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Tribute to former SBS Assyrian Program producer Romeo Hanna

Smile never parted Romeo Source: qeenatha.jpg

The sudden departure of the late Romeo Hanna was a great shock to many people in the Assyrian community especially those who knew him well and befriended him.

Romeo Hanna died at the age of 78 due to illness. He was a dedicated Assyrian who loved his nation, church and Assyrian music.

Romeo started working with the Assyrian program at SBS in 1976; he was responsible for recording the program, organising music and songs, and many times, presenting the program along with Mr Dinkha Warda and Mr Philimon Darmo. They worked together for many decades. 

Romeo noted that there wasn’t enough music for them to play on the radio back in the day. So he would attend Assyrian parties, where he would record the live singers on stage so that they would have countless music to play.

He would produce radio programs, as well as interview musicians.

In 1985 Romeo co-produced two radio drama series with Ninos Emmanuel, Beauty of the Mountains and the End of the Dream (KHAMTA D'TOORANEH) and (KHOTAMA D'KHILMA), which involved more than 20 actors and were recorded at SBS Studios and they were well received and listened to by Assyrians all around the world.

It is not an overstatement to say he had the most extensive collection of Assyrian songs and articles about Assyrian music. 

Rome's love for his nation made him search libraries in NSW and collect hundreds of articles about Assyrians from 1912 until the late years. It is a treasure that will benefit Assyrian researchers and academics. 

Apart from his love for music and SBS radio, he was a founding member of the Assyrian Sports and Cultural Club and the number 2 Life Member of the club. He served as a member of several committees and, along with Gabriel Kelaita, played a significant part in gaining official club status.

He worked tirelessly for St. Hurmizd Church and was one of the trustees for the church. Romeo would offer help to people wherever & whenever he could. He would never refuse to help someone in need.

In this podcast, SBS Assyrian interviewed some prominent Assyrians who attended the wake. All those interviewed talked about Romeo's kindness and willingness to help others, involvement in the Church, associations and Assyrian clubs.

Many Assyrian organisations paid tribute to him and expressed their sadness about his departure.

Romeo was the quiet achiever, the quiet contributor. His genuine smile and respect for others were his trademarks.

He will be missed by many, and his legacy will live forever. 

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