John Akouri Newsblog


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

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ackerman on Lebanon: "What are we going to do in response?"

Congressman Ackerman Statement From Hearing on the Political Situation in Lebanon
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, today delivered the following opening statement during the Subcommittee’s hearing on the Political Situation in Lebanon.
“A bit more than two years ago, on February 15, 2005, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, along with 22 other people, was killed by a massive car bomb.
Nothing in Lebanon has been the same since. Aroused from their torpor and disorganization, the assassination of Rafik Hariri, prompted the Lebanese people to undertake a long overdue democratic revolution and reassertion of their national independence. Syria's brutal gamble on assassination was intended to reinforce its domination of Lebanon. But rather than solidifying the system of foreign control, the murder of Hariri instead led to the expulsion of the Syrian military and intelligence forces which had occupied Lebanon for a generation, and the democratic election of a modern, liberal, Western-oriented Lebanese government.
Only a year ago, Syrian President Asad was answering questions posed by the chief UN investigator. The new government of Lebanon, led by the March 14th Movement, with a majority of 72 out of 128 seats was, if not gaining in strength, at least gaining its sea legs, and was working to build consensus on the most difficult and divisive issues in Lebanon.
But over the summer of 2006, Lebanon's hopes were nearly extinguished due to the war initiated by Hezbollah's unprovoked cross-border aggression against Israel...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Candlelight Prayer Vigil & Memorial Service

The Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce
kindly requests your solemn presence at a
Candlelight Prayer Vigil & Memorial Service
As we gather to pray for all the victims and their families of
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
And to honor & remember Lebanese American students
Reema Samaha & Ross Alameddine

Friday, April 20, 2007
7:30 in the evening
St. Mary Antiochian Church
3212 W. 12 Mile Road
Berkley, Michigan 48072
Religious Participants will include:

Rev. George Baalbaki
Pastor, St. Mary Antiochian Church
Imam Mohamad Mardini
The American Muslim Center
Rev. Manuel Boji
Our Lady of Chaldeans Cathedral
Archimandrite Philip Raczka
Our Lady of Redemption Melkite Parish
Special Performances by:
Acoustic Vocalist Steve Acho
Renown Oud Virtuoso Kareem Badr

Formal Presentation featuring:
The Knights of Columbus Honor Guard
Participants to include:
H.E. Lebanese Ambassador Dr. Ali Ajami
H.E. Lebanese Consul Bachir Tawk
The Honorable Judge David J. Allen
Lawrence Technological University Provost Dr. Maria Vaz
Miss Michigan Angela Corsi
Dearborn City Councilwoman Suzanne Sareini
UM LSA President Ryan Jaber
Berkley Police Chief Richard Eshman
Berkley City Manager Jane Bais - Disessa
Berkley Councilman Phil O'Dwyer
Supported & Sponsored by:
The Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce
University of Michigan Lebanese Students Association
Michigan Chapter of the American University of Beirut Alumni
The Lebanese Club at Cornell University
The Lebanese Club at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Oakland University Lebanese Club
Lawrence Technological University
Consulate General of Lebanon in Detroit
The American Lebanese National Mission
The United American Lebanese Federation
Lebanese Monthly Magazine
Cedar's Network USA
American Lebanese Digest
Auxilia-Lebanon Charitable Organization of Michigan
The Lebanese American News Agency, Inc.
The American Muslim Center
Mother of God Chaldean Church
St. Mary Orthodox Church of Berkley
St. Peter Maronite Church of Windsor, Canada
St. Joseph Maronite Church of Phoenix
Chicago Lebanese Club
Sagesse University - Lebanon
The Hariri Foundation
Rene Moawad Foundation
American Lebanese Engineering Society

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


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

Sunday, April 08, 2007

HAPPY EASTER! Al Massih Kam, Hakan Kam


Friday, April 06, 2007

The Passion of the Christ - Good Friday

"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
"Eli, Eli, la'ma sabach-tha'ni?"
(My God, my God,why hast thou forsaken me?)
"Father into thy hands I commit my spirit."
"It is finished"

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

AKOURI TO PELOSI: Bring home Lebanese detainees out of Syria

Letter to House Leader highlights plight of captives

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, John Akouri, former Senior Advisor and Press Secretary to US Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), urged her to bring home all Lebanese Detainees out of Syria as she departs Damascus. The letter went on to say:

“Madame Speaker, though I disagree in the strongest terms possible with your visit to Syria at this time, while there, I urge you to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all Lebanese detainees held in that country and to insist upon the return of remains of any POW’s to their families in Lebanon.”
In the letter, Akouri cited a report published by the Associated Press just last week noting: “Human rights groups and families say they have evidence of at least 176 Lebanese in Syrian jails, many of whom have been there for more than a decade. The list includes dozens of soldiers, two Maronite Christian monks and at least one politician.”
According to the report: “International human rights groups say hundreds of Lebanese have been taken to Syria since it first sent troops into Lebanon in 1976. The detainees were from various Muslim and Christian sects and different political factions, from right-wing Christians to Muslim extremists.”
Akouri also stressed the global call for the freedom of these detainees. Just last month, Montreal's Lebanese Community campaigned for prisoners arbitrarily held in Syrian jails with a presentation of this tragic human rights crisis, which shed light on the fact that hundreds of Lebanese prisoners have been held in Syrians jails under the cruelest conditions for over a decade. These individuals, who have been kidnapped and taken as prisoners, are regularly subjected to extreme forms of torture.
Syria's denial of holding these prisoners is making their release a near-impossible task. However, some human right activists are fighting back. A humanitarian NGO known as SOLIDE (Support of Lebanese in Detention and Exile) along with the families of the detainees, have been holding an open-ended sit-in in front of the United Nations building in Beirut since April 11, 2005, hoping that their cry for justice might prompt some action.

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">