29.08.2022 Views

Chaldean News – September 2022

Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.

METRO DETROIT CHALDEAN COMMUNITY VOL. 19 ISSUE VIII SEPTEMBER 2022

On the Run

in America

The true story of

an Iraqi Christian’s

struggle to stay one

step ahead of ICE

PLUS

Mar Matti

Iraq’s Political Crisis

St. Thomas in India


CONTACT

ELIE MALOUF

LINCOLN

PRODUCT

SPECIALIST

248-530-4710

DISCOVER THE POWER OF

SANCTUARY

www.lincolnoftroy.com

248-643-6600

1950 W Maple Rd.

Troy, MI 48084


OFF PREMISE

CATERING

FULLY STAFFED

CATERING FOR SOCIAL

GATHERINGS AT YOUR

HOME OR BUSINESS

CALL DIANE FOR EVENT &

CATERING REQUESTS

EVENTS@WABEEKCC.COM

248.855.0700

@WABEEKCLUB

WABEEK.COM

CORPORATE EVENTS

BIRTHDAY PARTIES

ENGAGEMENT & PROPOSALS

WEDDINGS

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 3


4 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


METRO DETROIT CHALDEAN COMMUNITY | SEPTEMBER 2022 | VOL. 19 ISSUE VIII

ON THE COVER

20 On the Run in America

One man’s story to evade ICE

By Amanda Uhle

FEATURES

26 Mar Matti in the Frame

Photo essay of the famous monastery

By Wilson Sarkis and Alan Mansour

28 St. Thomas Basilica

Spotlight on St. Thomas’ final resting place

By Weam Namou

DEPARTMENTS

6 From the Editor

Looking to the Future

By Sarah Kittle

7 Opinion

Insuring Middle Easterners

By Dawud Walid

8 Foundation Update

Breaking Barriers Field Trip,

Back to School

10 Noteworthy

Annette Tomina, Rony Foumia

12 Iraq Today

Political Unrest in Iraq

14 Unease in the Middle East

By Cal Abbo

16 Chaldean Digest

Iraqi Kurdistan, Chaldean Patriarch

18 In Memoriam

18 Obituaries

Suad Zia Dawod

Nuha Mansour Yousif

34 Sports

Dominic “The Dominator” Gasso

By Cal Abbo

36 Culture & History

Hands Clasped

By Dr. Adhid Miri

38 Family Time

Krav Maga: A family sport

By Valene Ayar

40 Events

The 3rd Annual Chaldean Cup Golf Outing

42 From the Archive

Dressing the Part:

Village and city dress

26

30 Giving Parents a Voice

Vincent Sitto runs for office

By Paul Natinsky

32 Profile: Chris George

The branding guru

By Cal Abbo

28

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 5


FROM THE EDITOR

PUBLISHED BY

Chaldean News, LLC

Chaldean Community Foundation

Martin Manna

EDITORIAL

EDITOR IN CHIEF

Sarah Kittle

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Cal Abbo

Valene Ayar

Sarah Kittle

Dr. Adhid Miri

Alan Mansour

Weam Namou

Paul Natinsky

Amanda Uhle

Dawud Walid

ART & PRODUCTION

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Alex Lumelsky with SKY Creative

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Zina Lumelsky with SKY Creative

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Dany Ashaka

Wilson Sarkis

SALES

Interlink Media

Sana Navarrette

CLASSIFIEDS

Sana Navarrette

Subscriptions: $35 per year

CONTACT INFORMATION

Story ideas: edit@chaldeannews.com

Advertisements: ads@chaldeannews.com

Subscription and all other inquiries:

info@chaldeannews.com

Chaldean News

30095 Northwestern Hwy, Suite 101

Farmington Hills, MI 48334

www.chaldeannews.com

Phone: (248) 851-8600

Publication: The Chaldean News (P-6);

Published monthly; Issue Date:

September 2022

Subscriptions: 12 months, $35.

Publication Address:

30095 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 101,

Farmington Hills, MI 48334;

Permit to mail at periodicals postage rates

is on file at Farmington Hills Post Office

Postmaster: Send address changes to

“The Chaldean News 30095 Northwestern

Hwy., Suite 101, Farmington Hills, MI 48334”

Looking to the Future

In today’s restless political climate, it is all too

easy to be swept away with righteous anger and

indignation when others do not see things the

same way that we do. We ask ourselves, “How can

they think like that?” while shaking our heads (and

even sometimes our fists). Dinner table conversation

has become much more heated and families and/or

relationships have been split apart by the topic.

In Iraq, recent elections have fractured the

community. Rallies, protests, and demonstrations

have sprung up all over Baghdad demanding the

dissolution of parliament. The followers of one

leader, a cleric named Muqtada al-Sadr, have declared the

most recent election corrupt. He won the largest share of

seats in October but failed to form a majority

government. Does any of this sound familiar?

Our cover story tells the tale of an Iraqi

man who followed all the rules and still ended

up on the run, facing deportation to Iraq and

separation from his family here in the U.S. It

was first printed in The Delacorte Review, part

of the Columbia Journalism School, and was

sent to us by the publisher. Any opinions,

comments, or letters in response to the article

should be sent to edit@chaldeannews.com.

September also brings us an article written by Weam

Namou about the St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica in India.

As you may know, St. Thomas is typically credited with the

conversion of certain Mesopotamians to Christianity. His

journey ended on the Indian subcontinent with his death by

piercing with a lance. His bones are buried at the Basilica

there, and it is considered a most holy place.

In a continuation of our Iraqi photo essay, we focus the

frame on Mar Matti, the monastery located in the mountains

of northern Iraq and named for St. Matthew. Reportedly, the

bones of the saint are buried there along with the remains of

many other monks and priests.

We profile a couple members of the community this

month, including Vincent Sitto, who is running for a seat on

SARAH KITTLE

EDITOR

IN CHIEF

the Oakland County Commission. Like many who get

into politics, Sitto is concerned for the future of his

children. He won the primary unopposed but will

have a tough race against incumbent Kristen Nelson

in the November general election.

Cal Abbo also interviewed and profiled Chris

George, an entrepreneur who has made a name

for himself with subscription services including

“The Gentlemen’s Box.” Chris has gone on to become

a branding expert and ultimately feels like

he found his calling.

You may recall an earlier story about Al Jamoua

and his fight against Michigan Farm Bureau, a business he

claims has discriminatory practices. Special writer Dawud

In Iraq, recent elections have fractured the

community. Rallies, protests, and demonstrations

have sprung up all over Baghdad

demanding the dissolution of parliament.

Walid expounds on the issue in an opinion piece. Dawud is

the executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council

on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI).

We have many reasons to celebrate this month as well,

with the rise of football star Dominic Gasso, the appointment

of Rony Foumia, and the acknowledgement of Annette

Tomina’s success with Aqua-Tots, a swim school franchise.

As we head into the last quarter of 2022, let’s look to the

future for inspiration and to the past for guidance.

Sarah Kittle

Editor in Chief

• FREE MARKET ANALYSIS

ON YOUR HOME

• FREE HOME WARRANTY

• AGENT-OWNED VIRTUAL BROKERAGE

• NOTARY PUBLIC SERVICES

CALL

JIM MANNA

BROKER/OWNER C.R.S., G.R.I., A.B.R.

(248) 763-2622

CONTACT US TO JOIN OUR TEAM!

6 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


OPINION

The perils of insurance

while Middle Eastern

The problems of racial

and religious animus

are unfortunately ongoing

challenges for Michiganders

with ancestry from

the Middle East or who adhere

to the Islamic faith.

These challenges exist despite

the density of Arab

and Chaldean Americans

and American Muslims

who reside in Southeastern

Michigan.

Although issues such as

hate crimes against persons within

these demographics are not common

in our region, what is an ongoing

problem is the issue of discrimination

that takes place from the private

sector. To be more specific, there

are growing concerns about unfair

treatment from insurance companies

against Arab and Chaldean Americans,

be they Christians or Muslims.

Discriminatory practices by insurance

companies against racial and

ethnic minorities is not a new phenomenon

in America. Systematic racism

against African Americans as it relates

to increased rates to denial of automobile

and life insurance is a phenomenon

that is as American as cherry pie.

In May of this year, a federal

judge in Michigan denied an appeal

for summary judgment by Michigan

Farm Bureau, which will send to

trial a lawsuit filed by Al Jamoua, a

Chaldean American who claims discrimination

by the insurance company

against Arabs and Chaldeans.

The plaintiff, who is a former agent

of Michigan Farm Bureau, claims

with corroborating evidence that

the insurance company systemically

discriminates against both Arab and

Chaldean agents and customers.

From claims that Jamoua sold too

many policies to “his own people,”

to the company setting purportedly

higher rates for customers in Dearborn,

Oak Park, Sterling Heights

and Warren, areas with large concentrations

of Arabs, Chaldeans and

Muslims, Michigan Farm Bureau has

much to answer for. Hence based

DAWUD WALID

SPECIAL TO

THE CHALDEAN

NEWS

There are growing

concerns about unfair

treatment from

insurance companies

against Arab and

Chaldean Americans.

upon these claims and other

reported facts as well as concerns

voiced to CAIR-MI, it

is highly probable that the

macro issue of insurance

discrimination that negatively

impacts African Americans

also effects Arab and

Chaldean Americans in our

region.

As we are assisting legal

counsel in this case, CAIR-

MI is concerned about insurance

discrimination being a

broader constituent problem. Hence,

we are releasing an online Insured

While Muslim Survey to gauge this issue

and to potentially take further action

against the insurance industry in

Michigan. Whether there is a broader

industry issue or just a problem with

a particular company, we have to play

our part to hold those accountable

who mock our communities and discriminate

against and overcharge us

based upon our ethnicities and religious

backgrounds.

Dawud Walid is currently the executive

director of the Michigan chapter of the

Council on American-Islamic Relations

(CAIR-MI) based in Canton, Michigan

and is a member of the Imams Council

of Michigan.

Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages can

increase your risk for cavities. Try to limit

how much pop, juice, fruit drinks, sweetened

teas, or sports drinks you have. Instead, try

different types of fruit in your water for a

smile-friendly drink.

Delta Dental of Michigan

Scan the QR code to

watch our oral health

video series.

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 7


FOUNDATION UPDATE

A Trip to Candyland

On August 4, the Chaldean Community Foundation’s

Breaking Barriers Academy students visited

Sanders Chocolate Factory in Clinton Township,

Michigan.

The students had the opportunity to tour the

shop, see how the chocolate at Sanders is made,

and purchase chocolate to bring home to their

families. The field trip is a regular tradition that

the program uses to help acculturate the participants

into the community.

For more information on Breaking Barriers

Academy, visit www.chaldeanfoundation.org or

call 586-722-7253.

Project Light

Receives

Accreditation

The Chaldean Community

Foundation’s Project

Light program recently

received a CARF Accreditation,

which will

go through September 30,

2023. Through Project Light,

licensed professionals provide mental health

services including individual, group, and family

therapy based on individual needs to Michigan

residents ages 13 years and up, regardless of insurance

status.

CARF accreditation distinguishes a provider’s

service delivery and signals to the public

that the provider is committed to continuous

performance improvement, responsive to feedback,

and accountable to the community and its

other stakeholders.

Breaking Barriers Academy students touring the Sanders Chocolate Factory

Summer’s Almost Over

The Chaldean Community Foundation hosted the annual Warren Consolidated Schools (WCS) Back-to-School

Open House on August 11. The event was attended by nearly 300 people and offered information on WCS transportation,

technology support, K-12, athletics, nutrition services, and much more. Each student in attendance also

received a backpack courtesy of Warren Consolidated Schools and Stellantis.

For more information regarding the upcoming Warren Consolidated Schools 2022-2023 school year, visit

wcskids.net.

Spotlight On…

4TH ANNUAL AWARDS GALA

Presented by Ronnisch Construction with support

provided by United Wireless

When: Thursday, September 29, 2022 starting

at 6:00 pm.

Where: The Palazzo Grande, 54660 Van Dyke

Avenue, Shelby Twp, MI 48316

Lifetime Humanitarian Awardee:

Akram Kareem

A lifelong entrepreneur, Akram Kareem has

been involved in major philanthropic efforts for

the Chaldean Churches in Southeast Michigan

and internationally.

For more information on sponsorship, contact

Jubilee Jackson at jubilee.jackson@chaldeanfoundation.org

or call us at 586-722-7253.

Upcoming Events

September 7 – Community Job Fair 2022 Time:

3:00pm-6:00pm.

September 8 – Emergency Preparedness Town

Hall Time: 6:00pm-7:00pm.

September 20 – National Voter Registration

Day Time: 6:00pm-7:30pm.

September 22 – Henry Ford Diabetes Prevention

Town Hall Time: 6:00pm-7:30 pm.

From left: Families from all across Macomb County came to the Warren Consolidated Schools Back to School

Open House on August 11. Each student received a backpack at the conclusion of the Open House

8 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


WE BUY ALL CARS

Are you tired of your lease or

just want out early? Even if

you’re over your miles, that’s

no problem, we want your car!

WE PAY TOP $$

Give us a call at

313-952-2626 or stop

in at our dealership on

Grand River Avenue.

WE BUY OUT ALL LEASES, MAKES AND MODELS.

نحن نشرتي جميع موديالت السيارات-الحديثة واملستعملة بدون استثناء حتى اللييس ‏.ترشفوا بزيارتنا.‏

TWINS AUTO SALES • 25645 GRAND RIVER AVENUE • REDFORD, MI 48240

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 9


NOTEWORTHY

Dbusiness

Powered by

Women 2022

Annette Tomina, co-owner of an Aqua-

Tots Swim Schools franchise, was recognized

by Dbusiness as one of the

“Powered by Women” class of 2022. It’s a

family business, and since they opened

their first school in Troy, the family has

added outlets in Farmington Hills, Sterling

Heights, Novi, Auburn Hills, Canton

Township, Woodhaven, and Dearborn.

An Aqua-Tots opened in Berkley in August

and is scheduled to open in Grand

Rapids late this year or early next year.

Tomina and her family also have five

schools in California and one in Florida.

Tomina came across the Aqua-Tots

franchise while on a trip to Arizona.

She filled out the franchisee form online

and one of the owners called her

within 20 minutes. A lunch meeting followed,

and Michigan’s first Aqua-Tots

Swim School opened in Troy in 2011.

“I came home (from Arizona) and

Annette Tomina

told my siblings, this is what we’re

opening,” says Tomina, who owns the

local franchise with her brothers Patrick,

Brian, and Faraj Tomina, and a

cousin, Chris Jaboro.

Aqua-Tots is a swim school for

children ages 6 months to 12 years.

It’s based in Arizona and has more

than 130 locations across the United

States and around the world. The pool

at Aqua-Tots is always a comfortable

90 degrees, and instructors have 40

hours of classroom and in-pool training

based on a proven curriculum.

Although Tomina says the Grand

Rapids school likely will be her last

Aqua-Tots in Michigan, she expects to

expand further in California and Florida.

She also has Waxing the City hair

removal franchises in Canton Township

and West Bloomfield Township,

and is opening a Vio Med Spa franchise

concept, where customers can

get Botox and other appearance treatments,

in West Bloomfield Township.

Michigan Board

of Pharmacy

Appointment

Rony Foumia of Commerce Township,

the Michigan pharmacy area director

for Ascension Health, was appointed to

represent pharmacists for a term commencing

August 11, 2022, and expiring

June 30, 2026. He succeeds Charles Mollien,

whose term expired June 30, 2022.

The Michigan Board of Pharmacy

was enacted as part of the Public Health

Rony Foumina

Code to oversee the practice of pharmacy

as a health service, the clinical application

of which includes the encouragement

of safety and efficacy in the

prescribing, dispensing, administering

and use of drugs and related articles for

the prevention of illness and the maintenance

and management of health. The

Public Health Code mandates certain

responsibilities and duties for a health

professional licensing board including

promoting and protecting the public’s

health, safety, and welfare.

Incredible

happens here.

At Beaumont, we mend what’s

broken, support healing and bring

new lives into the world. We’re

moved by the incredible things

that happen here, and inspired

by the incredible people who

make them happen.

Read Mila’s story at

beaumont.org/incredible

10 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


CELL: (248) 497-8333

E-MAIL: MYALDOO@KW.COM

Instagram: @Michael_Yaldoo_Real_Estate

– WEST BLOOMFIELD’S NEWEST LUXURY ASSISTED LIVING –

A boutique style, small

neighborhood concept of

senior living. Chef-prepared

meals, daily activities and

quality care provided by a

skilled team of professionals.

CALL FOR A TOUR! 248.671.4204

Limited Select Pricing For Early Commitment!

MOVE IN

NOW

AVAILABLE

2450 HAGGERTY ROAD | JUST SOUTH OF PONTIAC TRAIL | WEST BLOOMFIELD, MI 48323 | 248.671.4204 | cranberrypark.net

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 11


IRAQ TODAY

Iraq Shiite cleric’s supporters demand

assembly be dissolved

BY QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA

BAGHDAD (AP) — Hundreds of supporters

of an influential Shiite cleric in

Iraq rallied on August 23 in Baghdad’s

heavily fortified Green Zone, demanding

the dissolution of parliament and

early elections.

The demonstration outside the

Supreme Judicial Council and parliament

buildings in the Iraqi capital underscored

how intractable Iraq’s latest

political crisis has become.

The followers of the cleric, Muqtada

al-Sadr and his political rivals, the

Iran-backed Shiite groups, have been

at odds since after last year’s parliamentary

elections.

Al-Sadr won the largest share of

seats in the October vote but failed to

form a majority government, leading

to what has become one of the worst

political crises in Iraq in recent years.

His supporters in late July stormed the

parliament and have held frequent

protests there.

Caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa

Al-Kadhimi called a meeting of senior

political leaders and party representatives

to find a solution — but al-Sadr’s

party did not attend.

The firebrand cleric’s supporters

pitched tents outside of the Supreme

Judicial Council and carried banners

calling for the authorities to dissolve

parliament, schedule early parliamentary

elections, and combat corruption.

They decried what they say is the politicization

of the judiciary in favor of the

Coordination Framework, an alliance

of Iran-backed parties and al-Sadr’s

Shiite rivals.

The Supreme Judicial Council and

Federal Supreme Court in a statement

said they have suspended court sessions

after receiving “threats over the phone”

to pressure them to dissolve parliament.

That step would leave Iraq with both a

paralyzed parliament and judiciary, and

a caretaker government that can only

perform some of its duties.

Al-Sadr’s Baghdad office in a statement

called for the resignation of the

PHOTO BY HADI MIZBAN/AP

Supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr protest in front the Supreme Judicial Council, in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday,

Aug. 23, 2022. Dozens of supporters of al-Sadr, an influential Shiite cleric in Iraq, rallied on Tuesday in Baghdad’s

heavily fortified Green Zone, demanding the dissolution of parliament and early elections. The demonstration underscored

how intractable Iraq’s latest political crisis has become.

chief of the Supreme Judicial Council,

which has issued arrest warrants for

three members of al-Sadr’s party, accused

of threatening the judiciary.

The Coordination Framework has

said that parliament would have to

convene to dissolve itself. It urged al-

Sadr’s camp to “retreat from occupying

constitutional state institutions

and return to the forces that believe in

peaceful and democratic solutions.”

On the day of the protests, al-Kadhimi

left a regional meeting of leaders

in Egypt to return to Baghdad following

the developments. A statement

from his office warned that suspending

the judiciary could push the country

into “grave dangers” and called for

calm and resumption of political talks.

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed

al-Halboosi tweeted appeals to

protesters not to quarrel with the judiciary,

which he said was crucial at a

time of crisis.

The United Nations also sounded

the alarm on further political paralysis

in Iraq.

“The right to peaceful protest is an

essential element of democracy. Equally

important is the assertion of constitutional

compliance and respect for state

institutions,” it said in a statement.

“State institutions must operate unimpeded

in service of the Iraqi people, including

the (Supreme Judicial Council).”

Al-Sadr on August 17 gave the judiciary

a week to dissolve parliament,

to which it responded saying it has

no authority to do so. His supporters

stormed parliament in late July.

On August 20, he called on his followers

to be ready to hold massive protests

all over Iraq but then indefinitely

postponed them after Iran-backed

groups called for similar rallies the

same day, saying he wants to preserve

peace and that “Iraqi blood is invaluable”

to him.

12 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


PROJECT

LIGHT

THERAPY SERVICES

Therapy can be a big step toward being the healthiest

version of yourself and living the best life possible—our

professional therapists are here for you to access.

Through therapy, you can change self-destructive

behaviors and habits, resolve painful feelings,

improve your relationships, and share your feelings

and experiences. Individuals often seek therapy for help

with issues that may be hard to face alone.

In therapy your therapist will help you to establish person

centered goals and determine the steps you will take to

reach those goals. Your relationship with your therapist

is confidential and our common therapeutic goal for those

we engage is to inspire healthy change to improve quality

of life — no matter the challenge.

We invite you seek out the Light of Project Light! Serving

individuals ages 13 years and up. Please call to request a

Project Light Intake at (586) 722-7253.

For Your Best Health.

CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY: The CCF and Project Light is committed to your privacy and confidentiality and are sensitive to the stigma and stress that come with seeking

mental health support. Therefore, all counseling records are kept strictly confidential. Information is not shared without client’s written consent. Exceptions to confidentiality are

rare and include persons who threaten safety of themselves others or in circumstances of a court order.

LOOKING FOR A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

NOW HIRING BEHAVIORAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL THERAPISTS.

APPLY AT CHALDEANFOUNDATION.ORG

3601 15 MILE ROAD, STERLING HEIGHTS, MI 48310 | (586) 722-7253

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 13


IRAQ TODAY

Unease in the Middle East:

Iraq’s political crisis explained

BY CAL ABBO

Muqtada al-Sadr

Iraq is in the midst of its worst political

crisis since the U.S. invasion in

2003 and the execution of Saddam

Hussein in 2006.

The famous cleric and political figure

Muqtada al-Sadr has disrupted the

government for months now. It all began

ten months ago, when Iraq elected

a new parliament that was supposed

to form a government. Al-Sadr’s bloc

won a strong plurality of votes, but his

political rivals refused to acknowledge

his win and participate.

In June, al-Sadr directed his entire

bloc to resign from parliament, which

resulted in 73 vacant seats that were

filled in the interim mostly by an alliance

of Iran-backed parties. Since the

resignation and subsequent appointments,

the country has been rocked

by popular protests and calls for a new

election by many in the Sadrist camp.

This year in Iraq has been a particularly

bad one with regard to the

economy and standard of living. Iraq’s

water supply, which is affected by the

third consecutive year of drought, has

also suffered at the hands of countries

reducing water flow in the Tigris and

Euphrates.

Its power supply, which is notoriously

problematic, has been affected

by the intense summer heat and excessive

demand. This summer is one of

Iraq’s hottest on record.

These issues are difficult to address

for an interim parliament that

is without an official government. In

this political crisis, the parliament

is limited in what it can do because

Corruption is an

extraordinary issue

in Iraq. Almost daily

it seems there is

news about another

corruption scandal

having to do with the

government.

it first has to solve months-old disputes

over the election.

Protests have also penetrated

inside the Green Zone, the district

where most government business

PHOTO BY THOMAS KOCH

in Baghdad is conducted. The protestors,

who are part of the Sadrist

movement, continue to emphasize

they are fighting against corruption

and to help the poorer districts in

Iraq that are struggling with food

and water.

Corruption is an extraordinary issue

in Iraq. Almost daily it seems there

is news about another corruption

scandal having to do with the government.

Those in al-Sadr’s camp claim

to be firmly opposed to corruption and

there are some reforms in the movement’s

platform that would reduce it.

On the other hand, while many political

figures have promised to remedy

the problem, little has changed in the

last two decades.

The former president of Iraq, Barham

Salih, said in 2021 that $150 billion

of oil money had been stolen

and smuggled out of Iraq since the

U.S. invasion in 2003. Among political

analysts, Iraq is surely considered

one of the most corrupt countries on

the planet. Petty corruption, which

involves low-level administrators taking

small bribes, is almost expected

in certain aspects of the public-facing

government.

In June, Iraq’s anti-corruption

commission exposed a massive scandal

in which 41 people misappropriated

nearly $700 million in public

funds through forgery, embezzlement,

manipulation, and money laundering.

Iraq’s economy relies heavily on cash,

which has made this type of corruption

simple and low risk.

In addition, earlier in August,

Iraq’s finance minister Ali Allawi announced

his resignation from political

office. This decision, he said in a letter,

is the direct result of the political

crisis. The government, his letter said,

has made exceptional achievements

regarding development and progress.

The current situation, however, leaves

the government “shackled by a power

struggle.”

14 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


Help your loved one

schedule a screening for

Prostate Cancer

Awareness Month

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 15


CHALDEAN DIGEST

Salah Hadi is determined to rebuild his home in the town where his family has lived for generations.

Pope Francis’ visit brings Iraqi Kurdistan’s

safe-haven status into sharp focus

On a recent afternoon, Salah Hadi applied a coat of cement

on a large ceramic tile and carefully pressed it into

place. The 51-year-old’s home in the northern Iraqi town

of Qaraqosh is still blackened with soot after Daesh militants

set it ablaze in 2014. But with long ancestral ties

to the town, Hadi is determined to repair the damage.

“I came back to Qaraqosh in 2017 after the war was

over,” Hadi told Arab News as he stepped back to check

that the new tiles were level. “The town was full of rubble

and destruction. There were war remnants. Most of

the houses were burned.”

The arrival of Pope Francis has offered the Nineveh

governorate’s Christian population a keen sense of spiritual

renewal, but also a moment for sad reflection on

its traumatic recent experiences.

“The Daesh period was a time of pain and hardship,”

said Hadi. “Every community in Iraq was hurt

by Daesh’s attack. What happened during the time of

Daesh was hard, but it has to be told.”

Hadi’s neighbor, Sharabil Noah, also fled to Irbil

to escape the Daesh invasion. There he and his family

rented a house until they felt it was safe enough to return.

“We didn’t take our belongings when we left. We

thought it would be only a few days and we would be

back home,” the 52-year-old told Arab News, a large

cross hanging on the living room wall above his head.

“When we came back, the town was destroyed. It

was a ghost town full of stray dogs. There was no water,

no electricity, no infrastructure. All of it was gone.”

Although he has struggled to find work, Noah is

determined to rebuild his life in Qaraqosh. “This is the

land of our ancestors. We will not leave it,” he said.

Noah wants security guarantees to prevent further

persecution. “I would like to have international protection

for us here that can assure the Christians that they

can stay here, where their rights will be given and the

Christians who left are allowed to return,” he said.

“The pope’s visit raises the spirits of Christians in

Iraq and tells them there are people who care for them

out there. I hope this visit will strengthen relations between

the communities here.”

With help from aid agencies, life is gradually returning

to normal in Qaraqosh. Hadi, for one, is confident better

times lie ahead. “It is sad what has happened to Iraq,” he

said as he scooped up more cement using a trowel to install

another tile. “We have to stand together and be united

in this country, so we can rebuild it over again.”

“Daesh feels like a far-off memory that is long gone

now,” Hadi said, dusting off his hands. “We forgot

about them. It’s over.”

– Arab News

PHOTO BY MAHAMAD AMEEN ABDUL AL-JAWAD

Chaldean

Patriarch Sako

Confirms His

Intention to

Resign

Baghdad — The intention announced

by Chaldean Patriarch

Louis Raphael Sako to present his

resignation to the Pope from the

patriarchal office at the age of 75

continues to be discussed.

This intention had been expressed

by the Iraqi Cardinal in the

course of a television interview by

Jordanian priest Nabil Haddad and

broadcast by Nour Sat TV. Over

the past few weeks, the Patriarch’s

words have aroused controversy

and comments on social networks,

prompting the Patriarch to draw

up a clarification note, released in

recent days by the official media

of the Chaldean Patriarchate. The

note clarifies that Patriarch Sako

had also mentioned in the past his

intention to resign from the patriarchal

office when he reaches the

threshold of 75 years of age.

According to the canonical provisions

in force, all Catholic Bishops

are required to present their

own letter of resignation to the Pope

when they reach the age of 75. This

rule does not apply to the Patriarchs

of the Eastern Catholic Churches,

for whom there is no ‘retirement’

age. “But it is a pity” reads the clarification

note issued by the Chaldean

Patriarchate “that among the

Orientals, both in the institutions

and in the political parties and in

the Churches, an appropriate ‘culture

of retiring’ is not widespread in

due course.” The role of Patriarch -

the patriarchal text points out - “is a

role of service that does not depend

on the individual person who holds

it, however charismatic he is.”

– Fides.org

16 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 17


OBITUARIES

Suad Zia Dawod

Nov 18, 1948 – July 19, 2022

Suad Zia Dawod was born on Thursday,

November 18, 1948, and passed

away on Tuesday, July 19, 2022.

Bebe’s life in five simple words:

Love. Faith. Education. Family. Sacrifice.

In the beginning, Bebe was love. What

a funny word, love. What does it mean?

There are so many ways to describe it, so

many ways to express it. But everyone

knows love when they feel it. And when

people were with Bebe, they felt love.

From the time she could remember,

Bebe’s guiding light was faith. Her

faith in people. Her faith in justice. Her

faith in learning. And, of course, her

faith in God. Bebe’s faith was singular

and complete. Unwavering and direct.

This could be no other way because

Bebe’s faith was built on love.

Growing up in Baghdad, the youngest

of nine children, Bebe found her

calling in education. First she educated

herself. Later, as a primary school

teacher, she educated others. Bebe

listened, Bebe mentored. She thought

broadly and she thought deeply. Bebe

never tired of teaching and she never

tired of learning. Bebe’s mind was always

open. She embraced her world

completely and accepted it with love.

And Bebe gave all of her love, all of

her faith and all of her knowledge back

to her family. Bebe’s days began and

ended with the dreams, aspirations and

care for her loved ones — especially for

her children and her grandchildren. For

her family, Bebe cooked. For her family,

Bebe baked. For her family Bebe smiled.

And for her family, Bebe sacrificed.

In her final years, Bebe sacrificed her

comfort, hosting frequent sleepovers

for her many grandkids — staying up

as late as they did — though, at times,

she could barely stand. In her final

months, following a series of debilitating

strokes, Bebe sacrificed her peace,

undergoing painful physical therapy,

all to grant her family the gift of hope.

After many years of illness, Bebe’s

body had grown tired but her spirit

never wavered. All through her life,

Bebe gave love. Bebe was love. Bebe is

love. And, in the end, only love endures.

IN MEMORIAM

Ammar Al

Dawoody

July 12, 1975 –

July 14, 2022

Aseet Ramo

Yaqo Buni

July 1, 1943 –

July 15, 2022

Lazar Damerci

Sept 14, 1958 –

July 16, 2022

Jeffrey George

Najor

Feb 15, 1983 –

July 18, 2022

Maryam Hanna

Odeesh

July 1, 1933 –

July 18, 2022

Bianca Mary

Kashat

Aug 11, 1983 –

July 21, 2022

Dhaher Gorguis

Allos

Jan 7, 1946 –

July 21, 2022

Saad Sarhan

July 1, 1940 –

July 22, 2022

Lamees Korkis

Jindo Bakos

July 4, 1962 –

July 23, 2022

Nimat “Nina”

Kallabat

April 19, 1948 –

July 24, 2022

Mary Salmo

Abbo

July 1, 1937 –

July 24, 2022

Mendo Mendo

July 1, 1951 –

July 25, 2022

Najah Petros

Mansoor

July 22, 1946 –

July 26, 2022

Manoel Jamil

Attisha

Jan 1, 1952 –

July 27, 2022

Saleemah

Oraha Hanna

July 1, 1943 –

July 28, 2022

Kamel Tobia

Kirma

Aug 31, 1950 –

July 29, 2022

Talal Matlob

July 1, 1944 –

July 30, 2022

Korkis M Mansor

July 1, 1933 –

July 31, 2022

Nabil Zaref

Ghatas

Sept 8, 1943 –

July 31, 2022

Wadou Sevany

Zaitouna

July 1, 1929 –

Aug 2, 2022

Johnny Zia

Attisha

May 6, 1963 –

Aug 5, 2022

Khudhur Bahnam-

Afram Afram

July 1, 1944 –

Aug 6, 2022

Hanni Jajju

Yawer

July 1, 1944 –

Aug 6, 2022

Najiba “Jeeba”

Ayar Shouneyia

Aug 30, 1935 –

Aug 7, 2022

18 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


Nuha Mansour Yousif

Aug 26, 1957 – July 13, 2022

Nuha Mansour Yousif was born in

Baghdad, Iraq on August 26, 1957.

She passed away peacefully surrounded

by loved ones in Michigan

on July 13, 2022. She joins her parents

Mansour and Aida Mansour in

Eternal Rest. She is survived by her

husband of 31 years, Wilson Yousif.

Nuha was a loving mother to two

boys, Lawrance and George. She was

also a dear sister to May Mansour,

Nazar (Nadia) Mansour, Nabeel Mansour,

and Souha (Robert) Maltese.

Nuha was the best aunt ever to Chantel

(Alan) Shamoun, Steve Oram Jr.,

Audrina Maltese, Nathan Mansour,

Natalia Mansour, great-nieces Elise

and Caroline Shamoun, and greatnephew

Noah Shamoun.

Nuha moved to the United States

in 1973 with her parents and siblings.

In 1988, she took a trip to Fatima,

Portugal, which reinvigorated her

faith and had an impact on her

through the day of her passing. Nuha

was fortunate enough to experience

Fatima first-hand at the same place

where the Virgin Mary appeared to

three children. Nuha’s connection

to Fatima was evident as she passed

away on the Feast Day of the third

apparition, July 13.

Throughout her life, Nuha always

gave to others before she thought of

herself. She was compassionate and

caring and many sought her advice

and friendship. Nuha made each holiday

special with her thoughtful gifts

and delicious dishes. Graceful and

elegant, she had a presence about

her that seemed special in a way

no words could describe. Incredibly

stylish, she stood out in any photo

she was in. She had a reserved, quiet

demeanor but a giant, lovable laugh.

Nuha would have not wanted us to

remember her with sadness. She

would have wanted us to think of her

and smile.

Michael Odisho

Hermiz

May 15, 1936 –

Aug 7, 2022

Essa (Isaac) Jalal

Essa Koja

Aug 7, 1985 –

Aug 7, 2022

Najiba “Jeeba”

Ayar Shouneyia

Aug 30, 1935 –

Aug 7, 2022

Nahida Yalda

Dabish

May 5, 1945 –

Aug 8, 2022

Sabah Salem

July 1, 1939 –

Aug 8, 2022

Omar Nabil Issa

Sept 16, 1982 –

Aug 10, 2022

Shamoon

Sumoo Sada

Dec 20, 1989 –

Aug 10, 2022

Kinar Sarkees

William

July 1, 1947 –

Aug 11, 2022

Juliet Esho Sawa

Sulaqa

Feb 15, 1957 –

Aug 12, 2022

Anthony Paul

Orow

Jan 29, 1998 –

Aug 13, 2022

Riad Faraj

Yatooma

May 1, 1968 –

Aug 15, 2022

Ryath Jamil

Lousia

Sept 28, 1950

– Aug 16, 2022

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 19


COVER STORY

On the Run in America

An Iraqi Christian’s struggle to stay

one step ahead of ICE

BY AMANDA UHLE

Originally printed in The Delacorte

Review August 15, 2022.

ILLUSTRATION BY LÉO HAMELIN

In winter, the four-hour drive from

Detroit to Youngstown is particularly

bleak. One February 2018 day

I couldn’t discern any contrast between

the snow on the farm fields, the faded

white of gambrel-roofed barns, and the

dove-gray sky behind them. The landscape

alternates between fast food and

agriculture, the flat road stretching on

and on. Drive the length of Ohio and

you’ll pay more than $15 in tolls.

For more than a year at that time,

dozens of Detroit families made this drive

often to see detained fathers, husbands,

brothers, and uncles, all held by ICE at

the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center.

I joined them, and on one of my visits, I

was scheduled to meet two men for backto-back

interviews. Instead, prison staff

decided we could all talk together.

So Peter Abbo—a name I’m using

for this story to protect his anonymity—

pushed another man’s wheelchair into a

tiny metal room, the two of them sharing

a single phone on their side of the plexiglass.

Peter was bald and pale, a red-orange

beard on his chin but no mustache

above it. The man in the wheelchair fit a

more expected version of “Middle Eastern,”

with olive skin and graying black

hair. They looked nothing alike but had

established a brotherly rhythm, telling

each other’s stories, passing the plastic

phone between them. Neither man’s

family had visited yet. Peter’s wife had

breast cancer, I learned, and the other

man had a first-grade son.

The man in the wheelchair dominated

the phone but if Peter was annoyed,

he didn’t betray it. When I indicated

that Peter should speak he did

so with equal urgency, but also with a

self-effacing demeanor. Repeatedly he

said, “I take responsibility” or “I did it.

I own that,” in explaining his crimes

and circumstances.

Peter pressed a family photo and a

Xerox of a handwritten letter against the

plexiglass for me to read. The judge at

his recent hearing had ignored the letter,

and Peter wanted me to see the injustice

of it, to understand his situation.

These were two of more than 300

Iraqi-born Detroit-area men arrested

in a surprise ICE raid back on Sunday

morning, June 11, 2017. They both have

criminal records, for which they’ve

served time. In 2010, the man in the

wheelchair worked in a liquor store that

sold fake Nike shoes. He was charged

with a counterfeiting felony and went

to prison. Seven years later, shoeless

and in his underwear at six in the

morning, he was handcuffed and taken

out of his home and into one of the

SWAT vehicles idling on his suburban

street. More quietly, in the weeks before

and after, others were arrested in Michigan

and beyond. At the time there were

just over 1,300 men in the U.S. who fell

into a narrow category of immigration

law—Iraqi-born people who had “final

orders of deportation.” A few had been

convicted of serious crimes. Many more

were guilty of non-violent offenses or

even simple lapses in paperwork. In the

summer of 2017, the Trump administration

planned to deport them all.

This was a hard turn in policy. For

decades, the U.S. did not deport Iraqis.

The situation in that nation was deemed

so dangerous that even the George W.

Bush administration had understood it

to be inhumane to deport Iraqis to Iraq.

People who had been “Americanized”

by spending time in the U.S. would be in

extreme danger there, and their presence

was considered a risk to Iraq’s precarious

security situation. Citing logistical and

humanitarian reasons, the Iraqi government

refused to repatriate them anyway.

Under current immigration law, felons

generally cannot remain in the U.S.

But when an Iraqi-born person was

convicted of a felony, he or she would

be sentenced according to the courts

and then, instead of being deported,

as other foreign-born felons might be,

they were assigned supervision from

ICE—usually monthly or annual checkins.

Officially their status included the

designation “under final orders of deportation,”

even though the deportation

aspect hadn’t happened in a generation.

Sending someone back to Iraq

was all but unimaginable.

Until it wasn’t.

ON THE RUN continued on page 22

20 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


NOW REGISTERING

FOR FALL CLASSES

GED

PREPARATION

$50 REGISTRATION FEE

CLASSES WILL BE HELD MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY

STARTING SEPTEMBER 12, 2022

REQUIRES:

Basic English reading

and comprehension.

CLASS INCLUDES:

Workbook, practice tests,

and GED tests.

SUBJECTS INCLUDE:

Math, science, reading/language

arts, and social studies.

SIGN UP TODAY FOR A PRE-TEST!

Schedule your pre-test by calling 586-722-7253 or email Rachel.Rose@chaldeanfoundation.org

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 21


COVER STORY

ON THE RUN continued from page 20

By mid-afternoon on June 11, 2017,

the Detroit ICE office was filled with

recently-arrested men. Detroit-area

Iraqi families were urgently trying

to reach one another and warn them

about the surprise raid. Peter Abbo

was out on an errand when his wife

Mimi answered their door. She called

him. According to a letter she sent immigration

count, he “…turned himself

in within ten minutes of getting my

phone call. [He] would never run away

from his situation and never has.” Peter

and Mimi were both aware of the

other Detroit arrests that day. “I knew

what was happening. I could have

run,” he said. “I faced up to it.”

He came home and ICE agents

waiting there arrested him.

It seemed reasonable to Peter Abbo

that his situation could be sorted out.

He did not have a violent past. He was

involved in a weird and spontaneous

armed robbery in 1990 and a cocaine

deal in 2009, but had served time years

ago for both. He had scrupulously kept

up with ICE check-in appointments, even

as the appointments had become more

tense and punitive since Donald Trump

had taken office six months before.

The day after the 2016 election that

brought Trump the presidency, Peter

remembers, he had a scheduled meeting

with his immigration officer. He

was in the waiting room with several

other people when his officer called

out across the room: “Hey Peter, did

you hear Trump won? All you guys are

going to get deported now.”

Peter chose not to answer. He

looked down and shook his head.

With a thick Michigan accent, elongating

the first “a” in “Arabs,” the officer

said, “All you A-rabs. Wait and

see.”

More than half of the Iraqis arrested

and threatened with deportation

in 2017 are neither Arab nor Muslim.

Peter is Chaldean, a sect of Catholicism.

He grew up speaking Aramaic,

not Arabic. A minority group in Iraq,

the Chaldean community has endured

an epic list of injustices through history,

from its formation in the Mesopotamian

era to the present. Ostracized

and in danger in Iraq, Chaldeans are

the primary subset of all Iraqi immigrants

to the U.S. The first influx

began around 1914 when Henry Ford

offered appealing wages of $5 a day

for autoworkers. As generations of suffering

followed for Chaldeans in Iraq,

they continued to slowly immigrate

to the Detroit area. At least 250,000

Iraqis are known to have died at the

hand of their own government during

Saddam Hussein’s brutal twenty-fouryear

reign. And Chaldeans’ suffering

didn’t end with Saddam’s death in

2006. Thirteen years later, in 2019, the

Chaldean archbishop announced that

Iraqi Christians faced “extinction” unless

there was a change in the political

situation.

Peter and his twin brother were

born in 1969 in Baghdad. The Abbos

had come from a village in northernmost

Iraq, near the borders of Iran

and Turkey. Red-headed, fair-skinned

people—like Peter and his twin—are

common there, and Chaldean culture

is dominant. Peter tells me that during

World War I his family and his village

helped the Russians and, as a result,

“The rest of Iraq has always treated us

as traitors.” His parents were forced to

move south when the violence against

Christians became intolerable. “Kidnapping

and killing Christians happened

so much,” he said.

His parents thought they’d be safer

in the city, but living there was substantially

worse. In the north, the Abbos

had been almost exclusively among

Chaldeans, but in Baghdad they were

a minority. The family spoke Aramaic

at home. Everyone around them spoke

Arabic, and most were Muslim. Peter

couldn’t get his footing in school because

of the language difference. His

sister was harassed because she didn’t

wear a hijab. The children were bullied,

and Peter has a bright white scar

on his forehead from an injury sustained

during that time. He touches

it when he talks about those years in

Baghdad. “They jumped me,” he says

quietly. “They threw rocks.”

In 1980 the Iran-Iraq War began.

The same year, doctors told Peter’s father

that he needed a pacemaker. Fortunately

for the family, his father became

eligible for a visa to have surgery

in the U.S. It would also allow his wife

and children a respite from the day-today

brutality they were facing.

Peter and his twin brother were

both given traditional Chaldean

names when they were born, but when

they moved to America, they took

their baptismal names. They learned

English. Their father recovered, then

began working as a cook for a suburban

Detroit banquet hall. Peter’s older

sister married and had children. Four

years passed. The Abbos overstayed

their visitor visa, and, in 1984, left the

country in order to re-enter later using

proper immigration channels.

Returning to Iraq in the interim was

not possible. Peter’s oldest brother

– the only immediate family member

to have stayed behind – was by 1984

in his fourth year as a soldier in the

Iran-Iraq War. It became known in his

army unit that his family had moved to

the U.S.—an unforgivable stain on his

name. Anyone traveling to America,

and especially coming back to Iraq after

living in America, was assumed to

be involved in espionage. His brother

learned of a secret and credible plan

for his fellow soldiers to torture and

kill him; he absconded instead, running

into the mountainous wilderness

near their home village and surviving

on little until he arrived in an Iranian

refugee camp.

To avoid endangering other family

members or risk torture and death

themselves, Peter and his family

moved to Casablanca in 1984, living

off of their small savings. His now-naturalized

adult sister sponsored their

re-entry to the U.S. in 1986, when Peter

was seventeen.

The Abbos moved to Detroit’s Chaldean

Town, near 7 Mile and Woodward

Avenue, a neighborhood of densely

packed single-family houses without

driveways—built before cars—and a

small strip of Iraqi bakeries and meat

markets. Of the roughly 640,000 Chaldeans

worldwide, about 120,000 reside

in Metro Detroit. Saddam’s rule

had prompted thousands of Chaldean

families to flee persecution in Iraq beginning

in the late 1970s. Many went

to Detroit, and a large number of them

settled into jobs operating corner convenience

stores as family businesses,

as they had done in Iraq. Living in a

contemporary food desert, many Detroit

residents rely on corner stores

for nutrition. The Chaldean Chamber

of Commerce says that nine out of ten

food stores in the city are owned by

Chaldeans. Muslims are forbidden to

buy and sell alcohol, creating a business

niche for Chaldeans both in Iraq

More than half of the Iraqis arrested and threatened with deportation

in 2017 are neither Arab nor Muslim… the Chaldean community has

endured an epic list of injustices through history, from its formation

in the Mesopotamian era to the present.

and in the U.S. Chaldeans and their

late-night liquor stores, called party

stores here, are stalwarts of Detroit

culture. Like bodegas in New York,

party stores in Detroit are handy for

beer or milk or toiletries, and a reliable

source of friendly conversation. I spent

an afternoon in a West Side Detroit

party store in 2019 and its Chaldean

owner, who himself spent ten months

detained in 2017-18, greeted everyone

who entered by name, usually referencing

their family. “Terry, we got diapers

in for your sister’s baby,” he told

one visitor.

In the mid-80s, when Peter was a

teenager, Pershing High School, on

Detroit’s West Side, proved even less

welcoming than Baghdad had been.

Detroit is a majority Black city. Most

other Middle Eastern kids—who were

generally Muslim and had immigrated

to Dearborn, adjacent to Detroit—had

olive skin and dark hair. Peter was

freckled and pale, ginger-haired. Peter

said he tried at school and tried not to

get distracted by various criminal activities

in his neighborhood. “But my

head wasn’t in place.”

He was working after school and at

ON THE RUN continued on page 24

22 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


CITIZENSHIP PREPARATION

NOW ENROLLING FOR FALL CLASSES

OCTOBER 4 – DECEMBER 15

Tuesdays and Thursdays

MORNING SESSIONS

9:30 am – 12:00 pm

OR

EVENING SESSIONS

5:00 pm – 7:30 pm

REGISTRATION WILL BEGIN ON SEPTEMBER 26, 2022

To register please call CCF at 586-722-7253

$40 registration fee

STORY continued from page XX

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

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 23


COVER STORY

ON THE RUN continued from page 22

night, at a liquor store on 6 Mile and

Telegraph. That neighborhood was

also a hub for drugs. “I used to look at

the dope dealers and think, well, what

a life. I mean that’s what you saw,” he

said. “Starting in mid-’80s, mid-’90s,

there was nothing but cocaine, hard

drugs, fighting, robbing, killing.”

On Mother’s Day 1990, when Peter

had just turned twenty-one, he

was hanging out with several high

school friends near a party store. One

of them, he says, spontaneously decided

to rob someone coming out. The

man was holding a bouquet of flowers,

presumably for a mother in his

life. As he opened the door of his car,

a red Corvette, Peter’s friend pulled

a gun on the man, took his keys, and

got in the car, yelling at Peter to hop

in. This had not been Peter’s idea. He

says he felt almost as confused as the

Corvette owner. But Peter opened the

passenger door, grabbed the flowers

from the front seat, handed them to

the man who’d bought them, and got

in the back seat.

“Stupid, stupid,” Peter says, recalling

the incident. “Me and another guy

jumped in the car and took off.” They

drove the Corvette for ten minutes

around Chaldean Town. The police

asked the victim who stole the car, and

the owner reported that one of them

was a redhead. “Everyone else with me

was African-American. So the police

knew exactly who it was,” Peter said.

“I am the only red-haired guy in that

neighborhood. When they came to

me, they asked me whether I was the

guy with a gun. I said I was. I couldn’t

snitch. In that neighborhood, in that

time, you can’t do that. They would

have burned my house.”

Peter says he never held the gun. He

was holding the bouquet during most

of the frenzied interaction. The victim

agreed and told law enforcement so at

a hearing—that Peter was an accessory

and bystander, but not the gunman.

“He said that I had nothing to do with

it,” Peter said, that he had been “nice

enough to give him his flowers back because

it was Mother’s Day.”

Peter was offered a plea bargain for

a lower charge, unarmed robbery, but

when he got the paperwork it was for

the original charge, armed robbery. But

Peter still agreed to protect his friends,

and to protect himself from retribution.

“I was young and stupid,” Peter said.

He served one year and three months

in a state prison. He’d understood that

the plea meant his record would be

clean, but he was wrong—those ten minutes

in 1990 are indelibly marked on his

record as “armed robbery.” His family

paid $1,000 for the lawyer who urged

him to take the plea deal. It’s unclear

whether this lawyer considered the consequences

of adding a felony to an immigrant’s

record, or if he did understand

but assumed that it was irrelevant, since

Iraqis were never deported anyway.

Peter spent his twenties back in

the same Detroit neighborhood. His

girlfriend got pregnant and then left,

shortly after their son was born. Peter

and his mother raised the boy together.

There was never enough money.

“It’s so stupid to even say it now,” he

tells me, “but I wanted to be a drug

dealer. They had money, friends. They

were the only ones who didn’t have to

worry. I should have wanted to be a

doctor, but I didn’t know to want that.”

In 2009, at age thirty-nine, he was

arrested for selling cocaine. He hired

a friend of a friend’s lawyer, who was

Yemeni.

But at the time neither Peter nor

his attorney knew that something important

had changed in the nineteen

years since his 1990 felony for armed

robbery. “Janet Reno changed the law

back in ’98,” he says. “If you’re not

a citizen and catch a felony, you are

deportable.” He felt a rush of fear as

this fact emerged during the prosecution’s

remarks at the hearing. Serving

more time in a U.S. prison was a very

unpleasant prospect but was nothing

compared to being deported to

Iraq as a fair-skinned Chaldean who’d

spent decades steeped in U.S. culture.

He didn’t know Arabic, and he didn’t

know anyone in Iraq. Deportation was

effectively a death sentence. Even if

actually being deported was unheard

of, he didn’t want to be put on that list.

During the court recess, Peter sat at

the wooden defendant’s table next to

his Yemini attorney, who raised his eyebrows

and leaned toward Peter’s ear.

Get out, he said.

“He looked at me. He told me,

‘They’re going to lock you up. Send

you back.’ I remember that day. Wow.

How he looked at me. He said ‘Run.’

And with my, with my dumbness, I believed

him. I hate to admit it. It’s nuts.

I got up and left. My lawyer said to run,

and my dumb ass ran.”

When the court recessed, Peter just

walked out and went home. Not for

long, though. “It took them a month or

two to come get me. ICE came, and I

was in for three months, but then the

policy with Iraq was that they wouldn’t

deport me.” That would change.

Immigration and Naturalization

Services arrested Peter in 2009, and

he served three months in the Calhoun

County Jail in Battle Creek. His trial

for the drug charge proceeded – this

time with a public defender after he

parted ways with the Yemini attorney.

In January of 2011, he was sentenced to

thirty-two months in prison and four

years of probation. He served about

thirty months in state prison. After

his release, he reported to ICE every

six months. Like all Iraqi immigrants

with final orders of deportation, he

was assigned an immigration officer

whose job was to check up with an

individuals’ employment and housing

situations and monitor them to be

sure they were accountable, with no

criminal activity. They could be hard.

“The ICE people, I’ve never seen anything

like it,” Peter says. “A few are

okay, normal. Most of them, it seems

like they’re there because they want

to show you their power, to disrespect

you. They call you liar, call you piece

of shit, Arab.”

Peter worked for a disaster cleanup

company at the time, entering homes

and businesses after destructive

events such as fires and floods, and

even crimes. “We would go to burnt,

damaged properties, water-damaged

properties, and we’d tear them down

and rebuild them,” he says.

His boss would put him on the

phone or in front of customers whenever

possible because, he says, he was

the friendliest, most outgoing man on

the crew. His boss wrote a letter in support

of his release in 2018, telling the

immigration court that Peter is “hardworking,

trustworthy, a team player,

and a huge asset to our organization.

He has always been reliable…we continually

receive positive comments

about his work ethic and personality

from many of our clients.”

Because of his light skin and red

hair, Peter says, co-workers often took

“The ICE people, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Peter says. “A few

are okay, normal. Most of them, it seems like they’re there because

they want to show you their power, to disrespect you.”

it for granted he was white. A surprising

number of them, he says, were allied

with white supremacy groups and

assumed that he’d be sympathetic. He

wasn’t. “They thought I was thinking

the same way, so they’d say things

about the Hispanic people, about Jewish

people. They hate Jewish people

more than anything.”

“They’re all thinking it’s going to

be a race war,” Peter said. He makes an

upside-down “okay” hand gesture, now

associated with white supremacists,

and says, “This is how they identify

each other, how they say white power.

They’re signaling.” They sometimes signaled

him that way, Peter said, because

of his looks. “I’m thinking, Honest to

God, this is everywhere. This is ugly.”

Peter has been married to Mimi

since 1999. (For her privacy and Peter’s,

Mimi is not her real name.) She’s

also from a Chaldean family, though

she was born in Detroit, and she is

kind and beautiful, with long hair and

a wide-open smile. The couple tried

for a baby, and she miscarried several

times. Years passed. They adopted

dogs. Mimi worked in a hair salon and

started a cookie business. In 2015, a

ON THE RUN continued on page 41

24 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


Little

SCHOLARS

PRESCHOOL

EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRA M

NOW ENROLLING!

LIMITED SPOTS AVAILABLE

Our preschool day focuses on student centered education with support from our bilingual staff. Students will

experience hands on lessons with a focus on play and social interaction.

PRESCHOOL (AGES 3-5)

MONDAY — FRIDAY

9:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M.

AGES:

• 3 yr. - Will attend 2 days a week.

• 4-5 yr. - Will attend 3 days a week.

FAMILY RESOURCE

HOUR APPOINTMENTS

MONDAY — FRIDAY

2:00 P.M. — 4:30 P.M.

Katie Geekie

Teacher

Anni Frangulian

Teaching Assistant

For more information, please contact Katie Geekie at katie.geekie@chaldeanfoundation.org

or call 586-722-7253.

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 25


PHOTO ESSAY

Mar Matti

in the

Frame

A photo essay of

the homeland

PHOTOGRAPHY BY WILSON SARKIS

CAPTIONS BY ALAN MANSOUR

Top of page: The monastery now serves the small farming villages located at the foot of the mountain. Above: Mar Matti or Mattai (St. Matthew) is the name

of a Syriac Orthodox (Jacobite) monastery that sits atop Mount Maqlub (also known as Alphaph or Alfaf Mountain) at the height of 2,010 feet above sea level.

It is located 15 miles from Nineveh and just under 13 miles northwest of Mosul.

26 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


Left: Seated on the shelf of a

rocky peak, the monastery offers

an exceptional double view. As

seen from the valley, it appears

as being suspended between

the earth and the sky and leads

us to meditation. On the other

side, from its terrace, it offers a

180° panorama and seems to be

keeping a watchful eye on the

world below, the world of the

people of Nineveh.

Below: Mar Matti was buried

among many bishops, monks,

and priests in this monastery.

It was well known for its large

library and Syriac Christian

manuscripts. Also buried in Mar

Matti Monastery is one of the

great scholars at that time, Ibn

Al Ibry. Many caves and silos remain

around the monastery; they

used to house all the people that

lived there.

Above: Mar Matti

Monastery is only the

mere shadow of its

former magnificence.

The small monastic

community which still

lives there watches over

an immemorial heritage.

It is recognized as

one of the oldest

monasteries, dating

back to 363 AD. King

Sennacherib built it

during the reign of the

Prussian King Shaboor

(Shapur).

Right: The last attack,

by ISIS in 2014, was

stopped down in

the valley, just a few

kilometers away from

the monastery. At

that time, some of the

villages below had

been evacuated and

their inhabitants were

temporarily transferred

to Mar Matti.

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 27


FEATURE

Celebrating

1,950 Years

The year 2022 marked 1,950 years of service,

with a jubilee and various projects

launched, including:

• 1,950 hours of continuous Eucharistic

Adoration performed where people

come in groups and pray in front of the

Blessed Sacrament.

• 1,950 rosaries prayed at the altar of

Our Lady of Little Mount, conducted by

Marian Legionaries.

• 1,950 Bibles given to catechism children

who do not own a Bible.

• Distribution of 1,950 rosaries to children

in rural villages.

• 1,950 poor families selected and distributed

with dry rations.

• Planting of 1,950 saplings throughout

the Diocese starting from rural to city

parishes.

• Distribution of food to 1,950 prisoners.

• Distribution of 1,950 dress materials to

the poor and needy.

St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica in India

BY WEAM NAMOU

Apostle means “one who is sent

off.” It was the name Jesus

gave to the twelve disciples he

chose to go into the world and preach

the kingdom of God and heal the sick.

While eleven of the apostles preached

mostly within the limits of the Roman

Empire, the twelfth, St. Thomas,

was assigned to preach in faraway

lands, including India. It was during

this missionary journey that his caravan

passed through Mesopotamia,

spreading the good news of Jesus to

the people there.

St. Thomas is said to have arrived

in the Malabar coast in 52 A.D. The

primary religions of India at that time

were Brahmanical Hinduism, ancestral

devotion of the common folk,

Buddhism, and Jainism.

“St. Thomas influenced the people

in India spiritually, culturally, and socially,”

said Rev. Fr. H. Joe Bala Ph.D.,

the Rector and parish priest of the

Holy Shrine of Our Lady of Health and

St. Thomas the Apostle in Chennai,

India. “In short, the local culture and

the folk traditions of the people got

soaked in the Apostle. It’s our pride

that we have the tomb here.”

St. Thomas originally built the

church in Chennai which later housed

his tomb.

San Thome Church, officially

known as St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica

and National Shrine of Saint

Thomas, was built in the 16th century

and it was rebuilt in 1893 by the British

in neo-gothic style. The British

version still stands today and attracts

many pilgrims each year. This is one

of only three known churches in the

world built over the tomb of an apostle

of Jesus, the other two being St.

Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (St. Peter)

and Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

in Galicia, Spain (St. James).

The Death of St. Thomas

St. Thomas was seen as a threat because

people started believing him.

More importantly, they started believing

in Jesus and they began to dislike

the Brahmanical cast-oriented religion.

When Thomas converted his wife

and son to Christianity, Raja Mahadevan,

then king of Mylapore, ordered

the disciple killed. Brahmin enemies

pursued him from the cave of Little

28 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


A CELEBRATION OF THE LEGENDARY

QUEEN OF SOUL

ON SALE NOW

OCTOBER 28-29 • MUSIC HALL

BROADWAYINDETROIT.COM

TICKETMASTER.COM • 800-982-2787

GROUPS (10+) BROADWAYINDETROITGROUPS@THEAMBASSADORS.COM

(SUBJECT: RESPECT)

Top of page: San Thome Church was renovated in 1896 according to neo-

Gothic designs, as was favored by British architects in the late 19th century.

Above: Thomas Cathedral, Mumbai, is the 300-year old cathedral church of

the Diocese of Mumbai of the Church of North India.

Mount and pierced him with a lance

when he reached the Big Mount.

At around 1551, Little Mount,

which until then was only a steep

rocky elevation, began to be cleared

and levelled for the convenience of

the pilgrims of his devotees. Today

it’s called the Shrine of Our Lady of

Health and St. Thomas the Apostle.

The Cathedral is presently monitored

and maintained by His Grace

the Most Rev. Dr. George Antonysamy,

the Archbishop of Madras – Mylapore.

On July 1, 2022, his Grace solemnly

inaugurated the “Jubilee Year”

in Little Mount Shrine, celebrating St.

Thomas’ martyrdom.

Under his guidance and encouragement,

a lot of initiatives were taken

by Rev. Fr. H. Joe Bala, who said,

“This special celebration is to cherish

the faith and history of our place.”

The Chaldean Connection

Few Chaldeans are aware of St. Thomas’

Cathedral in India. But Asmaa

Jamil worked in India for over two

years and at one point lived only 10

minutes away from it; she attended its

service every Sunday. Jamil, author of

the Kingdom of Treasures series, is

from Tel Keppe and came to the United

States in 1977. She currently lives

in Michigan.

At the Little Mount, where St.

Thomas was martyred, Jamil was

amazed by the number of people

visiting the small church and kept

thanking God for giving her this great

opportunity.

When she visited the St. Thomas

Cathedral Basilica during Mass, she

saw many tourists and people of different

faiths walk in, pray, then leave.

“But the faithful focused on the Mass

which impressed me,” she said. “After

the Mass, I walked towards the altar

and noticed glass on the floor. When

I looked down, it was the Tomb of St.

Thomas.”

Jamil visited the museum devoted

to St. Thomas at the back of the Basilica.

Below the museum is a small

chapel which had a family preparing

for baptism. “I remember hearing

Aramaic words and felt connected

to St. Thomas, the people that were

there, and our Lord Jesus,” she recalled.

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 29


FEATURE

ALL GIRL …All In

Giving Parents a Voice

Vincent Sitto Makes County

Commission Run

BY PAUL NATINSKY

FALL INFORMATION NIGHT

Tuesday, September 27, 2022 • 7pm

Young women seeking academic excellence,

exceptional athletics, inspiring arts programs,

and an empowering environment built on faith

and sisterhood join Marian. To learn more,

RSVP below to attend our Fall Information Night.

For information on shadow visits, tours and tuition

assistance, visit www.marian-hs.org/#admission or

call 248.502.3033. Become #MarianStrong

marian-hs.org

For Vincent Sitto, politics is not

a career choice. The Oakland

County businessman and father

just wants people like himself to be

heard and to have a voice — something

he is not finding within the Oakland

County Commission.

Because of that, Sitto

is running as a Republican

for the 10th District seat

on the Oakland County

Commission. The district

includes northwest West

Bloomfield, southern Waterford,

western Pontiac,

and a smattering of other

area towns.

“Long story short, I

went to a few county commission

meetings, didn’t like what I saw.

I felt like as a parent and a taxpayer, my

voice wasn’t being heard. I was getting

the nod from everybody like they heard

me and then they went on their merry

way and still did what they want. At the

end of the day, they’ve got to remember

that they represent us, the taxpayers,

and they weren’t doing that.”

The 10th District used to be a tossup

with Republicans and Democrats alternating

election wins, said Sitto. Redistricting

across the state has changed

the boundaries of the 10th, making it a

55% Democratic district, he said.

“I definitely have my work cut out

for me, but I’m up for the challenge

because I’m in this for a different reason.

I’m not in this because I want to

get into politics,” said Sitto. “I’m in

this because my kids are not happy. I

shouldn’t have had to pull my kids out

of the school district as a taxpayer because

I’m not happy with the way they

are doing things.”

Sitto said his 10- and 11-year-old

kids are politically aware in a way he

was not when he was that age. He feels

it is a shame that they have to concern

themselves with school closings and

restaurant mask policies.

Sitto has opinions on a number of

national and local political issues, but

Vincent Sitto

he limits his comments to local issues

he says he can do something about.

He feels local elected bodies

should make decisions about COVIDrelated

issues. Instead, he says statelevel

unelected officials are making

policy while the county

commission follows their

lead—often without considering

what their constituents

want.

Misspent SMART transportation

money is another

hot button issue for Sitto. He

says the Regional Transportation

Authority’s $124 million

allocation for the area

generated only $10 million

to $15 million in revenue to

offset the cost. Worse, Sitto said authorities

want to levy another $56 million tax

for transportation services.

“If they can’t manage $124 million

for transportation, why in the world

would we give them another $56 (million),”

said Sitto.

Making matters worse, he said, the

property tax from which the $56 million

is generated disproportionately

affects the poor and middle class, who

can least afford it.

Opposing Sitto in the November

general election will be Kristen Nelson,

a behavioral analyst from Waterford

who has held the seat since 2019.

Sitto ran unopposed in the Republican

primary, so he is only now

raising general election money. He

thinks he might have enough with one

upcoming fundraiser. Sitto declined

to discuss specifics about campaign

finances.

“Win or lose, I’m not going to make

their lives easy,” said Sitto, who plans

to stay involved with the county commission

whether he wins or loses.

“My parents emigrated to this

country with a dream, and they were

able to live and accomplish that dream

for their kids, and I feel it’s slipping

away from mine,” he said, “And that’s

pretty sad.”

30 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


PROFILE

Chris George, the Branding Guru

BY CAL ABBO

Chris George

Chris George appeared recently

on Chaldean News Radio to

discuss his business acumen,

branding ideas, and how he became

successful. George has plentiful ideas

and experience to offer young entrepreneurs

and branding experts who

want to take their business to the next

level or even start something from

scratch.

George worked in his father’s liquor

stores when he was younger. He

noticed the margins they would make

– buy an item for $2, for example, and

sell it for $4 – but his only customers

were those who lived within a few

miles of the store. Instead, George

dreamed big. What if he could sell

something to the entire world?

That’s when George decided to create

Gentleman’s Box.

This was George’s first wildly successful

business venture. Gentleman’s

Box uses a subscription-based model

for men who want to look “dapper,” in

George’s own words. This high-fashion

box contains ties, socks, and other accessories

that arrive to your doorstep

on a monthly basis. “You would also

get the latest issue of GQ magazine,”

George added.

In 2016, years after Gentleman’s

Box saw extraordinary success, George

decided he wanted to meet others

in the subscription industry. He had

finally discerned what his personal

niche was – building brands and communities,

especially with a subscription

model. The next step was networking.

George and his business partners

searched for a subscription box conference

to no avail. Their search, however,

was not in vain. In the process,

they figured out that they could host

a conference themselves. So, they set

out to plan an event in Detroit, inviting

the biggest and baddest names in the

subscription industry they could find.

“We had no event experience. It felt

like we were throwing a high school

party,” George said. “We were hoping

people showed up.”

And they did. “We had 200 attendees,”

George said. “Katia Beauchamp

from Birchbox came, the queen of subscription

boxes at that time.” Birchbox

is a subscription box with selected

makeup samples. It’s heralded as one

of the early successes of the subscription

model, and in 2016, it was a big

deal to host her at the conference.

Since that inaugural year, George

and his partners have built the largest

community and event for subscription

brands, which he dubbed SUBTA, or

Subscription Trade Association. In recent

years, they’ve even gotten streaming

services like Netflix and Disney+ to

join their conference and spice it up.

George’s most recent venture is a

partnership with Michael Sana on the

project Sana Detroit. The Chaldean

News covered Sana’s success a few

months back, and he’s only grown

since then.

Sana Detroit is Michigan’s premiere

streetwear clothing brand. George and

Sana met when they played on the

same team in the Chaldean Hockey

League. After Sana found out George

was a branding guru, he asked him

for help and advice. It turned into a lot

more.

George became an official business

partner in Sana Detroit after hearing

Sana’s ideas and strategy. Now, George

acts as a consultant to Sana for marketing

and branding strategy. Clearly,

something is working, as the two of

them continue to build a magnificent

brand and community.

“Consumers love the brand,”

George said. “They like him and

they’re loyal. More than 40% of customers

are buying more than one shirt

on a drop. He’s keeping longevity with

customers.”

George said that he and Sana are

now very close friends and often stay

up late working on projects together.

“I love startup life,” George said.

“Building brands is what I love. When

I stopped focusing on money, that’s

when I found success.”

According to George, much of the

Chaldean community is stuck in a trap

of looking for fast cash. On the other

hand, “Michael is building a brand,

not a business. A business prints money

but it can go sour if you lose loyalty.

He’s building a community,” George

said.

George compared Sana Detroit’s

model to that of other retailers. He

pointed out that, no matter how hard

you work or try, large companies like

Amazon or Walmart will be able to sell

your product for cheaper and ship it

faster. That is, unless you offer something

special, like the community

Sana Detroit is building. Amazon can’t

replicate that.

George praised several relatively

new brands in the community. He said

many of the cannabis businesses have

done a good job branding, some of

which have over 20 dispensaries now.

One of his friends owns Cosmo Salon

Studios, which are available for hair

stylists to rent. There are now several

locations across the metro Detroit area.

The branding guru’s best advice is

to find something you love doing and

figure out a way to make money from

it. While he recognizes this is difficult

for many people, he thinks it should

be a top priority.

He also suggested using routines

to build effective habits and work processes.

“I have a strict routine during

the week of going to the gym, the office

for work, and being asleep by midnight,”

George said.

George is a big fan of podcasts and

consistently listens to other brand developers

for educational purposes. His

favorites are Gary Vaynerchuk and Simon

Sinek. He’s had to cut out some

social media use to make time for his

listening, but he said it’s been well

worth it.

“I’m a big advocate of not doing

things for the money. Work smart, diligent,

and be efficient,” he said. “Do

something fun.

32 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


A CLEAN VISION FOR

A BRIGHTER FUTURE

DTE’s CleanVision is about cleaner energy, a cleaner

environment and a clearly brighter future for generations

to come. It means even more than doubling renewables

in the next two years. It’s a big transformation, to protect

the smallest things. Because little things really matter.

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 33


SPORTS

Detroit City Football Club

Signs Young Chaldean Star

BY CAL ABBO

Dominic “The Dominator” Gasso’s

dreams are coming true.

Earlier this year, at the tender

age of 18, Gasso was signed to the

first team at his hometown club, Detroit

City Football Club. This is a huge

step for Gasso who, until now, has

played exclusively for youth teams.

Gasso grew up in Grand Blanc, a

city located about one hour north of

Detroit. Many Chaldeans live there

and congregate at St. Paul Chaldean

Church.

As a teenager, Gasso played for

Vardar Soccer, which is known across

Michigan as one of the state’s top

youth soccer programs. It was there

that he learned his core playstyle as

well as an important lesson for young

athletes with loads of talent: he had to

work hard.

“Before joining Vardar, I was always

the best player on my team, or

somewhere close,” Gasso remembered.

“Playing on Vardar, I was average and

had to work hard to stand out.”

Gasso saw his time at Vardar as

a wakeup call. Around this time, he

started training six hours a day. Even if

it was just him and his brother playing

in the yard, all this time spent working

on his game would allow the young

star to reach a new level.

This season, before the recent signing,

DCFC recruited Gasso to play for

its U19 academy team. He played well

enough that he earned a call-up from

the first team. Gasso said he knew it

was coming but didn’t expect it so soon.

“The biggest difference is that I

get paid,” he said. “Youth soccer programs

can be very expensive, but now

it’s the opposite.”

Gasso has been helped with a lot

of support from his parents. They are

divorced, which made it somewhat

more difficult for him to plan around

his games and practices. His mother

stayed in Grand Blanc while his father

moved to Sterling Heights. With help

from coaches and mentors, Gasso was

able to lift himself to the world of professional

soccer. It’s only up from here.

Dominic “The Dominator” Gasso

The Dominator’s next goal is to

get on the field. He’s been training

with the first team for months now,

and since the signing, he’s been in the

game as a bench substitute. Gasso has

yet to play, but his opportunity is complicated

by the team’s performance

and standing.

DCFC is currently fighting for a spot

in the United Soccer League Championship

playoffs. This is the team’s first

year in the USL Championship, which

is considered the second highest

league in the United States, after Major

League Soccer (MLS). USL Championship

is home to second squads of

several MLS teams, including major

clubs like New York Red Bulls and LA

Galaxy.

Last season, DCFC played in the

National Independent Soccer Association

and had a record year. Out of 18

matches, the club won 14, drew three,

and lost one. It was time to move on to

bigger and better things.

Out of the gate, DCFC competed

like a top team. At the moment, however,

they rank 7th in the conference,

which puts them in the very last available

playoff spot. After a five-match

winning streak in April, in which DCFC

earned nearly half of their points this

season, the club slowed down significantly.

In its last six matches, the club

has won just once, drawn three times,

and lost twice.

Put it all together, and DCFC is

desperately hanging onto its 7th-seed

playoff spot. This is a good reason to

avoid fielding 19-year-old Gasso, who

has yet to see his first minute of professional

soccer. To be clear, DCFC is fairly

secure in its standing, as the club

behind it, FC Tulsa, is three games

back. With only nine left to play, Gasso

should see some minutes toward the

end of the regular season, which concludes

October 15.

As a local club, DCFC has seen tremendous

growth in its decade of existence.

It has cultivated an extreme and

loyal fanbase, one that more traditional

American sports may not recognize.

Soccer fans are known for their rowdy

behavior and undying loyalty to the

team. Detroit is no exception.

The club is known for giving back

to the city through charity and its entertaining

spectacle. It has brought

Michigan’s soccer scene and its major

players into the national spotlight.

Gasso is far from the only local player

DCFC has recruited.

Brad Dunwell, a 25-year-old defensive

midfielder, hails from Grand

Rapids. Connor Rutz, a 25-year-old attacking

midfielder, is from Commerce.

The club’s star goalkeeper, Nathan

Steinwascher, was born and raised in

Sterling Heights. Coming from Grand

Blanc, Gasso fits right in.

Gasso’s short-term goal is to make

it to the MLS. This is a lofty goal, but

given the right attention and development,

he certainly has the talent to

achieve it.

There is already one Chaldean in

the MLS whom the Chaldean News has

profiled before, Justin Meram. He has

had a spectacular career in the MLS,

scoring nearly 50 goals as a winger.

Meram also played many international

matches representing Iraq and has

paved the way for other Chaldeans in

professional soccer.

Gasso’s long-term goal, which is

much farther out, but still a realistic

possibility, is to play in Europe. His

dream team is FC Barcelona, and his

childhood hero, like many other soccer

fans, was Lionel Messi. Said Gasso,

“I won’t be satisfied until I play in Europe.”

34 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


ENGLISH AS A

SECOND LANGUAGE

NOW ENROLLING

ESL 1: Low Beginner

M-TH 1:00PM -3:00PM

ESL 2: High Beginner

T/TH 9:00AM-11:30AM or

T/TH 5:00PM- 7:30PM

ESL 3: Intermediate /

M/W 9:00AM -11:30AM or

M/W 5:00PM - 7:30PM

Advanced

COMPUTER

TRAINING CLASS

EARN A WORKPLACE

CERTIFICATE

Course lessons will be a

combination of instructor led

and online modules.

ASSESSMENT AND REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!

To register please call CCF at 586-722-7253

$40 registration fee

• Basic and advanced curriculum

• Video training and hands on experience

• Classes will be held at the Chaldean Community

Foundation in Sterling Heights

• To enroll in the Computer Training Class:

Your phone number and email address is required!

• $40 registration fee

OCT. 4 - DEC. 15

10 WEEK COURSE

1:00PM - 3:00PM

T/TH

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

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 35


CULTURE & HISTORY

Hands Clasped: From the ancient Sumerians

to modern-day Chaldeans

BY ADHID MIRI, PHD

Hand gestures are such a part

of everyday life that we often

don’t even notice them. They

have become a habit inherent in world

culture and are an integral part of communication.

From the V-sign that we

often see when people take pictures

to gestures showing thumps up or the

relatively new fist bump gesture which

comes from sport, hand gestures aren’t

going anywhere anytime soon.

At times, hand gestures endure

over spoken languages. According to

historical records, the “V” sign became

popular during World War II when performed

by Winston Churchill, the British

statesman and Prime Minister of

the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945.

He used it to symbolize victory; today,

it is commonly known as the peace

sign. In most of the world, anyway.

“Thumbs up” is perhaps the most

common of hand gestures, one that

has been used for thousands of years.

The thumbs up is commonly used by

Europeans and Americans as a sign of

approval or that things are going according

to plan.

Handshakes are hand gestures exchanged

between two people. According

to some sources, this hand gesture

originated in ancient Greece. At that

time, the movement was carried out

by the soldiers of war to the people

they met. Shaking someone’s hand by

grasping it can prove that the person’s

hand is empty. According to many archaeologists,

the point was to make

sure that the person was not hiding a

dangerous weapon.

The “OK” sign, which is made

by curling the index finger over the

thumb and extending the other fingers

above them, is another common hand

gesture in America and in most of the

English-speaking world. It is generally

understood to mean that everything is

going well and according to plan. It is

also regularly used by divers to indicate

that all is well to their dive partners.

However, in Latin America, the

gesture is seen as extremely rude.

Hayyat Nadhir and Siyya Arabo, two Chaldean women displaying different

hand clasping poses.

Former US president Richard Nixon

discovered this after flashing it to a

large crowd of Brazilians awaiting

his arrival in Rio de Janeiro. They responded

to his greeting with a chorus

of “boos.” It is not surprising; a little

research could have told him the gesture

is equivalent to a middle finger in

that part of the world.

In France, the gesture is also considered

an insult; in Australia, it

means “zero;” in New Zealand, for

some reason, the user is basically considered

to be lazy.

Using hand gestures might feel

like an intuitive way to communicate

across language barriers, but their

meaning can change, and there are

few universal signs that everyone

agrees on.

Whether consciously or not, our

hands are often giving off signals. One

position we see over and over is the

hand clasp. Both the gesture itself and

where the hands are being held in relation

to the body have meaning.

Apparently, those gestures have a

history and origin from the customs

and characteristics of the Ancient Sumerians.

There are a few variations and a

few different placements for the hands

that we’ll consider. Depending on the

situation, hands clasped or clenched together

may mean several things. In this

position, the hand palms are held together,

the right on top of the left. It may

mean that a person using it is about to

assume a strong stance, or it may mean

confidence or even nervousness. In general,

clasping the hands may signify an

unsettling thought, respect, fear, anxiety,

insecurity, and the like.

Hand clasping is the superposition

of each finger of one hand over

the corresponding finger of the opposite

hand. When clasping the hands, a

person tends to interlace the fingers in

one of two ways. People who hold the

fingers of the right hand above the left

fingers are classified as phenotype R

(right), while those who hold the fingers

of the left hand above those of the

right are phenotype L (left).

Although some people do not exhibit

a preference for one type of hand

clasping, most do. Once adopted, the

method of hand clasping tends to be

consistent throughout life. When an

individual attempts to clasp the hands

in the opposite configuration from the

usual one, that person may feel a sense

that something is out of the ordinary.

The ‘hands clasped in front’ body

language gesture is displayed in three

major ways: clasped hands in front

of the face; hands clasped on a desk

or a lap; and, whilst standing, hands

clasped over the lower abdomen.

When a person assumes the hands

clasped in front gesture, they are exercising

some sort of self-restraint.

They’re symbolically ‘clenching’

themselves back and withholding a

negative reaction, usually anxiety or

frustration. The higher the person

clenches their hands whilst standing,

the more negative they are feeling.

The body language of clasping

hands below the belt reflects that the

person feels secure and confident. For

instance, football players display this

gesture when they’re listening to their

national anthem, to show their respect

for the anthem. This gesture is also

36 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


Saturday

September 3rd

Franklin

Cider

Mill

A NATIONAL

HISTORIC SITE

ESTABLISHED 1832

*****

From left: This statue of a woman from Ur shows the right hand over left

technique of hand clasping. This statue is typical of Sumerian art, with the

ritual hand clasping displayed prominently.

commonly observed when leaders and

politicians meet and stand to pose for

photographs. You might also see this

gesture when a priest delivers a sermon

or any other social meeting presided

over by an authoritative figure.

When we study and look at the

hands in primitive Sumerian statues,

we find that it does not express an

expanding global empire. Rather, the

pose suffices to embody a state of devotion,

humility, asceticism, and compliance

with prayer before God. Usually,

the hands are interlaced, right

over the left, and placed on the center

of the chest or waist in a gesture of disciplined

attention that has religious

connotations, symbolizing devotional

practices and representing the readiness

to approach the Gods with reverence,

awe, and respect.

Therefore, it aims at stillness and expressing

a state of stagnation and calm

deposited with complete superiority

within the human being, as represented

by the block of stone itself. It is totally

different from gestures used by other

ancient civilizations such as Egyptian,

Hindu, Roman, Buddhist and the Inca.

One may not realize the power you

literally have in your hands. There are

times when our hands can save or betray

us, and it all happens without our

conscious involvement. That is, unless

one knows how hand language works.

In most cultures, an open hand is

associated with honesty. Throughout

history, a palm held over the heart or

in the air when giving testimony was

meant to emphasize truthfulness.

Arabs, Malaysians, and Indonesians

have a habit of holding their

hands over the heart when they greet

each other as if to show their sincere

happiness. For some reason, it is difficult

to lie with your palms exposed.

The Arabic idiom, “I’ll imprint with

my ten fingers” is used to mean you

don’t just approve of something, but

you completely and utterly approve of

it without a scintilla of doubt—you are

in till the end.

Amazingly, we find characteristics

of Sumerian origin still rooted in the

people of Mesopotamia and Chaldeans

of Iraq. Customs and characteristics

of the Ancient Sumerians are still in

common use among modern day Chaldeans,

especially women. It is exactly

as inherited from our heritage and use

as it was in Sumer 5,000 years ago.

The significance of this posture is

in its style and symbolism. It is not just

the way the hands are interlocked, but

rather in the specific style, the placement

on the interlocked arms and

their position on the chest.

To this day, we find the same hand

clasps present in Sumerian artifacts in

use among elder Chaldean women in

the Nineveh Plain villages, in Iraqi cities,

and even in the United States.

Sources: Wikipedia, writings by

William Park, Howard Allen, Chris

Miller, Fawzi Rasheed, Taha Baqir,

and Ahmmed Sosa. Special editing by

Jacqueline Raxter.

Award Winning Fresh Cider & Warm Donuts!

Slushes & Caramel Apples

Your Favorite Michigan Made Products

• Maple Syrup • Jams • Honey • Cheeses • Meats •

• Chows • Salsas • Dressings • Apple Sauce •

• Pies - Breads • Cookies • Candies • Nuts •

Weekends

Family Gatherings • Mellow Jazz • Magician • Cider Dogs

Easy Online Ordering Options!

Pre-Pay Pick-up

www.franklincidermill.com

*****

Voted

Best of the Best

&

Hour Magazine’s

#1

Apple

Cider Mill

2021 & 2022

OPEN DAILY 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM DAILY • INDOOR & OUTDOOR SALES AREAS

7450 Franklin Rd., Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301 • 248.626.8261

Simply delicious food served

by the finest Professionals

CASUAL DINING AT ITS BEST

PATIO

NOW OPEN!

Authentic Italian style restaurant featuring cut to order steaks, fresh seafood, homemade pasta and pizzas and several salad options.

Spacious Banquet rooms available perfect for corporate events and meetings, family celebrations, weddings and showers.

5600 Crooks Road, Troy, Michigan

248.813.0700 ◆ ◆ www.loccino.com

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 37


FAMILY TIME

KMD Young Warriors class is the perfect blend of fitness, self-defense, character development, and fun.

Krav Maga: An activity

for the whole family

BY VALENE AYAR

As the weather begins to cool and

our days get shorter, it can only

mean one thing — Fall has arrived!

As we say “goodbye” to swimming

pools and lake houses and say “hello” to

pumpkin spiced lattes and cider mills, it

also means that kids are going back to

school. With that, parents are undoubtedly

thinking about extracurricular activities.

While I am a huge advocate of

organized team sports, I have become an

even bigger advocate of another athletic

endeavor that parents can (and should)

also take part in — that is, martial arts,

and more specifically, martial arts centered

around self-defense.

A new after-school activity

In this ever-changing world where

kids and teens are glued to their

phones and constantly seeking validation

from how many “likes” an Instagram

post gets, there has never been a

greater need for finding ways to instill

a sense of self-worth in our children.

While organized team sports are

a great way to impart this self-worth,

they do have their shortcomings. For

example, team sports are seasonal,

they are not as inclusive as they may

seem as less skilled team members

are given much less playing time, and

they do not offer as many real-life applications

as other activities do.

This is why I am such a strong advocate

for kids and teens learning martial

arts. To highlight a few of the benefits,

martial arts can (and should) be

practiced year-round, they are 100%

inclusive - no one is ever “benched,”

and while it is a solo activity, there

is still a sense of community and camaraderie

to be found amongst other

participants. I know that has been

the case for me where I practice Krav

Maga (Krav Maga Detroit in Troy). And

as an added bonus – parents can also

participate in the adult classes as well,

making it a great opportunity to create

a bonding activity everyone can enjoy.

While traditional martial arts definitely

have their benefits and teach

so many invaluable skills (i.e., selfdiscipline,

respect, physical activity),

there is one area where they fall

short — real-world application. Many

traditional martial arts classes focus a

great deal on the philosophies behind

the art, competitive fighting, and abiding

by an honor code. While those are

all well and good, they do lack a certain

real-world application in regard to

self-defense. I wouldn’t go so far as to

say those martial arts cannot be used

as a form of self-defense, but in doing

research for myself some years back, I

found that the best and most useful of

all the disciplines is Krav Maga.

What is Krav Maga?

Created during WWII in Europe by

Imi Lichtenfeld – the Jewish son of a

police officer – Krav Maga is a military

self-defense and fighting system

that has become the official fighting

method of the Israeli Defense Forces

(IDF) and Israeli Security Forces.

Additionally, it is now taught worldwide

to military and police officers

(including in the U.S.) as a means of

self-defense.

Although it implements strikes

and practices from Karate, Judo, Boxing,

and Akido, Krav Maga is technically

not classified as a martial art as

many of the strikes and maneuvers

would be grounds for disqualification

in any competitive setting. The

whole point of learning Krav Maga is

not to win a fight or earn a trophy;

it is strictly to defend yourself, incapacitate

the attacker and run like

hell once they are down. There is no

room for ego or any need to “win” the

fight or prove anything.

Benefits of Krav Maga

As there is no honor code to abide

by and because it was created, categorically,

as a means of self-defense,

there is far more real-world application

with Krav Maga than there is

with any other form of martial art. It

is a “no holds barred” form of self-defense

and nothing is off the table in

regard to acceptable strikes. In fact,

there are even classes which teach

how to defend against an armed assailant

as we learn how to disarm an

attacker with a knife, pistol, or rifle,

just to name a few.

Although I am not a fan of fearmongering

of any kind, the fact of the

matter is that we live in a very scary

world and while we can’t change that

fact, we can take steps to learn how

to protect ourselves and our children.

And because Krav Maga is centered

around efficiency, quick thinking,

proximity, and acquired skill rather

than strength or brute force, it can be

learned by literally anyone – regardless

of size or innate strength. One

of the top trainers at Krav Maga Detroit

is a woman named Mallory who

looks to be about 110 pounds, soaking

wet, but was the first woman in

the state of Michigan to earn a Black

Belt in Krav Maga. As someone who

has taken her classes, I can tell you

firsthand she is not to be trifled with.

While some hold the notion that

learning a skill like this teaches children

to resort to violence when dealing

with peers, nothing can be further

from the truth. One of the core

principles in the practice of Krav

Maga is learning how to de-escalate

an altercation or escape the scene

before ever throwing a single strike.

This is especially beneficial for kids

and teens when dealing with bullies.

It is drilled into every practitioner’s

head, both child and adult, that it

is imperative to be able to identify

a perceived threat before it occurs,

escape, or try to calmly neutralize

the threat; you are taught to only use

physical self-defense when all else

has failed.

This year, as you look for new and

fun extracurricular activities for your

kids to partake in, I urge you to look

into Krav Maga. I began the practice

a little over 2 years ago and I can tell

you, it has completely changed my

life and the way I value it. My only

regret is that I didn’t start doing it decades

ago.

Contact Lisa at Krav Maga Detroit in

Troy at (248) 688-9501 to set up a free

introductory class for you and your

children.

38 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


WASH YOUR VEHICLE

AS OFTEN AS YOU WANT

FOR ONE LOW PRICE.

Sign up now at

Club Members

Save 25% off Detailing!

Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C.

Attorneys and Counselors at Law

CHALDEAN COMMUNITY

FOUNDATION

Young lungs

at play!

THIS IS A TOBACCO

FREE ZONE

NO SMOKING

NO VAPING

Do you support tobacco-free parks in Sterling Heights

to protect children and families from the dangers of

secondhand smoke? To learn more about this initiative,

call Stacy at the Chaldean Community Foundation 586-722-7253

Ronald G. Acho

racho@cmda-law.com

A TTORNEYS & C O UNSELORS AT LAW

Matthew C. Wayne

mwayne@cmda-law.com

TAXPAYER REPRESENTATION

bEfORE ADMINISTRATIvE AgENCIES

Attorneys at CMDA provide criminal, civil, and administrative

representation to taxpayers before the IRS, Michigan Department of

Treasury, and other taxing authorities. CMDA has obtained favorable

results for clients in matters ranging from tens of millions of dollars

in unreported income to proposed assessment of the trust fund

recovery penalty, from nonfiling of personal income taxes to offers in

compromise, from audit reconsideration to failure to report foreign

bank accounts, and everything in between.

Our experience, resources, and ability to provide proactive and timesensitive

analysis can ultimately make the difference in obtaining

successful results.

(734) 261-2400 • www.cmda-law.com • mwayne@cmda-law.

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 39


EVENT

1

3rd Annual

Chamber Golf Outing

2 3

On August 18, the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce

hosted their third annual benefit golf outing at

Wabeek Country Club. 140 golfers vied for the honor

of winning The Chaldean Cup, and the Absopure Team

came out on top. Many sponsors supported the event,

including Hollywood Greektown and Hollywood Toledo

Casinos, the presenting sponsors.

4 5

1. It was a bright and beautiful day for the muchanticipated

annual golf outing at Wabeek.

2. The winning team (Absopure) with Golf

Outing Committee Chair Matt Loussia (on left);

Ryan Yost, Bill Rabe, John “Butters” Bonczak.

3. The players who participated in the putting

contest. The winner, Cal Dabish, donated his

winnings back to the CACC.

4. Members of the presenting sponsor team,

from left to right: Dustin Huynh, Sam Arabo,

Robert Giles, Michele Keagy, Joseph Williams,

and Octaveious Miles.

5. Up for raffle was a trendy Vespa Sprint. 52

players went “all-in” on the playing card raffle

and Johny Kello was the lucky winner!

6. The John Loussia Cancer Foundation Team,

left to right: Diane Kello, Carol Loussia, Debbie

Leon, and Carol Boji.

6

40 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022


PROFESSIONALS PROFESSIONALS PROFESSIONALS PROFESSIONALS

Palladium

Financial GrouP, llc

MOrTGaGE brOKEr NMLS 128686

GabE GabriEl

NMLS 128715

30095 Northwestern Hwy, ste. 103

Farmington Hills , Michigan 48334

Office (248) 737-9500

Direct (248) 939-1985

Fax (248) 737-1868

Email MortgageGabe@aol.com

www.palladiumfinancialgroup.com

Safaa Macany

VP of Mortgage

Lending

o: (248) 216-1255

c: (248) 229-4422

smacany@rate.com

www.rate.com/SafaaMacany

30600 Northwestern Hwy

Suite 410

Farmington Hills, MI 48334

Guaranteed Rate NMLS: 2611 • NMLS ID: 138658, LO#: MI - 138658

Phone: (248) 851-2227

(248) 851-BCBS

Fax: (248) 851-2215

rockyhpip1@aol.com

ROCKY H. HUSAYNU

Professional Insurance Planners

Individual & Group Health Plans

Medicare Supplement Plans

31000 Northwestern Hwy. • Suite 110

Farmington Hills, Ml 48334

Over 40 years of experience.

Experience • Knowledge • Personal Service

Experience • Knowledge • Personal Service

TOP 1% OF REALTORS

2015 REAL ESTATE

IN OAKLAND

ALL STAR -

TOP TOP 1% OF 1% OF REALTORS IN

2015 2021 REAL ESTATE

COUNTY 1993 – 2015

HOUR MEDIA

OAKLAND IN OAKLAND COUNTY 2021

ALL STAR - –

COUNTY 1993 – 2015

Proudly servingHOUR Birmingham,

MEDIA

Bloomfield, Proudly Farmington serving Birmingham, Hills, Bloomfield,

Each office Each office is independently

is independently

West Bloomfield, Farmington the Hills, Lakes West Bloomfield, the

Proudly serving Birmingham,

Owned Owned and Operated and Operated Brian S. Yaldoo and surrounding Lakes and areas. surrounding areas.

Bloomfield, Farmington Hills,

Associated Broker

Each office is independently

West Bloomfield, the Lakes

Office (248)737-6800 Brian • Mobile S. Yaldoo

Owned and Operated

(248)752-4010

Toll Associated Brian Free (866) S. 762-3960 Yaldoo and surrounding areas.

Broker

Email: brianyaldoo@remax.com Associated Websites: Broker www.brianyaldoo.com

Office (248) www.BuyingOrSellingRealEstate.com

Office 737-6800 (248)737-6800 • Mobile (248)752-4010 (248) 752-4010

Email: Toll brianyaldoo@remax.net

Free (866) 762-3960

Email: brianyaldoo@remax.com www.BuyingOrSellingRealEstate.com

Websites: www.brianyaldoo.com

www.BuyingOrSellingRealEstate.com

ELIAS KATTOULA

CAREER SERVICES MANAGER

Jaguar Land Rover Troy

Sammi A. Naoum

1815 Maplelawn Drive

Troy, MI 48084

TEL 248-537-7467

MOBILE 248-219-5525

snaoum@suburbancollection.com

Angela Kakos

Producing Branch Manager - VP of Mortgage Lending

o: (248) 622-0704

rate.com/angelakakos

angela.kakos@rate.com

2456 Metropolitan Parkway, Sterling Heights, MI 48310

Guaranteed Rate Inc.; NMLS #2611; For licensing information visit

nmlsconsumeraccess.org. Equal Housing Lender. Conditions may apply • Angela Kakos

NMLS ID: 166374

CHALDEAN

AMERICAN

CHAMBER OF

COMMERCE

CHALDEAN COMMUNITY

FOUNDATION

CHALDEAN

AMERICAN

CHAMBER OF

COMMERCE

CHALDEAN COMMUNITY

FOUNDATION

SANA NAVARRETTE

DIRECTOR OF MEMBERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

30095 Northwestern Highway, Suite 101

Farmington Hills, MI 48334

CELL (248) 925-7773

TEL (248) 851-1200

FAX (248) 851-1348

snavarrette@chaldeanchamber.com

www.chaldeanchamber.com

www.chaldeanfoundation.org

3601 15 Mile Road

Sterling Heights, MI 48310

TEL: (586) 722-7253

FAX: (586) 722-7257

elias.kattoula@chaldeanfoundation.org

www.chaldeanfoundation.org

Advertise

for As little As $ 85

in our business directory section!

to place your ad, contact us today!

phone: 248-851-8600 fax: 248-851-1348

30095 Northwestern Highway, Suite 101

Farmington Hills, MI 48334

SANA NAVARRETTE

MEMBERSHIP MANAGER

ON THE RUN continued from page 24

daughter was born, prematurely, and

lived only eight days, leaving behind a

sadness that still reverberates.

In 2016, when Donald Trump was

running for president, they noticed

their Chaldean community rallying

behind him. “I am my aunt’s favorite

nephew,” Peter says with a smile.

“She’s very religious, and she started

telling me about Trump. The lobbyists

had started influencing the Chaldean

churches, and they told their members,

‘You have to vote Trump. He’s helping

us.’” Peter disagreed with his aunt and

30850 TELEGRAPH ROAD, SUITE 200

BINGHAM FARMS, MI 48025

TEL: (248) 996-8340 CELL: (248) 925-7773

FAX: (248) 996-8342

snavarrette@chaldeanchamber.com

www.chaldeanchamber.com

www.chaldeanfoundation.org

Twitter: @ChaldeanChamber

Instagram: @ChaldeanAmericanChamber

told her Trump was a con artist. “I’ve

never ever seen her so mad at me.”

In July 2016, at the Republican National

Convention, Trump accepted

the party’s nomination and delivered a

particularly xenophobic speech. At one

point he said something that directly

addressed Peter’s situation: “Nearly

180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal

records, ordered deported from

our country, are tonight roaming free

to threaten peaceful citizens.” Trump

promised deportations, construction

of the Southern U.S. border wall, and

tightened immigration restrictions.

Like the Michigan Chaldean community,

Peter’s co-workers were energized

about Trump. “I saw it right

away, what Trump was giving them,”

Peter says. “I was afraid.”

The rhetoric that had particularly

resonated with Peter’s aunt and her

church was Trump’s promise, again

and again, to help persecuted Middle

Eastern Christians. It paid off for him.

Traditionally Democratic, Michigan

favored Trump by 10,000 votes, the

smallest margin of any state, but

enough to have him carry all of its

electoral votes. A key part of that support

came from Macomb County, a

Chaldean stronghold. Mostly white

and blue-collar, the county is a political

bellwether. It swung right in 2016.

(In 2020, Joe Biden handily defeated

Trump by 154,000 votes in the state

of Michigan–a margin fifteen-times

higher than the previous election. But

Macomb County remained solidly red.)

On election night 2016, Peter went

to sleep when the tallying was still underway.

At 2 a.m. Mimi woke him, crying,

saying Trump had won.

“I’m f---ed,” he said.

Story to be continued in the October

issue of the Chaldean News.

SEPTEMBER 2022 CHALDEAN NEWS 41


FROM THE ARCHIVE

Dressing for the Part:

Village and City Outfits

In Iraq as in most parts of the world in the 1950s, the average person’s

wardrobe was made up of work clothes, play clothes, and special occasion

“dress-up” clothes. In addition, the getup someone wore in rural

parts was much different from their city duds. These two photos illustrate

how the attire changes with the environment. For the studio session, the

Atto Family represented their village with traditional dress and headpieces.

The family rooftop photo featured more modern dress.

On the right, (1925 Baghdad Studio) Seated are Ghazala George Qas

Hanna (with modern light dress) carrying little Raphael Atto, and Amina

Roumaya (dressed in the village head piece called the Quchma) carrying

Mary Atto. Standing is Hanna Rufa Atto (wearing a classic village head

piece called a Shmagh) along with his younger brother, Tobia Rufa Atto

(wearing the classic royal era Faisalya/Sedara).

Below, (1952-1953 Baghdad Home Rooftop) Tobia Ruffa Atto and

Ghazala George Qas Hanna (hands clasped) with their family of 6 (3 boys

+ 3 girls) taken on the rooftop of their house in an old Baghdad district of

Sabbabegh Al-Alle. In the background grows a classic Baghdadi Nabbug

tree (also called a Jujuba Ziziphus tropical tree) with sweet berry fruit.

42 CHALDEAN NEWS SEPTEMBER 2022

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!