2 Shvadt, 6755
Volume XI

Issue 70

21 January 2006

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35 Million Watch Stuart Benyamin of Chicago on the Premiere of the 2006 American Idol

Zinda SayZinda Says
  An Assyrian on American Idol Helbard AlkhassAdeh
  Political and Nationalist Lessons in the Aftermath of Elections Edward Y. Odisho, Ph.D.
  Ammo Baba Captured & Beaten by Attackers
Syriac Orthodox Priest Siman Onar Killed in Bus Accident
Assyrian Deacon Captured by Criminals, Demanding RansomTomb Raiders Continue to Pillage Archaeological Sites
Change of Command, Assyrian Sings National Anthem
  Driving Force Behind Chicago Assyrian Dictionary Dies
How Does Iran Affect Turlock?
Scott Rumana, Assyrian Mayor of a New Jersey Town
Zinda Magazine is published every Wednesday & Saturday. To register for your free Zinda notifications enter your email address in the field above and click 'Sign Up'.
  Eulogy for a Real Iraqi called Allan Enwiya
Helping Allan Enwiya's Widow
Turin Archdiocese Christmas Gifts Received in Baghdad
An open letter to His Holiness Mor Zakka Iwaz
Advisory Council Bulletin re Mar Bawai Soro
Primacy of Honor
Breath of Fresh Air
Annoucements from Zinda Magazine

Click to Learn More

  The Forgotten Genocide Conference in London
Yonadam Kanna to Visit United States
Hannibal Alkhas & Friends Art Exhibition in Modesto
Mount Semel Celebration in San Jose
  An Interview with Dr. Emanuel Kamber
Mirror Mirror in the Wall
Rundles of the Middle East
The Angel of Nineveh
Afram Barryakoub
Nardin Crisby
Frederick P. Isaac
Anthony T. Nasseri
  Ninsun Poli: A Real Family Affair Kristiyan Assouri

Zinda Says
An Editorial by Wilfred Bet-Alkhas


An Assyrian on American Idol

A Guest Editorial

Helbard AlkhassAdeh

Many Assyrians around the world watched or heard about the young man, Stuart Benyamin, appearing on FOX television’s American Idol. I was just as surprised as anyone else when Stuart entered the room in traditional Assyrian clothing. He talked about being Assyrian and who the Assyrians are and then about his father being a popular Assyrian singer and continued by singing in Assyrian and was without any surprise told to leave and not given the opportunity to go to the second round in Hollywood California.

I immediately logged on to Assyrian and Chaldean chat rooms online. Several people had posted some comments, mostly expressing the same shock they shared with me seeing an Assyrian represent his people on national television. But after a day the comments turned bitter. Now, when I search for comments online I hear a plethora of negative commentary about Stuart. The reoccurring complaint is his choice to sing an Assyrian song wearing Assyrian traditional clothes. For a moment, I need all of you to come down from the excitement of having an Assyrian on American Idol and look at the real world.

The producer and creator of the show American Idol is Simon Cowell, also one of the judges. Once the “American Idol” is chosen at the end of the season, the winner is under contract to sign Simon Cowell as their producer. Simon has a large amount of revenue riding on the success of the next American Idol. He will not let anyone that can just sing get through the first round. They need to be marketable. Also, the program is edited to fit into one hour of primetime programming, after all the commercial ads and plugs, there’s only a small amount of time left for the actual show. Just think, out of over 10,000 people showing up in the rain in Chicago and with a handful of airtime available for broadcast, Simon Cowell decided Stuart Benyamin was worth putting on air. The reason for the decision is simple: He sang in Assyrian wearing Assyrian traditional clothing.

Simon Cowell

The chances of Stuart ever getting on the air was close to none. He had a gimmick, and it worked. FOX even let his explanation of the who the Assyrians are air! They could have easily shown him singing in his outfit without an explanation, which would have been embarrassing! No, that didn’t happen. Instead, Stuart Benyamin took a chance and represented us on national television.

The complaints about him singing Assyrian are moot, because Stuart was asked to sing in English, which he did, and his performance was edited down for broadcast. The judges made their minds up after he had sung in Assyrian and English.

I’m proud of Stuart Benyamin, he has done more in the past week for the Assyrians than all of us combined. The program didn’t ridicule him; only us Assyrians are painting this in a negative light. The viewers have moved on, yet we keep talking about how embarrassing it was and in turn forcing the negative light to be shined on Stuart. If we stood up for him and told the world how proud we are of this brave young Assyrian artist, the world would see the audition differently.

When not surfing the waves of Santa Cruz, California, Mr. AlkhassAdeh plays guitar for the rock band, Platinum Heads, and produces television programming for local stations.  Mr. AlkhassAdeh will be working with Zinda Magazine to produce our 2006 news and documentary specials.

The Lighthouse
Feature Article


Political and Nationalist Lessons in the
Aftermath of Iraqi Elections

Edward Y. Odisho, Ph.D.
Northeastern Illinois University

Now that the December 15, 2005 Iraqi elections are over, what political and nationalist lessons our Assyrian Chaldean Suryani People has to learn in the aftermath?   I presume foremost of all those lessons is the bitter fact that we set a pathetic example of political, religious and national disunity which is, regrettably, a lesson that should never be repeated because it only evidences our political and nationalist immaturity and naiveté. Prior to dealing with the lessons, it is worthwhile trying to identify the causes of this disunity which stood in the way of generating the so-called ‘Unified Dream Slate’ (to be abbreviated hereafter as UDS). This, in itself, is the most compound complex question to answer; nevertheless, an attempt will be made at answering it as objectively as possible. Below are some of the most relevant reasons.

  1. First and foremost, is the absence of clear conceptualization of our historical identity as the indigenous People of Mesopotamia (Iraq).
  2. Failure to distinguish between the Deep Structure (primary or foundational) and the Surface Structure (secondary or supplementary) of our nationalist identity.
  3. Deficiency in our general political awareness and specific nationalist awareness.
  4. Disparity and discrepancy among our political parties and organizations.
  5. Misconceptions in the assessment of political weight, caliber and power.
  6. Overflow of religious discord into the political arena.

Let’s consider each of the above reasons and briefly comment on them.

1)    Failure to Conceptualize our Uniform Identity as the Indigenous People of Mesopotamia.

We still, unabashedly, argue among ourselves very sentimentally, subjectively, unscholarly and unscientifically as to whether we relate to Sumerians, Assyrians, Babylonians or Arameans. No scholar in the world can definitely and categorically connect our lineage exclusively to one single People of the many peoples of Mesopotamia. My own research which began in 1985 has convinced me that the most objective argument with regard to our connection to the ancient Peoples of Iraq is that the connection should be based on historical, ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic premises rather than on genealogical and blood premises; moreover, we have to approach the connection holistically rather than separately. In other words, we should cease linking the Assyrians of today exclusively with the ancient Assyrian genealogy, or tracing the Chaldeans of today exclusively back to the ancient Babylonian genealogy and ascribing the Suryanis of today exclusively to the ancient Aramean states. After all, the Assyrian and the Babylonian empires and the Aramean states were some of the most ethnically diversified entities. Specifically, both Assyria and Babylonia were massively ethnically diversified because of their strategic geographic location, persistent wars and displacement and relocation policies pursued in dealing with their enemies. I am extremely delighted that during the last decade Professor Simo Parpola has demonstrated similar views with regard to the connection of today’s Assyrian-Aramaic speakers with those of yesterday. If Chaldeans Assyrians Suryanis seek a pragmatic unity rather than a sentimental or even emotional one, they better claim their identity as Beth Nahrainians (Mesopotamians) first and Assyrian, Chaldean or Aramaean second. The Beth Nahrainian identity is a key to Unity. This analogy reminds me of the Holy Trinity which is not a powerful symbol of Christianity only because it is composed of three (God, Son, Holy Spirit), but rather because of the Unity of the three in one Faith.

2) Deep versus Surface Structures of our Unity.

Unfortunately, we seem to be lost in the argument of names, religious denominations, churches, regionalisms and village and tribal identifications which are no more than surface indexes (secondary) of our identity. Instead, we should be highlighting the deep pillars (primary) of our identity which include: a) Our history as the indigenous People of Mesopotamia; b) Our Christian Faith rather than our after-the-schisms denominations (Catholic, Eastern, Orthodox, Protestant); c) Our Aramaic language rather than our dialects; d) Our historical role as civilization providers for other peoples of the Middle East. With this pathetic loss of our priorities and persistent futile arguments, we seem to be losing our focus and placing our cart before our horses. Do we have to wait 612 + 2006 = 2618 more years to understand that when the cart is before the horses we are left with only two options for ‘progress’? At best, it is zero progress and at worst it is backward regression.

3) Deficiency in our General Political Awareness and Specific Nationalist Awareness.

In assessing our modern political record, especially in the aftermath of the World War I and the ensuing international treaties, we seem to have failed miserably primarily because of the lack of a comprehensive knowledge base in political communication and maneuvering which were further impoverished and disabled by our disunity in ranks and discord in political stands. No doubt, since then we have had individuals from our People (Chaldean, Assyrian, Suryani) who assumed roles of leadership in non-native political movements and parties such as the Communist Party, Ba’th Party and other Arab nationalist parties; in fact, some of them acted as founders, thinkers or ideologues of those parties. The above role of some of our People does not deny the fact that we also have had individual thinkers and writers within our ranks who espoused the notion of Suryani Assyrian Chaldean nationalism; however, that never evolved into an indigenous Pan-Mesopotamian nationalist ideology with a comprehensive implementation strategy. The Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM) has recently espoused such an ideology and it has been striving during the last three decades to implement it in real-life political situations that are, at times, too difficult to surmount with the persistent disunity. This should never imply that ADM’s nationalist ideology is completely mature and immaculate; I will not be revealing secrets if I say that ADM is yet to have an established theorist or philosophical thinker within its ranks; it does not even have political literature to portray the ideology, let alone to enrich it and refine it Conversely, ADM’s ideology is still in an evolutionary stage and will only be refined through rough and tough struggle in the political arena, especially in Iraq. There are three major elements that will contribute to the refinement of a progressive nationalist ideology. First, is the continuous day-to-day political struggle and interaction with other local, regional and international political powers. Second, is the systematic political education and awareness campaign of the leadership, rank-and-file activists and the masses of our People through political literature, political dialogues and actual political interactions. Third, is the continuous feedback and interaction between the masses of our People and its political leadership.

4) Disparity and Discrepancy among our Political Organizations.

Recently there emerged so many Assyrian, Chaldean and Suryani organizations, especially after the downfall of Saddam’s regime that the political and nationalist disparity and discrepancy have outgrown and metastasized beyond any reasonable and pragmatically manageable limit. Presently, there are more speakers than listeners in our political arena and more voices than ears to hear them. It is truly shameful to see that when a group of individuals disagree with the majority within a political entity, they immediately form a splinter group and form yet another party. The agendas, goals and even names of our political parties are too diversified to be reconcilable within unity or coalition. Even the names of organizations or their election slates were and still are so similar that even the smartest among us had difficulty telling one for the other. Imagine, because names and words such ‘Chaldean’, ‘Assyrian’, ‘National’, ‘Rafidain’, ‘Democratic’, ‘Beth Nahrain’, ‘Movement’, ‘Party’ etc…ring a bell, almost all organizations or slates had one of those words in their names though in a different order. In light of this inflated, redundant and unwanted ‘malignant’ growth in political entities, large and small, legitimate and phony, it is practically impossible to accommodate every Partner-to-Be (PTB) within the so-called Unified Dream Slate (UDS). Evidently and very realistically, not all PTBs would have been or should have been accommodable within a UDS. In such political and nationalist situations, there is always a struggle between unanimity and strategy. Unanimity implies the unanimous consent of all PTBs and strategy implies a unified vision for current and future political action in matters of future survival. The majority of our people who, on the one hand, are very sincere in their nationalist sentiment, while, on the other hand, are politically unsophisticated and unsavvy, dream of unanimity. Regrettably, unanimity is impossible to achieve when the PTBs are too many and too diverse to be reconcilable. If one pressures the PTBs to reconcile, the reconciliation will almost always be achieved at the expense of strategy. The approval and adoption of a comprehensive strategy for future political action with the loss of some PTBs is much better than a contrived (artificial) unanimity without a nationalist strategy. Consequently, the next question should be:
What about the rest of the organizations which were, and are, viable and legitimate?

5) Misconceptions in the Assessment of Political Weight, Caliber and Power.

There certainly should be a given number, regardless of how small, of political organizations of our People that share the same or similar nationalistic goals. What then are the causes of their failure to produce the UDS? Based on the observations of the political activities, behaviors, attitudes and declarations, the stumbling block in the way of unity seems to be the misconceptions or miscalculations on the part of these PTBs in the assessment of their political weight, caliber and power. These misconceptions portray themselves in different forms some of which are stated below:

Sayfo: the Assyrian Genocide in International Law by Ninos Warda, is a profound book that provides a coherent insight into the experience of the Assyrian people during the atrocious events of WWI in Ottoman Turkey. The author’s expert and meticulous understanding of the legal and historical dynamics of the Assyrian Genocide of 1915 makes this book a primary source of reference for students and scholars interested in the applicability of international legal instruments such as the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948.

Shamiran Mako
Council for Assyrian Research and Development


a) Some of the PTBs are foolishly reluctant to admit to their very limited or even infinitesimal actual political weight both in the size and number of their rank-and-file as well as their political, social and educational achievements. Similarly, there are others which unjustifiably exaggerate their weight. The first group of PTBs demands that they be treated on equal basis with a PTB that has scores of times and even hundreds of times more numbers and achievements. Realistically, logically and logistically this is unacceptable in terms of the so-called realpolitik approach to solving political problems. As a consequence of the above misconception, those PTBs with negligible weight because of a membership of no more than ten or hundred individuals, most of whom are relatives, beneficiaries of some sort or tribe-members, with hardly any recognizable base in Iraq have no legitimate logistic right to demand to be granted political weight and status on a par with organization(s) whose membership is in thousands and whose support base in Iraq and outside it is in tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands. To insist on such Don Quixotic demand proves either their political foolishness or nationalist insincerity. In one negotiation session among PTBs, one PTB proposed to the rest that they identify the names of two or three candidates from each PTB and place them in a lotto bag and draw the names from the bag, the first name will be listed first and highest on the slate. This in terms of realpolitik is no more than a Don Quixotic maneuver.

   b) Obviously, political weight does not only hinge on sheer numbers, but also on the strength and orderliness of the political machine at both leadership and rank-and-file levels as well as on the extent of achievements and sacrifices. One PTB repeatedly insisted on claiming that its organization represents 70% to 80% of our People, consequently, it should be granted more candidates and be placed higher on the slate. However, in the elections, this particular PTB jointly with other PTBs received votes that were considerably lower than the claim. This was attributed to the fact that the majority of those potential voters cast their votes to slates from outside our People’s slates, either Arab or Kurdish. It was a really embarrassing defeat though a very sad one.

   c) It was already revealed above that misconceived or inflated numbers are not the only yardstick for assessing political weight and stature because political awareness, both patriotic (اترايا = وطني) and nationalist (اومتنايا = قومي) are equally important –if not more important– in determining the extent of enthusiasm to involve in political action. It is not important how nationalistically fanatic you are and how much you stress your nationalist identity as Ashuraya, Chaldaya, Suryaya or ChaldoAshuraya if in politically critical situations you demonstrate a very superficial nationalist awareness or you do not comprehend the political and nationalist implications of voting for or enlisting with slates of parties or organizations that may or may not recognize your patriotic aspirations and totally marginalize or even deny your nationalist identity.

   d) Equally important is the presence of hierarchical political structure within a party or movement that possesses all the necessary logistics, strategies and techniques to mobilize its supporters and attract them to the ballot boxes. Political parties or organizations that have no hierarchical or pyramidal organizational structure and have no broad rank-and-file orderliness are doomed to failure and even bankruptcy. This is precisely what happened to some slates, especially the one which was, more or less, tribal-based.

   e) Finally, of paramount significance is the existence of a demonstrated record of political, educational and social achievements supported with sacrifices in the form of community servers, political prisoners, guerrilla fighters and martyrs who altogether constitute authentic evidence to different forms of political struggle. It is only achievements and sacrifices such as those that grant credibility, validity and reliability to a political movement or party. No group can claim political party status within a year or so by selecting a sentiment-arousing name and recruiting all interested neighbors, cousins, village-brethren or tribal-acquaintances and renting a single-room office as party headquarters.

6) Overflow of religious discord into the political arena.

As if the political squabble among our parties and organizations was not enough to breed discord and dissention within our ranks, our religious leaders poured more fuel on fire. They pushed their dissensions, overtly and covertly, into the political circle thus further inflaming the political discord and nationalist disunity. In other words, the internal denominational fights– which are against the message of God and Jesus– among our Patriarchullahs, were, unfortunately, transplanted within the ranks of our People. If Jesus were to return today his first words would be to our Patriachullahs and would read: “I was One and had One Church, how did you dare to become Five, Six or Seven with hundreds of scores of churches?” It is about time our Patriachullahs understood the difference between God’s work and Caesar work. When they understand this difference they will receive more reverence.

Lessons to be Learned

• Foremost of all, and with the advent of the 21st century, we should learn that there is a desperate need for more solid general knowledge base, followed by general political educational base and crowned with specific political education pertinent to our progressive nationalist awareness. We need to groom high level politicians who have high skills of communication and negotiation. We need thinkers who can deepen and enhance our nationalist progressive ideology and design long-term strategies for implementation. We need to establish think-tanks institutions to guide our political literacy campaign and to replace our crowded chat cafés, pal-talk rooms and idle clubs.

• We should learn that we are not important because today we identify ourselves as Chaldeans, Assyrians and Suryanis, but rather because we are the descendants of those giants who built up a civilization and transformed Mesopotamia into the cradle of that civilization. Consequently the Mesopotamian (Beth Nahrain) umbrella is spacious enough and protective enough to accommodate us all. Let’s, therefore, be and behave as Beth-Nahrainnians first and then as Assyrians, Chaldeans and Suryanis. The Beth Nahrainian umbrella will bring us Unity. It is in reverence of our forefathers– the builders of civilization– that we should unite.

• If we sincerely want to unite, we should find the right path to Unity which requires that we value our Beth Nahrainian identity more than our Assyrian, Chaldean or Suryani one. We should value our Jesus more than our Patriarchs because my Patriarch is mine alone and your Patriarch is yours alone, but Jesus is for all of us. Jesus was our Unifier, but, sadly, some of our Patriarchs have been our Dividers. Remember the schisms of 431, 451, 1553, 1968 and the one Not-to-be-God-willing of 2005, among others. All these schisms are anti-Christ and anti-Christianity and are created by none other than some of our so-called religious shepherds. It is about time our religious shepherds learned how to preach along the lines of People’s Unity and Church harmony.

• In our political dialogue, we should understand that arguments over our Land are more important than arguments over our Name. A People without a Land to dwell on is like a flock of sheep without a pasture.

• When we claim nationalism (Umtanayoota), we should remember that the claim is not realized by words but rather by deeds and not by promises and claims, but rather by achievements, sacrifices and even martyrdom. If you persist on claiming yourself as Athuraya, Ashuraya, Chaldaya or Suryahana, you have to remember that those are not just names, they are rather your passport to your Beth Nahrainian identity and culture. If you claim to nationalism (Untanayoota), you should not claim your identity as an Arab or Kurd and your native language as Arabic or Kurdish because you are indigenous Beth Nahrainian and your native language is Aramaic not Arabic, Kurdish or Farsi. Also remember, if you do not know you native language or cannot speak it, you should learn it because it is part and parcel of you nationalist identity. When you lost your language you begin to lose part of your national identity. Those schools that ADM has established are not just teaching the native language, they are, more importantly, building and maintaining you native identity.

• If any Assyrian Chaldean Suryani party or organization that is contemplating Unity, it should know its political weight and behave accordingly. You cannot pretend what you are not and cannot be, if you insist on pretending then you are no more than Don Quixote who was not strong, but pretended strength and was not a knight, but pretended knighthood.

I beg you my People to wake up and unify. Do we need more than 612 + 2006 years of sleep?


  1. I am using this political term in a specific sense to denote political realism meaning that in seeking solutions to political problems each partner should be realistic in making demands and imposing conditions that are congruent with its political weight, caliber and power.
  2. I had to coin this term after the Islamic (Ayatullah آيه الله)

Good Morning Assyria
News From the Homeland


Ammo Baba Captured & Beaten by Attackers

Courtesy of the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
20 January 2006

(ZNDA:Baghdad)  A group of armed men raided the home of the former Iraqi football (soccer) player and coach Emmanuel David, better known as Ammo Baba, in Zayoona, in the center of Baghdad.

Ammo Baba

The 74-year-old former coach Baba told the police: "The armed men tied me up, folded my eyes, and began to beat me." The armed men stole Baba's money and belongings. Most recently, Ammo Baba received some donations from the Iraqi officials to cover necessary medical treatment outside of Iraq. Ammo Baba suffers from diabetes, which resulted in the amputation of two toes on his right foot last year in Amman, Jordan. He has been also suffering from poor vision lately as well. Ammo Baba stated that stealing his money would delay his treatment and threaten his life.

As the coach of the Iraqi national football team, Ammo Baba led Iraq to three titles in the Arabian Gulf football tournaments and the gold medal at the 1982 Asian Games in India.

Syriac Orthodox Priest Siman Onar Killed in Bus Accident

Rev. Siman wearing the priestly clothes of his late father, Khory Addo, at his consecration.

Courtesy of the Midyatcity.com
20 January 2006
Photographs: KentHaber& Nurcan Birhike (Sweden).

(ZNDA: Midyat)  Early in the morning of Friday January 20, 2006, the Syriac Orthodox priest Rev. Siman Onar of Germany, was killed in a bus accident in Turkey. He was 52.

For many years Rev. Siman Onar served the Church as a prominent deacon at the Mor Barsawmo Church in Giessen, Germany.  The "deacon with the divine voice" was recently called into priesthood. Less than 50 days ago, he was consecrated priest to serve the Mor Kuryakos Church in Västerås, some 100 km from Stockholm, Sweden.

The bus at the crash site.

After his consecration on 11 December 2005, he was sent to the Mor Gabriel monastery, near Midyat, in Southeast Turkey, in order to be taught the priestly tasks. He had just completed his 40 days of study at the monastery and was on his way home, where his family awaited him to prepare for thei emigration to Sweden next week.

Rev. Siman is survived by his wife and seven children. He was also the son of the late Addo Onar, the priest of the Mor Barsawmo Church in Midyat since 1954 (in 1999 he became Khory). Fr. Addo was born in 1925 in Midyat, where he passed away on August 9, 2005.

Assyrian Deacon Captured by Criminals, Demanding Ransom

Courtesy of Ankawa.com
17 January 2006
By Tahir Ablahad Qaryo

(ZNDA:  Baghdad)  A group wearing the uniforms of the Iraqi National Guards forced themselves into the house of Deacon Sami Matti Sliwa (known as Abu Addison) and began searching his house, bringing terror to his family.  When they were unable to find what they came for, they took Deacon Sliwa as hostage and demanded ransom.

Tomb Raiders Continue to Pillage Archaeological Sites

Courtesy of the Guardian
19 January 2006
By Mark Fisher

(ZNDA: Mosul)  'Pillagers strip Iraq museum of its treasure," the New York Times reported on April 13 2003 as Baghdad fell to coalition forces. The next day the Independent reported that "scores of Iraqi civilians broke into the museum ... and made off with an estimated 170,000 ancient and priceless artefacts".

The media joined archaeologists in condemning President Bush and the US. Eleanor Robson, a council member of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq, compared the US under President Bush to the Mongol hordes, and the destruction of the museum's collection to that of the library of Alexandria in the 5th century. The president of the International Council on Monuments said that the US was guilty of committing a "crime against humanity". Interpol set up a task force to track Iraq's stolen cultural property, Unesco organised meetings of experts, and the US sent a multi-agency task force to investigate. It included specialists from the CIA, the FBI, the Diplomatic Security Service and US Immigration and Customs, and was led by Col Michael Bogdanos, a former assistant district attorney from Manhattan.

Broken dreams ... destruction in the Iraq National Museum, 2003. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Bogdanos announced an amnesty and slowly artefacts began to be returned, including one of the museum's most beautiful and precious objects: the alabaster Warka Vase, carved in Uruk 5,000 years ago and now brought back in 14 pieces in a plastic rubbish bag. The pictures on the vase tell us much about life in ancient Mesopotamia, showing scenes of agriculture, religious and ritual offerings. Other pieces were recovered in raids, including the Bassetki statue, a copper statue base with the lower half of a man holding a standard or doorpost. It was hidden in a cesspool, submerged.
As these successes were reported, and estimates of the total losses revised down to around 15,000 artefacts, the media's initial horror was replaced by a mood of relief, even of defiant complacency. David Aaronovitch wrote in this newspaper that "the only problem with [reports that the museum 'was looted under the noses of the Yanks, or by the Yanks themselves'] is that it's nonsense. It isn't true. It's made up. It's bollocks." The robbing of the Iraq National Museum slipped from the headlines. The caravan of outrage passed on. Gradually, however, the extent of the loss and damage to Iraq's heritage across the country became clearer. Many of the Iraq National Museum's major pieces, too big and heavy to move, had been smashed. At Mosul, 16 bronze Assyrian door panels from the city gates of Balawat (9th century BC) had been stolen, as had cuneiform tablets from Khorsabad and Nineveh. In Baghdad, the National Library and State Archives building was burned down and the national collections of contemporary Iraqi and European art, including works by Picasso and Miró, were looted.

Even more serious, perhaps, has been the damage to Iraq's archaeology. In this cradle of civilisation, more than 10,000 sites of interest have been identified, of which only 1,500 have been researched. These sites are currently undefended from looters. Willy Deridder, the head of Interpol, has said that these sites - particularly those in the south, such as the 4,000-year-old ziggurat at Ur - are almost impossible to protect.

Babylon and Ur were requisitioned by the coalition and have had military camps constructed within their ancient sites. At Babylon the US forces flattened 300,000 sq metres and covered the area with compacted gravel in order to create parking lots for military vehicles next to a Greek theatre built for Alexander of Macedon. A dozen trenches, each up to 170m long, have been cut through archeological workings, destroying the evidence that they might have yielded.

A helipad was constructed in the heart of ancient Babylon. For this, ground had to be bulldozed and thousands of Hesco sandbags (made by the US-owned Handling Equipment Speciality Company) filled with earth to provide fortifications. The soil in these bags, dug up from the site, contains archaeological material now ripped out of its context, deracinated for all time. Worse, when more Hesco containers had to be filled, soil was brought in from other sites. The Hesco containers are biodegradable and are already beginning to collapse, leaving a stew of archaeological material that will eventually have to be sifted at vast expense if it is to be of value.

The military have now moved on, but while the helipad was in use the daily flights shook the foundations of Babylon's ancient walls so severely that the wall of the Temple of Nabu and the roof of the 6th-century-BC Temple of Ninmah collapsed.

In the south, the remains of the ancient city of Ur, excavated by Leonard Woolley in the 1920s, is still a military camp, while the sites of neighbouring Sumerian city-states (Lagash, Uruk and Larsa) have been so badly damaged by looters that observers have described them as resembling devastated lunar landscapes, with craters 5m deep. These craters have been dug by Iraqis who, now that the sites are not guarded, are "farming" them at night for portable antiquities that can be sold.

The damage to Umma, in the desert north of Nasiriya, is particularly serious. One of the most celebrated of the Sumerian cities, it was not officially excavated until 1996. It has now been so comprehensively looted that what it can tell us of pre-Akkadian times may be irretrievably lost.

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How important is this? For the Iraqis, the damage strikes at the heart of their culture and history. Although the Iraq National Museum was founded only in 1923, it was an institution around which all Iraqis, regardless of religion, could attempt to create some shared national identity. There is also considerable significance for the rest of the world: in these sites are buried the roots of western civilisation. A line of influence (philosophical, scientific, artistic, aesthetic) runs from Mesopotamia through Greece to Rome and on to us. This is the birthplace of historiography in that it was here, in Babylonia, in southern Iraq, that writing was invented 5,000 years ago, when cuneiform, etched on clay tablets, allowed the transmission of ideas, of achievements, of records.

In the fertile Mesopotamian lands, we can trace man's achievements back for at least 10,000 years, to early farming communities of Nemrik, to the al'Ubaid civilisation (7,000 years ago) and to the rule of the Sumerian king, Gilgamesh, which inspired The Epic of Gilgamesh (circa 2000 BC), one of the greatest works of literature, written in cuneiform on 11 tablets and in which we have the earliest accounts of the great flood.

It is only in the past 150 years that we have begun to retrieve this history and the record of the astounding achievements of the Sumerian and Akkadian empires that succeeded it. We have in the Louvre, in the Philadelphia museum, the Ashmolean and the British Museum glimpses of the sophistication of Ur with its Royal Tombs; of the wonders of Sardon's palaces at Khorsabad, with their statues of winged bulls; of the Lion Hunts of Ashurbanipal, shown in reliefs from the North Palace at Nineveh.

But these treasures, though mighty, are modest when compared with those in the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad: the Lion Hunt stela from Uruk; the now-eyeless copper head of the Great King Naram-Sin; the stained ivory sculpture known as the Mona Lisa of Nimrud. This has once again survived, as it did in 612 BC when Nimrud was attacked and the head was thrown down a well where it lay submerged for 2,500 years. Along with the Nimrud gold from the tombs of the Assyrian Queens, the head was stored in the "safety" of the vaults of the Central Bank in Baghdad, along with the Nimrud gold from the tombs of the Assyrian Queens. There it avoided being looted, but both gold and head were severely damaged by an apocalyptic flood of 500,000 tons of water that may have been deliberately engineered to prevent Saddam Hussein and his sons from making off with them.

In 2003, in the months when a coalition invasion seemed likely, there was ample time in which to take steps to protect Iraq's treasures and in which the world's archeological community could, and did, make representations to the governments in Washington and London. Thousands of objects were removed to places of safety, but the pleas to Bush and Blair were ignored. When Baghdad fell in March 2003, the Iraq National Museum remained unguarded for days and the country's archeological sites for months.

What can be learned from these unhappy events? What is being done? Unesco has established an International Committee on which 30 countries are represented. The UK's delegate is Dr John Curtis, keeper of the British Museum's Ancient Near East Department. Last November the committee agreed a resolution that there should be an independent assessment made of the damage to Babylon. However, the US is reluctant to cooperate unless the assessment is under American control and employs American consultants.

On the security of archeological sites, most are agreed that, if the "farming" of sites is to end, the guards should be restored and their salaries raised. Ideally, there should be aerial surveillance over the most important sites, but here again US cooperation is uncertain.

Action needs to be taken to stop the illegal export of artefacts stolen from museums and sites. There is general agreement with the assessment of the director of the Iraq Museum, Donny George, that Iran and Turkey are "not assisting" in the control of this black market and that many of the exported artefacts are passing through Switzerland, which has the fourth largest art market in the world but continues to refuse to ratify the 1970 Unesco Convention on Illegal Exports of Works of Art.

In the medium term, responsibility for re-establishing Iraq's museums and sites should be assumed by the interim Iraqi government. This body has recently announced a reconstructing of its cultural ministry into four sections (museums, excavations, conservation, and interpretation and learning). Each section will report to a minister and the role of Dr George, who has done so much to restore order in the past 18 months, will be downgraded. He may retire.

Our worst fears, that "10,000 years of human history has been erased" may not have come to pass, but a similar catastrophe in the future may not be averted unless the US and the UK governments recognise the damage that the war has caused and accept some responsibility for it.

They might profit from reading The Epic of Gilgamesh. Like all great poems, it tells us about ourselves. It is about grief and the fear of death, about man's quest for wisdom and immortality. Its hero doesn't understand the difference between strength and arrogance. By attacking a monster, he brings down disaster on himself.

This article is from the February issue of Index on Censorship (020-7278 2313). Mark Fisher is the author of Britain's Best Museums and Galleries (Penguin, £20).

Change of Command in Baghdad
Assyrian Sings Iraqi National Anthem

Lt. Gen. Vines (center) and Lt. Gen. Chaielli (R) during the convocation ceremony at this week's Change of Command in Baghdad.

(ZNDA: Baghdad) At a special ceremony in Baghdad, Lt. Gen. John Vines, the departing chief of the U.S.-led coalition's combat troops, passed his command to Lt. Gen. Peter Chairelli.  Lt. Gen Vines headed home after a year in charge of the corps and said conditions in Iraq in 2006 would probably be suitable for significant reduction of U.S. forces.

"The day of withdrawal of American forces has already begun," Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said at the ceremony. He cited Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's announcement last month that the United States would not replace two departing brigades, totaling between 5,000 and 9,000 men.

Ms. Pauline Jasim singing the Iraqi national anthem at the special ceremonies in Baghdad.

Chiarelli, returning for his second tour of the Iraq war, replaced Vines in a ceremony in a moated former palace of Iraq's ousted dictator, Saddam Hussein -- now the U.S. military's graveled, tented Camp Victory.

During the ceremony Assyrian-American Pauline Jasim from Chicago sang the Iraqi national anthem. 

Ms. Jasim, the former Secretary of the Assyrian American National Federation, returned to Iraq in 2004 to offer her administrative skills to the reconstruction effort taking place in Iraq.


News Digest
News From Around the World


Driving Force Behind Chicago Assyrian Dictionary Dies

(ZNDA: Chicago)  Erica Reiner, a University of Chicago scholar whose work revolutionized the study of the world’s oldest written languages, died in her home in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood on Saturday, Dec. 31. She was 81.

She spent more than two decades as the main editor of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, an encyclopedic work depicting the culture of Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) and the Akkadian language that prevailed in the region for 2,500 years.

Prof. Erica Reiner and Dr. Norman Solhkha of the Mesopotamia Museum in 2005.

Prof. Reiner was the John A. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor Emerita in the University’s Oriental Institute and Editor of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary. She was Editor in Charge of the dictionary from 1973 to 1996 and began working on the dictionary in 1952, when she arrived at the U. of C. as a research assistant after studying in Budapest and Paris. The first of 23 volumes was published in 1956, using texts from clay tablets recovered by archeologists in Iraq, Iran, Syria and nearby areas. The ancient texts span a period from 2400 B.C. to 100 A.D., when Akkadian was widely used in the Near East. Prof. Reiner took charge of the dictionary in 1973 and continued that role until her retirement in 1996.

"It is difficult to overstate the significance of Erica Reiner's contributions to the understanding of the ancient Near East," said Gil Stein, Director of the Oriental Institute at University of Chicago, where Prof. Reiner taught for 40 years. He explained that the dictionary is more than a list of words and their translations; it functions as a cultural encyclopedia of Mesopotamian civilization.

"The effective editing of a work of this scope requires a person whose knowledge encompasses philology [historical linguistics], linguistics, poetry, history, literature, law, religion, astronomy and the history of science," Stein said. "Erica was one of the handful of people in the world who had that daunting list of qualifications."

The Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, which was founded in 1921, now has 23 volumes. The first volume was published in 1956. Two more are currently in press and the final volume of the dictionary will be sent to press this year. Erica Reiner had a hand in the development of each of the volumes.

"It is impossible to envision the field of Assyriology, or more broadly of ancient Near Eastern studies, without the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary," said Professor Martha Roth, the publication's current editor-in-charge. "And it is impossible to envision the dictionary without Erica."

Erica Reiner completed her undergraduate degree in linguistics at the University of Budapest in 1948. After then studying Elamite, Sumerian and Akkadian in Paris at the Ecole Practique des Hautes Etudes, where she completed a Diplôme, she came to the University of Chicago in 1952. A manuscript for the Assyrian dictionary had not yet been drafted, although there had been three decades of planning and preparation.

Prof. Reiner received a Ph.D. from the University in 1955 and joined the faculty in 1956 after serving as a Research Associate.

She was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society and the recipient of honorary doctorates from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Leiden.

Throughout her lengthy academic career, Prof. Reiner also wrote numerous articles and several books, one of which traced the origins of Greek science and medicine in Babylonia. She was one of the few people in the world proficient in the ancient language of Elamite and she published “A Linguistic Analysis of Akkadian” in 1966.

She published Your Thwarts in Pieces, Your Mooring Rope Cut: Poetry from Babylonia and Assyria, a collection of essays in 1985. Her insights in the book raised the standards expected of scholars working in Babylonian and Assyrian literature beyond translation to incorporating the best of literary criticism.

Ms. Reiner is survived by her sister, Eva Cherna, of Montreal.

A Mass was held on Friday, January 13, at St. Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, 5472 S. Kimbark Avenue.

How Does Iran Affect Turlock?

Courtesy of the Turlock Journal
20 January 2006
By Sabra Stafford

The political tug-of-war going on between Iran and the United Nations and the United States could end up directly affecting the Turlock community, according to some local Assyrians from Iran.

Recent statements and actions by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have led some to believe a conflict of some sort is inevitable.

Some of the Assyrians interviewed believe that if situations in Iran continue to deteriorate and UN sanctions are implemented, then an exodus of the small minority group in Iran is possible.

Because Turlock has a sizeable and vital Assyrian community, the belief is that these new refugees would join their friends and family here.

“They definitely are trying to come out,” said Marona Aghasi, who has one uncle and two cousins living in Iran. “Assyrians have no power and no opinions in Iran because they have a small presence.”

“It would definitely be a benefit to our community if they came,” Aghasi said. “Assyrians have many highly educated people like doctors who could help a community.”

Assyrian Humor
An Assyrian family arrives from Urmia, Iran at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.  The friends and cousins of the visiting family welcome their relatives to America and immediately take them on a tour of the Big Apple.  The new visitors are speechless, unable to believe their eyes, looking at the magnificent tall buildings and bridges they see as they travel from one section of New York to another.  The father of the family finally breaks the long silence in the car and turns to his bewildered wife:  "Bakhta, if the buildings in New York look like this, can you just imagine what they look like in Turlock?"

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran has filled the UN and Western countries with unease because his push for nuclear technology and his antagonistic stance toward Israel.

“He is a fanatic and a nut,” said one local Assyrian who did not want his name used.

“We don't like him at all,” said Aghasi, who was born in Iran and left in 1984.

Recently, Ahmadinejad has referred to the Holocaust as a myth and met with leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to express his support for them. During the Iranian election, some former American hostages accused him of taking part in the 1979 take-over of the U.S. Embassy and kidnapping of Americans there. He has denied any involvement.

Since he assumed the presidency, human rights violations have risen according to the Human Rights watch organization.

Because Assyrians are Christians, they have been persecuted for decades under the hard-line Islamic rule of Iran.

The Human Rights Watch wrote in a recent report that “respect for basic human rights in Iran, especially freedom of expression and opinion, deteriorated considerably in 2005. The government routinely uses torture and ill-treatment in detention, including prolonged solitary confinement, to punish dissidents.”

The culture of fear about speaking out against the government is still prevalent, even when people are thousands of miles away.

Numerous local Assyrians contacted for this story did not wish to make any statements on the record about Ahmadinejad out of fear of reprisals or repercussions.

Scott Rumana, Assyrian Mayor of a New Jersey Town

Courtesy of the NorthJersey.com
" Man on the Move"
18 January 2006
By Margaret K. Collins

(ZNDA: New York)  Even when he's flat on his back doing crunches at the YMCA, people come up to talk to him. And he talks to them.

Mayor Scott Rumana of Wayne, New Jersey is the grandson of an Assyrian tailor from Paterson.

It goes on like this all day: from the gym at 7:30 a.m., to his law office in Totowa, to speaking before a high school government class, to attending a wake for a former fire commissioner's wife, to strategy meetings at the municipal building, to a Township Council meeting dragging past 10 p.m.

Basically, Scott Rumana is everywhere. He puts in 40 to 50 hours a week as Wayne's Republican mayor on top of his full-time job as a real estate lawyer.

It's not for the money: The mayor's salary is $18,750. He does it because it drives him - and it's practically in his blood.

Rumana, an only child, doesn't have a political pedigree. His Assyrian grandfather was a tailor in Paterson and his boyhood pals on Wayne's Surrey Drive remember him more as an avid lacrosse player than a student of politics.

But Rumana picked up the public-service bug from his godfather, Robert Roe, who was mayor of Wayne before serving as a 23-year Democratic congressman. It was interning for Roe in Washington, D.C., during the Iran-contra hearings in the summer of 1987 that turned Rumana into a visible and outspoken lover of all things government.

"It was almost like a calling to want to serve," Rumana recalled. "Working for my Uncle Bob I realized that your ability to help people is on a very grand scale as you assume positions in the government."

Roe, who did not return requests for comment, remained a behind-the-scenes mentor to his godson, Rumana said. He first guided Rumana onto the Township Council in 1994 at age 29 - "He told me who to call, who to write letters to and told me to go out and knock on thousands and thousands of doors."

Now 41, Rumana has held elected office for more than a decade, developing a can-do record as a county freeholder and now mayor. In November, he won his second term by a landslide. And he has emerged as a potential maestro for Passaic County's Republican Party, still in disarray after the corruption scandals of the 1990s.

"He's got a knack of pulling people together," said state Assemblyman Kevin O'Toole, a Republican. "I don't think you'll find a better mayor in the state."

In his first term, Rumana ushered through a property tax to preserve land in his fully developed hometown of 55,000 residents and tried to reduce speeding with special signage on residential streets. He initiated plans for a multimillion-dollar cogeneration plant to heat and cool public buildings, saying it will save $20 million over 20 years in energy bills and reduce air pollution. He's corralled at least 10 neighboring mayors to push for flood control improvements and buyouts along the Passaic River basin, saying the threat to life and property from an inevitable 100-year flood is too great to ignore.


Name: Scott Rumana

The mayor of Wayne was elected to his second term in November and is considered an emerging power figure among Republicans in Passaic County.

Occupation: Attorney

Age: 41

Education: B.A. from Hartwick College and J.D. from New York Law School

Background: Former township councilman (1994-97) and Passaic County freeholder (1996-2000)

Family: Engaged to Laura Joyce, 27, of Wayne

Quote: "Don't put your personal agenda ahead of the people's business."

And he says he will fight for more state money for transportation improvements, an area of expertise: Rumana cut his teeth on traffic as a councilman and freeholder. With Roe's guidance, he convinced state officials to build a flyover ramp opening a bottleneck on Route 23 near Routes 46 and 80 - the infamous "spaghetti bowl."

"It's not glamorous but it's one of those bread-and-butter issues," Rumana said of transportation. "If you can get somebody home to their family that much quicker, I don't know what price you put on that. It's something so important to one of the most densely populated states in the nation but can also improve the ability of a community to bring in better ratables."

That big-think ability to actually get something done has attracted attention beyond Wayne's borders. In recent weeks, there's been an increasing drumbeat for Rumana to take control of the GOP in Passaic County, said Bill Connolly, the Republican municipal leader in Paterson.

The normally chatty mayor had no comment, but it's the latest sign of his widening circle of fans.

He packed an October fund-raiser with hundreds of area donors - the kind of crowd not seen by a Republican in the county for several years. On any given Friday, he's joined at Miranda's restaurant on Route 23 by 20 to 25 regulars of diverse backgrounds - a self-described "$13 lunch crowd." And he helped direct a clean sweep by his council running mates last fall.

It's a crescendo of support largely drawn to Rumana's ideas and ubiquitous presence. But it does have some politically experienced observers worried.

"They're power-drunk," Thomas Vatrano said of Rumana's cohorts.

Vatrano, a Republican leader in town in 1991 and 15-year veteran of the planning and zoning boards, points to the unorthodox appointment of the Township Council president this month. Traditionally, the position has been rotated; this year, however, it went to a Rumana confidant, Christopher Vergano, though he had served in that role just two years ago.

Vatrano argued that's a step toward drowning outside voices.

"There's an old saying," Vatrano said. "Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Sooner or later something's gonna happen."

Rubbish, says Rumana.

"This is the most independent-minded group of people that serve on this council and on all the boards in Wayne," Rumana said. "And I support that."

If Rumana seizes the county GOP's reins, he's already laid the groundwork as an insider. During his early days on the council, Rumana also was appointed and then elected as a county freeholder, serving from 1996 to 2000 before losing reelection. He then ran for mayor in 2001, squeezing to narrow victory.

And he was untouched by scandal, achieving a new-guard aura despite being front and center as a freeholder during catastrophic times for the county GOP.

"He's honest to a fault," said his father, Thomas, a retired state judge and Wayne councilman.

The elder Rumanasays the mayor has inherited the talents he'd need to stitch together the party, noting he resembles his grandfather, Louie Rumana, an immigrant from Turkey.

"He's a people person," Thomas Rumana says, "just like my father."

With the political primary season looming, Rumana must decide soon whether to reenter the rough ground of county politics.

Until then, you'll find him buzzing around Wayne. Besides public business, Rumana these days is indulging in a longtime love of team sports. This winter, he's playing ice hockey on Sunday nights and gearing up to coach preteens in lacrosse this spring.

But like his other interests, he also has channeled his passion for sports into a grander vision. On Rumana's agenda for Wayne this year are more ballfields and a $4.5 million pool renovation.

It's about building a legacy, he said. "These are things generations of people are going to enjoy."

Would you like to send a note to Mayor Rumana?  Click here.

Surfs Up!
Your Letters to the Editor


Eulogy for a Real Iraqi called Allan Enwiya

Voltaire Warda

Thank you very much for publishing "Thank You for the Music" that you copied from The Riverbend Blog at riverbendblog.blogspot.com about the late Allan Enwiya, a great Assyrian. No one could have written a better eulogy than the anonymous write of this Blogspot. I have followed The Riverbend Blog for the past two years, where I have read very interesting, sad and tragic news about what is going in Baghdad.

If you read this article carefully you will find out that a Muslim person writing about Allan's most beautiful characteristics of a fellow Assyrian friend. She writes the following: "And Allan, with his usual Iraqi pride would lecture about how they were great, simply because they were Iraqi." You can see that Allan was a true Iraqi who believed in Iraq as one united Iraq and was proud to be an Iraqi. We have read about the loyalty of Iraqi Assyrians towards their mother home land.

God rest Allan in peace and give his family comfort and strength during these very sad days.

Helping Allan Enwiya's Widow

Fairouz Blog

After discussions with my friend Mad Canuck this morning, we decided to start a donation for the widow of murdered Iraqi translator Allan Enwiya.

Last Saturday, Allan was murdered in cold blood when Jill Carroll was kidnapped after leaving Al-Dulaimi office in Baghdad's suburb of Al-Adil. Allan was Jill Carroll's translator. He was a good friend of my fellow Iraqi bloggers Treasure of Baghdad and 24 Steps to Liberty. Allan leaves behind a wife and very young children. You have no idea how hard it is for a young widow to raise children in Iraq. That's why we started this donation.

The media will drop his name very soon and focus on Jill because she's the one in danger right now. We're all praying for her safety. But, we shouldn't forget about her translator who lost his life while trying to make a living for his young family.

I know you all have bills and credit cards to pay after the Christmas season. Still, I hope five or ten dollars won't harm your budget. It will definitely make a difference to Allan's widow.

I count on your generosity.

Send Your Donation

List of Donors

Turin Archdiocese Christmas Gifts Received in Baghdad

Don Fredo Olivero
Director of Pastoral Migrants Office
Archdiocese of Turin, Italy

The Migrants Pastoral Office of Turin Archdiocese, in collaboration with ASAI (Salesian Association of Intercultural Activities) raised successfully the funds to buy the Christmas 2005 presents for the children of the 10 parish churches of Baghdad that are already partecipating to the plan: "I have a new friend, an Iraqi chaldean priest".  Our aim was to raise 5000.00 Euros at least and the money has been already sent to Baghdad.  We would be grateful if you could give notice of this results to your readers.

An open letter to His Holiness Mor Zakka Iwaz
The Patriarch of The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and All The East

Malke Bar abdo
Circis Murad

Regarding the appointment of a new Archbishop for the Syriac Orthodox Monastery in the Netherlands, and the despised intervention of the Syrian Intelligence Services.

Forty days after the sudden death of Archbishop Mor Julius J. Çiçek the committee boards of Syriac Orthodox Churches in the Netherlands unanimously nominated a candidate to care for the archdiocese’s ecclesiastical needs.

His Holiness Mor Zakka Iwaz

Unfortunately, pressure from the Syrian intelligence Services ‘Mukhabarat’, and against the free will of the Syriac Orthodox Church members of Europe is resulting in the appointment of another candidate.

The members of this great Church have long feared the intervention of the Syrian Intelligence Services in their church affairs. But now, and through this tyrannical, and undemocratic action this fear has become a reality.

It has become clear now for the devoted members, that the Syrian Intelligence Services seek to appoint a clergy from Syria to fill the now vacant position of the late Mor Julius J. Çiçek by applying pressure on the Patriarch whose Patriarchal See is based in Damascus. The diaspora members of the church are convinced that the clergy educated in Syria; are forced to adopt not only a sympathetic stance towards the Syrian regime but implement the regime’s notorious policy of Arabization.

The devoted members of the diaspora, and the undersigned believe that our great Church has become an apparatus of the Syrian Intelligence Services, resulting in the denial of our unique ethnicity, and our historical reality. We thus ask you the spiritual father of our church to implement the following:

  • The church committee boards have unanimously nominated a candidate to replace the position of the late; Mor Julius J. Çiçek. The nominated candidate has demonstrated innate abilities, and is a scholar of the highest calibre. Neither the prelates nor the Syrian Intelligence Services should interfere in obstructing the free will of the people.
  • We believe the Church is being forced to implement Syria’s policy of assimilation to diminish our cultural and historical identity. Therefore we demand the Patriarchal See to be removed from Syria, and to reside in the diaspora: thus to escape the current pressure from the Syrian Intelligence Services.
  • The church prelate must cease to propagate the policies of the Syrian regime, and promote the oneness of our people; its cultural heritage; its historical identity and not implement Damascus’ policy of Arabization.

We are confident that our church leadership under your spiritual guidance will take these necessary steps for the overall benefit of our beloved church and its devoted members.

Advisory Council Bulletin re Mar Bawai Soro

Advisory Council of the Church of the East
Northern California Diocese

Recently, the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East suspended His Grace Mar Bawai Soro, Bishop of Diocese of Western California. The suspension was an unjust act and contrary to the canons of the church. Presently, this issue is in the civil courts and we pray that it will be settled soon.

Unfortunately, this dispute has caused ill feelings among Assyrians and provided an opportunity to create and circulate many rumors, false claims, and unfounded accusations that if left unanswered, will continue to create erroneous perceptions in the minds of church members and Assyrians at large.

Therefore, the Advisory Council decided to publish this monthly bulletin for the purpose of enlightening the Assyrian public by telling the truth supported by factual information relative to each issue raised by rumor mongers. Our objective is not to speak irreverently about clergy and church leaders or sling mud on the opposition. Our primary purpose is to provide all Assyrians the facts and let them make their own decision.

Our first issue will address a number of main questions and rumors that have been circulating in our communities. At the same time we will restate some of Mar Bawai’s views which have been twisted around in order to confuse the public.

In subsequent issues we will address other concerns and questions. We welcome written questions from the public and promise to answer them promptly. Furthermore, we will continue to maintain communications with the public through various Assyrian media: electronic magazines, TV, Internet and public seminars. The truth must, and will, be spread to all Assyrians in the United Stated and all parts of the world.

We hope that readers will find the contents of this bulletin and future issues beneficial. Your comments will be appreciated.

Click Here to Read the Bulletin

Primacy of Honor

Bob Griffin

I am not an Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac, nor am I even Orthodox (Chalcedonian, Oriental, or Assyrian) nor Roman Catholic. However I have studied issues of early Christianity, and come to the following conclusion:  The bishop of Rome had merely a primacy of HONOR among the eastern churches. To this day, the Coptic, Greek, Georgian, Russian, Armenian, and Antiochian-Syriac (Jacobite) churches, agree that the pope, the bishop of Rome, has no jurisdiction in their churches. This is not a new development, but rather a continuation of attitudes dating back to earliest documented Church practices. Suggestions made by Mar Bawai's followers that Mar Dinkha OUGHT to be subject to the Pope, the bishop of Rome, do not agree with the attitudes and beliefs of ANY of the ancient eastern churches. Rome has been making counter-arguments for centuries, but the united position of all the non-western churches shows that from before the time of the Council of Chalcedon the idea of Roman primacy was neither accepted to entertained as an idea.

Breath of Fresh Air

Shlimoon Youkhana

... I feel it is incumbent upon us, the readers of Zinda magazine, to express our thoughts about the magnificent performance of the entire United States and worldwide crew. The combined and collaborative efforts, and contributions to Zinda, are, unquestionably, beyond reproach. Your graphics, presentations, lay-outs and the high calibre of work are commendable. Your decisions and firm stands to publish materials are admirable, despite the opposing thorns poked at you from time to time.

I applaud all the Zcrew for giving us the opportunity to read the most informative and comprehensive
compendium of news from all around the world.

For More Information Click Here

Edward Mikhail

To me personally and to a lot of people that I know, Zinda has made a difference. It would be odd if we are delighted with whatever is published week after week. Even if we disagree with each other, we need to be tolerant and respectfully disagree.

Zinda is a breath of fresh air in the midst of Assyrian media. You have given us the opportunity to use Zinda as a platform through which we can express ourselves, defend our beliefs and try to understand points of view of those with whom we disagree.

Keep the good work and by the Grace of God almighty and the intellectual readership Zinda will prosper.  God bless you.

New Zealand

Another year has gone past and Zinda stays our preferred and beloved objective magazine.

Polous Gewargis

We all appreciate the wonderful job you are doing. We pray to our Lord to give you and everyone of your staff "Health, Wealth, and Wisdom" . Our people everywhere needs you, because you are one of the few major sources of good information that people can rely upon. Continue on the path of truth with the best of your ability.   God bless you and God bless Assyria the Beautiful.

Pierre and Angie Toulakany

Let us thank you for all your heard work in bringing our people together to communicate and express their thoughts with the whole world. Great job, we know it was not easy.

So, wishing you all a very merry christmas, and a wonderful 2006, full of love, peace and good future for our beloved nation.

William Aprim

Zinda Magazine is beautiful, as described below:

Beautiful in manner of professional conduct and source of information delivered throughout the year 2005.

Evidence of skilled and educated management group.

Authenticated exposure of real issues (negative/positive) relevant to the current situation facing our destiny.

Uniting, guiding and educating the CaldoAssyrianSyriac people about the importance of understanding the real issues that are challenging our will and desire to seek common ground to work together, as one people.

Trustworthy advice of substance and encouragement of meaningful family values, harboring love, peace and mutual respect for national aims.

Illustration and preaching of goodwill and peaceful coexistance among people, in general, without discrimination.

Faithfulness, resourceful and informative.

Unbias, considered and fruitful service.

Love and mutual respect for its contributors.

Having expressed my wholeheartedly admiration for your noble work, I wish your esteemed magazine continued success and unlimited growth during 2006. For your wonderful staff, I wish them all good health, good luck, and peace.

We are humbled by your praises.  Thank you!

Annoucements from Zinda Magazine

New Logo for Our Weekly Issues

Do you Like our new Zinda logo at the top of this page?  We do too.  Thanks to the creative genius of the graphic designer extraordinaire, Mr. Homer Yonan of San Jose, California, the "spark of fire or zinda", "forward thinking and motion", and " the zinda swoosh (letter zen in Syriac)" are quite artistically captured in one simple and elegant design.  Our new logo design for the weekly issues also captures our journalistic objectives for this and many years to come.  Thank you, Homer!

Less is More

Starting this month Zinda has been publishing on Saturdays only and our mid-week issues will no longer appear on our homepage.  Our staff is no less busy.  In February, to celebrate the commencement of our 12th year of publication Zinda will inagurate a new chapter in the Assyrian and even Middle East journalism.  Combining the state of the art multimedia technology we plan to catapult our 20th century look and feel into the remarkable vision of today's sophisticated Internet and audio-visual technologies, providing our readers a superb service like of which is rarely witnessed elsewhere.  We will have more on this in the coming issues.

Surfer's Corner
Community Events


The Forgotten Genocide Conference in London

House of Commons, Committee Room 14: Tuesday 24th January 6-8pm

The genocide of over 750,000 Assyrian Christians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in 1915 has largely been forgotten by the world. The pain of this genocide is still a dark shadow over the Assyrian people. This pain and suffering continues in the collective conscience of the Assyrian Christians as Turkey continues to deny and publicly denounce their responsibility for this largely forgotten genocide during the First World War.

The Assyrian community have organised a prestigious speaking event at the House of Commons for Parliamentarians, journalists and members of the Assyrian Christians to remember and honour those who were massacred at the hands of the Turks.  At this gathering the Assyrian community and their supporters will call upon the British government and Parliamentarians to apply diplomatic pressure upon the government of Turkey, to publicly recognise their responsibility for this genocide as a precondition to membership of the EU.

At this meeting there will be four leading experts speaking at this event to educate and inform the audience about this forgotten genocide:

Ara Sarafian: Armenian and an Archive Historian and editor of the new edition of the Blue Book seen as the official book on this genocide.

Sabri Atman: Author and Journalist specialising in the Assyrian Genocide.

Lina Yacubova: Film maker who has produced award winning documentaries on the genocide.

Recep Marasli: Turkish journalist who writes on the Assyrian genocide and the rights of non Turkish nationals in Turkey.

The main organiser of this event for the Assyrian Community Nineb Lamassu, said “We are delighted that MP Stephen Pound has sponsored this event. It is our hope that this event will bring public awareness to this largely forgotten genocide of the Assyrian Christians. It is our collective desire to see diplomatic pressure brought to bear on Turkey to publicly recognise their historical responsibility for this genocide.”

Stephen Pound Labour MP for Ealing North:

'The twin tragedies of the Assyrian Genocide are firstly the slaughter of almost one million men, women and children and, secondly the continued refusal of the Turkish Government to acknowledge the actions of its Ottoman predecessors. This denial adds to the pain and agony felt by the relatives of those who perished in the genocide."

For more information please contact Nineb Lamassu at Tel: 07969224642 Email: info@ firodil.co.uk

Media to contact Simon Barrett: 07968116439 & simonjbarrett2003@yahoo.co.uk

Ara Sarafian  |  Lina Yacubova  |  Sabri Atman  |  Recep Marasli

Yonadam Kanna to Visit United States

Mona Malik
Assyrian Aid Society of America

Mr. Yonadam Kanna will speak at the fundraising dinner on Saturday night following the Assyrian Aid Society of America Board's formal meeting sessions. Mr. Kanna who is the only Assyrian voted independently to the Iraqi Parliament in the recent elections, will be in the United States to meet with President Bush and other government officials.

The U.S. State Department's Walid Maalouf, Director of Public Diplomacy for Middle Eastern and MEPI Affairs at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will also be an invited guest and featured speaker on Saturday night.

Admission price (includes dinner): $25.00 must be purchased in advance. All seats are on a first come bases. A table can be reserved with a purchase of a full table of 10 seats.

For tickets call the AAS office: 510-527-9997 or Fred Isaac in Modesto: 209-985-4788

The Assyrian Aid Society of America www.assyrianaid.org is a tax exempt, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization · Federal ID # 94-3147517 · All contributions are tax deductible.

Mr. Kanna is scheduled to visit other major U.S. cities with large Assyrian populations in Illinois, California, Arizona, and Washingon D.C. during this visit.  Read Zinda for a more complete iternary in the coming days.

Hannibal Alkhas & Friends Art Exhibition in Modesto

Haleh Niazmand
Director of Art Gallery
Modesto Junior College

Modesto Junior College Art Gallery is pleased to announce the Hannibal Alkhas and Friends Exhibition
from January 20 thru February 17, 2006 with the Opening Reception on January 20, from 5-7 pm.

Hannibal Alkhas

The participating artists are:

Hannibal Alkhas
Anna Gabriel
Farkhondeh Marashi
Jamileh Vafakish
Samira Darya
Naser Mohamadi,
A.R. Rahimi
Mahtab Nematolahi

Prominent Iranian Assyrian artist, who celebrated the 60th anniversary of his career as painter in 2005, is well recognized for his numerous large murals. In his prolific career as artist, art critic, poet and professor of art, Mr. Alkhas has extensively exhibited throughout Iran and around the world. He has over ten large public murals, has illustrated for over hundreds of books and magazines, written and translated many poems, and his collaborative book project, writing poems to children’s illustration, is included in all libraries in Iran. Mr. Alkhas has also taught art in a number of universities and colleges including the prestigious Tehran University’s College of Fine Art.

Accompanying his art in this exhibition is his selection of the works by younger generation of artists who studied with him in the past. Currently, these selected artists are regarded as Iran’s accomplished and mature contemporary painters and are widely exhibited and collected artists.


Saturday January 28, 2-6 pm
Gallery Talk by Hannibal Alkhas (Assyrian, Farsi and English)
Artist will engage in collaborative paintings with gallery visitors.

Saturday Feb 4, 2-6 pm
Artist will continue to engage in collaborative paintings with gallery visitors.
Reading selected poems by 14th century Iranian Mystic Poet, Hafez (Farsi)

Mount Semel Celebration in San Jose

The Assyrian American Association of San Jose cordially invites you to partake in the jubilation of the Third Anniversary of the publication in English and the First Anniversary in Farsi of Ivan Kakovitch's "Mount Semel".

Book Signing by the Author
Sunday, February 19th, 2006
6:00 PM

Ashur  TV will be airing live interview on Saturday, 18 February at its regularly scheduled time slot.

Editor's Pick


An Interview with Dr. Emanuel Kamber

Dr. Emanuel Kamber is the Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, a political organization founded in 1968.  The following interview was conducted by Afram Barryakoub in Sweden earlier this month.  Dr. Kamber lives in Michigan.

Zinda:  How long have you been involved in Assyrian politics?

Kamber:  I have been involved in the Assyrian politics since the early 1970s when I was a university student at Al-Mustansiriyah University in Baghdad, Iraq. I was inspired to act by the establishment of the Assyrian Cultural Club in Baghdad and the visit of His Holiness Mar Shimon (May God rest his soul) and late Malik Yaku with the delegation of the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) to Iraq.

Zinda:  Why did you want to become the Secretary General of the AUA?

Kamber:  The members of the 24th Worldwide Congress of the AUA elected me as the
Secretary General of the AUA. It is an honour to serve this organization and
our people.

Zinda:  You are a fulltime professor of physics at a university in Michigan and a family man. How do you find time to run AUA?

Kamber:  We are all volunteers working for the benefit of our people. I hope that we will get to a stage of our struggle that we will have full-time politicians working on behalf of our nation. I do however believe that with the help I receive from the members of the executive board of the AUA, I will be able to carry my responsibility in leading this great organization to fulfil its commitment to create a collective leadership for our people.

Zinda:  What do you wish to achieve as the leader of the AUA?

Kamber:  One of the ultimate aims of the AUA is an Assyrian collective leadership that includes various sectors of the Assyrian people as represented by the Assyrian national, political, religious, cultural, and social organizations in addition to prominent independent Assyrians. During my tenure as Secretary General, I will work toward fulfilling that aim.

Zinda:  What have you achieved since you were elected last year?

Kamber:  Since my election the AUA has been administratively reorganized. We are planning meetings with the Assyrian activists and publicizing our stance on patriotic and national issues. Additionally, we are trying to open new channels of communication with our national, political, and governmental

Zinda:  What more do you plan to do than the former AUA leadership?

Kamber:  My duties are to accept and adhere to the constitution, program and policy of the AUA. Furthermore, I will adopt the rules laid down by the AUA Congress, which was planned partly by the former AUA leadership.

Zinda:  Have you experienced difficulties when cooperating with different Assyrian groups?

Kamber:  We are trying to establish fraternal relations with Assyrian political and national organizations in accordance with the political program of the AUA and the resolutions of its worldwide Congress. We will try to open a new page in our relationship with other organizations based on mutual respect and their work to secure the sacred human and national rights of the Assyrian
people in our homeland.

Zinda:  In your homepage you mention the following affiliates:

Assyrian American National Federation
Assyrian National Congress of Georgia
Assyrian National Council of Iran
Assyrian Association of Armenia
Assyrian Australian National Federation
Assyrian Federation of Russia

The aim of the AUA is to become an umbrella organization for all Assyrian groups.  Why then does the AUA only have 6 affiliates?

Kamber:  The AUA is an international alliance of various sectors of the Assyrian people as represented by the Assyrian national organizations and federations throughout the world. I understand that there are only few organizations that are affiliated with the AUA; however, there are few political organizations and parties that are interested in affiliating with the AUA. We need to modify the
Constitution of the AUA to accommodate these groups and others in the near future.

Zinda:  Tell our readers about your new website.

Kamber:  We have appointed a new webmaster for our home page (www.aua.net) and hope that the new team will be able to update the website daily, if possible, with new events and some history about the AUA and its policy and program.

Zinda:  What message do you have for the Assyrian people both in Assyria and abroad?

Kamber:  Work and help each other because we will not be respected or recognized globally if we are not united in our efforts and our struggle to secure the legitimate national rights of the Assyrian people and protect our national existence.

Zinda:  Dr. Kamber, thank you for your time.  We wish you and the AUA much success in 2006.

Mirror Mirror in the Wall

The Vanity of Assyrian politics

Nardin Crisby

Sometimes, in the midst of confusion, be it religious or political, it is a privilege to be a scholar in political theory. Theory says it that the eyes of the scholar are free – in an optimal way – from subjectivity. The scholar wants to find the reason behind disputes, developments, successes and failures. The world is hers or his laboratory with different agents taking sides, breaking up, coming together or fighting each other.

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Today’s Iraq and the centuries-old Assyrian question is one such laboratory – in the killings of people and in the construction of a non-Baathist Iraq (which I believe is the main re-construction of Iraq not a democratic one) the everlasting drama of freedom vs. terror is played in front us in a frightening and sometimes cowardly way.

Luckily I am a scholar and don’t need to get involved in politics that from one day to another, define my reality, my nationality and my existence. I have a distance to this internal name beauty contest of Assyrianhood. ‘Cause whatever the Baathist regime did during its long years of dictatorship, the hardest blow to Assyrianhood came from within the Assyrian movement itself. I regard the name issue debate as symptomatic for a nation in distress. As a political scholar I can refer to hundreds of volumes of books, written about nationalism, nationality, the construction of the nation-state etc that go through the development of the most important factors behind the Nation – and Assyrians should do some homework.

I live in Sweden. Democracy has been the key for what Sweden is today. It is not free from exclusion or discrimination – if so, I wouldn’t work with these issues – but it is fighting them through both EU and national measures. It is not totally xenophile, but it is trying to be. In democracy you always try to make things better, in 1970 we abolished the senate, why? ‘Cause it was some four years behind the people, in thought and in ideology. Since then, we have a unicameral system. Our government and parliament have agreed to rights for different minorities: in 1992, the indigenous Samis were given their own democratic parliament, in 1994 the gay and lesbians were allowed to marry and in 1999 the Roma people (a.k.a “gypsies”) where given minority status and so forth. Nothing in this has been easy, but who said it would be? In 1907 the monarch of Sweden commented on a democratic fait accompli: “I will not become a puppet!”; but alas, he became!

I - as the black-haired Assyrian- will always wait for the perpetual question of “Where do you come from?”. I hate this question – yes hate’d, ‘cause no answer can describe my complex heritage of a state-less ethnicity, which just for two years ago lost not only its name but also a common past – thanks to its so-called politicians. What should I say to the blue-eyed Swede? For her or him, nationality coincides with the name of the state. If you come from Iran like me you are Iranian. What would happen if she or he would see my cross? Another explanation: “I am Christian!”

Well, next question: “When did you convert?”
Answer: “Never, my people have been Christians for centuries!”
Question: “Which people?”
Answer: “The Assyrians!”
Question: “Do you mean Syrians?”
Answer: “No, Assyrian, have you read the Bible …?” (a rather rhetoric question, who ever reads Isaiah in these days?)
Question: “But, what is the difference between Assyrians or Syrians?” and so on ….

In the 14 October (2005) issue of the Swedish daily Dagens nyheter nothing is mentioned about Assyrians or ChaldoAssyrians – the circle diagram shows colours coinciding with Arabs, Kurds and “Christians etc”. That’s the Swedish picture of Iraq today or Iran.
I have hundred colours to choose from and paint my nationality: colours for Suryoyo, Chaldean, ChaldoAssyrian, Syrian, Christian, Lutheran, Bne’Adah , Bne’Diana etc. Just like a Picasso – but not as much inspiring. These colours are parts of me, of my history, of my everyday life. I need and the Swedes need a simple answer. Therefore, I have listened to the 17th century French philosopher René Descartes: Cogito ergo sum! I think, therefore I am.

I think myself Assyrian, therefore I am Assyrian! You think yourself Arab Christian, and thus you are. But it isn’t easy when you want to transform and shape every “I am” to a “we are”, when the phenomenon that shapes – ie. politics – decides what the “we are” is and how the “we” should get there! According to the utilitarian ideology – which took form during the industrial revolution of 19th century Europe/USA –if every one did what they liked to do, they would contribute to the better of their fellow citizens and the society in general – I think the Assyrian politics has definitely disproved this ideology!

I have become tired of being the re-definable. Nationhood demands stability, unity and collective amnesia! (ie. the fact that Americans don’t care that they were hundred different people 200 years ago … or?) We are prepared to care about our complicated past, therefore we cannot succeed in creating a collective NOW – but our children might. I don’t care what different Assyrian/Suryoyo/Chaldean boards of organisations try to create, I don’t care, and there you have the vanity of the organised Assyrianhood; they think that I care (by this article I do though …) Our politicians are not from the people, they are not for the people and most important of all – they are, not of me.

I hope that organised Assyrians – decorated with whatever suffix, prefix or other grammatical construction – to wake up, ‘cause right now, every thing is a show-off. In the universities maybe an anthropologist would look at you organised Assyrians or for that matter other minorities of Middle East (Kurds included) and gather sources and some exotic souvenirs of sphinxes and elaborate about how these stateless people are trying to create their identity.

At last the king of Sweden, had to reconsider his situation – when will you? I am tired of being re-defined: please keep us individuals out of your politics. Maybe some people would argue, that if I have so much criticism, why do I not enter Assyrian politics? It is a good question: I am a scholar, not a politician – it is my right to agonise over my nation and analyse it, the problem is: who listens and who bothers? Here you have heard my voice – there are millions of voices left. But as long as you shout to only hear your own – why bother?

Mr. Nardin Crisby is a political scientist living in Stockholm, Sweden.  To read his previous article in Zinda click here.

Rundles of the Middle East

Frederick P. Isaac
Copyright © Frederick P. Isaac, 2005.  All Rights Reserved.
21 December 2005

Non-Moslems of the Middle East, mainly Arab Christians, dare not speak openly about their political and social grievances. Arab Christians have become rungs for the Arab Moslems. Arab Moslems use the Arab Christians to climb the ladder of success at their expense. They continue to kowtow the Assyrians, the Jews and the Arab Christians themselves, in the Middle East and North Africa, to utter submission and obedience, depriving them of basic human rights. They have been conditioned to obey and serve their affluent Moslem masters. Since the Arab Islamic invasion of the Middle East in the mid-7th century AD, the Christians have lost their land, political independence and wealth, unable to lead the cherished life of their forefathers. They are pawns in the hands of the Arab Moslems, unable to break free to regulate their life, as they please.

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In the eyes of the Moslems, the Arab Christians are no more than Janissary/Mamlukes. And they will remain so, until they rise up and break away to chart their own course of action for an independent Arab Christian State. Living under foreign occupation means living in captivity. I understand their situation and empathize with their problem. They are no better than the Assyrians and Israelites except that they are given freedom of movement and are allowed to seek employment and residence in most Islamic countries, because they racially relate themselves to Arab stock. They were driven to do so to ensure their survival. Since they had lost their land, like the Israelis and Assyrians, they lost control over their resources. The non-Moslems have since become pawns in the hands of the Moslems just to survive or find a way out of their misery.

Traditionally, the Arab Moslem and Arab Christian lived together as nomadic tribes. They shared the whole of the Arab Peninsula. They lived side-by-side and coexisted without much flare. Even many Jewish tribes once lived among them. They tolerated one another in all walks of life such as worship, trade and freedom of travel and association. They developed close relationships, based on mutual respect and observance of certain traditional rights of travel and movement, sharing water resources, the right of way, and the right of access to pastureland, to market outlets for navigation and trade and the right of worship.

Beginning in about the middle of the 7th century AD, the whole of the Arab Peninsula began to disintegrate. It fell apart and blew out of all proportions, theologically, politically and culturally. Mohammad Ibn Abdullah Al-Quraishi began to reshape the Arab Peninsula in the image of his newly emerging religion of Islam. Under his direct leadership, Prophet Mohammad reformed the Arab Peninsula by introducing a New World Order. He constituted the religion of Islam as the foundation stone on which the Arab society would be built. Arab Peninsula assumed a new concept of far-reaching dimensions: One God, One Nation, and One Language. Like a snowball, it began to roll and grow. It has since become unstoppable. The notion of domineering the world with the religion of Islam has since been firmly entrenched in the minds of his benefactors, and followers of the faith. The notion of this long-term objective has just started breaking at the seams, spilling over in all directions. This surge must be stopped and brought under control at all cost and rid the world from its menace.

All previous religions, territorial dominions and cultures were to be phased out. They were destined to total elimination. Henceforth, only one God would be observed, one script would be recognized as the liturgical language and one form of social culture would be rendered as acceptable to guide the people’s daily code of conduct. All the rest would be phased out.

This theological surge had presumably been based on the call to “HAYYA LI-NUGH-DHI-A LKAW-NA WA NUS-LIMUHU - FA-SAIFUNA HAQQON WALA MANN YASODDOH, meaning: “Come on, let us subdue the world and Islamise it - our sword is just and no one can repulse it.” A millennium ago, they lacked the know-how and failed. A century ago, they lacked the financial means. Beginning the 21-century, they have got both, and more zealotry.

All future intermarriages would be sanctioned under the strict Islamic Shari’ah law. It would be conditional to sever all relations with the past. In the final analysis, except for Moslems, all other religions would have to abide by this law, lump it or leave it. By their lapse into seclusion and neglect, their old parental linkage would erode to total extinction, and disappear. All civilizations would melt into the Islamic pot. Islam would supersede all existing religions. Islam would finally become the Abode of Peace domineering the whole world. Any deviation from Al-Ssirat Al-Mustaqeem, the true path of Allah, would be considered as dissension and subversion. The offender would be meted out with severe punishment.

Moslems use the Arab Christian as a bridgehead. They more often use him as a rundle on the ladder of success. Later, they use him as a footstool to rest their feet in relaxation as a sign of triumph. The Arab Moslem indulges in business ventures, using the Christian as a rung, to consolidate his foothold in a new venturesome bid, to help him ensure success. Christians are also often used as a front, like a façade in Arab and non-Arab countries. They leave the way open for the Arab Christian to take over and promote the launched enterprise. This stratagem covers the whole world, except China. For now, much of their capitals are invested through a second party.

Twenty-two (22) Arab states, spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa, are Islamic. Arab Christians do not enjoy full political rights and less so cultural rights. Christians in the Arab Islamic states are denied political rights in the true sense of the word. Few privileged positions do exist. They are assigned to Christians by appointment or decree. They are appointed in high positions without any constitutional power, void of authority. They are no more than figurehead puppets, serving their Arab Moslem masters, locally or abroad. Moslems assume the Christians as untrustworthy. They consider them unfit for high positions, not because of their high competency, but because of their Christian faith.

The difference between the Arab Moslem and the Arab Christian is mainly in religion – not race. They are Semitic. They are the same in race and demography. This results in the existence of two separate and distinct cultures, leading to total difference and variance in the concept of the two cultures. The civic and social behaviour of the individual of either side of the two societies turns into odds and ends to the point of incongruity. Though the two societies live in close proximity, side-by-side, they function independently, in complete isolation of each other, all year round. The daily activity and behavior of the bustling city and it’s surrounding, looks normal. Yet, the Arab Christian cannot accommodate himself comfortably in Moslem dominated countries. There are certain traditions and rules that override those of the Christian residents. And they are varied and many. They cause constant irritation and abuse to either side of the spectrum. It is like trying to avoid stepping on an eggshell or broken glass strewn about. The Arab Moslems move in a self-conscious manner, tinted with self-denial. They consider any place outside their turf, which does not agree with their culture, as totally strange and foreign. At times they resent it, and at others they criticize it openly.

Considering all things being equal, the Arab Moslems and Arab Christians are similar in many ways. They share the same Arabic language and script; musical instruments, music and songs; food and apparel. In some instances, they even tread on common grounds such as going to the same school, teahouse, cafe, restaurant, cinema, and entertainment centres. They commute on public transport without much fuzz. At one time, they even owned camels. They used them as caravans in trade and travel. Yet, practically, Islamic states, first and foremost, now belong to the Moslem male.

The Moslem male generally overwhelms all public utilities and institutions. He is free to access them without any reservation. Yet he is seldom seen in company with his female partner in a social gathering, unless, of course, the function is exclusively Islamic. Although the Moslem female has full freedom of movement in public, she is very careful not to associate with non-Moslem males. Other than such places as learning institutions and place of work, she is not allowed to associate with non-Moslem male under any circumstances. Mixed public functions are a taboo. Otherwise, she would be questioned, and warned and probably punished. Honour killing is still prevalent.

Since both societies function within a very limited scope of fellowship, they become socially distant and closed-minded. The question arises as to why the Arab Christians should not have their own Christian state? Like Moslem monarchies such as the states of Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and scores of other Arab Islamic states, spread all throughout the Middle East, the Arab Peninsula and North Africa? The Arab Christians would, at least, be free from a culture that, though it bears resemblance to theirs in formalities only, it is irrelevant to them, as far as the Christian culture is concerned. At times the two societies become irritable to each other, and lock up in a long struggle because of conflict of interest.

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Over fifteen (15) million Arab Christians live in Arab Moslem States. The government system of all the 22 states, listed by the Arab League, is defined as Moslem, based on the Shari’ah law. The Arab Christians have been muzzled. Their political rights are denied. Their social rights are diminishing, forcing them to blend with the Arab Moslem culture. The Islamic Shari’ah Law is systematically regulating their life to utter subservience. By this process, Islam is eroding the Christian culture. Its long-term objective is to substitute the genuine racial identity of the Egyptian Copt, the Israeli, and the Assyrian, for Arab, equating them with the Arab Christian. Does this fit with the term democracy?

Why should not the above four dispossessed nations be allowed to wrest their usurped territory, regain their independence and live under their own sovereign rule? Who sanctioned the whole of the Middle East and North Africa to the Moslem occupiers? Why is the history of the above aggrieved and dispossessed nations suppressed and hidden from the public and academic study? The more they cry for justice, the harder the United Nations suppress their demands for transparency and justice.

Arab Christians compromise their scholarly expertise for their own personal gain. Politically, they are shortsighted. Instead of striving for an Arab Christian state, of their own, using their academic excellence to regain their dignity and live a free and independent life, they compromise their principle and become complacent and obedient to the Arab Moslem states and its laws. They believe that because they term themselves Arab, they are privileged and stand a better chance of improving their lot. They could be right, but what an empty life of unfulfilled ambition. They have fallen short of their national achievement. They are leading an exaggerated life built on false hope.

Out of desperation, the Arab Christians have now turned on the Assyrians, in an attempt to grasp their heel and drag them down with them, into the abyss, terming them Arab. They have been backing the Arab Moslems against the indigenous Israelis, Assyrians and Copts for centuries. Being Arab, they habitually side with the Palestinians. They endear themselves to the Arab Moslems and appease them. In return the Arab Moslems award them with generous job placement, and facilitate matters to them so long as they side with the Islamic Arab policy.

The dispossessed Assyrian Nation looks at the world affairs in a realistic manner. Assyrians are Christians. They believe in their God, Yahweh – the Living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob-Israel. God’s promise that He will revive and restore Assyria is assured in Job 14:7-9 and Isaiah 19:23-25. Or else, the world should adopt the scientific Process of Evolution of the “Big Bang” theorem. All religions should go and be done with, constituting their ethical and moral values on benevolence and human justice, rather than the Divine and the Ten Commandments. Where do the world sectarians stand in regard to this issue? Why are they silent, or sitting on the fence, and not speaking out? It is indicative of the ecclesiastics’ weak faith in the word of their Creator. If humankind is the creature of a big bang he certainly will end up with a big bang. So, why turn against each other, why the rush? Unless, of course, one believes in the redemption of life, to challenge life and live it to the full, with all its good and ills, always doing good and hoping for the best.

The spread of such weakness is evidenced in all religions. It has caused many of their congregations to stray from the truth. Some ecclesiastics formulate new and different interpretations of certain passages and versions of the Scriptures. They license themselves to marry couples of the same sex, to exaggerate or understates certain verses of the Scriptures as outmoded, consecrating the new interpretations as Devine, connecting them to the Word of God as legitimate. They have lost touch with their mission of preaching and practising of the Ten Commandments of God and the Covenant of the New Testament. They act as the “foolish shepherd”.

The sad thing about this change is that the West has lately interpreted the concept of God as different from its originally genuine acceptance. To them, religion has become monotonous. And paradise as a reward, with nothing much to do, everlasting life becomes tiresome. Their progress and advancement in technology has strayed them from focusing on finding the truth, unaware, or unwilling to accept that at the end of the day, the New Scrolls that would be opened…would be entirely different from what the mortal man had envisaged.

The Assyrians have been tempered. They will hold fast to their faith unperturbed. Assyrians will not compromise their faith for the world comfort. They have so far endured for nearly two thousand years. They will continue to do so, though the worst is yet to come.

Persons that abandon their mother tongue and adopt a foreign one resemble orphaned children, living on pittance. Whether by choice, by design or default, the Arab Christians have adapted to the unpalatable lifestyle of their surrogate out of disparity and non-performance. Often times, they play down the seriousness of their plight. They are happy the way they are - very successful. Some reckon they are full to the brim, and doing very well. There is no need to change, as some of them say. Some carry dual citizenship. They can visit their country of origin whenever they feel like it. To them, that’s life. Not like the Assyrian, ‘the scum of the earth’, as they sometimes call the Assyrians and Jews. The Arabs also add that they, the Assyrians, are still living in the past – in the Dark Ages. And that they always come up with excuses just because they were kicked out and finished. Carrying on, with this mentality, the Arab Christians will eventually follow suit. If they continue in this trend, they will become ‘dregs of the earth.’ They better sober up and reconsider their situation, or they will soon end up in a slipshod slide, hit the bottom of the pit and join the ‘dregs of the earth.’

Arab Christians relate the Assyrians to the Arab stock, through assimilation, to justify their own inaptitude and ire. They lack the moral courage to take up the challenge and demand their political rights, totally independent from the Arab Islamic states. Arab Christians will remain slavish, until they rise up and free themselves from the heavy yoke of Islam. They were historically Phoenician. Later, they claimed to be remnant of the Canaanites. Then Aramaeans. In recent past, they identified themselves with the name of the country: Lebanese. And now, they call themselves Arabs? God help the genealogists.

Until the mid fifties, Lebanon was considered as the Swiss of the East, or (Durrat Al-Sharq) Pearl of the East. It has now been relegated to (Malha [al] Sharq) - the Cabaret of the East. It is being used as an amusement center, stealing the limelight and worldly pleasures away from Cairo, Egypt and bringing them to Beirut, Lebanon. Lebanon has become (Bu’erat Fasad), the orchestra pit – the house of corruption and depravity. By doing so, the Arab Islamic states are trying to enliven the morality image of their countries, at the expense of the nominally Christian Lebanon. To look virtuous, Arab Moslems demean Lebanon as the center of promiscuity and infamy.

Arab Christians are too reluctant to act in the interest of their own country. They are so rich in scholarly knowledge, yet are so poor politically. If religion is the name of the game in the Islamic states, then it is the duty of the Arab Christians to challenge the Arab Islamic states for their rights, as the Assyrians and the Israelites are doing. They need to rid themselves of Oriental neo-colonialism. In the past it was Islamic conquests, Ottoman brutality and Western imperialism. The residue left by those three belligerents is the Islamic neo-colonialism. Neo-colonialism has to go and be done with, and with good riddance. Arab Christians should advocate and cherish the concept of an independent Arab Christian State. They need to regulate their life without the need for others to meddle in its own affairs.

Arab Christians pose as proud Arabs, especially in oil-rich states, to gain employment and promote good business relations with them. By doing so, the Arab Christians remain slumped in the quagmire of their irresolute approach of their destiny. They are living on borrowed time. The Arab Christians will eventually wear the long flowing Arab robe - Dish-Da-Sha, signifying their defeatism, especially when seen in cafes, sitting relaxed, toying with a set of beads in their hand, or high, smoking the Hubble-bubble (narghile) pipe – and in a dazed mood.

The Arab Christian population of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christianity, has recently dropped to a mere five percent (5%) or less. Do the Arab Christians honestly believe that they can hold on to Lebanon and retain it under Christian governance? With such a slack aptitude, it is doubtful. Christianity losing the birthplace of its religion, means contraction and eventual strangulation, pinning all their hope on their Lord for their salvation from their anarchists. Though hopeful, it is a long call.

Factionalism aside, the indigenous of the Middle East, and North Africa are called upon to wake up to themselves. They need to unite, and remain vigilant. They are urged to combine their efforts and form adequate fronts, strong enough to repudiate false allegations that the whole of the indigenous peoples of the Middle East and North Africa have long been vanquished or assimilated with the Arab Moslem majority. This is a blatant lie! The non-Moslem indigenous peoples of the Middle East make up scores of millions. The false ‘IN-QARA-DHU” Arabic rhetoric, for extinguished, no longer applies. It is idle talk and exaggeration. If the Arab Moslems seek to resort to the “do or die”/“The Samson Option” strategy, let them be assured that democratic countries of the free world are well prepared and ready, to take them on.

The world family of nations regards the United Nations Organization as the guardian and promoter of human rights. Nations look upon the UN as the arbiter and enforcer of laws that concern humanity at large. The UN is entrusted with the power and vested with authority to bring an end to Islamic colonialism. The UN needs to embark on the task to decolonize the above three occupied states from the Islamic Shari’ah rule. Oriental colonialism is a scourge that should be condemned by all humanity. Those who defend it are evil in disguise, like the Janjaweed devils of the Sudan. The above three states under the siege of Islam must be decolonised. They must be unshackled from the brutal Shari'ah rule and set free.

Arab Christians need to decide as to whether they wish to remain as Arab rundles, under the heel of Islam, or fight for their legitimate right and break away. Similar to scores of Arab Moslem States, Arab Christians should demand that they be recognised as ARAB CHRISTIANS, on their soil. They need to have their own independent Christian State, and live under the sovereign rule of their own Christian people and culture. A modified Lebanon would be ideal.

The world, as a whole, should rid itself of all forms of colonialism, be it in Asia, the Far East, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, or South America. The notion of building empires on the crushed bones of fellow humans is long gone. Economic growth, peace and harmony will only be maintained when equity is used as the common denominator. And when it is applied in all fairness to all human beings, considering them as one global family, yet each group within its own traditional delineated territory. The notion of domineering will stop.

Frederick Isaac was born in 1932 in Kirkuk, Iraq. His parents fled to Lebanon from Iraq after the massacre of Assyrian villagers in 1933. They returned in 1941 after his father was re-commissioned in the British Army of the Assyrian Levy. Frederick has worked in administrative positions with the Iraqi News Agency, the US International Cooperation Administration and various oil companies in Iraq and Kuwait. Married in 1962, Fred migrated with his wife and three children to Australia in 1971. Since then, he has written about the plight of the Assyrians, having his work published in various magazines.

The Angel of Nineveh

Anthony T. Nasseri

It was five o’clock in the morning my father Enlil-Nasir woke me up to start my daily chores the main part of which was to take over our small herd of sheep to the surrounding hills of our village Bit-Gousa in the valley of Nineveh. Ramsin-Nasir is my name. I have three brothers and sisters. Being the eldest to my parents naturally I had the task to carry the heavy load of the work after my father.

I got up put on my cloth wore my woolen socks my sandals “charokhi” picked up my flute “shabiba” headed towards the courtyard where my mother Arbella was busy shaking a long clay jar “metta” to extract butter rolled in a long slender bread “Lavasha picked up a bunch of grapes from hanging vines in the courtyard as I was nearing the stable of the sheep. As usual my faithful sheep dog named “Marda” was waiting for me at the gate waiving his tail a sign of being ready to start our daily chores. I opened the gate of the stable. Marda my dog took over leading the herd through the winding streets of our village. We reached the hills around the valley of Nineveh which was our final destination. It was a refreshing summer morning, still very dark. After the herd settled down seeking their daily grass I went to my usual spot for the rest. Sat on my favorite rock which I hand named it the rock of Nineveh. The rock lied on the top of the hill where a small artesian fountain the water of which were ice cold flowing down the stream to the valley of Nineveh. I ate my breakfast along with the grapes. Had a hearty drink of cold water from the fountain and watched my dog “Marda” guarding the herd carefully at the other end.

My mind was at ease eagerly waiting to enjoy the sunrise. I had never seen anything so beautiful in the nature as the scene of the sunrise at dawn over the valley of Nineveh. I picked up my flute to play some favorite melodies to the hers. The rays of the sun started to show their glamour. It was peaceful with undisturbed clear skies. The dawn had a majestic and magnificent appearance. For some reasons unknown to me the celestial regions surrounding me had a peculiar splendor. As the rays of the sun were rising with the intention to awaken the nature and to supply her required daily energy to the beast and spiritual enlightenment to the man. The eruptions of the rays of the sun during the sunrise were awesome which made me emotional with apprehension. I commenced playing my flute, in my anxiety I closed my eyes and started to play the famous song of Nineveh. To my amazement, the sound of my flute felt different and mellower. Though, my eyes were securely closed, yet the rays of the sun were getting brighter, the luster of the sun radiantly closer, the echoes of my flute were getting louder and to the deafening stage. I became fearsome of what was happening. It was breathtaking experience. Suddenly, the brightness of the sun went off so did the sound of my flute. I knew this was not a dream, in my anguish to what was happening I opened my eyes, to my astonishment there was standing before me a beautiful angel. She was a dazzling and a shining beauty that mystified me beyond my comprehension. The angle evaluating my situation took the initiative and said, fear not Ramsin I bring you greetings and salutation from your ancestors. I was bewildered, with my shivering body and chattering teeth I replied, “Greeting to you, my angel, what can I do for you.” She frowned for a moment that frightened me to death. Then the angel smiled and said, “Ramsin, I am on a mission with an important message to tell you and your were faced with humiliation, deprived from freedom of action by their captors, yet the lesson of the day made them more determined in their struggle for survival. The tireless efforts by your forefathers with added hard work and inspired dedication made them to succeed by liberating their tiny limited society from their godless captors. They planned their progress with deliberate aims and aspirations for a sustained growth with statehood total coordinated efforts. They rapidly advanced, made phenomenal accomplishment in commerce, agriculture, sophisticated irrigation system with purpose to convert the bare desert land into a productive cultivated land between two great rivers Tigris and Euphrates. They also made noticeable advances in astronomy with purpose to explore the clusters of celestial bodies in ever expanding intergalactic universe. In the process of their careful watching and recording the celestial movements they left a treasure of knowledge for succeeding generations of mankind. They made tremendous strides in the field of medicine, to cure and to heal the inflicted of their time and an initial foundation for succeeding generation of humanity. In the meantime they upgraded their armed forces, from a defensive posture, to that of the offensive. With purpose to secure the borders of their society with peaceful coexistence with their neighboring societies. As a result, they became the envy of their neighbors and a cause for their domination. They envy combined with jealousy by their neighboring countries contributed to their being constantly harassed. Consequently, they were compelled to modernize their armed forces to the highest standards and equipped them with the most modern armaments. Through which efforts they succeeded in building a greater society for their people. With total conquest of the existing societies in the ancient worlds. Our ancestors earned fame and distinction for their efforts in the betterment of human life in ancient times and contributed to the establishment of the cradle of civilization. Even in these modern times many societies of the world continue to benefit from efforts of our ancestors.

After many centuries the tide of the time and the cycle of the life reversed its course which brought unhappiness, destruction and despair to our Assyrian people. I want you to tell my story to the folks of your village, your town, and your country of domicile and to the entire Assyrians nation scattered in this vast world through available means of communications.” As I was still trembling I replied, “Yes, my angel. I shall try, so would my people to carry out your instruction and to fulfill your wishes.” The angel smiled and said, “Do not be afraid of me, Ramsin. I would not hurt you, nor your people, because, I too belong to this barren yet, so beautiful land of our forefathers. I got a little courage by asking, “who are you my angel and what are you doing here?” I noticed tears were coming out from her eyes; she then smiled and said, “I am the angel of Nineveh. I have come to tell you and your people of our tragic story, which I feel it is an ideal time for it in the process of the recent world history. You see Ramsin, my people have suffered enough. Have given a multitude of martyrs throughout the past history. Both when engaged in the nationalistic endeavors to protect our boundaries and its identity also, when were engaged in promoting the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and the spread of Christian labor in the middle east and throughout continent of Asia. Although, our supreme creator took the torch of world supremacy and the spread of the Gospel work away from us and handed over to our adversaries, yet the history has witnessed those followed us have not been an obedient servant nor a suitable replacement. Because, they have made a mockery of what was initially entrusted to them. First, they have turned our beautiful cultivated and fertile land to that of wasteland reverted back to the status of desert land when it was initially entrusted to our forefathers. The Assyrian kings and emperors from 2500 to 600 B.C. dominated the world of antiquity. During which period they amassed an enormous knowledge and know-how that enabled them to develop a powerful and progressive society unique of its kind in the history of ancient times. Through knowledge and know-how they developed beautiful cities with wide boulevards, high rises, ziggurats, schools, government buildings and palaces. They adorned these palaces with artifacts gold and silver handicrafts. They decorated their cities with stone-carved statues of marble and alabaster’s. Today these statues and artifacts are very much alive in the museums of major European countries and United States. Those interested in our ancient history when visiting these museums are amazed of the accomplishment unfortunately, have remained to nothing but rubbles in a hill among barren and desolate areas of Mesopotamia (Bit-Nahrin). Undoubtedly, this also was not the intent of our supreme creator.

Once again, our ancestors gave illumination to the supreme creator by advocating the God of Trinity. God Father, God the son, God the Holy Spirit. Particularly when they took the torch of Christianity from the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ in mid-third century. They forgot their political ambitions and their struggle for revival of their homeland. Instead, they vigorously spread the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ throughout the Middle East and greater continent of Asia. Again, the torch was passed to our adversaries. We see those who followed us turning our church buildings to the mosques, our advocating the God of trinity to that of secularism and fundamentalism. Our mission for saving souls from sin and corruption by creating peaceful co-existence among fellow men for living together in harmony. That environment has been torn to pieces by continuous conflicts between secularists and fundamentalists. Ramsin, that was neither the will of God nor the intention of our supreme creator.

The tide of the time and the cycles of the life are due to change once again. It is for this reason my message of unity and action has to resonate among our Assyrian people. At the present time we are few in numbers but rich in capabilities. Ramsin before I narrate to you he rest of my story I would like to ask you a question.” “Go ahead, my angel.” “Do you know the history of your people?” “A little, my angel.” “Who is your favorite Assyrian king?” “Ashurbanipal, my angel.” “Why him?” “Because, he was the greatest among our kings who expanded the boundaries of our empire. During his reign the boundaries of our kingdom were the largest so was the size and the beauty of our capital city of Nineveh.” “Very well, Ramsin, in that case I will narrate to you part of my story and take you to the imperial city of Nineveh during Ashurbanipal era. As a matter of fact I shall introduce you to his majesty king of kings, king of Assyrian empire, Ashurbanipal. Would you like that Ramsin?” “Oh, yes, my angel.”

Continued in the Next Issue


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Assyrians at Their Best


Ninsun Poli: A Real Family Affair

Kristiyan Assouri

When I first heard Ninsun Poli on a CD, I thought she was a mature gospel singer from the AME Baptist Church. Full of soul and flavor, her voice just drew me into a soulful journey to the heart of what music used to be: a conduit for human expression and emotion. From the singing of the first note, one really gets the picture that she has experienced what she actually sings about.

Move Over Alicia Keys!

"For Real"
Click Photo & Be Amazed

To my surprise, Ninsun has been making waves in Sweden for a while. To add to her credits, Ninsun recently opened up for the Grammy award winning R n B group, the Fugees. A soulful artist and songwriter in her own right, she is all but 20 years and has awaken the sleepy music scene with her hip, sultry, and funky sound. Because of her musical vibe and onstage appeal, Ninsun was coined in the December/2005 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine (the Swedish circulation) as one of the top trends of 2006. So you say, she's good! Really good, and, well there's more.

What's fascinating about this songstress is not that she's young, and talented. Not that she writes her own music. Not that all of the music on her EP were performances by live musicians. What has infatuated most with Ninsun's music is that it is a collaboration of the most fundamental kind; it's a family affair!

Ninsun's voyage through the entertainment world has been fully supported by her family and friends in Sweden, not to mention a growing band of supporters in the United States and abroad. Likened to a real singer's singer, she has worked with her brother Nabuchadnossar on all of her musical projects, including the production and release of her debut EP "For Real" which hit the Swedish record stores in September/2005. Nabuchadnossar and Ninsun are currently in the studios recording Ninsun's full-length album, which should be due out later this year. Nabuchadnossar is an accomplished producer in Los Angeles. While Dita, Ninsun's older sister, who manages Ninsun's career, is in her own right quite seasoned in the entertainment industry in Sweden.

Ninsun is gifted in many ways; that is self-evident. What intrigues me on a whole other level is that it is remarkable to see Assyrians working together toward a common goal. Through all of the media success and in any print or media interview, Ninsun has always credited her talents and the love of music to her family and to her Assyrian heritage. You don't have to know Swedish to know that each time she is in an interview, one hears the likes of Habib Mousa playing in the background. In an industry where changing your identity, and your name, just to get the next gig and sign the next recording deal is unfortunately a quite familiar scene, I am pleased that Ninsun has stayed true to her roots. We need more people like you to represent our nation positively, when given the opportunity to be under the world’s spot light. We say to all of those who have helped nurture you and shape your foundation, “basma ganokhon.” The rest, khati soorta, is up to you.

By the way Ninsun, Aretha called and she wants her voice back!

When not listening to hip-hop and R&B, Ms. Assouri works as a Legal Councel in Southern California.  A great humanitarian and promotor of education among Assyrian students Ms. Assouri also advises Zinda on civic issues.

Thank You
The following individuals contributed to the publication of this issue:

Fred Aprim California
Dr. Matay Beth Arsan Holland
Ramin Daniels California
Mazin Enwiya Chicago
Anahit Khosroyeva Armenia
Nineb Lamassu United Kingdom
Johny Messo Holland
Edward Mikhail California
Fred Rustam Arizona

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

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