Chaldean News – September 2020

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VOL. 17 ISSUE VIII

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CONTENTS SEPTEMBER 2020

THE CHALDEAN NEWS VOLUME 17 ISSUE VIII

departments

6 FROM THE EDITOR

BY PAUL JONNA

Unity

7 OPINION

BY STACY BAHRI

Divided We Fall

8 FOUNDATION UPDATE

10 NOTEWORTHY

Summer internship; Resident of the Year 2020

20

on the cover

20 REAL ESTATE ROLLER COASTER:

BUYING AND SELLING IN A PANDEMIC

The real estate industry, both residential and commercial, has

been highly affected by COVID-19

features

22 HONORING JOHN

BY JENNIFER BURLINGAME

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month;

John Loussia’s daughter recalls his battle with the

disease and promotes self-care for readers

24 TOBACCO USE & COVID-19

BY ASHLEY A. ATTISHA, ESQ.

25 PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS

BY ASHLEY A. ATTISHA, ESQ.

26 THE ISHTAR GATE:

FROM BAGHDAD TO BERLIN

BY DR. ADHID MIRI, PHD

The story of one of the great art and cultural pieces of

all time, now on display in Germany

12 CHALDEAN DIGEST

CCF ribbon cutting; Request for Christians’

return to Iraq

14 IRAQ TODAY

BY NABIL AL-JURANI AND SAMYA KULLAB

Irate, protesters in Iraq’s south torch

parliament offices

BY BEN JOSEPH

Hopes fade for Iraqi Christians as Islamic State

regroups: Ancient Christian minority faces bleak

chance of reclaiming ancestral lands

16 RELIGION

The Catholic Mass

17 OBITUARY: SALIM HANNA

18 IN MEMORIAM

28 CHALDEANS AROUND THE WORLD

BY DR. ADHID MIRI, PHD

Chaldeans in Mexico

30 ECONOMICS & ENTERPRISE

BY PAUL NATINSKY

Cocktails to Go: Creative Liquor Laws Help Retailers

and Restaurants

31 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

BY ROBERT W. DEKELAITA

Zomaya’s Masterpieces: A look at the history of

Babylon through an artist’s eye

32 CHALDEAN ON THE STREET

“How has COVID-19 affected your life?”

34 CLASSIFIED LISTINGS

36 EVENTS

CCF Ribbon Cutting

Chaldean Community Golf Outing

38 KEEPING UP WITH THE CHALDEANS

SEPTEMBER 2020 CHALDEAN NEWS 5


from the EDITOR

PUBLISHED BY

Chaldean News, LLC

Chaldean Community Foundation

Martin Manna

EDITORIAL

ACTING EDITOR IN CHIEF

Paul Jonna

MANAGING EDITOR

Sarah Kittle

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Azal Arabo

Ashley Attisha, Esq.

Stacy Bahri

Jennifer Loussia Burlingame

Robert W. DeKelaita

Fr. Fadie Gorgies

Dr. Adhid Miri

Paul Natinsky

ART & PRODUCTION

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

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Chaldean News

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Phone: (248) 851-8600

Publication: The Chaldean News (P-6);

Published monthly; Issue Date: September 2020

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Publication Address:

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Unity

This month I’d like

to speak about

unity. It’s the root

word for “community” and

has made it possible for

the Chaldean community

to exist for thousands of

years. We are united in

our faith, in our values,

in our families. But apparently

not in our politics.

Stacy Bahri addresses

this conflict in her opinion

piece, “Divided We Fall.” She

talks about the mask debate, and

how COVID-19 and our response

to it has become so politicized.

Since when do we argue and namecall

over whether or not to follow

government mandates? Social media

has become the battleground

for these debates, and the discourse

is not always polite nor respectful.

We need to remember that we are

family, that we don’t always have

to agree but we do need to get

along.

Father Fadie writes about the

Chaldean Mass and what makes

it unique, and why we should attend,

either in person or virtually.

Our shared heritage, including the

Mass that is celebrated the same in

different parts of the world, is one

of the things that unites us. It’s important

to recognize the mystery of

the Mass and to rely on faith to get

us through tough times together.

Ashley Attisha sums up the local

election results in, “Election

Update.” Several Chaldean candidates

will go on to run another

race, bringing voice to the community

and advancing our interests,

PAUL JONNA

ACTING EDITOR

IN CHIEF

divided though they may

be. Democrat and Republican,

we are one people.

Dr. Adhid Miri continues

his series, “Chaldeans

Around the World” with

this month’s entry, “Chaldeans

in Mexico.” He also

gives us a beautiful history

of the Ishtar Gate, one

of the most widely recognized

treasures of the

Babylonian world, while Robert

Dekelaita shares his knowledge of

the cultural art pieces adorning the

newly expanded Chaldean Community

Foundation.

This month also brings a story

of love and loss, with Jennifer Burlingame’s

highly personal account

of her father’s battle with prostate

cancer. John Loussia was a community

icon, well-loved and respected

by all who knew him. With September

being Prostate Cancer

Awareness Month, this article is as

timely as it is important.

And finally, in our cover story,

Paul Natinsky writes about the ups

and downs of residential and commercial

real estate. In the midst of

a worldwide pandemic, the American

real estate game is still going

strong. With virtual viewings,

waived appraisals and sight-unseen

purchases, the industry may never

be the same.

As we head into the last few

months of 2020, let’s make an effort

to bring back civil discourse

and to respectfully listen to opposing

viewpoints.

With Gratitude,

Paul Jonna

Acting Editor in Chief

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6 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2020


OPINION

Divided We Fall

COVID-19 first made

its appearance in

Michigan in early

March of 2020; two of many

confirmed cases which

would later follow. Michigan

is home to approximately

160,000 Chaldeans,

according to a 2016 study

conducted by the Chaldean

American Chamber

of Commerce, Chaldean

Community Foundation

and University of Michigan - Dearborn.

The Chaldean community has

always been a close-knit community,

one that relies heavily on the three

F’s: faith; family; and food. So why

has a highly contagious, deadly virus

divided an entire community, and

even our country?

Perhaps it is because the pandemic

that has ravaged the world, and

the U.S. in particular, has become

so politicized. If you believe that the

virus exists and you wear a mask to

protect yourself and others, you must

be a Democrat and have no faith in

God. Shame on you! If you choose

not to wear a mask because you will

not allow anyone to take away your

first amendment rights, you must be a

Republican who does not care about

minorities or the poor.

Why does wearing a mask or not

wearing a mask have to be a political

statement? Political beliefs continue

to impact our reactions to this virus,

and it is very unfortunate. The election

is over, (the primary that is) but

the opinions surrounding COVID-19

and which party you “run with” continue.

Wearing or not wearing a mask

and practicing or not practicing social

distancing has become a way to signify

which side of the aisle you are on.

As a country, we have protested everything

from wearing a mask to getting

a haircut. While both sides of the

STACY BAHRI

SPECIAL TO THE

CHALDEAN NEWS

Let’s get rid of this

notion that if you

don’t believe what I

believe, then we are

enemies.

aisle may have valid points

and deserve to be heard, it’s

important to keep in mind

that this virus is very REAL.

Some may think it will disappear

after the election.

Well, then let’s hope the

cold, flu and all the other

viruses that exist go away

with it!

We must learn to come

together during a time

when the country is falling

apart. We must rely on one another

to get through difficult times. We

must be better for the future generations

to come. We must be sensitive

to the fact that many have

had their own personal battle with

COVID-19, while others have lost

theirs. We must not forget to stand

together during these challenging

and uncertain times.

We may not all see eye-to-eye

and that is okay. This experience

should not be an opportunity to attack

one another for our differences

of opinion. Let’s get rid of this notion

that if you don’t believe what I

believe, then we are enemies. Let’s

begin to think with an open mind,

with acceptance and give others a

chance to express their own opinions

in a way to educate and not

insult. As we continue forward, we

should keep in mind that we are one

people who are stronger when we

stand together.

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SEPTEMBER 2020 CHALDEAN NEWS 7


FOUNDATION update

Historic Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Introducing

Dr. Barkho

CCF is pleased to announce the addition

of an Ascension walk-in primary

care facility within their new

expansion.

Dr. Wafa S. Barkho, MD is the

primary physician at the facility. She

has over 35 years of experience, with

a specialty in Family Medicine. She

has worked in three different countries

over her career and studied at

the Baghdad College of Medicine

and had her residency at William

Beaumont Hospital in Grosse Pointe.

To make an appointment, call (586)

738-9475.

Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital

Chaldean Community Foundation

Primary Care

3601 15 Mile Rd #100

Sterling Heights, MI 48310

On July 31st, the Chaldean Community

Foundation hosted a historic

ribbon cutting ceremony to announce

the new 19,000 square foot expansion

bringing the building to 30,000 square

feet. Various community leaders were

involved in the announcement as the

building was unveiled for the first time

to the general public. Martin Manna,

President of the Chaldean Community

Foundation began the ceremony

with opening remarks, followed

by Macomb County Executive, Mark

Hackel, Mayor of Sterling Heights,

Michael Taylor, Chaldean Catholic

Eparchy, Saint Thomas the Apostle

Bishop Francis Kalabat, and Chairman

of the Chaldean Community

Foundation Board, Sylvester Sandiha.

Additional Speakers at the Ribbon

Cutting included:

• Victor Saroki Saroki Architecture

• Frank Jonna Jonna Construction

• Sharon Hannawa Program

Manager, Chaldean Community

Foundation

For more information and to

watch the trailer from the ribbon

cutting ceremony, visit chaldeanfoundation.org.

PPE Giveaway

CCF hosted a PPE Giveaway on August 12th to

provide the community with Personal Protective

Equipment to help families and individuals during

this health crisis. They distributed 480 kits, 2,880

hand sanitizers, and more than 10,000 masks during

the event. They hope that the kits help the community

to stay safe during these times. A second PPE

giveaway is expected in the weeks to come. Please

follow the Chaldean Community Foundation on

social media for more information.

Academic Scholarship

Program Closed

The deadline to submit an application for the CCF’s Academic

scholarship program was Friday, August 14, 2020 at

5 pm. This year, the CCF received close to 100 applicants.

Thanks to w3r Consulting, Yvonne E. Nona Women’s

Scholarship Fund, Drs. Nathima and Peter Atchoo Family

Foundation Scholarship Fund and the Abdulkarim and

Jamila Sesi Memorial Scholarship Fund for making the cost

of college more affordable for students through their scholarships.

Winners will be announced in September.

Fill Out the Census!

Be Represented!

Starting in August, Census Bureau

workers will visit households that

haven’t yet completed their census. If

you’d like to avoid an in-person visit,

complete your census online, by phone,

or on the paper form that was mailed to

your house as soon as possible.

Visit 2020census.gov to complete

your Census, if you haven’t already.

8 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2020


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SEPTEMBER 2020 CHALDEAN NEWS 9


noteworthy

LEGAL NEWS

Team Player: Law Student Enjoys

Summer Internship with Rock Central

BY SHEILA PURSGLOVE

Law student Livia Khemmoro loves her

summer internship at Rock Central in

Detroit. A member of the litigation

team, she has been looped in on cases, completed

legal research and writing projects, and

attended meetings with attorneys, including

outside counsel.

“Rock Central sent me technology to be

able to work from home, and bi-weekly care

packages to enhance my internship experience,”

she says. “I’ve had the opportunity to

learn about mortgage litigation and how to

conduct a cost-benefit analysis. I’m excited to

see what knowledge the rest of the summer

will bring me!”

Khemmoro started her career trajectory

with a degree in business administration and

management from Walsh College, before entering

law school in 2018.

“When I was 17, I had a life-changing experience

that taught me you only have one

life to do everything you’ve dreamed of and

that experience brought me to law school,”

she says. “I’ve always been passionate about

advocating for people who don’t necessarily

know their rights.”

Khemmoro particularly relishes the versatility

of the legal field.

“I started law school as an aspiring litigator,

anxious to get inside of the court room, and zealously

represent my clients,” she says. “Although I

do still enjoy litigation, my experience in house at

Rock Central has shown me that I could be just as

happy as an in-house attorney or practicing a different

area of law.”

For the first five months of this year, she externed

for the Attorney General’s office, involved

with the Flint Water Crisis investigation.

“I thoroughly enjoyed learning from a team of

lawyers, composed of zealous advocates, who were

passionate about restoring justice to the Flint community,”

she says. “Although the pandemic put a

dent on my experience, I was glad I was able to

complete my externship virtually.”

Prior to law school, a job with Dobreff & Dobreff

P.C., a general plaintiff’s litigation law firm,

solidified Khemmoro’s love for the law and her decision

to go to law school.

One of her most meaningful experiences has

been Moot Court. “Participating has given me a

taste of what a career as a litigator would be like

and I love every second,” she explains. “The adrenaline

of oral argument is my favorite part. I’m excited

to compete in Keenan this fall and hopefully

represent Detroit Mercy Law at Nationals in the

winter.”

During her 1L year, Khemmoro was a student

attorney in the Experiential Clinic, where she was

Livia Khemmoro

trained to assist attorneys with counseling indigent

guests of the Pope Francis Warming Center, including

researching court records and determining

subject-matter jurisdiction.

Khemmoro also will be a member of Law Review.

“I look forward to spending many hours doing

precisely the kind of in-depth, meticulous legal

research and writing that will be required of me as

an attorney,” she says.

Khemmoro says that while difficult, the unique

challenges of online studies during the pandemic

have better prepared her to overcome obstacles as

she transitions into the practice of law.

“My parents are Chaldean immigrants who

came to America in their late 20s with nothing but

hope for a better life,” she adds. “My dad taught

me the secret to success is hard work and my mom

taught me the value in studying hard. I have an

older and a younger sister who are my best friends.

My family is life’s ultimate gift to me.”

Khemmoro has happy memories of her 2019 opportunity

to participate in the Vanderbilt University

Law School Study Abroad program, in Venice.

“Every day was like living a dream,” she says.

“I would wake up, walk out of my Airbnb to the

most beautiful and peaceful scenic view, and take

a boat to class every morning. My study abroad experience

provided me the perfect mix of academics

and leisure.

“The opportunity to learn, live, and breathe the

Venetian culture made this one of my most memorable

law school experiences. I learned to make the

most of the world around me and gained diverse

perspectives on legal issues.”

Troy Physician Named

Michigan Family Medicine

Resident of the Year

Okemos, MI— Jawan Gorgis, M.D. of Troy was

recognized with a 2020 Michigan Family Medicine

Resident of the Year Award by Michigan

Academy of Family Physicians’ during its annual

awards celebration, live-streamed on August 8th

due to COVID-19.

Michigan Academy of Family Physicians—

the largest medical specialty organization in

the state representing and led by family physicians—presents

this distinguished award to

resident physicians in recognition of exemplary

patient care, leadership, commitment to the

community, contributions

to scholarly

activity, and dedication

to the specialty of

family medicine.

Dr. Gorgis completed

family medicine

residency in

June at Beaumont

Health-Troy, where

her passion for teaching,

endless patience,

and natural leadership

and mentorship

Jawan Gorgis, M.D.

earned her the position of chief of the 24-resident

program. In this role, she was recognized

for innovation and creating a culture of wellness

to prevent burnout among her colleagues.

“Dr. Gorgis is a dynamo and a future leader

for family medicine. She has demonstrated herself

to be an outstanding physician with nearly

unlimited potential. She excels in the areas of

patient care, interpersonal relationships, communication,

leadership, and community involvement,”

said David Lick, MD, MPH, MBA,

FAAFP, program director at Beaumont Health-

Troy Family Medicine Residency.

In addition to her commitment to education

and the care of her patients, Dr. Gorgis has been

extremely active in the community. She volunteers

at local schools to teach children about the health

risks of using tobacco, as well as at Trinity Care

Clinic in Utica and the Gary Burnstein Community

Health Clinic in Pontiac, both of which provide

care for uninsured and underinsured patients.

As a practicing physician, Dr. Gorgis is now

working at Beaumont Health, where she joined

the Beaumont Rochester Hills Family Physicians

Clinic, providing inpatient and outpatient

care. She also plans to serve as a community preceptor,

teaching residents at the Beaumont-Troy

Family Medicine Residency Program.

“I am incredibly grateful for all the experiences

I’ve had, which have allowed me to learn

from amazing physicians, residents, students,

staff, and patients. I am excited to continue to

work hard and grow as a physician and a person,

in hopes to make a positive difference in

people’s lives,” said Dr. Gorgis.

10 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2020


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SEPTEMBER 2020 CHALDEAN NEWS 11


chaldean DIGEST

What others are saying about Chaldeans

Chaldean Center Expands in Sterling Heights as

Community Grows

BY NIRAJ WARIKOO

A decade ago, the Chaldean community

opened a social services

office out of a Sterling Heights

storefront on 15 Mile Road to

serve the growing population

of Iraqi-American Catholics in

metro Detroit. Four years later,

the Chaldean Community Foundation

(CCF) moved across the

street to open a larger building as

demand for its services grew, especially

among the growing number

of refugees.

On July 31, the CCF celebrated

a $5-million expansion

that has grown the center by an

additional 19,000 square feet to a

total of 30,000 square feet. It includes

Iraqi architectural designs

and symbols rooted in the ancient

culture of Babylon in Iraq.

The community has raised $7.2

million so far for the $8-million

building, said leaders with the

foundation.

Detroit Free Press

A socially-distant ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the expansion of the Chaldean Community

Foundation.

THE DETROIT NEWS VIA FLICKR

Iraqi Prime Minster

Calls for the Return

of Exiled Christians

On Sunday August 9, 2020,

the Iraqi Prime Minister,

Mustafa Al-Kazemi called

for the return of Iraqi Christian

immigrants to their

country, especially after the

defeat of the Islamic State

(ISIS). The Prime Minister

received Patriarch Saint

Louis Raphael I Sako, the

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch,

and a number of bishops

in Baghdad.

According to a government

statement, Al-Kazemi

said that, “Iraq is the country

for everyone, and that

Return or Go Extinct: 5 Things That Must

Change Now for Iraq’s Christians

BY PETER JESSERER SMITH

A new report from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is

sounding the final warning bells for the world that Iraq’s

Christians are continuing to leave their homeland on the

Nineveh Plains in greater numbers than they are returning,

in the aftermath of ISIS’ 2014 invasion and genocide.

Unless critical changes are made, Iraq’s Christians are on

the trajectory to extinction after 2,000 years of witness to

Jesus Christ in Iraq.

ACN estimates that 69% of Christians have thought

about leaving Iraq as the security, economic and political

situation takes its toll on them. Out of 102,000 Christians

that called the Nineveh Plains home before ISIS’ invasion,

there may be only 23,000 Christians by 2024 — unless

the international community acts now.

ACN is calling for five actions that can help the

stabilization and return of displaced Iraqi Christians:

an overhaul of Iraq’s security, restoring the state’s

sovereignty; wiping out corruption in government;

adequate representation in government; economic

opportunities; and investment in the country and the

mission in Iraq.

National Catholic Register

A religious procession takes place in Qaraqosh, Iraq. Father

Andrzej Halemba, shown at front right holding the crucifix,

is the Middle East head of Aid to the Church in Need; the aid

organization says the situation is dire for Iraqi Christians.

COURTESY OF AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED

Prime Minister-designate Mustafa

al-Kazemi addresses the Iraqi people

in a televised speech in the capital

Baghdad in April 2020.

Christians are the original

children of the country,

and there is no difference

between the people of the

same country, as everyone

is a partner in building the

future of Iraq.”

Patriarch Sako expressed

his hope that the approach

of Al-Kazimi would continue

to meet the aspirations

of the people and enable it

to address many of the challenges

facing the country,

adding, “The Church supports

Al-Kazemi’s steps towards

achieving security and

stability throughout Iraq.”

Assyrian International

News Agency

12 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2020


Lonely burials for

virus victims in

Iraq’s Najaf

BY ANMAR KHALIL

Every chapter of Iraq’s modern history

can be seen in the sprawling cemetery

of Wadi al-Salam outside the holy city

of Najaf. Its sandy expanse is growing,

this time with coronavirus victims. A

special burial ground near the cemetery

has been created specifically

for COVID-19 victims because such

burials have been rejected by Baghdad

cemeteries and elsewhere in Iraq.

In Iraq, the virus has been surrounded

by stigma, driven by religious

beliefs, customs and a deep mistrust

of the health care system. Overseeing

the “New Wadi al-Salam,” or Valley

of Peace, cemetery and helping with

the burial procedures are Iraqi Shiite

volunteers from the Imam Ali Combat

Division. They had been fighting

the Islamic State group in Iraq over

the past few years, operating under

the umbrella group known as the

Popular Mobilization Forces.

Corpses of the virus victims arrive

at night in body bags driven by

Workers bury the victims of coronavirus

in a special grave.

ambulances and burial procedures

take place at daybreak. In the past

four months, more than 3,000 bodies

have been buried here, said Sarmad

Khalaf Ibrahim, an official with

the martyrs affairs department of the

PMF. He said the cemetery receives

victims from all religions and is not

limited to Muslims only. Referring

to Christians buried there, Ibrahim

said, “They were buried with special

ceremonies, appropriate and befitting

them according to their request.”

Iraq has seen a steady surge in

coronavirus cases. The country’s

Health Ministry has reported more

than 100,000 confirmed virus cases,

including 4,122 deaths.

AP News

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“Let Hagia Sophia Be’ Cardinal Bo

Decries Its Conversion as ‘Undermining

Freedom of Religion or Belief’

BY DEBORAH CASTELLO

Let Hagia Sophia be, urges Cardinal

Charles Bo of Myanmar, President

of the Federation of Asian Bishops’

Conferences (FABC), who says its

conversion represents an undermining

of freedom of religion.

“How does turning what was once

the world’s largest cathedral into a

mosque do anything except sow tensions,

divide people and inflict pain?

How does placing Hagia Sophia into

the hands of people who have no

sense of its history and heritage and

who will destroy its Christian identity

help bring people together? How

does seizing Hagia Sophia uphold

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration

of Human Rights? It doesn’t.

It merely reopens wounds and exacerbates

divides at a time when we

should be healing humanity.”

Zenit.org

SEPTEMBER 2020 CHALDEAN NEWS 13


IRAQ today

Irate, protesters in Iraq’s south torch parliament offices

BY NABIL AL-JURANI AND SAMYA KULLAB

BASRA, Iraq (AP) — Protesters

torched parliament offices in Iraq’s

oil-rich south on Friday following

days of inaction by the government

after two activists were assassinated.

Demonstrators burned the outer

gate of the entrance to the parliament

building in Basra province, the

area that produces the lion’s share of

Iraq’s oil. The building holds the local

offices of Iraq’s main parliament

building in Baghdad.

It was the most violent incident

in Basra since mass anti-government

demonstrations in October, when

tens of thousands took to the streets

in Baghdad and across the south to

decry government corruption. Protests

also erupted in Basra in the summer

of 2018.

An Associated Press photographer

witnessed demonstrators clash

with security forces by hurling Molotov

cocktails. At least eight security

personnel were injured in the clashes,

said Ali al-Bayati, spokesman for

the semi-official Independent High

Commission for Human Rights.

Protesters had gathered to demand

the resignation of Basra governor

Asad al-Eidani after two activists

were gunned down in the city in the

past week.

Activist Reham Yacoub was

killed in Basra on Wednesday by unidentified

gunmen. Yacoub was a respected

activist who had been active

in the October demonstrations.

Days earlier, activist Tahseen Osama

was killed by armed men. That

killing prompted dozens of protesters

to take to the street, and police responded

by firing live rounds at them.

In response, Prime Minister Mustafa

al-Kadhimi had Basra’s chief of

police sacked.

But protesters said this was not

enough, decrying inaction by the

Iraqi government over the two

killings. They carried banners

calling for the activists’ killers to

be held accountable.

“Al-Eidani bears the greatest responsibility”

for the deaths of the

activists, explained protester Ahmed

Qassim, “because he is the head of

the Supreme Security Committee

and he is responsible for bringing any

party involved in the assassinations

to court.

“Because he did not move a finger,

he is complicit in the suppression

of protesters by force,” Qassim said.

Al-Kadhimi is on a visit to Washington

D.C. to conclude strategic talks

expected to shape the future of U.S.-

Iraq relations, and the future of the

U.S. troop presence in the country.

Protesters throw Molotov cocktails at parliament building during protests in Basra, Iraq, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020. Demonstrators burned the outer gate of the entrance to the parliament building

in Basra province, the area that produces the lion’s share of the crude exporting country’s oil. The country’s main parliament building is in the capital Baghdad. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani)

14 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2020


Hopes fade for Iraqi Christians as Islamic State regroups:

Ancient Christian minority faces bleak chance of reclaiming ancestral lands

BY BEN JOSEPH

It has been three years since the

guns fell silent in Mosul, the

erstwhile capital of the Islamic

State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

However, the Islamic terrorist group

still cherishes the idea of reviving

the caliphate, giving Iraq’s ancient

Christian minority a bleak chance to

reclaim their ancestral lands.

More than 10,000 Islamic State

(IS) fighters are reported to be active

in Iraq and Syria, according to

UN counterterrorism chief Vladimir

Voronkov.

The extremist group, also known

as the Islamic State of Iraq and the

Levant (ISIL), has regrouped and

its activity has increased in conflict

zones like Iraq and Syria, Voronkov

said on Aug. 24.

IS fighters roam around in small

cells between the two countries, Voronkov

told the UN Security Council.

Their attacks have significantly

increased this year, he said.

The regrouping indicates a strategy

change under new leader Amir

Mohammed Said Abd al-Rahman

al-Mawla. He replaced Abu Bakr al-

Baghdadi, who was killed in a raid

by US special forces in October last

year.

Since June 2004, when the terror

group claimed to have established

the caliphate called Islamic State

of Iraq and Syria, more than 20,000

Christians have fled the northern

Iraqi city of Mosul alone. After the

caliphate faded away in 2017, not

more than 100 have returned.

Reine Hanna, director of the USbased

Assyrian Policy Institute, a

non-profit organization advocating

the rights of Iraqi minorities including

Assyrians and Yasidis, says there

is little incentive for Christians to return

because “people can’t work and

earn a living among ruins.”

The vast majority of Iraqi Christians

are indigenous Eastern Aramaic-speaking

ethnic Assyrians.

Iraq has been home to Christians

for some 2,000 years. Falling mostly

outside the ancient Roman Empire,

Iraqi Christians have their own

unique forms of worship, theology

and ancient liturgical rites that endure

to this day.

A boy looks out from a tent at the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp in the al-Hasakeh governorate in northeastern Syria, where families of

Islamic State foreign fighters are held.

Before the US-led invasion in

2003, Iraq housed 1.5 million Christians.

By 2014, shortly before the rise

of IS, more than 800,000 had fled to

Europe and the US.

The caliphate’s establishment

sent the few remaining Christians

packing, escaping the brutal regime

that asked them to pay a special

tax for non-believers or leave or be

killed. Nearly all chose to leave.

The territorial defeat of IS provided

a chance for Christians to return.

However, their homecoming

has not gathered steam due to the

remnants of Islamic terrorists, various

militias subscribing to the Shia

branch of Islam and an inefficient

Iraqi government.

The government’s measures at

reconciliation and reconstruction of

the country have been mostly cosmetic

and have failed to instill confidence

among minority communities.

International aid programs, started

after the US-led invasion, have

not reached anywhere due to rampant

corruption.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi

urged Iraqi Christian immigrants

to return home after he had a meeting

on Aug. 9 with Cardinal Louis

Raphael I. Sako, the head of the

Chaldean Catholic Church and the

Patriarch of Babylon.

“Iraq was a country for everyone,

and Christians are the original children

of the country,” the prime minister

said.

After attending the meeting, Curial

Bishop Basel Salim Yaldo said

that to keep “our faith alive, we need

to guarantee responses in terms of reconstruction

of homes and employment”

from the government.

But such guarantees seem a distant

reality as experts point to continuing

IS activities.

IS plans more attacks in the border

area between Syria and Iraq, Russia’s

UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia

told an Aug. 24 meeting of the

world body. Russia aids Syria’s fight

against IS.

“At the same time, the terrorists

do not intend to give up

plans to revive the caliphate in

Iraq,” he added.

Besides being active in Iraq

and Syria, the terror outfit’s

well-oiled machinery is thriving

in West Africa, where its total

strength of 3,500 makes it one

of the largest of the group’s remote

provinces.

The terror network is also

active in the border area of

Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

In Europe, the IS terror network

functions through individuals

engaged in internet-driven,

homegrown terrorist radicalization,

reports show.

The international community

seems to have forgotten

the blood-soaked exodus of

thousands of Christians. Their

walk back to their homeland

continues to be a distant dream

as IS regroups in Iraq with plans to

continue the violence.

PHOTO COURTESY AFP

SEPTEMBER 2020 CHALDEAN NEWS 15


RELIGION

What is the Catholic Mass and Why Go?

Let’s face it, Mass can

be quite boring and

confusing at times.

Just think about it - a group

of people gather inside of

a church to watch a man

dressed in a strange looking

outfit as he says some

ancient prayers over some

bread and wine which he

claims is the body and blood

of Jesus Christ. And if that

is not strange enough, we

even pay for being there by

putting our money in a basket that is

passed around! No wonder why studies

show that only 20% of Catholics

in the United States today attend

Mass on a weekly basis. If we do not

truly understand the Mass, then we

will be left with confusion, boredom,

and a lack of interest. Therefore,

there is a great need today for

us to deepen our understanding of

the Mass in order to participate more

consciously.

Understanding the Mass does not

mean that we can ever fully comprehend

what it means. One must

realize that the Mass is, indeed, a

mystery. The Aramaic word for Mass

is Raza, which translates as “secret.”

This does not mean that the Church

is withholding some secret from the

faithful, but it is to show that when

dealing with what is Divine, our

understanding will fall short and

an element of the Mass will remain

a mystery until we reach Heaven.

Having the idea of ‘mystery’ in the

background, let us explore the reality

of the Mass.

FR. FADIE

GORGIES

SPECIAL TO THE

CHALDEAN NEWS

Two realities become

present to us at Mass: first,

the Crucifixion of Jesus;

second, the Heavens. Calvary,

where Jesus was crucified,

becomes present upon

the very altar. At every

Mass that is celebrated, we

represent Jesus’ crucifixion

and death. The Mass

begins with the bread and

wine separated, and this is

to symbolize the death of

Jesus. When the blood is

separated from the body, the body

is dead. Now, does this mean Christ

dies again? No! When Jesus was crucified,

He looked into the future and

saw all the Masses until the end of

time. He united Himself, in that moment,

to all of the Masses throughout

time. Jesus on the Cross sees you

at every Mass and you give Him the

consolation that He needs. Next

time you are at Mass and the priest

lifts the Host, you may think of Jesus

being lifted upon the Cross.

Second, the reality of Heaven.

As the priest says the words of Jesus

at the Last Supper and calls down

the Holy Spirit upon the bread and

wine, the mysterious change of the

elements happens. This change is

called ‘transubstantiation.’ Transubstantiation

is a change that affects

the substance of the thing but not

the appearance. The bread and wine

still look like bread and wine, but

what makes them bread and wine

has changed to the Body and Blood

of Jesus Christ.

This change is no easy matter to

understand, but should we not consider

His words? Jesus Himself said,

“This is my body which is given for

you. Do this in remembrance of me”

(Luke 22:19). If Jesus did not intend

the bread to be His body, He would

have said this is like my body or a

symbol of my body. Rather, He says

this is my body. Therefore, what we

do cannot be less than what He intended

it to be, because He asked us

to do the same when He said, “do

this in remembrance of me” (Luke

22:19).

Now, how do we fit in all this?

When attending the Mass, the

Church does not want us to be spectators.

The faithful ought to reclaim

their duties at Mass and see themselves

as participants and a dynamic

part of the celebration.

There are a few things that we

can do to participate in the Mass

in a greater way: worship, offer, and

receive. First, we are at the Mass to

worship God. Often, we say that we

do not get anything out of Mass, and,

while this statement could be true on

an experiential level, in reality, you

have just encountered the Creator

of the universe! The word “worship”

comes from two words, “worth” and

“ship,” referring to something that is

of worth and has value to you. If God

exists and He is the Creator of all being,

would it not make sense to have

Him as our highest value? Mass is the

highest form of worship because God

becomes truly present among us.

Second, we can offer Jesus and

ourselves to God the Father. On

Calvary, Jesus offered Himself out of

love for us. At Mass, we come and

take part in that offering by joining

the priest in offering the sacrifice of

Jesus. In a sense we are saying “Yes,

we approve the offering of Jesus and

we want to benefit from it.”

After offering Jesus, the faithful

on an individual level can offer

him or herself to God the Father in

unity with Jesus. One can say, “I, too,

offer myself united with Jesus, I offer

my life, my work, my pains and

my sufferings, my blessings …etc.

to you, Almighty Father.” A special

emphasis can be given to our pains

and sufferings, as Mass is marked by

the sufferings of Jesus on the Cross,

therefore any sufferings that are

brought to Mass are united in a mystical

way to the sufferings of Christ.

Third, we can receive Jesus. The

Church invites us to receive the

Body of Our Savior and to be marked

by His Blood. Jesus Himself says

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you

eat the flesh of the Son of man and

drink his blood, you have no life in

you.” (John 6:53) The Words of Jesus

state this clearly: we need to go

to Mass if we want to have the life of

God in us and if we want to be part

of His kingdom.

Going to Mass should be a part

of the big question we all must ask

ourselves: “What is after this life?”

As Catholics we believe in life after

death, which is union with God.

This union with God must be prepared

for during this life. Mass is a

part of that preparation. At every

Mass, we do what we will continue

to do in Heaven — be with God.

JOIN OUR

GROWING TEAM.

The Chaldean News is looking for

motivated candidates to fill full-time salaried

sales positions. Qualified candidates should

email a resume to info@chaldeannews.com.

16 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2020


obituary

Salim Y. Hanna

It is with great sadness that we announce

the death of our beloved

father, loving husband, and Gilbert

icon, Salim Y. Hanna. Salim was born

on December 1, 1947 in Tel Keppe, a

small town in northern Iraq. He passed

on August 15, 2020, in Gilbert, Arizona.

Salim was preceded in death by his

father, Savani Yousif Hanna Attisha,

mother, Jamila Attisha, and brother,

Sabri Hanna. Salim is survived by

his wife, Noual Hanna, and his children:

Christine; Christopher; Michael;

Mark; Steven; Anne; and Samantha.

He is also survived by his brother,

Noori Attisha, and sisters, Sadia Jarbo,

Samira Attisha, and Margaret Attisha.

Sam was known for his abrupt and

outspoken nature. He did not hold

back his feelings and wouldn’t take

anything from anyone. He dreamed

big and was determined to succeed

in anything he put his mind and

heart into; he wouldn’t accept “no”

for an answer. He was able to make

his American Dream come true from

sheer determination and hard work,

which he instilled in all his children.

Sam loved poker, gardening, boxing,

his many dogs, and his family. He

will always be a part of our hearts and

minds. We love and miss you, Baba.

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SEPTEMBER 2020 CHALDEAN NEWS 17


in MEMORIAM

RECENTLY DECEASED COMMUNITY MEMBERS

Naeil Hamama

Jan 1, 1952 -

Aug 20, 2020

Emielda Sagman

Dec 25, 1932 -

Aug 19, 2020

Mari Dawood

Aug 4, 1954 -

Aug 18, 2020

Nouria Alhermizi

Aug 25, 1929 -

Aug 17, 2020

Mousa Hallak

Jul 1, 1942 -

Aug 17, 2020

Nahida

Yaldo Hailo

Nov 10, 1938 -

Aug 16, 2020

Shawn Barash

May 22, 1984 -

Aug 15, 2020

Habib Najor

Jan 7, 1934 -

Aug 15, 2020

Maroghi Karana

Jul 1, 1925

Aug 14, 2020

Isam Dawood

May 24, 1944 -

Aug 14, 2020

Majeda

Abdulahad Mati

Jan 1, 1935 -

Aug 14, 2020

Mansoor Raies

Oct 18, 1932 -

Aug 12, 2020

Sisiel Hamama

Jul 1, 1922 -

Aug 12, 2020

Abdul Munem

Sialiemin

Jan 1, 1944 -

Aug 12, 2020

Joseph Marogi

Jul 1, 1962 -

Aug 9, 2020

Sera Torishoo

Jul 1, 1947 -

Aug 9, 2020

Yousif Karoumi

Jul 1, 1937

Aug 8, 2020

Saad Saleem

Brikho

Jan 9, 1956

Aug 8, 2020

Ghazi Shallal

Jul 1, 1939

Aug 8, 2020

Razko Esho

- Aug 7, 2020

Yousif Esho

Jul 1, 1942

Aug 7, 2020

Basheer Naser

Shuaina

Jan 31, 1941

Aug 7, 2020

Fahima Safo

Jul 1, 1926

Aug 6, 2020

Mary Abbo

Jul 1, 1927

Aug 5, 2020

Jamila Samona

Nov 5, 1932

Aug 5, 2020

Mary Kasab

Hadad

Jul 1, 1931

Aug 2, 2020

Regina Samona

Gumma

Mar 1, 1930 -

Jul 31, 2020

Hayat Chika

Jajonie

Sep 14, 1939 -

Jul 30, 2020

Laith Gibrail Ayar

Feb 13, 1965 -

Jul 29, 2020

Betty Dawisha

Jun 16, 1928 -

Jul 29, 2020

Walaa Stephana

Jun 27, 1966 -

Jul 27, 2020

Feryal Yanous

Jul 1, 1947 -

Jul 27, 2020

Hasina Haddad

Jul 1, 1938 -

Jul 27, 2020

Liyon Matti

Hadoo

Jul 1, 1928 -

Jul 26, 2020

Gorges Hanna

Hamama

Jul 1, 1928 -

Jul 26, 2020

Jacqueline Jajou

Habba

May 7, 1975 -

Jul 25, 2020

Nazeih Sidi

Jan 16, 1964 -

Jul 25, 2020

Rabka Markhal

Jul 1, 1929 -

Jul 24, 2020

Niessan Aziz

Savaya

Apr 2, 1935 -

Jul 23, 2020

Jamel Jibbo

Jul 1, 1930 -

Jul 22, 2020

18 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2020


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Real Estate Industry

a Rollercoaster Ride during Pandemic

BY PAUL NATINSKY


Real estate gone wild” is perhaps the best

way to describe the industry under the

pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Real estate agents and mortgage brokers are

busy adjusting to a sellers’ market fueled by historically

low interest rates and a limited number of

properties for sale.

“With regard to selling or buying

a home, the COVID protocols

nearly halted the residential market

from March to May,” said Renee

Lossia Acho, owner at KW Domain:

Luxury Homes International.

“However, as soon as we were able

to resume showings we found that

there was in fact a pent up demand.”

“If you asked me in March what

Renee Lossia

Acho

I would’ve predicted what this market would be

like today, I would’ve bet $1 million that the market

would’ve softened up and that we were bound

to see sellers downsizing and selling their homes,”

said Mark Kattula, associate broker and real estate

agent at DOBI Real Estate in Birmingham. “Let’s

just say, I’m happy nobody was willing to bet me...

The exact opposite is happening.”

The surge in demand has changed the way lenders

and agents ply their trade. Typically, there are multiple

buyers for every seller and bidding wars have

become common. Very low interest

rates keep the parade of buyers

marching, despite elevated prices.

Realtor Jason Dabish said one

of his clients offered $15,000 over

asking price on a home and waived

an inspection. The buyer was outbid

with a late cash offer from

another buyer, said Dabish, who Jason Dabish

works for Real Estate One in West Bloomfield and

Farmington Hills.

“It’s very ruthless right now where everybody

wants a home. People are willing to pay top dollar

to purchase that home,” said Amer Bally of Troybased

mortgage brokerage The Bally Team. He said

a client offered $250,000 with a $10,000 deposit

on a home priced at $225,000, only to be outbid

in the end.

Kattula said, “Millennials are taking advantage

of the extremely low rates and are making up

the majority of buyers out there. The sweet spot is

$150,000 to $350,000. If you’re selling your home

within that price range you are bound to get multiple

offers. I call this “eBay for homes.” It’s literally

becoming an auction. It’s gone so far that 20 percent

of buyers who are winning in these multiple offer

situations are those that are waiving inspections.”

Irresistibly low interest rates keep buyers in

the market. Bally said rates in the mid-to-high

2 percent range are typical now, and that people

who have worked in the industry for 20 or 30

years have told him they have

never seen rates this low.

Commercial Real Estate

The industry began the year “rockin’

and rollin’” in January and February,

said Chad Hoffmeyer, president

of Local Commercial Capital,

a commercial loan broker in Plymouth.

“Then COVID hit and we

Chad Hoffmeyer

lost a bunch of deals and then all of a sudden there

was all this pent up demand and we’re the busiest

we’ve ever been.”

Despite a struggling economy and crippling

losses in certain sectors—such as the restaurant

industry—commercial real estate

prices have not dropped…yet.

“We’re just on the cusp of that

now. Most people, because there is

no answer for COVID, have been

saying let’s wait and see. And we’ve

been telling clients it’s a 90 to 120

day cycle to see what changes, what Andy Gutman

works,” said Andy Gutman, president

of Farbman Group/NAI Farbman, a full-service

commercial real estate company in Southfield.

“So prices haven’t dropped yet,” he said. “Assets

that were teetering before COVID have fallen

apart. There are some assets in the market that are

really good deals but it still hasn’t totally filtered its

way through the market. So there is not great buying

yet, but it’s coming. The appraisal cycle hasn’t

changed. Values are still high based on recent appraisals

so it will take some time for that to turn.”

When the market adjustments catch up to the

COVID-influenced economy, Gutman said he

doesn’t expect a major price drop, as occurred in

the recession of 2008.

Pools, Gyms & Open Spaces Are Hot

In addition to COVID’s effect on market numbers

and dynamics, the pandemic is changing priorities

on property features popular with homebuyers.

Pools, home gyms and space for home offices top

many buyers’ lists.

“We are finding that post- ‘stay at home’ ordinance,

several homeowners are reevaluating their

current property features and are interested in making

adjustments that they now realize may be necessary

as we enter into a new normal. For example,

home offices are in high demand. So are at-home

recreational spaces including pools, fire pits and at-

20 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2020


and mask use, along with social distancing practices

parallels other industries and society at large.

“You can count on two things at almost every

showing/open house: A sign on the door asking to

wear PPE and a basket when you walk in with the

necessary PPE,” said Kattula. “It’s fine really. I do

have some older clients who refuse to walk through

an open house. I can respect that. I actually prefer

it because some of the agents hosting their open

houses lose control of the crowd and it becomes

congested. Not the kind of experience you want

when you’re looking at what could potentially be

your forever home.”

Dabish said things are much easier than they

were early on, when showings, open houses and

sales meetings took place entirely on the virtual

meeting app, Zoom.

“Now that the restrictions have been lifted and

we’re able to go out and about, not so tough,” he

said. “It’s kind of normal. Just mask, gloves and

constantly reminding people to take their shoes

off, wear paper booties.

“It’s just continually reminding people to respect

someone’s home and respect the fact that

we could potentially be carrying this virus and not

know it,” said Dabish, whose wife has recovered

from a bout with COVID.

home gyms. It appears that having options to work,

entertain and play without leaving your property has

been a big draw for many buyers,” said Lossia Acho.

Businesses, too, are shifting their priorities from

traditional preferences to those that work better in

a pandemic environment.

“Downtowns have been really hot, but with

that came major density. You’ve got so many people

running around in the cities—and that’s what

made them cool. Cool bars and restaurants, and it

was packed everywhere you went. Well, now that

density is concerning to a lot of businesspeople,”

said Gutman.

Companies that have major offices downtown

might open a smaller one in the suburbs to give

more space to their employees so they feel more

comfortable coming back, he added.

Covid Dictates Practice Adjustments

In addition to market dynamics and evolving preferences,

the pandemic is changing the way real estate

agents and lenders handle their in-person-focused

businesses. The expected increase in hand sanitizer

Future Changes

Much like the pandemic itself, the real estate world

promises constant change for the foreseeable future.

“If you are in the industry, the next year to

18 months is going to be pretty wild,” said Bally.

“There is still going to be a lot of business, things

will be very busy. There is going to a lot of work.

“In terms of purchasing homes, for the next two

to four years, it’s going to be wild in this industry.

People coming into the industry and the market is

not going to slow down. Builders are moving north

and west, running out of land.”

“As nearly every industry continues to make

adjustments, selling real estate has as well. The

increased need for additional photos, floor plans,

videos and information is now essential and makes

the buying and selling process easier for all parties.

This likely will continue to be part of most marketing

plans moving forward. The good news is that

providing additional information it helps buyers to

narrow down their search without having to see as

many homes and helps limit the seller showings to

buyers with stronger interest in the property,” said

Lossia Acho.

“Some people suffer from what I call ‘financial

dementia’,” said Kattula. “We live in a capitalist

country...what goes up must come down. It would

be like believing in heaven, but not hell. I do believe,

though, that they have learned from the past

and we will not have the same kind of housing

crash as we did 2007-2009. Just like we’ve never

had a recession like the great depression.”

SEPTEMBER 2020 CHALDEAN NEWS 21


Honoring John Loussia:

A Message About Self Advocacy

BY JENNIFER LOUSSIA BURLINGAME

Just over four years ago, I said

goodbye to my father for the

last time. I will never forget that

day. It started fairly typical. My kids,

who were 3 and 6 at the time (with

one on the way), were preparing for

morning activities. I talked to my

mom only once that morning since

my dad had a relatively uneventful

evening, which meant it could

be soon. His breathing was slowing,

less labored. His consciousness

was fading. He no longer moaned

in pain because hospice ensured he

had enough pain medication to make

him comfortable.

I picked up my daughter from

dance and planned to go see my dad.

My kids were spending the day with

my cousin. It was on my way there

that I got the call. My dad was close.

His time here on earth was waning.

He took his last breath before I

could get there. I said goodbye, but

his lifeless body could only receive

it in spirit. I lay with him one last

time surrounded by my mother and

siblings and together we said our

goodbyes. We walked to the lake

(my dad’s favorite place to be), said

a prayer together, and watched the

clouds lift his spirit away.

How did we get here? My father,

John Loussia, at 61 years old succumbed

to a disease that typically

men die with, not from. John was

diagnosed with an aggressive form of

Stage 4, Gleason 9 prostate cancer in

July of 2011. My dad was a healthy

man; he worked, he walked, he took

care of his family, he spent time with

his friends. He loved to golf, he water

and snow skied and he adored and

played with his grandchildren. He

truly learned to enjoy and treasure

life, a lesson he taught us daily. This

diagnosis took us all by storm.

Unfortunately in 2012, a year after

the initial diagnosis, we learned

the cancer had spread to his brain.

Again, this rare form of prostate cancer

would find a way to consume another

part of his body. April 30, 2016,

John entered his heavenly home and

life as we knew it changed forever.

What is the prostate and why do

men have one? It is a gland, or an

organ that can secrete fluids, that is

located in the male pelvis. Typically,

it is about the size of a walnut. It is

normal for the prostate to enlarge as

men age, however if it enlarges abnormally

it could be benign prostatic

hypertrophy (BPH) or many other

prostate diseases. If prostate cells grow

abnormally and spread it may be cancer.

The severity of prostate cancer

depends on the type and aggressiveness

of the abnormal cells. The Gleason

Score helps determine this.

On the simplest level, the Gleason

Score is determined after a 12

core prostate biopsy. It assigns a

number from 2 to 10 to describe

how abnormal the cells appear under

a microscope. A score of 2 to 4

means the cells pose minimal chance

of spread - almost normal looking; 5

to 7 indicates intermediate risk and

8 to 10 indicates the cells have scant

features of normal cells and are aggressive.

On diagnosis, my father had Stage

4, Gleason 9 prostate cancer that had

spread to his bones and lymph nodes.

According to the American Cancer

Society, approximately 1 in 7 men

will be diagnosed with this cancer in

the US; however only about 1 in 39

will die from the disease. Yet, I knew

my dad’s battle would be different

given his diagnosis.

Even after traveling to his brain, my

father fought. He beat the odds given

by his oncologist of 6 -12 months and

lived 4.5 years. He was an advocate

for preventative health. He believed

men should take their health seriously

and not be afraid to see a doctor when

needed and for annual exams.

This was not always the case,

as he did not typically see a physician

annually when he was younger;

however this changed quickly once

he realized how fragile his life was.

I would observe him chatting with

his friends about going to see their

primary care physician and advising

them to set their pride aside and take

it seriously. He asked them to pay

attention to their health and make

note of anything that changed. Truth

is, he sounded like me with my patients,

and people listened. His hope

was that his life and message would

reach many men in our community

and help save lives.

Routine screening for prostate

cancer has recently changed. From

age 55 - 69, it is advised by the

United States Preventative Services

Task Force (USPSTF) that primary

care physicians (PCP) and urologists

initiate a conversation with patients

about screening. They recommend

“selectively offering or providing

this service to individual patients

based on professional judgment and

patient preferences because there is

at least moderate certainty that the

net benefit is small.” Essentially what

this means is that men lead the direction

of their prostate health.

September is National Prostate

Cancer Awareness Month and the

color we wear for this is blue. There

isn’t a better time to schedule an appointment

for your well visit exam

than now, in September. If you are a

male 55 and over, ask your PCP what

your risk is and if you should have a

digital rectal exam or a PSA (prostate

specific antigen) test. If you are less

than 55 years old and have a family

history of prostate cancer, ask your

doctor if you should be screened early.

If you don’t do it for yourself, do it

for the people in your lives. My dad

was the guiding light in my life and

likely you are that to someone else.

Take care of yourself, be sure to eat

healthy and exercise daily, and be an

advocate for your own health.

Jennifer Burlingame is the proud

daughter of John Loussia and a

practicing Family Physician and

teaching faculty at Ascension Michigan

Macomb-Oakland Family Medicine

Residency Program.

22 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2020


CHALDEAN COMMUNITY

FOUNDATION

Help

Wanted?

As our Nation plans

to rebuild after this

unprecedented time,

please consider

investing in one of our

many new Americans.

HOW WE HELP:

The Career Services Team

at the Chaldean Community

Foundation offers one-on-one

assistance to help individuals

identify their goals and

develop their careers.

SERVICES INCLUDE:

• Resume Building and Cover Letter Writing

• Job Application Completion

• FAFSA Completion

• Mock Interviews

• Employer Referrals

• Training Opportunities

• Career Fairs

• Access to Transportation via the

Michael J George Chaldean Loan Fund

To inquire about hiring one of our clients and having your business added to our job bank,

please call or email Elias at 586-722-7253 or elias.kattoula@chaldeanfoundation.org

CHALDEAN

AMERICAN

CHAMBER OF

COMMERCE

CHALDEAN COMMUNITY FOUNDATION 3601 15 MILE ROAD, STERLING HEIGHTS, MI 48310 586-722-7253 CHALDEANFOUNDATION.ORG


Tobacco Use & Covid-19

BY ASHLEY A. ATTISHA, ESQ.

The entire world is facing a

global pandemic and the devastating

effects of COVID-19.

Initially, Michigan was one of hardest

hit among the United States.

The FDA warned that those

with underlying health issues, like

heart or lung problems, may have increased

risk for serious complications

from COVID-19. The Arab and

Chaldean population is known to

have higher rates of tobacco use than

other groups. This statistic is largely

due to hookah use which is culturally

acceptable in the Middle East.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,

we were facing a public health crisis

because of vaping. The 2019 National

Youth Tobacco Survey estimated that

27.5% of high school students are vaping.

In fact, e-cigarette usage among

high school students has increased

135% in the last two years alone.

Among other health risks, smoking

and vaping both weaken the

lungs, which is much more dangerous

now that we are facing a respiratory

virus illness. Young and healthy

people who regularly inhale tobacco

or marijuana are at greater risk for

contracting COVID-19.

Dr. Neal Patel of the Mayo Clinic

warns of the dangers of smoking and

COVID-19, “Smoking makes you

more susceptible to COVID-19, because

it destroys some of your lung’s

natural defense mechanisms. Vaping

may do the same thing. … I recommend

people stop vaping to maintain

lung health and reduce the risk of developing

severe disease if they contract

COVID-19.”

Vaping could be the reason one

out of every five patients ages 20 44

are hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Smoking and vaping weaken the

immune system, so naturally people

who use tobacco have a more difficult

time fighting the virus. Dr. J.

Taylor Hays, Director of The Nicotine

Dependence Center at Mayo

Clinic explains “People who quit for

even a short time see an improvement

in lung health quite quickly.

For most smokers who don’t already

have serious lung injury, they will see

immediate improvements in their

health, and less opportunity for severe

diseases including COVID-19.”

The bottom line is that smoking

and vaping are not worth increasing

your risk of harm from COVID-19.

Doctors say the best time to quit is

now and there are resources available

to help. The Michigan Tobacco Quitline

is available online or by calling

(800) QUIT-NOW. Teens can text

“Start My Quit” to 855-891-9989.

Take the first step today; your

lungs will thank you. The Chaldean

Community Foundation is working

closely with the Michigan Tobacco

Quitline, physicians, and others in

the community to support anyone

that wishes to quit smoking. Our

Project Light therapy team is also

available to provide ongoing counselling

support. Visit us at our office

in Sterling Heights for more information.

24 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2020


Primary Election Results

BY ASHLEY A. ATTISHA, ESQ.

The results are in! On Tuesday,

August 4, 2020 Michigan

voters selected the firstchoice

candidates from each party

to move forward to the November

election. In Oakland County, Chaldean

candidates enjoy success and

move on towards the November

elections. In Macomb County, neither

the Democratic nor the Republican

Chaldean candidates will

move forward.

We have seen his name everywhere.

Clarence Dass triumphed in

the primary election and will face off

in the general election against Lorie

Savin for a judgeship on Oakland

County Circuit Court. Savin narrowly

led Dass by 1390 votes in the

primary election; It will be a tight race

in November. “I am delighted to have

advanced to the general election,”

says Dass. “I thank all the supporters,

volunteers, and community members

who have supported our campaign.

There is more work to be done, but

I will continue to deliver my message

for a strong and fair justice system to

every corner of Oakland County as

we head to November.” Dass is working

hard to share his message of equitable

justice. The election will take

place on November 3rd.

Klint Kesto emerged as the Republican

winner in the primary

election for Oakland County Commissioner

of the 5th District. Kesto

beat Peter Trzos by a wide margin

(36.2%) with more than twice as

many votes. The 5th district is composed

of Keego Harbor, Orchard

Clarence Dass

Klint Kesto

Lake Village, Sylvan Lake and portions

of Waterford and West Bloomfield

Township. Kesto will move on

to November’s ballot and face off

against incumbent Commissioner

Kristen Nelson, a Democrat who

was first elected in November 2018.

At the federal level, five Republicans

competed to become the party

nominee against incumbent U.S.

Representative Haley Stevens. Eric

Eric Esshaki

Jim Manna

Esshaki won the primary, capturing

30% of the vote. Esshaki will continue

forward to November’s election

and fight for a congressional

seat against Democrat Haley Stevens.

Stevens was first elected to the

U.S. House of Representatives for

the 11th District in 2018. The 11th

district is composed of several major

cities: Birmingham, Bloomfield

Hills, Canton, Farmington, Novi,

Rochester Hills, Troy, Waterford,

and West Bloomfield.

Esshaki is thankful for the outpouring

of support, “The opportunity

for the first Chaldean-American

Congressman is motivating a lot of

people to become active in the political

process by volunteering and

donating to my campaign. For many

it is a sign that America fully accepts

us as an immigrant community.” Esshaki

is looking forward to putting

up a strong campaign in November.

Other Chaldeans on the ballot

this November who did not have

primary races are Susan Kattula

for Warren Consolidated School

Board, Jim Manna for West Bloomfield

Trustee and Ashley Attisha

(author) for City Council of Keego

Harbor.

Chaldean voter turnout is crucial

to local and federal elections. We

need elected officials on both sides

of the aisle who are familiar with

the needs of our community both

in the United States and abroad.

We all have friends and relatives

with different political values and

that is okay. There are no “right”

or “wrong” answers in politics, only

different strategies and opinions.

Our political differences should

strengthen our community at every

front, not tear us apart. As we head

towards the November election we

need to respect each other, listen

to each other, and learn from each

other. Most importantly, we need to

show up, represent our community,

and vote.

Going Green?

Read Chaldean News online at

www.chaldeannews.com

SEPTEMBER 2020 CHALDEAN NEWS 25


From Babylon To Berlin

The Ishtar Gate in the Pergamon Museum

BY DR. ADHID MIRI, PHD

Berlin’s Pergamon Museum is

known for its striking reconstructions

of large architectural

features. One of these, perhaps

the most obvious, relates to how the

Museum acquired its name - the Pergamon

Altar from the ancient city of

the Pergamene Kingdom in modernday

Turkey. Another imposing reconstruction

is the Ishtar Gate from

Babylon, the ancient Mesopotamian

city in what is today Iraq.

Located between the Tigris and

Euphrates Rivers, 80 kilometers south

of Baghdad and straddling Iraq’s Euphrates

river, Babylon was made magnificent

by King Nebuchadnezzar II

in the 6th Century BC. He made it

one of the wonders of Mesopotamia

by building large structures and by

decorating the structures with expensive

glazed bricks in vibrant blues,

reds, and yellows. Ancient texts describe

the many splendors of Babylon,

which at its time was the most significant

metropolis in the world.

Since that time, its legend has

generated many stories. The Hanging

Gardens, the Tower of Babel, and

various biblical interpretations added

to the mystery of the city. With

Babylon’s Ishtar Gate, we can go beyond

the legends and experience the

art and architecture of the most vibrant

and prosperous era of the city.

It was so impressive a structure that

even in ancient times it was considered

a wonder.

The great Ishtar Gate stood at the

entrance to Babylon and has inspired

awe since the 6th Century BC. It was

the eighth gate of the city of Babylon

(in present day Iraq) and was

the main entrance into the city. It

is thought to have been built around

575 BC, during the reign of King

Nebuchadnezzar II. Dedicated to the

Babylonian goddess Ishtar, (hence

its name), the gate was constructed

using glazed brick with alternating

rows of bas-reliefs of dragons and

bulls, symbolizing the gods Marduk

and Adad. It was decorated with lapis

lazuli, a deep-blue semi-precious

stone, which was used to produce vibrant

blue colors. These blue glazed

bricks provide the jewel-like shine.

As part of the city walls of

Babylon, the Ishtar Gate was one

of the original Seven Wonders of

the World. The king also restored

the temple of Marduk and built the

other renowned wonder, the Hanging

Gardens, as part of this plan.

Glorious to behold, the gate is one

of the most well-documented and ornate

sites of early civilization. It was

the most important of the eight entry

gates into the city of Babylon. The

gate was part of a complex system

consisting of walls and other defenses,

keeping Babylon safe from outside

intruders. Additionally, the gate and

its adjoining processional way were

highly ornamented and illustrate the

advanced construction techniques of

the ancient Babylonians.

While the Ishtar Gate dates from

a time generally referred to as the

Neo-Babylonian period (i.e. not the

earliest development of Babylon), it

does illustrate many of the characteristics

of the world’s earliest civilizations.

An area known as the fertile

crescent; the Euphrates runs directly

through the ancient city of Babylon.

Archeology at Babylon has yielded

extensive evidence of the city’s

development. Many of the characteristics

of a civilization are clearly

represented at Babylon, including

the development of a cuneiform

written language (which formed the

inscriptions of the Ishtar Gate), a

governmental hierarchy (which was

responsible for the construction of

the Ishtar Gate), an organized religious

system (in which Ishtar was

one of the most highly regarded deities)

and highly developed art and

architecture which is illustrated by

the Ishtar Gate itself and the sculptural

reliefs ornamenting it.

The Ishtar Gate was a part of the

building campaigns of King Nebuchadnezzar,

who ruled Babylon from

604 to 561 BCE. Nebuchadnezzer’s

father, Nabopolassar, had freed Babylon

from the control of outsiders

and secured the city from invasion.

Under Nebuchadnezzer, the city

continued to prosper and remained

secure due to a complex system of

walls, gates and moats.

Interestingly, like most Babylonian

remains, much of the gate’s

original kiln-fired exterior brick surface

has been removed by centuries

of vandals, leaving only the softer,

inner core of sunbaked bricks.

King Nachbuchanezzar II was one

of the most influential and transformative

kings of Mesopotamia. It was

his vision to create a central powerful

cosmopolitan city. He beautified the

city with building projects and art,

focusing on intellectual pursuits and

enlarging the army and territory. His

inscription on the Ishtar Gate reads:

“I (Nebuchadnezzar) laid the

foundation of the gates down to the

ground water level and had them

built out of pure blue stone. I covered

their roofs by laying majestic cedars

lengthwise over them. I hung doors

of cedar adorned with bronze at all

the gate openings. I placed wild bulls

and ferocious dragons in the gateways

and thus adorned them with

luxurious splendor that people might

gaze on them in wonder.”

Nebuchadnezzar pays homage to

other Babylonian deities through

various animal representations. The

animals represented on the gate are

young bulls (aurochs), lions, and

dragons (sirrush). These animals

are symbolic representations of certain

deities: lions are often associated

with Ishtar, bulls with Adad,

and dragons with Marduk. Respectively,

Ishtar was a goddess of fertility,

love, war, and sex, Adad was a

weather god, and Marduk was the

chief or national god of Babylon.

When Antipater of Sidon, the

Greek poet of the 2nd Century BC,

compiled the Seven Wonders of

the Ancient World, only one city

claimed two sites - Babylon. Yet the

two he listed the Hanging Gardens

and the Ishtar Gate were just a couple

of the many wonders to be found

in the magnificent ancient city.

Babylon, the 4,000-year-old

Mesopotamian city once renowned

26 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2020


for its Hanging Gardens and opulent

temples, has been through a lot in recent

decades. Iraqi dictator Saddam

Hussein played with this ancient

citadel by constructing an ostentatious

palace on top of its ruins. While

Saddam was overthrown by the USled

invasion of Iraq in 2003, Babylon

continued to suffer the wears and

tears of modern mistreatment.

During the occupation,

for example, American and

Polish soldiers set up base

there complete with helipad

and earth-shuddering military

vehicles. It has even had

to contend with the indignity

of oil and gas pipelines as other

forms of modernity have

sought to bury the ghosts of

its glorious past.

Today, however, this seat

of the ancient world is a

UNESCO World Heritage

Site. Its application for inclusion

on the illustrious list

finally found success after 36 years of

lobbying by the Iraqi authorities.

In 1899, the German archaeologist

Robert Koldewey began excavating

at the city of Babylon. The Ishtar

Gate was excavated between 1902 to

1914 CE, during which 45 feet (13.7

m) of the original foundation of the

gate was discovered. The material

excavated by Koldewey was used in a

reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate in

1930, using the original bricks. On

display at the Pergamon Museum in

Berlin, it is widely regarded as one of

the most spectacular reconstructions

in the history of archaeology.

Due to size restrictions at the museum,

the replica is neither complete

nor its original size. Originally a double

gate, the Pergamon Museum only

utilizes the smaller, frontal part. (The

second gate is currently in storage.)

The gate also had a door and roof

made of cedar and bronze, which was

not built for the reconstruction. A

smaller reconstruction of the Ishtar

Gate was built in Iraq under Saddam

Hussein as the entrance to a museum.

However, this reconstruction

was never finished due to war.

There are several museums in the

world that have received portions

of the Ishtar Gate: the Istanbul Archaeology

Museum, the Royal Ontario

Museum, the Louvre, Munich’s

State Museum of Egyptian Art, New

York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art,

the Oriental Institute of Chicago,

and even the Detroit Institute of Art,

among others.

The Ishtar Gate is only

one small part of the design

of ancient Babylon that

also included the palace,

temples, an inner fortress,

walls, gardens, other gates,

and the Processional Way, a

red and yellow brick-paved

corridor which was initially

over half a mile long with

walls on each side over 15

meters tall. The walls were

constructed of small baked

bricks cemented together

with bitumen. It was so wide

that is said that two chariots

meeting on it could safely pass each

other. The walls were decorated

with over 120 images of lions, bulls,

dragons, and flowers, made from

enameled blue, yellow, and brown

tiles. It led to the temple of Marduk,

which was in the form of a ziggurat.

Several pieces from the Processional

Way were sold and can be seen in

museums around the world.

Babylonian craftsmen had advanced

knowledge of chemistry, the

physical principles of surface chemistry,

the science of color fixation,

dye properties, high-temperature

glazing techniques and engineering

furnaces that generated heat temperatures

exceeding 5,000 degrees

centigrade. They also had connection

to other civilizations in the

continent as far as Afghanistan to

obtain material that was not indigenous

to their desert geology.

Symbolic of all that splendor was

a visitor’s first introduction to the

city vibrant colors. The cobalt blue

color of the Ishtar Gate was a Babylonian

signature color. It was the color

of the skies, the water, and hence

the color of the gods.

Alexander the Great, the Macedonian

King who conquered the

mighty Persian Empire and took over

Mesopotamia, could not believe his

eyes when approaching Babylon and

witnessing the amazing reflections of

the deep blue glazed buildings under

the desert sun. Blue was a rare natural

color in the Mesopotamian world

and the glazed bricks must have been

a very striking appearance, bringing

to life the inscription: “I placed

wild bulls and ferocious dragons in

the gateways and thus adorned them

with luxurious splendor so that people

might gaze on them in wonder.”

SEPTEMBER 2020 CHALDEAN NEWS 27


chaldeans AROUND THE WORLD

Chaldeans in Mexico

BY DR. ADHID MIRI, PHD

The immigration of Chaldeans

from northern Iraq to the

U.S., Canada, and Mexico

started at the beginning of the last

century. Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syriacs,

and Armenians all came to the

New World looking for job opportunities

and a better life. Driven out

by the harsh treatment of the conquering

Turks, most followed family

members, joining them in established

businesses.

Opening new frontiers and reaching

for the dream in a new land was

not easy. They were farmers with

little skills, limited language, poor

knowledge of geography and no financial

resources. Many passed

through the port of New York not

knowing it was an American port,

ending up in Mexico or Brazil.

Little official documents are available

to support the earliest travel stories;

much of what we know comes

from family members and community

elders. The first few pioneers from

Tel-Keppe to reach the New World

at the beginning of the last century

were Yousif Shammam (North

America - Fort William, Canada in

1899), Akko Qarana, Putrus Najjar,

Putrus Attalah (Brazil), Petto Goryoka,

Tobia Hakim, and Jajjo Hajji

(South America - Mexico in 1901).

A few immigrants came to the

New World but returned to their

homes years later. One of the first

known immigrants, Zia Attallah,

came to Philadelphia in 1889 and

worked in a hotel. He subsequently

returned to Iraq where he opened his

own hotel. Jameel Qashat (listed as

Canada pioneer #13) came to Canada

in 1914 and returned to Iraq in

1923 to open restaurants and hotels.

Akko Qarana went to Brazil prior to

World War I, prospering there and

returning to his village of Tel-Keppe

a few years later. Anthony Shamouni

Hanna Hermiz Kassab (father

of Sami and Bassim Kassab) arrived

in Mexico in 1909 and a year later,

moved to Detroit.

Chaldeans in Brazil and Argentina

were few and far between, with

little information available; their

news faded completely with time.

The early pioneers to Brazil were Putrus

Attalah, Dawood Pettuza Najjar,

Muggy Gamshu, and Bakki Gamshu,

recorded as arriving in 1926.

With the onset of World War I,

the Ottoman Empire issued a decree

to all non-Turkish nationals to

leave Adana, Turkey and other select

areas within 40 days or be drafted

into the Turkish army. The majority

left, reluctantly leaving behind their

properties, farms and businesses. Few

Chaldeans stayed behind.

In 1921, the victorious allies of

the Great War were pulling out of

the Ottoman territories and offered

help to the non-Turkish minorities

in the occupied regions (such as

Adana, Turkey) to return home or

travel to another destination. France

offered financial support, travel assistance

and refuge to Christian minorities

stuck under the defeated Ottomans,

encouraging immigration to

Lebanon, Syria or the New World.

Some went back to their village of

Tel-Keppe, some settled in Beirut

and many decided to go to Canada,

the U.S. and Mexico via the port of

Marseille, France.

Jajjo Hajji is widely considered

the first pioneer in Mexico. Hajji

ended up in Veracruz, Mexico after

leaving Adana, Turkey in 1901. No

one knows why he chose to leave

Adana or why he risked travel to the

unknown country of Mexico. Hajji is

perhaps the second documented pioneer

after Yousif Shammam (Canada

28 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2020


Chaldeans in

Mexico in 1929

1899) to travel the New World. He

spent most of his life in the Mexican

town of San Jerónimo (now

part of Mexico City) working as

fabric salesman. His business success

was crowned by the opening of a

large clothing store. Learning about

Hajji’s success and following in his

footsteps, several other Chaldeans

migrated from Tel-Keppe to Mexico

and established communities in Salina

Cruz, Saint Louis, Tecuala, Estabeca,

Montreux, Merida Yucatan,

and Mexico City.

In 1910, Marougi Qatoo and his

brother Putrus Qatoo (sometimes

written as Kattoo, Cato or Kado)

took a 30-day boat trip to Mexico

City. This was one of the first North

American cities in the 20th century

that Chaldeans migrated to, later

moving from Mexico City to Michigan.

Today, the Qatoo family’s second

and third generations are well

established with business and education

in Mexico City.

Another concentration of Chaldeans

and Arab-Mexicans is in Baja,

California, along the U.S.-Mexican

border. Some families have relatives

in both the U.S. and Mexico, especially

in states like Texas and cities

of Mexicali in the Imperial Valley

U.S./Mexico, and Tijuana, across

from San Diego, California.

The Casab Family (also Kassa or

Kassab) are examples of an extended

family on both sides of the border.

Tobia Cassab (father of Alfredo)

and his brother Zia Cassab came to

Mexico in 1910. Zia Casab had 8

daughters and 4 sons (all doctors).

Anthony Shamouni Hanna Hermiz Kassab

Dr. Ulysses Casab grew up in Ixtepec

with many other Mexican-Chaldeans,

eventually writing a book in

Spanish about “Tel-Keppnayas” and

their arrival in Mexico in the 1900s.

The book will be available soon in

English, with a book signing planned

here in Detroit.

There are many Chaldean professionals

and politicians in Mexico.

José Murat Casab (born October 18,

1947) is a Mexican politician and a

member of the Institutional Revolutionary

Party. He was Governor of

Oaxaca from 1998 until 2004.

Anthony Shamouni Hanna Hermiz

Kassab arrived in Mexico in 1909

and a year later moved to Detroit. At

the insistence of his family members,

he went back to Iraq in 1919, got

married, and returned in 1967 to live

in the U.S.

Petto Marwan Salem went to

Mexico in the early 1900s and returned

to Iraq after the end of World

War I. Marougi Putrus Kas Marougi

(born in Tel-Keppe in 1902) traveled

to Mexico and settled in Mexico

City in 1925.

Late-comers like Alberto/Waddi

Attiq migrated to the U.S. first, moving

to Mexico in 1960.

Dawood Shango and George

Shango were two other pioneers that

arrived in Mexico in 1926 and made

a living selling textiles and fabrics on

the railway, without speaking a word

in Spanish.

Yousif (Joe) Sesi Sr., of the famed

Sesi Lincoln Dealership in Ypsilanti,

left Basra, Iraq with a cousin. The

two arrived in Veracruz, Mexico in

1917 and worked there to establish a

foothold. Sesi headed to Michigan a

year later to join other pioneers like

Joe Achoo and Tom Matti in Detroit.

In 1927, immigration from Iraq to

Mexico was significantly halted due

to visa restrictions, and travel trends

shifted to the U.S. and Canada. The

last two Chaldean pioneers to leave

Iraq for Mexico were Darraj Yousif

Rabban and Jirjes Shango. By 1929

there were fifty-five documented

Chaldeans living in Mexico.

Today, Chaldean families in Mexico

are scattered over many provinces.

Chaldean clergy from the U.S. have

made several visits to Mexico; Fr. Putrus

Kattula in the sixties and more

recently, Fr. Michael Bazzi from California.

Without a large population in

any given region, it is difficult to start

a Chaldean archdiocese in Mexico.

Jajjo Hajji

Yousif Goryoka

Shamoun Goryoka

Azziz Goryoka

Jerjies Goryoka

Oraha Goryoka

Elias Goryoka

Yacoub Goryoka

Mansour Salem

Tobbia Zia Kassab

Azziz Zaia Kassab

Elia Zia Kassab

Hanna Kacho Dabish

Saffo Katcho Dabbish

Jajjo Shamou Dabish

Tobia Al-Saour

Yousif Murad Al-Alqoush

Petto Salem

Hanna Barbat

Attisha Putrus Attisha

Hanna Hussayno

Yousif Savaya

Jirjy Savaya

Aquobi Kakos

Raphael Kakos

Asso Zaytona

Daoud Kattula

Toma Salaan

Raouf Kassab

Azziz Raouf Kassab

Abid Asso

Mikho Jajjo Sebba

Namou Summa

Mikhael Kashat

Asso Choulagh

Hermiz Martta

Zia Makhaya

Tobia Makhaya

Marougi Qatoo

Putrus Qatto

Asso Kory

Shamou Katti

Karooma Heido

Yousif Haideo

Abbaya Haideo

Faransi Shaayota

Jirjis Shounia

Hermiz Agha John

Jirjis Shango

Tobbia Yousif Twaraya

Alias Yousi Twaraya

Marougi Qasawa

Georgis Aloota

Toma Aloota

Hanna Mansour Abro

Because of a diluted population and

a community scattered over a large

geographic region, there is not a strong

concentration of Chaldean churches in

Mexico, either. Youth groups, social organizations,

and inter-ethnic marriage

in the Chaldean-Mexican community

have resulted in a marked language

shift away from Chaldean-Sourath

toward Spanish. Only a few speak

Sourath, and such knowledge is often

limited to a few basic words. The majority,

especially those of younger generations,

speak Spanish as their first

language.

SEPTEMBER 2020 CHALDEAN NEWS 29


ECONOMICS & enterprise

Cocktails to Go: Creative Liquor Laws

Help Retailers and Restaurants

BY PAUL NATINSKY

Alcoholic beverage delivery is

not new. Liquor stores have

been delivering wine, beer

and booze since early 2017, shortly

after Public Act 520 of 2016 received

a jot of gubernatorial ink.

“The regulatory component with

the greatest potential for changing the

face of personal alcohol sales in Michigan

involves the recognition of licensed

third party facilitation services,”

according to a legal analysis published

around the time the law was signed.

These third party licensees work

much like popular grocery delivery

services or food delivery services.

Except, instead of working with restaurants

or grocers, they work with

liquor stores. The stores’ employees

deliver the product, the delivery

companies contract with individual

liquor stores to achieve a strong geographic

mix, said Brandon Kammo,

an entrepreneur who started The

Beverage Cart (thebeveragecart.

com) in February 2019 and by late

spring had established relationships

with 20 liquor stores throughout the

metro Detroit area. Kammo thinks

adding another 30 to 80 stores to his

roster will give him “blanket coverage”

across greater Detroit.

The way it works is that The Beverage

Cart sets up on a computer delivery

apparatus in the contracted store and

transmits orders from thirsty patrons

through The Beverage Cart’s interface,

which allows customers to place orders

online, tracks inventory, and even offers

options for replacements if a customer’s

favorite libation is out of stock.

The store and The Beverage Cart have

a payment scheme that provides revenue

to The Beverage Cart and allows

the store to expand its sales.

Kammo’s online presence includes

ubiquitous ads on social media.

I searched for his company once

and now they are a regular part of

my social media feeds. The Beverage

Cart also comes up very high in

search engine results. So, Kammo is

doing some things very well online.

He says conversions (into sales)

are high on his social media and

search traffic. In addition to the exposure

and rapidly expanding “network”

of stores, The Beverage Cart

also guarantees 60-minute service,

a feature that Kammo says separates

him from his competition.

There are some requirements

imposed on these third party facilitation

servicers, including an investigation

by licensed by the Michigan

Liquor Control Commission.

The companies cannot be owned or

controlled by suppliers such as distilleries,

wineries or brewers. There

are ID validation requirements and

reporting mandates.

Still, predictions are that the

methods available for the sale and

delivery of alcohol as part of the retail

purchasing habits of the Michigan

consumer will continue to evolve, to

accommodate the appetite for consumer

convenience. New regulations

will make the food and alcohol sale

and delivery process more efficient,

convenient and streamlined.

Kammo says store delivery people

can perform contactless transactions,

viewing IDs through glass doors,

though they cannot simply leave the

product on your porch. The entire

transaction is electronic, including

delivery charge (when I tested

the website, the charge was $5) and

driver tip.

COVID-19 has substantially expanded

the market for convenience.

A new wrinkle has evolved via Gov.

Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order

permitting “cocktails to go.” This

time, Michigan’s hamstrung restaurant

industry is the beneficiary.

The recently signed bills allow

cities to create pedestrian-only “social

districts,” where bar goers can order

drinks and wander freely within

the district. The law permits two-forone

deals. It also allows these licensees

to deliver alcohol and for small

distilleries to sell mixed drinks “togo”

and provide samples.

Drinks have to be served in a

sealable container that holds no

more than a gallon. Bars and restaurants

can’t fill containers before togo

drinks are ordered, but they must

be fully sealed and closed off after

orders are placed.

The law sunsets (expires) Dec.

31, 2025, unless of course it is renewed.

While it’s unclear how long

Michigan and the nation will be

wrestling with COVID-19, it appears

that drinks I found on a recipe

site, such as “Pandemic Punch,”

“Covidtini,” and “The Fuzzy All

Over,” will be here for a while…

and they’ll be easy to get. And liquor

retailers, bars and restaurants

will find a lifeline through these

uncertain times.

30 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2020


ARTS & entertainment

Zomaya’s

Masterpieces

Paintings Reveal the Reflections

of a Renowned Artist

BY ROBERT W. DEKELAITA

Artists often travel to beautiful

landscapes to paint them.

Dankha Zomaya travels

back in time to reflect on his past and

the heritage of his people. He seeks

to recreate, in shapes and colors his

mind conjures up, the marvels of

the wonderous history of his people.

Three of his latest paintings are displayed

at the Chaldean Community

Foundation.

“So much has been lost to us,”

he says, “and so much has been destroyed.

It is time we inspire ourselves,

as writers and artists, by the

incredible history we have, to create

a new path based on the greatness

and tragedies our people have experienced.”

Zomaya is no stranger to tragedy.

His grandfather, Priest Sahda, was

one of the first to be killed when the

Semele massacre began in Iraq in

1933. An estimated 3,000 Assyrian

Christians, mostly unarmed women,

children and elderly, were slaughtered

by the Iraqi army and various Kurdish

tribes. Dankha Zomaya still possesses

the cross his grandfather had cherished

and wore. When he refers to

tragic losses suffered by his people, he

speaks not only from observation, but

from personal and familial pain. His

family was forced to flee Iraq at that

time and settled in Syria.

The sufferings of his people, however,

only served to inspire Zomaya to

be more active and creative. He became

a renowned artist in the Middle

East, being featured in numerous art

publications in Arabic. The artist

completed his formal education at the

College of Fine Arts in Damascus and

studied Fine Arts at Damascus University.

He has written extensively

on art, and has had his works, which

comprise of metal, wood, and stone

sculptures as well as paintings, displayed

in various galleries the world

over. Zomaya has also taught art, and

for three years was the head of the

Teachers’ Preparation Institute in the

Syrian city of Al Hassaka.

The paintings featured at the

Foundation include one of Hammurabi

at the time his Code of Law

was being written and created, one

of King Sennacherib at the Hanging

Gardens of Nineveh, and one

that symbolically represents a modern

family’s reflection on the ancient

Ishtar Gate of Babylon. All of them

are rendered in his unique style.

For Zomaya, Hammurabi’s claim

to fame comes from his concern for

the weak in society. “Long before the

Christian concern for the frail,” says

Zomaya, “our forefathers took pride

in being strong but always protecting

the weak. It was this that inspired

me to show Hammurabi on the same

level with the people around him.

When he wrote on his law code, I

write these laws ‘so that the strong

do not persecute the weak,’ I would

like to think he meant it.”

Zomaya’s ‘Family Before the

Ishtar Gate’ represents the concern

with our past. “I wanted to present

something that we all view as a symbol

of our civilization,” he says, “that

is what the Ishtar Gate is.” This civilization,

according to Zomaya, is one

that we carried with us - far in time

and space.

“We have come very far from

our land,” says Zomaya, “and so we

need to always remind ourselves of

the home that gave us our connections

to each other, that gave us

our language, our identity, our history.”

There is a particular beauty,

for Zomaya, in the tragedies and triumphs

of his unique people.

Zomaya’s art, whether in painting

or stone or wood, reflects his attempt

to rise above the difficult circumstances

his people whether defined

as Assyrians or Chaldeans have

been through.

“My people are one regardless

of what term they choose to define

themselves,” he says. “They have

achieved greatness and suffered persecution,

displacement and dispersion.

They have constantly had to

overcome difficulties, both individually

and collectively. Whether they

call themselves Assyrian or Chaldean

or Syriac, they are the same

people and share the same tragedies

and victories.”

Zomaya’s art will be a fixture at

the Foundation for many years to

come. It is his hope that his words

and thoughts, brilliantly expressed

in the colors and shapes he uses, will

point the way to the great heritage

that inspires him.

“I want the viewer to look deeply

into what I have created,” he states,

“to look into the images and then

to look beyond them and use their

imagination to travel in time with

me and feel the greatness of our past

and the potential for our future.”

SEPTEMBER 2020 CHALDEAN NEWS 31


chaldean on the STREET

How has COVID-19 affected your life?

As a first year graduate

student and a healthcare

professional COVID has had

a profound impact on my life.

I have found strength through

my faith, family, and friends

to continue to provide care

for patients and motivation to

continue my studies so that I

can give back to my community.

Instead of sitting in a

classroom, I had the pleasure

to watch my professor lecture

online. It was difficult at the

beginning and took time to

get used to but I know that

this too will pass, just like the

lines on my face after wearing

a mask for an entire day in

the hospital. We must take all

precautions to keep ourselves,

and those around us safe.

Nadien Aljony, 24,

Farmington Hills

COVID-19 has affected

my life in many

ways. In particular, I

wasn’t able to have a

law school commencement

because it was

canceled for obvious

reasons and the bar

exam was administered

online for the first time

ever. I miss going to

the gym and going

out with friends on the

regular the most. I’m

hoping that we can

get back to normal life

very soon. Hopefully

after the election the

political madness will

end and we’ll have a

clearer picture of when

this troubling time will

be over.

Sam Jarbo, 26,

Rochester Hills

The pandemic hit my life at an

imperative moment. May was

supposed to be a time full of

celebrations with my family and

friends, anticipating my undergraduate

graduation and my

brother’s pharmacy school graduation.

Alongside that, I would be

beginning my first semester of

law school in August. Law school

is now online and neither me

nor my brother got to celebrate

our graduations. The majority of

my family were also considered

essential workers during the early

pandemic, so we were facing this

virus head-on with fear for our

safety. I’m grateful that our communities

eventually assimilated to

the fast-paced changes and extra

safety precautions were instilled

in our jobs and everyday lives.

There is a silver lining - with the

lockdown, my family and I were

able to finally come together in

one house and spend time reconnecting.

Although I cannot meet

my new classmates nor celebrate

all of the accomplishments my

friends and family are completing,

I am grateful that we are safe and

healthy and I hope we are back to

normalization soon.

Rita Alsabagh, 22,

West Bloomfield

COVID initially brought

me many months of

stress knowing that I

couldn’t go to Church

or see my family and

friends. I tried to

maintain a good prayer

life throughout it, but

it was hard to, given

the sudden inability

to receive the sacraments.

I still pulled

through it by the grace

of God, watching Mass

on TV until I was finally

able to go to confession

and Mass again!

Our Churches take our

health and safety very

seriously, and I feel safest

when I’m at Mass,

even in the midst of

a pandemic. If I’ve

learned anything, it’s

to never take anything

or anyone in your life

for granted - Church,

family, friends, etc.

Jasmine Jarjis, 21

Sterling Heights

32 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2020


TOBACCO USE & CORONAVIRUS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

1

2

3

4

5

Tobacco use results in

more aggravated symptoms

of Coronavirus.

Young and healthy people

who regularly inhale tobacco

or marijuana are at greater risk

for contracting Coronavirus.

Vaping could be the reason

1/5 Coronavirus patients

ages 20 44 are hospitalized.

Smoking and vaping weaken

the immune system. People who

use tobacco will have a more

difficult time fighting Coronavirus.

Doctors say the best time

to quit is now!

FOR ASSISTANCE QUITTING CALL THE MICHIGAN

TOBACCO QUITLINE 1-800-784- 8669. YOUTH CAN

TEXT “START MY QUIT” TO 855-891-9989.


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34 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2020

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events

Ascension COO Joe Hurshe (left), Dr. Michael Wiemann (middle) and Dr. Nahid Elyas (right) share the ribbon cutting

duties at the new Ascension Clinic within the CCF.

Members of the Loussia Family unveil the signage for the John

G. Loussia Memorial Garden.

Leila and Johny Kello officially open

the Leila and Johny Kello Courtyard.

Bishop Francis Kalabat and CCF Board Chairman Sylvester Sandiha make the cut on the grand opening ribbon.

Celebrating Growth

Saber Ammouri (center), Kevin Denha

(right) and Mark Denha (left) cut the

ribbon for the Wireless Vision Center

as staff looks on.

PHOTOS BY WILSON SARKIS PHOTOGRAPHY

On July 31st, the Chaldean Community Foundation hosted a historic and socially-distant ribbon cutting ceremony to announce the

new 19,000 square foot expansion, bringing the building to 30,000 square feet. Various community leaders were involved in the

announcement as the building was unveiled to the public for the first time. Martin Manna, President of the Chaldean Community

Foundation, began the ceremony with opening remarks, followed by Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Mayor Michael

Taylor of Sterling Heights, Chaldean Catholic Eparchy, Saint Thomas the Apostle Bishop Francis Kalabat, and Chairman of the

Chaldean Community Foundation Board, Sylvester Sandiha. Additional speakers included Victor Saroki from Saroki Architecture,

Frank Jonna from Jonna Construction, and Sharon Hannawa, Program Manager at the Chaldean Community Foundation.

36 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2020


Wabeek Country Club

Sam Yono II holding the trophy his team won

The putting contest

Left to right: Raad Kello, Jonathan Kello, Joe Hurshe, Sam

Yono II, Sam Yono, Dr. Paul Hakim, Dr. Neeran Bajouka,

Evone Barkho

From left to right: Jeffrey Critchfield, M.D., Justin Rickard,

Richard Debano, RN, Carlos Ras, RN,

Fore the

Chamber

Left to right: Russ English, Jeff Goins, Dave Ruttan, and Nick

Kaczmar of Independent Bank with Beth Somer, Mike Butcher,

Dustin Dinicola and Brian Harnos of Stark Enterprises

Lunch before the shotgun scramble

PHOTOS BY DANY ASHAKA, DMA PRODUCTIONS

As many of you know, the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce (CACC) hosts an annual golf outing in support

of the Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF), while the main fundraiser for the Chamber is the annual Awards Dinner.

This year, the restrictions on gatherings made it difficult for the CACC to host their sit-down dinner for more than

900 people in April. It was postponed, naturally, for a few months to see how the pandemic panned out. The 17th Annual

Chaldean Community Golf Outing at Shenandoah Country Club on July 23 was such a success that it inspired Chamber

leadership and staff to transition the dinner to a golf outing. Most of the dinner sponsors welcomed the August 20 outing at

Wabeek Country Club as a way to safely engage with the community while still keeping to their “safe” groups. The 17th

Annual Awards Dinner honoring Johny Kello is being planned for 2021.

SEPTEMBER 2020 CHALDEAN NEWS 37


Keeping Up With The Chaldeans

Keeping up with the Chaldeans (KUWTC) is a weekly podcast hosted by Anthony Toma and Junior Binno. This podcast

highlights members of the Chaldean community. This is a roundup of some of the latest KUWTC interviews.

1.

Jeff Kassab, a dedicated theologian who

works with the ECRC (Eastern Catholic

Re-Evangelization Center) shares his motivations,

recalling his 2010 cancer scare and how it

led him to walk closer with the Lord.

2.

MaryAnn Joseph, owner of Timeless

Memories by MJ, visits with Anthony and

talks about how her side job preserving wedding

flowers took off and shares some trade secrets regarding

the “bouquet toss” and taking care of a

preserved bouquet.

3.

Gabi Grossbard, running for Michigan’s

9th Congressional District, talks with Anthony

about the diversity present in the district

and how he identifies with “blue collar” workers.

4.

Yolanda Charles visits Junior and Anthony

to discuss her race for Oakland County

Commission in the 17th District. Charles shares

lessons learned from her childhood in Southfield

and Detroit.

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