Archive for April 2009

On the Sad Passing of the great Assyrian Historian Hirmiz Aboona (1940-2009)

Assyrian Voice would like to extend its deepest condolences for the sad passing of the great Assyrian historian, Hirmiz Aboona on April 27, 2009.

Mr. Aboona was born in the village of Alqosh, Iraq in 1940 and has been instrumental in documenting and preaching recent Assyrian history of the last few hundred years.  He has authored up to 8 books about the subject of “Assyrians after the fall of Ninweh”

Most of his books are based on documents, evidences and historical facts, and for this, he was well regarded and respected in his topic.
Hirmiz Aboona leaves behind a wife and two sons, who currently reside in Toronto.

May your soul rest in peace. And may your books help keep Assyrian history alive and never die!


Is there an Assyrian ‘Susan Boyle’ Amongst us?

By now, and unless you live in a cave with a complete isolation from the rest of the world, you have most likely heard of Susan Boyle.  She is the British Idol show sensation who wowed the crowd, despite being laughed at and ridiculed before she even started her performance. Ever since, Susan Boyle has been the talk of the media and the web, with her performance clip on Youtube being watched over 100 million times in a matter of ten days or so. Astronomical numbers in any way you look at it.

But why and how did Susan create such a buzz? Is it her great voice? While that has a lot to do with it, it is more about the expectations people had of her, given her looks and age. It is a perfect and classic illustration of “judging a book by its cover and not necessarily by what is in it.”

Do Assyrians have a Susan Boyle amongst them? Or maybe more than one Susan Boyle, and this includes from both genders.  You bet we do.  The Assyrian Susan Boyle is that person in our Assyrian society whom we dismiss and not give a chance to show us what they have got.  Whether it is a talent, a skill, an idea, we are sometimes too quick to dismiss people in our society based on their looks or appearance only.  We don’t even give them a chance to show what they have, and discharge them before they have even had a chance to impress us.

How many times have you seen an Assyrian with a good idea or a plan, only to be laughed at or even ridiculed? And this is even before we have had a chance to hear or see what this ‘Assyrian Susan Boyle’ has to offer.  We may judge the person based solely on their appearance, looks, background or even tribal affiliation.  If he is not from my tribe, I am not giving him a chance. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? This also applies to our presense in Iraq: just because we are a minority and Christian, doesn’t mean we should be dismissed and marginalized. Give Assyrians of Iraq a chance too!

If Susan Boyle has taught us anything, it is that a person should be given at least one chance, and you never know what could happen in that one chance.  A person could fail his chance, or could really impress us.  We are not even asking for many chances: let us give those in our nation just one chance to show us what they got. We never know, they may impress us after all.  This includes any and all segments of our society, be it political, social, music, business, entrepreneurship and other areas.  If we just give a person one chance, you never know what will come out of it.  They may just need that one chance and support from us, and the rest will just grow beyond expectation and imagination. Isn’t that what happened with Susan Boyle?

Finally, and to all the Assyrian ‘Simon Cowells’ amongst us, be a little more open and fair in your judgment.  Give a chance to a person, and don’t ridicule them before you have even had a chance to see what they have to show.  By doing this, you will have saved yourself any future mockery.  Next time an Assyrian comes to you with an idea, listen to them and give them a chance.  Otherwise, and with no ideas to build from and on, our nation will have no future artists, businesses, entrepreneurs, singers, politicians, scientists, infrastructure.  Or we may still have them, but they will not be working under an Assyrian name, because their own Assyrians didn’t give them a chance to begin with.


The Canadian Assyrian National Pentium

When buying a new computer, we have all gotten used to usually look for PCs that have the Intel Pentium processor inside. But what does the word ‘Pentium’ mean and where does it come from? The word comes from the Greek word ‘penta’ which means the number five. In this sense, the word Penta, Pentium or any other derivatives of the word come to represent anything that involves the number 5: ‘fifth’ as in ranking, ‘five’ as a combination or unity of five things or entities together etc.

Bingo! We now have a similar Assyrian version of the Pentium here in Toronto. This Assyrian Pentium represents 5 Political, cultural and social Assyrian bodies working together for essentially the same fundamental and final purpose.

The five entities are Zowaa, AAS, Ashur TV, ACSSU and this website, Assyrian Voice. Although there is no formal or official agreement between all five entities, they have come to develop a common approach and understanding when it comes to coordinating, planning and hosting different events.

Let us visit each one of these five players in this Pentium and examine what their role is and how they all relate at the end. Such a complicated yet very efficient coordination, which was clearly witnessed at the recent April 1st Celebrations in Toronto, has been lacking from our society for sometime and is sorely needed.

Zowaa: the Main Driving Force

Zowaa is the main driving engine of this Pentium. They started it all some 30 years ago and had been going strong ever since. In fact, the other four players of this ‘Assyrian Pentium’ can be argued to have been started or somewhat influenced by Zowaa.  Zowaa made it possible for our people to move from the ‘dreaming’ stage to a more manageable stage of ‘hope’.

Assyrian Aid Society: the Humanitarian Force

While Zowaa has done all it can to help our people and nation, AAS took the ‘humanitarian’ responsibility to help Assyrians worldwide, especially those in Iraq.  They have often worked closely with Zowaa and other organizations from this Pentium to coordinate and organize relief efforts for Assyrians in need and distress.  Locally and regionally speaking, AAS has been organizing different events that promote the Assyrian culture and help collect money for our people back home.

Ashur TV: the Power of Media

Ashur TV was launched following the toppling of the former Iraqi regime by American forces in 2003, and has been the media arm of Zowaa and Assyrians in Iraq.  During its first few years, it faced a lot of challenges in Iraq, mainly those relating to security and safety in Baghdad and other areas where the channel operated. Nevertheless, Ashur TV and its staff continued to work in the face of challenges, reporting on Assyrian news, events and more.  In 2005, an affiliate channel of Ashur TV opened in San Jose, California, broadcasting a few hours at set days every week.

ACSSU: the power of Knowledge and Academia

ACSSU, the Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Student Union, was established in 1999 to address the academic and educational needs of our students in Canada.  Although not politically affiliated with any party or political entity, ACSSU has worked closely with various organizations, especially the ones already mentioned in this article.  In the last several years, ACSSU has worked hand in hand with ADM, AAS and other organizations, to organize events, rallies, community gatherings and more.  ACSSU is the one organization in this Pentium of organizations that readies and mobilizes our youth and students, so they are ready to take over in the future.

Assyrian Voice: the Power of the Internet

Assyrian Voice, the website you are reading this article on, has been serving Assyrians since 1999.  Furthermore, we have worked closely with, and supported the work of all the organizations mentioned so far (in addition to many other Assyrian organizations)  We have promoted their activities and initiatives, helped with organizing and coordinating and so much more.   We have used the popularity of this website to bring people’s attention to what is going on out there, whether it is happening here in Canada or abroad.  We believe that no matter how powerful an organization is, its message can only get so far, and there is always a need for a ‘booster’ or ‘amplifier’ that will help get its message farther and to more people. Assyrian Voice, using its very popular and successful presence on the web, seeks to do just that.  Assyrian Voice may not be recognized as an official organizer or supporter, but we have been doing our part lately, and our work doesn’t need to be recognized nor credited.

Ever Improving Coordination

The combination and close cooperation between these 5 organizations doesn’t mean they are the only players on the Assyrian scene. Not at all, and in fact, they are some of many that work for the good of our nation and people.  But regionally speaking, for Canada at least, these organizations have worked, coordinated and shared a lot together.  They are many pieces to one big and beautiful picture.  And together with other chapters, organizations and affiliates around the world, the hope is that everyone will work together for the good of our national future.  We should forget about the days of division, conflict and constant bickering between our people and organizations.  This is the time to come together and start working together.  It all starts from this Assyrian Pentium 5!


April 1st Assyrian New Year Celebration in Toronto

Assyrians in Toronto, Canada celebrated the Assyrian-Babylonian New year (also known as Akitu) on Sunday March 29, with over 750 people in attendance. Assyrian Voice was present at the event, with our own table, and filed this report of all the events and activities. This is not the first April 1st event I have been to, but I can safely say that this was the best one I have ever been to, very well and professionally done.

Excellent Organizational Coordination and Programs

Many organizations helped in organize this event, and the coordination between them was flawless and better than ever before. Each knew their role, and that helped in producing one amazing and professional event.

In termas of activities and programs, there was something for everyone, including music, dancing, kids arts, art exibits, cultural showcasing, lectures, and much more.

The event drew a good Assyrian business presence, and this was great to see, as it helped in build better ties between the Assyrian consumer and retailer. Establishing this mutual relationship between the two, in such a great occasion, can only benefit the overall Assyrian economy and business.

The Youth Gets it

The youth had a big part to play in planning this year’s event. They added new and fresh ideas, and that attracted even more crowds and generated greater interest. And make no mistake about it, and despite the great role that the older generation plays, the youth will have more to say in future events. They just get it, and bring a lot of expertise into this.

Assyrian Voice presence

This website was also present there, having set our own table, to show and present our website to the people present there. We also distributed flyers and pamphlets, letting people know about our website, what we offer, and how they can access it, including from their mobile devices.

Final words

This is absolutely one of the most professionally organized Assyrian events I have ever been too. The coordination between the various organizations helped in ensuring, and regardless of the complexity of the task, that the overall and final product was a great one. A word of thanks goes to all those who helped make this a reality, including AAS, ADM, ACSSU, Ashur TV, the banquet hall owners, all the singers, all the people who set up their tables, all people in attendance, the lecturers, the MPs and everyone else who had a hand in this.

Here are some pictures from the event. For more photos visit this link. For video, visit our Youtube channel.