Voices from the Middle East Heard Live at SF State
September 7, 2006 11:04 AM
At first the faint voice crackled through the speakers, but seconds later the connection was clear and the voice filled the auditorium.
The nearly 40 audience members were silent, just listening.
“It is beyond destruction,” the voice said.
It was Samah Idriss, editor of the Lebanese magazine Al-Adab and founder of the group Civilian Resistance in Lebanon. He was speaking to the audience live over a telephone from Lebanon.
In response to the ongoing conflicts in the Middles East, three SF State student groups sponsored an event Wednesday night at Jack Adams Hall, in which students could interact by telephone with two activists currently on the front lines.
The event, Live from Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq, was organized by the General Union of Palestine Students, Students Against War (SAW) and the SF State contingent of the International Socialist Organization.
“We thought this would be a good event to bring to a student audience,” said Karen Knoller, 19, SF State student and member of SAW.
One of the event’s goals, Knoller said, is to highlight the role of the United States and how its foreign policy is a major contributing factor to the region’s current and long-term conflicts.
The event comes just as Israel announced it will begin to lift its blockade on Lebanon, after the violent battle with the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah, which largely ended on Aug. 14.
“First hand sources are much better than the American media,” said Dennis Kroeker, 60, an SF State student who is pursuing a second degree in philosophy. Kroeker said he came because he is interested in Middle Eastern politics.
Sitting onstage in front of a microphone as images of flattened buildings and barefoot children appeared on a giant screen, Knoller took written questions from the audience.
“What’s going on in Lebanon and how does it connect to what’s going on in Palestine?” one student asked.
“It’s important to really know what’s going on in the world,” said Stephanie Fernandez, 19, a sophomore at SF State.
It’s events like these, she said, that help her get a clearer picture of what’s going on in the Middle East.
Also as a live telephone guest from Palestine was Khaleda Jarar, a legislator in the Palestinian cabinet and director of the Ademeer Prisoner support organization.
The idea for the event, Knoller said, was borrowed from the Break the Siege Coalition in San Francisco. Last month the group staged a similar event in the Mission District.
“We see, on Fox News, rock throwing Palestinians,” said Loubna Qutami, 21, a student at SF State who recently spent five months in Palestine, “and we never know why they are so desperate.”
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