JOHN AKOURI NEWSBLOG
NEWS | COMMENTARY | SPEECHES | ANALYSIS | LETTERS | STATEMENTS | PHOTOS
- Name: John Akouri Newsblog
- 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.
Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Akouri, Tawk Top List of Lebanese Officials Meeting with Turkish Leaders in the United States on the Eve of 2011
A special treat of the evening came when Executive Chef Matt Schellig addressed those assembled on the meal they should be prepared to indulge in, and the origins of the cuisine. In addition to Akouri and Tawk, also attending the reception were: LACC Chairman of the Board Louis J. Peters, Jr., General Counsel Jeffrey Lance Abood, Advisory Board Member Abe Karam, Executive Leadership Members Kamal Shouhayib, Frank Mamat and Fadi Achour, as well as Dr. Tony Abood, Sam Attisha, Ed Babbie, Senna Shehadeh, Yasmine Shouhayib, Nicole Mator, Ely Tawk, and Jackie & Suzy Tarzibashi. Community leaders and businessmen who participated the gathering, indicated how delighted they were to see a Lebenase – Turkish collaboration and were looking forward to future events.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
MILAD MAJEED! Christmas in Lebanon
In Lebanon, preparation for Christmas begins like everywhere in the Middle East, about two weeks before Christmas. Then the Lebanese start planting seeds of peas, beans, wheat and lentils into cotton-wool balls. Until Christmas the seedlings grow up to a height of 15 centimetres. The Lebanese decorate the cribs with these seedlings. The figures of the cribs are mostly made out of brown paper. Also a star is fixed above the biblical scene. Like hardly any other nation the Lebanese prepare for Christmas. On the last nine days before Christmas Eve special sermons are held in all churches of the country. Christmas is not only a feast of the familiy; most of all it is a feast of the religious community.
Everybody helps to decorate the churches. Of course the pleasures of the flesh are very important. During the time before Christmas the Lebanese do the baking for all one is worth! Traditionally the people in the Middle East visit their friends on the morning of the 25th of December. Coffee, liqueur, cookies and sweet almonds are offered on these occasions. The most important banquet of the Christmas time takes place at midday on the 25th of December. Usually then the whole family comes together in the house of the oldest member of the family. Often the meal contains chicken with rice and 'Kubbeh' which is a paste made out of crushed and cooked wheat mixed with meat, onions, salt and pepper. The dessert is the cookies & pastries that were so eagerly produced before Christmas!
Most of the countries of the Arab world have special traditions related to Christmas. Some of them are in common with those of the western world but there are some unique differences as well. For example, for many Christians, Christmas is preceded by a fasting period of 40 days. Another tradition is the ringing of huge church bells on Christmas Eve, to announce the birth of Christ. Most homes in the Middle East try to raise plants in small dishes, at least 3 weeks before Christmas. The living plants remind of the living Lord. These plants are grown in dishes into which they put a thin layer of cotton instead of soil. Different kinds of seeds like wheat, lentils, beans, chickpeas and other fast growing seeds are placed on the cotton. These plants, which usually grow to a height of about 17 cm during this time, are usually placed under the Christmas tree, at the entrance of the Christmas cave, or in different corners of the house, where they will be kept until the Christmas tree is taken down.
Food also plays a unique part of the Christmas celebration. There is a tradition of preparing a special type of pudding whenever a child is born into a family at this time of year, particularly if it is a boy. This kind of pudding is called Mughly. It is made up of rice flour, caraway, sugar and other spices, put into small plates. It is topped with coconut, raisins, peanuts, crushed almonds, and walnuts. This pudding is offered to the members of the family as well as to the visitors who come to the house visiting during the season. In Lebanese villages large bonfires are made in the town centers where everyone gathers in a circle around the fire to sing songs and tell stories. This is a chance to renew friendships and to reconcile with one another for any misunderstanding during the year. Special dances called Dabkeh are performed during the Christmas season. Young men and women hold hands in semi-circles dancing together to special music. The dances are made up of artistic footwork that harmonizes with the sound of the music. The dancers wear special colorful clothes and head covers or "tambourines."
Traditionally throughout the Middle East people visit friends on Christmas morning and are offered coffee, liqueurs and sugared almonds. Lunch at Christmas is the most important meal of the season and the whole family gathers together for it, usually at grandparents or the eldest sons' home. The meal consists of chicken and rice, and Kubbeh, which is made up of crushed boiled wheat or burghul mixed with meat, onion, salt and paper.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Wall Street Journal OpEd by Firas Maksad: "Will Hezbollah Be Brought to Justice in Lebanon?"
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
John Akouri Extends Warmest Wishes to All for a Blessed & Merry Christmas; May Peace Prevail Around the World, Echoing the True Meaning of Christmas
Friday, December 24, 2010
Adeste Fideles Laeti Triumphantes Venite, Venite in Bethlehem; Natum Videte Regem Angelorum, Venite Adoremus Dominum
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce Partners with Detroit Marriott Hotel & Forgotten Harvest for Second Annual Good Neighbor Feast
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
In LebLish: Twas The Night Abil Chrussmuss!
Il stockniss was hung hawalayt el chumley all day, We hope that St. Nick-luss soon baddo ye-jeh. And knowing that Santa would fill every one, We use Sitto’s stocknuss, ‘cause each holds a ton!
Il childrun was sleeping so very serene, They dream of baklaweh, im-jaddara, and tein. My wife lay beside me, she snoring so freely, She keeps me awake, so I smoke my nargeelee!
When up in the attic I hear a great harakee, It sounded like something was wrong with the karakee."Ya Batil," I shouted! "A tragic tak-teer!" "The karakee is busted, no 3arak this year! "I fly to the attic, with tanjara in hand, To save a few drops of this whiskey so grand.
But when I arrive, now shou do I shouf ? Well nothing is wrong, so I climb to the roof. Il amarr was shining, il stars was so bright, And kil shee was covered with talej so white.
And right on my roof top I see Santa’s 3arabeyeh, And eight Buffing reindeer a looking my wayah. Bass waynak ya Santa, he’s missing, but why? No sooner I ask, then I hear his muffled cry.
I walk on the rooftop and look all about, And there min il chumley, two feet sticking out! Ya Dilli, it's Santa! Yee, shou lazzam I do? Yimkin I should BUSH him and BUSH him right through.
Bass Santa he cry, from below and afar, "Grab hold of my feet and Bull me ya H7amar. "One hour I am bulling, one hour balla stop, Hatta, finally Santa come down with a blop!
"Tafathal, tsharafna!" I joyfully toot, Bass blainly I see he’s not very mabsoot. He reaches in his bag and with bresents he fill me, Then shaking his finger, he start to bahdilnee.
"You must widen hal chumley and do it right quick, Or I’ll come back next year and bifrik-lack your neck." And laughing he jump in his big shining 3arabayeh,
And cracking his whip he is off and awayah. On Usef, on Rustum, on Boutrous, Elyas,We’re way behind schedule, so tateeha the ghaz.
And he look back and shout as his 3arabayeh disappear, Merry Chrussmuss lay koolkun, and Habby New Year!
Monday, December 20, 2010
Chamber Leadership Converges on Palace of Auburn Hills for 'Lebanese Night' at Detroit Pistons Game Courtesy of The Abood Law Firm
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
NBC Hit TV Show 'Biggest Loser' Season 7 Winner Helen Phillips Delivers Celebrity Toast at Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce Holiday Party
Maxim Covergirl Jenny Bauer & MegaStar Nicolas El Osta at Lebanese Chamber Holiday Party; Amidst Tight Security Guests Clamor for Photos, Autographs
Friday, December 17, 2010
Chamber Officials Celebrate Christmas with Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence at Annual Holiday Gathering
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Akouri Hosts USA Welcome Reception for Lebanese Internal Security Forces
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
During my frequent trips, I speak to many Lebanese from all walks of life. Most of them are eager at first to give the impression they're "neutral" politically, ready to put "the past" behind them, move on in life and prosper. From the Taxi driver to the electrician, to the bank teller and the doctor. Even the passport controller and the luggage handler at the airport. So many Lebanese willing to share their opinion, convinced they're right and everyone else is wrong. Convinced they're neutral, independent thinkers and masters of their own destiny.
How I wish they were right!
It doesn't take long to realize that this neutrality is only temporary until they figure out where you stand. That's when their true jewels of wisdom are shared. A shower of finger-pointing follows. It's always the other side's fault. Mind you, the other side changes sometimes as often as these people change socks, and they don't even realize it or they choose not to admit it. After all, it's a painful truth when your "leader" the one who "leads you" down the ditch in some cases, changes affiliations every time the wind blows in a new direction. To make sure all are included here, note that new winds can show up within months, years or decades. For these "followers" blinded by a tribal mentality of "we're with you even if we have nothing left," or "we're with you until we have nothing left, and beyond," I say wake up! This is the 21st century. If your "leader" hasn't done anything for you so far, chances are he/she won't start now. If you must be "led" by someone, it's time to find a modern "leader" who isn't afraid to put you in touch with the rest of the world and doesn't wish for you to remain ignorant to the truth, living in a bubble and pretending like he/she is God's gift to you and to humanity.
The truth is, nothing has changed!
Most of Lebanon's politicians have remained the same since I lived there and covered the civil war as a local reporter. It really pains me to see that they haven't changed in twenty years. What can one politician offer a country or followers for more than 20, 30, or 40 years in some cases? Recycled politics, recycled speeches, recycled news and recycled leadership. Please note that I'm not against someone remaining active in politics for a long time or even a lifetime.
Then there is a group that is smart, educated, and open-minded. They are the moderates who have learned their lesson and know how to put politics aside to focus on the future. They are aware of Lebanon's potential and able to get its message across to the world through hard work, creativity, commitment and sacrifice. You are the people I meet everywhere I go and together we have meaningful conversations instead of shouting matches others engage in without convincing arguments. You are the professionals, artists, entrepreneurs, geeks, students, teachers, journalists, poets, even politicians that I spend hours talking to about the Lebanon we dream of, but find harder and harder to reach. To you I say, speak up! Each of you within your own circles and in your own capacity, can make a difference. Don't keep your valuable opinion of necessary change to yourself. Share it with the people around you and hold everyone accountable. Awaken people's social responsibility and speak up about how some people need to wake up while others need to grow up. Remind your audience, large or small, of the famous Lebanese saying: When 3antar was asked who gave him the authority to be 3antar he answered, "I gave myself the authority and no one stopped me."
Footnote: For non-Arabs - Aantar or 3antar is a fictional character in Arabic culture known to be muscular, gang-like and imposing his leadership through fear and intimidation. The Lebanese saying uses 3antar as the name of the character and the verb.
Monday, December 13, 2010
JOHN AKOURI LIVE Award Winning Television Program Returns on the MEA-TV Broadcast Network; February 2011 Season Premiere - Stay Tuned for Details
Sunday, December 12, 2010
VIDEO: Honoring Gebran Tueni - A Voice That Defies Death
A tribute to the memory of Gibran Tueni: On December 12, 2005, Gibran Tueni, Member of Parliament and publisher of An-Nahar daily newspaper, was murdered in Beirut for standing for Lebanon's freedom and advocating for unity and cooperation among the country's diverse communities. One of Lebanon's most prominant journalists and politicians with true aspirations of reform and renewal - his is one of a long list of political assassinations, intended to destabilize Lebanon.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
John Akouri Attends Lido Gallery Art Exhibit Opening Themed: 'Coming of Age in an Era of Celebrity Worship'
Akouri Joins WJR Radio Personality Paul W. Smith at the 45th Annual Christmas Sing this Morning at North Grand Court Inside the Somerset Collection
Thursday, December 09, 2010
John Akouri Makes Special Appearance at 'Athletes Adopting Families' Foundation Ball Tonight at The Reserve in Birmingham
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Akouri to Hariri: Press for the Unconditional Release & Return of All Lebanese Detainees in Syria
(WASHINGTON, DC)...In a statement released this morning, former Capitol Hill Senior Advisor & Washington Press Secretary John Akouri urged Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to boldly inquire the fate of all remaining Lebanese being detained in Syria, when he receives Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali at the Grand Serail today, and again strongly reiterated his call for the unconditional release and return of all Lebanese hostages, detainees, captives, MIA & POW in Syria:
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
IN PICTURES: The Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce President's Power Lunch & iT EXPO at Lawrence Technology University with L. Brooks Patterson
The theme of this month's luncheon was 'Transforming Business' and inluded an Information Technology (iT) EXPO. Special Guests attending the event included: NFL Great Eddie Murray, Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence, V. Rev. Father Edward Hanna of Saints Peter & Paul Church, Consul General of Macedonia, His Excellency Igor Dukoski, Deputy Consul General of Mexico, His Excellency Jorge Sánchez-Cataño, Northville Township Trustee Christopher Roosen, Lawrence Technological University Provost Dr. Maria Vaz, Attorney Andrew Abood, Esq. of the Lansing-based Abood Law Firm, Attorney Issa Haddad, Esq., National Arab American Medical Association Executive Director Renée Ahee, Madonna University Director of International Education Dr. Jonathan Swift, Attorney Frank T. Mamat, Esq., Shareholder at FosterSwift, CPA Martin Peters, MEA-TV President & General Manager Wally Jadan, Dianne Shipley DeCillis of Lido Gallery & Gifts, Builder & Developer Aziz Harridy, International Barrister Laurie Tannous, Employment Immigration Attorney Rami Fakhoury, Esq., Optech President & CEO Ronia Fakhoury Kruse, Detroit Philanthropist Dr. Tarik Daoud, Elie Naim, of the American Friends of Notre Dame University- Louaize, and newest Chamber Member Mende Bezanovski.
The goals and objectives of the Chamber’s annual luncheon series are focused at achieving business objectives well beyond foremost organizations and prime individuals across the nation. These structured business goals are aggressive and participants are part of the power of working together to further deliver the mission and contribute to the overall growth and advancement of the national Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce. To be considered for attendance at a future President's Power Lunch or to learn more about and/or join the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce, please visit: http://www.lebanesechamber.org/.