Posted by farid from customer-148-233-93-195.uninet.net.mx (126.96.36.199) on Friday, August 15, 2003 at 1:03PM :
There's an unspoken agreement or awareness among us, a sort of radar or inner voice, that tells us when a certain danger approaches...specifically, when a dangerous individual or leader appears on the scene. So long as Nimrods and Golanis and Jackies and Dadeeshoos step forward...an inner voice says..."don't worry, same old shit...nothing will change". And we go on our merry ways, clamoring for unity...special treatment...recognition of our rights, claims for reparations and the rest of it. We know damn well this juggernaut isn't going anywhere...we don't WANT it to go anyhere, we LIKE whining and moaning about noble sounding things...but keep that secret.
If one leader stood in danger of rallying an overwhelming number of us...what would the others do? What would Hanna do if the consensus was to be that BetNahrain really does mean between the TWO RIVERS...Tigis and Euphrates in what is today called Iraq...and not, as he claims...any two rivers closest to his village in Turkey? What happens to the followers of the Mar Ones and Twos...and which dialect is a language and which word is Arabic or Turkish...what happens to musicians who "betray" us by singing in other languages...even as our leaders continue to speak in tongues?
No, no...a real leader would be the worst thing to hit this madcap community since, well since 1356...or 1243...or since Simele.
It's a signal peculiarity of any good teacher, or artist, or leader for that matter, that each of them wants to be surpassed...to have their students or followers go beyond the point at which their mentors could go. It has to be that way or we never would have made it out of the caves. That's the way you can tell for certain sure we haven't any leaders...artists or teachers...not really. Each leader wants to be the best and only and last...each of them wants their organizations and the community to stumble, if not fall, after they are gone. Jackie is a good example of this...she set herself on "Stun" when she took over the San Jose Club...even to the point of earning the praise of her club members because she was the first who "cared" enough about their treehouse that she actually paid, from her own pocket, to maintain the grounds. No one will do that again...and they'll remember...as they drive up the weed infested driveway, how much better it was when they had that Great Leader Jackie Bejan and her Performing Bucks.
Someone interested in the club as an ongoing insitution...interested in upgrading it permanently and not just as a personal tribute during their own term of leadership would have worked at finding a way for the club members themselves to be able to provide this service, if they were too busy to cut the grass themselves, and do it from then on. That achievement would have had some lasting meaning...but the way these people work...even if they have to put out a few bucks from their own pocket for a moment...is to create the perception in our minds that THERE was a leader...when shall such a one come again? Their answer would be,..."I hope NEVER...especially when I get through with any competition that dares pop up".
I have to take a detour here to explain the real reason Jackie sued Jeff...though she might not admit it ever. She knew enough to be impressed... not that Jeff is unique...that's the whole point...he's one of many we have...of many who are in danger of stepping forward...of shucking this silly way of being Assyrian and Chaldean we've honed over the weeping and wailing decades. Jeff was a threat to our need for Jackies...to our continuing to be impressed by and in thrall to Jackies. Worst of all he is young, with a long and active life before him. While she and our other leaders seem to have won a contract from someone to discourage and disgust our young people..chase them away and make them ashamed or loathe to "waste" their time on their Heritage...Jeff and others like him, without benefit of guidance or inspiration from a Jackster, were involved and involved in serious, time-consuming ways and, be they as respectful and courteous as they may be...as even Shawn addmitted Jeff had never said anything derrogatory about Jackie...still they are a "risk"...a "danger"...that inner radar told Jackie so...and she didn't have much trouble inventing an excuse to hurt Jeff with...to sue him for two million dollars...addmitting all the while, through her hired gun, that she knew he didn't do anything to her... that she really and truly didn't want to "hurt" him...only wanted him to "distance himself"...in oher words, betray his own conscience...lose his self-respect...make him a coward in his own eyes and possibly in the eyes of others...neutralize him...burn him so badly he'd think twice about ever again doing anything in the community...except what she and others like her allowed, or authorized, or sealed with their stamp of approval...the "Good Ratfucker's Seal of Approval".
Nimrod knows damn well what an achievement the Shumirum Monument is...not for my part in it...but for our people as a whole and that's what scares him...he knows it's something he never could have inspired or directed or led to any successful conclusion. He knows his sister wasn't extravagant with her money...he knows that for her to spend over $250,000 on sculpture meant more than that I was charming, he knows she was moved and genuinely inspired and wanted to help make this lasting statement...(the sculptures she left with him being now stored in his basement with the other junk). He knows he can barely get any support in Chicago for anything he comes up with...and yet we were able to get money...actual cash money from Assyrians around the world...even an Englishman and his French wife...and what a personal affront this is to all he stands for when, contrary to his own way of thinking, I don't insist on putting the monument in my front yard as a tribute to ME, as none of the other donors, of which he wasn't even one, have tried to do either...but on putting it where it does the most good for the most amount of people. We didn't do it either in the tried and true manner of exposing our scabs in the marketplace...holding up our deformed and mutilated babies and crying woe and miskeena at the top of our lungs...we did it by appealing to the pride and the courage to take a chance for that pride in our people and their willingness to believe in themselves. Something none of these leaders understands...has within themselves...or would know what to do with when they see it in others, except smash it as fast as they could because it poses a threat to "Assyria"...meaning their own estimation of the status they've achieved.
Nimrod would fight to the bitter end...as he has, to keep the Shumirum out of Chicago...the hell with generations of Assyrian kids to come who can just bloody well go look at German or French or Polish monuments...no way is he risking his own status, his "glorious achievements" no one can name. Nimrod and his hard-to-find legacy is to be the only "monument" to Assyrians in Chicago. Or if it comes to Chicago it has to be buried in his clubhouse where he knows very few people will go...even with the monument to draw them..and in this clubhouse it will remain far from view...from public knowledge so that other people might never know we exist and can do these things...if our puny, self-seeking and incompetant leadership doesn't get out of the way.
Jackie wrote emails to people in Detroit to ruin the Hammurabi by spreading rumors about land swindles and me begging for food at her door...Nimrod wrote to Detroit as well telling people well known to the community that I was, "out for money"...that no matter how hard he'd tried to work with me, I was stubborn and selfish and only interested in my own glory. These are leaders...they are leaders and caretakers of themselves...that's all.
Same with Jackie whose only real interest in the Shumirum being installed in San Jose was what it could do for her standing as a person who "gets things done where others fail"...and when she failed, she made sure no one else could get it installed for that would be the end of what remained of her legacy as well. That was all she wanted and when that was denied her...or when I made too much of an issue of how she was proceeding ass backwards, setting up her own unnecessary obstacles to "overcome" and awe the foolish...that I knew this wasn't the way because...and god damn me for this...I had already done it in two cities a lot tougher than San Jose...she poisoned the ground as she retreated, her real and most lasting "contribution" to the Assyrian community. I was risking her standing...I was dulling her polish...she would not get all that she needed from the monument...so fuck it...fuck me...fuck you and fuck everything else...because there wasn't enough in it for her...go piss in one of those three pots... if you must have Assyrian Art.
And weepy, short, pathetic, short, sad, short Atour Golani...insisting I had to sign a contract with them after two years work and $90,000 dollars spent, turning the completed Hammurabi over to his tender mercies...so he might check my work and maybe touch it up here and there...where it needed it...as he'd already done with the models...sign or else no more money. And whose money? Mine, of course...money that came from the sale of my own sculpture to finance "their" monment.
All of them and every leader we now have, have had and will have, are in it for themselves...for what glory they can add to their own names...and so small are these people that to be "known" to three neighbors and a dog is all the world to them. The one thing they fear above all else is, not the failure of their grand designs for our betterment, but that someone else will come along and really and truly surpass them (and since this is so damn easy to do, given what little they actually acheive...you can understand why they're so jumpy about their "legacies"). Hence this radar we've developed, this inner voice that keeps us calm, keeps us comfortably "Assyrian" because it enables us to recognize the emergence of what we're relieved to realize is just another prick in disguise. That, boys and girls, is why Assyrian Christians are notorious for tripping up their own...if he or she stands a chance to win the race...because it isn't winning for the "People" that matters to them...but their own standing in the race...and if they fall down then, by Yahwe, so must any Assyrian in danger of running away with it....for it's far better that any another ethnic person wins than any Assyrian...who isn't ME.
Look around...the predictable and natural outcome of such an attitude would bring us exactly here...no Muslim terror...no discrimination, no genocide in 1476...no Timur-i-lang or Attaturk...not a one of them has dome to us what we do to us...not a one of them is still around...but we are...and we're playing the same old game that got us here. We could be the only people left on earth...and we'd turn on each other with an even greater, more concentrated, vengeance.
As Mar One said to Mar Two, on that famous road to Odessa, or Jersey..."If you take the high road...then I have to...and if you take the low road so will I...that way we'll neither of us gets anywhere before the other and, with any luck, not at all". And they didn't.
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