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Congress Bill 984 “Keep them small. Keep them stupid.”
By Sam Yousif :: Thursday, April 19, 2007 :: 28587 Views :: Government & Society

Washington DC, USA - Chaldeans have always recognized the importance of information.  As a persecuted community, getting the right information as soon as possible saved lives.  To keep Chaldeans under control they were forced to wear the yoke of  dhimmi, pushed into camps or small villages, and prohibited from organizing.  Christians were seen as a threat if they organized.

“The American buffet of information may be coming to an end if Chaldeans fail to act and allow congress to pass Bill 984,” says Alexander Butros, a Chaldean political activist and attorney. “Congress is pulling another power play and sticking it to grassroots groups to keep them from voicing their concerns with this sham bill.”

The legislation Butors is referring to was already defeated earlier this year.  However, a new bill supported by Democratic representative Waxman of California and 16 other Democrats and 2 Republicans are trying to push the potential new law through the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Butros says that with the advent of the internet smaller groups are able to organize and inform their constituents to call on congress and voice their opinion.  “This is a threat to the media corporation and their lobbyists who are losing hundreds of millions to the internet annually.  They no longer control the information, content of discussion, or context of what is shared.  So they want to take away our freedom to information and action.”

Chaldeans traditionally gathered information through social events like family gatherings, weddings, or tazia (wakes).  Younger and more intelligent Chaldeans are now using text messaging, e-mail, blogs, and websites to keep the community informed and active in helping the community. 

Bill H.R. 984, Titled `Executive Branch Reform Act of 2007' that the congress is trying to pass will effectively prohibit small groups from operating and keeping their members informed.” Says Butros.

Khalid Bodia, another Chaldean activist agrees with Butros and adds that the bill cunningly includes SEC. 601 that undermines grassroots efforts often taken up by small organizations.  “The bill would require groups to pay huge fees before they can ask others to e-mail, call, or write their representative or senator about an issue.”

The bill would not apply to professional corporate lobby firms or media outlets which has outraged smaller groups.  “It is not fair that congress wants to stop the little guy from voicing their issues.  They are slamming the door in our faces.  They are tired of our community calling and e-mailing them,” says Bodia.  “This smacks of communism and what Chaldeans have had to face in a country that wanted to keep us small and stupid.”

Bodia claims that politicians will naturally try to grab more power from the people.  “They either increase our taxation or decrease our representation.  Either way they are taking power from Americans.” 
   
Both Bodia and Butros are asking Chaldeans to call their U.S. representative to stop H.R. 984 before it becomes a law.  “Chaldeans have to call their U.S. representatives and stop this before it becomes a law.  If not for us, than for the future of our community.  We are just learning about the American government process and to be shut out of the political process is shameful and undemocratic.”

“A simple call to 202-224-3121 or an e-mail that demands the representative vote against H.R. 984. They need to hear from Chaldeans.  They need to know we like more transparency and accountability from Congress but that they must discard parts which require regulations for sharing information with others.”

Chaldeans interested in taking action can easily find their representative’s e-mail address or phone number by clicking on the link below.

 

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.