Somewhere in Damascus, there is a mother that gave birth to a child, whose father cried “save my son,” and three organizations with international reputation that answered the prayers of Iraq’s war victims ~
Ten year-old Stewar Aziz arrived to Syria from Iraq with big dreams. But after an accident fractured his left arm, he was diagnosed with supracondylar left humeral fracture for which ORIF and application of a cast was recommended. Aziz underwent a surgery and has been receiving post-operative care. Breta is 15 years old Iraqi female who came to Syria for evaluation and treatment for psychiatric illness. The patient is currently undergoing psychiatric intervention sessions.
Alaa' Hassan, 30 year-old female, is another Iraqi refugee, who after recurrent lower abdominal pain was diagnosed with uterine fibroids and advised to undergo a total abdominal hysterectomy. The proposed surgery was successfully completed at a local hospital in Syria where Hassan is expected to make a full recovery.
Hiba Harbi is a 30 years old Iraqi female who came to Syria for evaluation of her left eye. She was diagnosed with refraction derangement and retinal detachment. She was recommended to undergo operative intervention. She decided to put the intervention on hold for now, but has received a partial treatment.
Evan Danial, 40, and Sajida Mahmood, 41, both Iraqi refugees in Syria. Both, after having recurrent upper right quadrant pain, were diagnosed with cholecystitis, for which they were advised to undergo laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The patients underwent a successful surgeries and have been reported to be making progress in their recovery.
All patients were referred by the Assyrian Aid Society-Syria, while the Medical Relief Project of the Assyrian Medical Society approved the medical care. Funding was provided by the Assyrian National Council of Illinois. To learn more, visit www.assyrianmedical.org.
July 20, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chicago ~ Sunday, July 18th, 2010 Chicago welcomed Sabri Atman from the Seyfo Center for Assyrian Genocide in a lecture and dinner gala hosted by the Assyrian National Council of Illinois.
For the past few weeks, the windy city was anticipating the arrival of the once teen who fled his homeland Turkey seeking political asylum in Europe. His next stop was nothing short of a series of unpleasant incidents ~ crossing borders and pleading his case to prove his worth to be granted official residency.
But now that he has reached his final destination, one thing is clear, Sabri has proven that while some men have a calling in life, others do become legends, and the growing pains from the past become “seyfos” (swords) from which they draw their strength.
In his lecture, “The Forgotten Assyrian Genocide,” Atman clearly demonstrated the Turkification of the Assyrians, likewise the Armenians and the Pontian and Anatolian Greeks in a historical timeline beginning in 1843.
For the past ten years, the Seyfo Center for Assyrian Genocide has gazed its focus on “education,” particularly in Europe, where it has hosted more than one thousand genocide lectures and published books ~ “The Forgotten Genocide,” “Massacres, Resistance, Protectors,” and “Seyfo: The Assyrian Genocide in International Law,” to name a few, along with information brochures and booklets which have become widely-spread.
Among its notable achievements, the Seyfo Center has visited with and pleaded the Assyrian Genocide before Europe’s Parliament (Belgium), the Swedish Parliament, and Great Britain’s House of Commons. The results have been groundbreaking! Ironically, Sweden, the country which once fought very hard to deport Sabri back to Turkey, has been the first in the world to recognize the
Assyrian Genocide, where it won by one vote (131 to 130), issuing a formal recognition of the Assyrian Genocide on March 11, 2010.
Currently, “Seyfo” is closing-in on Europe’s Parliament to become the second to recognize the Assyrian Genocide. And if “Seyfo” gains more financial and political support, it has estimated that in the next five years, twenty countries will have formally attested to and recognized the Assyrian Genocide, including Armenia, Greece, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, and the United Nations.
When asked for his opinion about Turkey’s reaction to Sweden’s recognition of the Assyrian Genocide, Sabri said “In 1915, 3 million people ~ the Assyrians, Armenians and Pontian and Anatolian Greeks were systematically killed by the Turkish government and their lands taken away. Yet, Turkey continues to deny the genocide it has committed against these people, and spends an annual $400 million to sweep the genocide saga under the rug.”
“It is a fact that Turkey is not happy with the activities of “Seyfo,” but as its representative and an Assyrian nationalist, I don’t care about them and I will not rest until Turkey (and the Kurds) apologizes to my people and pay for its heinous crimes.” Sabri went on to say “and it won’t be long until we teach U.S. President Barak Obama how to say “Seyfo” in Assyrian (Syriac).”
Sabri Atman’s recent trip to the United States, a guest of the Assyrian Aid Society, included lectures in Los Angeles and Arizona, and in Chicago where he was hosted by the Assyrian National Council of Illinois.
Forthcoming plans for “Seyfo” are to open educational and research centers in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles in United States.
Sabri Atman was born in Nsewin (Nseeben), Tur-Abdin in Southeast Turkey. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a Master’s Degree in Political Science.
For more information on the Seyfo Center for Assyrian Genocide, please visit http://www.seyfocenter.se/
Chicago ~ The son of Helen Talia, an Assyrian Writer and Activist, Slewo Awesha Oshana graduated from Conant High School on Sunday, June 6, 2010, after completing a four-year general education curriculum.
The graduation ceremony, taking place at the Sears Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, Slewo was joined by his mother Helen Talia, grandmother Rejina Talia, aunts & uncles, and other family members ~ Anwar Talia, Janan Talia, Nahrain Talia-Khoshaba and daughters Ashouraita-Elishwa Khoshaba and Ninevehta-Nahrain Khoshaba, and Shameran Talia-Mrza and daughters Lillia-Shameran Mrza and Larsa-Helen Mrza from Arizona.
Slewo will be attending Harper Community College this fall where he will earn an Associate Degree before entering DePaul University's School of Journalism and Political Science.
Congratulations Slewo on achieving your first milestone and good luck on all future endeavors.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 17, 2010
May 12, 2010 ~ Returning from a recent trip to Lebanon, Helen Talia, traveling with her friend Laurice Somo, both from Chicago, approached the security gates at Istanbul Atatürk International Airport, carrying a host of religious (Christian) gifts ~ crosses, rosaries in her carry-on handbag.
“No sooner did I approach the first security attendant, says Talia, my bag was turned upside down and ridded of all the religious gifts I had brought back from places of worship I had traveled thousands of miles in pilgrimage to Lebanon ~ Mar Charbel and Haresa. Needless to say, the manner in which the procedure was carried out was very vicious and without any regard to the value that another human places on his or her spiritual practices.
I gestured to the young woman handling the items to use caution, but instead, and rather in a sarcastic tone, she stared me in the eyes and said in the English language, ‘do you have a problem?’ then proceeded to dump everything in a big garbage dumpster next to her, without offering me an explanation, then quickly moved me to the next security station.
In the meantime, the otherwise forbidden [liquid] items, the water, which I was carrying in my bag, remained untouched and made it through security. I began to speculate the obvious that the intrusion was not part of security, but rather a deliberate attack on my faith and a form of intimidation.
When asked to place a complaint at the second security station, a female supervisor, proceeded to contact two airport police, both male, one of whom grabbed me by the left arm while snatching my U.S. Passport and flight boarding pass out of my right hand. ‘Now, do you want to place a complaint?’ asked the security supervisor angrily.
This all happened in what seemed to be in the blink of an eye . . . I noticed the one officer who grabbed my passport quickly made a photocopy of it, claiming it was necessary in order to document the complaint, while pretentiously placing a call to a superior who would handle the claim, one who never made it to the scene.
With only twenty minutes left for my flight to take off to Chicago, still no visible sign of anyone who was coming to address the issue, I began to realize that I was being given the run-around. At this juncture, I concluded my flight, but vowed to follow-up with a story and a letter to the Turkish Embassy upon returning to the United States,” concludes Talia.
This story is dedicated to the memory of the unborn Assyrian, Armenian and Pontian and Anatolian Greek children, whose lives were stolen before birth, and whose mothers were raped while carrying the seed of life in their holy wombs during the Ottoman Empire, the Young Turks era and the formation of the Republic of Turkey.
This article calls to the Republic of Turkey to recognize the Genocide and criminal activities committed against the Assyrians, Armenians, and Pontian and Anatolian Greeks c. 1870-1930, and to establish grounds for restitution.
Helen Talia was born in Baghdad and raised in Chicago, where she currently resides. She is a Certified Public Accountant, a writer and an activist.
Assyrian Golden Tablets Estimated $ 10 Million
"(April 12, 2010) -- A recent New York state court case has brought to light the remarkable journey of an ancient gold tablet from the sands of Iraq to a safe-deposit box in Long Island.
The 3,200-year-old artifact, which fits easily into the palm of a hand, disappeared from the Vo...rderasiatisches Museum in Berlin during World War II and reappeared among the possessions of a Brooklyn liquor store owner several years later. Originally, the tablet was made to tell the story of the construction of an Assyrian temple in Mesopotamia, in what is now Iraq. But during its 20th century travels, it has also come to represent the story of one Jewish family's suffering in the Holocaust.
The gold tablet was found during an excavation around the city of Ashur, now Qual'at Serouat, Iraq, by a team of German archeologists led by Walter Andrae. The inscribed tablet, which was discovered in the foundation of the Ishta Temple, is actually a construction document, according to the judge. It dates to the reign of the Assyrian King Tukulti-Ninurta I (1243-1207 BCE) who expanded the Assyrian empire but was later killed by his son.
On March 30, Judge John B. Riordan of the Surrogate's Court of the state of New York ruled that the artifact -- which is worth an estimated $10 million -- will remain in the possession of the Flamenbaum family."
Dankha Zomaya “Sculpturor” presents "Research in Art" ~ MAY 1 & 2, 2010, 7 p.m., at the Assyrian National Council of Illinois (MOUTWA), 9131 Niles Center Road, Skokie, IL 60076.
Dankha Zomaya was born in 1960 in Syria. His studies include a Degree in “Fine Arts” from the University of Damascus.
Among his notable achievements, he has more than twenty-two solo and joint exhibitions in the Middle East, Europe and North America, and Sculpture Symposiums in Syria and Bulgaria. Many of his sculptures are considered “collectibles” that have captured national audience where they are currently displayed at the National Museum (New Art Gallery in Damascus, Syria), the Ministry of Culture, and private international collectors galleries and exhibitions.
Most recently, his new research on sculpture was a point of interest to many researchers of plastic art and students of fine art faculties in and outside of Syria.
Currently residing in Chicago, his affiliations include membership in the Skokie Art Guild and the International Sculpture Center in United States.
سيقام معرض للنحات الاشوري المعروف دنخا زومايا بتاريخ 1 و 2 ايار من عام 2010.
المعرض سيتضمن الكثير من المنحوتات الفنية الجميلة وبعض الاعمال الجديدة ..
المكان : المجلس القومي الاشوري في سكوكي
الزمان : 1-2 ايار 2010
التوقيت : الساعة السابعة مساءً
العنوان كما هو معروف :
9131Niles Center Road, Skokie, IL 60076
الموقع الشخصي للفنان دنخا زومايا :
http://www.zomaya.ning.com/ و http://www.zomayaart.com/
دنخا زومايا في سطور :
نخا زومايا: سوريا - الحسكة - الخابور - مواليد قرية ليون ( تل كيفجي ) 1960.
- إجازة في الفنون الجميلة – جامعة دمشق.
- دبلوم دراسات عليا في الفنون الجميلة – جامعة دمشق.
- عضو إتحاد الفنانين التشكيليين السوريين.
- مدرس في معهد إعداد المدرسين بالحسكة .
- مُحاضر في كلية التربية – جامعة الفرات بالحسكة.
- له أكثر من عشرين معرضاً فردياً و عدداً من المعارض الجماعية.
- معارضه الداخلية في سوريا :"دمشق – حلب – السويداء – الحسكة – تل تمر –
القامشلي – المالكية ".
- معارضه الفردية الخارجية : " كندا – السويد – لبنان – إيران – بلغاريا ".
- شارك في سمبوز يوم بلغاريا العالمي للنحت و السيراميك 2007.
- شارك في مهرجان مرمريتا "تجمع الفنانين التشكيليين" عامي 1989/1990.
- شارك في مهرجان صدد الثالث للفنون عام 2007.
- حاز على مجموعة من الجوائز النصبية الكبيرة في سوريا.
- كُرّم داخل سوريا و خارجها و نذكر منها :
- في محافظة الرقة – متحف طه الطه عام 1999
- في كندا – مونتريال عام 2002
- في محافظة الحسكة عام 2007
- في مدينة القامشلي عام 2007
- أعماله منفذة بخامات مختلفة ( الحجر – الرخام – الخشب – البرونز – معدن مباشر – مواد مختلفة ).
لقاء مع الفنان دنخا زومايا:
وحالياً فان النحات المعروف دنخا زومايا مقيم في شيكاغو وهو عضو في نقابة الفنانين في سكوكي ولاية ايلينوي والمركز العالمي للنحاتين في الولايات المتحدة الامريكية.
الدعوة عامة .
تقبلوا التحية .
م.سركون ياخنيس - شيكاغو
Yousef Emad Dakho is a three and one half year-old child from Iraq whose family recently became refugees in neighboring Jordan, like many other Iraqi families, hoping to re-establish home away from home.
An only child to his family, Yousef fell ill to an early childhood disease that left his hearing impaired, therefore never developing the ability to speak. His only hope to ever developing “normally” was through a cochlear transplant surgery for a price tag of $28,000, a surgery that his family could never afford, not even on an engineer’s salary back home in Iraq, not even after the family had sold all their personal possessions.
Then the patient was referred to the Assyrian Medical Society by Reverend Yousif Hashweh of the Alliance Church of Amman, Jordan, whose congregation had raised a substantial amount of donations towards the child’s surgery treatments, yet still more was needed. In the meantime, the Assyrian Medical Society had previously committed to twenty-four medical cases, and thus could only donate a small portion of Yousef’s medical expenses.
But despite its limited resources, the society proceeded to intervene on the child’s behalf by recommending a specialist to review his case (medical reports), where it was determined that a surgery was necessary before the age of five in order for it to be effective, due to sound signal stimulation.
Medical Director of the Assyrian Medical Society Dr. Samir Johna contacted a few companies that manufacture the transplant device and tried to get it at a discounted rate, where the best rate was found in Jordan, at a cost of $20,000, in addition to other fees for post-surgery speech therapy and rehabilitation.
Finally, the surgery for young Yousef was secured, as the Thomas Deierlein Foundation committed to 50% of the total cost, while the Medical Relief Project of the Assyrian Medical Society approved an additional 12.5%.
The surgery has been completed in Amman, Jordan, and the child has made the expected recovery. Next, he will be undergoing speech therapy to complete his rehabilitation.
Acknowledgements ~ Thomas Deierlein of the Thomas Deierlein Foundation in New York and Reverend Yousif Hashweh and his congregation at the Church of Alliance in Amman, Jordan.
Sargon Yousif has been laid-up on his bedroom floor since January 18, 1990 where he was born to an Assyrian family in Basra, a province in Iraq, notorious for its “Southern Hospitality.”
He came into the world with Cerebral Palsy, a condition that has completely disengaged him from the ability to talk and walk, while lacking muscular strength.
“Lying on the floor,” notes Albert Davidoo, Chairman of the Assyrian Medical Society during a recent visit to the Yousif residence in Granada Hills, California, “I noticed that Sargon’s body curves in a 90-degree angle.”
“Sitting next to him while stroking his hair, I could not help but drench in a moment of sorrow as I wept for this young man whose torso had never been lifted above ground-level. Suddenly he began making unfamiliar noises, while his body shook, as he began throwing his arms in different directions. When I asked his mother, she explained to me that her son was happy that there were two men in the room.”
“It was then that I made the connection. Before taking refuge in the United States, Sargon’s father was killed by insurgents in Iraq, in a devastating auto shooting, that left Sargon and his three sisters, Katherine, 17, Sweden, 14, and Moreen, 10, fatherless, and their mother, Marlin, a widow.
Without a doubt, Sargon and his family need a lot of support. For one, through the help of a few friends and neuron surgeons, the Assyrian Medical Society has been able to provide for a wheelchair from the United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), Wheels for Humanity, among other equipment, necessary for his living condition.
Furthermore, the family needs immediate help transporting Sargon to Shriners Children Hospital – Los Angeles, where he will undergo physical therapy treatments and meet with social workers.
The family as a whole needs work-up with the Department of Human Services, with special education (tutoring) for the girls in the general study areas of mathematics, biology and history, along with necessary financial support.
After assessing Sargon’s medical needs, and the family’s overall living conditions, suddenly I noticed a photo of Assyrian entertainer Ramsen Sheeno enshrined on the door of the small bedroom that Sargon shares with his three sisters.
“I gestured to the mother, asking what this was all about, and in her words she said “my son stares at the picture and loves to listen to Ramsen Sheeno’s songs.”
“How do you know?” I asked. She said, “After 19 years of being with him, I can tell you when he is in pain and when he is happy. Ramsen is our family idol.
” Ramsen Sheeno was last spotted at the 76th Annual Assyrian National Convention in Chicago where he helped promote the Assyrian Medical Society by handing out the organization’s T-Shirts at the outdoor picnic. Since then, his humanitarian path must have caught up with him elsewhere. I suppose it is when we least expect it, God places virtues on our hearts. Ramsen Sheeno, you are our hero! May your path continue to inspire a “Road to Love.”
Spotted photo of Ramsen Sheeno in the Yousif family memoirs is from album cover “Door Alee,” released in 2006, titled after his groundbreaking song “Door Alee” written by Canadian Assyrian lyricist Dawod Barkho.
“Road to Love,” album title, also by Ramsen Sheeno was released in 2004.
Ramsen's upcoming new album is due release this November.
Update ~ During the first week of November, Ramsen Sheeno and Albert Davidoo, Chairman of the Assyrian Medical Society will be visiting with the Yousif family.
For further information about the Assyrian Medical Society, visit www.assyrianmedical.org.
Story told by Albert Davidoo, Chairman, Assyrian Medical Society
Written and forwarded by Helen Talia, Director, Chicago
October 15, 2009
The Discovery of The Assyrian Queen's Tomb in Nimrud, a lecture by Dr. Donny George Youkhanna at Northwestern University (Evanston Campus), October 29, 2009 @ 7:00 p.m.
"Dr. Donny George Youkhanna received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in archaeology from the University of Baghdad, and since 2006 has been Visiting Professor of Anthropology at SUNY Stony Brook.
An Assyrian native of Al-Anbar province, Iraq, he has directed field excavation and restoration projects at a number of archaeological sites in Iraq, including Nimrud, Nineveh, Um Al-Aqareb, and Babylon.
From 2003 to 2005 he served as Director General of the Iraq Museums, and in the following year chaired the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage. Professor Youkhanna has published extensively in the field of Mesopotamian archaeology and on issues of antiquities and cultural heritage preservation, and in 2008 received the College Art Association’s Special Award for Lifetime Achievement. He has recently contributed to Catastrophe! The Looting and Destruction of Iraq’s Past (Oriental Institute, Chicago, 2008)."
"The Discovery of The Assyrian Queen's Tomb in Nimrud," presented by
Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Anthropology
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 29, 2009
The Assyrian Medical Society in Chicago declares “ Evanston Hospital ” as a healthcare provider for the Assyrian refugees in the Chicagoland area who have exhausted their healthcare benefits, commonly offered by the Department of Human Services upon their arrival to the United States.
Service coverage is extended to residents of Chicago (North of Peterson Avenue), and North Shore suburbs, including Lincolnwood, Skokie (Chicagoland’s major Assyrian community), Morton Grove, Evanston, Glenview, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Northfield, Winnetka , Northbrook , Glencoe, Highland Park , and also east of Route 83, Niles , Des Plaines , and Park Ridge.
This service, available publicly, is based on a sliding-scale of up to 80% discount for medical, and 75% for dental. All potential patients are prescreened for eligibility, based on the number of family members, proof of income (a payroll stub, if employed), income taxes (Internal Revenue Service “IRS” Form 1040), and utility bills (electric, gas, and water).
Upon qualifying, patients are given an initial medical screening, followed by designation to a specialist, if necessary, with the exception of mental health.
The facility of Evanston Hospital Outpatient Clinic is located on the ground floor of 2650 Ridge Avenue in Evanston , Illinois.
“On behalf of The Assyrian Medical Society, I am proud to extend my gratitude to Ms. Helen Talia, “AMS” Director in Chicago , for helping facilitate this service to our Chicago Assyrian Community.” Albert Davidoo, “AMS” Chairman.
For further information, please contact the Assyrian Medical Society, Chicago Director Helen Talia at (224) 770-0523, or visit http://www.assyrianmedical.org/.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 10, 2009
Meet Danny, 16, and Michael, 9, Peera, two brothers who have designed flyers that they’ve placed on recyclable cans and bottles at neighbors’ doors with a message that says “We Will Redeem These Cans and Bottles for Cash,” in an effort to raise money to help needy Assyrian children in Northern Iraq.
They also offered a little incentive to pick up the cans and bottles from the neighborhood, and deliver them to their grandmother’s house in Modesto, where she was able to help the boys convert their goods into cash, by driving them to a nearby recycling center. Danny and Michael’s project collected a total of $200.
This encouraging story was offered by Danny and Michael’s mother, Alberta. Congratulations Danny and Michael on your benevolent efforts, grandma for helping the boys, and to Alberta for raising such wonderful young men.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 9, 2009
Jarmana, Syria ~ one of the most prevalent challenges faced by the Iraqi refugees is how to receive “just-in-time” financial aid and medical assistance.
Two million exiled Iraqis have fled their country, prior to, but especially since the fall of Saddam Hussein and the U.S. occupation, where the streets of Jarmana, a city south of Damascus, holds their relentless dreams, as well as the tears of an Iraqi mother who has been diagnosed with cancer, but can not afford treatments, and thus her three daughters hit the city streets at night to offer their young bodies, in an exchange for money, before it’s time for their mother’s next chemotherapy session.
Tel-Tamer, Syria ~ the death toll of Iraqi-Assyrians has reached hundreds. Father Bakus of Mar Sargis Church holds a Christian funeral sermon, while Romeo Iraqi and Rama Iskander of the Assyrian Aid Society wake up at 5 a.m. to dig into the fresh grounds of this beautiful Assyrian village, where they will wash and lay to rest the bodies of their dead, some family, many friends, from their ancestral homeland ~ Iraq, all buried without caskets. Each casket in Syria costs 20,000 Syrian Liras (“SL"), while morgue refrigeration for a body is 6,000 to 7,000 SL.
Like other Middle-Eastern countries where healthcare is subsidized by the government, public hospitals in Syria rank among the highest in death rate within the region, due to malpractice. Known for administering the wrong medication, or the wrong dosage of medication, patients turn up in the morgue by the morning. “Syria’s healthcare, despite improvements in recent years, exhibits significant disparities in availability, and key indicators in Syria show that infectious diseases and illnesses remain serious problems.”
A few weeks ago Tahreer Al-Zubaidy, 28, collapsed at the center of the Assyrian Aid Society while seeking assistance for her ovarian tumor. She was rushed to St. Louis Hospital in Damascus where she underwent an emergency operation.
Mental illnesses, including major depressive disorders have become very popular among the Iraqis, due to high levels of stress. While depression and premature aging are interrelated, a 30-year-old male, who suffers from clinical depression, is mistaken for a 60 year-old.
An occupied apartment that is rented for 1,200 SL to a family of five is suddenly vacated and re-rented to another newly-arrived Iraqi family for 1,500 SL.
Yet, despite these dominating conditions in which they continue to live, Syria remains among the “best” host for Iraqi refugees in the Middle East by long shot.
These are only samples of the stories that tell of what the Iraqis are facing today while in refuge. And while the end always justifies the means, these are the means by which they are living ~ hostile, degrading, inhumane conditions. Nothing short of injustice to humanity, there is no running, nor hiding from the certainty of the dysfunction that the multiple wars and a U.S. led embargo of nearly thirteen years have served ~ a nation in exile, women in prostitution, premature birth defects, and high death rate. It has brought this old civilization down on its knees, pushed its population across international borders, by whatever means possible, crimes of hatred, rape, harassment, and even church bombings.
To learn how you can help, please visit www.assyrianmedical.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 21, 2009
Indeed, there can be miracles when you believe ~ Following the medical cases of Virigina Elias, Tony Hedo, and Balsem Nissan who are currently continuing their treatments in Syria, the Assyrian Medical Society has been able to undertake more cases. Sargis Benyamen is a 17 year old Iraqi refugee in Syria who has been diagnosed with left ear tympanic membrane perforation that has failed non-operative management. If left untreated, the patient is at risk of hearing loss in that ear and recurrent infections and tinnitus. The patient was seen, evaluated, and was advised to undergo a surgical repair.
The Medical Relief Project of the Assyrian Medical Society had approved the necessary funds (15,000 SL) for tympanoplasty. The surgery was successfully performed.
Tahreer Mahmood Al-Zubaidy is a 28 years old Iraqi refugee in Syria who has been diagnosed with left ovarian tumor (Teratoma) for which surgical intervention was recommended. While visiting the representatives of the Assyrian Medical Society in Damascus, Syria to ask for help, she collapsed and was transferred immediately to St. Louis Hospital in Damascus, where an urgent surgical intervention was successfully performed.
The Medical Relief Project of the Assyrian Medical Society was able to cover the incurred cost of (30,000 SL). The patient is reported to be in excellent condition and is expected to make a full recovery.
Meanwhile at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Los Angeles, where Albert Davidoo is the Vice-Chairman and currently oversees the Iraqi refugee patients, case by case, “Little Solen,” who arrived with her mother Tara Israel last June, has completed two out of three surgeries and is waiting for her last one, which will most likely take place sometime in September.
Solen is a 6 years old child from Iraq who was born with a congenital absence of the right ear lobe. This will leave a life long psychological trauma on her. There are currently no capabilities to have it repaired in Iraq where she came from.
The Medical Relief Project of the Assyrian Medical Society was able to partnership with the Shriners Hospital for Children – Los Angeles, where Solen is given a chance for a plastic reconstruction, which involve a series of complex plastic surgery reconstruction procedures.
The Assyrian Medical Society applauds the international Assyrian community for supporting the greatest cause, to save humanity.
To learn how you can help, visit http://www.assyrianmedical.org/
Ms. Virginia Elias is a 24 year-old Iraqi refugee in Syria who was diagnosed with a recurrent neuroendocrine nasal tumor (cancer) that was treated with chemotherapy, and is currently under several sessions of radiation therapy.
The patient has reached out to the Medical Relief Project of the Assyrian Medical Society [“AMS”] to sponsor some of her radiation therapy sessions.
The project has approved to cover some of the costs, totaling (21,000 Syrian Liras [“SL”]) to sustain the continuity of the treatment plan. The allocated financial aid was delivered to the patient through AMS representatives in Syria.
Mr. Tony Hirmiz Hedo is a 39 year-old Iraqi refugee in Syria who has been crippled by a ruptured right-sided nucleus bulbosus of the L5-S1 spinal vertebrae causing severe back pain. The patient was evaluated by a specialist in Syria who recommended an urgent operation to prevent permanent nerve damage.
The Medical Relief Project of the Assyrian Medical Society has approved to cover 50% of the cost of the surgery, a total of (31, 000 SL), that was successfully completed in August, 2009 at the St. Louis Hospital in Damascus, Syria.
Mr. Balsem Gular Nissan is also an Iraqi refugee in Syria who has been complaining of distortion of vision, with multiple vision and sensitivity to light. He was diagnosed with bilateral Keratoconus of the eyes that failed non-operative management.
The patient was referred to a specialist through the assistance of the Roman Catholic Church which has paid 75% of the cost. The Medical Relief Project of the Assyrian Medical Society has approved to cover the remaining 25% of the cost (22,000 SL).
The patient has successfully undergone intrastromal corneal ring segment implantation on one side and keratoplasty on the other.
On the horizon ~ Dr. Samir Johna, Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine has evaluated the medical report of Mr. Wilson Sargis Benyamen, a 46 years old Iraqi-Assyrian refugee in Syria who has a perforated tympanic membrane of the right ear that may have been due to a near by explosion. If not treated, he is subject to the loss of hearing in that ear and recurrent infections and tinnitus. A surgery called tympanoplasty is required which costs $430.
The Assyrian Medical Society has appropriated the monies for the treatment through its Medical Relief Project in Syria.
Also on Dr. Johna’s agenda is the medical report of Mr. Richard Danial Somo, also an Iraqi-Assyrian refugee in Syria who is 49 years old with microscopical hematuria. This patient is in need of a bladder cystoscopy (a procedure under anesthesia) to rule out and some times even treat early bladder cancers. This procedure costs about 30,000 Syrian Lira ($650).
This treatment, too, has been approved through the Medical Relief Project of the Assyrian Medical Society.
The Assyrian Medical Society in the United States extends its deepest appreciation to the following persons and organizations in Syria for their orderly assistance and timely intervention:
St. Louis Hospital in Damascus, Syria , The Assyrian Aid Society, Syria for their intercession on behalf of AMS patients to receive discounted medical treatments, and the Assyrian Medical Society representatives, Syria ~ Ms. Sargina Youshya and Mr. Yobert Ethnail. Mr. Benyamen Admon, Canada.
For more information, or to learn how you can help, please visit http://www.assyrianmedical.org/.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 21, 2009
In the Alchemist, Paulo Coelho writes that when we dream, the whole universe aligns itself to help us realize that which we dream. He speaks of Personal Legends, our calling in life, and that in meditation, we do in fact find that the world has a soul, and that the soul is found in every facet of life ~ face, plant, animal. They all have souls that are transmitted into physical forms that we encounter in our personal experiences. Some we take with us for the rest of our journey in this embodiment, while others are just lessons that we either learn from, or go back to the lesson once again.
I sat across from Salma Younan as she tearfully told me the story of how her son ended up in a wheelchair. Samer Butrus was eleven years old in 2003 when he was caught by a land mine that blew off his left leg and shattered his right one, while volunteering to help secure water in his village, Kremlish.
Out of the ruins of “Dur Sharukin” from the reign of “King Sargon” in the ancient Assyrian village of Kremlish, located in the heart of the Nineveh Plain, (Meshtakha D’Nineveh, Assyrian,) Samer came to us after undergoing an emergency surgery in Iraq which left him with above the left knee amputation and open fasciotomy wounds on the right leg, in addition to the damaged sensory nerve of the remaining right leg.
In Iraq, he had no chance of walking due to the lack of sensation in the remaining leg. He was offered another amputation that would have made it extremely difficult to walk, even if the proper prosthesis were to be found.
Back in the States, where Shriners Hospitals for Children – Los Angeles has become a “Shrine” for almost every Assyrian child that has visited the United States for medical treatments, the Assyrian Medical Society, through the intercession of its Chairman Albert Davidoo, who is also the Vice-Chairman at Shriners, was able to petition for Samer to undergo the necessary procedures, where he was accepted and has been for nearly one year.
The procedure, thus far, has been to save the right leg so that he can walk in it and use it as a natural crutch for the left leg prosthesis. He has also undergone nerve transplantation of the right leg three months ago. Just weeks ago, it was time to fit him in prosthesis for the right leg and for the first time since 2003, he is now able to walk and is finally free of his wheelchair.
Like most things in life, essentially everything has a way of working itself out. Samer, too, has made full circle with his recovery, as best as his limitations have allowed him to, without turning back. But finding cure for patients is more than just healing their physical challenges. It is giving hope to the desolated, far beyond what the war has taken away from them. It is the strengthening of the soul to connect to the fiber of humanity, oftentimes rendered by brokenness to the point of humility, which in turn births the capacity to serve mankind without any reservations or exceptions. After all, what good is it if in the process of healing the body, the soul is left without nurturing? In the end, what we each need the most is to heal those parts that are broken in us.
For Samer, despite physical limitations there is a far greater proof that the accident back in 2003 was not, but an intersection, because what God wants to do on the earth, He will do through intercessors. Today, despite the daunting ordeal that halted Samer’s volunteerism, God has placed upon the heart of Albert, who himself has become a “Shrine” of hope upon whose heart God has placed His desires. After all, Albert’s own intercession was not quite an accident either.
Throughout their journey together, these two men have bonded so much that they have perfected the “dance” of giving and receiving. Albert has exemplified the art of breeding a new generation of a philanthropist, demonstrated advocacy, and above all, instilled characteristics of a good human being in Samer. This is how succession happens, when the notion to serve humanity prevails above all else.
A good soul deserves a good body to live in ~ Still resolved to save those around him, Samer’s perseverance to salvage his ability to walk again is a testimony of will and a strength of character, qualities that distinguish survivors from victims. In summary, Samer has refused to be labeled by victimization.
In conclusion, I challenge my readers to answer the following question: How have you impacted another person’s life after having left a mark on it?
The Assyrian Medical Society would like to thank the following selfless volunteers who assisted with the completion of Samer’s medical mission ~ Dr. Srood Maqdasy, Mr. Salim Kako, the Assyrian Democratic Movement ~ Iraq.
Mr. Salim Alyawer (Abu Umar), United States Embassy ~ Jordan.
Wilson and Helen Nicolai, Romel Neesan (2008 Volunteer of the year), Ramina and Edward Sardarbikian and family, David and Nineveh Lazar, John Jacob and family, Yousif Jacob, Joan Mansour and family, Ashur Giwargis, His Holiness Mar Emmanuel of Mar Shallita Church ~ Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of The East, Gilbert Yousefpour, St. George Egyptian Church and St. Mary Assyrian Church of the East, Baba Adram, Ben Michael Fard, Ashur and Nanet Aghasi, Emil Rostamo, Charlie Pirayoo, Dr. Lorence Esho, Dr. Abdul Aziz, Dr. Youil Mamook, Mr. Youkie Khaninia, Zabo & Maggie, Nahrain Lazar, Nina Klyana, Marcos Marcos and many more ~ United States.
Dedicated to the loving memory of the late Archbishop Mar Paulos Faraj Rahho who bestowed the honor of “The Hero of Kremlish”upon Samer ~ “True love is not loving a person that is complete, but completely loving a person that is incomplete.”
To learn more about the Assyrian Medical Society, visit http://www.assyrianmedical.org/.
Lectures, Art Exhibit, Youth Excellence, Soccer and Basketball Tournaments, Bazaar and Nightly Entertainment:
Sargon Gabriel, Albert Mansour, Ninos David, Nagham Mousa, Joanne David (BulBul) Ramsen Sheeno, Talal Graish, Lida Lawando.
(65 and older) and Students (13 years to College age):
Athletes: $50 (playing in Soccer and Basketball must be on the program)
Children 12 years and under free
Register for 3 nights at the hotel and get 2 free banquet dinner tickets as well as free breakfast for 2 people per room, additional quests pay 6.00 per person for breakfast.
For registration and for further information, please visit http://www.aanf.org/ or call 847-673-9230
WHEREAS the denial of genocide is widely recognized as the final stage of genocide, enshrining impunity for the perpetrators of genocide, and demonstrably paving the way for future genocides;
WHEREAS the Ottoman genocide against minority populations during and following the First World War is usually depicted as genocide against Armenians alone, with little recognition of the qualitatively similar genocide against other Christian minorities of the Ottoman Empire;
BE IT RESOLVED that it is the conviction of the International Association of Genocide Scholars that the Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Empire between 1914 and 1923 constituted a genocide against Armenians, Assyrians, and Pontian and Anatolian Greeks.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Association calls upon the government of Turkey to acknowledge the genocide against these populations, to issue a formal apology, and to take prompt and meaningful steps toward restitution.
July 13, 2007
Special recognition: Ms. Thea Halo (Assyrian & Pontian Greek descent), author of “Not Even My Name,” who presented papers, attended panels, was denied, but resisted and fought to earn recognition and help pass the resolution instated by the IAGS acknowledging the Assyrian genocide.
Presented by: Helen Talia, Chicago (August 7, 2009)
Date: Sunday, October 4, 2009
Registration Fee: Adults - $25, Children (12 and under) - $15
Please register under team name Assyrians Walk for Hope. http://www.walk4hope.org/. Register early to get your T-Shirts!
Online registration closes on October 2, 2009. Event day registration is $30 for adults and $20 for children, so register early!
*Registration Fees are not tax-deductible
allied forces in the 1991 . ~ “a study was conducted by the to investigate the link between the steep rises in cancer and in the regions that were bombed by
“The framework included checking the levels of diseases, measuring the effects of DU and research. DU is what is left over after ordinary uranium has been enriched for use either in nuclear weapons or in reactors. It is used in shells and projectiles to enhance their armor-piercing capacity. When a depleted uranium round strikes a solid object like a tank, it bursts into a burning spray of radioactive dust. This dust can remain on site for years, and is claimed to have caused disease in both soldiers using the munitions and in the local populations affected.
In Iraq, 940,000 depleted uranium projectiles were fired during the 1991 conflict,” leaving behind astronomical number of birth defects in its already exhausted population. Among those born with birth defects are some of the most critical cases that the Assyrian Medical Society has undertaken.
Just last month, the Assyrian Medical Society concluded its heart surgery mission in Turkey, for five children who were all born with heart defects.
Medical Society is proudly launching poster campaign “I AM ASSYRIAN,” effective August 1, 2009, featuring Assyrian child David Giwargis, from Nohadra, ( ), Iraq, who, through his image and message, will become the spokesperson for the Assyrian Medical Society on behalf of thousands of Iraqi children whose dreams have been sanctioned.
To learn more about campaign “I AM ASSYRIAN,” please visit the Assyrian Medical Society website on www.assyrianmedical.org.
Source: CNN News
July 29, 2009
The Assyrian Medical Society is humbled to welcome 9 year-old Khairotha Esho, and 12 year-old Arbella Amanwel Korsh, along with their mothers Janait Khoshaba and Marleen Shlaymoon, today at Los Angeles, where they have been accepted by Shriners Hospitals for Children - Los Angeles, to undergo full medical treatments, psychiatric care, and social services to include English language classes.
The patients and their escorts first touched ground in the nation’s capital,
At 9:15 this evening, AMS Chairman Albert Davidoo was singing patriotically to Ashur Bet-Sargis's "Dashta D'Nineveh" song when he called to tell me that one of the patients, Khairotha, was sitting next to him. They had just arrived at LAX airport and already they were on their way to the Ronald McDonald House, a tradition that Albert has been following from the onset of this rescue mission. As I witnessed with Solen this past June, upon the arrival of every patient in
From there, the Assyrian community joined them at St. Mary Parish of the
In a telephone conversation with Albert, I had the privilege to speak with Khairotha; she had a raspy voice (same as mine) ~ and spoke in pure Assyrian. She bravely introduced herself: "ana eiwan Khairotha!" There is something to be said about hearing an Assyrian child utter the word "FREEDOM;" it is affirming. I welcomed her and told her that I, along with the rest of the Assyrian community in the
As the Assyrian Medical Society continues its journey of rescuing patients, one child at a time, we are grateful for receiving Khairotha and Arbella from homeland
Both children are on schedule to be admitted at Shriners Hospitals for Children –
Please join the Assyrian Medical Society in thanking Shriners Hospitals for Children –
We are expected to have more updates in the following days and weeks. Until then, I leave you with the following quote from Chairman Mr. Albert Davidoo:
"When the giver enjoys giving more than the person who receives, the giver has enjoyed the ultimate happiness in life.”
To learn more about the Assyrian Medical Society, please visit http://www.assyrianmedical.org/
With the assistance of the Assyrian Medical Society (“AMS”), two young children will be arriving in the
Khairotha Esho, a 9 year-old girl who was born with congenital absence of the left fingers, has a primitive hand with a complete wrist joint, but underdeveloped metacarpal bones and no fingers. She has a dysfunctional arm to which no therapies are available.
Arbella Amanwel Korsh, a 12 year-old girl suffers from severe scoliosis, a deformity of the spine that may become life threatening. Following her examination by a foreign medical team, the child was declared untreatable in
Through the intervention of the Assyrian Medical Society, both patients have been accepted by the Shriners Hospitals for Children –
For more information about these two young patients and to learn about the mission of the Assyrian Medical Society, visit http://www.assyrianmedical.org/, or call 818- 501-8866.
Update: AMS is now accepting ONLINE DONATIONS
During my visit to Nohadra (Dohuk), Iraq, between the 28th March and 15th April, 2008, I had the privilege to step into Nseeben (Nsewin) High School in Dohuk, Iraq, and on two separate occasions met with Mr. Khoshaba Gewargis Mammoo, the headmaster and school principal of Nseeben High School, in which the main languages of study are Assyrian, Kurdish, Arabic, and English. Here are some facts that I gathered on the school:
Location: Nohadra (Dohuk), Iraq
Builder: American company (name unknown)
Funding: Department of Education, Assyrian Aid Society
Nseeben High School: 220 (plus) students
Akkad Middle School: 270 (plus) students
An additional third student body from another Kurdish school is also housed in Nseeben, as mandated by the Department of Education. No details on this student body were given.
The following statistics are for Nseeben students:
Top 17% passing rate, and an overall 45.66% passing rate, placing the school in the top 1/3 in the Province of Dohuk. In the year 2007, 81 students graduated from Nseeben High School. Of the 81 students who graduated from Nseeben High School, 59 or (73%) entered universities. And of the 59 students who entered universities, currently 2 are medical students, and 1 is an engineering student. Additionally, each year 1 of the top 10 students in Dohuk is a student from Nseeben High School.
A friend from
The probability of trying to save the lives of Iraqi children was not on the agenda of any humanitarian organization. Thirty-some years ago when Iraq was at its height and the Iraqi people lived in prosperity, the country produced some of the most renowned A-list physicians and educators known within Iraq and across its borders.
The aftermath has left a devastated nation, displaced within its own borders, and an infrastructure that continues to spiral downward, with no proper education or medical care. It is said that more than any other nation in the world, the global disbursement of the Iraqis today makes up the highest rate of international exile.
Each time the sound of a bomb is heard, a child is traumatized, while another is orphaned.
How many more lives will be sacrificed, and how much more suffering will this nation endure until it is released from the bondage of the debt it seems to have innocently incurred, not by its own admission, certainly not through its own fault. Is anybody listening?
The Gift of Life International, working concurrently with the Rotary Clubs International recently opened its gates to Iraqi children by providing them with the gift of heart surgeries with the assistance of the Assyrian Medical Society.
Thankfully, in neighboring country
Not having proper communication channels in
Therein Dr. Samir Johna from the Assyrian Medical Society in
The Rotary Clubs of Istanbul, Turkey has provided five heart surgeries for Iraqi children. In addition to surgery costs, food and lodging, sightseeing costs have been appropriated for all five children and their escorts, usually a family member.
Little known to the world, Salwan Raed Salim, our first patent, a 14 year-old boy was born with pulmonary valvular stenosis. He suffered from fatigability and heart palpitation, particularly following physical activity. He underwent a successful balloon angioplasty and is reported to be in an excellent condition. Since his surgery, he has returned home to
Maia Mohanad Mikhael is our second patient, a 2 year-old child born with ventricular septal defect and subvalvular pulmonary stenosis. She underwent a successful open heart surgery, pulmonary valvuloplasty and closure of ventricular septal defect. She has been reported to be in an excellent condition and has returned home to
Enabella Azad Yousif is our third patient, a 2 year-old child born with aortic stenosis and bicuspid aortic valve. An attempted balloon aortic valuloplasty had failed. This was followed by a successful open heart surgery, and aortic valvuloplasty. She has been reported to be in an excellent condition and has returned home to
Ali Haider is our forth patient, a 3-year old child born with transposition of the great vessels. He had undergone a successful open heart surgery. He has been reported to be in an excellent condition and has returned home to
And finally, Rawan Hazim Ali, is our fifth patient, a little over 2 year-old child born with tetralogy of fallot. He had undergone a successful open heart surgery for the repair of this birth defect. He is currently awaiting his final cardiac echo in
With the generosity of the Gift of Life International and the Rotary Clubs of Istanbul, Turkey, the Assyrian Medical Society is thankful for the conclusion of the cardiac mission for Iraqi children in
Perhaps no other gift is more rewarding to be gotten than the gift of life. Humanitarians worldwide continue to do what they do best and that is to be humanitarians.
The time has come to show your support, bearing in mind not only what Zowaaa has accomplished, but how it accomplished the landmarks we stand to witness today.
Never forget ~ on the night that you and I fell asleep in a comfortable bed, a qrawtana was caught in the line of fire protecting his family and village. When we fled atra, renouncing our birthrights, Zowaa summoned for Dashta D'Nineveh. When we adopted English, French, and German as our languages, Zowaa bussed children from remote villages to Nseeben to preserve our heritage. Perhaps at times, even when we sold our souls to the devil, Zowaa bought them back for us at the cost of young and innocent lives, and never looked back.
Today, our children may know of Zowaa the name, Zowaa the color purple, and Zowaa an anthem. But thirty-some years ago, not in a secular village, not even in Dashta D'Nineveh, but in the capital of Iraq ~ Baghdad (a city that once housed the largest Assyrian population in the world), at the height of one of the most ruthless rulings, and in the face of Saddamism, men who honored their nationalistic views and human rights refused to bend their beliefs, and thus were sentenced to prisons, persecuted, and even put to death. This is not even telling of the aftermath ~ the suffering and humiliation of these families.
Tell your children these stories. Zowaa is not only a name, a color, or a song. It is not a fable in books. Zowaa is a movement, an ideology, and a way of life. Believe it, support it!
Last year in 2008, after thirty years of living in Chicago, I returned to atra. Looking back to my trip now, after having absorbed all the facts, Zowaa welcomed me with open arms as I stood abreast flickering memories, grieving my childhood that had been stripped from me at the tender age of ten. I would give anything to have had a childhood in Iraq, to which I write the following on behalf of every Assyrian child whose dreams have been sanctioned, and who deserves to sleep and play in freedom:
Atree, my beloved Beth-Nahrain. To you I pledge my love and allegiance. I was once of mere existence, until you birthed me on your soil. I was once of total ignorance, until you taught me how to behold your history, love your sons, and fight for your will. For it is you that has given me an identity, and shaped me to adorn you selflessly. Until I return to you, yimme, I shall have no honor. Assyria , you shall be free once again!
May there be peace in atra and unity in our nation. I am a proud supporter of Zowaa.
This year, I’ll be participating in a very special event called the Breast Cancer 3-Day.
I’ll walk 60 miles over the course of three days with thousands of other women and men. The net proceeds will support breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment through Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund.
The goal I’ve agreed to raise is $2,300 in donations. So I need your help. Would you please consider making a donation of any amount? Keep in mind how far I’m walking - and how hard I’ll have to train. You can give online at www.The3Day.org. Just follow the link below to visit my personal fundraising webpage and make a donation. You can also call 800.996.3DAY to donate over the phone.
Millions of people are effected everyday because of this cancer, including someone who is very special to me, my mother. A while ago she was diagonsed with cancer and it put her, along with my family, through some very rough times. Luckily, she survived undergoing harsh treatments of chemotherapy and surgery. I thank God everyday for helping us through this and for keeping her by my side. She is the strongest and bravest woman I know. She is currently overseas working to help put bread on the table for her daughters futures. I owe this to her and all the other mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and women and men who are diganosed with this cancer. I am doing this for the cure I know is reachable out there and for my future and that of others.
According to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, approximately 200,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and nearly 40,000 will die from the disease. That’s why I’m walking so far. To do something bold about breast cancer. I hope that you’ll share this incredible adventure with me - by supporting me in my fundraising efforts. Thank you so much for taking the time to hear me out. Now be brave, go pink, and stand up to make a difference!
Thank you in advance for your generosity!
Lillia S.. Mrza
P.S. Ask your employer if they will double your donation through a matching gift program! Spread the word to whomever you can!
Click here to visit my personal page.
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If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
For more information about the Breast Cancer 3-Day, Susan G. Komen for the Cure or the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund, visit http://www.the3day.org/ or call 800.996.3DAY.
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“Because we are here, they are in our hearts and souls; because they are there, we are in their dreams and prayers,” Albert Davidoo, Chairman of the Assyrian Medical Society referencing the destitute brothers and sisters affected by the war in
It’s been two years since Baby Kirillos first arrived in
There is no escaping the landmark that this humanitarian organization has achieved. It has accomplished its mission and more. With dedicated professionals and volunteers at its access, it is ready to take the next step ~ spread globally. Based in
“Without borders, without passports” ~ the Assyrian Medical Society does not turn away any patient, regardless of background or religious affiliation. Its founders Albert Davidoo, Dr. Samir Johna, and Youkie Khaninia have created this organization on the following formula: three perfect points of a triangle with equal sides and equal angles, equating brotherly love, truth and relief ~ a core value based on equality, accountability and honesty. “Today, this golden triangle has become a circle of over twenty volunteer members, symbolizing the first wheel, invented during the Assyrian Empire (c 3500 B.C), with God at its axis,” remarked Mr. Davidoo.
Bearing testimony to the importance of medical research, the night’s main speaker Dr. Daniel Darvish, a bio-medical research doctor, left no stone unturned while addressing the audience from his wheelchair about the importance of research study of a rare disorder to find a cure for Hereditary Inclusion Body Myopathy (HIBM), a rare muscle wasting disorder for which there is no treatment or cure yet available.
Still curious about medical intervention? A year ago Samir Naji arrived from
The global Assyrian community and its friends salute the Assyrian Medical Society on its accomplishments and congratulate its first year anniversary. We look forward to a long partnership and reading more success stories in the years to come.
To learn how you can help, please visit http://www.assyrianmedical.org/
On Sunday, October 5th, 2008 in Chicago, Assyrians Walk for Hope joined thousands of marchers from City of Hope in Glenview, Illiniois. An approximate 45 members marched with Assyrian flags and slogans in an attempt to raise awareness on the importance of early detection and research.
The event will be held the 13th and 20th of December from 7 to 11 p.m. at Katalyst's Loft in the Arts District, 201 South Santa Fe Avenue, Studio 207, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
This exhibit is made possible through the help of Paul Batou, the children of Iraq that contributed their art work to be displayed in the United States, and the many young art students who also contributed their work for this show. This exhibit will also feature the photography of Sarah Reingewirtz and children’s music recorded by Dominic Bakewell. <http://www.dominicbakewell.com>
The (Katalyst) Foundation for the Arts is dedicated to the advancement of individual voices impacting society through programming designed to strengthen the creative spirit and provide the catalyst for change. The (Katalyst) Foundation’s service focuses primarily on women and youth in underserved communities. The (Katalyst) Foundation is in part hosting and promoting parts of this event. <http://www.kffta.org>
Paul Batou is an artist and the author of the book “My Last Thoughts about Iraq.” <http://www.paulbatou.com>
The goal of the art exhibit is to promote the Iraqi children’s story through their art among the Americans. Paul Batou will donate art supplies to each child who shared his story (art) to benefit the schools. Supporting this exhibit is strongly encouraged by attending the event and purchasing and books.
Paul Batou says: “Thank you all for the support. An interesting art show will take place in December. The (Katalyst) Foundation will feature art by kids who were forced to flee their homes in Baghdad and other cities, that now reside in villages in Northern Iraq. Art featured is from the villages of Bibadi, Araden, Tin, Enishki, Badersh, and also art by American kids from the Los Angels district, along with professional artists.”
Many came to the outdoor picnic on July 6th, 2008 in Oakville’s Italian Gardens. Some even came from Michigan, California and Chicago, myself and my family included. But what about this event attracted as many as 1,300 attendees? I asked around and it turned out that the reason for such pilgrimage was strong conviction in camaraderie and humanitarian efforts on which the Assyrian Aid Society of Canada has been founded since 1992.
The Assyrian Aid Society of Canada is a non-profit organization registered with the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services. The mission of the organization is to help Assyrians (also known as Chaldeans and Syriacs) in the Middle East, particularly Iraq, who suffered the aftermath of the Gulf War and imposing of the sanctions.
Since its inception, it has collaborated with its sister organization, The Assyrian Aid Society of Iraq, making contributions to many programs such as funding for education, health, construction of houses, irrigation and electrification. Albeit independent, the Assyrian Aid Society of Canada works in close alliance with the Assyrian Aid Society of America, Australia, Germany, and United Kingdom.
With new blood streaming in its members, wisdom is found, spiffed by strong character and integrity as I had the privilege and honor of meeting the society’s President Mr. Iasic Shleimon who had a lot to say about this organization’s foregoing accomplishments. A veteran member of the Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Student Union, Shleimon joined AAS of Canada out of sheer love for philanthropic work, and quickly rose to fill the president’s seat within a five-member committee.
With emphasis on education in motherland Iraq, some of the society’s greatest accomplishments in the realm of education have been contributing to the Syriac school initiative programs and helping provide transportation for teachers and students.
Currently, proceeds including donations of the AAS Canada are being generated through functions such as outdoor picnics, Christmas and Easter (Holiday activities), and Halloween bash party.
The Assyrian Aid Society of Canada often joins forces with the Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Student Union, Assyrian Democratic Movement, Assyrian Society of Canada, and the Assyrian Women’s Union to commemorate Kha B’Neesan (Akitu) Assyrian New Year festivities, August 7th (Assyrian Martyr’s Day).
It is with honor that we behold the Assyrian Aid Society of Canada, its President Mr. Iasic Shleimon, members, and the public who continues to believe in the miracle of the Assyrian tree of life, (also the organization’s logo). Public service does matter, and it is our duty to continue supporting such somber endeavors to help our beloved Iraq.
For upcoming events and to learn how you can help, visit http://www.assyrianaid.ca/
Despite the increasing scare tactics against the minorities of Iraq, the Assyrians proved that determination is the power behind their earnest rights to stay and fight for their ancestral homeland, Assyria.
Northern Iraq, in the province of Dohuk, the city was awakened to a beautiful sunny day on the first of April (Assyrian New Year's Day) as the streets flooded with flags and chants carried by thousands of marchers which gathered from every major city to the smallest village to participate in Akitu, celebrating the 6758th Assyrian year.
Akitu marks the beginning of life and fertility from the time of ancient Sumer as goddess Innana and her husband Demuzzi chose New Year’s Day, an auspicious time of new beginnings (spring) for their marriage, representing fertility, creativity and abundance which brought balance and harmony to the people of Sumer.
This year especially was an important one for the Assyrians to commemorate Akitu honoring their heritage that has spanned for thousands of years in the Mesopotamian land of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that has cradled the beginning of civilization, from The Garden of Eden, Gilgamesh, to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
In spite of the random and the selective killing sprees that have taken their toll on Iraq, on this day the world televised a nation celebrating life (khayouta) and re-birth (khoudatha). On this day of pilgrimage, many Assyrians came to pay their respect to their ancestral homeland from neighboring Middle Eastern countries, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Iran. Others came from Europe, Australia, Canada and United States.
This year, Easter came early to the senior citizens of the Chicago Assyrian community. An approximate fifteen members from the Peterson Park Health Care Center (Pulaski and Peterson) in Chicago were visited by Albert of Albert Mimi Salon, and his team of professional stylists where residents received hair cuts and styles just days before celebrating Easter.
Albert Mimi is a celebrated hair designer in and out of the Assyrian community. His styles have been featured in this year’s edition of Passion magazine.
In a telephone conversation following the March 17th event, Albert expressed his joy of having given back to the community, and what better way than to service the elders. He said “the seniors received top-of-the-line pampering and care, and they were very excited to receive us.” Jackie, a hostess at Albert Mimi Salon shares “I met some of the strongest and most proud people from the Assyrian community. I will never forget their faces, or their voices.” Albert has pledged to continue to serve the senior community once every month.
Launching “A Day at the Spa with Albert Mimi” is just one of the many community development and outreach programs that the Assyrian American National Federation is embarking on.
This service was mediated by the Assyrian American National Federation, Midwest Region, and provided by Albert Mimi Salon, located at 4140 W. Dempster Street, Skokie, IL 60076.
Featured in Zinda Magazine and AANF March 2008
Chicago Honors John (Jan) Dashto
A typical Saturday evening in Chicago ~ busy traffic, circling the long city blocks to find parking space, running in high heels, compromising a seat in a sold-out event as Chicago rolled out the red carpet for its stars in one big ensemble featuring singers, musicians, lyricists and audience that cheered to more than twenty talents that took stage at Eden’s Banquet, a.k.a. the Assyrian Social Club this weekend.
Despite the winter blues, the Chicago Assyrian community did not deter from celebrating the musical career of its own, the legendary John Dashto, marking thirty years of stardom in his hometown. Chicago, the city of immigrants, politics, and showbiz has birthed the most successful Assyrian artists, and cradled the longest recording and performing careers of many talented pop and folklore genres. It is the spice, jewel, and talk-of-the-town where dreams do turn into realities.
Singer, song writer, and musician John Dashto was born in the historic city of Nineveh, and raised in Kirkuk, where he pursued his formal musical education. In spite of having a very young career in his birth country Iraq, John took center stage alongside Ashur Bet-Sargis at the Assyrian Youth Association only weeks after arriving in Chicago in 1978.
Since then, he has recorded four albums and served on musical panel (Assyrian Superstar). A singer, musician, and song writer, his contributions include to the likes of Sargon Gabriel, George Gindo, Janan Sawa, Juliana Jendo, Malik Merza, and Ewan Shamdinany, to name a few. John’s own creation has been the daring infuse of “Hewa,” Southern Iraqi folklore music, into modern Assyrian sounds. He is most well known in galoota (Assyrian, diaspora) at the height of his career in Chicago in the 1980‘s, where he enchanted his audience at the original Assyrian Social Club and Assyrian American Association as crowds gathered to hear his earlier recordings, “Min Nagestan,” “Awara,” “Gasheq, Gasheq Biyee,” and “Lewat Bas Aten.”
For die-hard John fans, history was revisited as the stage was opened by welcoming speeches from Mr. Hirmis Tairo who delivered John’s biography. Mr. Ninos Nirari’s speech included John’s symbolism as an artist, and the memoir of the two, a poet (Ninos), and an artist (John) for 35 years. Likewise, Mr. Ishaq Ishaq from Iraq spoke on the importance of the morphing power behind an artist’s role within a nation. As the crowd sat back, taking in everything in a single breath, Sargon Gabriel hosted the striking musical montage, while Venus (Agnes Youkhanna) graced the stage, followed by Sargon Youkhanna, Lazar Malko, Odisho Odisho, Shabeh Lawando, David “chaplaya” (Assyrian, lefty) Simon, Wisam Zaia (Al Iraqi), Zander David, Salim Sefo, Raad Zaia, Sargon Rasho, Fatin Shabo, Enwiya ‘Banipal’ Giwargis, Avadis Sarkissian, Johnny Youkhanna, George Gindo, and Livon from Holland. Among other singers who attended the event were Elizabeth Oshana, Isabell Ishtar, Joe Eivanoff, Dr. Roney Pera, Melis Eshaya, Steve Jallo, and Albert Oscar.
But it was the belting of Dashto’s “Shqolee o’Pareqlee,” dubbed by Youel Odisho “Touwee,” penned by the late Warda Khnanisho that brought the stage to life, backed by music legends ~ base guitarist Raymond Jammo “Nee Nee,” guitarist Johnny “Guitar,” and drummer Pani.
In an exclusive interview with John Dashto, his words were: “No matter what I say, it is not enough. Every person that has attended tonight’s event is because they care, and I have a lot of respect for that. With an open heart, we welcome back people into our lives whom we have not seen in years.”
The event was hosted by Chicago Assyrian singers and musicians. As for John Dashto, he has opted to remain in the meezalta (Assyrian, parade), singing for his people. Clue: never underestimate the power of Chicagoans. John, we love you.
Featured in Zinda Magazine, Ankawa, SkokieTalk, and Qeenatha March 2008
The Assyrian Aid Society ~ Chicago chapter hosted its annual Christmas drive on December 1, 2007 at the Hanging Gardens Banquet in River Grove, Illinois.
As in previous years, the mission of the Christmas drive was to raise funds for Christmastime in Iraq. An intermediary between the East and the West, the Assyrian Aid Society has played an integral role in building public awareness by successfully demonstrating its abilities to achieve unprecedented philanthropic work, with focus mainly on today’s Iraq while the Assyrians continue to endure tumultuous times, alongside the entire country’s population.
The Assyrian Aid Society of America is a charitable organization, consisting of eight chapters throughout the United States. Its mission is to help Assyrians in need, and to promote the Assyrian culture, while building an organization whose structure is capable of responding to crisis, particularly in our ancestral homeland Iraq. Mr. Robert Mulhim is the President of the Chicago chapter, while Mr. Peter Bityou is the director of the Chicago and California offices.
Since its foundation in 1991 by Dr. Lincoln Malik, the Assyrian Aid Society has pioneered exceptional programs, catering to educational and medical needs of the Assyrian community in Northern Iraq. Among its most prestigious programs has been Narsai’s Taste of the Mediterranean ~ Narsai David, President of the national office based in San Francisco, California. A prominent chef in the bay area who has helped raise over one-half million dollars in the past five years for humanitarian projects in the homeland.
Likewise, in Iraq, under the directorship of Mr. Napoleon Pattoo, the Assyrian Aid Society has responded to some of the most challenging catastrophes in Iraq, following the Gulf war and the toppling of Iraq’s former government.
To name a few, the society has been directly responsible for reconstructing war-torn villages, including irrigation channels and water distribution networks. Similarly, it has implemented the Assyrian language in the formal educational system of Iraq’s Northern region ~ from teaching to translating and printing books in the Assyrian language.
Look no further, the society has established dormitories in Dohuk and Erbil to accommodate secondary and university students from remote villages who lack the means to subsidize their own education.
Medical needs are no stranger to a society that encompasses charitable clinics in Ankawa, Baghdeda, Caremles, and other villages. Just recently, medical supplies were received in Erbil for immediate distribution to its gratis pharmacies through the interdisciplinary efforts of the Assyrian Aid Society ~ America and Iraq.
We congratulate the Assyrian Aid Society on its benevolent efforts.
"Though the body may perish, the soul lives on”
August 7th of every year marks the Assyrian Martyrs Day, what began as the commemoration of the Simele massacre in 1933, where an estimated 3,000 Assyrians were systematically targeted by the Iraqi government to cleanse the Assyrian race, the indigenous people of Iraq whose roots date back to the Sumerians, the earliest recorded civilization in the mid 4th millennium B.C.
The Simele massacre took place in the provinces of Northern Iraq, where a killing spree took place among 63 Assyrian villages. But the Assyrian Martyrs Day represents all genocides and atrocities committed against the Assyrians, beginning in 1914 and 1915 where countless Assyrian villagers were massacred. In 1918 thousands of men, women and children were trafficked on foot en route to Baquba from Iran where more than one half fell to death unaccounted for, and without burial sites. In the same year, the Assyrian Patriarch, the late Mar Benyamin Shimun was assassinated. Not forgotten are the massacres of Sairt, Khoi, Soriya and Port Sharabkhana. The massacres of Mosul and Kirkuk, and the attack on Hebbaniya and Barwar have made their marks too on the pages of history. And let’s not forget the assassination of Youbert, Yousip and Youkhana in 1985 by the Baathist regime.
It has been 74 years since the Simele massacre, and the Assyrians of today, among all other Christians in Iraq, continue to suffer at the hands of Muslim fundamentalists. Let’s just call it what it is ~ ethnic cleansing. Yes, the year is 2007 and the international world is watching as the Assyrians flee their homes by the hour to neighboring countries, where an average teen at the age of fourteen does not have essential reading and writing skills in Jordan. Hence, Iraqis are barred from education in neighboring Jordan, where heavy sums of monies are levied on Iraqis to maintain temporary visa statuses.
Not only have the Assyrians become a stateless-people, but in homeland Iraq, they have become refugees, where they are threatened and coerced into abandoning their homes due to death threats. In some parts of Baghdad and Basra, it has become a familiar practice to approach families with a three-fold proposition: convert to Islam, pay a hefty tax (referred to jizya in Arabic), or face becoming beheaded. Oftentimes in the bigger cities, the Assyrian families are banning girls from attending schools for fear of kidnapping and rape. Read "The Departed" www.INNANAmagazine.com/editorials
June 2nd and 9th in Chicago, a small group of Assyrian men and women attended an academic workshop, a first of its kind, to learn critical thinking and research methodology, lead by none other than linguist scholar Dr. Edward Y. Odisho.
The workshop’s primary intention was “the promotion of a culture of scholarship, academic inquisition and research. This particular culture is most needed at a time when our people, especially in Iraq, are striving for the preservation of their national identity, political rights and human rights as the indigenous people of Iraq and the builders of its ancient civilization,” said Dr. Odisho.
“Unfortunately, added Dr. Odisho, this is an area where Assyrians are scholarly and academically most deficient, in the academic fields of Humanities and Social Sciences (e.g. Art, Music, Language, History, Economics, Politics, Philosophy, Linguistics, among others).”
Known for his caliber and exquisite style, Dr. Edward Y. Odisho, by far, is the most influential scholar in modern Assyrianism. He is the publisher of seven books and countless publications on linguistic and cognitive approach studies, the sound system, and teaching techniques, and has appeared on numerous television interviews. His research has been published internationally - Australia, Italy, Germany, Finland, United Kingdom, and Jordan, in addition to United States, to name a few. In short, Dr. Odisho has the equivalence, in not more, of a political, social and economical system.
The workshop was sponsored by the Assyrian National Council of Illinois, after learning that a group of post college and university graduates were interested in learning how to think outside the box, and pursue the application of post-education mentality, translating iwar youlpana in Assyrian, a phrase often used by Dr. Odisho.
The students reported that they had gained a new incentive and a sense of mental balance, as if a mental light switch had been turned on, gaining access to creative thinking. “We are simply proud, stated Enwiya Giwargis, to be under the directorship of Dr. Odisho.” Another student, Nahrain Talia-Khoshaba said, “I am simply gratified to be in a genius’ presence.”
A crowded Assyrian community gathered on Sunday, April 1st in a parade on Oakton Street in Skokie, celebrating Akitu, the Assyrian New Year, commemorating the 6757th Assyrian year. Kha B’Nissan, the first of April, marks the beginning of life and fertility.
In the hymns of the ancient Sumer, luminous Innana is poetically described as queen of heaven, radiant start and first daughter of the moon. Often depicted by the goddess’ side is her beloved husband, Demuzzi, the majestic sun. The couple chose New Year’s Day, an auspicious time of new beginnings, for their marriage. After the ceremony, Demuzzi drew close to Innana and quietly presented her with gifts representing fertility, creativity and abundance. Because of her capacity for joy, gentleness, strength and bravery, the spirit of Innana is lovingly described in one epic after another as a great light filling the sky. By coming together and thus becoming one, she and Demuzzi inspired poetry and art, balance and harmony to the people of Sumer.
The mother goddess Innana is the Sumerian counterpart to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar. One of the most revered deities of the ancient Near East, the Bablyonian creator goddess Ishtar (giver of Light) was associated particularly with love, war, fertility, childbirth, healing, and justice. Ishtar had equivalents in numerous cultures, including the Zidonian goddess Ashtoreth, and she gradually appropriated the identities of other goddesses. The story of Ishtar’s descent to the underworld, which follows, links her to the Greek goddesses Demeter and Persephone.
Ishtar was the wife of Tammuz, the vegetation god. Upon his death, she ventured to the underworld to restore him to life. On her journey, she passed through seven gates, removing one of her veils at each gate. She was gone for so long that nothing grew on earth during her absence. This situation prompted the other deities to help her procure Tammuz’s release. As part of the bargain made with Allat, ruler of the underworld, Ishtar had to return once a year to repeat the ritual of her husband’s death and rebirth.
Today, Assyrians gather to celebrate the same rituals that were practiced by the first recorded human civilization, the Sumerians. Assyrians in Chicago, approximately 120,000 in population, are an immigrant generation from predominantly Iraq, Iran, Syria and Lebanon, and other Middle Eastern countries.
The Assyrians of Chicago are good, contributing citizens to the business and commerce in the West Rogers Park and Andersonville communities, as well as neighboring suburbs of Lincolnwood, Skokie, Morton Grove, Niles and Des Plaines. Other Assyrians have established smaller communities in Elgin, Roselle, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and other Northwest Suburbs. While outnumbered by other minority groups in the United States, Assyrians have steadfastly progressed to higher education in the fields of law, finance, medicine and politics.
Assyrians in Chicago are among the most unique people of all the Assyrian communities throughout the United States. Interestingly, they have the vibrancy for maintaining tradition and folklore through their close-knit community resources and churches. In an essence, the Assyrians have become a sub-culture streamlining into the American culture. Moving into the 21st century, newcomers continue to migrate to the Chicago land area, leaving behind family and friends (death) in a pursuit of new beginnings (rebirth), calling Chicago their new home.
We salute our rich heritage and welcome a new birth to yet another spring season with hopes for new and better beginnings in the life of our sacred Assyrian community.
Featured in Zinda Magazine and SkokieTalk April 2007
On Sunday, October 8th @ Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, women (wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, even grandmothers) of the Chicago Assyrian community, supported by their husbands and children took the initiative of participating in this year's City of Hope Breast Cancer Walk 2006 under one united name ~ ˜ASSYRIANS WALK FOR HOPE."
This was a first for the Assyrian community to come together in a breast cancer walk, in support of new research and development in medical technology, and becoming familiar with laws that represent women in Congress, and legislations that affect women's health - insurance, surgeries, and treatments.
Cancer is no longer a statistic, but a fact, and its numbers are staggering. This year alone, over 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, out of which 11,000 will be under the age of 40. Think itâ€™s too soon? There are reported cases of some patients who have had full mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation by the time they are in their teens.
The Assyrian women are not immune to cancer. It leaves them no choice but to become proactive in early detection, knowledgeable in their choices of treatments, and outspoken about their own battle with breast cancer. The women of this yearâ€™s â€˜Assyrians Walk for Hopeâ€™ breast cancer walk took a stand by joining thousands of others in the walk to fight breast cancer. They made a difference!
Featured in Innana Magazine, Zinda Magazine an SkokieTalk October 2006
Sahda (Martyr) Youbert Benyamin Shlimon was born in 1954 in Habbaniya, Iraq. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Baghdad Technical College. Sahda Shlimon was one of the founding members of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM), who had leadership abilities and held key positions within ZOWAA (ADM). His political efforts as a nationalist began in 1971 in Baghdad. Those same patriotic ideas became organized and gave birth to the Assyrian Democratic Movement on April 12, 1979, at which point, Youbert quickly rose to the top, earning respect among his peers for his dedication and highly respected standards. He was arrested by the Baathist regime in 1984 at the hands of a traitor, while delivering Bahra newspaper to his assailant. His assassination, without a justifiable trial, came on February 3, 1985, after being subjected to physical, as well as psychological tortures, but to no avail, not nearly enough to break his solemn to his nation, and his fellow comrades, members of the ADM.
The highest rank in the Assyrian Democratic Movement can only be achieved through the honor of martyrdom, equating to zakhouta (victory). Members of ZOWAA are soundly established in their preparation for martyrdom, at any moment.
Sahda Youbert Benyamin Shlimon is highly respected by Assyrians worldwide. He is regarded with the utmost honor for his martyrdom, in an exchange for paving the way for our political movement to progress, earning Assyrians many legal and human rights, as well as a seat within the Iraqi parliament for the first time in Iraq’s history. Sadly, he left behind a wife, May, and two sons, Banipal and Ramen.
It has been 21 years since the assassination of her husband, the late Youbert Benyamin Shlimon, but during her speech, not a single eye was dry, at the August 7th memoriam in Chicago, honoring the Assyrian Martyr. In her speech, May Youbert Shlimon brought everyone to one common denominator, “never stop fighting, ‘til the fighting is done.” During the time of her husband’s execution, May was pregnant with their second son, Ramen. She added, “I am not a widow; do not say that Youbert is dead. For he lives on amongst us; his contributions are great, giving to the Assyrian Holocaust.” “His martyrdom has disciplined me to remain focused, and raise both of our sons within the same ideology.” Following in his father’s footsteps, Ramen Youbert Shlimon is an active member of the Chaldo-Assyrian-Syriac Student Movement – Canada Chapter.
A 200 plus Assyrians gathered in a candle vigil, while many gave speeches, and others shared their poetic talents. Among the guests, the Chicago Assyrian community honored Raabi Ishaq Ishaq from Baghdad, Iraq, who graced the evening with his presence. Mr. Ishaq is a member of the Central Committee and Head of the Public Relations at the Assyrian Democratic Movement in Baghdad.
The Assyrian Martyr’s Day is an annual pilgrimage for Chicagoan-Assyrians. Each year, they revere the Assyrian Martyrs Monument during a memorial service at Montrose Cemetery, followed by a dokhrana (feast) at Mar Odisho Church on the city’s North Side.
Featured in Zinda Magazine August 2006
A united ChaldoAssyrian Suryani front confronted the Iraqi government on its latest resolution to eliminate what the Assyrian Democratic Movement has worked for more than 27 years to establish, which is to be recognized as equal citizens, among other minorities in Iraq. Reminder... 'Al Rafidain' - Slate #740 won two consequtive elections in Iraq's primary election, electing Mr. Younadam Kanna, Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, as their representative in Iraq's National Parliamant. Today, by dismissing the word Assyrian, Chaldean, and even Syriac, the Iraqi government has moved to recognize these minorities as Christians only, by extension stripping them from their national identity and eliminating their legislation powers from the Iraqi parliamant, hence their ability to play an integral role in Iraq's law making processes.
n approximate 600 believers marched the streets of Washington, D.C. on June 7th, as buses unloaded from primarily Chicago, followed by Detroit, Arizona, Nevada, California, and Canada, and from the East Coast states. The marchers, carrying everything from flags of United States, Iraq, Assyria, Assyrian Democratic Movement, to bearing their hearts and souls, chanted slogans and national anthems in Assyrian, English, and Arabic, displaying strong emotions that prompted Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Samir al-Sumaidai, to leave his post and address the public, who at the time was chanting the famous Iraqi slogan "Bil Rouh, Bil Dam, Nahdelak Ya Iraq," translates: with soul, with blood, we give to you Iraq, giving a rise to the occasion which left many attendees in tears.
The message was simple, 'Treat Minorities in Iraq As Iraqi National Citizens.' Evidentally, this message was strong enough to be carried into the Iraqi embassy as Mr. al-Sumaidai personally welcomed several Assyrian digniteries: Dr. Adam Benjamin - Assyrian Democratic Movement, Reverend Aweqam Pithyou - Assyrian Church of The East, Mr. Aladin Khamis - President, Assyrian American National Federation, Mr. Michael Youash - Project Director for the Iraq Sustainable Democracy Project in Washington, D.C., Mr. Sheba Mando - President, Assyrian National Council of Illinois, along with Ashur TV Satellite, Assyrians Around the World, and TV Shrara - California. The results were favorable and sources confirmed that Iraq's ambassador was moved by the demonstrating crowd as he welcomed Iraq's minorities to both, voice their demands, and submit an official proposal to move the Iraqi government to un-do its last resolution, removing nationalistic representation of the ChaldoAssyrians Suryani people.
Next, the crowd was moved from the Iraqi Embassy to the U.S. Capitol to send President George Bush and his administration a message about his foreign policies and the treatment of minorities in Iraq, or lack of. Supposedly the United States went to rescue the Iraqi people (as a whole) from persecution under Saddam Hussein's tyrranical regime and to establish democracy in Iraq. But in the process, and in addition to the collateral damage inflicted on the land and the country's infrastructure, some people went under, going from a sub-culture to no-existent within Iraq. The United States's foreign policy in anything but neutral, backing up one people, and isolating another; publicly opening the gate wide enough for the Kurds in the north to destroy human and animal life alike, forcing villagers to abandon their homes and flee the country... downsizing minorities in Northern Iraq. "Obviously, the United States policymakers have larger issues to worry about than to what's happening to a relatively small community," said one demonstrator Slewo Oshana. This was evident when a representative from the Kurdistan Democratic Party who was visiting the Iraqi embassy in Washington, D.C. on this day, resented the allegations made by the ChaldoAssyrian Suryanis, denying their claims against the KDP, who in recent events have flexed their muscles far enough to impose on the villagers in the Nineveh, Mosul region to join the Kurdistan Democratic Party in order to employ in any government or municipality offices. Isn't it ironic that the Kurds have cried wolf for years to the world about Saddam's treatment of their people, who in turn have done, if not the same, worse to another people.
The Assyrians are a dominant race, whose culture and literacy has spanned for more than five thousand years, and the world has not heard the last from us. We defy all conditions that limit us recognition as people of origins in Iraq. We reject subjectivity to the Kurdistan Democratic Party. We demand representation as people of national origins by our elected representatives.
Featured in Zinda Magazine June 2006
"The white walls, the absence of windows, the silence within — all create a context for art that is inseparable from the content of the art itself"
|Assyrian Aramaic Calligraphy by Enwiya 'Banipal' Giwargis|
The Crystal Mineral by Enwyia 'Banipal' Giwargis
Some time had passed since the Chicago Assyrian community had remembered to grace its history claiming to have given birth to civilization, including art. With the generosity and contributions of many great artists from different backgrounds, predominantly from Iraq, the rich ancient Assyrian art shone in the works of many splendid oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings, calligraphy, photography and collages.
The main hall of the Assyrian National Council of Illinois, located in Skokie, Illinois, was filled with exuberant energy, displayed work of Chicago's very own Godfather and creator of this event Romeo Mirza, along with Emmanuel Asdou, Younan Shiba, Tony Buro, Suhad Bahrani Turayhi, Nahrain Talia-Khoshaba, Janan Talia, Soulaka Kiorkis, Tony Bradosty, Senan Enad, Jameel Al Abboudi, Enwiya "Banipal" Giwargis, Issa Benyamin, and George Shamoun. And, of course, the weekend-long event would not have been possible without the artistic contributions of famous Chicagoan Assyrian photographers-Producers Edmond and Edison Hasso of E&H Video.
Assyrian artist, Emanuel Asdou
Assyrian artist, Enwiya 'Banipal' Giwargis
Heart 'n Soul artist - Walking along the exhibit, I tried to disseminate each artist's work, background, and inspiration. Known for his exquisite detailed 3-dimensional work, Mr. Romeo Mirza and I spoke briefly about his passion for art. It began at the tender age of 10, he explained, back in his homeland Iraq. Some of his work at that age he has no recollection of, only stories that are told to him by his parents. At around 13, his passion for oil and water color painting began. Next came musical instruments; famous for his elite work, his art has been placed among Iraq's permanent collection for the creation of string instruments - Oud, Violin, and Guitar. Always first in his art class, Mr. Mirza was placed second in command to the school of art department head. Still, his creation and love for art brought about a new dimension, truly exuberant pieces of mastery reflecting the rich Assyrian and Babylonian history in an all wood 3-D pieces. An elite artist, Mr. Mirza has been the sole promoter of his own work, and his only inspiration has been his love for his heritage. Eager to preserve the Assyrian history through art and a plan for the near future, he pledges to teach art, free of charge, to anyone who is interested. The only deterrent at the end of our conversation, seen in the artist's eyes, was the lack of support shown by the low turnout of spectators, a merely 250 attendees in a two-day long event, by comparison to the 100,000 Chicagoan Assyrians.
Assyrian artist, Romeo Mirza
Assyrian artist, Nahrain Talia-Khoshaba
A Picasso amongst Assyrians - The next artist whose work gathered intriguing crowd was Mr. Emmanuel Asdou - his style famous for using deep, rich colors - red, blue, yellow, purple, all of which were colors used in ancient Assyrian art, as explained by the master himself, reflecting the beauty and richness of the Middle East culture and the nice hot weather. Mr. Asdou's theme was mainly centered around famous Assyrian historic events, reflected in his oil on canvas pieces. His love for abstract art has been inspired by world renowned artists Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. Passionate for art and the love for his heritage, Mr. Asdou repeatedly told me that having no land to call 'Ashur,' we must preserve our language in our art, giving much attention to Aramaic letters depicted in much of his paintings.
Nahrain Ounetee – “In geology, there are 10,000 minerals...” began Enwiya 'Banipal' Giwargis, a geologist turned artist whose unique and unusual work reflected both sides of the person, an art that is 'learned' through search and inventions, such as inscription of the twenty-two Assyrian letters in a crystal mineral, certainly reveal the geology graduate from Iraq's University of Mosul. Carefully selected rocks came alive as he held them in his hand, one by one, and called to each to speak its history, each having a unique story to tell about the timeline of modern Assyrianism. Moreover, the calligraphy of the Aramaic language carefully engraved on each stone gave the art an impact that aged both the work and the artist's own life story - a five year army veteran in Iraq and a refugee in Syrian camps in the 1990's. My own personal favorite was the uniqueness of the artist's endearment of the female gender, a woman, reflecting social gender freedom in a culture. But wait, wasn't Bani recently in the Tempo section of the Chicago Tribune? He is also a finalist in the Assyrian Star Search who has achieved great heights at such a young age, and already an inventor of several household products. Sorry... we won't discuss that.
|Standing from left: T Row-Bradosty, E Asdou, R Mirza, Y Shiba, E 'Banipal' Giwargis, T Buro, S Kiorkis; Sitting from left: -J Al Abboudi, S Bahrani-Turayhi, S Enad, N Talia-Khoshaba|
A picture can indeed speak a thousand words - Baghdad born, Chicago raised Nahrain Talia-Khoshaba presented her work of Ishtar in black and white canvasses, focusing on the female form in several breathtaking photographs, representing Ishtar, mother-goddess, the great symbol of the earth's fertility. This theme could not have been offered at a better time, April, the month of the marriage of Ishtar and Tammuz in Babylonian mythology, something that the artist herself was inspired to undertake in the year 2004, paying tribute to the birth year of the Babylonian Dynasty which began in 1894 BCE. Nahrain - a name depicting the famous ancient Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Iraq, is a graduate of graphic arts design and photography school, as well as a paralegal, where she recently earned a Bachelor's degree from Chicago's private school, Robert Morris College.
The Chicago Assyrian community proudly salutes its artists who partook important roles and spent countless hours preparing for this exhibit to enrich our cloudy and rainy Chicago weekend - 29th and 30th April. Our hopes are for many equally great events in the near future, with a larger audience. Let's continue to contribute to making Chicago famous for having a soulful Assyrian community.
Featured in Zinda Magazine May 2006
On Saturday and Sunday, July 22nd and 23rd, 2006 the Assyrian Aid Society – Chicago Chapter sponsored a weekend long community garage sale. The mission of the garage sale was to raise proceeds to help underprivileged Assyrian families in Iraq. The event took place at the parking lot of the Assyrian National Council of Illinois in Skokie, Illinois.
Generous Assyrian families from the Chicagoland area donated every bit and piece to the garage sale, consisting from brand name clothes to household appliances. After only one month’s advertisement on local radio airtime, the Chaldo-Assyrian Center was flooded with innumerable items to help generate handsome profits. Inviting more than just the Assyrian community, the event was marketed thru advertisement in local newspapers and neighborhood businesses.
The success rate was satisfactory, noted Robert Mulhim, President of The Assyrian Aid Society – Chicago Chapter “this event would not have been possible without the help and support of the Assyrian community. For this, we are grateful! It went beyond our expectations, and it brought the community together. Based on the success we’ve seen we hope this becomes an annual, or even a semi-annual event.”
Congratulations and special thanks to members and friends of the Assyrian Aid Society for their tireless efforts. Worth noting - among the volunteers were Assyrian youth. Chebo!
Featured in SkokieTalk July 2006
He came as a mystical to our land, carrying with him international sounds from Middle East, Americas and Europe. Suddenly, radio airtime filled with advertisement to his concert, as did rumors through the grapevine. Finally, on the eve of the 13th of March, curtains unveiled, allowing the anticipated cozy crowd at the Skokie Holiday Inn to meet the man behind the sound. The crowd quickly welcomed Joseph Poles into their hearts, as did he serenade them to the sounds of Doctor Zhivago, Zorba The Greek, Fog Al Nakhil, Suddenly, and My Way.
Born in Kirkuk, Iraq, and having lived in Jordan, Malta, Italy, Spain, Germany and currently residing in United Kingdom with his wife Jackelyn, Joseph Poles was destined to become an International Pianist in the Classic genre. The Chicago Assyrian community, on the other hand, is anything but classically inclined. Known for its upbeat folklore dance music, they were quick to adapt to the sounds at hand in an eve that would become to be known as Romance Night. Most certainly, Joseph Poles has set precedence in sowing the seed for the restless soul to take refuge into tranquility. The event definitely changed a few views to tune their channels to a different sound wave.
Featured in Zinda Magazine and Qeenatha April 2005
Not too long ago while attending the annual Chicago Assyrian New Year parade on King Sargon Boulevard (Western Avenue), I was approached by a young boy wearing a suit, followed by a similarly dressed adult man, both of which walked up to me passing literature asking if I knew who the real Jesus was, and if the truth of the gospel had been revealed to me by the Assyrian church? And despite how I would have answered this man (and one half), we would have, without a doubt, engaged in a lengthy conversation, for many reasons. One being that I am already rooted in my faith, and two, I would have defended my church, if for no other reason, because of its ancient foundation in the Christian faith. Then, of course, I would have rambled on and on about how our forefathers’ sacrifices have contributed to keeping our language and customs sacred within the walls of our temples. So, I decided to plea the fifth and steer away from any conversation that would lead to distress.
But what I found more interesting in my almost confrontation with these people was that this literature came in a jacket stamped with the Assyrian flag as the frontal presentation. Quickly, this lead me to suspect, perhaps even conclude that this act was organized to target the Assyrian community, and more interestingly it was an inside job, perpetuated by the Mission Independent Baptist Church. I watched many children taken aback, while their little hands held these pamphlets, as their minds were quickly swayed from watching the parade as they read through the literature, absorbing information, perhaps questioning their own set of beliefs, and that of their parents.
Understanding that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects religious practices, I assert my position that we must apply wisdom over matter and question participation of foreign individuals in future events, be it even churches. And while an event such as the parade is a public function, we must, nevertheless, take measures and control participation, regardless of whether the participation is solicited or not. In my own opinion, no one should be allowed to approach our children without our personal consent. Our children are our only guarantee into the future. Let’s keep them safe and informed in our homes, our churches.
A crowded Assyrian community gathered on Sunday, April 4th in a parade on King Sargon Boulevard (Western Avenue, between Peterson and Pratt), celebrating the Assyrian New Year, commemorating the 6754th Assyrian year. Kha B’Nissan, the first of April, marks the beginning of life and fertility.
In the hymns of the ancient Sumer, luminous Inanna is poetically described as queen of heaven, radiant start and first daughter of the moon. Often depicted by the goddess’ side is her beloved husband, Demuzzi, the majestic sun. The couple chose New Year’s Day, an auspicious time of new beginnings, for their marriage. After the ceremony, Demuzzi drew close to Inanna and quietly presented her with gifts representing fertility, creativity and abundance. Because of her capacity for joy, gentleness, strength and bravery, the spirit of Inanna is lovingly described in one epic after another as a great light filling the sky. By coming together and thus becoming one, she and Demuzzi inspired poetry and art, balance and harmony to the people of Sumer.
The mother goddess Inanna is the Sumerian counterpart to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar. One of the most revered deities of the ancient Near East, the Bablyonian creator goddess Ishtar (giver of Light) was associated particularly with love, war, fertility, childbirth, healing, and justice. Ishtar had equivalents in numerous cultures, including the Zidonian goddess Ashtoreth, and she gradually appropriated the identities of other goddesses. The story of Ishtar’s descent to the underworld, which follows, links her to the Greek goddesses Demeter and Persephone.
Ishtar was the wife of Tammuz, the vegetation god. Upon his death, she ventured to the underworld to restore him to life. On her journey, she passed through seven gates, removing one of her veils at each gate. She was gone for so long that nothing grew on earth during her absence. This situation prompted the other deities to help her procure Tammuz’s release. As part of the bargain made with Allat, ruler of the underworld, Ishtar had to return once a year to repeat the ritual of her husband’s death and rebirth.
Today, Assyrians gather to celebrate the same rituals that were practiced by the first recorded human civilization, the Sumerians. Assyrians in Chicago, approximately 120,000 in population, are an immigrant generation from predominantly Iraq, Iran, Syria and Lebanon, and other Middle Eastern countries. The Assyrians of Chicago are good, contributing citizens to the business and commerce in the West Rogers Park and Andersonville communities, as well as neighboring suburbs of Lincolnwood, Skokie, Morton Grove, Niles and Des Plaines. Other Assyrians have established smaller communities in Elgin, Roselle, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and other Northwest Suburbs. While outnumbered by other minority groups in the United States, Assyrians have steadfastly progressed to higher education in the fields of law, finance, medicine and politics.
Assyrians in Chicago are among the most unique people of all the Assyrian communities throughout the United States. Interestingly, they have the vibrancy for maintaining tradition and folklore through their close knit community resources and churches. In an essence, the Assyrians have become a sub-culture streamlining into the American culture. Moving into the 21st century, newcomers continue to migrate to the Chicago land area, leaving behind family and friends (death) in a pursuit of new beginnings (rebirth), calling Chicago their new home.
We salute our rich heritage and welcome a new birth to yet another spring season with hopes for new and better beginnings in the life of our small beloved Assyrian community.
Featured in Zinda April 5, 2004