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NEW Assyrian Thinker Website

Mustenu Sa Simti2By Abbey Mikha

Shlama and greetings from Canada! My name is Abbey Mikha and I am a graduate of the university of Windsor in the fields of Psychology and History. Other than working very hard on completing my degree in the past I have also been a volunteer writer for Assyrian Voice Emagazine since 2009.

When I graduated from university I became very serious about my writing and I love getting ideas out there into the world especially about my little Assyrian Christian nation that has been suffering so much in the past years, and also about current events which have been taking place.

I hope you will continue to enjoy my writing and sign up for my newsletter at my site and I will email you my new updates and articles. You can follow my blog called, “Assyrian Thinker” by clicking on the square tab next to the text that says, “Assyrian Thinker” at the top left of my website which I have posted bellow this article.

I also have a page for my book, “Mustenu Sa Simti” which in ancient Assyrian means changing my destiny. I will publish this book on this site in the upcoming months. I was not sure about publishing this book in the past but I’m going to take the leap soon. Keep checking the website to see new things added to the blog and site.

My complete published book: http://assyrianthinker.weebly.com/mustenu-sa-simti-by-abbey-mikha.html

I hope my writing will move your heart and awaken Assyrian nationalism and humanitarianism in you. We must remember that we, as human beings, have many more similarities than differences. Let us unite the human race because the truth is we are all one, but let us also be united in standing up against injustice and especially genocide! We are Assyrians and we are the last of our kind…

I have uploaded a new blog post to my site called, “Were Bluett and Spackman anti-Arab?” This is a question that we all must ask ourselves right now. I personally am not anti-Arab but I am anti-terror and I am against the needless killings that have been going on all around the world whether in the night club in Orlando, Florida, the airport in Turkey, or all over the Assyrian homeland.

At my blog there is a picture of gishret Dalale. Since I was a teen my nickname online was Dalale because I liked the Assyrian song about the girl who held the bridge together for her nation. Hope you will all remember me and continue to read my writing and be interested with the new ideas on my blog.

My site: www.assyrianthinker.weebly.com

My recent blog post: http://assyrianthinker.weebly.com/an-assyrian-thinker-blog

New blog post: http://assyrianthinker.weebly.com/an-assyrian-thinker-blog

 

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We Will Rise Again

Abbey Writing

A Poem By Abbey Mikha

“To the one in the highest, King of Heaven and Earth, and on his order humans have been created, accept my requests and prepare for me and my Assyrian nation a merciful judgment because I am Ashurbanipal your follower. I present to you my request and lift my prayer to you…”-Ashurbanipal King of Assyria

In this blessed season as in the beginning of civilization, similarly to the ancient Assyrian Dumuzi/Tammuz, Jesus the Christ was born again…

And even our Assyrian New Year coincides with the time of the rebirth of spring and this we must also explain…

Our Christian culture developed from our more ancient Assyrian roots…

And this is something we have to seek, discover, and learn about and never pollute….

The most important thing for an Assyrian is to be proud of his culture and identity and to never deny his ancestry!

Or else his Assyrianism is only a fantasy…

We must all work diligently to spread the Assyrian truth, message, and struggle…

Because without every Assyrians effort our dream of our human rights and of a homeland will crumble….

Rise up every day and say to be an Assyrian is an honour!

Wear your knowledge and passion as an Assyrian as an armour…

We have struggled for survival for thousands of years and are suffering now, but we will rise again…

And each unrecognized Assyrians work won’t be in vain…

 

 

 

 

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Human?

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 By Abbey Mikha

We are all “human” beings of one human race right? That is what I always tell myself as well. Lately though seeing how people of some cultures are treating true human beings of the Assyrian culture and the various Christian faiths from Iraq, Syria and Egypt (the Coptic workers who were recently slaughtered in Libya) I cannot but help to ask myself, “What does it really mean to be human and why do some individuals have so much hatred in their heart?”

In my first year of university I told a Philosophy professor that what it means to be human is vague. He disagreed with me. I explained to him that people have various levels of spirituality and morality and for that reason just saying, “I am human” is vague, mysterious, and elusive! He never believed my reasoning and I did not get the point on my exam.

Nowadays terrorists are killing innocent people who have done nothing wrong to them. For example the Coptic men who were recently killed in Libya did nothing wrong to these criminals. The Coptic people are known to be a deeply religious and peaceful people. The children of Assyria have also done nothing wrong to these delinquents and they are at war with us in Iraq. So are these terrorists human? Yes, I guess they are according to some. If it was up to me I wouldn’t call them human, but I guess they are humans who are at a very very low spiritual and moral levels. I wonder what my professor would say today. Is human vague or not considering everything that is going on the world now? Are these people who slaughter children, women, and men human? Are they reasonable and normal? If they are human certainly they are ill, very ill.

Anyway, I pray for peace. I pray that people of various cultures, religions, and skin colors will find a way to harmoniously coexist upon the Earth. It is time for the world to become one, but right now people and nations are extremely divided. Humanitarianism needs to spread across the world and humans should grow in spirituality and morality in order to truly deserve the tittle “Human”. Jesus Christ always says it best, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

In these difficult days for the human race while I am thinking about what it means to be human I cannot but help to think of a great man like Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” I believe in unconditional love as well, but I’m not sure what will happen between now and the “final word”.

God help the good people of the world and may those whose hearts are filled with evil and darkness be defeated by the children of light in order for there to be a new world and a new earth and a new Human.

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Inspiring the Spirits of Children to Love Education

By Abbey Mikha  

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all who read at Assyrian Voice!  I want to share with you an essay I wrote a while back for school.  What kind of teachers inspired you in your life?  Do you remember your teachers?  Did you have a teacher who never paid any attention to you?  Did you also have some great teachers that you will never forget?  Have you ever had an Assyrian teacher?  What kind of teachers made an impact on your education and your life?  The following is my Teaching Philosophy if I was to become a teacher. 

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your comments.  Let me know what you think about this article.  Best wishes.  Hope life is treating you all kindly. 

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Becoming a teacher has always been my dream.  I have been working diligently towards this dream that some said I would not be able to accomplish.  The main reason I want to be a teacher is that I always wanted to positively influence the next generation.  When thinking about where I could do the most good in the world I always knew teaching would be the right path.  My teaching philosophy is that teachers are there to help students improve their abilities and to inspire their spirits to love education.  Students will always do better when a teacher is there to guide them through the obstacles.  When a student has difficulty with schoolwork whether it involves numbers, letters, or eventually the more complicated things, the wise teacher will help them work through these struggles.  She knows that helping all her students not fall behind will increase their confidence for the entire grade and into the next grade.  This will be a stepping-stone towards the rest of their educational careers.  In this teaching philosophy Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development theory will be defined, my opinion in regards to it being a good model for learning will be developed through various examples from the past, present, and future.  A teacher is one of our first adult friends in life.  If I was to become a teacher I would want to encourage my students from a young age creating for them a creative and pleasant environment whereby friendships can be built.

Supporting our Children

The zone of proximal development is important part of my teaching philosophy.  It has been defined as, “The distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers” (Vygotsky, 1978, p86).  Vygotsky especially believed that a child’s early understanding came from the support that they were given by interacting with knowledgeable adults. Such support allows a child to function outside regular independent abilities. When a child is given such support they are then able to make further development.  This approach suggests that teaching should emphasize activities within this zone, since it is here that learning growth is occurring (Martyn, 2000, p. 35).

The Model of Proximal Development a Good one for Learning

I believe that the model of proximal development is a good one for learning and must be part of my teaching philosophy because it is fundamental to my beliefs of what it means to be a good teacher.  Students have natural ability, but do better when a teacher guides them through a task that they find difficult.  A child is lead by the teacher and eventually develops the ability to complete certain tasks without help.  What children can accomplish independently and what they can complete with adult assistance is this zone of proximal development.  Young children cannot complete tasks without guidance.  Over time children may be able to complete complex tasks with just a bit of help.  Concentrating on education, zone of proximal development is a very useful reminder to educators that through their help students can expand their knowledge to reach many more educational goals.

Teaching Styles and Foreign Students

My ideas about teaching styles is that various people have different approaches, but as long as teachers are sensitive to their students, are always encouraging them, and willing to help, then all will be well.  I attended school in Lebanon, Germany, and Canada.  I was lucky to be able to witness different teaching styles and philosophies from various countries and I experienced how the zone of proximal development works.

In Lebanon even in kindergarten the nuns began seriously teaching us and it was a strict environment.  The nuns spoke to us and taught us in Arabic and French.  This experience showed me that children could be taught from a young age to pay attention and to follow instructions.  The nuns were very supportive and they made sure to help all of the students who were having difficulties with learning the alphabet and numbers.  If a child was behind one nun was assigned to work with that child until they caught up.  This is exactly what the zone of proximal development proposes because through guidance most children will develop in their learning.  It may take some children longer than others but they can all eventually reach similar levels of understanding if a knowledgeable teacher helps them.

In Germany I had the same teacher from grade one to four in the small town of Hostenbach.  She was kind and also had her own style.  She taught us on all subject matters but she took special time for encouraging our creativity through Music and Art.  She organized a choir for us and taught us songs like “Shalom Chaverim” which is a Hebrew melody that has historical meaning for the Jewish people.  Although I am Assyrian this song stayed in my mind for the rest of my life, especially when learning about its significance.  I always felt good singing this song because I felt like the Hebrew language was close to my Assyrian language, which I could understand pretty well at that time.

Also in Germany, at Christmas time we used to make various types of paper angels and paint pictures of Santa Clause.  My German teacher also created an area in the classroom with a really comfortable sectional sofa and it was designated just for reading.  This really made the students feel comfortable and at home and I liked that about our classroom.  What I learned from the experiences from this class was that music and art are very memorable for children and can influence their feelings in regards to school a great deal.  This teacher also made sure that her students were always caught up.  I remember being in her class and when learning to subtract in grade one I continued to do addition.  I guess I did not want to subtract.  She explained to me the difference and I was subtracting fine after.  This all has to do with zone of proximal development because it was through her help and through her taking time to explain to me about subtraction that I learned and progressed.

In grade four my teacher also organized our communion.  This was always a very good memory for me.  I was the only foreigner amongst my German friends.  My teacher had me standing at the front center bench in the church.  I always wondered why she did that since I was one of the more taller girls.  I guess she wanted me to feel like I was also a special part of the ceremony.  I thank her still for that special feeling she gave me.  It is a day I will never forget.  It must have been 1989.  The following picture is from that day in Hostenbach.

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In Canada I had the bulk of my education.  My grade five teacher gave me the nickname Abbey because she could not pronounce my real name 3abeer.  I liked that she did that because my name is difficult to pronounce in English and it would have given me a difficult time in school.  It is nice of teachers to help foreign students like me who are Assyrian and new to the country especially when they are really young.  Some students come from poor troubled countries; others have never attended a formal school.  I would also keep all of this in mind and heart if I were to become a teacher.  Making such students feel included and like they belong is very important, since many times these students have come from foreign countries, which were in very difficult situations like war.

My Canadian teacher taught us various subjects like English, Math, and Science, but we also had special classes in French and Italian.  She also tried to help us learn by playing leader games.  She would tell us a story and in groups of three we had to continue it and try to collaboratively develop it unto a final conclusion to show which one of us was the most flexible person and leader in the game.  This was another approach to learning and also had to do with zone of proximal development since she helped us in the beginning by introducing the story but let us continue the main part and then conclude it.

Inclusion in the Classroom

I believe that zone of proximal development can also be used to teach students with disabilities, and if I was given the choice I would prefer an inclusive environment in my classroom if I were to become a teacher, whereby children who are called disabled, gifted, down syndrome, learning disabled, and average could all learn together.  Inclusive education believes that students can all discover together in a supportive community.  The individuals may have various learning needs and rates of learning but they will still be appreciated, acknowledged, and inspired to be the best that they can be.  Within an inclusive environment children will learn that other children may be different but they are still special and deserve respect.  Although zone of proximal development may be reduced for students with disabilities depending on their abilities there is still always that room for improvement and growth no matter how minute.

Poetry, Songs, and Creating Books

If I were to teach I would read poetry and sing songs with my students.  I would encourage them to care about the environment by introducing them to books about the earth.  I would also introduce them to subjects like Ancient History and Astronomy.  I would concentrate on important subjects but also make time for creative subjects like Art and Music. I would also create books for my students.  Doing projects like a book with each class a year would be very fun and educational.  It will make students feel like they accomplished something as a group and create a good memory for them that they could keep forever.  This has to do with zone of proximal development because through this collaborative effort the children and I will have created a story collectively, which reflects what we learned and found meaningful that year in class.

Concluding Thoughts

Teachers have the ability to influence their students and can help tremendously by working patiently on tasks that the students find challenging.  A teacher must give their students confidence that they will be able to complete more difficult tasks by being persistent.  By giving them these tools to complete such tasks they give them the key to the future and the door to their learned self-masterpieces.

Learning about the zone of proximal development can help all teachers and this should be encouraged since it is such an effective theory.  Inclusion is important to me and if I had the choice I would allow for an inclusive classroom whereby children with various abilities would be allowed to participate in regular classes.

Support is always beneficial for students.   All students can develop their abilities and talents with some guidance on their teachers part and effort on their part.  If I were to become a teacher I would also try to acquire parents help and involvement in the education of their children especially for those of children who are struggling.  This would make a big difference.

Vygotsky was correct in that there is a level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers.  What a wonderful thing it is to know that science agrees with the fact that teachers can help students and will improve their abilities more than what was ever possible for that individual on their own.  We should never leave any student behind because this can affect their confidence for the rest of their life.  Every child deserves to be educated and helped as much as any other child.

I remember the names and teaching approaches of all the teachers who have influenced my learning positively.  I hope that even if I were to become a grade one teacher I would be the kind of teacher that my students remember as always helping them through their educational struggles and never leaving them behind.*  If I got the chance to be a teacher my goal would be to have the kind of class environment that my students reminisce about in the future.  It would be a joy for me if they wrote letters to let me know how they are doing in their life, what career paths they have chosen, and how being in the classroom of an Assyrian teacher inspired their spirit to love education.

 

Works Cited

 Long, Martyn. (2000). Psychology of Education, The. Taylor & Francis. Retrieved 12 October 2012, from <http://lib.myilibrary.com?ID=40425>

McLeod, Saul (2012), Zone of Proximal Development.  Retrieved 15 November 2012, from <http://www.simplypsychology.org/Zone-of-Proximal-Development.html>

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Patch Adams a Beautiful Spirit and an Example of Bipolar Disorder

 


By Abbey Mikha

Dear Readers,

A lot of people left comments that said they enjoyed my analysis of the British actor Peter Sellers who suffered from borderline disorder.  For this reason I have created another analysis of Patch Adams according to the movie by the same name.  Many of you may have seen the movie, but you may not have known that the character suffered from bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is prevalent in many communities including the Assyrian community.  Four percent of Americans have bipolar disorder.  That is a lot of people!  You may know someone with bipolar disorder.

As a Psychology student I was so shocked to hear of all the various mental illnesses that I never even knew existed.  Now as a Psychology graduate I believe it is important to know about illnesses such as bipolar because people we love may suffer from them throughout their life.  I also believe it is important to share this knowledge.  If we have more information about these disorders we can help our friends, family, and anyone else who needs it.

Feel free to let me know about any other kinds of disorders you would like to know about and I will try to create an analysis for them.  For now I would like to introduce you to Patch Adams.  This movie was released in 1998 and starred Robin Williams.

 

An Example of Bipolar Disorder: Patch Adams

Identifying Information

Mr. Patch Adams is a Caucasian male, 40 years old.  He has had several jobs throughout his life, which he believes did not suit him.  He became depressed and suicidal; therefore he signed himself into a psych ward.  He eventually left the ward without the doctor’s approval and he discovered that he wanted to be a doctor.  He now attends Virginia Medical University and is in his first year of studies. He is currently single and living on campus with a roommate who questions his validity in being at the medical university.

Behavioural Observation

Patch’s behaviour varies.  One constant aspect of his personality is that he appears to be a very sensitive person who genuinely feels the suffering of others.  He is talkative and a jokester.  He dresses vibrantly and has various opinions, which he is confident enough to express, even if the person on the receiving end disagrees with him.  An example of Patch’s sensitivity is when at one point the staff of the hospital, where he was a patient, gives a hysterical patient a shot.  Patch is surprised by this act and also upset because of the way that the patient was treated.  Another example of Patch’s sensitivity is where at one point he plays with his roommate in the psych ward by shooting imaginary squirrels. This was Patch’s way of trying to help his roommate go to the bathroom.  As a result of this Patch feels a connection with his roommate and decides that he therefore wants to help people.

A further example of Patch’s immense sensitivity is when he played with the patients when at the hospital affiliated with his medical school.  He appears to have an elevated level of energy, is anxious, and appears to have some out of the ordinary behaviours.  Patch defied most of the rules. Something interesting about him is that he was a firm believer in the Golden Rule which is, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Patch believed that doctors should get emotionally involved with patients.  The problem was that while he was getting emotionally involved he was also sometimes becoming unrealistic and what is called unprofessional.  One of his older patients had told him about a dream of swimming in a pool of noodles before she died and he made that dream come true for her.  This was very sweet though insensitive individuals who would judge Patch and would most probably say he was mistaken.

Patch received a ninety eight percent on his exam although his friends said that he did not study much.  Not only was he talented in academics, the patients also opened up to him and told him about their lives and dreams.  The doctor at the hospital continuously tried to remind Patch that the patients do not need to be entertained, they rather need a doctor.  Patch said that he was concerned about improving the quality of life of the people in the hospital.  He appeared to have always wanted to be exciting and even risky.  He said that doctors did not help him when he was in the hospital rather the patients helped him.  Sometimes Patch’s dialogue seemed very rapid especially when speaking of his dream of a free hospital.  He said that he wants to open a community where, “Joy is the way of life, and love is the ultimate goal.”  He said that humour is to heal all suffering.

Current Circumstances and History

Patch’s father died when he was 9 years old.  His father was in the army and had told him that in the Korean War he had lost his soul.  When his father died Patch thought it was his fault.  At the hospital, which is affiliated with the medical school, Patch tried to reach people in unique ways.  He said that the patient must be treated as well as the disease.  He asks for the patients name first and in this way was considerate.  He felt sorry for the little cancer patients and tried to cheer them up.  He made elaborate costumes to entertain them. He had an enormous amount of energy and this is evident in every aspect of his life.

When his girlfriend at the medical school was murdered, he was very sad and blamed himself for her death.  He was contemplating suicide and was thinking about jumping off the mountain. He suggested that God should have spent the 7th day of creation on compassion instead of taking a rest.  Although Patch appeared to be depressed after his girlfriend’s death, in his record at the school the dean accused Patch of “excessive happiness.”  Patch believed that indifference is a disease.

Conceptualization

The pathology I believe Patch to be suffering from is bipolar I disorder most recent episode manic.  For a diagnosis for this disorder a person must have at least one manic episode. Patch has had elevated self-esteem, he is more talkative than usual; he has flights of ideas, a reduced need for sleep, and perhaps he is even easily distracted. The highs have led to difficulties for Patch especially where it concerns authority figures.  Patch has experienced some depression as a result of recent events such as his girlfriend being murdered as a result of visiting a patient of their small free hospital house.

The DSM-IV-TR states that there must be a presence of only one manic episode and no past major depressive episodes for this diagnosis. Also, recurrence is defined as either a change in polarity from depression or an interval of at least 2 months without manic symptoms.  It must also be noted that the manic episode is not better accounted for by schizoaffective disorder and is not superimposed on schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, delusional disorder, or psychotic disorder not otherwise specified.

The etiology of bipolar I with recent episode manic is that research has shown a strong genetic component for this disorder, with the environment throughout childhood, adolescents, and adulthood playing a factor in the acceleration of symptoms.  Genetics and environmental influences triggered in Patch this disorder.  He had been spiralling out of control for some time and the disorder has now reached a peak.

Further information that is needed and is to be considered has to do with Patch’s family and past.  What stressful environmental events could have caused him to become ill?  There must be more information about his childhood and his relationship with his father, mother, possible siblings, and friends.  Did Patch have any great disappointments in his life like for example failed love relationship?  How did Patch deal with emotions before and cope with the stress of life?  This is information that is not given to us in the movie.

Formulation

Axis I: Bipolar I most recent episode manic.

Axis II: Deferred.

Axis III: No physical diseases or current medical problems.

Axis IV: Death of father early years, and after the death of his girlfriend in university.

Axis V:  Functioning of patient is moderate with GAF score of 65.

 

Patch’s symptoms appear to merit the diagnosis of bipolar I most recent episode manic. The reasoning behind the GAF score of 65 is that Patch shows some mild symptoms, some difficulty in social, occupational, and school functioning, but he is also functioning pretty good generally speaking, doing good in academics, and has some meaningful interpersonal relationships.

Other disorders to be ruled out are schizoaffective disorder, since Patch is not delusional nor does he hallucinate.  Schizoaffective disorder suggests a mixture of symptoms of schizophrenia and a mood disorder.  Schizophrenia has also been ruled out.

Treatment Recommendation

Patch should be treated with a mood stabilizer such as lithium because this medication has been proven to work effectively for patients with bipolar.  Also, Patch should seek therapy because this can be useful in helping him understand the illness he is suffering from.  It will be beneficial for Patch to try to learn when a manic or depressive episode is impending, and to prepare for this.  Learning coping skills is important.

Patch needs support because without it the illness will intensify during manic episodes when he is alone and does not have anyone to turn to for help.  Medication plus psychoanalysis plus education about mental illness is the best treatment for Patch.

It is obvious that Patch is a wonderful human being, but he needs help from mental health care professionals.  Mr. Patch Adams is a beautiful spirit and idealistic person, but he should take the medication prescribed and follow through with the care recommended, so that he can live a productive life, do the good that he wants to do, and be the change he wishes to see in the world.

 

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Peter Sellers an Example of Borderline Personality Disorder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Abbey Mikha

Mental illness is a very taboo subject in the Assyrian community and always has been even in the days when our great grandparents lived in towns and villages. How many Assyrians have been diagnosed with mental illness in the past ten years in the homeland and outside of the homeland?  Does war, depression, trauma, and pain increase mental illness?  Is mental illness on the rise in our community?  In university my majors were Psychology, History, and to a lesser extent Philosophy.  Since studying Psychology at this level I found the various kinds of mental illnesses to be very interesting especially after reading that the Essenes and Jesus Christ of Nazareth were known to cure mental illness in the days when He was a Healer on earth.  It is even said in the Bible that Jesus cured Mary Magdalene of seven various illnesses some of which were mental illnesses.

There are many interesting mental disorders but the most thought provoking to me are the various kinds of bipolar, schizophrenia, and antisocial personality disorder.  Two disorders, which I also studied in university, were borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.  I came across these disorders in various classes such as Abnormal Behavior and others.  In this specific class we had to study the personality of someone many of you may have heard of.  Peter Sellers was a very interesting person who was among other things an actor and the star of the Pink Panther movie.  He was rich and famous, but the amazing mechanism which we call brain, by which his psyche manifested, in many ways made him act out in ways which, had he been rational and stable, he probably would have never done so.  Interestingly the etymology of “Psyche” in ancient Greek was among other things “self” and “conscious personality.”   A question to the Greeks and psychologists and psychiatrists out there from Abbey is, “What would you call someone who is acting out of their subconscious mind?”

I want to dedicate this post to all Assyrians and people of our nation who have suffered from mental illness especially those who suffer from borderline personality disorder and features of narcissistic personality disorder like Peter Sellers.  When I say Assyrians I mean all of our people regardless of whether they belong to the Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac, or Aramean churches.  Mental illness does not discriminate based on ethnicity.  A percentage of people in our various name groups are affected.

It is a shame that there are supposed religious people in our communities who teach that people with mental disorders are beyond repair, lost souls who have behaved badly in their life.  This is untrue as evidenced by actual Science!  Also, regular people are many times afraid of individuals with various mental illnesses.  Statistics show though that most people with mental illness are more likely to hurt themselves than anyone else.

I also want to dedicate this post to my uncle Salem Mikha who lived in Iraq and was a member of the Chaldean church who had mental illness and was presumed dead during the past years during the war on Iraq although his body was never found.  God rest his soul and God help the souls of all those poor helpless people in Iraq who suffer from mental illness and are living with it as best as they can, and those who have passed away and struggled throughout their life without the help of psychiatrists, psychologists, and medication.

If you know anyone who is acting out or just very depressed or in a psychosis of any sort please be kind and help them get in touch with a psychiatrist or anyone else in the community who can help.  As Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)

Note: The following diagnosis was created by analysis of the biographical movie, “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” 2004.  It was for a specific assignment for the class called Abnormal Behavior.  The professor said we did not have to use quotation marks in regards to the DSM-IV-TR criterions.  This diagnosis is a good introduction for anyone interested in mental illness and in borderline disorder, which goes undiagnosed as a lot as people cannot figure out what is going on in their life, which seems like a rollercoaster ride.

An Example of Borderline Personality Disorder- Mr. Peter Sellers

Identifying Information For Mr. Peter Sellers

The client Mr. Peter Sellers is a Caucasian British national who is 48 years old and currently employed as an actor.  Peter is of a high economic status and has lived in upscale neighborhoods.  He was married to Anne with whom he has two children.  Their marriage ended in divorce.  He also married Britt Ekland with whom he has a daughter.  Their marriage also ended in divorce.  Peter smoked marijuana, drank alcohol, and used cocaine on a regular basis.  He is currently single.  Although previously very affluent, he is now lacking in funds and thinking about taking part in the next Pink Panther movie. The main reason for this is that he wants to maintain his standard of living.  The producers at United Artists have requested that Peter undergo a psychological assessment because the director Mr. Blake Edwards is reluctant to work with Peter again.  Peter has reluctantly agreed to comply.

 

Behavioral Observations

Peter presents himself as a wealthy individual with above average intellectual ability, yet he is childlike and very much a jokester.  Upon meeting him Peter is well dressed, talkative, and wanting to exchange ideas.  After some discussion he opens up about his difficulties.  Peter appears to lack self-confidence and he does not keep eye contact continuously.  He expressed that he had been told by his wives that he has not been receptive to his children’s emotional needs.  He says that he tries to provide as best as he can, including things like a pony and a motorcycle for his children.  He also feels guilty that he could not tell his mother that he loved her when she explained to him that she was dying in the hospital.  Nonetheless, he says that he sobbed at her funeral.  Peter appears to be an extremely creative and intelligent person but he is also contradictory in many ways.   He recently has watched old videos of his time at the old comedy show, times with his mother and father, and his two wives Anne and Britt and their children.  Although he had positive and negative memories he says that he does not necessarily treasure them.  After thinking it through Peter burned all of these pictures and videos.

Current Circumstances

Peter was referred for a psychological assessment because he appears to be acting out and the producers at United Artists are worried about his mental health.  Peter fell in love with Sofia Loren who was a fellow actress.  He idealized her as a human being and a friend, and he wanted to be with her, although they were both still married. He misunderstood his relationship with Sofia Loren.  Peter tried to approach her for a relationship, but she told him, “Go home to your children, and go home to your wife.”  Her dismissal caused in him a great deal of pain and anxiety.

Other stressful events in Peter’s life are that his father and mother have both passed away.  He is haunted by the image and words of his mother.  He had a stressful relationship with his second wife Britt.  He wanted her to have an abortion but she persuaded him to keep their child.  He has also had a near death experience and this has changed his outlook on life.  He is tired of all the characters and roles.  He has come to the realization that he wants to be himself even in the movies, although he realizes this is impossible.  Peter displays great instability, including major shifts in mood, a very unstable self-image, and impulsivity. His interpersonal relationships are also very unstable. Furthermore, Peter is grandiose, needs much admiration, and at times appears to feel no empathy with others.  Peter is an amazingly intelligent person who is also very talented at making people laugh, but his chronic feelings of emptiness have deprived him of his own happiness.

Background Information

In Peter’s childhood his family moved around a lot.  His father wished he had more influence on Peter and hoped to have raised him differently.  Peter’s mom spoiled him and allowed him to have whatever he wanted.  At the beginning of his career Peter had a role in the Goon Show, which was a radio comedy show.  He became an actor after he persistently tried to get movie roles.  Peter is very proud of having received a British Academy Award. He loves taking on characters and becoming them for films, but sometimes this carries over to real life.  He encompasses the characters very well.  These personas fulfill in him the need to be someone.  He believes himself to be without much personality of his own.  At one point he was passionate and wanted to play the part of a man who has no discernable personality.  He felt a kinship with that kind of a character.

Peter appears to be hard working and he takes care of his family’s material needs.  After his first marriage to Anne ended he started dating Britt Ekland.  He told her soon after their first few dates, “I think I’m in love with you” to which she responded, “But you have just met me.”  At first he idealized Britt as he had done with Sofia Loren.   When Peter was not able to be with Sofia Loren he tried to satisfy his desire for her by having sex with her stand in, in the back seat of his car, although he was still married. Peter also used cocaine while having sex with his second wife Britt.  During one of these ventures Peter had a heart attack and almost died.  He told his children after his near death experience, “The Spirits have spoken daddy has come back from the dead…and nothing can hurt him ever again.”

Generally when Peter was upset he visited his mother.  He confided in her when Anne left him that he thought if he just gave the world a little push it would all fall in to place.  Peter got mad at his mother for not telling him his father was not well and in the hospital.  Peter’s mother acted like she was his protector.  She said things to him like that the press notices when he misses his daughter’s birthday.  Peter recalled his mother telling him that when they went out to dinner someone asked her, “How was lunch with your son,” and she said, “I don’t know I did not see him.”  He clings to his first wife more than to his second wife at his mother’s funeral.  Peter had an out of the ordinary relationship with his mother.  He goes to a therapist who hypnotizes him in order to be able to speak to his mother once again after her death.

Clinical Conceptualization

Peter appears to be suffering from borderline personality disorder.  The following five criteria from the DSM-IV-TR further explain this.  Peter shows symptoms of criteria three in the DSM-IV-TR, which states that, for borderline personality disorder to be diagnosed there must be an identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self present.   This is evident in various aspects of Peter’s life.  He voiced his concern about his unstable self-image when he told of the time he was once asked, “Peter, how are you able to inhabit your characters so successfully,” to which he responded, “I don’t really have any personality of my own… there used to be a me behind the mask but I had it surgically removed…If I didn’t have characters like Clussou I don’t know who I’d be, perhaps I’d be you.” Furthermore, at one point Peter’s children are trying to cheer him up and he expresses to them that, “Your dad does not exist.”

Criterion two in the DSM-IV-TR for borderline personality disorder, which appears to be present in Peter’s personality states: A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.  Peter’s interpersonal relationships are intense, as is evident in his relationships with his first wife Anne, Sofia Loren, and Britt Ekland.  He idealized them all.  Concerning his first wife Anne, he was deeply in love with her for many years until he met Sofia Loren, and suddenly decided that he did not love Anne as much. In Britt’s case he idealizes her at the beginning of the relationship but after devalues her to the point where he hit her and pushed her around after his mother’s funeral.

Criterion eight in the DSM-IV-TR for borderline personality disorder states: a person with this illness has inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger.  For example frequent displays of temper, constant anger, and recurrent physical fights.  An example of this anger is when Peter destroyed his young son’s toys because he painted a striped line across his brand new car.  Peter averted to physical aggression and violence against his sons toys when the boy was only trying to make his father happy.   He also destroyed his house after he realized that his wife Anne was sleeping with the interior decorator.  Furthermore, after his mother’s funeral his anger was unleashed at his wife Britt and they also got into a physical fight.

Criterion seven of the DSM-IV-TR for borderline personality disorder states that there must be symptoms of chronic feelings of emptiness present. For example at one point Peter said to his daughter Sara that he is, “A useless, talentless, empty man.”  Peter also confided to a psychic about this emptiness.  He said, “I keep making changes, you know, big ones, and little ones; always hoping that the next one will be the right one…nothing makes me happy the way that I’m supposed to be happy.”

Lastly, criterion four of the DSM-IV-TR for borderline personality disorder, which states that impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging, for example: spending, sex, substance abuse, and reckless driving.  These are all evident in Peter’s life.  For example, Peter was always changing homes from one mansion to another.  He splurged on various types of cars and had other types of spending sprees.  Peter tells of the times he raced down the highway with his boss trying to escape his responsibilities to the movie he was filming. Peter also misused alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine.   Moreover, he also had sex with Sofia Loren’s double in the back seat of his car while he was still married to his first wife Anne.

The etiology for borderline personality disorder is that like most personality disorders, there are interrelated issues that may contribute to the progression of symptoms.  A fear of abandonment tortures Peter, psychodynamic theorists look to early parental relationships to explain this.  Object-relations theorists propose a lack of early acceptance or abuse/neglect by parents.  Research has found some support for this view, including a link to early sexual abuse.  This may be indicative of the unconventional relationship Peter had with his mother Peg.  He even mockingly expressed to his mother at one point that he was going to marry his then girlfriend Britt because he was not allowed to marry his mother.  The Symptoms of borderline personality disorder may continue on for the remainder of Peter’s life.  Some features of the disorder have also been linked to biological abnormalities.  Sufferers who are particularly impulsive apparently have lower brain serotonin activity.

Clinical Conceptualization

Peter also appears to have some narcissistic features.  The DSM-IV-TR states in criterion six that a person with narcissistic personality disorder is interpersonally exploitative.    For example, when Peter took Anne to meet the interior decorator, he was fully aware that the man was handsome and Anne might be attracted to him.  He set this situation up because he wanted to start a relationship with Sofia Loren.  So, he was introducing Anne to another man because he had ulterior motives.  He told the interior decorator, “Whatever is fine with Anne is fine with me”, which was suggestive.   A further example of criterion six is that Peter remembered someone saying that he, “Always got the last cake even on someone else’s plate.”

In the DSM-IV-TR it further states in criterion one, of narcissistic disorder, another characteristic of Peter’s personality, which is that he has a grandiose sense of self-importance.  For example, he exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements.  An example of this is when Peter said to his mother, “I’m a star now; these people can’t do anything without me.”  Peter also remembered saying in front of a crowd of people that the only reason he, “Compromised his artistic integrity by walking in front of his cameras” (referring to Blake Edwards the producer of the movie Pink Panther) was because of money. He embarrassed Blake in front of the crowd and inflated his own ego.  Peter also said that no matter how bad the picture is he will always be the best thing in it.

Moreover, Peter is seldom interested in the feelings of others in this innocent way; he does not realize this about himself.  The DSM-IV-TR for narcissistic disorder criteria seven matches with Peter’s personality where it states:  He lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.  This is very evident in his interactions with his children.  Peter’s daughter asked him if he still loves them, to which he responded, “Of course I do sweetheart, but not as much as I love Sofia Loren.” He does not seem to understand what he is saying.  He also inappropriately tells his son at one point that his mother is sleeping with the interior decorator.  If he was considerate of his children’s feelings he would not have said such things, but Peter did not even realize how much these words could have hurt them.  On the other hand, Peter does show empathy for his dying father on his deathbed.

The DSM-IV-TR criteria nine for narcissistic disorder is also evident in Peter’s personality.  It states that the person shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.  An example is when Peter says to his pregnant wife at the hospital while she’s having contractions, “Make it quick we start filming in a week.”  Another example is when Peter overreacts about taking a role another actor declined.  He does not want “sloppy seconds.”  Other times he gets mad at the director and yells at him.

The etiology of narcissistic personality disorder like most personality disorders is that there are many interrelated reasons that may influence the development of symptoms.  Symptoms are long lasting, and start to show in childhood and later in adolescence.  The full symptoms show themselves when the individual becomes an adult.  Psychodynamic theorists have theorized about this disorder focusing on cold, rejecting parents.  Object-relations theorist interpret this grandiose self-presentation as a way for people with this disorder to convince themselves that they are self-sufficient and without need of warm relationships. Cognitive-behavioral theorists propose that narcissistic personality disorder may develop when people are treated too positively rather than too negatively in early life.  Peter appears to have features of narcissistic disorder and is projecting this type of characteristics for protection of his equilibrium.  His disappointments, the pain that he felt as a result of the relationships with his parents, the failed marriages and friendships, and the harshness of the reality of life are being projected as narcissism.

Formulation

Axis I:  Deferred.

Axis II:  Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic features.

Axis III:  Heart condition.

Axis IV: Problems with primary family.

Axis V:  GAF score of 70.

There is evidence of borderline personality disorder present in Peter’s behavior, and features of narcissistic disorder.  The GAF score is 70 because there is some mild symptoms present like depressed mood.  There is evidence of some difficulty in social, occupational functioning, but Peter is generally functioning well, and has had some meaningful interpersonal relationships.  In the DSM-IV-TR criteria three, eight, two, and seven have been met for diagnoses of Mr. Peter Sellers as having borderline personality disorder.  In the DSM-IV-TR criteria six, one, seven, and nine have been met for narcissistic personality disorder, which therefore suggests that Mr. Peter Sellers has features of this disorder.  Disorders to be ruled out are multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia.  Peter does not appear to have different personalities; he is more just an actor who takes on different roles, as opposed to being different people in real life and having certain personalities take over at different times.  He also is not delusional nor does he hallucinate, which would rule out schizophrenia.

Further information to strengthen the conclusions of the primary diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is that Peter had that great fear of abandonment, and psychodynamic theorists look to early parental relationships to explain this and the disorder.  Peter always tried to fall in love and be with someone he cared about, or just randomly date, as long as he was not alone.  When things did not work out with the women he found comfort in the arms of his mother, but as of late even the thought of his mother is not comforting to him, and the stress of being an actor has reached an ultimate high level.

Treatment Recommendations

Psychotherapy can be very helpful in Peter’s case when used in combination with medication.  The most helpful forms of psychotherapy include cognitive-behavioral therapy and two broader sociocultural therapies: family therapy and social therapy.  For borderline personality disorder it appears that psychotherapy can eventually lead to some degree of improvement for Peter.  Antidepressant, antianxiety, and antipsychotic drugs have helped some individuals to calm their emotional and aggressive storms.  Narcissistic disorder is one of the most difficult personality patterns to treat, and since Peter has features of this disorder, once in treatment, he may try to manipulate the therapist into supporting his sense of superiority.

In regards to Mr. Peter Seller’s assessment, it must be said that it is unfortunate to think that the directors Peter worked with were not sensitive to his personality and condition.  Perhaps they did not realize that Peter suffers from mental illness.  Peter’s talent for being able to express himself through various characters is a gift but should not be misused.  Peter complained to one director that, “Three characters are enough!”  He said three is a good number, but the director responded, “You are being paid for four.”  This director also said to Peter, “I think you are whoever I want you to be.”  People in show business should be kind and gentle with people like Mr. Peter Sellers.  They said that Peter was, “A vessel in which characters and personalities ran like phantoms.”  The director also said about Peter that, “There was no person there to begin with but even an empty vessel can become too full.”  Sometimes Peter was not treated with humanity and he was you could say even abused by these people.  The reality though is that Peter subjugated himself as well to continue living in his life style.   I would recommend that firstly Peter receive treatment for his drug and alcohol addictions.  I also would only recommend that Peter continue working in show business if he is allowed to find himself and be whoever he wants to be.  The directors of his next movie should understand what Peter has been dealing with all along.  If they do not want to understand him then they do not deserve to work with him.

Note: How many Assyrian Peters are out there and are undiagnosed and living their life in a supposed normal way without realizing that borderline personality disorder is devastating their lives?  How many fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and friends?  How many have never even heard of borderline disorder?  Hopefully this analysis of Mr. Peter Seller’s life and personality was a good introduction for any of you who are interested in the subject.  Please take the time to read more about this issue if you find it of interest and if you have similar symptoms.

 

 

 

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A Flower From the Fields of Zerineh

 

By Abbey Mikha

Shlama al Omti!

I hope you are all having a great summer and doing things you love!  Yesterday I was just sitting there alone at home and I remembered my mom’s town in Jilu Hakkari called Zerineh.  I had some time and made a YouTube video with the song Zerineh by Janan Sawa and included some of my pictures.  I always loved Janan’s songs and especially his songs to do with Atra, Kha’b Nissan, and Zerineh.  I’m not sure how old the song Zerineh is, but I can remember it since I was very young.  It is a beautiful song with a sad tune, a tune that resembles the sadness that our ancestors felt when they had to flee Zerineh during the Seypa Genocide that devastated our nation.

One day I will see the ground where you stood Zerineh and one day I’ll go back to my homeland to sit in your fields, to see your mountains, and to wonder why time has created this distance between us.  Even though I am far from the lands of my ancestors I’ll always be a flower from the fields of Zerineh.

I am an Assyrian born in Lebanon. My mother’s family be Yousip  left their homeland in Zerineh Hakkari and escaped to Kiev during the Seypa Genocide of 1915.  My mom is in the blue in the picture in this post.  There is a story passed down in my family that my great grandfather Adam Yousip  from Zerineh walked from the Hakkari region with his family to Kiev.  My grandfather Kostan was born in Kiev. He moved to Lebanon with his family when he was very young.  I grew up listening to Assyrian music in the town of Ksara in Lebanon at the yearly Sherat Mar Zaia celebration and I have always loved Assyrian music even though my family left Lebanon to Germany and then to Canada at a very young age.  I love the country of my birth Lebanon, but my heart pulses the song of Assyria and the song of Zerineh.

The Assyrians in Ksara call the town in Lebanon Zerineh because so many people in town come from Zerineh Jilu Hakkari originally.  They are survivors of the Seypa Genocide.   The houses in the town of Ksara were given to these Assyrians who still live there amongst each other.  There is a beautiful church in the town called Mar Zaia to remind us of our beautiful church in Hakkari.  I hope to visit Hakkari one day and see what is left of the towns and villages of the Assyrians in Turkey.  This land belongs to us but who will listen?  I hope that life will give you an opportunity to go back and visit our homeland as well.

I have written an article about the Hakkari Assyrians called, “The Metis of Red River and the Assyrians of Assyria.”  It is from a few years back but I have updated it and it is still valid today.  Here is the link: <http://assyrianvoice.net/emagazine/?p=369>

The Song “Zerineh” is one of my favorites ever since I was young because I always knew that my mom’s ancestors were from Zerineh and because I myself like the lady in the song have green eyes.  I wonder if many women from Zerineh have green eyes!? I also have heritage from Alqosh and Mardin in Tur Abdin, but I always felt close to the town of Zerineh because I grew up with the kids of the town in Ksara until I was five years old many of which were Zerne.  I am proud of my entire heritage.  It is my honor to be from Zerineh, Alqosh, and Mardin!  I never forgot the people in the town of Ksara no matter which countries I traveled to just like I never forget the people of Zerineh, Alqosh, and Mardin and all Assyrian towns and villages.   They all always stayed in my heart.  I think of them everyday and even in dreams.  I hope to visit my relatives in Ksara Lebanon soon and one day I hope to see where Zerineh once stood.

My friend Ashour and I were discussing this issue of returning to the homeland and he said, “We should ALWAYS think of our beautiful homeland and the glorious day that we return, like a lost child returning to his mother.”

I responded to him: “Children sometimes grow up and search a lifetime for their mother even if she gave them up at birth or at a young age!  Many of them forgive their mothers for letting them go because they realize that her situation was very difficult at that time.  In a way our homeland gave us up since 1915, but this does not have to be forever.  Those of us who are attached to the beat of our land and ancestry are connected to an invisible umbilical chord. It is like something that pulls us to the direction of the East. Like an image of beautiful goddesses of our homeland calling our names to return and signaling with their hands and telling us that we are all flowers who are supposed to be blooming there in those fields by those mountains.”  I will always love my moms town of Zerineh.

For those of you asking for more pictures from my life in Lebanon here is a picture of my mom and I taken in Zahle during Easter celebration.

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My new YouTube creation:

 
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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 grew 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:

 

 

 

 

 

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The Assyrian Girl who Drowned and never Found

It was a beautiful summer morning in Northern Iraq. It was a morning not unlike any other good and fun summer day, especially for kids.  Assyrian kids, teens and even adults, were busy playing in the little river that passes this Assyrian village. A village that sits at the most remote tip of the province of Barwar.

Amongst those playing in the local river, there was two young female cousins. They were having the time of their life, swimming and just playing with the water. It is one of those innocent and pure moments of childhood that are as pure as they can be. The two treated the river as their friend, who was there whenever they needed to have some fun and enjoy their time.  Never did it cross their mind that the river was motionless, and doesn’t understand how they feel towards it.

As everyone was busy playing and having fun, one of the two cousins stepped away from her spot and went deep into the river. Moments later, this fun and beautiful morning would turn into a real tragedy! The girl was gone in seconds, swallowed by the rapid moving river. The cousin didn’t realize what had happened, until she looked around and her cousin was nowhere to be found.  Suddenly, the children and everyone else playing in the river started screaming and pointing in the direction of the girl who was being pushed by the river. Few moments later, the girl had already been taken far enough to be invisible to the eyes of the shocked crowd.  News of her disappearance quickly spread, and few minutes later her family had come rushing to the river in hopes of finding her. They quickly spread, and each started looking in one direction of the river.

Hours and days passed by, and the family was still looking. They followed the path of the river, for as long as they could, and found no traces of her. They scoured every hospital and any relevant places for any signs leading to her, but to no avail.  It is hard to give up, but at the same time, it is hard to keep your hopes forever. And in fact, some twenty years later, the family has still not given up hope totally.  The girl’s disappearance was such a shock to the family and local village people, people came up with some crazy and weird theories as to what happened to her.

Some think that she simply drowned, and was found later by others who in turn buried her.  At that time and in such a place, there is nowhere to report to and find the whereabouts of a dead body.  Another interesting theory believes that the girl may not have been dead after all. Rather, she was in a comma when she got found by some people, who took her in and cared for her. To make the theory even more interesting, her head may have hit several rocks as she was being pushed by the river, and that has impacted her memory and consciousness.  Therefore, when the person found her and picked her up, she may have already forgotten who she was, who her family was etc. The last theory states that the girl was dead in seconds after her drowning and that creatures living in the river simply fed on her body, hence why there has been no traces of her body till now.

Whatever happened, it hurts to know that had this happened in a more developed country, the girl would have been found, be it alive or dead.  Even if found dead, there would be more comfort for the family, than to still be clinging to a thin hope that the girl may still be alive.  Thanks to psychology’s concept of ‘Classical Conditioning’ the family has developed a hate not just for the river or rivers in general, but anything that remotely resembles a river or water. That river which was a playground for the young girl had turned into her own grave!

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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!

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