Archive for May 2005

An Assyrian Man Walking in His Dream! (A true story)

This is not a scene from a horror or some weird movie, nor is it a religious-based one. It is simply one of a psychological nature. It is an actual story that involves an Assyrian man, which happened in the 1950s in the village of Dehe in Northern Iraq.

One day, Zako Enwia was sleeping in his house, in the village of Dehe, which is located along the way between Barwar and Zakho. His house was situated along the valley, overlooking the small river in the village. That night, he woke up, and left his bed. He left the house, crossed the street to the other side, where the river was. All this was in sleep-walking; the man wasn’t aware a bit, that he was doing this. His family never felt it either.

The man walked some 100 meters, until he plunged into the river, and that is where he woke up, shocked and frightened. He knew right away what had happened, because he had a history with this phenomenon of sleep-walking. By the time he got back home, his family was up, and some were already out looking for him.

The man and the family were both shocked, yet relieved at the same time. This story became so popular, that the entire village at the time knew about it. In fact, and I am quoting some village sources here, “had we had any credible or material evidence, this could have easily ended up in the Guinness World Records , as having been the longest sleep-walking distance that anyone would have made or walked, by then at least (1950s).

The man, who is still alive, is in his mid 70s now, and coincidentally enough is back in his village of Dehe where he lives and has his own farm. He is the man we call “An Assyrian Man Walking in his Dream” He is virtually the only Assyrian I know of, who could have made it into the book of records. Not bad, especially for doing something so risky, yet effortlessly and unconsciously too.


Assyrians don’t Mind Teddy Bears nor Real Bears

In our world today, especially here in the West, Teddy Bears are very popular and have come to symbolise love and care. For both the young, the old and those in between. But it is not quiet the same with real bears, who are usually feared by pretty much everybody; including those who work with them as a career. Few weeks ago, I was watching a TV program in which some animal trainers spent years and years, just trying to get used to being close to wild bears in the mountain. And even with this intense training, they still had to wear protective suits to shield them from the risk of being attacked and mulled by the bear.

But if we go back in history, we will find that there are some people who don’t mind bears. Those people are the Assyrian people, and I am one of them; but I do fear bears! In fact you don’t have to go back long in history to see people who don’t fear bears. Those brave Assyrians I am referring to, are people who lived in the mountain of Hakari and Tyari, from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Although there have been various tales of Assyrians coming into direct contact with bears, one sticks in my mind; it is one that one generation after another remembers and wonders about.

One day, an Assyrian man from Tyareh was out, working on his farm. His son was working with him too, but then took a break and left him to go in the wilderness in the nearby mount. But the son took too long, and didn’t come back. Curious and worried, the dad decided to go look for him. As he climbed the small mount, he saw a grizzly (no pun intended) scene: his son was battling a big bear, almost twice his size. His dad couldn’t believe his eyes, and run towards his son, to try and help him, although fear had controlled him. Seeing a bear is scary in itself, but seeing a bear trying to kill your son is the ultimate fear. By the time the dad got there, the son managed to get away from the hard fist of the bear and get loose. The son escaped with little injuries. In fact, he had managed to give the bear a run for its reputation and power!

As the dad got to his son, he started wondering how this all happened, and how scared he was. The son looked OK and extremely calm, given the situation. He then started talking and telling his dad about his battle with the bear. He told his dad, and this has become a famous quote: “dad, it was a strong bear, I couldn’t defeat it…” The dad was amazed at the fact that his son was not happy for being safe. Instead, he was sad because he thought he lost the battle against the bear. In other words, he thought he had a chance against the huge bear.

This is not just a real story. It is also a story that teaches us real courage and bravery; something that our current Assyrian generation seems to lack, and must work hard to restore. Of course, this is not a call to start fighting bears. It is simply a call for Assyrians to move on, while looking at their ancestors and how unfearful they were, of almost anything! Including bears, and real ones, not teddy bears!


Buy from Assyrians

Let me start by asking you this simple question, whose answer may not be an easy or accurate one to find out: how many Assyrians live in your city or region? if you are in a city like Detroit, Chicago, Sydney or Toronto, chances are, there is more than a few thousands Assyrians living in your area. It is also very likely that you share the same postal code with some hundreds of them. Now the next question is: how many Assyrian businesses exist in your area? none, a few, or maybe many of them? let us take Toronto or Detroit for example. How many Assyrian auto mechanic shops are there? how many Assyrian/Middle Eastern restaurants are there in Detroit? I am sure there is more than a few.

Now the next question is: with so many thousands of Assyrians living in these big cities, and with lots of established Assyrian businesses and franchises, why not bring the two closer together? that is, why not have most Assyrians buying from Assyrian businesses, while the Assyrian businesses to tailor their services and products for these Assyrian customers? In other words, Assyrians are going to buy and spend money anyways, so why not spend it in Assyrian stores and businesses where possible? those businesses in turn will support community events, social and religious charities etc. So it is more of a self-enforcing cycle; the Assyrian consumer supports the Assyrian business and vise versa.

In talking to people, I have noticed that some of them have had a negative dealing with Assyrian businesses at times. This may be true but it should in no way prevent an exchange between the two. After all, if we can’t establish trust between our own community members, how can we trust the world? more trust should be built between the two. In fact, Assyrian businesses should promote themselves to the Assyrian consumer more often.  This can be done through traditional advertising or public campaigns, channeled through community mediums.

Now you may be wondering, why focus on the Assyrian customer, don’t these businesses already have their own customers? they probably do, but imagine these made-up examples

-Sydney, Australia has 5 Assyrian hair shops. Sydney has some 30,000 Assyrians living in them. If one third of this population was to use these Assyrian hair stylists, we would be giving them business like no other.

-An Assyrian auto mechanic in Chicago: now Chicago has got, arguably, the biggest Assyrian population outside of the middle east. With at least 10,000 Assyrian drivers in the city, and some 10 Assyrian auto service shops, we could be creating a fortune for these guys, if a big fraction of these drivers went to these mechanic, as opposed to non-Assyrian ones.

-A food super market in Toronto: if 500 Assyrian families were to buy part of their monthly shopping from one of the many Assyrian food stores in Toronto, these businesses would profit greatly.

In other words, it is really easy to help our businesses, and help establish a virtual Assyrian economy which spans boarders and time zones.  In fact, if the above scenarios were implemented and applied, we could easily create new Assyrian millionaires, which is not a bad thing at all.  So what should you, as a consumer, do to help? well you can do a lot. To begin with, make sure you try to give your money to an Assyrian businesses as much as possible. Try to tell your friends and relatives about all Assyrian businesses in your area. Note that, by this, we are not calling of a boycott of non-Assyrian businesses and products. We are simply giving Assyrian businesses a priority.

And finally, , a website of which I am a part of and its founder, has dedicated “July 1st”, to be an annual “Buy from an Assyrian” day, where Assyrians are encouraged to go out and buy something from an Assyrian. So mark this day on your calendar and make sure you go out and buy something on this day, from an Assyrian. In fact, you should make this habit, and buy something from an Assyrian, at least once every month.