John Akouri Newsblog


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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, January 24, 2011

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa: "Hezbollah is a Cancer on Lebanon That Must be Addressed"

WASHINGTON. D.C. – U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) today released the following statement on the situation in Lebanon:
“It’s deeply concerning that forces who oppose a UN-led effort to expose the truth about the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri would risk the welfare of the entire country by forcing the collapse of the Lebanese government. As I have said before, Hezbollah is a cancer on Lebanon that must be addressed.
“The people of Lebanon must know that the United States stands behind their nation’s sovereign right to exercise judicial proceedings, assisted by the international community, without intimidation. It is my sincere hope that the Lebanese people will rise above this great crisis and continue to move in the direction of democracy, peace and prosperity.”

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce Invites You to Become a Fan on Facebook

Friday, January 14, 2011

LEBFEST! Lebanese Festival Invites You to Follow Us On Facebook for the Most Up-To-Date News & Information

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
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.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Statement of Councilman John Akouri Supporting the People of Lebanon After Government Collapse

BIRMINGHAM, MI/USA – Washington Senior Advisor and former Capitol Hill Press Secretary John Akouri spoke with the members of the press corp today releasing the following statement on the situation in Beirut in the wake of the collapse of the government of Lebanon:
"The people of Lebanon have weathered considerable turmoil and years of war in the last few decades. This past government, formed less than two years ago, had provided an opportunity for the Lebanese to move forward, to put the civil war behind them and live peacefully among the many different sects and religions that make up this small nation. We see today yet another attempt by the divine enemies of Lebanon to destabilize and destroy any hope for the future of Lebanon and its people. While news that has become all too familiar continues to emerge out of Beirut, those responsible cannot assassinate the will and spirit of the Lebanese people to live in a land that is truly free, independent and sovereign. Lebanon is a strong tree with branches for many birds, but sadly the specter of war looms once more on a resilient people and today's troubling news of yet another new political crisis that this time threatens to deteriorate into sectarian violence, is concerning and serious.
Three years ago Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters after meeting with Lebanese parliamentary leader Saad Hariri at Qoreitem: "The road to solving Lebanon's problems passes through Damascus." If todays actions fulfill her assessment of solution, then perhaps the Lebanese should return to an eternal state of problematic uncertainty in perpetuity. I proudly join the call of distinguished United States Congressman Charles Boustany (R-LA) in encouraging the Obama Administration to continue its support of the people of Lebanon as they work to build a politically stable and independent nation, safe from the threat of terrorism. Additionally, I applaud and strongly echo the words of United States Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) in reminding the people of Lebanon that the United States stands behind their nation’s sovereign right to exercise judicial proceedings, assisted by the international community, without intimidation and urge the Lebanese people to rise above this great crisis and continue to move in the direction of democracy, peace and prosperity."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

John Akouri to Emcee 'A Night of Tarab' Michigan Arab Orchestra Winter Concert in Ann Arbor Featuring Michael Ibrahim, Usama Baalbaki & Emad Batayeh

Sunday, January 09, 2011

DAMOUR: Remember The Massacre So That It Never Happens Again

Damour Massacre January 9, 1976

35 Years Later: The Massacre and Destruction of Damour

The road sign used to read 'Damour' but a gloating by-passer has scribbled over it "Moudammara" - "Destroyed", in Arabic, topped with the word "Fatah"
The Massacre and Destruction of Damour
Arafat's PLO and Syria's Sa'iqa brigade slaughters men, women, and children.
Damour lay across the Sidon - Beirut highway about 20 km south of Beirut on the slopes of a foothill of the Lebanon range. On the other side of the road, beyond a flat stretch of coast, is the sea. It was a town of some 25,000 people, containing five churches, three chapels, seven schools, private and public, and one public hospital where Muslims from near by villages were treated along with the Christians, at the expense of the town.
On 9 January 1976, three days after Epiphany, the priest of Damour Father Mansour Labaky, was carrying out a Maronite custom of blessing the houses with holy water. As he stood in front of a house on the side of the town next to the Muslim village of Harat Na’ami, a bullet whistled past his ear and hit the house. Then he heard the rattle of machine-guns. He went inside the house, and soon learned that the town was surrounded. Later he found out by whom and how many — the forces of Sa’iqa, consisting of 16,000 Palestinians and Syrians, and units of the Mourabitoun and some fifteen other militias, reinforced by mercenaries from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and a contingent of Libyans. Father Labaky telephoned the Muslim sheikh of the district and asked him, as a fellow religious leader, what he could do to help the people of the town. ‘I can do nothing,’ he was told ‘They want to harm you. It is the Palestinians. I cannot stop them.' (Please click here to read the rest of the story)

Friday, January 07, 2011

Google Pays Tribute to Lebanese-American Philosopher, Poet, and Artist Gibran Khalil Gibran

(07JAN, 2011) On its main page, website Google pays tribute to Lebanese-American author and artist Gibran Khalil Gibran. Website Google paid tribute to Lebanese-American philosopher, poet, and artist Gibran Khalil Gibran on Thursday. The website commemorated Gibran’s birthday by posting his picture on its main page. The Lebanese author and artist was born in 1883 in the northern village of Bcharre, Lebanon. He died in 1931, in New York. Among Gibran’s most famous works is The Prophet, a book of 26 poetic essays, which has been translated into over 20 languages. – From Now Lebanon

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Feast of Epiphany

Monday, January 03, 2011

In Memoriam: Akouri Mourns Loss of Executive Pastry Chef Michel Daher, Founder & CEO of Sweet Dreams

BIRMINGHAM, MI/USA - The following statement was issued today from the executive office of John Akouri, following the news of the sudden and untimely death of his longtime friend Michel Daher: "I am shocked and saddened by the great loss of such a talented and respected member of our community. Michel was very proud of his heritage, his family and his profession. He led and created new heights in his industry by which others follow still today. His death creates a large vacuum amongst us and his legacy will live on forever. Michel was a brilliant chef, and my thoughts go out to his family, friends and staff. May his memory be eternal unto ages of ages."
[Death Notice] Michel Daher. Age 51. Owner and Founder of Sweet Dreams Pastry Shop. Survived by his wife, Tracey Daher, children Michael Chris and Angela Kassab Daher, mother Josephine Daher, brother Samir (Joyce) Daher, sisters Rula Said and Rita Abyad of Beirut, Lebanon, aunt Salam (Hikmat) Ashkar, uncles, Mike (Venise) Chalhoub, Fr. George (Nouhad) Shalhoub and Fouad Shalhoub of Syria. Michel will lie-in-state at the Basilica of St. Mary, 18100 Merriman Rd. on Tuesday from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m. Trisagion Prayer service begins at 7:30 p.m. On Wednesday he will lie-in-state from 10-11 a.m. followed by the funeral service at 11:00 a.m. Interment at Glen Eden Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. Mary’s Building Fund.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Akouri Telephones Religious Leaders on New Years Day; Extends Celebratory Greetings & Prayerful Salutations for 2011

BIRMINGHAM, MI/USA - Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce President & Chief Executive Officer John Akouri today telephoned religious leaders to greet them with salutations welcoming the new year. In his customary fashion, the former Washington Senior Advisor and Capitol Hill Press Secretary spoke personally on the first day of the new year to many within the the leadership of faith, offering cordial wishes for hopes of prosperity, peace, great riches of happiness, health & blessings, with many happy surprises in the coming months.
On this festive jubilation which commences the start of a new year, Akouri delivered personal New Year's greetings to His Grace, Maronite Chor-Bishop Monsignor Joseph Salame of Montréal, QC Canada; Most Reverend Thomas J. Gumbleton, Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Detroit; Father Edward Hanna of Saints Peter & Paul Syriac Orthodox Church; Father George Shalhoub of The Basilica of St. Mary's Antiochian Orthodox Community; Archpriest Joseph Antypas of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church; V. Rev. Father George Baalbaki of St. Mary's of Berkley Antiochian Orthodox Parish; Rev. Father Maximus Habib of St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church; Our Lady of Redemption Pastor Fr. Michel Cheble; St Joseph Maronite Catholic Church Pastor Rev. Father Ghattas Khoury; Sr Carmela Chetcuti, SSFP, of the Sisters of the Society for Peace; Sister Rose Marie Kujawa, CSSF, President of Madonna University; Imam Mohamad Mardini of the American Muslim Center of Dearborn; Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church Pastor Rev. Father Hanna Tayar; Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle Pastor, Fr. Manuel Boji of Holy Martyrs Chaldean Parish; St. Elias Lutheran Church of Chicago Pastor Gabi Aelabouni; and Chor-Bishop Seely Beggiani, Rector Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary in Washington, DC.
The New Year's weekend also witnessed a formal welcome to the Akouri Family Home of newly appointed pastor of St. Rafqa Maronite Mission, Father Gaby Hoyek. The visit included Sunday dinner and the Maronite Catholic tradition of 'blessing of the home' and inscription of the initials of the three Magi above each door surrounding the feast of manifestation, or Epiphany. After the prayers of the blessing were recited, each room of the home was sprinkled with Epiphany water and incensed. The initials of the Magi - C, M, B, were certainly present as their inscription can be interpreted from the Latin phrase "Christus Mansionem Benedicat" which means "Christ bless this house."
Additionally, the Akouri family happily marked the 15th year of celebrating Christmas Eve with Fr. Brian Chabala, pastor of St. Fabian Catholic Church. Since the pastor's arrival to his new post in 1996, he has joined the family for dinner in between Christmas masses. Akouri offered special toasts and greetings during the jubilant celebration, commemorating the 15th such gathering of family and friends in the presence of Fr. Chabala and to his commitment of service to community, and to break bread and share in the joy of the season.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

From John Akouri & the Newsroom to Our Devoted Readers & Friends - A Toast to the New Year With Best Wishes for a Wonderful 2011

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">