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VOL. 12 ISSUE IX<br />



INSIDE<br />





www.chaldeannews.com<br />

$ 3<br />

VOL. 12 ISSUE IX<br />

METRO DETROIT CHALDEAN COMMUNITY VOL. 20 ISSUE XII <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong><br />





INSIDE<br />





$ 3<br />

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Chaldean community celebrates two decades<br />

of publication by paper of record<br />

METRO DETROIT CHALDEAN COMMUNITY VOL. 20 ISSUE XII <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong><br />

Chaldean community celebrates<br />

two decades of publication<br />



by its own paper of record<br />

METRO DETROIT CHALDEAN COMMUNITY VOL. 20 ISSUE XII <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong><br />



Chaldean community celebrates two decades<br />

of publication by its paper of record

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6 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

METRO DETROIT CHALDEAN COMMUNITY | <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | VOL. 20 ISSUE XII<br />


22 Two Decades of the CN<br />

Celebrating 20 Years<br />

By Sarah Kittle<br />


23 January Cover Stories<br />

A nostalgic look back<br />

28 Going to Church<br />

Changing traditions in worship<br />

By Cal Abbo<br />

30 Re-elected<br />

New Baltimore Mayor Thomas Semaan<br />

By Cal Abbo<br />

32 Immigration Update<br />

Options for visas<br />

By N. Peter Antone<br />


8 From the Publisher<br />

20 Years of the Chaldean News<br />

By Martin Manna<br />

10 From the Editor<br />

The Community Experience<br />

By Sarah Kittle<br />

12 Guest Column<br />

Alexander Karana<br />

A Journey Back to Tel Keppe<br />

14 Foundation Update<br />

Chef Nev, Consumer Energy<br />

Foundation grant<br />

16 Noteworthy<br />

Chaldean Holy Cross,<br />

Rising Writers Contest<br />

18 Chaldean Digest<br />

Faiths unite for peace, ACN report<br />

20 In Memoriam<br />

26 Iraq Today<br />

Going back to Baghdad<br />

By Dr. May Antone<br />

40 Health & Wellness<br />

Embracing the Winter Blues<br />

By Dr. Rena Daiza<br />

42 Culture & History<br />

Chaldean Immigrant Media Pioneers<br />

By Dr. Adhid Miri<br />

44 Economics & Enterprise<br />

Businesses giving back<br />

By Paul Natinsky<br />

46 From the Archives<br />

Chaldean media pioneers<br />

42<br />

34 Breaking Stigmas in<br />

Mental Health<br />

Dalia Mammo<br />

By Sarah Kittle<br />

36 Numbers Paint a Picture<br />

Walsh College survey on Chaldean<br />

community<br />

By Cal Abbo<br />

38 Essays<br />

My Missing Reflection<br />

By Sophia Snell<br />

Chaldean American Values<br />

By Christine Sharrak<br />

<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 7



Chaldean News, LLC<br />

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Martin Manna<br />



Sarah Kittle<br />


Cal Abbo<br />

Dr. May Antone<br />

N. Peter Antone<br />

Dr. Reina Deza<br />

Alexander Karana<br />

Sarah Kittle<br />

Dr. Adhid Miri<br />

Paul Natinsky<br />

Christine Sharrak<br />

Sophia Snell<br />



Alex Lumelsky with SKY Creative<br />


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Chaldean News<br />

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

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

Published monthly; Issue Date: January <strong>2024</strong><br />

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

Publication Address:<br />

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Postmaster: Send address changes to<br />

“The Chaldean News 30095 Northwestern<br />

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

Rewinding Forward<br />

Dear Readers:<br />

I’ve been with the Chaldean News for going on<br />

four years, and the incredible growth I have seen<br />

in that time is nothing short of amazing. Chaldean<br />

community members are rising in the ranks<br />

of law enforcement, being appointed to positions<br />

of authority, affecting elections, creating business<br />

empires, and then turning around with a hand offered<br />

to help those that come after them. It is inspiring<br />

and uplifting to witness; I can only imagine<br />

the pride felt by those involved.<br />

Looking back through issues spanning two<br />

decades, we discover that history really does repeat itself.<br />

You’ll find story after story detailing success and generosity,<br />

unwavering faith, and deep and abiding love of family.<br />

We are happy to share articles from new writers this<br />

month, including May<br />

Antone and Alexander<br />

Karana, two guest writers<br />

who visited Iraq recently<br />

and wrote about their experiences.<br />

They sent the<br />

stories to us so we could<br />

share them with the<br />

community and maybe<br />

change your perspective<br />

on the “old country.”<br />

We also feature essays<br />


EDITOR<br />

IN CHIEF<br />

from a couple of Rising Writers Contest honorable mention<br />

winners, Sophia Snell and Christine Sharrak. These young<br />

voices are so important to the community and its future.<br />

We recently had the honor of presenting checks to two of<br />

our three first place winners in that contest, Hayley Gappy<br />

and Miranda Kattula. Hopefully, you will see their byline on<br />

more stories in the future.<br />

The CN had the chance to profile two more prominent<br />

community members, New Baltimore Mayor Thomas<br />

Semaan, featured in an earlier issue as one of the first Chaldean<br />

American mayors, and Dr. Dalia Mammo,<br />

Medical Director of Crisis Services at Detroit Wayne<br />

Integrated Health Network. These individuals are<br />

making a difference, not only for Chaldeans but in<br />

the greater community as well.<br />

And we thought it a good time to give you an<br />

immigration briefing, in case you or someone you<br />

know is applying for or waiting on a visa. The immigration<br />

laws seem to always be in flux, so we turned<br />

to expert N. Peter Antone for an update.<br />

Since January is a time for reflection and growth,<br />

we wanted to highlight some companies that are<br />

doing it right, by not only giving back to the community but<br />

by making it part of their mission. It’s a real win/win when<br />

companies can feel good by doing good, and we think they<br />

deserve a shoutout.<br />

Looking back through issues spanning two decades,<br />

we discover that history really does repeat itself.<br />

You’ll find story after story detailing success and<br />

generosity, unwavering faith, and deep and abiding<br />

love of family.<br />

Finally, as we celebrate two decades of the paper, Dr. Miri<br />

graces us with the history of early Chaldean media pioneers,<br />

without whom we might not exist. Kudos to them, and to all<br />

of you, too! We wouldn’t be here without you.<br />

Have a blessed and happy New Year,<br />

Sarah Kittle<br />

Editor in Chief<br />

8 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>



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<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 9


Celebrating 20 Years of the Chaldean News<br />

MARTIN<br />

MANNA<br />


Dear Readers,<br />

It is with immense pride<br />

and joy that I extend my heartfelt<br />

gratitude to you as we celebrate<br />

a remarkable milestone<br />

— the 20th anniversary of the<br />

Chaldean News. Two decades<br />

ago, we embarked on a journey<br />

to amplify the voices, stories,<br />

and achievements of the<br />

Chaldean community. Today,<br />

as we reflect on this incredible journey,<br />

we are filled with gratitude for the unwavering<br />

support and encouragement<br />

from our readers, contributors, and the<br />

community at large.<br />

The inception of the Chaldean News<br />

was not just a journalistic endeavor but<br />

a commitment to preserving and sharing<br />

the rich tapestry of the Chaldean<br />

heritage. Over the years, our publication<br />

has endeavored to be a beacon of information,<br />

fostering unity, awareness, and<br />

celebration of Chaldean culture, traditions,<br />

and achievements.<br />

In an era where the world<br />

is constantly evolving, our aim<br />

has always been to provide a<br />

platform that not only informs<br />

but also inspires, educates,<br />

and connects our readers. We<br />

have striven to encapsulate<br />

the essence of our community<br />

through feature articles, interviews,<br />

and news stories that<br />

reflect the diverse facets of Chaldean<br />

life, both locally and globally.<br />

The journey to this significant anniversary<br />

has been marked by moments<br />

of triumphs, challenges, and<br />

evolution. We have adapted to changing<br />

times, embraced new technologies,<br />

and expanded our reach while<br />

staying committed to the core values<br />

that define the Chaldean News — integrity,<br />

authenticity, and inclusivity.<br />

Our publication stands as a testament<br />

to the resilience, strength, and<br />

contributions of the Chaldean community.<br />

It is a canvas that paints the myriad<br />

colors of our heritage, the vibrant successes<br />

of our individuals, and the collective<br />

achievements that inspire us all.<br />

As we celebrate this milestone, we<br />

acknowledge and honor the dedication<br />

of our talented team whose relentless<br />

efforts have been the driving force<br />

behind the success of the Chaldean<br />

News. Their passion for storytelling<br />

and commitment to excellence have<br />

been instrumental in shaping our publication<br />

into what it is today.<br />

Moreover, none of this would have<br />

been possible without you, our dear<br />

readers. Your loyalty, support, and engagement<br />

have been the cornerstone<br />

of our journey. Your stories, feedback,<br />

and enthusiasm continue to fuel our<br />

commitment to delivering quality content<br />

that resonates with you.<br />

Looking ahead, we are excited about<br />

the future possibilities and the opportunities<br />

that await us. We’ve been ramping<br />

up our podcasts and video content and<br />

will be hosting events in the coming<br />

months. As we enter a new chapter, we<br />

remain steadfast in our mission to serve<br />

as a unifying voice for the Chaldean<br />

community, amplifying stories that uplift,<br />

inform, and unite us all.<br />

On behalf of the entire Chaldean<br />

News team, I extend my deepest appreciation<br />

to everyone who has been<br />

a part of this remarkable journey. Your<br />

trust and belief in us have been our<br />

greatest reward. We are immensely<br />

proud to celebrate 20 years of the Chaldean<br />

News, and we pledge to continue<br />

our commitment to being a beacon of<br />

inspiration, information, and celebration<br />

for many years to come.<br />

With sincere gratitude,<br />

Martin Manna<br />

Publisher, Chaldean News<br />

10 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</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 />

Sylvester and Rita Sandiha<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 />

SEPTEMBER <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> 2023 CHALDEAN NEWS 11 7


A Journey Back to Tel Keppe<br />

Rediscovering Roots in the Nineveh Plain<br />

September 2023 marked<br />

a profound pilgrimage<br />

for me – a journey back<br />

to the cradle of my heritage,<br />

the Nineveh Plain in Iraq;<br />

particularly to Tel Keppe, the<br />

village where my family, the<br />

Karana family, has its roots<br />

in the Shangu district. This<br />

trip was a reconnection with<br />

the land that has shaped the<br />

identity of our people for<br />

generations.<br />

History and heritage<br />

My journey through the Nineveh Plain,<br />

along with a group from Nineveh Rising,<br />

was akin to stepping into a living<br />

museum of our culture and history.<br />

In Tel Keppe, every corner whispered<br />

tales of the past, connecting me with<br />

generations of my family who once<br />

walked these streets. The village, although<br />

still suffering from the Daesh<br />

occupation, stood as a testament to<br />

the enduring legacy of our people.<br />

I had the chance to attend Mass<br />

at Libbi’d Esho (Sacred Heart) Church<br />

in the center of the town, while also<br />

witnessing the destruction of our ancestral<br />

gravesite. I was hopeful when<br />

I learned that all the Daesh prisoners<br />

had been removed and that homes<br />

only cost between $5,000-$30K.<br />

There’s an opportunity for revival.<br />

Venturing beyond Tel Keppe, I explored<br />

the ancient monasteries of Mar<br />

Matti, Mar Odishu, and Mar Oraha—each<br />

a repository of our spiritual heritage. The<br />

majestic Rabban Hormizd Monastery<br />

built in the mountains of Alqosh, with its<br />

ancient walls and majestic views, was a<br />

highlight, offering a glimpse into the devotional<br />

life of our ancestors.<br />

Interwoven with these experiences<br />

were the stories from our past, particularly<br />

those of Saints Mar Bahnam and<br />

Mart Sarah from the 4th century, who<br />

fought battle after battle against their<br />

father-King of the region, until their lives<br />

were lost in Baghdida. These tales, more<br />

than just folklore, are integral to our<br />

collective identity, showcasing the resilience,<br />

faith, and strength of our people.<br />


KARANA<br />



NEWS<br />

The journey through the<br />

Nineveh Plain also allowed me<br />

to embrace the majestic mountains<br />

of Nohadra, Amedia,<br />

and Dure. These regions, with<br />

their soaring peaks and lush<br />

valleys, offered a breathtaking<br />

panorama that was both<br />

awe-inspiring and humbling.<br />

In Nohadra (modern-day<br />

Dohuk), the mountains stood<br />

as silent guardians of history.<br />

Amedia, with its ancient<br />

fortress perched high upon a<br />

mountain, was a sight straight<br />

out of a historical epic. The mountains<br />

of Dure were like open arms, welcoming<br />

and nurturing, a reflection of the<br />

warmth and hospitality of our people<br />

where I spent the night singing songs<br />

in Sureth, drinking arak, and stargazing<br />

under our ancient skies.<br />

A highlight of my trip was the opportunity<br />

to swim and hike in the canals<br />

of Dera Loka near the Turkish border.<br />

The unparalleled natural beauty<br />

of these areas and turquoise water was<br />

breathtaking. The clear waters and<br />

lush landscapes provided a stark contrast<br />

to the bustling cities of America<br />

and reminded me of the diverse beauty<br />

of our homeland. Amidst the serene<br />

landscapes and clear waters, I found a<br />

piece of untouched beauty with crisp<br />

air filled with the whispers of history.<br />

The views were simply spectacular.<br />

Dolma, kebab, kubba hamouth,<br />

fattoush, kouzi, lemon and mint juice,<br />

kleicha, gamer…. the food was on another<br />

level. The culinary experiences<br />

on this journey were also deeply rooted<br />

in the land I was breathtakingly enjoying.<br />

Tasting fresh figs, pomegranates,<br />

dates, grapes, honey, and tahin<br />

from Baghdida, Barwar, Aradin, Nohadra,<br />

and other villages, was not just<br />

a delight to the senses but also a profound<br />

connection to the earth that has<br />

nourished our community for centuries.<br />

Each fruit bore the essence of our<br />

land, reminding me of the deep bond<br />

we share with this soil. They tasted<br />

sweeter, richer, more natural.<br />

However, amidst these enriching<br />

experiences, I also encountered moments<br />

of somber reflection. The wedding<br />

fire in Baghdida on September 26<br />

was a stark reminder of the challenges<br />

and uncertainties our people face. It<br />

underscored the importance of resilience<br />

and the need to look forward with<br />

hope and determination. No matter<br />

what, losing hope is the real disaster.<br />

Supporting our culture<br />

This journey was not just a trip down<br />

memory lane; it was a clarion call for<br />

our community worldwide to reconnect<br />

with their roots and heritage. I urge everyone<br />

in our community, especially<br />

when times are relatively stable, to<br />

make this journey to the Nineveh Plain<br />

and see their ancestral villages. Visiting<br />

our ancestral villages and historical<br />

My journey through<br />

the Nineveh Plain,<br />

along with a group<br />

from Nineveh Rising,<br />

was akin to stepping<br />

into a living museum<br />

of our culture and<br />

history.<br />

sites is a unique opportunity to reconnect<br />

with our roots, to understand the<br />

depth and significance of our culture,<br />

and to experience firsthand the land<br />

that has shaped our identity.<br />

A significant part of protecting and<br />

preserving our culture is the revival<br />

and use of our native language, Sureth.<br />

Although I did not grow up speaking<br />

Sureth, I have been actively learning it<br />

and making a conscious effort to use it<br />

in my daily life. I have asked my family<br />

members to speak to me in Sureth instead<br />

of English, and I encourage others<br />

to do the same. So, if you see me<br />

on the streets, I prefer to be greeted in<br />

Sureth first. This is not just about language<br />

preservation; it is about keeping<br />

our unique identity alive.<br />

The Nineveh Plain, with its storied<br />

history and resilient spirit, will always<br />

hold a special place for us. My visit to<br />

these places was not just a personal<br />

exploration; it was an affirmation of<br />

the rich, diverse, and historic culture<br />

that we possess. Moreover, this visit<br />

isn’t just about looking back; it’s also<br />

about looking forward. Our visit, our<br />

interest, and our involvement can play<br />

a crucial role in the rebuilding and development<br />

of these regions.<br />

Another vital aspect of cultural<br />

preservation is considering investments<br />

in the development of the<br />

Nineveh Plain. I advocate for Chaldeans<br />

and Assyrians to consider<br />

investing nominal amounts for the<br />

development of our ancestral lands.<br />

This investment isn’t merely financial;<br />

it’s an investment in sustaining<br />

our culture, heritage, and the livelihood<br />

of our people over there. Just as<br />

other nations have transformed their<br />

landscapes and economies, we too<br />

can contribute to the prosperity and<br />

growth of our historic lands.<br />

The transformation of the Nineveh<br />

Plain, akin to the growth seen in<br />

places like Singapore, Dubai, and Israel,<br />

may not happen overnight, but a<br />

dedicated, long-term commitment can<br />

bring about significant change over<br />

the years. If we start anew today, our<br />

children may have a homeland to visit;<br />

their children certainly will.<br />

My journey to Tel Keppe and the<br />

Nineveh Plain was more than just a visit;<br />

it was a reawakening of my identity and<br />

a call to action. It is a journey every Chaldean<br />

and Assyrian should endeavor to<br />

make – to reconnect with our past, contribute<br />

to our present, and shape our future.<br />

The Nineveh Plain awaits, holding<br />

the keys to our collective heritage and<br />

the promise of our shared destiny.<br />

I am currently working with others<br />

on developing a sustainable economic<br />

model for our communities in<br />

diaspora to economically support our<br />

people in the homeland. If you are interested<br />

in the revival, please contact<br />

me at AlexKarana@gmail.com. Let’s<br />

embrace this journey together.<br />

12 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 13


Building Future Leaders<br />

On November 29, Wireless Vision, in collaboration with the CCF,<br />

wrapped up the inaugural Learn with a Leader program.<br />

The program was a 10-month journey which provided participants<br />

the opportunity to hear from top leaders in the community,<br />

visit successful businesses and participate in exclusive learning<br />

experiences.<br />

Vision and purpose, character and trust, and leading culture<br />

were topics for a few of the sessions that took place.<br />

More information will be announced in the coming months<br />

regarding the ongoing program.<br />

Neville Powell with his U.S. Citizenship certificate.<br />

Powered by Passion and Palate<br />

In 2022, the CCF embarked on a multi-media educational and informational campaign designed to<br />

raise awareness of the work and impact of the Foundation and the Chaldean community in general.<br />

The campaign, in motion at this time, also seeks to underscore the inclusiveness of the community<br />

and how it is interwoven into the very fabric of Metro Detroit – including serving more than 40,000<br />

individuals each year from 58 countries of origin.<br />

Neville Powell was one of those over 40,000 individuals visiting CCF, seeking assistance in becoming<br />

a U.S. Citizen. Neville, a culinary wizard and Sterling Heights entrepreneur whose first love<br />

is food, goes by “Chef Nev.” Growing up in Jamaica, he learned about food by observing his grandparents,<br />

who were herbalists cultivating a farm, known for their cooking skills.<br />

At first cooking was simply a hobby as Chef Nev earned an engineering degree and began working<br />

full-time. Looking for more opportunity, he emigrated to England and eventually the U.S., finally landing<br />

in Michigan. Gaining a job by utilizing his engineering degree, Chef Nev found work with a local Chaldean<br />

owned business. His employer suggested he visit the CCF and take the steps to become a U.S. Citizen.<br />

Chef Nev shared he had a restaurant, Caribbean Authentic Cuisine. The restaurant is located on<br />

16 Mile Road and features a variety of Caribbean traditional dishes including braised oxtail, curry<br />

goat, curry chicken, yams, coconut rice and the Jamaican staple – fried plantain.<br />

Every individual that enters the CCF doors has a story, a background, a journey. We capture<br />

where that person came from, how many people are in their family, and their employment, along<br />

with other general information. Often, CCF clients and their families enroll in programs and the staff<br />

gets to know a bit more about them. Congratulations to Chef Nev, Neville Powell, on achieving his<br />

dream of becoming a U.S. Citizen.<br />

Learn with a Leader Class I participants, speakers, and staff.<br />

Supporting Community<br />

Initiatives<br />

The Chaldean Community Foundation received a $50,000 grant<br />

from the Consumers Energy Foundation on December 18. The<br />

donation will be used to support the overall operations of the<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation’s work on behalf of vulnerable<br />

families and adults with disabilities.<br />

Consumers Energy Foundation Grants support “our economic<br />

development priority to improve the welfare of whole communities,<br />

with a focus on funding projects with long-term benefits<br />

on Michigan’s economy.”<br />

Preserving our Language<br />

Intro to Surath for Adults is an 8-week course taught by Mahir Awrahem beginning January 25 and<br />

running until March 14, <strong>2024</strong>. Classes will be held on Thursday evenings from 6:00pm-8:00pm. The<br />

course fee is $185 and includes a book.<br />

Intro to Surath for Kids is an 8-week course taught by Rita Amma beginning January 25 and<br />

running until March 14, <strong>2024</strong>. Classes will be held on Thursday evenings from 6:00pm-7:15pm. The<br />

course fee is $120 and includes a book.<br />

All classes will be held at the Chaldean Community Foundation, 3601 15 Mile Rd., Sterling<br />

Heights, MI 48314. For more information or to register, please visit aramaicstudies.org.<br />

From left: Martin Manna, President of the Chaldean Community<br />

Foundation, Susan Smith, Grant Writer for the CCF,<br />

Catherine Wilson, Executive Director at the Foundation and<br />

Corporate Giving and Lauren Brosch, Community Affairs<br />

Manager, Macomb and St. Clair Counties.<br />

14 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 15


The Chaldean Holy Cross Monument<br />

Located in Jamul, California,<br />

and erected on December<br />

14, 2023, the Chaldean<br />

Holy Cross Monument is<br />

dedicated to the Savior, Jesus<br />

Christ. A magnificent<br />

37.9-feet-tall, the Chaldean<br />

Holy Cross Monument<br />

(with pedestal), rises 900<br />

feet above sea level. Placed<br />

atop a Rancho San Diego<br />

hill by Chinook helicopter,<br />

it is the tallest in San Diego<br />

County. The Monument is<br />

located on Via Caliente del<br />

Sol, and faces true north;<br />

in other words, “the Holy<br />

Cross faces the Heavens.”<br />

The monument, made<br />

possible by Sam and Evone Attisha and their<br />

family, was erected in memory of Mary and<br />

Yelda Attisha. In June 1976, Mary and Yelda, the<br />

Chaldean parents of six boys and one girl, landed<br />

as immigrants in San Diego, California. Just<br />

Chinook helicopter delivering the 35-<br />

foot 20,000-pound Chaldean Holy<br />

Cross Monument in Jamul, CA.<br />

like hundreds of other Chaldean<br />

families before them,<br />

they left Iraq due to political,<br />

cultural, and economic<br />

reasons to settle in America.<br />

Like most immigrants, the<br />

Attisha family had to start<br />

from almost nothing.<br />

This sacred site near<br />

San Diego serves as a focal<br />

point for the Chaldean<br />

community in the area,<br />

offering a place for gatherings,<br />

prayer, and reflection.<br />

The Chaldean Holy Cross<br />

Monument stands tall, not<br />

only as an architectural<br />

marvel but as a living testament<br />

to the resilience,<br />

faith, and cultural legacy of the Chaldean<br />

community—a cherished landmark embodying<br />

history, spirituality, and unity. It will serve as<br />

a symbolic memorial for persecuted Christians<br />

throughout Iraq and all of the Middle East.<br />

Young Writers<br />

Reap Rewards<br />

On December 21, Chaldean News staff presented the winners<br />

of the Rising Writers Contest with their prizes. Miranda<br />

Kattula and Hayley Gappy, along with Yara Bashoory (not<br />

pictured) each won $500 for their winning entries. They<br />

earned their honors the hard way, working on their submissions<br />

for weeks and having to delve deep into their cultural<br />

identity. The winners were chosen by a panel who reviewed<br />

the submissions independently and rated them on points<br />

such as grammar, topic, writing style, and originality. All<br />

of the entrants are winners in our book, and we would like<br />

to encourage all of the young writers to submit story ideas<br />

and pitches for future features. If you have a story idea, send<br />

your pitch to edit@chaldeannews.com.<br />


Are you tired of your lease or<br />

just want out early? Even if<br />

you’re over your miles, that’s<br />

no problem, we want your car!<br />

WE PAY TOP $$<br />

Give us a call at<br />

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نحن نشرتي جميع موديالت السيارات-الحديثة واملستعملة بدون استثناء حتى اللييس ‏.ترشفوا بزيارتنا.‏<br />


16 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

There are enough things<br />

out there going viral.<br />

Get your COVID-19<br />

and flu vaccines.<br />

Help keep your immune system<br />

from going viral. Talk to your<br />

health care provider.<br />

Michigan.gov/COVIDFluRSV<br />

<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 17


Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers, Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay from the Maronite Eparchy, Archbishop Amel Nona<br />

from the Chaldean Catholic Diocese, and Bishop Daniel from the Coptic Orthodox Church.<br />

Faiths unite for peace in the Holy Land<br />

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher<br />

OP has called on people of all faiths<br />

to unite for peace at an event at St.<br />

Mary’s Cathedral on December 6,<br />

hosted jointly with the chair of the<br />

Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference’s<br />

Commission for Christian Unity<br />

and Inter-Religious Dialogue, Bathurst<br />

Bishop Michael McKenna.<br />

The evening of prayer, silent reflection,<br />

bell-tolling, candle lighting,<br />

solemn music and scripture readings<br />

brought together people from many<br />

different faith traditions, united in<br />

solidarity to lament the horrors and<br />

heartache of wars around the world<br />

and to pray for a just and lasting peace.<br />

Church leaders from the Eastern<br />

Catholic and Eastern Orthodox<br />

churches were particularly well represented<br />

at the event, including archbishops<br />

and bishops from the Greek<br />

Orthodox, Coptic, Maronite, and Chaldean<br />

Churches.<br />

The brutality of war can often lead<br />

believers to question their faith in<br />

God, but it is in these dark times, we<br />

can indeed find peace in place of turmoil,<br />

Archbishop Fisher said.<br />

“Our hope is not ultimately in human<br />

peace processes, important as<br />

these are; it is hope in the God who<br />

can change hearts, put forgiveness<br />

where there is vengeance, peace in<br />

place of turmoil, love instead of hate.”<br />

– Catholic Weekly<br />

Middle East Christians dwindle as anti-Christian<br />

hate crimes rise globally, says report<br />

Anti-Christian hate crimes are escalating<br />

globally, says the latest<br />

report issued by Aid to the Church<br />

in Need UK. The study shows<br />

that oppression or persecution of<br />

Christians has increased in 75 percent<br />

of the countries surveyed in<br />

the last two years. The report also<br />

shows that Christian numbers in<br />

the Middle East have plummeted<br />

over the years as they are impacted<br />

by conflicts.<br />

The Organization for Security<br />

and Cooperation in Europe<br />

(OSCE) also reports that hate<br />

crimes, including graffiti and<br />

vandalism in places of worship,<br />

are up as well. These included the desecration<br />

of cemeteries and arson attacks<br />

against churches.<br />

Of particular concern is the plight<br />

of Christians in the Middle East where,<br />

Participants from world-wide Christian organizations<br />

and churches in Strasbourg, France on<br />

September 9, 2014. They met to discuss ways for<br />

church groupings to tackle Christian persecution.<br />

in several countries, once flourishing<br />

communities risk disappearing because<br />

of mass migration due to various<br />

reasons, ranging from Islamic fundamentalism<br />

to discrimination, wars<br />

and economic woes.<br />


According to the report,<br />

since the foundation of the<br />

State of Israel, in 1948, the<br />

number of Christians in the Palestinian<br />

territories has fallen<br />

from 18 percent to under 1 percent<br />

of the population, due to<br />

ongoing Israeli-Palestinian tensions<br />

and economic difficulties.<br />

The Catholic report said the<br />

emigration of Iraqi Christians<br />

continues today, despite the<br />

military defeat of Daesh (ISIS),<br />

due to the economic crisis, discriminations<br />

and ongoing political<br />

instability and insecurity, and<br />

cites the primate of the Chaldean<br />

Church, Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako,<br />

who says this exodus is unprecedented<br />

and may be the end of the Christian<br />

community in the Middle East.<br />

– Ecumenical News<br />


99 percent<br />

of Christian<br />

communities<br />

live in Erbil,<br />

Duhok, says<br />

KRG minister<br />

About 99 percent of the Christian<br />

communities in the Kurdistan Region<br />

live in Erbil and Duhok provinces,<br />

said Kurdistan Regional<br />

Government (KRG) minister Ano<br />

Jawhar.<br />

Jawhar, the KRG Minister of<br />

Communication and Transport,<br />

made the remarks during a presser<br />

held at a meeting of various members<br />

of the ethnic and religious<br />

communities to discuss the ongoing<br />

legal challenges by the Patriotic<br />

Union of Kurdistan (PUK) to<br />

the quota seats of ethno-religious<br />

components.<br />

Unlike the Kurds in the Kurdistan<br />

Region, the Turkmen, Assyrians,<br />

and Chaldean populations are<br />

not scattered, said Jawhar, who is<br />

a Chaldean from Ankawa. “Ninetynine<br />

percent of Chaldean and Assyrians<br />

reside in Duhok and Erbil<br />

provinces,” he said.<br />

The former head of the PUK bloc<br />

in the Kurdistan Region in recent<br />

months filed a lawsuit against the<br />

“minority quota seats” in the Region’s<br />

legislative house. Per the current<br />

Kurdish election law, five seats<br />

of the 111-member chamber are allocated<br />

to Chaldean and Assyrians,<br />

as well as another one for an Armenian<br />

member of parliament.<br />

The PUK has also objected to<br />

the single-member district electoral<br />

system, arguing the current form<br />

has given electoral advantage to its<br />

rival, KDP, which has refused the<br />

allegations and expressed willingness<br />

to work out new legislation,<br />

so the long-delayed election is no<br />

longer delayed.<br />

Due to political infighting, the<br />

Kurdistan Region parties could not<br />

agree on amending the election<br />

law last year, triggering the extension<br />

of the current Kurdistan Parliament<br />

term by a year.<br />

– Kurdistan24<br />

18 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

YOUR<br />

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healthiest version of yourself and living the best<br />

life possible — our licensed, professional therapists<br />

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resolve painful feelings, improve your relationships,<br />

and share your feelings and experiences. Individuals<br />

often seek therapy for help with issues that may be<br />

hard to face alone.<br />

CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY: The CCF and Project Light is<br />

committed to your privacy and confidentiality and are sensitive to<br />

the stigma and stress that come with seeking mental health support.<br />

Therefore, all counseling records are kept strictly confidential.<br />

Information is not shared without client’s written consent. Exceptions<br />

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

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Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

3601 15 Mile Rd., Sterling Heights, MI 48310<br />

<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 19


Sarah Satar Agoubi<br />

Sevany Zaitouna<br />

Aug 31, 2009 –<br />

Nov 21, 2023<br />

Assad Atia Jarbo<br />

Jul 1, 1955 –<br />

Nov 22, 2023<br />

Basima<br />

Bahnam Mona<br />

Jul 1, 1936 –<br />

Nov 22, 2023<br />

Mary Tobia Gasso<br />

Jun 1, 1937 –<br />

Nov 23, 2023<br />

William Joseph<br />

Sulaka<br />

Sep 18, 1941 –<br />

Nov 23, 2023<br />

Helen Zolo<br />

Apr 3, 1964 –<br />

Nov 24, 2023<br />

Nazhat Yacoub<br />

Romaya<br />

Jul 1, 1941 –<br />

Nov 25, 2023<br />

Najeeba Tobya Kejbo<br />

Jul 1, 1932 –<br />

Nov 26, 2023<br />

Mary Abdul<br />

Ahad Bidawid<br />

Jul 1, 1947 –<br />

Nov 27, 2023<br />

Sabah Yousif Esso<br />

Sep 1, 1949 –<br />

Nov 27, 2023<br />

Kamila Murad<br />

Dally Kallo<br />

Jul 1, 1938 –<br />

Nov 28, 2023<br />

Salha Sadek Mansoor<br />

Jun 5, 1950 –<br />

Nov 30, 2023<br />

Sabah Zakaria<br />

Jul 1, 1951 –<br />

Nov 30, 2023<br />

Layla Abdulmaseeh<br />

Younan<br />

Jul 1, 1934 –<br />

Nov 30, 2023<br />

Sara Hurmiz Bidawid<br />

Jul 1, 1934 –<br />

Dec 1, 2023<br />

Najat Basheer Fatohi<br />

Jul 1, 1937 –<br />

Dec 1, 2023<br />

Awatif Saleem Dikho<br />

Jul 1, 1951 –<br />

Dec 2, 2023<br />

Valantina Poles Maia<br />

Oct 16, 1966 –<br />

Dec 2, 2023<br />

Hikmat Shaba<br />

Jul 1, 1943 –<br />

Dec 2, 2023<br />

Masood Talia<br />

Jul 1, 1937 –<br />

Dec 3, 2023<br />

Ann Kacho<br />

Dec 24, 1980 –<br />

Dec 4, 2023<br />

Angel Gerges<br />

Jan 1, 1930 –<br />

Dec 4, 2023<br />

Nazhat Rishan Petros<br />

Jul 29, 1936 –<br />

Dec 4, 2023<br />

Hanna Polus Abdullah<br />

Jul 1, 1945 –<br />

Dec 5, 2023<br />

Yasir Abed Danno<br />

Jul 1, 1944 –<br />

Dec 5, 2023<br />

Darrin Adil Denha<br />

Jan 2, 1985 –<br />

Dec 6, 2023<br />

George Yousif Mio<br />

Dec 24, 1955 –<br />

Dec 7, 2023<br />

Dolar Yousif Baba<br />

Jul 1, 1957 –<br />

Dec 10, 2023<br />

Basil Mikhail Hami<br />

Oct 10, 1965 –<br />

Dec 12, 2023<br />

Firas Mushtaq Shakir<br />

Apr 1, 1975 –<br />

Dec 12, 2023<br />

Najat Toma<br />

Aug 1, 1957 –<br />

Dec 13, 2023<br />

David Enwia Youanes<br />

Jul 1, 1930 –<br />

Dec 14, 2023<br />

Noeel Issa Cholagh<br />

Jul 1, 1947 –<br />

Dec 16, 2023<br />

Adel Savaya Dadoo<br />

Aug 20, 1954 –<br />

Dec 17, 2023<br />

Wardy Eshow<br />

Jul 1, 1948 –<br />

Dec 18, 2023<br />

20 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>


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3601 15 Mile Rd., Sterling Heights, MI 48310<br />

<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 21


Two<br />

Decades<br />

of the<br />

CN<br />


The Chaldean News emerged as<br />

a crucial voice for a burgeoning<br />

community of Chaldean Americans<br />

in southeast Michigan at a pivotal<br />

time in history. Saddam Hussein<br />

was just ousted from Iraq and the Iraqi<br />

people began to experience democracy<br />

for the first time. Thousands had fled the<br />

war-torn country, many of them landing<br />

on the shores of America, heading for<br />

Michigan and the established immigrant<br />

community there.<br />

Driven by a need to maintain a sense<br />

of identity, preserve cultural values, and provide<br />

a platform for information dissemination within the<br />

diaspora, the Chaldean News came into being. Its<br />

origins lie in the collective efforts of community leaders,<br />

journalists, and passionate individuals devoted<br />

to showcasing the triumphs, struggles, and achievements<br />

of the Chaldean people.<br />

Most of the publication’s original readers were<br />

first-generation Americans, as were the four original<br />

publishers: Tony Antone, Vanessa Denha (Garmo),<br />

Martin Manna, and Michael Sarafa. “The four of us<br />

came together to fill the need in the community for<br />

an English language newspaper,” remembers Sarafa.<br />

Why these four? Martin and Vanessa separately<br />

came up with the idea for a Chaldean newspaper.<br />

Martin is the son of a publisher – you could say<br />

newspapers are in his blood, and Vanessa studied<br />

journalism at Wayne State University. Tony wanted<br />

to unite the community and Mike explains, “I always<br />

enjoyed writing and graduated from a writing intensive<br />

college (James Madison at MSU).”<br />

“We saw how the Jewish News strengthened the<br />

Jewish community and helped them retain a strong<br />

cultural identity,” says Martin Manna, the only one<br />

of the original publishers still in that position. “We<br />

thought we could do the same for our community.”<br />

The paper, representing the rich heritage, culture,<br />

and stories of the Chaldean people, strove to<br />

unite a fledgling community. “All of us had an orientation<br />

for community building,” says<br />

Sarafa.<br />

Vanessa Denha Garmo, one of<br />

the founders, worked with the other<br />

publishers to get the paper off the<br />

ground and served as the original editor-in-chief, a<br />

role she filled for 16 years. “The four of us spent two<br />

years working on the magazine before we launched<br />

it in February of 2004,” Garmo recalls. “We launched<br />

the magazine the same year I got married. I was<br />

launching a magazine and planning a wedding at<br />

the same time.”<br />

The inaugural issue’s cover told the story of the<br />

community at that point in history: “An Ancient People<br />

in Modern Times.” It featured a photo of Saddam<br />

Hussein after his capture, a picture of the Church’s<br />

new leader, Mar Emmanuel III Delly (27 September<br />

1927 – 8 April 2014), and promised a story about Detroit<br />

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s war on liquor stores.<br />

In her very first letter from the editor, Garmo paid<br />

tribute to Jamal Shallal, Andy Acho, Freddie Najor,<br />

Mike Khami, and Bill George, who had published<br />

the first Chaldean newspaper in Michigan 40 years<br />

before the CN was launched. She also thanked Arthur<br />

Horwitz of The Jewish News, who she said was<br />

“instrumental in the beginning as he consulted with<br />

us.”<br />

From above: This spread from 2015<br />

shows some interior pages of Jacob<br />

Bacall’s book, “Chaldeans in Detroit.”<br />

The 2013 story celebrating<br />

80 years of Michael J. George.<br />

The 2023 story about the first<br />

CACC/CCF mission trip to Iraq.<br />

“Arthur didn’t think about losing ad dollars for<br />

the Jewish News or anything selfish,” says Antone.<br />

“He was an advocate for us to charge ahead even<br />

though we all knew how difficult the road would be.”<br />

Others who contributed to the effort include Mike<br />

George, Rosemary Antone, Jane Shallal, and Diane<br />

D’Agostini, along with myriad investors who put up<br />

the funds to publish.<br />

The startup was not without challenges. The goal<br />

of uniting the Chaldean community, with its numerous<br />

viewpoints, into a single voice was (and still is)<br />

difficult. The founders struggled to find that voice.<br />

“As partners, we didn’t always agree on things. We<br />

had different perspectives on issues,” said Garmo,<br />

adding, “We also shared a lot of laughs.”<br />

“We met regularly (day and night) to discuss<br />

story ideas, potential advertisers, circulation, and<br />

anything else a startup business has to deal with,”<br />

says Antone. “The most fun was picking our cover<br />

story. We tried so hard to make it relevant, timely,<br />

22 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

and something that would get people<br />

engaged in the Chaldean News.”<br />

Asked about early challenges,<br />

Sarafa responds, “Being accepted in<br />

the community as an alternative to a<br />

couple of other publications” was a<br />

hurdle, along with “editorial differences<br />

between the managers.”<br />

Alex Lumelsky, the original and<br />

current Creative Director, recalls the<br />

difficulty in trying to please everyone<br />

with the first cover. “There were many<br />

cooks in the kitchen,” he recalls, “and<br />

we ended up with a sort of collage<br />

on the cover.” It was designed democratically,<br />

and the publishers couldn’t<br />

agree on the most important story, so<br />

they included them all.<br />

Initially established through grassroots<br />

initiatives as a small-scale publication,<br />

the Chaldean News steadily<br />

evolved into a reputable and influential<br />

source of news and information.<br />

Its early editions primarily focused<br />

on local community events, religious<br />

affairs, cultural celebrations, and the<br />

dissemination of relevant news from<br />

the homeland in Iraq.<br />

“It was a thin, inexpensive production<br />

at first, but we grew it and professionalized<br />

it over the years,” says<br />

Sarafa.<br />

Lumelsky, who has been the creative<br />

force behind the Chaldean News’<br />

design for two decades, says he met<br />

Martin Manna first out of all the publishers.<br />

“He had a creative vision,”<br />

Lumelsky recalls, “and felt the community<br />

had ‘come of age,’ and reached<br />

a point where it needed its own voice.”<br />

The layout was modeled on the<br />

Jewish News. Lumelsky, who had<br />

worked at the Jewish News previously,<br />

was familiar with the format (tabloid),<br />

and the layout (a 4-column grid). This<br />

made it easier for advertisers, who<br />

could place the same ad in multiple<br />

outlets. “It all comes down to advertising,”<br />

shares Lumelsky.<br />

As we peruse the pages of each January<br />

issue of the Chaldean News since<br />

the first (in 2005, because the paper<br />

was born in February of 2004), some<br />

stories just stand out. They are not all<br />

cover stories—although those, a veritable<br />

timeline of topical treasures, are<br />

listed in a separate article—but they<br />

are all relevant in some way.<br />

Take the story in the now-defunct<br />

CN@20 continued on page 24<br />

January Cover Stories<br />

Through the Years 2005-2023<br />

As part of our anniversary celebration, each month<br />

we will feature cover stories from that month over<br />

the past two decades. These articles will serve as a<br />

timeline of what we thought were relevant and worthy of the<br />

cover through the years.<br />

The very first January issue debuted in 2005, almost a<br />

year into the publishing endeavor, and focused on the democratic<br />

vote in Iraq. For the first time, it seemed Iraqis had<br />

a voice. January 2006 was all about the Super Bowl coming<br />

to Detroit, and how some members of the community got<br />

involved through the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce<br />

(CACC). “It’s why I joined,” said Tom Hajji, who is now<br />

employed as a special projects manager for the Chamber.<br />

The cover story for the first edition in 2007 was about the<br />

conflict in Iraq that followed the US invasion and ouster of<br />

Saddam Hussein. January 2008 predicted (correctly) a bad<br />

year for the economy, and 2009 highlighted the woes of Detroit’s<br />

automakers.<br />

The Chaldean News was writing about vaccine safety<br />

back in 2010, and interviewed parents who believed their<br />

child became autistic from the MMR vaccination. Medical<br />

personnel on the other side swore childhood vaccines are<br />

backed by solid science. The debate still rages.<br />

January 2011 addressed the issue of domestic violence, and<br />

2012 focused on young community members living in Detroit.<br />

The CN strives to celebrate successes as well as individual<br />

life stories, like that of Michael George, who was featured<br />

in January 2013 as he celebrated his 80th birthday. A quote<br />

from George in that article underscored his business drive:<br />

“When I retire you are all invited. It will be my funeral.” His<br />

philanthropy lives on, in the Michael J. George Chaldean<br />

Loan Fund, run by the Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

(CCF), among other endowments.<br />

2014 celebrated the dedication of Chaldean sisters<br />

(nuns), 2015 told the story of the new reality for many Iraqi<br />

refugees living in makeshift camps in Iraq, and 2016 saw the<br />

Bank of Michigan, the first bank owned by Chaldean-Americans,<br />

merge with Level One Bank.<br />

January 2017’s cover showcased two George Shaounis,<br />

(father and son), Powerhouse Gym, and their holistic approach<br />

to fitness. 2018 focused on emerging trends, such<br />

as the exponential growth of the medical marijuana industry,<br />

the expanding food delivery industry, and real estate<br />

development in the metro area. “I expect a substantial uptick<br />

in real estate development in the city of Detroit,” Zaid<br />

Elia of Elia Group was quoted as saying. He was not wrong.<br />

In 2019, recreational marijuana use was legalized in<br />

Michigan, and CN asked the question, “Now what?” It is a<br />

question that still resonates, as that industry has seen some<br />

major upheaval in the last few years. This topic, along with<br />

vaccinations, is one of the most hotly debated within the<br />

community.<br />

2020 brought us COVID-19, but it also brought the muchneeded<br />

Shenandoah Country Club expansion. Shenandoah<br />

has already grown into all the space, utilizing every square<br />

inch to serve the community.<br />

The 2021 January issue looked back at the COVID crisis<br />

and highlighted how much the Chaldean community contributed<br />

to the good of the overall community. From donating<br />

medical supplies and meals to providing healthcare<br />

workers serving in the front line, Chaldeans were there. We<br />

celebrated all the community’s healthcare workers, including<br />

doctors, nurses, and emergency personnel, of which<br />

there were plenty! We were a little bit shocked by the tremendous<br />

response to our call for photos.<br />

In 2022, our cover featured the “Brave Bishop” of Mosul<br />

and Kirkuk, Mar Nicodemus Daoud Matti Sharaf. Forced to<br />

flee Mosul as ISIS invaded in 2014, the bishop left with the<br />

clothes on his back and “seven manuscripts that are very<br />

old.” He spoke out against the Western powers, laying the<br />

blame for the decreased Christian population in the Middle<br />

East squarely at their feet.<br />

That brings us to 2023. The first cover of this year brought<br />

us full circle, back to Iraq. A delegation from the CCF and<br />

the CACC made an inaugural mission trip to the motherland,<br />

to see what can be done to aid those still living there.<br />

Sadly, most of those families that left will not return, having<br />

no good reason to do so. Plagued by drought, internal conflict,<br />

and corrupt governance, Iraq still calls out for justice.<br />

And we will continue to report about it.<br />

<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 23


CN@20 continued from page 23<br />

section of the paper called “In Our View,” about<br />

a (then) recently passed liquor bill that set a state<br />

minimum for pricing on liquor. This new law made<br />

it illegal for big box stores like Meijer and Costco to<br />

set their liquor prices any lower than the state minimum;<br />

a common practice that really hurt mom-andpop<br />

stores who couldn’t sell below cost.<br />

It was a victory for the Associated Food Dealers of<br />

Michigan (AFD), but as the 19-year-old article states,<br />

it wasn’t enough. The story went on to mention the<br />

need to raise the base discount (profit) store owners<br />

make on liquor sales from the static 17 percent it was<br />

then and still is now.<br />

That’s a fight the Chaldean American Chamber<br />

of Commerce has taken on. A new bill which would<br />

raise the profit percentage from 17 to 35 is expected to<br />

be reviewed in January and may be in effect, at least<br />

in some form, as early as spring. Advocacy is a journey;<br />

sometimes it takes decades.<br />

Another notable story in the first January issue<br />

detailed the opening of Shenandoah Country Club,<br />

a staple of the community that has weathered some<br />

storms and come out on top. Subsequent issues followed<br />

the organization’s evolution and expansion<br />

and eventual development into a private club.<br />

A 2011 issue highlighted the year-old partnership<br />

between the CN and the Jewish News, a program that<br />

knit the two groups and formed a relationship that<br />

exists to this day. In 2015, the CN did a spread on Jacob<br />

Bacall’s book, Chaldeans in Detroit. The tome<br />

was a definitive look at the developing Chaldean<br />

community in southeast Michigan, and a veritable<br />

photo album of the warm and rich culture that immigrants<br />

brought from their homeland and continue<br />

to celebrate here.<br />

Owning the paper meant controlling the narrative.<br />

“I think the paper united the community,<br />

informed the community, and engaged the community,”<br />

reflected Garmo. “We brought awareness on<br />

several key issues such as the 2014 [ISIS] invasion in<br />

Iraq, something that other media was not covering in<br />

depth at the time.”<br />

Above: The 2005 story chronicles the<br />

opening of Shenandoah Country Club.<br />

Right: The 2011 article highlights the<br />

partnership with the Jewish community<br />

through the Jewish News.<br />

A personal triumph for Garmo was when one of<br />

the readers contacted her after the paper published<br />

a story on abortion. The reader, a teenager, was pregnant<br />

and wanted to keep the baby but didn’t know<br />

what to do. Garmo hooked her up with resources<br />

and, just last summer, finally met the “baby” whose<br />

life was impacted because of her intervention. “It<br />

brought such joy to my heart,” Garmo shared.<br />

“I think the most positive thing about the CN’s history<br />

is the job it did telling individual, often heroic,<br />

sometimes tragic, stories of our community,” says Sarafa.<br />

“There is so much talent, so much growth, so many<br />

great organizations, so many good people and positive<br />

stories that the Chaldean News was a repository for.<br />

Taken together, the 20 years of publications are like a<br />

written history of the community over those years.”<br />

One article that Sarafa remembers well has to do<br />

with the child abuse scandal/cover up in the Catholic<br />

Church. Amid the controversy, he called for Pope<br />

Benedict to resign. “It was pretty raw,” recalls Sarafa.<br />

“Calling for the Pope to resign caused a scandal in<br />

the community and a lot of heartache for my partners,<br />

which I regretted.” Pope Benedict later did resign,<br />

although for different reasons.<br />

In 2019, the publication had reached a crossroads.<br />

It had just started receiving enough ad revenue<br />

to operate in the black, and its shareholders were<br />

considering their options, including converting to a<br />

nonprofit or selling to other investors.<br />

The Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF) purchased<br />

the paper in August of that year. According to<br />

an article in Crain’s Detroit Business, Martin Manna<br />

said of the purchase, “We felt it made the most sense<br />

to remain a community publication, run by a community<br />

foundation.”<br />

The CCF made some investments in the Chaldean<br />

News, expanding its digital offerings and scope and is<br />

currently developing an app. “It’s a paper for the digital<br />

age,” says Manna. “We’re on the forefront of new<br />

media, and we are excited to see where it takes us.”<br />

Plans are in place to create a working studio for<br />

the Chaldean News inside CCF West, a project in West<br />

Bloomfield that is still in its preliminary stages but<br />

is expected to be completed by late next year. There<br />

will be space for taping CNTV segments and recording<br />

podcasts as well as editing suites and a stage for<br />

live broadcasts.<br />

“We are doing it right,” says Manna, who has<br />

tasked his team with touring local studios and creating<br />

a “wish list” for the new building. (He gave no<br />

guarantees to staff, however.)<br />

Even as the CN embraces the future, there’s still<br />

attention being paid to the past. In addition to historical<br />

photos that are becoming a regular feature,<br />

recently, the CN introduced Arabic versions of some<br />

of their stories. “It feels like home for some people,”<br />

says Manna, “and we want to encourage that.”<br />

Over the years, the Chaldean News expanded its<br />

scope, embracing technological advancements to<br />

reach a wider audience through digital platforms,<br />

transcending geographical boundaries to connect<br />

Chaldeans worldwide. This publication continues to<br />

play a pivotal role in preserving the Chaldean heritage,<br />

fostering unity, and serving as a bridge between<br />

the diaspora and the ancestral homeland, reflecting<br />

the resilience and vibrant spirit of the Chaldean community.<br />

“I am so proud of how far the Chaldean News has<br />

come,” says Antone. “It is a treasure for the entire<br />

Chaldean community.”<br />

24 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 25


From left to right:<br />

Dr. Aseel Kadhim, Dr. Bushra Hindi,<br />

Dr. May Antone, and Dr. May Kasim<br />

at a mall in Baghdad.<br />

Returning Home<br />

Going back to Baghdad<br />


My name is May Antone, and<br />

I am a practicing internist<br />

physician in Southfield,<br />

Michigan. I finished medical school in<br />

Baghdad, Iraq in 1993 and immigrated<br />

to the U.S. in 1995 where I did my residency.<br />

I have not returned to Iraq for<br />

over 25 years.<br />

I recently received news that one of<br />

my medical school friends’ daughters<br />

was getting married. The reception in<br />

Baghdad was going to include several<br />

of my old classmates. We explored the<br />

idea of visiting and making it a reunion<br />

of our graduating class. A friend<br />

of mine in California and another from<br />

Sweden encouraged me to attend.<br />

I admit I was a bit concerned with<br />

the current conflict in Gaza, the attacks<br />

on U.S. forces in Iraq by Iranianbacked<br />

militia, and with atrocities<br />

committed by the terrorist group ISIS<br />

still in mind. But, after some thought<br />

and discussion with my husband who<br />

encouraged me, I concluded this was a<br />

once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and decided<br />

to make the trip. I visited there<br />

for 10 days this November and am so<br />

glad I did. It ended up being the trip<br />

of a lifetime, and more rewarding than<br />

anything I could have imagined.<br />

When I arrived at Baghdad International<br />

Airport, I found the customs<br />

officers professional, caring, kind, and<br />

friendly. They went out of their way<br />

to provide special attention to visitors<br />

from foreign countries. Once they<br />

knew I was a former Iraqi with a current<br />

U.S. passport, they welcomed me<br />

warmly and, on their own initiative,<br />

waived the entry visa fees.<br />

I stayed in Baghdad for 10 days on<br />

my own, staying in the Babylon Hotel.<br />

I visited Baghdad’s modern suburbs<br />

and was amazed with all the busy<br />

construction and the creativity of new<br />

building designs. I was pleasantly surprised<br />

by all the new technologies that<br />

appeared to be everywhere.<br />

The wedding I attended was in<br />

a banquet hall that would compete<br />

with any fancy one here in the United<br />

States. The reception itself (other than<br />

the lack of alcohol since my friends<br />

were all Muslim) was otherwise indistinguishable<br />

from any here in the U.S.,<br />

with celebrations and dancing—without<br />

the old-time culture of separation<br />

of the sexes.<br />

Speaking about interaction among<br />

the sexes, I visited many coffee shops,<br />

restaurants, and public places and<br />

similar to what you find here, they<br />

were full of couples, some holding<br />

hands, without any awkwardness that<br />

used to accompany such gatherings<br />

decades ago when I grew up there.<br />

I also visited older more congested<br />

markets like the “Suk Al-Surai” and<br />

the “Mutanabi Street.” I ate sandwiches<br />

and drank fresh orange juice from<br />

street vendors. I found everyone whom<br />

I met to be an example of kindness,<br />

simplicity, and humbleness. Everyone<br />

with whom I interacted showed me<br />

an amazing level of hospitality, care,<br />

and politeness and without any of the<br />

street harassment females walking<br />

alone used to sometimes encounter<br />

decades ago.<br />

To be clear, it was obvious to many<br />

that I was visiting from another country<br />

since I did not wear a head scarf<br />

and appeared clearly to be of the<br />


Christian faith (I wear a cross). Yet, everyone<br />

I met was accepting and tolerant.<br />

Although I have no more relatives<br />

there, I felt I was among my larger family<br />

in Baghdad.<br />

While there, I visited my old high<br />

school, a Christian one run by nuns.<br />

I found them still teaching, with the<br />

school fully protected by the government.<br />

The head nun told me most of<br />

the girls are Muslims and many wear<br />

the traditional head scarf. But their<br />

families appreciate the high level of<br />

teaching by the nuns, so much so that<br />

there is a huge demand and a long wait<br />

list from the general Muslim public to<br />

enroll their daughters into that school;<br />

another example of the tolerance that<br />

has developed there.<br />

Another astonishing observation<br />

is that when I visited shops, I found<br />

them full of Christmas decorations,<br />

trees, and ornaments, even though<br />

most shoppers are Muslim. I was told<br />

many Muslims now install the Christmas<br />

tree. I visited the churches that I<br />

knew when I lived there, and found<br />

them all still there and well, and even<br />

found some newer ones—another example<br />

of the newfound tolerance and<br />

acceptance of others.<br />

My friends there told me about the<br />

sectarian violence between Shiite and<br />

Sunni that took place in 2006 to 2008<br />

and was started by the terrorist group<br />

ISIS and how it affected many. Luckily,<br />

and despite the personal tragedies of<br />

some of the stories I heard (as an example,<br />

a friend’s brother was killed<br />

based on his sect), it seems society<br />

learned hard lessons from those years.<br />

It is clear that that ugly history is behind<br />

them and there were no religious<br />

issues that I could detect that could<br />

cause future harm. Hopefully none.<br />

As I was preparing to leave Baghdad<br />

to go back to the U.S., I felt that although<br />

I had arrived with a spirit that<br />

was shattered with fear and concern,<br />

it had been put back together with the<br />

love and warmth I felt from my friends<br />

and everyone there. As I hugged them<br />

goodbye, I felt I was leaving a land<br />

that could be a paradise on earth if the<br />

people continue to substitute love for<br />

hate, and acceptance for intolerance.<br />

And from everything I experienced<br />

there, the people of Iraq are indeed on<br />

a most wonderful journey towards a<br />

happy future.<br />

I pray that they keep it that way.<br />

26 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>



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<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 27



Dedication of the first Chaldean Church in Detroit, 1947<br />

Going to Church<br />

Changing traditions of worship from Tel Keppe to Detroit<br />


The traditions, values, interpretations,<br />

and actions of Christians<br />

change drastically throughout<br />

history. As Chaldeans were likely<br />

among the religion’s first converts, our<br />

community has followed those changes<br />

and is still experiencing them today.<br />

Early Christianity<br />

In its earliest form, Christianity resembled<br />

very closely the Jewish practices<br />

and customs that immediately preceded<br />

it. This meant that it was easy for<br />

Jewish people to convert to Christianity<br />

and it was also relatively familiar<br />

for non-Jews.<br />

Churches in the Middle East, like<br />

the one that would become the Chaldean<br />

Church, used Aramaic as a liturgical<br />

language, which was the language<br />

spoken by Jesus himself and his<br />

disciples, who went on to Christianize<br />

large parts of the world.<br />

Early Christianity also featured a<br />

vast array of beliefs that were as diverse<br />

as the churches spread around<br />

the globe. Some areas of the world focused<br />

heavily on individual spirituality<br />

rather than the global Church and<br />

its unity as a cohesive religion. Theology<br />

was heavily debated in the first few<br />

centuries as Christians decided what<br />

to believe and what was unacceptable,<br />

eventually deemed heretical.<br />

Even more varied were the ways<br />

that Christians gathered to practice<br />

and celebrate their religion. In its<br />

most early days, when it was relatively<br />

unknown and stayed mostly within<br />

Jewish cultures, the Christian Church<br />

could use the old Jewish infrastructure<br />

to practice.<br />

As time passed, however, the Church<br />

began to experience persecution and<br />

even developed an identity of martyrdom.<br />

It was honorable to die for your<br />

religion, declaring your beliefs to the<br />

world. While this was an option that<br />

happened to many different people,<br />

it also inspired a more secret practice<br />

of the world’s newest religion. People<br />

would often practice in private or gather<br />

in the homes of friends and family to<br />

continue their customs undisturbed.<br />

Village-Style<br />

Some hundreds of years later, the beliefs<br />

and customs of Christians became<br />

solidified, and when Christianity was<br />

made the official religion of Rome, its<br />

followers became powerful and more<br />

confident.<br />

While Aramaic was still spoken<br />

and used, especially in the Middle<br />

East, the Roman Catholic Church began<br />

to develop and reify traditional beliefs<br />

into a more cohesive religion and<br />

regulate the customs that went along<br />

with the Church.<br />

In addition, the villages Chaldeans<br />

know today formed their own<br />

churches. In these places, the Christian<br />

religion was ubiquitous. People<br />

in the village community regarded the<br />

Church highly, its clergy were considered<br />

social leaders, and the physical<br />

church was considered a community<br />

gathering place, often the center of village<br />

life.<br />

Over the years, villages were attacked<br />

and persecuted in ways different<br />

than before. Now, these places<br />

were openly and proudly Christian. If<br />

some group, empire, or army wanted<br />

28 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

to persecute Christians in the area,<br />

they might sack an entire village, force<br />

the people to go somewhere else, or<br />

simply kill them for their beliefs.<br />

This type of existence for village<br />

Christians induced centuries-long<br />

periods of isolation and hermitage<br />

that still inspires some of the most<br />

religious people today. Among Chaldeans,<br />

it’s considered special to come<br />

from a village that has a long Christian<br />

history and one that stood on its feet<br />

in the face of attacks and persecution.<br />


Modernity<br />

Village-style Christianity continued<br />

in the Chaldean community until it<br />

was faced with modernity. Some of<br />

the towns in which Chaldeans lived,<br />

like in modern-day Eastern Türkiye,<br />

became larger cities. In addition,<br />

plenty of Chaldeans moved to alreadyestablished<br />

large cities, like Mosul and<br />

Baghdad in Iraq.<br />

The experience of Christianity in<br />

these places was fundamentally different;<br />

instead of being widespread and<br />

accepted, Chaldeans were thrust into a<br />

minority status in their daily lives. This<br />

led to more frequent but less harsh<br />

forms of persecution, like second-class<br />

citizenship and daily discrimination.<br />

Church became an important place to<br />

retain your identity and prove that you<br />

couldn’t be swayed by persecution to<br />

abandon your Christian heritage.<br />

The final stage of this story is the<br />

transplanting of the community to the<br />

Western world. In this move, Chaldeans<br />

tried to bring their deep, spiritual,<br />

and historical church life into the<br />

materialistic and individualistic society<br />

that is the United States. Churches<br />

here are often regarded as secondary<br />

to one’s individual identity and unity<br />

is far less common. There are plenty of<br />

options to choose from when picking a<br />

church, and some Chaldeans in Michigan<br />

have chosen to leave the Chaldean<br />

Church entirely and join another with<br />

American roots.<br />

Melony Mikhail leads a youth<br />

group composed of high school teens<br />

at Mother of God Church, and she also<br />

started a bible study for adult women.<br />

She thinks the change in behavior of<br />

Chaldeans and their church habits is<br />

exacerbated by attacks on the family<br />

and children.<br />

“We are living in one of the most incredible<br />

times in history,” Mikhail said.<br />

Chaldean Catholics in Tel Keppe.<br />

“We have a 24-hour eucharistic adoration<br />

available at every church here.”<br />

Mikhail sees the increased availability<br />

of this adoration as an opportunity<br />

for Chaldeans to use the church<br />

more than they did in the past. “Before,<br />

it was very difficult to go to Mass,”<br />

she said. “I’d imagine there were only<br />

certain times when the church was<br />

available.”<br />

The Chaldean Church in the United<br />

States has also taken on many qualities<br />

that you would expect to see from its<br />

American counterparts. For example,<br />

some Chaldeans maintain their identity<br />

as Christians but consider their religion<br />

a smaller part of their lives with each<br />

passing generation. It’s common now<br />

for some families to avoid going to weekly<br />

Mass and instead participate in and<br />

attend church only on special holidays.<br />

Beshar Shukri is a Chaldean from<br />

metro Detroit who works as an accountant<br />

with the Chaldean American<br />

Chamber of Commerce. He was a<br />

life-long participant in the Chaldean<br />

Catholic Church but has since left<br />

and moved to a non-denominational<br />

church called Lord of the Harvest.<br />

Shukri noted the culture of shame<br />


STORY<br />

throughout the Middle East as well<br />

as the tighter-knit relations in the<br />

Chaldean community back home. As<br />

a result of the fractionalization in the<br />

United States, he said, we can’t monitor<br />

our community as tightly and keep<br />

one another in check.<br />

“In America, with all of its freedoms<br />

and diversity, we have the ability to remove<br />

ourselves from the community<br />

and cling to other identities,” he said.<br />

Shukri took advantage of those<br />

freedoms and began to explore and<br />

understand the history of church expressions.<br />

“I looked at Protestantism<br />

and saw the validity in their arguments<br />

and what they believe,” he said. Eventually,<br />

he left the Chaldean Church<br />

and joined another one, an option that<br />

would not be available to him if he still<br />

lived in his traditional village.<br />

In village life, Shukri sees a community<br />

connected and unified by<br />

Christ. “We’re identified collectively<br />

back home with our religion,” he said.<br />

“In America, it seems like we identify<br />

with status and wealth.”<br />

In Mikhail’s mind, people leave<br />

the Church for plenty of reasons. “It’s<br />

a denial of God and not a denial of<br />

This report is made possible with generous support from<br />

Michigan Stories, a Michigan Humanities Grants initiative.<br />

yourself,” she said. “A lot of people<br />

are uncomfortable with the Church’s<br />

teachings.”<br />

“It’s all because people used to be a<br />

community and a family,” Mikhail said.<br />

“We have so much more freedom. Back<br />

home, things were tougher, and they<br />

had to rely on each other and God.”<br />

Paradoxically, it can appear from<br />

the inside that the Church is growing<br />

because of increased participation<br />

from youth. The clergy itself has seen a<br />

resurgence of youth and participation<br />

over the last few decades.<br />

In the old country, there were a few<br />

dozen people per priest, which meant<br />

nearly everyone was connected to a<br />

priest in some way. In metro Detroit,<br />

the number is closer to 10,000 people<br />

to one priest.<br />

“It’s difficult for a priest to serve<br />

thousands of people. He’s only human,”<br />

Shukri said. “Because there’s<br />

so much more opportunity in America,<br />

fewer people want to become priests.”<br />

In addition, Shukri thinks that the<br />

biggest hindrance is the celibacy of the<br />

priestly order. He suggests that allowing<br />

priests to marry would ease this<br />

tension.<br />

In the United States, Mikhail recognizes<br />

that living a Catholic life is not<br />

easy. She thinks the personal relationships<br />

with the clergy are extremely<br />

valuable and suggests people fall back<br />

on them to stay in the faith.<br />

“There was a point when we were<br />

so strong, and I think we will get that<br />

strong again,” Mikhail said. “We will<br />

be even stronger than back home.”<br />

<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 29


Re-elected<br />

New Baltimore reelects Chaldean Mayor Thomas Semaan<br />


When Thomas Semaan was<br />

elected as New Baltimore’s<br />

Mayor two years ago, he<br />

became one of the highest elected officials<br />

in the Chaldean community.<br />

Since then, he proved his worth to the<br />

small town located on Anchor Bay and<br />

his constituents returned the favor by<br />

reelecting him in November.<br />

Semaan’s family moved out of Detroit<br />

and to the New Baltimore area<br />

when he was three years old. His father,<br />

Aziz Semaan, immigrated to Detroit<br />

in 1929 and lived there until 1963<br />

when a friend advised Aziz to leave<br />

Detroit because of its worsening safety<br />

and economic conditions.<br />

Thomas has lived in New Baltimore<br />

and watched it develop since his childhood.<br />

For many decades, he lived and<br />

thrived in this community, contributing<br />

to its economy, starting a family,<br />

volunteering with its fire department,<br />

and participating in local charities.<br />

More than 35 years ago, Semaan<br />

served on New Baltimore’s city council<br />

and dipped his toes into the local<br />

politics scene. He left politics for the<br />

most part to pursue his career in medical<br />

consulting before returning to the<br />

profession years later and running for<br />

mayor in 2022. He ousted incumbent<br />

John W. Dupray, who led the town<br />

for eight years straight, by about 100<br />

votes.<br />

Semaan was also elected to SEM-<br />

COG, the Southeast Michigan Council<br />

of Governments, which allows him to<br />

coordinate initiatives and plan with<br />

other towns and counties in the area.<br />

Two years ago, Semaan set out to<br />

develop the city’s waterfront and bring<br />

more business to the downtown area.<br />

The mayor has achieved and is expanding<br />

those goals. He has already<br />

helped secure plenty of opportunities<br />

for the city.<br />

According to Semaan, his proudest<br />

accomplishment is balancing the<br />

city’s budget and even returning a surplus<br />

to its general fund. In addition, he<br />

helped secure several grants for city<br />

Mayor Thomas Semaan<br />

of New Baltimore<br />

development that total over $1 million.<br />

The Chaldean mayor works closely<br />

with the building department to expedite<br />

the permit process for new buildings<br />

and businesses looking to develop<br />

the area. In addition, he makes it<br />

easier for new businesses to enter New<br />

Baltimore and service its residents.<br />

New Baltimore’s oldest building<br />

currently sits vacant in its downtown<br />

area as it has for many years. The<br />

building, which is now 150 years old,<br />

was purchased several years ago by<br />

locals who wanted to use it to open a<br />

food and drink establishment. In 2018,<br />

however, they discovered issues with<br />

the building that would require about<br />

twice as much money as they had expected<br />

to bring it to code, according to<br />

a local newspaper, The Voice.<br />

Semaan has worked with the<br />

building’s owners to help smooth out<br />

these issues and bring some life to the<br />

project, eventually receiving an approval<br />

from the planning commission.<br />

“As of right now,” Semaan said, “the<br />

building will feature two high-end<br />

apartments, one boutique apartment<br />

upstairs, and retail space downstairs.”<br />

New Baltimore’s newest addition<br />

to the bustling downtown area is Tashmoo<br />

Distilling, a brand-new high-end<br />

distillery. It opened in December with<br />

a retail section as well as a tasting area<br />

where you can try what you buy. Small<br />

and locally owned businesses like<br />

Tashmoo help smaller cities like New<br />

Baltimore, which has a population of<br />

around 12,000 people, attract tourists<br />

as well as new residents while keeping<br />

money in the local economy.<br />

“People are looking to come and<br />

open a business here because the<br />

economy is strong and our residents<br />

are so supportive,” Semaan said.<br />

“When a house goes up, it sells almost<br />

immediately.”<br />

Semaan sees New Baltimore as a<br />

great place for Chaldean families in<br />

particular, with a small and relatively<br />

quiet community. “At one time, my<br />

family were the only Chaldeans that<br />

lived here,” he said. “Now, there are<br />

dozens more.”<br />

Since he won his second election, in<br />

which he ran unopposed, Semaan will<br />

now occupy the mayor’s office until at<br />

least 2026. Developing the waterfront<br />

and downtown area is still at the top<br />

of his agenda. His first two years were<br />

critical, he said, in order to gain confidence<br />

and a network of people to navigate<br />

New Baltimore’s local politics.<br />

On the waterfront, Semaan has big<br />

plans. “We are currently in the process<br />

of engineering and designing a habitat<br />

restoration project in our main city<br />

park,” he said. “It will include things<br />

like piers, a kayak launch, breakwater,<br />

and safe harbor for boats.” In total, the<br />

project may cost $4-8 million.<br />

New Baltimore, according to<br />

Semaan, has some dire needs that<br />

must be addressed this term. His priorities<br />

include housing the fire department,<br />

relining sewers to limit lake<br />

leakage, and repairing the city’s roads.<br />

“We’re an extremely welcoming<br />

and diverse community,” Semaan<br />

said. “We are a crown jewel that is still<br />

being polished.”<br />

30 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

3601 15 Mile Rd., Sterling Heights, MI 48310<br />

<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 31

POLICY<br />

Immigration Update<br />


Our Chaldean community has<br />

been blessed with opportunities<br />

to immigrate to the U.S.<br />

since the early 20th century. The first to<br />

arrive did so via Ellis Island, like many<br />

other immigrants at the time. Later, our<br />

community utilized both the family<br />

unification provisions of the immigration<br />

law, as well as U.S. laws allowing<br />

refugees and asylees to relocate here;<br />

however, there are other options under<br />

our immigration laws available both<br />

to individuals who wish to immigrate<br />

as well as to Chaldean employers who<br />

need employees in this labor-tight market.<br />

The purpose of this article is to explain<br />

some of these options.<br />

First, looking at the big picture,<br />

there are two broad categories of work<br />

or employment-based visas. Some allow<br />

a temporary entry into the U.S.<br />

and are generally known as “non-immigrant”<br />

work visas. The others allow<br />

the immigrant to get a green card and<br />

those are called “employment-based<br />

immigrant” visas.<br />

Non-immigrant work visas include<br />

the H-1b category, which is intended<br />

for those with special focused college<br />

degree such as engineering, accounting,<br />

and the like (or its equivalent in<br />

education), petitioned by a U.S. employer.<br />

Unfortunately, because of the<br />

limited number of those visas, there<br />

is an annual lottery which restricts the<br />

likelihood of inclusion in this category.<br />

For those who are extremely qualified<br />

due to their education or abilities<br />

in art, business, or athletics, there is<br />

what is called an O visa for extraordinary<br />

individuals.<br />

For those who may wish to train<br />

in the U.S, there are H-3 and J training<br />

visas, assuming there is an employer<br />

willing to do the training. Those with<br />

passports other than (or in addition<br />

to) the Iraqi one (especially a passport<br />

from a western European country)<br />

might wish to consider an investment<br />

visa that has a modest investment<br />

requirement. This visa allows the immigrant<br />

to work in a position related<br />

to his or her investment but does not<br />

provide for a green card.<br />

Chaldeans who obtained a Canadian<br />

passport might be able to utilize<br />

a TN visa based on a treaty between<br />

the U.S. and Canada. There might be<br />

other available visas for more specific<br />

purposes than those already listed. A<br />

main limitation of the non-immigrant<br />

visas is that they do not provide for a<br />

green card, and most are limited in the<br />

time allowed in the United States.<br />

Visas that lead to a green card<br />

are called “immigrant visas.” Unlike<br />

many temporary visas, these are open<br />

not only to persons with a bachelor’s<br />

degree (or higher), but also to many<br />

skilled workers. They require a petition<br />

by a well-established employer.<br />

With the right employer, they can be<br />

more likely to be approved than the<br />

non-immigrant visas listed above.<br />

The downside is that the process<br />

for them may take up to two or more<br />

years to conclude and they require extensive<br />

effort to prove the need for the<br />

foreign workers. Consequently, due to<br />

the extensive effort and advertising required,<br />

the cost involved is substantial<br />

and according to the law, most of the<br />

costs must be paid by the employer.<br />

There is also an investment-based<br />

green card that requires an investment<br />

of about $1 million dollars which may<br />

be tied up and unable to be used for<br />

several years. It also requires about 3<br />

years to conclude.<br />

Chaldean employers who need<br />

more workers in this tight labor market<br />

can utilize all the above categories<br />

to sponsor an immigrant, plus more.<br />

For example, Chaldean employers<br />

needing seasonal workers might<br />

wish to investigate the H-2b category,<br />

which allows hiring of skilled and<br />

unskilled workers for seasonal needs<br />

such as landscape during the summer<br />

or hospitality workers during the<br />

busy season, mostly from mid- and<br />

South American countries.<br />

In addition to all the above, Chaldeans<br />

living in Iraq who have schoolaged<br />

children and have the means to<br />

do so might consider sending their<br />

kids to study in the U.S. to gain an<br />

early foothold here.<br />

For Chaldeans who have the ability<br />

to visit the U.S, it is always wise to<br />

visit first and chat with an immigration<br />

specialist and get the full picture<br />

of our complicated immigration<br />

rules before starting the immigration<br />

process.<br />

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STORY continued from page XX<br />

32 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>



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<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> NEWS 33


Breaking Stigmas<br />

in Mental Health<br />

Dalia Mammo<br />

serves crises in<br />

the community<br />


Dalia Mammo, M.D., is the Medical<br />

Director of Crisis Services<br />

at Detroit Wayne Integrated<br />

Health Network. Opening this winter,<br />

the center will provide 24/7 psychiatric<br />

crisis intervention services for the<br />

underserved community in Detroit and<br />

Wayne County. Providing outreach,<br />

quick response to a wide age range of<br />

patients, and thirty-two beds for care, it<br />

will be a first-of-its-kind adult and child<br />

and adolescent crisis center in the state.<br />

Armed with initiative and passion<br />

towards providing services to communities<br />

in need, Dr. Mammo felt a call to<br />

help individuals experiencing mental<br />

health concerns. “Throughout my clinical<br />

rotations, I was drawn to the field of<br />

psychiatry,” she explains. Mammo, a<br />

dual board-certified psychiatrist, completed<br />

her residency and fellowship<br />

at Detroit Medical Center/Wayne State<br />

University and graduated in June.<br />

You might say psychiatry runs in<br />

her blood. Her maternal grandfather,<br />

Dr. Mammo wants to<br />

remove the stigma<br />

of mental health,<br />

specifically with<br />

young people…<br />

“They need to know<br />

they’re not alone…<br />

and that they can ask<br />

for help.”<br />

Dr. Fadhil Zia Yousif, was a psychiatrist<br />

in Iraq, and she grew up admiring<br />

him and hearing stories about how<br />

he was the first psychiatrist in Basra<br />

and opened the first psychiatric ward<br />

there. “He was a trailblazer,” she says.<br />

“I decided in med school to follow in<br />

his footsteps.”<br />

Dr. Mammo did her undergraduate<br />

studies at University of Michigan,<br />

where she was vice president of Honor<br />

Council and took part in several mission<br />

trips – one to Greece and others to<br />

sites in the US to help individuals with<br />

developmental disabilities. After earn-<br />

34 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

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ing her Bachelor of Science in French<br />

and Francophone Studies from U of M,<br />

she spent some time teaching and volunteering<br />

in France.<br />

Dalia earned her Doctor of Medicine<br />

from Central Michigan University<br />

College of Medicine, where she served<br />

as vice president of the medical student<br />

council and a student representative<br />

during the medical school’s pursuit<br />

of accreditation. During her time<br />

at CMU, she co-founded the Global<br />

Health Equity Student Interest Group<br />

and Alternative Breaks, a program<br />

which organized medical mission trips<br />

to Haiti. Mammo coordinated and led<br />

the first two trips. She was inducted in<br />

the Gold Humanism Honor Society.<br />

At Detroit Medical Center/Wayne<br />

State University, Mammo held various<br />

roles, including Psychiatry Resident<br />

Physician, followed by Child & Adolescent<br />

Psychiatry Fellow, and eventually<br />

Chief Fellow in Child & Adolescent<br />

Psychiatry. She went on a mission trip<br />

to Iraq to assess the mental health<br />

needs of the children and adolescents<br />

that live there. She knew she wanted<br />

to specialize in child and adolescent<br />

psychiatry. “People asked me, ‘why?’”<br />

Dalia laughs.<br />

Dr. Mammo likes talking to kids in<br />

groups. She wants to remove the stigma<br />

of mental health, specifically with<br />

young people; unfortunately, there’s a<br />

long wait list for child psychiatrists in<br />

our state. “They need to know they’re<br />

not alone,” she says, “and that they<br />

can ask for help.”<br />

If there’s a shortage of psychiatrists<br />

to treat kids, then there’s a dearth of<br />

doctors to assist Chaldean kids. It’s<br />

not that they aren’t seeking assistance.<br />

“Reactions have changed,” declares Dr.<br />

Mammo, referring to a time when the<br />

Chaldean community was resistant to<br />

mental health care. “People are excited<br />

to see Chaldean psychiatrists,” she asserts,<br />

“especially child psychiatrists.”<br />

Says Mammo, “Providers need<br />

to understand Chaldean culture.<br />

Hopefully, there will be an increase<br />

in Chaldean mental health providers.”<br />

Culture can influence treatment.<br />

Sometimes extreme embarrassment<br />

will result in nontreatment or there is<br />

the perception that mental health issues<br />

are a crisis in faith.<br />

“It’s okay not to be okay,” says Dr.<br />

Mammo.<br />

Dr. Mammo believes in giving back<br />

to the community she was raised in<br />

and is the vice president of CAAHP, the<br />

Chaldean American Association for<br />

Health Professionals, a nonprofit and<br />

nonpolitical educational organization<br />

founded in 1999 to support Chaldean<br />

health care providers.<br />

Made up of physicians, pharmacists,<br />

dentists, nurses, and other allied<br />

health professionals of Chaldean descent,<br />

CAAHP serves as a professional<br />

forum offering education, networking,<br />

and community service opportunities.<br />

Mammo and her colleagues work with<br />

other organizations like the Chaldean<br />

Community Foundation to provide<br />

free or low-cost healthcare to the<br />

underserved through programs like<br />

Project Bismutha, just like Mammo’s<br />

grandfather did in Iraq.<br />

“I have a care for the underserved,”<br />

says Mammo.<br />

That’s an understatement.<br />

<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 35


Numbers Paint a Picture<br />

Walsh College survey reveals<br />

striking demographic data about<br />

Metro Detroit’s Chaldeans<br />


Walsh College, in partnership<br />

with the Chaldean American<br />

Chamber of Commerce,<br />

recently published results of its extensive<br />

survey on the demographics<br />

of Chaldeans in metro Detroit. This<br />

follows the last survey which was<br />

published in 2018 by the CACC and<br />

University of Michigan Dearborn and<br />

an earlier survey from 2008 that was<br />

conducted by Walsh College.<br />

The 2018 survey sent a directmail<br />

piece to 1,772 random Chaldean<br />

households and received responses<br />

from 13% of them. It collected demographic<br />

data like education, household<br />

income, business ownership, and<br />

investments. One key finding showed<br />

that Chaldeans in metro Detroit had an<br />

annual economic impact of $10.7 billion,<br />

up from $3.7 billion in 2008. The<br />

2018 report estimated 160,000 Chaldeans<br />

in Detroit compared to 113,000<br />

from 2008.<br />

The 2023 survey was distributed<br />

online through the Chamber’s network<br />

and social media accounts, and<br />

was sent to thousands of Chaldeans<br />

via email. In total, the new survey received<br />

more than 1,200 responses and<br />

estimated that 183,500 Chaldeans live<br />

in metro Detroit and the community’s<br />

economic impact is $17.6 billion.<br />

In general, many surveys tend to<br />

undercount minorities for several reasons.<br />

A language barrier, for example,<br />

could prohibit many Chaldeans from<br />

participating. For that reason, in addition<br />

to the online survey, which was<br />

only available in English, the CACC<br />

distributed some paper versions in<br />

Arabic.<br />

Chaldean Americans may also be<br />

more cautious than other Americans<br />

about providing personal information<br />

in a survey, and they might not trust<br />

the survey’s anonymity, especially<br />

if they are undocumented. This can<br />

$3.7<br />


113,000<br />


62%<br />

GROWTH<br />

SINCE<br />

2008<br />

also introduce a bias into the surveys.<br />

Chaldeans who are older along with<br />

more recent immigrants tend to speak<br />

less English and are not as plugged<br />

into the Chamber’s network. These<br />

demographics may have responded to<br />

the survey at a lower rate than others.<br />

One quarter of the survey’s responses<br />

came from someone 18 years<br />

or younger, which is an astounding<br />

result that suggests the Chaldean community<br />

is extremely young and full of<br />

children who are mature enough to<br />

take the survey or took it in place of<br />

their non-English speaking parents.<br />

For comparison, only 22% of the United<br />

States is under 18, and few are old<br />

enough to answer a complex survey<br />

like the one created by Walsh. It also<br />


STORY<br />

$10.7<br />


160,000<br />


IMPACT<br />

475%<br />

GROWTH<br />

SINCE<br />

2008<br />

$17.6<br />


(ESTIMATE)<br />




183,500<br />

(ESTIMATE)<br />



2008 2018 2023<br />

hints at the future of the Chaldean<br />

community and shows that it’s still<br />

growing at a significant rate in metro<br />

Detroit.<br />

Walsh College used a direct linear<br />

formula to calculate the Chaldean<br />

population in metro Detroit based on<br />

the two previous surveys. Since these<br />

figures come from a simple estimate,<br />

it’s possible they underrepresent the<br />

Chaldean community, and the real<br />

population surpasses 200,000.<br />

In the United States, according<br />

to the Census Bureau, the average<br />

household consists of 3.13 people. In<br />

the Chaldean community, according<br />

to the newest survey, that number is<br />

4.08, almost an entire person more<br />

than the rest of the U.S., showing<br />

This report is made possible with generous support from<br />

Michigan Stories, a Michigan Humanities Grants initiative.<br />

how the community’s living situations<br />

are still family oriented.<br />

The 2023 survey also asked for data<br />

regarding businesses owned, type of<br />

work, income, business worth, and<br />

real estate worth. More than 31% of the<br />

responders own a business and 32%<br />

have a career in a profession. These<br />

are not mutually exclusive, as many<br />

Chaldean professionals own and run<br />

their own business.<br />

Over the last 17 years, since the<br />

first survey was conducted, the economic<br />

activity of Chaldeans has<br />

continued to shift from small-time<br />

entrepreneurs to larger and more<br />

diverse businesses as well as educated<br />

professions like doctors, lawyers,<br />

engineers, realtor, and more.<br />

More than 40% of Chaldeans’<br />

real estate values total less than<br />

$500,000, and the percentage slowly<br />

tapers off as the value gets higher.<br />

In contrast, more than 20% of Chaldeans<br />

have real estate holdings<br />

worth more than $5 million.<br />

The most common zip code that<br />

the survey collected was 48322, a<br />

section of West Bloomfield. The<br />

second most common zip code<br />

was 48323, which represents parts<br />

of West Bloomfield, Orchard Lake,<br />

and Commerce Township. The next<br />

most common zip codes were 48310 in<br />

Sterling Heights and 48331 in Farmington<br />

Hills.<br />

By analyzing the individual responses<br />

and correlating them to the<br />

zip codes, we can approximate a<br />

picture of income inequality in the<br />

Chaldean community. Among Chaldeans<br />

who live in 48323, nearly 20%<br />

of households bring in over $500,000<br />

per year in income and only about 13%<br />

bring in less than $100,000 per year.<br />

On the other hand, in the Sterling<br />

Heights zip code 48310, more than 40%<br />

of Chaldean households make less than<br />

$100,000 and only 1 person responded<br />

that their household makes $500,000 or<br />

more. This data is important when considering<br />

where to place different kinds<br />

of social services for the community.<br />

In total, the survey is a selling point<br />

for the Chaldean community and a<br />

celebration of our success in the diaspora.<br />

Business organizations like the<br />

Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce<br />

can use this data to make the<br />

case to corporations that Chaldeans<br />

are worth paying attention to.<br />

36 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

ARE YOU<br />

HIRING?<br />



WHAT WE DO<br />

The Career Services Department at the Chaldean Community Foundation offers one-on-one assistance to help<br />

clients identify goals and develop careers.<br />

• Career Fairs<br />

• Employer Referrals<br />

• Job Application Completion<br />

• Training Opportunities<br />

• Resume Building<br />

• Mock Interviews<br />

• Cover Letter Writing<br />

• FAFSA Completion<br />

To inquire about adding your open positions to our job bank and hiring one of our<br />

clients, please call or email Elias at 586.722.7253<br />

or elias.kattoula@chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation | 3601 15 Mile Rd., Sterling Heights, MI 48310<br />

<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 37

ESSAYS<br />

My Missing Reflection<br />


The story of how my parents met, fell in love,<br />

and got married is like the storyline of “My Big<br />

Fat Greek Wedding.” My mom is Chaldean, the<br />

daughter of two immigrants, and was taking classes<br />

at Oakland University, at a time when people like her<br />

were still in the minority at the college. It’s where she<br />

met my dad, who is white and had parents who didn’t<br />

know what hummus was and thought their people<br />

invented baklava. (My dad took it to a cultural lunch<br />

event when he was a kid. Needless to say, he misrepresented<br />

his culture). They eventually fell in love, got<br />

married with a very Chaldean wedding, (complete<br />

with the band, the halhole, the works) and had me, a<br />

Chaldean-American girl.<br />

Growing up, my parents raised me in an American<br />

way, but as I started to get older, my mom introduced<br />

me to more and more parts of my culture, and I<br />

embraced it whole-heartedly. I’m proud to call myself<br />

Chaldean, and I hope that sentiment never changes.<br />

But when we all sit down at the table together with<br />

our plates filled with yellow rice, shawarma, and dolma,<br />

there’s a missing spot on our plates. It creates a<br />

hunger that can’t be quieted by home-cooked meals:<br />

My people have been starving for representation.<br />

When I stare into the pages of a book or the bright<br />

TV screen, I don’t see my reflection staring back at<br />

me. Whenever writers create stories about Arab-<br />

Americans, they usually write about Muslims. What<br />

I need to clarify is that that isn’t necessarily a bad<br />

thing. It’s good that Muslim-Americans are getting<br />

the representation that they’re starving for, but that<br />

doesn’t leave anything on our plates for us.<br />

After 9/11, writers have been trying their best to<br />

extinguish the stereotype that all Arab-Americans<br />

are terrorists, but they’ve unintentionally been fueling<br />

the flames of a different stereotype: All Arabs are<br />

Muslim. Until they realize the cultural harm they are<br />

doing by only focusing on Muslim-American stories,<br />

nobody in my beautiful culture will ever get to see<br />

themselves reflected in books and TV shows.<br />

To them, I ask: Where are our stories? Where are<br />

the stories like those of my grandparents, who lived<br />

in Iraq and had similar magical, innocent childhoods,<br />

experienced similar immigration processes<br />

and somehow met each other in this big and dreambuilding<br />

country they now call home?<br />

Where are the stories like that of my great grandma,<br />

who taught herself English on her own by meticulously<br />

reading through elementary school workbooks<br />

day and night? Where are the stories like that of my<br />

mom, who grew up mispronouncing words because<br />

her parents didn’t understand certain English phrases<br />

and who took it all in stride when her friends corrected<br />

her, laughing at herself, owning her mistakes?<br />

Where are stories like that of my own, a girl born<br />

with lighter skin than most in her family, causing her<br />

to not experience the worst of humanity because she<br />

doesn’t look like what most people think of when<br />

they think of an Arab-American girl, who’s just starving<br />

for representation for herself and for her beautiful<br />

culture that deserves to be put on a pedestal for all<br />

to see? Where are those stories?<br />

The truth is, I already know. They are hidden inside<br />

every writer, buried under ignorance, either unintended<br />

or not. All it takes is an essay like this, reaching<br />

out, spreading the message far and wide like a wake-up<br />

call, that gives them the inspiration they need, yet always<br />

had deep down inside them. But until they hear<br />

that wake-up call, I’m not going to wait. Page by page,<br />

rewrite by rewrite, I’ll write my story, our story, for all of<br />

us to see our reflections in.<br />

Chaldean American Values<br />


As I am writing this piece, I am simultaneously<br />

sitting in my room watching my parents’<br />

wedding video. It took weeks for me to<br />

reach this moment. I spent a good chunk of the last<br />

month attempting to convert AV to HDMI so that I<br />

could experience these cherished moments that I<br />

was, unfortunately, unable to live through. Throughout<br />

my childhood, I watched this video at least once<br />

a month.<br />

I’ve always had a deep desire to revisit memories<br />

from my early years and even those preceding my<br />

birth. To me, these years encapsulate the essence of<br />

what it meant to be a Chaldean in America. My parents<br />

didn’t have a lot but they still managed to make<br />

the most out of their wedding. Rather than driving<br />

from his wedding in a limo, my father drove away in<br />

his blue SUV, with a license plate that read “PicPac,”<br />

which was the name of the first store he ever owned.<br />

My mother was unable to see her parents on her<br />

wedding day because they were still in Iraq. Nevertheless,<br />

they are visibly enjoying their time despite<br />

not having a lot of things or all the people they love<br />

and cherish around them.<br />

While I am certainly familiar with the stories behind<br />

these photos and videos, I know for a fact that<br />

even without this intimate knowledge I could discern,<br />

with the utmost certainty, that the people in these<br />

pictures and videos were Chaldean Americans—they<br />

made the most out of what they had. When I delve<br />

into these memories, it is almost bittersweet because<br />

I always end up asking myself the same question: “If<br />

the children of future generations were to look back<br />

at what the Chaldean community is doing today,<br />

would they think that we too encapsulate the essence<br />

of what it means to be Chaldean American?”<br />

This is the question I hope to answer today.<br />

First and foremost, to answer this question, it is<br />

necessary to ask another one: “What does it mean to<br />

be Chaldean American?” At the end of the documentary<br />

Chaldeans in America: Our Story, the narrator<br />

says something that I feel captures what it means to<br />

be a Chaldean American: “Hope. Faith. Work. Family.<br />

This is the Chaldean community.”<br />

While I firmly believe that these values are still<br />

displayed throughout our community today, there is<br />

no doubt that some of these values are diminishing<br />

to a certain extent. It is important to identify what<br />

is causing these values to diminish to ensure that<br />

future generations can remember the principles of<br />

those who came before them.<br />

The first value I would like to focus on is that of<br />

work. The Chaldean community was built on the entrepreneurial<br />

spirit. From Mesopotamia to America,<br />

Chaldeans have always been go-getters. Like many<br />

other Chaldeans, my parents sacrificed a lot for me<br />

to be where I am today. Because of their sacrifice and<br />

the grace of God, I can attend university to become<br />

whatever I desire to be, not what my parents want me<br />

to be; which leads me to the main point of this paragraph.<br />

As far back as I could remember my parents<br />

always told me that I could be whatever I wanted to<br />

be; If I told them I wanted to be an astronaut they<br />

would simply tell me to reach for the stars. Of course,<br />

there are times when I hear the phrase “You would<br />

make a great attorney,” yet they have never stepped<br />

on my toes and forced me into anything.<br />

In our community today, the youth are pressured<br />

by their parents to do great things, but the professions<br />

they are pressured to take on are not even<br />

something they are necessarily passionate about. If<br />

this trend continues, we will see the hardworking<br />

spirit of Chaldeans fade into a thing of the past. After<br />

all, one cannot work hard if one is not passionate<br />

about their work.<br />

The older generation must encourage the younger<br />

generation to do what they love. We have plenty of<br />

Chaldean doctors, lawyers, and engineers; that is<br />

great, but I hope that there will come a day when we<br />

38 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

“H H H H H<br />


FEBRUARY 20-25<br />







TO KILL A<br />


A new play by<br />


Directed by<br />



BroadwayInDetroit.com<br />

see an abundance of Chaldean artists,<br />

journalists, and musicians, because<br />

passion is what will help keep our values<br />

of hard work alive.<br />

The second value I would like to<br />

focus on is family. The Chaldean community<br />

was built on the premise that<br />

“It takes a village to raise a child.” The<br />

structure of our families has always<br />

been relevant to the success of those<br />

within our community. We take care of<br />

each other and each one of us would lay<br />

down our lives for our family, although<br />

this structure is beginning to diminish<br />

today.<br />

Pride has run rampant throughout<br />

our community and is affecting our families<br />

every day. Shockingly, a community<br />

that was built on putting family first is<br />

starting to lose these values. To keep our<br />

families stable we must put down our<br />

pride and remember that family is the<br />

most important thing we have in this<br />

world. Blood is thicker than water—our<br />

family should always come first.<br />

It is within our own families that<br />

we gain our sense of self and learn<br />

to rely on people who will always be<br />

there for us. When the children of future<br />

generations look back at our community,<br />

I want them to remember us<br />

for keeping our families together in<br />

the face of hardship. This humility will<br />

truly give strength to our community.<br />

We have all heard the phrase “Faith<br />

moves mountains.” If I could give any<br />

motto to the Chaldean community, it<br />

would be that. Faith and hope are trust;<br />

trust in ourselves and above all, something<br />

greater than us. Because of our<br />

faith, our community has had unfathomable<br />

success. Without faith and hope our<br />

community would never find strength<br />

in the face of adversity; that is how one<br />

knows that these are the values we continue<br />

to hold closest to our hearts.<br />

Our community has faced a lot of<br />

hardship, but we have always come<br />

back stronger. It is important to keep<br />

these values near and dear to us because<br />

the world is changing negatively—and<br />

although it is silent, our<br />

community is facing more adversity<br />

than ever before. The world has no appreciation<br />

for our faith. When the children<br />

of future generations look back<br />

on our current community, I hope they<br />

commend us for remaining inviolable<br />

in our values of faith and hope.<br />

There is no community that even<br />

comes close to the Chaldean community.<br />

Our successes and triumphs will<br />

be remembered by future generations,<br />

but these are not the only things we<br />

should want to be remembered for.<br />

Our success is admirable, but it is not<br />

the most important thing about our<br />

community.<br />

Our community should be remembered<br />

for our strong values and beliefs.<br />

True strength and success come<br />

from faith, hope, and love, and we can<br />

only keep these values by keeping our<br />

family and our values of hard work<br />

and faith in God at the forefront of our<br />

community.<br />

<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 39


Embracing the Winter Blues<br />

A guide to conquering<br />

season slumps<br />


Step up your smile game by adding mouthwash<br />

to your routine. It can help reduce your risk for<br />

cavities and gum disease. When choosing an<br />

over-the-counter mouthwash, look for the<br />

American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.<br />

Delta Dental of Michigan<br />


As the holiday season<br />

ends, days get shorter<br />

and the temperatures<br />

drop, it’s not uncommon<br />

for some of us to feel<br />

like bears contemplating hibernation.<br />

The winter blues,<br />

also known as Seasonal Affective<br />

Disorder (SAD), might<br />

be nipping at your heels, but<br />

I’ve got the perfect arsenal of<br />

coping mechanisms to turn<br />

that frown upside down.<br />

Sunlight: Nature’s Prozac<br />

Missing the sun? Join the club. Winter<br />

brings shorter days and less sunlight,<br />

leaving many of us in a state of solar<br />

withdrawal. Combat this by taking<br />

advantage of the precious daylight<br />

hours. Go for a walk, indulge in some<br />

outdoor activities, or simply bask in<br />

the sunlight streaming through your<br />

window. It’s like a natural dose of happiness,<br />

minus the co-pay.<br />

Light Therapy: A bright idea<br />

For those days when the sun decides<br />

to hide, consider investing in a light<br />

therapy box. Multiple studies have<br />

shown the benefits of light therapy on<br />

our mood. These bright contraptions<br />

mimic natural sunlight and can help<br />

regulate your circadian rhythm. Think<br />

of it as your own personal sunshine.<br />

Cozy Comforts: Snuggle up<br />

Winter is the perfect time to embrace<br />

all things cozy. Wrap yourself in a<br />

warm blanket, cuddle with your dog,<br />

sip on a cup of hot cocoa, and indulge<br />

in a good book or movie. Create a cozy<br />

environment that is your winter haven,<br />

and you will be warding off those<br />

winter blues in style.<br />

Exercise: Winter wonderland<br />

workouts<br />

Don’t let the cold weather freeze your<br />

fitness routine. Exercise releases those<br />

feel-good endorphins, and you don’t<br />

need a gym membership to get moving.<br />

Try new winter activities like ice<br />

DR. RENA<br />

DAIZA<br />



NEWS<br />

skating or building a snowman<br />

with the kiddos. Winter<br />

workouts can be both fun<br />

and effective.<br />

Vitamin D: Sunshine in a pill<br />

It’s Michigan and we just don’t<br />

get enough sunshine this time<br />

of year. The sun produces vitamin<br />

D in the skin through a<br />

series of chemical reactions.<br />

During winter months, many<br />

of us depend on maintaining<br />

adequate vitamin D in our<br />

diet. If your diet is lacking in vitamin<br />

D, consider supplements. Known as the<br />

sunshine vitamin, it plays a crucial role<br />

in mood regulation. Consult with your<br />

doctor to find the right dosage and start<br />

popping those sunshine pills.<br />

Socialize: Hold the winter hibernation<br />

Resist the urge to hibernate. Socializing<br />

can be a powerful antidote to the<br />

winter blues. Organize a game night,<br />

plan a cozy dinner party, or simply<br />

catch up with friends over a warm<br />

cup of tea. Human connection is like a<br />

warm blanket for the soul.<br />

Plan a Winter Escape: Beat the<br />

winter blues at their own game<br />

If all else fails, why not plan a winter<br />

escape? This is a staple of mine. As the<br />

daughter of a travel agent, I am always<br />

planning my next getaway - especially<br />

in the winter months. Whether it’s a<br />

weekend getaway to a snowy cabin<br />

or jet-setting to a tropical paradise, a<br />

change of scenery can do wonders for<br />

your mood. Just think of it as a midwinter<br />

reset button.<br />

So, there you have it - your guide to<br />

embracing the winter blues with a smile.<br />

Remember, it’s okay to feel a bit down<br />

during the colder months, but with a<br />

dash of sunlight, sprinkle of socializing,<br />

and a lot of self-care, you’ll be conquering<br />

those seasonal slumps. As always,<br />

check on your friends and family and<br />

look for changes in behavior. Let’s be<br />

there for one another. Stay warm, stay<br />

happy, and let the sunshine in.<br />

40 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

WE ARE<br />

HIRING<br />

Do you possess a passion for bettering the lives of others?<br />

Join our ever expanding team!<br />

Behavioral Health Case Worker • Behavioral Health Therapist<br />

Case Worker • Citizenship Instructor • Social Media Coordinator<br />

Advocacy<br />

Acculturation<br />

Community Development<br />

Cultural Preservation<br />

For More Information<br />

HR@chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

586-722-7253<br />



Chaldean Immigrant Media Pioneers<br />

In Michigan and the United States<br />


To commemorate the 20th anniversary<br />

of publishing the Chaldean<br />

News, we take this opportunity<br />

to look back and honor the<br />

first Chaldean newspapers published<br />

in the US. We remember a host of<br />

Chaldean Iraqi immigrants who were<br />

journalists, writers, poets, and media<br />

entrepreneurs, and we celebrate their<br />

accomplishments here in America.<br />

Between 1910 and 1947, few Chaldeans<br />

(mainly from Iraq) immigrated<br />

to the United States. They were part<br />

of the era of mass migration which<br />

brought millions from across the world<br />

to an America desperately in need of<br />

workers for its growing economy. Detroit<br />

was a popular destination for<br />

immigrants from Iraq because of the<br />

growing automobile industry and an<br />

established Middle Eastern community<br />

consisting primarily of Christian<br />

immigrants from Lebanon and Syria.<br />

In 1943, community sources listed<br />

908 Chaldeans in the Detroit area.<br />

Three years later, 80 Chaldean families<br />

were recorded as living within the city<br />

limits of Detroit; by 1963, this number<br />

had tripled, to about 3,000 individuals.<br />

Many Iraqi citizens immigrated to<br />

the United States during the mid-1960s<br />

due to changes in US immigration<br />

laws, and the growth of Detroit’s Chaldean<br />

American community became<br />

even more dramatic. By 1967, the number<br />

of Chaldeans in metro Detroit had<br />

risen to about 3,400; by 1986, the number<br />

had climbed to 45,000. In 1992, the<br />

number reported was 75,000. Surveys<br />

sponsored by the Chaldean American<br />

Chamber of Commerce placed the<br />

number at 160,000 in 2016 and more<br />

than 187,000 in 2023.<br />

​One of the cultural necessities the<br />

early generation immigrants yearned<br />

for was communication in the form<br />

of journalism—newspapers, magazines,<br />

books, radio, television, and<br />

later, social media. With the increase<br />

in the number of Iraqi immigrants, the<br />

need for the diaspora’s intellectuals to<br />

share their knowledge and opinions<br />

emerged.<br />

The early community press in the<br />

US was part of the Arab press; its birth<br />

came with the issuance of Al- Mashriq/<br />

The Orient in 1949 by Hanna Yatooma<br />

in Michigan. Some historians cite the<br />

famous Al-Islah/the Reform, published<br />

in 1954 in New York by Father<br />

Jameel Alfons Shourez. These early<br />

publications were followed in 1962<br />

by Al A’lam Al Jadid/New World, published<br />

by a lawyer named Yousif Antoun.<br />

In 1968, Faisal Arabo published<br />

his first paper, Voice of the Immigrant/<br />

Sout Al-Muhajir. The freely distributed<br />

newspaper was self-described as “The<br />

newspaper of record for the American<br />

Arab community.” It was a short-lived<br />

endeavor, publishing only 4 issues<br />

(June, July, August, and October 1968).<br />

Al Hadaf by Fouad Manna was<br />

published in 1970, followed by the issuance<br />

of several newspapers in other<br />

US cities. This was in addition to magazines<br />

issued by churches, organizations,<br />

and institutions.<br />

The Iraqi-immigrant press went<br />

42 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

استذكار رواد الصحافة واإلعالم يف أمريكا<br />

بقلم د عضيد يوسف مريي،‏<br />

through stages, initially addressing<br />

the first generation who spoke and<br />

thought only in Arabic, to a second<br />

generation who spoke additional languages,<br />

leading up to a generation<br />

born in the US that mastered only the<br />

English language. We must understand<br />

that the content of Iraqi press<br />

in the diaspora was a living part of the<br />

homeland’s press, even if it was written<br />

in languages other than Arabic.<br />

Occasions of note that took place<br />

during this period include the reign of<br />

Saddam Hussein, the Gulf Wars, and the<br />

US invasion of Iraq. Metropolitan Detroit<br />

witnessed the birth of several new<br />

publications, magazines, newspapers,<br />

radio, and TV programs between the<br />

years 1980 and 2003; many were funded<br />

by Saddam Hussein and became mouthpieces<br />

for the Ba’ath regime.<br />

The content was always affected<br />

by what was happening inside Iraq,<br />

but the media outlets also shared community<br />

news for those living in the US.<br />

Topics of importance included immigrant<br />

issues, news of the homeland,<br />

and various cultural events.<br />

After the first Gulf War outbreak,<br />

a division emerged between the progovernment<br />

and the opposition press.<br />

The most prominent of the latter was<br />

the Chaldean News Detroit Times<br />

(CDT). Editor Amir Denha published<br />

the first issue on April 1, 1990. For over<br />

25 years, the CDT was the Chaldean<br />

and Arab-American community’s<br />

leading publication; it ceased publishing<br />

in 2015.<br />

Other popular publications were<br />

Al-Muntada, Al-Mahjar, Al-Qithara,<br />

Hammurabi Magazine, and Al-Sunbula<br />

Magazine.<br />

Chaldean journalists dedicated<br />

time and energy to the principles of<br />

faith, family, and history of their life<br />

in Iraq. The years that followed 2003<br />

and the US invasion produced a different<br />

form of journalistic work and led to<br />

the decline of a unique group of journalists<br />

who did not keep pace with the<br />

new changes. Dr. Faiq Butti chronicled<br />

the diaspora press in his book, The<br />

Iraqi Press in Exile, published in 2006.<br />

Factored in the decline were the<br />

structural restraints, cost of printing,<br />

distribution costs, low number of paying<br />

subscriptions, and writers’ salaries—which<br />

meant most media organi-<br />

MEDIA continued on page 45<br />

تزامناً‏ مع ذكرى مرورعرشون عاماً‏ تقريباً‏ عىل إصدار نرشة اخبار الكلدان ‏)كالديان<br />

نيوز(،‏ واستجابة لرغبات جيل من القراء الذين يتابعون املجلة ويرغبون يف قراءة<br />

صفحات باللغة العربية،‏ تقرر اضافة صفحة أو صفحتني باللغة العربية ضمن اعداد<br />

املستقبل،‏ نأمل من خاللها تحفيز القراء والكتاب للتواصل معنا ورفدنا مبقاالتهم<br />

وإبداعاتهم الفكرية والقلمية.‏<br />

وكبداية لهذه االنطالقة التأريخية البد أن ننظر إىل الوراء القريب واالحتفاء بالرواد<br />

األوائل والصحف املهجرية الكلدانية التي نُرشت يف والية ميشيغان والواليات<br />

املتحدة األمريكية ولنستذكر مجموعة من املهاجرين العراقيني الكلدان الذين<br />

كانوا صحفيني وكتاب وشعراء وإعالميني ونشارككم بدايات أعاملهم وهمومهم<br />

واهتامماتهم وإنجازاتهم يف مجال اإلعالم.‏<br />

فبني األعوام 1910 و‎1947‎ هاجر عدد قليل من الكلدان ‏)معظمهم من العراق(‏ إىل<br />

الواليات املتحدة،‏ وكانوا جزءًا من عرص الهجرة الجامعية التي جلبت املاليني من<br />

جميع أنحاء العامل إىل أمريكا التي كانت حينذاك يف أمس الحاجة إىل العامل من<br />

أجل دعم اقتصادها املتنامي.‏ وكانت ديرتويت تحظى بشعبية كبرية بني مجموعات<br />

املهاجرين بسبب صناعة السيارات املتنامية ووجود مجتمع رشق أوسطي يتكون<br />

أساسً‏ ا من املهاجرين املسيحيني الذين أتوا من لبنان وسوريا.‏<br />

ويف عام 1943، أدرجت مصادر واحصائيات الجالية وجود 908 كلدانيًا يف منطقة<br />

ديرتويت،‏ ويف عام 1947، كان هناك 80 عائلة كلدانية تعيش داخل حدود مدينة<br />

ديرتويت.‏ وبحلول عام 1963، تضاعف هذا العدد ثالث مرات ليصل إىل حوايل<br />

3000 شخص.‏ ثم هاجر عدد أكرب من املواطنني العراقيني إىل الواليات املتحدة<br />

بسبب أحوال العراق السياسية والتغيريات يف قوانني الهجرة األمريكية خالل منتصف<br />

الستينيات،‏ وأصبح منو الجالية الكلدانية األمريكية يف ديرتويت أكرث دراماتيكية،‏<br />

‏-وارتفع هذا العدد تدريجياً‏ إىل 45000 يف عام - 1986 و‎75000‎ يف عام -1992<br />

و‎160000‎ يف عام 2017 ووصل اىل 200000 حالياً‏ يف والية ميشيغان.‏<br />

يؤطر الكلدان واملسيحيون العراقيون عالقاتهم بوطنهم األم بهويتهم وثقافتهم ولغتهم<br />

وتقاليدهم وتراثهم،‏ ويعلقون أهمية وقيمة كبرية عىل هويتهم جنبًا إىل جنب مع إميانهم<br />

املسيحي،‏ وبناءٍ‏ عىل ذلك استلزمت تحدياتهم وتجاربهم يف البيئة األمريكية الجديدة إعادة<br />

بناء أنفسهم وهوياتهم املجتمعية وتحديث منط عالقاتهم مبجتمعهم الجديد.‏<br />

وشكل التواصل مع الصحافة ‏)الصحف واملجالت والكتب(‏ والراديو والتلفزيون<br />

‏)ووسائل التواصل االجتامعي الحقًا(‏ رضورة من الرضوريات الثقافية للجيل األول<br />

من املهاجرين ومثلام كانوا قد تعودوا عليه يف العراق.‏ ومع تزايد أعداد املهاجرين<br />

العراقيني،‏ ظهرت حاجة ملثقفي الشتات إلطالق صحافتهم باللغة التي تعودوا عليها<br />

وحينها مرت الصحافة الجديدة مبراحل مخاطبة الجيل األول الذي تحدث وفكر<br />

باللغة العربية فقط،‏ عبوراً‏ إىل الجيل الثاين الذي تحدث مبزيج شمل لغة أخرى،‏<br />

وصوال إىل جيل ولد يف الواليات املتحدة ال يتقن سوى اللغة اإلنجليزية.‏<br />

كانت لغة الصحافة املهجرية املبكرة للجالية يف الواليات املتحدة جزءاً‏ من الصحافة<br />

العربية،‏ وكانت والدتها مع صدور ‏)املرشق-‏ 1949( للنارش حنا يتوما يف ميشيغان،‏<br />

و)اإلصالح - 1954( يف نيويورك لألب جميل ألفونس شوريز،‏ الذي أسبغ عليها صفة<br />

“ الجريدة الوطنية االدبية السياسية”‏ وتناولت الشؤون السياسية العربية يف فرتة<br />

منتصف الخمسينات من وجهة نظر املغرتبني العرب يف الواليات املتحدة.‏ وصحيفة<br />

‏)العامل الجديد-‏ 1962( للمحامي يوسف أنطون.‏<br />

يف عام 1968 نرش فيصل عربو ‏)صوت املهاجر(،‏ التي وصفت نفسها بأنها ‏“الجريدة<br />

الرسمية للجالية العربية األمريكية”‏ وكانت مجانية وقصرية العمر،‏ نرشت 4 أعداد<br />

فقط ‏)يونيو،‏ يوليو،‏ أغسطس وأكتوبر 1968(. ثم أصدر فؤاد منّا جريدة ‏)الهدف(‏<br />

عام 1970، تالها صدور عدة صحف أخرى ومجالت تصدرها الكنائس واملنظامت<br />

واملؤسسات املحلية.‏<br />

مرت صحافة الجالية املحلية منذ انطالقها وعرب تاريخها الطويل بالعديد من<br />

التغريات والرصاعات التي كثريا ما أدت إىل تدهور العمل الصحفي وضعف أداء<br />

رواد اإلعالم نتيجة عوامل عدة منها سياسية،‏ واقتصادية،‏ ومالية،‏ واجتامعية.‏ وكانت<br />

غالبية املطبوعات مجانية أو تباع بسعر رخيص جدا ومتيزت بطباعة رديئة بسبب<br />

نوعية الورق وعناوين جذابة وصور ألغلفة بألوان باهتة إال أن القراء كانوا يعشقون<br />

قراءتها لدرجة اإلدمان واالحتفاظ بنسخها يف بيوتهم،‏ هذه هي بكل بساطة كان ما<br />

موجود يف عامل املطبوعات حينذاك.‏<br />

وعلينا أن نفهم بأن محتوى الصحافة العراقية يف املهجر كان جزءا حيا من أخبار صحافة<br />

الوطن،‏ حتى لو كانت مكتوبة بلغات غري العربية ‏)اإلنجليزية،‏ الكلدانية الرسيانية(،‏<br />

ولكن جميعها وخاصة املكتوبة بالعربية واإلنجليزية احتوت األحداث والتجارب<br />

املحلية،‏ والتقلبات السياسية والجوانب الثقافية،‏ والتأثريات املجتمعية والروحية.‏<br />

ومل يكون الرواد مختلفني عن األخرين يف هذا الحس والتجربة الذاتية وجعلوا<br />

السنتهم واقالمهم ومجالتهم وسيلة للتعبري عام يجري يف حياتهم اليومية وسط<br />

حياتهم الغربية وكانت جرائدهم منبعثة من حقيقة حياتهم وأدت اىل جامل أثارهم<br />

وإصداراتهم املتسمة بسمة الواقع والبساطة فأبدعوا وثقفوا وحفظوا وعلمونا روعة<br />

القراءة واهمية الثقافة القريبة للوجدان والروح.‏<br />

وبوسعنا أن نعترب فرتة حكم البعث وصدام حسني وحرب الخليج والغزو األمرييك<br />

للعراق،‏ فرتات ذات اهتامم ومتابعة أكرب بني جيل القراء.‏ إذ شهدت منطقة مرتو<br />

ديرتويت والدة العديد من املطبوعات واملجالت والصحف والربامج اإلذاعية<br />

والتلفزيونية الجديدة بني األعوام )1980 و‎2003‎‏(،‏ وال غرابة ان تم متويل العديد<br />

منها من قبل نظام صدام حسني،‏ وأصبح بعضها أبواقًا لنظام البعث وسياساته.‏<br />

أنتجت السنوات التي تلت عام 2003 والغزو األمرييك ردود فعل فئة من الصحفيني<br />

وهجرة الذين مل يعربوا إىل الجانب اآلخر أو مل يواكبوا املتغريات الجديدة،‏ وكان<br />

الكتاب واملحررون يف شد وجذب مع معممي الحكم ورصاع مع أنفسهم نتيجة<br />

تقاطع الرؤى الفكرية والسياسية بني النخبة املثقفة والسلطة الطائفية الحاكمة،‏<br />

وظهر انقسام بني الصحافة املوالية للحكومة واملعارضة وكان املحتوى يتأثر دامئًا<br />

مبا يحدث داخل العراق وردود املجتمع يف الواليات املتحدة األمريكية كام واهتم<br />

املحررون بقضايا املهاجرين وأخبار الوطن واملواضيع الثقافية املختلفة.‏<br />

يف األول من أبريل عام 1990، أصدر املحرر أمري دنحا العدد األول من جريدة ديرتويت<br />

كالديان تاميز وعىل مدى أكرث من 25 عامًا،‏ كانت املطبوعة الرائدة للمجتمع الكلداين<br />

والعريب اىل حني توقفت عن الصدور نهائيًا يف عام 2015. وكان الرتاجع مصري كثري من<br />

اإلصدارات الشهرية األخرى التي توقفت عن النرش واإلصدار مثل:‏ املنتدى،‏ املهاجر،‏<br />

القيثارة،‏ مجلة حمورايب،‏ والسنبلة وغريها كثري كرّس فيها الرواد الصحافيون الكلدان<br />

وقتهم وطاقتهم ملبادئ الحق والعدالة واإلميان واألرسة وتاريخ ايامهم يف العراق.‏<br />

وكانت عوامل الرتاجع األساسية هي التمويل وتكاليف الطباعة والتوزيع،‏ وانخفاض<br />

االشرتاكات،‏ ودفع الرواتب،‏ مام يعني خسارة معظم املؤسسات اإلعالمية واضطرارها<br />

إىل االعتامد عىل األحزاب أو الشخصيات البارزة للحصول عىل الدعم املايل.‏ وكان<br />

انتشار اإلنرتنت ووسائل التواصل االجتامعي من أهم أسباب الرتاجع،‏ مام أدى إىل<br />

حرص املطبوعات يف عدد قليل فقط.‏<br />

حاولنا يف هذا العرض الرسيع تسليط األضواء عىل املطبوعات وفتح الباب أمام<br />

دراسات أوسع والتعريف بجزء من واقع الصحافة العراقية التي كانت تابعة بشكل<br />

ما لألطراف التي مولتها واستفادت منها ومن الواقع الدويل املحيط بالعراق بعد<br />

حرب الخليج والغزو األمرييك للعراق عام 2003. ومن يقرأ املوضوع قد مل يعرف<br />

تأريخ هذه املطبوعات ولذة وصعوبة أيامها،‏ ورمبا من يعرفها هم القراء الذين عاشوا<br />

هذه التجربة،‏ واآلن هناك مئات املواقع التي تقدم كل هذه املعلومات مجانا عىل<br />

مواقع شبكة االنرتنيت ونتمنى أن يكون قراءها كرث حتى يستمتعوا ويستفيدوا.‏<br />

ورغم كل ما سبق يبقى الجانب املرشق يف مجال اإلعالم يأيت من خالل ظهور جيل<br />

جديد من الصحفيني الشباب وسط مجتمع الجالية وتنوع ابتكاراتهم يف القنوات<br />

الرقمية والصحف واملواقع اإللكرتونية التي استوعبت فئات كثرية من الباحثني عن<br />

فرص الحداثة ورمبا رسقوا األضواء من األسامء التقليدية التي مل تتمكن من مواكبة<br />

متغريات القرن الجديد،‏ ومن جيل الرواد الذي كان له السبق يف أكرث من مجال<br />

إعالمي يف العقود املاضية.‏<br />

نحن نعتز بالجيل الصاعد من الكتاب والصحفيني ونفتخر بوصفهم ‏“بالشموس<br />

الساطعة”‏ إذ هم مثال إلحياء التجديد وتعّلموا من مسارات الرواد وفهموا آليات العمل<br />

الصحفي ومعارصة تقنيات الزمان وتحرير األخبار وكتابة املقاالت التي تتميز باملعرفة<br />

والوضوح وال عجب أن يصبح الكتاب الجدد ظاهرة إيجابية يف اإلعالم املحيل يرفعون<br />

من خاللها راية اإلبداع يف العمل الصحفي وثقافة التحرر من الخوف والرتدد والرتاجع<br />

وهم لذلك يستحقون الدعم والتقدير خاصة وأن الجالية يف حالة تطور مستمر يف<br />

مجاالت التعليم األكادميي واإلبداع املجتمعي وتأسيس ثقافة جامعة وفكر حر ومستقل<br />

بعيد عن التحزب واالستقطاب مييض قدماً‏ صوب تعزيز هويتنا والحفاظ عىل تراثنا<br />

وإعالء شأن إسهاماتنا الوطنية والثقافية واإلنسانية يف الديار املهجرية.‏<br />

ويف هذا االستذكار البد أال ننىس تجارب الرواد املبدعني وجيل الصحفيني والكتاب الذين<br />

كانوا يؤمنون بحرية التعبري ويجيدون التفكري ونشكرهم إلصداراتهم يف سنوات بدايات<br />

اكتسابنا للمعرفة ولكل من مهد الطريق وجازف وساهم وكتب ونرش وأمسك بأيدينا وأقالمنا<br />

وقاسمونا الكلامت واملشاعر قوالً‏ وفعالً‏ وسالماً‏ لكل كاتب صافحت أبجدياته اًأليادي ولكل<br />

مفكر أغنت مقاالته الفكر ولكل نارش حربّ‏ ت أقالمه ذكريات ومقاالت ال تنىس.‏<br />

القراء األعزاء:‏ ان هذه املقالة هي مساهمة يف أرشفة الجانب اإلعالمي<br />

لدى الجالية العراقية وخاصة يف مدينة ديرتويت،‏ رمبا هناك اسم او<br />

تاريخ ورد سهوا،‏ ورمبا هناك اضافة،‏ نرجوكم أن تكتبوا لنا،‏ ونرجو أيضا<br />

لو يتوفر عندكم صور للمجالت أو الجرائد او للشخصيات التي عملت يف<br />

اإلعالم منذ حقبة الخمسينيات،‏ نرجوكم ان تزودونا بها.‏<br />

<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 43


’Tis Better to Give<br />

Businesses find creative ways to give back<br />


As so many of us look forward<br />

to the holiday season and the<br />

gifts we’ll exchange with family<br />

and friends, our thoughts also turn<br />

to those who are less fortunate and the<br />

true spirit of the season — “Give big, to<br />

get back, to give bigger,” as Rob Bava<br />

says. Bava is Community Choice Credit<br />

Union’s longtime president and CEO.<br />

We talked to Community Choice<br />

Business Development Officer Beth<br />

Spadafore about the company’s signature<br />

giving program, “Give Big<br />

Month,” which takes place every September.<br />

Each fall, employees are encouraged<br />

to “spend” some of the 24<br />

hours of community service they are<br />

required to perform each year.<br />

The time spent serving the community<br />

is paid time off. Spadafore<br />

says Community Choice’s Human<br />

Resources Department finds opportunities<br />

and helps employees connect.<br />

Departments band together “Business<br />

services might go to Forgotten<br />

Harvest for a half a day and pack boxes<br />

for people.” Weeding or gardening<br />

blighted areas in the city of Detroit is<br />

another opportunity.<br />

Each year Spadafore gets involved<br />

with the Stronger Warrior Foundation<br />

for “veterans that are not getting the<br />

support from government that they<br />

require.” She got involved through<br />

her brother-in-law. They do a September<br />

golf outing each year. This<br />

year they raised $14,000. Last year it<br />

was about $10,000. Last year’s money<br />

went to a veteran who needed a handicapped<br />

accessible bathroom built in<br />

his home. “He was bathing in a kiddie<br />

pool in the garage.”<br />

The beauty of targeting early fall<br />

for major fundraising activities is that<br />

summer vacations are over, and the<br />

winter holidays are still a ways off. Not<br />

to mention September boasts some of<br />

Michigan’s best weather. Weeding, gardening,<br />

and golf are very much in play.<br />

“One of the things I’m most proud<br />

of at our company is the way we’ve<br />

been able to give back to the community,”<br />

says Saber Ammori, CEO of<br />

Wireless Vision employees at various backpack drives throughout the area.<br />

Wireless Vision, a T-Mobile dealer with<br />

over 460 stores in more than 25 states.<br />

The company has about 20 stores<br />

spread across Michigan.<br />

“When you do business in a community,<br />

you have a responsibility to<br />

give back,” says Ammori. “It’s financial,<br />

but it’s also time. We’ve done<br />

leadership programs in the community,<br />

mentoring new Americans. We’ve<br />

done food banks. To me, it’s a responsibility<br />

and an obligation.”<br />

In addition to working with children’s<br />

organizations such as Brilliant<br />

Detroit, a nonprofit organization that<br />

provides programming and support for<br />

children aged 0-8 in high-need neighborhoods,<br />

and City Year, another program<br />

benefitting school kids who need<br />

help, Ammori says Wireless Vision<br />

works with the Chaldean Community<br />

Foundation to identify opportunities to<br />

help the communities in which it operates.<br />

He says CCF is a good place to start<br />

for businesses that are new to giving.<br />

Much like Community Choice, Wireless<br />

Vision has a signature program<br />

complete with a slogan. “We call it<br />

‘WV’s got your back,’” says Ammori. “It<br />

started eight or nine years ago, we started<br />

giving school backpacks to kids in<br />

areas of need, underprivileged areas.”<br />

Sly Sandiha of Pinnacle Hospitality<br />

leads a company that owns hotels and<br />

related properties throughout Michigan.<br />

Unlike many businesses, the hospitality<br />

industry serves a clientele that is not<br />

geographically related to its business.<br />

Guests come in, stay a few days or a week<br />

and then return to their homes in places<br />

throughout the country or abroad. For<br />

Pinnacle, the properties’ communities<br />

are the employees, who are local. Sandiha<br />

says Pinnacle relies on property<br />

managers and employees to help identify<br />

giving opportunities in communities.<br />

Being in the hospitality industry<br />

affords Pinnacle a unique opportunity<br />

to support communities. In cases<br />

where homes are destroyed by fires<br />

or floods, Pinnacle can host families<br />

until their property is rebuilt. “They<br />

stay with us for, sometimes, months<br />

at a time and it’s their home away<br />

from home,” said Sandiha.<br />

Sandiha and Ammori say that<br />

much of their passion for helping others<br />

reflects the values they learned<br />

growing up in the Chaldean community,<br />

where they were taught to give<br />

back to the people who helped support<br />

them and their businesses.<br />

A giving culture has its own rewards<br />

for those working in businesses imbued<br />

with it. Spadafore has worked in<br />

the banking industry her entire career.<br />

Now 65, she has been with Community<br />

Choice for 15 years and says a big part<br />

of the reason she is still working is because<br />

the credit union is still giving.<br />

“Coming into this culture was really<br />

kind of eye-opening for me to see<br />

that the president of the credit union<br />

is out there digging holes or pulling<br />

weeds.”<br />

44 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>


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COUNTY 1993 – 2015<br />

Proudly servingHOUR Birmingham, MEDIA<br />

Bloomfield, Proudly Farmington serving Birmingham, Hills, Bloomfield,<br />

Each office Each office is independently<br />

is independently<br />

West Farmington Bloomfield, Hills, the Lakes West Bloomfield, the<br />

Proudly serving Birmingham,<br />

Owned Owned and Operated and Operated Brian S. Yaldoo and surrounding Lakes and areas. surrounding areas.<br />

Bloomfield, Farmington Hills,<br />

Associated Broker<br />

Each office is independently<br />

West Bloomfield, the Lakes<br />

Office (248)737-6800 Brian • S. Mobile Yaldoo<br />

Owned and Operated<br />

(248)752-4010<br />

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

Broker<br />

Email: brianyaldoo@remax.com Associated Websites: Broker www.brianyaldoo.com<br />

Office (248) www.BuyingOrSellingRealEstate.com<br />

Office 737-6800 (248)737-6800 • Mobile (248)752-4010 (248) 752-4010<br />

Email: Toll brianyaldoo@remax.net<br />

Free (866) 762-3960<br />

Email: brianyaldoo@remax.com www.BuyingOrSellingRealEstate.com<br />

Websites: www.brianyaldoo.com<br />

www.BuyingOrSellingRealEstate.com<br />

Paul M. Al-Attar, M.D.<br />

Orthopedic Spine Surgery<br />

Auburn Hills<br />

3100 Cross Creek Pkwy<br />

Suite 150<br />

248-475-0502<br />

www.msspc.org<br />

855-450-2020<br />

Advertise<br />

Warren<br />

11012 E. 13 Mile Rd<br />

Suite 201<br />

586-582-0760<br />




in our business directory section!<br />

for As little As $ 85<br />

to place your ad, contact us today! 3601 15 Mile Road<br />

Sterling Heights, MI 48310<br />

TEL: (586) 722-7253<br />

FAX: (586) 722-7257<br />

phone: 248-851-8600 fax: 248-851-1348<br />

jacqueline.raxter@chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

30095 Northwestern Highway, Suite 101<br />

www.chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

Farmington Hills, MI 48334<br />

Jaguar Land Rover Troy<br />

Sammi A. Naoum<br />

1815 Maplelawn Drive<br />

Troy, MI 48084<br />

TEL 248-537-7467<br />

MOBILE 248-219-5525<br />

snaoum@suburbancollection.com<br />















30095 Northwestern Highway, Suite 101<br />

Farmington Hills, MI 48334<br />

CELL (248) 925-7773<br />

TEL (248) 851-1200<br />

FAX (248) 851-1348<br />

snavarrette@chaldeanchamber.com<br />

www.chaldeanchamber.com<br />

www.chaldeanfoundation.org<br />



3601 15 Mile Road<br />

Sterling Heights, MI 48310<br />

TEL: (586) 722-7253<br />

FAX: (586) 722-7257<br />

elias.kattoula@chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

www.chaldeanfoundation.org<br />




3601 3601 15 15 Mile Mile Road Road<br />

Sterling Sterling Heights, Heights, MI MI 48310 48310<br />

TEL:<br />

TEL: (586) (586) 722-7253 722-7253<br />

FAX:<br />

FAX: (586) (586) 722-7257 722-7257<br />

mariam.abdalla@chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

stacy.bahri@chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

www.chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

www.chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

MEDIA continued from page 43<br />

zations ran at a loss and were forced to<br />

depend on parties or prominent figures<br />

for financial support. The spread of<br />

the internet, digitization, social media,<br />

and financing were the most significant<br />

reasons for the decline, which led to limiting<br />

the publications to just a few.<br />

On the bright side, the emergence<br />

of young journalists within the community<br />

and the diversity of journalistic<br />

work through satellite channels,<br />

podcasts, electronic newspapers,<br />

radio, and websites accommodated<br />

many opportunity seekers who did<br />

not find their place in the previous<br />




STORY<br />

30095 Northwestern Highway, Suite 101<br />

Farmington Hills, MI 48334<br />

CELL (248) 925-7773<br />

TEL (248) 851-1200<br />

eras, perhaps stealing FAX (248) the 851-1348 spotlight<br />

from traditional snavarrette@chaldeanchamber.com<br />

names who could not<br />

www.chaldeanchamber.com<br />

keep up with www.chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

the changes.<br />

The creative people behind the<br />

Chaldean News are an example of a new<br />

and inspiring trend. They have learned<br />

a great deal from the passion and purpose<br />

of the pioneers and understand<br />

the mechanisms of serious journalistic<br />

work in the field of news editing, analysis,<br />

and writing. They are ambassadors<br />

of a culture that represents freedom in<br />

journalistic work, freedom from regression,<br />

fear, and retreat.<br />

This report is made possible with generous support from<br />

Michigan Stories, a Michigan Humanities Grants initiative.<br />

We are actively seeking new voices.<br />

Our upcoming journalists deserve recognition,<br />

appreciation, and support,<br />

especially since the community is in<br />

a state of constant evolution, forging<br />

forward in the fields of academic<br />

achievements, education, creativity,<br />

and independent thinking—far from<br />

partisanship and polarization—which<br />

will ultimately promote our identity<br />

and preserve our culture.<br />

Sources: Dr. Faiq Butti “The Iraqi Press<br />

in Exile,” published in 2006; Fouad<br />

Manna; Kamal Yaldo; Omar Abdul;<br />

and Ghafoor Al-Qattan.<br />

<strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 45


Chaldean Media Pioneer<br />

Faisal Arabo was a Detroit-area pioneer in publishing<br />

and broadcasting who dedicated his<br />

time to the education and entertainment of<br />

thousands of Iraqi Americans who longed to stay connected<br />

to their ethnic and cultural roots.<br />

In these archival photos, generously provided by<br />

the Chaldean Cultural Center and Museum, Faisal is<br />

seen broadcasting his radio show, circa 1967, when it<br />

was first aired, and in a television control room later<br />

in his career.<br />

After decades of contributing content in print, on<br />

television and radio, Faisal passed away in August of<br />

2023 and is survived by his wife Virjean.<br />

You can help to preserve Chaldean heritage by<br />

submitting your family photos to the Chaldean News<br />

and contributing to the Chaldean Cultural Center and<br />

Museum’s archives.<br />

The Chaldean Cultural Center and Museum owns a collection of captivating images from our vibrant community that<br />

we are delighted to share with the Chaldean News. If you have photographs that you would like us to incorporate into<br />

our archive, kindly reach out to us at info@chaldeanculturalcenter.org or call 248-681-5050.<br />

46 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JANUARY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

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