Posted by Jeff from d53-106-196.try.wideopenwest.com (18.104.22.168) on Friday, November 29, 2002 at 6:33AM :
ONE MAGICAL NIGHT IN SAN FRANCISCO
My Friend Raymond and I, after finding a parking spot a couple of blocks down the road walked up to the hotel where we promptly asked about the Narsi David Event. We were directed to go over to the elevator and down to the first floor. We came to the booth, got our tickets and auction information, then walked over to the enormous double doors where the party lay awaiting us, as we reached them I spotted a girl outside all dressed up. I assumed she was part of the event. We pushed them open and an amazing sight was revealed to us.
A vast ballroom, like at an Assyrian Convention, with countless individuals, mostly being Assyrian, were situated talking, chatting and drinking. As my friend and I walked through the room we spotted the student table, A.K.A the youth table containing the only people under 25 in the entire room graciously offered to us by Zinda Magazine. We sat down and saw some familiar faces, friends of ours of course, from school and other acquaintances. The table was covered in multiple wine glasses, I think about 3 or 4 for each person. People were talking and enjoying themselves, and as I looked around I got this overwhelming sensation of excitement. Not too often do I see a room filled with Assyrians, and especially in San Francisco.
Nature called at that moment, so I went searching for the bathroom. I walked outside and saw the girl and asked her name, of which she responded, Sherene. I told her my name was Adad because we had spoken on the phone earlier that month about making a music video of her dance. After I returned inside, the event was about to begin.
Narsai David came out and introduced himself and told us what delights we were destined for that night. Multiple chefs from all over the world, each cooking one of the complete five course meal that was soon to be served. Then a girl came out to dance, it was Sherene Bretschneider, the girl whom I had spoken to earlier. She danced magnificently in, what looked like a Russian/Iranian style. It was definitely a magical couple of minutes. Then after she finished, a dance group comprised of some young children came out and did some traditional Khigga style dancing among other dances which made people rise up from their seats and clap along. It was very exciting and energizing.
After all the dancing with completed, Narsai came out and introduced a literary Assyrian figure named Youl A. Baba. He gave a very nice speech, in Assyrian, about the Assyrian situation in northern Iraq in regards to the possible American strike on Iraq and regime change. I remember everyone laughing and clapping when he referred to Saddam Hussein as 'Mookhrima.' He also mentioned that he was happy to see so many Assyrians, but that we Assyrians need to gather and help out not only with fun and social events, but also in times of need. There was an English translation on the table for anyone who did not understand Assyrian.
Willie Brown also made an introduction and the evening was underway. They brought out the dishes and one by one everyone consumed the small, but scrumptious courses, along with the nice wine that was served. I remember we also enjoyed seeing a bottle which had ‘Zindamagazine.com’ written on it. I also went over and said hello to and thanked Wilfred Bet-Alkhas, editor of Zinda Magazine, for the opportunity. He was having a good time. And also our beloved Jacklin Bejan, president of the Assyrian American Association of San Jose, who was also enjoying herself. Then the auction started where countless interesting and expensive items were auctioned off.
Later we, the students, went and took a picture with Willie Brown, who I should mention is the Mayor of San Francisco. He asked who was studying at San Francisco and everyone pointed to me. I looked up and before I knew it, I was joking with Willie Brown. He said, "I went to San Francisco State as well."
I told him that I knew since I had seen his picture up in the SFSU library. I asked what he studied and he said political science, which made everyone laugh. But then he said that he also studied philosophy in case he ever had to preach some day, which made everyone laugh again.
In the end, my friend Raymond and I went over and introduced ourselves to our beloved host, Narsai David, and told him about our Assyrian Student Group at UC Berkeley and told him we would like to help out in his efforts. He responded with interest in hearing that there was an Assyrian group in Berkeley. We briefly told him of our activities and he gave us the information about how to help the Assyrian Aid Society's efforts. Before we left we also took a picture with him as well.
Well that's it. The night was more than I ever could have hoped and I was grateful that I could have gotten the chance to be part of such an event. All together the event raised $150,000 for the Assyrians in Northern Iraq.
I am glad that Narsai David has shed more light on the Assyrians situation to the American public and I look forward to similar events in the future.
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