Ninos Aho

Date: April 27, 2023

Ninos Aho was born in 1945 in a small village in Syria, Gerkeh-Shama. He relocated to Qamishli and later Damascus in pursuit of continuing education.

In 1971, he left Syria and came to the United States. After living in the United States for over 20 years, Ninos, his wife, and their children decided to go back to Syria to support the Assyrian national movement.

In Syria, he had joined the Assyrian Democratic Organization, an organization founded in 1957, in 1961 during an underground convention. The Organization was dedicated to bringing together the various sects of the Assyrian nation and raising awareness of the Assyrian national identity.

This was especially important in various Middle Eastern countries which sought to forcefully eradicate the Assyrian national identity. In an effort to combat Arab nationalist sentiments, he had the local Syriac Orthodox church choirs perform his poetry and disseminate it to the public.

His fame grew as renowned Middle Eastern musicians such as Ninib A. Lahdo and Wadi al-Safi performed his poetry in songs, amplifying its
reach and impact.

In 2013, Ninos Aho succumbed to complications arising from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and passed away. His funeral was performed in the Syriac Orthodox Church with the attendance of a bishop of the Church of the East. His legacy of both poetry and activism will endure for many years to come.


Written By: Sarah Gawo



“Assyrischer Poet Und Aktivist Ninos Aho Wegen Blutkrebserkrankung Verstorben.”

Bethnahrin, 17 July 2013, serkrankung-verstorben/.

“The New Assyrian Poem by Ninos Aho.”, 27 Sept. 2014,

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“Ninos Aho: The Great Assyrian Poet.” Ninos Aho | The Great Assyrian Poet,


Mar Benyamin Shimun XXI

Date: March 11, 2023


Mar Benyamin Shimun, Catholicos Patriarch XXI, was born in Qudchanis, Turkey in 1887. His mother, Asyat, was the daughter of a famous Assyrian chieftain, Qamber of Eeil, and his father, Eshai, was born of the patriarchal line of the Church of the East. Growing up, he received an education from a notable Assyrian scholar from the tribe of Tkhooma. During this time, he learned a great deal about politics and diplomacy.

On March 2, 1903, Mar Benyamin was ordained as a Metropolitan. However, after the death of his uncle, Mar Ruel Shimun, Catholicos Patriarch XX, on March 16, 1903, Mar Benyamin was elevated to the Patriarchal throne on March 30, 1903 at the age of 16. Observers noted that he quickly learned how to conduct himself as a mature leader despite his age, as he was aided by his sister, Surma Khanum.

Years after his consecration, World War I began and reverberated throughout the world and the Middle East. The conflicts between various regional powers place the Assyrian nation in a most difficult position, leading to much conflict and atrocities. With much difficulty, Mar Benyamin took it upon himself to lead the Assyrians of Hakkari out into the safety of Urmi, where they joined their brethren.

Also, he helped many Assyrians escape to Russia after having successful negotiations with Tsar Nicolas of Russia for Assyrian settlement in their residential areas. According to Braum and Winkler, Mar Benyamin accomplished “the transfer of 15,000 of his people into the Caucasus, where they founded a new homeland in the present-day states of Armenia and Georgia.” In 1917, Mar Benyamin was decorated by the Russians who wanted to show their appreciation to the Assyrians for helping them in their fight. In 1918, Mar Benyamin was assassinated by a Kurdish officer. He was 31 years old.

Mar Benyamin Shimun, Catholicos Patriarch XXI, embodies the true meaning of a hero. His bravery and courage helped many Assyrians find sanctuary in a very turbulent time in history, and for that, we honor him every year.


Published by: Brian Banyamin

Written by: Sarah Gawo



Baum, William, and Dietmar Winkler. The Church of the East: A Concise History. Routledge, 2003.

“He Lived and Died For His Beloved Assyrian Church & Nation.” Assyrian Enterprise,

Shoumanov, Vasili V. The Assyrian Martyr: Mar Benjamin Shimun, Patriarch of the Church of the East. Center for the Assyrian Genocide Studies, 2008.

Shumanov, Vasily. “The Patriarch Mar Binyamin Shimmun a Martyr of the Assyrian Nation & The Church of the East.” Zinda, 15 Mar. 2004,

SyriacPress. “Today in History: East Syriac Patriarch Mar Shimun Binyamin Murdered by Kurdish Chieftain Simko Agha.” SyriacPress, 3 Mar. 2022, n-binyamin-murdered-by-kurdish-chieftain-simko-agha/.

Werda, Joel E. “A Short Biography of Mar Benyamin Shimun XXI.” Nineveh, 1981.

Dr. Eprime Eshag

Date: July 23, 2021

Full Post

Did you know that there was an Assyrian economics professor at Oxford University?  Dr. Eprime Eshag worked at Oxford from 1962 until his retirement in 1986.  His specialties included Keynesian economics and development economics.  In addition to publishing articles, he published several books as well including Fiscal and Monetary Policies and Problems in Developing Countries, published by Cambridge University Press in 1984.


Dr. Eshag was born in the city of Urmia, Persia (present-day Iran) in 1918 to parents originally from the village of Qaradjalu.  Since he was born toward the end of the World War I-era Assyrian Genocide, his family had to flee to Russia soon after he was born.  He lived in Russia until 1926, which enabled him to learn the language.  The brilliant Dr. Eshag ultimately learned how to speak Assyrian, English, Persian, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish, as well as some Armenian and French.


Dr. Eshag continued his education once he returned to Iran in 1926.  However, in 1936, he left to study both accounting and economics at the University of London, after receiving a scholarship to go to England from Bank Melli Iran (the National Bank of Iran).  After briefly working in Iran after graduation, he eventually resumed his studies in England and earned a PhD in Economics at Cambridge University in 1952.  Following his graduation, he briefly worked for the United Nations, which sent him to both the Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo today) and Ethiopia.  However, he eventually became disillusioned with the U.N., so decided to pursue a career in academia instead.  That is what led him to a position at Oxford University’s Wadham College.


Although he lived in England for the majority of his life, Dr. Eshag did not forget his Assyrian heritage.  His home in Oxford was named “Urmia” after his birthplace.  Visitors to his home remember eating Assyrian dishes that he had prepared for them.  Additionally, although not directly related to Assyrians, in the 1970s, Dr. Eshag successfully managed to receive funding from the Iranian Princess, Ashraf Pahlavi, to create a Persian Studies Section in the Wadham College Library.  Today, this Persian Studies Section is called the Ferdowsi Library and has 4,500 books related to Iran, in addition to 950 Persian manuscripts and 900 early Armenian books.  A busy man throughout his life, Dr. Eshag ultimately passed away in 1998.



Written by Esther Lang



Davies, Cliff and John Gurney. “Obituaries: H. I. H. Princess Ashraf Pahlavi 1919-2016.” Wadham College Gazette 2016. April 18, 2017. (accessed on April 7, 2021).


De Matran, Lucrece. “An Assyrian at Oxford.” Nineveh. First/Second Quarter 1997. (accessed on April 7, 2021).


“Dr. Eprime Eshag: 1918-1998.” Zinda Magazine. April 5, 1999. (accessed on April 7, 2021).


Golestan, Ebrahim. “Biography: Eprime Eshag: 6 November 1918 – 24 November 1998.” The Iranian. (accessed on April 7, 2021).


Golestan, Ebrahim. “Eprime: In Memory of Eprime Eshag; Friend, Economist (1918-1998).” The Iranian. December 21, 1998. (accessed on April 7, 2021).


“In Memoriam: Eprime Eshag.” Nineveh. First/Second Quarter 1999. (accessed on April 7, 2021).


Joshi, Heather. “Obituary: Eprime Eshaq.” Independent. October 23, 2011. (accessed on April 7, 2021).


“Persian Studies Section at Wadham College Library.” Wadham College. (accessed on April 7, 2021).