Archive for June 2009

July 1st, 2009: 5th Annual ‘buy from an Assyrian’ Day

It was close to 5 years ago when Assyrian Voice first pioneered the ‘Buy from an Assyrian’ day. On this day, which falls on July 1st, every Assyrian is asked and encouraged to go out and buy from their local Assyrian stores and businesses. Your support of Assyrian businesses on this day is merely symbolic and the hope is thY every day is like ‘July 1st.’

What is so special about this day and why do we have to help Assyrian businesses and stores? Shouldn’t they be helping the Assyrian community. Well, without the community’s support as a whole, these businesses will not be able to help us in turn. All other cultural groups help their own businesses, creating a small economy within another bigger economy, so why can’t we do it?

It is very simple. Go buy an Assyrian music album, dine at an Assyrian restaurant, or do your shopping at an Assyrian store. And if you are not close to any Assyrian store or business, you can buy from the various online Assyrian retail stores.

The idea is to create a self-enforcing cycle of support. The community supports Assyrian businesses and these businesses in turn will return the favor by supporting community events and charities. This was actually evident at the recent April. 1st Assyrian New Year gathering where there was various sponsors who in turn were selling their products, to a very receptive and supportive attendance.

You don’t have to spend in the
hundreds, unless you want to of course. Even a few dollars will do. Remember, the idea is to get people buying from these stores for the long term and not just one day on the year. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be on July 1st, but can be done any other day you can make it.

The hope is that these businesses will continue their sponsorships and supporting of local Assyrian events, charities and even fund projects for our people back home. We are helping build the fundementals of a small virtual economy. Done collectively wherever there Assyrians, you will get a massive influx of money ending up in the pockets of Assyrians. They in turn will use it for all that we mentioned above. It starts from you though!

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Assyrians and the Elections in Iran

The bleeding and migration of the Assyrian population to the west is not exclusive to Iraq. Assyrians in neighbouring Iran have also suffered from this, with tens of thousands leaving since the Islamic revolution brought radical and sweeping changes to the country. It is estimated that there was around 200,000 Assyrians in Iran at the close of the 20th century to a modern low of some 10,000 to 15,000 (this out of Iran’s total population of some 68,017,860).

Thirty years later and following the recent much contested elections, there is hope of some changes coming to Iran. A hope that is becoming and getting closer and closer to reality. Although the incumbent president Ahmadinajad was declared the winner, the opposition claimed widespread fraud and has demanded a recount. Their supporters have been staging massive public demostrations for close to two weeks now and their mementum doesn’t seem to be slowing down, even after the election committee has concluded that the results are official and final.

Whether the results stay or change, the situation in Iran will never be the same again. The current demonstrations and protests are all hallmarks of something bigger to come. They are all little pieces in an upcoming and forming revolution that will undo the current 30 year Islamic revolution. The Iranian people are fed up and and will continue to push for reform and changes until they see them.

And with Assyrians having a relatively big presense in Iran, albeit a dwindling one, they too will be a big part of the new force for change. While Christians and Assyrians haven’t systematically been targeted for their religious and national ideology, like is the case in Iraq, they haven’t been made to feel very great either. In the last few years, we keep hearing about churches being shut down, and other evangelical institutions being forced to go underground, fearing a government crackdown.

A change and a more open Iranian regime would surely help to quell the migration bleeding of Assyrian Iranians to the west. Of course, with a regime change also come better relations with the west and a removal of the economic sanctions, which will help to improve their financial well-being, giving them yet another incentive to stay in the new Iran.

It is our hope that things in Iran will change without any or much bloodshed. Iraq has undergone a major change and would be nice if Iran was next. The two countries will be the new beacon of hope and democracy for the entire Middle East. A place where the native people of the land are treated the same as everyone else. Given the rich history and culture of both Iraq and Iran, and with Assyrians being a very essential component of this rich cultural mosaic, a change for the better in Iran is certainly welcome.

If Iran was to undergo a real change toward more freedom and democracy, you can bet a lot of Assyrians from Iran who migrated to the west, would make their way back. More than that, Assyrians from Iraq would find it easier to visit and communicate with the Assyrian communities in Iran.

I may sound very hopeful in my predictions, but one thing is certain: what seemed impossible not too long ago is looking a little more possible and even inevitable now. Assyrians and the people of Iran deserve better than what they have gotten in the last thirty years. The green revolution marches on…

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New, First Assyrian iPhone Application

iPhone now speaks Assyrian! Well, sort of.  A new Assyrian iPhone application has now been introduced, which is the first ever for the iPhone.

The application is called ‘Matleh’ (Assyrian Proverbs) and it displays different and random Assyrian proverbs every time it is launched.  Although the iPhone doesn’t yet have support for the Assyrian (Syriac) font, the application designer was able to create this application using pictures of the font, rather than pure Assyrian font.  And it is very easy to read, using modern Assyrian (Madnḥāyā -eastern)

The proverbs are from the bible, as well as old forms of old and modern Assyrian literature.

The application can be used for both inspirational as well as educational purposes: one can easily use it to learn or develop their Assyrian language skills.

While we do know the name of the developer of this application, we have no way of contacting him to thank him and offer other suggestions (if you are the creator, please drop us a line.)

One of the suggestions we would have for the developer is to add another feature to the application, which would display the ‘Assyrian word of the day or moment’

As more and more people start to use this application, it could easily develop and evolve to be a complete suite for ‘Assyrian language Reading and Learning’ on the iPhone.   iPhone applications can either be free or paid. The developer can develop both a lite free version and a more advanced paid version.

The number of Assyrians using iPhones is on a steady rise and this application can leverage that demographic, to both educate and profit too.

To download the application to your iPhone, simply go to the ‘App Store’ and search for ‘Assyrian’

Here are some screenshots from this application:

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Ammo Baba Dies and Assyriska Loses to Syrianska: Worst Week for Assyrian Soccer?

As if losing Ammo Baba wasn’t sad and bad enough,  Assyrians lost another battle this past week: The epic battle in the Swedish Superettan for the Assyrian-Aramean bragging rights.  Syrianska beat Assyriska 1-0, and with it crushed the hopes of thousands of Assyriska fans in Sweden and around the world.

This wasn’t just a soccer match. It was far from it.   In fact, you can almost argue that it was more about politics than it was about sports and soccer.  Some dubbed it ‘Derby D’ Suryoye’ , as important of an encounter as those of ‘Real vs. Barcelona’ ,  ‘Milan vs. Inter’ , ‘Manchester vs. Chlesea’  if not more!

Given the tensions between the ‘Assyrian’ and ‘Aramaic’ communities in Sweden and Europe overall, and the latter’s refusal to aknoweledge Assyrians as the real decendants of the ancient Assyrian Aramaic speaking people, these are never just mere soccer matches.

At the end of the day, Syrianska came out victorious, by a score of  1-0, but it is good consolation to know that, because twenty years ago, this ‘Ashur vs. Aram’ battle almost claimed the life of many supporters from both sides.  Yes, that is how bad it can be.  There was violence and chaos this year too, with some reports of Syrianska fans having stolen several hundred Assyriska t-shirts, stripping Assyriska supporters of their ability to wear them to support their team.

Having lost the Assyrian legend Ammo Baba, followed by Assyriska’s loss to Syrianska in Superettan, could this week have been the worst week in Assyrian soccer history ever?  Not certain if anyone keeps a record of such a title, but it can easily qualify for it.

Here are some pictures from both fans sides

For more on this historical match and what people had to say, click here to visit our ‘Assyriska Fans Page’ on Assyrian Voice.

We can end this on a good note by letting you know that Assyriska is still on top of Syrianska on the Superettan league standing.  As of June 1st, they both have the same points, although Assyriska has the advantage in other differentials and wins/losses difference.

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