by Solomon (Sawa) Solomon
When writing a biography of Rabee Akhtiar one does
not know how to begin to describe him. In the last 75 years he has been
everywhere and has done everything: He is an educator, an author, a
poet, a translator of literature, a church elder, a civic leader, and an
editor of a magazine.
Rabee Akhtiar was born in the dark days of august
1915 when our nation was being attacked by Turks and Kurds. His family
fled along with other Assyrians to lran first and then to lraq ending in
the Baquba refugee camp. In Mosul he attended the Assyrian primary
school for two years before moving to Baghdad in 1926 to enter the
American Mission School of Kasha Khando. He graduated with honors in
1934. He spent four years in Habaniyah working before joining the Iraq
Petroleum Company in Kirkuk; he was to work in I.P.C. for 36 years
before retiring in 1974. While in Kirkuk Akhtiar became a very active
leader. Here are some of his activities:
1. A secretary in the Assyrian Relief Fund.
2. Accountant and Secretary in a committee that
bought a school building and
built the Church of Mar Gewargis.
3. Secretary in school committees.
4. Chairman for the Assyrian Benevolent Society in
5. Vice President for the Assyrian Athletic Club (Kirkuk
6. Member in the Society of Authors and Intellectuals
In 1973 a Silver Medal was given to him in honor of
being one of the founders of the Assyrian Primary school in Kirkuk,
As an author, he has written a book in Assyrian
history based on very reliable sources, an Assyrian book of medicines,
and a number of historical books translated from English and Arabic
languages. He has translated also a few plays from Shakespeare, but
above all he translated the famous book 'A Church on Fire' from English
to Assyrian. Not to be left behind. Rabee Akhtiar has written many
In 1980 he migrated to the U.S., where he was
appointed a chairman of the literary committee by his holiness Patriarch
Mar Dinkha IV. Rabee Akhtiar is also the Editor-in-chief of the Voice
from the East. In 1983 he was awarded a plaque of honor by the Assyrian
National Foundation for his outstanding Educational work in the City of
This is but a partial list of the achievements of
this dedicated Assyrian; much of the information for this article came
from a brief autobiography.