Posted by Jeff (126.96.36.199) on November 10, 2001 at 16:27:39:
In Reply to: hmmm... posted by campfire hero on November 10, 2001 at 09:34:44:
: Fred Parhad... i just looked him up on the net... funny that i didn't check out the meaning of the title of this webpg before.
: anyways, as for my family history (dad's side): my grandmother (the Chaldean) was Rose Thoma, from Baghdad - & i believe that one of her brothers was an Iraqi consul to Persia/Iran back in her young years (her twenties? so must've been somewhere in the 1920's-1930's... we never really could figure out when she was born, exactly, b/c she was a bit older (2-5y) than her husband, & they didn't want that fact made public). another of her brothers was mayor of a town somewhere near Baghdad. her sister, Victoria, was like her - 100% Chaldean, but blonde & blue-eyed - she married some British business man or gov't official, whatever.
: my grandfather (the Assyrian) was from Basrah, though his father, "Baba" Shamu (like the whale) Antar, & mother, Sadie (sp?) migrated/escaped there from somewhere on the Med. coast of Turkey. Shamu was ~60 when they migrated, & they say he lived to be 120 (his wife was much, much younger than him); he was an ordained priest & wealthy merchant, & he used part of his money to buy back orphan Assyrian children, esp. the young girls (orphans from his old village in Turkey, where he was an elder) from the people who had taken them after their village had been destroyed in the persecution. some of these orphan children were later to marry into Christians & Muslims families.
That's a really interesting story. It's amazing how our people are dispersed throughout the world, and how they assimilate into different cultures...
: anyway, they say that when Shamu was escaping the persecution, he basically decided to follow the Tigris southeast to wherever it ended - so that's why he ended up in Basrah.
: side note: yeah, my entire father's immediate family was red-headed. i have a Turkish friend here who says that red hair is a very common trait among the Assyrians. i saw a Kurdish film here "A Time for Drunken Horses" (Nashville, apparently, has the largest immigrant Kurdish population in the US, & consequently has a Kurdish festival every year) - there were a few red-head "Kurds" in the background - i speculate that they are ethnically Assyrian? (by the way -definitely - it's a good movie. i cried my eyes dry). & even in the documentary "Greetings from Iraq," many of the Chaldean kids are very fair-featured compared to the Muslim Iraqi children. (this documentary is so heartbreaking... God - Signe, the maker, is a very good woman). i have a Jordanian (Christian) friend who swears that even though i'm 1/2 Finnish, i could pass for a fairer Jordanian...
I recently saw a video that my friend took of the Chaldean/Assyrian schoolchildren in Northern Iraq, some were dark, others were blond, red haired, etc... though you don't see too much of that around here.
: oh, speaking of films, there was another good one i saw - it made my whole family cry - "West Beirut." it's very good - a more personal take on the Lebanese civil war...
: well, that's all for now... i hope this didn't bore anyone who reads this? i could, i suppose, bore you w/ Finnish history/trivia, too. they are a very good people, as well... the Swedes, on the other hand & according to my mom (who is half joking), are cave-dwelling Neanderthals - never trust a Swede... i guess every people has its former foe(s), eh?
Your post isn't boring at all! I find family histories fascinating. Here's a story from my family: My grandfather, after leaving Iraq at a young age (in his twenties) travelled throughout Europe before he came to the US. He stayed a few weeks in one country, then went on to the next. When he finally made it to France, he was in a restaurant ordering breakfast, but he had a communication problem with the waiter. My grandfather tried speaking Arabic, Chaldean, Turkish, Italian, Kurdish, ... I don't know how many languages he knew, but there were many more.... but they just couldn't communicate since he didn't know French. Well, he wanted eggs, so he started clucking like a chicken and put his hand between his legs like he could to catch an egg that just came out... and a few minutes later the French waiter brought him eggs, and everybody was happy. Every time he tells that story, I laugh...
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