Posted by parhad (220.127.116.11) on October 11, 2001 at 06:53:44:
Ever been too close to something, too wrapped up in it over time to see what you've been involved with, or what you've been doing or what's been done to you?
I think yesterday I finally broke through to the lawyer on this case. Up till then he'd been reacting to me a little like I was nuts or lying. He could find no handle on this whole thing to make any sense of it. From his perspective I'm a sculptor who's managed to achieve some good press for our Heritage, selling his own sculpture and using the proceeds to make the monuments (something he had difficulty in grasping at first),has worked for twenty years at what amounts to minimum wage, no matter how ignorant our people might be as to the costs and value of public monuments...and for the life of him he couldn't understand why certain people had said and done the things they'd done.
It dawned on him that this is and has been a conspiracy set up by the Federation and some affiliate members such as the AUA and Jackie's San Jose Association. It took sending a lot of documents, letters etc to clarify it. Now, the word "conspiracy" shouldn't make you think a government plot is afoot at all times. If you discuss, across State lines, plans which lead to illegal actions, you've engaged in a conspiracy and fines and penalties are greater.
I realize they think it's their Federation and they can do what they want. But these actions, taken by Jackie in accordance with the president of the Federation, were never decided on by the bodies she, or Atour, or the AUA even, represent. And if it's a matter of "invitations" and such, it wont be hard to demonstrate that when they did issue an invitation to me in Chicago, another Affiliate nullified it because it, "wasn't from God" (the lawyer loved that one). And of course the entire "contract" nonsense was clearly aimed only at me, as the other artists who also signed it, thereby agreeing not to sell their works, were not bothered as they merrily went on selling their works...obviously these guys don't know the legal definition of contracts, invitations OR discrimination.
And if they're claiming I am a "troublemaker" and use the Chicago convention as an example, which Jackie did when filling the Doubletree's general manager's head with "facts" about me in that case, it will not be difficult at all to establish the facts there as well, as I've already spoken to the security people at the Chicago Hilton, and they remember us and the affair...besides Jackie herself was in the thick of it and knows the truth...that it was the Federation's own security people who the Police went looking for because they made the threats etc, while all I did was insist on my right to do exactly what their invitation letter to me said I could...and it was the security chief of the Hilton who congratulated me on the way I handled the whole thing, as the under chief at this convention thanked me for stopping an ugly enough incident from getting uglier. It's these guys who make the trouble, then get angry at anyone for standing up to them.
The thing you have to remember is that Assyrians, especially ones with businesses, or standing in the community, or bosses, do NOT want to even be in court, let alone lie on the stand or act evasive...and in this case they wont even want to tell the truth, cause that's damning enough. I don't know how much experience they've had testifying when THEY are the ones in the hot seat, or at all...but it isn't what they think it is...you SWEAT, and it shows. These people will not lie under oath...they will have to confirm the things they've said, and written about me. They will have to repeat the things they spread in our community and the acts they agreed to engage in....across State lines.
And what will their defense be? What will John say when he'd asked why he threatened to sue Chicago if they installed the Shumirum Monument? That's the question I asked him at the political rally, the question that brought Carlo to tears and caused Jackie and the hotel management to tell me I could remain at the convention only if I asked no more questions. Sure, you have the right to do that, Jackie can make that a rule for remaining...but WHY? The hotel didn't question her cause she was making money for them...as they beat that kid cause she had them spooked. But how will she answer that question in court...and she has to square that with the fact that she turned her venom on me just because I said I wanted someone else to sing at the unveiling, not just her own brother.
What will Atour say when asked why he, a friend and supporter of the Hammurabi, even before he became president of the Federation and became "official" sponsor as well, why he presented me with a pre-dated contract on the last evening of the convention and forced me to stop raising funds for the Hammurabi, and why did he say the other artists had agreed to a "kick-back" when that wasn't true at all, as he well knew it wasn't when he said it? And why throw my sculpure together against a wall and cover it all up so the people who'd waited till Sunday night couldn't even see it...remember Melody's letter to him saying how she and her mother, both travelling from Canada, were eager to see my sculpture??? Why did the president of the Federation do all of that? Was it his idea all along, as Jackie has addmitted, ON THE RECORD, that it was? How much more is he going to let her dump on him? How long will Alphonse be willing to catch the heat for putting his signature to a document cooked up by the one person who DIDN'T sign it??? AQnd then stand around in the lobby and saying in a loud voice, there IS no Shumirum statue, while the contract he put his name to, demanded I say nothing in its defense or even explain where it was and why it hadn't yet again seen the light of day? I can't tell the truth...but he and Jackie and John and Carlo and Sargon can LIE???
I have documents showing how much Helen really gave to the Shumirum...I also have documents showing the AUA told people they paid $50,000.00 more than their own books will show. I also have John's statement that the AUA paid $227,000.00 for the same monument, and then another statement claiming it was really $240,000.00. Are these just mistakes, or a deliberate attempt to make me out a liar and a thief.
How do they explain that I was told, on pain of expulsion, not to say a thing about the Shumirum...that if people asked, I was to say nothing? What would that make people think? Especially as I also had to agree not to mention the Federation...in other words I couldn't even explain that the Federation had FORCED me to remain silent about the Shumirum, that I COULDN'T explain or be in "violation" of that contract and hence thrown out...that Jackie asked Atour to cover her ass and in return he covered his...so I was left staring blankly at the simple question..."what happened with the Shumirum"? As I WAS asked because people wanted to know. By forcing me to keep silent they knew people would walk away muttering to themselves and say to friends and potential donors and buyers..."he doesn't even have an answer when you ask him that simple question"
Right now they are all still saying whatever comes into their heads...good, let them. It will sound a whole lot different in a court of law, facing a jury and a judge. That's when they'll see how people in this country have reacted to my sculpture, how they have been the ones impressed while my own people and "friends" have thought it was cute enough but no big deal. They aren't thinking now that when I relate my life's work for the past 20 years, it's going to mean something very different to a white, educated jury and court...very different.
You will finally see, when you see it through other people's eyes, how terrible it was for John Nimrod to do what he did, to spread the lies and gossip he did, to block installation of the monument his own sister paid so much for, and waited till her death for him to get out of the way...you'll see how courteous Michael Lash and the Arts Council of Chicago were to US by allowing John to find alternate sites, and how he never found a single one in three years, while his sister died without seeing the monument she was waiting and hoping to unveil.
You'll understand more about the kinds of things Jackie has done, and said to different people about EACH OTHER, things calculated to set us all to fighting or mistrusting each other...things she's forgotten and put aside because she too has grown accustomed to being "powerful" when she's just been mean and deceitful. She's forgotten, but they are all relevant to the charge we'll be framing. And there's Carlo Ganjeh, and Alladin Khamis and Alphonse Odishoo and Sargon Lewie...all of them are part of the Federation and involved in these acts whose one goal was to cause as much harm to me professionally, to smear my name and reputation, to cost me as much financial loss, as possible... as a way of controlling me or getting rid of me...and finally, to damage the monuments, even to the point of killing a project the Federation itself agreed to sponsor...more as a way of controlling me and even killing it if that failed, than anything else.
This is what they have ever done when challenged, when asked to step aside and allow us to try a new direction. The AANF was NOT set up as a private social club...we will read their own charter and ask for minutes to meetings AND the Books. They were determined to use the monuments for the advancement of their own personal status, making the installation especially an event to showcase their abilities, as Jackie and John tried to do. The AANF, which was designed for ALL of us, became with them a "private" venue for their own peculiar and shifting agendas...the Public Monuments, which were intended for ALL of us, also became to them a means for enhancing their own private standing...and the Federation and the monuments be damned if either stood in the way of THEIR personal ambitions. This will become crystal clear...court testimony is a matter of public record...for anyone to see and read...and it will be made available.
There had been no difficulty whatsoever getting the Ashurbanipal and Shumirum accepted by San Francisco and Chicago. The ONLY difficulty we had was from fellow Assyrians...as we did again in San Jose. Jackie used the Shumirum as John wanted to...as a vehicle for her own glorification and went about, not trying to get it installed by the convention as she peomised to TRY to do...but to gain access and credibilty with city officials...NOT the members of an Art Council either, but the mayor, the ex-mayor, the supervisors and anyone else who might be impressed at what "SHE" was giving to the city.
The city officials were welcoming from the start in both of those most demanding of cities...I hardly think San Jose would have put up a fuss, and indeed they too accepted the Shumirum...and never saw Jackie again, except for a sub-committee meeting she attended...and made sure I didn't attend. And all the while she had me shuttling back and forth to the foundry to supervise, and had me delay our move and caused me to go to the trouble and expense of preparing sculptures for display to the many people who've grown used to seeing my work at these conventions.... tromping around San Jose looking for a "site", till the third time when I finally figured out she was snowing me...and found out later she'd made no contact with or attempt to even attend the monthly meetings of the Arts Committee of San Jose, when she told us all she was dilligently working blah blah.
We'll be proceeding, and we're going to lump them all together in the suit. Let's see how long they display "unity" now.
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