MARCH 2024

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METRO DETROIT CHALDEAN COMMUNITY VOL. 21 ISSUE II <strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong><br />

Decision,<br />

Diligence<br />

& Destiny<br />




Featuring:<br />

Her Story: Chaldean Women<br />

CABA Comeback<br />

Poet Al Mutanabbi


Exclusive Premium Materials<br />

Curated Collection of Interior Themes<br />

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Exclusive Member Privileges<br />






أكبر مكتب محاماة عربي وكلداني في<br />

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248-702-6641<br />

اتصل بنا على رقم<br />

Getting You Back to You<br />

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نعیدك الى ماكنت علیھ<br />

ھذا ھو سبب اھتمامنا<br />

Lawrence Kajy<br />

Attorney at Law<br />

No fee until we win • Over $40M recovered for clients • 248-702-6641 / kajylaw.com<br />

<strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 3

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4 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

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<strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 5

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

METRO DETROIT CHALDEAN COMMUNITY | <strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | VOL. 21 ISSUE II<br />


20 Decision, Diligence & Destiny<br />

David Garmo’s pursuit of excellence<br />

By Cal Abbo<br />


26 Her Story<br />

Chaldean women making history<br />

By Sarah Kittle<br />

28 Healing Through the Arts<br />

By Omar Binno<br />

30 CABA Comeback<br />

Chaldean American Bar<br />

Association returns<br />

By Cal Abbo<br />

32 Time Marches On<br />

March covers through the years<br />

By Sarah Kittle<br />

20<br />

36 Culture & History<br />

Al Mutanabbi, the would be prophet<br />

By Dr. Adhid Miri<br />


8 From the Editor<br />

In Pursuit of Excellence<br />

By Sarah Kittle<br />

16 Iraq Today<br />

What to know about the strikes<br />

in Iraq and Syria<br />

42 From Mesopotamia<br />

to the Motor City<br />

Part III: New ventures in a new land<br />

By Cal Abbo<br />

10 Your Letters<br />

11 Guest Column<br />

Dr. Samir Jamil<br />

Living with Contentment<br />

10 Foundation Update<br />

Diversity Summit, Advocacy efforts,<br />

Donation to Giving Hearts<br />

14 Noteworthy<br />

OU/CCF partnership, Mother of God 75<br />

years, Sweet Dreams Habibi book<br />

18 Religion<br />

By Michael Antoon<br />

34 Economics & Enterprise<br />

Beverly Hills Grill<br />

By Sari Cicurel<br />

44 In Memoriam<br />

46 From the Archive<br />

Prioritizing education<br />

36<br />

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



Chaldean News, LLC<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation<br />



Sarah Kittle<br />


Cal Abbo<br />

Michael Antoon<br />

Omar Binno<br />

Sari Cicurel<br />

Dr. Samir Jamil<br />

Sarah Kittle<br />

Dr. Adhid Miri<br />



Alex Lumelsky with SKY Creative<br />


Zina Lumelsky with SKY Creative<br />


Alex Lumelsky<br />

SALES<br />

Interlink Media<br />

Sana Navarrette<br />


Sana Navarrette<br />

Subscriptions: $35 per year<br />


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

Advertisements: ads@chaldeannews.com<br />

Subscription and all other inquiries:<br />

info@chaldeannews.com<br />

Chaldean News<br />

30095 Northwestern Hwy, Suite 101<br />

Farmington Hills, MI 48334<br />

www.chaldeannews.com<br />

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

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

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

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

Publication Address:<br />

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

Farmington Hills, MI 48334;<br />

Permit to mail at periodicals postage rates<br />

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

Postmaster: Send address changes to<br />

“The Chaldean News 30095 Northwestern<br />

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

In Pursuit of Excellence<br />

This March issue is all about the pursuit of<br />

excellence in sports, education, professional<br />

work – virtually all walks of life. Chaldean<br />

culture calls for distinction, for brilliance<br />

and superiority. It is what we have come to expect<br />

from the community.<br />

Our cover exemplifies that pursuit. The story<br />

is centered around David Garmo’s belief that he is<br />

the best Jiu Jitsu fighter in the realm. It does not<br />

matter if it is still a dream; one day soon, it will be<br />

a fact. Garmo knows it in his heart.<br />

It was difficult to decide on a cover this month,<br />

as we have a wonderful story about extremely<br />

successful Chaldean career women<br />

to publish as well. These women are “killing<br />

it;” forging high-profile careers and achieving<br />

a work-life balance that many would<br />

envy. Indeed, recent archaeological findings<br />

in Kanesh, an Assyrian city in Iraq, shows<br />

that women throughout history served crucial<br />

roles in trading networks, managed finances and workers,<br />

and pushed against societal expectations to better their<br />

lives. “It’s their own thoughts and writing. It’s not our interpretation<br />

of them,” said Yale University Assyriologist Agnete<br />

Wisti Lassen of the tablets found. “There’s a deep value to<br />

that, to having their own voices heard.”<br />

The final installment of “From Mesopotamia to the Motor<br />

City,” traces the ancient routes of trade and culture that<br />

once connected the cradle of civilization to the busy streets<br />

of Detroit. In the heart of this convergence lies a vibrant community<br />

of Chaldeans, whose rich heritage and entrepreneurial<br />

spirit have left a mark on both the ancient world and the<br />

modern landscape of commerce. Cal Abbo looks at two community<br />

members who definitively made their mark: Michael<br />

George of Melody Farms and Saad Abbo of US Ice.<br />

In addition, we cover the March cover stories for the last<br />

two decades. It is a trip down memory lane as well as an<br />

important timeline that spotlights community concerns. So<br />

much has happened in the last twenty years!<br />

In our Economic and Enterprise section, we feature<br />


EDITOR<br />

IN CHIEF<br />

Beverly Hills Grill and its owner Raphael Michael.<br />

Beverly Hills Grill has been a landmark in the area<br />

for many years, and its new owner is making sure<br />

that things don’t change too much and the ‘regulars’<br />

are kept happy.<br />

Dr. Miri introduces us to the famous poet Al<br />

Mutanabbi, a dreamer and wordsmith who took<br />

the Arabic language to new dimensions in the<br />

odes he wrote to honor contemporary rulers. His<br />

work is widely recognized as proverbial, and many<br />

have heard his words even if they aren’t familiar<br />

with the source.<br />

Chaldean culture calls for distinction, for<br />

brilliance and superiority. It is what we<br />

have come to expect from the community.<br />

Dr. Samir Jamil wrote in again, sending a column on finding<br />

contentment. His tips on managing emotions and using<br />

all available resources to see and enjoy the beauty that surrounds<br />

us are a timeless reminder that we alone control our<br />

emotions and reactions.<br />

Omar Binno returns to the CN to author a piece about<br />

music therapy and his new nonprofit that aims to use music<br />

to help the disabled and those suffering from trauma.<br />

The Chaldean Cultural Center comes through again, providing<br />

archival photos of educators and their students in<br />

both Baghdad and Detroit, and Religion writer Michael Antoon<br />

shares his thoughts on Lent and Easter.<br />

Enjoy!<br />

Sarah Kittle<br />

Editor in Chief<br />

New York Life Congratulates<br />

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


As the publication of record for<br />

Michigan’s Chaldean community,<br />

the mission of the Chaldean News<br />

is to preserve and archive Chaldean<br />

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

ongoing story of Chaldean contributions to<br />

the communities in which we live and work – in<br />

Michigan and around the world.<br />

In the last 5 years the Chaldean News has<br />

substantially increased its readership and social<br />

media following, introduced new digital and website<br />

content and expanded storytelling and video offerings<br />

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

The Publisher’s Circle is a unique opportunity for community<br />

members to support the Chaldean News and its continuing<br />

mission to be a voice for the community, wherever they<br />

may be. With the warmhearted help of individual and<br />

organizational supporters we can ensure that this important<br />

resource remains to educate and connect the community<br />

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

The Chaldean News has recently launched a CN app<br />

and will continue to expand into new media such<br />

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

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

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

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

Jibran “Jim” Manna<br />

Martin and Tamara Manna<br />

We are grateful for the overwhelmingly<br />

generous support of our community.<br />

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

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

Let’s grow the circle.<br />

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


Dear Editor:<br />

Based on my personal experience, I<br />

highly recommend that new parents<br />

who are fluent in Chaldean and/or Arabic<br />

use these languages when speaking<br />

to their young infants, babies, and kids.<br />

My wife and I have two kids. When<br />

they were young, we questioned<br />

whether to speak with them in Arabic<br />

(my wife does not speak Chaldean). I<br />

preferred we speak in formal Arabic, so<br />

later in life they would be able to communicate<br />

with anyone in the Arabic<br />

world. My wife preferred the Iraqi dialect,<br />

which we often use. As it turned<br />

out, we did little of each and now regret<br />

it. I wish we had spoken more of either.<br />

We had some concerns that if we<br />

spoke only in Arabic with them, they<br />

would be a bit behind when they went<br />

to school. However, I now believe that<br />

concern was unfounded. Kids befriend<br />

other kids in preschool and learn English<br />

that way, as well as from TV entertainment<br />

in English. Kids adapt much<br />

more quickly than adults, and would<br />

have had no difficulty learning English<br />

quickly, even if it was not spoken<br />

much in the house.<br />

I also recommend starting the<br />

habit of speaking Arabic or Chaldean<br />

in the home with the first child. As you<br />

have more kids, they might communicate<br />

with each other in English unless<br />

the older one is used to speaking in the<br />

language you spoke with him or her.<br />

Of course, it is never too late to start<br />

even if the kids are older, as long as<br />

they are still home with you.<br />

As kids grow to become teens, they<br />

often show some rebellion against parents’<br />

habits and that is normal. But,<br />

as they approach their twenties and<br />

older, they often revert to the original<br />

culture, and they might wonder why<br />

they were not taught their parents’ language<br />

when they were young.<br />

As kids are finishing high school<br />

and preparing to go to college, they may<br />

discover that many competitive universities<br />

are impressed with kids who speak<br />

multiple languages, and this might help<br />

them in their college applications.<br />

Arabic is spoken by at least half a<br />

billion people in the world, and the Arabic<br />

business and political world will<br />

continue to dominate the news in the<br />

future. Knowledge of Arabic will prove<br />

to be an asset for your kids in business,<br />

social, cultural, and political affairs.<br />

As to the Chaldean language, it is<br />

our heritage and is in danger of diminishing<br />

with time, unless we make the<br />

effort to convey it to our kids if we can.<br />

Sincerely,<br />

N. Peter Antone<br />

March 19-24 • Fisher Theatre<br />

broadwayindetroit.com<br />

Groups (10+) broadwayindetroitgroups@theambassadors.com<br />

(subject: The Cher Show)<br />



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


Living with Contentment<br />


Being content (or not)<br />

is all about emotions.<br />

Emotionally sensitive<br />

people react to events quickly<br />

and with intense feeling. They<br />

have difficulty in getting their<br />

emotional reactions to go<br />

away. Finding ways to manage<br />

emotions effectively can<br />

minimize the non-physical<br />

pain they experience. This article<br />

offers a few suggestions<br />

and strategies to minimize<br />

worries and live contently.<br />

These strategies below are not in the order<br />

of their significance.<br />

Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness<br />

helps reduce anxiety and stress<br />

for everyone. Consider a way to practice<br />

mindfulness every day that is<br />

easy to remember (mindfully brush<br />

your teeth or mindfully drink your<br />

coffee). The point is action with intention.<br />

Consider using a bracelet or a<br />

sticky note to remind yourself.<br />

Relax, be in control. Find a way<br />

to laugh today (dance, watch a comedy,<br />

run in the park, buy a balloon,<br />

dabble with paint). Stay focused on<br />

what is in your control. Attempting<br />

to control other people or events creates<br />

anxiety, anger, and feelings of<br />

helplessness. It is enough work to<br />

control our own actions; you cannot<br />

control others’.<br />

Practice gratitude. Each evening,<br />

go through your day and list three<br />

things you are grateful for. Be specific,<br />

then focus on those three experiences<br />

or interactions or things and<br />

appreciate the positive.<br />

Nurture relationships. Some<br />

friends will make you angry or upset,<br />

but having friendships is one of<br />

the keys to contentment. When you<br />

spend time with friends, focus on<br />

what you like, and what energizes<br />

you. Review the positive experiences<br />

in your mind. Pick your friends carefully.<br />

Give up your attachment to outcomes.<br />

Being too attached to certain<br />

outcomes, living in a certain way, or<br />

fixating on a certain solution limits<br />

you and leads to suffering. Try to be<br />

SAMIR<br />

JAMIL, MD<br />


TO THE<br />


NEWS<br />

open to what comes.<br />

Learn something new.<br />

You don’t have to choose<br />

something difficult. Learn<br />

a little about another culture,<br />

read a magazine about<br />

a hobby you know nothing<br />

about, cook a new dish, or<br />

play a new game.<br />

Let go of urgency. Sometimes<br />

we feel urgent about<br />

everyday tasks. Be mindful,<br />

let go of urgency when it<br />

is not a 911 situation. Slow<br />

down, breathe, and take small steps.<br />

Accept imperfections. Life is<br />

messy and imperfect. Striving for perfection<br />

that does not exist crushes joy<br />

and contentment.<br />

Stop comparing. Comparing is<br />

a way of evaluating and judging<br />

ourselves and others. At times and<br />

Finding ways to<br />

manage emotions<br />

effectively can<br />

minimize the<br />

non-physical pain<br />

emotionally sensitive<br />

people experience.<br />

wrongly, we compare ourselves to<br />

someone else who we see as superior<br />

to us (a way of competing).<br />

Get out-of-the-box. Having a big<br />

family get together, watching movies<br />

with friends, or focusing on a spiritual<br />

journey are examples of activities<br />

that may be helpful.<br />

Notice what works and what you<br />

are doing right. It is easy to overlook<br />

what goes right. When you are feeling<br />

upset, it is difficult to problem solve<br />

or think of what actions might help.<br />

Keeping a list of what works for you<br />

could be a key good for coping successfully.<br />

Practice self-compassion. Calling<br />

yourself names is punishment, and<br />

we all know that punishment does not<br />

work. Accept yourself in kindness.<br />

Identify your values. Living in<br />

ways that are inconsistent with your<br />

values causes stress and unhappiness.<br />

So, make choices whenever you<br />

can that reflect your values.<br />

Think of loved ones. Think of the<br />

people who love you no matter what.<br />

Think of the people who love you as<br />

part of your team and remember that<br />

they are there to support you.<br />

Under-react. Sometimes we just do<br />

not need to react. This does not mean<br />

under-feeling, minimizing, denying, or<br />

suppressing, but just letting events be.<br />

Relax your body. Practice brief deep<br />

breathing and slow exhaling. A relaxed<br />

body sends a safety message to the<br />

mind; a tense body says there is danger.<br />

Remember your positive qualities.<br />

If you are not sure, ask those who are<br />

close to you.<br />

Ask yourself what you can give to<br />

others. Helping others can be simply<br />

smiling at someone, giving a cup of<br />

coffee, giving clothes to a shelter, or<br />

giving time to a child. We are all part<br />

of the same community, and we all<br />

need help.<br />

Commitment. Take one small step<br />

and commit to success in what is important<br />

to you. Having a small success<br />

builds hope and belief in yourself.<br />

Having purpose and meaning<br />

adds to your sense of well-being.<br />

Learn to solve problems. Everyone<br />

meets problems at certain times<br />

in our lives. But being able to manage<br />

your life can bring self-contentment<br />

and satisfaction.<br />

Practice willingness. Say yes to<br />

LIFE. Yes, to being part of this universe.<br />

No matter how disconnected<br />

you may feel, you are part of the<br />

whole. You belong. Accept the changes<br />

that come with life.<br />

See the beauty of the world. Notice<br />

the sunsets, the mountains in the<br />

fog, children playing, etc. Beauty is<br />

all around us and everywhere, but we<br />

often do not see it.<br />

Man asked GOD, give me everything<br />

to enjoy life. GOD replied, I have<br />

given LIFE to enjoy everything.<br />


1,251 yEARs<br />

Of cOMbiNEd<br />

lEgAl<br />

ExpERiENcE<br />

RON AcHO<br />

49 yEARs!<br />

A pROvEN<br />

succEssful<br />

liTigATiON<br />

fiRM<br />


(734) 261-2400<br />

racho@cmda-law.com<br />

<strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 11


Left: Planning<br />

committee from<br />

the <strong>2024</strong> Macomb<br />

Student Diversity<br />

Summit.<br />

Generous Donation for<br />

Breast Cancer Awareness<br />

On February 1, Jason Tueni from Oak Holdings Investments, LLC<br />

made a generous donation of $40,000 to support the CCF’s Giving<br />

Hearts affiliate fund.<br />

Giving Hearts is a philanthropic Chaldean women’s collaboration<br />

in memory of the late Vivian Esshaki Shouneyia; the fund<br />

helps alleviate financial duress related to medical care expenses<br />

for breast cancer patients.<br />

Macomb Student Diversity Summit<br />

The CCF participated in the annual Macomb Student Diversity Summit, an event which provides an<br />

opportunity for more than 400 middle and high school students across Macomb County to have a<br />

dialogue about race relations and other relevant cultural matters.<br />

Hosted on Thursday, February 15 from 8:00am until 1:30pm at the Macomb Intermediate School District,<br />

this year’s theme was “Voices Amplified: The Power of Your Voice.” The overarching goals of the<br />

summit include helping student leaders understand the value and impact of diversity and developing<br />

action plans to create positive environments and promote social justice in their schools and communities.<br />

Advocacy in Action<br />

The Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce and<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation have engaged<br />

the Waad Murad Advocacy Fund in support of Thair<br />

Dado, who was shot and killed in the parking lot of<br />

his part-time job on Saturday, February 3, leaving<br />

behind a grieving widow and teenage son.<br />

The Fund, working with the Detroit Police Department<br />

and Crimestoppers, will award $10,000 to<br />

the supplier of information that leads to the arrest<br />

and conviction of the culprits of the murder.<br />

The Chaldean Chamber’s Sharkey Haddad<br />

and Manar Deno, nephew of Thair Dado.<br />

The Waad Murad Advocacy Fund was established in 2011 to aid the police in solving murders in<br />

the Chaldean business community. Since immigrating to the U.S., more than 100 Chaldean small<br />

business owners have been killed in their place of business in Detroit. The Fund aims to bring justice<br />

to the perpetrators and hopefully, some small semblance of relief to the victim’s families.<br />

Iraqi Consulate Visits<br />

Metro Detroit<br />

On January 25, CCF President Martin Manna met<br />

with the new Iraqi Consulate General Muhamad<br />

Hassan S. Muhamad at the Consulate General of the<br />

Republic of Iraq office in Southfield.<br />

We welcome the new Iraqi Consulate and look<br />

forward to future discussions and a continued partnership<br />

to serve our community in Michigan.<br />

CCF President Martin Manna and Iraqi Consulate<br />

General Muhamad Hussan S. Muhamad.<br />

The Oak Holdings Investments team pictured with CCF staff<br />

to present the check.<br />

ARCH Recognition<br />

The Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

recently received recognition<br />

from the ARCH National Respite Network<br />

as an Innovative and Exemplary<br />

Program for the C.H.A.I. Project<br />

through 2027.<br />

C.H.A.I. (Caregivers Helping Aid<br />

Initiative) aims to educate and inform<br />

caregivers about the importance of lifestyle, nutrition, exercise,<br />

and health care when aging.<br />

The program was one of only four respite services recognized<br />

as Innovative and Exemplary by the ARCH National Respite Network<br />

and Resource Center in <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

Upcoming Events<br />

Penske Job Fair<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

February 28 from 2:00pm-4:00pm<br />

Spring Community Job Fair<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

May 1 from 2:00pm-3:00pm<br />

Learn with a Leader<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

May 22 from 4:00pm-6:00pm<br />

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



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


The Pursuit of Higher Education: Oakland<br />

University and Chaldean Community<br />

Foundation unite for a brighter future<br />

In an exciting collaboration aimed at fostering the<br />

next generation of educators, Oakland University<br />

and the Chaldean Community Foundation have<br />

joined forces to inspire and support students in pursuing<br />

careers in education. This innovative partnership<br />

not only underscores the shared commitment<br />

of both institutions to academic excellence, but also<br />

seeks to address the growing need for passionate and<br />

diverse individuals to lead the way in shaping the future<br />

of education.<br />

As we navigate an ever-evolving educational<br />

landscape, the demand for dedicated and culturally<br />

aware educators has never been more pronounced.<br />

Mother of God 75th Anniversary<br />

Recognizing this imperative, Oakland University and<br />

the Chaldean Community Foundation have set out<br />

on a mission to empower students, particularly those<br />

from the Chaldean community, to explore and embark<br />

on fulfilling careers in education.<br />

This collaborative initiative starts with an advisory<br />

council made up of Oakland University staff and<br />

alumni along with Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

staff. The purpose of the council is to develop outreach<br />

for assisting perspective student with filling<br />

out forms for admission and financial aid and developing<br />

pathways for students to become educators,<br />

among other goals.<br />

Mother of God Chaldean Church is<br />

75! This milestone commemorates<br />

a beacon of faith and community<br />

in its 75th year of existence,<br />

embodying a rich tapestry of<br />

tradition, culture, and spirituality.<br />

Nestled within the heart of its<br />

community, this sacred place of<br />

worship has been a steadfast pillar<br />

for generations of Chaldean Catholics,<br />

serving as a sanctuary where<br />

families gather to celebrate their<br />

faith and heritage.<br />

Mother of God Church was established<br />

in Southfield in 1948. The current edifice was<br />

designed in a Byzantine Revival style and completed in<br />

1980. Two years later, the church became a Chaldean<br />

cathedral when the Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle<br />

was established.<br />

Throughout its storied history, Mother of God has<br />

been a source of spiritual nourishment, offering a myriad<br />

of religious services, sacraments,<br />

and cultural events. From traditional<br />

liturgies to festive celebrations marking<br />

Chaldean holidays and milestones,<br />

the church fosters a sense<br />

of belonging and continuity for its<br />

members, bridging the gap between<br />

generations and preserving cherished<br />

customs for years to come.<br />

Beyond its role as a place of<br />

worship, the church serves as a<br />

catalyst for social outreach and<br />

community engagement. Through<br />

charitable initiatives, educational<br />

programs, and interfaith collaborations, it extends its<br />

embrace beyond its walls, embodying the teachings of<br />

compassion and solidarity espoused by its namesake,<br />

the Mother of God. As the church commemorates its<br />

75th anniversary, it stands as a testament to the enduring<br />

spirit of faith, hope, and love that continues to inspire<br />

and unite the Chaldean faithful.<br />

Sweet Dreams<br />

Habibi<br />

Jacquelyn Faranso Santo, the daughter of<br />

Catholic-Iraqi immigrants and a first generation<br />

American, recently wrote a children’s book<br />

titled, “Sweet Dreams Habibi.” The book centers<br />

around themes of family, cultural identity and<br />

the universal desire to belong.<br />

Inspired by the stories<br />

that her mom used<br />

to share about her childhood<br />

in Iraq and her<br />

journey to America, the<br />

book recounts a heartwarming<br />

story that resonates<br />

deeply with immigrant<br />

families, offering<br />

a relatable and enriching<br />

experience for both<br />

children and parents. The tale unfolds through a<br />

mom’s story to her daughter at bedtime, painting<br />

a picture of her simple life back home filled with<br />

rich culture and traditions.<br />

Jacquelyn grew up in the Detroit metropolitan<br />

area and witnessed her parents’ journey to<br />

build a life in the United States. Today, Jacquelyn<br />

is a DePaul University graduate, a dedicated<br />

wife, and mother of two. She also manages a<br />

travel concierge business while passionately<br />

pursuing her creative endeavors. The story she<br />

shares reflects the cultural mosaic that shaped<br />

her upbringing.<br />

“This book is not only a tribute to my family,<br />

but also a tribute to the bravery, love and<br />

dreams that immigrant families bring with them<br />

on their incredible journeys,” shares Jacqueline.<br />

“My hope is that this narrative contributes to the<br />

empowerment of immigrant families.”<br />

“Sweet Dreams Habibi” by Jacquelyn<br />

Faranso Santo is available for purchase at<br />

barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com.<br />

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

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


Iraq Territory Targeted<br />

What to know about the US strikes in Iraq and Syria<br />

and its attacks with the UK in Yemen<br />

Beirut (AP) Feb. 3 — British forces on<br />

Saturday joined their American allies<br />

in new attacks against militia in Yemen.<br />

The U.S. military earlier launched<br />

strikes on dozens of sites manned by<br />

Iran-backed fighters in western Iraq<br />

and eastern Syria in retaliation for a<br />

drone strike in Jordan in late January<br />

that killed three U.S. service members<br />

and wounded dozens.<br />

Tensions have been rising in the<br />

region since the Israel-Hamas war<br />

started on Oct. 7. A week later, Iranbacked<br />

fighters, who are loosely allied<br />

with Hamas, began carrying out drone<br />

and rocket attacks on bases housing<br />

U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria. A deadly<br />

strike on the desert outpost known as<br />

Tower 22 in Jordan near the Syrian border<br />

further increased tensions.<br />

What Happened in Yemen?<br />

The United States and Britain said they<br />

launched a barrage of strikes against<br />

Houthi targets in Yemen from fighter<br />

jets and warships in the Red Sea.<br />

The strikes hit 36 Houthi targets<br />

in 13 locations, according to the U.S.<br />

and U.K. militaries. It is the third time<br />

in two weeks that the U.S. and Britain<br />

have conducted a large joint operation<br />

to strike Houthi weapon launchers, radar<br />

sites and drones.<br />

The strikes came in response to<br />

almost daily missile or drone attacks<br />

against commercial and military ships<br />

in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.<br />

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin<br />

said Australia, Bahrain, Canada,<br />

Denmark, the Netherlands, and New<br />

Zealand supported the latest wave of<br />

strikes intended to “defend lives and<br />

the free flow of commerce in one of the<br />

world’s most critical waterways.”<br />

What Jets Were Used in the<br />

Yemen Strikes?<br />

The Houthi targets were struck by U.S.<br />

F/A-18 fighter jets from the USS Dwight<br />

D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier, by British<br />

Typhoon FGR4 fighter aircraft and by<br />

the Navy destroyers USS Gravely and the<br />


AL QAIM<br />

Akashat and Al Qaim were among the Iraqi settlements that were targeted.<br />

USS Carney firing Tomahawk missiles<br />

from the Red Sea, according to U.S. officials<br />

and the U.K. Defense Ministry.<br />

Who Was Targeted in Syria<br />

and Iraq, And Why?<br />

The strikes on Friday came in retaliation<br />

for the drone strike that killed<br />

three U.S. troops in Jordan on Jan. 28.<br />

U.S. forces struck 85 targets in<br />

seven locations in a strategic region<br />

where thousands of Iran-backed fighters<br />

are deployed to help expand Iran’s<br />

influence from Tehran to the Mediterranean<br />

coast.<br />

U.S. bases in Syria’s eastern province<br />

of Deir el-Zour and the northeastern<br />

province of Hassakeh have come<br />

under attack for years. The Euphrates<br />

River cuts through Syria into Iraq,<br />

with U.S. troops and American-backed<br />

Kurdish-led fighters on the east bank<br />

and Iran-backed fighters and Syrian<br />

government forces to the west.<br />

Bases for U.S. troops in Iraq have<br />

come under attack too.<br />

Iran-backed militias control the<br />

Iraqi side of the border and move freely<br />

in and out of Syria, where they man<br />

posts with their allies from Lebanon’s<br />

powerful Hezbollah and other Shiite<br />

armed groups.<br />

What Was Hit in Iraq and Syria?<br />

How Many People Were Killed?<br />

The U.S. military said the barrage of<br />

strikes hit command and control headquarters;<br />

intelligence centers; rockets<br />

and missiles, drone and ammunition<br />

storage sites; and other facilities connected<br />

to the militias and the Iranian<br />

Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force,<br />

which handles Tehran’s relationship<br />

with, and arming of, regional militias.<br />

Syrian opposition activists said<br />

the strikes hit the Imam Ali base near<br />

the border Syrian town of Boukamal,<br />

the Ein Ali base in Quriya, just south<br />

of the strategic town of Mayadeen,<br />

and a radar center on a mountain<br />

near the provincial capital that is also<br />

called Deir el-Zour.<br />

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads<br />

the Britain-based Syrian Observatory<br />

for Human Rights, said 29 rank-andfile<br />

fighters were killed in those strikes.<br />

The attacks also hit a border crossing<br />

known as Humaydiya, where militia<br />

cross back and forth between Iraq<br />

and Syria, according to Omar Abu Layla,<br />

a Europe-based activist who heads<br />

the Deir Ezzor 24 media outlet. He said<br />

the strikes also hit an area inside the<br />

town of Mayadeen known as “the security<br />

quarter.”<br />

Iraqi government spokesperson<br />

Bassim al-Awadi said the border<br />

strikes killed 16 people and caused<br />

“significant damage” to homes and<br />

private properties.<br />

The Popular Mobilization Force, a<br />

coalition of Iran-backed militia that<br />

is nominally under the control of the<br />

Iraqi military, said the strikes in western<br />

Iraq hit a logistical support post,<br />

a tanks battalion, an artillery post and<br />

a hospital. The PMF said 16 people<br />

were killed and 36 wounded, and that<br />

authorities were searching for other<br />

missing people.<br />

Will Iran-Backed Fighters Retaliate?<br />

Iran and groups it backs in the region<br />

aim to put pressure on Washington<br />

to force Israel to end its crushing offensive<br />

in Gaza, but do not appear to<br />

want all-out war. The defeat of Hamas<br />

would be a major setback for Tehran,<br />

which considers itself and its allies<br />

the main defenders of the Palestinian<br />

cause.<br />

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq,<br />

an umbrella group for Iran-backed<br />

groups, said it carried out two explosive<br />

drone attacks Saturday on bases<br />

housing U.S. troops in the northern<br />

Iraqi city of Irbil and a post in northeast<br />

Syria near the Iraqi border.<br />

The only Iran-backed faction that<br />

has been escalating are the Houthi<br />

rebels in Yemen, and they have made<br />

clear that they have no intention of<br />

scaling back their campaign.<br />

By Bassem Mroue, Lolita C. Baldor and<br />

Tara Copp / Associated Press. Baldor<br />

and Copp reported from Washington.<br />

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

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


Reflecting on the Resurrection<br />


As the arrival of spring brings about a period<br />

of rebirth and renewal, Christians all around<br />

the world draw their hearts and minds closer<br />

to the most sacred, holy, and significant events in the<br />

faith – Easter. Far beyond symbolism of colored eggs<br />

and spring flowers, Easter encapsulates the celebration<br />

of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ rising from<br />

the dead, giving us the promise of eternal life.<br />

At its core, Easter commemorates the resurrection<br />

of Jesus Christ, the pivotal moment that defines the<br />

very essence of our Christian belief. This celebration<br />

is the feast of feasts! It transcends all cultural and political<br />

boundaries and unites believers in the shared<br />

acknowledgment of the ultimate triumph of light over<br />

darkness, redemption over sin, and life over death.<br />

The resurrection narrative, as it is documented in<br />

the Holy Gospels, tells the story of Jesus Christ triumphantly<br />

resurrecting from the tomb after three days.<br />

It is truly a tale of divine love and mercy, our loving<br />

God making the ultimate sacrifice for the redemption<br />

of humanity. Easter, therefore, becomes more than a<br />

historical and monumental event; it transforms into<br />

a living truth that shapes the spiritual identity of<br />

Christians around the world.<br />

For Catholics, Easter is not a one-day feast, rather<br />

it is an entire season of reflection, contemplation,<br />

and renewal. The profound impact of the resurrection<br />

extends beyond the walls of churches and becomes<br />

a daily guiding force in the lives of believers.<br />

St. Augustine of Hippo captures this declaring, “We<br />

are the Easter people, and ‘Halleluiah’ is our song.”<br />

The celebration is the very cornerstone of our faith,<br />

which is lived out daily as faithful believers.<br />

One of the central themes that is embodied<br />

in the resurrection is the symbolism of hope. In a<br />

world that is often marked by uncertainty and challenges,<br />

the resurrection of Jesus Christ serves as a<br />

beacon, reminding believers that there is hope even<br />

in the darkest times. The empty tomb represents not<br />

only the victory proclaimed over death, but also a<br />

promise of a new beginning – having died to sin and<br />

living to God.<br />

In Romans 6, it says:<br />

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism<br />

into death, so that as Christ was raised from the<br />

dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk<br />

in newness of life. For if we have been united with<br />

him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united<br />

with him in a resurrection like his… For we know<br />

that Christ being raised from the dead will never die<br />

again; death no longer has dominion over him. The<br />

death he died, he died to sin, once for all, but the<br />

life he lives, he lives to God” (Romans 6: 4-5, 9-10).<br />

This reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans<br />

is popularly read at funeral Masses throughout<br />

our Eparchy. The deceased, through their faith and<br />

baptism, share in the promise of a renewed and eternal<br />

existence. Being “united with him in a death like<br />

his” draws us a parallel between our human mortality<br />

and Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross<br />

for our sins. This message becomes a source of hope,<br />

signifying that the deceased, having passed through<br />

the veil of death, now lives a life in communion with<br />

God, freed from the bonds of sin and death.<br />

As Easter approaches, the Holy Church calls upon<br />

its faithful to fast, pray, and give alms diligently in<br />

the Lenten season. Our Holy Father, His Beatitude<br />

Cardinal Mar Louis Raphael Sako, in his ‘Pastoral<br />

Letter on the Occasion of Lent <strong>2024</strong>’ says:<br />

“Lent comes this year in this fragile environment<br />

preceding Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection,<br />

giving our lives a new horizon, to distinguish<br />

right from wrong, true from false, [and] good<br />

from evil. It helps us also in choosing what God<br />

wants from us, by getting along with each other to<br />

change ourselves for the better and move forward<br />

in the spirit of humility, reconciliation, and wisdom.”<br />

(Chaldean Patriarchate)<br />

As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our<br />

Lord, we can join our faith community in fasting,<br />

prayer, and almsgiving. The same way Jesus fasted in<br />

the desert, we too have an invitation to fast and reject<br />

the evil one and all his works. It is through fasting<br />

that we can form a greater connection with our loving<br />

God, being made new in his mercy. Fasting is a<br />

great way to purify the body and soul, and to detach<br />

from worldly distractions. Through detachment we<br />

are able enhance our awareness of God, our almighty<br />

Father. In His Beatitude’s letter “Fasting reinforces<br />

hope in our hearts” he says:<br />

‏“الصوم،‏ يخلق أجواء مالمئة للدخول اىل بيتنا الداخيل،‏ والنظر اىل األبعد<br />

وترميمه بالتوبة والرجوع إىل الله.‏ حضوره يف حياتنا اليومية يفتح لنا باب<br />

الرجاء واالهتداء اإلنجييل،‏ لتصحيح السلوك،‏ والتخيل عن العادات السيئة،‏<br />

وتغيري العقلية،‏ والتفكري،‏ والقرارات،‏ عىل ضوء ما يطرحه علينا اإلميان من<br />

أسئلة حول قضايا مهمة ومصريية نواجهها عىل الصعيد الشخيص والعائيل<br />

والكنيس واالجتامعي،‏ حتى نتمكن من العيش بتناغم وسالم.‏<br />

األمل – الرجاء،‏ هو الحفاظ عىل شعلة األمل وعدم السامح بإخامدها<br />

يف قلب املؤمن أبداً.‏ ويتعنّيّ‏ عىل الكنيسة،‏ يف عامل مثقل باألحداث كعاملنا<br />

الحايل،‏ أن تسهر أكرث عىل الخدمة االنسانية والروحية،‏ وتعمّق الثقة<br />

املطلقة بالعناية االلهية يف قلوب املؤمننّي املتعبنّي،‏ وترفع معنوياتهم.‏ وان<br />

تساعدهم عىل اإلصغاء اىل صوت الله واكتشاف القيمة اإليجابية يف األمل<br />

والضيق،‏ ويدركوا أن الخري يف النهاية ينترص عىل الرش،‏ واملحبة عىل الحقد،‏<br />

والحق عىل الكذب،‏ والعدالة عىل الظلم،‏ والسالم عىل الحرب،‏ والنور عىل<br />

الظالم،‏ الن املسيحية ليست ديانة األمل والهزمية،‏ بل ديانة الحياة والتجدد<br />

والقيامة.‏ اإلحباط واليأس موت بطيء ‏)البطريركية الكلدانية(‏<br />

“Fasting creates a conducive atmosphere for<br />

entering our inner selves, looking beyond and<br />

repairing it with repentance and turning back<br />

to God. Its presence in our daily lives opens the<br />

door to hope and Gospel guidance, for correcting<br />

behavior, abandoning bad habits, and changing<br />

mindset, thoughts, and decisions, in light of the<br />

questions posed by faith about significant and<br />

existential issues we face personally, as families,<br />

in the Church, and in society. This enables us to<br />

live in harmony and peace.<br />

Hope is about preserving the flame of hope<br />

and never allowing it to be extinguished in the<br />

heart of the believer. In a world burdened with<br />

events like our current world, the Church must<br />

be more vigilant in human and spiritual service,<br />

deepening absolute trust in divine care in<br />

the hearts of the weary believers and boosting<br />

their morale. It should help them listen to God’s<br />

voice and discover the positive value in pain and<br />

distress. They must realize that in the end, good<br />

triumphs over evil, love over hatred, truth over<br />

falsehood, justice over injustice, peace over war,<br />

and light over darkness, for Christianity is not a<br />

religion of pain and defeat, but a religion of life,<br />

renewal, and resurrection. Despair and hopelessness<br />

are a slow death.” (Chaldean Patriarchate<br />

translation from Arabic)<br />

So, as we approach the joyous feast of the Resurrection<br />

of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us embrace the significance<br />

of the resurrection in our own lives. As we<br />

fast, pray, and give alms during this Lenten season,<br />

let us heed the call of renewal in God. In the spirit of<br />

Easter, let us carry this message of hope, renewal, and<br />

resurrection into our homes, communities, and the<br />

world. May the grace of the risen Christ inspire us to<br />

live harmoniously, radiating the light of our faith and<br />

love to overcome the shadows of despair and death. As<br />

we emerge from the Lenten season and celebrate the<br />

joy of the resurrection, let the hymn of ‘Halleluiah’ resound<br />

in our hearts, for we truly are the Easter people,<br />

celebrating the victory of life everlasting. Amen.<br />

Christ has Risen! / Qimleh Maran! / Qam al-Messih!<br />

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

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


Decision,<br />

Diligence<br />

& Destiny<br />

David Garmo’s<br />

pursuit of<br />

excellence<br />


When David Garmo makes a<br />

decision, he doesn’t look<br />

back. This resolute attitude<br />

led him to the pinnacle of athletics in<br />

the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, where<br />

he represents Chaldeans as one of the<br />

toughest fighters in the world. It also<br />

brought him to the 2023 world finals<br />

match against repeated world champion<br />

Ronaldo Junior.<br />

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a selfdefense<br />

martial art focused on taking<br />

your opponent to the ground and establishing<br />

a joint lock or chokehold<br />

to force a submission or win points.<br />

Its strategy centers on the idea that a<br />

smaller and less-powerful fighter can<br />

establish a leverage advantage and a<br />

superior position through technique<br />

rather than strength. Garmo participates<br />

in a version of BJJ called No-Gi,<br />

where participants wear skin-tight<br />

wrestling suits instead of a traditional<br />

robe (called a Gi) that your opponent is<br />

allowed to grab.<br />

In tournaments, a classic BJJ match<br />

has a 10-minute timer. Just under half<br />

of BJJ matches end early in a submission<br />

while the rest are decided by a<br />

point system, and, in the case of a tie,<br />

a referee’s decision.<br />

The Decision<br />

At the ripe age of 18, Garmo made the<br />

most important decision of his life.<br />

Even today, this pivotal moment ripples<br />

across time, affecting thousands<br />

of martial artists that he competes<br />

against and teaches. At the time, Garmo<br />

was a normal teenager, getting into<br />

trouble and “doing dumb stuff” with<br />

his friends, as he said. While he had a<br />

few years of martial arts training from<br />

his childhood, he hadn’t participated<br />

in anything serious since early middle<br />

school, choosing to focus on football<br />

while he was in high school.<br />

After graduating, Garmo signed up<br />

for a free trial at a BJJ gym out of general<br />

interest and a longing to return<br />

to his childhood sport. He received a<br />

phone call that confirmed his spot in<br />

the course and left for the gym to attend<br />

his first class a few hours later.<br />

“At the time, I was a smoker. After the<br />

class finished, I got in my car to leave. I<br />

had 11 cigarettes left in this pack,” he<br />

said, reminiscing about the day that<br />

changed his life forever. “I remember it<br />

very specifically. I took the cigarettes,<br />

crushed them in my hand, and threw<br />

them out … I never stopped BJJ since.”<br />

Garmo prides himself on his remarkable<br />

ability to make spontaneous<br />

and tough decisions. In fact, throughout<br />

his entire life, he’s never regretted<br />

any decision he’s ever made. “Once<br />

you do it, regret doesn’t help you at<br />

all,” he said. “I learn a lot from my<br />

decisions, but I don’t regret things. I<br />

think that allows me to continue being<br />

decisive … I can name quite a few times<br />

I made big decisions in only a few moments<br />

that served me extremely well.”<br />

Pursuit of Excellence<br />

From that moment on, Garmo removed<br />

himself from his friends and all other<br />

distractions. Like something out of a<br />

Rocky film, for five years, his schedule<br />

consisted of training, eating, sleeping,<br />

and competing. “I needed to be away<br />

from my old life and focus on my journey<br />

as a martial artist,” he said.<br />

After this extended period of isolation,<br />

Garmo eased back into a normal<br />

life, but he would never be the same.<br />

He had cultivated and incorporated<br />

into his identity a distinguished and<br />

elusive motivation that would carry<br />

him through both challenging trials<br />

and tough setbacks: a relentless and<br />

uncompromising focus on the pursuit<br />

of excellence.<br />

Garmo first heard this phrase, the<br />

pursuit of excellence, when he attended<br />

Brother Rice High School. “It<br />

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

was something we heard all the time,<br />

in both school and sports, and it really<br />

stuck with me,” he said. “I decided that<br />

this pursuit has to be something that I<br />

enjoy, something I couldn’t be without.<br />

BJJ became that thing for me.”<br />

When Garmo graduated from high<br />

school, he attended Oakland Community<br />

College for only one semester. His<br />

parents, he said, were always supportive<br />

of his career and his choices, but he<br />

couldn’t bring himself to tell his mother<br />

that he had dropped out. He kept<br />

up the lie for two years and spent all<br />

his time training; he wasn’t enrolled in<br />

college at all.<br />

From where he stood, Garmo could<br />

see his path from the outset like a divine<br />

plan revealed only to him. It’s difficult,<br />

however, to explain the vision to<br />

others who aren’t living it. A few years<br />

later, only after the plan could be demonstrated<br />

and his loved ones persuaded<br />

of its validity, did he admit his dropout<br />

status to his parents. Finally, Garmo<br />

saw himself as a success even in the<br />

eyes of his most important loved ones.<br />

“We have to pursue something to<br />

a degree that we would sacrifice our<br />

whole lives for it,” Garmo said. “It<br />

could be anything for anybody. But for<br />

me, BJJ was that thing. So, I decided to<br />

pursue this one thing with every fiber<br />

of my being.”<br />

Now, 16 years later, neither his<br />

love for the sport nor the intensity<br />

with which he pursues it has waned.<br />

If anything, it’s become even stronger.<br />

“Obviously, I’ve gotten so much better<br />

at it in the last 16 years, and I believe I<br />

can still do this deep into my 60s, and<br />

even as a professional competitor deep<br />

into my 40s,” Garmo said, remembering<br />

that he turns 34 this year. “If you<br />

can do anything for that long, you’ll<br />

become pretty good at it.”<br />

In some sports, there are basic physical<br />

requirements that act as limitations.<br />

Had he dedicated himself to basketball,<br />

for example, Garmo, who stands at 5’7”,<br />

would fare poorly against the immense<br />

wingspan and towering stature of 6’9”<br />

Lebron James. In a grappling match,<br />

however, the BJJ master would surely<br />

dominate the NBA superstar, even<br />

though he’s 70 pounds lighter.<br />

Despite common perception, outright<br />

strength rarely decides the winner<br />

in combat sports. Weight classes<br />

ensure that fighters of relatively equal<br />

size face one another, and even then,<br />

the rules and style of BJJ in particular<br />

will always favor mastery of technique<br />

over raw power.<br />

“I believe it’s all about your work<br />

ethic and technical prowess,” Garmo<br />

said. “You don’t have to be the fastest<br />

or strongest. You have to be the smartest<br />

in your training, and you have to be<br />

driven. Absolutely driven.”<br />

Just as important as an athlete’s<br />

physical ability is their mindset and outlook.<br />

Garmo has mastered his mind in<br />

a way that few people in the world can<br />

attest. He took a lot of his initial inspiration<br />

from martial arts movies that he<br />

enjoyed in his childhood and Japanese<br />

samurai culture that he experienced<br />

while living periodically in Japan.<br />

“You might think that martial artists<br />

are these big, brawny people who are<br />

aggressive toward others,” Garmo said.<br />

“It’s really quite the opposite. People<br />

who do martial arts were likely the ones<br />

targeted by that kind of abuse. They go<br />

into a school and transform themselves<br />

into what you eventually see as an inshape,<br />

confident, capable person.”<br />

Just because these people are<br />

strong, according to Garmo, doesn’t<br />

mean that they’ll use their newfound<br />

power against you. “If anything, they’re<br />

less likely to do so compared to someone<br />

who is untrained, undisciplined,<br />

and not confident in themselves,” he<br />

said. “They’re getting their energy out<br />

every day in the gym and have no interest<br />

in using it out in the streets.”<br />

Over those fateful five years, Garmo<br />

brought his full energy to training<br />

every single day and built up his capacity<br />

for willpower and grit. These aspects<br />

also need to be learned, trained,<br />

and maintained. In his own words,<br />

he developed a sense of self-respect,<br />

a shield that protected him from the<br />

unwanted influence of others, even<br />

if they are friends, and even if their<br />

intentions are good. “I had this overwhelming<br />

need to be the best at what<br />

I did. All those other things wouldn’t<br />

serve me, so I only did that which<br />

brought me closer to the goal.”<br />

The Best in the World<br />

In a competitive one-on-one combat<br />

sport like BJJ, fighters come up<br />

against one another directly. There’s<br />

little room for debate on who is considered<br />

the world’s best competitor<br />

at any given moment. It’s all resolved<br />

on the mat, witnessed by thousands<br />

of people, and recorded in the annals<br />

of history and video archives. It begs<br />

the question: How, then, could Garmo<br />

consider himself the best in the world<br />

before he became a world champion?<br />

“I had convinced myself very early<br />

on,” he said, “that I was one of the<br />

best in the world. I kept telling myself,<br />

hook, line, and sinker, that I was one<br />

of the best. I will continue to believe it<br />

and work toward it until it’s true.”<br />

Because of its extreme technicality,<br />

BJJ has several different competitive<br />

belt levels that allow martial artists of<br />

the same skill and experience to compete<br />

against one another. Walking into<br />

a gym will earn you a white belt. From<br />

there, it takes many years to advance<br />

through blue, purple, and brown. Finally,<br />

once a fighter has achieved true<br />

mastery, they are rewarded with the exalted<br />

and revered status of black belt.<br />

These competitors are the fiercest and<br />

most powerful in the world. There’s no<br />

measure of further advancement besides<br />

earning your place in direct competition.<br />

Garmo earned his black belt in<br />

late 2017, nine long years after his quest<br />

for world domination began.<br />

In 2010, Garmo went to his first<br />

World Championship as a blue belt.<br />

He won his first match and lost his<br />

second, falling many rounds short of a<br />

medal, let alone championship status.<br />

Even then, “It didn’t deter me at all,”<br />

he said. “I continued to train and compete.<br />

I told myself again that I’m the<br />

best, but I just didn’t have a good day.”<br />

Not even the confidence of a topflight<br />

fighter is impenetrable. Garmo is<br />

human and experiences his fair share<br />

of doubt. Some days, he feels the impostor<br />

syndrome creeping in. Knowing<br />

his confidence, it may seem counterintuitive,<br />

but Garmo’s reasoning is<br />

sharp. “In a sense, it feels like what<br />

I’m doing is not really that impressive,”<br />

he said, attributing his success<br />

to hard work rather than natural talent.<br />

“Which is obviously not the case.”<br />

It’s a strange feeling you can have<br />

as a top athlete, especially in a sport as<br />

divergent and technically oriented as<br />

fighting. On the one hand, Garmo has<br />

spent half his life preparing his mind<br />

and body for an extremely specific<br />

purpose, at which he has seen virtually<br />

unbounded success, which is obvious<br />

given his match history. On the<br />

other, and only because of that experience<br />

and his own belated beginnings,<br />

Garmo is convinced that talent does<br />

not come close to settling the issue. “If<br />

I could do it,” he said, “then anyone<br />

can.” And he truly believes it.<br />

In other fighting competitions, like<br />

boxing or UFC, top contenders often go<br />

undefeated for a long stretch at the beginning<br />

of their career, and once they<br />

experience a few important losses,<br />

they lose their spot forever. Muhammad<br />

Ali, for example, acquired only 5<br />

losses in his professional career, and<br />

did not lose a single fight until 1971<br />

against Joe Frazier, seven years after<br />

he first won the world title. Rocky<br />

Marciano and Floyd Mayweather Jr.<br />

remained undefeated for their entire<br />

career. This is nearly impossible in BJJ.<br />

Fighters at the highest level of BJJ<br />

experience extreme variance because<br />

of fighting style and the sheer number<br />

of matches they have. The top grapplers<br />

will lose an important match,<br />

learn from their mistakes, and come<br />

back to win many in a row. “You always<br />

go up in weight and experience, and<br />

you take tough matches on purpose,”<br />

Garmo said, “because it’s good for your<br />

progression and for the sport. I’ve lost<br />

plenty, but I’ve got a lot more impressive<br />

wins than heartbreaking losses.”<br />

One of those losses in particular<br />

changed the trajectory of Garmo’s career.<br />

“I had a match where I replaced one of<br />

my teammates,” he said. “I had to compete<br />

up a weight class, against an upand-comer<br />

who was very good. I wasn’t<br />

very confident going into the match because<br />

of the weight difference, and he’s<br />

bigger, very skilled, and very strong.”<br />

Garmo and his opponent had an<br />

extremely tough fight. He lost in a<br />

quick and unsatisfying way when the<br />

two competitors were transitioning between<br />

positions. “It was so disappointing,”<br />

he said, “because I felt like I was<br />

doing well enough to where I could<br />

have won that match if I had more confidence<br />

before it started.”<br />

After the contest, Garmo took<br />

the result to the drawing board and<br />

learned from his mistake. Most of the<br />

time, he said, losses propel him to do<br />

better in the future. He began to take<br />

his training much more seriously. He<br />

found a high-level trainer and started<br />

working out with weights four days a<br />

week, something he’d never done before.<br />

In addition, he focused on prehabilitation,<br />

which Garmo described<br />

as a form of training that emphasizes<br />

injury prevention and recovery.<br />

“I can stay in the gym longer, and<br />

I’m not getting injured as often,” he<br />

said. “I’m much stronger and I can<br />

grab and squeeze my opponents until<br />

they become fearful. That has taken<br />

my BJJ to the best it’s ever been in my<br />

15 years of training, and it manifested<br />

in my performance at the 2023 World<br />

Championship.”<br />

The Chaldean Influence<br />

In his early days, Garmo was an aggressive<br />

child. Fittingly, he would always<br />

try to fight or wrestle with cousins,<br />

friends, or anyone who would take<br />

him on. One of his uncles introduced<br />

him to martial arts movies, and they<br />

would go together to see stars like<br />

Garmo continued on page 22<br />

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


GARMO continued from page 21<br />

David Garmo on top of Renaldo Junior in the World Finals.<br />

Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, and Jet Li.<br />

When he was only 5 years old,<br />

Garmo’s parents tried to start him in<br />

swimming classes. He quickly realized<br />

that he hated it, so they moved him to<br />

a martial arts studio. There, he learned<br />

American Karate and some rudimentary<br />

BJJ. All of this immersed him in<br />

martial arts culture, and he eventually<br />

fell in love with it.<br />

Garmo grew up in West Bloomfield,<br />

specifically a neighborhood called<br />

Timbers Edge. Plenty of Chaldean kids<br />

right around his age grew up in the<br />

same place. A lot of the community<br />

from his area, Garmo said, wanted to<br />

be the tough guy and be able to take a<br />

fight if they needed to. This foundation<br />

helped him understand from the outset<br />

that fighting as a sport was a worthy<br />

and interesting pursuit, separate<br />

from fighting to hurt or bully someone.<br />

“It was about honor and separating<br />

yourself from someone,” he said.<br />

Garmo identified a specific trait<br />

Chaldeans possess that he thinks affords<br />

them success in virtually any<br />

aspect. In his mind, Chaldeans have<br />

an extreme focus on being the best at<br />

whatever they do, whether it’s business,<br />

school, family life, or athletics.<br />

This attitude only needed to awaken<br />

in Garmo after he finished high school.<br />

Garmo’s immediate family holds a<br />

special place for him. He’s the oldest<br />

of three siblings, about two and four<br />

years apart from his brother and sister,<br />

respectively. His brother Devone felt<br />

the brunt of Garmo’s wrath when they<br />

were kids. “I was absolutely a bully and<br />

not in a fun way for him,” he said, remembering<br />

all the times he beat up on<br />

Devone. “I had too much energy that I<br />

wasn’t getting out in martial arts.”<br />

Devone also took an abnormal<br />

path, entering the Marines and spending<br />

time overseas in places like Afghanistan.<br />

Eventually, he returned<br />

home and has a great relationship<br />

with his brother David. As one might<br />

expect, Devone has his own BJJ career<br />

as a blue belt, training at David’s gym.<br />

His little sister, David Garmo said,<br />

was a bit too young for them to influence<br />

one another as kids, but they’re<br />

very close now. She’s successful and<br />

married and has a beautiful son. “Each<br />

of them has their own things they are<br />

very good at, and I have tried to emulate<br />

those aspects in my own pursuits<br />

and business.”<br />

Perhaps the biggest Chaldean influence<br />

that Garmo applied was the entrepreneurial<br />

journey of starting his own<br />

gym. The idea came while he was living<br />

part-time in Japan around 2017. He<br />

would live and train there, come home<br />

and work to earn some money, and go<br />

back to Japan to continue his training.<br />

He realized that he always wanted to<br />

live there permanently, but it was too<br />

difficult as a foreigner to start his own<br />

gym and earn a reasonable income.<br />

The realization and subsequent decision<br />

came all at once. He was popular<br />

in his hometown, and that’s where<br />

his success was most known and widespread.<br />

Why not start a gym there? At<br />

the time, metro Detroit was far from a<br />

hub for BJJ or martial arts in general,<br />

but that was no matter for Garmo. He<br />

would make it so.<br />

“In April 2018, I started writing a<br />

business plan,” he said. “I used a friend<br />

to bounce ideas off of, and he gave suggestions<br />

to help me. Eventually, when<br />

it came to a head, he decided to invest,<br />

and we started working on it together.”<br />

Garmo returned from Japan later<br />

that year, began looking for a space<br />

for his gym, and prepared to open. In<br />

March 2019, he opened Assembly Jiu<br />

Jitsu in Bloomfield Hills and started<br />

teaching his first class.<br />

“The first year was really tough,”<br />

Garmo said. “It went really slow, and<br />

it wasn’t as successful as I envisioned<br />

it to be. But we kept grinding and doing<br />

the thing and never took our foot<br />

off the gas.”<br />

David met his wife, Lana Antwan<br />

(now Garmo), in 2021, and they married<br />

the following year. She is an architect,<br />

designer, and artist, and her entry into<br />

and influence on his life changed his<br />

perspective and focus dramatically. As<br />

a result of these changes and the gift of<br />

perseverance, Garmo found a way to<br />

succeed in his business venture.<br />

Now, Assembly has over 300 members,<br />

and is the most competitive team<br />

in the Midwest, according to Garmo.<br />

“We crush it wherever we go. Financially,<br />

it’s been successful,” he said,<br />

“and we’re looking to expand on that.<br />

But we focus on putting the best Jiu<br />

Jitsu product out there. We teach our<br />

students with the utmost care. We<br />

make them the best they can possibly<br />

be, and the rest works itself out.”<br />

Garmo is proud of his accomplishments<br />

with Assembly over the last five<br />

years. Many gyms have been around<br />

for much longer and have seen only<br />

a fraction of Assembly’s success. This<br />

fact is a testament to his extraordinary<br />

Chaldean focus and a tribute to his<br />

cultural upbringing.<br />

Over the last few years, Garmo has<br />

started to get some Chaldean students<br />

at his gym, but he’d like even more. “We<br />

have so many different ethnicities and<br />

backgrounds that makes for a really nice<br />

melting pot. I always love to add more of<br />

the people I grew up with into the mix<br />

because, in my opinion, the Chaldean<br />

community has that single-minded focus<br />

like nobody else … If I can harness<br />

that in this sport, Chaldeans can be some<br />

of the most successful fighters ever.”<br />

The 2023 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World<br />

Championship<br />

Outside the Las Vegas Convention Center,<br />

it was a cool December day. The<br />

temperature hovered around a mostly<br />

sunny 60 degrees, a mild-mannered<br />

forecast compared to the deluge of aggression<br />

about to take place indoors.<br />

Inside the Las Vegas Convention<br />

Center, the atmosphere was electric,<br />

the crowds buzzing with excitement<br />

and anticipation. In just three days’<br />

time, only one fighter from each weight<br />

class will remain undefeated and be<br />

crowned champion of the world.<br />

Hundreds of competitors also<br />

mulled around the competition area.<br />

Their aura gave off a somewhat different<br />

vibration as they prepared their<br />

minds and bodies for all-out, one-onone,<br />

single elimination combat. This<br />

event comes around once a year and<br />

serves as the ultimate showdown, an<br />

opportunity for world champions to<br />

once again prove their dominance and<br />

for rising stars to unseat their foes.<br />

At any other tournament, Garmo’s<br />

razor-sharp focus, zealous training,<br />

and unwavering commitment to winning<br />

would carry him through. But<br />

this time was different. Garmo was set<br />

to confront the most dangerous people<br />

in the world, most of whom were as determined<br />

as he was.<br />

His first competition was a division<br />

called the open class, which has no<br />

weight limit. In this, Garmo expected<br />

to do well, but he could be competing<br />

against people much larger and stronger<br />

than him.<br />

He won his first open class fight,<br />

but lost his second, and was eliminated<br />

from that portion of the tournament.<br />

While he would like to win every<br />

fight, he had yet to start the competition<br />

that consumed his attention: The<br />

medium heavyweight division.<br />

“I had to compete again in three<br />

hours for my weight class,” Garmo<br />

commented about his mental state after<br />

the loss. “I had my teammates and<br />

students with me, so we went to lunch<br />

to get my spirits back up.”<br />

When Garmo and his team returned<br />

to the convention center, he<br />

weighed more than a pound over the<br />

limit for his division. This meant that<br />

over the next hour, he would need to<br />

GARMO continued on page 24<br />

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


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


GARMO continued from page 22<br />

lose almost two pounds. “I didn’t want<br />

to cut weight and then compete,” he<br />

said. “I would be tired for the match.”<br />

Garmo’s wrestling coach Kyle Horr<br />

and his trainer Ty Jensen helped him<br />

get moving. They started jogging and<br />

sweating, which is exactly the protocol<br />

if you’re overweight before a fight. At<br />

the same time, Jensen worked Garmo’s<br />

calf, which had taken damage during<br />

an earlier match.<br />

“I was not in the headspace to continue<br />

on that day,” he said. “Thank<br />

God they were there. Basically, they<br />

babied me for 40 minutes.”<br />

Garmo stepped on the scale and<br />

his weight reflected what he needed<br />

to compete, which maxes out at 188<br />

pounds in his class. Garmo’s first opponent<br />

was injured, so he won that round<br />

automatically and moved on. His next<br />

fight was against a “tough Israeli competitor”<br />

whom Garmo had seen fight<br />

but had yet to grapple with before.<br />

“I go into it feeling a looseness in<br />

my body,” he said, “and end up winning<br />

the match on points. But I dominated<br />

the entire time and it felt great.<br />

I wasn’t tired at all,” despite the morning<br />

loss and afternoon of cutting.<br />

In Garmo’s next fight, he was pitted<br />

against the current Pan-American champion<br />

Francisco Lo, a tough and dangerous<br />

fighter who’s full of power and destructive<br />

capability when it comes to<br />

submissions. “This is my biggest test,”<br />

Garmo remembered thinking.<br />

As the match began, the two fighters<br />

circled one another. For the first<br />

few minutes, the bout was relatively<br />

slow and uneventful. Garmo went for<br />

a move that Lo countered easily. In his<br />

counter, however, Garmo noticed the<br />

fighter left one leg open. “I captured<br />

his leg,” he said, “and rotated his heel<br />

240 degrees. He’s very tough and he<br />

thought he could get out, but instead,<br />

I tore every ligament in his knee.” It<br />

was an explosive victory that put Garmo<br />

through to the medal rounds that<br />

would be held the next day.<br />

For the first time in his career, Garmo<br />

could become a black belt world<br />

medalist. He had been here before as a<br />

purple belt, which meant almost nothing<br />

compared to where he was now.<br />

In the semi-finals, Garmo was<br />

matched against a man named Rafael<br />

Paganini. The Brazilian grappler has<br />

many awards to his name, including<br />

three world championship medals<br />

before he earned his black belt and a<br />

first-place finish as a black belt in the<br />

2019 South American Championship.<br />

“I felt the same way I did prior to<br />

the match against Lo,” Garmo said.<br />

“It was almost an elation, a tingling<br />

across the body. It puts me in this<br />

thing we call a flow state, and it gives<br />

me the absolute best performance I<br />

could possibly produce, and I believe<br />

my best performance can beat<br />

anyone in the world. When I have<br />

this feeling, I always win. It’s preordained,<br />

in a way.”<br />

As the fight commenced, Garmo vs.<br />

Paganini seemed a fair match. Before<br />

one minute elapsed, Paganini scored<br />

two points on Garmo, but he would<br />

not be deterred. After another minute,<br />

Garmo tied the score. The intense<br />

wrestling match ensued; each competitor<br />

eager to advance to their first<br />

world finals as a black belt.<br />

As the clock ticked downward, Garmo<br />

added two more points to his score,<br />

which put him up 4-2. The points, however,<br />

were not necessary. Just as they<br />

crossed the halfway point, Garmo captured<br />

Paganini’s leg, and much in the<br />

same fashion as his previous contest,<br />

rotated his heel until he forced a submission<br />

from the fearsome Brazilian,<br />

bringing the match to a dramatic end.<br />

“I finally believed that I belonged<br />

in that moment, in the finals of the<br />

world championship,” Garmo said<br />

about how he felt following the victory.<br />

“It wasn’t a close match. I dominated<br />

this guy and the guy before. I had this<br />

string of incredible wins leading up to<br />

this moment, and I knew this is where<br />

I was supposed to be.”<br />

Garmo’s next opponent, with<br />

whom it seemed he was destined to<br />

meet in the finals, was the famed<br />

Ronaldo Junior. At just 28 years old,<br />

Ronaldo had racked up extraordinary<br />

accomplishments in his BJJ career and<br />

Garmo placed second in the 2023 World IBJJF Jiu Jitsu No-Gi Championship<br />

by a razor-thin referee’s decision.<br />

is known for participating in both Gi<br />

and No-Gi BJJ. Notably, he has 13 firstplace<br />

tournament finishes as a purple<br />

or brown belt, including three World<br />

Championships and three Pan-American<br />

Championships.<br />

Most impressively, he was promoted<br />

to a black belt in 2019 and had<br />

accumulated six first-place finishes<br />

since then, including two Pan-American<br />

Championships, a tournament<br />

widely regarded as the second most<br />

important after Worlds. At the Gi Pan-<br />

American Championship, Ronaldo<br />

had won a top-3 finish in every black<br />

belt competition he’s participated in.<br />

Coming into this tournament, both<br />

Ronaldo and Garmo had never won a<br />


World Championship as a black belt.<br />

According to Garmo, Ronaldo is<br />

an athletic fighter who likes to jump<br />

around and move fast. That style,<br />

when compared to his, gives Garmo a<br />

slight advantage. As the match drew<br />

closer, Garmo felt the same tingling<br />

sensation throughout his body; that<br />

which has, up until this moment, signaled<br />

a pre-destined victory.<br />

For six minutes, Garmo and Ronaldo<br />

had an extremely uneventful<br />

match, with neither fighter willing<br />

to budge an inch, and neither fighter<br />

forcing the other to ground. With three<br />

minutes remaining, Ronaldo voluntarily<br />

went to the ground in a defensive<br />

position called guard. After some brief<br />

grappling and not much progress, the<br />

finalists stood back up and resumed<br />

their begrudging match from earlier.<br />

With two minutes remaining, the<br />

commentators seemed to acknowledge<br />

the inevitable. The scoreless<br />

contest looked like it would need a referee’s<br />

decision. Until now, it was hard<br />

to decide a winner, according to the<br />

commentators, with Garmo possibly<br />

carrying a slight advantage because of<br />

his aggressiveness.<br />

With 11 seconds remaining, Ronaldo<br />

pushed Garmo out of bounds and<br />

into a scorekeeper’s table, breaking a<br />

TV screen in the process. Uninjured,<br />

Garmo stared down Ronaldo as they<br />

walked back to the center of the arena<br />

and finished off the last few remaining<br />

seconds of their impassioned duel.<br />

“Per the decision, I lost,” Garmo<br />

recalled harshly, a hint of disappointment<br />

in his voice. “It was as razor thin<br />

as it could be. You could’ve flipped a<br />

coin to decide the winner. I was heartbroken,<br />

and at the same time, extremely<br />

happy with what I had accomplished.<br />

I felt everything in the span of<br />

a few minutes.”<br />

Just a few months later, Garmo is<br />

not reliving the past. Same as ever, he<br />

will take what he can from his mistakes<br />

and improve. In the final match,<br />

however, those lessons are extremely<br />

hard to find. Garmo is confident that<br />

he will soon overcome all obstacles and<br />

achieve his goal of becoming the world<br />

champion. Until then, he will follow<br />

the same advice he offers to others.<br />

“The only time you’ll fail is if you<br />

stop,” he said. “You can fail every day<br />

for years and years and years. But if you<br />

don’t stop, you haven’t failed yet.”<br />

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

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

Her Story<br />

Chaldean women making history<br />


In the tapestry of history, the contributions of<br />

remarkable women often remain woven in the<br />

shadows, their stories hidden beneath layers of<br />

time, patterns, and societal norms. Yet, within the<br />

rich and vibrant cultural heritage of the Chaldean<br />

community, a garment of strength, resilience, and<br />

empowerment emerges; one adorned with the narratives<br />

of extraordinary women who have defied expectations<br />

and altered the weave.<br />

Standing on her shoulders<br />

“I’m waiting for the day when we don’t use the word<br />

‘first’ when talking about Chaldean women,” said Honorable<br />

Hala Jarbou, the first Chaldean judge to sit on the<br />

federal bench. “I want to hear, ‘Here’s another Chaldean<br />

judge, or here’s another Chaldean fill-in-the-blank’.”<br />

Jarbou recalled being one of only three Chaldean<br />

students in her class in law school and is gratified<br />

now to hear friends and family talk about their kids<br />

(or their cousins) who are attending or have attended<br />

law school and medical school. “It’s amazing how far<br />

we’ve come,” she said.<br />

Jarbou followed Jane Shallal to the US Attorney’s<br />

Office and Diane D’Agostini to the bench. “We stand<br />

on their shoulders,” Jarbou remarked, including her<br />

mother and female relatives and all the Chaldean<br />

women who came before. “They know the word ‘sacrifice’<br />

very well.”<br />

“Most of our mothers did not have a fraction of<br />

the opportunities that we have had, yet their wisdom,<br />

faith and strength permeate in their daughters,” said<br />

Honorable Judge Diane (Dickow) D’Agostini, the first<br />

elected Chaldean judge in the US. “When I graduated<br />

high school, people actually questioned my mom<br />

about why she would allow us to go to college, as it<br />

was rare in the ‘80s for Chaldean girls.”<br />

I imagine her mother’s response, at least internally,<br />

went something like, “Try to stop her!”<br />

“Those moments stay with me,” added D’Agostini.<br />

“Being an immigrant made me more driven,” said<br />

Jaclyn (Lossia) McQuaid, a by-any-definition highly<br />

successful automobile engineer who heads up GM<br />

in Europe. “When you have no established network,<br />

you have to make things happen yourself.”<br />

Her primary goal, she revealed in an interview a<br />

few years ago, is to show all young people, regardless<br />

of gender, ethnicity, social class, or physical ability, that<br />

they can take their passion and make a career out of<br />

it. As a young girl, McQuaid dreamt of designing roller<br />

coasters; she ended up being involved in automobile<br />

design at a pivotal time in the history of the industry.<br />

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician, professor<br />

and public health advocate who gained widespread recognition<br />

for her role in exposing the Flint water crisis.<br />

In “An Open Letter to Fellow Chaldeans,” composed<br />

in fall of 2020, Dr. Attisha wrote, “With all the<br />

hateful stereotypes percolating about immigrants today<br />

and a corrosion of the American Dream, it is important<br />

for us to tell our story of American success. We<br />

are immigrants engaged, active, prominent and effective<br />

in our communities, and have been for decades.<br />

“Understanding my role in Flint and how I see<br />

the world is also about understanding who I am and<br />

where I came from. My immigrant story – complete<br />

with the Arabic I spoke at home, our food, culture<br />

and social justice heritage – is unapologetically and<br />

proudly part of who I am. In a sense, it’s my superpower<br />

that has given me a heightened antenna for<br />

injustice and the courage to fight for justice.”<br />

A sensitivity to injustice comes with the territory<br />

for a people who have been driven from their homeland<br />

through persecution and terror. Dr. Attisha<br />

summed up her philosophy simply with, “My parents<br />

raised me never to look away.”<br />

That speaks to the core of what it means to be accountable,<br />

something that Renee Tomina, Senior VP<br />

with the Project Management Office at DTE, says is crucial<br />

for a good leader, along with the ability to inspire<br />

and to be totally authentic with your subordinates.<br />

“Authenticity – it’s the key to building strong,<br />

trusting relationships,” said Tomina. “This involves<br />

being vulnerable and letting your team see and know<br />

the ‘real you’...and having the courage to make the<br />

tough decisions.”<br />

“An effective leader cares more about being respected<br />

for their decisions rather than being popular<br />

for their decisions,” said D’Agostini.<br />

Jarbou, who calls D’Agostini “a trailblazer,” said,<br />

“I don’t like the word ‘leader’ or being designated as a<br />

leader because the way I look at it, I just do things the<br />

way they should be done.” If she must be classified as<br />

a leader, Jarbou strives to be a servant leader, one who<br />

would get down in the trenches to help her staff. It is<br />

about trust—trusting your people to do the right thing<br />

and then having their backs when they need support.<br />

Soft strength<br />

“Women are strong. Our mothers and grandmothers<br />

and great-grandmothers grew up in villages without<br />

running water and look how much they accomplished!”<br />

said Jarbou. “You have to put it in perspective. We have<br />

the luxury of living in the United States where there are<br />

so many opportunities and so many privileges. And the<br />

Chaldean culture installs a really strong work ethic.”<br />

“I think there is something inherent in the Chaldean<br />

culture, especially for women, that drives us<br />

to be strong, disciplined and have a passion for not<br />

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



wanting to disappoint others,” said<br />

Tomina. “I’d also add hardworking…<br />

from a young age, we are giving a lot<br />

of responsibility and expected to work<br />

hard to care for others, which also<br />

translates naturally to working hard in<br />

your professional life.”<br />

“As a child, I watched my mom handle<br />

my dad’s tragic death, make business<br />

decisions, navigate a life-altering<br />

future and raise three kids under the age<br />

of nine, all while being an immigrant,”<br />

shared D’Agostini. “My worst day will<br />

never compare to what she experienced<br />

at age 27, so her example and strength<br />

give me the strength to do my job.”<br />

McQuaid said in an earlier interview<br />

that her father taught her to take<br />

the occasion to “beat hard,” in other<br />

words, overcome adversity. If you look<br />

at each challenge as an opportunity,<br />

it helps you come out on top. Her siblings<br />

are equally driven, with her twin<br />

Jamie high in the ranks at GM, Jennifer<br />

(McManus) a principal at her own law<br />

firm, and Jessica making a career in<br />

the nursing profession.<br />

“We didn’t invent leadership,”<br />

explained Jarbou. “We’ve all learned<br />

from each other.”<br />

“As a leader,” said D’Agostini, “I<br />

am still learning.”<br />

Earning her place<br />

In past decades, “Nobody would hire<br />

a woman,” said Jarbou. Even if they<br />

stuck it out and graduated law school<br />

or medical school, those that were hiring<br />

almost always preferred a male<br />

candidate. It was a far more difficult<br />

situation than what women must put<br />

up with now, although sometimes it<br />

still takes extra effort.<br />

Like the attorney who wouldn’t<br />

stand when Judge Jarbou entered the<br />

courtroom. It took a week of court and<br />

a nudge from the court officer, but she<br />

finally earned his respect and he stood.<br />

It’s just that a male judge wouldn’t have<br />

to earn the respect. He’d already have<br />

it, by nature of his position and his sex.<br />

“I learned early on, during college,<br />

how to get comfortable being the only<br />

woman at the table or working on a<br />

project,” shared Tomina. “That dynamic<br />

followed me into my career. It<br />

helped me prepare to be confident and<br />

know I deserved a seat at the table.”<br />

“Being a woman leader is all about<br />

balance to ensure you don’t get labeled,”<br />

explained Tomina. “Holding<br />

people accountable can easily get you<br />

labeled as aggressive or abrasive. At<br />

the same time, you do not want to be<br />

run over, which is where that balance<br />

comes in. This is also where authenticity<br />

plays a role – if you are being true to<br />

yourself and have built strong, caring<br />

relationships, you can achieve both.”<br />

The ability to keep learning and<br />

adapting may be the strongest trait that<br />

makes these career women so effective;<br />

some other attributes that make<br />

good leaders include compassion, said<br />

D’Agostini, and “a really strong moral<br />

compass,” said Jarbou. “We’re always<br />

going to try and do the right thing, and<br />

we’re going to work really hard to do it.”<br />

Honigman Law Firm, one of the<br />

top law firms in Michigan, has 8 young<br />

female Chaldean attorneys on staff.<br />

They have formed a dinner group<br />

where they meet every few months<br />

and discuss Chaldean issues as well<br />

as law life. The group includes Diane<br />

D’Agostini’s daughter.<br />

“Things have changed dramatically<br />

in the last 40 years,” said D’Agostini.<br />

“Chaldean women are empowered and<br />

are visible in nearly every profession.<br />

I’m just waiting for the first Chaldean<br />

astronaut.”<br />

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Everyone who participates is automatically entered<br />

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Winner will be notified by email on March 31.<br />

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


Healing Through the Arts<br />


I<br />

was recently out to lunch with some family and friends and<br />

the topic came up of how taboo and even frowned upon<br />

mental therapy is within the Chaldean community.<br />

Like other social issues such as disabilities or physical<br />

ailments, therapy has had its own negative stigma<br />

for years uncounted. In the past, if you even remotely<br />

considered counseling, you were deemed<br />

weak, crazy, or both. Pride was, and in many<br />

cases, still is the main culprit behind people<br />

avoiding therapy, or even talking about it as<br />

an option for resolving deep seated issues.<br />

Therapy has been an integral part of my<br />

life over the years, whether in the form of<br />

traditional counseling or spiritual direction.<br />

My positive experiences with therapy<br />

as well as recent spiritual struggles were<br />

what led to my founding the non-profit organization<br />

Healing Arts of the Little Flower<br />

(HALF) in December 2022. This new resource<br />

will provide music, art, nature, and<br />

equestrian therapy for veterans and those<br />

with special needs.<br />

Being blind and surrounded by a plethora<br />

of family and friends with varying disabilities, I<br />

witnessed, first-hand, the negative and destructive<br />

stigmas that can encompass the life of these individuals.<br />

My own battle with depression over blindness<br />

started around age sixteen. High school became a<br />

place of unrealistic sandcastles, with hopes of miraculously<br />

regaining my eyesight, having my own<br />

car and being able to do all the things that “normal”<br />

people did.<br />

In 1992, about two years into my college career,<br />

I realized that I needed to talk to someone on a consistent<br />

basis; someone who could guide me through<br />

the turmoil that ensued once I became disillusioned<br />

after high school. That year, I met a priest who also<br />

had a background in counseling. I began therapy<br />

and counsel for spiritual direction with him, and<br />

since then I’ve done therapy of all types, both traditional<br />

and spiritual.<br />

The idea for HALF had been brewing in my mind<br />

for about five years, but the thought of starting such<br />

an arduous task was so daunting that, for a while, I<br />

just left the project in the realm of dreams. The only<br />

person at that time who knew how important the<br />

idea was to me was one of my close friends, Mark<br />

Kassa, who was also my main source of encouragement<br />

when I finally decided to initiate the process.<br />

I personally believe that HALF was inspired by St.<br />

Therese of the Little Flower in response to my struggles<br />

with doubt, but that’s a whole other story.<br />

As a lifelong musician and writer, I can certainly<br />

testify to the therapeutic effects of music or other<br />

forms of art. I’ve loved music since I was four years<br />

old and have always been enchanted with stories<br />

of magic and fantasy. The arts were an important<br />

part of my life from my early childhood and were<br />

instrumental in helping me maintain peace of mind<br />

through some dark times over the years.<br />

There is mounting evidence that the arts are<br />

highly therapeutic for releasing negative emotions<br />

and stress. There is also strong scientific data<br />

emerging to support the use and importance of nature<br />

and animal therapy for those who suffer from<br />

trauma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).<br />

Sessions are as varied as walks outside on a nature<br />

trail with a therapist, or just sitting quietly in a naturalistic<br />

setting and absorbing the scenery.<br />

When Healing Arts of the Little Flower (HALF)<br />

was established as a non-profit, I was humbled and<br />

honored at the huge interest people had in bringing<br />

to fruition a project like this, especially with the rise<br />

of autism within the community and abroad. Several<br />

people from various walks of life were interested<br />

in participating as board members to get the project<br />

launched, including doctors, psychologists, and<br />

veterans, as well as Bishop Francis Kalabat, who<br />

has been a close friend and my greatest mentor over the past<br />

twenty-three years. Ronnie Babbie, a media marketing producer<br />

and family friend for years, was so excited about<br />

the project that he quickly offered his resources and<br />

assistance for its development and is now the Chief<br />

Operating Officer for the organization.<br />

Another part of HALF’s mission is to provide<br />

support groups led by qualified therapists for<br />

parents of children with special needs. Parents<br />

are often left feeling helpless, confused,<br />

and a lot of times overwhelmed to the point<br />

where they may feel stuck trying to find resources<br />

for assisting their children.<br />

They also often face stereotypes and<br />

stigmas, which can lead them to feel isolated<br />

just for having a child with special<br />

needs. I remember my psychology teacher<br />

in high school once telling the class, “The<br />

two hardest things for a mother to bear are<br />

the loss of a child and having a disabled<br />

child.” Truer words couldn’t have been spoken.<br />

Having two blind children, my mom endured<br />

the struggles associated with it; I’ve seen<br />

cousins and friends go through similar issues.<br />

It is my hope that HALF becomes a place of<br />

peace and healing for not only our clients, but for<br />

their families as well. I have an unshakeable conviction<br />

that both nature and the arts are more beneficial<br />

than drugs in helping human beings deal with<br />

suffering or trauma. It is the advancement of technology<br />

that has caused us to drift away from our<br />

naturalistic roots. Whether a walk on the grass or<br />

sitting in front of a fire outside enjoying a snowfall,<br />

interactions with nature are the real wonder drug.<br />

HALF is in the process of securing a base location<br />

from which to provide various forms of therapy. It<br />

is also the mission of the organization to eventually<br />

provide work for those with special needs—whether<br />

as music instructors collaborating with the therapist<br />

or managing various administrative tasks such as<br />

community outreach or social media marketing.<br />

Healing Arts of the Little Flower is not an ethnic<br />

or religion-based organization and is open to all<br />

those who truly need its services; however, the story<br />

of its inception is, for me, a spiritual one. God gave<br />

us Jesus, and Jesus gave us each other.<br />

If you want to make a difference in the lives of<br />

those with special gifts, whose real needs are often<br />

overlooked, support HALF’s first fundraiser on<br />

Friday, May 10, from 6PM-9PM at Wabeek Country<br />

Club. To learn more about Healing Arts of the<br />

Little Flower and the upcoming fundraiser, visit<br />

healingartslf.org.<br />

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


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


CABA Comeback<br />

Chaldean American Bar Association returns after hiatus<br />


The Chaldean American Bar Association<br />

(CABA) has risen from<br />

the ashes. A young and energetic<br />

board led by president Rita Soka<br />

has big plans for the future of the Chaldean<br />

legal community.<br />

CABA hosted its first event in January<br />

at the new restaurant and bar West<br />

End to kickoff its relaunch. It was<br />

well attended, drawing nearly 70 attorneys,<br />

judges, students, and other<br />

professionals. Even Peter Abbo, one<br />

of the founders and the first president<br />

of CABA back in the day, attended the<br />

event.<br />

This is a stark change from CABA’s<br />

past. When the pandemic happened<br />

in 2020, the group essentially became<br />

inactive, like so many other organizations.<br />

Various people reached out to<br />

the previous president, Koro Khammo,<br />

asking how to get involved or help<br />

restart the organization. Those individuals<br />

are now the board members<br />

charged with leading the<br />

new group.<br />

Right now, the leadership<br />

consists of seven attorneys<br />

and two student<br />

liaisons. President Rita<br />

Soka, Vice President Joseph<br />

Arabbo, Secretary<br />

Deion Kathawa, Treasurer<br />

Alexander Karana, and Directors<br />

Lauren Azzo, Lauren<br />

Kallabat, and Brandon<br />

Kastaw comprise the<br />

core and will each serve a<br />

CABA president,<br />

Rita Soka<br />

CABA leadership celebrating the organization’s comeback.<br />

two-year term for the new organization.<br />

University of Detroit Mercy Law student<br />

Tina Toma and Wayne State University<br />

Law student Cameron Jajonie represent<br />

the next generation of Chaldean attorneys<br />

and help involve students in the<br />

operations. Each will serve a one year<br />

term, and the organization is looking<br />

for more student liaisons.<br />

Soka is proud of the burgeoning<br />

organization’s recent restart. In her<br />

mind, it’s important to engage the<br />

youth as well as the “seasoned veterans”<br />

of the Chaldean legal community.<br />

The interaction between them<br />

can lead to important exchanges of<br />

knowledge that can help Chaldeans<br />

in unseen ways.<br />

The board needed to be strategic<br />

about recruiting<br />

from each of these age<br />

groups. Thanks to Azzo<br />

and Toma, who oversee<br />

the organization’s marketing<br />

and social media,<br />

they were able to reach a<br />

large audience via that<br />

avenue.<br />

In addition, Soka<br />

said she sent 371 emails<br />

to past CABA members<br />

or attorneys she thought<br />

would be interested in<br />

joining the organization’s kickoff. The<br />

combination of these efforts led to the<br />

well-attended kickoff event.<br />

In addition, dozens of law students<br />

attended the kickoff party because of<br />

Toma and Jajonie’s help. This is something<br />

Soka plans for the organization<br />

to focus on, as she’s already had her<br />

share of interactions with the community’s<br />

youth.<br />

Soka, who is also a professor at<br />

UDM, travels around metro Detroit<br />

speaking to high schoolers, especially<br />

Chaldeans. The Chaldean American<br />

Student Association (CASA) helps to<br />

organize this event, where Soka encourages<br />

the students to go into a<br />

profession, especially the field of law.<br />

“I’m very involved in our youth, to<br />

make them aware of the professional<br />

world,” she said. “A lot of them don’t<br />

have people to look up to.”<br />

One of CABA’s first activities will be<br />

putting on “The Chaldean Red Mass,”<br />

which they have labeled Raze Smoqa.<br />

This refers to an age-old Catholic tradition<br />

of Red Mass in which the Church<br />

gathers annually with judges, lawyers,<br />

professors, students, and anyone related<br />

to the legal community to pray<br />

and ask for guidance from the Holy<br />

Spirit over the following year. UDM has<br />

a long-standing tradition of putting on<br />

the Red Mass, and Toma started to put<br />

the idea together with her school before<br />

bringing it to CABA.<br />

“Raze Smoqa will posthumously<br />

honor Clarence Dass, a Chaldean<br />

attorney who left an indelible mark<br />

on the legal profession,” reads the<br />

event flyer. “We will also announce<br />

the Clarence Dass Memorial Award,<br />

annually recognizing a Chaldean attorney<br />

who exemplifies Clarence’s<br />

dedication and commitment to the<br />

legal profession.” The event will be<br />

held the evening of April 10 at Saints<br />

Peter and Paul Jesuit Church, with a<br />

reception to follow at UDM Law.<br />

Dass was an award-winning attorney<br />

who was diagnosed with stage<br />

four colon cancer in 2017. His death<br />

in 2022 as a result of the cancer was a<br />

gut-punch for the community. His family<br />

still speaks about his compassion,<br />

empathy, calming demeanor, and unceasing<br />

attitude of service.<br />

This is a good start, then, for CABA,<br />

which looks to represent these and<br />

other Chaldean values in their work.<br />

The organization is open-minded and<br />

always looking for fresh ideas on how<br />

to connect the Chaldean community in<br />

more intimate ways.<br />

One of their ideas is to bring back<br />

the annual CABA Gala, at which the<br />

group will celebrate all of their members<br />

who passed the bar this year.<br />

This is another good way, according<br />

to Soka, to engage the youth and provide<br />

continuity for the organization,<br />

which is desperately needed following<br />

its near-demise in 2020. Though<br />

it may seem strong at the moment, it<br />

could only be a representation of the<br />

excitement at its relaunch. Sustaining<br />

a group like this takes effort, planning,<br />

and active engagement.<br />

CABA’s short-term goals are relatively<br />

simple, like activating their network<br />

of Chaldean legal professionals<br />

and engaging other Bar associations.<br />

Their long-term goals, on the other<br />

hand, are ambitious and could take<br />

years to bear fruit.<br />

Brandon Kastaw plans to handle<br />

public affairs and politics. While the organization<br />

has just restarted and hasn’t<br />

accomplished much yet, they plan to<br />

connect with politicians, not only for<br />

the purpose of assisting our community<br />

here, but in order to gather resources<br />

and aid the homeland in some way.<br />

The future is bright for CABA and<br />

everyone involved. Those interested<br />

in the organization are encouraged to<br />

follow their social media accounts for<br />

updates on events and visit their website,<br />

chaldeanlawyers.org.<br />

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

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

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

Time Marches On<br />

20 years of March covers<br />


Fittingly, the first March cover in 2004 (and only<br />

the second CN issue ever) was about the community<br />

having a voice. Featuring a young Shoki<br />

Konja from Chaldean Voice Radio, the article told the<br />

story of the radio show that began as “Voice of the<br />

Chaldean Youth” and was broadcast from a closet<br />

below the stairs of Mother of God Church. Chaldean<br />

Voice Radio, going on 45 years old, is still going strong.<br />

The Chaldean Community Foundation is building a<br />

studio in its new center in West Bloomfield for the program.<br />

Mother of God Church is celebrating 75 years.<br />

Also still going strong is Carey Denha and his cover<br />

band “Mega 80s.” Featured on the front of the March<br />

issue in 2005, Denha now owns Ferndale’s popular<br />

concert venue Magic Bag, which he purchased in 2014.<br />

Magic Bag closed for a while during the COVID-19 pandemic,<br />

when Denha became an activist and fought for<br />

pandemic assistance for music venues, and reopened<br />

again in summer of 2021. He’s a bit of a local legend.<br />

The cover story in March 2006 was about the mass<br />

migration of talent leaving the state of Michigan, including<br />

many from the community. As the opportunity<br />

to get in on a franchise spread across the country,<br />

so did Chaldean businesspeople. While economic<br />

prospects in Michigan were falling due to the decline<br />

of the Big Three automakers, opportunities in places<br />

like Texas and Las Vegas arose for franchises like<br />

Wireless Toyz and Wireless Giant.<br />

As Chaldeans were blazing a trail across the<br />

states, they desired representation in the areas where<br />

they worked, lived and raised their families. The<br />

March 2007 cover featured Richard Sulaka and the<br />

accompanying story was about his run for mayor of<br />

Warren. Although he was ultimately unsuccessful in<br />

that effort, he had a career of civil service and his son<br />

Richard Saluka II pursued a career in law, serving in<br />

government positions including a stint as General<br />

Counsel and Human Resources Director for the City<br />

of Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Since<br />

that time, several Chaldeans have held elected office.<br />

The next five years devoted the March issue to<br />

weddings, offering guidance on everything from<br />

premarital classes to wedding day decorum. Showing<br />

the latest trends and sharing tips from wedding<br />

experts such as Lawrence and Andy (you know who<br />

they are), these “Wedding Guides” also offered ways<br />

to save money on expenses and ideas for unique and<br />

budget-friendly honeymoons.<br />

Then in 2013, we experienced “A Season of<br />

Change.” There was a commotion in the Catholic<br />

Church when Pope Benedict XVI announced he was<br />

stepping down from the role. Cardinal Raphael Sako<br />

had just been named Patriarch of the Babylon of the<br />

Chaldeans and Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim had submitted<br />

his resignation to the pope. It was indeed a season<br />

of change.<br />

Change seemed to breathe some new life into the<br />

community, and the 2014 cover (“A Spiritual Renewal”)<br />

and 2015 cover (“Resurgence of Faith”), reflected<br />

that feeling. 2016 showcased Steve Francis and Joey<br />

Marougi, childhood friends who grew up wanting to<br />

be cops; one would go on to serve in high office at<br />

the Department of Homeland Security and one would<br />

climb the ranks within the FBI.<br />

2017 was a difficult year for many Chaldeans but<br />

in March, things were looking good for asylum seekers.<br />

Then-president Donald Trump had just signed an<br />

executive order that gave preference to Christian immigrants<br />

from Iraq and Syria. The arrests and deportation<br />

would occur later that year. In 2018, we were still trying<br />

to stop the deportation of Iraqi nationals but were gaining<br />

ground in court, as told by Ashourina Slewa, whose<br />

father spent way too long in an Ohio jail.<br />

In 2019, editor Vanessa Denha-Garmo asked the<br />

men of the community a question: “Are you your brother’s<br />

keeper?” The answer was a resounding “yes.” From<br />

Genesis 4:9 to The Breakfast Club, faith groups consisting<br />

solely of men of were discovered meeting and bolstering<br />

each other on their Christian walk.<br />

The 2020 cover showed a silhouette of President<br />

Trump giving the “thumbs up.” The story is about<br />

how, on the plane trip to visit automakers in Warren,<br />

Congressman John Moolenaar bent the president’s<br />

ear and filled him in on the plight of Chaldeans<br />

caught between ICE and ISIS; thereafter, Trump publicly<br />

promised relief.<br />

2021 saw the ascension of Chaldeans in all walks<br />

of leadership, from elected officials to appointed officers.<br />

This was the year that the community celebrated<br />

Yasmine Poles filling the vacancy on the state bench<br />

that Hala Jarbou had freed up when she rose to federal<br />

court and Nadine Kalasho’s appointment to serve on<br />

the Commission for Middle Eastern American Affairs.<br />

In 2022, the Chaldean News heralded the 100th anniversary<br />

of the order of Daughters of Mary Immaculate,<br />

a women’s group that was founded to help the<br />

poor, orphaned and uneducated in Iraq. Conceived by<br />

a priest in Baghdad, Fr. Anton Zebouni, as a way to<br />

keep the youth in Iraq, ironically the order has spread<br />

to many corners of the earth including Michigan.<br />

Last year, the bright and lively March cover showcased<br />

Genevieve Kashat, an adolescent entrepreneur<br />

competitor on Kids Baking Championship who stole<br />

our hearts with her macaroons. Because time marches<br />

on, in the not-too-distant future, we expect to see<br />

Genevieve grace our pages once again. We hope to<br />

see you there, too.<br />

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

ARE<br />

YOU<br />

HIRING?<br />

Wednesday, May 1, <strong>2024</strong><br />

3:00PM – 5:00PM<br />

JOIN US<br />

SPRING<br />


JO F R<br />

B AI<br />

The Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF) invites you to participate in our 1st Spring Edition of the Annual<br />

Community Job Fair on Wednesday, May 1, <strong>2024</strong>! Our job fair will enable you, the employer, to meet and conduct<br />

on-the-spot interviews with New Americans and the greater community. It is an excellent opportunity to promote<br />

open positions and network with other businesses and organizations. We look forward to seeing you!<br />

Please register by scaning the<br />

QR code below.<br />

Employers will receive:<br />

• Table and two chairs for setup.<br />

• Light refreshments and snacks.<br />

* Space is limited. Registration is available<br />

on a first come, first served basis.<br />

$150 Registration fee<br />

For more info contact Elias at Elias.Kattoula@chaldeanfoundation.org or call 586-722-7253.<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

Wireless Vision Gymnasium<br />

3601 15 Mile Rd.<br />

Sterling Heights, MI, 48310<br />

<strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 33


Beverly Hills Grill<br />

Where everybody knows your name<br />


Raphael Michael of Beverly Hills Grill. Photo courtesy SMC.<br />

Often when a restaurant changes<br />

ownership, there’s a complete<br />

remodel, the menu is<br />

scrapped, and several employees are<br />

let go. But when Raphael Michael took<br />

ownership of the Beverly Hills Grill, he<br />

made a promise to founder Bill Roberts<br />

that he wasn’t going to do that.<br />

“When I met with Bill, he told me<br />

he didn’t want someone to take over<br />

the Grill and abandon everything he<br />

had built over the last 34 years,” said<br />

Michael. “Bill had a very deep loyalty<br />

to his staff, and he wanted to make<br />

sure his predecessor would take care<br />

of them. I told him, ‘If you choose me,<br />

I will continue your legacy.’”<br />

And that’s exactly what Michael<br />

has done – maintaining what guests<br />

have come to expect from the restaurant<br />

while keeping all of Roberts’ employees<br />

on the team.<br />

“The staff here is amazing. Once I<br />

took over, everyone who was here before<br />

– they all stayed on. When they<br />

realized that my best interest was their<br />

best interest, they accepted me as part<br />

of the family,” said Michael.<br />

Working in the restaurant industry<br />

since he was a student at Eastern<br />

Michigan University, Michael started<br />

out as an assistant manager at Happy’s<br />

Pizza in Ann Arbor when he was<br />

19. At age 24, he bought the pizzeria’s<br />

Kalamazoo location, where he stayed<br />

for the next 12 years. In October 2022,<br />

he moved to metro Detroit and took<br />

over Beverly Hills Grill.<br />

Since then, his only changes have<br />

been to bring back brunch, which<br />

halted during COVID-19, and hire more<br />

employees to keep up with the demand.<br />

Only two months after taking<br />

ownership, he launched a breakfast/<br />

brunch/lunch menu, which is now offered<br />

every Tuesday through Sunday<br />

from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.<br />

“We’re working to get the word out<br />

because many guests who used to come<br />

all the time for brunch haven’t realized<br />

it’s back now. When people see we’re<br />

open, they’re so happy that we serve<br />

breakfast again,” Michael said.<br />

Some of the most popular brunch<br />

items are the crab omelet, shrimp and<br />

grits, Oreo pancakes, banana fosters<br />

French toast, and corned beef hash.<br />

For dinner, which starts at 3 p.m. every<br />

day but Sunday, meatloaf has been a<br />

guest favorite since the restaurant first<br />

opened in 1988. Other staples include<br />

creole gulf shrimp linguine, chipotle<br />

honey glazed salmon, and veal marsala.<br />

“Everything on your plate is made<br />

fresh. It doesn’t come in a bag. That’s<br />

how Bill Roberts did it for years and<br />

years, and we’re continuing that level<br />

of expectation,” Michael said.<br />

Known as “The Cheers of Birmingham,”<br />

Beverly Hills Grill is a place<br />

where everybody knows your name –<br />

as well as your food and drink order.<br />

“We have a lot of regulars here, and<br />

I’ve gotten to know all of them. When<br />

I first started, I noticed that guests<br />

would talk to each other from different<br />

tables. I’ve been to a lot of restaurants,<br />

and I’ve never seen that happen<br />

before. But you see that here. This is<br />

really the neighborhood place to go,”<br />

Michael said.<br />

You know – in case you want to go<br />

where everybody knows your name.<br />

Beverly Hills Grill is located at<br />

31471 Southfield Road. The restaurant<br />

now takes online reservations at<br />

https://beverlyhillsgrill.com or s<br />

ocial media @beverlyhillsgrill.<br />

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

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<strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 35


Al Mutanabbi<br />

The would-be prophet<br />


‏“الخيل والليل والبيداء تعرفني...والسيف والرمح<br />

والقرطاس والقلمُ”‏<br />

“The steeds, the nights, and the desert know me, so<br />

does the sword, the spear, the literature, and the pen.”<br />

– Al Mutanabbi<br />

Poetry is a form of art much like painting, calligraphy,<br />

composing, or playing a musical instrument.<br />

Discovering poetry is an adventure to a<br />

world of wonder led by intuition and imagination,<br />

arriving at a love of words. For those who choose to<br />

explore this medium, it is a beautiful personal journey<br />

of the mind and soul.<br />

Many modern writers in the Arab world began<br />

their literary careers by practicing poetry. Arab poets<br />

compose in various forms, capturing the essence of<br />

their generation. It’s difficult to determine the “most<br />

beautiful” Arabic poem, as beauty is subjective; however,<br />

many renowned poems are widely celebrated for<br />

their decorative language and ability to stir the soul.<br />

Some of the most famous Arabic poets include Imru’<br />

al-Qais (501-565), Al-Khansa (575-645), Abu Nuwas<br />

(756-814), Abu al-Alaa al-Maarri (973-1057), Abu Firas<br />

al-Hamdani (932–968), and Al Mutanabbi (915-965).<br />

Al Mutanabbi is recognized as one of the most<br />

prominent poets of the Arabic language. His body<br />

of work, more than 326 poems, is so influential that<br />

much of it has been translated into over 20 languages<br />

worldwide.<br />

Born Ahmed bin al-Hussein al-Kindi in Kufa, Iraq<br />

in the early 10th century, Al Mutanabbi came from<br />

humble beginnings. His father was a water carrier<br />

from the Kindah tribe. Little Ahmed was writing poems<br />

at the age of nine, and when Shi’ite Qarmatians<br />

attacked Kufa in 924 AD, he chose to join them. He<br />

lived among the Bedouins, a nomadic Arab tribe,<br />

researching their doctrines and texts. He told them<br />

he was a prophet, earning the nickname by which<br />

he would go down in history—Al Mutanabbi, which<br />

translates as “he who would be a prophet” or “the<br />

would-be prophet.”<br />

In 932, while still in his teens, Al Mutanabbi used<br />

his status to lead a revolt in Syria. After being imprisoned<br />

for 2 years, he decided to cast his lot as a traveling<br />

poet. He was quick-witted, and on one occasion<br />

when someone wanting to embarrass him said, “I<br />

saw you from afar, so I thought you were a woman,”<br />

Al Mutanabbi cheekily replied, “I saw you from afar,<br />

and thought you were a man!”<br />

Many of his poems are not only still widely read in<br />

today’s Arab world but are considered to be proverbial.<br />

You may be familiar with some of quotes, such<br />

as “If you see the lion show his teeth, do not think the<br />

lion is smiling at you,” or “If you venture for a noble<br />

aim, do not settle for less than the stars.”<br />

Some poems are less instructive and more descriptive,<br />

like “Small deeds are great in small men’s<br />

eyes; great deeds, in great men’s eyes, are small.”<br />

And some are observational: “Firm resolutions happen<br />

in proportion to the resolute, and noble deeds<br />

come in proportion to the noble.”<br />

Al Mutanabbi lived during the Abbasid Caliphate<br />

period, when a wandering poet with political aspirations<br />

could make a name for himself. His writing<br />

revolved around descriptions of life, the kings he<br />

met, and his own philosophy. He never rested in one<br />

place, traveling to Baghdad, Damascus, Tiberias, Antioch,<br />

Aleppo, and Cairo among others, earning income<br />

from emirs for his poetic praise for them.<br />

Al Mutanabbi enjoyed the best and most rewarding<br />

days of his life in Aleppo, in the court of Sayf al-<br />

Dawla al-Hamdani, a Hamdanid poet-prince of northern<br />

Syria – composing panegyrics, or odes to his liege.<br />

These are considered the masterpieces which have<br />

earned him recognition all over the Arab world. His<br />

poems and sayings have become proverbs, part of the<br />

daily vocabulary of Arabic conversation today.<br />

It was during his time in Aleppo that Al Mutanabbi<br />

wrote one of his most famous poems, “Ode to Sayf al-<br />

Dawla.” Al Mutanabbi stayed in the prince’s court for 9<br />

years, from 948 to 957, earning not only fame and fortune<br />

but also the animosity of rival court poets, including<br />

the prince’s own cousin. In addition, the prince became<br />

weary of Al Mutanabbi’s political goal to become<br />

a regional Wali, or governor. The prince saw this as a<br />

threat and betrayal, and the poet left Syria for Egypt.<br />

In Egypt, Al Mutanabbi joined the court of Abu al-<br />

Misk Kafur. Kafur, however, mistrusted Al Mutanabbi’s<br />

political ambitions, believing them to be a threat<br />

to his position. Al Mutanabbi realized that his hopes<br />

of becoming governor were not going anywhere and<br />

he left Egypt in 960. After he left, he heavily criticized<br />

Abu al-Misk Kafur with satirical odes.<br />

For over a thousand years, the poetry of Al Mutanabbi<br />

has been used in Arabic literature as a reference<br />

and proof of his wisdom, intelligence, pride,<br />

and insight. His poetry has strong words, and his<br />

verses have a certain sophistication.<br />

Through his artistry, he mastered Arabic verse<br />

like no other and treated poetry as a craft to be studied<br />

and taught. Many of his verses are used today as<br />

proverbs to reflect on life experiences of friendship,<br />

love, departure, war, and death.<br />

Al Mutanabbi himself died in 965, a victim of a<br />

vengeance. He was traveling from Ahvaz in modernday<br />

Iran to Basra when he was set upon by Dabbah<br />

al-Assadi. Al-Assadi was following the poet in a blind<br />

rage, insulted by an unflattering poem that Al Mutanabbi<br />

had written about him.<br />

At first, Al Mutanabbi was going to flee with his<br />

son, Muhassad; however, one of his servants reminded<br />

him of his courageous poems and at that moment,<br />

Al Mutanabbi decided to fight with conviction for his<br />

beliefs. He fought valiantly but died with his son by<br />

his side. His influence at the time was such that news<br />

of his death reverberated like thunder around the<br />

Muslim world.<br />

In honor of him, in 1932, the people of Baghdad<br />

named a cultural market Mutanabbi Street. The narrow<br />

one-kilometer-long auto-free street is full of booksellers<br />

and bookstores. At the entrance to the street<br />

stands an arch adorned with the poet’s quotes. Over<br />

time, Mutanabbi Street evolved into a symbol of intellectual<br />

freedom, attracting writers, artists, and diverse<br />

dissenting voices from across the country.<br />

On that street also stands a statue of the great<br />

poet created by the renowned Iraqi sculptor, Mohammad<br />

Ghani Hikmat. Created in the 1960s, it will stand<br />

strong just as Mutanabbi’s poems stay timeless.<br />

We live between two historic eras — the time of<br />

steeds, nights, and desert and the time of WhatsApp,<br />

Facebook, and Google. As a lover of language and<br />

disciple of the greatest Arab poet who ever lived, I<br />

wish that time could go back centuries, that I could<br />

travel backward in time and spend a day around this<br />

remarkable man, sit in his audience, hear the tone of<br />

his voice, or walk as a shadow in his giant steps.<br />

36 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

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<strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 37


املُتنبي شاعر الشُ‏ عراء والعُىل والعَلياء<br />

أنَا الذي نَظَرَ‏ األعْمَى إىل أدَيب - وَأسْ‏ مَعَتْ‏ كَلِاميت مَنْ‏ بهِ‏ صَ‏ مَمُ‏<br />

بقلم د عضيد مريي<br />

ألعراق بلد الشعراء واالدباء الكبار ومنهم ملك الضاد والشاعر العبايس<br />

العراقي الكويف أبو الطّيب املتنبي مالئ الدنيا وشاغل الناس،‏ ومن سادة<br />

لغة الضاد.‏ فاملتنبي هو شاعر العىل والعلياء،‏ ورجل الحكمة ألعظيم<br />

واألدب النفيس والوصف ألبليغ وتكاد تكون ابياته معجم لكل األمثلة<br />

والحكم العربية ومل يرتك يش للفالسفة وال لشعراء العرب واألزمنة يشء<br />

يبتزون به عليه،‏ يف شعره كلامت قوية ويف رصاحته قوة الشخصية ناهيك<br />

عن رقي أبيات شعره،‏ عاش رحاال ويا أسفا قتلته حروف شعره وكربياءه<br />

وشجاعته.‏<br />

مل يحظَ‏ شاعرٌ‏ من شعراء العربيّة مبثل ما حظي به أبو الطيّب املتنبّي<br />

من مكانةٍ‏ عالية،‏ فقد كان أعجوبةً‏ أعجزت الشعراء من بعده؛ حيثُ‏ بقي<br />

شعره إىل اآلن يُقرأ كمصدر وحي للكثري من األدباء والشُّ‏ عراء،‏ كام تُرى فيه<br />

مظاهر القوّة والشاعرية القامئتنّي عىل التجربة الصادقة والحس الرهيف،‏<br />

وقد أبدع املتنبّي يف صياغة أبياته صياغةً‏ تأرسُ‏ األلباب وتشغل القلوب،‏<br />

فقد كان شاعراً‏ ينتمي لطبقة شعراءِ‏ املعاين،‏ حيثُ‏ كان موفِّقاً‏ بنّي الشعر<br />

والحكمة،‏ وقد أخرجَ‏ الشّ‏ عر عن قيوده وحدوده وابتكرَ‏ الطريقة اإلبداعيّة<br />

فيه.‏ وما زالت كلامت أبياته وبينّات حكمه فتية ليومنا هذا،‏ فهو الذي نُظر<br />

البصري إىل أدبه،‏ وأسَ‏ معت كلامته من به صمم،‏ وهو الذي نام ملئ جفونه<br />

والكل يف شوارد قصائده يختصموا.‏<br />

من هو املتنبي<br />

أبو الطيب املتنبي واسمه أحمد بن الحسنّي الجعفي الكندي ولد يف الكوفة<br />

يف أوائل القرن العارش يف العراق عام ‎915‎م وجاء من بدايات متواضعة<br />

للغاية،‏ إذ كان أبيه ساعي ماء من قبيلة كندة،‏ وتعود قبيلة كندة إىل القرن<br />

الثاين قبل امليالد،‏ مل يكن يستقر يف مكان واحد قط،‏ فكان يسافر إىل بغداد<br />

ودمشق وطربيا وأنطاكية وحلب والقاهرة وغريها،‏ ويكسب دخالً‏ من<br />

األمراء بسبب مدحه الشعري لهم.‏<br />

يُعد املتنبي أعظم شعراء العرب وأعرب الشعراء العظامء وفارس<br />

الشعر العريب والبالغة لكل زمان،‏ واملتنبي شاعر يطري ويحلق يف أجواء ال<br />

يصلها إال أملبدعنّي بأجنحة شعرية تعبريية ولكلامته سحر رسمدي وأثر<br />

أبدي وكان مصورا بارعا لألحداث يرى ما ال يراه غريه وعندما تقرأ دواوينه<br />

تجده مبدعاً‏ خالّقا ال يساميه من الشعراء الحكامء أحد،‏ فهو قيثارة الشعر<br />

ومحري الدهر وشاعر القصيدة العصامء ومثله ال ميكن ان يتكرر مرة اخرى<br />

ابدا وال زال الجدال مستمر حول اشعاره وقصائده ليومنا هذا.‏<br />

عُرف املتنبي بشخصيته القوية وما كان يكتنفها من غموض،‏ وشعر<br />

املتنبي حريّ‏ الناس،‏ واستعىص عليهم فهم مقاصده،‏ إذ قام برشحه أفذاذ<br />

اللغة وعلامؤها،‏ ومنهم عامل النحو الكبري ابن جنّي،‏ والشاعر أبو عالء<br />

املعرّي،‏ واللغويّ‏ املعروف ابن سيّدة.‏<br />

وهو من الشعراء الذين اكتسبوا أهميةً‏ تجاوزت زمانهم ومكانهم،‏<br />

فلم يكن املتنبي مجردَ‏ شاعرٍ‏ ميلك من الفصاحة والبالغة ما ال ميلكه غريه<br />

من الشعراء،‏ بل كانَ‏ ذا شخصيةٍ‏ مميزة،‏ يعتز بنفسه ويفخر بها يف قصائده<br />

ومجالسه وأفضل من استخدموا اللغة العربية وأكرثهم متكناً‏ م بقواعدها<br />

وأعلمهم مبفرداتها،‏ ومل يشغل الناس شاعر بالقدر الذي شغلهم ابو الطيب<br />

املتنبي حتى ان ابن رشيق القريواين اورد يف كتابه الشهري “ العمدة “<br />

مقولته الشهرية:‏ “ جاء املتنبي فمأل الدنيا وشغل الناس”.‏<br />

املتنبي شاعر الشعراء األول<br />

ترك املتنبي وراءَه ثالمثائة وستة وعرشون قصيدةً،‏ وتعترب هذه القصائد<br />

سجالّ‏ ً تاريخياً‏ ألحداث عرصه يف القرن الرابع الهجريّ‏ ، تعترب مبثابة سريةً‏<br />

ذاتيةً‏ للشاعر،‏ حيث يستطيع القارئ من خاللها معرفة كيف جرت الحكمة<br />

عىل لسانه وكيف تطورت،‏ ال سيّام يف قصائده األخرية قبل موته.‏<br />

عاش أفضل أيام حياته وأكرثها عطاء يف بالط سيف الدولة الحمداين<br />

يف حلب وكان من أعظم شعراء زمانه،‏ وكان له مكانة سامية مل تتح مثلها<br />

لغريه من شعراء العربية وبقي شعره إىل اليوم مصدر إلهام ووحي للشعراء<br />

واألدباء وأحد مفاخر األدب العريب.‏ قلدّه كثريون،‏ ولكن مل يفلح من<br />

الشعراء أن ينافسه أحد.‏<br />

لقب املتنبي<br />

لُقِّب املتنبّي بهذا الّلقب ملا وردَ‏ عنه من ورعٍ‏ يف خُلقه،‏ فقد كان آخذاً‏<br />

نفسه بالجدّ‏ ومُنرصفاً‏ للعلم مبتعداً‏ عن الفواحش،‏ وقد حظيَ‏ مبنزلةٍ‏<br />

عظيمة عند عُلامء األدب واللغة والنحو؛ أمثال الربعي وابن جني وأيب<br />

عىل الفاريس،‏ وقد كان مُكرثاً‏ من ذِكر األنبياء يف شعره،‏ مُشبِّها نفسه بهم،‏<br />

ومُقارناً‏ أخالقَ‏ من ميدحهم بأخالقهم،‏ ومن ذلك قوله عن نفسه:‏<br />

مَا مُقامي بأرْضِ‏ نَخْلَةَ‏ إالّ‏ كمُقامِ‏ املَسيحِ‏ بَنّيَ‏ اليَهُود أنَا يف أُمّةٍ‏ تَدارَكَهَا<br />

اللّه غَريبٌ‏ كصَ‏ الِحٍ‏ يف مثَ‏ ودِ‏<br />

وأما لقبه املتنبي فقيل ألنه ادعى النبوة قبل أن يتوب،‏ ولكنه أنكر<br />

ذلك وقال للعامل النحوي عثامن بن جني بأن لقب املتنبي معناه املرتفع،‏<br />

واشتقها من كلمة النبوة والتي تعني املرتفع من األرض.‏ ويروى عن املتنبي<br />

أنه قال:‏ “ ابن جنّي،‏ أعلم بشعري منّي “. ووردَ‏ عن أيب عالءٍ‏ املعرّي قوله يف<br />

كتابه معجز أحمد أنّ‏ املُتنبّي لُقّب بهذا اللقب نسبة إىل النَبْوَة،‏ ومعناها<br />

املكانُ‏ املرتفع؛ إشارةً‏ لرفعة شِ‏ عره وعُلوّه ال إشارةً‏ الدّعائه النبوّة.‏<br />

بدايات حياة املتنبي<br />

كانت حياة املتنبي زاخرة باملحطات واملراحل التي صاغت تجربته األدبية،‏<br />

والتحق املتنبي بكُتَّابٍ‏ كان فيه أبناء أرشاف العلوينّي لتلقّي علوم اللغة<br />

العربية من شعر،‏ ونحو،‏ وبالغة،‏ وكان إضافةً‏ إىل ذلك يقيض معظم أوقاته<br />

مالزماً‏ للورّاقنّي ليك يقرأ يف كتبهم فاكتسب معظم علمه من ذلك.‏<br />

اشتهر النبي أبو الطيب أحمد بن حسنّي املتنبي الكندي مبوهبته<br />

الشعرية يف سن مبكرة وكتب القصائد منذ أن كان يف التاسعة من عمره.‏<br />

وعُرف عن املتنبي حبه الشديد للعلم واألدب،‏ كام أنّه متتع منذ صغره<br />

بالذكاءِ‏ وقوة الحفظٍ‏ ، وقد أخرب أحد الرواة قصةً‏ طريفةً‏ عن قوة حفظه يف<br />

صباه،‏ وهي أنّ‏ أحد الوراقنّي أخرب أنّ‏ أحدهم جاء ليبيع كتاباً‏ يحوي نحو<br />

ثالثنّي صفحة.‏ وكان املتنبي عنده حينها،‏ فأخذ الكتاب من الرجل وصار<br />

يقلّب صفحاته ويطيل النظر فيها،‏ فقال له الرجل:‏ يا هذا لقد عطلتني<br />

عن بيعه،‏ فإن كنت تبغي حفظه يف هذه الفرتة القصرية فهذا بعيدٌ‏ عليك،‏<br />

فقال املتنبي:‏ فإن كنت حفظته فام يل عليك؟ قال الرجل:‏ أعطيه لك،‏ فقال<br />

الوراق:‏ فأمسكت الكتاب أراجع صفحاته واملتنبي الصغري يتلو ما به حتى<br />

انتهى إىل آخره،‏ ثم استلبه فجعله يف كُمِّه ومىض لشأنه وكأن شياً‏ مل يكن.‏<br />

يف عام 924 م،‏ عندما طرد القرامطة جامعة الشيعة من الكوفة<br />

عام ‎924‎م،‏ التحقت عائلة املتنبي بهم وعاشوا بنّي البدو،‏ وتعلم املتنبي<br />

مذاهبهم ونصوصهم واتقن اللغة العربية وإلعجابهم به وبذكائه وبالغته<br />

أخرب البدو املتنبي بأنه نبي.‏ ويقال من هنا حصل عىل لقب املتنبي.‏<br />

لكن املتنبي مل يستغل مكانته بينهم لتحقيق مكاسب شخصية،‏ ولكنه<br />

استخدم مكانته لقيادة ثورة يف سوريا عام 932. وبعد أن سُ‏ جن ملدة<br />

عامنّي،‏ قرر أن يصبح شاعرًا متنقالً‏ .<br />

كان املتنبي ذكيًا للغاية،‏ وبسبب شهرته وسمو مكانته كان يتعرض<br />

احياناً‏ لحسد ونكد ومكائد الحساد،‏ وكان الشاعر الوحيد الذي ال يلقي<br />

شعره واقفاً‏ بنّي يدي سيف الدولة،‏ مام أثار غرية بقية شعراء البالط نحوه<br />

فكادوا له املكائد.‏ ويف مناسبة نادرة أراد شخص إحراج الشاعر،‏ فشمت،‏<br />

وقال له:‏ ‏“لقد رأيتك من بعيد فظننتك امرأة”،‏ فأجاب املتنبي برسعة<br />

بديهته:‏ ‏“لقد رأيتك من بعيد”‏ من بعيد فظننتك رجالً.‏<br />

حقائق شخصية عن املتنبي<br />

قيل أنّ‏ املتنبي تزوج بامرأة شامية ورُزق منها بولدٍ‏ اسمه محسد تويف<br />

معه يوم قتله.‏ كام هنالك قصة حبّ‏ مزعومة ألبتت عليه بالط سيف<br />

الدولة،‏ وهي أنه كان يحب أخته خولة التي رثاها فيام بعد واصفاً‏ مبسمها<br />

بالجميل.‏<br />

يقال إنه مل ينافسه أحد من الشعراء يف توليد املعاين والخيال والعمق<br />

يف قول وتضمنّي الحِ‏ كمة يف شعره،‏ ويف روائعه الشعرية حكم تقلب الزمان<br />

باإلنسان واملرض واملوت وما ينطوي عليه زوال املُلك وتناول موضوعات<br />

مثل الشجاعة وفلسفة الحياة ووصف املعارك وتأثر أسلوبه بالنّمط<br />

الكالسييك والبالغة املتألقة،‏ وتقديس أشعاره لدى القرّاء العرب يُشبه<br />

تقديس الغرب ألعامل شكسبري وتناولت حياته وأعامله دراسات متنوعة<br />

لكنّ‏ قليل من االهتامم أُويلِ‏ َ لجانبه اإلنساين.‏<br />

عاش املتنبي يف زمان كان الشاعر ميتهن الشعر كام ميُ‏ تهن الفن يومنا<br />

هذا خصوصا وأن الشعر كان ديوان العرب،‏ وأصبحت قصائده وابيات<br />

شعره أمثال وحكم وجزءا من مفردات اللغة العربية وقاموس العلم<br />

واالدب مازلنا نرددها ونستشهد بها حتى دون الحاجة إىل ذكر اسم<br />

صاحبها وكل هذه األشعار سارت مرسى األمثال عىل ألسنة الناس،‏ وهي إذ<br />

تتكرر فإن املتنبي شاعر ال يتكرر،‏ وهل كمثل أقوال املتنبي حِ‏ كم؟<br />

من أقوال املتنبي<br />

أغايةُ‏ الدينِ‏ أن تَحفوا شواربكم يا أمةً‏ ضحكت من جهلِها األممُ‏<br />

ال يَسلَمُ‏ الرشفُ‏ الرفيعُ‏ من األذى - حتى يُراقَ‏ عىل جوانبِهِ‏ الدَّمُ‏<br />

ذو العقلِ‏ يشقى يف النعيمِ‏ بعقلهِ‏ - وأخو الجهالةِ‏ يف الشقاوةِ‏ يَنْعَمُ‏<br />

ومِن العداوةِ‏ ما ينالُكَ‏ نفعُهُ‏ - ومِن الصداقةِ‏ ما يَرُضُ‏ ُّ ويُؤْلِمُ‏<br />

إذا أنت أكرمتَ‏ الكريمَ‏ ملكْتَهُ‏ - وإن أنت أكرمتَ‏ اللئيمَ‏ مترَّدا<br />

فال مجدَ‏ يف الدنيا ملن قلَّ‏ مالُهُ‏ - وال مالَ‏ يف الدنيا ملن قلَّ‏ مجدُهُ‏<br />

ومِن نكدِ‏ الدنيا عىل الْحُرِّ‏ أن يرى - عدوًّا لهُ‏ ما مِن صداقتهِ‏ بدُّ‏<br />

أعزُّ‏ مكانٍ‏ يف الدُّىن رسْجُ‏ سابِحٍ‏ - وخريُ‏ جليسٍ‏ يف الزمانِ‏ كتابُ‏<br />

وإذا مل يكن من املوت بد - فمن العجز أن متوت جبانا<br />

إذا غامَرْتَ‏ يف رَشَ‏ ‏َفٍ‏ مَرُومِ‏ - فَال تَقنَعْ‏ مبا دونَ‏ النّجومِ‏<br />

فطَعْمُ‏ املَوْتِ‏ يف أمْرٍ‏ حَقِريٍ‏ - كطَعْمِ‏ املَوْتِ‏ يف أمْرٍ‏ عَظيمِ‏<br />

ما كلُّ‏ ما يتمناه املرءُ‏ يدركُهُ‏ – تجري الرياحُ‏ مبا ال تشتهي السفنُ‏<br />

ومن أبيات الفخر<br />

كان املتنبي صاحب كربياء وشجاعة وطموح ومحب للمغامرات،‏ وكان يف<br />

شعره يعتز بعروبته،‏ ويفتخر بنفسه،‏ وأفضل شعره يف الحكمة وفلسفة<br />

الحياة ووصف املعارك،‏ إذ جاء بصياغة قوية محكمة.‏ وكان شاعرا مبدعا<br />

عمالقا غزير اإلنتاج.‏ يعد بحق مفخرة لألدب العريب،‏ فهو القائل:‏<br />


continued on page 42<br />

38 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

YOUR<br />

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

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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 />

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

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<strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 39


الخَيْلُ‏ وَاللّيْلُ‏ وَالبَيْداءُ‏ تَعرِفُني - وَالسّ‏ يفُ‏ وَالرّمحُ‏ والقرْطاسُ‏ وَالقَلَمُ‏<br />

ما أبعدَ‏ العَيبَ‏ والنّقصانَ‏ منْ‏ رَشَ‏ ‏َفِي - أنَا الرّثّ‏ ‏َيّا وَذانِ‏ الشّ‏ يبُ‏ وَالهَرَمُ‏<br />

ال بقومي رَشفتُ‏ ، بل رَشفوا يب - وبنفيس فخرتُ‏ ال بجدودي<br />

وما الدهرُ‏ إال من رواةِ‏ قصائدي - إذا قلت شِ‏ عرًا أصبح الدهرُ‏ مُنشدا<br />

أنا تِربُ‏ الندى وربُّ‏ القوايف - وسِ‏ اممُ‏ العِدَ‏ ى وغيظُ‏ الحسودِ‏<br />

وإذا أتتك مذمتي من ناقصٍ‏ - فهي الشهادةُ‏ يل بأين كاملُ‏<br />

وفؤادي من امللوكِ‏ وإن كان - لساين يُرى من الشعراءِ‏<br />

ويف إعتزاز املتنبي بالعروبة<br />

من أبيات االعتزاز بالعروبة والوطن وفيها معاين تنطبق عىل العراق<br />

املُحتل يف عرصنا هذا قوله:‏<br />

وَ‏ إِمَّنَّ‏ ا الناسُ‏ بِاملُلوكِ‏ - وَما تُفلِحُ‏ عُربٌ‏ مُلوكُها عَجَمُ‏<br />

ال أَدَبٌ‏ عِندَهُم وَال حَسَ‏ بٌ‏ - وَال عُهودٌ‏ لَهُم وَال ذِمَمُ‏<br />

بِكُلِّ‏ أَرضٍ‏ وطئتها أُمَمٌ‏ - ترعى لِعَبدٍ‏ كَأَنَّها غَنَمُ‏<br />

من طيبات أبا الطيّب املتنبي<br />

أبلِغ عَزيزًا يف ثنايا القلبِ‏ مَنزله - أىن وإن كُنتُ‏ ال ألقاهُ‏ ألقاهُ‏<br />

وإن طريف موصولٌ‏ برؤيتهِ‏ - وإن تباعد عَن سُ‏ كناي سُ‏ كناهُ‏<br />

يا ليته يعلمُ‏ أين لستُ‏ أذكرهُ‏ - وكيف أذكرهُ‏ إذ لستُ‏ أنساهُ‏<br />

يا مَن توَّهم أين لستُ‏ أذكرهُ‏ - واللهُ‏ يعلم أين لستُ‏ أنساهُ‏<br />

إن غابَ‏ عني فالروحُ‏ مَسكنهُ‏ - مَن يسكنُ‏ الروح كيف القلبُ‏ ينساهُ‏<br />

وبعض من أجمل أبيات العشق<br />

أرَقٌ‏ عَىل أرَقٍ‏ وَمِثْيل يَأرَقُ‏ - وَجَوًى يَزيدُ‏ وَعَربْ‏ ‏َةٌ‏ تَرتَ‏ ‏َقْرَقُ‏<br />

جُهْدُ‏ الصّ‏ بابَةِ‏ أنْ‏ تكونَ‏ كام أُرَى - عَنّيٌ‏ مُسَ‏ هَّدَةٌ‏ وقَلْبٌ‏ يَخْفِقُ‏<br />

مَا الحَ‏ بَرْقٌ‏ أوْ‏ تَرَنّمَ‏ طائِرٌ‏ - إالّ‏ انْثَنَيْتُ‏ وَيل فُؤادٌ‏ شَ‏ يّقُ‏<br />

جَرّبْتُ‏ مِنْ‏ نَارِ‏ الهَوَى ما تَنطَفي - نَارُ‏ الغَضَ‏ ا وَتَكِلُّ‏ عَامّ‏ يُحْرِقُ‏<br />

وَعَذَلْتُ‏ أهْلَ‏ العِشْ‏ قِ‏ حتى ذُقْتُهُ‏ - فعجبتُ‏ كيفَ‏ ميَ‏ وتُ‏ مَن ال يَعشَ‏ قُ‏<br />

وما كنت ممن يدخل العشق قلبه - ولكن من يبرص جفونك يعشق<br />

املتنبي ميدح سيف الدولة الحمداين<br />

يف سن الثالثة والثالثنّي،‏ عاش املتنبي أجمل أيامه يف حلب حيث كان<br />

حاكمها سيف الدولة الحمداين يهتم بالشعر واألدب ويحمي الثغور<br />

من الروم.‏ ويف هذه الفرتة كتب املتنبي إحدى أشهر قصائده واشتهر<br />

عنه تقلبه يف عالقته مع الحكام،‏ فكان ميدح حاكم حلب سيف الدولة<br />

الحمداين ثم يهجوه،‏ وكان ميدح حاكم مرص أبو املسك كافور ثم يهجوه.‏<br />

وخالل تلك الفرتة مدح سيف الدولة يف قصيدة طويلة عصامء مطلعها:‏<br />

عَىل قَدرِ‏ أَهلِ‏ العَزمِ‏ تَأيت العَزائِمُ‏ - وَتَأيت عَىل قَدرِ‏ الكِرامِ‏ املَكارِمُ‏<br />

وَتَعظُمُ‏ يف عَنيِ‏ الصَ‏ غريِ‏ صِ‏ غارُها - وَتَصغُرُ‏ يف عَنيِ‏ العَظيمِ‏ العَظائِمُ‏<br />

يُكَلِّفُ‏ سَ‏ يفُ‏ الدَولَةِ‏ الجَيشَ‏ هَمَّهُ‏ - وَقَد عَجَزَت عَنهُ‏ الجُيوشُ‏ الخَضارِمُ‏<br />

املتنبي يعاتب سيف الدولة الحمداين<br />

ويف قصيدة يختلط فيه مدح وذم وعتاب،‏ مدح سيف الدولة بأنه أعدل<br />

الناس،‏ ولكن الذم والعتاب هو أن هذا العدل ال يشمل الشاعر،‏ فيقول<br />

لسيف الدولة:‏ ‏“أنت أعدل الناس إال إذا عاملتني،‏ فقد حدث خصام<br />

بيننا،‏ وأنا ال أستطيع أن أحاكمك لغريك ألنك ملك،‏ حينها تكون أنت<br />

الخصم وأنت الحكم بيننا،‏ فأين العدل إذًا؟<br />

يا أعدَ‏ لَ‏ النّاسِ‏ إالّ‏ يف مُعامَلَتي - فيكَ‏ الخِصامُ‏ وَأنتَ‏ الخصْ‏ مُ‏ وَالحكَمُ‏<br />

أُعِيذُها نَظَراتٍ‏ مِنْكَ‏ صادِقَةً‏ - أن تحسَ‏ بَ‏ الشّ‏ حمَ‏ فيمن شحمهُ‏ وَرَمُ‏<br />

وَمَا انْتِفَاعُ‏ أخي الدّنْيَا بِنَاظِ‏ رِهِ‏ - إذا اسْ‏ تَوَتْ‏ عِنْدَهُ‏ األنْوارُ‏ وَالظُّلَمُ‏<br />

سَ‏ يعْلَمُ‏ الجَمعُ‏ ممّنْ‏ ضَ‏ مّ‏ مَجلِسُ‏ نا - بأنّني خَريُ‏ مَنْ‏ تَسْ‏ عَى بهِ‏ قَدَمُ‏<br />

أنَا الذي نَظَرَ‏ األعْمَى إىل أدَيب - وَأسْ‏ مَعَتْ‏ كَلِاميت مَنْ‏ بهِ‏ صَ‏ مَمُ‏<br />

أنَامُ‏ مِلْ‏ ءَ‏ جُفُوين عَنْ‏ شَوَارِدِهَا - وَيَسْ‏ هَرُ‏ الخَلْقُ‏ جَرّاهَا وَيخْتَصِ‏ مُ‏<br />

وَجاهِلٍ‏ مَدّهُ‏ يف جَهْلِهِ‏ ضَ‏ حِيك - حَتى أتَتْه يَدٌ‏ فَرّاسَ‏ ةٌ‏ وَفَمُ‏<br />

إذا رَأيْتَ‏ نُيُوبَ‏ اللّيْثِ‏ بارِزَةً‏ - فَال تَظُنّنّ‏ أنّ‏ اللّيْثَ‏ يَبْتَسِ‏ مُ‏<br />

وَمُهْجَةٍ‏ مُهْجَتي من هَمّ‏ صَ‏ احِبها - أدرَكْتُهَا بجَوَادٍ‏ ظَهْرُه حَرَمُ‏<br />

رِجالهُ‏ يف الرّكضِ‏ رِجلٌ‏ وَاليدانِ‏ يَدٌ‏ - وَفِعْلُهُ‏ مَا تُريدُ‏ الكَفُّ‏ وَالقَدَ‏ مُ‏<br />

وَمُرْهَفٍ‏ رسْتُ‏ بنيَ‏ الجَحْفَلَنيِ‏ بهِ‏ - حتى رضَبْتُ‏ وَمَوْجُ‏ املَوْتِ‏ يَلْتَطِ‏ مُ‏<br />

املتنبي يهجو سيف الدولة الحمداين<br />

تحولت عالقة املتنبي مع سيف الدولة إىل عداء فقيل إن السبب هو<br />

تعرض املتنبي لإلهانة يف أحد مجالس سيف الدولة،‏ وقيل ألن سيف الدولة<br />

رفض أن يتزوج املتنبي من أخته،‏ فهجاه املتنبي بعد رحيله إىل مرص قائال:‏<br />

فِراقٌ‏ وَمَن فارَقته غَريُ‏ مُذَمَّمِ‏ - وَأَمٌّ‏ وَمَن مَيَ‏ ‏َّمتُ‏ خَريُ‏ مُيَمَّمِ‏<br />

إِذا ساءَ‏ فِعلُ‏ املَرءِ‏ ساءَت ظُنونُهُ‏ - وَصَ‏ دَّقَ‏ ما يَعتادُهُ‏ مِن تَوَهُّمِ‏<br />

وَعادى مُحِبّيهِ‏ بِقَولِ‏ عُداتِهِ‏ - وَأَصبَحَ‏ يف لَيلٍ‏ مِنَ‏ الشَ‏ كِّ‏ مُظلِمِ‏<br />

أُصادِقُ‏ نَفسَ‏ املَرءِ‏ مِن قَبلِ‏ جِسمِهِ‏ - وَأَعرِفُها يف فِعلِهِ‏ وَالتَكَلُّمِ‏<br />

وَأَحلُمُ‏ عَن خِيّلّ‏ وَأَعلَمُ‏ أَنَّهُ‏ مَتى أَجزِهِ‏ - حِلامً‏ عَىل الجَهلِ‏ يَندَمِ‏<br />

وَ‏ إِن بَذَل اإلِنسانُ‏ يل جودَ‏ عابِسٍ‏ - جَزَيتُ‏ بِجودِ‏ التارِكِ‏ املُتَبَسِّ‏ مِ‏<br />

وَما كُلُّ‏ هاوٍ‏ لِلجَميلِ‏ بِفاعِلٍ‏ - وَال كُلُّ‏ فَعّالٍ‏ لَهُ‏ مبِ‏ ‏ُتَمِّمِ‏<br />

رحلة املتنبي إىل مرص ولقائه<br />

بكافور اإلخشيدي<br />

غادر أبو الطيب حلب وهو كاره لذلك،‏ إذ كانت هناك فرتة يف حياته مليئة<br />

باملؤامرات والغرية التي بلغت ذروتها وأجربت املتنبي عىل ترك سوريا يف عام<br />

957 فاتّجه يف البداية إىل دمشق،‏ ثم شاءت األقدار أن يذهب إىل مرص حيث<br />

استدعاه شخص أثيويب يُدعى أبو املسك كافور وُلِد عبدًا.‏ كافور اإلخشيدي<br />

كان يحكم مرص،‏ وحنّي وصل املتنبي إىل مرص كان مجروح الفؤاد،‏ مكسور<br />

الخاطر،‏ فأقام إىل جوار كافور خمس سنواتٍ‏ مدحه خاللها بعدة قصائد ليس<br />

حباً‏ وإعجاباً،‏ إمنا أمالً‏ يف تحقيق ما كان يصبو إليه من رفعة وعُلّو شأن،‏ وكان<br />

كافور يعرف ذلك جيداً‏ ويعرف أنّ‏ املتنبي مل يَكنْ‏ يُضمر له املحبة والود،‏<br />

فخىل به ومل يحقق له شيئاً‏ من أمانيه،‏ بل ضيّق عليه وعاداهُ،‏ وزاده فوق<br />

همّه هامّ‏ ً، فكَره الشاعر اإلقامة يف مرص،‏ وبعد أنّ‏ مدح كافور عاد وهجاه،‏<br />

وقد سميت قصائده يف مدح كافور وهجائه يف تلك الفرتة بالكافوريّات.‏<br />

املتنبي ميدح كافور<br />

وبعد أن أىت املتنبي إىل مرص واستقبله حاكمها كافور اإلخشيدي مدح<br />

املتنبي كافور قائال:‏<br />

وما طرَيب ملَّا رأيتُكَ‏ بِدعةً‏ - لقد كُنتُ‏ أرجو أنْ‏ أراكَ‏ فأطربُ‏<br />

وتعذلُني فيكَ‏ القوايف وهِمَّتي - كأين مبدحٍ‏ قبل مدحِ‏ كَ‏ مُذنِبُ‏<br />

ولكنَّهُ‏ طالَ‏ الطَّريقُ‏ ومل أزَل - أُفَتَّشُ‏ عن هذا الكالمِ‏ ويُنهَبُ‏<br />

يُدَبِّرُ‏ املمُلْكَ‏ من مرصٍ‏ إىل عدَنٍ‏ - إىل العراقِ‏ فأرضِ‏ الرُّومِ‏ فالنُّوبِ‏<br />

املتنبي يهجو كافور<br />

وعندما مل يلقَ‏ املتنبي من كافور اإلخشيدي ما كان يطمح له من مناصب<br />

وعطايا،‏ نظّم به قصيدة هِجاءٍ‏ ارتكزَ‏ فيها عىل أصول اإلخشيدي الحبشية،‏ حيثُ‏<br />

كان حبشيًا من الرقّ‏ والعبيد قبل وصوله للحكم،‏ يتّصف ببرشة سمراء وشفاه<br />

وقدمنّي متشقّقتنّي.‏ وأساء إىل كافور بتصويره بشكلٍ‏ ساخر،‏ لذا هرب املتنبي<br />

من مرص حوايل ‎960‎م.‏ قام بعدها بعدة رحالتٍ‏ أخرى،‏ مبا يف ذلك بغداد ويعترب<br />

هجاء املتنبي لكافور من أشهر ما قيل يف الهجاء حيث عايره بأنه خيص وعبد<br />

وبلون برشته األسود،‏ وقيل بعد هذه القصيدة لو قام كافور بإعطاء املتنبي حُكم<br />

مرص بأرسها وليس فقط منصب لكان أفضل لكافور بدال من هذه القصيدة التي<br />

أساءت له وخلدت هذه اإلساءة،‏ ومن أبيات املتنبي يف هجاء كافور اإلخشيدي:‏<br />

ال تَشرَتَ‏ ِ العَبدَ‏ إِالّ‏ وَالعَصا مَعَهُ‏ - إِنَّ‏ العَبيدَ‏ ألَ‏ ‏َنجاسٌ‏ مَناكيدُ‏<br />

ما كُنتُ‏ أَحسَ‏ بُني أبقى إِىل زَمَنٍ‏ - يُيسءُ‏ يب فيهِ‏ كَلبٌ‏ وَهوَ‏ مَحمودُ‏<br />

وَأَنَّ‏ ذا األَسوَدَ‏ املَثقوبَ‏ مِشفَرُهُ‏ - تُطيعُهُ‏ ذي العَضاريطُ‏ الرَعاديدُ‏<br />

جَوعانُ‏ يَأكُلُ‏ مِن زادي وَمُيُ‏ سِ‏ كُني - لِيكَ‏ يُقالَ‏ عَظيمُ‏ القَدرِ‏ مَقصودُ‏<br />

مَن عَلَّمَ‏ األَسوَدَ‏ املَخيِصِ‏ َّ مَكرُمَةً‏ - أَقَومُهُ‏ البيضُ‏ أَم آبائُهُ‏ الصيدُ‏<br />

أَم أُذنُهُ‏ يف يَدِ‏ النَخّاسِ‏ دامِيَةً‏ - أَم قَدرُهُ‏ وَهوَ‏ بِالفَلسَ‏ نيِ‏ مَردودُ‏<br />

أَوىل اللِئامِ‏ كُوَيفريٌ‏ مبِ‏ ‏َعذِرَةٍ‏ - يف كُلِّ‏ لُؤمٍ‏ وَبَعضُ‏ العُذرِ‏ تَفنيدُ‏<br />

وَذاكَ‏ أَنَّ‏ الفُحولَ‏ البيضَ‏ عاجِزَةٌ‏ - عَنِ‏ الجَميلِ‏ فَكَيفَ‏ الخِصيَةُ‏ السودُ‏<br />

رحلة املتنبي للقاء عضد الدولة وابن العميد<br />

وقد كان ملحنة املتنبي ومعاناته أثناء وجوده يف مرص أكرب األثر يف شعره،‏<br />

حيث كان مختلفاً‏ عن كل شعره السابق،‏ إذ اتّسم شعره يف تلك السنوات<br />

مبهارات عديدةٍ،‏ وقد وضع فيه خالصة تجارب حياته كلّها.‏<br />

توجّه املتنبي إىل العراق بعد خيبة أمله عند كافور حيث كان يتنقل<br />

بنّي الكوفة وبغداد،‏ ثم توجه إىل أرجان قاصداً‏ أيب الفضل ابن العميد<br />

وزير عضد الدولة،‏ فمكث عنده فرتةً‏ من الزمن مدحه فيها مبجموعةٍ‏ من<br />

القصائد سميت بالعميديات،‏ وأثناء وجوده يف أرجان أرسل عضد الدولة<br />

بن بوّيه يدعوه للقدوم إليه،‏ فلّبى املتنبي الدعوة،‏ ووجد عند السلّطان<br />

الحفاوة والتكريم،‏ فعادت للشاعر حريّته التي افتقدها يف مرص،‏ وملكته<br />

الشعرية وآماله وطموحاته،‏ ومكث يف ضيافة عضد الدولة ثالثة أشهرٍ‏<br />

مدحه خاللها يف ست قصائد غاية يف الروعةِ‏ سميت بالعضديات،‏<br />

لكن املتنبي رغب بالرحيل والعودة إىل العراق لسببٍ‏ غري معروف،‏<br />

وعىل إثر ذلك ودّع ابن بوية بالقصيدة التي استهلها قائال:‏ فِدًى لكَ‏ مَن<br />

يُقَرصّ‏ ُ عَن مَداكا فَال مَلِكٌ‏ إذَنْ‏ إالّ‏ فَدَاكَا.‏<br />

ولكنه مل يتمكن من تأمنّي الحامية لنفسه،‏ حيث كانت بغداد يف خطر<br />

بسبب حمالت القرامطة املتعددة عليها،‏ ما اضطُر املتنبي أن يستقر يف مدينة<br />

شرياز بإيران تحت حامية أمري الدولة من أرسة بئيد حتى عام 965 عندما عاد<br />

إىل العراق وقتل بالقرب من النعامنية يف محافظة واسط/الكوت.‏<br />

مقتله<br />

عرف عن املتنبي إتقان املدح وهجاء نفس الشخص،‏ وكان شعرهُ‏ السبب<br />

الرئييسّ‏ بوفاته وقيل قتلته قصيدتان له فيهام هجاءٌ‏ وفخر.‏ كان املتنبي<br />

قد هجا قاطع طرق يدعى ضبة بن يزيد األسدي العيني بقصيدة شديدة<br />

الهجاء شنيعة األلفاظ وتحتوي عىل الكثري من الطعن يف الرشف والقصيدة<br />

معروفة ومشهورة ومطلعها:‏<br />

مَا أنصَ‏ فَ‏ القَومُ‏ ضبّة وَأمهُ‏ الطرْطبّة - وإمنّ‏ ا قلتُ‏ ما قُلتُ‏ رَحمَة ال<br />

مَحَبة<br />

وعندما علم فاتك بن أيب الجهل األسدي ‏)خال ضبة(‏ بالقصيدة غضب<br />

عند سامعها أراد االنتقام ألخته وابنها ضبة فاعرتض سبيل أيب الطيب وهو<br />

يف طريقه إىل بغداد فالكوفة وواجهه بنحو 30 من رجاله وقيل أكرث،‏ فقاتله<br />

املتنبي حتى قتل هو وابنه محسد وعدد ممن كانوا معه.‏<br />

وقد قيل إن أبا الطيب ملا رأى كرثة رجال فاتك وأحس بالغلبة لهم<br />

أراد الفرار فقال له غُالم له:‏ ال يتحدث الناس عنك بالفرار وتهرب وأنت<br />

القائل:‏ فالخيلُ‏ والليلُ‏ والبيداءُ‏ تعرفني - والسيفُ‏ والرمحُ‏ والقرطاسُ‏<br />

والقلمُ‏<br />

فرد عليه املتنبي بقوله:‏ قتلتني قتلك الله،‏ وعاد املتنبي اىل سلوك<br />

درب املوت راجعاً‏ وكان مقتله بسبب هذا البيت يف تاريخ 25 رمضان<br />

354 هجري املوافق ‎965/09/24‎م،‏ وقُتل معه ابنه محسد وغالمه مُفلح<br />

بالنعامنية بالقرب من دير العاقول جنوب غرب بغداد.‏<br />

قرب املتنبي ‏)أبو سورة(‏<br />

يوجد قرب املتنبي شامل مفرق النعامنية ب‎3‎ كم يف محافظة واسط،‏ بُنيَ‏<br />

ألول مرة من الطنّي يف الثالثينيات من القرن املايض عىل يد حمودي<br />

الشكور ‏)من وجهاء املنطقة(،‏ ثم يف نهاية االربعينيات جاءت لجان دولية<br />

معنية بتحليل بقايا الجثامن للتأكد من انه يعود للشاعر ابو الطيّب<br />

املتنبي؛ وتم التأكد من ذلك.‏<br />

كان قربَ‏ املتنبي سابقاً‏ محاطاً‏ بالكثري من قبور االطفال،‏ ظناً‏ من الناس<br />

انهُ‏ إمامٌ‏ ما وتربكاً‏ بهِ‏ قاموا يدفنون اطفالهم بقربه،‏ ثم متّت إزاحة املقربة<br />

يف مطلع التسعينات وشُ‏ يّدَ‏ البناء الحايل يف الوقت نفسه،‏ وهناك تشابها<br />

معامرياً‏ بينه وبنّي األبنية االثرية االخرى التي بُنيَتْ‏ يف عهد النظام السابق.‏<br />

اهل واسط القدامى ينادون املتنبي ب ‏)ابو سَ‏ ورة(‏ ألن مياه فيضان<br />

دجلة التي اغرقت اغلب مناطق واسط يف خمسينيات القرن املايض صارت<br />

تطوف حول القرب ومل تصل اليه،‏ ويعتربون ذلك من كرامات املتنبي ولهذا<br />

أصبحوا يدفنون اطفالهم بالقرب منه بعد الفيضان.‏<br />

جاء أبا ألطيب املتنبي ورحل ولن يعود مثيله وكم أمتنى أن يرجع ألزمن<br />

قرونا وأقيض يوما يف مجلس ديوانه ألستمع ألشعاره أو أسري ظال ظليال جنب<br />

ركبانيات خطواته فهو عندي واحد من أصدقاء الفِكر العرشة ومن املستحيل<br />

أن تحوي مقالة كهذه كل قصائده وأمثاله وتطوي حكمه وطيبّاته.‏<br />

هذه بإيجاز كانت قصة الشاعر العظيم أيب الطيب املتنبي كام جاءت<br />

يف كتب مقاالت الكتاب واألدب واالشعار واىل موعد مع شاعر اخر وقصائد<br />

أخرى.‏<br />

املصادر:‏ املؤرخ تامر الزغاري،‏ تاريخ بغداد-‏ الخطيب البغدادي،‏ املتنبي-‏<br />

محمود شاكر رشح ديوان املتنبي-‏ عيل بن أحمد الواحدي،‏ أبو الطيب املتنبي يف<br />

مرص والعراق-‏ مصطفى الشكعة،‏ نقوس املهدي/‏ املغرب،‏ الكاتب عيل جاسم.‏<br />

40 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong>



JANUARY 9, <strong>2024</strong> – <strong>MARCH</strong> 21, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Tuesdays and Thursdays<br />


9:30 am – 11:30<br />

am<br />

OR<br />


5:00 pm – 7:00 pm<br />


To register please call CCF at 586-722-7253<br />

$40 registration fee<br />


<strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong> NEWS 41


Mesopotamia to the Motor City<br />

New ventures in a new land<br />


Part 3<br />

The Chaldeans’ journey to Detroit<br />

is a story constantly being rewritten<br />

as the community grows and<br />

evolves. It would be relatively simple<br />

to characterize Chaldeans in the early<br />

1900s; their differences from other immigrants<br />

left them with few options besides<br />

the assembly line, menial labor,<br />

or starting their own farmers market<br />

stalls and eventually small storefronts.<br />

As Chaldeans found the growing<br />

need for integration into their new<br />

community as well as a certain independence<br />

from it, they realized that<br />

the neighborhood store business was<br />

perfect for them. Intimately familiar<br />

with farming and agriculture, they<br />

found synergy in buying and selling<br />

produce. In addition, their biggest<br />

advantage was the community trust<br />

established and maintained by faith<br />

and family, which they used to learn<br />

from and support one another in<br />

times of need.<br />

As time went on and new generations<br />

were born, however, they became<br />

acculturated and Americanized.<br />

Young, enterprising Chaldeans created<br />

business ideas that have survived decades,<br />

and their dedication to service<br />

and their community has rendered tremendous<br />

success.<br />

In addition, Chaldean immigrant<br />

families tend to act like others from<br />

different communities, emphasizing<br />

a complete education and pushing<br />

their children to become professionals<br />

in some high-earning field. Therefore,<br />

Chaldeans in Michigan have<br />

become doctors, lawyers, judges, engineers,<br />

architects, salesmen, managers,<br />

restaurant operators, athletes,<br />

and excel many more professions, as<br />

the Chaldean News highlights on a<br />

daily basis.<br />

This kind of integration is important<br />

for any immigrant group to<br />

become a productive and respected<br />

part of society. By expanding their<br />

scope, Chaldeans can interact with all<br />

kinds of people while maintaining the<br />

Mike George<br />

close-knit ties to their community that<br />

brought them this far.<br />

In some cases, the most successful<br />

businesses resulted only from the hard<br />

work and dedication to service that<br />

Chaldeans are known for.<br />

Mike George’s Melody Farms<br />

Mike George is one of the legendary<br />

Chaldean pioneers, and for good reason.<br />

He built a long record of service<br />

and support for his community while<br />

also demonstrating incredible business<br />

acumen.<br />

Scott George, one of Mike’s sons, described<br />

how his father got started in his<br />

famed career. “My grandfather owned<br />

a meat market in Detroit,” he said. “My<br />

father started delivering milk out of the<br />

market. They bought a van for $100 and<br />

just went door-to-door.”<br />

Scott’s uncle and his father, Mike,<br />

started Tom George Dairy and Sons. As<br />

years passed, the business grew, and<br />

Mike bought his own dairy company.<br />

Eventually, even while Mike was still<br />

running it, Melody Farms became the<br />

Saad Abbo<br />

largest independent dairy in the Midwest<br />

with 450 employees.<br />

In a 2003 interview with the Chaldean<br />

News, Mike George commented<br />

on how his business got its name. “We<br />

were distributing milk through Wilson<br />

Dairy at the time,” recalled George. “It<br />

was homogenized milk. There was no 2<br />

percent or low-fat at the time. We added<br />

vitamin D to the milk and as a result we<br />

had the highest butterfat milk of all the<br />

competitors. The more fat, the smoother<br />

the product.” In 1962, the name<br />

changed to Mello-D to compliment<br />

the smooth texture and the vitamin D,<br />

eventually becoming Melody Farms.<br />

Saad Abbo’s U.S. Ice<br />

Saad Abbo’s family came to America in<br />

1972, when he was 10 years old. For the<br />

next ten years of his life, his family operated<br />

that store. One fateful summer<br />

day in 1984, which Abbo remembers<br />

as the hottest day in summer, the ice<br />

delivery service they used failed to deliver<br />

on a Thursday night, not showing<br />

up until Monday night.<br />

“My father was so pissed,” Abbo<br />

said. “When a customer walks in, they<br />

come and buy groceries and pop and<br />

other stuff. If you don’t have all the<br />

items, they go to another store. We had<br />

a few customers just leave the buggy<br />

and walk away.”<br />

In his anger, Abbo’s father suggested<br />

the family start their own ice company.<br />

The rest is history.<br />

42 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong>


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TEL:<br />

TEL: (586) (586) 722-7253 722-7253<br />

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www.chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

“My father was aggressive,” Abbo added. “We<br />

opened up the ice company and put a plant together.<br />

It was producing 10,000 pounds of ice every day. At the<br />

time, we thought that was a lot.”<br />

Abbo and his brother bought a few trucks. After the<br />

first year, they had about 50 customers. Not bad for a<br />

startup, but it wasn’t something to start a career over.<br />

The following year, that number tripled to 150. After<br />

that, they really believed they could succeed in this<br />

business. So they sold the store.<br />

“The whole idea behind it is service,” Abbo said.<br />

“We built this thing around the idea that you don’t delay<br />

a customer. They call, and we were there every time.”<br />

In the beginning, it was the Chaldeans who helped<br />

Abbo and his family succeed. His high level of service<br />

and ability to keep prices down was appealing to the<br />

large community of store owners. Eventually word<br />

spread about U.S. Ice, and they deservedly got many<br />

more clients. A little over a year ago, Abbo decided to<br />

retire, and sold his company to Home City Ice.<br />

“We kept the price down in Michigan compared to<br />

every other state in the country,” Abbo said. “Since we<br />

sold the business one year ago, the prices have almost<br />

doubled from what they used to be, which is actually a<br />

normal price compared to the rest of the country. And<br />

the service is not there.”<br />

Abbo won the Chaldean Chamber of Commerce<br />

Businessperson of the Year Award in 2014 and was<br />

last year inducted into the Great Lakes Ice Association<br />

Hall of Fame.<br />

He attributes his success to God. “In the Chaldean<br />

community, there’s family and God,” he said. “The way<br />

we believe in God, no other community is like that.<br />

Church is the center of everything.”<br />

<strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 43



Saad Dawood Saiyad<br />

Oct 11, 1954 —<br />

Jan 17, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Ilisha Astafin<br />

Apr 11, 1958 —<br />

Jan 22, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Roza Habbo<br />

Jarjees Soter<br />

Jul 1, 1932 —<br />

Jan 23, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Masaoud Jamil<br />

Attisha<br />

Jan 5, 1945 —<br />

Jan 25, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Yosif Sarmad Khasir<br />

May 28, 2005 —<br />

Jan 26, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Thair Samir Dado<br />

Bashar Yaldo<br />

Jun 26, 1968 —<br />

Jan 26, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Manal Bahjat Guriya<br />

Jun 23, 1958 —<br />

Feb 1, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Rev. Jacob<br />

Moses Kakish<br />

Dec 24, 1942 —<br />

Jan 27, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Silvia Yusuf Ideh<br />

Mar 18, 1950 —<br />

Feb 2, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Batoul Putres<br />

Jajawe Yaldo<br />

Jul 15, 1954 —<br />

Jan 28, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Nooria Salmu<br />

Mansour<br />

May 5, 1935 —<br />

Feb 2, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Suad A. Hermiz<br />

Jan 30, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Sarah Petrus<br />

Jul 1, 1930 —<br />

Feb 2, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Khairiya Toma Kassab<br />

Jul 1, 1941 —<br />

Jan 30, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Adil Jubraeel<br />

Jul1, 1937 —<br />

Feb 3, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Thair Samir Dado was born on June 23,<br />

1980, and died on February 4, <strong>2024</strong>. Thair,<br />

43, was killed at work, gunned down in<br />

the parking lot of All Stars Beverage Liquor<br />

Store in the city of Detroit while attempting<br />

to stop the theft of his vehicle.<br />

Thair leaves behind a wife, Zina Francis,<br />

and 16-year-old son, Steven. The Chaldean<br />

American Chamber of Commerce<br />

and Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

have engaged the Waad Murad Advocacy<br />

Fund in support of Thair. The Fund, working<br />

with the Detroit Police Department<br />

and Crimestoppers, will award $10,000<br />

to the supplier of information that leads<br />

to the arrest and conviction of the culprits<br />

of the murder, bringing justice to the perpetrators<br />

and hopefully, some small semblance<br />

of relief to the victim’s families.<br />

Arkan Hirmiz Kenaya<br />

Aug 8, 1948 —<br />

Feb 4, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Louis Patto Meram<br />

Aug 7, 1941 —<br />

Feb 5, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Samira Shaeena<br />

Antwan<br />

Jan 6, 1944 —<br />

Feb 6, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Steven Sabri<br />

Shamoun<br />

Dec 23, 1984 —<br />

Feb 7, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Sliwa Jarjis Kasgorgis<br />

Aug 1, 1931 —<br />

Feb 9, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Lameea Odish Karcho<br />

Aug 20, 1956 —<br />

Feb 10, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Nazar Awadis Krikor<br />

Jul 1, 1938 —<br />

Feb 10, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Samira Mera<br />

Jul 1, 1937 —<br />

Feb 11, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Najah Khamo Jarjosa<br />

Apr 12, 1943 —<br />

Feb 13, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Goze Matti Khamis<br />

Jul 1, 1932 —<br />

Feb 13, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Tarek Nouri Kizy<br />

Jul 1, 1952 —<br />

Feb 14, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Amira Shakir Abro<br />

Oct 25, 1936 –<br />

Feb 16, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Amir Salman Alyas<br />

Apr 1, 1956 –<br />

Feb 17, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Najat Halata<br />

Sep 24, 1938 –<br />

Feb 18, <strong>2024</strong><br />

44 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>MARCH</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 Therapist<br />

Case Worker • Citizenship Instructor<br />

Advocacy<br />

Acculturation<br />

For More Information<br />

HR@chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

586-722-7253<br />

www.chaldeanfoundation.org/careers<br />

Community Development<br />

Cultural Preservation<br />

<strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 45


Prioritizing<br />

Education<br />

As with most immigrant families, education is a<br />

priority in Chaldean households. These archival<br />

photos from the Chaldean Cultural Center<br />

show classes in Baghdad as well as Detroit,<br />

with Chaldean teachers in all classrooms. The<br />

Chaldean mission in Michigan remains to educate<br />

fellow citizens about who Chaldeans are.<br />

Clockwise from top left:<br />

Amira Mary taught English at Alsyryan<br />

Catholic School in Baghdad in 1964.<br />

Farouk Samona taught mathematics in<br />

Detroit Public Schools in the 1990s.<br />

Farouk Samona also taught at Redford High<br />

School and Oakland Community College.<br />

Malik Mary was an English language<br />

and literature teacher at Al-Mustansiriya<br />

University in Baghdad.<br />

Mary Romaya at Warren Woods Tower<br />

High School in 2009.<br />

The Chaldean Cultural Center and Museum<br />

owns a collection of captivating images from<br />

our vibrant community that we are delighted<br />

to share with the Chaldean News. If you<br />

have photographs that you would like us to<br />

incorporate into our archive, kindly reach<br />

out to us at info@chaldeanculturalcenter.org<br />

or call 248-681-5050.<br />

46 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>MARCH</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

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