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Location: Birmingham, MI, United States

Councilman John Akouri, former Washington, DC Press Secretary & Capitol Hill Advisor, is President & CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Letter to the Newsroom

RE: University of Michigan-Dearborn Arab Student Association - Lebanon Dinner at Bint Jbeil Cultural Center

Foremost, I'm writing you both respectively as a Lebanese-American, a citizen residing in the area, and as your work is contingent upon the other though I recognize the actual independence of each respective reader of this letter. I am writing you this Sunday afternoon in regards to a dinner hosted at the Bint Jbeil Cultural Center recently with a very honorable purpose. However, I was shocked and offended to see that the respective Ambassador of the Syrian Arab Republic was the guest speaker.

I find it appalling an ambassador representing a country with a dark mark on our dear country of Lebanon would be invited to speak in such a strong Lebanese neighborhood and in a community we pride ourselves as being such fervent supporters of our nation and in the backdrop of the greater non-Lebanese American community. I prefer not indulging in trivial political issues but I do want to take notice that this ambassador represents a nation that still imprisons hundreds of Lebanese citizens, including Lebanese soldiers and regular civilians. I find it a bit paradoxal you hosted and praised this man all while ignoring the fate of our countrymen locked away illegally and arbitrarily- the event organizers failed to take this very point into consideration before they organized such an adolescent masquerade.

Shamefully, this event was held in the very name of the country of origin these prisoners, our brothers, come from. I ask the purported leaders of the Lebanese community in Dearborn, what would the innocent Lebanese prisoners locked away in Syrian dungeons feel if they knew their own countrymen were praising Syria's behavior and it's chief representative in the United States, a nation of refuge for us all, where we are free to speak freely and openly? Just as we hold Israel accountable for the few Lebanese still locked away in its prisons, I'm dismayed by the double standards being practiced all while the proportionality of the offenses are illogical when matched with your approach- respectfully, I'm quite ashamed.

Lebanon will remain free when the double standards are no longer applied, when each side acknowledges the concern of the other, and we learn to think as Lebanese, not confined within our respective communities, religious sects, and geographical locations.

Kindest regards,
Haroun-Micayeel Beydoun

JOHN AKOURI ONLINE NEWSROOM 'We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won.' -- PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH Add to end of above"line without paranthesis when wanting to loop sound (( loop="-1">