Assyria: New Year Festival Celebrated In Fairfield
The Assyrian Universal Alliance and the Assyrian Australian National Federation successfully organized a festival for the celebration of New Year, drawing a large crowd.
Below is an article published by the Assyrian Universal Alliance:
Once again the Assyrian Australian National Federation (AANF) together with the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) hosted one of the most successful Assyrian New Year Festivals in the last seven years where an enormous number of people gathered at Fairfield showground to ring in the Assyrian New Year. The Festival started at 10:00 am till 10:00 pm.
Even the clear blue skies soon turned grey and a storm swept through just after midday, it did not dampen the spirits of the festival goers, as they danced the day and night away with performances by an array of singers and live bands.
The formal proceedings began with the Mayor of Fairfield City, Councillor Frank Carbone, officially opening the Assyrian Art Exhibition at 2:15pm. The customary New Year Program commenced at 2:30 pm. with the Australian and Assyrian national anthems performed by Miss Jessica Ablahad, followed by prayer by His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia. A minutes silence was then observed in memory of a patriotic Assyrian, Mr. Nenos Nissan, who passed away on Saturday 24, 2012. The late Nenos joined the Assyrian Universal Alliance- Australian Chapter (AUA) in 1980 and subsequently held consecutive responsibilities in the Leadership of this chapter. He was a loyal and committed members, who won the respect and love of all those who were fortunate to know him and work with him.
After welcoming the attendees, the Master of ceremonies Miss Edora David, invited Mr. David M. David, President of the Assyrian Australia National Federation to welcome the attendees, followed by Councilor Frank Carbone, Mayor of Fairfield City. Next, Mr. Hermiz Shahen, Deputy Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance delivered his address, in which he thanked the representatives of the Local, State and Federal Government for their full cooperation with the Assyrian Universal Alliance. He spoke about the bitter genocide committed against the Assyrians by the Ottomans during WWI that has left deep marks in the hearts and mind of every Assyrian. The cold-hearted murder of 750,000 defenseless Assyrian souls reduced the Assyrian mass, impacting the whole nation dramatically. Besides losing about three quarters of their population, the genocide has resulted in the loss of Assyrian historical lands in today’s south-east Turkey, caused the scattering of the Assyrian people and has negatively impacted the economic well-being of all Assyrians. Mr. Shahen also talked about the future of Syria’s estimated 2.5 million Christians who have traditionally prospered in that country and the uncertainty they now face. Further to that, Mr. Shahen highlighted the fact that the well-being of thousands of Iraqi Assyrians who had sought sanctuary in Syria is now in risk. He added “Although Assyrians have no material role in the political affairs of these countries, we continue to be the ultimate victims of their turmoil, paying the highest price”.
Mr. Shahen appealed to the Australian government to lay out a comprehensive strategy for assisting the Assyrians and other ethno-religious minorities of Iraq who are facing a systematic campaign of massacre and destruction. He stated that the international community has an opportunity to effect a positive change in our favour. Our people in Iraq are demanding a province in the Nineveh Plains, the heartland of the Assyrian empire, under similar political and human rights measures enjoyed by the country’s Arabs and Kurds. This province will be under the jurisdiction of Iraq’s central government, both contributing to and benefiting from the economic prosperity of the country. This will encourage our people to remain on and persuade the displaced and refugees to return to their ancestral lands.
Other noted speakers were the Hon. Chris Bowen MP, Minister of Immigration, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, representing The Hon Tony Abbott MP, Leader of the Opposition; Mr. Chris Hayes MP: Member for Fowler; Mr. Craig Kelly MP; Federal member for Hughes Mr. Andrew Rohan MP , Member for Smithfield representing the Premier of NSW , the Hon. Barry O'Farrell, MP, and the Hon Victor Dominello, MP. Minister for Citizenship and Communities, and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs; Mr Guy Zangari, MP, Member for Fairfield and The Hon. David Clarke MLC.
All members praised in their speeches the role of the Assyrian Universal Alliance in its continued deliberations and meetings with the Australian government. They talked about the inevitability of the Assyrian people to obtain their full rights and freedom in Iraq promising to support the measure and to support the recognition of the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek, Genocide by the Ottoman Turks in 1914. They blessed this great occasion, showed their admiration of the Assyrian Art Exhibition and expressed pride in the Assyrian civilization.
Mr. Ninos Aaron Chairman of the Young Assyrian a subsidiary of the Assyrian Universal Alliance – Australian Chapter spoke about their group activities since their establishment in July last year and encouraged our Assyrian youth to participate in their efforts and activities.
Miss Ninva Yakou, Master of Teaching, at University of Western Sydney, briefed the audience about this festival and its historical background. She thanked the Australian government for the freedom and liberty that is provided to all cultures to prosper in this land of freedom.
Two awards were granted this year in recognition of service to the Assyrian community. First, the Youth of the Year Award, selected at the Assyrian Universal Alliance 28 world congress, was presented to Mr. Paul Azzo for his dedication, advice and outstanding lobbying efforts to promote the Assyrian cause and for being one of the driving forces behind the success of the Assyrian New Year Festival.
The Second Award was presented by the Assyrian Universal Alliance - Australian chapter to Mrs. Carmen Lazar, People of Australia Ambassador and Principal of the Assyrian Diglat School of the Assyrian Australian Association, in recognition of her outstanding contribution and significant role in organising school activities for the last seven consecutive Assyrian New Year Festivals in Sydney, and for years of devotion to community work, teaching the Assyrian language and for her substantial efforts in preserving the Assyrian culture.
There were many winners of the lucky door prizes which included, a holiday for two people, a 55 inch LG plasma TV, one year’s worth of car washes, one year’s gym membership and a tablet.
At 6:00 pm, a dramatic arts piece titled “The Sacred Marriage” was performed by a collaboration of Assyrian youth groups. The theatrical piece simulated the arrival of the King and Queen of Assyria from the remote past to bless the festivity.
The Festival ended with a beautiful display of Fireworks at 9:00 pm accompanied with live music.
A special thanks to the organisers, the Fairfield police and all attendees who made this festival such a success.