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Congress Bill 984 “Keep them small. Keep them stupid.”
By Sam Yousif :: Thursday, April 19, 2007 :: 22064 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.


Sacred Heart Parish, MI USA


Sacred Heart Parish
310 W. Seven Mile. Rd.
Detroit, MI 48203
Tel: (313) 368-6214
Fax: (313) 891-0132

The parish was established by Rev. Jacob Yasso in 1973

Rev. Jacob Yasso

Rev. Jacob Yasso was born in the village of Telkaif, Iraq.  After completing high school he was recruited to Rome and Urbaniana University where he completed his Masters Degree in philosophy and Theology.  Fr. Yasso was ordained a priest in 1960 and served the Diocese of Mosul, where he worked in the public school system. Fr. Yasso was also asked by the Patriarch to teach at the Patriarchal Seminary in Baghdad, where he served as administrator, professor of philosophy and religious life, and rector of the minor seminary. 

In 1964, Fr. Yasso was appointed to the United States to serve the growing Chaldean community in Detroit.  There he served as the 4th Pastor of Mother of God Parish.  .  In 1972, the Patriarch charged Fr. Yasso with building a new parish for the Chaldeans in Detroit.  In taking great pains to care for the community Fr. Yasso accelerated the development of a new church and community center.  In 1975, Fr. Yasso completed the development of Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit and shortly thereafter he added the Chaldean Center of America in 1980, 

A few years later in 1982, Fr. Yasso was asked to assist the late Fr. Kattoula at St. Peter’s Church in San Diego, CA.  Before long, Fr. Yasso was once again recruited to Rome to study new Canon Law of the Church.  While in Rome Fr. Yasso completed his third Masters Degree in Church Law, making him the only Chaldean priest trained in Canon Law. 

In 1988, the Patriarch and Vatican authorities asked Fr. Yasso to travel to Canada and establish a parish and community center.  While there he served as a Tribunal Judge for the Archdiocese of Toronto.  Four years later Fr. Yasso returned to Sacred Heart church in Detroit to help care for the remaining Chaldean community residence in the Detroit area.  To this day, Fr. Yasso continues to serve as the parish pastor creating activities and advising the City of Detroit on community related matters. 

Fr. Yasso is a member of the International WYCLIF Bible translators, since 1975, and has completed the translation of the New Testament from Greek and Aramaic into Arabic and spoken Chaldean.   The publication of his scholarly work is set to be released soon.