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An evening with Iraqi peace activist Sami Rasouli
Sami Rasouli, co-founder of the Muslim Peacemakers Team was greeted by over 200 people who gathered in the sweltering gymnasium of Joan of Arc Church in South Minneapolis.
The bulk of those in attendance were in their 50s and older. Many wore shirts with peace slogans, tie dye shirts or other anti-war items. Those under the age of 30 were but a handful.
Julie Madden of Joan of Arc Church opened the program expressing her excitement having her church co-sponsor the Sami’s presentation. Other event organizers were The Twin Cities Peace Campaign and Women Against Military Madness.
John Brown, a man who had Rasouli stay with him for several years while living in Minnesota introduced him using a Howard Zinn quote, “You can’t be neutral while on a moving train” to describe, Rasouli applauding his peacemaking efforts. The Reconciliation Project was also present as they applaud those like Rasouli who choose to stand up against violence.
Sami Rasouli began by introducing the audience to his wife and four year old son and then quickly moved to a lesson in history. He noted while some in the audience are aware of what is really going on in Iraq and the Middle East most have no clue as the mainstream media fails to cover the truth.
“The truth needs a tongue to speak,” said Rasouli.
He proceeded to connect the dots by noting that as early as 1956, M. King Hubbert of Shell Oil predicted peak oil use in the US would occur in 1975 and after 1975 and there would be a need to get oil and natural gas from elsewhere. He correlated how in 1998 former Vice President Cheney served as CEO at Halliburton and their views seemed to influence U.S. policies in the Middle East, he continued on how then 911 came about and 2 years later the United States invaded of Iraq.
Rasouli mentioned while the media has lead us to believe that Israel has been silent, that in fact they support and encourage much of the turmoil occurring in the Middle East. He spoke of the U.S. polices along with Israel’s desire to have its borders stretch from one river to the next (from the Nile to the Euphrates) create havoc throughout the Middle East.
Sami Rasouli provided the audience with a photo essay documenting how Bernard-Henri Lévy, a wealthy Jewish activist has encouraged and supported much of the turmoil. There were photographs of Bernard-Henri Lévy alongside many of the Israeli leaders as well as leaders in movements in many places including Darfur, Afghanistan the battlefields of Libya as well as with the opposition in Syria.
Rasouli closed by suggesting that countries should stay within their own borders.
He pointed out that the largest U.S. embassy in the world in located in Iraq and has a staff of 15,000, 5000 of them armed forces. He spoke of the huge arsenal the United States processes in the Middle East and their military base in Qatar. He again continued to connect the dots to oil reminding the audience that you cannot buy or sell oil unless you use U.S. dollars.
He also stated how anti-Muslim statements are rewarded noting once Juan Williams made the comment that Muslim people in airports made him scared, he was awarded a 1 million dollar contract with Fox.
Rasouli shared with the audience how Iraq is a failed democracy, how the government has failed to provide basic services such as electricity, clean water or health services to the bulk of its citizens, how the government shapes the law to persecute and kill her opposition. He talked about how it is the goal to continue to fragment Iraq by pitting the Sunni Shite and Kurds. He shared that bombings in Iraq continue.
He concluded by sharing how his group the Muslim Peacemakers Team have succeeded in building schools and hospital and water filtration systems.
Sami Rasouli will be honored at Crescent Moon on July 17th. For information on this event contact Luke Wilcox at luke [at] reconciliationproject [dot] org or call 612-367-6194.
© 2012 Asian American Press