The ONLY active voice for American Arab Journalists.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

ADC Chicago to honor five Chicagoland journalists May 12


April 2, 2009

ADC Chicago to honor five top Chicagoland journalists
for professional journalistic excellence

(Chicago) The Chicago Chapter of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee is proud to announce five recipients of the ADC Excellence in Media Professionalism to be honored at the 30th Annual ADC Media Awards Banquet.

ADC is the nation’s largest grassroots organization championing the fight against bigotry and discrimination, with more than 2,000 paid members in the Chicagoland area.

The ADC Chicago board voted unanimously to award this year’s honors to

Mr. Jay Levine senior reporter for WBBM (CBS) TV Chicago
Ms. Amani Ghouleh, publisher of al-Offok al-Arabi American Arab Newspaper.
Mr. Burt Constable, columnist for the Arlington Heights Daily Herald Newspaper
Mr. Mansour Tadros, publisher of al-Mustaqbal American Arab Newspaper
Mr. Stephen Franklin, former Middle East correspondent for the Chicago Tribune (now with Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism)

All five recipients will be honored at a dinner banquet to be held Tuesday May 12, 2009 at the Drury Lane Oak Brook Center, 100 Drury Lane Oak Brook. The reception begins at 6 pm, followed by dinner and awards ceremony at 7 pm.

“All five recipients of this year’s American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Award have earned the respect not only of our community but the entire Chicagoland region for their fair, balanced and sensitive coverage,” said Fadi Zanayed, ADC Chicago President.

“The presentation of these awards is a tradition driven not by political considerations but rather a respect for the challenges that journalists must overcome in today’s world to provide accurate, fair, balanced and sensitive news reporting and coverage,” said Shafic Budron, ADC Chicago Vice President and National Board member.

“All of the recipients have demonstrated the highest in professional journalism over the years and are role models for all who pursue the journalism professional as a career,” said Ray Hanania, a veteran Chicago journalist, radio talk show host and chairman of the Media Awards Event.

The event is open to the public. Tickets to the event are available at $60 each with discounted tickets available to students with valid student IDs for $30.

For more information on the event and ceremony and bios of the award winners, visit the ADC Chicago web page at

Contact Fadi Zanayed, 708-257-7755 for information

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

PROFILE: Ray Hanania, Arab World needs American Arab journalists to help

Palestinian radio talk show host takes on mainstream and Middle East issues

(Arab American Writers Group Syndicate) – Ray Hanania has always been a fighter. He has no choice. He is American Arab, and he refuses to put his ethnicity in the back of the bus where many Americans today demand Middle Eastern people sit.

Hanania, who has written seven books, authors a syndicated column, and hosts both a radio and TV Show in Chicago, Illinois, believes that the answer to the challenges facing the Arab World is to empower American Arab journalists to help change the false stereotypes and perceptions that undermine justice and feed anti-Arab bias in the West.

“The Arab World is making a critical error by believing that they can change the Western mindset by simply writing about world events and doing so mainly in the Arabic language,” argues Hanania, who is managing editor of and whose columns often appear in the mainstream American and Arab world media.

“They have failed to take advantage of the one single asset that can empower the Arab voice in the West and especially in America, the American Arab professional journalists.”

Hanania, who is a co-founded of the National Arab American Journalists Association, reports that the voice of American Arabs are shifting from partisan activism to professional journalism.

“We have more than 90 independent American Arab ethnic newspapers and magazines, a dozen radio and cable TV programs hosted by American Arabs, and we have more than 250 journalists in this country, half of whom work full or parttime in mainstream American journalism positions,” Hanania says.

“The failure of the Arab World to support that growing movement has handicapped efforts to correct inaccurate stereotypes among Americans of the Arab World, and has undermined efforts to correct injustices often times driven by misguided American foreign policy. With the new sense of justice of the administration of Barack Obama, the Arab World is poised to change all that. But they must empower American Arab journalists to help lead that change in America.”

The American-born Palestinian quickly rose through the ranks of the Palestinian American community in the early 1970s under the guidance of then Northwestern Political Science Professor Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, who helped Hanania become spokesman for the Arab American Congress for Palestine in 1975.

That year, Hanania also launched an English language newspaper that immediately put him in the sights of the Midwest Office of the FBI – resulting in a two-year long investigation and secret FBI report – and a head-to-head debate on national Public TV with Israel’s Foreign Minister, Abba Eban.

Since then, Hanania entered journalism believing that Arab cultural tradition of directing young children into white collar professions like medicine, engineering, law and even corporate and retail business had to be changed. American Arabs had to enter the field of journalism.

“Communications is the most powerful profession in America and in the world,’ says Hanania, who has since won three Society of Professional Journalism awards for his columns and was named Best Ethnic Columnist in America by the New America Media.

“In America, perception is reality. Americans oftentimes do not care about the facts or the truth. They care more about who is saying the facts and the truth. And if you do not look and sound exactly like them, oftentimes justice falters and injustice rises to a national clamor.”

The view has pushed him into frequent clashes with the leadership of the American Arab community, especially with those who have relied on emotion and tragedy to keep the community in line.

Hanania, whose father is from Jerusalem and mother from Bethlehem, also advocates that Palestinians must reject violence and even resistance, and embrace a compromise with Israel arguing that failing to do so has resulted in giving the Israelis carte blanche not only in the PR field but in the reality of everyday life for Palestinians in Palestine.

“Every day, Israel is erasing the rights and existence of the Palestinian people. They have played a cunning, deceptive and clever game of advocating for peace while increasing illegal settlements, stealing Palestinian owned lands, expelling Palestinians from their homes, and engaging in terrorism themselves through the military and through the terrorist settler movement,” Hanania explains.

“What has been our response as Palestinians and Arabs? To help Israel by responding not with our brains but with our emotions. With our anger. Instead of being strategic, as the Israelis have been, we have been reckless in our leadership. When you argue reason, community leaders who have based their leadership not on skills but manipulating and exploiting the tragedy and emotions of our people have responded by calling you a traitor and worse. We have to stop letting our emotions control our destiny because so far it has not worked.”

Hanania believes that the problem is compounded by the absence of American Arabs in Western mainstream journalism.

“It’s not enough to have Arab journalists in the Middle East covering these events because they are writing primarily in Arabic and they are writing under a system of repression that is oftentimes more harsh for them in Arab countries than under Israeli occupation,” Hanania asserts.

“Arab World journalists are faltering by failing to speak to the Western audiences in the English language. And in those few instances where they try to write and broadcast in English, the Western audiences have resisted and rejected those programs. The answer is to build a new Arab Media not in the Middle East but in the heartland of America. Strengthen the voices of professional American Arab journalists and empower them to engage the American and Western publics in a natural form of English and in a professional form of Journalism.”

Hanania was one of the first Palestinians to enter professional journalism full time in 1976, covering Chicago City Hall and politics for 16 years. He currently is the only American Arab to host a weekday Monday through Friday morning radio show in Chicago (WJJG 1530 AM) which speaks to mainstream American issues with an “Arab flare.”

“We are American like anyone else in this country. We served in the military and are often more patriotic than the so-called patriots who disparage and attack and defame the Arab people in this country,” Hanania says.

“No one can more effectively speak for the Arab cause in America and the West than American Arabs who have integrated themselves into American life while still clinging to their Arab heritage with pride.”

Hanania’s morning show, which covers the Chicagoland region with a more than 6 million audience reach, aggressively asserts its Arab heritage in almost every topic discussion.

“Americans need to know that we Arabs are just like them. We are no different. We can do that better than anyone else,’ Hanania argues.

(For more information on Ray Hanania, visit or his radio web site at He can be reached at

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Iraqi Writers Association Workshop, Saturdays in April, Ferndale, Michigan

Iraqi Artists Association
Connecting American Writers of Middle Eastern Backgrounds through a Workshop

Workshop Led by:
Weam Namou - Yatooma
Novelist, Poet & Freelance Writer

In this FREE Creative Writing Workshop:

● You receive honest, constructive feedback.
● The courses are structured towards your learning style.
● You’re allowed to write at your own pace.
● You learn to write with a published author as your mentor.

American Writers of Middle Eastern background have been around for a long time but have not been acknowledged even though…

Writing started in Mesopotamia, now called Iraq, over 7300 years ago. The first writer in recorded history was Enheduanna, a woman from ancient Iraq. She lived, composed and taught roughly 2,000 years before Aristotle.

This workshop is designed to improve your writing skills and allow you to reach your full writing potential. Whether you're dreaming of writing the great American novel or you've just got a few poems you're trying to publish, this workshop is for you!

Every Saturday for the Month of April (April 4, 11, 18 & 25) 12:00– 4:00 pm
800 Livernois Ferndale, MI 48220

This event is free and open to anyone of Middle Eastern background
Please register early as seating is limited
By calling Weam Namou Yatooma (586) 212-4490 or

Sponsored by Poets&Writers, the Chaldean Educational Center of America
& Iraqi American Media Network

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

2009 Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award Deadline May 1

The 2009 M.T. Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award
Sponsored by the Mehdi Family, and NAAJA

This award is established by the family of the late journalism pioneer Dr. Mohammad T. Mehdi. Dr. M.T. Mehdi regularly challenged the common stereotypes and notions of Arabs in the American mass media and in the public sphere to help create a better understanding of the Arab American community; he raised the issue of Palestine and the human rights of Palestinians to national political awareness in spite of threats to himself and his family. This was at a very difficult time in American history when Arabs were marginalized and the community was not strong. Standing up and speaking out on issues of justice, and on media professionalism, took courage. Each year, in consultation with the Mehdi Family, one candidate who demonstrates courage in journalism is selected to receive this award.

The Winner will receive a Plaque and a $750 Prize from the Mehdi Family.


Journalists may nominate themselves or be nominated by another individual.

The nominee or the individual submitting the nomination, must submit an essay of up to 500 words describing why the nominee merits the Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award.

Include up to five (5) published articles, or media to support the nomination. Radio and video submissions must be provided on CD and/or DVD.

Make two (2) copies of completed submissions. (Two copies of the nomination form, two copies of the nomination letter, and two copies of all sample writings or broadcast media.)

Award Deadline:

Nominations must be postmarked by MAY 1, 2009. Winner will be announced June 1, 2009.

Submit all nominations to:

Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award
Whetstone Productions
P.O. Box 1164
Maplewood, NJ 0704

Complete the entry form below and return to the above address

Mehdi Courage in Journalism AwardEntry Form

Print all information below clearly:

Name of Nominee: __________________________________________________

Nomination submitted by: __________________________________________

Address: _____________________________________________________

City: ________________________________ State: _____ Zip: ________

Telephone: ___________________________________________________

Email: _______________________________________________________

If nomination is submitted by someone other than the nominee, please include contact information for the nominee here:


Address: _____________________________________________________

City: ________________________________ State: _____ Zip: ________

Telephone: ___________________________________________________

Email: _______________________________________________________

I authorize NAAJA, and the Mehdi Family to use my materials in any manner necessary to promote the journalism awards, and to announce my name as a winner. I understand that my submission materials will not be returned. (In the event that the nomination if made by another individual, the winner will be asked to sign this form also to receive their award.)

Sign your name: _____________________________________________

Thursday, March 05, 2009

HBO documentary on transexuals in Iran coming up in May




A film by Tanaz Eshaghian

Premieres May 20, 2009

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, a country with strict social mores and traditional values, sex-change operations are legal. Over twenty years ago, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa (religious edict) making sex change permissible for “diagnosed transsexuals.” Yet homosexuality is still punishable by death.

With Iran’s international arms negotiations dominating news headlines worldwide, a very private kind of drama is unfolding behind the scenes. Highly feminine and attracted to members of the same sex, yet forced to live in secret for fear of retribution, a generation of young Iranian men are adopting an identity legally allowed to them—transsexual. In pursuit of what one man calls simply, “a decent life,” they flock to the country’s best-established gender reassignment surgeon, Dr. Bahram Mir Jalali, and are counseled by 24-year-old Vida, a post-op woman who claims to be “reborn” but warns of dangers that still await.

Iranian-American filmmaker Tanaz Eshaghian accompanies several young men as they contemplate and prepare for their transformation, then follows them into and out of surgery. Intimate and unflinching, BE LIKE OTHERS is a fascinating look at those on the fringes of Iranian life—those looking for acceptance through the most radical of means.

About Tanaz Eshagian:
Tanaz Eshaghian was born in Iran in 1974 and left with her mother at the age of six, at the start of the Iran-Iraq war. She grew up in New York City, where she still lives, and graduated from Brown University in 1996 with a BA in Art Semiotics. Tanaz began making films a few years later, with a focus on documenting the Iranian experience in America. In 2001 she made the short documentary I CALL MYSELF PERSIAN. Framed by the Iran hostage crisis of 1979 and the World Trade Center attacks, the film reveals how Iranians living in the U.S. are often stereotyped and held responsible for anti-American activity, and weighs the effects on their identity. Her second film, the 63-minute LOVE IRANIAN-AMERICAN STYLE (2005), was shot over a period of four years and documented her own traditional Iranian family’s obsession with marrying her off. Sexual purity, money and a mother’s worries come together in this humorous guided tour lead by Tanaz through the Iranian-Jewish communities in New York and Los Angeles. BE LIKE OTHERS is her first film set in Iran—a country she had not visited for decades.

Lauren Schwartz
Donna Daniels Public Relations, LLC
20 West 22nd Street, Suite 1410
New York, NY 10010

Monday, March 02, 2009

Ray Hanania

Palestinian & Israeli leaders discuss Middle East peace on local TV show

Orland Park – Leaders from the Palestinian and Israeli community are the featured guests on the latest edition of TV Chicagoland on Comcast Cable TV Channel 19.

Guests Fadi Zanayed, President of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Chicago Chapter, and David Steiner, president of Friends of Peace Now, talk about ways to overcome the divide that separates the two important Chicagoland communities as events spiral out of control in the Middle East.

The show, hosted by journalist Ray Hanania, is broadcast every Friday night in 145 Chicagoland suburban communities on Channel 19 on Comcast Cable TV at 7 pm and 8:30 pm, the broadcast time depends on your suburb.

The show features an interview Zanayed and Steiner conducted on Hanania’s morning radio show “Radio Chicagoland” which is broadcast every Monday through Friday at 8 am on WJJG 1530 AM Radio, “The G.”

For more information on the TV or radio shows, visit and also