Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Response to Ray Hanania re: his blog entry "The Extremist Arabs Always Attack First And Ask Questions Later

Haven't blogged in a while but feel the need to now. This week ADC (American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee) uninvited Malek Jandali, a world renowned German Born Syrian composer from performing at their convention because of board member ties to the Syrian regime. They said his song "Watani Ana" was critical of the Syrian government and they did not want to create divisiveness at their annual convention amongst their attendees. The song does not mention Syria or any other Arab country but speaks of freedom and justice. I will post a link to the song below. Anyway, Arab activists across the country were appalled by this decision to not allow Malek perform and we spoke out. All we asked was for ADC to provide a statement clearly laying out the reasons why they disinvited Malek. Their statement did not answer that very simple question which caused activists to continue pushing the change of leadership in ADC. A national board member of ADC, Ray Hanania, wrote the following blog entry:

Since my response to his blog entry is still pending approval, I will share it with you here:

Mr. Hanania – do not paint those who disagree with you with a broad paint brush. I am no extremist and I don’t need to prove myself to you or anyone else. The folks that started this campaign re: the Jandali controversy were not Kabobfest or Ali Abunimah, they just helped disseminate the information and might have added their two cents which they are entitled to. The people who were outraged were mainstream moderate activists, a group you claim to belong to. I don’t care if you are Jewish, Christian, Queer or whatever – if you stand for justice, built with dignity, and work with integrity than I can call you a fellow comrade. You unfortunately don’t always fit into this formula. ADC is failing? Financially bankrupt? dropped out of the mainstream in the last few years? You are a board member – why is that?? Your blogpost just fuels the fire more and as a responsible board member to an organization I hope that you are loyal to you should have had an emergency meeting and came up with an emergency response to lessen the damages. You could have ended this by putting out a statement that simply answered the question why was Jandali uninvited? Board members could have reached out to key people to have a discussion, clarifications – but u chose to ignore us and hope we go away. You didn’t even have the courtesy to do that. And to say that ADC is not a political organization and for the last 25 years or so Palestine has been on your agenda (I am not complaining because I am Palestinian, not that I have always agreed with the stands but thats ok) – what’s the difference with Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya? You are an Arab organization so I hope you represent all Arabs. You are the first to beat on other Arab American activists when they don’t agree or when they criticize ur views – yup ur the culprit of ur own claim against others – you just can’t handle the taste of ur own medicine. So unfortunate. We, Mr. hanania are the next generation, it is our generation that ignited the revolutions in the Middle East, it is our generation that will change US Foreign policy, it is our generation that will bring back a Palestinian State for the Palestinian people, not you. You r not the voice of the Arab American community. Get it. embrace it.

This is the link to the song "Watani Ana" by Malek Jandali:

We, members of the Arab American community are demanding the resignation of Safah Rifka and Ray Hanania from the ADC National Board.

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