Archive for July 2009

Can Ebay Save Assyrians from Fighting on Khiga?

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 before it is taken!


Shame on Iraq for Allowing the Attacks on Christian, Assyrian Churches

In a series of coordinated attacks that took place on Saturday July 11, 7 Christian churches -many of which belonged to the Assyrian and Chaldean churches- were bombed by extremists and terrorists.

There has been a very public and loud condemnation of these attacks, from Assyrians and Christian Iraqis everywhere.  Most have been very sad, upset and enraged by what happened, and rightly so.

This is more than a terrorist attack on the innocent Assyrian Christian people of Baghdad and Iraq in general.  It seems like some high planning would have gone into it, not just from the terrorists themselves, but well beyond it.  This begs the question: what do these attacks, the fourth of such horrific nature since the US war in Iraq started in 2003, mean for the Assyrian and Christian presence in Iraq? is this a hint from our haters that we are not welcome, and that those who are left, or thought of returning, should think twice about staying or returning to Iraq?

In addition to all the scare and terror it puts in our already fragile community, these attacks are more than what is needed to make the remnant of our community, to pack and leave.  As I mentioned before, Assyrians and Christians in general have been targeted hundreds and hundreds of times ever since the US war in Iraq ended and the insurgency started. But of these countless and senseless attacks on the Christians in Iraq, 4 have had a very big and lasting impact.  They caused a big wave of Assyrian exit from the affected region or the country altogether:

  1. A series of coordinated attacks that targeted several churches on July 1st, 2004.

  2. The freely-moving insurgency in Doarh in 2006-2007, aided by Al-Qaeda, which terrorized and pretty much emptied the city from its Assyrian and Christian residents

  3. The attacks on Assyrians in Mosul in late 2008, which caused thousands of families to flee, most of whom are yet to return, if ever.

  4. The latest attacks on July 11, 2009

It seems like every time there is a calm and hope for the Assyrian Christian population to return to normal, something of this magnitude happens.   We know the security situation in Iraq has generally improved recently.  But the so-called ‘security improvement’ is a relative phrase.  All it takes is one bombing to make our fragile community rethink its eternal decision to be part of Iraq, let alone a series of bombings targeting our most sacred and holy places.  If the terrorists or whoever is behind these attacks, is provoking us and making us think about staying, they are having some limited success.  Success in the short term at least.  Iraq without its native Assyrian population and the salt of the land, the Christians, is not worth much.  With all due respect to all the other good and great people of this country.

So I will say it as an Iraqi Assyrian myself: shame on Iraq and Iraqis in general for allowing such thing to happen to their Christian compatriots.  Sure they can’t do much about it, as their own mosques and even government institutions  have been bombed, but there is more to it than to just stop a terrorist from bombing a church.  It is about the public opinion overall and how Christians are looked at in the country, and whether they are of a second class or equal to the average Iraqi?

As stated before, it doesn’t take much to weaken our already fragile community in Iraq.  Which is why the Iraqi government, as well as the Iraqi people in general, should make it a priority to protect the Christian community.    Not just protect it, as there is more to life than to just be protected from danger.  They should help them thrive in this country which is rightly theirs.  A country they have contributed so much to.  Why are all their contributions and goodness forgotten all of a sudden? for personal and political interests? we all know these won’t last forever.

Our people, even as tolerant Christians, can only have so much patience.  Eventually, they too will either pack and leave or have a response to what is happening to them.  Protecting the native sons and daughters of Iraq, the Christian Assyrian population, will pay you dividends in the long term.


Assyriska FC vs. Assyrian Church of the East

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?


What It Means To Me To Be An Assyrian

By: Abbey Mikha

Shlama, ow Shlomo, greetings to you in the dialect of my father, in the dialect of my mother, and in the dialect of the ancient rivers and mountains which my people hailed from time immemorial. To think, to live, to feel Assyrian is not for me an occasional remembrance, it is a passion and a duty. True, we are all human beings, from whatever nation we come from, and true, we are grateful citizens of our countries of adoption, where we try to build a new life with new dreams, but as Assyrians we cannot but carry with us, everywhere we go, the song of our old language, the memory of our lost past, and the pride that kept us alive to this day.

The turning point in my life as an Assyrian was when I realized how little known my people are to the outside world and how fascinating their story is. I marveled at my nation’s instinct for survival, the struggle of an old culture, which defied centuries of foreign rule and refused to surrender. I felt deep injustice, I cried in pain for all Assyrians who, in the last two centuries, were sacrificed in terrible genocides, uprooted from their motherland and forced to err in never ending exile because they just happened to be there on their ancient land, after so long, and because they still stood, not moving an inch even though they were very different from the peoples around them. I took pride in those Assyrians surrounded by hostile nations who fought against all odds for an independent state in Assyria and I felt anger when I learned how superpowers such as the English, during the World Wars, gave us promises, which were never fulfilled. I then understood that nobody really cared for our suffering and that we the young Assyrians, like our forefathers, should proudly keep fighting for our rights, or lose our identity and disappear.

I started to feel the pride associated with my Assyrian heritage at a very young age and as I grew older it grew stronger within me, and as I grew wiser, I realized how important it was for me to carry my people’s name. Being an Assyrian means being united within my nation and being united within myself. I am very proud to be an Assyrian with heritage from Alqosh, Zerineh in Jilu, and Mardin in Tur Abdin, which is one of the main reasons my friend’s call me the United Nations of Assyria. There is an inseparable emotional bond between my nation and I.  I accept all of my people even those who are not well aware of our history, loving all Assyrian communities, singing in eastern and western dialects, traveling in time and space from the clay tablets of Ashurbanipal’s library, below earth, to the ancient monasteries, above the mountains and feeling the pride in being the daughter of a nation which gave birth to the first civilizations of humankind.

Today I remembered all Assyrians who fled the homeland, the image of my great grandfather who walked from Turkey to Kiev, which at that time was a part of Russia.  Wherever we live, those of us whose ancestors were lucky enough to escape the Seypa Genocide of 1915 share an indestructible thread, which binds us as one, in addition to history, religion, culture, and language; the story of our common suffering and of our strife to remain and resurrect again.

When I realized that our people, who contributed so much to the world and contributed so much to who I am, had been forgotten, I found my Assyrian turning point. This is when I started to want to prove that Assyrians do exist today, and that I am one of them. At one point in time one of my history teachers told me that Assyrians are extinct, he said there is no such nation, that the ancient Assyrians amalgamated with other cultures, and that we did not survive. Ever since that day I have wanted the Assyrian culture and identity to survive within me, since I knew in my heart and in my mind that he was wrong. This is when I found out that not everything which is written in history books, is true, especially about my people. This is when I understood that truth was relative, and that if we do not stand for who we are, our truth will never be known.

I believe I was born to be Assyrian and to be proud of being Assyrian. One of my favorite pastimes is to share the Assyrian culture with people who are not from our background; food my mother taught me to cook, songs in our language, stories from long ago:  Gilgamesh, Enuma Elish, The Epic of Inanna and Atra Hasis, tales of kings, queens and shepherds, memories of ancient glory and recent sufferings. I am proud of who we were and who we are today and who I am as part of this nation. I will never let anyone deny me the right to call myself Assyrian and to honor my ancestors and their dreams.

Being an Assyrian means to me not only to defy time, but also defying everyone who thinks that our nation did not survive. To be an Assyrian is to know that it does not matter which church we are from, because we are still one nation, one people who speak one language, the same that Jesus Christ spoke. To be an Assyrian means to let everyone in our nation help in the building of our home, a home with a foundation called nothing other than huyada, or huyodo, unity. Our minor differences, as Assyrians from different communities or dialects, are only due to our long history. Instead of fighting, we should accept one another because every one of us has something to offer our common home, which is the Assyrian Nation.

What I will do to preserve my Assyrian identity is to try to educate myself in whom we were in ancient times, as well as who we are today, and what we need to do in order to survive in the future. An identity can only be preserved through the heart when people relate to what they are preserving and when they share true love for their nation. When sincere love exists, the preservation of one’s culture and identity becomes natural even for Assyrians who never lived in the homeland and never grew up around their countrymen and countrywomen.

How can I not feel pride for a people who survived so many acts of cruelty and were literally crucified, yet still are living and breathing today on the earth? We, Assyrians, are survivors, and there shall hopefully be Assyrians on earth till the end of time! Whenever I discuss with fellow Assyrians our situation today, some people mention the theory that because of living in diaspora, Assyrians will be extinct in a few generations, as will our language, and our culture and heritage. My answer to these thoughts is and always will be: I was not born in my homeland, I did not even grow up around Assyrians and if anyone should have lost his or her Assyrian identity, it would be me, but if anyone has found it and kept it, it has also been me.  This means that the children of Assyria will find their way home, and they will never forget who they are or where they came from…

Here is the video:



Originally written in Arabic by Ashur Giwargis – Beirut
English Translation by Mary Challita

A lie can run around the world before the truth can get its boots on”  –  James Watt

History is an established fact, which can not be garbled even by thousands of beards and baggy trousers, while logic is a “concept” which can change depending on each individual or group understands of a given subject, and this is where “debate” begins.

In the following lines, we are going to discuss the Assyrophobia counting on logic and not only history, according to our understanding of the Assyrian identity issue which reflected a “Chaldeanism” without researching but as a mere reaction to Assyrian nationalism, even though it was too late. This reaction developed over the last two years into articles, opinions, associations and political parties which began to believe their claims regardless of who is behind them, which in turn has created a precious time wasting nuisance in our political society which could have been used in fateful issues concerning the Assyrian nation.     

Hence, our discussion is about an issue that never existed but it was made recently so that we waste our time today by proving the Assyrian identity of a large portion of our brethren who were misled by the clergy’s corruption and conspiracies of strangers, while the naïve are not concerned except to see the name of their church next to the Assyrian national name in the Kurdo-Islamic constitution of Iraq forgetting that their fate in Occupied Assyria is at stake at the hands of those who created their modern nationalism, but as is the case with logic which we mentioned before, pride and dignity also have a different definition for each individual or group depending on their level of comprehension and education …

We can not just standby watching what our Chaldean Church clergy are saying specially in national affairs, otherwise any one can hold meetings and come up with decisions regarding the nature of Christ, the Trinity or any other spiritual affairs… Due to the abnormal practices of some clergy and the mercenary collaboration of some Assyrian politicians with strangers, this dangerous disease is expanding to wrongly understand the Assyrian identity by the Catholic community as being a sectarian one identifying only the followers of the Church of the East. Hence, since Yonadam Kanna’s electoral carnival in October 2003, we noticed an increase in the provocation campaigns against the Assyrian identity but despite the naivety of these campaigns, there are simpletons who are reading and generations being corrupted in order to satisfy the desires of a foolish writer who wanted to compensate his lost years in a silly Baath, a defeated communism or a humiliating Kurdism.

Our dependence on history (when a must) is on what the Catholic clergy themselves say, in order to avoid any sensitivities for the reader who is not used to hear the truth, the truth which must play a fundamental role in the lines of any letter or article written by responsible people. The story of the birth of the Chaldean name may at first glance seem to the Assyrian Catholic reader as marginalization or hatred, but reading history from a pure scientific, rationale perspective far from sectarianism and emotions, only then he’ll realize the extent of humiliation that he has accepted over the centuries, since the “Chaldean” name was imposed by foreigners, and we can summarize that in few lines:

Prior to the Catholic missionaries infiltration in the Middle East during the fourteenth century, signs of the persecution of the Church of the East began from the Pope’s office in the Vatican where massacres and persecution were prepared for every corner in the world where France, Portugal and Spain were in control, we can say that not even one Catholic Church was established in the East from Egypt to the Philippines except with pressure, massacres and starvation under the supervision of the Vatican, its Popes and Cardinals. The most prominent of these Churches is the Chaldean Church itself, the characteristics of this had begun in Cyprus when Pope John Paul XXII (1316-1334) gave his instructions to the Patriarch of Jerusalem that “Nestorians and Jacobites must be eradicated from Cyprus with any means possible[1] 

Two centuries later, the followers of the Church of the East in Cyprus turned into “Chaldeans” by force during the time of Pope Julius III (1550-1555) which means that the Eastern Catholics specially those who were called by the Pope “Chaldeans” were mere “victims of Catholicism” more than being “Catholics” since Catholicism wasn’t brought through preaching but through terror and humiliation. As a direct example we quote the explorer Henry Layard describing the ugly scene of Catholic “proselytism” (Chaldeanism) in the north of Iraq as an eye witness in the 1840’s, specifically in the village of Be-Bozeh annexed to Amediya district, Layard said [2] :     

“… We continued our advance towards Amediya reaching the Chaldean village of Be-bozeh at the top of a high mountain … There were ten houses overlooking a deep valley, its inhabitants were all poor, but they warmly welcomed us, they are Nestorian Assyrians, who were forced to convert to Catholicism“. Layard continues his account describing what they saw as they reached the village’s Church: “There were pictures in ugly colors of Virgin Mary and Saints on the walls with Latin writing not suitable for this place. I asked them about the pictures, they answered: Following our priest’s death, Archbishop Yousif the Catholic [3]  came to us he hung those pictures on the walls and asked us to kneel before them, but we removed the pictures from the walls and the answer of Mahmoud Agha of the Mezzouri kurds, was to order his men to beat us until canes were broken on our legs, that is why we left the pictures on the walls, and we are forced to listen to Archbishop Yousif’s sermons who comes to the village protected by the Kurds …” 

Archbishop Youssif Odo and his French colleagues continued this policy (barbering Kurdish leaders) even during his Patriarchate (1847-1878) throughout Assyria (north of Iraq) to the areas of Barwari and Sapna whereby humiliation was used to Catholicize followers of the Church of the East [4] and the descendants of those are known today as “Chaldeans”.

This is the “preaching” through which the name “Chaldean” came and was imposed on a large segment of the Church of the East, thus the Kurds became the angels who evangelized the ancestors of Mar Delly, Sarhad Jammo and Ibrahim Ibrahim with beatings and humiliation, and if today’s Chaldeans clearly understood Layard’s account mentioned above, they would have regained their respect by returning back to their Mother Church, the Church of the East, as did some of the clergy and followers of this denomination, but in anticipation for the conscience of the Catholic intellectuals to awaken we see that some of the descendants of the victims of Catholicism (Chaldeanism) began to backstab their nation even more.

The sectarian motive shall remain the fuel in the hands of clergy to promote anti-nationalism, and since the Assyrian liberation movement began from the Church of the East under the leadership of the Patriarchal family, then for sure the Assyrian name will be hated by the Chaldean Church clergy in addition to Assyrophobia due to the degenerate societies surrounding them faced by the Assyrian liberal trend which rejected humiliation (in its beginnings). This fear presented itself for the Catholic Assyrians (Chaldeans) during several stages since the beginning of the Assyrian liberation movement in 1915, when the Chaldean Catholic Church’s role was to be the postman for Catholic France and its tool the Vatican, this is attested by the attempts to Catholicize the Assyrians directly following WWI while the Assyrians were still suffering the consequences of the massacres, that’s when Assyrian Catholic clergy would be sent to convince Catholic leaders to leave the Assyrian line in order to join the (imaginary) French project which was supposedly to transport the Assyrians from Iraq to Syria in 1919 granting them an (imaginary) self rule, and all this was done to weaken the British mandate on Iraq due to the conflict on dividing the remnants of the Ottoman Empire following its fall [5]         

Assyrophobia was repeated in Iraq during the massacres carried out in 1933 by the Iraqi government against the Assyrian people, when about 5000 un-armed individuals who took refuge in the Assyrian Catholic town of Alqush known for its people’s courage throughout history. However, the Chaldean Church opposed their stay and requested them to leave on the basis of flyers which were thrown by British and Iraqi aircrafts, the Church wasn’t deterred except by Alqush’s inhabitants who revolted against the Church and the Iraqi government in defense of the refugees, which forced the Chaldean Patriarch to write to the Vatican asking to stop the massacre following communications with the British mandate to avoid a massacre against the “Catholics”. [6] That’s when Pope Pius VI sent a telegram to the British mandate asking to end the problem peacefully.

Thus, “Assyrophobia” is a psychological state that reflects a disguised negative reaction to the emergence of a national liberation movement which spread in the beginning of WWI (beginning of the Assyrian Liberation Movement) when the word “Assyrian” began to an extent to mean for both the Syrian and Chaldean churches “Rebellion against the Sultan”, adding to this, the Assyrian name was to be adopted by the Church of The East, the ideological adversary of both the Coptic and Vatican theology …

Assyrophobia contributed along side external plots (Kurdish parties instructions to some clergy and Catholic members in their parties) by creating a “nationalistic” in addition to an already-created sectarian barrier, which will be difficult to break without courage; the courage of Assyrian Catholic intellectuals, and not the poor guy who calls himself “Suraya” without understanding the meaning of the word.

Catholic (or Chaldean) intellectuals have the leading role to face the deception of the clergy since the inception of the Chaldean Church. The honest Catholic Assyrians have begun to face Assyrophobia in both the Assyrian and Iraqi media from within the Catholic society itself. Hopefully, the rest of those who are confused and still stutter with sectarian names when they mention the name of their nation would also take their role. 

Assyrian nationalism is both nationalistic and ethnic, it’s both a nation and a nationality, but it’s not a “race” since it is primarily subjected to the “cultural” factor just like any other nation or ethnicity in the world. What is important is that the Assyrian identity continues with its Assyrian culture, traditions, and geography regardless of the race which revives it, this concept came to be known as the “Revivalist Nationalism” in the beginnings of European nationalism in the 19th century [7]   
According to this concept it is possible for any one to belong to the Assyrian nation as long as they belong to the following Assyrian national factors without exceptions:

– Assyrian Land
– Assyrian Culture (language, traditions)
– Assyrian history

Some of our brethren are taking “national feeling” as a pretext and that is a silly joke which was refuted by scientists for obvious reasons, as a simple example we shall discuss the situation within the Assyrian Catholic Church (Chaldean Church), for if we go back few years we will see the late Mar Raphael Bidawid proudly admitting his Assyrian nationality even during the Baath regime, while today’s Patriarch “feels” that he is of a “Chaldean” nationality, and as such the Church’s position changes depending on the period of time often related to the Patriarch’s regional affiliation, that is why the sons of Sapna, Aradin and Alqosh are not allowed to ascend to the “Chaldean” Patriarchate even if that may one day lead to a division in the Church, the important thing to some is that whoever may be a proud Assyrian someday, shouldn’t ascend to the Patriarchate … This shall remain to be the case within the hierarchy of the Chaldean Church for years to come.   

Hence, “Chaldeanism” is a fluctuating mood, for example in Patriarch Delly’s case, he did not mention in his doctoral thesis in 1958 the word “Chaldean Church” but rather “Church of Assyria” or “Church of Adiabene” or “Church of the East” and in the same thesis he says:

“It seems that the word Chaldean was given by Pope Eugene IV in 1445 to a group of Christians from Mesopotamia who were on the island of Cyprus during the Lateran synod, but prior to this date there were Assyrian Patriarchs and Archbishops in the land of Assyria…” [8]

In other words, Patriarch Delly “felt” in 1958 that he must tell the truth for the success of his thesis, but in the year 2003 and beyond, he “felt” that he had to refute what he had said in 1958. Thus, in the opinion of the theorists of “Chaldeanism”, the Assyrian people have to take into consideration the feelings of Patriarch Delly at every period and change the history of the “Chaldean” name according to Barzan’s [9] as well as the Vatican’s whims [10]

As the Vatican and Kurds worked on creating Catholicism inside the Assyrian society, they are working today on establishing a new “Chaldean Nationalism” for the Catholic Assyrians, hence the establishment of political parties under the sectarian “Chaldean” name financially supported by Arabism money in Detroit and San Diego, the Kurdish gangs (electoral lists) and the Vatican (Church conferences coming up with national slogans). However, popularity wise they are weak because the Catholic representation under the national pretext always comes before the Iraqi official politics at Kurdish hands, while during elections a large segment of the Assyrian Catholic (Chaldean) voters go back to their communist and Kurdist background and do not care about all that has to do not only with the Assyrian nationalism, but Chaldeanism heresy as well.       
We find the same moodiness amongst the Syrian  Patriarchs, such as Patriarch Elias III Shaker (1916 – 1932) who was a Turkist Christian, but he was exiled to India, Mar Afram Barsoum (1933-1957) began as an enthusiastic Assyrian during his days as an Archbishop, then he became an Arameanist as he became a Patriarch to end up an Arabist nicknamed “Priest of Arabs” and he died as an Arab, as for the present Patriarch Zakka Iwas, he is even envied by the Baath for his Arabism even though his real name is “Sennacherib” (Sanharib) and he descends of an Assyrian family from the heart of Assyria.

The reason why both the Syrian and Chaldean Churches deny the Assyrian identity isn’t that the Church of the East has officially adopted the Assyrian name in its title (Assyrian Church of The East) in 1976 as some of the comic compound name advocates claim, because even before that date, the aforementioned two churches were denying the nationality of their followers, even more they were Arabized churches and that caused the loss of many Assyrians, such as what happened in the towns of Tel-Keif [Tel Kepeh] (Chaldeans) and Bakhdeeda (Syrians) whose many of their inhabitants followed Arabism encouraged by both the Chaldean and Syrian Churches.   

Despite all this, we still see some of those “Chaldeanism” enthusiasts spread ideas without knowledge of history and the issue is one of provocation rather than logic and conviction. The most basic questions for those are: Who are the Patriarchs, “the Assyrians of good race” that the poet Giwargis of Arbil (13th    century A.D.) speaks of in his canticle about the Patriarchs of the East ??? (Translation below) and who were the “Chaldean” Patriarchs during their days?


A canticle about the Patriarchs of the East
(The Poet Giwargis Warda of Arbil , thirteenth century A.D.)
-Translated from Assyrian to Arabic by the Writer –

The outstanding works of Johannes, and John son of the Abgars*
Abraham the intelligent, and Emmanuel the interpreter
Israel of Karakh, and Mar Abd-Eshoo of Jarmaq
Mar Mari the Assyrian, of good race and ancestry
Mar Johannes II and Mar Youkhanna the Blessed
Mar Eshoo-Yahb the zealous, renowned in the church
Mar Elia I of Terhan **, who was chosen a proud symbol on the apostolic throne
And John son of the city of peace, the esteemed writer who never errs
Sabr-Eshoo the meek, who was chosen from the highest
Abd-Eshoo the Assyrian, of the venerate race
Who served the Holy See of Souba ***, and ascended to the Apostolic See
Mar Makeekha the zealous, the just and good man
Who advanced in Assyria until he ascended to the Patriarchate according to law
And Elia the Glorious, brought up by the teachers
In Assyria, where knowledge emanated, He was placed amongst the righteous
And Bar Sawma with his outstanding works, from the beautiful Souba
Showed great works and generously spread amongst us his teachings
Abd-Eshoo the chosen vessel, from Assyria the splendid country.

* King Abgar Dynasty of Edessa (Urhay)
** Terhan: Today’s Samarra – Iraq
*** Souba: That is Nisibin (Nisibis) and Mar Abd-Eshoo (Audisho) is the author of “Al- Murjana”  (Marganita) [The Pearl] which explains the faith of the Church of the East and refutes false claims against it.

In addition to all that has been mentioned and even though there are many documents which prove the Assyrian identity and its continuity over others, and despite the detailed explanation in several languages regarding the odd names which were given to some factions of the Assyrian people, however, some misguided brethren and some of those who like to stir trouble, they will continue to write for the sake or writing and filling their time. In the end, it’s un useful whether the ostrich opens or shuts its eyes since it is going to stick its head in the sand to escape the truth surrounding it.

All that we have to do today is to embrace our Catholic brethren who have nothing to do with the church or politics, to accept and spread awareness amongst them until the Assyrian people are able to find the appropriate solutions to remove the internal obstacles by getting rid of those causing them, no matter how harsh the solutions may be.

For more information regarding the Assyrian identity and the nomenclature, please click on the following link (September 2005)    :


1.”History of the Chaldean Church” pp.106 – Cardinal Eugene Taysaran, Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Eastern Church in Vatican.

2.Layard, Henry. In Search of Nineveh, translation by Dr. Michael Abdullah, pp. 19, Arabic edition by Sargon Publishing House

3.Yousif Odo, was the Bishop of Amadiya in 1825 and Patriarch of the Chaldean Church in 1847.

4.olded pages in the history of the Chaldean Church. The late historian Dr. Hermis Aboona (Assyrian from Alqosh – Iraq, of the Aboona Patriarchal family).

5.Giwargis, Ashur. The Assyrian Liberation Movement and the French intervention (1919 – 1922) [A research paper].

6.Giwargis, Ashur. “Alqush … Alqush bow your head in shame before Younis”, (article in Zinda Magazine: Apr/08/2007 ).

7.The basic concept of nationalism, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

8.”Facts during Archbishop Times and blasphemy during Patriarchal times”. Qashat Ayoub, in reference to Archbishop Delly’s thesis:  “Patriarchal Institution in the Church of the East”, pp. 174, Baghdad, 1958

9.The establishment of the first Assyrian party operating under the Chaldean name, during a meeting of the Kurdish “democratic” party in 1999 whereby instructions were forwarded to the Kurdist Assyrian Abdul Ahad Afram, member of the central committee, to establish a “Chaldean” party named The Chaldean “Democratic” Union, thus began the formation of other political parties under the sectarian “Chaldean” name. However, their popularity is weak and it has no importance except for the Kurds.

10.The imposition of the Chaldean name on the Assyrian nation following an invitation to the Vatican where Yonadam Kanna, Bishops Sarhad Jammo and Ibrahim Ibrahim were present, then an “Iraqi Christian” conference convened in Baghdad and the outcome was a combined name of “two nations” under the designation of one “Christian” name “Chaldo Assyrian”.