JOHN AKOURI NEWSBLOG

NEWS | COMMENTARY | SPEECHES | ANALYSIS | LETTERS | STATEMENTS | PHOTOS

My Photo
Name:
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.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

John Akouri Speaks to the Detroit News on the Collapse of the Lebanese Government: "The Lebanese are a Resilient People, This Too Shall Pass"

Arab Americans fear for families after government topples
RONEISHA MULLEN AND ORALANDAR BRAND-WILLIAMS
The Detroit News

DETROIT — Michigan residents with relatives and friends in Lebanon are anxiously awaiting word on the collapse of the nation's unity government Wednesday.

John Akouri, CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce in Birmingham, said the disruption in government will create "another period of unknown for the Lebanese."
"This past government, formed two years ago, has provided an opportunity for the people of Lebanon to move forward, to put the civil war behind and live peacefully among different sects and religions," said Akouri of Farmington Hills, who estimates there are 490,000 residents in eastern Michigan with Lebanese ancestry. "Lebanon has weathered so much turmoil, so much war in the last few years. This is very troubling to us."
Akouri, who was born in the United States, has family in Lebanon and stays in constant contact. "My relatives are afraid to start their cars. They're afraid to go into the city," said Akouri, 45. "You just never know what's going to happen. "While the news is alarming, it's nothing new, Akouri said.
"During the '70s and '80s, bombs were falling in Beirut, and people were still going to the beach. They went to work. They went out," Akouri said. "Is this new? No. But it is of concern."
"During the '70s and '80s, bombs were falling in Beirut, and people were still going to the beach. They went to work. They went out," Akouri said. "Is this new? No. But it is of concern. "The Lebanese are a resilient people. They have weathered much in the last three or four decades," Akouri said. "This too shall pass."
Walid Mourad, a Dearborn Heights businessman, said his relatives in Lebanon have been glued to the TV, looking for updates. "I try to tell them everything will be fine," Mourad said. "At this point all we can do is pray and hope."
Despite his optimism, Mourad, who was born in Lebanon, said he is concerned for the safety of the Lebanese people, which include his two sisters and their families. "I'm concerned something might happen," said Mourad, 45. "This is Lebanon. It won't be a surprise to hear about bombs here and bombs there."
Ara Sanjian, a professor of Middle East history at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, said he doesn't see the country erupting into violence immediately but fears efforts to form a new government could be drawn out. "A long protracted political crisis will be very difficult for the Lebanese," said Sanjian, who is a Lebanese-American who spends summers in the Middle East nation.
"The current government will be in a caretaker capacity," Sanjian said. "Government bureaucracy will not collapse." Sanjian said Lebanese citizens "will go on and live their daily lives" during the political chaos.

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">