Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dear President Obama... Let Freedom Ring

President Obama with Yolanda Renee King, the only grandchild of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dear President Obama,

It is not a mere fifty years of heroes- it is America's long history of heroes and more than 237 years reaching back to before Lincoln to include and celebrate our founding fathers who dreamed of a United States of America with freedom and justice and who carefully wrote and made real not only the Declaration of Independence but also the carefully crafted Constitution and the Bill of Rights. 

Despite the myopic title "50 Years of American Heroes " currently on the White House webpage the content of your "Let Freedom Ring" speech yesterday really was wonderful and inspiring. It went quite well with the Gospel music and the other impassioned sermons commemorating 1963's historic march for jobs & justice. 

Life was bleak and totally unfair for blacks back then, but for the most part America's black community responded to their plight with dignity and beauty- and such inspiring songs.  Diplomacy won the day as empathy and compassion gently pried open hearts and minds and helped convince America to elect to become a more real democracy.

This year the speeches and the songs and remembrances commemorating the 1963 march and Martin Luther King Jr clearly praised and advocated non-violence.

Non-violence and diplomacy certainly have helped let freedom ring for blacks in our country... and thank heavens for that as our world and our country and every community are all so much better off as more and more citizen diplomats are empowered with the mantle of full and equal citizenship.

We live in a modern, interconnected global world. We have the ability to witness real time events far away- and we also have the ability to recall history as seen from many diverse perspectives.  Lessons of the past should help shape future decisions.

I believe in the American dream of freedom and justice, with the rule of fair and just laws and continued investments in our free public schools, our free public libraries, our free public parks and our free public museums and community concerts enriching private personal efforts to enable every child to have a chance to dream and develop their own individual gifts and talents... and diplomatic skills.

I believe that non-violence should guide our choices on a local level, in our domestic lives and with our parenting... and I believe that non-violence should also be the central philosophy for America's foreign policy. 

No one can know for sure what will be, but we can look back and see that bombing multiple countries in the Middle East has not help let freedom ring there. Violence has inspired extremists and bigots to become more extreme and cruel. Military intervention in Syria could easily make a bad situation much worse.

If you are looking for advice and information on the Middle East, please be very very wary about anything Israel offers, for a Jews-preferred Israel has been using violence as well as psychological warfare for decades in order to destroy the native non-Jewish people of historic Palestine.  The Israeli approach is based on institutionalized bigotry and bully tactics.  We need to veer away from that- hopefully Israel can too.

America should stay true to our cherished ideals and to the compassionate wisdom expressed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

If you want to help bring justice, peace and progress to the people of Syria, as well as to the millions of refugees all through out the Middle East, and to all others in that very troubled region- the best bet is to focus in on actually ending the Israel-Palestine conflict once and for all- for everyone's sake. 

The Arab Peace Initiative is a good place to start. 

Anne Selden Annab


    The Arab Peace Initiative
    1. Requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well.
    2. Further calls upon Israel to affirm:
    I- Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.
    II- Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194.
    III- The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
    3. Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following:
    I- Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region.

    II- Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.

    The Office of International Religious Freedom
    (   Given the U.S. commitment to religious freedom, and to the international covenants that guarantee it as the inalienable right of every human being, the United States seeks to:

    Promote freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right and as a source of stability for all countries

    "Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world." Eleanor Roosevelt

    Live by the Golden Rule
    Words to Honor: The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    Article 1.
      All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

    ".... it being clearly understood that nothing
              shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious
              rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine....

    "In 1949, the international community accepted Israel's UN membership upon two conditions: That they respect resolutions 181 (two states) and 194 (refugee rights). Neither has been honored. In fact, 65 years later, Israel has not even acknowledged what it did in 1948." Saeb Erekat
    11 December 1948 UN Resolution 194:"Refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible"

    The Golden Rule... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

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