News Release

· Lebanon · Bethlehem · Oaxaca

BASSAM HADDAD
Assistant professor of political science at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and visiting professor at Georgetown University, Haddad is editor of the Arab Studies Journal and was in Lebanon earlier this year. He said today: “The recent monumental protests by the opposition indicate that in any future elections the support for the current government’s political orientation will not constitute a majority.” Haddad is producer/director of the award-winning documentary film “About Baghdad” and is currently working on a book about Syria’s political economy and directing a film series on “Arabs and Terrorism.”
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Rev. SUSAN P. WILDER
Wilder, a Presbyterian minister and member of Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace, will be participating in a “Christmas Procession for Bethlehem” at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 23. “Mary and Joseph,” with donkey, will (begining at Lafayette Park) lead a candle-lit procession around White House and National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse.

Rev. Wilder said today: “The humanitarian situation in Bethlehem and in all the rest of the occupied territories is urgent. We hope our procession will shine a light on the suffering there. I was in Bethlehem this summer and saw the 26-foot wall that imprisons the city. It was such a contrast to my visit to Bethlehem for Christmas 2000 — at that time we drove straight into Bethlehem, about a 10-minute trip from Jerusalem. … We are pleading for the wall to come down and the occupation to end. Security certainly is crucial for Israelis, but the wall is not the way to achieve lasting security. If the wall were truly intended for security purposes, it would be along the green line (between Israel and the West Bank) but instead it runs through the West Bank; the path of the wall reveals its true intent….”
More about Bethlehem today
“O little town of Bethlehem cards”

RENATA RENDON
Rendon is Amnesty International’s director of advocacy for the Americas. She recently returned from a delegation to Oaxaca. Rendon said today: “No matter where you are in the world and no matter what the circumstances are, when hundreds of thousands of people come together in a matter of days, organize themselves into a popular movement within hours, and unite in calling for the resignation of their state governor, massive social discontent has reached a boiling point and the worst possible government response is through repression and violence. This is what happened after Oaxacan State Police entered the city square at around 5 a.m. on June 14, 2006, using tear gas and batons on sleeping men, women and children in a failed effort to forcibly evict striking teachers who were peacefully calling for higher salaries and better learning conditions and resources for their students.

“Since June 14, 2006, and as the situation in Oaxaca intensified, Amnesty International has reported on over 140 detentions. Many of the detainees had reportedly been beaten and threatened with death once in custody. We have also documented widespread human rights violations particularly by state and municipal authorities including excessive use of force, arbitrary and incommunicado detention, torture, fabrication of evidence and political killings.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167