Farid Nazha

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Farid Elias Nazha
ܦܪܝܕ ܐܠܝܐܣ ܢܙܗܝ
Farid Nazha.jpg
Born (1894-01-10)10 January 1894
Hama, Ottoman Empire
Died 19 October 1970(1970-10-19) (aged 76)
Madrid, Spain
Occupation Journalist
Movement Assyrian nationalism

Farid Elias Nazha (Syriac: ܦܪܝܕ ܐܠܝܐܣ ܢܙܗܝ‎, pronounced [fɑriːd nɑzhe]; born 10 January 1894 in Hama, Syria, died 19 October 1970)[1] was an Assyrian Nationalist and a journalist. He was known for his criticism to Syriac Christian Clergy which led to his excommunication by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Afram I Barsoum. He is considered one of founders of modern Assyrian nationalism.[2]

Early life[edit]

Farid was born on 10 January 1894 to a family which traces its roots back to Kharput in modern-day Turkey. In 1911 a number of Syriac Orthodox members of his family converted to Syriac Catholicism which initiated a bitter conflict between the Arameans/Assyrians/Syriacs of Hama. Farid's father decided to send his son to Argentina to prevent him from getting involved in the conflict.[2]

In Augusts 1911 he arrived in Buenos Aires, there he studied Mathematics and Economy. He got married and moved to Santiago del Estero in March 1920 where he worked there, and after 11 years he went back to Buenos Aires.[2]

Journalism and activism[edit]

Influenced by Naum Faiq's writing, Nazha established a Syriac cultural club, the "Ephremic Society", in 1934. It included Assyrian/Syriac immigrants in Argentina. A newspaper, "Syriac University" (Syriac: ܚܕܥܝܘܬܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܬܐḤdoʻyauṯo Suryoyṯo, Spanish: Asociacion Asiria), was published by the society in September of the same year.[2]

The newspaper was initially aimed at the Assyrian/Syriac immigrants in Argentina, but its popularity grew as Assyrian journalists from other parts of the world started contributing to it. Nazha himself had a permanent column in the newspaper and he often attacked the clergy in what he saw as "consecration of separation" of different Syriac Churches. For him nationality was above religion, and archbishops shouldn't have a leading role in the Assyrian/Syriac society. His views about the church worsened as the latter started adopting Arabic in its liturgies. The clash with the clergy reached its peak when the Syriac Orthodox patriarch Ignatius Afram I Barsoum formally excommunicated him, although his successor Ignatius Ya`qub III retracted this decision in the late 1950s.[2]

Farid Nazha continued publishing his newspaper until his death in Spain on 19 October 1970.[2]