Archive for February 2011

Lessons from the Egyptian Uprising for the Assyrian Nation

Unity, when combined with determination, can really have some dramatic effects. For example, it can neutralize an otherwise powerful and loyal one-million man army.

If you guessed we are talking about Egypt, you are correct!

The events quickly unraveling before our very eyes in Egypt-Tunisia before that-and various other Arab countries, seem hard to believe. But upon further analysis, it shouldn’t be that surprising.

For a ruthless dictator, who has ruled Egypt for over 30 years, to come so close to being literally kicked out of Egypt shouldn’t be a big shock when you think about the pushing factor behind it all.

The single biggest reason the protests in Egypt have been so successful so far can easily be attributed to the unity of people. Coupled with passion and determination, and you have got the perfect recipe for a successful uprising-and a recipe for disaster for the Egyptian president and his government.

The Egyptian people have been so united-albeit through peaceful means-throughout these protests that they have managed the almost impossible task of neutralizing the powerful police force and army. Once you take these two out of the equation, Mr.Mubarak’s collapse has become simply a matter of time. Or as Mr.ElBaradei, one of the leading opposition voices, described him: “He is a dead man walking…” an indication that the Egyptian leader is virtually out of options already.  The Egyptian people have united under one voice and purpose and have resisted any divisions that come from conflicting political agendas or personal interests. They have sacrificed it all for a better future for their country.

It is not so much about the Egyptian army being intimidated. They are simply overwhelmed by the amazing unity and passion being shown by the protesters, for weeks and around the clock all day long. It is an energy that is very hard not to admire. In fact, many members of the Egyptian security forces (police and army) have joined-in with the protesters.  It is a unity that has also energized and caught the attention of others in the region who will inevitably come out to demand change as well.

So what about the Assyrians? Can we ever unite and energize with such a passion? Interestingly enough, the ‘Baghdad Church Massacre‘ late last year brought the best in us, prompting us to march, protest, strike, and best of all, come together as one. I call it ‘the politics of the Black March.’ According to these politics and the new reality faced by Assyrians, we simply can’t afford to stay divided. Disunity is simply not an option.

Unity and extreme passion-as shown and exemplified by the ongoing Egyptian protests-are badly needed by and from our people these days. While we have shown flashes of unity and passion to work for a better and more stable future, they haven’t been consistent enough.  We need more. We need to capture our very own attention and memory before we try that of the world. If we forget our unity and passion after a few weeks, it will take the world much less to forget.

For us to get, what and where we want to be, there has to be consistent hard work and not only as a contingency or in reaction to other unfortunate events that inflict our nation. Couple that with unity and passion, and you have got an Assyrian energy that is very hard to stop or slow down. Until then, we will be living like the Egyptians did for decades, till that morning of January 25 when they decided to unite and have a passionate desire to make a change.


The Empire Celebrates its Assyrian Emperor after 40 years of Stage Rule

After 40 years of an impeccable reign, the empire is celebrating its emperor. Sargon Gabriel, the people-proclaimed ’emperor of singers’, is being celebrated by the Assyrian people worldwide for a legendary 40 year career behind the mic. Much deserved and a move that sends the right signal of support by the Assyrian people to their singers.

When it comes to the legend and emperor Sargon Gabriel, it has been one unforgettable journey in the world of Assyrian music, which has taken him to our vinyl records, Walkmans, homes and car stereos, radios, iPods, weddings, parties, picnics, national events and more.  His voice has entertained Assyria for generations and inspired hundreds of new singers and probably a whole music industry. I am sure each one of us has been to a wedding or function where Sargon was behind the mic.

Just how good is Sargon Gabriel? Let us put his career into prospective.  He has been singing, performing and entertaining – three different things- for 40 years, non-stop. To be able to sing almost every weekend, and lots of other commitments in-between is taxing enough to make you want to be retired by now. But Sargon is still going strong and hopefully won’t be retiring anytime soon. Few singers can have such a tiring and taxing schedule on their voice and body for so ling and still continue. And this is just one of the many reasons why he is a legend.

Different Assyrian communities in different parts of the world have celebrated Sargon Gabriel’s record achievement by holding honorary parties and concerts in his name. This recognition is a much welcome move in a time when not many people take the time to appreciate the Assyrian music industry and its decades long role in keeping the spirits of a whole nation up.

What some of our singers have done for our nation, including Sargon Gabriel, Evin Agassi, Ashur Sargis, Linda George – the empress of Assyrian singers- and many more is not be taken lightly. While their title may be a ‘singer’, their role is much greater than that. They inspire us at times of national hardships, give us courage in our romantic roller-coasters, fun at our social events and company during lonely times.

Our recognition of Sargon and other champions of the Assyrian song should go much beyond ceremonial recognitions. We have to always buy their albums which is something we have been calling for here on Assyrian Voice for over 10 yearse. Our financial support keeps an entire industry alive and strong which in turn ensures AssyrianMusic is always alive and well.

Vena and Freddy, sip a shot in your dad’s honor and keep the legacy going for decades to come.

May the legend of Sargon Gabriel continue, for the well-being of the Assyrian song!
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