When the people of Tunisia revolted against their dictator in January this year, few thought that the actions of this small country would inspire a wave of revolution, Arab Spring, as peoples across north Africa and the Middle East who had been oppressed for decades demanded freedom. As citizens rose up and crowded the cities, westerners saw how very differently the leaders and the people conducted themselves from country to country – the peacefulness of the protests, the readiness for capitulation, the brutality of the government forces.
The Dallas Peace Center's Middle East Peace Committee hopes to increase our understanding of the revolutions occurring in Libya, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen by holding a panel discussion among people from these countries who possess a native understanding of the cultures and man-on-the-street information about current events. The event, "Arab Spring: The Road to Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights," will be on Saturday, April 30, 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., at the Richardson Civic Center, 411 West Arapaho Rd. Suite 102, in Richardson.
Members of the Arab American community in North Texas have noted that there is plenty of misinformation and misunderstanding about the dynamics of the revolutions. For instance, Maulana Shamshad Haider, a noted Islamic scholar and a community leader, said that the Shia-Sunni conflict that is being reported in Bahrain is actually a non-issue in that country. Likewise, Dr. Salem Akkad and Ghassan Hitto, leaders in the Syrian American community, stressed the need to dispel rumors of ethnic infighting in the struggle for democracy in Syria.
What: Arab Spring: The Road to Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights
When: Saturday, April 30, 10:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m
Where: Richardson Civic Center, 411 West Arapaho Rd. Suite 102, in Richardson