The Assyrian artist, author and activist Mr. Hanna (John) Hajjar paid recently a visit to Sweden from Los Angeles, where he has been living for the last 35 years. Assyria TV invited him to our studio and the interview addressed several topics, and projects created by Mr. Hajjar in the past years. The language is Arabic. So, here is a summery of the contents:
Sharrukin Novel: It is an action epic historical fiction, compressing 7000 years of Assyrian history in 300 pages, with the Appendix containing valuable historical information.
Beth-Nahreen B’Gawne: A children’s coloring book. Each page with a picture of something that starts with that letter, with its name written in Estrangelo, Eastern and western Syriac scripts. Example: Olaf = Ashur, Beth = Bobel, Gomal = Gilgamesh, etc. Kids would color each page and learn the letters of the alphabet, plus 22 words.
Calligraphy Paintings: For example; Ashur = Suryoyo, it shows how the name Ashur transformed to Asur, then to Suryoyo.
Assyrian Costume: The main reason why Assyrian costumes aren’t reproduced on a large scale is their tremendous cost due to embroidering, and the way around it is to cut the cost by utilizing visual effects with the use of stamping using t-shirt ink/paint.
Observation of Details in Art: Restoring some ancient Assyrian art, by completing the missing parts from other fragments. While researching the Children’s Video Tar’e wu Gawne, looking for color names, Syriac dictionaries define the word Sus-Gawno as Sky Blue, which literary translates to Horse Color, but there are no blue horses! However when going through the book titled Art of the Ancient Near East, by Pierre Amiet, it turned out that there were blue Assyrian horses depicted in the art of Tel Barsip. A picture of that is shown on the cover of Mr. Hajjar’s Sharrukin novel. By the way, in the US there is a horse known as a Roan Horse. Its color is grayish-blue, and that is the closest thing to a blue horse.
The Winged Disk of Ashur: In regards to the winged disk used on the Aramean fag, the bas-relief that shows that specific symbol was from Tel Halaf, and ancient Hittite settlement, noting that there was no Aramean presence before 1200 BC in Mesopotamia. The Aramean tribes moved in after the collapse of the Hittite Empire where it created a political vacuum and the Arameans filled that vacuum by settling in cities that were built by other people who lived there before them.
Since there were no inscriptions on that specific image, no one can claim that it was 100% Aramean or 100% Assyrian or 100% Hittite, but what we can be sure off is that its style is a mix between Hittite and Assyrian styles. Additionally the winged creatures found in Tel Halaf were stretched similar to winged creatures found in Hattusa the capital of the Hittite in central Anatolia. As to the theme it is typical Assyrian and depicts Gilgamesh and Ankidu (half human and half bull, with horns), with Gilgamesh carrying a small table by its legs, with the winged disk sitting on top of that table (where the rectangle with four flowers is the side view of the top of that table, now shown as stuck to the tail of the winged disk of the Aramean flag), This same symbolism has been displayed in many Assyrian artworks in Nineveh, with the same exact details, of Ankidu carrying the winged disk, with the 4-pointed Assyrian star, or Ashur, or simply a circle at its center, hence its theme is pointing towards Assyria, Mr. Hajjar says.
The Aramean Name: Our different name problem stems from different definitions. The fact that each group defines terms according to their ideology, is leading us into three different nations instead of one, noting that we are a minority, so further splitting that into three or four subdivisions turns us into a very tiny minority that no one would take into consideration, that is why it is important that we should unite under one name, Mr. Hajjar says, and states further;
“They claim to be Arameans, but they don’t realize that there are several origins of the term Aram. Therefore the Arameans need to tell us which Aram they are coming from, so that we know if we are related or not. The burden of proof is on them.
All this boils down to definition! We need the other side to define what do they mean by Aram, so that we can understand what we are discussing or arguing about!”, Mr. Hajjar concludes.
Internet Archive to MARA: This archive is a hard copies collected from the discussion on the forum of BethSuryoyo.com. When the hosting of BethSuryoyo.com was changed the digital files were lost, and now this hard copies are the only thing left. Plus there are many other documents to our history collected from the Internet through a period of about 20 years. They will be donated to Modern Assyrian Research Archive (MARA). In order to cover the shipping costs, Mr. Hajjar donated some calligraphy paintings to be sold in auktion by MARA.
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