Maalula in today’s Syria saw on Saturday the
seventh of May 2005 a great event when the prominent teacher of
Maalula-Aramiac, Malfono George Rezkalla got the annual Aram-price.
The Association of the Academic Arameans has
granted its annual Aram Prize of the Aramaic language and literature
of the year 2004 to the Aramean writer and poet George Rizkalla from
the town of Maalula near Damascus. George Rezkalla is a teacher of
Aramaic since many years and has written many books on the subject
and recorded tens of the CDs from and about the Aramaic heritage of
A representative of the Association of the
Academic Arameans and SOMEC (Solidarity
Organization for the Middle East Christians), Mr. Roni Doumit
from Sweden, went to Lebanon to continue to Maalula together with
representatives of the Association of the Syriac Culture to the town
of Maalula near Damascus/Syria, to hand over this special price to
this man of faith. A faith in his Aramaic heritage and in his work
is to be believed that the work of his anscestors won’t go lost. The
delegation of the Aram Prize met with Malfono George Rizkalla and
his family in Damascus and later the group went to the sacred town
were they had dinner with the Prize-winner’s family. Later in the
afternoon the delegation gathered with Malfono George and his family
and relatives in the old house where the Prize was handed over. The
Prize is a copper plate with a Syriac text, a diploma of the Prize
and a sum of money.
Small speeches were hold and Mr. Rezkalla thanked
everybody and he told us about a new project he wanted to start but
needed money for that and now the right time might have come.
Malfono George will start to gather plants from Maalula area and
write about them in Aramaic. He will write their names in Aramaic
and their history.
We could not be there without talking about the
situation of the Aramaic Christian people of the area and their
fate. The Prize winner told us about his town and its Christian
population which decreased to about 50% .
There are two other vollages, Guba’din and
Bakh’a, whose population are Muslims but they still speak the
Aramaic language at home.
The day ended with a toast from the
Prize-winner's own small wine production.
The Association of the Academic Arameans, as well
as the Association of the Syriac Culture in Lebanon, SOMEC,
and the AramaicDemocratic
congratulate Malfono George Rizkalla for his Aram
Prize and wish him success in his literary and cultural activities
in the field of the Aramaic language of Maalula.