Friday, September 20, 2013

Ibrahim's Estate .... a poem by Anne Selden Annab

       The Promised Land: In Celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 
  & Peace Day

       Ibrahim's Estate

Recognizing rights
basic human rights
the People of the Book-
the Christians and Muslims and Jews
and the People of Outside the Box
looked... They
looked to homelands
looked to citizenship
looked to fair and just laws
to compassion
and empathy
and the Golden Rule...

looked for ways
to make peace
and diplomacy
a daily practice.

Some went astray.
Some waged war
instead of waging peace.

Some grew ugly thoughts
instead of gardens with flowers
to delight the soul and fruit to feed
the hungry.

Some grew selfish and paranoid.
Some grew angry and cruel
Some grew violent.

Bigots & bullies tried to own the story-
to tell it in ways to diminish
and alienate "others"...
to tell it in ways
to spark rage
and arguments...

But the People of the Book-
the Christians and Muslims and Jews
and the People of Outside the Box
taught their children to read
and to think...  to stop look and listen...
and to invest wisely
so that country by country
community by community
we all might be free
as one epic nation
free to flourish
Ibrahim's Estate...

This then is the nation
the promised land-
the real estate
agents of Good
keep safe for all to inherit...

No border, no book, no line, no letter
no brick or stone can contain it. No passport
can define it. No one sect
can own it... it is ours
in the largest sense 

It is ours for all

Friday, September 6, 2013

I ask you not to bomb ... a poem by Anne Selden Annab

President Barack Obama meets with Members of Congress to discuss Syria in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Sept. 3, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
       I ask you not to bomb

I ask you not to bomb-
all of you
I ask you to pause
think... savor value
treasure life
and the things we have built
the art we have saved
and made part of every day
the books yet to be written
the gardens yet
to be planted

I ask you not to bomb-
all of you
abandon violence
as a tactic... as a goal
be gentle with children-
and cities
be kind to women
and landscapes
be true to men
and diplomacy
be careful with history
and interpretations...

Lead by example

Lead us away from war
away from terror
away from tyrants
who find power
in lies told
to frightened people.

Lead by example
learning dialogue

and calmly walk away
from those who don't.

Lead by example
investing in peace
& hopefully Palestine.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Palestinian Wedding Singer Enchants the World...

Palestinian singer Mohammad Assaf holds a Palestinian flag after he won the title of the television talent show “Arab Idol,” in Beirut, Lebanon. (EPA/MBC PRESS OFFICE)
From the Washington Post: "JERUSALEM — It was a most improbable story of a moonlighting wedding singer from a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, who barged his way into an audition and went on to win hearts across the Middle East — and on Saturday night was declared the winner of the “Arab Idol” singing contest.

Fireworks exploded over the West Bank city of Ramallah and people poured into the streets there and in the Gaza Strip to celebrate what fans called a dream come true for Mohammad Assaf, the fresh-faced 22-year-old college student from Khan Younis.

He closed down his competitors by singing, in English, the Backstreet Boys hit “I Want It That Way.”" Palestinians find an unlikely hero in ‘Arab Idol’ contest show winner

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Nominating a hero... Ziad Asali of the American Task Force on Palestine

Submit a nomination 
 The 2013 Citizens Medal will recognize “citizens of the United States of America who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.” Executive Order 11494 (Nov. 13, 1969). It is generally recognized as the second highest civilian award of our Government.

Dr. Asali first and foremost sets a good example. He came to this country as a Palestinian refugee and has spent his life becoming a successful and loyal American citizen.

Dr. Ziad J Asali's primary job and career was as a physician. A very successful physician. When he retired he could have chosen to live a private life of leisure, enjoying the pleasures of a loving family and respect from many friends and peers. But instead he stepped up to do something much harder than it might appear- diplomacy for  Palestine and peace. Dr. Asali founded the NGO The American Task Force on Palestine in 2003  in hopes of generating mainstream American interest in supporting a two state solution to once and for all end the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Describe the impact that your nominee’s service has had on individuals and/or communities:

The challenges of advocating mainstream support for Palestine here in America are huge. Many who know and care about Palestine have been lead astray by cynicism and negativity and bad arguments.  Far too many wrongly believe that Israel should be or will be destroyed. Some foolishly become puppets and pawns for Islamists and anti-America radicals pretending to care about Palestine. Few have the strength of character and the courage and the wisdom to be both pro-Palestine as well as pro-America.  Dr Asali is very much both pro-Palestine as well as pro-America. 

Dr Asali's leadership and his organization offer a safe harbor and good advice and direction for Americans like me who are sincerely concerned about the very real plight of the Palestinians and American investments abroad.  His focus is on empowering public support for state building efforts for Palestine and negotiations so that Israel and Palestine will be able to live side by side in peace and security. 

I'd also nominate ATFP's Senior Research Fellow Hussein Ibish for the citizen's medal- but Ibish's brilliant work and outreach are his career, a career made possible in part because of Dr. Ziad Asali's valiant efforts and organization.



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