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Coming Events

Afghan Voices
Tuesday, February 15, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Northern Lights United Church

Lia Gladstone spent 2009 as Professor of English and Drama at American University in Kabul. Afghan Voices is a multi-media presentation about her experience of teaching, traveling and working with a human rights group doing theater in Afghanistan. The program features excerpts from the writing of Afghan students.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Laila Al-Arian

7 PM, UAS Egan Lecture Hall
Wednesday, September 23

Sponsored by
Juneau People for Peace and Justice
& the
University of Alaska Southeast

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote from prison in 1963. Laila Al-Arian will present an account about the perpetuation of injustices against her father, Sami Al-Arian, in a case that threatens justice in our own country and has repercussions across the Middle East . His crime was being a Muslim who chose to use his first amendment rights after 911.

Although a personal story, Ms. Al-Arian can also examine the case with the skills of an investigative reporter. She was in college when her father was arrested. Having since earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, she is now a writer and producer for Al Jazeera English in Washington DC . Her work has appeared in The Nation, The Independent, The Guardian, United Press International, and the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. With Chris Hedges, she co-authored Collateral Damage: America's War Against Iraqi Civilians.

Ms. Al-Arian’s father is a Kuwaiti born Palestinian who immigrated to the U.
S. in 1975. Dr. Al-Arian was a professor at the University of South Florida for 15 years and was once named by Newsweek magazine as a premier civil rights activist for his efforts to repeal the right by our government to use secret evidence during trials.

In early 2003, Dr. Al-Arian was charged with numerous counts of supporting terrorist activities in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. When announcing his arrest, Attorney General John Ashcroft called Dr. Al-Arian a “major financier of terrorism in the Western Hemisphere .” For 2-1/2 years Dr. Al-Arian would await his trial in conditions formally condemned by Amnesty International.

In December 2005, Dr. Al-Arian’s trial ended without the defense presenting any evidence or witnesses. The jury acquitted him on the most serious charges and voted 10-2 in favor of acquittal on the rest. However, Dr. Al-Arian remained in solitary confinement while the government considered retrying him on those counts.

To avoid further prison time while awaiting a possible second trial, Dr. Al-Arian agreed to plead guilty to several lesser charges. The Justice Department stipulated that Dr. Al-Arian had not engaged in any violent acts and had no previous knowledge of violent acts committed in the United States or the Middle East . Despite the agreement, the judge rejected the prosecutors’ recommendations, which amounted to keeping Dr. Al-Arian imprisoned for another 2-1/2 years. And although finally released last September, he remains under house arrest on new charges of civil contempt.

Laila Al-Arian has stood by her father and family throughout this ordeal. It is a personal tragedy that also symbolizes the collateral damage to America ’s justice system and to much of the Muslim-American community in the wake of 911 .

For more information about Dr. Al-Arian's legal case, see Free Sami Al-Arian

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Spring 2009 Speakers

Last spring, JPPJ sponsored several nationally recognized peace and justice activists to speak in Juneau. We also worked to coordinate their travel arrangements and schedules with other peace and justice groups in the state. This fall and we are offering more opportunities to listen to informed and dedicated voices as we mark the beginning of the eight year U.S. wars in and around the Middle East. For a preview, see the Coming Events section on this page. If you are interested in a recap of last spring's speakers, see below for the links to our archives.

Ann Wright, retired Army Colonel & U.S. Diplomat : Can Obama REALLY Change U.S. Foreign Policy? Exploring the U.S. responsibility in the Middle East

Raed Jarrar, Iraqi political analyst for the American Friends Service Committee: "Beyond Occupation: The Future of US-Iraq Relations"

Father Louie Vitale, a Franciscan priest, activist, Pace e Bene, and co- founder of Nevada Desert Experience: Citizen Diplomacy with Iran

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Can Obama REALLY Change U.S. Foreign Policy? Exploring the U.S. responsibility in the Middle East

Retired Army Colonel & U.S. Diplomat Ann Wright
on Alaska speaking tour

Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army Colonel and U.S. diplomat for the State Department, will travel to Alaska to speak about American relations with the countries and people of the Middle East.  Wright’s speaking tour is being sponsored by local organizers from five communities. 

On the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Ann Wright resigned in protest as Deputy Ambassador at the U.S. embassy in Mongolia.  “Leaders of moderate Moslem/Arab countries warn us about predicable outrage and anger of the youth of their countries if America enters an Arab country with the purpose of attacking Moslems/Arabs, not defending them” Wright wrote in her cable to cable to Secretary of State Colin Powell.  Such warnings were ignored, and the invasion of Iraq seriously undermined respect and trust for our government in the Middle East. The region remains captive to acts of  terrotorism and widepsread violence between various Muslim groups, the U.S., and Israel.

Understanding the way the people of the Middle East view America is essential to solving these conflicts and restoring America’s image around the world. Ms. Wright has extensive diplomatic experience in countries dominated by various sects of the Muslim faith. She was Deputy Chief of Mission in U.S. Embassies in Sierra Leone, and Afghanistan, and also had assignments in Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan. During the past year she has traveled to Iran and Gaza as citizen diplomat for peace.

Ms. Wright has a long and remarkable history of serving our country. She spent thirteen years in the U.S. Army and sixteen additional years in the Army Reserves, retiring as a Colonel.  She has a master’s degree in national security affairs from the U.S. Naval War College and also taught the Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare in U.S. military schools.  In 1997 she received the State Department’s Award for Heroism for her actions during the evacuation of 2,500 people from the civil war in Sierra Leone. In 2001 she was on the State Department team that reopened the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan.  Since her resignation in 2003, she has been a leader of nonviolent protests against the military conflicts in the Middle East and a vocal defender of the Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, the freedom of the press and America’s beloved civil liberties. 

In 2008, she co-authored DISSENT: Voices of Conscience. From diplomats like herself who resigned in protest, to whistleblowers and opposition in the military, the book documents the stories of government insiders who spoke out against the war in Iraq.  It was named the February 2008 Book of the Month by The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Iraqi Political Analyst to Speak in Juneau Monday, April 27th

"Beyond Occupation: The Future of US-Iraq Relations"
7:00 pm at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center, 
350 Whittier Street in downtown Juneau

Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi political analyst for the American Friends Service Committee, will travel to Alaska to speak about the American occupation in Iraq.  Jarrar’s speaking tour is a joint effort by local organizers from four communities. The Juneau People for Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace Chapter 100, and Northern Light United Church Mission Committee are sponsoring his visit to Juneau. He will also speak in Haines, Anchorage, and Fairbanks.

Raed Jarrar was born and raised in Iraq. He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in architecture from the University of Baghdad and a Master's Degree in post war reconstruction from the University of Jordan. While he was in grad school in Jordan, Jarrar’s close friend Salam Pax started a blog to stay in touch with him. “Where is Raed” became the most widely read blog originating from Iraq during the war. Pax described events from Baghdad and Raed contributed from Jordan.

After returning to Iraq in 2004, Jarrar worked as the country director of CIVIC, the only door-to-door Iraqi casualties survey. He then founded Emaar (Arabic for “reconstruction”), an Iraqi grassroots organization that operated in 10 Iraqi cities. It provided aid to Iraqi internally displaced persons (IDPs). Emaar delivered medicine and food as well as helped initiate micro-enterprise projects for IDPs. Additionally, Emaar engaged in political advocacy on behalf of displaced populations. During this time Jarrar posted eyewitness stories and opinions on the blog “Raed in the Middle” where he continues to provide valuable insights on the humanitarian and political status of Iraq.

In 2005 Jarrar moved to the United States. He is currently the Iraq consultant to the American Friends Service Committee based in Washington, D.C. Last year he leaked and translated the only publicly accessible draft of the US-Iraqi Status of Forces Agreement (SoFA), which formally addressed withdrawal of US troops. It was a document that proved to be vital to congressional hearings and in public debate across America. With Jarrar’s assistance, the AFSC was able to arrange two Iraqi parliamentary delegations to participate in official congressional briefings about the SoFA.

He (together with the American Civil Liberties Union) recently won a settlement from JetBlue in the case involving the TSA and the airline's refusal to allow Mr. Jarrar to board a plane at John F. Kennedy Airport until he agreed to cover his t-shirt, which read "We Will Not Be Silent" in English and Arabic script. See details at: http://www.aclu.org/freespeech/gen/jarrar.html and http://www.aclu.org/freespeech/gen/38225prs20090105.html

For more information about Mr. Jarrar go to http://www.afsc.org/ht/d/ContentDetails/i/2891

And for more information on the SoFA and the president's plan to end the Iraq Occupation see the American Friends Service Committee’s Statement at http://www.afsc.org/ht/display/ContentDetails/i/76010/pid/450

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Voices Education Project

Waging Peace
September 21, 2009 will mark the International Day of Peace. At Voices we'd like to get a head start on collecting poems, quotes, pictures, capturing video and recording activities on how to Wage Peace.

Please lend your voice to our efforts! If you are an educator and you have a curriculum to share that speaks to building peace, please pass it along. You can go to MyVoice [http://my.voiceseducation.org] and set-up your own page and post your offerings. You may also want to explore the resources for educators at Voices in Wartime [http://www.voicesinwartime.org/Home/]

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Louie Vitale of Pace e Bene to Speak March 22nd & 23rd

    Father Louie Vitale, a Franciscan priest, activist, Pace e Bene, and co- founder of Nevada Desert Experience and recently returned from a trip to Iran with the Fellowship of Reconciliation Interfaith Peacebuilding Delegation. With a background in sociology and a focus on the Sociology of Religion and social movements, Louie is a long time social activist. A Franciscan priest who served as the provincial of the California Franciscan Friars from 1979 to 1988, he co-founded the Nevada Desert Experience and its enduring movement to end nuclear testing. He recently completed twelve years as the pastor of St. Boniface Catholic Church in a low-income neighborhood in San Francisco, California. He earned his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Louie finished serving a six month sentence for his nonviolent action in trying to draw attention to and to close the School of the Americas/Whinsec at Ft. Benning, GA in 2006. He is currently the "Action Advocate" for Pace e Bene and is involved in trying to raise awareness about issues of torture and US involvement in it. To that end, he was arrested at Ft. Huachuca in Nov 2006 and served five months in prison from October 2007 to March 2008. See his blog about the trip to Iran at http://paceebene.org/blog/louis-vitale/friendship-delegation-iran

Sunday, March 22nd Community Potluck (5:00 pm)
Talk at 6:15 pm Northern Light Church 6:15 "NONVIOLENT ACTIVISM IN A VIOLENT WORLD"
Monday, March 23rd "CITIZEN DIPLOMACY WITH IRAN" at Egan Lecture Hall, UAS Campus at 7:15 pm

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Group planning speakers on Iraq, Afghanistan

We are working to bring several speakers to Juneau this spring.  

April 26th and 27th:  Raed Jarrar is an Iraqi political analyst and consultant to the American Friends Service Committee's Iraq Program currently based in Washington D.C.  After the U.S.-led invasion, Jarrar be came the country director for CIVIC Worldwide, the only door-to-door casualty survey group in post-war Iraq. 
He then established Emaar (meaning "reconstruction" in Arabic), a grassroots organization that provided humanitarian and political aid to Iraqi internally displaced persons (IDPs).  Emaar delivered medicine and food as well as helped initiate micro-enterprise projects for IDP's.  Additionally, Emaar engaged in political advocacy on behalf of displaced populations.

In late May:  Col. Ann Wright, Ret. She resigned from the US Foreign Service on March 19, 2003, while serving as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Mongolia, due to her disagreement with the Bush Administration's decision to go to war in Iraq without the authorization of the UN Security Council, the lack of effort in resolving the Israel-Palestinian situation, the lack of policy on North Korea and unnecessary curtailment of civil liberties in the United States.

Ms Wright was on the first State Department team to go to Kabul, Afghanistan.  She helped reopen the US Embassy in Kabul in December, 2001 and worked in Afghanistan for five months, serving in the last month as Deputy Chief of Mission (Deputy Ambassador).
Ms Wright's other overseas assignments include Somalia with both the US mission and as chief of the Justice Division (reconstitution the Somali police, judicial and prison systems) of the United Nations Mission to Somalia (UNOSOM)  She also served in the US Embassies in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Grenada, Micronesia and Nicaragua.
Before entering the Foreign Service,she served in the Army and has a combined regular Army/Army Reserve service time of 29 years.  She served primarily in special operations units and attained the rank of colonel.  While on military duty in 1982 and 1983 in Grenada, she was on the US Army's International Law team and participated in civil reconstruction work following the US "rescue" mission.

Ms Wright has Master's and Law Degrees from the University of ARkansas and a Master's Degree in National Security Affairs from the US Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island.  Ms Wright has been featured in articles in the Washington Post magazine, Government Executive magazine, Foreign Service Journal, Ms magazine and has been interviewed by radio and TV networks.  She participated in the documentary film "Uncovered: The Truth About the Iraq War".