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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, August 16, 2007

Text of Speech Delivered by Councilman John Akouri upon the Occasion Recognizing the Departure of AJC Director Sharona Shapiro

Sharona Shapiro Farewell Speech
American Jewish Committee Reception
Congregation Shaarey Zedek
Wednesday, August 15, 2007 / 8:00 PM
Good Evening.
Forty years after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., he is still working towards peace and justice and bringing people together.
I met Sharona Shapiro six months ago on the campus of Wayne State University during its annual celebration of the birth of Dr. King. Since that time, I have learned a great deal about her – mostly that she is a woman of understanding.
Sharona understands
that her work at the AJC was meaningful & rewarding
Sharona understands persistence, perseverance and planning can only produce positive results
Sharona understands in the belief of understanding NOT misunderstanding
Sharona understands dialogue and discussion NOT division and discourse
Sharona understands there is NO difference between the blood of a Lebanese Child and an Israeli Child, they are still just a child
Sharona understands whether you are named Moshe, Michael or Mohamed, you are still a member of the human race
Sharona understands the road to Jerusalem does not run through Beirut; it runs through the blood and veins of all who believe in the miracles of the Holy Land
Sharona understands that Brenda Rosenberg is not the only child of Abraham – we’re all The Children of Abraham
Sharona understands the only way to securing a future for our peoples is not with a cluster of bombs but rather with a cluster of hope, exchange of ideas and ideals, and with open channels of communication.
Sharona you are a gem - a diamond in a field of zirconium. And as you depart AJC, please consider me a brother in arms. Armed with the ambition and truth to declare that we are the children of the Levant and together and only together can we build a future for our children and our children’s children.
I am confident that because of your work, there will come a day when our peoples will look back and see your efforts for what they truly were – a framework for peace. I know you believe with me that:
A Day Will Come
when Lebanese and Israeli school children will play on the playground together
A Day Will Come when Lebanese and Israeli students study side by side at the library
A Day Will Come when Lebanese and Israeli youth dance together at discotheques
A Day Will Come when Lebanese and Israeli doctors perform surgeries and save lives jointly
A Day Will Come when Lebanese and Israeli scientists collectively discover cures for all of mankind
A Day Will Come when we will break bread as one on Hanukah and Christmas and Ramadan
A Day Will Come for the Jews of Lebanon residing in Beirut to return to the only Lebanese Synagogue for prayer and shout loudly “I am a Lebanese Jew and I am Proud!”
And how do I know this? I know this because as long as there are people like Sharona Shapiro giving their blood, sweat and tears – THAT DAY WILL COME!
Thank you & God bless you.

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">