Posted by farid from customer-148-233-71-113.uninet.net.mx (188.8.131.52) on Sunday, September 14, 2003 at 2:09PM :
I have to chuckle when I recall the San Jose convention...Jackie's convention (do you realize that one of the things she's suing me for is refering to the San Jose club as "Her Club"...I mean what century does she think she's in?). I can understand how flustered they must have been when you step back and look at the larger picture...
There I am, an Assyrian sculptor, making Assyrian sculpture, actually managing to earn a living and support a family as one, winning the trust, the bucks and the interest of increasing nubers of Assyrians themselves...while the rest of them weep buckets for Nineveh Oy Nineveh...but are engineers or businespeople or accountants. I've built the first Assyrian Monument placed anywhere in over 2500 years...I've got a second one that's been shelved because of someone who calls himself an Assyrian leader and is still an honored guest of the Federation...I'm at work on a third one...raised several thousands of dollars already and half built the thing.
The president of the Federation that year, Atour "Down Here" Golani, is the man who's supposedly heading the drive to bring this third monument, of Hammurabi, to his city...I've gotten Assyrians from other parts of the country to contribute money, even two in Europe...I'm bringing ten or so bronzes to display, also all of Assyrian subject matter...and they throw me out.
It's true I wouldn't take several hints from Jackie...true I refused to travel with her to Detroit and spend the weekend...and I've just pulled the Shumirum Monument out of her clutches because I can see she's using it like Nimrod wanted to...to promote herself first, let us benefit where we may. But is that a good enough reason? And then I wonder why they waited till the last night to give me my walking papers...why didn't they just meet me at the door the first day and say I was not welcome, unless I signed the "contract" they gave me to sign the last night? I wonder if Atour was even going to be a party to the thing until events at the convention pushed him over the edge...or rather caused Jackie and Alphonse and who knows who else to push him over...not something requiring a lot of force...a well-aimed fart, abut face-level on him anyway, would do.
All I can remember doing was asking Nimrod a reasonable question and very politely too when the moderator asked if there were any questions for Senatorrrr Nimrud. Alls I did was ask him why he was threatening to sue the city of Chicago if they installed the Shumrium at the excellent location they'd selected for it. For that question I was turned on and shouted down...security people appeared at my side and Jackie left the room running to get the Hotel manager who came back running with her and said one more peep out of me and they'd throw me out. For asking a question...and a very timely and important one too? My, aren't Assyrians touchy...
Then there was the display of sculpture in the lobby. My sainted mother had make very elegant black shrouds to cover each piece on which was pinned a printed page from a longish article by a British reporter about the effects of Sanctions on the people, and children are people...of Iraq. People wear black and shroud themselves for a funeral or after a tragedy...why not before...as one is being engineered and set up? Iraq is BetNahrain...is Assyria...is Babylon...is Chaldea. Those are our people, in many cases our friends and relatives...those are our herilooms, our patrimony, our treasures our soil...I don't mean "ours" the way BetBoHunk means it...as in "GIVE YOUR HOUSE TO ME"! I mean we can trace our families back to those mountains and plains and rivers and trees and wild flowers. Why shouldn't we be reminded of an impending outrage and act of barbarism such as has seldom been seen? Why not draped in black and reminded...even as we shake our tits, pricks and asses?
But the worst part for all for them must have been the portrait of Jesus...aptly subtitled, "The Jew". Now who can argue that Jesus was a Jew? He certainly never heard of Christianity. What's the big deal? My Jesus wasn't blue eyed...he didn't have your standard issue aquiline nose...or regulation long, wavy locks. He had a hook nose...short brow...kinky, knotted hair and had a squinty look to his eye...like maybe he lived in a desert and not Boston.
Was that too much for Assyrians...for Assyrians, or for Christians?
Consider the combination of competing and clashing forces there...we're all of us suposedly Assyrians, yet the leadershit of the Federation is enthusiastically cheering on the slow strangulation of Iraq and helping drum up suport for another all-out war, even as they chide the Iraqis for wanting some clean water to drink...another sign of their "depravity" and disregard for NINEVEH. These are also the people who are about to shut down fundraising for a third Assyrian monument and who've already caused the second one to be put in storage. They're pissed as hell that I've made my display a reminder of what's happening right then...right then as they all dress or undress for the evening's festivities...even though the sculptures under the shrouds are all Assyrian in subject matter...just as underneath the ground they're about to bomb and desecrate further and turn into an even larger cemetary...in which mothers, fathers, sons and daughters will be wearing black for real, hiding their faces as I've veiled the portraits of Shumirum and Sargon and Tiglath-Pilesar in black...are hidden Assyrian treasures as yet unheard of. And all of this...is shoved into a corner after I've gone and covered over with tablecloths with a barrier wall placed around it so you can't even see the things, hidden from the public like it would infect them to gaze upon...and the Assyrian conventiongoers, young and old alike are told to go look at three pots instead if they MUST have art...for pissing their pride into.
You'd think the Federation that year hated anything remotely Assyrian. Maybe that's the secret they labor mightily to keep hidden from the public, in the bowels of these hotels where they meet and meet and then meet some more. Maybe...just maybe, there isn't anything remotely Assyrian about them. Maybe they're Christians first and then Americans second...like our counterparts in BetNahrain are Muslim first and then Iraqi. And the only claim we can, with some justice make, as to being or doing anything Assyrian is...talk. And THAT is hardly anything the Assyrians were ever known for.
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