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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