Posts tagged ‘canada’

The Canadian Assyrian National Pentium

When buying a new computer, we have all gotten used to usually look for PCs that have the Intel Pentium processor inside. But what does the word ‘Pentium’ mean and where does it come from? The word comes from the Greek word ‘penta’ which means the number five. In this sense, the word Penta, Pentium or any other derivatives of the word come to represent anything that involves the number 5: ‘fifth’ as in ranking, ‘five’ as a combination or unity of five things or entities together etc.

Bingo! We now have a similar Assyrian version of the Pentium here in Toronto. This Assyrian Pentium represents 5 Political, cultural and social Assyrian bodies working together for essentially the same fundamental and final purpose.

The five entities are Zowaa, AAS, Ashur TV, ACSSU and this website, Assyrian Voice. Although there is no formal or official agreement between all five entities, they have come to develop a common approach and understanding when it comes to coordinating, planning and hosting different events.

Let us visit each one of these five players in this Pentium and examine what their role is and how they all relate at the end. Such a complicated yet very efficient coordination, which was clearly witnessed at the recent April 1st Celebrations in Toronto, has been lacking from our society for sometime and is sorely needed.

Zowaa: the Main Driving Force

Zowaa is the main driving engine of this Pentium. They started it all some 30 years ago and had been going strong ever since. In fact, the other four players of this ‘Assyrian Pentium’ can be argued to have been started or somewhat influenced by Zowaa.  Zowaa made it possible for our people to move from the ‘dreaming’ stage to a more manageable stage of ‘hope’.

Assyrian Aid Society: the Humanitarian Force

While Zowaa has done all it can to help our people and nation, AAS took the ‘humanitarian’ responsibility to help Assyrians worldwide, especially those in Iraq.  They have often worked closely with Zowaa and other organizations from this Pentium to coordinate and organize relief efforts for Assyrians in need and distress.  Locally and regionally speaking, AAS has been organizing different events that promote the Assyrian culture and help collect money for our people back home.

Ashur TV: the Power of Media

Ashur TV was launched following the toppling of the former Iraqi regime by American forces in 2003, and has been the media arm of Zowaa and Assyrians in Iraq.  During its first few years, it faced a lot of challenges in Iraq, mainly those relating to security and safety in Baghdad and other areas where the channel operated. Nevertheless, Ashur TV and its staff continued to work in the face of challenges, reporting on Assyrian news, events and more.  In 2005, an affiliate channel of Ashur TV opened in San Jose, California, broadcasting a few hours at set days every week.

ACSSU: the power of Knowledge and Academia

ACSSU, the Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Student Union, was established in 1999 to address the academic and educational needs of our students in Canada.  Although not politically affiliated with any party or political entity, ACSSU has worked closely with various organizations, especially the ones already mentioned in this article.  In the last several years, ACSSU has worked hand in hand with ADM, AAS and other organizations, to organize events, rallies, community gatherings and more.  ACSSU is the one organization in this Pentium of organizations that readies and mobilizes our youth and students, so they are ready to take over in the future.

Assyrian Voice: the Power of the Internet

Assyrian Voice, the website you are reading this article on, has been serving Assyrians since 1999.  Furthermore, we have worked closely with, and supported the work of all the organizations mentioned so far (in addition to many other Assyrian organizations)  We have promoted their activities and initiatives, helped with organizing and coordinating and so much more.   We have used the popularity of this website to bring people’s attention to what is going on out there, whether it is happening here in Canada or abroad.  We believe that no matter how powerful an organization is, its message can only get so far, and there is always a need for a ‘booster’ or ‘amplifier’ that will help get its message farther and to more people. Assyrian Voice, using its very popular and successful presence on the web, seeks to do just that.  Assyrian Voice may not be recognized as an official organizer or supporter, but we have been doing our part lately, and our work doesn’t need to be recognized nor credited.

Ever Improving Coordination

The combination and close cooperation between these 5 organizations doesn’t mean they are the only players on the Assyrian scene. Not at all, and in fact, they are some of many that work for the good of our nation and people.  But regionally speaking, for Canada at least, these organizations have worked, coordinated and shared a lot together.  They are many pieces to one big and beautiful picture.  And together with other chapters, organizations and affiliates around the world, the hope is that everyone will work together for the good of our national future.  We should forget about the days of division, conflict and constant bickering between our people and organizations.  This is the time to come together and start working together.  It all starts from this Assyrian Pentium 5!

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An Assyrian Plays a Big Role in Canada’s Third Best Olympics Ever

Canadians should be thankful for what this Assyrian has helped Canada accomplish at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  Meet Helena Guergis, an Assyrian woman in charge of Canada’s Secretary of State for sports.  She just assumed her post within the last 12 months, and is one of the main reasons why Canada just finished the Olympic games in Beijing as their third best ever.

Said Chris Rudge, COC chief executive officer and secretary general: “The Harper government came through in a big way for us, especially Secretary of State (Sport) Helena Guergis who showed great leadership in bringing the needs of summer sport to the House of Commons.” This is in references to the new funding formula that Canadian athletes will start to receive, starting from this very Beijing 2008 summer Olympics. As a result, this has translated in Canada’s third best performance at all Olympics (non-boycotted), ever!

According to the Canadian Olympic Committee, the new funding, which has become a reality under the leadership of the honorable Helena Guergis, will provide: $8 million in 2008-09, $16 million in 2009-10 and, most importantly, $24 million each year after that – in perpetuity – for the RTE program. In the end, the program could receive far more than the $150 million over five years for which the COC was advocating.

At the start of the Olympics, and for one whole week, Canada received zero medals. Canadians, including myself, grew very tired and frustrated at this weak and pathetic Canadian display at the Olympics. In fact, at first, I was going to write the very same essay, but with a negative theme about Helena Guergis’ partial role in such a lackluster display. It was very embarrassing to see countries such as Uzbekistan, Togo, Tunisia and others with medals, and nothing for us to show. Now that the Olympics are over, Canada has 18 medals, including 3 gold, 8 silver, and 6 bronze, putting it in the 13th position of countries with most medals. In fact, at the start of the Olympics, CBC had an interview with Ms. Guergis, and she was quiet confident that Canadian athletes would deliver. However, I was very skeptical myself. But boy was she right or what!

Looking ahead to the winter Olympics in 2010, which will be hosted by Vancouver of all places, Canada has a new initiative in place: “Own the Podium” The aim of this initiative is to put Canada on the top of the medal standings. With the games being played in our own backyard, and given the realistic and serious demands of this program, the honorable Helena Guergis will be even harder at work to make Canadians proud. And Assyrians too!

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Woodbridge, ON is the new ‘Assyria Town’

It used to be ‘Jane and Steeles’ and ‘Kipling’. But these are now the old Assyrian spots in Toronto. Welcome to Woodbridge, the beautiful town, part of the bigger municipality of Vaughan: welcome to the new ‘Assyria Town’  Yes, this is where a big wave of the Assyrian population has been relocating to, since the year 2000. That is the year where a large urban sprawl started taking place here. If you go back just 10 years in the past, this land was nothing more than a big empty space, with a few houses here and there, and lots of farms. Forward to the future, about 10 years later, and you will be amazed to find that Woodbridge and the city of Vaughan in general is undergoing some major construction and development, making it one of the fastest growing cities in all of Canada. Woodbridge (as well as Maple, which are both part of Vaughan) have got some of the biggest theaters, theme parks and malls in all of Canada. This includes the VaughanMills, Canada’s Wonderland, Colossus Theaters and much more. So it is no wonder that a lot of Assyrians have been relocating to the North, and settling in this great developing city.

Business  and Retail Presence

This city doesn’t deserve the title of ‘Assyria Town’ just due to it having a big Assyrian population. That alone is not enough. It also got to do with all the Assyrian businesses that have been opening in the area, commercial and retail. In addition to that, Woodbridge has got some of the most popular Assyrian hang-out places, mainly Tim Horton’s Coffee spots and restaurants. The main one of course is on Weston and Rutherford, followed by the one on Weston and 407, and many others. There are also all the new Assyrian stores and retail businesses opening in the area. Baghdad Food Market was the first, opening in Vaughanmills Mall in 2005. It was followed by Sam’s Food Market in Woodbridge. And just this year alone, 3 other stores opened in Vaughanmills, including Kristine Hair Salon, Alexandria Boutique and Gril4U Shawerma Restaurant.

Social Presence

It is not just about the business and retail presence in this city, that would make it the obvious ‘Assyria Town’ of choice. There is more to it. The social side of it. When Iraq won the Asia Cup in the summer of this year, most of the celebrations for the Iraqi Assyro-Chaldo-Syriac community was centered in and around Vaughan. More precisely, at the Tim Horton’s on Weston and 407 and on Weston and Rutherford for the rest of the night. You had people coming from other parts of Toronto, to celebrate here. These celebrations clearly stamped the city as the new Assyrian front and their major new hub. The Assyrian Church has also taken some interest in the city of Woodbridge, holding their summer picnics in the ‘Polish Army Park’, located in a beautiful spot in Woodbridge.

Woodbridge is the Future and the Future is Now!

Given all this interest and visible presence by the Assyrian community in this city, it will be natural that more and more Assyrian businesses and even organizations will relocate to it. Consensus and urban trends in the GTA point to the fact that people keep moving to the North, and more 416ers are turning into 905ers. So the time has come for Assyrians elsewhere to follow up and take a look at relocating to this city, and be close to the community. Be it for business or living.  Of course, this is not to suggest that Assyrian communities elsewhere in the GTA, such as in Toronto itself, Mississauga etc. are becoming a thing of the past, as they are very established and rooted in their areas for decades. But Vaughan and its daughter towns including Woodbridge and Maple, remain the hottest new destinations for Assyrians in the city at this moment. Looking forward to getting a franchise Assyrian Society social club here in Woodbridge!

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