Chaldean

EAST COUNTY CHALDEAN CHAMBER LOSES TRADEMARK; DETROIT-BASED CHALDEAN CHAMBER OPENS OFFICES HERE

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2017 (El Cajon ) -- The U.S.  Patent and Trademark Office has issued an order cancelling Ben Kalasho’s trademark for the San Diego-East County Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce name.  The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board held that the trademark caused confusion with the Chaldean  American Chamber of Commerce based in Detroit, which has been using the name since 2001. 

The board held that the trademarks were similar and that the local group used the entirety of the Detroit group’s name in its branding.

Kalasho founded and served as President of the local Chamber before stepping down earlier this year to avoid conflcts of interest after his election to the El Cajon City Council.  Kalasho’s wife, Jessica, currently serves as President.

ARABO STANDS UP FOR FATHER NOEL, PLANS APPEAL TO POPE

 

"Father Noel is amazing in the halls of Congress. We were able to get 20,000 more visas for Chaldeans to come here. For his success, he is being punished.  The church is saying that no Iraqi Christians should leave Iraq..Wewlil not allow himto be sent like a cow to slaughter.--Mark Arabo

By Miriam Raftery

July 12, 2016 (El Cajon)-- Friday is the deadline for Father Noel Gorgis to leave the St. Peter Chaldean Catholic diocese, under an order signed by interim Bishop  ShlemunWarduni and Patriarch Mar Louis Sako. Pope Francis previously intervened to overturn an order for Father Noel to be transferred to Iraq, after local Chaldeans made clear he is needed here, and that his life would be in jeopardy in Iraq.  The new order seeks to punish Father Noel for disobeying the Patriarch despite the Pope's wishes that he remain serving his parish here.

Now Mark Arabo, founder of the Minority Humanitarian Foundation and a prominent spokesman for Chaldean-Americans, is joning with other parishioners here to defend Father Noel.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: BISHOP WARDUNI SPEAKS OUT ON PLIGHT OF CHALDEANS AROUND THE WORLD

 

By Miriam Raftery

East County Magazine was granted an exclusive interview yesterday with Bishop Mar Schlemon Warduni, who has been serving as interim Bishop  and apostolic administrator of St.Peter Chaldean Catholic Diocese since May, following the retirement of Bishop Sarhad Jammo.  Bishop Warduni leaves the U.S. today to head for Rome and then Iraq, awaiting appointment of a permanent Bishop for the San Diego region.

 Bishop Warduni has long served in Baghdad, Iraq under Patriarch Mar Louis Sako, and as Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops Council. He has worked to build over20 projects serving Christians in Iraq, including a church, senior citizens home, student/youth complex, homes for priests and a Bishop’s house. (Read his full biography here.)

In our interview, Bishop Warduni discussed the plight of Christians in Iraq and in refugee camps,  the challenges of keeping Chaldean culture alive,  the controversy over Father Noel Gorgis being asked to leave the diocese, and Bishop Warduni’s hopes for the future.

FATHER NOEL ORDERED TO LEAVE ST. PETER CHALDEAN DIOCESE ON JULY 15, 2016

 

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County News Service

July 10, 2016 (El Cajon)—In January 2015, Pope Francis issued a ruling to protect Father Noel Gorgis, a popular, zealous priest at St. Peter’s Chaldean Cathedral in El Cajon, as ECM reported. The Pope invalidated a decree issued by Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael Sako, which would have required Father Noel and several other U.S. priests to return to Iraq, where the Islamic State has been slaughtering Christian religious leaders. The Pope’s action was applauded by local Chaldean leaders. Father Noel has been a leading voice locally and nationally, on behalf of Chaldean-Americans and Chaldean immigrants.

But now the new interim Bishop for the St. Peter Chaldean Catholic diocese of San Diego, Shlemun Warduni, has issued an order for Father Noel to leave St. Peter’s effective Friday, July 15, 2016, multiple church sources have confirmed.  Bishop Warduni is a temporary replacement for Bishop Sarhad Jammo, who recently retired and had been a defender of Father Noel, as ECM reported.

HOPE FOR IRAQI CHRISTIANS SEEKS MATCHING FUNDS BY JULY 4 TO HELP 200 REFUGEE FAMILIES: ADOPT A FAMILY FOR JUST $1 A DAY

 

East County News Service

June 25, 2016 (La Mesa)—Hope for Iraqi Christians, a La Mesa based organization that assists Iraqi Christian refugees fleeing genocide in the Middle East, has received a pledge from the  Anahid Oram Memorial Refugee Fund to match $10,000 in monthly donations, sponsoring 100 families per month, but only if they can secure sponsors for at least 100 families by July 4. If that goal is met, the matching funds will mean that 200 families will be helped.

You can sponsor a family for as little as  $1 a day. Each donor will receive information on the family adopted.  Smaller donations will be pooled to help reach the total. Or consider adopting multiple families.

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO: GROSSMONT VOTES FOR TRUSTEE DISTRICTS, BYPASSING PUBLIC VOTE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Controversial plan outrages Alpine voters, Chaldeans and other district residents

Photo: Priscilla Schreiber will be forced off the board in November if the county approves the GUHSD's redistricting proposal.

February 25, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Grossmont Union High School District voted 4-1 to ditch district-wide elections and break up the district into five areas that will each elect its own trustee. (View map)  The board also voted to ask the San Diego County Committee on School Board Reorganization to waive a requirement that would ordinarily allow the public to vote on redistricting.

EL CAJON COUNCIL APPROVES SHIFT TO DISTRICT ELECTIONS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2015 (El Cajon) – El Cajon currently holds at-large elections where everyone in the city votes for all five Council races.  But on Tuesday, the City Council voted 5-0 to have staff move forward with implementing a shift to individual districts each electing its own representative.  The concept of districts aspires to provide greater representation for minorities to elect representatives reflective of their neighborhoods' concerns.

READER’S EDITORIAL: AN OPEN LETTER TO CHALDEANS, ASSYRIANS AND SYRIACS WORLWIDE

 

By Ben Kalasho, Founder and President, San Diego East County Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce

March 1, 2015 (El Cajon)--When news broke six days ago of more than 200 Assyrians kidnapped by (Da’ash) ISIS, I was on a telephone conference with my high profile contacts on the ground in Kurdish Controlled Areas of Northern Iraq discussing the destruction of Iraqi antiquities dating from the 9th Century BC by ISIS thugs. The report came to me that over 200 Assyrians were kidnapped in the town of Tal Tamr in the Hasaka Province, and other villages in Syria including Tal Hurmoz, Tal Shamiram, Tal Rumman, Tal Nasra which are home to many Assyrians and Syriacs.

EGYPT STRIKES LIBYA IN RETALIATION FOR ISIS VIDEO SHOWING MURDER OF CHRISTIANS

 

By Miriam Raftery

San Diego (February 16, 2015) – Egypt has launched airstrikes at  Islamic State (ISIL) jihadists in Libya, CNN reports.  The attacks are in retaliation for ISIS claims of killing 21 Egyptian Christians, including approximately a dozen whose beheadings were shown in the latest gruesome video released by ISIL.

Mark Arabo, a national spokesman for Iraqi Chaldean Christians in San Diego, issued a statement to media voicing concern for other Christians in the wake of the murders, denouncing ISIL for conducting "Christian genocide."

INCUBATING NEW BUSINESSES IN EAST COUNTY: HEAR NOORI BARKA’S PLANS TO CREATE GOOD JOBS FOR OUR REGION

 

 

Hear our interview with Noori Barka, which originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM: http://kiwi6.com/file/4hyd7316l4

December 18,2014 (El Cajon) –Imagine a place where people who want to start new businesses in East County can have free space, resources and investors—if they pledge to provide jobs here in East County. That’s the concept that Noori Barka, president of Calbiotech and a leader in the Iraqi-Chaldean community in El Cajon, aspires to attain by starting up an incubator business concept here.   He’s helped to launch a new 501c3 nonprofit, the San Diego East County Business Incubator with a goal of opening its doors next year.

 “If you have an idea, you want to start a business…we will incubate you for up to three years and during this time we will give you the full support,”  Barka told East County Magazine. Start-up businesses will be given space, tools, expertise, and investors.  After graduating in three years, people can receive continuing support – provided that they launch new businesses in East County. 

Barka hopes to create good-paying jobs in the biotech industry and other fields, helping to solve the high unemployment in East County, particularly among the new immigrant community, where unemployment is nearly 50 percent.

CHALDEAN CHAMBER MARKS ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Chamber President Ben Kalasho with Lemon Grove Councilwoman Racquel Vasquez

December 11, 2014 (San Diego) --The East County Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce celebrated its one-year anniversary in late November with a gala anniversary party at Barfly in La Jolla.

CHALDEAN AMERICAN ASSOCIATION CALLS FOR UNITY IN COMMUNITY AT ANNUAL AWARDS

 

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos, (ltop left to lower right):  Noori Barka and Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Wadi Deddeh and Congressman Susan Davis, Father Noel and Congressman Juan Vargas, Lion of Babylon/Citizen of the Year presentation to Pastor Harold Brown (third from right)

 

 

November 13, 2014 (El Cajon ) – With a theme of “together, we can build a better community,” the Chaldean American Association convened at the Crystal Ballroom in El Cajon on October 30th for the organization’s annual awards banquet. 

LOCAL CHALDEAN CHURCH APPEALS TO POPE TO SAVE PRIESTS ORDERED TO RETURN TO IRAQ OR FACE SUSPENSION

 

Photo: Father Noel and Congressman Juan Vargas, at Chaldean-American Association banquet Oct. 30

By Miriam Raftery

November 2, 2014 (El Cajon)—Father Noel at St. Peter’s Cathedral in El Cajon is among nine Chaldean Catholic priests ordered to return to Iraq, a situation that likely amounts to a death sentence, or be suspended from the priesthood.

Louis Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Church in Iraq, ordered nine priests from the local diocese suspended on October 22 for refusing to return to Iraq, where priests are being tortured and murdered by ISIS terrorists and mass is no longer being held due to the danger.  Now the Eparchy of St. Peter has appealed these suspensions to Pope Francis.

Under church canons, the suspensions are on hold until the Pope issues his decision.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “WE WILL DEGRADE AND ULTIMATELY DESTROY ISIL”

 

Watch on YouTube

Read the President's full address here.

By Miriam Raftery

September 10, 2014 (Washington D.C.)-- President Obama tonight spoke to the nation , laying out a comprehensive strategy to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) terrorist group that has declared an Islamic state across Iraq and Syria, massacring thousands of Iraqis and beheading two captured American journalists.

“Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense.  Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are,” the President said. “That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq.  This is a core principle of my presidency:  If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

The President made clear that the U.S. will lead an international effort to eradicate ISIL. He assured that unlike the past decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, this conflict will not include U.S. combat troops on the ground.  Instead, he laid out a four-part strategy. First, air strikes will target ISIL in Iraq, Syria and wherever else ISIL poses a threat.

KALASHO CALLS FOR NEW PROVINCE TO BE FORMED IN IRAQ AS SAFE HAVEN FOR PERSECUTED CHALDEANS AND OTHER MINORITIES

 

By Nadin Abbott, Reporting San Diego

Reporting San Diego sat down on August 22 in Santee with Ben Kalasho, a leader in the Chaldean community, to discuss genocide in Iraq. Excerpts below are reprinted with permission.

Aug. 24, 2014 (Santee)--“All those people who you see on the mountain side on Sinjar, sleeping on what seems to be the front of churches, those people were homeowners, they owned vehicles, they had jobs or owned businesses and are now homeless,” said Ben Kalasho, a leader in the Chaldean community and President of the East County Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce.

According to Kalasho,600,000 people are internally displaced in Iraq. This is an almost incomprehensible number, but we cannot turn away from it.

Our leaders, starting with the President, have mentioned the Yazidis, who are an ancient people that precede Islam and Christianity in Iraq. But the plight of other minorities, including Christian Chaldeans, Siriacs and others has not drawn the same level of national media attention.

PRESIDENT LAUNCHES AIR STRIKES AGAINST IRAQI TERRORISTS TO HALT “GENOCIDE”

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: President Obama meets with national security advisors on August 7 (WhiteHouse.gov)

August 8, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – U.S. fighter jets today dropped two 500-pound bombs on terrorists’ artillery that were being used to attack Kurdish forces in Irbil, the capitol of the Kurdish province in Iraq. In addition, U.S. planes dropped humanitarian relief to aid refugees stranded without food or water.

President Barack Obama last night authorized the use of force against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Al Qaeda splinter group that has renamed itself the Islamic State.  The President also authorized humanitarian aid for victims of ISIS forced to flee their homes or be killed, including persecuted Christians and other religious minorities. The President made clear however that he will not authorize ground troops in the conflict.

Locally the announcement drew praise from Mark Arabo, CEO of the Neighborhood Market Association and a national spokesman for Iraqi Christians.

​"​Our work that began seven weeks ago in Congressman Juan Vargas’ office has resulted in a crescendo of tears, smiles and joy throughout the ​entire Iraqi Christian community​," Arabo said, referring to a Congressional resolution authored by Vargas and drafted by Arabo calling for humanitarian aid. 

THOUSANDS EXPECTED AT PRAYER VIGIL FOR IRAQI CHRISTIANS TONIGHT

East County News Service

July 25, 2014 (El Cajon) -- The recent persecution of Iraqi Christians has outraged people all over the world. Over 40,000 Chaldeans and other Iraqi Christians live in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon, which has one of the world’s largest concentrations of Chaldeans.  Tonight, elected officials, community leaders and Christian leaders of all denominations are coming together I El Cajon for a vigil in support of persecuted Iraqi Christians. 

The event is organized by City Transformation, San Diego Leadership Forum and the Chaldean Council for Public Affairs.  Leaders in attendance will include El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, Bishop Sarhad Jammo from St. Peter Chaldean Diocese, Dr. Jim Garlow, pastor at Skyline Church, Pastor Mark Hoffman from Foothills Church, and other local political representatives, community and church leaders.

YOUR SONG, YOUR STORY: SYMPHONY OFFERS FREE PERFORMANCES IN LOCAL COMMUNITIES

 

Programs July 15 at Kroc Theatre, July 16 at Embarcadero Marina Park South, and July 17 at Lincoln High School

By Miriam Raftery

Concert details and RSVP for free tickets:  www.yoursongyourstory.org

Listen Friday at 5 p.m. on KNSJ 89.1 FM to our radio interview with Leonor Perez, artistic projects manager, San Diego Symphony

July 10, 2014 (San Diego)—The San Diego Symphony teams up with local artists and Academy Award-winner Bill Conti (composer of the themes for Rocky and James Bond movies) for a series of free performances in disadvantaged communities. “Your song, your story” is the culmination of a year of outreach in which the Symphony received over 300 submissions from local artists, chose 18 and asked Conti to create a composition inspired by the works celebrating diverse cultural perspectives.

The shows highlight the diversity of San Diego neighborhoods – and each will include a block party celebration complete with free food and entertainment. Performers include many East County groups, such as the Kumeyaay Youth Bird Singers, Soaring Eagles, and Luay Yousif of St. Peters Chaldean Catholic Church.

POPE FRANCIS APPOINTS BISHOP SORO TO SERVE FOR CHALDEAN AND ASSYRIAN CHURCH

 

January 29, 2014 (El Cajon) – Pope Francis has assigned a Titular See of Foraziana to Bishop Bawai Soro for service of the Diocese of Saint Peter the Apostole of San Diego for Chaldeans and Assyrians.  This is a culmination of an eight-year process, since Bishop Sarhad Yawsip Jammo received Bishop Soro, his clergy, and thousands of their Assyrian Christian faithful into the Catholic Church. Bishop Jammo hosted a reception to honor the newly assigned Bishop at St. Peter’s Church in El Cajon on January 14.

 “Our Diocese congratulates the whole church on the appointment of new pastors, and roles to help strengthen the congregation,” a statement issued by the Diocese reads. “Pope Francis has proven himself to be an integral part of the ever-growing Catholic Church. We are incredibly humbled by his recognition and appointment.”

CHALDEAN-AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF CALIFORNIA LAUNCHES

 

Lawsuit by rival Chaldean chamber in East County is filed against new state chamber's leaders

By Miriam Raftery

December 13, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) --The Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce of California announces it has launched to serve San Diego County and the entire State of California. The Chamber aspires to be a leading voice for the Chaldean business and professional community as well as non-Chaldean professionals.  

The CACCC is led by President & CEO  Johnny Oram, who comes back to San Diego from Detroit, Michigan where he served on the Board of Directors of the largest Chaldean Chamber in the world.  Detroit is home to more than 130,000 Chaldeans, the largest Chaldean Christian population outside of Iraq.

REP. HUNTER BACKS USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS IF AIR STRIKE IS LAUNCHED AGAINST IRAN

 

East County Rep also calls Middle Easterners liars, draws fire for remarks

By Miriam Raftery

December 8, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) Updated 8:40 p.m. – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-El Cajon), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has long been known as a hawk on military matters.   But in an interview on CSPAN’s Washington Journal this week, the former Marine went further, voicing support for use of "tactical nuclear devices" if the U.S. launches an air strike against Iran. He backed use of tactical, or non-strategic nuclear weapons to set Iran's reported effort at developing a nuclear weapon "back a decade, or two or three."

Hunter, whose San Diego region district includes over 80,000 Middle Eastern immigrants, also ignited controversy when he stated,”In the Middle Eastern culture, it is looked upon with very high regard to get the best deal possible, no matter what it takes. That includes lying.”  (View video of full interview.)

ARABO CALLS FOR DISTRICT ELECTIONS IN EL CAJON

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 26, 2013 (El Cajon ) –Following the resignation of  El Cajon Mayor Mark Lewis for racial remarks, Chaldean community leader Mark Paul Arabo, head of the Neighborhood Markets Association, is calling on Council members to denounce statements by Lewis and further, to implement district elections at the next city council meeting.

Currently, all El Cajon residents vote for all council candidates, with the top vote getters overall winning seats. Under Arabo’s proposal, the city would be divided into districts each electing its own representative-a move that could result in one or more districts with a majority of Iraqi Chaldeans or other minority populations. 

In a press statement, Arabo voiced relief at Lewis’ resignation but added, “We will not stop here.”

MAYOR LEWIS IN CONTROVERSY OVER COMMENTS ON CHALDEANS

 

Full tape of interview  reveals comments praising Chaldeans in addition to remarks deemed culturally insensitive by cricis

By Miriam Raftery

October 24, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – At Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council meeting, a crowd of Irarqi Chaldean community members denounced  remarks made by Mayor Mark Lewis in an interview with Progressive Magazine for an article published in May.  Critics denounce the remarks as insensitive and reinforcing racial stereotypes. 

Supporters say the comments were taken out of context.  An audiotape of the full one-hour interview posted by RawStory in fact reveals many positive statements made by the Mayor about Chaldeans, as well as the remarks that stirred controversy.  Some backers of the Mayor have suggested a financial motive behind the criticism emerging months after the story first ran, noting that a leading critic represents Chaldean store owners chafing under a newly enacted city policy restricting alcohol sales.

EL CAJON COLLEGE HELPS NEW AMERICANS: SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED TO CHALDEAN IMMIGRANTS

 

August 6, 2013 (El Cajon) – Advanced Training Associates, a career training college in El Cajon, has formed a unique relationship with the city’s growing Chaldean community.  Noticing an influx of Chaldean students at its El Cajon campus, the school’s staff contacted Chaldean community leaders to offer friendship and support. This new partnership bore fruit this summer as Advanced Training awarded a scholarship to a young member of the Chaldean community. 

“It’s such a treat for us to welcome these new Americans,” said Advanced Training Education Coordinator Steven Howard. “I’m enjoying the opportunity to watch them learn and grow.  These are some hard working people.  They seem determined to make the most of life in this country.”

THOUSANDS CELEBRATE AKITU, CHALDEAN NEW YEAR TRADITION, IN EL CAJON

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 8, 2013 (El Cajon ) – In Babylon 7,313 years ago, Chaldea became the first nation to celebrate Akitu, a New Year Festival heralding the arrival of spring and the renewal of life.   Yesterday the tradition continued in El Cajon’s Prescott Promenade Park, where thousands of local Chaldeans turned out to celebrate the ancient tradition.   View a video: http://youtu.be/YfeKE22-wXw

“We are doing it to celebrate and have some fun with other, and to keep remembering,” Wissam Gello, a local Iraqi Chaldean told ECM.  “Our children will keep doing this every year, to remember and tell the truth.”

AKITU: CHALDEAN NEW YEAR CELEBRATION APRIL 7 IN EL CAJON TRACES ROOTS BACK THOUSANDS OF YEARS

 

April 5, 2013 (El Cajon) – The ancient Babylonians celebrated the New Year during the spring equinox with an 11-day festival.  On Sunday, April 7, Iraqi Chaldeans—descendants of the Babylonians-- will host Akitu, a Chaldean New Year celebration.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 3-8 p.m. in Prescott Premenade Park. Chaldean live music and folkloric dance will be featured; food and beverages will also be available.

CHALDEAN FESTIVAL SEPT 4 & 5 IN ELCAJON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 1, 2010(El Cajon ) – Folk dancing, authentic Chaldean food, live music and singing performed in Aramaic-Chaldean and English will all be part of the festivities at the Chaldean Annual Festival in El Cajon. A $5 admission/voucher may be used towards food, children’s games, or purchases from vendors. An art and cultural exhibition will also be held.

CHALDEAN VIRTUOSO JOINS GROSSMONT SYMPHONY IN "MIDDLE EAST MEETS WEST" CONCERT MAY 29

May 26, 2009 (El Cajon)--The Grossmont College Symphony Orchestra will present “Middle East Meets West,” starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 29, at the St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Church, 1627 Jamacha Way in El Cajon. Special guest artist will be Luay Yousif, violinist. Yousif, born in Baghadad in 1979, has performed with the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. He has lived in the U.S. since 2007, and is currently the director of music for St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Church.