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METRO DETROIT CHALDEAN COMMUNITY VOL. 20 ISSUE VII <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Fight<br />

or Flight<br />



IN IRAQ<br />

Featuring:<br />

Iraq Medical Mission<br />

The School Mindset<br />

Chaldean Kitchen



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Curated collection of interior themes<br />

Service pick up and delivery<br />

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1950 W Maple Rd. Troy, MI 48084<br />

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America’s largest arab<br />

and Chaldean law firm.<br />

أكبر مكتب محاماة عربي وكلداني في<br />

الواليات المتحدة االمريكية<br />

مكتب المحامي قاجي<br />

اتصل بنا على رقم<br />

877-525-9227<br />

Getting You Back to You.<br />

it’s Why We Care.<br />

نعيدك الى ماكنت عليه<br />

هذا هو سبب اهتمامنا<br />

Lawrence Kajy<br />

Attorney at Law<br />

املحامي لورنس قاجي<br />

877-KAJY-CARES / kajylaw.com<br />

<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 3































4 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

METRO DETROIT CHALDEAN COMMUNITY | <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> | VOL. 20 ISSUE VII<br />


20 Fight or Flight<br />

The War Over the Faithful in Iraq<br />

By Sarah Kittle<br />


6 From the Editor<br />

Diving Deeper<br />

By Sarah Kittle<br />

8 Guest Column<br />

N. Peter Antone<br />

Identifying Options for Our Students<br />

10 Foundation Update<br />

Karam Bahnam, Job Fair,<br />

Sports Programs, Talk‘n the Beat<br />

12 Noteworthy<br />

Denha Family Gift to Brother Rice,<br />

Dr. Sabah Abro & Savvy Sliders in TX<br />

14 Chaldean Digest<br />

Ankawa Youth, Ataturk on<br />

Disney+, Legal Group<br />

16 Iraq Today<br />

Protests Over Water Shutoff<br />

18 In Memoriam<br />

22 Culture & History<br />

Cardinal Sako Stands<br />

By Dr. Adhid Miri<br />

26 Chaldean Story<br />

Chaldean Cultural Roots<br />

By Sarah Kittle<br />

34 Economics and Enterprise<br />

Christina Roki:<br />

Motor City’s Media Maven<br />

By Cal Abbo<br />

38 Chaldean Kitchen<br />

Samira Cholagh: Food as Art<br />

By Z.Z. Dawod<br />

40 Sports<br />

Terrific Tennis Trio<br />

By Steve Stein<br />

42 New Americans<br />

Theoni Balasi<br />

By Susan Smith<br />

44 Family Time<br />

Beat the Heat<br />

By Valene Ayar<br />

46 Dr. Is In<br />

Candida Auris: Fungal<br />

infection in the news<br />

By Dr. Renee Jiddou<br />

50 Event<br />

Father Namir Narra’s Ordination<br />

Photos by Chaldean Diocese<br />

20<br />


28 Getting Back into<br />

the School Mindset<br />

By Crystal Kassab Jabiro<br />

30 Beyond Borders<br />

Reflections from a<br />

Transformative Iraq Mission Trip<br />

By Dr. Rena Daiza<br />

32 On Martyrs Day<br />

Remembering Seyfo<br />

By Chris Salem<br />

48 7 Mile’s Kabob King<br />

Tribute to Bahi Jarbo<br />

By Crystal Kassab Jabiro<br />

30<br />

38<br />

<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 5



Chaldean News, LLC<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

Martin Manna<br />



Sarah Kittle<br />


Cal Abbo<br />

N. Peter Antone<br />

Valene Ayar<br />

Dr. Rena Daiza<br />

Z.Z. Dawod<br />

Crystal Kassab Jabiro<br />

Dr. Renee Jiddou<br />

Sarah Kittle<br />

Dr. Adhid Miri<br />

Chris Salem<br />

Susan Smith<br />

Steve Stein<br />



Alex Lumelsky with SKY Creative<br />


Zina Lumelsky with SKY Creative<br />


Alex Lumelsky<br />

Wilson Sarkis<br />

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Subscriptions: $35 per year<br />


Story ideas: edit@chaldeannews.com<br />

Advertisements: ads@chaldeannews.com<br />

Subscription and all other inquiries:<br />

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Chaldean News<br />

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www.chaldeannews.com<br />

Phone: (248) 851-8600<br />

Publication: The Chaldean News (P-6);<br />

Published monthly; Issue Date: <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong><br />

Subscriptions: 12 months, $35.<br />

Publication Address:<br />

30095 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 101,<br />

Farmington Hills, MI 48334;<br />

Permit to mail at periodicals postage rates<br />

is on file at Farmington Hills Post Office<br />

Postmaster: Send address changes to<br />

“The Chaldean News 30095 Northwestern<br />

Hwy., Suite 101, Farmington Hills, MI 48334”<br />

Diving Deeper<br />

Startling news out of Iraq<br />

caught many off-guard<br />

mid-July; the Chaldean<br />

patriarch has removed himself<br />

from the capital of Baghdad<br />

and is now in a monastery in<br />

northern Iraq. Tensions had<br />

been brewing between Cardinal<br />

Louis Sako and the military<br />

leader who goes by Rayan<br />

al-Kildani for months, but the<br />

latest move by none other<br />

than the president of Iraq, Abdul Latif<br />

Rashid, threatens to strip the patriarch<br />

of any power over the Church’s holdings<br />

in the country. It is such a big story<br />

that all major international news outlets<br />

have covered it in depth, and so have we.<br />

Dr. Adhid Miri goes into detail on the<br />

history of al-Kildani and why the patriarch<br />

so strongly opposes any connection<br />

of Rayan to the Chaldean Church<br />

in his Culture & History article, “Cardinal<br />

Sako Stands Against Conquest<br />

and Confiscation.” Unfortunately, that<br />

struggle is not the only one facing Iraqis<br />

currently, as water supplies are shutoff<br />

despite unbearable heat due to climate<br />

change. Read about it in Iraq Today.<br />

We also explore Chaldean cultural<br />

roots in our inaugural piece for the<br />

“Chaldean Story,” a brand-new series<br />

made possible by a grant from Michigan<br />

Humanities Grants’ “Great Michigan<br />

Stories” initiative. This first story in the<br />

series stretches back to ancient Mesopotamia,<br />

where many of civilization’s<br />

‘firsts’ were recorded. Look for follow-up<br />

stories on Chaldean entrepreneurship,<br />

culture, and spirituality in future issues.<br />


EDITOR<br />

IN CHIEF<br />

Speaking of spirituality,<br />

on our Event page, we bring<br />

you photos of the recent ordination<br />

of Father Namir Narra,<br />

courtesy of the Chaldean<br />

Catholic Diocese. And on<br />

this 90th anniversary of the<br />

Semele Massacre, we mourn<br />

those that lost their lives<br />

to this undeniable tragedy.<br />

Chris Salem pens a heartfelt<br />

plea that we remember this<br />

historical event and gives a framework<br />

to the treasure of stories that was likely<br />

lost in its aftermath.<br />

In Chaldean Digest, we report on a<br />

youth group meeting in Ankawa and<br />

on protests regarding a film scheduled<br />

to run on Disney+ about the founder<br />

of modern-day Turkey, Mustafa Kemal<br />

Ataturk. Protesters say he is portrayed<br />

in the film as a hero, while to the Greeks,<br />

Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Aramaeans,<br />

Maronites, and other Christians<br />

of his time, he was anything but.<br />

Previously, we brought you stories<br />

of Chaldean Town, the stretch of 7 Mile<br />

that was an early home to the community.<br />

On the passing of Bahi Jarbo, the “Kabob<br />

King,” Crystal Kassab Jabiro paints a<br />

beautiful picture of a life well lived.<br />

In “Beyond Borders,” Dr. Rena Daiza<br />

blesses us with her own personal account<br />

leading a recent medical mission<br />

trip to Iraq, which was, in the author’s<br />

own words, “transformative.” The purpose<br />

of the visit was not only to give<br />

medical care to the needy in Iraq, but to<br />

educate people about the importance of<br />

obtaining proper care, including dental<br />

care and mental health checkups, and<br />

how crucial it is to follow a healthy diet.<br />

The team from the U.S. met with government<br />

officials and health ministers<br />

and toured medical schools and universities,<br />

all the while feeling a connection<br />

to the land as well as the people.<br />

In the next installment of Chaldean<br />

Kitchen, reporter Z. Z. Dawod takes us<br />

into the kitchen of Samira Cholagh as<br />

she prepares Pikota Habbia Kashka, a<br />

traditional cooked barley dish. Samira<br />

is a food artist, however, and her take<br />

on the dish is anything but traditional.<br />

Also earning the label ‘untraditional’<br />

is Christina Roki, a young woman<br />

who has made a name for herself as an<br />

influencer on social media in the niche<br />

market of automotive engineering and<br />

aesthetics, as reported by Cal Abbo in<br />

our Economics & Enterprise section.<br />

Fittingly, this first-generation Chaldean<br />

American dynamo taught herself about<br />

cars by watching videos on You Tube.<br />

Rounding out our August issue, we<br />

have articles on gearing up for school<br />

(“Getting Back in the School Mindset”<br />

and “Identifying Options for Our<br />

Students”), a terrific story about three<br />

terrific tennis players (“Terrific Tennis<br />

Trio”), a short piece about a 90-yearold<br />

who recently gained citizenship<br />

through the Chaldean Community<br />

Foundation (“New Americans”), and<br />

tips on beating the late-summer heat<br />

(“Family Time”).<br />

We hope you enjoy this latest edition<br />

as much as we enjoyed putting it<br />

together for you.<br />

Sarah Kittle<br />

Editor in Chief<br />




6 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>


Join the<br />

Publishers Circle<br />

As the publication of record for Michigan’s<br />

Chaldean community, the mission of the<br />

Chaldean News is to preserve and archive<br />

Chaldean heritage and history, and to tell the<br />

ongoing story of Chaldean contributions to the<br />

communities in which we live and work — in Michigan<br />

and around the world.<br />

Since being acquired by the Chaldean Community<br />

Foundation in 2019, the Chaldean News has substantially<br />

increased its readership and social media following,<br />

introduced new digital and website content, and expanded<br />

storytelling with the help of small grant funding.<br />

The Publisher’s Circle initiative empowers community members<br />

to provide major support for the Chaldean News and its<br />

important mission. With the generous help of individuals and<br />

organizations, together, we can ensure that this vital resource<br />

continues to educate and connect the community, while<br />

evolving to meet the needs of future generations.<br />

The Chaldean News has ambitious plans which include<br />

launching a CN app and continuing to expand into new<br />

media such as radio and TV, all with the goal of preserving<br />

our culture and telling the story of our people. You<br />

can take part in helping to preserve your Chaldean<br />

heritage by joining the Publisher’s Circle today.<br />

Jibran “Jim” Manna<br />

Martin and Tamara Manna<br />

We are grateful for the generous and<br />

continuing support of our community.<br />

To learn more, visit chaldeannews.com<br />

or contact us at 248-851-8600<br />

Let’s grow the circle.<br />

<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 7


Chaldean News is proud to present the first-ever<br />

Chaldeans Rising: Young Writers Challenge,<br />

a writing competition that invites bright young<br />

minds between the ages 14-25 to write a unique<br />

essay about their perspective on the Chaldean<br />

community and share their visionary ideas for<br />

the future. Through this competition, we aim to<br />

inspire imagination, spur critical thinking, and<br />

create unity within our community.<br />


Teens (age range 14-18 at time of submission)<br />

Young Adults (age range 19-25 at time of submission)<br />


Essays should be between 500 and 1500 words and<br />

may be written on any topic related to our community.<br />

Visit chaldeannews.com/writingcontest (QR code below)<br />

for topic suggestions and prompts.<br />


chaldeannews.com/writingcontest<br />


October 31, <strong>2023</strong><br />

PRIZES<br />

1. $500 cash for top entry in each category<br />

2. Select essays placed in a time capsule, to be opened in 2073<br />

3. Top essayists to be profiled in the Chaldean News<br />

4. Opportunity to contribute to community projects<br />

5. All contributors celebrated on CN social media channels<br />

Prizes will be distributed after the winners<br />

are announced in December of <strong>2023</strong>.<br />





RISING<br />

Young writers<br />

challenge<br />

WIN<br />

$100!<br />

$500!<br />

Identifying Options<br />

for Our Students<br />

N. PETER<br />

ANTONE<br />



NEWS<br />

With the school year<br />

about to begin, the<br />

Chaldean News decided<br />

to explore the issue of<br />

whether our Chaldean kids<br />

are making the best of the opportunities<br />

offered to them in<br />

school. To assist us in this endeavor,<br />

we sought the opinion<br />

of two prominent educators.<br />

One is Crystal Jabiro, a certified<br />

teacher at West Bloomfield<br />

Middle School who possesses<br />

a master’s degree and<br />

is working toward obtaining her Doctorate<br />

Degree in Education. Crystal<br />

is focusing on issues related to Chaldean<br />

and Assyrian students—exploring<br />

education<br />

gaps, diversity, and<br />

social justice. The other<br />

educator, Andrew Najor,<br />

is a Teacher-of-the-Year<br />

award winner at Key’s<br />

Grace Academy in Madison<br />

Heights.<br />

Both educators emphasized<br />

the importance<br />

of parents’ involvement<br />

in their kids’ student careers.<br />

Many schools offer<br />

an abundance of opportunities,<br />

such as afterschool<br />

tutoring, career<br />

pathways, college application<br />

assistance, afterschool<br />

activities, sports, and student<br />

clubs, among others.<br />

Our Chaldean kids might not be<br />

aware of all these options available to<br />

them or might not have thought of getting<br />

involved in any of them. Parental<br />

involvement could not only help make<br />

kids aware of the available opportunities,<br />

it could also encourage them to<br />

be more involved in and to take advantage<br />

of these opportunities.<br />

Schools are meant to prepare our<br />

kids for the future once they graduate.<br />

While America is already a melting pot<br />

of many different cultures, our society<br />

is becoming more diverse in terms of<br />

national background, culture, and<br />

race, and is becoming more accepting<br />

of non-traditional sexual<br />

orientations and gender<br />

identities.<br />

It will be important for<br />

our kids to be able to communicate,<br />

work, and interact<br />

with such diverse groups of<br />

individuals. Schools offer an<br />

opportunity for such interaction<br />

and enable our kids<br />

to understand others who<br />

might be different from them.<br />

Parents could encourage<br />

their kids to be more involved<br />

and to interact with others and should<br />

resist the temptation to have their kids<br />

befriend only other Chaldeans.<br />

While it is natural for our kids<br />

to befriend other Chaldeans due to<br />

shared culture, it is important for both<br />

parents and kids to avoid isolating<br />

themselves from others who might be<br />

different from them.<br />

Both educators with whom we<br />

spoke explained that many Chaldean<br />

parents are not as involved in their<br />

kids’ schools as they can or should be.<br />

Mr. Najor explained that many Chaldean<br />

kids in his school are excelling<br />

in their involvement in such activities<br />

as student council, and after school<br />

clubs. Still, others need the continuous<br />

support, involvement, and encouragement<br />

of their parents. It is a<br />

topic worth discussing.<br />

8 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 9


Ball ’N Out<br />

This year, the CCF is pleased to offer two separate<br />

programs two afternoons each week for<br />

both boys and girls.<br />

Through generous support from the Good<br />

Sports Foundation, girls in our community<br />

are learning basic volleyball skills. The Good<br />

Sports Foundation donated over twenty-six<br />

pairs of shoes and outfits, volleyballs, and nets.<br />

Each participant in the program received a new<br />

pair of gym shoes and a complete volleyball<br />

outfit, to help the girls feel more like a team.<br />

The goal is to make a very real impact on the<br />

empowerment, self-esteem, and self-respect of<br />

teen girls through mindful movement and creative<br />

expression.<br />

The Good Sports Foundation did not forget<br />

boys, either. Over thirty middle school boys are<br />

learning more about the game of basketball, including<br />

basic skills and teamwork. They’ve also<br />

Above: The boys’ basketball program.<br />

Top of page: Girls playing volleyball.<br />

discovered a place to make new friends! We are<br />

grateful for the additional support of the Good<br />

Sports Foundation to outfit the boys and update<br />

the basketball equipment. This year’s basketball<br />

program includes participants from last year<br />

and many boys that are new to the sport. With<br />

all the same basketball coaches having returned<br />

from last summer, parents feel comfortable, and<br />

the program has doubled in size.<br />

Talk’n the Beat<br />

with the Sterling<br />

Heights Police<br />

Department<br />

Stacy Bahri, Strategic Initiatives<br />

Manager at the Chaldean Community<br />

Foundation, joined Officers Larry<br />

Reynolds and Kevin Coates of the<br />

Sterling Heights Police Department<br />

on their fourth episode of the Talk’n<br />

the Beat podcast. Scan the QR code<br />

below to learn more about the Chaldean<br />

community’s journey to Southeast<br />

Michigan, entrepreneurship, and<br />

the support provided to more than<br />

40,000 individuals annually through<br />

the Chaldean Community Foundation.<br />

CCF to Honor Karam<br />

Bahnam at this Year’s<br />

5th Annual Awards Gala<br />

The Chaldean Community Foundation is happy<br />

to announce that it will honor the achievements<br />

of Karam Bahnam at the 5th Annual<br />

Awards Gala on Friday, September 22 at the<br />

Palazzo Grande. Karam is a successful entrepreneur<br />

who has devoted his life to inspiring<br />

others to deepen their faith. He is a founding<br />

member of the Eastern Catholic Re-Evangelization<br />

Center (ECRC), an organization spearheaded<br />

by the Chaldean Catholic Diocese. His<br />

dedication to ECRC and other charitable endeavors has made a<br />

large impact on the Chaldean Catholic and broader communities.<br />

For gala sponsorship inquires, visit www. chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

or call Jubilee Jackson at 586.722.7253.<br />

Safie Specialty<br />

Foods Job Fair<br />

Looking for a job, or looking for employees? We can help! The<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation hosted a job fair for Safie Specialty<br />

Foods on Wednesday, July 5. Guests were encouraged to try<br />

Safie’s delicious food items ranging from pickles and asparagus<br />

to carrots and their famous beets, all while learning about the<br />

company’s culture. With the CCF’s help, twenty-eight job seekers<br />

filled out applications and some even interviewed with Safie<br />

Foods’ HR management. Three people from that event have already<br />

been hired.<br />

For more information regarding future job fairs at the Chaldean<br />

Community Foundation, contact Elias Kattoula at 586-722-7253.<br />

Upcoming Events<br />

Karam Bahnam<br />

is the CCF’s<br />

<strong>2023</strong> Honoree.<br />

Safie Specialty Foods products are displayed at the CCF job<br />

fair on July 5.<br />

CCF’s Stacy Bahri with officers Reynolds and Coates<br />

from the Sterling Heights Police Department.<br />

August 10 - Warren Consolidated Schools Back to School Event<br />

August 17 - Utica Community Schools Back to School Event<br />

September 22 – 5th Annual Awards Gala<br />

September 27 - Community Job Fair<br />

10 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 11


Denhas Make Generous Gift to Brother Rice<br />

It is with great appreciation for the living example of their parents that John (Class of ‘87), Jeff (Class of ‘89), and Chris (Class of<br />

‘90) have made a magnanimous $500,000 gift to Brother Rice High School in honor of their parents, Mike and Nedal Denha. This is<br />

evidence of the commitment of the Denha Family to the community and their investment in the future of Brother Rice High School.<br />

The Denha Family at the<br />

2022 Chaldean American<br />

Chamber of Commerce<br />

Awards Dinner, where Mike<br />

was honored as Businessperson<br />

of the Year.<br />

Dr. Sabah<br />

Abro named<br />

Chair at<br />

Lawrence<br />

Technological<br />

University<br />

Dr. Sabah Abro<br />

A search committee established to hire a<br />

chairperson for the department of Engineering<br />

Technology in the College of Engineering<br />

at Lawrence Technological University has concluded<br />

the search. After going through over<br />

a dozen applicants from all over the United<br />

States, Dr. Sabah Abro was offered and accepted<br />

the position.<br />

Dr. Abro has five degrees and certifications<br />

from five different countries: a bachelor’s<br />

degree from Baghdad University; a master’s<br />

degree from the United Nations Institute in<br />

Kuwait; a master’s from University of Wales<br />

in the UK; and a Ph.D. from The Catholic University<br />

of Louvain in Belgium. He also has a<br />

Master Black Belt certification in Six Sigma<br />

Engineering Quality from the US.<br />

Dr. Abro has taught in positions at several<br />

universities in the Middle East and the United<br />

States. He has been working full time at LTU<br />

since 2000.<br />

Savvy Sliders in Texas<br />

Happy Asker and Steve<br />

Kherkher open the first<br />

Savvy Sliders in San Antonio,<br />

Texas on June 22.<br />

Savvy Sliders’ founder and CEO Happy Asker started with a dream and a strong vision to reimagine what a<br />

slider should be. In 2018, he opened his first Savvy Sliders location in Commerce Township, Michigan. Today,<br />

Savvy Sliders has 35 locations in Metro Detroit with 30 more in development in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee,<br />

Florida, and Texas. The growth of the company has made it the fastest growing slider brand in America.<br />

A recent San Antonio opening—the brand’s first location in the Lone Star State—witnessed the highest-volume<br />

debut in the company’s five-year history.<br />

12 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>




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<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 13


American<br />

Armenians Call<br />

for Cancelation<br />

of Disney’s<br />

Upcoming<br />

Ataturk Series<br />

Ankawa Youth Meeting<br />

The annual Ankawa Youth Meeting in<br />

Iraq ended with a captivating Divine<br />

Liturgy led by Chaldean Archbishop<br />

of Erbil, Bashar Warda, alongside participating<br />

clergy.<br />

Recognized as the largest gathering<br />

of Chaldean–Syriac–Assyrian<br />

youth, this year’s event took place at<br />

the esteemed Mor Elijah Chaldean<br />

Shrine. Over a thousand young men<br />

and women from various Chaldean<br />

archdioceses in Iraq eagerly participated.<br />

The meeting featured enlightening<br />

speeches by clergy, engaging interventions,<br />

and thought-provoking dialogue<br />

sessions among the youth. In addition,<br />

the vibrant talents of the youth from<br />

different parishes were showcased,<br />

along with a variety of enjoyable entertainment<br />

activities.<br />

Concluding the event, Chaldean<br />

Archbishop Bashar Warda delivered<br />

Chaldean Youth of Erbil<br />

an impassioned speech, expressing<br />

heartfelt gratitude to all those<br />

who contributed to the success of<br />

the meeting. He emphasized the<br />

vital role of the youth in Christian<br />

upbringing, underscoring their significance<br />

in shaping the future of the<br />

faith community. Archbishop Warda<br />

concluded, “Our Church will always<br />

be strong and alive.”<br />

– Syriac Press<br />

The Armenian National Committee of<br />

America (ANCA) has called on Disney<br />

to cancel its upcoming series about<br />

the life of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the<br />

founding father of the modern Turkish<br />

state, according to Greek Reporter.<br />

The ANCA accused<br />

Disney of glorifying<br />

a “dictator and<br />

genocide killer.” The<br />

series is scheduled<br />

for release on October<br />

29 this year, to coincide<br />

with the 100th<br />

anniversary of the<br />

Republic of Turkey. Mustafa Kemal<br />

Disney has made Atatürk, c. 1918.<br />

no indication that it<br />

will consider canceling the series.<br />

“Calling on Disney Plus to cancel<br />

its series glorifying Mustafa Kemal<br />

Ataturk – a Turkish dictator and genocide<br />

killer with the blood of millions of<br />

Greek, Armenian, Assyrian, Chaldean,<br />

Syriac, Aramean, Maronite, and other<br />

Christian martyrs on his hands,” the<br />

ANCA wrote on Twitter.<br />

– News.am<br />


Inaugural<br />

Gathering<br />

of Arab and<br />

Chaldean<br />

Legal Group<br />

In May, a group of more than 20 Michigan<br />

judges of Arab and Chaldean descent<br />

got together for an inaugural<br />

meeting of the Arab-American Judges<br />

Association of Michigan (AAJAM). The<br />

AAJAM is the result of an effort to bring<br />

together judges of Arab American and<br />

Chaldean ancestry, according to founders<br />

of the organization. Its mission is to<br />

promote diverse judicial leadership and<br />

foster social, professional, and personal<br />

development among members. Relatedly,<br />

the AAJOM hopes to encourage Arab<br />

Americans and Chaldeans to pursue<br />

legal careers and organize education,<br />

mentorship, and outreach programs.<br />

– LegalNews.com<br />

Pictured in the front row, l-r, are Wayne County Circuit Judges Charlene Elder and Yvonna Abraham, Michigan Administrative<br />

Law Judge Zainab Beydoun, and Magistrate Rula Aoun of the 19th District Court. Appearing (l-r) in the back<br />

are Judge Michael Hatty of the 44th District Court, Wayne County Circuit Judge Adel Harb, U.S. District Judge Hala<br />

Jarbou, Magistrate Mona Fadlallah of the 20th District Court, Judge Diane D’Agostini of the 48th District Court, Wayne<br />

Court Circuit Judge Susan Dabaja, Judge Gene Hunt of the 19th District Court, Oakland County Circuit Judge Yasmine<br />

Poles, Judge Sam Salamey of the 19th District Court, retired U.S. Magistrate Mona Majzoub, Judge David Turfe, Oakland<br />

County Probate Chief Judge Linda Hallmark, Wayne County Circuit Judge David Allen, Judge Alyia Hakim of the<br />

39th District Court, Wayne County Circuit Judge Helal Fahat, Macomb County Circuit Judge Tracey Yokich, Magistrate<br />

Ali Hammoud of the 19th District Court, and Wayne County Circuit Judge Edward Joseph.<br />

14 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

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<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 15



A protest against the cutting of Iraq’s water supplies outside the Turkish Embassy in the Green Zone, Tuesday, July 18, <strong>2023</strong>, in Baghdad, Iraq.<br />

Sun-baked Iraqis Protest Water<br />

and Electricity Shortages<br />

France24.com<br />

Baghdad (AFP) – Despite punishingly<br />

high temperatures, dozens of Iraqis<br />

took to the streets of Baghdad on July<br />

18 to protest water and electricity<br />

shortages, and to blame Turkey for reduced<br />

flow of rivers.<br />

Designated by the United Nations<br />

as one of the five countries in the world<br />

most touched by some effects of climate<br />

change, Iraq is experiencing its fourth<br />

consecutive summer of drought.<br />

“We have come to peacefully protest<br />

and demand water from the government<br />

and the source countries,”<br />

Najeh Jawda Khalil told AFP around<br />

midday as temperatures neared 50 degrees<br />

Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).<br />

“The agricultural regions and<br />

marshes are gone,” said Khalil, who<br />

travelled to the Iraqi capital from the<br />

central province of Babylon for the<br />

march. “There is neither electricity<br />

nor water.”<br />

In addition to declining rainfall<br />

and rising temperatures, Iraqi authorities<br />

say upstream dam construction by<br />

Turkey and Iran has affected the volume<br />

of water in the Tigris and Euphrates<br />

rivers through Iraq. “If the Turkish<br />

government continues to deprive<br />

Iraqis of water, we will move towards<br />

internationalizing the water problem<br />

and boycotting Turkish products,”<br />

read a sign at the demonstration.<br />

Summer in Iraq is a prime example<br />

of the convergence of multiple crises<br />

weighing down the lives of the 43-million<br />

strong population: rising temperatures,<br />

severe water shortages and<br />

a dilapidated electricity sector -- exacerbated<br />

by rampant corruption and<br />

public mismanagement.<br />

“Twenty years and the electricity<br />

crisis repeats itself every year,” read<br />

another banner, referring to the time<br />

passed since the fall of dictator Saddam<br />

Hussein in a US-led invasion.<br />

In addition to<br />

declining rainfall and<br />

rising temperatures,<br />

Iraqi authorities<br />

say upstream dam<br />

construction by<br />

Turkey and Iran has<br />

affected the volume<br />

of water in the Tigris<br />

and Euphrates rivers<br />

through Iraq.<br />

Ravaged by decades of conflict, oilrich<br />

Iraq relies on Iranian gas imports<br />

for a third of its energy needs.<br />

Generally, power cuts can last up to<br />

10 hours a day. But every summer when<br />

the thermometer climbs, the supply of<br />

public electricity worsens. Only those<br />

who can afford it are able to connect<br />

their houses to neighborhood generators<br />

to make up for the poor supply.<br />

Water shortages have fueled tensions<br />

between Turkey and Iraq, which demands<br />

Ankara release more water from<br />

upstream dams along the rivers.<br />

“Currently, Iraq only receives 35<br />

percent of its water rights. This means<br />

that Iraq has lost 65 percent of its<br />

water, whether it’s from the Tigris or<br />

the Euphrates,” Khaled Chamal, the<br />

spokesman for the Ministry of Water<br />

Resources, has told AFP.<br />

In the summer of 2022, the Turkish<br />

ambassador to Baghdad sparked outrage<br />

after accusing Iraqis of wasting<br />

water and urging “the modernization<br />

of irrigation systems.” Experts say he<br />

may have a point. Iraqi farmers flood<br />

their fields, rather than irrigate them,<br />

which is more efficient.<br />

16 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>2023</strong>07_18-CFCU-MoneyMarket-PRINT_ChaldeanNews-FINAL.pdf 1 7/18/23 2:15 PM<br />

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CMY<br />

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<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 17


Shango (Shawn) Elias<br />

Shango<br />

Jul 1, 1938 –<br />

Jun 23, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Joza Lazou<br />

Jul 1, 1940 –<br />

Jun 25, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Thomas Habib<br />

Shahara<br />

Dec 21, 1942 –<br />

Jun 26, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Mariam<br />

Alhakim<br />

Dec 21, 1933 –<br />

Jun 27, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Samira George<br />

Jul 1, 1941 –<br />

Jun 27, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Salem Jirjis Meram<br />

Mar 5, 1939 –<br />

Jun 27, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Richard Michael<br />

Namin<br />

Nov 22, 1949 –<br />

Jun 27, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Vivian Bunni Jamil<br />

Feb 5, 1961 –<br />

Jun 28, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Majed Hermiz Beba<br />

Feb 7, 1953 –<br />

Jun 29, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Mary Kiryakoza<br />

Jabero<br />

Jan 20, 1933 –<br />

Jun 29, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Maree Naoom<br />

Jul 1, 1938 –<br />

Jun 29, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Wardiya Jamil<br />

Jul 1, 1932 –<br />

Jun 30, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Habbee Yousif–Zora<br />

Khabbaz<br />

Jul 1, 1938 –<br />

Jun 30, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Nabeel “John”<br />

Shaboo<br />

Dec 25, 1960 –<br />

Jun 30, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Youash Dawood<br />

Shapoo<br />

Jul 1, 1934 –<br />

Jun 30, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Rozah Khamo<br />

Mansour<br />

Jun 7, 1938 –<br />

Jul 1, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Samir Samer Kada<br />

Feb 21, 1980 –<br />

Jul 3, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Naima Ayar Sandiha<br />

Jan 1, 1930 –<br />

Jul 4, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Dr. Justin Joseph<br />

Bahoora<br />

Mar 12, 1987 –<br />

Jul 5, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Yelda Konja<br />

Jul 1, 1939 –<br />

Jul 7, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Ghazi Nasir Krikor<br />

Jul 1, 1929 –<br />

Jul 7, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Amira Bakko Haio<br />

May 1, 1946 –<br />

Jul 8, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Amanuel<br />

Esittaifo Yonan<br />

Jul 1, 1951 –<br />

Jul 9, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Shamasha Yousif<br />

Hermez Bashi<br />

Mar 19, 1928 –<br />

Jul 11, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Shamoon Shammo<br />

Mar 11, 1946 –<br />

Jul 12, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Nada Sharrak Odish<br />

Sep 21, 1964 –<br />

Jul 12, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Faiza Tobia<br />

Haba Najar<br />

Jul 1, 1949 –<br />

Jul 14, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Wadeea Samaan<br />

Lossia<br />

Jan 22, 1946 –<br />

Jul 11, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Sharkia Samona Ouro<br />

Jul 1, 1933 –<br />

Jul 14, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Najiba Roufa Lossia<br />

Jul 15, 1929 –<br />

Jul 15, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Nouria Kassab<br />

Yatooma<br />

May 1, 1933 –<br />

Jul 15, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Ablahad “Bahi” Jarbo<br />

Dec 10, 1947 –<br />

Jul 18, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Sameerah Elias<br />

Mansoor Yaldo<br />

Jun 29, 1941 –<br />

Jul 20, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Fawzi “Frank Paul”<br />

Gabbara<br />

Apr 13, 1954 –<br />

Jul 21, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Dinkha Somo Isho<br />

Jun 6, 1958 –<br />

Jul 21, <strong>2023</strong><br />

18 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

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<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 19


Left: His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphaël Sako,<br />

patriarch of Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic church,<br />

moments before his enthroning ceremony at St.<br />

Joseph’s Church in central Baghdad, Iraq, in 2013.<br />

Below: Open letter to the Iraqi president.<br />

Fight or Flight<br />

The War Over the Faithful in Iraq<br />


It was mid-July when Iraqi President Abdul Latif<br />

Rashid revoked a decree that gave state recognition<br />

to His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphaël<br />

Sako, the Patriarch of the Chaldean Church. The<br />

decree had given recognition to the patriarch’s appointment<br />

by the Holy See as head of the Chaldean<br />

Church “in Iraq and the world” and thus, “responsible<br />

for the assets of the Church.” Why did Rashid<br />

do that, and what does it mean for Iraq’s dwindling<br />

Christian population?<br />

The Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Catholic<br />

Church elected Mar Sako to succeed Mar Emmanuel<br />

III Delly as Patriarch of Babylon in February 2013.<br />

Pope Benedict XVI gave his assent to the election<br />

and granted him ecclesiastical communion as required<br />

by the canon law for Eastern-rite Catholic<br />

churches in recognition of their union with the<br />

wider Catholic Church. That same year, Iraq’s thenpresident<br />

Jalal Talabani issued a decree giving state<br />

recognition to Mar Sako as Patriarch of the Chaldean<br />

Church.<br />


The Revocation<br />

On July 15 of this year, Iraq’s President Abdul Latif<br />

Rashid announced the revocation of the government’s<br />

2013 decree formally recognizing Mar Sako<br />

as Patriarch. Rashid claimed that the decision to<br />

revoke the decree was made to correct a constitutional<br />

error; he says as president, he has no right to<br />

appoint or recognize religious leaders. According to<br />

the press office of the Chaldean Patriarchate, such<br />

proclamations have been issued since Ottoman<br />

times and are still very common ways of recognizing<br />

the legitimacy of the leadership of minority religions<br />

in the region today.<br />

Rashid claims that his revocation does not<br />

change Sako’s status as patriarch since he was duly<br />

elected by the Chaldean Synod and confirmed by<br />

Pope Francis. He further stated his decision was because<br />

the Patriarch’s office is not recognized by the<br />

Iraqi Constitution.<br />

Rashid had recently rejected requests for comparable<br />

decrees from the Patriarchs of the Assyrian<br />

Church and the Old Assyrian Church; notably, these<br />

would be new decrees as opposed to the decade-old<br />

decree that was revoked.<br />

Mar Sako, who has been outspoken about the<br />

Iraqi government’s failure to protect its Christian<br />

population, viewed the revocation as an extension<br />

of the government’s ongoing “deliberate and humiliating<br />

campaign” against him. Others cited complex<br />

political maneuvering within the Iraqi government<br />

and through the leader of the Babylon Movement.<br />

Patriarch Mar Sako emphatically defends his<br />

right as patriarch to administer the affairs of his<br />

community and to have full state recognition.<br />

In a letter to the Iraqi president, His Beatitude said<br />

that he is appealing the decree’s revocation to Iraq’s<br />

judiciary and wrote to Rashid, “I believe the legal advice<br />

that was given to Your Excellency is incorrect and<br />

it wanted to undermine your stature<br />

and the Christian component.”<br />

In response to the revocation,<br />

which Sako the Patriarch called<br />

“unprecedented in the history of<br />

Iraq,” he announced he was leaving<br />

Baghdad to take up residence<br />

in Iraqi Kurdistan. In his statement,<br />

the Patriarch condemned the government’s<br />

silence over what he<br />

described as a campaign against<br />

him. He has “decided to withdraw<br />

from the seat of the patriarchate in<br />

Baghdad,” the statement said, and<br />

would instead settle at one of the<br />

monasteries in Kurdistan, where he<br />

will continue to lead the Chaldean<br />

Catholic Church.<br />

The Faithful’s Response<br />

In a statement issued July 15, Mar<br />

Sako called the president’s action<br />

— which calls into question his<br />

ability to control Church assets in<br />

the country — “unprecedented”<br />

and “unfair.”<br />

20 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>


His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphaël Sako (second from left), with Lt. Gen. Abdul-<br />

Wahab al-Saadi (right), and Gen. Abdel Ghani al-Asadi (second from right),<br />

of Iraq’s elite counterterrorism forces visit a church damaged by Islamic State<br />

fighters, in Bartella, Iraq.<br />

“It is unfortunate that we in Iraq<br />

live in the midst of a wide network<br />

of self-interest, narrow factionalism,<br />

and hypocrisy that has produced an<br />

unprecedented political, national,<br />

and moral chaos, which is rooted<br />

by now more and more,” Mar Sako<br />

wrote. “Therefore, I have decided to<br />

withdraw from the patriarchal headquarters<br />

in Baghdad.”<br />

“I call on Christians to remain in<br />

their faith, which is their consolation,<br />

strength, light, and life, and on<br />

their national identity until the storm<br />

passes with the help of God,” Sako<br />

added. “May God help the helpless<br />

Christians and Iraqis.”<br />

There are an estimated 300,000<br />

Chaldean Catholics in Iraq, and, according<br />

to the U.S. Commission on International<br />

Religious Freedom report,<br />

they make up 80% of the Christian<br />

population in the country.<br />

The U.S. State Department’s Matthew<br />

Miller said at a press conference<br />

that the department was “disturbed<br />

by the harassment of Cardinal Sako,<br />

the patriarch of the Chaldean Church,<br />

and troubled by the news that he has<br />

left Baghdad.” He went to say, “We<br />

look forward to his safe return. The<br />

Iraqi Christian community is a vital<br />

part of Iraq’s identity and a central<br />

part of Iraq’s history of diversity and<br />

tolerance.<br />

“I will say we are in continuous<br />

contact with Iraqi leaders on this matter,”<br />

Miller stated. “We are concerned<br />

that the cardinals’ position as a respected<br />

leader of the Church is under<br />

attack from a number of quarters,<br />

in particular, a militia leader who is<br />

sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky<br />

Act.”<br />

Iraqi Christian rights activist Diya<br />

Butrus Slewa, speaking to The Christian<br />

Post, called the action “a political<br />

maneuver to seize the remainder<br />

of what Christians have left in Iraq<br />

and Baghdad and to expel them. Unfortunately,<br />

this is a blatant targeting<br />

of the Christians and a threat to their<br />

rights,” Slewa said.<br />

“We hope the Iraqi presidency<br />

hears our people and revokes this (decision)<br />

as soon as possible, otherwise<br />

it will become an international matter<br />

and the Vatican will get involved,”<br />

Slewa added.<br />

“Personally, I believe the approach<br />

to revoking the decree was flawed,”<br />

Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda<br />

said in a statement. “The President<br />

of the Republic could have convened<br />

a meeting with all the Church leaders<br />

to explain the history of these decrees<br />

and his decision to retract them. Instead,<br />

the matter was played out in the<br />

media, leading the Patriarch to interpret<br />

this action as punitive,” he wrote.<br />

The Chaldean bishops in the U.S.,<br />

Europe, and Asia issued a letter of<br />

their own urging Rashid to reverse his<br />

decision.<br />

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<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN 7/7/<strong>2023</strong> NEWS 10:17:21 AM


Pope Francis greets His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphaël Sako, patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, in the library of<br />

the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican on Feb. 18, 2022.<br />

Cardinal Sako Stands Against<br />

Conquest and Confiscation<br />


In geography books, there are references<br />

to historical events which<br />

have changed the borders of certain<br />

countries. In history books, there<br />

are chapters in which reference is<br />

made to geographical conditions at a<br />

particular time. History and geography<br />

are not independent. In fact, one<br />

could say that history is written on the<br />

pages of geography, and those who<br />

control the geography of an area write<br />

their own history.<br />

The Iraq of the past, heralded for<br />

the coexistence of its people within<br />

their geographic and ethnic components<br />

and classifications, no longer<br />

exists. After the 2003 US invasion of<br />

Iraq, the nation was transformed into<br />

armed groups in the form of militias<br />

that stripped the country of their attachment<br />

to ancestral geography and<br />

planned to change history.<br />

Iran-backed Shiite militias have<br />

taken steps to shrink the size of the<br />

Christian, Mandean, and Yazidi communities<br />

in Iraq by seizing their properties,<br />

homes, and businesses, gradually<br />

pushing them out of the country.<br />

Numerous abductions, killings, kidnappings,<br />

extortion, robbery, and sexual<br />

assaults have occurred against the<br />

minority population in recent years.<br />

Militias have also seized large areas<br />

of land belonging to Christians, especially<br />

in the Nineveh Plain. At least<br />

20,000 acres of farmland have been<br />

burned and the militias have carried<br />

out 75 attacks on places of worship,<br />

with no fewer than nine instances of<br />

them using a church as a military base.<br />

Since 2014, confiscating and seizing<br />

of property has become increasingly<br />

prevalent in Iraq, with thousands of<br />

homes and properties being sold without<br />

their owners’ knowledge. Armed militias<br />

have undertaken these land-grabs,<br />

seizing property in Baghdad, Basra,<br />

Kirkuk, the Nineveh Province, and Kurdistan<br />

Region, supported by Islamist parties<br />

that have been at the helm of power<br />

since 2003, in coordination with several<br />

public land registry officials.<br />

They have basically stolen agricultural<br />

land and manufacturing facilities,<br />

taken over homes, buildings,<br />

commercial properties, small businesses,<br />

restaurants, and stores. Several<br />

culprits and forces are involved. The<br />

Sunni-backed Islamic State and Shiitebacked<br />

Iran are competing for control<br />


in a politically unstable region. Moreover,<br />

Turkey is also fighting a proxy<br />

war in northern Iraq and has bombed<br />

several towns on the Nineveh Plain to<br />

clear the border areas.<br />

To suggest that only ISIS Sunni Jihadists<br />

have contributed to the persecution<br />

of Christians in the Middle East<br />

is simplistic and ignores the influence<br />

of Iran-backed militias in countries<br />

like Iraq. These militias are especially<br />

prevalent in northern Iraq and Nineveh<br />

Province. They are squeezing non-Muslims<br />

out of the country, taking advantage<br />

of local political instability to gain<br />

a foothold in war-torn regions and control<br />

the geography of the region.<br />

This is a classic Iranian scheme of<br />

deception designed to confiscate and<br />

control the land that stretches from<br />

the western Iranian border near Diyallah<br />

to Damascus, Syria, and beyond to<br />

Hizballah, Lebanon via the Christian<br />

Nineveh Plain. Iran’s plans are to build<br />

railway systems and highways to connect<br />

to the Mediterranean. The Christian<br />

and Yazidi towns are in their way.<br />

Iranian interferences cast a dark<br />

shadow over Iraq today. After taking<br />

control of all aspects of life including<br />

the sUpreme control of the Shia<br />

and Sunni endowments offices, Iran<br />

turned its attention to subjugate the<br />

Christian religious authorities, confiscate,<br />

and control their properties using<br />

pro-Iranian agents and parties.<br />

After experiencing violence, persecution,<br />

displacement, confiscation of<br />

their properties in the recent past, new<br />

clouds are gathering over the future<br />

of Christians in Iraq, with the government<br />

decree revocation that threatens<br />

the highest Christian authority in the<br />

land, the Chaldean Patriarch, Cardinal<br />

Louis Raphael Sako.<br />

Forgery and Fraud<br />

Forgery, theft, confiscation of homes,<br />

properties, assets, extortion, and intimidation<br />

of minorities by the militia’s<br />

secret arms has become widespread<br />

in Iraq to the extent that the<br />

judicial authorities are unable to stop<br />

it. Corruption is rampant and concealing<br />

capital is a common practice. Buying<br />

and selling real estate, converting<br />

cash to real estate, establishing fake<br />

companies, and putting money in<br />

foreign banks are all ways for owners<br />

of illicit money to hide their primary<br />

sources of ill-gotten income.<br />

22 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

Recently, the most dangerous forgery<br />

operation in Iraq is the selling of<br />

private property without the knowledge<br />

of its owners—Iraqis residing<br />

abroad who left the country years ago.<br />

The value of some of these properties<br />

exceeds a million dollars.<br />

Once sold through forgery, the retrieval<br />

of properties is difficult, requiring<br />

strong government and an impartial<br />

judiciary. This is far from what we<br />

have, which is authoritarian and partisan<br />

influences and the dominance of<br />

the militias associated with the ruling<br />

parties.<br />

Religion and Politics<br />

Tensions between the Chaldean<br />

Catholic hierarchy and figures in the<br />

Babylon Movement date back several<br />

years. The dispute between Cardinal<br />

Louis Raphael Sako, the head of Iraq’s<br />

Chaldean Church, and al-Kildani, the<br />

leader of the Babylon Movement, has<br />

become increasingly tense, ranging<br />

from corruption charges to demonstrations<br />

and taking each other to court.<br />

In 2016, the Chaldean Patriarchate<br />

made it known there was no relationship<br />

between the Church and the<br />

Babylon Brigade (50th Brigade), the<br />

military wing of the Babylon Movement.<br />

The Patriarch threatened to sue<br />

the Iran-backed militia leader Rayan<br />

al-Kildani in international court if the<br />

Iraqi government failed to take necessary<br />

measures against the U.S. blacklisted<br />

military figure.<br />

In recent weeks, the clash between<br />

Cardinal Sako and al-Kildani has escalated.<br />

In July, the Iraqi President<br />

Abdul Latif Rashid ended the institutional<br />

recognition of the Cardinal’s<br />

office by repealing Decree 147, signed<br />

by Rashid’s predecessor, the late Jalal<br />

Talabani, in 2013. Decree 147 recognized<br />

the Patriarch’s appointment by<br />

the Holy See as head of the Chaldean<br />

Church, “in Iraq and the world,” and<br />

thus, “responsible for the assets of the<br />

Church.”<br />

The latter aspect is what matters.<br />

The president’s decision strips the<br />

Chaldean leader of the right to administer<br />

Church assets, which are the targets<br />

of Rayan and his Babylon Brigade.<br />

Following the decision, President<br />

Rashid tried to clarify his decision.<br />

His office issued a statement saying,<br />

“Withdrawing the republican decree<br />

does not prejudice the religious or legal<br />

status of Cardinal Louis Sako, as<br />

he is appointed by the Apostolic See<br />

as Patriarch of the Chaldean Church in<br />

Iraq and the world.”<br />

With the revocation of the presidential<br />

decree, the cardinal will likely<br />

lose control over the church’s assets<br />

and properties.<br />

In response to the president’s decision,<br />

his Beatitude Cardinal Louis Raphael<br />

Sako sent an open letter to the<br />

President of the Iraqi Republic, Dr. Abdul<br />

Latif Rashid. It was his third such<br />

letter in the past weeks, and his third<br />

letter that went without response.<br />

The Chaldean primate highlighted<br />

the grave consequences of the<br />

presidential decree and suggested<br />

that he might turn to international<br />

tribunals to protect Church rights.<br />

The harsh attacks against Sako and<br />

the Church have pushed hundreds of<br />

Christians—priests as well as congregants—to<br />

take to the streets in solidarity<br />

with the cardinal.<br />

CULTURE continued on page 24<br />

Since 2014, confiscating and seizing of property has become<br />

increasingly prevalent in Iraq, with thousands of homes and<br />

properties being sold without their owners’ knowledge.<br />

Christians in Iraq protest in support of His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphaël Sako.<br />

<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 23


KDP President Masoud Barzani welcomes Cardinal Louis Sako to Erbil.<br />

CULTURE continued from page 23<br />

Cardinal Louis Sako cautions that,<br />

“The day will come when Iraq will be<br />

void of Christians in light of the continuous<br />

discrimination against Christians by<br />

various parties including armed militias,<br />

corrupt politicians, and the absence of<br />

the rule of law, job opportunities, and<br />

clear vision for the future of Iraq.”<br />

Solidarity<br />

Christian leaders condemned and denounced<br />

the Presidency’s decision to<br />

revoke the decree. Protests came from<br />

civil society organizations, the Syriac<br />

Catholic bishop of Mosul, Syriac Orthodox<br />

bishops, National parties, the<br />

Assyrian Democratic Movement, Chaldean<br />

Syriac Assyrian People’s Council,<br />

Beth Nahrin National Federation, Sons<br />

of the Two Rivers Party, Assyrian National<br />

Party, the Chaldean league in the<br />

USA, and the Iraqi Society for Human<br />

Rights in the United States of America.<br />

On July 13, <strong>2023</strong>, Christians gathered<br />

before the Cathedral of Saint<br />

Joseph in Ankawa in solidarity with<br />

Cardinal Sako. Residents of the town<br />

of Al-Qosh joined a stand in solidarity,<br />

carrying banners demanding justice<br />

for the head of the church and raising<br />

large pictures of Patriarch Sako.<br />

It’s not just Christians supporting<br />

the cardinal. The Association of Muslim<br />

Scholars in Iraq and the office of<br />

the supreme religious authority, Sayyid<br />

Ali al-Sistani in Najaf, expressed<br />

solidarity with Sako after the recent<br />

public attacks. An official in the office<br />

communicated with the patriarch and<br />

expressed his regret for the manner in<br />

which His Eminence was dealt with recently<br />

and his hope that the appropriate<br />

conditions would be available for<br />

his return to his headquarters in Baghdad<br />

as soon as possible.<br />

Bishop Basilio Yaldo was another<br />

strong voice who issued a statement,<br />

along with the Syriac Catholic bishop<br />

of Mosul, Orthodox bishops, 11 ambassadors<br />

of the European Union, and<br />

other Chaldean Catholic leaders..<br />

Statements from the Chaldean Community<br />

Foundation were sent to U.S.<br />

State and Congressional members,<br />

initiating a response from the State Department.<br />

Mathew Miller, the official<br />

spokesperson for the U.S. State Department<br />

held a press conference in which<br />

he stated, “We are disturbed by the harassment<br />

of Cardinal Sako, the patriarch<br />

of the Chaldean Church, and troubled<br />

by the news that he has left Baghdad.<br />

We look forward to his safe return. The<br />

Iraqi Christian community is a vital part<br />

of Iraq’s identity and a central part of<br />

Iraq’s history of diversity and tolerance.<br />

“I will say we are in continuous<br />

contact with Iraqi leaders on this matter.<br />

We are concerned that the cardinal’s<br />

position as a respected leader of<br />

the church is under attack from a number<br />

of quarters, in particular a militia<br />

leader who is sanctioned under the<br />

Global Magnitsky Act.”<br />

Ano Abdoka, Minister of Transportation<br />

and Communications in<br />

the Kurdistan Regional Government<br />

(KRG), criticized President Rashid’s<br />

decision as “unjustifiable” and said<br />

that “for the first time since 2003, we<br />

are witnessing a dangerous precedent<br />

represented by the behavior of the<br />

head of a state’s hierarchy.”<br />

“Why is one of the most important<br />

Christian symbols being unjustly targeted,<br />

namely the institution of the<br />

Chaldean Patriarchate and the moral<br />

highness of the Chaldean Patriarch?”<br />

Abdoka said in an open letter.<br />

Baghdad without a Patriarch<br />

Patriarch Louis Sako announced on<br />

July 15, <strong>2023</strong>, in an open letter the decision<br />

to withdraw from the patriarchal<br />

headquarters located in the Iraqi capital,<br />

Baghdad, and settle in one of the<br />

monasteries of the Kurdistan region.<br />

The cardinal apparently no longer<br />

feels politically or personally secure in<br />

the Iraqi capital.<br />

The last time the Chaldean leadership<br />

fled Baghdad, according to the<br />

Iraqi Christian Foundation, a Mongol<br />

army was solidifying its control of the<br />

city in 1259 A.D.<br />

The clash between Cardinal Sako<br />

and Rayan is nothing new. The sharp<br />

divisions between the Chaldean Church<br />

in Iraq and the Babylon Movement are<br />

expected to continue. Christian interests<br />

hang in the balance in a country<br />

where fewer than 200,000 remain today,<br />

a staggering fall from over 1.5 million<br />

who used to call Iraq home before<br />

the infamous 2003 American invasion.<br />

In conclusion, Iraq’s future and the<br />

fate of Christianity in Iraq are lights we<br />

cannot see. What is done in the dark<br />

must come into the light. This may<br />

well be the last chapter in the ‘turn the<br />

other cheek’ concept. The future will<br />

tell if Christianity in our homeland<br />

survives this calamity.<br />

Sources: Articles by Keely Jahns, Al-<br />

Monitor, Al-Ain News, Rudaw News,<br />

Asia News, Shafaq News Agency,<br />

Ankawa.com, Ishtar TV, Kurdistan24<br />

News, Vatican News, America -The<br />

Jesuit Review, and Patriarchal News.<br />

24 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

presents<br />

5th Annual Awards Gala<br />

Dinner • Awards • Celebration<br />

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, <strong>2023</strong><br />

6:00PM<br />

The Palazzo Grande<br />

54660 Van Dyke Avenue<br />

Shelby Twp., MI 48316<br />



For sponsorship inquiries, please call Jubilee Jackson at 586-722-7253 or<br />

Jubilee.Jackson@chaldeanfoundation.org.<br />

<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 25


We are pleased to present the first installment<br />

of a new year-long “Chaldean Story”<br />

series, made possible by a generous grant<br />

from Michigan Humanities’ Great Michigan<br />

Stories program. The grant allows us to fully<br />

explore the stories of Chaldean immigrants<br />

to Michigan, who have brought with them<br />

an ancient culture that has been carefully<br />

and lovingly preserved in story and art.<br />

Through feature stories, podcasts, and<br />

events planned for the next 12 months, we<br />

aim to tell the story of Michigan’s Chaldean<br />

community, and the contributions they’ve<br />

made to our state. As of <strong>2023</strong>, more than<br />

160,000 Chaldeans call Michigan home.<br />

Chaldean<br />

Cultural<br />

Roots<br />

Innovations that<br />

shaped civilization<br />


Where did Chaldean culture start? Chaldeans,<br />

Assyrians, and Syriacs – whatever<br />

they call themselves – are the descendants<br />

of ancient Mesopotamians, with a rich cultural<br />

history to be proud of.<br />

Mesopotamia, referred to as the “Cradle of Civilization,”<br />

was home to some of the earliest complex<br />

societies in human history. Located in the region of<br />

the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, it was the birthplace<br />

of many remarkable advancements that laid the<br />

foundation for future civilizations. Ancient Chaldean<br />

history is a part of Mesopotamia; its people<br />

kicked off a dynasty that would later be known as<br />

the Neo-Babylonian Empire.<br />

Most of us are aware that the wheel was invented<br />

in Sumer sometime in the fourth millennium BC.<br />

Originally used by potters to help shape clay, the<br />

invention led to use on carts and battle chariots<br />

as well as agricultural tools and mechanisms. But<br />

there are many other “firsts” to celebrate.<br />

Among the many inventions credited to Mesopotamian<br />

cultures, most notably the Sumerians, are<br />

the first written language, first code of law, first urbanization<br />

in the form of city-states, first astronomical<br />

calendar, and first numerical system based on<br />

60 (seconds in a minute, minutes in an hour). They<br />

also invented the idea of a 24-hour day and the concept<br />

of zero!<br />

Through chronicles of entrepreneurship,<br />

culture, and spirituality, we will tell<br />

stories of brave deeds, endless resiliency,<br />

and epic generosity, as remembered by<br />

those who witnessed these acts. We will<br />

explore the Chaldean immigrants’ path<br />

from party stores to boardrooms and will<br />

share their deep and abiding faith in God<br />

and their strong commitment to family.<br />

Everything that we have celebrated for<br />

nearly two decades will be highlighted in<br />

this series, which gives us a chance to follow<br />

the narrative from the beginning—the<br />

emigration from Iraq, through the journey to<br />

get here, to the present. We hope you enjoy<br />

reading it as much as we enjoy writing it.<br />

Cuneiform Writing<br />

Arguably the most significant Mesopotamian first<br />

was the invention of writing. Sometime around midmillennial<br />

3000 BCE, Sumerians—people of southern<br />

Mesopotamia whose civilization flourished during<br />

that era—devised cuneiform script, a complex<br />

system using wedge-shaped marks. Written on clay<br />

tablets and initially used for record-keeping, cuneiform<br />

gradually evolved into a sophisticated writing<br />

system encompassing literature, mathematics, astronomy,<br />

and law.<br />

The hundreds of thousands of texts discovered<br />

over the years by archeologists include royal<br />

inscription and treaties as well as everyday bookkeeping.<br />

Extensive libraries were kept in temples<br />

and palaces, and King Shulgi of Ur (ruled 2094-2047<br />

BC) and Ashurbanipal of Assyria (ruled 668-627 BC)<br />

each made the claim to be able to read and write ancient<br />

cuneiform. Aramaic became intertwined with<br />

Akkadian during the reign of the Assyrian empire,<br />

and by the time Ashurbanipal was king, Aramaic<br />

spread throughout the Assyrian empire.<br />

The invention of written language not only<br />

transformed communication but also paved the way<br />

for the transmission and preservation of knowledge<br />

across generations. It was a pivotal moment in human<br />

history; cuneiform became the precursor to all<br />

subsequent writing systems.<br />

Code of Law<br />

Mesopotamia introduced the world to the concept<br />

of law and established legal systems. They also<br />

witnessed the earliest known legal code, known as<br />

the Code of Hammurabi. Created by the Babylonian<br />

king Hammurabi around 1754 BCE, this comprehensive<br />

set of laws covered various aspects of life, including<br />

commerce, family, and property rights.<br />

Hammurabi expanded the city-state of Babylon<br />

26 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

along the Euphrates River to unite all of southern<br />

Mesopotamia. The Hammurabi code of laws, a collection<br />

of 282 rules, established standards for commercial<br />

interactions and set fines and punishments<br />

to meet the requirements of justice.<br />

Hammurabi’s Code, which established the principle<br />

of “an eye for an eye,” was carved onto a massive,<br />

black stone stele (pillar). It laid the groundwork<br />

for subsequent legal systems, marking a significant<br />

milestone in the development of legal justice.<br />

Mathematics & Astronomy<br />

Mesopotamians were pioneers in mathematics and<br />

astronomy, making numerous groundbreaking<br />

contributions in these fields. They were the first to<br />

develop a numerical system based on sixty, one we<br />

still use today to count units of time. They also developed<br />

advanced arithmetic techniques including<br />

multiplication, division, and the concept of zero.<br />

These mathematical advancements enabled accurate<br />

astronomical calculations and played a vital<br />

role in various aspects of daily life. Mesopotamian<br />

astronomers mapped the stars, observed celestial<br />

bodies, and created the first known astronomical<br />

calendars.<br />

Trade & Commerce<br />

Mesopotamians were pioneers in long distance<br />

trade and commerce. They established extensive<br />

trade routes and connected not only with Egypt<br />

but regions as far away as the Indus Valley. Regular<br />

trade made it possible to plan purchases ahead and<br />

develop relationships with vendors.<br />

Their use of the clay tablet for record-keeping<br />

along with standardizing weights and measures<br />

made commercial transactions possible and laid the<br />

groundwork for a global trading system.<br />

City-States<br />

Another of Mesopotamia’s most noteworthy achievements<br />

was the development of the city-state system.<br />

Around 3000 BCE, city-states such as Uruk, Ur, and<br />

Lagash emerged, each with their own centralized<br />

government and complex administrative structures.<br />

By 3000 BC, Uruk was a walled city of over two<br />

square miles with about 1,000 inhabitants. These<br />

early city-states represented the first instances of<br />

urbanization, where dense populations settled in<br />

a central location, establishing the groundwork for<br />

future urban planning.<br />

Centralized Planning<br />

Mesopotamia’s cities were marvels of urban planning<br />

and engineering. They constructed monumental<br />

structures, such as ziggurats and temples, which<br />

served as religious and administrative centers. Ur,<br />

Babylon, and Nineveh were imperial capitals known<br />

throughout the ancient world.<br />

Centers of innovation and learning, these cities<br />

were where priests trained, poems and tales were<br />

studied and copied, laws were created, international<br />

treaties agreed upon, and financial contracts<br />

signed. When Alexander the Great conquered<br />

Mesopotamia in 331 BC, Babylon was considered<br />

the most spectacular of all cities.<br />

Art & Architecture<br />

Architecture on a grand scale is generally credited<br />

to have begun under the Sumerians, with<br />

religious structures dating back to 3400 B.C. The<br />

buildings are noted for their arched doorways and<br />

flat roofs.<br />

The society’s technical sophistication is evidenced<br />

in elaborate construction, such as terra<br />

cotta ornamentation with bronze accents, complicated<br />

mosaics, imposing brick columns and<br />

sophisticated mural paintings. Sculpture was<br />

used mainly to adorn temples. Facing a scarcity<br />

of stone, Sumerians made leaps in metal-casting<br />

for their sculpture work, though relief carving in<br />

stone was a popular art form.<br />

Ziggurats began to appear around 2200 B.C.<br />

These impressive pyramid-like, stepped temples,<br />

which were either square or rectangular, stood<br />

nearly two hundred feet high and featured no inner<br />

chambers. Ziggurats often featured sloping<br />

sides and terraces with gardens.<br />

The ‘hanging gardens’ were built in Nineveh<br />

by the Assyrian king Sennacherib. Scholars today<br />

have largely abandoned the idea of the Babylon gardens,<br />

which are attributed to errors made by Greek<br />

historians.<br />

Sennacherib also built an aqueduct from the<br />

mountains north of Assyria to transport water into<br />

the growing city of Nineveh. The engineering feat<br />

was so spectacular that it can still be seen through<br />

Google Earth.<br />

First Royalty<br />

Sumerians introduced us to the concept of royalty<br />

and declared that the king (literally “great man”)<br />

was descended from Heaven. The ruler’s primary<br />

obligation was to lead in battle, please the gods<br />

through temple building and offerings, maintain<br />

city walls and irrigation canals, and enforce justice.<br />

Sumerians were organized as a patchwork of<br />

city-states until Sargon of Akkad established the<br />

first true and lasting empire, one that all future<br />

Mesopotamian kings would emulate. The strongest<br />

dynasties, those of Ur, the Babylonian kings Hammurabi<br />

and Nebuchadnezzar II, and the kings of Assyria<br />

saw invasions from the Iranian highlands and<br />

tribal nomads from the northwest, but these invaders<br />

for the most part adopted and sustained Mesopotamian<br />

culture.<br />

Tablet with<br />

a Bilingual<br />

Dictionary from<br />

King Ashurbanipal’s<br />

Library, Neo-Assyrian<br />

period, 668–627 BC, terracotta. Musée du Louvre,<br />

Department of Near Eastern Antiquities, Paris.<br />

Agriculture<br />

Mesopotamians developed sophisticated irrigation<br />

systems, including canals and levees, to control<br />

and distribute water for agriculture. These achievements<br />

in urban planning and infrastructure laid<br />

the foundation for future city development and resource<br />

management.<br />

Mesopotamians pioneered innovative agricultural<br />

techniques to sustain their growing population.<br />

They utilized irrigation systems to control the<br />

flow of water, improving crop yields and supporting<br />

surplus food production. They also introduced the<br />

use of the plow, enhancing agricultural efficiency.<br />

These advancements in agriculture allowed for the<br />

establishment of larger settlements and facilitated<br />

the growth of complex societies.<br />

Legacy Left<br />

In his 1988 book History Begins at Sumer, author<br />

Samuel Noah Kramer identifies 39 “firsts” that<br />

originated with the Sumerians, including the first<br />

schools, first Great Flood story, first heroic epic story,<br />

first historian, first library catalog, first aquarium,<br />

and first lullaby.<br />

Visionaries and trailblazers who left an indelible<br />

mark on human civilization through their pioneering<br />

achievements, Mesopotamians influenced current<br />

culture to a remarkable degree. By pushing the<br />

boundaries of human knowledge and ingenuity, the<br />

Mesopotamians created a legacy that will continue<br />

to endure.<br />

Today, the descendants of ancient Mesopotamians<br />

— Chaldeans, or Assyrians or Syriacs — take<br />

pride in their heritage both in their native homeland<br />

and throughout the world, where they have been<br />

forced to disperse due to persecution.<br />


<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 27


least 20 minutes a day or to draw a<br />

picture of a fun summer memory. Depending<br />

on their maturity level, give<br />

them the freedom to use that space<br />

responsibly without you – after setting<br />

expectations, of course. Kids will<br />

have better focus and thus produce<br />

higher-quality work. Sometimes the<br />

best thing for our kids is when we get<br />

out of their way.<br />

Getting Back into<br />

the School Mindset<br />


It’s August, and soon the summer<br />

will slowly come to a sad surrender<br />

and the hustle and bustle of<br />

school will be upon us. Pick-ups and<br />

drop-offs, packing snacks and school<br />

lunches, buying clothes and shoes and<br />

school supplies, and of course, homework<br />

and extracurriculars. It is a full<br />

plate for moms and dads and kids everywhere!<br />

For some parents, getting back into<br />

school-mode is a daunting task – the<br />

time, the cost, the energy (the khilek)<br />

that is needed! For others, it is delightful,<br />

and the first day cannot come fast<br />

enough – they need those kids (and<br />

their fingerprints) out of the house!<br />

No matter what kind of parent you are,<br />

YOU are your kids’ main teacher, and<br />

it is important for you to positively set<br />

the tone for the new school year.<br />

This will be my 22nd year teaching<br />

tweens and teens, and I have learned<br />

many valuable lessons along the way,<br />

especially through my most important<br />

job — being a mom to two wonderful<br />

teenagers. Below are my top 5 research-based<br />

tips on getting back into<br />

the school mindset.<br />

Reestablish Routines<br />

The dog days of summer might make<br />

us carefree and even a little lazy and<br />

out of our habits, but to make your<br />

lives easier, you must go back to routines<br />

or establish new ones at least<br />

two weeks before school starts. That<br />

means bedtimes, wake-up times, and<br />

mealtimes need to be consistent.<br />

Decide on a bedtime or give a time<br />

range that your kids need to be in bed<br />

by and have them practice “waking<br />

up” for school, even if you are not going<br />

anywhere. Their bodies need to get<br />

used to the time change, and the more<br />

prepared they are, the less morning<br />

struggles your home will have.<br />

The usual rush in the morning<br />

means a quick and simple breakfast<br />

before the bus arrives, so restart that.<br />

You can also serve lunch between 11<br />

and noon, a common time in schools,<br />

and if you haven’t already, start eating<br />

dinner at a consistent and agreedupon<br />

hour that works for your family.<br />

Research shows that children with<br />

consistent routines have strong social/<br />

emotional health; it is up to you as the<br />

parents to reinforce those routines.<br />

Set Expectations<br />

Parents, we must go back to being<br />

strict. Not in a draconian way, but in<br />

a manner that is clear-cut to our children.<br />

Just as teachers set expectations<br />

in a classroom, so must we in our<br />

households. Have a family discussion<br />

about everything, like getting homework<br />

and chores done, social media,<br />

how much caffeine they can have,<br />

going out, and curfews. When you believe<br />

it is age-appropriate, talk to your<br />

kids about sex and drugs and alcohol.<br />

Talk about everything!<br />

When your kids ask why you have<br />

these rules, tell them they are not<br />

rules, but expectations, as in, “I expect<br />

your homework to be done before<br />

dinner,” or, “I expect you will be home<br />

by 10 pm,” or even more all-encompassing,<br />

“I expect you to approach us<br />

about your problems and not turn to<br />

dangerous habits.”<br />

Talk about goals along with what<br />

went well last school year and what<br />

they would like to improve upon this<br />

year. Include those new goals in your<br />

expectations. When you involve your<br />

kids in the decision-making, they will<br />

strive to meet those expectations, and<br />

when you are consistent, it will help<br />

with behavior and discipline, which<br />

ultimately leads to positive effects in<br />

academic achievement.<br />

Set Up a Study Area<br />

Create a space for your kids to do homework,<br />

study, read, or complete projects,<br />

making sure that it is well-lit and<br />

away from distractions. Keep the space<br />

stocked with paper, pencils, markers,<br />

crayons, glue, tape, scissors, and any<br />

other school/office necessities.<br />

Before school starts, encourage<br />

them to use that space to read for at<br />

Every Moment is a<br />

Teachable Moment<br />

Any and everything can be a lesson!<br />

Don’t worry, if you have not been doing<br />

this all summer, you can start now.<br />

You could take your kids to the Detroit<br />

Zoo to learn about animals and their<br />

habitats or to the Chaldean Cultural<br />

Center to learn about our history.<br />

The grocery store is a very easy<br />

place to teach reading, math, science,<br />

and even geography. Ask your kids to<br />

read the signs and help them sound out<br />

words, and then tell them to look for<br />

something on your grocery list. They<br />

can help you figure out how much three<br />

pounds of cucumbers will be. They can<br />

do a scavenger hunt to learn on their<br />

own, like about the volcanic soil of San<br />

Marzano tomatoes or why Michigan is<br />

the cherry capital of the world.<br />

They can also glean lessons in<br />

manners, like saying “thank you” to an<br />

employee or returning the grocery cart<br />

to the corral in the parking lot. These<br />

sorts of exercises help to combat learning<br />

loss when kids are out of school,<br />

also referred to as the “summer slide.”<br />

Practice Run<br />

Some kids, especially little ones or<br />

those going to a new school, get anxious<br />

before school starts, so it would<br />

be a good idea to take them there to<br />

familiarize them with it. Show them<br />

their classroom(s), as well as the office,<br />

cafeteria, gym, and bathrooms.<br />

Older kids will have lockers, so you<br />

can help them practice, especially if<br />

it is their first time having one. Some<br />

schools will do meet-and-greets, and<br />

even if there is no formal one, you<br />

might find the teacher there preparing<br />

his or her classroom. They are almost<br />

always happy to chat.<br />

With some practice before school<br />

starts, we can calm those first day<br />

jitters – for our kids and for us too –<br />

and help set them up for a successful<br />

school year.<br />

28 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>


Educational programs<br />

Registration open.<br />

Please call for an appointment.<br />

All Nationalities Welcome!<br />



Provides individuals English<br />

instruction at basic/beginner and<br />

intermediate/advanced levels<br />

Small group instruction for<br />

individuals working towards<br />

their GED<br />



Prepares children for kindergarten<br />

through a variety of emergent<br />

literacy, early learning and<br />

development opportunities<br />

Offers instruction and training for<br />

successful completion of the U.S.<br />

Citizenship and Immigration Services<br />

(USCIS) Naturalization interview<br />

We can’t wait to see you!<br />

Want to learn more? Please contact Rachel Rose at<br />

Rachel.rose@chaldeanfoundation.org or call (586) 722-7253<br />

<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 29


Beyond Borders<br />

Reflections from a Transformative Iraq Mission Trip<br />


“<br />

The fruit of love is service,<br />

which is compassion in action.”<br />

Mother Teresa’s words<br />

echoed in our hearts as we embarked<br />

on a remarkable medical mission to<br />

Iraq in June <strong>2023</strong>. With a team of nine<br />

dedicated healthcare professionals<br />

and two aspiring medical students,<br />

we traveled to a land that held both<br />

ancestral roots and a need for medical<br />

assistance. What unfolded was an<br />

emotional and impactful experience<br />

that left a lasting impression on us.<br />

As our team geared up for the journey,<br />

I felt a deep sense of humility to<br />

have been entrusted with leading this<br />

diverse and dedicated group. It was<br />

an honor that carried with it an air of<br />

responsibility and a desire to ensure<br />

that our mission would leave a lasting<br />

impression. With half of our team<br />

consisting of American-born members<br />

who were unfamiliar with Iraq’s<br />

current state, we trekked into the unknown<br />

with unwavering enthusiasm,<br />

ready to lend our skills and support.<br />

Personally, this mission offered a<br />

unique opportunity to connect with<br />

my family’s homeland–a place I never<br />

thought I would have the chance to<br />

visit due to its war-torn history. Setting<br />

foot inside the same church where<br />

previous generations had exchanged<br />

vows evoked a deep sense of connection<br />

to my roots. It became evident that<br />

this journey encompassed more than<br />

healthcare; it also forged personal and<br />

cultural bonds, bridging gaps formed<br />

by years of separation and turmoil.<br />

The impact of those turbulent years<br />

was palpable as we ventured to villages<br />

located just north of Mosul, including<br />

Tel Keppe where my family is from.<br />

These areas were captured by ISIS during<br />

their invasion in 2014. As we made<br />

our way toward Tel Keppe, we couldn’t<br />

help but notice the presence of damaged<br />

buildings, scarred with bullet<br />

holes that had never been repaired.<br />

Once bustling with our Chaldean<br />

families, these places looked completely<br />

desolate. Walking through the<br />

remnants of our churches, witnessing<br />

their destruction, stirred deep emotions<br />

within us. Closing our eyes, we<br />

could almost envision the marble<br />

walls that once shimmered during<br />

Sunday masses. The sight of religious<br />

relics used as targets for ISIS fighters<br />

was a reminder of the atrocities endured.<br />

Despite the emotional intensity,<br />

this visit held immense significance<br />

for our entire team.<br />

The final village we encountered<br />

on our journey back to the city was<br />

Alqosh, a village spared by the horrors<br />

of ISIS. Although I had never set foot<br />

there before, it immediately evoked<br />

a sense of familiarity and a feeling of<br />

home. We made a special visit to an<br />

all-girls orphanage in Alqosh.<br />

Our time with these angels proved<br />

to be as enriching for our team as it<br />

was for the girls themselves. Laughter<br />

filled the air as we shared stories and<br />

formed connections. Taking on the<br />

Dr. Rena Daiza discussing urgent<br />

health issues in Iraq with the<br />

Minister of Health of Kurdistan<br />

Region of Iraq, Dr. Saman Barzangy.<br />

role of health educators, we shared<br />

valuable knowledge on the importance<br />

of proper dental care, making<br />

healthy food choices, and safeguarding<br />

their mental well-being. This experience<br />

served as a genuine bond that<br />

we will cherish forever.<br />

Many of our days were dedicated<br />

to visiting local hospitals and clinics,<br />

some of which were established<br />

to address the needs of those disproportionately<br />

affected by the atrocities<br />

committed by ISIS, including minority<br />

Christians and Yazidis. Among them, a<br />

particular clinic in Duhok made a profound<br />

impact.<br />

This clinic specifically focused on<br />

providing support to Yazidi women<br />

who endured unimaginable suffering<br />

at the hands of ISIS. These women<br />

faced immense challenges in readjusting<br />

to life after their captivity, with<br />

Mission team after a productive<br />

meeting with Ano Abdoka, Minister<br />

of Transportation and Communications<br />

of Kurdistan Region of Iraq.<br />

some expressing a preference for the<br />

life they had with their captors rather<br />

than risk being rejected by society. The<br />

clinic emerged as a sanctuary, providing<br />

a safe haven for these courageous<br />

survivors to reclaim a sense of normalcy<br />

and heal from their traumatic<br />

experiences.<br />

Our mission extended beyond medical<br />

care as we engaged with religious<br />

leaders, government officials, and<br />

health ministers to address healthcare<br />

needs in Iraq. These discussions paved<br />

the way for future medical missions as<br />

we explored potential collaborations<br />

and partnerships.<br />

We also seized the opportunity to<br />

visit medical schools and universities,<br />

initiating a medical student exchange<br />

program between the United States<br />

and Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Through<br />

this program, we aim to enhance medical<br />

education on both ends, fostering<br />

cross-cultural understanding and nurturing<br />

the next generation of healthcare<br />

professionals.<br />

Despite its reputation for conflict,<br />

Iraq unfolded as a stunning country<br />

that captivated us with its natural<br />

beauty and embraced us with the genuine<br />

warmth of its people. The Kurdistan<br />

region in particular left a lasting<br />

impression.<br />

We discovered a developed area<br />

where we felt safe and secure, surrounded<br />

by vibrant markets, stunning<br />

mountains, and cascading waterfalls<br />

that showcased Iraq’s natural splendor.<br />

However, what truly made our<br />

journey unforgettable was the genuine<br />

kindness and hospitality of the locals.<br />

Their belief in bridging cultural divides<br />

was inspirational, fostering an<br />

environment where genuine connections<br />

could flourish.<br />

Our medical mission to Iraq was<br />

a journey of compassion, connection,<br />

and hope. The trip was more impactful<br />

than I could have imagined. From<br />

visiting clinics to creating a bridge between<br />

students across the globe, our<br />

efforts sought to pave the way to these<br />

connections and encourage others to<br />

venture to places unknown. We left<br />

with hope, inspiring others to visit this<br />

beautiful place and give back to their<br />

communities. For in the fruit of love,<br />

we find service, and through service,<br />

we discover the true essence of compassion<br />

that transcends borders and<br />

unites us all.<br />

30 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>


LIGHT<br />


Therapy can be a big step toward being the healthiest<br />

version of yourself and living the best life possible—our<br />

professional therapists are here for you to access.<br />

Through therapy, you can change self-destructive<br />

behaviors and habits, resolve painful feelings,<br />

improve your relationships, and share your feelings<br />

and experiences. Individuals often seek therapy for help<br />

with issues that may be hard to face alone.<br />

In therapy your therapist will help you to establish person<br />

centered goals and determine the steps you will take to<br />

reach those goals. Your relationship with your therapist<br />

is confidential and our common therapeutic goal for those<br />

we engage is to inspire healthy change to improve quality<br />

of life — no matter the challenge.<br />

We invite you seek out the Light of Project Light! Serving<br />

individuals ages 13 years and up. Please call to request a<br />

Project Light Intake at (586) 722-7253.<br />

For Your Best Health.<br />

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<br />

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

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




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

<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 31


On Martyrs Day<br />

Remembering Seyfo<br />


Imagine attending a wedding a century<br />

ago with hundreds of friends<br />

and family at a community banquet<br />

hall like Shenandoah. Everyone<br />

was enjoying themselves and then<br />

suddenly, invaders showed up. They<br />

were not coming to rob or steal; they<br />

were coming to eradicate you and your<br />

people with a darkness that knew no<br />

bounds. They started by disarming<br />

any potentially armed men, rounding<br />

them all up, and murdering them in<br />

front of their wives, mothers, children,<br />

and the entire extended family. In this<br />

horror story, once every adult male was<br />

sprayed with dozens of bullets,<br />

no one remained to protect the<br />

hundreds of horrified widows<br />

and daughters from the invaders<br />

who committed unspeakable,<br />

gender-specific crimes<br />

against them.<br />

This story is not fictional —<br />

it is your history. It began with<br />

the Seyfo Genocide between<br />

1914 – 1925 and peaked with<br />

the Semele [Simele] Massacre<br />

in 1933, exactly 90 years ago.<br />

If you ever wondered what our<br />

community was doing during<br />

World War I and the Great Depression,<br />

this was it.<br />

Age was not a factor in these<br />

crimes. Little girls and elderly women<br />

were not immune from assaults on<br />

their dignity. After the invaders attacked,<br />

they disposed of the women in<br />

the same way they did the men. Some<br />

committed suicide rather than being<br />

held captive. Some were given the<br />

option to be promoted to the second,<br />

third, or fourth wife of their assailant,<br />

but under strict conditions requiring<br />

conversion. Other women were kidnapped,<br />

transported, and sold to the<br />

highest bidder.<br />

After watching their mothers and<br />

sisters get violated, and their fathers<br />

and brothers get shot, any children<br />

who were old enough to remember<br />

what they witnessed also got shot.<br />

The invaders could not risk vengeful<br />

8-year-olds growing up with fire in<br />

their hearts, plotting their demise. The<br />

loose ends were tied up.<br />

The youngest, too young to remember<br />

such horrors, were torn from<br />

their roots and raised to become like<br />

the very monsters who deleted their<br />

family’s existence and reshaped their<br />

lives. Not every child shared this fate.<br />

Many of them were turned into targets<br />

for sport.<br />

This is what happened during the<br />

Semele Massacre in 1933. Many of the<br />

victims had fled what later became<br />

Turkey after the Seyfo Genocide and<br />

eventually settled in Semele, Iraq.<br />

Semele is about 40 miles away from<br />

Tel Keppe, and about 25 miles from<br />

Alqosh. The genocide in Turkey was<br />

perpetrated by the Ottoman government,<br />

Turkish irregulars, Kurdish militants,<br />

Circassians, Arabs, and Azeris,<br />

Persians, while the atrocity in Semele<br />

was a state sponsored massacre by the<br />

Iraqi Government and Kurdish militants.<br />

An estimated 6,000 Christians<br />

were killed and over 100 villages<br />

were destroyed over a period of several<br />

days. in a single day. Those who<br />

remained fled to Alqosh, where they<br />

were protected by their heavily armed<br />

brethren, according to a documentary<br />

by Wilson Sarkis.<br />

August 7 is the 90-year anniversary<br />

of the Semele Massacre, which<br />

is also known as Martyr’s Day. In a<br />

groundbreaking move, the U.S. House<br />

of Representatives has introduced a<br />

resolution—H. RES. 472— to formally<br />

recognize and remember the Semele<br />

Massacre of 1933. This resolution seeks<br />

to rectify the historical injustice faced<br />

by our community, rejects any attempt<br />

to deny the massacre, and emphasizes<br />

the need for public education about<br />

the incident.<br />

When the invaders successfully exterminated<br />

3/4 of our population during<br />

WWI, it was because of division.<br />

Division led to the fall of our ancient<br />

empire and led to the Seyfo Genocide<br />

Yousef VI Emmanuel II Thomas, patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church from 1900 until his<br />

death in 1947. General Petros Elia, head negotiator for the Assyrian nation between 1919 and<br />

1923. Madame Habiba, matron of the military hospital who was featured in Shall This Nation Die?<br />

in World War I. Division also led to the<br />

Semele Massacre. In a book detailing<br />

an account of the massacre of Christians<br />

by the Turks in Persia, author Yonan<br />

Shahbaz wrote the following:<br />

“The Mohammedans were, of<br />

course, pleased to see the Christians<br />

fighting one another. In the towns the<br />

latter were always at variance; each<br />

sect claimed that the others had no<br />

right to be there, and they opposed<br />

one another with great animosity.<br />

Each despised the other, very often on<br />

the mere ground that one had been the<br />

longer in the country. These bitter and<br />

outrageous feelings have been held<br />

for years, many years. The complaints<br />

were transmitted from one generation<br />

to the next.”<br />

Within the last few hundred years,<br />

divisive church politics weakened a<br />

nation one race of people into multiple<br />

competing churches, and we lost<br />

hundreds of thousands as a result.<br />

They died in the cruelest ways for<br />

their Christianity and their way of life,<br />

culture, and heritage. Our Church is<br />

known as the “Church of Martyrs” for<br />

that reason.<br />

Some, fortunately, lived to tell the<br />

story. One of those people was Chaldean<br />

Reverend Joseph Naayem, who<br />

published a book in 1921 called “Shall<br />

This Nation Die?”. Without people like<br />

him, we wouldn’t even know the massacre<br />

happened in the first place. All the<br />

screams, horror, blood, and destruction<br />

would have simply vanished into the<br />

dark abyss of oblivion. In fact, the Turkish<br />

government publicly denies this ever<br />

happened, like they do with the Armenian<br />

Genocide, which happened in the<br />

same place at the same time.<br />

Some estimates report losses of up<br />

to 300,000 people, while others<br />

are as high as 750,000.<br />

Imagine all the relationships<br />

that were lost, the wealth<br />

that was burned, and the traditions<br />

that are now stored deep<br />

in the vastness of obscurity.<br />

We’ll never fully know what we<br />

lost. Millions of lives, possibilities,<br />

and dreams vanished into<br />

the void of the past, leaving<br />

only shadows of what might<br />

have been. This is our history,<br />

and history repeats itself. ISIS<br />

rose in 2014. Now, our people<br />

are barely hanging on by a<br />

thread in the homeland.<br />

The Jews spare no detail when they<br />

discuss the holocaust. Neither do the<br />

Armenians when they talk about their<br />

genocide, or African Americans when<br />

they talk about slavery. If our ancestors<br />

went through all of that, the least<br />

we can do is read and know about it.<br />

We were at a crossroads in 2014;<br />

face extinction or do something about<br />

it. Now that we have finally settled in<br />

the West, transformed ourselves entirely,<br />

and achieved financial success,<br />

we can finally do something about it.<br />

Several nonprofit organizations exist<br />

for this exact purpose, like the Chaldean<br />

Community Foundation, Assyrian<br />

Aid Society, Help Iraq, Etuti Institute,<br />

and Nineveh Rising. Find the one<br />

you resonate with and make a difference<br />

so that this history never again<br />

repeats itself.<br />

32 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

ARE<br />

YOU<br />

HIRING?<br />

JOIN US<br />

2ND ANNUAL<br />


JOB FAIR<br />

Wednesday, September, 27, <strong>2023</strong> 3:00 P. M . -6:00 P. M .<br />

The Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF) invites you to participate in our 2nd Annual<br />

Community Job Fair <strong>2023</strong>. Our job fair will enable you, the employer, to meet and<br />

conduct on-the-spot interviews with New Americans and the greater community. It is an<br />

excellent opportunity to promote open positions and network with other businesses and<br />

organizations. We look forward to seeing you!<br />

Please register by scaning the<br />

QR code below.<br />

Employers will receive:<br />

• Table and two chairs for setup.<br />

• Light refreshments and snacks.<br />

* Space is limited. Registration is available on a first come,<br />

first served basis.<br />

$150 Registration fee<br />

For more info contact Elias at Elias.Kattoula@chaldeanfoundation.org or call 586-722-7253.<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

Wireless Vision Gymnasium<br />

3601 15 Mile Rd.<br />

Sterling Heights, MI, 48310<br />

<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 33


Christina Roki:<br />

Motor City’s Media Maven<br />


When Christina Roki’s family<br />

car broke down, they<br />

couldn’t afford a mechanic<br />

to look it over. Her family lived paycheck<br />

to paycheck, and with three<br />

children, there was little money to<br />

spare. Most would turn to a family<br />

member for help or take out a shortterm<br />

loan. But Christina had a rare and<br />

enterprising thought: What if she tried<br />

to fix it herself?<br />

The rest, as they say, is history.<br />

Since the incidents with her parents’<br />

car, Christina leveraged her<br />

knowledge and social savvy to find<br />

extraordinary success on social media<br />

in the niche market of automotive<br />

engineering and aesthetics, amassing<br />

more than three million followers on<br />

TikTok and 265,000 on Instagram. Her<br />

videos, which she posts several times<br />

per week, attract viewers in the hundreds<br />

of thousands. These numbers<br />

put her in the top echelon of automotive<br />

social media creators, and she<br />

is certainly one of the most popular<br />

Chaldean influencers in the world.<br />

There is, however, a hitch in the<br />

narrative. Christina failed, many times,<br />

at fixing the vehicle. The key differences<br />

between her story and others are<br />

persistence, diligence, and the relentless<br />

desire to help her own family.<br />

A Mechanic’s Metamorphosis<br />

The journey was neither straightforward<br />

nor simple. As a young, firstgeneration<br />

American woman, Christina<br />

has a unique position in the automotive<br />

influencer category. She’s learned<br />

a lot about the cutthroat and saturated<br />

industry, and with few female influencers<br />

to draw inspiration from, she has<br />

forged her own path out of necessity.<br />

Christina’s mother was born in Zakho,<br />

a mid-sized city located about as far<br />

north as Iraq extends. Her family fled<br />

just before the Iran-Iraq war began in<br />

1980. According to Christina, her mother<br />

and her family walked all the way to<br />

the border to seek refuge in Turkey.<br />

From there, her family applied for<br />

refugee status. Unfortunately, different<br />

people were accepted in different<br />

parts of the world. This is common for<br />

refugees and contributes to the reality<br />

of the Chaldean diaspora. Some of<br />

her family went to Europe, and some<br />

to Canada. Christina’s mother eventually<br />

married a Chaldean man in Detroit<br />

and gave birth to three daughters, including<br />

Christina, who was born on<br />

Christmas Day in the year 2000.<br />

When Christina was about 5 years<br />

old, her mother and the three kids<br />

moved back to Canada, where she<br />

has several cousins. Once she was in<br />

middle school, they moved back to the<br />

Detroit area.<br />

Growing up, Christina joked that<br />

she was the boy in the family. While<br />

she got along well with her sisters and<br />

performed the same household chores<br />

as they did, she grew to like things that<br />

are often seen as traditionally masculine—cars,<br />

engineering, and computer<br />

science. When the famous car<br />

breakdowns began to occur, Christina<br />

educated herself on car mechanics<br />

by searching the issues on YouTube.<br />

In these moments, history was made,<br />

and the echoes of her first clanking<br />

can be heard by millions around the<br />

world who watch her videos.<br />

Christina faced harsh backlash<br />

from her father for her attempts to fix<br />

the family car. “You can’t do it,” her father<br />

said, according to Christina. “Why<br />

are you even opening the hood?”<br />

“I won’t lie, I started crying,” Christina<br />

said. “It’s just that doubt, constant<br />

doubt from your own support system.<br />

It filled me with anger, confusion,<br />

and I questioned my own abilities.<br />

You have to brush it off, even when it<br />

comes from your own father, that you<br />

can’t do it because you’re a girl.”<br />

She also had to convince her mother<br />

to let her go to Los Angeles as an<br />

18-year-old. “It’s hard for them to understand<br />

social media, TikTok, car engineering,<br />

and the educational side of<br />

it,” she said. “Being successful is a big<br />

part, knowing that I was able to make<br />

something out of it.”<br />

Christina constantly refers to her<br />

parents as “old school.” In the beginning,<br />

her mother would see her working<br />

on a project with a boy and immediately<br />

offer her objections. Christina<br />

countered that there were no girls to<br />

work with, but part of her mission was<br />

to change that. “I told them, this is me<br />

trying to make that change.”<br />

While Christina still takes it seriously,<br />

she said it feels silly thinking<br />

about it now. “Looking back, it definitely<br />

drove me to be where I am right<br />

now and fueled me up,” she added.<br />

“It’s another variable that helps me<br />

boost my drive, that keeps me going<br />

and learning.” Having these doubts<br />

come from her own family, she said,<br />

helped her laugh off outlandish social<br />

media comments which come from<br />

people she doesn’t even know.<br />

At Stevenson High School in<br />

Sterling Heights, Christina met her<br />

statistics and calculus teacher, Mr.<br />

Carpenter. “He was one of my biggest<br />

mentors. He told me about tons<br />

of opportunities and scholarships,”<br />

she said, emphasizing his exceptional<br />

ability to instruct each individual student<br />

rather than teaching an average<br />

class. He also encouraged her to join<br />

the robotics team to further explore<br />

her passion for computer science.<br />

Robotics introduced her to the<br />

world of computer science and engineering<br />

in an official and educational<br />

setting. She fell in love with the field<br />

and decided to make it into a career.<br />

This experience also gave her the confidence<br />

to work with groups of boys in a<br />

traditionally male-dominated field, an<br />

ROKI continued on page 36<br />

34 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>



3601 15 MILE RD., STERLING HEIGHTS, MI 48310<br />

Breaking Barriers provides services and advocacy to those with developmental and/or intellectual<br />

disabilities, older adults, and respite to caregivers.<br />


helps better equip those with visual impairments to live independent lives.<br />


LANGUAGE, LIFE SKILLS) PROJECT – helps better equip those with<br />

hearing impairments to live independent lives.<br />


supports the family caregiver in care provision and stress reduction.<br />

BB ACADEMY – Adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities gather to<br />

participate in group activities, meet new friends, learn new skills and have fun while their<br />

unpaid family caregivers enjoy some well-deserved respite time.<br />

RECREATIONAL FAMILY RESPITE – Year-round themed gatherings<br />

for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their families.<br />

Families enjoy a safe and familiar place to meet, break bread and to socialize.<br />

SUPERCUTS BARBER SHOP – Licensed cosmetologists provide complimentary<br />

salon services for individuals with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities by appointment.<br />

M.O.B. – Matter of Balance is an evidence based cognitive restructuring group class<br />

for older adults with mobility challenges to reduce the risk of Falling.<br />

BINGOCIZE- Older adults meet and enjoy group Bingo and light exercise to<br />

socialize and improve their overall health.<br />

<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 35

ROKI continued from page 34<br />

asset she’s carried with her ever since.<br />

Even before she graduated high<br />

school, Christina started a program for<br />

women in STEM. “The robotics team<br />

in high school is there so we can learn<br />

and make mistakes,” she said. “I wanted<br />

to create something like that but<br />

less competitive.” Thus, Christina’s<br />

automotive STEM camp for women,<br />

Project 102, was born.<br />

The annual camp accepts 20 female<br />

high school students who are<br />

interested in STEM and the automotive<br />

industry and leads them through<br />

a five-day program of workshops, lectures,<br />

and hands-on installation of vehicle<br />

modifications.<br />

This year’s iteration of Project 102,<br />

From Scarcity to Stardom<br />

During her childhood, Christina’s parents<br />

didn’t speak much English, and they<br />

had an especially difficult time reading<br />

and interpreting mail. This gap was filled<br />

by her and her sisters, who would help<br />

translate documents and bills.<br />

“I was constantly trying to make<br />

ends meet with my parents’ bills,”<br />

Christina said. Often, she couldn’t afford<br />

to participate in class field trips because<br />

of costs, and she never had stylish,<br />

new clothes to wear in school. “But<br />

I never blamed my parents,” she added.<br />

According to Christina, her mother<br />

worked two or three jobs at a time, and<br />

her sisters would help whenever they<br />

could. At times, this meant applying for<br />

food stamps or healthcare, or filing taxes,<br />

and helping around the house. “My<br />

work for one of the big three as a data<br />

analyst on performance vehicles. Although<br />

the path is less clear now, she<br />

has only expanded her options.<br />

“I had a lot of doubts, but I’ve always<br />

been a big risk-taker,” Christina<br />

said. “I wanted to not take the average<br />

path. I have goals bigger than I could<br />

achieve by taking an average path. If I<br />

just went with the flow, it wouldn’t get<br />

me where I need to go.”<br />

Christina sees herself as a force<br />

for inspiration in her community. She<br />

shared one of her mottos, which she<br />

learned in Chaldean and translated<br />

into English. “Keep your head down<br />

and walk.”<br />

She interprets this saying as a way<br />

to stay humble and focus on your own<br />

path. Have your ups and downs but<br />

going to school now,” she said. “I’m<br />

just here to inspire and be inspired.”<br />

In the beginning, Christina filtered<br />

her content so that she only showed<br />

successes. She avoided telling her audience<br />

about problems she encountered<br />

or mistakes she made. Soon, she<br />

realized she was putting on a face that<br />

was unnecessary; it’s okay to make<br />

mistakes and break things. In fact,<br />

that’s how others learn from you. She<br />

found a lot of media success and more<br />

satisfaction after this stylistic switch.<br />

Christina also shares a YouTube<br />

channel with her boyfriend of more<br />

than five years, Grant Sloan. Together,<br />

they post vlogs of themselves buying,<br />

building, and modifying cars. While<br />

this content is not as lucrative or attention-grabbing<br />

as short-form videos,<br />

From left: A post on Christina’s social media account; young women at a workshop taught by Christina; the influencer in Japan with Nissan.<br />

which concluded in March, was featured<br />

as a photo essay in the Detroit<br />

Free Press. Sarahbeth Maney, a photojournalist<br />

for the Free Press, showcased<br />

the project to the metro Detroit<br />

community.<br />

“I want to inspire girls to join maledominated<br />

fields,” Christina said. “Being<br />

Chaldean, our families want us to<br />

be doctors and pharmacists, but I just<br />

wanted to be an engineer. I wanted to<br />

introduce it to other students for free<br />

so they can figure out if it’s a passion<br />

of theirs. This is something that you<br />

can’t really do unless someone puts it<br />

in front of you.”<br />

Christina tapped into an important<br />

aspect of the gender disparity in engineering<br />

and the automotive industry.<br />

As a general rule, this work is difficult<br />

to access because of its expensive<br />

equipment. Many car engineers and<br />

mechanics end up in the industry after<br />

learning or being inspired by family or<br />

friends, and women are not privy to this<br />

type of knowledge as much as men.<br />

Christina is trying to fix that, 20 women<br />

and millions of viewers at a time.<br />

head was always in the real world.”<br />

This childhood experience feeds<br />

Christina’s strong desire to support her<br />

own family, and bonds them together<br />

in everlasting connection. “We’re very<br />

family-dependent,” she said. “My sisters<br />

and cousins always have my back.<br />

If my mom had one dollar in her pocket,<br />

she would give it to us.”<br />

Christina’s mother tells her daughters<br />

that she came to this country for<br />

them, so they could have a better life.<br />

Christina accepted this love, transformed<br />

it, and sent it back. She wants<br />

her mother to have a better life now<br />

and see something grow out of her<br />

own arduous journey.<br />

Christina’s expertise in the automotive<br />

industry is mostly self-taught,<br />

however, she is an exceptional student.<br />

She graduated from Stevenson one<br />

year early and entered college as a junior<br />

at the University of Michigan in the<br />

College of Engineering. She is due to<br />

graduate this summer, which will give<br />

her more time to work on her car builds<br />

and content creation. Before her social<br />

media accounts blew up, she wanted to<br />

keep them to yourself. “I have so many<br />

ideas and things I want to accomplish,”<br />

she said. “It’s more fulfilling<br />

if you achieve it on your own, without<br />

telling anyone your plans.”<br />

Fast Lane to Fame<br />

Christina’s content has changed a<br />

lot since she began. She first learned<br />

about TikTok from her younger sister,<br />

who was on the app before it even got<br />

its name. “She’s always ahead of the<br />

trend and gives me inspiration and<br />

ideas,” Christina said.<br />

Christina also claims to be one of<br />

the first automotive influencers on Tik-<br />

Tok. In the beginning, she posted educational<br />

content like how to change a<br />

headlight or modify a car. Then, over<br />

time, it turned into a lifestyle account,<br />

and she started to involve her family.<br />

Now, Christina is a shining example<br />

for female automotive content creators.<br />

She regularly sees content online<br />

that is clearly inspired by her own,<br />

and she couldn’t be prouder. “I get a<br />

lot of tags and comments, people telling<br />

me about their cars or that they’re<br />

Christina enjoys this more because it<br />

allows her to form a deeper connection<br />

with her audience.<br />

One of Christina’s favorite cars is<br />

one she made for an invitation-only<br />

drag race created for influencers. She<br />

swapped a Hellcat Redeye with a Challenger<br />

RT, which is a complex process<br />

that involves removing and reinstalling<br />

the Hellcat’s 6.2-liter, supercharged<br />

V8 engine in the Challenger, offering<br />

nearly double the horsepower. The final<br />

modification, which she decided on<br />

24 hours before the race began, was to<br />

wrap the vehicle in rose gold.<br />

With great power comes great<br />

responsibility, and with that, great<br />

fame. When she began, Christina<br />

would send emails and pitch projects<br />

to various brands; most were<br />

not interested. Now, the paradigm<br />

has flipped, and brands are eager to<br />

work with her. “One of the tipping<br />

points was Nissan, which allowed me<br />

to build a car and put it at the SEMA<br />

show front and center,” she said.<br />

For this show, she customized a Nissan<br />

truck with a wide body, lowered<br />

36 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

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a custom graphic wrap, among other<br />

modifications.<br />

Christina has also worked on<br />

major projects with Ruffles, Toyota,<br />

Hypebeast, and 7-Eleven. She just<br />

revealed her newest car build which<br />

features a custom Slurpee design inspired<br />

by the world-famous convenience<br />

store.<br />

Earlier this year, Christina was invited<br />

to the world premiere of Fast X,<br />

the latest hit movie in the Fast & Furious<br />

series, in Rome, Italy. There, she<br />

met some celebrities, including John<br />

Cena and her favorite cast member,<br />

Jordana Brewster, who plays Mia Toretto<br />

in the movies.<br />

“I love bringing my family along<br />

on all of these journeys,” she said. “I<br />

brought my cousins from Canada and<br />

Belgium and my little sister. That’s<br />

what makes my day. I don’t like enjoying<br />

this stuff all by myself. I want<br />

my family to share these experiences,<br />

too.”<br />

Christina has enjoyed her fair<br />

share of fame from fans, too. In one<br />

instance, she went to a car festival in<br />

Arizona where one of her fans drove<br />

all the way from Texas to meet Christina<br />

and show off her own inspired<br />

build. “I spent pretty much the whole<br />

day with her,” Christina said. “She<br />

started watching me from my very<br />

first videos. It was a whole different<br />

level of connection that makes me<br />

want to keep going. I’m here to represent<br />

the female automotive community.<br />

This is only the start of it.”<br />

Christina believes that brands<br />

play a vital role in breaking down<br />

the gender gap in the industry, and<br />

not just in her case. When large companies<br />

sponsor Christina’s projects,<br />

it shows other women that there are<br />

real opportunities out there, and it<br />

helps to grow her female audience.<br />

“Institutions and communities<br />

and smaller groups are paving the<br />

path for the future, and it can start a<br />

chain reaction,” Christina said, referencing<br />

her experience with the robotics<br />

team. “That’s why it’s important to<br />

keep my program going.”<br />

Christina advises her followers to<br />

stick with their goals and plans and<br />

avoid getting down after a few rejections.<br />

Even the most successful stories<br />

are full of dismissals and unanswered<br />

emails in the beginning. She<br />

told a story of her application for a<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

scholarship almost five years ago. She<br />

was denied, and she admitted it hurt<br />

her at the time.<br />

This seemingly small event, which<br />

undoubtedly put doubt in her mind<br />

and shot her own confidence, came<br />

full circle as she recently reconnected<br />

with the CCF, albeit at a different stage<br />

in her life and for different reasons.<br />

This synchronicity reinforced a valuable<br />

lesson for Christina, one that she<br />

hopes to instill in others: Keep your<br />

head down and walk.<br />

<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 37


Samira Cholagh’s elevates<br />

traditional cooked barley<br />

(Pikota Habbia Kashka)<br />

into a work of art.<br />

A Short History<br />

Barley is an extremely hardy grain and<br />

has survived over the centuries because<br />

of its unique design: It has a double<br />

husk, and the outer husk layer helps to<br />

make it very resistant to insects.<br />

First cultivated around 11,000<br />

years ago, barley was grown in the<br />

Fertile Crescent, a region with relatively<br />

abundant water that spans Western<br />

Asia and the Nile River delta in northeast<br />

Africa. It was a staple in many<br />

cultures — including ancient Greek,<br />

Roman, Egyptian, Chinese and Viking<br />

civilizations. In ancient Mesopotamia,<br />

barley was used not just for cooking<br />

but often served as currency as well.<br />

Food as Art<br />

Presentation is central to Samira Cholagh’s take on<br />

the traditional cooked barley (Pikota Habbia Kashka)<br />

BY Z.Z. DAWOD<br />

Although there are a variety of<br />

ways to prepare Pikota, the ageold<br />

Chaldean dish, Samira Cholagh’s<br />

presentation is like nothing you’ve<br />

ever seen before. With only a handful of<br />

ingredients, the recipe itself is surprisingly<br />

simple but the final touch of display<br />

Samira gives her Pikota is over-thetop<br />

extraordinary: It’s a work of art.<br />

Detail-oriented and creative,<br />

Samira draws on her love for baking<br />

when putting the final touches on her<br />

creations. Experimenting with cake<br />

pans for shaping and molding, the<br />

results are truly impressive, original<br />

presentations.<br />

Barley as a Family Tradition<br />

Although Samira was born and raised<br />

in Baghdad, summers were spent visiting<br />

her mother’s family in Alqosh,<br />

where farming and animal grazing was<br />

a way of life. Samira recalls the sheep<br />

producing the best cheese around; in<br />

fact, people would travel from afar to<br />

purchase the cheese.<br />

Since the 1960s, her uncles in<br />

Alqosh have operated tahini and barley<br />

processing factories so, as a child,<br />

Samira saw first-hand the process barley<br />

and tahini follow prior to appearing<br />

in our kitchens.<br />


Early Experiments in the Kitchen<br />

Curious about cooking from a very<br />

young age, Samira would experiment<br />

with different ingredients. She recalls<br />

preparing meals at the age of ten,<br />

while her family took a siesta. If it did<br />

not turn out, she wouldn’t serve it so,<br />

“No one ever tasted the ‘wrong’ thing.”<br />

From a young age, Samira was a perfectionist<br />

at heart.<br />

At about the age of eleven, Samira<br />

remembers a cookbook making its<br />

way into the family. Following recipes<br />

was like a puzzle for little Samira, she<br />

would try it over and over until she got<br />

it to taste right and look presentable.<br />

Samira recalls her mother preparing<br />

traditional dishes for breakfast, lunch<br />

and dinner but, as far as Samira can remember,<br />

her mom never baked. The aspiring<br />

young chef ventured into baking<br />

by following recipes from the cookbook,<br />

making her the baking pioneer in the<br />

family. Being the eldest of her siblings,<br />

she cherished and treasured what ended<br />

up being the only cookbook she had for<br />

many years to come.<br />

Adjusting to the Western Diet<br />

As Samira and her husband made<br />

their way to the United States in the<br />

early 1980s, her only cookbook made<br />

the journey as well. When she became<br />

a mother, she relied on this book to<br />

make meals for her growing family.<br />

Having earned a degree in Agricultural<br />

Engineering from University<br />

of Baghdad, Samira’s philosophy<br />

is based on the basic foundation of<br />

whole ingredients that nourish the<br />

YouTube Sensation<br />

With more than 113,000 subscribers,<br />

14,036,505 views and 669 episodes,<br />

Samira Cholagh has earned a coveted<br />

symbol of YouTube success — the<br />

YouTube Play Button.<br />

She began sharing her talent for<br />

baking and cooking on the World<br />

Wide Web when she launched her<br />

YouTube Channel in October 2010. At<br />

669 episodes and counting, Samira<br />

has no plans to slow down anytime<br />

soon. From main dishes to soups to<br />

meat pies to salads to jams to breads,<br />

if you can think of it, Samira has a<br />

recipe for it. She enjoys encouraging<br />

and teaching the next generation all<br />

about the art of making deliciousness.<br />

In addition to Samira’s success on<br />

YouTube, she is also very active on Instagram,<br />

Facebook and TikTok, where<br />

she has a wide following.<br />

38 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

ody — such as vegetables, grains,<br />

meats and fish.<br />

Samira recalls her kids enjoying<br />

the traditional home-cooked dishes<br />

she made daily. But as her kids grew<br />

older, they became interested in eating<br />

what their friends were eating.<br />

Samira quickly realized that the modern<br />

Western diet is not at all the same<br />

(or as healthy) as the traditional Eastern<br />

diet she grew up eating.<br />

It became Samira’s goal to recreate<br />

all sorts of dishes for her family,<br />

and to completely avoid feeding her<br />

children the unhealthy “fast food”<br />

meals. Focusing on wholesome ingredients,<br />

through trial and error, Samira<br />

figured out how to make a couple of<br />

favorites such as chicken nuggets and<br />

hamburger buns for the burgers.<br />

Cheerleader for Aspiring Chefs<br />

In addition to cooking for her family,<br />

Samira has always enjoyed sharing<br />

her recipes. Friends, family and sometimes<br />

complete strangers began asking<br />

for her recipes and instructions.<br />

Eager to lead, set an example and<br />

empower, Samira’s approach is to encourage.<br />

She tells people, “You can do<br />

this, even if you’ve never cooked before.”<br />

The more she shared, the more<br />

inspired she became to keep going.<br />

Over the years, Samira’s passion<br />

for cooking, and especially baking,<br />

grew to the point of boiling over (pun<br />

intended) and she finally decided to<br />

put it all into a book.<br />

Between 1997 and 2011, Samira published<br />

three cookbooks in Arabic and<br />

in English. Her first book, Muchtar Min<br />

Fenoon Al-Dabough, was published in<br />

Arabic, in 1997. Next, came the Treasured<br />

Middle Eastern Cookbook, published<br />

in 1998. Her third book, A Baking<br />

Journey, was introduced in 2011.<br />

While raising a family and putting<br />

together cookbooks, Samira also became<br />

a regular on TV Orient — the Arabic-speaking<br />

network on cable television<br />

— preparing, demonstrating and<br />

sharing her latest dishes for the Chaldean<br />

and Arabic speaking community.<br />

Toward the end of her run with TV<br />

Orient, Samira moved her platform to<br />

YouTube, where she has been posting<br />

since October 2010. Taking charge<br />

of the production directly has given<br />

Samira complete creative freedom. It<br />

is only the latest chapter in her long<br />

and evolving career.<br />

RECIPE<br />

Pikota Habiya Kashka<br />

Recipe shared by Samira Cholagh<br />

Ingredients:<br />

4-5 pounds beef or<br />

lamb with bones<br />

3 cups barley<br />

6 cups water<br />

1 teaspoon ground turmeric<br />

1/2 cup oil or butter<br />

1 large onion, chopped<br />

salt to taste<br />

Step 1, Barley: Rinse the barley. Fill<br />

pot with water, add barley, salt and<br />

turmeric. Boil until the water has<br />

evaporated. In a frying pan, heat 1/4<br />

cup oil, add chopped onions. Cook<br />

onions until soft, not brown. Add<br />

onions to cooked barley, mix well.<br />

As a final step, add remaining 1/4<br />

cup of oil to pan, heat at high temperature<br />

then pour into the pot of<br />

the Pikota. Mix well.<br />

Step 2, Meat: Select beef or lamb<br />

with bones for best flavor, any<br />

choice of cut. Searing the meat in<br />

oil at a high temperature for a few<br />

minutes on each side will enhance<br />

the savory “meat” flavor. Add water<br />

to the pot, cover and simmer for an<br />

hour and a half or until tender.<br />

Step 3, Presentation: To achieve the<br />

pictured presentation, pack Pikota<br />

into a round cake/Jello pan or any desired<br />

shape. Place a flat serving dish<br />

over filled Jello pan, keeping pressure<br />

to seal them together and in one quick<br />

swoop, flip Jello pan over serving dish<br />

and slowly remove the shaped pan.<br />

Arrange meat around the Pikota. As<br />

a side with this dish, fresh tomatoes,<br />

parsley and cucumbers are served.<br />

<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 39

SPORTS<br />

Terrific<br />

Tennis Trio<br />

Meet three Chaldean<br />

girls who won<br />

championships<br />


Raegan Tomina. Kayla Nafso.<br />

Alana Hindo. Three Chaldean<br />

girls, three winners of high<br />

school state championships in tennis<br />

this past spring.<br />

Tomina won the No. 2 singles title<br />

in Division 1 just before she graduated<br />

from Bloomfield Hills. Nafso and Hindo<br />

were half of the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles<br />

state championship teams in Division 4,<br />

playing for Bloomfield Hills Academy of<br />

the Sacred Heart. Nafso will be a senior<br />

and Hindo will be a junior this fall.<br />

All three girls were named to the<br />

Michigan High School Tennis Coaches<br />

Association’s All-State team for their<br />

division.<br />

Their tennis journeys include losing<br />

a season to the COVID-19 pandemic,<br />

having sisters who also were tennis<br />

stars at their school, changing spots in<br />

their team’s lineup, and transferring to<br />

another school.<br />

Raegan Tomina<br />

Tomina, 17, who lives in Bloomfield<br />

Hills, is moving on to Oakland University<br />

to pursue a career in nursing. Her<br />

competitive tennis career is most likely<br />

over. “I’ve played competitive tennis for<br />

a long time, and I loved playing tennis in<br />

high school,” she said. “I’ll miss it a lot,<br />

but it’s time to move on to new things.”<br />

Two of the new things are pickleball<br />

and reading. “I love pickleball;<br />

It’s my new tennis,” Tomina said. “As<br />

for reading, I really didn’t like it until a<br />

couple years ago. But a found a couple<br />

genres I like, murder mysteries and romance<br />

novels.”<br />

After losing her freshman tennis<br />

season at Bloomfield Hills to the<br />

pandemic, Tomina won the Division<br />

1 state championship at No. 2 doubles<br />

as a sophomore. Her sister Hannah<br />

won the state title at No. 1 doubles for<br />



Bloomfield Hills that year as a senior.<br />

“I really didn’t want to play doubles<br />

when I was a sophomore, but<br />

I ended up loving it,” Raegan said.<br />

After starting her junior year at No. 1<br />

doubles, Raegan was moved to No. 2<br />

singles and lost in the Division 1 state<br />

quarterfinals. She was at No. 2 singles<br />

all season this past spring and won another<br />

state championship.<br />

Hannah, now 20 and a junior at the<br />

University of Michigan who also plans<br />

to be a nurse, won the Division 1 No. 1<br />

doubles state championship as a sophomore<br />

and senior, sandwiching a lost<br />

junior season because of the pandemic.<br />

Another Tomina sister is ready<br />

to make her mark on the Bloomfield<br />

Hills girls tennis team. Sophia, 14, the<br />

youngest of the sibling trio, will be a<br />

freshman in high school this fall.<br />

Kayla Nafso<br />

Nafso, 17, a Bloomfield Hills resident,<br />

has played for the No. 1 doubles state<br />

championship in Division 4 all three<br />

years of her Sacred Heart career. She<br />

won with her sister Marisa in 2021 but<br />

lost with her in 2022.<br />

Because of graduation losses, it is<br />

not certain Kayla will be back at No.<br />

1 doubles for Sacred Heart come next<br />

spring. She may be needed to play<br />

singles, probably No. 1. “I don’t love<br />

singles like I love doubles,” she said.<br />

“But if my team needs me to play singles,<br />

I’ll do it.”<br />

Clockwise from above: State champion Raegan Tomina is surrounded by<br />

family members (from left) Sophia, Kelly, Hannah and Patrick.<br />

Alana Hindo won a state championship as a sophomore.<br />

Kayla Nafso (right) and her doubles partner Jade Horcoff celebrate not only<br />

their regional championship, but Sacred Heart’s team regional championship<br />

this past spring.<br />

It has been a busy summer for<br />

Kayla, who attended the University of<br />

Notre Dame’s two-week, “History of<br />

London as a Global Trading Capital,”<br />

program last month in England.<br />

Back home, she’s involved in Focus:<br />

HOPE’s Food for Seniors program,<br />

which provides thousands of seniors<br />

with monthly food packages.<br />

Alana Hindo<br />

Hindo, 16, who lives in Commerce Township<br />

and is active at St. Thomas Chaldean<br />

Catholic Church in West Bloomfield, has<br />

left Sacred Heart and is transferring to<br />

Birmingham Marian because she wants<br />

to attend a bigger high school.<br />

Because she’s transferring, she<br />

can’t play golf or tennis for Marian this<br />

school year. She said she’d likely resume<br />

playing one or both sports when<br />

she’s a senior.<br />

Hindo played No. 3 singles for Sacred<br />

Heart as a freshman. She wanted<br />

to play doubles with close friend and<br />

practice partner Presley Krywko this<br />

past spring, and they were given that<br />

opportunity. “Did I think Presley and I<br />

could win a state championship?” she<br />

asked. “I didn’t think it could happen<br />

at first, but as the season wore on, we<br />

got more confident,” said Hindo.<br />

The Scoreboard<br />

So how did the three girls win their<br />

state championships in June?<br />

Tomina, the No. 3 seed at No. 2<br />

singles in Division 1, defeated two familiar<br />

foes en route to her state title.<br />

She beat No. 6 seed Abbey Labate of<br />

Clarkston 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals<br />

and No. 4 seed Katie Fu of Rochester<br />

Adams 7-5, 6-0 in the state championship<br />

match. Tomina had defeated both<br />

earlier in the season, including Fu in<br />

the regional title match.<br />

Nafso and her partner Jade Horcoff,<br />

the No. 3 seed, had a tough road to the<br />

No. 1 doubles state championship in<br />

Division 4. They had to rally for a 5-7,<br />

6-3, 6-4 win over No. 2 seed Brooke Tietz<br />

and Alivia Mott of Grand Rapids West<br />

Catholic in the semifinals, and they<br />

turned back No. 1 seed Sophie Chen<br />

and Lauren Ye of Ann Arbor Greenhills<br />

7-5, 7-6 (2) in the championship match.<br />

Hindo and Krywko were the No. 1<br />

seed at No. 3 doubles. They dropped<br />

just nine games in three matches before<br />

their 6-2, 7-6 (3) win over No. 2<br />

seed Meera Pandey and Meera Tewari<br />

of Greenhills in the title match. They<br />

had beaten the Greenhills duo twice<br />

earlier in the season in close matches.<br />

Tennis fans will be sad to see this<br />

trio move on but rest assured, there<br />

will be others to take their place.<br />

Bloomfield Hills junior Julia Yousif,<br />

another young Chaldean, was the No.<br />

2 seed at No. 3 singles at the Division 1<br />

state tournament. She advanced to the<br />

semifinals in the flight.<br />


40 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

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<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 41


Theoni<br />

Balasi:<br />

Finally<br />

Made It<br />


Sometimes the Chaldean Community<br />

Foundation is the last stop<br />

on a long string of stops. When<br />

the last stop offers a welcome in your<br />

own language and you’re met with<br />

kindness, those two things can go a<br />

long way.<br />

Told by her daughter-in-law, this<br />

story is about Theoni Balasi’s journey<br />

to gain U.S. Citizenship at the age of 90.<br />

Theoni came to the United States<br />

to live with her son and daughter-inlaw<br />

Samantha in 2008 after the death<br />

of her husband. Both families lived in<br />

Greece, sharing a building and meals,<br />

and caring for each other. Samantha<br />

is a teacher here as she was in Greece<br />

and has always had a strong relationship<br />

with her mother-in-law Theoni.<br />

Traveling back and forth between<br />

Greece and the U.S., Theoni had the<br />

best of both worlds — visiting with<br />

family, but with a home in the U.S. and<br />

aspirations to become a citizen.<br />

Samantha took all the right steps<br />

to help Theoni. She obtained and filled<br />

out the necessary paperwork, coaching<br />

and preparing her mother-in-law for the<br />

naturalization interview. After several<br />

unsuccessful attempts to obtain citizenship<br />

for Theoni, the pair lost hope.<br />

A few years later, they stopped by<br />

a location that no longer offered help<br />

with becoming a citizen; however,<br />

this organization pointed them in the<br />

direction of the Chaldean Community<br />

Foundation. Samantha and Theoni<br />

had no idea what to expect; of course,<br />

that day the lobby was overflowing,<br />

and extra chairs had been brought out.<br />

Fluent in English and Greek in a full<br />

lobby of people speaking Arabic and<br />

Chaldean, they were concerned that<br />

once again they would be turned away.<br />

After finally being seated in front<br />

of a case worker, the two were introduced<br />

and greeted in Greek by one of<br />

Theoni celebrates with an<br />

official and with family as<br />

she accepts her citizenship<br />

certificate.<br />

CCF’s immigration team. They relaxed,<br />

and progress began.<br />

“We were introduced to the immigration<br />

team, and they reviewed<br />

each step we took and made us feel<br />

like family,” said Samantha. “Our experience<br />

was one of compassion and<br />

kindness, as my mother-in-law finally<br />

became a U.S. Citizen.<br />

“Beyond happiness, we were also<br />

connected with additional CCF staff and<br />

received assistance with the applications<br />

for Medicaid and guardianship,”<br />

Samantha went on. “That experience<br />

was easy and again the staff made us<br />

feel welcomed and like family.”<br />

For Theoni, receiving her U.S. citizenship<br />

has been a long time coming.<br />

Now she can obtain a U.S. passport to<br />

visit friends and family in Greece without<br />

having to obtain a visa — that is<br />

worth celebrating!<br />

She plans to visit her 86-yearold<br />

twin sisters who are still living in<br />

Greece. When receiving her citizenship,<br />

Theoni summarized it best when<br />

she shared, “I finally made it.”<br />


42 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 43


Fun Ways<br />

to Beat the<br />

Heat This<br />

Summer<br />


The WoahZone<br />

at Heron Beach.<br />

Summer is really heating up! And because we<br />

have barely been able to go outside earlier this<br />

summer because of the poor air quality, we<br />

have to make up for some much-needed splash time.<br />

Thankfully, though, you don’t have to travel too<br />

far to engage in some family-fun outdoor activities.<br />

So many new splash pads and aquatic centers have<br />

emerged in the last few years; allow me to list a few.<br />

WhoaZone at Heron Beach<br />

I decided to start with the most unique and versatile<br />

place on my list. This attraction was perhaps Oakland<br />

County’s best-kept secret, but the secret is out<br />

now. Located on the sandy beach of the Holly Recreation<br />

Area, you and your family will want for nothing<br />

where fun and water activities are concerned. For instance,<br />

the Wibit Aqua Park is a one-of-a-kind floating<br />

obstacle course for anyone 7 years and older and<br />

at least 45 inches tall.<br />

If you have younger children, there is also the<br />

Wibit KidsZone for children ages 4-6 and under 45<br />

inches tall; this is the perfect miniature version of the<br />

Wibit Aqua Park.<br />

These obstacle courses are just a few things you and<br />

your family can enjoy. There are also watercraft rentals<br />

for kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards. WhoaZone also<br />

Kensington<br />

MetroPark’s<br />

Splash N Blast<br />

attraction.<br />

offers shaded seating rentals, SnackZone concessions,<br />

and a beach store. If your interests are simpler, you can<br />

always enjoy a nice dip in the cool, refreshing lake. For<br />

more information, visit whoa.zone/holly.<br />

Troy Family Aquatic Center<br />

With both indoor and outdoor pool activities, you<br />

have so many options if you decide to spend a day<br />

here. Located at 3424 Civic Center Drive, the Troy<br />

Family Aquatic Center is the ideal place to cool off<br />

this summer.<br />

Their outdoor aquatic center has a main pool<br />

with a zero-depth edge, tube and body slides, a kiddie<br />

area with a waterfall, kiddie slide and splash pad,<br />

sand volleyball and sand play area, along with concession<br />

stand. And these are just a few of the outdoor<br />

attractions; there are plenty more both outdoor<br />

and indoors if those are not enough for you. Visit<br />

rec.troymi.gov/parks_facilities for more information.<br />

Lily Pad Springs in West Bloomfield<br />

Located at Maple and Farmington Roads in West<br />

Bloomfield, (where Potomac Pool previously was),<br />

this new neighborhood splash pad is great for kids<br />

of all ages.<br />

With over 50 play features, 4 water slides, and a<br />

splash bucket that dumps 55 gallons of water, you really<br />

cannot go wrong here. Add to that the very low<br />

price of $4 per resident and only $7 per nonresident,<br />

it is likely to become your new favorite end-of-summer<br />

hangout. And because it is in the heart of West<br />

Bloomfield, there is no doubt you and your children<br />

will run into some familiar faces or perhaps make<br />

new friends as you splash around and make some<br />

memories. Find Lily Pad Springs at wbparks.org.<br />

Heritage Park Splash Pad<br />

Located inside Heritage Park on Farmington Road between<br />

10 and 11 Mile Road, you will find a splash pad<br />

with a series of fountains and sprayers that is free to<br />

the public.<br />

Why not have a picnic and a splash at this Farmington<br />

Hills community staple? There is also a Nature<br />

Discovery Trail and a snack shack that sells treats<br />

and refreshments, just to round out your family outing.<br />

Visit fhgov.com for more info.<br />

Kensington MetroPark Splash n Blast Waterpark<br />

Located inside Kensington Metropark at Martindale<br />

Beach in Milford is an oldie but a goodie —Splash<br />

n Blast Waterpark. I loved going there as a kid and<br />

teen, and from the looks of it, the park and slides<br />

have only gotten better with time.<br />

In addition to nice, sandy beaches and spacious<br />

shelters and picnic areas, you will also find a splash<br />

pad, two 240-foot-long twisted waterslides, the ‘spray<br />

ground’ with palm trees, serpents and cannons that<br />

spray water and more…much more! With the perfect<br />

blend of refreshing lake and affordable splash park<br />

options, there is something for everyone. But don’t<br />

take my word for it, plan a day, and go check it out for<br />

yourself! You will not be disappointed.<br />

Find out more at metroparks.com.<br />

Conclusion<br />

Summertime for parents and children can be tricky.<br />

With summer coming to an end but time on everyone’s<br />

hands, it can be difficult to find ways to fill up<br />

your days while also bonding as a family and staying<br />

active. My advice . . . turn off those iPads and hit the<br />

splash pads!<br />

44 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

When Every Moment Counts<br />

Synergy Longevity Centers’ Breakthroughs<br />

in Early Cancer Diagnosis<br />

Synergy Longevity Centers is<br />

proud to be the Midwest’s<br />

first comprehensive longevity<br />

health center, focused on a preventative<br />

approach to avoiding disease<br />

and early disease detection. Using a<br />

multimodal approach by utilizing proprietary<br />

whole-body MRI, extensive<br />

blood tests, cardiac ultrasound, and<br />

CT imaging, they will create a healthfocused<br />

and personalized assessment<br />

to optimize your longevity and<br />

health.<br />

As the only clinic in the Midwest<br />

to offer a comprehensive evaluation<br />

of your health with the goal of improving<br />

longevity, Synergy Longevity<br />

Centers uses the latest technology<br />

for their proprietary whole-body MRI,<br />

Synergy DeepScan, a noninvasive<br />

MRI that uses no radiation or dyes.<br />

They also offer: a blood test that can<br />

detect more than fifty distinct types of<br />

cancer;<br />

Four different testing modalities<br />

for the heart, including ultrasound; a<br />

CT scan to look at plaque buildup; an<br />

EKG; and extensive blood tests that<br />

your primary doctor may not even<br />

know to order.<br />

Synergy Longevity Centers’ services<br />

include a nutritional evaluation<br />

and heart-health assessment, along<br />

with a cancer-focused assessment<br />

that incorporates stool testing to evaluate<br />

for cancer. Services are offered<br />

a la carte for extreme personalization.<br />

This combination creates a wholehealth<br />

comprehensive evaluation.<br />

Included in each service is an<br />

initial consultation, a follow up appointment<br />

with a physician to review<br />

your results, and a customized plan<br />

to improve your longevity. The five<br />

different assessments are nutritional<br />

evaluation, heart-health assessment,<br />

cancer-focused assessment, wholebody<br />

MRI, and longevity evaluation.<br />

The nutritional test is a blood and<br />

urine test that evaluates over 125<br />

biomarkers and assesses the body’s<br />

functional need for forty antioxidants,<br />

vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids,<br />

amino acids, digestive support,<br />

and other select nutrients. This assessment<br />

is extremely important in<br />

helping identify underlying factors for<br />

longevity, mood disorders, fatigue,<br />

cardiovascular disease, weight issues,<br />

malnutrition, and issues with digestion<br />

and nutrient absorption.<br />

The heart-health assessment focuses<br />

on your cardiovascular health<br />

and combines the Boston Heart Cholesterol<br />

Balance© blood tests, EKG,<br />

echocardiogram, and coronary calcium<br />

score. If you are at elevated risk for coronary<br />

artery disease, they offer a coronary<br />

CTA which uses IV dyes to look at<br />

blood vessels around your heart. This<br />

comes at an additional cost but is available<br />

for people who are elevated risk<br />

or want a better, more detailed picture<br />

of their coronary arteries.<br />

The cancer-focused assessment<br />

uses their whole-body MRI, blood cancer<br />

test, and stool testing to identify if<br />

cancer exists in your body. The blood<br />

cancer test is 98.5% effective at picking<br />

up over fifty distinct types of cancer<br />

if it is present. The cancer assessment<br />

includes a repeat blood cancer<br />

test in 1 year to ensure that nothing is<br />

missed.<br />

Their whole-body MRI, Synergy<br />

DeepScan, is a proprietary MRI sequencing<br />

created to identify early disease<br />

and possible cancers. This noninvasive<br />

test images the top of your<br />

head to your mid-thigh for a detailed<br />

picture of your inner body without the<br />

harmful effects of radiation. They also<br />

have the option of doing NeuroQuant<br />

imaging which looks at a part of your<br />

brain called the hippocampus and<br />

has implications with development of<br />

dementia as an add-on to the wholebody<br />

MRI.<br />

The longevity evaluation includes<br />

the whole-body MRI, blood cancer<br />

detection test, echocardiogram, EKG,<br />

coronary calcium score, Boston Heart<br />

Cholesterol Balance© blood tests,<br />

macro- and micro-nutrient evaluation,<br />

as well as stool testing. During your<br />

longevity evaluation, you also obtain a<br />

head-to-toe physical examination with<br />

qualified physicians.<br />

Every patient has a free, no obligation<br />

meeting with one of the physician<br />

partners. During this 15-minute<br />

meeting, any questions or concerns<br />

you may have about services are addressed.<br />

Synergy Longevity Centers<br />

will send you an intake form and review<br />

this form with you to review your<br />

past medical history, family history,<br />

and different risk factors to develop<br />

the right plan for you.<br />

Results are fast. If you need bloodwork,<br />

they send a phlebotomist to<br />

wherever you prefer (your home<br />

or work). If imaging is included in<br />

the work, they send the specialist 2<br />

weeks before your imaging appointment.<br />

If you do not have bloodwork,<br />

when you come in for imaging, you<br />

will have your results within 48 hours.<br />

When you finish your evaluation,<br />

you will leave with a binder of all your<br />

information, which is also stored in a<br />

secure, HIPAA compliant server. In this<br />

binder will be a customized plan for<br />

you as well as recommendations for<br />

follow up with any specific physicians<br />

if indicated. You will review this binder<br />

with your physician who specializes in<br />

functional medicine.<br />

Anthony Oraha, MD<br />

Michael Zielinski, DO<br />

248-304-7624<br />

info@synergly.com<br />

synergylc.com<br />

@synergylongevitycenters<br />


<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 45


Fungal Infection<br />

Making the Rounds<br />

If you follow the news,<br />

you may have heard<br />

about drug-resistant<br />

infections caused by an organism<br />

called ‘Candida auris.’<br />

This kind of news can<br />

create concern; the goal of<br />

this article is to help readers<br />

understand the infection—who<br />

is at risk, how it<br />

spreads, associated symptoms,<br />

and treatment.<br />

C. auris, a fungus first<br />

identified in 2009 in Japan,<br />

has become a cause of severe infections<br />

across more than 30 countries<br />

worldwide. C. auris began spreading<br />

in the United States in 2015, and<br />

cases increased significantly in 2018.<br />

At that time, the Centers for Disease<br />

Control and Prevention (CDC) decided<br />

it should become a notifiable disease.<br />

Despite headlines, the infection<br />

is still rare and healthy people do not<br />

usually get C. auris infections. Affected<br />

patients usually have serious underlying<br />

medical conditions or weakened<br />

immune systems, such as blood cancer<br />

or diabetes.<br />

Some people can carry the fungus<br />

somewhere on their body even if it’s<br />

not making them noticeably sick with<br />

symptoms, a process called colonization.<br />

When people have it on their bodies,<br />

it can spread to nearby objects or<br />

equipment, and in turn, spread to others.<br />

Because of this, health care workers<br />

are trained to properly identify a C.<br />

auris infection.<br />

DR. RENEE<br />

JIDDOU<br />



NEWS<br />

Many hospitals also<br />

screen patients who are considered<br />

high-risk or come<br />

from long-term care facilities<br />

to determine if they are<br />

carriers. The most common<br />

symptoms of an invasive C.<br />

auris infection are fever and<br />

chills that don’t improve after<br />

antibiotics for a presumed<br />

bacterial infection. Sometimes<br />

specialized laboratory<br />

technology is needed to help<br />

diagnose the infection.<br />

When diagnosed, there are things<br />

that can be done to stop the spread.<br />

For instance, C. auris can live on surfaces<br />

for several weeks, so good hand<br />

hygiene and properly disinfecting surfaces<br />

is especially important. Health<br />

care workers should wear<br />

gowns, gloves and clean<br />

their hands correctly before<br />

and after patient care.<br />

Patient rooms should also<br />

be cleaned thoroughly with<br />

a disinfectant that works<br />

against this fungus.<br />

Family members and<br />

other close contacts of patients<br />

with this infection<br />

should clean their hands<br />

with hand sanitizer or soap<br />

and water before and after<br />

touching a patient with C.<br />

auris, or after touching any equipment<br />

or other objects in the patient’s room.<br />

There are many types of Candida,<br />

with at least 30 causing infections in<br />

humans. C. auris might be resistant to<br />

medications commonly used to treat<br />

other types of Candida infections,<br />

meaning these medications will not<br />

work to treat that specific infection.<br />

Instead, many C. auris infections are<br />

treatable with a class of antifungal infections<br />

called echinocandins.<br />

However, some C. auris infections<br />

can be resistant to all three main classes<br />

of antifungal medications, making<br />

it difficult to treat. In such situations,<br />

multiple antifungal medications are<br />

used at high doses to try and treat the<br />

infection.<br />




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When people have severe infections,<br />

such as it is in the bloodstream,<br />

it can cause serious illness and even<br />

death. In most C. auris cases that result<br />

in death, the infected individual had<br />

other serious, underlying illnesses.<br />

Even after the infection is treated,<br />

patients may continue to have C. auris<br />

on their skin or other body sites that<br />

does not cause infection but can still<br />

spread to other patients. All these precautions<br />

previously mentioned would<br />

continue throughout their whole stay<br />

in the hospital.<br />

Although the risk of infection in<br />

healthy people is low, patients and<br />

family members should continue with<br />

good hand hygiene, washing hands<br />

thoroughly before and after touching<br />

the patient or medical devices when<br />

they return home. Handwashing is especially<br />

important if a caregiver is caring<br />

for multiple patients at home.<br />

Routine testing for C. auris of family<br />

members or other close contacts is<br />

usually not recommended. However,<br />

if someone who has frequent contact<br />

with a person with C. auris is admitted<br />

to a health care facility, they might be<br />

checked to see if they carry it and help<br />

prevent it from spreading further. This<br />

is usually done with a swab of the skin<br />

near the armpits and groin. People who<br />

have tested positive for C. auris in the<br />

past should inform their health care<br />

providers of this. For more information<br />

on C. auris, you can visit CDC.gov.<br />

Renee Jiddou-Yaldoo, MD is a<br />

specialist in Infectious Diseases at<br />

Corewell Health’s Beaumont Hospital<br />

in Grosse Pointe.<br />

46 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

SEPTEMBER 17 T H T H<br />

<strong>2023</strong><br />


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<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 47


Left: The Jarbo Family<br />

at Georgina’s wedding.<br />

Below: Sue and Bahi<br />

cooking kabobs.<br />

7 Mile’s<br />

Kabob<br />

King<br />

A Tribute to<br />

Bahi Jarbo<br />


A<br />

simple man with an extraordinary<br />

life story, Ablahad “Bahi”<br />

Jarbo left a legacy for his family<br />

and his community.<br />

Bahi was born to farmers Zingel<br />

and Gorgia Jarbo on December 10,<br />

1947, in the village of Telkeppe, Iraq.<br />

As a young boy, he shepherded animals<br />

and cared for his hunting dog.<br />

His mother died when he was 11. His<br />

older sisters helped raise him, as did<br />

his mom’s brother, the late Ramzi<br />

Yono, who taught him how to cut hair.<br />

When he was 18, Bahi was drafted<br />

into the Iraqi Army where in between<br />

training and combat he would trim<br />

soldiers’ hair for extra money. He<br />

served six years in very difficult conditions<br />

because of ongoing conflict in<br />

the region. After he was discharged,<br />

Bahi went to Kuwait and worked for a<br />

sheik as his personal barber. Several<br />

years later he traveled to Lebanon with<br />

a friend to await their American visas.<br />

On March 18, 1976, Bahi arrived in<br />

Detroit, Michigan and was reunited with<br />

his brother Edris, his only sibling in<br />

America. He lived with him on Havana<br />

Street in a section later known as Chaldean<br />

Town because of its large Iraqi-<br />

Chaldean immigrant population. With<br />

only $50 to his name, he started working<br />

at the Big Boy factory in Warren making<br />

ketchup. After a couple of years, he became<br />

a fish salesman for a small, Chaldean-owned<br />

company and later became<br />

a butcher in a supermarket.<br />

Bahi’s older sister Mare, who was<br />

now in Detroit with her family, encouraged<br />

the then 33-year-old to settle<br />

down and start a family. He was not<br />

interested, but she insisted on him<br />

meeting Sabri Shayota’s daughter, a<br />

young and pretty brunette who lived<br />

in the house across the street on Robinwood.<br />

To appease her, he agreed to<br />

meet the girl… but he had to see what<br />

she looked like first. So he offered to<br />

cut Sabri’s hair at home!<br />

When he saw 25-year-old Sue, he<br />

thought she was beautiful. Bahi recognized<br />

her as the girl who cashed<br />

out his invoices for fish delivery at the<br />

market. She was aloof and more interested<br />

in her brother Wisam recording<br />

the haircut on his new video camera.<br />

Innovative for 1980, he had attached a<br />

cord to the TV in the other room for the<br />

family to watch the haircut live, so Sue<br />

and the rest of the kids were laughing<br />

and having fun with it.<br />

Bahi wanted to see her again and<br />

hopefully get her attention. He intentionally<br />

left his clippers there so he<br />

could go back.<br />

The next day, another suitor for<br />

Sue popped up at the Shayotas. Bahi<br />

returned later that same day without<br />

knowing that. Sabri invited him to<br />

come in for some Arak. Sue looked at<br />

Bahi and said to herself, “This man<br />

will be my husband.” When he left,<br />

she discussed the proposals with her<br />

dad. He insisted on Bahi because he<br />

knew him from the market but ultimately<br />

left the choice up to Sue. She<br />

wanted to marry Bahi, so her mom<br />

Miriam called Mare to accept the marriage<br />

proposal. They had a tanatha<br />

(promise ceremony) the next day, New<br />

Year’s Day, 1981.<br />

Four months later, Bahi and Sue<br />

got married at Sacred Heart Chaldean<br />

Catholic Church in Detroit, officiated<br />

by the late Father Jacob Yasso. They<br />

had a big party at Chateau Hall with<br />

over 700 people in attendance.<br />

The next year, their daughter Georgina<br />

was born and Bahi opened a<br />

nameless chaikhana (coffee shop) on<br />

Seven Mile and Havana, at the end of his<br />

street. Bahi started selling kabobs there,<br />

and they were so tasty that everyone in<br />

the neighborhood called them “Bahi’s<br />

kabobs.” He was honored that people<br />

craved his kabobs, but he was bombarded<br />

with orders. So in 1989, he opened<br />

Bahi’s Kabob Restaurant at Seven and<br />

Blake next to Greenfield Union Elementary<br />

School. It was the hot spot for over<br />

a decade. Bahi’s kabobs connected people<br />

in a way that was previously unseen<br />

in Chaldean Town. Even celebrities like<br />

Shaquille O’Neil and Kadim Al-Sahir<br />

loved Bahi’s food!<br />

Throughout the success of his restaurant,<br />

Bahi and Sue had three more<br />

kids: Jarvis, Genelle, and Julian. Bahi<br />

worked seven days a week all day long<br />

to provide for his family. They would<br />

wait up till midnight just to see him<br />

when he came home. Sometimes the<br />

kids would hide from him, and he<br />

would act scared when they jumped<br />

out. At holiday get-togethers, he would<br />

pretend he was talking to Santa or the<br />

Easter Bunny to get their permission to<br />

give away sweet treats and ice cream.<br />

48 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>


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That was his playful way. He was also<br />

fun-loving on the dance floor at family<br />

celebrations, dancing with a cup on<br />

his head, flailing his hands and even<br />

shimmying to the ground.<br />

Safety eventually became a concern<br />

in Chaldean Town. Bahi was carjacked<br />

once and endured two more attempts,<br />

and even a hold-up at the restaurant.<br />

The once-vibrant mainstay closed<br />

down in 2000. Bahi and Sue ran “Bahi’s<br />

Kabobs’’ inside three local markets in<br />

Sterling Heights for nearly two decades<br />

before they decided to retire in 2018.<br />

That is when Bahi got to experience<br />

what he missed out on all those<br />

years he labored in the kitchen. He<br />

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spent time with<br />

snavarrette@chaldeanchamber.com<br />

his grandkids, tended<br />

www.chaldeanchamber.com<br />

to his garden, and www.chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

barbecued for family<br />

Twitter: @ChaldeanChamber<br />

and friends, Instagram: rain or @ChaldeanAmericanChamber<br />

shine. He lost 100<br />

pounds by watching his diet and walking<br />

three to five miles a day, even in the<br />

winter. Every single morning, he made<br />

coffee for himself and for Sue, and every<br />

single night, they would play konkan.<br />

Bahi was diagnosed with dementia<br />

in 2021. An emergency CAT scan<br />

several weeks ago at the ER revealed<br />

the last stages of pancreatic cancer.<br />

He was sent home to rest with his<br />

family where he passed away peacefully<br />

on July 18, <strong>2023</strong>. He leaves behind<br />

a legacy rooted in family, fellowship,<br />

and food.<br />

From left: Bahi in the Iraqi Army, circa 1965; Bahi Jarbo, 1947-<strong>2023</strong><br />

<strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 49

EVENT<br />

Fr. Namir Narra<br />

Ordination<br />

On July 1, the Chaldean community gathered at<br />

Mother of God Cathedral in Southfield, Michigan,<br />

as Fr. Namir Narra was ordained to the priesthood.<br />

A graduate of Sacred Heart Major Seminary,<br />

Father Narra was ordained through the laying on<br />

of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit by<br />

the Most Rev. Francis Y. Kalabat, Bishop of St.<br />

Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Catholic Diocese.<br />

Father Narra will serve as parochial vicar at St.<br />

George Chaldean Catholic Church in Shelby Township,<br />

Michigan. Please keep him in your prayers as<br />

he begins his new journey as a priest!<br />

Clockwise from top of page: Bishop Francis and Fr. Namir with our Chaldean<br />

clergy, seminarians, and visiting clergy; Chaldean seminarians leading the<br />

procession for the Ordination Mass; Fr. Namir being celebrated by happy<br />

faithful; Mother of God Cathedral at capacity; Bishop Francis laying on hands<br />

Fr. Namir Narra; Bishop Francis placing the priest’s cope on a newly ordained<br />

Fr. Namir with help from Fr. Bryan Kassa.<br />

50 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>AUGUST</strong> <strong>2023</strong>

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