The Assyrian Democratic Organization Celebrates its 50th Anniversary in Sweden

The Assyrian Democratic Organization is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in Sweden. The celebration is spanning 3 days of events hosted by the Assyrian Cultural Club in Södertälje, Sweden beginning August 31, 2007 and ending September 2, 2007.

  By Beth Suryoyo Assyrian

Pictures from the Events of the First Day

Day 1:

The first day of the events was attended by over 600 people from all areas around the world. The opening began at 4:00 PM local Sweden time with a speech and a poem in Classical Assyrian (Syriac) by the MC, Mr. Teglat Lahdo. The introduction was followed by a national song by the Assyrian youth singer, Ninorta who sang a song titled ‘15 Tammuz Gu 57 Min Libbe D-Atour Brileh Zarra.’ With such a beautiful and powerful voice, Ninorta who is 13-years-old, has won the hearts of the audience and shown a hope for a bright singing future.

The second part of the event was the speech of Mr. Bachir Saadi, the chairman of the ADO Political Bureau. Mr. Saadi had arrived from Qamishly, Syria to participate in the celebration. Mr. Saadi began the speech by welcoming the guests and explaining how honored he was to represent the homeland. He then noted to all the attendees that the Assyrian Democratic Organization does not belong to a single group only but rather its ownership belongs to the Assyrian (Chaldean Assyrian Syriac) people as this organization represents them. Then, Mr. Saadi gave a brief history of the Assyrian Democratic Organization and how it was created. He then presented the objectives and goals of the ADO. To note some of them:
Constitutional recognition of the national existence of Assyrians, as an indigenous people, and the Syriac culture and language as a national one that should be revived and protected.

Granting legitimate national rights (political, cultural, and administrative) to our people within the framework of the unity of the countries where it is residing in the Middle East, according to the particularity of its case in the every country.

Noting a few points made in Mr. Bachir Saadi speech:
The ADO demands a Safe Haven for our people in Iraq under the United Nations
The ADO demands that we have a single unifying name representing our people in the Iraqi Constitution without “ands” or “dashes”
The ADO requests all the political parties representing our people to meet together and have a conference in which we can agree upon and solve all the issues regarding our people.
The ADO requests all our churches to meet and work together to help our people in the homeland and Diaspora.
The ADO asks all of its former members who are no longer in the ranks of the organization or have left for other reasons, to return and work together as the doors of the ADO are open to everyone. This organization is theirs and does not belong to any single person.

Mr. Saadi’s speech was then followed by a speech by Mr. Habib Afram who is the current president of the Syriac League in Lebanon and the Former President of the Syriac Universal Alliance (SUA). Mr. Afram talked about how it is sad that an organization such as the ADO whose has been greatly working for 50 years for our people in the homeland and has not been accepted and adopted by any of the countries in our homeland. Mr. Afram asked many questions of our people to act and solve our problems. He stated: “It is time to return to Tur Abdin, Nineweh, Qamishly, Beirut and the Middle East. That is where our destiny is written. It is time to rise and not allow this nation to be buried.”

Following Mr. Habib Afram’s speech, Mr. Yalda Marawge gave the speech of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (Zowaa), in which he talked about the great works of the ADO and the goals and achievements of the ADO. He also talked about: “There is an undeniable unity and great concordance between the ADM and ADO where they act and work as one party that separates them nothing but the Iraqi-Syrian border.”

Then came the emotional and beautiful speech by His Grace Archbishop Mor Julius Ablahad Gallo Shabo, the Metropolitan of Sweden and Scandinavia, who congratulated the ADO and the Assyrian people worldwide. “My hope is to celebrate the 100 years of the ADO not for an organization but for a homeland of our own.” He then criticized the ADO statement of ‘50 Years in Quest of Existence and Freedom,’ where he stated “that we do not need to seek a quest for existence because we exist as a people and have existed for thousands of years, and we will always exist.” He also criticized how the Iraqi government is giving writes to all groups of Iraq such as “Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Turkmans …etc and they never mention us. When they mention us it is always at the end and they would say the Christians. Who are those Christians? What is their ethnicity?” His Grace finally ended with “The existence of a church and the prosperity of a church cannot happen without a nationalistic ideal and feeling and also the nationalistic work cannot exist without the church. We all need each other and I refuse to not be called and considered a nationalist as well.”

Following the speeches, Ninorta enchanted us with her beautiful voice and another nationalist song titled “Ashurayeh – Babilayeh.” The song is originally for the Assyrian singer Germaine Tamraz which talks about the different groups, denominations and names which our Assyrian nation consists of.

Then, the Assyrian Democratic Organization honored certain persons and associations who have been active and made important efforts for the Assyrian people. These were presented by Mr. Sait Yildiz, the representative of the ADO in Sweden, and Ms. Berolin Malke. All of the individuals were presented by a beautiful plaque carrying the symbol of the ADO’s 50th anniversary. These included:

Ms. Margareta Viklund, former Swedish Parliamentarian, for her Human Rights efforts regarding Assyrians.
Mr. Murat Artin, Swedish Parliamentarian, for his efforts regarding the Assyrian Genocide (Seyfo)
Mr. Steffan Andersson, for his work in Journalism (did not attend)
Prof. Gabriele Yonan for her work in Assyrian History.
Prof. Josef Yakoub for his work in politics
Assyriska FF for Public Relations and it was received by Mr. Nail Yoken
Priests Fr. Bedrus Ögunc, Fr. Isa Namaan, and Fr. Munir Beber for their work in the Church to unite our people. It was these priests who rejected to ban Assyrians from the Syriac Orthodox Church and assisted anyone in need.
Mr. Habib Afram for his work in uniting our people
Mr. Hanna Al-Haek as an Assyrian artists.
The Assyrian Academic Society for activism and lobbying work, received by Mr. George Stifo
Mr. George Farag for the great Films he has produced, directed and performed.
Mr. Habib Mousa as an Assyrian Singer.
Mr. Shabo Bahe for his great musical lyrics and poetry.
Ms. Elizabeth Haffo and Mr. Yaldiz Ousi for their roles as Female Actresses in the Theatre.
Mr. Sargon Sharro for Male Theater Works, received by his son.
Mr. Gabriel Afram for his work with the Language (did not attend)
Mr. Josef Malke for his work with Music (did not attend)

At 6:00 PM, the inauguration of art exhibits of Assyrian artists:
Shamoun Abdalla
Afram Azri
Adam Odisho

At 9:30 PM, a concert that was started by a poem in Classical Assyrian (Syriac) by the MC, Mr. Teglat Lahdo, and followed by the speech of the Assyrian Democratic Organization branch of Sweden given by Mr. Sait Yildiz. The concert singers were:
Ninib Ablahad Lahdo
Sonja Aho
Abboud Zazi
Ghandi Hanna
Habib Mousa

Each singer sang two songs where most of them chose a song in the Western dialect and a song in the Eastern dialect. After each singer finished, the attendees were in for a surprise where our singers Habib Mousa and Sonja Aho were asked to sing a duet. The duet was the song “Tekh Dizzano Nofqina” which was one of the first songs to be written and sung in the vernacular western dialect. The song’s author is Malfono Abrohom Lahdo who was in the audience and was asked to give a brief history of the song. He explained how the first time it was sung was in his home in Qamishly and it was by the same two singers Habib Mousa and Sonja Aho who were only teenagers at the time. Then all of the singers joined together and sang two nationalistic Assyrian songs in the western and eastern dialects, the songs were “Motho Rhimto Nisho Deel” and “Bet-Nahrin Atriwat Le Manshinnakh”.

Then Mr. Sabri Alkan and Dr. Mikhael Abdallah asked all the singers of the night, the members of the band, and the artists who displayed their work to come together on the stage, where they were thanked and honored with a flower and a medallion.

At the end of the concert, and at 12:30 AM, this beautiful night ended. See you all in Day 2 of the activities.


Pictures from the Events of the First Day

Pictures from the Events of the Second Day

Pictures from the Events of the Third Day

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