrine, and someone taped Rita's senior portrait to it.

Ashley Barno, 16, wore a heart-shaped pendant yesterday; she had fetched it from her cousin's bedroom in the morning. On it was a tiny image of Tinkerbell sprinkling fairy dust on the name Rita, spelled out below.

Rita Ballo graduated from high school in June and planned to attend nearby Cuyamaca College next year. She had asked Father Michael Bazzi, head of St. Peter, to help her learn Aramaic, the language of her family's region.

Bazzi, who had to break the news of the deaths to the young woman's fellow catechism teachers, said Rita was the family's most active church volunteer.

"When they had something to give to the church, they gave Rita," he said.


Surfs Up!
Letters From Zinda Magazine Readers


The other day a petitions came to my attention from AINA directing the U.S. Government to have Assyrians represented on the group of opposition leaders of Iraq. I was surprised that the group apparently is very small and hence it did not include other ethnics on it. After signing and sending it, it dawned on me that if I were to receive such a petition what would be my reaction given that I don't know whom to turn to to invite who represents this nation.

Since time is no longer on our (Assyrians) side to debate the leadership or representation question, I propose the following. The only source to turn to is the leadership we have in Northern Iraq that has been representing and protecting the interests of the Assyrians there. We do not have an alternative from Diaspora since that is not where the bulk of future Assyrians will come from as a unit in Iraq. Therefore, the honorable thing for all Assyrian leaders, parties, church hierarchy, etc. whoever considers itself representing Assyrians, will be to relinquish themselves as 'leading representatives' of Assyrians in Iraq and turn their support and allegiance to the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM ZOWAA). They should pledge to support ADM and offer their services from Diaspora, as for certain they will be needed, in the upcoming weeks and months of turmoil followed by the nation re-building process that hopefully will be directed by the U.N.

As for ADM, they should accept this challenge and pledge to the nation that they represent all parties, factions, denominations, Assyrians known by other names, and that they will seek help from the Diaspora groups specifically from the AUA and others during the deliberations phase of nation building that will follow. ADM needs also to communicate with all Assyrians informing them of its activities and directions.

Therefore, another petition should follow once our Diaspora leaders accept this suggestion and pledge their support 100% behind ADM and all citizens and groups in one voice let our government know just who to look for as representative leadership of this nation.

Once this question is resolved, the next immediate support from the Assyrian individuals throughout the world should turn into supporting not only morally but economically the ADM and the humanitarian Assyrian Aid Society of Iraq. Both organizations need this help and Diaspora citizens rich and poor can contribute and feel that they have served their nation, a satisfaction that this nation has never seen and felt before. One last thing the Assyrian citizens should do is know their governmental representatives and their addresses so that in case letter writing is needed on behalf happenings they can quickly contact those representing them.

So, fellow Assyrians, LET'S ROLL behind ADM.

Milt Khoobyarian



How can we identify what has gone wrong with America? The pendulum has swung too far towards a preoccupation with individualism. Too many people shirk their communal and civic responsibilities. Special interest groups have gotten out of hand. Moral agreement has crumbled. How do we live with conviction in a cynical time? How do we model civic virtues and become instruments of a working democracy? What does it all mean for the Assyrian community?

Good citizenship requires the capacity to form a learning community with others and an understanding of the public good. In my view, the Assyrian community should try to sustain the ability to work towards a common goal by looking at three things:

1. The expectations we have of ourselves as Assyrians
2. Our aspirations for our youths
3. The nature and intentions of our relationships with Assyrian organizations and the broader society, and answer these questions-what is its purpose and where are we going with it?

The more socially isolated citizens become, the less likely they are to engage in civic conversations or participate for that matter, and this causes increased indifference. We must try and come to terms with the consequences of our actions if we continue to pay tribute to the disease of apathy. Any knowledge we gain must have meaningful and constructive consequences. The demands of good citizenship requires social and emotional maturity.

How does civic duty and responsibility come into play? We can try to address important issues that concern us as a community today, be it at the local level or the international level, and think about how to implement ideas and programs to advance the needs and the cause of Assyrians in the 21st century. Unfortunately, our struggle is magnified by the fact that the committed individual is caught between the skeptic and the cautious--causing stagnation in ideas, work, ability to improve and build, to think constructively, to argue effectively, or have a engaging dialogue about the forces of modern 21st century living and some of its hazards. Trying to find ways to collaborate with other groups and looking at the structure of their community is key to growing and building our own blocks. What can we learn from other ethnic groups who are more advanced in their ways?

From a political standpoint, we should try to get more involved by educating ourselves and our youths about political candidates and their platforms, and also look at other integral issues pertaining to politics such as, exercising our rights to vote as American citizens. To this end, we have to get into the habit of voting. We have to become more acquainted with the idea of registering to vote and then actually--voting. It takes energy to act, but it is more energy draining to convince ourselves that we are powerless and our votes don't count.

Social and political activism and participation gives one a sense of pride and purpose, teaches new skills that one can leverage on a resume, builds relations, lands jobs, creates friendships, and experiences new avenues that were not available to the person living in private mental sanctuary. Mobilizing our community to confront and address larger political issues can give us the strength to pave a new way for the US government and the rest of the world to look at Assyrians and recognize them as an ethnic group, as a nation that has survived and continues to evolve after thousands of years.

Please attend the "Civic Responsibility" Seminar hosted by Assyrian Academic Society and Assyrian National Foundation on September 29th; and also support Assyrian Committee for Civic Responsibility's Voter Registration Drives by getting the word out. As you know, ACCR is sponsoring Assyrian community's very first--Meet the Candidates Forum in Illinois and will be hosting a fundraiser for Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). ACCR will continue to send information about Democrat and Republican candidates and their issues as we inch closer to the November 5th elections in Illinois.

Let me just say this in conclusion. When we don't act as an organized community, our voices become less effective and this causes inevitable frustration in working towards professional, social, and political change at any level. Please get involved and do your best to make a difference.

Nadia E. Joseph


[The following is an update from the Assyrian Committee for Civic Responsibility about candidates, and the Illinois General Elections scheduled for Tuesday, November 5th.]

Offices to be filled in 2002 Elections:

United States Senator
Governor and Lieutenant Governor
Attorney General
Secretary of State
Representatives in the General Assembly
Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (3 to be elected)
County of Clerk of Cook County
Treasurer of the Cook County
Sheriff of Cook County
Assessor of Cook County
President of Cook County Board of Commissioners
County Commissioners of Cook County (17 from single member districts)
Members of the Board of Review of Cook County (3 from single member districts)
Supreme, Appellate, Circuit and Sub-circuit Court Judges (to fill vacancies if required)
Judicial Retention

Websites of Interest:

Illinois State Board of Elections, www.elections.state.il.us/
Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners, www.chicagoelections.com
Democratic Party of Illinois, www.ildems.com
Republican Party of Illinois, www.ilgop.org
State of Illinois Website, www100.state.il.us/
Roll Call Online, www.rollcall.com
Rod Blagojevich Website, www.rodforus.com
Jim Ryan Website, www.jimryanforgovernor.com


The first recorded act of genocide in the 20th century involved the ethnic cleansing of 4 million Greek, Armenian, and Assyrian Christians in the name of Allah. Hitler stated prior to his invasion of Poland in 1939, "Who remembers the Christians (Greeks, Armenians, and Assyrians) in Turkey?" Six years later, 6 million Jews were killed.

In 1920, Turkish soldiers would pray to Allah throughout the day and afterwards, they would get on their horses and force Greek, Armenian, and Assyrian Christians to march 18 hours a day for 10 months with scarcely any food or water. Millions died.

In 1971, the Halki School of Theology in Istanbul (Constantinople), the prominent institution for Orthodox Christian clergy, was shut down by Turkish authorities for no reason.

In 1974, 200,000 Christians from Cyprus were ethnically cleansed, including 6,000 murdered and 1,600 taken to mainland Turkey to never be seen again.

Lastly, the Sept. 11 atrocity; Islam should be revered and appreciated for its contributions that have allowed "all" to fly. But who has flown? Surely not the "infidel" Christians and Jews.

Actions speak louder than words. Currently, the blood of the martyr is revered more than the ink of the scholar, which is contrary to the teachings of the prophet Muhammad. Religious tolerance is a beautiful practice that exists nowhere greater than in America. God Bless America!

Nikolas V. Tsamoutalidis, M.Ed.


Tod Lindberg's Tuesday Op-Ed column in the Washington Times, "Turkish strands of secular and sacred," pays significant homage to Gen. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Mr. Lindberg fails to mention that in the years leading up to the creation of "Turkey" (the stronghold of the defunct Ottoman Empire), Ataturk and the Turkish forces, who had sided with Germany during World War I, implemented a campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide to rid Asia Minor of its indigenous Christian population. The victims of their wrath were ethnic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians. Millions of people were slaughtered in the 20th century's first holocaust, which now is largely forgotten.

The elderly, women and children were not spared Ataturk and company's wrath. So effective was their campaign that Hitler approvingly referred to it and had his Nazi forces adopt some of the Turks' methods.

William Manolopoulos
New York

Surfers Corner


In a world of many uncertainties we want to recognize a forgotten people in the world - the Assyrians and their position in the political realities of today. We want especially to emphasize the implementation of their human rights as concerns religious freedom guaranteed by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on civil and political rights. This time we want to focus on Assyrians living in Turkey
And Iraq.

The hearing is arranged by the Nordic Christian Democrats in cooperation with several organizations and will be held on Wednesday, 9th October 2002, in the European Parliament, the room will be confirmed later, starting at 10 a.m.

If you are interested to hear more about these issues in a constructive and open dialogue with persons from these regions and academic experts, please register your participation by Monday, 7th October, to the following e-mail:

korhola-assistant@europarl.eu.int or fax: +32 2 284 9472

European Parliament, Rue Wiertz, Brussels

10.00 Welcome by MP Margareta Viklund, Sweden
10.15 Introduction by Dr. Said Karoui, Universities of Tunis, Casablanca, Heidelberg
"The emergence of Islam and the crisis of the eastern Christianity"
10.45 Dr. Otmar Oehring, Head of Human Rights Office, Internationales Katholisches Missionswerk, Aachen, Germany. "Human Rights in Turkey - Secularism = Religious Freedom?"
11.15 Case study on Turkey by Mr. Özcan Kaldoyo, Sweden
11.50 Case study on Northern Iraq by Mr. Benjamin Hurmiz, Finland
12.30 Conclusions and ending of the seminar by the Chairman

Nordic Christian Democrats



The Third Assyrian-Aramean-Chaldean-Syriac Cultural Festival is organized to take place on the 21st of September 2002 in Södertälje, Sweden. This year's festival has a rich cultural program. We cordially welcome our people to this occasion in order that they can experience the great culture of our ancestors "the Assyrians, Arameans, Chaldeans and Syriacs" followed by the emergence of Christianity until today. We would like to meet you there to build on our notions and feelings for the solidarity, peace and friendship among our people in this occasion.

Following is a list of the famous singers and artists attending this event:

From Germany: Babylonia, George Issa, George Safar, Indravus Bagandi
From Sweden: Aboud Zazi, Moussa Elyas, Issa Rasho, Yahkob Danho, Ninveh Hadodo, Afrem Rhawi
From Iran: Violet Khosro Abadi
From Syria: Hekmat Hanna, Rhoya Youkhanna

The international artists and groups include Seyidxan, Victor Jara (Cuba), Nagam, Koma Tore Serbilind, Choir of St. Fetrus Syriac Orthodox Church - Stockholm

The attending poets: Abuna Khoroyo Yusuf Sait (Syriac Orthodox Priest), Shamasha Shemun, Elias Antar, Lahdo Suhdo, Petrus

Folklore Groups: Gudo d´Bethnahrin (Germany), Gudo d´Zenubia (Germany), Gudo d´Kavkbe (Sweden), Gudo d´Izlo, Gudo d´Ishtar, Serbian Folklore Group Valdimir Rolovic, a Greek Pontic group, Dance group of the Södertälje Cultural School Dance Group.

- A Demonstration by the Assyrian Teakwondo Club of Södertälje

- An exhibition of pictures and works of Ibrahim Katto.

- Bahro Production's special Cinevision presentation

The Assyrian-Syriac people that built the Mesopotamian culture and civilization have passed on their heritage to the entire world and have played a big role in the development of not only in arts as seen in the sculptures but also in music, literature, moral, science and technology.

We are the guardians of this culture and would like to see it preserved and pass it to the future generations.

We welcome you with an open heart to this national cultural festival that will take place in Södertälje where a large number of the Assyrian-Syriac people live.

Your attendance will increase the joy in our hearts during this celebration of the 3rd cultural festival in 2002.

Organizing Committee
Assyrian-Aramean-Chaldean-Syriac Cultural Festival




The Tree of Life Festival (TOLFest) will bring together Assyrians of Detroit and Chicago in a celebration of art, music, dance, poetry, literature, education and food. TOLFest will promote the Assyrian culture and encourage our people to actively engage in the renaissance of our nation. TOLFest will build bridges between our two great communities of Chicago and Detroit.

Immersive Experience

TOLFest will be held every Memorial Weekend, alternating between Chicago and Detroit. The bulk of the presentations will be on Saturday and Sunday. The program is designed to be immersive, with continuous and simultaneous presentations from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 A.M. Once a guest arrives at the hotel, he will remain there to fully experience the cultural activities.


To promote and support our culture, TOLFest will hire Assyrians to present cultural activities in the following categories:

Education: History, Language, Culture
Arts: Music, Dance, Drama, Poetry, Literature, Painting, Drawing, Sculpting
Book fare: Ashurbanipal Library, Booksellers
Art fare and exhibit: Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Calligraphy, Weaving


To promote and support our culture, TOLFest will sponsor competitions in various categories. Each category will have five winners: 1st, $600; 2nd, $250; 3rd, 4th and 5th, $50. ($1000 total). The categories are:

Literature: Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction (all in Assyrian)
Music: Composition, Performance
Dance: Group and individual dancers, Assyrian dances only
Art: Painting, Sculpting, Drawing
Tree of Life Sculpture: Special competition to create the TOLFest symbol. One
prize of $2000.

Visit http://www.tolfest.com For more information.



A Fall Dance Party with the hottest entertainment is heating up in Arizona.

Ashur Bet Sargis & Ogin Bet Samo with special musician Dani Shamoon from Canada.

Saturday, September 28, 2002, 7:30PM to 2:00AM.

$20.00 in advance.
$25.00 at the door.

Crowne Plaza Hotel, 2532 W. Peoria Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85029. Corner of I-17 and Peoria Avenue.

For more information please call:

David Gewargis 623-915-1481
Edward Rehana 480-244-7128
Lenny Joseph 623-326-4396
Nahrain Lazar 602-309-4495
Shant Ceschia 602-330-7903
Steve Enwia 602-722-9670
Youkie Khaninia 480-963-2121
Younan Jasim 602-595-5090

Fall Dance Party
Organizing Committee


This is to let you know that our website now has 7 new photo albums. This is just a reminder for those of you who haven't seen them. Log on to our website directly from:


Coming soon: The Convention Photo Album

Assyrian Youth in Denmark

I also want to personally invite you to our shopping sections where you can find some very cool products with Assyrian logos and pictures. Please note that our website needs your help to continue operating and doing what it needs to do for any future projects. Purchasing anything from our shopping section will greatly help us. Why not buy your next gift for others from here: http://www.cafepress.com/cp/store/store.aspx?storeid=assyrianshop

Ashoor Sada
Assyrian Voice Network




Like the expansive backwaters that once were the arteries of commercial life in this part of the country, tales of yore from shores afar are intertwined in this land. Not everyone knows that Christianity in India sprang from the shores of Kochi. In the First Century A.D., St. Thomas, the Apostle of Christ, is said to have set foot on Malankara near Kodungalloor, 50 km off Kochi, and spread the 'Word of God' in this land. Kerala can take pride that the seeds of Christianity sprouted in this land well before its advent elsewhere in the world.

The Apostle is said to have founded seven churches in Kerala (some say seven-and-a-half churches, as the Saint left Kerala for the Coromandel Coast with an unfinished church under construction). These are the ones at Palayur near Chavakkad in Thrissur (about 100 km from Kochi), Malankara near Kodungalloor (about 60 km), Kottayal near North Parur (about 40 km), Kokkamangalam in Kollam (150 km), Niranam in Thiruvalla (about 80 km) and Nilakkel near Chayal. However, archaeological evidence shows that the St. Francis Church in Fort Cochin built by the Portuguese was the first European church in India, which means the St. Thomas churches were truly Indian in character.

The visit of another missionary, Kana Thoma in 14th century A.D., who brought a colony of 400 Christians from Baghdad, Nineveh and Jerusalem, is also considered a milestone in the history of Christianity in Kerala. Kana Thoma or Thomas of Cana is believed to be a descendant of Jesus Christ. Cana is believed to be the place where Jesus turned water into wine.

The Portuguese introduced the Latin church. There are also other Christian communities such as the Latin Catholics, the Syro-Malabar Catholics, the Jacobites, the Nestorians, the Anglicans and the Marthomites. Kerala today has the highest percentage of Christians in South India.

The Portuguese connection with Kochi dates back to 1500 A.D., when on Christmas eve that year, the first Portuguese fleet under the command of Admiral Pedro Alvares Cabral anchored in the port of Kochi. The first Portuguese to land in India, near Kozhikode, was Vasco da Gama in 1498. The Portuguese gave tremendous support to the then ruler of Kochi. After the war between the King of Kochi and the Zamorin of Malabar that lasted for about five months in 1504, the Portuguese were able to cripple the Arab interests at the South Indian ports and bring the Malabar coast under Portugal's command. Out of the seven settlements in Kerala, Kochi was the primary province of the Portuguese in India, even after the capture of Goa in 1510 and until the transfer of the capital to Goa in 1530. The others are Kollam (150 km from Kochi), Kodungallore (50 km), Ponnani near Palakkad (180 km), Chale near Kozhikode (225 km), Kozhikode and Cannanore (320 km).

There are some important monuments raised by the Portuguese in Kochi. The fort built in 1503 is in Pallipuram, off Vypeen in Ernakulam, and one of the oldest European monuments in India. The Catholic Church here is an important pilgrim centre. It is said that there used to be an underground passage from the Bishop's Palace in Mattancherry, a sleepy township in Fort Cochin, to the Pallipuram Fort, running beneath the sea. The place, called Palliport by the locals, is said to be one of the sea mouths that enabled the Europeans' entry into Kochi in the past. Vasco da Gama returned to Kochi in 1502 to renew the Portuguese friendship with the King of Kochi. He breathed his last in Kochi and his mortal remains were interred in the St. Francis Church at Fort Cochin on Christmas Eve of 1524. Though 14 years later his bones and ashes were taken back to Portugal, the tombstone stands in the church even today as a testimony. In 1663, the Dutch, who captured Kollam and Kochi, took possession of the church.

There is a Dutch Fort in Mattancherry, built by the Portuguese and handed over to the King of Kochi in 1555. Since the Dutch spruced it up in 1663, the Mattancherry Palace came to be known as the Dutch Palace. Strangely, neither the Dutch nor the Portuguese stayed in this palace! There is a Franciscan college established by the Portuguese in 1546 in Kodungalloor. Shaped by imagination Kochi is full of enchanting islands. The Willingdon Island, with offices of big corporates and some of the finest hotels, has an interesting story. It is a reclaimed island formed by the mud scooped off a 9.14-m deep and 5-km long channel dredged to form the Kochi Harbour and the collateral digging up in the backwater area by Sir Robert Bristow, a young British engineer in the early part of the last century.

The Jews landed in Malabar in 69 A.D., settling in Kochi and its suburbs and assimilating the ways of life here while preserving their cultural identity. Proselytisation did have some impact. Over time, many went back. Today just a few Jewish families still reside in Kochi. The Jewish Synagogue at Mattancherry, built in 1568, is an important vestige of this religious heritage. It is an elegant monument with exquisite works of art, including Chinese hand-painted tiles, aesthetically designed gold and silver crowns -- souvenirs of love and affection presented by the kings of Kochi. It is believed to be the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth. In Jew Town, as the locale is popularly known in Mattancherry, one can shop for curios and handicrafts of all hues and forms.

Courtesy of the Financial Times of India


Published by Mandrill, a Division of Trident Media Co. (Pub. 2002, 372 pp. Hardcover)

Ivan Kakovitch, well-known Assyrian political analyst and commentator, describes his book as being like a tapestry into which the story of a family or a nation is woven. Mount Semele is the story of the Nona family living in Iraq between the years 1915 and 1933. The author takes us through a tangled web of politics and intrigue, which ravaged the area and tormented its people.

It is made all the more gripping and touching as it traces the Nona family through its joys and its tragedies. We watch a young boy and the horse given him after a family massacre; how their paths cross and then overlap as the boy grows into a leader and inspires his people.

The characters are beautifully defined and add color and sparkle to the tapestry. Heroism and sacrifice become a part of daily life as a nation, driven from its ancestral land, seeks a place it can call its own.

This story is a lost part of history. Coming between two major wars, it overlooks the "smaller" battles and demonstrates how soon the world forgets the lessons war teaches us.

This is a must reading for students of history and lovers of a good adventure story.

Many tragic events punctuated the first third of the 20th Century. Each produced its victims, its heroes, its victors and its vanquished. Few have been more quietly relegated to the fading, unopened pages of musty history books than the final crisis of the Assyrian nation and the related pragmatically self-serving decisions of the post WWI powers that allowed-no, encouraged-it to occur.

The sequence of the events has been more or less accurately chronicled by historians, typically as little more than footnotes about a roving band of little known and poorly understood people who inflicted themselves as embarrassing, painful, thorns in the sides of Great Britain, France, Turkey and Iraq. Until this publication, the human story of these proud, tireless, Assyrian people has not been told.

Mount Semele is an epic drama. It is an historical saga of monumental proportions-both in scope and its characters. Most of the participants of the story are true historical figures, whose travails were pivotal in fomenting, creating and leading their countries.

There is no other novel with which to compare it since there is no other established novel about the Assyrian people and their struggle for nationhood and survival during the first third of the twentieth century.

Ivan Kakovitch was born in Russia in the 30's. He witnessed the inhumanity inflicted by the Germans and endured the resulting hardships. At an early age, he watched, as in turn, Russia extracted its pound of flesh from the crumbling German war machine.

The following decade saw him absorbing three more settings, languages, cultures and educational systems as he traveled to Iran and then, to France.

After earning a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Paris, Mr. Kakovitch pursued his studies at the Graduate Schools of International Relations at The American University in Washington, D.C. and New York University.

Mr. Kakovitch's expertise in the areas of studies of the Soviet Union and the Middle East, plus his linguistic proficiency, made him invaluable as a writer-abstractor for the committees of both Houses of the U.S. Congress.

Initially, Mr. Kakovitch began his career as a translator, then continued as an editor, teacher, reporter and writer. Later, he launched a pair of weekly newspapers.

Author of an academic book in 1970 he continued on writing essays, articles, columns, editorials, political and academic works, among them, "The Assyrian Manifesto", pub. Dec. 15, 1974.

Known internationally as an able writer on important social and political topics, Mount Semele is Mr.Kakovitch's first major novel.

To order your copy of Mount Semele, send U.S. $40.00 (includes shipping and handling) to:

Mount Semele
P.O. Box 3256
Cypress, CA 90630-3256


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