Yes Ashur Yousif is Dead But he Talks

6/26/2006 3:08:00 PM

This statement which was printed on the front cover of an Assyrian Five Association’s pamphlet, in 1919 in America,[1] manifested itself in a human form this weekend in London, UK, when the Assyrian community of London was graced by the presence of Prof. Ashur Yousouf’s great grandson, Mr. Tigran Hovsepyan, who gave an emotional speech in the Assyrian Society of UK on Saturday the 24th of June 2006.

Mr. Hovsepyan was invited by Firodil Institute to attend the event they, together with ASUK, and NGA had organised to commemorate Seyfo and honour the Rt. Hnr. Stephen Pound MP, and councillor Michael Elliot for their endless support for the plight of the Assyrians.

The invitation of Mr. Hovsepyan was also aimed to discuss a possible plan for Firodil Institute to publish any documents in Mr. Hovsepyan’s possession with regards to his family’s history; which is interwoven with modern Assyrian history, considering his great grandfather’s role in the awakening of Assyrian patriotism.

In a desperate letter written from his cell in 1915, Prof. Ashur Yousouf wrote: “The books and works I had started about our nation’s education remains unfinished. I am afraid they will be destroyed in a very short time.”[2], and Sargon Donabed states: “There is not very much known of Ashur Yousouf’s earlier life and writings since much of it was destroyed by the Turkish military insurrections in 1915”[3]. But Firodil Institute and Mr. Hovsepyan would like to herald a beam of light and a ray of hope amidst this lamentable loss for we now have in our possession three important documents:

1) Smiles Amidst Bloodshed: a book written by Prof. Ashur Yousouf’s daughter, Alice Nazarian and published in Lebanon. This book which is written in Armenian is an account of her family’s history and experience.

2) An unpublished autobiography of Prof. Ashur Yousouf’s son, Rasin, written in prison during the Stalinist era. This is also written in Armenian and sheds light on much which remains unknown not just regarding Prof. Ashur Yousouf but also about the Assyrians of Harpoot and their new life in Armenia.

3) What seems to be the entire collection of “Murshid Athuriyion”, a monthly Assyrian magazine published by Prof. Ashur Yousouf from 1909 to the time of his death in 1915.

We believe it is of pivotal importance that these documents are published and made available for the Assyrian public and Assyrianist scholars. It is precisely because Firodil Institute sees this importance that we have taken it upon ourselves to translate these documents into English and have them published as soon as possible.

Firodil Institute has already taken this initiative and will publish the first two documents initially and then publish a selected series of the “Murshid Athuriyion”. We have opted to publish the selections of the magazine last due to the rigorous and cumbersome task of transliterating the Garshuni[4] and then have it translated from Osmanli Turkce (Old Turkish or more precisely Ottoman Turkish) into English.

We would also like to announce that Firodil Institute is offering this momentous project for adoption. Interested individuals now have the opportunity to act patriotically and support this historical project by financially adopting either one of these books.

If you are interested, and need to find out more about how you can adopt one of these three books please do not hesitate to contact us at

Since Prof. Ashur yousouf’s aspiration were to educate our people about their rich history and culture, Firodil Institute is also planning the initiation of a special “Prof. Ashur Yousouf Educational Fund” but the details regarding this fund will have to be delayed until further steps have been taken to crystallise this idea.

The Firodil Institute is an independent academic organisation dedicated to modern Assyrian history. For more information about the Institute please contact

Firodil Institute
7 Dolphin Road
London UB5 6UK

Contact Person: Nineb Lamassu

  1. Donabed, S. (2003) Remnants of Heroes: The Assyrian Experience. USA, Assyrian Academic Society Press. P. 85
  3. Donabed, S. (2003) Remnants of Heroes: The Assyrian Experience. USA, Assyrian Academic Society Press. P. 113
  4. Turkish Written in Assyrian alphabets.