It has now been the
third time that "Assyrian" organizations e-mailed us about the
glorious news concerning Mr. Gabriel Afram, who finally published his
long-awaited dictionary "Assyrian-Swedish". On
this dictionary, which purportedly contains some 100,000 items, he
seems to have spent 15 years.
For us, United-Suryoye, being a Syriac/Aramaic
association, the annunciation came as less laudable, if not
exasperatingly, when the news reached us.
It reminded us of a
In 1984, there
appeared in like manner an "Assyrian-German" dictionary by an "Assyrian"
author, Issa Hanna, with the support of the "Assyrian" Mesopotamien
Verein (Mesopotamia Union).
A short time
thereafter, however, the Diocese Council of the Syriac-orthodox Church
of Central Europe in Glane/Losser (the Netherlands), requested from
Prof. Dr. Otto Jastrow, a leading linguist/Aramaist from the
Erlangen-Nürnberg University, to submit an academic response with
special regard to the use of the nomenclature "Assyrian".
In his elucidation
of May 20th,1985, the professor admitted to
the Council that, as a scholar, one ought to raise his voice if
erroneous assertions are spread among the general public.
And so he did. The general public, Prof. Jastrow,
noted, is being confused and even mislead, highly motivated by an "Assyrian"
(political) ideology. Some of the admonishing words of Prof.
Jastrow merit to be quoted verbatim:
“What is, however,
absolutely unacceptable and can only be called blatant ignorance, is
the fact that Issa Hanna provides the Old-Syriac with the name
Mr. Hanna’s dictionary contains not a single word
Assyrian; it is a dictionary of the Old-Syriac, also called Classical
Syriac, or the (here I quote Carl Brockelmann) ‘literary language of
the Christians of North-Syria and Mesopotamia, which emerged from
Edessa.’ To designate an Old-Syriac dictionary as
‘Assyrian’, is a
deception of the general public and should not be accepted."
recently-appeared dictionary of Mr. Gabriel Afram, the general public
again is being misinformed in the same way.
Just like Mr. Issa
Hanna’s dictionary, Mr. Afram’s dictionary on the whole, too, includes
no lexical items in the Assyrian language, but rather in Classical
Syriac, i.e. an Aramaic
dialect that sprang forth from Edessa and its near environment.
This lexicon, it seems, was consciously provided
with the erroneous title of "Assyrian-Swedish" in order to carry forth
the "Assyrian" propaganda and to convince the world that the modern "Assyrians"
are directly linked to the Assyrians of Antiquity. Also, an “Assyrian”
union promoted the mentioned "Assyrian-German" lexicon with a
propelling strength. This time, however, the "Assyriska
Kulturhuset," that is, the “Assyrian Culture House” based in
Södertälje (Sweden), is responsible for the publication of a Syriac
lexicon with a deceiving title.
Since until now no
Syriac-Swedish dictionaries have appeared on the market, many people
presumably will buy copies of this work. We, the United-Suryoye
association, recommend the purchasers who care about the Aramaic
heritage to cut off the wrong title of the dictionary and return it to
the author with the reproof: "Hereby I send you your falsification
We finally ask the
Syriac/Aramaic unions and institutions to undertake judicial steps
against this kind of deception of our/their