Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Palestinian Presidential candidate beaten by Israelis, Dec. 8, 2004

The Palestine Monitor
A PNGO Information Clearinghouse
Presidential Candidate Attacked by Israeli Forces

Wednesday 8th December 2004
Dr Mustafa Barghouthi, prominent democratic candidate in the upcomingPalestinian presidential election, is tonight receiving medical care inRamallah's Sheikh Zayed Hospital after being beaten to the ground by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint outside Jenin.

Dr. Barghouthi was stopped at the Jaba checkpoint outside the northernWest Bank city of Jenin and refused passage to return to his home cityof Ramallah. After being forced from their cars at gunpoint, his groupfaced a barrage of abuse and random beatings. Lu'ai Arafat receivedseveral blows to the head with the butt of a rifle.

As soldiers began tobeat Dr. Allam Jarrar, Dr. Barghouthi stepped in to intervene andreceived a severe beating to his back during which he fell to theground. The other staff were also forced to the ground and all six weremade to remain face down for more than an hour.

This is the second time in a week that this presidential candidate has been prevented from traveling between towns in the West Bank.

On MondayDr. Barghouthi was held at gunpoint at a checkpoint on Al-Shuhada St. inHebron and prevented from reaching the Palestinian neighborhood of Tel Al-Armeda. Dr. Barghouthi commented after this instance that he had experienced the worst of the humiliation and abuse Palestinians areexperiencing at the 700 Israeli checkpoints within the West Bank. He urged the international community to intervene not only to enable theelections but also to immediately halt this abhorrent treatment ofPalestinian civilians.

Only last month US Secretary of State Colin Powell promised Palestiniansfull American support for elections, and Israel made assurances that itwould aid the elections by easing travel restrictions.

On November 22ndIsraeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom stated that it was in Israel'sinterest to see that the Palestinian elections go forward, that "Israelwill do everything in its power to ensure their smooth running," andthat Palestinians would have "freedom of movement."

Today's events clearly show Israel's blatant efforts to obstruct thePalestinian democratic elections, once again demonstrating theirdisregard for human rights. If the presidential candidates themselvesare forced to endure such violence and humiliation, it is unlikely thatthe remaining Palestinian population, who face these hardships on adaily basis, will be granted the necessary freedom to vote.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Chicago Premiere of "From Tel Aviv to Ramallah: A Beatbox Journey," Nov. 26-Dec. 12, 2004

The Chicago Premiere of "From Tel Aviv to Ramallah: A Beatbox Journey,"
Starring "Human Beatbox" Yuri Lane,
In 11 Performances Only, Nov. 26- Dec. 12, 2004

Contact: Beth Silverman/Caroline Krajewski
The Silverman Group, Inc.
(312) 932-9950
For Immediate Release
The Viaduct Theater Proudly Presents

Nov. 3, 2004 – "From Tel Aviv to Ramallah: A Beatbox Journey," a funny, engaging look at everyday life amidst the Israeili-Palestinian conflict, starring "human beatbox" Yuri Lane, will have its Chicago Premiere at the Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western Avenue, in 11 performances only, Nov. 26-Dec. 12, 2004.

The press performance is set for Monday, Nov. 29, 2004, at 7p.m.

"From Tel Aviv to Ramallah" is the result of a revolutionary collaboration between Lane, a Jewish "human beatbox;" writer/director Rachel Havrelock, the religion scholar who happens to be his wife; and Sharif Ezzat, a Muslim video artist. Inspired by the "ordinary people" encountered by Lane and Havrelock on a journey from Tel Aviv to Ramallah at the beginning of the Intifada, Lane brings to life 15 unforgettable characters -- each materializing as a three-dimensional person with an individual beatbox soundtrack over the course of 60 minutes.

This spellbinding hip-hop theater piece also features live "sets" generated by Ezzat, whose shifting visual projections are timed according to Lane’s hypnotic beatbox, "vocal percussion" soundtrack.

"While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is topical, this is not at all a politically divisive play and there’s no background reading required to attend," quipped Havrelock. "Our goal is to utilize Yuri’s amazing ability as a ‘human instrument’ to produce a soundscape of everyday life and culture in the Middle East."

Taking audiences beyond the sterile headlines and detached news reports, the play presents a vibrant and complex portrait of daily life in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The first narrative drama performed in beatbox, "From Tel Aviv to Ramallah" revolves around a day in the life of Amir, a Tel Aviv dj and delivery boy, and Khalid, a Ramallah internet café owner whose parallel lives are separated by an invisible barrier at center stage. Over the course of the day, the young Israeli and Palestinian strive to realize their visions of fame and fortune, yet encounter the distinct ways in which political conflict negates youthful dreams. Lane portrays Khalid, Amir, and their respective Westernized friends, extremist friends, mothers and cities with the precision of a seasoned solo performer and the beats of a hip-hop superstar.

Although raised amidst the counter-culture of Haight-Asbury, where he learned rhythm and break dancing by osmosis, Lane is a classically trained actor, whose career began at age 12 at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater. The rest of his teen and young adult years were spent on stage and screen, earning him valuable memberships in Actors Equity and the Screen Actors Guild. He created his first one-man beatbox musical, "Soundtrack City," in 2001. Lane and Havrelock recently relocated from San Francisco to Chicago, where Lane continues to hone his craft and Havrelock serves as a professor of Jewish Studies and Religion at the University of Illinois-Chicago.


The play was born after Lane and Havrelock traveled through Israel and the West Bank together in 1999. In Tel Aviv, the couple tuned into the suppressed fear and exterior toughness of young Israelis and spent nights dancing until dawn to deejays spinning utopian visions on pulsating dance floors.

Bypassing the option of riding with settlers on smooth and restricted asphalt, Lane and Havrelock traveled by bus to East Jerusalem where they picked up a shared taxi to Ramallah. There, they stayed in the villa of a multigenerational family that stuffed them with Arabic delicacies and guided them around the city between curfews. Their memories of Ramallah include warm chickpeas sold on the street, leisurely hookahs on rooftops overlooking the rolling desert and a crowded internet café filled with smoke and dreams of post-Intifada livelihood.
On the return trip, the Jewish-American couple intersected with an anti-occupation riot, but found themselves watching the footage that night on TV in Tel Aviv.

Havrelock, who wrote and directed "From Tel Aviv to Ramallah," was struck by the similarity of the cultures in both cities despite the impenetrable border between them. At the same time, performer Lane heard a symphony of street rhythms that he began to mirror in beatbox form.

While attempting to narrate their adventure in the U.S., they conceived of a beatbox play that crosses the divide between Israelis and Palestinians and portrays the everyday dimension of the geopolitical reality. The medium of hip-hop theater was familiar to them through their previous collaboration, "Soundtrack City: A Beatbox Musical." Their work on that show had introduced them to the visual genius of multi-media artist Sharif Ezzat.

"From Tel Aviv to Ramallah" debuted as a short work at the 2003 NYC Hip-Hop Theater Festival; was workshopped at Spanganga in San Francisco’s Mission District; and had its World Premiere at Theater J in Washington D.C. for which it earned a "Best New Play" nomination from the Helen Hayes Awards. "From Tel Aviv to Ramallah" has toured in New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and New Jersey.


"From Tel Aviv to Ramallah: A Beatbox Journey" will be performed at the Viaduct Theater from Friday, Nov. 26- Sunday, Dec. 12: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 7 p.m. All tickets are $15, and can be reserved by calling 773-296-6024.

The Viaduct Theater, located at 3111 N. Western Avenue, was founded in 1997 by Robert Whitaker and Whitney Blakemore to produce and present new and original events in theater, film, art, and music.

Its recent production history includes critically acclaimed Chicago premieres of Denis Johnson's three plays ('Hellhound on My Trail', 'Shoppers Carried by Escalators Into the Flames', and 'Soul of a Whore'); a regular film series titled 'Sloppy Seconds' in conjunction with The Chicago Underground Film Fest (CUFF); and a regular art and music hootenanny by 'MONDO', which is where the talents of Yuri Lane first mesmerized the Chicago public.

The Theater is located under the viaduct, one block south of the Western/Belmont/Clybourn intersection, on the east side of Western.

For more information on the Viaduct Theater or "From Tel Aviv to Ramallah," please call 773-296-6024 or visit

Audio and video samples of Yuri Lane’s work are accessible via

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Sixth Annual Arabic Christian College & Career Winter Conference, 2004

Dear brethren in the USA and Canada,It is our pleasure to invite you once more to attend the Annual Arabic Christian College & Career Winter Conference, 2004.

This is a great opportunity to spend some spiritual time away from the stresses of school or work, and at the same time meet old friends or make new ones.

We would love to see you with us this year so please do your best, and do us a favor by informing your friends and forwarding this e-mail to anyone you think may be interested in attending. We would really appreciate it if you could also print this email out and post in your church or place of gathering.Please visit our website for full information at:

Sixth Annual Arabic Christian College & Career Winter Conference, 2004
When: November 26 - 28, 2004 (Friday - Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend).

Speakers: Bro. Daniel Banna and Bro. Paul Gabriel
Singer: Bro. Joseph NassrallahWhere: Sturgis, Michigan, USA. Here's the website for the conference center if you're interested:

Cost: $100 American dollars, which covers lodging, food, and everything in between.
Ages: 15-45
Rooms are limited, so please reserve your spot as soon as possible.

Please feel free to call or e-mail with any questions or to register. Looking forward to seeing you there.Your brethren in Christ,The Chicago Arabic Christian Group

Bisher Rihani
Day: (630)579-5182Evening: (773)631-8486
Cell: (773)719-4440Alternate E-mail:

P.S. Please let me know if you wish not to receive this message again in the future

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Palestinian Peace Coalition News Update Oct. 31, 2004

The Geneva Initiative: Making Peace Our Horizon

P.O. Box: 4252, Al Bireh/ Ramallah/
Tel: 972 2 240 9017, 8/ Fax: 972 2 240 9016



Ramallah 31 October 2004

PLO Executive Committee Takes Decisions
To Organize Functioning of the PA

The PLO Executive Committee – the highest policy making body in the PLO – met Saturday, October 30th, to discuss the organization and the continued functioning of the Palestinian leadership bodies during the absence of President Arafat for medical treatment abroad. The Executive Committee, and in accordance with the wishes of President Arafat, decided that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) leadership bodies should continue their work in accordance with and pursuant to the responsibilities included in the relevant laws and regulations. In particular:

1. The Palestinian Government will continue carrying out the responsibilities, powers and functions vested in it pursuant to the Palestinian Basic Law.
2. The National Security Council will continue playing its role under the responsibility of the Prime Minister.
3. The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) will continue performing its regular functions without delay or interruption. The PLC will not raise confidence in the government, so as to give the latter a chance to carry out its functions at these difficult times.
4. The Executive Committee will be constantly convened, and will collectively follow up and ensure the implementation of the Basic Law by the executive, legislative and judicial arms of the PNA. The Prime Minister and the Speaker of the PLC will participate in the meetings of the Executive Committee so as to ensure the highest levels of coordination.

The Executive Committee will continue consulting with and receiving instructions from President Arafat in his capacity as the Chairman of the PLO, the President of the PNA and the historic leader of the Palestinian national movement.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Olive Oil from Palestine sold to promote Palestinian-Israeli peace

Kinky Friedman and Farouk Shami Introduce
Olive Oil from the Holy Land
Benefiting Neve Shalom/Wahat Al-Salom (Oasis of Peace)

Long-time pals Richard "Kinky" Friedman (of detective novel and Texas Jewboys fame) and Farouk Shami (founder and chairman of the board of Farouk Systems) are determined to nurture youngsters in the war-torn Middle East. Their new product – Olive Oil from the Holy Land – pays homage to Farouk’s Palestinian family roots and the deep friendship possible between Jews and Arabs. Proceeds from the sale of Olive Oil from the Holy Land will go toward funding Neve Shalom/Wahat Al-Salom (Oasis of Peace), and their "School of Peace" program, a grass roots conflict management workshop that aims to change the hearts, minds, and attitudes of teen age children.

Kinky Friedman

Musician: Kinky’s group The Texas Jewboys toured and recorded in the ‘70s, first traveling with Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and other greats of the era, and then solo.

Some of his wonderfully zany – but despite the titles not anti-Semitic – songs include "They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore."

Author: Kinky, currently a columnist for Texas Monthly, has recently published Prisoner of Vandam Street with Simon & Schuster. His previous 19 mystery novels feature himself as the detective protagonist.

Character: Kinky could be his own licensed character. He’s a friend of the rich and famous – and the presidential –visiting both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush at the White House. And, he’s also considering a run for Governor of Texas (Kinky not George W.).

Philanthropist "Foodie": In his youth, Kinky was a member of the Peace Corps in Borneo. Kinky’s Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch is supported by sales of his Private Stock Salsa. He also has launched his own line of Kona blend coffee.
Farouk Shami

Founder of Farouk Systems: Farouk is the founder and chairman of the board of Farouk Systems USA, which manufactures hair, skin and body care products exclusively for salons. Headquartered in Houston, Farouk Systems now sells products in 57 countries across the globe.
Palestinian-American: Farouk emigrated from Palestine 38 years ago. His family, some of whom still live there, owned olive groves, and Farouk fondly remembers the more bucolic aspects of his childhood.

Hair-Care Expert: Farouk gained his hair coloring expertise at a Louisiana salon and then moved to Houston with partner Beverly Bernard. Suffering from adverse reactions to the ammonia in many coloring products, Farouk devised his first product – Sun Glitz-Ammonia-free hair lightening system. His Houston salon – which quickly gained notoriety – became the base of operations to introduce the Farouk Systems product range.

Family Businessman: Today, Farouk’s son Rami is CEO of their family business and his son Basim is Senior Vice President. Hitham Badran, his son-in-law, is Vice President of Purchasing for this burgeoning company, which has experienced sales increases of 50% annually. John McCall, vice chairman of the board, helped facilitate the Olive Oil from the Holy Land concept.
Farouk recently endowed the Mohammad Ahmed Shami and S. Thomas Friedman Diabetes Fund at the City of Hope (Houston), in memory of their fathers, both who were diabetic
Neve Shalom/Wahat Al-Salam (Oasis of Peace in Hebrew and Arabic)

The Peaceable Kingdom: Oasis of Peace is the only community in Israel where Jews and Arabs have consciously chosen to raise and educate their families together. Over 50 Jewish-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli families populate the village. Adults work within the community and children attend a bilingual, bicultural primary school.

This private project was founded in 1972 by Father Bruno Hassar, who was born Jewish and converted to Catholicism. The Israeli government is not involved in funding or operating Oasis of Peace.

Internationally Acclaimed: The community has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times. Its conflict management program, School for Peace, works with Israeli universities and is recognized across the globe. Every year, thousands of Israeli high school students – Jews and Arabs -- meet to meet through the organization’s Youth Encounters. This project that models peace and mutual respect has drawn the attention of international organizations and dignitaries and accolades from VIP visitors such as Hillary Clinton.

For additional information please call: Janice R. McCafferty (773) 736-9034


Friday, October 08, 2004

PR WASHINGTON: Muslims denounce murder of Kenneth Bigley, 10-09-04


(10/08/04) - The American Muslim Council today condemned the brutal murder of British hostage, Kenneth Bigley in Iraq and denounced such killings as barbaric and against the teachings of Islam.

M. Ali Khan, AMC's Executive Director, in his statement, said:

"We condemn this brutal act and those who are betraying our faith with their twisted views. Such horrific acts of cruelty are simply barbaric by nature, and have no justification whatsoever in Islam. Once again, we call for the immediate release of all hostages being held in Iraq. We also offer our most sincere condolences to the Bigley family."

1005 W. Webster Ave., Suite 3
Chicago, IL 60614

M. Ali Khan, Executive Director

Rihan Javid, Deputy Executive Director

Eric Vickers, Communications Director

Nadia Mohammad, Managing Editor

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

PR WASHINGTON: PAC condemns Israeli incursion and US Veto 10-6-04

October 5, 2004

The Palestinian American Congress condemns the Israeli incursion into Gaza and denounces the United States veto against a United Nations draft resolution today condemning the Israeli incursion into Gaza.

The Israeli incursion is in its eighth day with no end in sight. Eighty Palestinians have been killed, including 22 children, over 110 homes have been demolished, and commercial structures and civil infrastructure have been destroyed.

By vetoing this draft resolution, the U.S. has directly given Israel approval of its incursion. This was evident by the renewed Israeli rocket attacks hours after the U.S. veto, which resulted in the killing of a child and injuring two children. This collective punishment by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians is a flagrant human rights violation, a violation against the Geneva Convention, and a violation against UN resolutions.

The United States Administration is refusing to acknowledge the impact of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. The reality of this occupation will continue to produce rocket attacks and suicide bombers. The use of this massive attack on the Palestinian population will not change this reality. Moreover, the U.S. support of this Israeli attack will only serve to fuel the anti-American sentiment in the Middle East.


The Palestinian American Congress is a national grass roots organization that defends and represents the interests of Palestinian Americans. Its current member base is distributed over twelve chapters throughout the United States

Monday, October 04, 2004

FEATURE: Palestinians and Jews discuss future of peace, Chicago 10-02-04

Palestinians-Jews explore peace options beyond US elections
Arab American Media Services, Oct. 4, 2004
[Permission granted to reprint in full]
[NOTE TO EDITORS: For photographs, email

The continued deterioration in Palestinian-Israeli relations will not change unless the United States moves from the role of "empire to umpire," a panel of Palestinian and Jewish peace activists agreed during appearances in Chicago.

Mark Rosenblum, the founder and policy director of Americans for Peace Now, and Omar Dajani, former Senior Legal Advisor to the Palestinian Negotiating Team told a rare joint gathering of Palestinians and Jews in Chicago that peace is possible but only if both sides end the violence, and the United States can assume the role of an honest peace broker.

Rosenblum, a professor at Queens College and director of the Michael Harrington Center, explained what he said were five criteria that could help insure that the two sides return to the peace table and work toward a joint goal of a viable two-state solution.

He said that the next president, either George W. Bush or John F. Kerry must appoint a high level envoy with credibility and a strong mandate to move both sides towards peace, such as James Baker or former President William Clinton."President Bush has been a part of the problem more than a part of the solution," Rosenblum told about 50 people at the Palestinian American Congress hall in Burbank, Illinois during a meeting Saturday, Oct. 2.

"I also think the United States must assume the role of a fair adjudicator to monitor the situation. If we do that, we can go from an American perceived as an empire to an American perceived as an umpire."

Dajani agreed but added that Palestinians must reassess their tactics and embrace a "moral clarity" on issues such as suicide bombings and violence against Israeli civilians.

"We must operate on the basis of moral clarity. We have to be absolutely clear on our lines and we cannot embrace double standards on principles and morality," Dajani said. "Both Palestinian and Israeli civilian casualties must be condemned. Dajani said that Palestinian must "must apply the same principles and the same laws" that are used to criticize Israeli actions to "how we resist and fight the occupation."

Rosenblum added that despite the tremendous "power differential" that exists between the two communities, Palestinians cannot avoid speaking out on moral issues."

Both speakers agreed Palestinian elections must be broadened from the municipal level to the national level. He said that Palestine National Authority President Yasser Arafat should not be prohibited from seeking re-election and the United States and Israel should be ready to accept those results if they occur.

"It is the height of hypocrisy that President Bush is advocating democracy in Baghdad but not in Palestine. And if Arafat wins, Bush needs to recognize it and accept it," Rosenblum said.

Rosenblum's roundly criticised Arafat, as well Sharon and the Bush administration, but stressed that there must be reforms in the Palestinian Authority and leadership, adding there is a real need "to empower Palestinian pragmatists and reformers who succeeded in passing the March 2003 basic laws that require the transfer power, particularly in the field of security to the future prime minister of the Palestinian Authority."

But he stressed that the United States and Israel must be ready to accept whatever the results of free and Democratic elections, including the re-election of Arafat as the PNA President.

Rosenblum said he believes the United States must help the Israelis "disengage" from the current occupation beginning the first-step in a "de-occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

He also said he believes that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Gaza First plan is in fact the beginning of a "de-occupation" that will eventually include the West Bank.

"The choice facing Israelis and Zionists is that they must choose between geography or demography," Rosenblum explained. "The Gaza plan can show the way out of the occupation."

Dajani said that the United States and Israel must begin to apply the principle of the international Rule of Law.

"The Palestinian Authority must be re-empowered and the United States and the peace process must clearly define the end goal. People must be able to see more clearly where this will lead."Both also urged the United States and Israel to push for the full implementation of the Roadmap with simultaneous steps taken by both Israel and the Palestinians.

Dajani noted that the Wall is both a wall and a fence, but he said that "in those areas where it means the most to Palestinians, it is a wall of concrete."

He said the poverty level among Palestinians has increased dramatically from 20 percent in 2000 to 60 percent today.

Rosenblum and Dajani made several more appearances on Sunday at two synagogues in the Chicago area, KAM Isaiah in Hyde Park and Congregation Solel in Highland Park. Sponsoring organizations included the Jewish organizations such as Chicago Chapter of Friends of Peace Now, Brit Zedek V'Shalom, and Palestinian groups such as the PAC, Yalla Salam! (Palestinians for Peace Now), the National Arab American Journalists Association, and the Palestinian American Woman's Society.

"One of the points that both speakers made was that at a time when barriers are being erected to keep Palestinians and Jews apart, we should be working hard to break down barriers and bring our two communities together," said Saffiya Shillo, President of the Chicago Chapter of the Palestinian American Congress.

She added that Palestinians and Jews must "increase the dialogue on a substantial level and bring the two communities together, not just a few leaders and activists."

Shillo said that the Chicago PAC would work with Yalla Salam! and other Palestinian organizations to host more joint meetings with Jewish American organizations in the coming year to help promote a end to violence and the occupation and a return to the peace table.

Doni Remba, president of Chicago Friends of Peace Now, said his group will continue to coordinate with local Palestinian organizations to host events. The proposal was endorsed by Ivan Handler, president of the Chicago Chapter of Brit Zedek V'Shalom. Americans for Peace Now and Brit Zedek are among the most active national Jewish American organizations advocating the two-state solution.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

PR GAZA: Israeli killings f Palestinians mount 10-02-04

Israeli Occupation Forces Commit War Crimes in Gaza Strip
1 October 2004
The Palestinian National Committee for International Humanitarian Law (PNCIHL) expresses its deep concern towards the losses in Palestinian civilians and the human suffering arising from the continuous Israeli aggression on North Gaza Strip, during the last two days. This has lead, so far, to the death of (35) martyrs, mostly women, children and aged civilians, as well as around (200) injured persons, demolishing (50) residential houses and bulldozoring large areas of land. However, it is expected that these losses to increase to the extent of being a human catastrophe, in view of Sharon’s decision, along with the Ministers’ Council for Security Affairs to expand the scope of their military operations, namely " Days of Regret" , as a manifestation of their intentions to cost the Palestinian citizens enormous casualties.
The PNCIHL iterates that the use of excessive force by the Occupation Forces, such as air and artillery bombardments of residential neighborhoods and civilian concentrations , in addition to mass destruction of properties and houses that is not rendered by imperative military necessity, constitute war crimes under the rules of International Humanitarian Law - these rules do not accept any justification vis-à-vis prohibition of launching primitive local rocket bombs on settlements, as an excuse for targeting Palestinian civilians, knowing that the settlements are illegal, in accordance to these rules. According to the convention of the International Criminal Court (ICC), these settlements are considered war crimes.
The PNCIHL affirms that the reprisal measures imposed on the Palestinian civilians and their properties are encouraged and supported by the American Administration, which was recently exemplified in the statement by the Head of the State Dept., Collin Powell. He expressed his antagonistic feelings towards the "intifada" and the Palestinians, which is practically identical to the Israeli position. Moreover, these reprisal measures have been nourished by illusions created through Sharon’s "Disengagement Plan" on the public opinion and political arenas – this plan encompass alleged withdrawal from Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank. Consequently, the PNCIHL demands immediate release of these illusions and to focus on facts on the ground. Actually, the Israeli forces are in the process of promoting and expanding their military occupation and destruction of the infrastructure of Gaza Strip, but in reality, they are not considering withdrawal, or putting an end to this occupation
In view of the constant refraining of the UN Security Council to restore international peace and security in the region, due to the American veto, the PNCIHL requests the UN General Assembly to review its performance towards the illegitimate Israeli policies and practices, and activate its role by adopting more effective mechanisms, most importantly, the "Unity for Peace" as well as sanctions.
The PNCIHL calls upon the contracting parties to the Geneva Conventions to meet their legal responsibilities, as stipulated in their provisions, including "enacting any legislation necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed grave breaches".
The PNCIHL confirms the necessity for the international community of states to take prompt and appropriate measures to provide protection for the Palestinians in the OPT from the nightmare of the "Terror of State" – as experienced in Darfur Region and other places throughout the world.


Friday, October 01, 2004

PR PALESTINE: Israelis kill more Palestinian civilians 10-02-04

The Palestine Monitor
A PNGO Information Clearinghouse
The Israeli army kills ten more Palestinians in Gaza, Nablus, and Jenin

Thursday, September 30, 2004In Gaza City yesterday, six people were killed and 52 injured in thecourse of several Israeli invasions and bombings in the northern part ofthe Gaza Strip. Tawfiq Mumahad Al-Sharafi, 24 years old, Ahmed AbdulFateh Madi, 17 years old, and Sa'ed Abu al-Laesh, 14 years old, all fromJabalya refugee camp, were killed in an invasion of the area.

Also Mus'ab al-Baradai, 12 years old, from Tel al-Hawa in Gaza City, waskilled by fire from an Israeli helicopter inside this civilianneighborhood. Two were killed in shelling by Apache helicopters at Telal-Zataar in Jabaliya refugee camp. Khalil al-Naji, age 23, and Fathehal-Suwareen, a 27. Sources said several of the injured, includingchildren, were shot by live bullets in the upper parts of their bodies.

Many are now in intensive care.Israeli forces invaded the northern part of Gaza Strip on Tuesday ofthis week, three weeks after Israeli withdrawal from the area. Dozens of tanks and bulldozers, backed by Apache helicopters, were used. The stated reason for this was to prevent Palestinians from shelling Israelisettlements. The Israelis also bulldozed and uprooted large areas of farmland.

A Palestinian child was killed and seven injured during a demonstrationto commemorate the fourth anniversary of the Intifada. Mohamad Abdullahal-Jeber, 16 years old, was from the al-Breij refugee camp in Deiral-Balah. He was shot and killed near the al-Shuhada junction whenIsraeli forces opened fire on the demonstration.In Nablus, Israeli forces assassinated Majdi Salah Khalifeh. He was ina house near the al-Ain refugee camp when Israelis attempted to arresthim. He tried to escape, but they shot and killed him. After this,according to witnesses, Israeli soldiers took his body and threw it onthe ground near a mosque about 20 meters from where he had been killed.

Israeli soldiers gathered several people from the mosque, includingrelatives of the deceased, and an Israeli commander told them that theykilled this man because he deserved to be killed, and anyone followingin his footsteps would meet a similar fate.

In Jenin, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian men and injured onewoman when they opened fire on a service taxi that was driving in thecity. Mohamad al-Bitar, 25, the driver, was shot and killed as wasRateb Talib, 50, a teacher from al-Jalama village. Talib's wife Noorwas shot with a live bullet in her leg.

According to Palestinianwitnesses, the shootings were unprovoked and without reason.

For more information contact: The Palestine Monitor+972 (0)2 298 5372 or +972 (0) 59254218

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

PR NATIONAL: Palestinian AMerican Congress National salutes Palestinian resistance & Intifada

The Palestinian American Congress

Press Release

Media Contact: Marwan ElMasri
Boston, September 28, 2004

The Palestinian American Congress salutes the Palestinian people on the fourth anniversary of the Intifada. This is an uprising against the most brutal form of occupation in modern history. As such, Palestinians are struggling against the continuous attempt by Israel to eradicate the Palestinian identity, the constant confiscation of Palestinian land, the destruction of more than one million olive trees, the destruction of Palestinian homes, the presence of over 300 check points, the illegal detention of 8000 political prisoners, and the list of atrocities goes on.

While the United States administration is lending its full support to the illegal Israeli occupation, the rest of the world recognizes this uprising as the rightful and legitimate form of resisting the Israeli occupation. This uprising has clearly shown that the Palestinian will and determination cannot and will not be broken.

The Palestinian American Congress stands firmly with the Palestinian people in their struggle as they enter into the fifth year of the

The Palestinian American Congress is a national grass roots organization that defends and represents the interests of Palestinian Americans. Its current member base is distributed over twelve chapters throughout the United States

Monday, September 27, 2004

PR NEW YORK: Gunmen kidnap CNN Producer in Gaza

Committee to Protect Journalists
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA
Phone: (212) 465­1004 Fax: (212) 465­9568
Web: E-Mail:
Contact: Joel Campagnae-mail:
Telephone: (508) 259-5351
ISRAEL and the Occupied Territories: CNN producer kidnapped in Gaza City

New York, September 27, 2004—The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned about the kidnapping this evening of a CNN producer in Gaza City by unknown gunmen.

CNN reported that Riyadh Ali, a veteran producer for the station, was seized at gunpoint from a car in which he was a passenger with CNN colleagues, including correspondent Ben Wedeman.
In an interview on CNN, Wedeman said a gunman emerged from a white Peugeot, came toward the CNN team, and demanded to know which of them was Ali. After the CNN producer was identified, he was taken from the car by the gunman, Wedeman said. Several other armed men were with him.

The CNN team, which arrived in Gaza just a few hours before, was traveling on a main road when Ali was abducted about 6:30 p.m. local time. The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that two other members of the CNN crew were beaten and their equipment stolen.

Wedeman said the kidnappers did not wear masks or any clothing to conceal their identities, nor did they say why they were abducting Ali. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the abduction, or issued any demands in exchange for Ali’s release.

News reports said that Ali is a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship. CNN said Ali had handled a number of assignments in Gaza and the West Bank over the past several years. Several Palestinian journalists have been threatened or assaulted by masked gunmen in the past year in Gaza and the West Bank.

“We call on Riyadh Ali’s abductors to release him immediately and unconditionally,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said.

CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit

Hani Sabra Researcher Middle East and North Africa
Committee to Protect Journalists 330 Seventh Avenue 12th Floor New York, NY 10001
Tel: (212) 465-1004, x-104 Fax: (212) 465-9568 Web:

Saturday, September 25, 2004

PR CHICAGO --Backlash play Sept. 20, Oct. 1

Stories of Backlash and Fear: "We’ve Come Undone"
Reveals Effects of USA PATRIOT Act
Theatre Piece Comes to Chicago
Contact - Rachel Romanski - 312.371.3376

September 15, 2004, Chicago, IL - Theater artist and social critic Kayhan Irani comes to Chicago, Illinois as part of The Single File Festival, performing her acclaimed one-woman show, "We’ve Come Undone" September 30th – October 2nd.

Written and performed by Kayhan Irani, "We’ve Come Undone" presents the stories of women and girls directly affected by legislation created for the "War on Terror" and are struggling to make sense of life in an America caught in the grip of uncertainty and doubt. With over 30 performances in the United States and Canada, "We’ve Come Undone" is poised to come to Chicago, a city dealing with its own issues of post 9/11 backlash and anti Muslim sentiment. "I started this show thinking I’d be done with it in months, it’s been over a year now and people are still booking performances, that’s how important these issues are to us", said Irani.

Though New York was the site of the terror attacks, post 9/11 legislation has placed country-wide guidelines on certain immigrants. Irani states that, "In the panic to do something we have created legislation that will harm us in the long run and leave us more vulnerable that when we started. I want to address this, with regular citizens, address their fears, their thoughts. Theater can do that."

Irani created We’ve Come Undone out of a sincere desire to open communication "post 9/11". Precisely because there are so few channels to facilitate the exploration of these doubts and fears communally, she finds joy in creating a safe space for open dialogue and interaction. Post-performance, Irani activates discussion and uses theater techniques, to involve her audience as both spectator and participant to activate community dialogue on all sides of these issues. Her work has been called "Moving" by Jews for Racial and Economic justice, "wonderfully performed" by The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and The New York Times said "We’ve Come Undone … is a tool for education and raising awareness."

"We’ve Come Undone" in Chicago All shows at the Athenaeum Theater, Studio #3, 2936 North Southport.

September 30th at 7:30 PM, October 1st at 9:30 PM, October 2nd at 5:00 PM
Ticket information: TicketMaster: 312/902-1500 or or at the theatre box office day of show.
For additional information please visit .

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

PR WASHINGTON: ABA reviews ICJ ruling on Wall 9-23-04


Release: ImmediateContact: Robert SnoddyPhone: 202/662-1093

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 10, 2004 - A recent advisory opinion of theInternational Court of Justice ruled that thebarrier wall being built by Israel in the WestBank was in breach of international law, andcalled on the Israeli government to tear it downand compensate Palestinians harmed by itsconstruction.

The court also called on the UnitedNations Security Council to issue a stop-workorder to ensure that construction on the barrierceases.

Two prominent lawyers familiar with thedecision-Ambassador Philip C. Wilcox, Jr.,president of the Foundation for Middle EastPeace, and Professor Douglass Cassel, Director of the Center for International Human Rights at Northwestern School of Law in Chicago-will discuss the legal questions and implications ofthis advisory opinion on Thursday, Sept. 23, at 2:30 p.m. in the John Marshall Conference Room ofthe ABA Washington, D.C. office located at 740 15th Street, N.W.

There is no charge for membersof the press, although reservations are required.WHO: Ambassador Philip C. Wilcox, Jr., president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace Professor Douglass Cassel, director of the Center forInternational Human Rights at Northwestern Schoolof Law
WHAT: International Court of Justice AdvisoryOpinion on Israel Barrier
Issue: Panel Discussion
WHERE: American Bar Association office John Marshall Conference Room, 9th floor 740 15thStreet NW
WHEN: Sept. 23, 2:30-4:00 p.m.

Disabled Arab Writer Overwhelmed by Hate Mail!, 9-22-04

Disabled Arab Writer Overwhelmed by Hate Mail!

Chicago, Illinois / Arab writer and Chicago resident Aladdin Elaasar is overwhelmed by the hateful responses his article on the third anniversary of 9/11 generated in the US.

Mr. Elaasar wrote an article titled "Let's not let fear cripple us expressing the viewpoint of the Arab and Muslim communities in the US."

The article was written for the Progressive Media project and distributed by the Night Ridder/ Tribune Information Services. The article was published by six newspapers around the US and was posted online by the Free Republic, a self-declared conservative republican activism group in the US. Members of the Free Republic group poured their outright hatred and prejudice against the writer, Islam and Muslims in the USA.The response of the members of the group has angered and saddened Arab and Muslim Americans. The group posted abrasive hateful commentary referring to Mr. Elaasar's article and to Islam and Muslims in the US as follows: "There is no god but the moon demon allah and mo-ham-head (piss be upon him) is his prophet, Anyone who worships a demon via a book written by a mass murdering baby raper who says the way to heaven is to kill non believers, and that ragheads are the master race can go to hell, . There are no innocent muslims, If you don't like it, get the Hell out! The people of this planet will only be safe when the lie that is islime is completely destroyed, burned with fire, and it's foul memory obliterated.

Elaasar sustained back injuries in a car accident in 2003 before Christmas time and resigned as Vice-President of the National American Arab Journalists in the USA. He lives in Chicago with his wife and four children. He is author of “Silent Victims, the Plight of Arab and Muslim Americans in post 9/11 America. We're not the enemy. Arab and Muslim Americans can be our best asset to win the War on Terror. They should not be blamed, feared or scapegoated. The terrorists behind 9/11 and al-Qaida wanted to divide us as a nation and spread fear amongst all Americans. We should not let them achieve that. My article was meant to heal the nation and call for tolerance. This is why I wrote this article and dedicated my book Silent Victims for the victims of 9/11. I have always spoken out against hate. My wife and I are saddened by the amount of hate out there and we are trying to shield our children from that, said Mr. Elaasar.No one should be singled out for hatred, prejudice or blame based on his or her ethnicity or religion. American unity and democracy is founded on this immortal ideal. "Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital components. Hate destroys one's sense of values and objectivity...It causes those so inflicted, to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true", Said Elaasar quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.-END-For inquires about this press release, please contact:

Aladdin ElaasarTel: 773-396-3019 Cell
Or Email:
For more info on hate expressed by members of the Free Republic, please visit:

Saturday, September 18, 2004

FEATURE: Anniversay of Post Sept.11 hate backlash killings

Fighting for the last victims of September 11
Sept. 18, 2004; Arab American Media Services Permission granted to reprint in full
By Ray Hanania

Everyone is familiar with the nearly 3,000 people who were murdered when al-Qaeda operatives hijacked four airplanes and crashed them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in a field outside of Philadelphia.

Very few people are aware that eight or more Americans were killed in the days and weeks after the terrorist attacks, as a result of Sept. 11th linked hate backlash.

While the families of the Sept. 11 victims qualify for funding and public support, the families of victims killed because they were either Arab, Muslim or because they simply "looked Middle Eastern" have gotten scant attention. Scant attention, that is, from everyone but a petite Jewish woman who lives in a suburb of Chicago who believes the post-Sept. 11 backlash victims deserve the same compassion as the nearly 3,000 who died on Sept. 11.

"Three of these murders are incontrovertibly linked to Sept. 11," says Anya Cordell, who launched the Campaign for Collateral Compassion in February 2002 to bring attention to these subsequent Sept. 11 killings.

"There is no question at all that these three victims were the result of hate backlash linked to Sept. 11. At least five other murders are highly probably linked to the 9/11 hate-backlash."

Cordell, who has followed reports of Sept. 11 related hate backlash incidents closely, says the majority of the cases she has focused on took place in the three months after the terrorist attacks in New York. Yet none of the murder victims have been officially categorized as Sept. 11 related killings, and none of the families or relatives of these murder victims have qualified for any of the more than $2.9 billion raised to help Sept. 11 victims.

"I focused on the murders, because I knew that if I couldn't get attention for those victims, then I certainly would not be able to do anything for the victims of assaults and vandalism," Cordell said.

"They deserve to have their experience validated and have the public recognize what happened to them."

In most cases, reports of the Sept. 11 hate backlash were restricted to local news stories and local police investigations.

Cordell said she doesn't understand why none have been relieved by any of the primary Sept. 11 funds created to raise money for Sept. 11 victims' families.

"The victims should be treated exactly the same as if they had died in the World Trade Center," said Cordell.

That sentiment was echoed by New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt who has championed the cause of one of the victims' family member who faced deportation because the murdered victim was his family's sponsor for citizenship at the time of the killing.

Most of the other victims were already citizens. Several of the murders occurred in California and Texas, but crisscrossed the nation from New York to Michigan to Oklahoma to Tennessee. There was no conspiracy linking the killings other than the killers were driven by Sept. 11 related anger and hate. Although some of the killers were arrested and later convicted, still many others remain at large and uncharged.

Some of the victims

Cordell has compiled a list of potential Sept. 11 hate backlash victims from newspaper and police reports, and from firsthand interviews and meetings she conducted with surviving family members.

Three cases are crystal clear, Cordell says.

Balbir Singh Sodhi was gunned down on Sept. 15, 2001 in Mesa, Arizona. The turban-wearing Sikh was killed outside his gas station. Sodhi's killer spent the hours before the murder in a bar, bragging of his intention to "kill the ragheads responsible for September 11." He has been convicted and sits on death row.

Waqar Hasan of Dallas, Texas was also murdered on Sept. 15, 2001. The 46-year-old Pakistani, was shot to death in a convenience store he owned. Hasan was murdered by Mark Stroman, who was convicted of also murdering Vasudev Patel days later in nearby Mesquite, Texas.

Cordell noted that Stroman admitted to authorities to blinding a third victim, a Bangladeshi, in between the murders of Hasan and Patel. After his arrest Stroman bragged, "I did what every American wanted to do after Sept. 11th but didn't have the nerve."

Cordell says the Sodhi, Hasan and Patel cases are indisputable examples of having links to Sept. 11 related hate backlash. Yet, none of the three families have received any compensation from any of the September 11th funds.

"There are certainly others that likely fall into this category," Cordell said.

Other probable Sept. 11 linked hate backlash victims include:

Adel Karas, 48, a grocer from Egypt and a Coptic Christian, who was killed Sept. 15, 2001 in his San Gabriel, California store.

Another victim was Ali Almansoop, an American citizen and father of four. He was murdered six days later on Sept. 21, 2001 at his Detroit, Michigan home. Almansoop was a Yemen native. Prosecutors charged a Garden City man with first-degree murder in his shooting death. Allegedly, Almansoop was dating the ex-girlfriend of his killer, although the killer reportedly claimed he was glad he shot him because of Sept. 11.

Jawed Wassel of Queens, New York was an Afghani American (according to a friend of his family). Wassel had just finished producing a film about Iraq when he got into a dispute with one of his film's investors. The investor was later charged with decapitating Wassel and chopping up his body in the days after Sept. 11.

"It was as if Sept. 11 gave the investor permission to vent his rage against this guy. He had some conflict. Maybe he would have assaulted him. But would he have decapitated him and chopped his body into pieces, if not for the climate after 9/11?" Cordell asked.

The day before Abdo Ali Ahmed, 51, was murdered, he found a note on his car threatening to kill him and deriding his ethnicity. Ahmed, a Yemeni shopkeeper in Reedly, California, showed the note to friends and family but threw it away after concluding the threat was little more than typical post-Sept. 11 rage.

The next day, on Sept. 29, Ahmed was found murdered. Police have never charged a suspect in the case and they did not find the note he showed to his friends and family. Ahmed was a father of eight. The family lived in California for 35 years. The killing so frightened his surviving family members that they moved and till this day remain in hiding.

Abdullah Mohammed Nimer, 53, was a door-to-door salesman who lived and worked in Los Angeles, California. The motive in his Oct. 13, 2001 murder did not appear to be robbery. When his body was found, his car was unlocked and filled with valuable merchandise worth thousands of dollars. Police found several hundred dollars in cash with the victim that was also untouched.

Hate Crimes Escalate

Cordell said the killings fit into a 1700 percent increase in the number of overall assaults and vandalism cases reported by Human Rights Watch during the first year after Sept. 11.

"In the cases where the murderers are still at large, there were no witnesses. So they have been categorized as homicides. But in every single one of those cases, no money was taken. Cash registers were left open and filled with money. Wallets were untouched and other valuables remained at the scenes," Cordell said.

There were no post-Sept. 11th backlash murders in Illinois, but there were many acts of violence Irshad Khan owns a gas station in Naperville, Ill., with his uncle, Jafar Khan. They filed a defamation lawsuit saying it was the only way to save their business.

The Khans filed the lawsuit against several people who the Khans alleged spread rumors immediately after September 11th via the Internet that the Khan gas station had become a shrine, of sorts, to alleged Sept. 11th mastermind and al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden.

Bin Laden's face has been posted on American buildings across the United States and in Afghanistan where he is reportedly in hiding, but the Khans said that people spread rumors that they had put up a picture of Bin Laden to glorify him and praise his terror. There was no such picture, but rumors are powerful in America, especially those targeting Arab and Muslim Americans.

The Khans reported that their gasoline and grocery sales had fallen by about a third after the e-mail rumor circulated. "Some people are just looking for scapegoats, and they're just pointing fingers at other ethnicities," Khan was quoted as saying. "I was losing my whole business."

Across the country in Houston, 30-year-old Iraqi Hassan Al-Asfur was shot in the leg while sitting in his car on Sept. 21, 2001. Police said a man approached Al-Asfur's car, held a gun to his head and said, "Your people killed my people."

Further west in California, Swaran Kaur Bhullar, a Sikh, was stabbed in the head at a traffic light in early October 2001. The attackers fled when another car pulled up to the victim's car. Said Bhullar, "If that car hadn't driven up, I might have died."

But Arabs and Muslims were also among the nearly 3,000 people who died in the World Trade Center buildings when they collapsed.

They include: Salman Hamdani, a 23-year-old laboratory technician from Bayside near Queens left home September 11th to work at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, at the Rockefeller Center, in Manhattan. He never returned.

He was trained in emergency medical assistance. Relatives believe he climbed aboard an ambulance headed for the World Trade Center after the first of the planes hit. He never even got to his office. Salman was a Muslim born in Karachi, Pakistan who came to America at the age of one.

Other World Trade Center victims include Samad Afridi, Omar Namoos, Asad Samir, Yusuf Saad, Talat Hussain, Azam Ahsan, Qasim Ali Khan, Naseema Simjee, Ashraf Ahmad Babu, Mohammad Chaudhury, Jumma Haque.

No funds for hate victims

None of the families of victims murdered as a result of alleged Sept. 11 linked hate backlash, including those identified by Cordell, have ever received support from any of the various charitable funds that were established to raise money to support the surviving families.

These organizations include the September 11th Fund, the Red Cross and the Families of Freedom Fund which provided scholarships to the children of victims. With other 9/11 charities, they raised more than $2.9billion, disbursed to surviving families and relatives, and to owners of businesses and homes damaged in the attacks.

The amount doesn't include the Government Victim Compensation Fund, which is also distributing $7 billion to survivors and family members. Ironically, Arab Americans donated $90,000 to the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund for 9/11 families, but received nothing when they were victimized.

Ironically just before his murder, Cordell said, Balbir Singh Sodhi emptied the contents of his wallet, $75, into a Red Cross 9/11 Fund relief jar--though when he became the victim, his family received nothing.

Cordell said she is most surprised by the failure of the September 11th Fund to donate money to the survivors of hate backlash victims, considering that more than 58 percent of their donors expressly indicated they wanted funds to be used for that purpose.

"The Fund specified the category of Sept. 11 backlash in their survey, and then conducted the survey twice, in October of 2001 and again in November 2001. Donor intent for relief to flow to the hate-backlash victims rose from 40 to 58 percent by November. This represents millions of donors and many millions of dollars," Cordell explained.

"The Fund highlighted on their web site the point that donors had expanded their view of who should be treated as a Sept. 11 victims. And then they utterly ignored that completely, violating the public trust with which they had been charged. I never received an explanation of why they did so."

Cordell said that she is also driven by the fear of another backlash if there is another terrorist attack in the United States. The country has been placed on a heightened state of alert and officials of the Bush administration have warned they expect an attack to occur.

"It's not just to relieve these people who are suffering because of their losses for the last three years but to also prevent this from happening again if there is another terrorist incident and more innocent Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Arabs, or others have to suffer the consequences," Cordell said.

The attacks and assaults have been ongoing since September 11, with new ones reported every week, though not on the radar of the national news media.

Cordell charged that comments made by civic leaders may have even contributed to the climate, such as the remark by North Carolina Congresswoman Sue Myrick, who, speaking about terrorism said, "Look who runs the convenience stores in every little town in this country."

On the first anniversary of Sept. 11th, Lynn Cheney, the wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, said "we don't want that pap about diversity."

Cordell said that she was particularly moved to feel compassion and to work for these victims because she is Jewish. "As a Jew, whose community has experienced such enormous intolerance, I believe that Jewish people should be front and center when our neighbors are experiencing any irrational tolerance," Cordell said.

Cordell has produced a 28 minute audio CD of her meetings with the victims, her very unique post 9/11 journey, and the personal story of how she came to be so driven by this mission.

Information on the CD, which is priced at $8 to cover the costs of production and distribution, can be found on her web site at

(Ray Hanania is an award-winning nationally syndicated Palestinian American columnist, author and writer based in Chicago. His web page is


Thursday, September 16, 2004

PR New York -- US Bahrain Free Trade Agreement signing 9-22-04

Historic Free Trade Agreement Celebration in New York City
September 16, 2004
CONTACT: Nino Kader (202) 486-1185

WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday September 22nd thecelebration of the historic signing of the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (USBFTA) will take place at the NewYork Palace Hotel with an elaborate luncheon in the VillardRoom from 11:30 – 2:30pm.

Reservations -

In attendance will be envoys from the United States TradeRepresentative, dignitaries from the Kingdom of Bahrain,top executives of several Fortune 100 corporations and themedia.

This Free Trade Agreement comes three years after 9/11 andwill help, "promote the President’s initiative to advanceeconomic reforms and openness in the Middle East and thePersian Gulf moving us closer to the creation of a MiddleEast Free Trade Area," according to Robert Zoellick, U.S.Trade Representative who signed the agreement at a formalceremony earlier this week in Washington."

The celebratory day—September 22, 2004—will be anopportunity for corporations from both countries tosolidify—or, in some cases, establish—their presence asleaders of a new era of business between Bahrain and theUnited States," added Dr. Naser Al Belooshi, EconomicRepresentative of the Kingdom of Bahrain.The private sector has also shown its support for thisagreement with Citigroup, Alcoa, HP, ExxonMobil and otherssponsoring the luncheon event.

The U.S. Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, upon ratification byCongress, will result in an immediate lifting of duties on100 percent of U.S. consumer and industrial products and 81percent of U.S. agricultural exports.

U.S. exports toBahrain totaled more than half a billion dollars last year.Bahrain will receive duty-free access for 96 percent of itsindustrial and agricultural exports to the U.S. and willenjoy Most Favored Nation treatment.

Total U.S.-Bahraintrade was $887 million in 2003.The agreement will result in the creation of new jobs andwill expand opportunities for US exports of "aircraft,machinery, vehicles, pharmaceutical and agriculturalproducts." It also covers key service and financial sectorsas well as intellectual property rights protections.Notably, Bahrain will open its services market wider thanany previous Free Trade Agreement partner.

The deal is the "result of a strong commitment by thepolitical leadership in both countries to further developthe two nations’ close relations," said Bahrain’s NationalEconomy Minister Abdulla Saif.

He went on to say that thisagreement, "will benefit the people of America andBahrain."The history of Bahraini-U.S. friendship extends back morethan one hundred years. Americans founded the firsthospital in Bahrain in 1893 and established the firstAmerican school there in 1911.

Today, the two countriescooperate closely in economic, financial, political,defense and security matters. Bahrain is widely known asthe "Gateway to the Gulf" due to its strategic location andstatus as the financial center of the Middle East.

For a detailed event program and to reserve a seat please RSVP no later than September 17th at
- 30 -

PR-Chicago: New Jersey Congressional Candidate hosts fundraiser Sept. 19

Join the Arab-American Community of Chicago in welcoming
George Ajjan
Candidate for US Congress, NJ 8th District

الجالية العربية ﺘﺮﺤﺐ
ﻦﺎﺠﻋ ﺝﺮﻮﺠ
ﺲﺮﻐﻧﻮﮑﻠﻠ ﺢﺸﺭﻤﻠﺍ

11 am – 1 pm, Sunday September 19th, 2004

1322 South Prairie Avenue clubhouse
( from E. Roosevelt Rd. near Lake Shore Drive, take Indiana Ave. south, go left on E. 13th St., then right on S. Prairie Ave. )

Arrive early for limited free parking at the corner of Roosevelt Rd. and Indiana Ave.

Suggested donation of $50 per person
Casual attire, light appetizers

For more information, please call

PR-Chicago: Peace Now/Yalla Salam! host speakers Oct 2, 3

On Oct 2 and Oct 3 Palestinian and Israeli groups in Chicago will work together to host two speakers, Mark Rosenblum of Americans for Peace Now and Omar Dajani a Palestinian peace activist and former PLO representative

... all the events are FREE.

Oct. 2, 2004, SaturdayPalestinian American Congress Hall, 6000 W. 79th Street, Lower Level Hall, Burbank IL 60459, 6 PM (FREE)

October 3rd, 2004, SundayK.A.M. Isaiah Israel Congregation, 1100 E. Hyde Park Boulevard, Chicago, IL, 10:30 AM

A second synagogue location is being set for the afternoon. Check for updates ...

Also, on Thursday Sept. 30, the Society of Professional Journalists is planning a panel discussion on Chicago media coverage of the Arab and Muslim community at St. Xavier College, 3700 W. 103rd Street, Warde Center, Butler Reception Room, 6 PM (free) ... this is a good event to attend in order to meet many of the local Chicago area reporters who cover the Arab and Muslim community ...

PR CHICAGO -- Dinner honoring officials who backed Mosque plan Sept. 30

Invites you to
Dinner with Mayor Dan McLaughlin of Orland Park
and Cook County Clerk David Orr
Both men supported and defended our community's aspirations to build a mosque in Orland Park. Help us thank and honor them.
Thursday September 30, 2004
6:30 PM (please be on time)
Niko’s Restaurant
7600 S. Harlem
Bridgeview, IL
$20 (dinner included)
Limited seating for this event. Please RSVP by September 27th.
For more information, call:
Khalil Shalabi, (708) 692-1248
Khaled J. Elkhatib, (773) 616-0775

PR SAN FRANCISCO -- Arab film festival this month


Golden Thread Productions Proudly Presents
ReOrient 2004—Sixth Annual Festival of Short Plays Exploring the Middle East

Eight plays presented in two alternating series, representing Iran, Turkey, Palestine, Israel, Armenia and the United States!

Series 1: Thursday & Saturday
Series 2: Friday & Sunday

Don’t miss Three-for-One previews Thursday & Friday night!!!

ReOrient Week 1- Special Events:
Thursday and Saturday – Series 1
Special performances by Bay Area native Betty Shamieh. Excerpts of CHOCOLATE IN HEAT - GROWING UP ARAB IN AMERICA, a critically acclaimed play of monologues about love, sex, and privilege told through the eyes of Arab-American characters.

*** FREE EVENT *** Saturday, September 18 at 4 pm, Noh Space
“Tazieh,” a Traditional Iranian Passion Play
Historical context & contemporary experiments
Presenters: Rebecca Ansary Pettys, theater scholar and artist, Haleh Hatami, poet

Sunday, September 19, 1:00 to 4:00 PM at Z Space. Tuition $50
Playwriting Workshop
Developing a Solo Performance Text. Led by Betty Shamieh

Staged Reading of Shooting Magda has been rescheduled for October 20th at Ashby Stage.

Playwriting workshop by Yussef El Guindi has been cancelled.

ReOrient 2004
September 16 through October 10
Noh Space, 2840 Mariposa St., San Francisco

October 15 through 24
The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley

Previews - 3 admitted for the price of 1: September 16 & 17
Opening Night Performance & Reception: September 18, $25
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8 pm & Sundays at 7 pm Matinees at 3 pm on Sunday, October 17 and 24

General Admission $18, TBA/Student/Senior $12
Info/ reservations: 510.986.9194


SERIES 1: Thursdays & Saturdays
Chocolate in Heat, Growing Up Arab in America by Betty Shamieh
Bay Area native will present excerpts of her critically acclaimed monologues about love, sex, and privilege told through the eyes of Arab-American characters. Performed by the author opening weekend ONLY.
Disheartened by Melis Bilgin directed by Hal Gelb
Set in a post apocalyptic world, two boys’ search for food produces an unimaginable outcome.
Between the Eyes by Naomi Wallace directed by Amy Mueller
An Israeli man remembers his father’s mistreatment of their Palestinian house-keeper. A deeply moving monologue by this recipient of the McArthur Fellowship, the Genius Award.
Falling by William Borden directed by Arlene Hood
An imaginary conversation between two people jumping off one of the Towers on 9/11.
Taziyeh by Novid Parsi directed by Arlene Hood
A Taziyeh troupe enlists an Iranian-American to play Shemr, the man who murders Hussain. It is a part no one wants to play, and no one will?
[“Taziyeh” is a Shiite passion play about the martyrdom of Hussain in Karbala.]

SERIES 2: Fridays & Sundays
Don’t Eat the Tomatoes by Fatma Durmush directed by Torange Yeghiazarian
Misery turns humans into a tomato. A Turkish couple first reject and then explore the commercial possibilities of this phenomenon.
Compression of a Casualty by Kevin Doyle directed by Lara Hope Owen
CNN news reporters stuck in the narrative of an American soldier’s death in Iraq. They can neither tell the deeper tale, nor move on.
Dinner/ Khnamakhos by Lilly Thomassian directed by Meredith Weiss Friedman
Two Armenian families gather to celebrate the union of their son and daughter. The only problem is, the daughter has become entirely invisible!


Saturday, September 18 at 4 pm, Noh Space
“Tazieh,” a Traditional Iranian Passion Play
Historical context & contemporary experiments
Presenters: Rebecca Ansary Pettys, theater scholar and artist, Haleh Hatami, poet

Sunday, October 3 at 4 pm, Noh Space
Playwrights’ Roundtable
Join the artists in an informal discussion on writing and the Middle East

Staged Reading Series:
Plays from Palestine, Israel, Turkey & Iran
Shooting Magda by Joshua Sobol directed by Amy Mueller.
The line between fact and fiction blurs during this overnight film shooting by Israeli and Palestinian artists.
Wednesday, September 29@ Noh Space
The Beauty Inside by Catherine Filloux directed by Jessica Heidt
A touching story of an unexpected friendship between two very different women. Based on the true case of an honor killing that is averted in Turkey.
Tuesday, October 5 @ Noh Space
Guest of a Few Days by Mohsen Yalfani directed by Torange Yeghiazarian
A love triangle exposes the political conflict between two friends whose paths diverted in pre-revolutionary Iran.
Monday, November 1 @ A Traveling Jewish Theatre
Bounty of Lace by Susan Merson, directed by Rebecca Novick
This play follows a delicious afternoon tea party among four Israeli women which disintegrates into an exploration of the romantic boundaries of the politically fraught region.

Playwriting Workshops by Today’s leading Arab-American Playwrights
Developing a Solo Performance Text. Led by Betty Shamieh
September 19, 1:00 to 4:00 PM at Z Space. Tuition $50
Structuring a Scene, Crafting a Play. Led by Yussef El Guindi CANCELLED
October 4 & 6, 6:00 to 10:00 PM at Z Space. Tuition $100

Golden Thread Productions has been invited to present a play from last year’s ReOrient Festival at the Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre in September 2004. Fundraising performance on 9/20 at Cell Space, 2050 Bryant St. San Francisco. Suggested contribution $10.

Golden Thread Productions is a San Francisco Bay Area ensemble dedicated to exploring Middle Eastern culture and identity as represented throughout the globe. We define the Middle East broadly and inclusively.

131 Tenth St. San Francisco, CA. 94103 TEL. 415.626.4061

Monday, September 13, 2004

al-Arabiya reporter killed by US-led forces -- 33 killed so far 9-12-04

IRAQ: Al-Arabiya reporter killed, two other journalists wounded in Baghdad fighting
Committee to Protect Journalists

New York, September 12, 2004-A reporter for Al-Arabiya television was killedand two other journalists were wounded today after a U.S. helicopter firedmissiles and machine guns to destroy a disabled American vehicle,international news reports said.

Mazen al-Tumeizi, who was taping a report today during some the heaviest fighting in the capital in weeks, became the 33rd journalist killed in Iraq by Iraqi forces, armed groups, and U.S. troops since hostilities began inMarch 2003.

At least 25 Iraqis were killed and more than 100 injured in thecapital today, according to news reports.Fighting broke out on Haifa Street in the center of Baghdad around dawn,when a U.S. Bradley armored vehicle caught fire and its four crew memberswere evacuated with minor injuries, according to news reports. As a crowdgathered, one or more U.S. helicopters opened fire.

Video aired by al-Arabiya showed al-Tumeizi was preparing a report nearbywhen an explosion behind him caused him to double over and scream, "I'mdying, I'm dying." He died moments later, the Dubai-based station reported.Two other journalists were reported wounded in the helicopterstrike.Military spokesman Lt. Col. Steven Boylan told The Associated Press that a U.S. helicopter fired on the disabled Bradley vehicle to prevent looters from stripping it.

Reuters quoted a statement it said was issued later by the military, which offered a different account.

"As the helicopters flew over the burningBradley they received small-arms fire from the insurgents in vicinity of thevehicle," the statement said. "Clearly within the rules of engagement, thehelicopters returned fire destroying some anti-Iraqi forces in the vicinityof the Bradley."

Seif Fouad, a camera operator for Reuters Television was hospitalized after being wounded in the attack, the news agency said, but the precise nature ofhis injuries was not immediately disclosed.Ghaith Abdul Ahad, a freelancephotographer working for Getty Images, suffered head wounds while coveringthe clashes and the helicopter attack, the AP reported.A militant group linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said it carried out thecampaign of violence in Baghdad today.



Hani SabraResearcherMiddle East and North AfricaCommittee to Protect Journalists330 Seventh Avenue12th FloorNew York, NY 10001Tel: (212) 465-1004, x-104Fax: (212) 465-9568Web:

Friday, September 03, 2004

PR WASHINGTON DC: Arab Journalists denounce kidnapping of journalists in Iraq, call for Frence journalist's release 9-03-04

September 3, 2004


The Washington Association of Arab Journalists (WAAJ), an organization of about 40 journalists representing most of the key media in the Arab world, condemns in the strongest terms the continued kidnaping of journalists in Iraq and calls for the immediate release of the two French correspondents now being held as hostages by an Iraqi-based insurgent group.

Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot, who are with Le Figaro and Radio France International respectively, have been reportedly kidnaped by the Islamic Army of Iraq since August 19. They were in Iraq as were other journalists from all parts of the world trying to cover the deplorable conflict; and their cruel incarceration does not in any way promote, in fact has to date been injurious to the national interests of Iraq. More sadly, it has given Arabs and Muslims alike a bad image, particularly in the West – something that they can ill-afford during these turbulent times.

We appeal to all those involved in this sordid case to exercise caution so that the two hostages be released forthwith unharmed. WAAJ wishes to underline once more that journalists, like other humanitarian groups, are only in Iraq to report on this bloody conflict as honestly as possible. In no way should they become pawns to serve the interests of one group or another.

George S. HishmehPresidentWashington Association of Arab Journalists

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Sunday, August 29, 2004

PR CHICAGO: Sept. 11th Backlash killings explored in Cable TV interview 9-01-04

Ray Hanania/708-403-1203

Chicago -- Some 14 Americans who looked Middle Eastern, or who were Muslim or Arab were killed in the six months after Sept. 11th by individuals driven to rage by the terrorism and destruction of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers.

Anya Cordell, coordinator of the Campaign for Collateral Compassion and who has spearheaded a drive to get relatives and families of these 14 forgotten Sept. 11th victims support and funding, is the guest with host Ray Hanania on "30 Minutes."

"30 Minutes" is a monthly cable TV interview program broadcast on Comcast Cable TV in the South Suburbs, on CAN TV in Chicago and also on Bridges Muslim TV broadcast around the country. The Comcast broadcast is every Friday at 8:30 PM on Channel 19. CAN-TV broadcast will be later in September with the broadcast times to be announced.

Cordell, an Evanston native who is Jewish, said she was moved to help the families after reading about one such killing of a man who happened to be "Sikh," an Indian and non-Muslim religion.
"So many people were killed just because of the way they looked. In one case, the killer bragged about the killing sitting in a bar for more than four hours. He was proud of what he did," Cordell said.

Cordell said that in most cases, the motivation for the killings included Sept. 11th rage, but also other issues were involved. In the case of a man in Detroit who was murdered, he was killed by his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend who said he wanted to kill "that Arab" in order to also avenge Sept. 11th.

Not all of the cases have been designated as hate crimes or Sept. 11th backlash killings. And although billions of dollars in funds were raised to help relatives of the nearly 3,000 Americans killed on Sept. 11th, and also the owners of homes and businesses impacted by the event, including those requiring clean-up and re-start up funds, no monies have ever been designated to support the relatives and families of individuals murdered as a result of Sept. 11th.

For more information, visit Also

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Friday, August 27, 2004

PR WASHINGTON: Muslims play role in GOP Convention 8-27-04

Arab/Muslim Delegates at Republican Convention

The President of the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism, Kamal Nawash, will be joining the Arab and Muslim delegation to the Republican convention as an Alternate Delegate.

Kamal Nawash will be attending an event titled "An Arabian Night in New York" on Tuesday, August 31 (10pm-2am). An exciting lineup of elected officials and candidates will be attending for an evening to welcome convention delegates to the richness of Arabic culture and highlight the deep roots the Arabic community have in American political life.

Special guests include Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, U.S. Senator John E. Sununu, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, former Governor John H. Sununu, Indiana gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels, former U.S. Ambassador Tom Nassif, and Westchester County (NY) District Attorney Jeanine Pirro.

Other prominent guests who plan to attend include RNC Chair Ed Gillespie and U.S. Representatives Tom Davis (VA), Tom Latham (IA), Jeb Hensarling (TX), Jim McCrery (LA), Earnest Ishtook (OK), Scott Garrett (NJ), Bill Thomas (CA), Richard Pombo (CA), James Sensenbrenner (WI), and Virgina Brown-Waite (FL).

The event will be held at the Dahesh Museum of Arts-Café Opaline, located at 580 Madison Ave. (at 56th st) New York, New York.

For more information visit our website at:

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

PR LOMBARD: Muslims dismayed over ban on Islamic scholar 8-25-04


330 East Roosevelt Road - Ste. G5; Lombard, IL 60148 - Ph.:

PRESS RELEASE Chicago - Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, a federation of
Islamic institutions serving over 400,000 Chicago-area Muslim Americans,
expresses deep concern at the last-minute revocation of Dr. Tarik
Ramadan's travel visa by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just
days before he was scheduled to begin teaching at the University of
Notre Dame. Dr. Ramadan was scheduled to teach Islamic philosophy and
ethics classes starting Tuesday through the Joan B. Kroc Institute for
International Peace Studies. After previously granting a visa after a
lengthy clearance procedure, the DHS suddenly revoked the visa for no
apparent reason, citing the USA Patriot Act.

In a statement released to the Chicago Tribune, the University of Notre
Dame said, "Professor Ramadan is a distinguished scholar and a voice for
moderation in the Muslim world. We know of no reason his entry should be

Expressing serious concern on behalf of the Muslim community, Council
Chairman, Kareem Irfan, stated: "By barring a highly accomplished
scholar and globally regarded Muslim intellectual like Dr. Ramadan, this
inexplicable action unfairly tarnishes this respected academic's
reputation and teaching career and also demeans the commendable,
far-sighted decision of Notre Dame to appoint him to an important
teaching position. More over, the resultant silencing of Dr. Ramadan's
visionary and moderate Muslim perspectives will seriously detract from
essential enlightenment urgently needed in our nation about Islam and
its application in modern times."

The Council urges the DHS to reconsider this decision and quickly permit
Dr. Ramadan to enter the United States and begin his teaching role at
Notre Dame. This action goes against the spirit of tolerance, academic
independence and the free exchange of ideas upon which this nation is
based. At a time when we need more voices of tolerance and moderation,
the barring of Dr. Ramadan can only be seen as counterproductive to our
national goals.


Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
330 East Roosevelt Rd.
Lombard, IL 60148
Tel: (630) 629.7490
Fax: (630) 629.7492
Email: council

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

PR CHICAGO: New book calls on Arabs and Muslims to fight extremism 8-24-04

New book calls on Arabs and Muslims to battle extremism

(Chicago, August 24, 2004) -- A new book by Palestinian American author Ray Hanania argues that Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians must fight an aggressive war against extremism in their own communities before they can win other battles, including achieving an independent Palestinian State.

Hanania argues in "The Moral Jihad: Defining the Moderate Palestinian Voice in the battle against extremism" (Tahit al-Ard Press, Chicago) that Palestinians cannot denounce the violence against them until they also denounce the violence committed in their name by Palestinian, Arab and Muslim extremists.

In the book, Hanania argues that Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians must take a principled moral stand on issues and recognize the reality of what compromise demands on them.

"I think it is about time that our community leaders were honest about what they can and cannot do for us, and that we must tell our people what we can and cannot expect as a result of a disastrous 56 year history of occupation," says Hanania, a syndicated columnist and Palestinian peace activist.

"I also believe that I cannot expect to win world support in the aftermath of Sept. 11th if I insist on only speaking out against the immorality of actions taken against me by Israel, while remaining silent on the horrendous atrocities committed by people in the name of the Palestinians."

In the book, Hanania denounces suicide bombings not as a tactic but as a principled moral position. He criticizes those who embrace Holocaust revisionism, condone or express anti-Semitism, and calls the rise of Islamic extremism as a "divisive and destructive force" that must be stopped.

Hanania also challenges the many Arab American organizations concluding that despite :some good," most are ineffective and fail to address the real needs of the community.

"They are cowards, afraid to stand up and speak out against the extremists. They would rather ignore the extremists and attack those whos peak out against extremism. Much of today's rhetoric about fighting extremism is disingenuous and false and offered mostly as a political front. The reality is, very few Arab and Muslim organizations in America are actively engaged in combatting the rising extremism in our community that resulted in September 11th," Hanania said.

"I also believe that Arabs must also grapple with the equally important topic of rising discrimination against the Christian Arabs by the Muslim majority. We need to air the dirty laundery in order to clean the laundry and pretending these issues do not exist in the face of vicious, extremist assaults by some American Muslims against Christian Arabs is hypocritical. Further, how can we denounce Israel for being a 'Jewish State' when we refuse to denounce Arab countries that openly and more aggressively embrace themselves as 'Islamic States'?"

Ray Hanania
PO Bix 2127
Orland Park, IL 60462


Monday, August 23, 2004

PR SAN FRANCISCO: Karima's City play tobe performed in Cairo 8-23-04


For Immediate Release Media Contact: T. Yeghiazarian
August 19, 2004
Through October 24th TEL. 415.626.4061

EDITORS NOTE: Photos available

San Francisco - Golden Thread Productions has been invited to present a play from last year’s ReOrient Festival at the 16th Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre in September 2004. Karima’s City, by Egyptian-born Seattle playwright Yussef El Guindi, received its first fully-staged professional production under the direction of Arlene Hood at the New Langton Arts theater in October 2003. The highly-prized invitation to perform the piece in Cairo comes from Egypt’s Ministry of Culture which sponsors the multi-day festival, which kicks off on September 20th and concludes September 30th.

Based on a short story by Salwa Bakra, one of Egypt’s pre-eminent feminist writers, Karima’s City explores the breakdown of an idealistic, strong woman as she attempts to stave off, and fight against, the destruction of her city and environment. It was developed with dance and movement, and performed on a bare stage. This 50-minute ensemble piece speaks to universally shared human values. Various characters, including the neighborhood trees, are performed by the six-actor ensemble. Dance and movement, absurdist and cartoon-inspired characterizations color the minimalist piece.

Golden Thread Productions is the only theater company in San Francisco, and possibly the United States, dedicated to exploring the Middle Eastern culture and identity as represented throughout the globe. The company is made up people from around the world who share an interest in the Middle East. Performing in Cairo is a dream come true for this company that has been producing plays in the Bay Area since 1997.

One of the premiere events of its kind, the Cairo Festival last year presented works from 43 countries, including 16 Arab nations and 27 others, representing a broad range of theatrical groups and styles. American theatre organizations have participated only rarely throughout the Festival’s history. In 1999, San Francisco dancer Joe Goode was invited to bring a piece. Prizes are awarded in a variety of categories. Performances are held in venues ranging from Cairo’s Opera House to converted halls, with individual translation devices provided to overcome the difficulties inherent in a polyglot setting.
Golden Thread Productions is a San Francisco Bay Area ensemble dedicated to exploring Middle Eastern culture and identity as represented throughout the globe. We define the Middle East broadly and inclusively.

PR NEW YORK: Annual Film Series on Middle East 8-23-04

ArteEast Announces New Season of “Cinema East”

New York, NY, August 17, 2004 - ArteEast, in collaboration with the Department of Middle East Studies at NYU, presents the second year of its annual film series, Cinema East, from September 11th to December 4th in New York City. In its fall season, Cinema East features over ten U.S and New York premiers as well as other cutting-edge films from Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Iran, Tunisia and Egypt.

On the occasion of the third anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the program opens with a special evening featuring the penetrating documentary About Baghdad. Directed by a collective of filmmakers, activists and academics, this new film addresses the current situation in Iraq as the denizens of the city reflect on the occupation and their ambivalences about their new political realities. The collective’s filmmakers will be present to address audience’s questions.

Another season highlight is The Lizard, a taboo-breaking comedy about a fugitive criminal masquerading as a Mullah (religious leader). Directed by Kamal Tabrizi, The Lizard proved to be both controversial and the highest grossing film in Iranian history. Also featured is You are My Love by Egypt’s most renowned filmmaker Yousef Chahine. Produced in 1957, this lighthearted musical starring Farid Al Atrash and Shadia, is a well-known classic of Arab Cinema.

Many of the most prominent filmmakers will be making appearances this year, including renowned Lebanese photographer and filmmaker Fouad Elkoury, who will present an evening of his films, including his recently completed Moving Out; Hala Khalil, an upcoming young Egyptian director, will showcase her debut feature film, The Best Times; Palestinian director Raed Helou will screen his award-winning film about life in Ramallah under siege, Hopefully for the Best; Tunisian Rida Behi will speak at the screening of his beautifully shot feature The Magic Box; and Sabine El Chamaa will discuss her short feature, How Beautiful is the Sea.

All Cinema East screenings take place at NYU’s Cantor film center and begin at 6 PM. General admission: $9. Students (w/valid ID) and senior citizens:$7. Advance tickets and season passes can be purchased online beginning September 1. To purchase tickets and for complete program details please visit our website at

To obtain screeners and press passes or to schedule interviews with guest filmmakers, please contact Fariah Amin at 917.981.1526 or via email at

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Fall 2004 Program

Saturday, September 11, 6 PM

A special screening on the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks of 2001

New York Premiere
About Baghdad by InCounter Productions (Iraq/U.S.A, 2004, 89 min, BetaSP)
Shot in Iraq by a filmmaking collective of independent activists, academics, and artists, this compelling documentary follows Sinan Antoon, an Iraqi poet, who returns to his native Baghdad after twelve years of exile in the United States. His conversations with Baghdadis of all stripes build a complex portrait of resilience amid the chaos immediately following the US invasion in 2003. Schoolchildren, poets, professors, even asylum inmates express relief at the ousting of Saddam, skepticism about the interloping Americans (and émigré Iraqis like Antoon himself) who have not suffered decades of trauma, and their regrets, hopes and fears for their country in a tumultuous new era. In English and Arabic w/English subtitles

Preceded by

New York Premiere
no news… by Bushra Azzouz (U.S.A., 2002, 13 min, DVCam)
Set in the aftermath of September 11th, no news... is an Arab-American woman’s personal reflection on the cycles of violence, war and terrorism that have plagued both the U.S. and the Middle East and their repercussions in her family history.

Post-screening panel discussion with InCounter Productions team Sinan Antoon, Suzy Salamy, Bassam Haddad, Adam Shapiro, and Maya Mikdashi

Saturday, September 18, 6 PM
New York Premiere
The Lizard by Kamal Tabrizi (Iran, 2004, 110 min, 35 mm)
Now banned in Iran by clerics disgruntled by for its impious slapstick, The Lizard has nonetheless become a smash hit (reformist President Muhammad Khatami allegedly arranged a private screening). In a brilliant comic set-up, a petty thief escapes prison by disguising himself as a mullah. Inevitably, he’s forced undercover for longer than expected and, while struggling with his unwieldy new wardrobe, finds himself becoming the revered leader of a small-town mosque. The result is a smart, sincere comment on contemporary Iran: biting and sardonic, but also surprisingly religious. In Farsi w/English subtitles

Post-screening panel discussion with Mazyar Lotfalian (Yale University) and Negar Azimi (Harvard University)

Friday, September 24, 6 PM

A special program in collaboration with the Film Department at NYU’s Directors’ Series.


You Are My Love by Youssef Chahine (Egypt, 1957, 120 min, 35 mm)
A classic of Arab cinema, You Are My Love is a delightful, lighthearted musical directed by Egypt’s most renowned filmmaker and starring popular singers Farid Al Atrash and Shadia. Out of economic necessity, two Cairene families decide to marry their children. But Farid and Yasmina cannot stomach one another. Farid is secretly leading a busy nightlife, singing in a fashionable club and carrying on a love affair with its star belly dancer. Yasmina is having an affair with another man. But As they plot together to dupe their families, they can’t help but fall in love. In Arabic w/English subtitles. Print courtesy of the Egyptian National Film Center.

Saturday, October 2, 6 PM U.S. Premiere
Mashallah by Eytan Harris (Israel, 2004, 62 min, Digibeta)
In 1985 in Jerusalem, two cab drivers were brutally murdered three days apart. The first was an Israeli Jew; the second was and a Palestinian, Khamis Totangi, the absent subject of this subtle and surprising documentary. With grace and a sure sense of plot, Eytan Harris weaves together the stories of the victim’s family, the murderer, the investigators and even a part-time poet, who adds a fascinating element of literary intrigue to this tale of lives forever linked by tragedy. In Hebrew & Arabic w/English subtitles

U.S. Premiere
Hopefully for the Best by Raed Helou (Palestine, 2004, 42 min, DVCam)
Director Raed Helou describes Ramallah during the tense winter before the US invasion of Iraq as “calm, like snow on graves, and angry as an old woman who has lost everything.” The curious monotony of life during an uprising is the subject of the peripatetic camera that roams the rain-slashed streets of Ramallah. In brief encounters with Ramallah’s street sweepers, bakers and hummus makers, anxiety simmers below the surface, but everyone seeks a bit of “normal” life in the early morning, before political realities take hold of the day. In Arabic w/English subtitles

Introductory remarks by Ryan LaHurd, President, Near East Foundation

Post-screening panel discussion with filmmaker Raed Helou and Hamid Dabashi (Columbia University)

Saturday, October 16, 6 PM
‘K’ by Shoja Azari (U.S.A./Morocco, 2002, 85 min, 35 mm)
In this elegant adaptation of three Kafka stories, Azari takes the characters from a monotonous sales bureau to a palatial mansion that transmutes into a tomblike fort, from desert sun to the shabby imperialism of a colonial outpost. Shot in stark black and white, the film evokes the unease and bewilderment that dogs Kafka's K, exploring humanity’s deepest anxieties and fears in facing the modern world.

Post-screening panel discussion with filmmaker Shoja Azari, executive producer Shirin Neshat, and actors Oz Phillips and Mohammed Ghaffari

Saturday, October 30, 6 PM U.S. Premiere
The Best Times by Hala Khalil (Egypt, 2004, 113 min, 35 mm)
The latest box-office hit from Egypt, The Best Times marks the new wave of social drama in Egyptian cinema. Popular actress Hanan Turk is Salma, a young woman who struggles with an overwhelming sense of loneliness after the unexpected death of her mother, is forced to leave her stepfather’s house in a rich suburb of Cairo, she returns to Shobra, the popular neighborhood where she grew up. A series of anonymous letters and a cassette of her beloved singer Mohammed Mounir send her on a journey to rediscover her past and her relationship with her estranged stepfather. In Arabic w/English subtitles

Post-screening panel discussion with filmmaker Hala Khalil and Mona Eltahawy (Arabic Women’s eNews)

Saturday, November 6, 6 PM

An evening with renowned Lebanese film director and photographer Fouad Elkoury

Fouad Elkoury gained international recognition for his powerful photos of war-torn Beirut and landscape photography. In recent years, he has turned his lens to cinema. Join us for an evening showcasing his work.

U.S. Premiere
Jours tranquilles en Palestine directed by Sylvain Roumette and written by Fouad Elkoury (France, 1998, 13 min, Beta SP)
This film tells an often forgotten story of Palestine: that of a pre-Israeli society happily living on its land. Using old photographs found by the Arab Image Foundation and the voices of five women born in Palestine before 1948, the film recalls ordinary moments of life before the current history of violence and suffering. In French w/English subtitles

U.S. Premiere
Letters to Francine by Fouad Elkoury (France, 2002, 43 min, Beta SP)
Through the filmmaker’s email correspondence with his friend Francine and a two-year project photographing Turkey, this film uses a rich layering of sound and image to draw intimate contrasts between the way the photographer sees a landscape but cannot see his own body and illness. In French w/English subtitles

U.S. Premiere
Moving Out by Fouad Elkoury (France, 2004, 26 min, Beta SP)
A woman and her two children move out, leaving her husband alone in their home. As the film follows two days of packing and moving, it reveals a history of tension and lovelessness. In French w/English subtitles

Post-screening panel discussion with filmmaker and photographer Fouad Elkoury and Walid Raed (Cooper Union)

Saturday, November 20, 6 PM
Deep Breath by Parviz Shahbazi (Iran, 2003, 82 min, 35 mm)
In a rare cinematic vision of young urban Iran this sophisticated portrait of alienated youth (more than the title is a nod to Godard's Breathless), Kamran and Mansour spend their time "vagabonding" through Tehran, snatching cell phones, stealing cars, and driving aimlessly. After picking up a hitchhiker, a chatty student named Ayda, one man is consumed by the hope she gives him, the other yields to his overwhelming despair. Wry and bittersweet, Deep Breath is. In Farsi w/English subtitles

Post-screening panel discussion with Shouleh Vatanabadi (NYU) and Godfrey Cheshire (Film Critic, NYC)

Saturday, December 4, 6 PM

New York Premiere
The Magic Box by Ridha Behi (Tunisia, 2002, 88 min, 35 mm)
Raouf is haunted by dreams that point to a failing marriage. For solace, he immerses himself in his current project, a film that transports him back to his youth in the small town of Kairouan where he grew up in fear of his strict traditionalist father, and in awe of his dashing uncle, a traveling movie projectionist whose influence led to a lifelong love of cinema. Compared by some critics to Cinema Paradiso, this beautifully shot film provides a window into the complexities of life in the Maghreb. In French and Arabic w/English subtitles

Preceded by

New York Premiere
How Beautiful is the Sea by Sabine El Chamaa (Lebanon, 2003, 10 min, Beta SP)
After an apocalyptic explosion, a woman ventures into the streets and finds herself by the sea. There she meets a man who, much like her, wears a protective uniform. Incapable of sensing nature, or one another, they ponder the possibility of shedding their uniforms. In Arabic w/English subtitles

Introductory remarks by H.E. Mr. Hatem Atallah, Ambassador of Tunisia to the United States

Post-screening panel discussion with filmmakers Ridha Behi and Sabine El Chamaa and Joshua Schreier (Vassar College)

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Cinema East is a collaborative project of ArteEast, Inc., and the Department of Middle East Studies at NYU. This program is supported by the Egyptian-American Professional Society/EAPS; Arabic Women’s eNews; the Kevorkian Center, NYU; the Film Department, NYU; the Middle East Institute of Columbia University and Egypt Air. It is funded in part by People Helping People Help Themselves and the New York Council for the Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional support is provided by the Egyptian Consulate, NYC; the Tunisian Embassy, Washington DC; Near East Foundation; Moon and Stars Project Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, NYU, and Print Icon.

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ArteEast is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization established in 2003 by a group of film programmers, filmmakers, artists and educators to promote the visibility of the arts and cultures of the Middle East in the United States through collaborative projects with Universities, community groups, museums and cultural institutions. It supports the production and presentation of artistic work pertaining to the Middle East in various media, including, but not limited to, art, music, theater, and film with a unique multicultural approach to covering a wide spectrum of Middle Eastern artists and viewpoints. Please visit our website at for more information about the organization and our programs.

==================================ArteEast, Inc.490 Third Street, #2Brooklyn, NY 11215

Phone/Fax: 718.832.6564Email: info@arteeast.orgWeb: