Sunday, May 15, 2016

AHRC Mourns the Passing Away of H. E. Dr. Clovis Maksoud

Dr. Maksoud and AHRC Executive Director Imad Hamad

A great Arab American passed away today. Dr. Clovis Maksoud leaves a great legacy. Below is the press release issued by AHRC, a human rights organization of whcih he was the honorary chair:
The American Human Rights Council (AHRC-USA) expresses its profound grief for the passing away of H.E. Ambassador, Dr. Clovis Maksoud. Dr. Maksoud died earlier this morning. The death of Dr. Maksoud  is a great loss to the Arab American community, the Arab World and, indeed, the whole world. Dr. Maksoud’s legacy and contributions to humanity will live on and continue to inspire us for years to come.
 The death of Dr. Maksoud brings back the painful memory of the passing away of his wife, Dr. Hala Salam-Maksoud, a great activist and a wonderful human being. The “Maksouds’ era” was one of the greatest and most consequential eras in the history of the Arab- American community. The Maksouds were brilliant organizers, thinkers, scholars, loyal friends, and genuine fighters on behalf of social justice, equality and the advancement of human dignity and human rights. Dr. Clovis Maksoud was a giant in his scholarship and his courage. He spoke truth to power and dared to speak up and refused to compromise his principles for any form of expediency.
 Dr. Maksoud’s death coincided today with May 15, the day of commemoration of the Palestinian catastrophe or “Al Nakba”.  Dr. Maksoud cared greatly about Palestine and saw it as the core issue for the Arab nation. He had deep love, commitment and dedication to Palestine and its people. He spent a lifetime defending Palestine and Palestinian rights at different forums and in different capacities. Dr. Maksoud died a sad man due to the ongoing tragedy of Palestine and the bloodshed and chaos in the Arab world. He worked tirelessly for decades to make the Arab world a better place for the Arab people of all backgrounds.
  AHRC joins the Arab American community, the human rights community,  Lebanon, the whole Arab World and the international community in mourning the death of Dr. Maksoud. No words can express our profound sadness today. AHRC-USA pays its farewell to its National Honorary Chairman who was a true inspiration to AHRC and its team to move forward and to live up to the challenges facing our common humanity. On behalf of the entire AHRC –USA team, we express our sincere condolences to the Maksoud family and to his friends and admires all over the world.
  “This is a personal loss for me and a true sad day for AHRC and all of us who have known and worked with Dr. Maksoud” said Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director. “No words can express our sadness. Dr. Clovis was a personal friend and my mentor. No words can express my grief for the loss of such a great true leader and a wonderful mentor.” “The Maksouds, Clovis and Hala, were my friends and mentors who introduced me to the world of activism and social change and inspired me to serve our common humanity,” continued Hamad. “The Maksouds are irreplaceable and they will be sorely missed,” said Hamad.
 “Indeed, today is a very sad day for us. We lost an eminent scholar and a true fighter for justice,” said Dr. Opada Alzohaili, AHRC President. “We honor Dr. Maksoud’s legacy by continuing to do the work he did- advancing a culture of respect of the human rights of everyone,” continued Dr. Alzohaili.
 CLOVIS MAKSOUD- 1926 – 2016
             Dr. Clovis Maksoud, former diplomat, professor, editor, writer, and humanistic thinker, died May 15, 2016, at Washington Hospital Center, in Washington DC, as a result of severe cerebral hemorrhage. His life journey took him from the U.S., to the Middle-East, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
In 1918, at the end of World War I, the Ottoman Empire collapsed and the Levant fell under French and British mandates. Throughout the Arab World resistance to the foreign occupation stimulated the birth of new national movements. A wave of fresh Arab ideals rushed through the schools, colleges and universities of Aleppo, Beirut, Damascus, and Jerusalem. It is during this unprecedented surge in democratic and social aspirations that Clovis Maksoud was born in 1926, in Oklahoma, to American Lebanese parents.

At the start of World War II in 1939, he was a student at Beirut’s renowned Chouwaifat high school where a group of passionate teachers nurtured his nascent ideals. When Clovis Maksoud enrolled in 1944 at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon was on its way to gain its independence from France. AUB was at the time widely viewed as the cauldron of liberal Arab ideas. During his years at AUB he was greatly influenced by the forward-thinking intellect and pan-Arab ideals of Professor Constantine Zuraik. During that time World War II’s ripples shook the Middle East, tore up Palestine, and destroyed the area’s intertwined political and historical fabric.
After graduating from AUB in 1948, he traveled to study law in the United States where he received his J.D. from George Washington University. In 1951, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas introduced him to Rosemary Curry. They were married in 1951 and had one child, Elizabeth.
Upon Clovis Maksoud’s return to Lebanon in the mid-1950s he became actively involved in democratic and social reforms. The aftermath of 1956 Suez War greatly marked him. It anchored his political commitment and made him an enthusiastic advocate of Arab unity and a vigorous defender of Palestinian rights.
His writings and pan-Arab ideals led to his nomination in 1961 as Ambassador of the Arab League to India and South East Asia. For the duration of his term, Clovis Maksoud played a pivotal role in establishing closer relations between India and the Arab World. In response to the growing tensions of the Cold War, India stood as an outspoken advocate of the interests of the non-aligned countries and showed its unequivocal support of Arab causes and Palestinian rights.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

On Arafat- Elias Choufani, his daughter and her poetic license

Arafat addresses the UN General Assembly, Geneva 1988

Arafat with his men in 1982

Arafat at the UN in  1974

Arafat under siege in his compound in Ramallah

PLO leader Yasser ‪#‎Arafat‬ was a leader of a revolution who received in 1974 a standing ovation at the General Assembly. He led his men, on the ground, in 1982 under extraordinary circumstances with the PLO and allies vastly out-manned and outgunned. In 1988, because the US denied Arafat a visa, the UN General Assembly took the extraordinary measure of moving its meeting from NYC to Geneva so that he could address it.

‪#‎EliasChoufani‬, whose daughter made a "poetic piece" where he attacks Arafat, is a mere paper pusher- with strong 'tude. A chickenhawk who never saw any military action.
Of course the enemies of the Palestinian people will focus on the paper pusher, his daughter and her poetic work- and will use his "poetic words" to attack Arafat's legacy.
Choufani's poetic license deserves a less than poetic response.

AHRC Annual Banquet "Spirits of Humanity Gala" to be held on May 12, 2016 at Greenfield Manor in Dearborn

Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director

Dr. Rima Khalaf, Under-Secretary and Executive of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), in Beirut, Lebanon

The Michigan- based American Human Rights Council (AHRC) is holding its annual gala on May 12, 2016 at Greenfield Manor in Dearborn, MI. This year's gala has an impressive keynote speaker and honorees. Below is the information on the gala provided by the AHRC:

AHRC is pleased to host High Official of the United Nations for its 2016 "Spirit of Humanity" Gala.

The American Human Rights Council (AHRC-USA) is pleased to host at this year's annual gala
Dr. Rima Khalaf, Under-Secretary and Executive of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), in Beirut, Lebanon. Dr. Khalaf previously served as the Regional Bureau for Arab States with the United Nations Development Program where she initiated projects to promote good governance, human rights, and human development in Arab countries. In addition, Dr. Khalaf was the principal architect behind the pioneering ESCWA Arab Human Development Report "Arab Integration: A 21st Century Development Imperative Report."
Dr. Khalaf has served in senior development positions in Jordan, and has participated in various international commissions, including the High Level Commission of the Modernization of the World Bank Group Governance.
Dr. Khalaf is a citizen of Jordan and holds a BA in Economics from the American University of Beirut, a Master's in Economics and a Ph.D in System Science from Portland State University.
"It is great to have Dr. Khalaf as our keynote speaker for our "Spirit of Humanity" Gala this year.  AHRC and the entire metro Detroit community in honored to host her and listen to her insights on advancing and protecting human rights." said Dr. Opada Alzohaili, President of the Board of Directors of AHRC-USA.
"AHRC is very honored to receive and host such an esteemed and highly regarded United Nations official, “said Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director."Dr. Khalaf's work promoting and advancing human rights, good governance, economic growth, and social development in Arab countries is tremendous and we are pleased that she will be in Dearborn, Michigan at our "Spirit of Humanity" Gala, joining us in honoring human rights and human dignity worldwide," added Mr. Hamad.

For more information about Dr. Khalaf's work with the United Nations ESCWA, please visit