JULY 2024

Chaldean News – July 2024

Chaldean News – July 2024


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METRO DETROIT CHALDEAN COMMUNITY VOL. 21 ISSUE VI <strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong><br />

Halhole!<br />

THERE’S NO<br />




Featuring:<br />

Mayor Saywish speaks<br />

Ron Acho: Uncommon Counselor<br />

The Rite of First Holy Communion


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2 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>



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

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

A<br />

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

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

METRO DETROIT CHALDEAN COMMUNITY | <strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> | VOL. 21 ISSUE VI<br />


20 Halhole<br />

There’s no wedding like a<br />

Chaldean wedding<br />

By Sarah Kittle<br />


22 Stay Tuned<br />

CN TV/radio studio coming<br />

By Cal Abbo<br />

24 Growing Pains<br />

July covers through the years<br />

By Sarah Kittle<br />

26 Syawish Speaks<br />

Interview with the Mayor of Ankawa<br />

By Cal Abbo<br />


8 From the Editor<br />

Recognition & Acknowledgement<br />

By Sarah Kittle<br />

40 Culture & History<br />

Plight of the Yazidis Part I<br />

By Dr. Adhid Miri<br />

20<br />

30 Uncommon Counselor<br />

A chat with Ron Acho<br />

By Sarah Kittle<br />

32 No Sheetz<br />

Advocacy efforts pay off<br />

By Cal Abbo<br />

34 Growing in Faith<br />

First Holy Communion tradition & culture<br />

By Hayley Gappy<br />

38 Avant Language Assessment<br />

10 Foundation Update<br />

Scholarships, Immigrant Heritage Month,<br />

Early Voting & Summer Sports<br />

12 Noteworthy<br />

New Appointment & Oakland County<br />

Scholars<br />

14 Chaldean Digest<br />

Return to Iraq, Cardinal Sako’s return,<br />

Jonny “Magic” Mansour<br />

16 Iraq Today<br />

Oil Refinery Burns<br />

18 In Memoriam<br />

18 Obituaries<br />

Abdul Hammo and Showkat Mona<br />

44 Culture & History<br />

Plight of the Yazidis Part I (Arabic)<br />

By Dr. Adhid Miri<br />

48 Sports<br />

St. Mary’s Rowing Team<br />

By Steve Stein<br />

50 Health & Wellness<br />

Avoiding Sports Injuries<br />

By Neil Danial Jaddou, M.D. & Vojtech<br />

Parizek, M.D.<br />

52 Event<br />

CACC Golf Outing<br />

54 From the Archive<br />

Family Vacations<br />

34<br />

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



Chaldean News, LLC<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation<br />



Sarah Kittle<br />


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Hayley Gappy<br />

Neil Danial Jaddou, M.D.<br />

Sarah Kittle<br />

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Vojtech Parizek, M.D.<br />

Steve Stein<br />



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

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

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

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

Publication Address:<br />

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Farmington Hills, MI 48334;<br />

Permit to mail at periodicals postage rates<br />

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Postmaster: Send address changes to<br />

“The Chaldean News 30095 Northwestern<br />

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Recognition and Acknowledgement<br />


EDITOR<br />

IN CHIEF<br />

Recognition, as moral theologian James F.<br />

Keenan, S.J. asserts, serves as a fundamental<br />

ethical threshold. In his essay “The<br />

Great Religious Failure: Not Recognizing a Person<br />

in Need,” Keenan draws upon the timeless parable<br />

of the Good Samaritan to illustrate that the act of<br />

recognition is the pivotal first step towards helping<br />

others. Once we acknowledge someone’s need,<br />

we become morally engaged — “hooked,” as the<br />

author puts it — compelled to respond and assist.<br />

This notion underscores the profound impact of<br />

recognition in prompting compassionate action.<br />

During an interview with Ron Acho, the significance of<br />

recognition was further underscored. Despite differences<br />

in cultural background—his Chaldean heritage contrasted<br />

with his wife Rita’s non-Chaldean (Maltese) identity—they<br />

share a profound bond rooted in their mutual recognition<br />

of Christ as their personal lord and savior. This recognition<br />

transcends cultural and religious boundaries, emphasizing<br />

a shared spiritual connection that unites them.<br />

Similarly, the power of recognition is highlighted in Dr.<br />

Miri’s article concerning the plight of the Yazidis. By shedding<br />

light on their struggles and bringing their situation into<br />

focus, Dr. Miri’s work aims to inspire action and advocacy<br />

to protect this vulnerable community in the future. Recognition<br />

here serves as a catalyst for awareness and intervention,<br />

urging readers to not only empathize but also to take meaningful<br />

steps towards justice and support.<br />

Recognition also takes on a celebratory role in our publication.<br />

In our Noteworthy section, exceptional students<br />

are acknowledged for their achievements, celebrating their<br />

hard work and accomplishments. Similarly, in the Sports<br />

section, athletes are recognized for their dedication and<br />

prowess in their respective fields. These forms of recognition<br />

not only honor individual achievements but also inspire<br />

others, fostering a culture of excellence and encouragement<br />

within the community.<br />

Acknowledgement, closely related to recognition, plays<br />

a crucial role in affirming the contributions and presence of<br />

others. It goes beyond mere awareness to actively validating<br />

and honoring individuals or groups for their<br />

achievements, experiences, or challenges they face.<br />

Acknowledgement of someone’s existence, validity,<br />

or legality is no small thing. It is a concession,<br />

an admission, acceptance. Whether acknowledging<br />

the resilience of marginalized communities or<br />

the achievements of outstanding individuals, acknowledgment<br />

serves as a cornerstone of respect<br />

and appreciation in fostering a more inclusive and<br />

supportive society. By acknowledging the efforts and<br />

realities of others, we not only recognize their worth<br />

but also cultivate empathy, understanding, and solidarity<br />

across diverse perspectives and backgrounds.<br />

Recognition in the form of acknowledgement can be a<br />

catalyst for action, too. As I have always said to my children,<br />

“You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.”<br />

Recognition emerges as a potent<br />

force. It serves not only to<br />

acknowledge but also to validate,<br />

connect, and motivate.<br />

In all these instances, whether in acts of compassion, cultural<br />

understanding, advocacy, or celebration of achievement,<br />

recognition emerges as a potent force. It serves not only to acknowledge<br />

but also to validate, connect, and motivate, ultimately<br />

driving positive change and fostering a sense of solidarity<br />

and mutual respect among individuals and communities.<br />

As we continue to explore the myriad ways recognition<br />

shapes our interactions and perceptions, let’s remain mindful<br />

of its profound ethical implications and transformative<br />

power.<br />

Sarah Kittle<br />

Editor in Chief<br />






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


Left: 2023 Scholarship Award<br />

Ceremony at the Chaldean<br />

Community Foundation<br />

Immigrant Heritage Month<br />

Celebrated in June<br />

The CCF’s <strong>2024</strong> Academic<br />

Scholarship Program is Now Open<br />

Through support from w3r Consulting, Drs. Nathima and Peter Atchoo Family Foundation,<br />

Yvonne Nona Memorial Scholarship Fund, Abdul Karim and Jameela Sesi Memorial<br />

Scholarship Fund, DA Advisory Group, the Karim and Bernadette Sarafa General<br />

Fund, and the Derek Dickow Scholarship Fund, the CCF will award nearly $70,000 in<br />

scholarships to college students this year.<br />

Candidates must submit all supporting documents with their application and essay<br />

questions. Winners will be awarded at a private celebration at the Chaldean Community<br />

Foundation on August 16. Application deadline is Monday, July 8, <strong>2024</strong>, at 5:00<br />

p.m. To apply, visit chaldeanfoundation.org/scholarship-program<br />

Fadya, a remarkable refugee<br />

from Baghdad, Iraq, arrived<br />

in the U.S. in 2016 as a<br />

single mom, seeking growth<br />

and opportunity after the<br />

tragic loss of her husband.<br />

With the support of the CCF,<br />

Fadya found a second home.<br />

She received help with ESL<br />

classes, applying for citizenship,<br />

and much more.<br />

Fadya at the CCF.<br />

Now, Fadya’s son, a<br />

straight-A middle school student, is thriving. Inspired by her son’s<br />

academic success, Fadya is pursuing a college degree herself.<br />

Fadya extends her heartfelt thanks to CCF, especially Miss<br />

Jumhoria Kaskorkis, for the unwavering support and guidance.<br />

Fadya’s journey from asylum to U.S. citizenship is a testament to<br />

the power of community and support.<br />

“The Chaldean Community Foundation and staff have been<br />

a wonderful support throughout my past years as I embark on a<br />

journey from asylum to stability,” said Fadya.<br />

Join us in celebrating stories like Fadya’s and supporting refugees<br />

around the world.<br />

Early Voting at<br />

the CCF<br />

Sterling Heights residents have<br />

a new opportunity to vote! Residents<br />

can now vote in person at<br />

either of the Early Voting sites before<br />

Election Day (July 27-August<br />

4) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., including<br />

weekends, for nine days before the<br />

election.<br />

The two locations include the<br />

Sterling Heights Community Center<br />

at 40250 Dodge Park Road,<br />

Sterling Heights, MI 48313 and the<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

at 3601 15 Mile Rd, Sterling<br />

Heights, MI 48310.<br />

The Chaldean Community<br />

Foundation launched the “Hey U<br />

Vote” initiative in 2017 to aid individuals<br />

with voter registration and<br />

offers voter registration services in<br />

their office daily.<br />

For more information, visit the<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

during business hours.<br />

The Chaldean Community Foundation and Sterling<br />

Heights to provide early voting.<br />

Scan for more<br />

information.<br />

Spots are still available for Girls Futsal.<br />

Summer Sports Camp<br />

Still Open<br />

6th and 7th grade girls and boys interested in futsal and pickleball<br />

can now sign up for a free summer sports program at the CCF.<br />

Girls Futsal will begin July 8-July 25 and<br />

the Boys/Girls Pickleball session starts on<br />

July 29 and runs until August 15.<br />

Cap your summer with some actionpacked<br />

fun at the CCF!<br />

For more information about our Summer<br />

Sports Sampling Camps, call Rachel<br />

Hall at 586-722-7253.<br />

Scan for more<br />

information.<br />

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



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Attorney on the Rise, Chaldean American Bar (2016)<br />

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


Top Scholars in Oakland County <strong>2024</strong><br />

Several Chaldean students were recognized<br />

this year as Oakland County<br />

Scholars. From Bloomfield Hills High<br />

School, Elena Elias, whose parents<br />

are Eid and Fahda Elias, made the<br />

list. A 4.43 GPA student, Elena was<br />

an AP Scholar with Honor and an International<br />

Baccalaureate Programme<br />

Candidate. A member of Model United<br />

Nations, National Honor Society, and<br />

Science Olympiad, Elena plans to attend<br />

Michigan State University.<br />

From Detroit Catholic Central,<br />

Francis Toma, whose parents are<br />

Leon and Angie Toma from Commerce<br />

Township, was recognized. Francis<br />

participated in the media team, student<br />

newspaper and a Linking Hearts<br />

Mentorship and was a member of the<br />

Spanish Honors Society and HOSA-<br />

Future Health Professionals. Francis<br />

plans to attend Michigan State University<br />

to major in pre-med Biology.<br />

There were three exceptional students<br />

from Marian High School who<br />

made the grade: Grace Bitti, daughter<br />

of Abdulkarim and Niran Bitti of Sterling<br />

Heights; Chloe Toma, daughter of<br />

Bruce and Mervit Toma of West Bloomfield<br />

Township; and Jazzelle Yaldo,<br />

daughter of Bashar and Dalia Yaldo of<br />

Bloomfield Hills.<br />

With a 4.372 GPA, Grace Bitti was<br />

named a valedictorian while pursuing<br />

all Honors and AP courses. She was<br />

recognized by the Archdiocese of Detroit<br />

with the Scholastic All-Catholic<br />

Award each year and has earned Marian<br />

awards for High Honors, Science,<br />

the Girardot Social Studies award and<br />

scholarship and the Joe and Marilyn<br />

Balous Scholarship. She is an AP Scholar<br />

with Distinction and National Merit<br />

Commended student. Grace has been a<br />

member of NHS, Spanish Honor Society,<br />

Chaldean American Student Association<br />

and Medical Club. In addition,<br />

Grace competed with Model United<br />

Nations and was the Marian team president.<br />

Grace has been a member of the<br />

JV Tennis and Varsity Bowling teams.<br />

She is a tutor and a volunteer for her<br />

church’s communion program. Grace<br />

plans to attend Princeton University.<br />

With a 4.367 GPA while taking all<br />

Honors and AP classes, Chloe Toma<br />

was named a valedictorian and earned<br />

awards for High Honors. She was recognized<br />

with the Scholastic All-Catholic<br />

Award by the Archdiocese of Detroit each<br />

year of high school and awarded the<br />

University of Rochester Bausch + Lomb<br />

Honorary Science Award her junior year.<br />

Chloe was president of National STEM<br />

Honors Society chapter, secretary of the<br />

NHS chapter, and a member of Spanish<br />

Honor Society, National Art Honor<br />

Society, Ambassador Club, and Project<br />

Care. Chloe served as a homeroom representative<br />

throughout high school and<br />

was captain of the JV tennis team her junior<br />

year. Chloe is the pianist for Mother<br />

of God Chaldean Catholic Church and<br />

a volunteer with World Medical Relief.<br />

Chloe plans to attend Oakland University<br />

to study Biology on a pre-med track.<br />

A 4.385 GPA student, Jazzelle Yaldo<br />

earned an AP Scholar Award, an American<br />

Citizenship Award, and Highest Honors,<br />

Science Honors, Mathematics Honors,<br />

Spanish Honors, Physical Education<br />

Honors, and Literature Honors. Jazzelle<br />

was founder and president of the school’s<br />

Pre-Med Club, participated in Leadership<br />

Council/Ambassador Club, was president<br />

of the Be Nice Club, NHS, Entrepreneurship<br />

Club, was Optimist Club office<br />

assistant at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland<br />

Hospital, a researcher of the study of the<br />

detrimental effects of Bulimia Nervosa on<br />

the epidermis, a head lifeguard at Forest<br />

Lake Country Club (Red Cross CPR/AED<br />

certified), Friendship Circle volunteer,<br />

student ambassador, varsity basketball<br />

player and team captain, and was on the<br />

swim team. Jazzelle plans to attend the<br />

University of Michigan.<br />

At Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Prep,<br />

Jonathan Kassab, son of Bianca and<br />

Clint Kassab of West Bloomfield Township,<br />

made top grades. A 4.27 student,<br />

Jonathan was a member of NHS and<br />

played multiple sports. Jonathan has<br />

had three jobs and takes care of his elderly<br />

grandmother and siblings while<br />

serving the community and volunteering<br />

at his church.<br />

Appointed to the Michigan Board of Optometry<br />

Dr. Rovetta Mattia was appointed to represent<br />

optometrists for a term commencing<br />

June 6, <strong>2024</strong>, and expiring June 30,<br />

2026. Dr. Rovetta Mattia succeeds Teresa<br />

Seim whose term has expired.<br />

Dr. Rovetta Mattia, of Novi, is a licensed<br />

optometrist with Henry Ford<br />

OptimEyes. She holds a Bachelor of<br />

Science in bioengineering from the<br />

University of California at San Diego,<br />

and a Doctor of Optometry from the<br />

University of California Berkeley.<br />

Dr. Mattia is a first-generation<br />

Chaldean-American who was born<br />

in Southfield, Michigan. Her family<br />

later moved to California. She completed<br />

clinical rotations in surgical<br />

and pediatric centers in San Francisco,<br />

Phoenix, and San Diego.<br />

After graduating, she returned to<br />

Michigan and began working for Henry<br />

Ford OptimEyes. She enjoys taking<br />

care of patients of all ages, especially<br />

children. She has fluency in Modern<br />

Aramaic (Chaldean) and some Arabic.<br />

She and her husband enjoy cooking,<br />

traveling, and raising their four boys.<br />

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

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


Pope Francis received Cardinal Louis Sako in a private audience at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican<br />

on Saturday, October 21, 2023.<br />

Celebrating Cardinal Sako’s return<br />

to the Chaldean Church in Iraq<br />

Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako has returned<br />

to Iraq after almost a year away<br />

from his patriarchal see in Baghdad.<br />

His return came after the country’s<br />

prime minister signed a decree reinstating<br />

the recognition of the cardinal<br />

as patriarch of the Chaldean Church,<br />

responsible for the church’s property<br />

and assets.<br />

The cardinal had left Iraq and<br />

moved to a monastery in Iraqi Kurdistan<br />

in July 2023 following a crisis in<br />

diplomatic relations between the Patriarchate<br />

and Iraqi leaders.<br />

Last year, the president of Iraq<br />

revoked the decree recognizing his<br />

ecclesiastical position among Iraq’s<br />

institutions. With his reinstatement,<br />

Cardinal Sako returned to the country<br />

and celebrated a Mass to express<br />

his gratitude. The local community as<br />

well as bishops, priests and nuns attended<br />

the Mass.<br />

– The Catholic Weekly<br />



Jonny “Magic”<br />

Mansour wins<br />

pro boxing<br />

debut in San<br />

Diego<br />

SAN DIEGO — Jonny Mansour made<br />

San Diego boxing fans happy when he<br />

made his professional boxing debut<br />

with a resounding win at Pechanga<br />

Arena on a Saturday in late May. The<br />

fight was in the lightweight division<br />

at 135 pounds against a fighter who already<br />

had 8 professional bouts under<br />

his belt.<br />

Mansour’s nickname is “Magic,”<br />

because of his flare for footwork.<br />

“You know, I thank God for this<br />

victory,” Mansour said. “Thank you to<br />

my team, my camp for preparing me,<br />

and it’s the first of many.<br />

“All the fans from the Middle East<br />

community support me very heavily,”<br />

Mansour said. “I want to build more<br />

Families’ faith blossoms again on Nineveh Plains<br />

Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda<br />

of Erbil in Iraq says about 9,000 Christian<br />

families have returned to their<br />

homes on the Nineveh Plains after<br />

fleeing a decade ago, when ISIS took<br />

the region.<br />

In June 2014, the Islamist extremist<br />

group captured Mosul and the villages<br />

to the north and east of the city,<br />

prompting a mass exodus of Christians<br />

and Yazidis.<br />

Speaking to Aid to the Church<br />

in Need (ACN), Archbishop Warda<br />

noted the occupation of Mosul left<br />

other Christians on the Nineveh Plains<br />

vulnerable, and on August 6, 2014,<br />

prompted by further ISIS aggression,<br />

the entire Christian population fled to<br />

Iraqi Kurdistan.<br />

The archbishop told ACN that<br />

Archbishop Bashar Warda<br />

13,200 Christian families had fled to<br />

his archdiocese in Iraq’s autonomous<br />

Kurdistan region.<br />

He said he was grateful to the international<br />

community for providing<br />

emergency aid and helping to rebuild<br />

the destroyed villages, making it possible<br />

for thousands of Christian families<br />

to return to their native land, with<br />

“everyone working towards one goal.”<br />


The archbishop said the “churches<br />

were filled again” and many children<br />

were receiving catechesis and preparing<br />

for their First Holy Communion.<br />

He said that his community needs<br />

all the help it can get to “keep the<br />

flame of the Christian faith shining” in<br />

Iraq’s historic Christian heartland.<br />

“I ask my people just to be patient<br />

and persevere.”<br />

The international community<br />

should not forget Iraq’s suffering<br />

Christians “in the midst of so many<br />

crises around the world,” he urged.<br />

The archbishop said that he would<br />

love to see the UK government and other<br />

world leaders remind Iraqi politicians<br />

that they care about the minorities –<br />

“Christians, Yazidis, and the rest.”<br />

– cathnews.com<br />

Fans of boxer Jonny Mansour at his<br />

first pro fight in San Diego.<br />

faith and inspire the younger generation<br />

of the Middle East to come behind<br />

me [and] start boxing.”<br />

Mansour is one of only two current<br />

pro fighters of Chaldean ancestry. His<br />

cousin is the other.<br />

“You’re gonna start off you know,<br />

from scratch, it takes a lot of hard work<br />

… everyone’s gonna ask you ‘why you<br />

wake up early, why you sleep early,<br />

why do you avoid parties?’”<br />

Boxing analysts shared positive<br />

feedback for Mansour during the<br />

broadcast. “He’s a great spot for his<br />

first professional fight,” they said. “He<br />

lands crisp combinations to the head<br />

and body and has some nice little setups<br />

off his back foot. Beautiful.”<br />

– cbs8.com San Diego<br />

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

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



An oil refinery burns outside Irbil, Iraq, Thursday, June 13, <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

Firefighters battle massive fire<br />

at northern Iraq oil refinery<br />


Irbil, Iraq (AP)<br />

A<br />

team of 32 firefighters in<br />

northern Iraq was battling to<br />

put out a massive fire Thursday,<br />

June 13, a day after it broke out<br />

at an oil refinery, local officials said.<br />

The fire broke out late Wednesday<br />

at a large refinery in Irbil, in the semiautonomous<br />

Kurdish region of northern<br />

Iraq.<br />

Shakhawan Saeed, a spokesperson<br />

for the Irbil Civil Defense Department,<br />

said 14 firefighters were injured<br />

-- four with burns and the other due<br />

to smoke inhalation -- while battling<br />

the blaze, which also destroyed four<br />

fire engines.<br />

Saeed said the cause of the fire<br />

was not yet clear but that the facility<br />

appeared to be lacking in safety measures,<br />

including alarms and fire extinguishers.<br />

The owner of the refinery<br />

could not immediately be reached for<br />

comment.<br />

A regional government official,<br />

who spoke on condition of anonymity<br />

because they were not authorized to<br />

talk to the media, told the Associated<br />

Press that the fire appeared to have<br />

been caused by an electrical fault.<br />

Irbil’s Gov. Omed Khoshnaw said<br />

the financial damages caused by the refinery<br />

fire were estimated at $8 million.<br />

The Khazir refinery, owned by local<br />

private businessmen, is one of the<br />

largest in Irbil, producing gasoline,<br />

kerosene, and white oil. It had been<br />

a major supplier for the city of Mosul.<br />

Iraq’s Kurdish region produces<br />

hundreds of thousands of barrels of<br />

oil each day. Previously, much of the<br />

production was exported by way of<br />

In Iraq, summer<br />

fires are often<br />

fueled by scorching<br />

temperatures,<br />

unreliable electricity,<br />

and lax safety<br />

standards in<br />

many facilities.<br />

Turkey, but the exports have been<br />

halted for more than a year as a result<br />

of a ruling in an international arbitration<br />

case.<br />

The central government considers<br />

it illegal for Irbil to export oil without<br />

going through the Iraqi national<br />

oil company and won the arbitration<br />

case against such trade.<br />

In Iraq, summer fires are often fueled<br />

by scorching temperatures, unreliable<br />

electricity, and lax safety standards<br />

in many facilities.<br />

In May, a fire erupted in a bazaar<br />

in Erbil, burning at least 200 shops<br />

and four storage units and injuring at<br />

least 100 people.<br />

On Sunday, a massive fire engulfed<br />

commercial storage units in<br />

central Baghdad, covering a 3,000<br />

square meter area made of highly<br />

flammable materials, and killed four<br />

foreign Arab workers.<br />

Zeyad reported from Baghdad.<br />

Associated Press journalist Qassim<br />

Abdul-Zahra in Baghdad contributed<br />

to this report.<br />

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

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



Adbul Masseh Yousif<br />

Abdulahad Rabi<br />

Hammo<br />

Namir Yahya<br />

Hillawi<br />

May 1, 1943 –<br />

May 22, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Juleit Yaldoo<br />

Dec 24, 1934 –<br />

May 28, <strong>2024</strong><br />

George Michael<br />

Sheena<br />

Sep 17, 1934 –<br />

May 22, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Salam Khadouri<br />

Farjo<br />

Sep 19, 1950 –<br />

May 29, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Dia Habib Shina<br />

Jun 11, 1968 –<br />

May 22, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Sargon Murad<br />

Jul 1, 1961 –<br />

May 31, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Najib Patto Meram<br />

Mar 15, 1939 –<br />

May 24, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Ghazala Jarbo<br />

Gaggo<br />

Jun 1, 1937 –<br />

Jun 1, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Sabah Zia Dakho<br />

Oct 15, 1937 –<br />

May 25, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Younathan<br />

Nastros Younan<br />

Apr 3, 1949 –<br />

Jun 2, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Salam Shaya<br />

Aug 2, 1956 –<br />

May 26, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Isam Marooki-Rofa<br />

Hakeem<br />

Jul 5, 1963 –<br />

Jun 4, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Adbul Masseh Yousif<br />

Abdulahad Rabi Hammo,<br />

beloved husband<br />

of the late Amira Shaona<br />

Dawood and father<br />

of Chaldean Community<br />

Foundation employee<br />

Hanaa Yousif,<br />

passed peacefully at<br />

his daughter Wafaa’s home in Berlin,<br />

Germany on Saturday, June 1, <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

Abdul Masseh was born in Basrah,<br />

Iraq on July 27, 1934, and lived a long life<br />

as a good father to a large family (Sabah,<br />

Emad, Wafaa, Hanaa, Yousif, Hayfaa,<br />

Ramzi, Adel, Najlaa, Safaa, and Talal).<br />

He was a cherished brother of the late<br />

Jamil, late Bashir, Evlin, late Issam, late<br />

Fawzia, Farouq, and Ryadh. So many<br />

families and friends will cherish his<br />

memory, including his grandchildren.<br />

Showkat Peter Mona<br />

Showkat Peter<br />

Mona<br />

Aug 15, 1937 –<br />

Jun 6, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Saliha Zaia<br />

Khosho<br />

Jul 1, 1934 –<br />

Jun 15, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Alham Summa<br />

May 29, 1949 –<br />

Jun 6, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Frankie Nabil<br />

Qaoud<br />

Sep 5, 1986 –<br />

Jun 15, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Mouras Aessa<br />

Shamu<br />

May 1, 1949 –<br />

Jun 10, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Bahija Toma Kirma<br />

Jul 1, 1932 –<br />

Jun 16, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Faieza Hanna<br />

Alyas<br />

Nov 29, 1953 –<br />

Jun 11, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Kevin Walid Jamil<br />

Apr 30, 1987 –<br />

Jun 17, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Naser Sabri<br />

Madalo<br />

Jul 1, 1956 –<br />

Jun 11, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Nadira Tobiya<br />

Jazrawi<br />

May 20, 1935 –<br />

Jun 17, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Rejina Yousif<br />

Jul 1, 1942 –<br />

Jun 13, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Karima Tobia<br />

Konja<br />

Jul 1, 1944 –<br />

Jun 18, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Showkat Peter Mona<br />

was born on August<br />

15, 1937, and went to<br />

Heaven on June 6,<br />

<strong>2024</strong>. He was the loving<br />

son of the late Peter<br />

Mona and the late<br />

Najiyah Hanawi Mona<br />

and devoted husband<br />

to Evelyn Shamam<br />

Mona. He was also the cherished father<br />

of Peter (Olivia) Mona, Paul (Hilda)<br />

Mona, and Anthony (Saba) Mona<br />

and humble grandfather of Connor,<br />

Kyle, Aleena, Luke, Luciana, Lila, Leo,<br />

Avery, Eliana and Liam. He is survived<br />

by siblings Evelyn Mona-Bader, Nahidah<br />

Cholak, Aideh Deddeh, Talal<br />

Mona, and was preceded in death by<br />

sister the late Hana Potts.<br />

Thomas Gorial<br />

Shammami<br />

Oct 27, 1931 –<br />

Jun 18, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Candace Jessica<br />

Yousif<br />

Feb 24, 1995 –<br />

Jun 18, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Akil Yousif Mansour<br />

Jul 5, 1968 –<br />

Jun 19, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Gorgis Elias Hannok<br />

(Hanna Kachel)<br />

Jul 1, 1937 –<br />

Jun 18, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Christian David<br />

Karana<br />

Jul 9, 2000 –<br />

Jun 22, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Altoon (Majeed)<br />

Hanna Attar Kas Mikha<br />

Oct 27, 1949 –<br />

Jun 24, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Habeb Antoon<br />

Dickow<br />

Oct 3, 1935 –<br />

Jun 24, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Zia George<br />

Jul 1, 1954 –<br />

Jun 24, <strong>2024</strong><br />

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


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


Laith, wearing the white bow on his arm, escorts his bride Merna.<br />

Halhole!<br />

There’s no wedding like a Chaldean wedding<br />



Chaldean weddings are the stuff<br />

of legends in metro Detroit.<br />

They are “extra,” over-the-top,<br />

and everyone wants an invitation.<br />

From the Khigga dance lines to the<br />

Zaffa playing, Chaldeans know how to<br />

party. And don’t even get me started on<br />

the food!<br />

What many don’t know is those<br />

wedding traditions and more traveled<br />

here from Iraq with marriages that<br />

bridged countries, families, and even<br />

communities in a way that is difficult<br />

to understand without having experienced<br />

it. The first Chaldeans to marry<br />

in Detroit invited the whole community<br />

to the nuptials. The entire community<br />

was family.<br />

The whole town took part in Chaldean<br />

weddings in Iraq. Dowry was a<br />

big part of the preparations and the<br />

clothes and finery offered to the bride<br />

were a source of pride and were often<br />

displayed on donkeys and paraded<br />

through town. When the groom came<br />

to the bride’s home, her brothers and<br />

male cousins would block the door until<br />

an agreeable bride price was paid.<br />

While paying dowry or a “bride<br />

price” did not survive the migration<br />

to the United States, many other parts<br />

of a Chaldean wedding did make the<br />

crossing, such as the wearing of a<br />

white bow (Kalilla) on the groom’s arm<br />

to signify that the wedding ceremony<br />

is a blessed sacrament. Babies wear a<br />

similar bow when being baptized, another<br />

Catholic sacrament.<br />

Some parts of a Chaldean wedding<br />

in America were born here, like<br />

the crowning during the wedding<br />

Mass. The bride and groom are temporarily<br />

crowned to signify that much<br />

like Christ is the head of the Church,<br />

the groom is king in his family and<br />

the bride is the queen. The couple, in<br />

union with Christ, have formed their<br />

own kingdom.<br />

Unlike in Iraq, Chaldean weddings<br />

in America are full Masses, a Latin tradition<br />

adopted by the Diocese here.<br />

Unity candles are not unique to the<br />

culture, but kneeling as a couple during<br />

the marriage ceremony to pray in<br />

front of the Virgin Mary might be.<br />

In the early 20th century such as<br />

the 1930s and 1940s, marriage vows<br />

in Iraq were exchanged between the<br />

bride’s father and the groom’s father.<br />

Chaldean marriages were arranged<br />

until the 1970s and 1980s, and the engaged<br />

couple may not have ever even<br />

met before they wed.<br />

Sometimes, the age discrepancy<br />

was such that a child bride (ripe for<br />

childbearing) would wed a grown man<br />

(who was already established and able<br />

to provide for his family). Other times,<br />

two kids ended up as man and wife. I<br />

heard a story about a couple of teens<br />

who were wed in Iraq and spent the<br />

first week of wedded bliss playing card<br />

games at night. They didn’t know what<br />

else to do!<br />

Precisely for that reason, Iraqi<br />

tradition supported an “Ustath,”<br />

or instructor to assist the couple on<br />

their wedding night. Additionally, in<br />

Chaldean tradition, the best man was<br />

required to already be married so he<br />

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


Clockwise from top left: 1. According to Laith’s mom, Iraqi villagers pinned a cross on the back of the groom for protection against evil spirits. 2. The wedding<br />

party celebrates to the sound of the Tabol. 3. The procession is accompanied by the Zaffa. 4. The Zaffa continues in the reception hall.<br />

could offer advice and instruction to<br />

the groom. After all, the main purpose<br />

of the union was to produce offspring.<br />

Weddings in Iraq would last for<br />

days, sometimes even weeks. In towns<br />

like Tel Keppe, they celebrated from<br />

early morning until night with food,<br />

dancing, and singing in the streets.<br />

Chaldean weddings in the U.S. in the<br />

1960s and 1970s would last all day as<br />

well, although by that point, things<br />

had changed in Iraq.<br />

In previous decades, the whole<br />

Iraqi town would turn out to celebrate<br />

a wedding; on the wedding day, on<br />

route to the church, the groom, his<br />

wedding party and relatives would<br />

travel to the bride’s home on foot in a<br />

big procession. Men would head the<br />

line with Zorna and Tabol (drums and<br />

pipes/horns) and the women would<br />

follow with the vocal halhole (a very<br />

recognizable sound made with the<br />

tongue that goes back to Sumerian tradition).<br />

Everyone in town participated<br />

in the Begana, where they would take<br />

food from the bride’s house to the<br />

groom’s home.<br />

This tradition of meeting the groom<br />

and going en masse to the bride’s<br />

home to pick her up is still followed by<br />

today’s modern Chaldean Americans;<br />

however, the ride is now a limo rather<br />

than a donkey. Although I’m sure it is<br />

much more comfortable, it is not quite<br />

the display that the bride and her dowry<br />

would have been in the old country.<br />

Like historic nuptials in Iraq, in the<br />

U.S., the fathers remain the financiers<br />

and the mothers and female relatives<br />

do much of the planning.<br />

The Chaldean wedding reception<br />

in the U.S. goes until the wee hours of<br />

the morning, and sometimes dinner<br />

isn’t served until 10 p.m. or later. Chaldean<br />

wedding receptions are no place<br />

to rest or try to find a quiet corner; they<br />

are filled with energy from the intro to<br />

the end. The wedding party enters the<br />

reception hall dancing, and the dance<br />

continues all night long. Music is an<br />

integral part of Chaldean weddings,<br />

creating a festive and joyful atmosphere.<br />

Laith Amanoel was recently married<br />

and shared some of his insight<br />

and experience with the Chaldean<br />

News. When asked about the roles that<br />

family takes on in a Chaldean wedding,<br />

Laith said, “The elders play a<br />

significant role by advising and counseling<br />

the family. Their reputation and<br />

social status are important, and we are<br />

a close-knit community.<br />

“The reputation of the families<br />

goes a long way in establishing relationships,”<br />

Laith continued. “You are<br />

not just marrying one person; it is also<br />

about the union of two families coming<br />

together. Elders often take part in<br />

the matchmaking process, ensuring<br />

that both families are compatible and<br />

share similar values and traditions.<br />

They also provide guidance on the<br />

various rituals and customs that need<br />

to be followed, ensuring that the wedding<br />

adheres to traditional practices.”<br />

On the “traditional” note, Laith<br />

said, “Times have changed, but we<br />

still play traditional folk music from<br />

Iraq, particularly from Mosul and the<br />

villages. We also perform group dances<br />

such as the Khugga (also called Khigga),<br />

a traditional circle dance that<br />

symbolizes unity and community.”<br />

Laith and his beloved, Merna Korkee,<br />

also had Zorna and drums, as<br />

well as Zaffa at the groom’s and bride’s<br />

houses. As he explained, “The Zaffa is<br />

a lively procession that includes music,<br />

dancing, and singing, celebrating<br />

the bride and groom as they prepare<br />

for their new life together. This procession<br />

often involves family members<br />

and friends, enhancing the communal<br />

spirit of the wedding.”<br />

Pre-marriage counseling is a requisite<br />

for those seeking a Chaldean<br />

wedding. Rather than a burden, Laith<br />

found the mandatory counseling useful.<br />

“The pre-marriage prep was actually<br />

very helpful,” Laith stated. “It<br />

gave us a lot of advice and insight into<br />

being married. We did ours with ECRC<br />

(Eastern Catholic Re-Evangelization<br />

Center) and St. Joseph (Church). The<br />

church hosted classes for us, and we<br />

received advice from actual couples<br />

who have been married for a while. I<br />

would say it prepared us well for going<br />

into marriage.”<br />

One of the biggest impacts is the<br />

cost of weddings. They can cost anywhere<br />

from thousands of dollars to<br />

tens of thousands or even hundreds of<br />

thousands! In the old days, weddings<br />

were much simpler and less extravagant.<br />

Modern Chaldean weddings,<br />

however, can be quite elaborate, with<br />

significant attention to detail.<br />

“This includes flowers, bands,<br />

and venues that reflect the couple’s<br />

taste and the family’s social status,”<br />

explained Laith. “Despite the rising<br />

costs, many families still adhere to traditional<br />

practices, such as the engagement<br />

party and henna, which involve<br />

additional expenses.”<br />

The preparations for a Chaldean<br />

wedding often start months in advance,<br />

involving multiple ceremonies<br />

and gatherings that celebrate the<br />

couple’s engagement and upcoming<br />

marriage.<br />

A Chaldean wedding truly is a family<br />

affair.<br />

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


Stay Tuned<br />

Chaldean News TV and radio station to open next year<br />


For years, the Chaldean Community<br />

Foundation and the<br />

Chaldean American Chamber<br />

of Commerce have been planning one<br />

of their biggest projects yet: the grand<br />

opening of a new community center on<br />

the west side of metro Detroit, located<br />

in West Bloomfield near the corner of<br />

Walnut Lake and Inkster Roads.<br />

The property will serve as the<br />

headquarters of the CACC and will also<br />

house other affiliated organizations<br />

like the Chaldean Cultural Center, the<br />

Chaldean News, Chaldean Voice, the<br />

Bishop Ibrahim Library, and more.<br />

Chief among them will be the Chaldean<br />

News’ brand-new radio and TV<br />

stations. While CN currently produces<br />

podcasts and video, it’s hampered by<br />

its lack of a true studio and must use<br />

portable equipment for all of its multimedia<br />

efforts.<br />

Right now, the Chaldean News publishes<br />

a few different types of podcasts.<br />

Its primary focus is CN Radio, which<br />

usually features extended interviews<br />

with interesting subjects in the community.<br />

The CN is also planning a series<br />

on the history of the Chaldean Church,<br />

hosted by Father Marcus Shammami,<br />

and has recorded a few episodes of its<br />

Chaldean Pioneers series that takes the<br />

community back to its roots.<br />

CN has also contributed several<br />

reports on news in the community<br />

with TV reporter Michael Nafso. In addition,<br />

it publishes regular episodes<br />

of its Chaldean Kitchen series, which<br />

shows off different chefs in the community<br />

and their recipes. Finally, CN<br />

is planning a documentary-style film<br />

covering the Chaldean perspective on<br />

the 1967 Detroit Riots.<br />

CN staff toured other TV and radio<br />

studios, such as Audacy, to get ideas for<br />

the new studio. It will have to be easily<br />

adaptable and versatile for the many<br />

uses planned. When the renovations are<br />

completed for the CACC’s new headquarters,<br />

which will likely happen next year,<br />

the CN team can begin using the space to<br />

produce high-quality digital media for its<br />

audience. In addition, the station can be<br />

used by any of the organizations in the<br />

vicinity and will also serve as the recording<br />

station for the Chaldean Voice.<br />

The Chaldean Voice, led by its director<br />

Shoki Konja, has been the Chaldean<br />

community’s premiere radio station<br />

for more than 40 years.<br />

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

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

Growing Pains<br />

20 Years of July Covers<br />


In July of 2004, the Chaldean News<br />

covered Fr. Andrew Younan’s ordination.<br />

He is now the host of “FA<br />

Blog,” where he regularly discourses<br />

on subjects like suffering, parenthood,<br />

and calming down.<br />

In 2005, “Who Will Lead?” provided<br />

a detailed analysis of the Detroit<br />

mayoral election, exploring the candidates<br />

and issues shaping the city’s future.<br />

The candidates were Kwame Kilpatrick,<br />

Freman Hendrix, and Sharon<br />

McPhail. Kilpatrick, who was running<br />

for a second term, had created some<br />

issues for Chaldean business owners<br />

who operated in the city of Detroit.<br />

He resigned amid scandal in 2008 and<br />

ended up serving time in prison.<br />

In 2006, “Champions for Change”<br />

highlighted the influential roles of<br />

Senator Carl Levin, Senator Debbie<br />

Stabenow, attorney Steven Garmo,<br />

and Joe Kassab in advocating for<br />

change and progress.<br />

In 2007, the world received a<br />

“Wake Up Call” when Christians rallied<br />

for awareness after Fr. Ragheed<br />

Ganni and three deacons were gunned<br />

down outside the Church of the Holy<br />

Spirit in Mosul, Iraq. This cover story<br />

was a poignant reflection on the tragic<br />

assassination of the martyrs, a horrific<br />

story that caused global Christian<br />

communities to raise awareness and<br />

advocate for peace.<br />

2008’s cover story, “Bad Bets” investigated<br />

the impact of gambling addiction<br />

within the Chaldean community,<br />

shedding light on the personal and<br />

societal consequences.<br />

The 2009 issue featured “Our Canadian<br />

Cousins.” This issue explored<br />

the varied experiences and challenges<br />

faced by Chaldean immigrants across<br />

the river and their efforts to create<br />

community there. It highlighted their<br />

contributions to Canadian society and<br />

touched on their cultural adaptation,<br />

plus explored our relationship with<br />

them.<br />

The cover story published in 2010<br />

delved deeply into the profound humanitarian<br />

crisis unfolding as Iraqi immigrants,<br />

particularly Chaldeans, faced<br />

deportation from various countries.<br />

In 2011, we tackled a poignant and<br />

often overlooked subject within the<br />

Chaldean community with a cover<br />

story titled “Letting Go – Preparing for<br />

End-of-Life Issues.” This edition courageously<br />

dived into the sensitive topic of<br />

end-of-life care, offering profound insights<br />

and practical guidance that resonated<br />

deeply within the community.<br />

The 2012 Chaldean News cover<br />

story celebrating Independence Day<br />

prominently featured the Bank of<br />

Michigan, heralding its journey towards<br />

financial autonomy and its<br />

profound impact as the first Chaldeanowned<br />

bank. The article laid out the<br />

economic achievements that had<br />

propelled the bank to stand independently,<br />

highlighting its growth trajectory<br />

and the pivotal role it played in<br />

the community’s financial landscape.<br />

The cover story titled “The Question<br />

of Unity – Chaldeans and Assyrians:<br />

Are we really one?” in the 2013<br />

issue dug deep into the intricate dynamics<br />

shaping the relationship between<br />

two closely related yet distinct<br />

communities, the Chaldeans and Assyrians.<br />

At its core, the article explored<br />

the profound historical, cultural, and<br />

political factors that both unite and<br />

differentiate these groups within the<br />

broader Middle Eastern diaspora.<br />

Historically, both Chaldeans and<br />

Assyrians trace their origins to ancient<br />

Mesopotamia, sharing a rich heritage<br />

that includes language, traditions,<br />

and a legacy of resilience through<br />

centuries of challenges. However, the<br />

modern context has seen these communities<br />

dispersed across the globe,<br />

facing diverse influences that challenge<br />

their sense of unity.<br />

The 2014 cover story titled “Iraq<br />

in Tears – Will Christians Survive?”<br />

provided a poignant and in-depth exploration<br />

of the dire situation faced<br />

by Christians in Iraq during a period<br />

of intense violence and displacement.<br />

The article served as a stark reminder<br />

of the plight of religious minorities<br />

in the region, shedding light on their<br />

(still) uncertain future amidst escalating<br />

conflict.<br />

The cover story titled “Getting Social<br />

in Cyberspace” from the 2015 issue<br />

discussed how the Chaldean commu-<br />

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nity embrace and utilize social media<br />

platforms as powerful tools of communication,<br />

activism, and cultural preservation.<br />

It highlights a transformative<br />

shift where the medium itself became<br />

integral to the message conveyed by<br />

Chaldeans worldwide.<br />

The 2016 cover story titled “Super<br />

Sidekicks – Slim and Joey with Mojo in<br />

the Morning” explored the lives and impact<br />

of Slim and Joey, beloved personalities<br />

of Chaldean descent, alongside<br />

their colleague Mojo from the popular<br />

radio show “Mojo in the Morning.” This<br />

feature celebrated their significant contributions<br />

not only to local media but<br />

also to community engagement, making<br />

them cultural icons in the Chaldean<br />

community and beyond.<br />

The cover story titled “Fighting to<br />

Stay” in the 2017 edition highlighted<br />

the valiant efforts of community leaders<br />

who rallied to prevent the deportation<br />

of Chaldean immigrants and championed<br />

immigrant rights. At its core, the<br />

article delved into the legal battles and<br />

hurdles faced by these leaders as they<br />

navigated the complex landscape of<br />

immigration laws and new policies. It<br />

emphasized the resilience and unity of<br />

the Chaldean community in the face of<br />

adversity, emphasizing solidarity and<br />

collective action as vital tools in the<br />

fight for justice and human rights.<br />

The cover story in 2018, titled<br />

“Votes Count – Know who’s running,”<br />

exemplified the publication’s commitment<br />

to informing and empowering<br />

the Chaldean community during local<br />

elections. With comprehensive coverage,<br />

the Chaldean News dedicated its<br />

pages to spotlighting candidates, issues,<br />

and voting logistics crucial to the<br />

democratic process.<br />

In 2019, we featured a compelling<br />

cover story titled “Chaldean Town 2.0”<br />

and subtitled, “The Chaldean community’s<br />

historic housing development.”<br />

This landmark issue highlighted an<br />

ambitious and transformative housing<br />

project led by the vibrant Chaldean<br />

community in Macomb County.<br />

Nestled within the heart of Sterling<br />

Heights, this development, internally<br />

referred to as “Tigris Tower,” stands as<br />

a testament to resilience and community<br />

spirit, marking a new chapter in<br />

urban revitalization efforts.<br />

In 2020, our cover story titled “Freedom<br />

Rider – the Chaldean Flag Kid,”<br />

showcased the remarkable journey of<br />

a passionate young activist dedicated<br />

to preserving Chaldean heritage and<br />

identity. By prominently displaying<br />

the Iraqi flag in public demonstrations<br />

and community events, he symbolically<br />

asserted the Iraqi Christian community’s<br />

presence and contributed<br />

significantly to fostering a sense of<br />

unity among Chaldeans.<br />

The cover story in 2021 looked at<br />

the profound impact of the COVID-19<br />

pandemic on Chaldean businesses<br />

and community organizations, displaying<br />

their remarkable resilience<br />

in the face of unprecedented challenges.<br />

As the world grappled with<br />

the effects of the pandemic, Chaldean<br />

entrepreneurs demonstrated remarkable<br />

adaptability, navigating through<br />

a landscape fraught with uncertainty.<br />

The article examined the adaptation<br />

strategies employed by Chaldean businesses<br />

to sustain operations amidst<br />

lockdowns and restrictions. From swiftly<br />

transitioning to online platforms and<br />

implementing robust safety measures<br />

to reimagining business models, Chaldean<br />

entrepreneurs displayed ingenuity<br />

and determination. These adaptations<br />

not only enabled businesses to<br />

survive but also laid the groundwork<br />

for future growth and innovation.<br />

The 2022 cover story titled “New<br />

Americans – the Journey to Citizenship”<br />

provided an exploration into the<br />

lives of immigrants striving to attain<br />

U.S. citizenship. Through narratives<br />

and interviews, the feature captured<br />

the diverse journeys and experiences<br />

of individuals navigating the complexities<br />

of American immigration laws.<br />

In the 2023 cover story titled “City<br />

on Fire – 1967 Riots,” the CN examined<br />

the reverberations of the historic 1967<br />

Detroit riots, highlighting their implications<br />

for the Chaldean community that<br />

worked in the city. The destruction and<br />

subsequent rebuilding efforts reshaped<br />

neighborhoods where many Chaldeans<br />

lived and worked, prompting a reassessment<br />

of economic opportunities<br />

and community infrastructure.<br />

The story also underscores the resilience<br />

of the Chaldean community in<br />

the face of adversity. It spotlights personal<br />

narratives and collective memories<br />

that illuminate the community’s<br />

journey from displacement and loss<br />

to renewal and empowerment. Many<br />

lost everything, but they lived to tell<br />

the tale.<br />


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


Syawish Speaks<br />

Interview with the Chaldean Mayor of Ankawa<br />


Ramy Noori Syawish, the Chaldean<br />

Mayor of Ankawa in Erbil,<br />

Iraq, visited Detroit’s Chaldean<br />

community in April. His goals were<br />

twofold: bridge the divide between<br />

homeland and diaspora and recruit<br />

well-intentioned Chaldeans to invest<br />

in their native country of Iraq.<br />

Syawish’s family is well-known in<br />

Ankawa. When he was born in 1985,<br />

his father was working in Baghdad for<br />

his own aluminum company, but his<br />

family returned to Ankawa when Syawish<br />

was 5 years old. Since then, he<br />

grew up in the area that he now governs.<br />

The young mayor is no stranger<br />

to the diaspora. He has four siblings,<br />

including one brother who lives in<br />

Phoenix, two sisters in Sweden, and<br />

one in Germany. “I’m the only one who<br />

remains in the homeland.” He resides<br />

in Ankawa with his wife Natalia and<br />

their three children.<br />

It’s this very experience that inspires<br />

much of Syawish’s action and<br />

policy. He is focused on making Ankawa<br />

a burgeoning city and avoiding the<br />

fate of so many towns and smaller cities<br />

previously occupied by Chaldeans.<br />

Ankawa has a distinct advantage<br />

over other traditionally Chaldean areas.<br />

It’s located in the outer ring of Erbil,<br />

an ancient city that today is home<br />

to 1.5 million people and represents<br />

the capital of the Kurdistan Regional<br />

Government. Whereas other Chaldean<br />

towns like Tel Keppe or Qaraqosh that<br />

are located near an unstable city like<br />

Mosul have been overrun in the past<br />

decades, Ankawa is part of one of the<br />

safest and most-protected cities in the<br />

region and has acted as a safe haven<br />

for Chaldeans fleeing persecution.<br />

In 2003, before the U.S. invasion<br />

of Iraq, about 10,000 people lived in<br />

Ankawa. Before the rise of ISIS, according<br />

to Syawish, closer to 50,000<br />

people lived there, showing massive<br />

growth. In that fateful summer of 2014<br />

when ISIS attacked and took control<br />

Mayor Ramy Noori Syawish<br />

of several Chaldean towns, Ankawa<br />

received more than 120,000 people as<br />

refugees from the Nineveh Plain. “After<br />

2017, when Peshmerga returned the<br />

land, people went back there. Unfortunately,<br />

many of them moved outside of<br />

the country,” Syawish said.<br />

Others sold their property and returned<br />

to Ankawa to live in safety and<br />

security. As a result of the increased<br />

population, Syawish now considers<br />

Ankawa a big city; it boasts more than<br />

80,000 residents. This large population<br />

would make Ankawa a top-15 city<br />

in Michigan, comparable to Farmington<br />

Hills or Troy.<br />

Syawish completed his entire education<br />

in Ankawa. After graduating<br />

high school, he earned a degree in<br />

law and political science in 2006. He<br />

also got a diploma in 2013 from the<br />

Chaldean Church’s Babel College for<br />

studying philosophy and theology, he<br />

said, in order to understand what the<br />

Church does. “I speak Chaldean Kurdish,<br />

Arabic, and English,” he said.<br />

On a daily basis, Syawish described<br />

his job as solving problems<br />

for the people of Ankawa, processing<br />

what they want and need, and acting<br />

on the government program. Appointed<br />

in 2020, he sees himself as a bridge<br />

between the KRG and the people of<br />

Ankawa. Of the 80,000 residents in his<br />

city, 92% are Christians, and the others<br />

are Muslim, Yazidi, or Mandaean.<br />

Syawish’s goals for the city involve<br />

finding investments, creating job opportunities,<br />

and modernizing the city.<br />

“We want to take the experience you<br />

have here,” he said, pointing to the<br />

secure and prosperous lifestyle most<br />

Chaldeans in America enjoy, “and duplicate<br />

it.” According to Syawish, more<br />

than 3,000 refugee families stayed in<br />

Ankawa even after their homes were<br />

reclaimed, and they need better opportunities<br />

if they want to avoid the<br />

lure of emigration.<br />

Only one farm remains in Ankawa,<br />

and its agricultural lands are shrinking<br />

year by year. “About 50 years ago,”<br />

Syawish said, “they built an airport,<br />

and they took a lot of our lands to<br />

build into a big city. This last farm is<br />

managed by a Chaldean family and<br />

produces the finest grapes in all Kurdistan.”<br />

This last farm has a small winery<br />

attached, and the mayor wants to<br />

build a large factory to aid the farmer<br />

in the production of other items as<br />

well. “The Ankawa administration<br />

prepares for him an annual festival,”<br />

Syawish said. “We help him with marketing.<br />

Thousands of people, foreign<br />

and local, visit the farm during the festival<br />

and buy his products.”<br />

In Ankawa, most of the people are<br />

busy with their own businesses, like<br />

cafes or restaurants. Others work for<br />

the government. Yet more are looking<br />

for a good opportunity and trying to<br />

find a reason to stay in the area.<br />

A large part of Erbil’s issue is the<br />

integration and direction they need to<br />

take from Baghdad. While the KRG is<br />

the local authority in the region, they<br />

have far less power than a country,<br />

and it’s technically not a sovereign nation.<br />

They need to rely on Baghdad for<br />

many things because of Iraq’s centralized<br />

government system.<br />

At the time of his visit, Syawish said<br />

that Baghdad only paid two months’<br />

salary out of the last six. This kind of<br />

instability and inconsistency ruins the<br />

government’s credibility and punishes<br />

those who take government jobs and<br />

want to help their community. “We are<br />

under the mercy of Baghdad,” he said.<br />

Syawish’s dealings with the government<br />

are not like those in the United<br />

States. Here, there is a federated<br />

system of government. Most important<br />

positions are elected, and each structure,<br />

whether it’s city, state, or federal,<br />

has the power to levy taxes and create<br />

its own budget. It must also act on all<br />

its responsibilities with the money it<br />

raises. This type of system helps avoid<br />

the pitfalls of corruption while sacri-<br />

MAYOR continued on page 28<br />

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

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ficing efficiency and adaptability.<br />

In Iraq, the government is centralized<br />

and disperses money as it sees fit,<br />

according to its budget. Mayor Syawish<br />

does not have any legal power to raise<br />

money, but instead, he appeals to the<br />

KRG for assistance whenever he has<br />

a project. According to him, the KRG<br />

approves almost all his projects and<br />

treats his city with special consideration<br />

because of its unique Chaldean<br />

minority status.<br />

Syawish hasn’t thought of going<br />

for a higher position within the government.<br />

He is dedicated to his job.<br />

“I belong to Ankawa,” he said. “I still<br />

believe we can’t serve when we don’t<br />

have a position. Inside the government,<br />

you can affect things and do<br />

things for your people.” Even after he<br />

moves on or is removed from his position,<br />

he believes another Chaldean<br />

mayor will take his place.<br />

One specific area Syawish wants<br />

to improve in his city is schooling.<br />

“We have 21 schools in Ankawa,” he<br />

said. “Three of them are international<br />

schools that belong to the church or<br />

private sector. They are great schools<br />

with a great educational program.” Of<br />

all the different schools in Ankawa,<br />

they teach English, Arabic, Kurdish,<br />

and Sureth. One school is taught entirely<br />

in Sureth, supported by a KRG<br />

program that aids minorities and<br />

helps maintain their identity.<br />

In other schools, he said, although<br />

the program still has quality, the<br />

buildings and services themselves<br />

are very poor and unsuitable. This is<br />

something he’d like to change soon so<br />

that families can feel confident about<br />

raising children in Ankawa.<br />

The city also has one university,<br />

the Catholic University in Erbil, which<br />

belongs to the Chaldean Church. It was<br />

founded in 2015 by Archbishop Bashar<br />

Warda and offers degrees in many<br />

different areas such as international<br />

relations, English, information technology,<br />

computer science, accounting,<br />

architecture, pharmacy, nursing, digital<br />

media, business management, and<br />

more.<br />

Syawish’s long-term vision for<br />

the city’s industry involves factory<br />

production. While Erbil has recently<br />

become a tourist destination and an<br />

international city, and Ankawa has<br />

certainly seen some of those benefits,<br />

Syawish wants to maintain his city’s<br />

independence and economy by producing<br />

goods. “I think if we made big<br />

factories there, especially food factories,<br />

it would be an amazing thing<br />

to support each other,” he said. “The<br />

people there love food so much.”<br />

Syawish invited anyone who is interested<br />

in Ankawa to contact him, the<br />

KRG office in Washington, D.C., or the<br />

board of investment. “All the channels<br />

lead to one point, which is to bring foreign<br />

investments to Ankawa,” he said.<br />

Over the last few years, the banking<br />

sector has come a long way, and<br />

Syawish expects it to continue as such.<br />

The KRG decided, for example, that all<br />

of its government salaries won’t be<br />

handed out but will go straight to a<br />

bank account in the employee’s name.<br />

“I belong to Ankawa<br />

… I still believe we<br />

can’t serve when we<br />

don’t have a position.<br />

Inside the government,<br />

you can affect<br />

things and do things<br />

for your people.”<br />

– Ramy Noori Syawish<br />

He also addressed any security<br />

concerns that someone might have.<br />

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

areas of the world,” he said, speaking<br />

of Ankawa. “Even in the Middle East,<br />

I’m sure you won’t find a more secure<br />

area than Kurdistan. I guarantee that<br />

you can sleep several nights with an<br />

open door, and nothing will happen.”<br />

“Our vision for Ankawa,” Syawish<br />

continued, “is a big city while keeping<br />

the specialty of our people and<br />

our identity. We are talking about having<br />

a few universities. Instead of one<br />

hospital, we should have three or four.<br />

Instead of tired schools, they should<br />

be modern and civilized. Instead of<br />

unregulated daily life, we should have<br />

standards in our business and other<br />

economic activities.<br />

“I believe we cannot build all of<br />

that by ourselves,” Syawish concluded.<br />

“I believe that you, the community<br />

in Detroit, can play a big role to support<br />

our community.”<br />

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


Uncommon Counselor<br />

A chat with Ron Acho<br />


“<br />

I<br />

help get justice.” That’s how<br />

Ron Acho, partner at Cummings,<br />

McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C.<br />

describes his job. It wasn’t a straight career<br />

path for the counselor; he says he<br />

got into law by happenstance.<br />

Born in Baghdad in 1945, Ron came<br />

to the Unites States with his family in<br />

1949. His father, who was discriminated<br />

against because of his faith, only<br />

had a fifth-grade education and was<br />

subject to menial jobs in Iraq. Like most<br />

refugees, he dreamed of a better life for<br />

his children. “It was very difficult,” said<br />

Ron. “We didn’t have much. I remember<br />

at one point wearing my sister’s dress<br />

and shoes. They were red shoes.”<br />

After waiting 14 years for his visa,<br />

Ron’s dad came to Detroit and worked<br />

with his older brother Joe Acho in his<br />

store. According to Ron, they were very<br />

poor when they came here and were<br />

embraced by the immigrant community.<br />

His dad was able to save enough<br />

to buy his own store in 1951.<br />

Four years later, Ron was working<br />

there regularly. He grew up in the<br />

store, learning from his father and<br />

eventually running the store himself.<br />

It was doing well, and the family was<br />

prospering — until July 1967, when<br />

two men with torches burned down<br />

the store to the ground. With no insurance,<br />

the family lost everything. Ron<br />

says, “We went from poor to somewhat<br />

prosperous back to poor again.”<br />

It’s important to him that people<br />

understand the Detroit uprising of 1967<br />

was not about race. “Our customers<br />

were Black,” says Ron, “but it was not<br />

our customers who burned the store.”<br />

He wanted to own his own chain<br />

of grocery stores, to be the president<br />

of A&P. “I loved the grocery business,”<br />

says Ron. “I still do.” Many of his clients<br />

are in the business; that’s how he<br />

stays involved.<br />

With no store to operate, Ron got a<br />

job at Ford. When he was threatened<br />

with a layoff, he found out he needed<br />

a degree to have protection, so he applied<br />

to college. “I asked myself, ‘What<br />

is a secure occupation?’” Ron recalls.<br />

“I wasn’t smart enough to be a doctor<br />

or a scientist.”<br />

He was hired in the parts control<br />

department, and after 11 years of night<br />

school, he earned his law degree. The<br />

only problem was, there was nowhere at<br />

Ford Motor Company to use his degree.<br />

He was told by someone in human<br />

resources, “We would never hire anyone<br />

like you,” meaning someone who went<br />

to night school at a lesser college. Ford<br />

Motor Company lawyers were from Harvard<br />

and Yale, and occasionally U of M,<br />

but never Detroit College of Law.<br />

It didn’t matter that at Ford, Ron<br />

had won 6 promotions in 8 years and<br />

won 3 awards. He also graduated summa<br />

cum laude as an undergraduate<br />

and won an award in law school. He<br />

had to find his own way.<br />

This made Ron even more determined.<br />

He swore to himself that no matter<br />

how successful he became, he would<br />

never treat anyone like that. To this day,<br />

he reads every single resume personally<br />

and offers advice and encouragement to<br />

applicants, regardless of how qualified<br />

they are to work at the firm.<br />

“The Firm” is Cummings, McClorey,<br />

Davis & Acho. When Ron was first<br />

introduced 50 years ago, they were a<br />

two-person team, but they quickly became<br />

three with the addition of Davis.<br />

Ron worked there at night and built up<br />

his clientele, who at first, were mostly<br />

Chaldean. Within a year and a half, Ron<br />

was a partner/owner. That was 1976.<br />

He has never worked for another<br />

firm. Since then, he has handled over<br />

8,000 cases, tried over 200 and lost 8, 4<br />

of which were begun by a different law<br />

firm. He’s been offered 3 judgeships,<br />

including a federal appointment, and<br />

was asked to be a special prosecutor<br />

for Iraqi war criminals. But for Ron,<br />

the real thrill is helping people.<br />

Clients are like family. “Lawyers<br />

don’t win cases, clients do.” He believes<br />

that if a person has a good case,<br />

they should win.<br />

One of his most memorable cases<br />

was a client who had been trying in<br />

vain to get disability, despite having a<br />

claw for a hand. Ron asked the questions<br />

and agreed to help, not holding<br />

out much hope for a decision in his client’s<br />

favor. The client was Black, and<br />

the judge, an old white Southern man.<br />

“Racism still exists today,” says Ron,<br />

“but not like it did back then.”<br />

When the judge not only had a<br />

claw for a hand himself but received<br />

his injury the same way (fighting in a<br />

war), with the same outfit (82nd Airborne)<br />

and on the same day (Battle of<br />

the Bulge), Ron saw God’s hand in the<br />

outcome, which was in favor of his client.<br />

“That felt good,” remembers Ron.<br />

Ron never felt discriminated<br />

against. “I was lucky,” he recalls.<br />

He was treated well because of the<br />

reputation of his law firm. They were<br />

known to be honest and honorable. “I<br />

was treated better than most lawyers, I<br />

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

Ron and Rita with their children (from left) Jim, Stephanie, and Greg.<br />

Ron celebrates his birthday with grandchildren (from left) Anne, Mary,<br />

Meghan, and Michael.<br />

think,” he says with a laugh.<br />

And he never even considered<br />

leaving his firm. “I didn’t want to work<br />

for anyone else,” he says, “Chaldeans<br />

don’t like to work for anyone else.”<br />

Ron, who also participates in a free<br />

legal clinic, has noticed some changes<br />

in the field of law over the years. One<br />

very noticeable change is the number<br />

of lawyers. “There’s been a 300% percent<br />

increase in the profession,” says<br />

Ron, “and it’s more like 1,000% in the<br />

Chaldean community.”<br />

He figures he was the fourth or fifth<br />

to pursue a law career in the southeastern<br />

Michigan Chaldean community,<br />

and he believes there are more<br />

than 400 Chaldean lawyers today. But<br />

he doesn’t see many growth opportunities<br />

in the field now. Early Chaldean<br />

lawyers may have been trained to<br />

support and defend the family business,<br />

but he feels the romanticism has<br />

faded. The impassioned arguments<br />

you see in court on TV are deceptive.<br />

“It isn’t like that,” Ron states emphatically.<br />

Most lawyers are spending their<br />

time filing, writing, and researching.<br />

As far as Chaldean judges go, Ron’s<br />

hypothesis is that perhaps women excel<br />

at this position because they are<br />

empathetic, but they are not any different<br />

from their male counterparts. They<br />

have the opportunity now, and they<br />

didn’t before. “I tell my 3 granddaughters<br />

that they have opportunities that<br />

their mothers didn’t,” says Ron.<br />

His greatest accomplishment?<br />

“Marrying Rita,” Ron responds with<br />

no hesitation. And the funny thing<br />

is, if the store hadn’t burned down,<br />

he would have never attended college<br />

and would not have met her in line at<br />

University of Detroit or had the chance<br />

to make an impression. “I was never<br />

lacking for courage,” he says.<br />

Now they have 3 children and 4<br />

grandchildren. Their son Jim is a lawyer<br />

with the firm, daughter Stephanie<br />

runs The Detroit Chocolate Company,<br />

and son Greg is in PR and marketing.<br />

Ron’s children and grandchildren are<br />

his treasure. “A man’s wealth is his<br />

grandchildren,” says Ron.<br />

Ron’s legacy, his humility and his<br />

faith, are built on the foundation that<br />

his father prepared for him. While working<br />

the store, Ron’s dad would hold up a<br />

banana every day and tell him, “In the<br />

old country, only the rich could eat bananas.”<br />

“Yes, Baba,” Ron would reply.<br />

“Do you know why I’m telling you<br />

this?” his father would continue. “You<br />

have an opportunity. You can do whatever<br />

you want.”<br />

“Every time I see a banana,” says<br />

Ron, “I think of my father and that<br />

story.”<br />

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


Left: Protestors at a<br />

hearing in Madison Heights.<br />

No Sheetz<br />

Madison Heights city council<br />

rejects 24-hour gas station<br />


On May 13, the Madison Heights<br />

City Council moved to reject<br />

the latest special approval proposal<br />

by Sheetz for a new 24-hour gas<br />

station, citing several reasons why it<br />

denied the request.<br />

Among other items, the council<br />

noted that the plan proposed by Sheetz<br />

was inconsistent with the intent of the<br />

district as well as the city’s master development<br />

plan. The proposed gas station<br />

would also have environmental<br />

consequences and increase noise for<br />

the residents in the surrounding area.<br />

Sheetz, a national chain of gas<br />

stations and convenience stores, announced<br />

plans earlier this year to<br />

open dozens of locations in metro Detroit.<br />

Headquartered in Pennsylvania,<br />

the company owns and operates more<br />

than 700 stores throughout Pennsylvania,<br />

West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio,<br />

Virginia, and North Carolina. As of last<br />

year, according to a Forbes list, Sheetz<br />

is the 27th largest privately-owned<br />

company in the United States, posting<br />

$14 billion in revenue.<br />

The chain is known mostly for its<br />

made-to-order convenience restaurant<br />

and its 24-hour service that is available<br />

at every single location. For this reason,<br />

it often needs special approval from the<br />

cities in which it plans to build.<br />

“When we deny something, there<br />

are very specific reasons that we can<br />

deny,” said Madison Heights Mayor<br />

Roslyn Grafstein in an interview.<br />

“We need some kind of development<br />

there, and I would love to put in a restaurant<br />

or maybe a grocery store, but<br />

we don’t need another gas station.”<br />

One of Grafstein’s biggest issues<br />

was the environmental damage this<br />

could cause. She pointed out that as<br />

electric cars become more available<br />

and popular, gas stations will become<br />

obsolete, and eventually they might<br />

want to build something else on that<br />

property. The cleanup required can<br />

cost millions of dollars.<br />

According to Grafstein, people<br />

stretched wall to wall at the meeting.<br />

Most of them opposed the Sheetz<br />

proposal for one reason or another,<br />

although not everyone spoke. “I<br />

couldn’t even walk into the council<br />

chamber,” she said.<br />

The fact that so many attended the<br />

meeting is due to the advocacy and<br />

action of several Chaldean store owners<br />

located in Madison Heights as well<br />

as Sharkey Haddad and the Chaldean<br />

American Chamber of Commerce.<br />

“Several gas station owners in the<br />

area reached out to me and asked for<br />

help stopping Sheetz from coming to<br />

Madison Heights,” said Sharkey Haddad,<br />

who works with the Chamber on<br />

CACC’s Sharkey Haddad speaks at<br />

hearing.<br />

special projects. “They explained to<br />

me that Sheetz, as a national chain,<br />

has more power and their business<br />

can suffer if it opens close to them.”<br />

Before these small business owners<br />

came to Haddad, he was unaware<br />

of Sheetz’s plans to open so many<br />

stores in metro Detroit. The chain has<br />

already gotten approval in some cities<br />

on the outskirt suburbs of metro Detroit<br />

and is seeking many more.<br />

To the initial store owners who<br />

came to him for help, Haddad advised<br />

that they begin canvassing the<br />

area, collecting signatures and distributing<br />

flyers to their customers.<br />

Clearly, they took Haddad’s instruction<br />

to heart and turned out a large<br />


crowd at the city council meeting a<br />

few weeks later.<br />

“Over the past 30 years, I have<br />

noticed that big corporations like<br />

Walmart, Costco, or Sam’s Club come<br />

into a city and put a lot of mom-andpop<br />

shops out of business,” Haddad<br />

said. “Because of their purchasing<br />

power and high traffic, the small guys<br />

always end up getting the short end<br />

of the stick.”<br />

In a statement, Sheetz PR Manager<br />

Nick Ruffner said the company is<br />

disappointed by the decision in Madison<br />

Heights. “We always welcome the<br />

opportunity to share our story with<br />

the community and local officials,”<br />

the statement said. “We also appreciated<br />

the passion and enthusiasm displayed<br />

by the wider community, and<br />

we are looking forward to constructive<br />

dialogue on shared interests. We<br />

will continue our expansion with the<br />

goal of bringing our brand of fresh<br />

made-to-order food and 24/7 convenience<br />

to southeast Michigan.”<br />

Allowing Sheetz to open a chain<br />

of stores in metro Detroit comes with<br />

several advantages and disadvantages.<br />

Economic winners and losers can<br />

be found throughout the Chaldean<br />

community, but owning and operating<br />

small convenience and grocery<br />

stories remains its bread and butter.<br />

For Michigan in general, several<br />

effects would take place if Sheetz<br />

opened a large number of locations.<br />

Like Haddad noted, smaller stores<br />

would get less business, and with<br />

that, more profits would be taken<br />

out of the community by larger companies<br />

and spent elsewhere. In addition,<br />

customer service would suffer as<br />

employees paid minimum or low wages<br />

would run these stores instead of<br />

owner-operators who are much more<br />

motivated to satisfy their customers.<br />

On the other hand, the area would<br />

experience dozens of new construction,<br />

bringing economic activity, and<br />

more options for food, gas, and convenience,<br />

which would increase competition<br />

and potentially lower prices<br />

on these items in general. In addition,<br />

opening this many stores will create<br />

thousands of jobs for Michiganders.<br />

Only time will tell how many locations<br />

Sheetz can get up and running<br />

and which cities will allow the<br />

chain to operate its signature 24/7<br />

model.<br />

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

&<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation in collaboration with the Jewish Federations of North America<br />







This service is supported by a grant from<br />

The JFNA Center on Holocaust Survivor Care<br />

and Institute on Aging and Trauma.<br />

• Please wear comfortable clothing<br />

• Adults only<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

3601 15 mile Rd.<br />

Sterling Heights, MI 48310<br />

586-722-7253<br />

<strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 33


Growing in Faith<br />

First Holy Communion tradtion and culture<br />


<strong>2024</strong> First Holy Communion program at Saint Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church in West Bloomfield.<br />

“<br />

To grow as a community, we<br />

have to start with the children,”<br />

says Sandy Sesi, director<br />

of the First Holy Communion<br />

program at Saint Thomas Chaldean<br />

Catholic Church. First Holy Communion,<br />

also referred to as First Holy Eucharist,<br />

is one of the early sacraments<br />

in the Catholic Church and an important<br />

step in a Catholic’s spiritual journey.<br />

The Chaldean Catholic Church<br />

celebrates Mass in the Eastern Rite.<br />

It traces its origins to conversion by<br />

Saint Thomas the Apostle and follows<br />

the traditions and bishops of the<br />

Church of the East. In union with the<br />

Roman Catholic Church, both recognize<br />

the authority of the Pope.<br />

Sacraments are important rituals<br />

for Catholics because they are symbols<br />

of grace established by Christ Himself.<br />

They help individuals connect with<br />

God and the Church community. There<br />

are seven sacraments in the Catholic<br />

Church. These include baptism, confirmation,<br />

reconciliation or confession,<br />

Eucharist or Communion, Holy<br />

Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Anointing<br />

of the Sick.<br />

First Holy Eucharist, in the Chaldean<br />

tradition typically received by children<br />

in third grade, marks a child’s first reception<br />

of the Body and Blood of Christ.<br />

This practice involves receiving bread<br />

and wine, which Catholics believe are<br />

transubstantiated during Mass into the<br />

actual Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.<br />

It is a profound moment that signifies a<br />

deepening relationship with Jesus and<br />

the Church community. It is rooted in<br />

the biblical teachings of the Last Supper<br />

where Jesus instructed His disciples to<br />

“Do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19).<br />

This sacrament, established by<br />

Christ, is a source of spiritual unity<br />

between Him and the Church. “The<br />

significance of the Eucharist is beyond<br />

something that we would even be<br />


able to recognize,” says Father Rodney<br />

Abasso, parochial vicar of Mart<br />

Mariam Chaldean Catholic Church.<br />

“The Church refers to it as the ‘Source<br />

and Summit’ and that is because the<br />

Eucharist is one of the most important<br />

things in the Christian life.”<br />

The sacrament marks this in the<br />

children’s lives.<br />

The Chaldean Diocese’s First Communion<br />

program slightly differs from<br />

the program that most children go<br />

through in the Latin rite. In preparation<br />

for their First Holy Communion,<br />

children undergo seven months of formation<br />

classes taught by catechists.<br />

Over the years, the Chaldean Diocese<br />

program developed its own book,<br />

beginning more than a decade ago<br />

when Bishop Francis, formerly Father<br />

Frank, served as pastor of Saint Thomas.<br />

He felt that the existing books for<br />

Communion preparation were not comprehensive<br />

enough to meet the expectations<br />

for what children receiving their<br />

First Holy Communion should know.<br />

In recent years, the program has<br />

authored a new book to address complex<br />

theological topics, entitled “First<br />

Holy Communion” It is written in a<br />

way that is understandable and digestible<br />

for children 8 to 9 years old.<br />

This involves simplifying the concepts<br />

for the children while retaining the key<br />

terminology they need to learn.<br />

“We teach the children about everything<br />

from creation to salvation,”<br />

says Sesi, sharing her experience<br />

leading this program and stressing its<br />

importance. “This includes all seven<br />

sacraments and the Ten Commandments.<br />

In addition, the kids learn their<br />

prayers in Chaldean and the order and<br />

hymns included in the Mass, in both<br />

English and Chaldean parts.”<br />

In the Latin rite, the children preparing<br />

to receive Eucharist only learn<br />

about 2 sacraments, reconciliation and<br />

Eucharist, as well as two commandments.<br />

The program that the Chaldean<br />

Diocese follows takes a deeper dive.<br />

Children are taught common<br />

prayers in Chaldean, including the Glory<br />

Be, Hail Mary, and Our Father. Unlike<br />

the traditional Latin Rite preparation,<br />

which often begins in second grade, the<br />

Chaldean program starts in third grade.<br />

This shift is because they are slightly<br />

older and better able to understand the<br />

immense significance of the sacrament.<br />

The structured approach of the Chaldean<br />

program not only prepares children<br />

for their First Holy Communion<br />

but also lays a foundation for ongoing<br />

faith development, helping them grasp<br />

the concept to its full extent.<br />

Parents and families play a crucial<br />

role in the child’s preparation for First<br />

Holy Communion. As the children undergo<br />

the process to prepare to receive<br />

the Sacrament of Eucharist, their parents’<br />

faith is reignited as well. The program<br />

includes mandatory parent retreats<br />

to deepen their faith as they engage in<br />

spiritual growth alongside their children.<br />

Following Communion classes each<br />

Saturday, students are required to attend<br />

Mass to help them understand<br />

and learn the order of the Mass and the<br />

hymns. Parents and families are also expected<br />

to attend this Mass weekly and<br />

participate in their children’s religious<br />

education, enforcing the lessons they<br />

are learning throughout the program.<br />

COMMUNION continued on page 36<br />

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

HIRING<br />

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Join our ever expanding team!<br />

Case Worker<br />

Early Childhood Development Instructor<br />

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For More Information<br />

HR@chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

586-722-7253<br />

www.chaldeanfoundation.org/careers<br />

<strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 35


These photos show the 2004 First Holy Communion at Sacred Heart of Jesus Chaldean Church in Baghdad, Iraq.<br />

COMMUNION continued from page 34<br />

By modeling a life of faith, parents<br />

help their children internalize the<br />

teachings of the Church. Additionally,<br />

children must receive the Sacrament of<br />

Reconciliation before their First Holy<br />

Communion, allowing them to seek<br />

forgiveness for their sins and approach<br />

the Eucharist in a state of grace. Parents<br />

and godparents are crucial in this<br />

preparation; they are required to model<br />

a life of faith, participate in religious<br />

instruction, and engage in spiritual<br />

discussions with the child.<br />

After receiving their First Holy<br />

Communion, children are encouraged<br />

to continue their religious education,<br />

deepening their understanding of the<br />

faith and preparing for future sacraments.<br />

The memories and significance<br />

of this sacrament often remain with<br />

individuals, shaping their spiritual<br />

identity and guiding their relationship<br />

with God. It serves as a reminder of the<br />

importance of the Eucharist and encourages<br />

regular participation in Mass<br />

and other sacramental practices.<br />

“When we look at the Eucharist,<br />

we’re not just looking at a thing, we’re<br />

looking at a person,” says Father Rodney.<br />

“We’re looking at the person of<br />

Jesus Christ, who is love, who is our<br />

Lord, who is our creator, and who became<br />

one of us to be with us and reveal<br />

the Father’s love.”<br />

The Chaldean Diocese’s First<br />

Communion program in the United<br />

States today exhibits significant<br />

cultural and ceremonial differences<br />

compared to how it was conducted<br />

in Iraq, particularly in 2004 at the<br />

Sacred Heart of Jesus Chaldean<br />

Church in Baghdad.<br />

In Iraq, only nuns and priests<br />

were permitted to teach Communion<br />

classes. The choir leaders and<br />

musicians assisted in teaching the<br />

children the hymns that make up<br />

the Mass. In the U.S., in contrast,<br />

catechists—the majority lay people—teach<br />

these classes.<br />

On Communion Day in Iraq, children<br />

were not allowed to hold Mass<br />

books, but had to memorize the<br />

entire Mass, both in Chaldean and<br />

Arabic. Additionally, girls were not<br />

permitted to wear anything resembling<br />

a wedding dress. Instead, boys<br />

dressed like monks and girls like nuns.<br />

This is similar to the Chaldean Diocese<br />

program in America today. The<br />

children, boys and girls alike, are fitted<br />

and wear gowns special-ordered<br />

from Italy. The girls also wear veils on<br />

their head. It promotes modesty within<br />

Church and allows the focus to be on<br />

the sacrament and not comparison of<br />

Bishop Francis Kalabat dispenses the Eucharist to a new<br />

communicant.<br />

who had the most expensive or bestlooking<br />

outfit.<br />

A significant difference is the observance<br />

of the second day of Communion,<br />

known as the Thanksgiving Mass,<br />

in Iraq. On this day, the children serve<br />

the entire Mass with some standing at<br />

the altar where a table with the Bible is<br />

placed. During this Mass, all the children<br />

publicly renounce Satan and renew<br />

their baptismal vows. This level of<br />


involvement and the specific<br />

ceremonial acts highlight a<br />

unique cultural and religious<br />

expression that was integral<br />

to the ceremony in Baghdad.<br />

First Holy Communion<br />

is a significant sacrament<br />

in the Catholic faith, rich in<br />

theological, spiritual, and<br />

cultural meaning. It marks<br />

the beginning of a deeper relationship<br />

with Jesus Christ<br />

and a fuller participation in<br />

the Church community for all<br />

the children who receive the<br />

sacrament.<br />

The celebration of First<br />

Holy Communion, with its<br />

varied customs and traditions,<br />

highlights the universal<br />

celebration within the Catholic<br />

Church while also honoring<br />

cultural traditions. Ultimately,<br />

the sacrament of First<br />

Holy Communion has a lasting impact<br />

on children and their families, shaping<br />

their faith journey and their commitment<br />

to the faith.<br />

“I think a lot of us can take for<br />

granted how readily accessible the Eucharist<br />

is,” says Father Rodney, “but<br />

rather than taking it for granted, we<br />

should take advantage of it and be with<br />

Him and allow Him to be with us.”<br />

36 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>


Administrative Support<br />


Behavioral Health Therapist<br />


Behavioral Health Therapist<br />


Behavioral Health Therapist<br />


Behavioral Health Program Manager<br />

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

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

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

are here for you to access. Through therapy, you<br />

can change self-destructive behaviors and habits,<br />

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

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

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

hard to face alone.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

to confidentiality are rare and include persons who threaten safety of<br />

themselves others or in circumstances of a court order.<br />

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

person centered goals and determine the steps you<br />

will take to reach those goals. Your relationship<br />

with your therapist is confidential and our common<br />

therapeutic goal for those we engage is to inspire<br />

healthy change to improve quality of life — no<br />

matter the challenge.<br />

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

Serving individuals ages 13 years and up. Please call<br />

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

Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

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

<strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 37


Avant Stamp<br />

Chaldean Language Assessment<br />



Share your feedback at chaldeannews.com/app<br />

Everyone who participates is automatically entered<br />

to win a limited edition Made in Nineveh gift box.<br />

Winner will be notified by email on March 31.<br />


High school students in our<br />

state are required to meet the<br />

Michigan Merit Curriculum<br />

guidelines for graduation, which includes<br />

2 credits in a language other<br />

than English. Most students meet this<br />

requirement though formal coursework,<br />

but it is possible to “test out” by<br />

demonstrating proficiency on a commercialized<br />

assessment.<br />

The Chaldean Community Foundation<br />

has collaborated with Avant Assessment<br />

to create a Chaldean speaking test,<br />

which provides the opportunity for our<br />

children to earn high school credit and<br />

the Michigan Seal of Biliteracy for Chaldean<br />

(Sureth). If any school requests a<br />

Chaldean language test, CCF can support<br />

and provide testing for them.<br />

For the first time, there will be data<br />

on how well students are progressing<br />

in their study and acquisition of the<br />

Chaldean language. The Avant STAMP<br />

(STAndards-based Measurement of<br />

Proficiency) assessment can be given<br />

at any time along the learning path to<br />

measure proficiency in speaking an<br />

other-than-English language.<br />

What is the Avant STAMP?<br />

Avant STAMP assessments are webbased<br />

and computer-adaptive, with realworld<br />

questions, scenarios, or prompts<br />

that engage students to actively determine<br />

their individual proficiency levels<br />

in communication skills such as speaking.<br />

The Avant STAMP is unique in that<br />

it measures what students can communicate<br />

“on the spot” as they would have<br />

to do in possible real-life situations.<br />

These assessments have been validated<br />

by statistical analysis and expert<br />

reviews and are the most widely<br />

recognized method for measuring proficiency<br />

in the U.S. school system. The<br />

STAMP WS for Chaldean is designed<br />

for students in grade 7 and above.<br />

There are three major proficiency<br />

levels assessed: novice, intermediate<br />

and advanced. There are three sublevels<br />

within the first two levels: low,<br />

mid, and high, and two (low and mid)<br />

for the highest<br />

Avant STAMP scores are reported<br />

at proficiency benchmarks aligned to<br />

nationally recognized standards from<br />

Novice through Advanced. Speaking responses<br />

are scored externally by Avant<br />

Certified Raters and typically made<br />

available within 10-12 business days.<br />

Reports are downloadable for flexible<br />

analysis and distribution to test takers.<br />

Avant STAMP scores<br />

are reported at proficiency<br />

benchmarks<br />

aligned to nationally<br />

recognized standards<br />

from Novice through<br />

Advanced.<br />

Why Choose the Avant STAMP WS<br />

Test for Chaldean?<br />

Avant was chosen after careful review<br />

because they are leaders in the field<br />

of language assessments and have approval<br />

from the Michigan Department<br />

of Education. They also had a pre-existing<br />

partnership with Oakland Schools.<br />

It also offers an accessible online<br />

format. With convenience in mind, the<br />

test is administered online, allowing<br />

learners from anywhere to demonstrate<br />

their proficiency. Specifically designed<br />

to assess speaking proficiency,<br />

this test honors the unique characteristics<br />

of the Chaldean language.<br />

Finally, Avant is rigorously rated.<br />

Upholding Avant’s high standards, the<br />

test ensures reliable and meaningful<br />

assessment results.<br />

The Foundation was originally approached<br />

by Oakland Schools regarding<br />

this opportunity; Dr. Christina<br />

Kozlowski and Jennifer Howe from<br />

Oakland Schools served as advocates<br />

and helped support the CCF in the<br />

communication with Avant.<br />

If you have any questions about Avant<br />

testing, call the Chaldean Community<br />

Foundation at 586.722.7253.<br />

38 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

<strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 39



Relatives react near the bodily remains of people from the minority Yazidi, who were killed by Islamic State militants, after they were exhumed from a mass<br />

grave in Sinjar during a funeral ceremony in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Jan. 22, <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

Our Threatened Brethren<br />

The Plight of Yazidis in Iraq<br />


Part 1<br />

The Yazidi (or Yezidi) are a Kurmanji-speaking<br />

minority group<br />

who are indigenous to northern<br />

Iraq, Kurdistan, and a geographical<br />

region in Western Asia. This includes<br />

parts of Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Iran.<br />

Most Yazidis remaining in the Middle<br />

East today live in Iraq, primarily in the<br />

governorate of Nineveh and Duhok.<br />

Estimates put the global number<br />

of Yazidis at around 700,000 people,<br />

with most of them concentrated in and<br />

around Sinjar, west of the city of Mosul.<br />

It also includes the Sheikhan community,<br />

the religious center of the sect,<br />

located northeast of Mosul. There are<br />

small Yazidi communities in Turkey,<br />

Iran, Armenia, and Syria.<br />

Isolated geographically and accustomed<br />

to discrimination, the Yazidis<br />

forged an insular culture. Iraq’s Yazidis<br />

rarely intermarry with other groups, and<br />

they do not accept religious converts.<br />

Yazidis have historically shared the<br />

same political fate as Iraq’s Kurds. In the<br />

late 1970s, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein<br />

launched brutal Arabization campaigns<br />

against the Kurds in the north.<br />

At the same time, he razed traditional<br />

Yazidi villages and forced the Yazidi to<br />

settle in urban centers, disrupting their<br />

rural way of life. Hussein constructed<br />

the town of Sinjar and forced the Yazidi<br />

to abandon their mountain villages and<br />

relocate in the city.<br />

The story of the ISIS conquest of<br />

the Yazidi homeland in August 2014 is<br />

essential for understanding the plight<br />

of this endangered community which<br />

has faced centuries of what can only<br />

be described as a genocidal assault.<br />

It is a tragic tale of the followers of a<br />

peaceful religion whose very existence<br />

is threatened by a combination of fanaticism<br />

on the part of ISIS and indifference<br />

on the part of Western powers.<br />

Yazidis often say they have been<br />

the victim of 72 previous attempts at<br />

genocide. Memory of persecution is a<br />

core component of their identity.<br />

Identity and Ethnicity<br />

There is disagreement among scholars<br />

on whether the Yazidi people are<br />

a distinct ethnoreligious group or a<br />

religious sub-group of the Kurds, an<br />

Iranian ethnic group. There is even<br />

disagreement among the Yazidi. Some<br />

modern Yazidis identify ethnically as<br />

subset of the Kurdish people. Others<br />

view themselves as having a distinct<br />

ethnic identity as Yazidi.<br />

Yazidi cultural practices are observed<br />

in the Kurmanji language,<br />

which is also used by almost all their<br />

orally transmitted religious traditions.<br />

Kurmanji is the northernmost of the<br />

Kurdish languages.<br />

In Armenia and Iraq, the Yazidi<br />

are recognized as a distinct ethnic<br />

group. In Georgia and Germany, they<br />

are regarded as ethnic Kurds. The<br />

Soviet Union (Russia) registered the<br />

Yazidi and the Kurds as two different<br />

ethnic groups for the 1926 census but<br />

grouped the two together as one ethnicity<br />

in the censuses from 1931-1989.<br />

Religious beliefs<br />

Yazidism is the ethnic religion of the<br />

Yazidi people and is monotheistic in<br />

nature, having roots in a pre-Zoroastrian<br />

Iranic faith. The word Yazidi means<br />

“the servant of the creator.” Followers<br />

colloquially are called “the people of<br />

the peacock angel.”<br />

YAZIDIS continued on page 42<br />

40 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

Chaldean Community Foundation<br />



July 9, <strong>2024</strong> – September 12, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Instruction and preparation for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration<br />

Services (USCIS) naturalization interview.<br />

Tuesday and Thursday<br />

Morning Session: 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.<br />

Evening Session: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.<br />


Books and materials included<br />

To register, call Ninive at 586-722-7253<br />

3601 15 Mile Rd., Sterling Heights, MI 48310 | www.chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

<strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 41

YAZIDIS continued from page 40<br />

Starting from the 14th century,<br />

Yazidis built up their own internal<br />

religious and political apparatus in<br />

the lands they inhabited. The Yazidi<br />

territory was divided into seven administrative<br />

centers, each having its<br />

own Sincaq, or bronze peacock idol,<br />

which serves as a symbol of power for<br />

each administrative center.<br />

Yazidi tradition uses many terms,<br />

images, and symbols of Sufi or Islamic<br />

origin, while to a larger extent preserving<br />

pre-Islamic mythology, symbology,<br />

rituals, festivals, and traditions.<br />

While some Yazidi practices resemble<br />

those of Islam—refraining from<br />

eating pork, for example—many practices<br />

appear to be unique in the region.<br />

Yazidi society is organized into a rigid<br />

religious caste system. In addition to<br />

venerating the sun, Yazidis, like Zoroastrians,<br />

consider fire to be sacred and<br />

are not allowed to extinguish it with<br />

water or to speak rudely in front of it.<br />

Yazidis do not believe in eternal<br />

damnation. Instead, they believe in reincarnation<br />

or transmigration of souls<br />

through a gradual purification cycle.<br />

The souls of sinners are reborn as animals<br />

for a probationary period before<br />

passing into human form again. Ultimately,<br />

their souls ascend to heaven.<br />

Yazidis celebrate the new year<br />

in April with colored eggs and have<br />

a Feast of Sacrifice, when a sheep is<br />

slaughtered by the Baba Sheikh and<br />

torches are lit throughout the valley of<br />

Lailish, a holy place in their faith.<br />

Yazidis do not accept conversion<br />

into their faith and those who marry<br />

outside of the community are banned.<br />

Excommunication, therefore, has dire<br />

implications.<br />

Yazidis are forbidden from wearing<br />

the color blue, eating lettuce, and saying<br />

the word “Shaytan.”<br />

Melek Tawus<br />

While the Yazidi believe in one God,<br />

a central figure in their faith is Melek<br />

Tawus (AKA Tawusi Melek or “Peacock<br />

Angel”), an angel who defies God and<br />

serves as an intermediary between<br />

Him and man. Yazidis are dualists—believing<br />

in a Creator God, now passive,<br />

and Melek Tawus, executive organ of<br />

divine will. Some traditional myths<br />

say that the Yazidi were the children of<br />

Adam alone and not of Eve, and thus<br />

separate from the rest of humankind.<br />

To Muslims, the Yazidi account of<br />

the defiant angel often sounds like the<br />

Quranic rendering of Shaytan—the<br />

devil—even though Melek Tawus is a<br />

force for good in the Yazidi religion.<br />

The Yazidis’ God is known as Khude<br />

and is all forgiving and merciful. God-<br />

Khude created himself and seven archangels<br />

led by Melek Tawus. The Peacock<br />

Angel was sent to Earth to create life<br />

from the primordial chaos and act as an<br />

intercessor between man and God. The<br />

first human had been created without a<br />

soul, so Melek Tawus blew the breath of<br />

life into him. He then turned Adam towards<br />

the Sun, symbol of the Supreme<br />

Creator, which Yazidis, like ancient Mesopotamians,<br />

still worship.<br />

But it is the sad fate of the Yazidis<br />

that the story of Melek Tawus has eerie<br />

parallels with the story of Shaytan,<br />

the fallen jinn (genie) of Islam who is<br />

known in English as Satan.<br />

Yazidis began to face accusations<br />

of devil worship from Muslims beginning<br />

in the late 16th and early 17th<br />

centuries. To this day, Iraqi Yazidis<br />

push to put an end to the devil worship<br />

stereotype and accusations.<br />

Persecution<br />

The history of the Yazidi community<br />

in northern Iraq is laden with oppression<br />

and violence. For almost six<br />

centuries, Yazidis suffered the persecution<br />

of the Ottoman Empire (1299<br />

– 1922). After the dissolution of the<br />

Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century,<br />

the British Army targeted Yazidis<br />

and other ethnic groups in northern<br />

Iraq. The violent campaigns against<br />

Yazidis continued during the Baath<br />

regime that was in power in Iraq from<br />

1968 to 2003.<br />

In the wake of the March 2003<br />

invasion of Iraq, Yazidis faced increased<br />

persecution by religious extremists<br />

who incorrectly regarded<br />

them as ‘devil worshippers’ due to a<br />

misinterpretation of their religion.<br />

Community members were regularly<br />

targeted by extremists. A July 2008<br />

report from Iraq’s Ministry of Human<br />

Rights estimated that between 2003<br />

and the end of 2007, a total of 335 Yazidis<br />

had been killed in direct or indirect<br />

attacks.<br />

The effect of these and later attacks<br />

on the community were often<br />

far reaching. During the year 2013, for<br />

instance, there were numerous attacks<br />

on Yazidi students attending Mosul<br />

University. By the end of the year, approximately<br />

2,000 Yazidi students had<br />

stopped attending the university.<br />

Most recently, the 2014 Yazidi<br />

genocide that was carried out by<br />

the Islamic State (ISIS) saw over<br />

5,000 Yazidis killed, with thousands<br />

of Yazidi women and girls forced into<br />

sexual slavery and the flight of more<br />

than 500,000 Yazidi refugees.<br />

It’s not only Yazidis that faced the<br />

wrath of ISIS. In the last two decades<br />

Iraqi Christians have been reduced by<br />

over 80%, from 1.5 million to a couple<br />

of hundred thousand. Iraq has no<br />

Jews after over two millennia.<br />

Sources: Wikipedia, Yazda.org, Pari<br />

Ibrahim, Free Yezidi Foundation, Byavi<br />

Asher-Schapiro, National Geographic<br />

News, the Guardian, The Yazidis<br />

Narrative by Zuhair Kadhum Abood,<br />

Le Yezidis in Syria and Mount Sinjar by<br />

Roger Lescot, Brian Glyn Williams.<br />

42 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

ARE YOU<br />

HIRING?<br />



WHAT WE DO<br />

The Career Services Department at the Chaldean Community Foundation offers one-on-one assistance to help<br />

clients identify goals and develop careers.<br />

• Career Fairs<br />

• Employer Referrals<br />

• Job Application Completion<br />

• Training Opportunities<br />

• Resume Building<br />

• Mock Interviews<br />

• Cover Letter Writing<br />

• FAFSA Completion<br />

To inquire about adding your open positions to our job bank and hiring one of our<br />

clients, please call or email Elias at 586.722.7253<br />

or elias.kattoula@chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

Chaldean Community Foundation | 3601 15 Mile Rd., Sterling Heights, MI 48310<br />

<strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 43


نكبات ومأيس ومحن األزيدية يف العراق ‏)الجزء األول(‏<br />

بقلم د عضيد مريي<br />

من بني سلسلة مقاالت مجلة اخبار الكلدان حول<br />

محن املكونات األصيلة واألقليات العرقية والدينية<br />

يف العراق سبق وأن كتبنا عن أبناء خالتنا الصابئة<br />

املندائيني ‏)عدد شهر أكتوبر 2022 ص 38-36(،<br />

وسنتناول يف هذا العدد مكون عراقي اخر هو<br />

أألزيديون،‏ وبدورنا نأمل أن يلقي هذا املقال<br />

الضوء وملحات عىل التاريخ العميق لهذا املكون<br />

األصيل وبعض مام يحتاجه القارئ ملعرفة تاريخ<br />

وعقيدة ومعيشة ومحنة ومأساة املجتمع األزيدي<br />

يف القرن الحادي والعرشين.‏<br />

استندنا يف هذه املقالة اىل مصادر وكتب وجهود<br />

متميزة قام بها كتاب وباحثني ومؤرخني من اجل<br />

توضيح حقيقة من هم أألزيديون ودراسات تبحث<br />

يف معتقداتهم وكتبهم الدينية وعشائرهم وعاداتهم<br />

والبيئة االجتامعية واخبارهم التاريخية يف الشيخان<br />

وسنجار.‏ ومن بني هؤالء الكتاب واملؤلفني املرموقني<br />

نذكر املؤرخ عبد الرزاق الحسني وكتبه ‏)عبدة ابليس<br />

وكتاب اليزيديون يف حارضهم وماضيهم 1951( ،<br />

وكتاب ‏)عبدة ابليس(‏ ملؤلفه نوري باشا وايل املوصل<br />

ونقله محمود فخري عام 1913( والكاتب املوصيل<br />

صديق الدملوجي ‏)اليزيدية 1949(، وعباس العزاوي<br />

‏)تاريخ اليزيدية واصل عقيدتهم 1935( وسعيد<br />

الديهوجي ‏)اليزيدية وتأريخ املوصل ) والقايض زهري<br />

كاظم عبود ‏)ملحات عن اليزيدية 1994( والدكتور<br />

سامي سعيد األحمد ‏)اليزيدية ‏-احوالهم ومعتقداتهم<br />

1971( و)اليزيدية يف سوريا وسنجار – ملؤلفه روجيه<br />

ليسكو - ترجمة احمد أمني(.‏ ان النصوص الرشقية<br />

واملرتجمة املتوفرة وكذلك قلة وندرة التدوين اليزيدي<br />

ال تسمح مبأل الفراغ املوجود يف املصادر سيام وأن<br />

املأثور الديني انتقل إليهم وفيام بينهم كان شفهيا،‏<br />

وهناك كتيبات قليلة تُعترب األدب املقدس للطائفة<br />

أهمها كتاب الجلوة ‏)كتاب الوحي(‏ واملصحف األسود،‏<br />

وال أحد يعرف مصري ومكان وجود هذين الكتابني<br />

الذي اعيد كتابتها وتغريت نصوصها ومضمونها<br />

ومصداقيتها ويُعتقد ان أصولها تعود اىل كتابات<br />

رهبان ميزوبوتاميا العليا.‏<br />

مقدمة<br />

األزيديون ‏)أو اليزيديون(‏ هم مجموعة أقلية<br />

ناطقة باللغة الكًرمانجية وهم السكان األصليون<br />

يف شامل العراق وكردستان ومناطق جغرافية يف<br />

غرب آسيا تشمل أجزاء من العراق وسوريا وتركيا<br />

وإيران وأرمينيا وروسيا ويتجمع معظم األزيديني<br />

املتبقني يف الرشق األوسط اليوم يف العراق،‏ خاصة<br />

يف محافظتي نينوى ودهوك.‏<br />

وتشري التقديرات إىل أن العدد العاملي<br />

لألزيديني يصل إىل نحو 700 ألف شخص،‏ يرتكز<br />

معظمهم يف الشيخان وسنجار وما حولهام قرب<br />

مدينة املوصل،‏ وتضم املنطقة أيضاً‏ املركز الديني<br />

للطائفة وأقدس بقعة يف العامل عندهم هو مجمع<br />

املعابد الحجرية يف اللش التي تقع يف واد ضيق يف<br />

تالل منطقة الحكم الذايت يف كردستان العراق.‏<br />

بقيت هذه البقعة املقدسة مغلقة أمام الغرباء<br />

لعدة قرون،‏ وبسبب عزلتهم جغرافياً‏ فهم اعتادوا<br />

عىل مختلف أنواع التمييز،‏ ولكوّنهم يعيشون عموما<br />

ثقافة انعزالية فهم نادراً‏ ما يتزاوجون مع مجموعات<br />

أخرى،‏ وال يقبل أألزيديون التحول الديني إىل<br />

عقيدتهم ومُيُ‏ نع ويرفض أولئك الذين يتزوجون من<br />

خارج املجتمع فالزواج من خارج املجتمع محظور<br />

والحرمان له عواقب وخيمة إذ يتزاوج اليزيديون<br />

فقط مع اليزيديني اآلخرين ويُطرد أولئك الذين<br />

يتزوجون من غري األيزيديني من مجتمعهم وال يُسمح<br />

لهم بأن يطلقوا عىل أنفسهم اسم األيزيديني وال مُيكن<br />

للمرء العادي أن يصبح إيزيدياً.‏<br />

أغلبية األزيديني هم من الناس البسطاء<br />

واملزارعني غري املتعلمني وال يعرفون شيئاً‏ عن<br />

الدنيا أبعد من مناطق سكناهم ’ واليزيدي يعترب<br />

كريم متواضع ومضياف ويتمتع بأخالق عالية<br />

وشهامة وقيم متوارثة وهو شعب محب للعمل<br />

والزراعة ويهتم باأللوان والرقص واألهازيج<br />

معتمداً‏ عىل البساطة وحب املرح وتقديس الربيع<br />

وحب الزهور والشمس ويحرتم الظواهر الكونية.‏<br />

ومن املثري لالهتامم تشابه الرموز الثقافية بني<br />

الكلدان واآلشوريني واألزيديني ومناطق تواجدهم<br />

وسكنهم تاريخيا،‏ باإلضافة فيام يتعلق األمر<br />

باألسامء التي تنتهي بحرف الواو،‏ فمثال نجد عند<br />

األزيدين أسامء مثل قدو،‏ حدو،‏ حمكو،‏ سفو،‏<br />

رشو،‏ عتو،‏ مسطو،‏ مندو،‏ قولو،‏ وجوكو،‏ وسيدو،‏<br />

ومسطو،‏ إلخ ‏)طالع مقالتنا عن أصول األسامء<br />

الكلدانية يف عدد شهر أيار <strong>2024</strong> ص 39(.<br />

الهوية والعرق واللغة<br />

اختلف الكتاب والباحثني يف نسب واصل<br />

اليزيدين،‏ هناك خالف بني األراء حول ما إذا كان<br />

الشعب اليزيدي مجموعة عرقية دينية متميزة<br />

أو مجموعة فرعية دينية من األكراد،‏ أم هم<br />

مجموعة عرقية إيرانية.‏<br />

فقسم يعتربهم عرب النسب واألصل وأنهم من<br />

قريش وسموا باليزيدية نسبة اىل ‏)يزيد بن معاوية<br />

بن ايب سفيان(،‏ بينام ارجعهم البعض األخر اىل انهم<br />

من الكرد وأن عقيدتهم تعود اىل األشورية والبابلية<br />

والديانات الرافدينية القدمُية.‏ بينام ربطهم البعض<br />

مبجيء ‏)الشيخ عدي بن مسافر األموي(‏ الذي جاء<br />

اىل منطقتهم ومناطق نفوذهم مصلحاً‏ ومرشداً‏<br />

ومتصوفاً،‏ فتبعه وامن بطريقته كثريون.‏<br />

وهناك من يرجع اصولهم ومعتقداتهم اىل<br />

بقايا دين قديم جذوره املجوسية والزرادشتية.‏<br />

إذ اجمع الباحثون ان كلمة ‏)أيزد(‏ تعني إله<br />

الخري كام ان كلمة ‏)أيزدين(‏ تُعرب عن مدينة<br />

فارسية كانت مركزا للديانة الزرادشتية.‏ وكل<br />

هذه الفرضيات ال سند لها يف التأريخ،‏ إذ مل يذكر<br />

التأريخ كون األزيدية كانت يوما ما طائفة مسلمة<br />

او مسيحية،‏ أما أألزيديون أنفسهم فيقولون ان<br />

هذه االستنتاجات تتباين باختالف املصادر وال<br />

تستند عىل النصوص الدينية األزيدية وعىل ما<br />

مُيارسونه من طقوس يف الخفية تجري بصمت يف<br />

مرقد الشيخ عدي يف اللش ويعترب التكتم يف اظهار<br />

املعتقد فرضا عقائديا عىل كل ازيدي.‏<br />

وهناك خالفًا بني اإلزيديني أنفسهم،‏ إذ<br />

يُعرف بعض األزيديني املعارصين أنفسهم عرقياً‏<br />

بأنهم مجموعة فرعية من الشعب الكردي.‏ ويرى<br />

آخرون أنفسهم عىل أنهم يتمتعون بهوية عرقية<br />

مميزة مثل األزيديني.‏ وتتم مالحظة املامرسات<br />

الثقافية األزيدية يف اللغة الكرمانجية،‏ التي<br />

تستخدمها جميع تقاليدهم الدينية املنقولة<br />

شفهيًا.‏ والكرمانجية هي أقىص شامل اللغات<br />

الكردية القريبة من إيران،‏ ولغتهم أملت عليهم<br />

أن يطلقوا عىل أنفسهم وطريقتهم يف العبادة<br />

‏)عبدة الله(‏ فيقولون بالفارسية ‏)يزد-ان(‏ التي<br />

تعني الخالق بالفارسية وتطور ذلك فيام بعد<br />

ليصبح يزيدية.‏<br />

وبعض رجال الدين أألزيديون يعتربون<br />

أن أصل تسميتهم الصحيح هو ‏)عدوييوون(‏<br />

نسبة اىل ‏)الشيخ عدي بن مسافر(‏ ودينهم<br />

‏)بالدين العدووي(،‏ كام وانهم يسمون أنفسهم<br />

‏)بالداسنية(‏ وهي كلمة تعني عابد اإلله،‏ وأن<br />

الطائفة موجودة منذ األزل وهي من نسل ادم<br />

وحده وان األديان األخرى هي من نسل أدم<br />

وحواء.‏ ولكن اثناء حكم العثامنيون نسبت إليهم<br />

تسمية ‏)يزيديون(‏ وليس أزيديون لينسبوهم<br />

اىل يزيد ابن معاوية من أجل تأليب املسلمني<br />

ومعتنقي املذهب الجعفري ضدهم.‏<br />

يف أرمينيا والعراق،‏ يتم االعرتاف باألزيديني<br />

كمجموعة عرقية متميزة.‏ ويف جورجيا وأملانيا،‏<br />

يُنظر إليهم عىل أنهم أكراد ويف سجالت االتحاد<br />

السوفييتي السابق ‏)روسيا(‏ يعترب األزيديني واألكراد<br />

كمجموعتني عرقيتني مختلفتني يف تعداد عام 1926،<br />

لكنه جمعهام معًا كعرق واحد يف التعدادات<br />

السكانية يف الفرتة من 1931 إىل 1989.<br />

ولكن ما هو مؤكد أن أألزيديون يتكلمون<br />

اللغة الكردية وهم منترشون يف اسيا الصغرى كلها<br />

وأن تجمعاتهم الكربى موجودة يف العراق كتجمع<br />

الشيخان ‏)املركز الديني للطائفة(‏ شامل رشق<br />

املوصل وتجمع سنجار غرب مدينة املوصل.‏<br />

املعتقدات الدينية والتقاليد<br />

غالباً‏ ما يُساء فهم الديانة األزيدية،‏ ألنها ال تتناسب<br />

متاماً‏ مع الفسيفساء الطائفية يف العراق.‏ فاألزيدية<br />

هي الديانة العرقية للشعب األزيدي وهي دينية<br />

YAZIDIS continued on page 46<br />

44 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

PK3<br />

PK4<br />

<strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 45

توحيدية بطبيعتها،‏ ولها جذور يف العقيدة اإليرانية<br />

ما قبل الزرادشتية.‏ وكلمة يزيدية تعني ‏“خادم<br />

الخالق”.‏ ويطلق عىل أتباعهم بالعامية اسم ‏“أهل<br />

الطاووس ملك”.‏ وتقول بعض األساطري التقليدية أن<br />

األزيديني كانوا أبناء آدم وحده،‏ وبالتايل منفصلني<br />

عن بقية البرشية.‏<br />

ويف حني أن أصول املعتقد الدقيقة هي مَحل<br />

خِ‏ الف،‏ يبدو أن األصول القدمُية لليزيدية هي<br />

مزيج من العنارص الوثنية والزرادشتية واملانوية،‏<br />

واليهودية،‏ واملسيحية النسطورية،‏ واملسلمة.‏<br />

هناك العديد من الجوانب القدمُية األخرى<br />

للعقيدة التي تشري إىل أنها قد تكون من بني<br />

األقدم يف العامل ويعود تاريخ تقومُيها إىل 6756<br />

عامًا.‏ ما يقرب من 5000 سنة أبعد من التقويم<br />

املسيحي أو الغريغوري وما يقرب من 1000 سنة<br />

أبعد من التقويم اليهودي.‏<br />

ظهرت اليزيدية يف القرن الثاين عرش<br />

عندما أسس الشيخ عدي،‏ بعد دراسته<br />

يف بغداد،‏ طريقة خاصة به تسمى<br />

العدوية.‏ مذكور يف املصادر العربية<br />

يف العصور الوسطى باسم أكراد<br />

عدوية ‏)عدوية األكراد(.‏ ويعتقد<br />

بعض العلامء أن اليزيدية تشكلت<br />

عندما استقر الزعيم الصويف الشيخ<br />

عدي بن مسافر يف كردستان يف<br />

القرن الثاين عرش وأسس مجتمعًا مُيزج<br />

عنارص اإلسالم مع معتقدات ما قبل<br />

اإلسالم املحلية،‏ وحني استقر يف وادي<br />

اللش قدّم مذاهبه إىل األكراد املحليني وكان<br />

مُيارس عقيدة إيرانية قدمُية كانت منفصلة عن<br />

الزرادشتية عىل الرغم من تشابهها معها وكانت<br />

من أصل ما قبل الزرادشتية.‏ وبعد وفاته عام<br />

‎1162‎م،‏ مزج تالميذه وخلفاؤه مذاهبه وتعاليمه<br />

مع التقاليد اإليرانية املحلية والقدمُية.‏<br />

اعتنقت العديد من القبائل واإلمارات الكردية<br />

الديانة اليزيدية.‏ وتحتوي املخطوطات اليزيدية،‏<br />

التي تسمى ‏)ميشور(‏ التي تم تدوينها يف القرن<br />

الثالث عرش،‏ عىل قوائم بالقبائل الكردية التي كانت<br />

تابعة لبري اليزيدين،‏ ولكن مل يتم نرش سوى اثنتني<br />

فقط من إجاميل املخطوطات األربعني حتى اآلن!‏<br />

ابتداءً‏ من القرن الرابع عرش،‏ بنى أألزيديون<br />

أجهزتهم الدينية والسياسية الداخلية الخاصة بهم يف<br />

األرايض التي يسكنونها،‏ وتم تقسيم األرايض اليزيدية<br />

إىل سبعة مراكز إدارية،‏ لكل منها سنجق خاص بها<br />

‏)أي منطقة إدارية(،‏ ورمزها هو الطاووس الربونزي<br />

الذي يعد مبثابة رمز القوة لكل مركز إداري.‏<br />

املجتمع اليزيدي منظم يف نظام طبقي ديني<br />

صارم.‏ وباإلضافة إىل تبجيل الشمس،‏ فإن األزيدية،‏<br />

مثل الزرادشتية،‏ يعتربون النار مقدسة وال يجوز<br />

إطفاؤها باملاء أو التحدث بوقاحة أمامها،‏ وهم<br />

ال يؤمنون باللعنة األبدية،‏ ويؤمنون بالتناسخ أو<br />

تناسخ األرواح من خالل دورة تطهري تدريجية،‏<br />

حيث تولد أرواح الخطأة من جديد كحيوانات<br />

لفرتة اختبار قبل أن تتحول إىل الشكل البرشي<br />

مرة أخرى ويف النهاية تصعد أرواحهم إىل السامء.‏<br />

يستخدم التقليد اليزيدي العديد من<br />

املصطلحات والصور والرموز ذات األصل الصويف<br />

أو اإلسالمي،‏ مع الحفاظ إىل حد كبري عىل<br />

األساطري والرموز والطقوس والتقاليد ما قبل<br />

اإلسالم.‏ ويف حني أن بعض املامرسات اليزيدية<br />

تشبه مامرسات اإلسالم – االمتناع عن أكل لحم<br />

الخنزير،‏ عىل سبيل املثال – إال أن العديد من<br />

املامرسات تبدو فريدة من نوعها يف املنطقة.‏<br />

يحتفل أألزيديون بالعام الجديد يف أبريل<br />

بالبيض امللون ويقيمون عيد األضاحي،‏ حيث يتم<br />

ذبح خروف عىل يد بابا شيخ ويتم إضاءة املشاعل<br />

يف جميع أنحاء وادي اللش،‏ وهو مكان مقدس<br />

يف عقيدتهم.‏ كام مُيُ‏ نع أألزيديون من لبس اللون<br />

األزرق واألخرض وأكل الخس والفجل النهام رفضا<br />

إخفاء الشيطان بني أوراقهم ملا طرده الله من<br />

مملكة السامء واجربه عىل الهبوط لألرض ونطق<br />

كلمة ‏“شيطان”‏ كام وان لحوم الديكة محرمة<br />

لكونها تشابه يف ألوان ريشها الطاووس.‏<br />

ويفضل االزيديون اللون األبيض يف ملبسهم<br />

الذي يعتقد بانه اللون املفضل عند اهل الجنة<br />

ويرمز اىل مالك النور،‏ ومن النادر ان تجدهم يرتدون<br />

املالبس الخرض او الزرق فهناك من يعتقد ان هذين<br />

اللونني مقدسان ومحرتمان،‏ إذ ان احرتام عنرص الرش<br />

الذي يرمزون اليه بالطاووس واجب وألن ألوان<br />

الطاووس البارزة هي األزرق واألخرض فأصبحت هذه<br />

األلوان محرمة عىل عامة الناس.‏<br />

ومام يزيد فهم املسألة الدينية لألزيدية<br />

تعقيداً‏ أن األمور الدينية للطائفة ال يعرف بها<br />

أبنائهم بشكل مفصل وواضح وهي حكراً‏ عىل<br />

رجال الدين وهم أنفسهم ال يتفقون بينهم عىل<br />

كافة أمور العقيدة ألن ارسار العقيدة محفوظه يف<br />

الصدر ال يف الكتب،‏ وهذا الحفظ بالطبع معرض<br />

لألهواء واآلراء وحكم الزمان وتباعد املناطق<br />

الجغرافية للطائفة املبعرثة يف ارجاء العامل مام<br />

يجعلها عرضة للتفسري واالجتهاد والنسيان.‏ ويشري<br />

الكثري من الكتاب اىل كتاب مصحف روز ‏)الجلوة(‏<br />

الذي هو أساس االعتقاد عند األزيدين.‏<br />

وهناك بني طبقة املثقفني واملتعلمني ‏)وهم<br />

قلة(‏ مجموعة من األساطري املتداولة والخرافات<br />

التاريخية املزروعة يف عقولهم ومازالوا يعيشون<br />

عقد الخوف واالضطهاد وقصص من وحي الخيال<br />

ال سند لها يف التأريخ ويتمسكون بخيط واهن من<br />

الحجج يعتقدونها محفوظة يف الصدور وان الناس<br />

ال تفهمهم،‏ والتاريخ مل ينصفهم،‏ وان قصصهم<br />

تحيك الحقيقة املطلقة.‏<br />

أألزيديون وعبادة الشمس<br />

إن الثابت واملؤكد ان اليزيدية تؤمن بالله الواحد<br />

األحُد ‏)خُدا(‏ الذي خلق الساموات واألرض ويجلس<br />

عىل الكون ‏)الدرة(‏ وفجر هذه الدرة بأمره وتفجرت<br />

معها ينابيع املاء ومن بخارها صارت البحور واألنهار<br />

وبعدها السحاب والسامء ومن نور الله تكونت<br />

الشمس والنجوم والقمر وكان املالئكة السبعة<br />

موجودين وهم ‏)عزازيل ودردائيل وارسافيل<br />

وميخائيل وعزرائيل وشمنائيل ونورائيل(.‏<br />

ويعتقد األزيديون ان الله خلق املالئكة<br />

السبعة من نوره فيوم االحد خلق ‏)ملك شمس<br />

الدين وهو عزازيل(‏ ويوم االثنني خلق ‏)ملك<br />

دردائيل وهو ملك فخر الدين ويعني القمر(‏<br />

ويوم الثالثاء خلق ‏)ملك ميخائيل وهو أمادين(‏<br />

ويوم األربعاء خلق ‏)ملك إرسافيل(‏ ويوم الخميس<br />

خلق ‏)عزرائيل وهو سجادين(‏ ويوم الجمعة خلق<br />

‏)شمنائيل الدين(‏ ويوم السبت خلق ‏)ملك<br />

نورائيل وهو يزدا(.‏<br />

وعزازيل هو أحد أسامء الشيطان<br />

يف امليثولوجيا الدينية القدمُية ويجسد<br />

نزعة الرش يف اإلنسان ويعترب كبري<br />

وطاووس املالئكة ورمز مقدس<br />

عند االزيدية مثلام الصليب عند<br />

املسيحيني والهالل عند اإلسالم.‏<br />

الشمس وطقوس الصالة<br />

قبلة األزيدي هي الشمس وتتخذ<br />

األزيدية من الشمس رمزا عىل أبواب<br />

دورها الدينية ومعابدها،‏ فالشمس هي<br />

نور الله وهي داللة عىل بزوغ الحياة ويوم<br />

جديد،‏ ولهذا يتجه األزيدي صوب املرشق ويدعو<br />

قبل طلوع الشمس ويرتل املصيل بعد رشوق<br />

الشمس وبعد غياب الشمس.‏<br />

وعادة يصيل منفردا وحيدا ويغسل يداه ووجهه<br />

باملاء ويشد عىل بطنه ما يشبه الحزام ويضع قامشا<br />

عىل رأسه ويشبك يديه مع بعضها وينزوي بعيدا عن<br />

اعني الناس منحنيا تبجيال للشمس وطهارة الكون<br />

وبعد االنتهاء من الصالة والدعاء يركع اىل األرض عىل<br />

ركبتيه ويقبلها ثالث مرات عوضا عن الشمس ومُيسح<br />

يديه عىل جبينه او لحيته وشواربه ان كان مسنا<br />

ويرجو املصيل األزيدي اثناء الصالة يف الصباح من الله<br />

ان يديم نوره عىل كافة الناس ويشكر رب الشمس<br />

ويدعوا منه الرحمة والغفران والخري واألمان مللته<br />

ولكل البرش الطيبني.‏<br />

ويف الظهرية عندما تتوسط الشمس منتصف<br />

السامء يتوجه املصيل نحو اللش الذي هو أقدس<br />

مكان عنده،‏ وعند املساء يتجه املصيل نحو<br />

الغروب حيث مغيب الشمس ويكرر طقوس<br />

صالة الصباح بشكل انفرادي يف ركن من محل<br />

تواجده بعيدا عن اعني الناس.‏<br />

طاووس مَلَك<br />

بينام يؤمن أألزيديون بإله واحد،‏ فإن الشخصية<br />

املركزية يف عقيدتهم هي ملك طاووس ‏)املعروف<br />

أيضً‏ ا باسم طاووس ملك أو املالك الطاووس(،‏ وهو<br />

املالك الذي تحدى الله ولذلك فإنه اول املوحدين<br />

ومل يسجد لغري الله وأنه كان يف الفردوس قبل خلق<br />

اإلنسان ولذلك فإن األزيدية تحرتم وتبجل وتهاب<br />

طاووس ملك وتعتربه وسيطاً‏ بني بني ادم وبني الله.‏<br />

يُعرف إله األزيديني باسم ‏)خودا(‏ وهو غفور<br />

ورحيم.‏ وخلق الله خودا ومعه سبعة رؤساء مالئكة<br />

بقيادة ملك طاووس،‏ وتم إرسال مالك الطاووس إىل<br />

األرض ليخلق الحياة من الفوىض البدائية ويكون<br />

مبثابة الشفيع بني اإلنسان والله.‏ لقد خلق اإلنسان<br />

األول بال روح،‏ فنفخ فيه ملك طاووس روح الحياة<br />

ثم وجه آدم نحو الشمس،‏ التي تعترب رمز الخالق<br />

األعظم،‏ الذي ال يزال اإلزيديون،‏ مثل سكان بالد ما<br />

بني النهرين القدماء،‏ يعبدونه.‏<br />

واليزيدية ال تعبد متثال الطاووس وال تؤلهه<br />

فهذا يتضارب مع كونهم يُقرون بوحدانية<br />

الله الخالق االزل وخالق املالئكة وهو املعبود<br />

األول وكل املالئكة دونه مبا فيهم طاووس ملك.‏<br />

ويعتربون ملك طاووس،‏ الجهاز التنفيذي لإلرادة<br />

اإللهية.‏<br />

وكلمة طاووسً‏ هي كلمة يونانية األصل<br />

‏)تاووس(‏ تعني اإلله ويعد اكرث الطيور جامال<br />

وحسنا ولونا وعىل ذنبه ريش فيه دوائر لها ضوء<br />

كضوء الشمس،‏ ويذكر أألزيديون اسمه احرتاما<br />

وتبجيالً‏ وتقديساً‏ له باعتباره من املقربني وأن<br />

الله خلق األنسان األول ‏)ادم(‏ من طني وأمر<br />

كافة املالئكة ان يسجدوا ألدم ، فسجد الجميع<br />

إال ‏)عزازيل ) الذي قال لله ‏“كيف اسجد ملخلوق<br />

صنعته من طني وأنا صنعتني من نار”‏ فكرر عليه<br />

الله أمر السجود فرفض وقال “ انا ال اسجد إال<br />

للخالق الذي ال يساويه هذا املخلوق األدمي”‏ ،<br />

فسخط عليه الله وانزله اىل الجحيم أوال ولكنه<br />

غفر له بعد هذا االمتحان وريض عنه وأعاده اىل<br />

الفردوس.‏<br />

بالنسبة للمسلمني،‏ غالبًا ما تبدو الرواية األزيدية<br />

عن املالك املتحدي تتضارب مع الرتجمة القرآنية<br />

للشيطان الرشير ‏)ابليس(‏ عىل الرغم من أن ملك<br />

طاووس هو قوة من أجل الخري يف الديانة اليزيدية.‏<br />

لكن املحزن لليزيدين هو أن لقصة ملك<br />

طاووس تشابهات مخيفة مع قصة الشيطان الجن<br />

الساقط ‏)الجني(‏ يف اإلسالم والذي يعرف باللغة<br />

العربية باسم الشيطان ‏)ابليس(.‏ وبسبب ذلك<br />

يواجه أألزيديون اتهامات بعبادة الشيطان من<br />

املسلمني بدءًا من أواخر القرن السادس عرش<br />

وأوائل القرن السابع عرش،‏ وحتى يومنا هذا<br />

يسعى اليزيدين العراقيني إىل وضع حد للصورة<br />

النمطية واالتهامات العدوانية بعبادة الشيطان.‏<br />

إن نكبات ومأيس ومحن األزيدية يف العراق<br />

مازال يلفها الحزن واألىس وأن نفي اإليزيديني<br />

من املزارات القدمُية لشعبهم يهدد بإضعاف<br />

هويتهم كشعب ومكوّن متميز،‏ وال يسعى<br />

األزيديون يف العراق إىل الحفاظ عىل تقاليدهم<br />

فحسب،‏ بل يسعون أيضً‏ ا إىل مكافحة املعلومات<br />

الخاطئة والقوالب النمطية حول عقيدتهم وهناك<br />

تحديات وصعوبات أمام اإلزيديني الستعادة األمن<br />

واالستقرار واألمن املجتمعي يف منطقة نينوى/‏<br />

سنجار،‏ سيام وان معظمهم تشتتوا بعيداً‏ عن<br />

أراضيهم املقدسة،‏ وانضم العديد منهم إىل جمع<br />

الالجئني إىل أوروبا.‏<br />

يف الجزء الثاين من املقالة سنتناول مأساة<br />

داعش والهجوم عىل سنجار واإلبادة الجامعية<br />

واالضطهاد واالختطاف والعبودية ودمار البلدات<br />

واملصري املجهول لهذا املكوّن العراقي األصيل.‏<br />

املصادر:‏ ويكيبيديا،‏ يزدا ، املؤسسة األزيدية<br />

الحرة،‏ ناشيونال جيوغرافيك،‏ الغارديان اللندنية،‏<br />

باري إبراهيم ، بيايف أرش شابريو،‏ براين كًلني<br />

ويليامز وكتب الكتاب املذكورة يف املقدمة أعاله.‏<br />

YAZIDIS continued from page 44<br />

46 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

PK3<br />

• For children ages 3 and 4<br />

• Helps young children to develop academically, socially,<br />

and emotionally<br />

• Teaches them new skills that will help later on, when they learn<br />

to read, write, and do math<br />

• Teaches phonemic awareness, communication and social skills<br />

• Encourages curiosity, creativity, and independence<br />

• Center-based activities that allow children to play, while still<br />

connecting them to the area of learning<br />


Morning Session 8:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.<br />

or Afternoon Session 12:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.<br />

Little<br />

Scholars<br />


September 9, <strong>2024</strong> – June 13, 2025<br />

PK4<br />

• Helps young children transition into Kindergarten<br />

• Enhances the academic, social, and emotional skills learned<br />

in preschool<br />

• Learn concepts in reading, writing, math<br />

and science<br />

• Teaches specific phonics instruction and reading ageappropriate<br />

books<br />

• Encourages curiosity, creativity, and independence<br />

• Center-based activities, small group, and<br />

one-on-one instruction<br />


Morning Session 8:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.<br />

or Afternoon Session 12:45 – 4:15 p.m.<br />

$100<br />


FEE<br />


Please contact Rachel Hall<br />

at rachel.hall@chaldeanfoundation.org or call (586) 722-7253<br />

3601 15 Mile Rd., Sterling Heights, MI 48310 | www.chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

<strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 47

SPORTS<br />

Row Your Boat<br />

Mario Marougi and Roman Kalasho help make St. Mary’s rowing history<br />


Left: Roman Kalasho rows and plays football for Orchard Lake St. Mary’s High School. Right: Mario Marougi recovered<br />

from a back injury to help the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s High School rowing team make history this spring.<br />

Neither Mario Marougi nor Roman<br />

Kalasho had done any competitive<br />

rowing before they joined<br />

the storied Orchard Lake St. Mary’s High<br />

School rowing team as they entered their<br />

freshman year at the school.<br />

Their only experience in the sport<br />

was the annual Learn to Row camp put<br />

on by St. Mary’s rowing coach Chris<br />

Czarnecki and St. Mary’s rowing team<br />

members in the summer before they<br />

became freshmen.<br />

Marougi and Kalasho have been<br />

quick learners. Each contributed to a<br />

historic season this spring for St. Mary’s.<br />

In addition to winning their 27th<br />

Scholastic Rowing Association of<br />

Michigan boys state championship,<br />

the Eaglets won their first boys and<br />

girls combined SRAM state title. Girls<br />

have been attending St. Mary’s for<br />

only four years.<br />

Marougi, who will be a junior this<br />

fall, was in the boys varsity 8 boat that<br />

earned a silver medal and boys junior 4<br />

boat that earned a bronze medal at the<br />

state competition. Kalasho, who will be<br />

a senior this fall, was in the second boys<br />

varsity 8 boat that earned a silver medal.<br />

The competition was held in May at<br />

Kensington Metropark.<br />

Even though they haven’t rowed<br />

very long, Marougi and Kalasho said<br />

they like the sport.<br />

“I like my teammates and my coaches.<br />

My teammates have become my best<br />

friends,” Marougi said. “It’s a great<br />

sport because everyone in your boat<br />

relies on each other. If you’re not doing<br />

well, everyone pushes you to do better.<br />

“I knew I’d like rowing. I’m surprised<br />

how much I actually like it. I<br />

even enjoy practices.”<br />

Kalasho also plays football for St.<br />

Mary’s. He’s a running back and linebacker,<br />

which has helped make him<br />

one of the strongest members of the<br />

rowing team.<br />

He listed two main reasons why he<br />

likes rowing.<br />

“It creates a bond with your teammates<br />

like no other sport,” he said.<br />

“Everyone in your boat has to be in<br />

synch with each other on every stroke.<br />

You’re accountable to each other.<br />

“Also, I love to work out. In rowing,<br />

you have to give everything you’ve got<br />

during a race. I know I exert so much<br />

energy that I’m dead at the end of a<br />

race.”<br />

Kalasho doesn’t think rowing makes<br />

him a better football player, or playing<br />

football makes him a better rower.<br />

“But doing both sports keeps me in<br />

shape year round and reinforces what it<br />

means to be a good teammate,” he said.<br />

Marougi and Kalasho each had to<br />

overcome adversity this past season.<br />

For Marougi, it was a back injury<br />

suffered during winter training.<br />

How important is the back to a<br />

rower?<br />

“You have to trust your back to<br />

row effectively,” said St. Mary’s varsity<br />

coach Don Wright.<br />

Marougi fought his way back to<br />

health. He couldn’t row on the school’s<br />

rowing machines in January and February.<br />

Meanwhile, he rested, went<br />

through physical therapy and rode an<br />

exercise bike.<br />

“I was scared at first that I couldn’t<br />

compete because of my back,” Marougi<br />

said. “That kept me focused on<br />

recovering. My back is 100% now, but I<br />

still get some pains sometimes.”<br />

Kalasho’s mountain to climb<br />

wasn’t physical. It was dealing with<br />

disappointment.<br />

After competing in St. Mary’s boys<br />

varsity 8 boat as sophomore, he was<br />

relegated to the second boys varsity 8<br />

boat as a junior.<br />

That was mainly because he was<br />

playing football during the fall and<br />

not practicing with the rowing team.<br />

Kalasho was still disappointed. Then<br />

he had a heartfelt conversation with<br />

one of the rowing team’s captains.<br />

“He told me I needed to make my<br />

boat my own, so I did,” Kalasho said.<br />

“I feel I’m a good teammate. I’ll do<br />

anything for my team.”<br />

That change of heart didn’t surprise<br />

Wright.<br />

“Both Roman and Mario are good<br />

kids. They’re respectful and great<br />

teammates,” he said.<br />

Kalasho was back in the boys varsity<br />

8 boat for the Canadian Secondary<br />

Schools Rowing Association meet<br />

in June is St. Catharines, Ont., and<br />

contributed to a sixth-place finish.<br />

Marougi won two silver medals at the<br />

Canadian nationals.<br />

Two weeks earlier, Marougi competed<br />

in the Scholastic Rowing Association<br />

of America National Championship Regatta<br />

in Pennsauken, N.J. His boys junior<br />

4 boat placed 14th among 25 boats.<br />

Marougi is 16. He has two sisters,<br />

Maria, 17, and Maya, 13. Their parents<br />

are Joey and Shelly Marougi. The family<br />

lives in West Bloomfield.<br />

Kalasho turned 17 in early July. He<br />

has two brothers, Preston, 15, and Julian,<br />

13. Preston, who will be a sophomore<br />

at St. Mary’s in the fall, was on<br />

the school’s rowing team this past<br />

season. Ray and Brenda Kalasho are<br />

the parents of the three teenagers. The<br />

family lives in Keego Harbor.<br />


48 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>



Avant STAMP (STAndards-based Measurement of Proficiency) WS Speaking test for the Chaldean language.<br />

The Chaldean Community Foundation has collaborated with Avant Assessment to create a Chaldean speaking test.<br />

For the first time, we will have data on how well students are progressing in their study and acquisition of Chaldean.<br />

The STAMP WS for Chaldean is designed for learners in grades 7 and above.<br />

What is the Avant STAMP?<br />

Avant STAMP assessments are web-based and<br />

computer-adaptive, with real-world questions,<br />

scenarios, or prompts that engage students to<br />

actively determine their individual proficiency<br />

levels in communication skills such as speaking.<br />

Avant STAMP is unique in that it measures what<br />

students can communicate “on the spot” as they<br />

would have to do in possible real-life situations.<br />

These assessments have been validated by<br />

statistical analysis and expert reviews and are the<br />

most widely recognized method for measuring<br />

proficiency in the US school system.<br />

Why Choose the Avant STAMP WS Test for Chaldean?<br />

• Tailored to Chaldean Speakers: Specifically designed to<br />

assess speaking proficiency, this test honors the unique<br />

characteristics of the Chaldean language.<br />

• Accessible Online Format: With convenience in mind,<br />

the test is administered online, allowing learners from<br />

anywhere to demonstrate their proficiency.<br />

• Rigorously Rated: Upholding Avant’s high standards, the<br />

test ensures reliable and meaningful assessment results.<br />

• This makes the opportunity to earn high school credit and<br />

the Michigan Seal of Biliteracy for Chaldean now possible.<br />

Ready to Get Started?<br />

Discover more about the Avant STAMP WS Speaking test for<br />

Chaldean by visiting www.avantassessment.com/stamp.<br />

To request a quote or purchase test credits, contact Stacy Bahri at<br />

stacy.bahri@chaldeanfoundation.org or call 586.722.7253.<br />

<strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 49


Summer Sports<br />

Be vigilant about injuries<br />

Every year, millions of people<br />

are treated due to sports injuries,<br />

especially in the summer.<br />

As a family doctor trying to keep my<br />

patients as healthy as possible, I have<br />

witnessed the severe consequences<br />

sports injuries may have. Fortunately,<br />

there are reliable ways we can prevent<br />

them. In the following interview, my<br />

extern, Dr. Vojtech Parizek, answers<br />

questions about the prevention of<br />

sport injuries.<br />

Dr. Jaddou: What injuries are<br />

considered sports injuries?<br />

Dr. Parizek: By the term “sports injuries”,<br />

doctors mean such injuries<br />

that are usually caused during various<br />

sports. However, you can also get a<br />

“sports injury” while participating in a<br />

non-sporty activity, such as gardening.<br />

Sports injuries can be divided into<br />

two major groups: acute and chronic.<br />

Acute sports injuries happen immediately,<br />

like concussion after a fall.<br />

Chronic injuries need some time to develop,<br />

such as stress fractures.<br />

Dr. Jaddou: Are there any other types<br />

of sports injuries besides the abovementioned<br />

fractures and concussions?<br />

Dr. Parizek: There are many. In addition<br />

to fractures and concussions, there<br />

are, for example, dislocations, sprains,<br />

strains, or tendinitis. Dislocations happen<br />

when bones that form a joint are<br />

separated. Sprains are damage to the<br />

connective tissue that join one bone<br />

with another while strains are damage<br />

to the muscles or tendons. Tendinitis is<br />

an inflammation of a tendon.<br />

Dr. Jaddou: Can you mention any<br />

common examples of sports injuries?<br />

Dr. Parizek: Starting with the most<br />

critical part of the body, concussion<br />

is a common injury of the head. It is<br />

caused by a blow to the head, which<br />

makes the brain shake. Its symptoms<br />

can include headache, dizziness, confusion,<br />

and vomiting.<br />

Another common group is injuries<br />

to the big joints of the arm, shoulder,<br />


JADDOU, M.D<br />



NEWS<br />


PARIZEK, M.D.<br />



NEWS<br />

and elbow. Shoulder injuries include<br />

rotator cuff injuries or shoulder instability.<br />

A rotator cuff is a group of muscles<br />

that stabilize the shoulder joint.<br />

Its injuries tend to happen in people<br />

who repeatedly reach upward like tennis<br />

players or swimmers. Examples of<br />

elbow injuries are tennis elbow or golfer’s<br />

elbow. Tennis elbow is located on<br />

the outside of the elbow, while golfer’s<br />

elbow causes pain in the inner part.<br />

The leg is another major location<br />

of sports injuries. A hamstring strain<br />

causes pain in the back of your thigh,<br />

often seen in basketball, football, and<br />

soccer. The knee is injured very often.<br />

A torn knee ligament is typical for<br />

athletes who change directions suddenly<br />

or land from a jump. Meniscal<br />

cartilage tear can be a consequence of<br />

a complete tear of the knee ligaments.<br />

Last but not least, ankle sprain is common<br />

when playing volleyball, soccer,<br />

or basketball.<br />

Dr. Jaddou: How can someone prevent<br />

sports injuries?<br />

Dr. Parizek: There are many ways you<br />

can prevent sports injuries. Avoid sports<br />

that involve heavy collisions, use quality<br />

safety equipment, warm up with<br />

stretching before every workout, and<br />

cool down with stretching after every<br />

workout. Drink plenty of water to help<br />

prevent headaches or heatstroke. Most<br />

importantly, patients should pay attention<br />

to their bodies and progress stepby-step<br />

without straining to reach their<br />

goals too quickly. Finally, play sport<br />

based on your ability. For example, if<br />

you are in your 60s don’t play sport or do<br />

activities the same way you were when<br />

you were in your twenties or thirties.<br />

Dr. Jaddou: When should patients see<br />

a doctor due to their sports injury?<br />

Dr. Parizek: When things don’t get<br />

better or when in doubt, then you<br />

should not wait to see a doctor. Serious<br />

injuries are usually those that<br />

cause severe pain, create an obvious<br />

deformity, or are not getting better<br />

after a few days. If an injury is minor,<br />

they should try the RICE method: rest,<br />

ice, compression, and elevation.<br />

To prevent sports<br />

injuries, avoid sports<br />

that involve heavy<br />

collisions, use quality<br />

safety equipment,<br />

warm up with stretching<br />

before every workout,<br />

and cool down<br />

with stretching after<br />

every workout…Most<br />

importantly, pay attention<br />

to your body<br />

and progress step-bystep<br />

without straining<br />

to reach your goals<br />

too quickly.<br />

Dr. Jaddou: I have a lot of patients who<br />

have osteoporosis. Do you have any<br />

advice related to sports injuries for them?<br />

Dr. Parizek: Osteoporotic patients<br />

should focus on osteoporosis prevention<br />

in general, as stronger bones<br />

will help them prevent injuries. They<br />

should stop smoking, limit alcohol<br />

consumption, increase physical activity,<br />

and get other medical conditions<br />

under control to eliminate other<br />

risk factors for osteoporosis.<br />

It is also recommended that patients<br />

increase their calcium and vitamin<br />

D levels. Patients can get calcium<br />

from dairy products, spinach, broccoli,<br />

or from foods with added calcium,<br />

like orange juice and other sources.<br />

Vitamin D can be obtained from sun<br />

exposure (be careful not to sunburn!)<br />

or from many types of fish, egg yolk,<br />

vitamin D-fortified foods, and others.<br />

If patients have or think they may<br />

have osteoporosis, they should limit<br />

their fall risk by not doing any jumping<br />

moves, checking the list of their medications<br />

with a doctor (as some of them<br />

can cause dizziness), and placing railings<br />

and non-slip carpets at home,<br />

among other safety measures.<br />

Dr. Jaddou: You mentioned vitamin<br />

D. Are there any other benefits to<br />

supplementing?<br />

Dr. Parizek: There are many. Vitamin<br />

D is an interesting substance that is<br />

both a vitamin and a hormone at once.<br />

Its character supports immune health,<br />

muscle function, and brain cell activity.<br />

It gives you energy and decreases<br />

muscle pain and depression.<br />

Dr. Jaddou: Is there anything else you<br />

would like to tell patients?<br />

Dr. Parizek: I would like to tell them<br />

that prevention really works and that<br />

the health benefits of sports strongly<br />

outweigh their risks. I also think that<br />

having a solid primary care physician<br />

who will not hesitate to guide them<br />

through a potential treatment plan in<br />

case of injury is extremely important.<br />

Dr. Neil Jaddou is a professor of Family<br />

Medicine and Community Health<br />

at both Wayne State and Oakland<br />

Beaumont Medical School. He also<br />

sees patients at Somerset Family<br />

Medicine (SFM) in Troy and Sterling<br />

Heights, Michigan. More information<br />

can be found at www.drjaddou.com.<br />

Dr. Vojtech Parizek is an aspiring family<br />

physician from the Czech Republic and<br />

is doing his rotation at SFM.<br />

50 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>


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Websites: www.brianyaldoo.com<br />

www.BuyingOrSellingRealEstate.com<br />




3601 3601 15 15 Mile Mile Road Road<br />

Sterling Sterling Heights, Heights, MI MI 48310 48310<br />

TEL:<br />

TEL: (586) (586) 722-7253 722-7253<br />

FAX:<br />

FAX: (586) (586) 722-7257 722-7257<br />

mariam.abdalla@chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

stacy.bahri@chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

www.chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

www.chaldeanfoundation.org<br />

Attorney Alexander R. Karana<br />

Nationwide Services:<br />

• Patent Law<br />

• Trademark Law<br />

• Copyright Law<br />

• Licensing Agreements<br />

Contact Alex to start protecting your IP today.<br />

vonbriesen.com<br />

Service Industries:<br />

• Technology Protection<br />

• Branding Protection<br />

• Entertainment<br />

• Startups & Business<br />

alexander.karana@vonbriesen.com<br />

(312) 676-7597<br />

New York Life Congratulates<br />

Gabriel H. Sinawi CLU®, ChFC® for<br />

46 years of Service & Life member of MDRT<br />

Life Insurance, IRAs, SEPs, Fixed and Variable Annuities # , Mutual Funds # ,<br />

Health Insurance/Medicare **<br />

CONTACT:<br />

Agent, New York Life Insurance Company<br />

Registered Representative of NYLIFE Securities LLC<br />

Member (FINRA/SIPC), a Licensed Insurance Agency<br />

and a New York Life company<br />

EMAIL: gsinawi@ft.newyorklife.com<br />

PHONE: 248-357-8971<br />

CELL: 248-420-2632<br />

ADDRESS: 27777 Franklin Dr, Suite 2220, Southfield, MI 48034<br />

#Securities offered through NYLIFE Securities LLC (member FINRA/SIPC). **Products available through one or more carriers not affiliated with<br />

New York Life, dependent on carrier authorization and product availability in your state or locality. *Awarded by New York Life Insurance Company<br />

for outstanding sales achievements. Council is an annual company recognition program based on agent production from July 1-June 30.<br />

<strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 51

EVENT<br />

Annual CACC<br />

Golf Outing<br />


On Thursday, June 13, the Chaldean American<br />

Chamber of Commerce (CACC) hosted its annual<br />

community Golf Outing at Shenandoah Country<br />

Club. The day started out wet and breezy but warm<br />

winds prevailed, and the outing was ultimately a<br />

success. The Farbman Group foursome took home<br />

the trophy. Many CACC members supported this<br />

event, including MotorCity Casino, Citizens State<br />

Bank, and Absopure.<br />

Clockwise from top left: An aerial view of Shenandoah Country Club; The trophy has the winners’ names<br />

from the last two decades; Tommy Hajji ran the putting contest. Mike DiLaura won this year’s pot; The<br />

winning foursome of Gavin Mills, Nick Daprai, Harry Barash, and Ryan DiCarlo represented Farbman<br />

Group; Golfers enjoy lunch before the noon shotgun scramble; This women’s foursome includes Diane<br />

Kello, Carol Loussia, Michelle Saroki, and Sandra Lousia.<br />

52 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

SEPTEMBER 15<br />

T H<br />

<strong>2024</strong><br />



MASS TO FOLLOW AT 10:00 AM<br />

11 TH ANNUAL<br />





AGES 2-12 $ 35<br />



<strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong> CHALDEAN NEWS 53


Family Vacations<br />

Aah, the family vacation! Perhaps it was an<br />

annual road trip to Carey, Ohio, or a couple<br />

weeks at the cottage, but it seems the family<br />

vacations of yesteryear are tinted with<br />

nostalgia. These beauties were pulled from<br />

the archives of the Chaldean Cultural Center.<br />

Cass Lake was a popular destination for<br />

summer fun, as evidenced by the Matti boys<br />

playing in the water in the 1940s and Tom<br />

Matti in his boat on the lake in the 1950s. The<br />

group photo was also at Cass Lake, taken<br />

probably sometime in the late 1940s and<br />

featuring Shamamta Dickow standing on<br />

the left with Dorothy Najor on the right, and<br />

sitting left to right were Zarifa Saroki, Ruby<br />

Najor, and Jalila George. It seems to have<br />

been submitted by Josephine Sarafa. Another<br />

favorite getaway was Belle Isle, where Katu<br />

Matti is pictured with Jamila Binno, who’s<br />

holding a baby. The photo is dated 1937.<br />

Clockwise from top left: 1. Katu Matti and Jamila Binno with a baby at Belle Isle, c. 1937. 2. The Matti boys<br />

playing in Cass Lake, c. 1940s. 3. At Cass Lake in the late 40s: Standing left to right: Shamamta Dickow,<br />

and Dorothy Najor. Sitting left to right: Zarifa Saroki, Ruby Najor, and Jalila George. 4. Tom Matti with a<br />

boatful on Cass Lake in the 1950s. All photos are courtesy of the Chaldean Cultural Center.<br />

The Chaldean Cultural Center and Museum owns a collection of captivating images from our vibrant community that<br />

we are delighted to share with the Chaldean News. If you have photographs that you would like us to incorporate into<br />

our archive, kindly reach out to us at info@chaldeanculturalcenter.org or call 248-681-5050.<br />

54 CHALDEAN NEWS <strong>JULY</strong> <strong>2024</strong>

From the Office of Wayne County Treasurer<br />

Eric R. Sabree<br />

If you are facing foreclosure and need assistance in starting<br />

a Wayne County Probate Court Case because a property is<br />

in the name of a deceased family member, please contact<br />

one of the following community partners for assistance:<br />

Michigan Legal Services: 313-774-1527 | 313-725-4890<br />

United Community Housing Coalition: 313-405-7726<br />

Legal Aid & Defender: 313-967-5800<br />

Contact the Wayne County<br />

Probate Court by calling:<br />

313-224-5706<br />

We are here to help!<br />

www.Treasurer.WayneCounty.com<br />


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