Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Top 10 Assyrian Events and Persons of the year 2011

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

By: Ashur Sada

As the year draws to a close, it is time to reflect back on the past 12 months and attempt to make sense of what happened. Assyriangly Speaking that is!

We thought, like we have done in previous years, it would be cool to come up with a top 10 list of Assyrian events and persons for this ending year of 2011.

So how did we come up with this list? It is based on various things and criteria, including people’s nominations, amount of discussions and viewership it generated, buzz on social networks, and last but not least, how much it was debated and talked about in person. We may have missed or forgotten to include some other important ones, and if we did, please don’t hesitate to include them.

 

1-The attacks on Assyrians and their properties in the Northern Kurdish region of Iraq

2-The continuing efforts to unite Assyrian political movements and parties under one voice (started after the horrific terrorist massacre at the ‘Lady of Salvation’ Syriac Catholic church in Baghdad in 2010)

3-The passing of the great Assyriologist and archaeologist Donny George

4-Appointment of an Assyrian (Sargon Lazar, Ministry of Environment) as the first Assyrian minister in the new Iraqi government

5-The continuing threats, attacks, intimidation against Assyrians in Iraq and the resulting escape out of the country

6-The Completion of the Assyrian Dictionary Project

7-The passing of Assyrian singer and musician ‘George Homeh’

8-Assyrian activist, Michael Youash, and his continuing and relentless effort to get more funding and support for Assyrians and the formation of an Assyrian ‘Nineveh Plain’ province, all part of his role at the ISDP.

9-Assyrian soccer player ‘Leena Khamis’, playing for Australia, becomes the first Assyrian female player to make it to the world cup.

10-Launch of a new Assyrian Channel ‘Assyrian National Broadcasting

 

 

Do you agree with the list? do you agree with most choices? Who would you like to have been included, whether it was an event or a person? Please let us know in the comments section below or on our discussion forums.

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Leena Khamis: a new name in the list of Assyrian Football Legends

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

By: Ashur Sada

She is barely 25 years old, and she can already rest assured that her name will forever be part of a precious short list of Assyrian sports legends. She is Leena Khamis, an Assyrian soccer player who helped Australia reach the quarter finals of the 2011 FIFA Women Football World Cup  in Germany.And she didn’t just get there by being included as a name in the Australian team. She actually had a big part in their effort, even scoring a goal against Equatorial Guinea.

About  3 years ago, we had a discussion on Assyrian Voice about Leena Khamis’ rising popularity in Australia and their female league, where she was a leading scorer for her Sydney team. Three years later, we are talking about her as part of an Aussie team that was competing to win a world cup!  That is a great progress for Leena Khamis in 3 years and given her relatively young age , she could go for more in the years to come.

As I write this article, Australia has now been elminated from the tournament by Sweden-a powerhouse in female football-nevertheless, the accomplishment is already big enough for the Australian team and Leena.

Some may think that although this is indeed a very good achievment by an Assyrian athelete, the fact remains that it is still not a great one, given that it is a female tournament.  I beg to disagree. First of all, despite this being a female tournament, it is still female against female, so the competetion is fair and square. Secondly, this tournament has grown a very high profile worldwide in the last 10 years and is now watched by millions. Sure, it will never achieve same status as the real men’s competetion, but it is still pretty damn good with some great super stars that you will actually enjoy watching.

Leena Khamis is still young enough to be featured in the next world cup in 2015, should she continue to imrpove and get better and better. But even before that, we hope to see her in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London next year.

Like I already mentioned, and although her recent appearance at the World Cup was her biggest accomplishment, it is one of many other ones.  She has already represented Australia at the 2004 FIFA World Under 19 Women’s Championship in Thailand.  Domestically, she finished the inaugural W-League season as top scorer with 7 goals, helping her win the Golden Boot award With Sydney FC. Here are some of her major accomplishments locally and internationally:

2009  W-League Premiership with Sydney FC
2009 W-League Championship with Sydney FC
2010 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Winners with Australia
2011 FIFA Women World Cup Quarter Final with Australia

Ammoa Baba, Shedrak Yousif, Douglas Aziz, Ayoub Odisho, Basil Georgis…and now you can add Leena Khamis to the list of Assyrian soccer legends whose names will forever be engraved in the book of Assyrian soccer legends.

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Asia Cup 2011 and the Assyrian Factor

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

There is an interesting twist to the on-going Asia Cup 2011 in Qatar: all three countries where Assyrians mainly live in the Middle East are playing.

Iraq, Syria and Iran. As I write this article, all three teams have since been eliminated.

Of three teams, some were shocked that at least one of them had Assyrian players. In fact, not one but two-on the Syrian national team. These were Luay Chanko and Sanharib Malki.

As for the other two countries, Iran did have a Christian Armenian player, but no Assyrians. As for Iraq, the birthplace of many Assyrian soccer legends, it had none. In fact, it didn’t even have a single Christian player.

Teams are not chosen based on religion or ethnic affiliation, but given a country like Iraq with its history and ethnic make-up, it would have been a great gesture to include at least one Assyrian player. Even if this player never played and sat on the bench most of the time.  Having an Assyrian player on the Iraqi team would make a world of difference to virtually every Assyrian out there.

A lot of Assyrians from Iraq are already big supporters of the national Iraqi team. It is a passion that goes back to early childhood years when we used to watch the Iraqi team – with several Assyrian players – entertain us and beat other teams in different tournaments.

There are two sides to the question of whether to support an Iraqi team that doesn’t truly represent Assyrians: on the one hand, there are those of us who are very attached to the team for decades now and feel it is our team, even if it is representing Iraq and not Assyrians per se.

On the other hand, there are those who not only don’t cheer for the Iraqi team, they dislike anyone who does and think we are cheering for a team from a country that treats its Assyrian Christian people as second class citizens, therefore don’t deserve our support.

Each side has his or her point, but at the end of the day, this is a personal sport decision and no one should impose their view on others.

But back to the issue of Assyrian players on the Iraqi team. Though the current situation in Iraq isn’t ideal for us to worry about Assyrian players on the team, it is one that deserves some discussion. Although I am not from Syria, I found myself cheering for their team in their group stages simply for having two Assyrian players on it. It is not about a bias or only liking teams that have Assyrians. Rather, it is the fact that Assyrians make up a significant portion of Iraq’s population, ethnic and political make-up, not to mention its priceless contributions to advancing soccer in Iraq and putting it on the map.

Iraqi football committee should do its best to start including Assyrian Christian players on its future roasters again. It only represents the social demographic on the ground.

—————————
Follow me on Twitter: @AssyrianVoice

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Two Decades Later, Basil Gorgis is Finally Recognized

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Basil Gorgis has finally been truly recognized, both in Canada and back in Iraq!

It took almost 20 years for Basil Gorgis to be finally and truly recognized. Within the span of one week, Basil Gorgis was recognized by both his Assyrian people in Canada and his country of Iraq, where he played all of his soccer career.

Basil Gorgis is the first, one and only Assyrian player to have ever played in the world cup, back in 1986 with the Iraqi team.  Such a tremendous accomplishment has easily made Basil into an Assyrian and Iraqi legend. Assyrians have produced a lot of soccer legends, but only Basil Gorgis managed to make it to the world cup.  But it took almost 20 years for his accomplishments to finally be showcased, appreciated and rewarded.  Both by Assyrians in Canada, where he lives, and back home in Iraq where he was born and grew up.

Recognition by the Assyrian Community in Canada

Basil has lived in Canada for almost 20 years. But it took almost that many years for the community to finally truly show its appreciation for what he has done.  On Nov 29, the Assyrian Chaldean Syrian Student Union in Canada (ACSSU) held a lecture interview with Basil, to get people to know him and his career, as well as to show appreciation for his accomplishments.

The Assyrian community, as much as it may have taken this Assyrian legend for granted, shouldn’t have waited this long to do something for Basil.  This should have been done long time ago.  Basil Gorgis deserves more.   He is not just a sports legend, he is also a great  and humble person, given all his accomplishments.  Basil was very moved and pleased by what ACSSU did for him, as late as it may have come.  I guess better late than never.

Recognition by the Iraqi government

Days after being recognized by the Assyrian community in Toronto, Canada, Basil flew to Baghdad, Iraq, as part of an invitation by the Iraqi government to various former Iraqi athletes.  Basil was one of those to deserve this special invitation. While in there, Basil met with Iraqi officials and many other former athletes. Basil also met with the Assyrian community in Baghdad, and was a guest at Ashur TV

Assyrians should realize that such national legends don’t come by everyday, and it is crucial that we reward them for their accomplishments.  Basil Gorgis could have easily give up on his community, like Andre Agassi did (if you believe that his blood is half or somewhat Assyrian) but he chose not to, and was still loyal and true to his community, culture and heritage.  Such a show of support and appreciation for those outstanding members of our community, whether athletes or from other walks of life, will set a better examples for the younger generation who will one day be our future legends.

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Assyriska Player Attacked by 4 Syrianska Fans: Hitting the Red Zone

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Whether you blame it on Sweden’s laughable and fragile legal system, or the idiocy of some punks, what happened last Sunday in Södertälje, Sweden is beyond appalling and outrageous.

For simply being Assyrian and playing for Assyriska, 18 years old Gabriel Awrohum was attacked by 4 Syrianska fans, when he was at a bar and refused their orders to strip of his Assyriska jersey.  Being Assyrian and playing for Assyriska is like the ultimate role model for some Assyrian youth, but to these punks, it was a matter of hate, jealousy, hooliganism and pure idiocy.

Assyriska and Syrianska both play in the second highest Swedish league, the Superettan (one tier below the super league,  ‘Allsvenskan’), and throughout the years, a lot of rival animosity has been brewing between the two teams and their respective fans. It has become much more than a soccer rivalry.  It has spilled into other aspects of life including politics and religion, which is ironic because history and religion is what divides these two communities (Soryuyo and Oromoyo.)  About a month ago, when Assyriska beat Syrianska, one of Assyriska’s community buildings was set on fire, and although no one has officially been charged, all fingers point to zealous and envious Syrianska fans.

Enough is enough! We and they got to put a stop to this, before it becomes something of a much larger scale, at which point Swedish authorities will be powerless to stop. Here is what needs to happen:

-Religion and Sports: First and foremost, the Aramaic religious establishment needs to stop getting itself involved in this sports rivalry.  Isn’t it enough that they already get involved in political matters, now want to poison the soccer pitch with their hate pitch?  Let us make peace not hate and divisions.  It is one thing to bless a team ( which the Pope of the Vatican has done before) and quiet another when you get involved to the point of almost turning into ‘religious hooliganism’

-Syrianska team officials have to condemn the stupid and criminal activities of their fans.  Staying quiet is sending the wrong signal.  This is supposed to be a civilized team playing in a civilized country.  Why should team management allow bunch of crazy fans to tarnish its image?  Sure it can’t be responsible for the action of every one of its fans, but coming out and condemning the criminal activities of its fans would set the record straight.

-Swedish Football Federation: what about these guys? In most major soccer federations, penalties, sometimes severe ones, are often levied against teams with misbehaving fans.  It seems like the SFF is not assertive nor decisive enough and this can only give the green light to these fans to continue doing what they are doing.

-Officials at the city of Södertälje: the city of Södertälje is sitting on a an Assyrian goldmine.  It is the ultimate dream destination for thousands of Assyrian soccer fans from all over the world, to watch Assyriska play.  This means lots of tourist money for the local economy of a relatively small city.  But fans will be discouraged and think twice about coming, after hearing of all these negative things.  In cooperation with the police, the city should take a tougher stand against all the Syrianska mad men, arsonists and gangsters.  They are risking losing control of their city and its global image, if it had any to begin with.

-Assyrians Everywhere: we too should strongly condemn this, and show our full support for Assyriska, its players, and specifically Gabriel Awrohum, the player who was attacked.  Let us ensure every Assyriska home match is a sell-out.  Let us buy their merchandise, online broadcasts, and anything that will show them our support.

Assyriska to Assyrians has become more than a soccer team.  It is a whole cultural and global brand that thousands of Assyrians are in love with.  So it is no wonder that when Assyriska suffers a loss, its fans get attacked by opposing fans, or in the case of the latest Syrianska fans stupidity of attacking an Assyriska player, the entire Assyrian nation should be up in arms.  If politics and churches can’t unite us, why not let a soccer team do it?

Syrianska fans have showed us just how uncivilized they can be.  Assyriska fans can respond with just as much violence and revenge, but that is not the route we will or should take, simply because we are better!  We are not the ‘cradle of civilizations’ by coincidence.  In the long term, Syrianska could see itself relegated to lower divisions while Assyriska makes it back to the Allsvenskan (super Swedish league), where the Assyriamn flag could be waving high and proud in other European cities.

Assyriska chooses to play soccer and with pride and class.  Syrianska are choosing to play with fire and in a rather low class.  And no, I won’t differentiate between the fans and the team itself, until the latter acknowledges the problem and publicly calls out the irresponsible acts of its fans.

Forza Assyriska!

(for complete coverage and Assyriska fans reaction to this incident, visit our Assyriska forums)
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Chronicling the latest instalment of the Assyrian-Syriac Derby

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Prior to kick off:
Despite living in Sydney and hence being thousands of miles away from the action, I was left with the impression that the build-up to this fierce derby was a little more timid than usual.  I quickly attributed this observation to the fact that, with both Assyriska and Syrianska within touching distance of the Holy Grail of football – promotion to the top flight, local bragging rights and the promotion of nationalistic ideals were merely subplots to the bigger scheme of things – the pursuit of three points.  While a derby victory for Syrianska is typically used as propaganda by the separatist pseudo-ethnic Aramean/Syriac faction intertwined within their organisation to iniquitously demarcate an already divided Assyrian nation, the simple sporting objective of progressing upwards in the league table and moving one step closer to promotion was the dominant thought for the vast majority of their Gefe fans.   A victory for Assyriska meanwhile obviously promotes the more mainstream notion of an Assyrian identity, yet in similar fashion this was of little significance to myself and the rest of the mighty Zelge fans who for the past 2 months have watched in dismay as our seemingly triumphant procession to the Allsvenskan has been left in tatters.

In the weeks prior to kick off, there had been serious talk from Assyriska supporters about a boycott of the derby (which eventually came to fruition).  There were two main reasons for this:
–   Protesting against board and sporting committee’s poor handling of transfers both in and out of the club (in particular, the sale of Aziz Corr Nyang to rivals GIF Sundsvall midway through the season)
–   The simple fact that some did not want to provide a single Krona (Swedish currency) to Syrianska’s coffers.

The result of this was a dishearteningly small presence of Assyriska supporters in the stadium (approximately 2,000 compared to Syrianska’s 4,900+).  As such, we were heavily outnumbered and the Zelge fans were accused of “abandoning” their team.

Did I mention Assyriska had fired their coach Roberth Johansson just days before the derby and new coach Conny Karlsson had the luxury of a grand total of 4 days to prepare his team for the match?

The 90+6 minutes:

First half
As usual, thanks to the dismal state of cable internet in Australia (which is about 300 years behind the developed world), the match resembled a slideshow for basically the entire first half.  The commentary, however, could be heard perfectly and as such I was leaping with unexpected joy when I heard “Llumnicaaaaa” *insert Swedish word for goal* and “Assyriskaaaa *some other Swedish words*”.  A quick check of the livescores confirmed that I wasn’t dreaming – Assyriska were off to the greatest of starts with a goal barely after kick off (4 minutes to be exact).

You could hear the euphoria among the brave group of Zelge fans present in the stadium, chanting “Tihe Assyriska” in delirium.  All week, I was stressing to mostly indifferent and uninterested souls about our new coach, what he had previously achieved with Assyriska (Swedish Cup final in 2003) and how common it is for a team to suddenly embark on a winning run when a new coach is appointed.  For once, my foresight proved to actually manifest to reality (the opposite tends to always happen). The generally cagey, feisty and messy nature of the first half added infinite importance to the early goal. Subconsciously, although we continued to attack, playing a stylish and attractive game, I felt this goal could be enough to win the match.

Syrianska were stunned by this early uppercut, and Assyriska dominated the opening periods. Like I said, it was a cagey start, but not without chances. Llumnica found himself through one-on-one, but with all the time in the world to round the keeper or conjure up a simple lob, he timidly sidefooted the ball straight into the arms of Syrianska’s relieved goalkeeper. A glorious chance wasted, but the only time Llumnica put a foot wrong in the derby.

In their only chance of the half, Syrianska’s leading scorer Michael Mensah went close, nodding a free header wide after a delightful cross from the left. Not much else occurred of note, other than some tasty challenges by a fired up Assyriska team – such as Llumnica hacking down an Syrianska player just over the halfway line, luckily escaping with only a gult kort (yellow card).  Trying to outdo Assyriska’s Albanian striker, Philip Bergman (or was it Lorentzson?) left Robert Massi lying in a painful heap after a ball-and-all tackle for which the referee erroneously awarded a free kick. Massi spent the rest of the first half limping and looking helpless, summoning all of his energy and creative wit to pulling painful facial expressions for the camera in an unsuccessful attempt at detracting from the reality that Assyriska were simply playing at another level.

Second half
Mysteriously, the entire second half streamed perfectly on my computer, much to the detriment of my heart given the relentless drama that would follow.  The pendulum of momentum swayed furiously.  A few minutes into the second half, and merely seconds after Goran Marklund sent a shot in the general direction of Syrianska goalkeeper Frealdsson, Bergman put his body on the line to block a goal-bound effort deep in the Assyriska box at the other end.  Meanwhile Eddie Moussa, the only Assyrian in the Assyriska starting XI, breathlessly charged up and down the right wing like a bull chasing the blood of his arch nemesis – the matador – continuing in this fashion right up until he was substituted.  Eddie was a vivid example of the passion and fight Assyriska supporters had been calling for from the players all week.  Moments later I and begin questioning the sanity of the referee and his assistants as Llumnica is taken out by a messy sliding tackle in the box.  The Syrianska defender anticipated a corner, Assyriska demanded a penalty, but the referee awarded a goal kick to everybody’s bemusement. Madness.

A few more moments later, and Goran Marklund is put clean through on goal by a long ball from Bergman, and after shrugging off a petty Syrianska marker, smashes a left foot volley goalwards, only for it to be repelled by a solid Frealdsson.  Around the 57th minute Eddie Moussa cements himself into Assyriska folklore by tripping/kicking an unfortunately positioned Syrianska player miles off the ball. Although the referee was oblivious to this, Eddie in all his excitement failed to consider the presence of the linesman (about 3 metres away from the incident) and duly received a yellow ticket for his moment of genius.

By about the 58th minute, I began to notice the match heading down the path of the first half – scrappy, tense and devoid of any real tempo. Proving me inevitably wrong was General Marklund in the 62nd minute, wasting a glorious chance to put the game away. Nafver, having a fine game on the left wing, delivered a pinpoint cross to the far post for a patiently waiting Marklund, only for captain fantastic, with the goal at his mercy, to head wide past the far post. At this point I was beginning to worry. Wasted chances are always an ominous signal of things to come, especially when you’re Assyriska. Tiago Fereira replaced Marklund in the 68th minute, and it took him less than 60 seconds to display his class, delightfully lobbing the ball to an onrushing Nafver, who expressed his gratitude by volleying wide (clearly intending not to out-do Tiago’s fine pass). My heart rate suddenly doubled.

Syrianska’s best chance hitherto went to Mensah, whose header was closer to the local kebab shop outside the stadium than the goal. Syrianska were being blanketed by Assyriska’s high intensity pressing and aggressive tackling, with only Robert Massi possessing the quality to find some room and threaten our defense, which he occasionally did to his credit.

The game’s dynamics changed completely after about the 70th minute mark however. We officially stopped offering any sort of attacking play, with Syrianska initiating an all-out siege on our goal.  With Zatara and Kunic withdrawn, Syrianska’s supporters began looking forlorn (no really they were, I didn’t just add that for rhyming purposes). They seemed amazed that their incessant “Suryoyo” chant wasn’t having the desired effect on the players (nonetheless, they kept at it to their credit and despite its obvious ineffectuality). For the last 20 minutes plus injury time Syrianska would threaten our goal at unhealthy levels (unhealthy if you are an Assyriska fan).

Christoforidis, on for the useless Zatara in the 62nd minute, threatened to single-handedly change the game and thus alter the universe beyond restoration. I refer to the 73rd minute and minutes that followed, in particular, where he was twice put clean through on goal, only for the linesman to rule that he was offside on both occasions (the second was clearly onside).  It was probably three times actually, but I don’t recall as I was recovering from a heart attack and the witnessing of my life flashing before my eyes.  By the 76th minute I was adamant that mountainous Assyriska goalkeeper Oscar Berglund would not be breached.

Syrianska continued to pile on the pressure, forcing Assyriska to summon super-human levels of courage and determination to keep the ball from breaching the wall and turning a momentous victory into a monumental disaster.  Lions against crows – such bravery in the face of a dark enemy hasn’t been seen on the pitch since…..never!

The infinitely dangerous Christoforidis was denied by the Great Wall of Nineveh, Oscar Berglund, in the 81st minute and this was followed by Mensah somehow shooting wide from 20 yards. Something happened after that but I simply cannot remember as I was recovering from heart attack #2. Oscar Berglund saved us again in the 87th minute, this time after a powerful drive from substitute Kanga. From the subsequent corner and ensuing goalmouth scramble, I experience heart attack #3. By this point, the Zelge supporters were going ballistic, with Tiago acting as the chief cheerleader, prematurely gesturing to the Assyriska faithful to get the party started despite the small matter of the match not being over quite yet.

The 4th official indicated a minimum of 3 minutes of time to be added on, but some feigning of injuries (by us) and cruel luck (for us) meant that the game would only be over after an additional 3 minutes on top.  In the midst of this 6 minutes of additional time (I cannot recall the exact point) something happened – the heart surgeons of Sodertalje suddenly began gearing up and Sodertalje’s suicide hotline operators stood by for an influx of calls (ok, maybe that was an exaggeration) – as Syrianska’s Denis Velic struck the Assyriska crossbar with a header from a corner or cross or something along those lines. The ball looped over the helpless Berglund (the rarest of sights) almost in slow motion, bounced off the cross bar and into the welcoming feet of an Assyriska defender who was able to clear the ball to safety. It was clear – our goal was leading a charmed life, and no Syrianska player was destined to score today. Assyriska held on for a remarkable and heroic derby victory (after losing the last three). Although Syrianska played well for the final 20 minutes and probably deserved something out of this game, the callous nature of history means that only the result will be remembered in the annals of time.

Cue the “Tihe Assyriska” chant to be repeated ad nauseum.

The Aftermath
The jovial feeling of once again being the “big brother” in Sodertalje was cruelly dashed with the revelation that that some wretched individuals had set fire to Assyriska Association’s Headquarters (club house, offices, function room) causing serious damage to the property.  Dosens of firefighters worked tirelessly in the early hours of the morning to contain the blaze, thankfully managing to prevent the entire complex from ruin.

Of course, I am not going to suggest that Syrianska supporters are responsible for this pathetic crime – that is for the police investigation to decide.  However, I will reiterate that us educated and enlightened Assyriska supporters were hardly surprised something even as malicious as this has happened directly after defeating Syrianska in the derby (the fire started merely hours after the official post-derby celebrations involving the supporters and players no less) for their supporters are generally a violent and unruly set of uneducated clowns notorious for taking defeat like a child being deprived of his favourite toy (oops, did I just inadvertently suggest that Syrianska supporters are responsible for this pathetic crime?).  Justice will be done, and the true face of Syrianska will be revealed to the world.

Long live Assyrians & AssyriskaFF – for we stand for peace and truth, while our evil adversaries aim for nothing other than desolation and ignorance.

By Luka the Assyriska Blogger.
http://assyriska.theoffside.com/

assyriska@theoffside.com

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Can Ebay Save Assyrians from Fighting on Khiga?

Monday, July 20th, 2009

It is almost a safe bet that you have been to at least one Assyrian wedding, party or outdoor picnic where there was a dispute over who will take the lead at the Reshet d’Khiga (traditional Assyrian dance)? Pretty sure it is an understatement to call it a mere ‘dispute’ for some of you, as it could often escalate into a full-blown brawl. (if you have never seen a khiga argument or fight, click on this Youtube video and FF to 3:20)

Beside this being a very embarrassing thing to even talk about-despite people becoming more civil about it with the passage of time- the problem is here to stay and is not going away anytime soon.  And if it is here to stay, why not save us some trouble by trying to find a solution for it?  A solution that is both creative and can even generate some money.

Enter the world of bidding, E-Bay style!

Yes, bid on khiga’s lead and the highest bidder to take it for the session or the song.  Implementation and enforcement aside, the idea is not just cool, but it can even generate some money.  And if someone is too cheap or doesn’t have money to be the highest bidder, then too bad.  It is better to make money from khiga than to have people to fight over it.

Now the most obvious question is:  what about the innocent and the poor, who can’t afford this?  Why should they be penalized or filtered out for the mistakes of other low-lifes? By this logic, an Assyrian millionaire could lead the khiga all night long.  To avoid this problem, a person can only lead the khiga once.  Unless no one is interested to take the lead, then they can lead it as much as they can.  Otherwise, second and third bidders could share the lead.

We have merely scratched the basic details of how this will work or be implemented.  The real details will have to be figured out by the people on the dance floor.

If you think this solution is complicated to implement, unnecessary or just too bizarre, I have a much simpler solution: for people to have a little more common sense.  That is, to be more civilized and courteous, and less pinheads. Yep, that will eliminate the need for a bidding process on Khiga.

Like one Assyrian singer once famously sang “people have reached the moon, while we, are still fighting over who will lead the Khiga.”   While there is no need for us to go to the moon yet, there is an even less need for us to fight over Khiga.

Go ahead, register the domain KhigaBidding.com before it is taken!

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Assyriska FC vs. Assyrian Church of the East

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

You could argue that the ‘Assyrian Church of the East’, and although not as a corporation, is the richest Assyrian entity in the world.  It has millions of dollars flowing in its coffers every year, Sunday after Sunday.  Assyrian Aid Society and other political movements such as Zowaa, through the contributions of their members, could come second.But what about ‘Assyriska’? Could it rival the Assyrian Church in being the richest Assyrian entity out there in terms of revenue from its followers and fans? It very much could be!  With it being the only and most recognized international Assyrian team, they could be sitting on a goldmine.   Realizing that and actually leveraging it is a whole different story.

With TV rights, ticket sales, merchandise and more, Assyriska could very well be the richest Assyrian corporation out there (profit or non- for profit.) So many Assyrians are dying to get their hands on one of their jerseys, caps and other apparels.  Assyrians from all over the world, whether they belong to the Assyrian church of the East, or any other church, are in love with this team.  So while not suggesting their followers could outnumber those of the ACOE, but for the purpose of statistics and analysis, it is just interesting to make note of these comparatives between the two.

Assyriska though, compared to the Assyrian Church of the East, is less organized and exploitive of making money from its followers.  And we don’t mean to suggest that any of the two entities are or should be extracting money illegally or unethically from their members.  But if you have a following as big as these two do, and if revenues are needed to keep your operations going, then why not?

I bet some of you are still wondering why I would even write such an article and make this absurd comparison? This is more than just a comparison.  It is also a contrast between the two.  By comparing and contrasting the two entities and how they are operated, we may be able to learn a thing or two about how to run a business a little more efficiently.  Sure the church is not a business, but since money is involved, it is similar to a business; although not in terms of profits.  Assyriska could and should learn a thing or two from the ACOE.  And while we wish both of them to get as much money as they can to keep their operations going, Assyriska is the one that should put a better effort in doing this.  They are sitting on a goldmine. They are our Real Madrid.  Not sure if they realize this, as much as the ACOE realizes it is our own Vatican.

We have narrowed it down to the question: Vatican vs. Real Madrid, who has more following and who generates more money?

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Ammo Baba Dies and Assyriska Loses to Syrianska: Worst Week for Assyrian Soccer?

Monday, June 1st, 2009

As if losing Ammo Baba wasn’t sad and bad enough,  Assyrians lost another battle this past week: The epic battle in the Swedish Superettan for the Assyrian-Aramean bragging rights.  Syrianska beat Assyriska 1-0, and with it crushed the hopes of thousands of Assyriska fans in Sweden and around the world.

This wasn’t just a soccer match. It was far from it.   In fact, you can almost argue that it was more about politics than it was about sports and soccer.  Some dubbed it ‘Derby D’ Suryoye’ , as important of an encounter as those of ‘Real vs. Barcelona’ ,  ‘Milan vs. Inter’ , ‘Manchester vs. Chlesea’  if not more!

Given the tensions between the ‘Assyrian’ and ‘Aramaic’ communities in Sweden and Europe overall, and the latter’s refusal to aknoweledge Assyrians as the real decendants of the ancient Assyrian Aramaic speaking people, these are never just mere soccer matches.

At the end of the day, Syrianska came out victorious, by a score of  1-0, but it is good consolation to know that, because twenty years ago, this ‘Ashur vs. Aram’ battle almost claimed the life of many supporters from both sides.  Yes, that is how bad it can be.  There was violence and chaos this year too, with some reports of Syrianska fans having stolen several hundred Assyriska t-shirts, stripping Assyriska supporters of their ability to wear them to support their team.

Having lost the Assyrian legend Ammo Baba, followed by Assyriska’s loss to Syrianska in Superettan, could this week have been the worst week in Assyrian soccer history ever?  Not certain if anyone keeps a record of such a title, but it can easily qualify for it.

Here are some pictures from both fans sides

For more on this historical match and what people had to say, click here to visit our ‘Assyriska Fans Page’ on Assyrian Voice.

We can end this on a good note by letting you know that Assyriska is still on top of Syrianska on the Superettan league standing.  As of June 1st, they both have the same points, although Assyriska has the advantage in other differentials and wins/losses difference.

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An Iraqi Assyrian Soccer Legend has Passed Away: Ammo Baba (1934-2009)

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

He was regarded as the best coach in the history of Iraqi soccer. More than that, he is credited with taking Iraqi soccer to the next level, and bringing many cups and titles to the country. He is Ammo Baba (officially Emmanuel Baba Dawud) and with heavy hearts we received the news of his death, at the age of 75, after a long battle with illness.

Ammo Baba, who began his career as a player and later as a coach, is one of the most recognized faces, not only for the Assyrian or Iraqi people, but the entire Arab world.  His presence behind the Iraqi team bench was enough to put fear in the hearts of the opponents, which no wonder helped the Iraqi national team win many Arab, Asian and international titles under his coaching.    In fact, his name was so big and respected in Iraq, even the notorious Uday, the son of Saddaam Hussien, would listen to him and obey his final instructions regarding team formations and planning.   Now that is pretty special for a Christian, let alone an Assyrian Christian!

All of which explains why this is such a big loss for the Assyrian, Iraqi and the footballing world in general. He is, with no dispute, the best Iraqi coach in the 20th century, and his record speaks for itself.  As an Assyrian, he has been one of the most popular and recognized personalities in the last 50 years,  if not more popular than such recognized names as Mar Dinkha, Evin Agassi, Agha Petros, Younadam Kanna and others. To be put in the same category as these names says a lot about Ammo Baba.

To read more about this legend and his career, visit one of the following websites:

Preparations are already under way by the Iraqi government to stage a big and national funeral for him, at the famous ‘People’s Stadium’ in Baghdad, a place where Ammo Baba coached thousands of games and players, for close to 4 decades.

As Assyrians, and despite this being a sad moment and great loss, we should still use Ammo’s death to remind Iraqis and others in the region about what Assyrians have given to their country of Iraq. And what better example to demonstrate this loyalty than the great legend? He gave Iraq everything he can, and did everything in his power to keep Iraqi soccer on top of the Arab and Asian world.  Despite being of a very old generation, his ideas were still quiet applicable to today’s fast-paced and athletic soccer.

It is my hope that Iraqis and the Iraqi government in particular recognizes his Assyrian identity, and on the least, put an Assyrian flag on his coffin, beside an Iraqi flag of course.  That wouldn’t be much to ask for.  Realizing that the news of his death and coverage of his funeral will be all over the region, putting an Assyrian flag would send a very powerful message.  A message of appreciation and recognition.

May your soul rest in peace.  With every ball kicked in any Iraqi soccer field, you will be remembered.  That is how great your impact has been.

You truly are ‘the father of all coaches’

You have worked hard enough, and now is time to rest in peace.

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