Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Deep State of United States of America

The Emerging Shadowy Government of United States of America



It is typical for the Democrats to harp on President Donald Trump’s unconventional style of governance, his personality, and official statement, but odd for Republican figures to voice similar concerns. On Wednesday the 5th of September, the New York Times published an op-ed attributed to an unnamed senior Trump administration official titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.”



In the op-ed, the writer emphasized, “It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.” He or she revealed, “The dilemma — which [Trump] does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.” The writer went on to state “many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.” This mind-boggling cognitive dissonance is believable in light of the published excerpts from Bob Woodward’s latest book “Fear: Trump in the White House” to be released on the 11th of this month.



The op-ed author made a distinction between the “resistance” he/she belong to, which is operating from within the administration and not part of the Democratic Party. The difference being is  many of the administration’s “policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.” Yet, on the other hand, he/she is doubting the ability of Trump to advance balanced and positive policies concluding that “we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.” The writer’s intended takeaway appears to be reassuring the American people and the international community of the secret group’s commitment to being a force of good working in the shadows of the White House to preserve the integrity of nation domestically and its standing in the world.



Americans are living in an era of existential crisis since Trump assumed office. True to his campaign he shook up Washington DC beyond recognition. Depending on a person’s worldview, most people are either fervently opposed to his policies and personality or are in support of the man with palpable exuberance. This latest revelation only confirms an already reached decision about Trump.



How will Americans react to the op-ed revelation? With a combination of a sigh and panic. It is reassuring to know the public servants in the administration are committed to the republic and hold their duties toward country and flag at a higher regard than to loyalty to the occupant of the White House. It is worthy to note the oath each and every one of them swore to on the first day on the job was to uphold the constitution. This brings us to the panic portion of the reaction to the op-ed.



It is very troubling to realize members of this dark group are thwarting the will of the American people, elected Trump, technically and legally according to the rules of the Electoral College, to lead the country toward a vision for which they have bought into. The slow nature of government has prompted Trump to complain about the power of the “Deep State,” accusing it of working against him from within the government. This claim has been dismissed for lack of evidence and for its improbability as a hollow conspiracy theory. But this op-ed confirms the so-called “Deep State” is in fact comprised of trusted Trump advisors who are charged with implementing his policies.



A Democratic Style Coup D’etat
Upholding the US Constitution is a baseline requirement expected of every public servant. Among those in public service are the president's team and/or advisors. On the first day of their tenure, they were required to swear (or affirm) to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” The oath goes on to say ‘I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion”.



The coordinated effort to curtail the President of the US is partly evasive and completely premeditated. It can only be understood in the vein of a nonviolent Coup D’etat. It confirms a few powerful administration officials are acting against the person who was elected to lead the nation, President Trump. This is simply treasonous. It is irrelevant if they are working for what they believe to be a higher purpose. The mere act of circumventing the system, the audacity of stifling the will of the American president, is in and of itself, a betrayal of the trust put in these public servants. To fully grasp the gravity of the situation, when reading the original New York Times op-ed, one should take the name Trump out and replace it with the name of any past president one admires. I dare say that no one will accept a sinister scenario. If at any time it becomes acceptable for the president's team to override his/her actions, future presidents will be paralyzed by lack of trust and thwarted by secrecy. It would be a betrayal of the person, the American people, and the Constitution. We cannot be partisan in our reaction to this shadowy act because it’s an assault on the essence of the American system of Democracy independent of who holds the presidency.  



Political courage must be the “lodestar” guiding these concerned public servants; the courage to come out from the shadows by invoking the 25th Amendment lest compromising the Constitution itself.  The writer anticipates readers pointing to this constitutional option by writing after “early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment,” “no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.” I believe it is too late; publishing the op-ed has already triggered a Constitutional crisis. Now we will wait for the political inquisition to commence.





The Arab wave in US Congress

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Can the swell of Arab-American candidates create a wave in this 2018 election cycle?
At least 75 Arabs are running for public office in local and national races this November according to the Arab-American Institute.
Five of those candidates are fighting to keep their seats as members of Congress: Justin Amash, Ralph Abraham, Garret Graves, Darin LaHood, Charlie Crist. Arab-Americans are a fixture in American political life since the great wave of the 1970s when six won seats to the US House of Representatives.
The possibility of a second wave, come this November, is palpable with 23 candidates winning their primary races so far ahead of the general elections. While equal number have lost their primary races, the rest of the candidates are still fighting for the chance to represent their party on Election Day less than ten weeks away.
This is a very strong showing. Each one of these candidates has an impressive story to tell. They have endured trials and tribulations just to make it this far along the process on the road to winning public office.
One such race is the return of Donna Shalala to the national spotlight after winning the Democratic House of Representatives Florida primary seat. Shalala, the former Health and Human Services secretary under President Clinton, prevailed in a crowded field of Democratic candidates on Tuesday.
More Arab-American and other independent, patriotic Americans winning legislative seats will lead to better chances for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict peacefully
Walid Jawad

Rashida Tlaib

The name Rashida Tlaib has been reverberating in mainstream media over the past few weeks. Rashida, this Palestinian-American-Women, has secured the Democratic party nomination to run unopposed for Detroit's 13th District.
Once she assumes her responsibilities in January as the first Muslim-American female Congresswoman, Palestinians will have a strong voice in the hallowed chambers on Capitol Hill.
Tlaib’s winning her Democratic Party’s nomination is groundbreaking. In addition to her being a woman, she is a first generation Arab-American born to a Muslim Palestinian immigrant.
J Street, the liberal-leaning Jewish organization, endorsed Tlaib, helping her secure her election bid. But shortly thereafter, the organization withdrew its endorsement citing concerns over news reports confirming her belief in a one-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Herein lies the disconnect. The one state solution is neither the goal of J Street nor the official position of the Palestinian government.
Rashida Tlaib will not be the only Palestinian voice in Congress if Ammar Campo-Najjar unseats Duncan Hunter. But will their voices along with other Arab-American legislators advance the Palestinian cause?
The one-state solution is not an option in the current political climate. But with her in Congress and with more people supporting her vision, the Palestinians themselves might find it beneficial to consider her vision. Seeing that the two-state solution is not a workable option, a different goal must be put in place.
The immediate goal must be ending the unjust situation of suffering for many decades and multiple generations as soon as practically possible. A state of Israel with equal rights for its Palestinian citizens, including those in Gaza and the West Bank and displaced refugees.
Although her win is one more victory for the Arab American community, this multifaceted community is not effective in advancing the Palestinian cause as other ethnic American communities are effective in advancing theirs.
Arab-Americans might be lifted by the Blue Wave that will probably tip the political balance in favor of the Democrats.
Most observers are confident the American electorates will hand Democratic candidates a big win this November allowing the party to regain control of the House of Representatives and possibly, with much slimmer odds, the Senate. Such an outcome will allow Congress to play a balancing role to that of President Donald Trump.

The multidimensional Ammar

As for Ammar, he holds a complex identity as the grandson of a Palestinian who participated in the terrorist attack on the Israeli Olympic team in 1972.
His grandfather, Muhammad Yusuf al-Najjar, was a member of the “Black September” organization. He has been expending a significant amount of energy and resources fighting accusation of terrorism in both English and Spanish.
His mother is from Mexico allowing him to connect with the Spanish speaking citizenry of California’s 50th district, which includes San Diego. Although he was trailing Rep. Hunter earlier in the race by a significant margin, Ammar’s chances became much better in light of the latest campaign fund indictment of Hunter.
Ammar takes a defensive posture against accusations related to his Arab lineage. “This is another ploy from out-of-touch forces, who play identity politics and don’t want to talk about the issues,” said the 29-year-old candidate defending himself.
“Obviously, people make a lot of assumptions about me that are not accurate,” he stated before going on the attack. Last night, Ammar proclaimed that his opponent is not worthy of representing the people of his electoral district,” We don’t have a lawmaker anymore. We have a lawbreaker.”

Arab schism

Justice for Palestinians will be achieved in the US. More Arab-American and other independent, patriotic Americans winning legislative seats will lead to better chances for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict peacefully.
The drawback for Palestinians is the “Made in USA” nature of any proposed solution. These Arab-American politicians might have Arab roots or recognizable surnames, but they are Americans first and foremost. It is not a criticism; it is a fact that is built in the American political system.
A system that advances equality and the rights of its citizens. A self-correcting system that protects minorities when injustice befalls them.
In part, Islamophobia, anti-Arabism, and America’s policies toward the Middle East all inspired Arab-American candidates to run in this unjust cultural and political environment. Their Arab roots inspired them to run for office, but its American patriotism that wins them votes.
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Walid Jawad is a former Senior Policy Analyst at US Department of State and a former Washington, DC correspondent. He covered American politics for a number of TV outlets since 1997. Walid holds an undergraduate degree (B.A) in Decision Science and Management Information Systems and a Masters in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. You can follow him @walidaj.
Last Update: Thursday, 30 August 2018 KSA 16:10 - GMT 13:10

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Last American Statesman: McCain

Monday, 27 August 2018

The death of John Sidney McCain this past Saturday signaled the end of an error in America’s history. McCain who died at 81 years of age embodies the American ethos in ways that harken back to the era of American heroes and patriotic icons. He lived many lives all rolled up into one: a fighter-pilot, POW, a decorated hero, political icon, and self-styled maverick. But more importantly, and perhaps the most defining of his virtues, his decency as a human being. Although making this summary judgment diminishes the complexity of the independent man who was known for never shying away from a principled stance.
At a town hall-style event he held during campaigning for the presidency against Barack Obama in 2008, a lady proclaimed her distrust in Obama saying “I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him, and he’s not, um, he’s an Arab,” in his appearance in Lakeville, Minnesota in October of that year. McCain responded by saying "no, ma'am he is a decent family man, citizen, who I happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign is all about." At the time my response was negative toward candidate McCain as his answer suggests decency and being an Arab were mutually exclusive. But as I reflect on the man 10 years later, I came to understand his answer in a different light; it was not about a philosophical discussion over ethnicity or stereotypical ideas attached to the Arab world, rather he was making a strong stand to defend the honor of the political system and the men and women who dedicate their lives to serving the nation.
It was revealing by him affirming Obama's patriotism and refraining from doubling down on the "bad" Arab stereotypical idea. At a time when 9-11 was still fresh in the psyche of the American people. Islam and Arab were perceived to be the enemy of the American people. What he didn’t say, spoke volumes. He was never fazed by the jeers of many of his supporters as he repeatedly confirmed his belief in Obama’s patriotism. He lost the presidency, in part, to his unwavering commitment to playing the political game for the higher purpose of country and decency. His defeat provided him a renewed vigor to reaffirm his maverick status in US Senate.
Though McCain took aggressive positions, he was able to strike the elusive balance between power and cooperation grounded in the reality of patriotism.
Walid Jawad
As a Republican, McCain advanced the ideals of his party by taking principled stands for what he believed in. He withheld his initial support of the Republican Party presidential nominee, Donald Trump, in the last elections after the leaked tapes of Trump’s locker-room talk surfaced. The relationship between the two men never recovered. As the Republicans in Congress moved to deliver on Trump’s election promise to repeal Obama Care, the Affordable Care Act, he was the last to walk onto the Senate floor to cast his vote. No one was sure of his decision. Senators, the White House, and the nation held its collective breath. In a dramatic fashion before the gathering Republican leadership, he held up his hand before his decision. The same right arm he can’t raise above his head after years of torture in a Vietnamese camp as a prisoner of war. (POW). An audible gasp could be heard signaling the tiebreaking vote; thumb down. The Republican Party holds the majority in both chambers of Congress, House, and Senate have failed to pass a vote to repeal and replace the controversial Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
In responding to reporters after the vote with the a bandage upon his forehead covering the scar of brain cancer surgery he said “We must now return to the correct way of legislating and send the bill back to committee, hold hearings, receive input from both sides of aisle, heed the recommendations of nation’s governors, and produce a bill that finally delivers affordable health care for the American people,” he stood for his principle continuing “We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve.”

Capture and Release

He followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both four-star naval officers, but he never achieved the same highest rank of his lineage. He left the Navy as a Captain after years in captivity in Vietnam. His plane was shot down and held captive for over five years. The capture and torture by themselves would make a hero out of any one soldier, but to know that he passed up on the opportunity to be released because he wanted to deny his captors the opportunity to use the occasion for propaganda. McCain was accused of being a reckless person, but that episode revealed the essence of the man; principled and stubborn.
This is a moment of reflection for the US to re-examine its soul and reconfigure its identity. The US has lost its way moving far from the ideals upon which it was built. There is no doubt in the intention of politicians on both sides of the aisle; they are inspired by the values that were entrusted to them. The dividing line is between those who are committed to carrying American’s values forward and those who feel obligated to revert the country to the purity of those ideals. The US cannot afford approaching the international community with the singular objective of winning a zero-sum game. The US is strongest when it finds ways to strike mutually beneficial options with allies, friends, and adversaries.
Though McCain took aggressive positions, he was able to strike the elusive balance between power and cooperation grounded in the reality of patriotism. McCain’s legacy will continue to guide a generation through his words and principled actions. It behooves legislators and politicians to be guided by McCain’s disciplined principles to decency sans political dogma.
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Walid Jawad is a former Senior Policy Analyst at U.S. Department of State and a former Washington, DC correspondent. He covered American politics for a number of TV outlets since 1997. Walid holds an undergraduate degree (B.A) in Decision Science and Management Information Systems and a Masters in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. You can follow him @walidaj.
Last Update: Monday, 27 August 2018 KSA 21:39 - GMT 18:39

Apple’s $1 trillion valuation: The creation of a Syrian mind

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The record-breaking trillion-dollar value Apple Inc. reached on August 2 was a historical benchmark making it the first company to be valued at $1 trillion. A claim that will always be credited to this innovative technology company.
But this story is not a financial story claimed by the stock market, nor is it a technology story dwelling in the binary world on ones and zeros, it is a story of the son of a Syrian immigrant.
Steve Jobs was born to Abdulfattah Jandali and Joanne Schieble on February 24, 1955 in San Francisco. In the summer of 1954, Abdullatif took his wife to be, both 23 years at the time, to Syria to introduce her to his well-off family despite Joanne’s father opposition.
Arthur Schieble, her father, wouldn’t give his blessing to a union with her Muslim suitor on religious grounds – he was a strict Catholic who wouldn’t accept a man for his daughter of a different Christian denomination let alone a different religion.
Upon returning from Syria, Joanne found out that she was pregnant with Steve. In the face of her dying father’s opposition she and Abdulfattah elected not to defy his wishes waiting for him to die in peace and then marry.
In the meantime, Joanne had to make an immediate decision about the pregnancy in order to avoid shaming the family name. She left her Wisconsin hometown to a California doctor who sheltered unwed mothers to help them safely deliver their children and arrange for adoption.
At that time abortion was illegal and the ones that were illegally performed were dangerous. Joanne didn’t have a choice but to acquiesce to the San Francisco option.
She tried delaying signing the adoption papers expecting her father to pass away freeing her to keep Steve. Unluckily for her, and perhaps luckily for us as consumers of Steve’s technological genius, his adoption was completed before Steve’s maternal grandfather passed away.
Steve’s fate was sealed. Our iPhones were guaranteed to become today’s reality.
What made Steve the genius he came to be was not only genetics, but also his upbringing and the environment which shaped him
Walid Jawad

The Garage

In the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, his adoptive parents were very kind and caring.
They did more for him than many parents would do for children of their own blood. It is amazing the length they went to accommodate his wishes and nurture his special talent and aptitude for electronics.
The biography walks the reader through the various phases of Jobs upbringing and schooling. The challenges his parents faced as they advanced the educational pursuit of their nonconforming adopted child.
In sixth grade, a year younger than his peers after skipping 5th grade, he gave his parents, Paul and Clara Jobs, an ultimatum to move him to a different school or he would drop out of school all together. His modest parents had to scrape all they had to move the family to another house a few miles down the road.
The move was necessary to cross the school districting line to the a better school system. The house they moved into had a garage, it was that garage where Steve and his friend Stephen Wozniak started their Apple technology adventure.

Apple: The Forbidden Fruit

Could have Steve imagined his company trailblazing in the world of finance as it does in tech? His death, October 5, 2011, cut his life too short at the age of 56. Far too young by any measure especially for someone who had much more to give humanity.
He was the type of person who wouldn’t be satisfied with accolades or by setting records. He was always working on the next big thing. In his short lifetime he revolutionized our lives and made the sci-fi stories of the past a reality we live every waking moment of our lives.
I for one, am attached to my iPhone in ways I don’t care to admit. I have retired my memory relegating it entirely to my iPhone Notes and Calendar. I communicate in words, though unspoken they echo in the ether of eternity.
I even talk to my Siri although these days we seem to have re-occurring communication breakdowns, now that Apple is not giving Siri the time of day. Although I give Siri a chance, I refuse to do so with Apple’s Maps as it causes me more aggravation than I’m willing to accept. Yes, Apple’s technology is not perfect yet the company is in a league on its own.
Apple’s $1 trillion capitalization makes it worth more than many countries. The tech company competes with the net worth of Greece and Israel and surpasses the worth of any Arab country according to Credit Suisse 2017 list. An unfair comparison pitting apples to oranges. Yet it provides an interesting numerical contrast.

‘Hot-blooded Arab’

Steve wasn’t 100 percent Syrian. His biological father, Dr. Abdulfattah Jandali, was from Homs, but his mother was Armenian. She was born in the US as a result of her parents escaping the Turks. Although Abdulfattah and Joanna were of different ethnicity both groups of people suffered at the hand of the oppressive Turks. That suffering didn’t stop there as it continued for Steve. Abandoned by his biological parents.
What made Steve the genius he came to be was not only genetics, but also his upbringing and the environment which shaped him. At any turn throughout his life, his flare for innovation and obsession for electronics could have been squashed.
Steve Jobs disposition was reinforced by his environment and advanced by his choices; a quest to innovate. The offspring of an immigrant father and a mother who’s the daughter of refugees.
The product of a loving and determined couple of modest means. Although Abdulfattah came to the US to advance his own life, he ultimately contributed to the US and the quality of life of the rest of the world through his son.
This story of immigration is nestled inside a system that thrives on diversity. The land of opportunity extends her promise to those who come to her shores with the intent to capitalize on it.
Many people from every corner of this globe came to the US and made a life for themselves and their families.
The proof is evident when a person has the determination and is offered the opportunity to realize their dreams they will succeed regardless of their gender, race, color, national origin, and religion.
__________________________
Walid Jawad is a former Senior Policy Analyst at U.S. Department of State and a former Washington, DC correspondent. He covered American politics for a number of TV outlets since 1997. Walid holds an undergraduate degree (B.A) in Decision Science and Management Information Systems and a Masters in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. You can follow him @walidaj.
Last Update: Wednesday, 8 August 2018 KSA 15:11 - GMT 12:11

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

‘Arabhood’: A political story in ‘American’ English

Currying favors with the American president is not the most effective way for leaders of other countries to advance their national interest. Although a personal connection with him can be helpful, having the support of his constituency will take leaders farther.
The American electorate oscillates between Republicans and Democrats, thus making it necessary to exert effort to win the hearts and minds of the voting American population. This is a sure long-term strategy that trumps the fleeting situational mutual benefits that leaders around the world labor to strike with the US.
The drawback of securing the support of the American people is the long lead time it takes and the amount of sustained effort and financial investments it requires.
The upside is once the majority of Americans have a favorable view of a nation, so will the president regardless of the personality or political affiliation of the occupant of the White House. So how is it done? Simple, by creating an appealing narrative.

Tribal politics

Arab politicians don't know how to speak “American.” In order for the Arab governments to create a long-term positive rapport with the US, each for its own national interest, they will need to supplement their approach to go beyond forging a personal relationship with their counterparts in the US government.
Arab countries are “nations of men,” while the US is a “nation of laws.” Men come and go, but the law endures. The Arabic model provides a certain type of stability throughout the tenure of the leader.
While in the US it’s a relay where the baton of American law is passed from one president to the next every four or eight years (and there is a precedent for presidential resignation).
Arab countries are “nations of men,” while the US is a “nation of laws.” Men come and go, but the law endures
Walid Jawad
Arab leaders find themselves building new relationships with each elected American administration making for a volatile relationship. When the political calculations of the US changes so does its relation with Arab governments.
Numerous governments around the world have managed to create bonds with the “American people” ensuring a lasting affinity that transcends the American presidential election cycle. The British people, for instance, were able to move from America’s enemy, let us remember that America gained its independence from the British Crown.
But the most impressive case study is of the Jewish people who gained popular support leading to them wielding exceptional political influence.
It is the “story” of a people that compels a nation to sympathize with the Jews despite widespread conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic crimes and ongoing discrimination. Once the masses accepted the positive narrative, governments find it easier to create a bond with the White House and Capitol Hill.

Political reality check

The road to societal change anywhere in the world goes through Washington, DC. Regardless of country, change architects must factor Washington’s influence; support, neutrality, or opposition.
Securing political influence in the capital of the world is an identifier of success, if not the ultimate aspect determining the success of political and social change in countries around the world. America’s military, political, and financial powers are unparalleled.
The White House and Capitol Hill are the ultimate friends of world leaders, public figures, and activists. Washington does not do the hard work for any one leader or country, but it does empower.

Arabhood as a brand

Arab governments are negating their own efforts as they focus exclusively on advancing the flag of their own nations. This tactic only works government to government, thus for any Arab country to capture the imagination of the American people the story needs to be about the human condition captured through an Arabic story.
An inspiring example from other cultures which succeeded in winning over the American people is the Jewish example. All of us as human beings can’t help but feel for Anne Frank and her family. We all sympathize with the Jewish people who endured the Holocaust and mourn those who perished.
Despite the lack of public expressions of sympathy for their plight in light of today’s political complexity between the Israelis and the Palestinians, our humanity overrides our political stance on an individual level.
As we sympathize with the historical pain of the Jewish people we feel deep indignation on behalf of the Palestinian people as the offspring of Holocaust survivors relive their trauma, but this time as the aggressor in a twisted reenactment of the WWII tragedy.
Notice here how we can have sympathy for our Jewish cousins yet object and strongly condemn the Israeli tactics against innocent Palestinians inflicting oppression, inequality, and apartheid (particularly after passing the latest Israeli law, the Jewish Nation-State bill that abolishes the rights of Israeli Arabs).
So the question becomes how is it that the Arab world is unable to tell stories that resonate with the American people? The disastrous fate of the majority of the Arab people is being witnessed and recorded, but none of it is memorialized; no stories, fables, poetry, or songs.
The irony is that Arab artists, writers, and poets who can express the suffering in a way that would allow the audience to walk proverbially in the victims’ shoes are the same Arab citizens who will speak truth to power; the same people who if they dare to express their observations are quickly silenced.

The cockroach

This is not to dismiss all of the admirable attempts by many honorable men and women who dared tell stories, sing songs, and compose poems. The tide of the negative news cycle is beyond the power of those voices to make long-lasting change, yet it does help expand the narrative.
Arabs and Arab Americans have a duty to tell our stories – it is our burden. Thankfully, others who sympathize with us or have an affinity for Arab history and culture have been doing it in the “American” language that is most effective.
In Washington, DC 2004, I was walking in the neighborhood around 11th st and E St, NW, when I stumbled upon a sign that read “The Fate of a Cockroach,” a play by Tawfiq Al-Hakim. I walked down a few steps to sit in one of 20 seats in that makeshift theater.
It was an accurate translation and an impressive performance by an all American volunteer company (non-professional actors). I walked away wondering why can’t Arab embassies and well-off Arab American sponsor such events.
Last month the Mosaic Theater at the Atlas Performing Arts Center concluded its run of the play “The Vagrant Trilogy.” A wonderful story by Mona Mansour about a Palestinian scholar who gets stuck in the UK as the 1967 war broke out.
This play was brought to Washington DC by the Artistic Director Ari Roth. Ari is someone who earned the respect of Jews, Arabs and the greater DC community through his previous work for J-Street and the applauded work of his Mosaic Theater. He is a Jewish American committed to peace by exposing the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as he features human stories from the conflict zone.

Positive change

It is humbling to have him effect positive change, with the support of his community, in ways that our communities never did. Out of the 300 or so donors contributing to his theater, I identified less than a handful of Arabic names.
Shirin Ghareeb, a second-generation Arab American has been single-handedly offering the Washington DC community Arabian Sights, an annual film festival featuring some of the most powerful movies from around the Arab world.
I have been surprised each year for the last 20 plus years when she pulls a miracle announcing the festival’s lineup. Truly, a labor of love built on hard work, dedication and a budget next to nothing by a staff of one.
Arabs must tell their stories in more effective and compelling ways. There is no lack of suffering in the Arab world to fuel inspiration. And it’s not a lack of talent or vision, but a lack of resolve and the scarcity of resources in an era of diminished believe in Arabhood.
Arab governments must keep in mind that the flags they honor and protect are not even a century old, while their Arab heritage goes back for millennia. Protecting the nation and the national interest is the ultimate duty, but know that without a long-term proactive strategy in dealing with the US, leaders will expend their resources and energy in a perpetual reactionary mode.
One element of a proactive strategy must be storytelling that connects with Americans on a human level. A human level that is deeper and lasting beyond the politics of the day.
____________________________
Walid Jawad is a former Senior Policy Analyst at U.S. Department of State and a former Washington, DC correspondent. He covered American politics for a number of TV outlets since 1997. Walid holds an undergraduate degree (B.A) in Decision Science and Management Information Systems and a Masters in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. You can follow him @walidaj.
Last Update: Tuesday, 31 July 2018 KSA 18:08 - GMT 15:08