| The Assyrian Community in Chicago, mourned a favorite
son , the late Saliba Hanna Alyo, former president of the Assyrian National
Council of Illinois ANCI who passed away in December 2, 1995. His
sudden departure has left his family and his friends in a state of despair.
Saliba was born at kamishly, Syria,a town in upper Mesopotamia, on the Syro-Turkish border. At the turn of the century the town was built and settled by the Assyrians fleeing their ancestral home in Tur-Ab'deen (Touros Mountain) to escape persecution prompted by the aftermath of the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and consequent policies.
At an early age he entered schools founded by the Syrian Orthodox Church where he studied Syriac and other sciences.After completing secondary education he enrolled at the University of Damascus where he completed his studies while working as a teacher, which became his profession until leaving Syria. While at the University, Saliba was fascinated by the history of the Mesopotamia and its contributions to civilization whether in art, writing, law or agriculture, he was able with his peers, at an early age, to realize the need, to organize themselves into a political entity. By July 15, 1957 this realization became a reality with founding of the Assyrian
Democratic Organization ADO.
In 1970 he left Kamishly and went to Lebanon. Between 1970-1973 he was ADO representative in Lebanon. While in Lebanon he became an active member of the Assyrian Cultural Association in Lebanon. His role became apparent in his organization and in its activities. Among them, Samiramis Festival, an Outstanding example which gave originality and impetus to the Assyrian Song. The chain of activities included Sport Festivals and Scouts Camping in the mountains, lectures sponsoring and language classes. these were the type of activities which revived the interest of young Assyrians and reinforced their identity.
In 1971 he married Ms. Georgette Sevrakly, who was teaching at a Syriac Orthodox School. This Marriage was blessed by two sons, John and Romo, and a daughter.
Saliba's energy was unsurpassing, he represented ADO at the 3rd. Assyrian Universal Alliance Congress in Colen, Germany 1970, and the Sixth Congress in Yonkers, New York USA 1973, respectively. In 1973 he settled in the USA and moved to Chicago to be with his friends and among his people. Being an ardent nationalist he found in Chicago many Assyrians who loved and trusted him, his conceptions were praised, his views attracted old and young Assyrians. He was very specific and thorough with respect to the Syriac speaking, whether were Chaldians, Syriacs, Assyrians, Aramaics or Maronites. It was his conviction that all these designations imply only one Nation and one people, and each designation is suitable, as well as meaningful, and indicative to the Assyrian designation.
In 1986 he was elected to ANCI and later he became its President, among his achievements as a member and a president, were the establishment of strong ties between Assyrians community and the City of Chicago, as well as the State of Illinois. He initiated the introducing of local and national politician to our community in Chicago. Also he was among the first to support the establishment of an Assyrian School and consequently the ANCI purchased kiddie Kollege, a day care center, intended to be a nucleus of a larger leaming enterprise.
The Assyrian American of Illinois and Assyrians all over the world have lost a friend and a favorite son who did not spare anything nor hesitated a moment to come to the aid of his fellow assyrians. May the Lord rest him in peace. You shall be Always with us.
From The Assyrian Star Sep.1995-Feb.1996