APRIM SHAPERA

PERSONAL DATA:

Proud to be born on the eve of the Assyrian New Year (April 1, 1948), in the ancient Assyrian town of Alkosh - Nineveh Province, and baptized in its historical monastery “Raban Hurmis” known as “Derah A’alayah”, the Upper Monastery.

Raised in the city of Kirkuk, north of Iraq. Completed elementary, intermediate and high school education in Kirkuk, and in 1968 moved to Baghdad.

Married and has a daughter and a son.

EDUCATION CAREER:

In 1971, he left the College of Arts to enroll in the College of Law and Political Science at Al - Mustansiriyah University in Baghdad. Attended evening classes and financed his education with a daytime job.

In 1975, he graduated with high honors, receiving a BA in Political Science, ranking first in his college.

In 1976, by reasons of his outstanding achievement at the BA degree level, was admitted in the College of Law and Political Science at Baghdad University for higher education (Master degree program) and on full time basis.

In December 1979, completed M.A. requirements and submitted his thesis for master degree in political science. After five hours of oral argument, attended by a crowd of more that 200 attendants, half of them from Assyrian Cultural Club, four political science professors termed his thesis ”Excellent”. The title of the thesis was “ The Role of Intellectuals in Social Changes”, and the professors recommended its publication in a book form by Baghdad University. He was the first student of political science in Iraq to be awarded the M.A. degree “with excellent standing”. This occasioned news coverage of the event, alongside with his photo in local newspapers (See Baghdad Observer issue No. 3673 dated 10.03.1980 in the attached file: ads18 jpg)

Contrary to the recommendation of the highest academic body in Baghdad University, Iraqi censors banned the publication of Aprim’s thesis. It was said in support of the rejection that“ The thesis advances consequences and ideas not supportive of Ba’ath Party ideology and Iraqi policies”. The thesis, which had been praised by the said professors and considered worthy as Ph.D. material, consisted of a detailed comparative study of Capitalism and Marxism philosophies on concept of intellectuals and their status & relationship to social
classes, political parties, revolutions and their role in social changes.

Refusing to become member of the Iraqi Ba’ath Party, which was the main condition of appointment as teacher in a collage, also refused to comply with the fascist policy of the Iraqi regime and to threats from security and Party apparatus, as a result, Aprim was thwarted in his hope for an academic career. He was deprived of any academic position, even though this ran counter to the High Education Law, which guaranteed appointment of anyone graduating with high honors to the position of Lecturer Teacher in the same university.

While he met all academic requirements to pursue advanced studies, i.e., the Ph.D. program, his applications for Doctoral candidacy were consistently denied, in addition, he not permitted to leave Iraq to pursue his studies at his own expense. Such tyrannical policy was always explained to him very simply: “You are not Ba’athi”.


PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Due to heavy- handed Iraqi policies and in order to earn a living, he was forced to work with a foreign company in a field outside his academic background. In 1981 he was employed as Administrator by a British/International major company involved in civil construction, and he would be then rise to the position of Iraq Branch Manger. In early 1992, he and his immediate family departed Iraq for London. He continues to be employed with the same company, where he is now Marketing Manager.

Professional affiliations include The British Chartered Institute of Marketing and the EC Institute of Marketing.

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES:

In Iraq, although employed on a full time basis, he has devoted a huge amount of time in support of cultural activities. His copious writings on Assyrians have caused him to be summoned, interrogated and questioned by the Iraqi security police, Ba’ath party apparatus and censorship authorities. He has been arraigned by them as a
“Racist Instigator” in order to intimidate him from writing on Assyrian questions and to suppress him from his well-known position in the Assyrian Cultural Club (Shautaputah), particularly during Black July 1984, when 21 members and supporters of the Assyrian Democratic Movement were arrested.

The Ba’ath regime in Iraq succeeded in thwarting his academic dream but failed to dampen his national beliefs and his determination. He has withstood relentless pressure and has persisted in his writings, most of which appear in the “Assyrian Intellectual - Mordinah Atoraya” of Shotapotah.

He was a member of the Assyrian Cultural Club, from its inception until its closure; he was also a member of its executive committee and vice chairman. He participated in editing and managing the above mentioned publication. Aprim was also an Executive member of the “Syriac” Writers Federation and editorial member of its Magazine “Khuyadah”.

His other affiliations have included; the Iraqi Writers Federation; the Iraqi Juristic Association; the Political Sciences Society; and the Human Right Organization - Iraq.

In London, where the democratic environments fueled his determination, he pursued his writings and nationalistic activities with added zeal. He joined Assyrian Club of the UK in London, and participated in most of its cultural activities including its publication, The Assyrian.

His incisive writings on Assyrians have appeared in nearly all Assyrian publications and in a number of Arab newspapers and magazines worldwide. It has been said that Aprim’s writings have altered the Arab attitude concerning the Assyrians, whether it is their claims, their rights, or their history. This is especially perceptible in the London community. Along these lines, Aprim has given three live interviews on air about Assyrians (each two hours in duration) at London broadcasting stations. In April 1994, on the occasion of the Assyrian
New Year, he appeared on the Kull Al Arab Radio. He also appeared on the Spectrum International Radio- Arab section, in August 1997 (while commemorating the Semil massacre and Assyrian Martyrs Day), and in
November 1998 (When he discussed the Assyrian National Movement and the participation of Assyrian Parties in the Iraqi oppositions).

Aprim maintains good relations with Assyrian political parties and national organizations, and in particular, with those who are active in the Homeland. For that reason he paid several visits to Syria and North of Iraq, and while there he has attended meetings, delivered lectures, visited Assyrian Schools and participated in national events.

In the UK, he is member of the Amnesty International-UK section and a longtime correspondent with the U.N. Commission for Human Rights in Geneva. He maintains contacts with Minority Rights Group in London and other international and academic organizations concerned with human & minorities rights.


PUBLICATIONS:

In London, while holding time-consuming employment and committed to family obligations, Aprim has continued to write a number of articles, research papers and books on Assyrian issues. In addition to his aforementioned thesis (580 pages) has been published along with several others of his books:

  • The Assyrian Cultural Club 1970 - 1980: A March of Challenges & Achievements (1993).

  • 7th August - The Assyrian Martyr Day: Symbol of the National Immortality (1994)

  • Political Rights of Assyrians in Iraq: In the Light of Self Determination (1996)

  • The Assyrians in Politics and Contemporary History: A Collection of Essays & Treaties (1997).

  • Politics Phobia in the Assyrian Society: A Socio-political Study on the Assyrian National Behavior (1998).

  • Speculative Terminals on the Assyrian National Performance: A Comparative Review between Homeland and Diaspora (August -2000).

  • Naoum Faik: Teacher of the National Unity Thought. To be distributed in early February 2001 during his anniversary ceremony.

In addition to these books, Aprim has written dozens of articles published in nearly all Assyrian publications and Arab worldwide daily newspapers, such as Asharq Al Awsat, Al Hayat, Al Kudis (London base), Al Diyar (Lebanese) and Al Khaleej(UAE). The most recent of these articles, published in the 30th, August 2000 edition of Al Hayat, appears under the title “Assyrian is nationality, Chaldean is Religion and Syriac is Language”


PUBLICATIONS IN PROCESS:

  • Aprim has several pending projects currently in incomplete manuscript form, and these include:

  • The Assyrians in the Iraqi Thought: A Case Study on the Iraqi Mentality on Minorities.

  • Separation Between Politics and Church in the Assyrian Society.

  • National Leadership in the Assyrian Society: Past and Current Prospective

  • Tribalism Among Assyrians: Nation in Conflict

  • Assyrian Political Parties: Theory and Performance