Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hussein Ibish: Fate of Christians will define the Arab future

"States will become, at best, merely the geographical battlegrounds and, at worst, the principal weapons of repression between battling groups of intolerant religious fanatics."

Coptic Egyptians mourn the deaths of four Christians killed in Al-Khusus earlier this week. (AFP photo)
 The assault by Islamist thugs – with the apparent connivance of Egyptian government security forces – on a funeral at the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo on Sunday may be looked back upon as a grim milestone.

It wasn't just that two people were killed and 90 hospitalized. This wasn't just a violation, by hoodlums and police alike, of the revered center of an ancient religious tradition and community. It was rather that the whole idea of a tolerant, pluralistic Egypt – one that can fully include, honor, and respect its Coptic minority – came under a physical, psychological, and, most importantly, political assault of the first magnitude.

As Egypt goes, so goes the Middle East. If the Coptic community of Egypt is thus abused, disparaged, and attacked, what kind of societies are emerging in the Arab world? The regional implications are chilling.

Pluralism will be unattainable if long-standing and traditionally well-regarded Christian communities cannot be respected. Forget about skeptics, agnostics, or atheists. Never mind smaller religious groups like Yezidis, Alawites, Baha'is, and Druze. If ancient, large Christian communities find the Arab world fundamentally inhospitable, Muslims will turn on each other just as readily....READ MORE

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Our words have a way of echoing out into either war or peace....

April 4, 2013
comment I posted online 4-5-2013

RE America's challenge in the Arab world: The United States must counter the anti-American 'political correctness' that is dominating public discourse in the Middle East by Ziad J. Asali of The American Task Force on Palestine,0,5734988.story

Good to see Ziad J. Asali's probing op-ed "America's challenge in the Arab world: The United States must counter the anti-American 'political correctness' that is dominating public discourse in the Middle East "

Asali calls on all Americans to be better diplomats for our country and for our basic ideals of democracy, secularism and the balance between the rights and responsibilities of individual citizens, to name just a few important concepts that contribute to America's long term stability and success. 

Building a case for peace and progress in the Middle East that is respectful of the diversity and sensibilities of all involved is certainly quite a challenge, but it really is the best option- for everyone's sake.

Anne Selden Annab


Washington Post 2-23-2013

Letter to the Editor

Don’t let go of an ombudsman

Regarding Patrick Pexton’s Feb. 17 Sunday Opinion column, “The Post’s last ombudsman?”
The ombudsman’s column is one of my favorites: It is relevant, reasonable and revealing. The ombudsman has a broad overview of what has been published in the newspaper, as well as readers’ comments and complaints, and outside critics lack the resources, motivation and diplomatic grace to compare. You’ve got a good ombudsman; you should keep him.

At the arrival of modern media technology, the information age appeared to be a great gift to democracy. That landscape is rapidly changing.

Take away good content and accountability, and our smartphones and tablets and computers become very expensive gizmos with apps for everything except reliable news and noble Fourth Estate efforts to keep our government and big business honest.

Anne Selden Annab, Mechanicsburg, Pa.


Washington Post 12-3- 2012

Letter to the Editor

Understanding the media war

Kudos to the Post for not only covering the news regarding Israel and Palestine, but for also providing revealing information about the media war being waged by both sides.  Paul Farhi’s Nov. 23 Style story, “Gaza photos draw bias accusations,” offered good quotes and summaries, especially this: “Complaints about bias flare with each spike in the struggle, but Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow at the Washington-based American Task Force on Palestine, isn’t convinced that either side dominates the media spin (‘the dishonesty is pretty damn even, really,’ he said), although he believes Israelis have the advantage of ‘cultural affinities’ with Western journalists — that is, ‘they speak American’ better than Palestinians.”

Anne Selden Annab, Mechanicsburg, Pa.


My letter to Obama: Ending the Israel-Palestine conflict

Dear President Obama,

I know that supporting Palestine destroys careers here in America, and I know that with the upcoming election you are would rather not sabotage your own chances of re-election. But please support Palestine anyway.

Let your presidency and America stand for respecting the rule of fair and just laws and policies- and fully honoring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Palestinian Refugees (1948-NOW) are refused their right to return... and their right to live in peace free from religious bigotry and injustice.

Let your presidency and America stand for honor and dignity and decency.... let your presidency and America help end the Israel-Palestine conflict with a fully secular two state solution shaping two sovereign separate nation-states, one Israel and one Palestine.

Let your presidency and America be about electing to be real leadership setting a good example in thought, word and deed, shaping a civilized and compassionate and honest earnest conversation focused in on empowering real justice and peace for everyone's sake.

Let your presidency and America be about giving every child, regardless of supposed race or religion, the tools and the chance to achieve as much as you have achieved, so that they in turn can become good role models and mentors for coming generations: Let real democracy with real freedom, justice and equality be the foundation not only of our domestic polices but of our foreign policies too.

Anne Selden Annab 

CSM letters
February 27, 2012

Readers Write: Islamists still dangerous

Islamists still pose a risk

I very much appreciated the Feb. 20 editorial "Islamists come in from the cold." Kudos to the Arab Spring and to all the many heroic and forward-thinking Arabs who seek self-governance and dignity through peaceful means. Empowering nonviolence is crucial.

Hussein Ibish, senior research fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, a firm advocate of a fair and just negotiated settlement to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, understands Islamists better than most, and he wisely points out the importance of "introducing inviolable constitutional principles protecting the rights of individuals, women, and minorities."

Even with that sage advice, I am quite wary about pushing the all-inclusive message too hard. Extremists and hatemongers (in addition to radical Islamists) often piggyback on real struggles for freedom, happily usurping momentum for a just cause in order to gain positive publicity, popularity, and funds for their own self-absorbed aims.

Even moderate Islamists might be a very risky investment because the potential for religious tyranny is always a very real danger, no matter which religion. Both Israel's and the Palestinians' best chance for peace is to let religion be a private matter, not a state-funded project.

Anne Selden Annab
Mechanicsburg, Pa.


comment posted online CSM 10-28-2011

This story about preconditions on Middle East peace was
misleading- and misguided.  Israel is the one aggressively usurping
Palestinian land, demolishing Palestinian homes, uprooting Palestinian
trees and pushing more and more Palestinians into forced exile and
despair- and/or the arms of Islamists.

Furthermore Israel has been insisting that Palestinians formally and
officially dub it "Jewish", so that Israel can more easily continue to
ignore the Palestinian refugees very real right to return to original
homes and lands as  promised by the precedent set by refugee return and
reparations after the Nazi Holocaust.

Peace must be based on full respect for international law and universal
basic human rights-  a fully secular two state solution to once and for
all end the Israel/Palestine conflict is the best way forward for
everyone's sake- regardless of supposed race or religion. 


Anne Selden Annab

American homemaker & poet


Help Build A Golden Rule Peace for the Holy Land


Growing Gardens for Palestine


comment posted online Washington Post 10-7-2011

RE: Young Palestinian activists represent a potential new political and social force

Kudos to the Washington Post for noticing and highlighting valiant efforts by Palestinians who understand that citizens have to build a strong society from the inside: Volunteer work is not tallied up as part of any country's GDP (Gross Domestic Product), but it certainly does play a large part in how successful, stable and pleasant a community, and a country might be. 

Anne Selden Annab


celebrating April- National Poetry Month & America's Smithsonian

Your Ode to the Big Blue


One ocean
with a billion shores
in zillions of ways...

I walk firmly on one
wet beach
following tide lines
salt air in my curling hair

- poem by Anne Selden Annab

Gifts of Glass ... a poem by Anne Selden Annab

Gifts of Glass

Gifts of glass
a breath away
from break

treasure the light catching hue-
smooth orb opened
into carafe

easily cradled
and shared

a breath away from break...

treasure what is now
history in hand

as the blue of air

primary colors
extracted- purified
made complete

for a moment at least
before time moves on

into something else

poem & photo copyright ©2008 Anne Selden Annab