Archive for February 2006

Making Assyrian Conventions more Fun and Beneficial, once again

By: Ashur Sada. Feb. 20th, 2006

We are 6 months away from this year’s convention in beautiful San Diego, and people are already excited, and can’t wait.  But are our convention really fun and useful anymore? not if you ask a lot of the people who went to the recent few conventions. They may have had fun, but they will also tell you that it was a big mess and an embarrassment for Assyrians.  Our conventions are moving away from the original purpose for which they were created.  While these conventions still help in getting Assyrians closer to each other, they are also helping in making our image a not very good one. Action need to be taken immediately, otherwise, our convention will soon become a thing of the past.

Eliminate Bad Behavior
What constitutes bad behavior? how about someone who presses every button on the elevator on purpose, to make it stop in every floor and in turn frustrate people? Or how about someone who throws the big and expensive Plasma TV in his room, down the window? these and many other examples are just a small fraction of the many things that happen on the floor, and give us a very bad image.  This bad behavior need to be eliminated, and its main sources to be held responsible.

To start, any person held responsible for an offence or a misdoing, while in the convention, should automatically be banned for the next two conventions.  Related to that, and without which bad behavior screening wouldn’t be possible, convention officials should rely on the use of badges and make it a must. That is, every member should have their photo-holding badges worn at all times. This way, other people can quickly report bad guys to authorities. In fact, they should go further and create a central database, that will contain the names of all convention attendees. This database should contain records from previous years as well as the current year in question. Any misconduct by a certain person would be logged in this database. Over time, a clear pattern will start emerging about the misbehaving person(s) and that will lead to their expulsion from the convention and a two year future ban from all conventions.

Make it more Useful and Educational
To say or suggest that our Assyrian conventions are not fun, is a far cry from reality. Because in reality, the convention is a fun place and time for people to be.  But that is not the problem.  The problem is that conventions have become just that: fun and chaos, and not much else.  The educational and informational parts of it are slowly being pushed to the brink, with less and less attention being given to them.  You often hear that educational sessions and lectures are attended by far fewer people than the parties at night. It doesn’t have to be that way.

In a sense, we should be thankful to be able to gather this many Assyrians in one place, from all around the world.  If there is any good time to reach this many Assyrians, it is in the conventions.  Instead of wasting most resources on parties and picnics, more should be spent on the educational part. Lectures, presentations and other forms of public awareness should be reviewed by convention officials, in order to draw a larger crowds.  For example, and as an incentive, people who attend such educational and political events, as well as sports events, should be given an automatic discount to enter into other activities, including the evening social functions.  And to make it more interesting for people, convention officials should try to invite the most popular and influential celebrities in our Assyrian political and media world.  And why not go the extra mile and hold political debates between politicians, and here is one to start with: Sam Darmo from Ashur TV vs. Sargon Dadisho from Betnahrain TV!

Fix it now before it is too Late!
Assyrians have already been banned from more than one hotel, in various cities, following all the chaos and mess resulting from their use of these facilities.  This trend is expected to continue, unless some of the recommendations above are taken and enacted.  The convention as an event, needs to be reevaluated completely. Convention officials have done a pretty good job over the years and decades since the first convention was held.  But the focus has slowly been shifting.  It has been a shift from making the convention a place where Assyrians meet one another and get something useful and good done, to a place where you try to make the most money possible in the shortest span of days possible. And for others, to get to meet the most girls or guys in the span of few days; it is our version of the ‘Super Dater.’

Failing to take proper measures to make conventions more useful and professional, will lead to that shameful day: where Assyrians will have to go back to holding the convention in a small banquet hall, with everything and everyone crammed in a small space!

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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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Assyrian Astronomy is Known to NASA

 

By: Ashur Sada

 

 

Assyrian and Babylonian astronomy goes back to some 4,000 years ago.  Given the very primitive advancement in science and technology back then, Mesopotamian astronomy in general, was quiet advanced.  In fact, it lay some of the foundation upon which modern astronomy is based on.  NASA for example, acknowledges that Assyrians were one of the first nations to discover Mars, the red planet. Yes that is right, Assyrians, using the famous lens of Nimrod, detected Mars first.  It is not surprising then, that a basic search for ‘Assyrian’ on NASA‘s website, will yield many results.  Here is what we found.

The Search Results

The first result was about who Assyrians are in general. They did a decent job in describing who Assyrians are:

“Assyrians are People who originated in the northern Tigris River valley, in the Armenian Mountains. They later conquered much of Mesopotamia, as well as Phoenicia and Egypt. The Assyrians brought to their people great advances in civilization. The Assyrian Empire lasted from about 1350 B.C. to 612 B.C., when rival armies destroyed Nineveh, the Assyrian capital.”

Then there was a table of solar eclipses as recorded in history, and Assyrians had their own recording of this.  It puts the date at -0762 Jun 15 (763 BCE), and this was a total eclipse. The duration of this eclipse was recorded at 04m59s.  And finally, there is a link to a map that details this eclipse, as well as a graphic path.  Notice that the year is at the peak of the Assyrian empire.  This tells you that the state cared a lot about science and education.

There was even more results about Assyrian recordings of eclipses in history. One such interesting finding was the following:

“Babylonian clay tablets that have survived since dawn of civilization in the Mesopotamian region record the earliest total solar eclipse seen in Ugarit on May 3, 1375 BC. Like the Chinese, Babylonian astrologers kept careful records about celestial happenings including the motions of Mercury, Venus, the Sun, and the Moon on tablets dating from 1700 to 1681 BC. Later records identified a total solar eclipse on July 31, 1063 BC, that “turned day into night,” and the famous eclipse of June 15, 763 BC, recorded by Assyrian observers in Nineveh. Babylonian astronomers are credited with having discovered the 223-month period for lunar eclipses.”

 

There is also a mentioning of Assyrians as being the first in history to detect and study Saturn. In a PDF format, the article “Getting to know Saturn: a Timeline of discovery” puts Assyrians on top of the list, chronologically speaking: “~ 800 BC Assyrian and Babylonian observations”, and that being the time they first discovered Saturn.

Yet more results relating to the Red planet, and this time about some volcanic region on this planet, called Cimmeria.  Interestingly enough, a section on NASA’s website notes:

“The Cimmerians who give their name to this region were an ancient, little-known people of southern Russia mentioned in  Assyrian inscriptions and by Homer.”

And that makes you wonder about just how much the Assyrians knew back then, that they would write about people, who are named after a region in Mars? could be a pure coincident, or could be some knowledge we are still not sure about.

Conclusions

It is interesting and ironic in that a lot of these articles and documents, use the name  ‘Assyrian’, ‘Babylonian’ and even ‘Sumerian’ interchangeably.  The fact that NASA, arguably the biggest and most authoritative body in space and astronomical research, mentions and credits Assyrians for their historical exploration, reinforces the notion that Assyrians are indeed a nation that has given humanity a lot. Sure these exploration were made over three thousands years ago, but their implications and applications are more relevant today than they were back then.  George W. Bush, the current US president, has called for the US to go back to the moon, and go even further and send a manned mission to Mars by 2024, still some 17 years away. Seventeen  years is more than enough to raise a new generation of astronauts.

Now what on earth could stop an Assyrian or Assyrians from having their own astronauts then, who could ride on NASA’s spaceship and go to Mars. That would be one giant accomplishment and irony for Assyrians.  The people who discovered the Red planet, are finally able to see it face to face.  If that is impossible, NASA should at least credit Assyrians by taking their flag and digging it on the red soil of the red planet.  Assyrian flag flying over the Red planet? not bad at all, we will take it!

 

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