Destine Literare, August 2013: In Memory of Ninos Aho
Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 09:34 PM UT
|The New Assyrian|
|M’libbid noura||From the heart of fire|
|M’umqeh d’umqa||From the depths of eternity|
|M’khutet qaya m’ilpapa d’Toura||From under the rocks to the peak of the mountain|
|Min hehmizman d’aywekh shmayya||From the words of the clouds in the heavens|
|Atouraya Khata breeleh||A New Assyrian is born|
|Min yiqrutha d’alpeh d’shinneh||From the burden of thousands of years|
|M’kipna w sahwa w sneeqootha||From hunger and thirst and destitution|
|M’dugleh d’tareekh||From the lies of history|
|Min taggareh d’neesha w omtha, idyum priqleh||From the merchants of goals and nation, today he is free|
|Qa salbaneh d’haquyatheh||For the deniers of rights|
|Qa zalmaneh d’kul omwatheh||For the oppressors of nations|
|Shlamou ileh golla w bomba||His greeting is a bullet and a bomb|
|Qa sarwaneh zoda itleh||And for those who forsake him, he has more|
|In buqerokh bnay eekehwit, min dim pathe’t dehdi omra’t||If you ask him where he is from, or to which church he belongs|
|Bitjoweblokh b’sharirootha||He will answer you honestly,|
|“La Tyaraya w la Tkhomnaya,||“I am not Tyaraya and not Tkhomnaya,|
|La bnay dashta w la bnay Toura,||I am not a son of the valleys nor a son of the mountains,|
|Yaqubaya w Kaldanaya w Nasturnaya w Presbitrayaobzi l’ewin”||A Jacobite, a Chaldean, a Nestorian and a Presbyterian also I am not”|
|W b’qala rama b’tamir qatokh “Akhchi ewin Atouraya”||And with a firm voice he will tell you,
“I am an Assyrian”
|Dakh bit khayeh, mu bit lawish, eeka b’mayith hich lehtakhmin||He does not care how he lives, what he wears, andwhere he dies|
|Qad bar minnu b’tatheh jwanqeh||And following in his footsteps, a new armed generation|
|B’Tehnee chakkeh b’tamri shrara||Will come and speak the truth.|
|Libbu b’eedu w ktawu minnu||With his heart on his sleeve and his book always with him|
|B’khdareleh w m’akruzeleh
B’kyan Atour, b’eethu d’Atour
|He tours, preaching the nature and existence of Assyria|
|B’khela w dimma, b’shimma d’Ashour… w b’imareleh||By force and by blood, and in the name of Ashur, he declares,|
|“Ana? Ana biryin min qam d’barya ayya araa w aha shimsha||“Me? I was born before the earth and the sun|
|Ana wiyin min qam zona; l’itli mota, l’itli ramsha||I existed before time; there is no death for me, nor end|
|Ana ewin kikhwa d’Atour gu Bet Nahren balbusewin||I am Assyria’s star, shining in the sky between the two rivers|
|Ana ewin Alaha Ashur gighla d’doreh makhdurewin||I am the god Ashur,
I turn the wheel of time
|Ana wiyin shraya d’bahra l’alma d’tiwel manhurewin||I was the torch of light guiding the people of the world,|
|Mijid idyum ana littin, neekha b’neekha bitlaqewin?||Is it true that today I do not exist and I am slowly vanishing?|
|La w alpayeh d’la!||No and one thousand no’s!|
|Atour pesha w zona b’shatiq||Assyria endures and time will be silenced|
|Atour pesha w tareekh b’saghid||Assyria endures and history will bow|
|Atour pesha w burja b’yasiq||Assyria endures and its tower will rise|
|Atour pesha w hich leh napla”||Assyria endures and will never fall”|
Nino’s poem, Atouraya Khata [The New Assyrian] was translated into English by Ninos and Zalgai Aho.
Ninos Aho was born on April 24, 1945 in the small village of Girkeh-Shamo in the Syrian-part of Mesopotamia. He writes poetry in both Eastern and Western Assyrian dialect. His poems are eloquent and many of them have been used as lyrics for dozens of romantic and national songs.
He obtained his elementary school honors ranking the first in the province of Hassakeh. His family then moved to Kamishly where he obtained his high-school diploma and receives a scholarship from the Syrian government affording him the luxury of attending Damascus University, majoring in Math, Physics and Chemistry.
He also obtained a degree in the Secondary Syriac School in Kamishly completing Bar-Abroyo Seminaries with high honors, in 1962. From his early youth, Ninos was interested and moved by the teachings of the Assyrian national leaders like Naum Faiq and Farid Nuzha. He believed in national activism with high ethics and dedication.
At the age of seventeen, Ninos joins the Assyrian Democratic Organization (Mtakasto Othurayto Demoqrotayto/ADO), an underground assembly that aims to promote the Assyrian cause. The ADO, the first organization of its kind, is forced to work underground due to the existing political atmosphere in the Middle East.
Because his ongoing role in Assyrian activism is directly affected by the politics in the region, Ninos is unable to complete his University degree. In 1969 he returns to Kamishly to teach Math & Science courses at the local high school.
In 1971 he immigrates to the United States and assimilates into Assyrian community in Chicago. Ninos’ mastery of the eastern Assyrian dialect is no surprise at all if one knows that in 1972 he had the privilege to have the late and great poet Rabi William Daniel as his teacher.
In 1991, believing that Assyrian heritage, traditions and civilization are all based in Assyria (currently regions of Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran), Malfono Ninos with his family moves to Aleppo, Syria. Even though the family’s return to the homeland is a sacrifice for them on many levels, their love for their nation outweighs their struggles.
Ten years later the whole Aho’s family returns to the US.
Among numerous activities he represented the ADO at the Assyrian Universal Alliance’s Third World Congress in Cologne, Germany, in 1970; traveled to Russia in 1986 to retrieve Freydon Atoraya’s manifesto“Urmia Manifesto of the United Free Assyria”; in 2003, with Rabi Yosip Bet Yosip, attend the World Congress of Poets in Taipei, Taiwan and represent Occupied Assyria there. Next traveled together to Australia, continue to edify people on the origins, history and future of the Assyrians; cooperated with Seyfo Center – Assyrian Genocide Research Center, and since 2008 he is recognized as Seyfo Center’s Honorary Global Ambassador; in 2010 he participated in the European Union symposium on Assyrian Rights and the Democratization of Turkey in Brussels, Belgium; he supported Assyrian lobbyists in Washington; and more.
He diligently worked towards the revival of Assyrian culture, heritage and unity and has written numerous articles, and poems published in Assyrian magazines.
Malfono Ninos Aho passed away on July 15, 2013 in San Pedro, CA., the man of learning, perseverance and strength of belief in his people. He was a man of strong words who achieves his goals. For these qualities the Assyrian community honors him. And through him the Assyrian community wishes to honor all Assyrian poets, composers, singers and writers by having their works collected and preserved as part of Harvard University’s rich collection of materials about Assyrian culture, history, art.
There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.
Holy Bible - Gospel of St. John / 1:9 /
Thinking about my great friend, about YOU, dear respectable Malfono Ninos Aho, mind of the blue-eyed man from Europe is covered with a veil of sorrow, in these days. Your visit on this planet, in your current form, is quite complete.
Since now I carry on heavy baggage in my soul, forever. It consist of pictures and memories of you collected in the time of the World Congress of Poets in Taiwan, Los Angeles, Kenosha…
In Taiwan, for an American, Arab, European or a Slavic guy almost at the next ,,end of the world” a quite unusual situation took place, I guess.
During the XXIII World Congress of Poets on The Island of a Thousand Gods, located between Chinese Seas and North Pacific Ocean, an Assyrian from USA with a Pole from Austria, they found same feelings, dreams, same sorrow and happiness in life, same shame of painful memories, same understanding of humanityand respect to the diversity, to peace and freedom. So many borders we left behind us, so many pain and unhappiness, so long fight with the life… Our Earth village may seem small … The heart was shared that night, till the Sunday morning, the 30th day of November 2003. It was a real farewell gesture in one of the tea houses situated somewhere between Taipei and CKS International Airport.
But then, oh Merciful God, we met again in Los Angeles, where you have shared the next time with us your voice in poetry, being – like always – fallen in love with Assyria, with the beauty sound of Assyrian language, with the lost tradition and the past, more and more missing your homeland… and at least in Kenosha, 2011. You were really tired there, rewarding me with your presence like a miracle, with crown of pain in heart. And we all know why. But who would have imagined that we exchanged our really last words there!
How many barriers inside the man, the Light has to surmount before
it will return there where the time persists, and the Light itself
is the one and only, like beginning and the end as all of a piece?
Ninos, my dear friend! Till now we all have been lived without our true homeland, many of us- even far away from our countries, far away from childhood memories, dreaming about freedom and peace, about progress in our national culture and conditions of life, and about respect for the holy past in the name of our forefathers, for the history of our states and even for our own, personal past… somewhere, many years ago, a far away from here…
And now, I believe you will remain in Mother arms of Pishon, Gihon, Euphrates and Tigris Rivers. As beloved guest of Assyrian mountain ranges, that the shine of the rising sun gold covers each morning, and as the resident in the Queen Schamuramat’s Gardens, you will stay there for a quite long while, still.
And then, as Native Americans or Buddhists in Asia says, and I truly hope so, you become really free and forever alive!
So, let’s go dance and sing, in name of YOU! Let’s leave aside our human understanding of reality – it is so poor!
Let’s dance and pray, let’s sing and pray!
The Great Reality invites us… and YOU are, Malfono Ninos Aho, a part of IT! You are in our true homeland, now!...
Oh, Merciful Lord…
Dr. Dariusz Pacak, Vienna
NB. L-am cunoscut pe Ninos la Congresul Mondial al Poeþilor în Kenosha, Wi, USA, în anul 2011. Ne-amîmprietenit imediat. I-am admirat perseverenþa în lupta pentru cauza Assyriei ocupate, de care nu aveam nicioidee. Drum bun spre Eternitate, prietene Ninos! Nu te vom uita. — Alexandru Cetãþeanu