Tag Archives: lebanese

Does Donald Trump Think His Top Foreign Policy Adviser Is Muslim?

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

In an interview with Fox News on Tuesday morning, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump twice failed to correct host Brian Kilmeade’s mistaken assertion that one of his top foreign policy advisers, Walid Phares, is Muslim.

“Donald, we just talked to Walid Phares,” Kilmeade said. “We talked to Dr. Zuhdi Jasser yesterday, Ambassador Khalilzad—he’s done great things for this country. What do all three have in common? They’re Muslims.”

“Yes, that’s true,” Trump said.

A few minutes later, Kilmeade returned to the topic of Phares, who Trump announced yesterday was advising his campaign. “A lot of people listening right now might be misinterpreting your message in the past and currently that you have a problem with Muslims—you don’t have a problem with Muslims,” Kilmeade said. “In fact you just hired one, Walid Phares, to work for you.” Again, Trump appeared to agree.

But Phares is not Muslim. In fact, he is about as far from being a Muslim as one can get. As Adam Serwer reported five years ago, Phares was once a top political official in a sectarian Christian militia in Lebanon that targeted Muslims:

During the 1980s, Phares, a Maronite Christian, trained Lebanese militants in ideological beliefs justifying the war against Lebanon’s Muslim and Druze factions, according to former colleagues. Phares, they say, advocated the hard-line view that Lebanon’s Christians should work toward creating a separate, independent Christian enclave. A photo obtained by Mother Jones shows him conducting a press conference in 1986 for the Lebanese Forces, an umbrella group of Christian militias that has been accused of committing atrocities.

Later in the interview, Kilmeade offered a correction, noting that Phares is actually a Christian. But Trump was twice asked specifically about Phares’ religious identity and never pushed back.

Maybe it was a lousy earpiece?

Read article here: 

Does Donald Trump Think His Top Foreign Policy Adviser Is Muslim?

Posted in alternative energy, Anchor, FF, GE, LG, ONA, Radius, solar, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Does Donald Trump Think His Top Foreign Policy Adviser Is Muslim?

This Composer Wants You To Know Who Syrian Refugees Really Are

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

When Suad Bushnaq thinks of Syria, she thinks of the wonderful years she spent studying at one of the Middle East’s top conservatories, attending performances at the Damascus Opera House, and catching jazz gigs in back-alley cafes.

She thinks of musakhan, shwarma, fresh-squeezed juices; and of her dearest friends and the jokes they told each other.

She thinks of her late mother, born and raised in Syria, and of her mother’s family still living there.

But these days, watching events unfold from the safety of the United States, she is barraged by daily images of violence, airstrikes, and fleeing refugees. And the public apprehension, ever since the Paris terrorist attacks, that has allowed craven politicians (including the governor of her home state) to paint those refugees as a threat. “No one in the West has the image of the Syria that I know,” Bushnaq told me. “The beautiful Syria filled with culture and history and amazing food and people who laugh.”

Syria has changed dramatically in the decade since Bushnaq, one of only a handful of Arab women composers on the planet (Layal Watfeh and Farah Siraj being among the other notables), last set foot there. The ongoing civil war has disrupted and even claimed the lives of many of her friends and relatives. Now she’s fighting the loss of Syrian culture in the only way she knows how: by creating orchestral pieces and scores that combine the Western and Middle Eastern musical traditions.

She has released two albums and collaborated with award-winning Arab filmmakers, as well as the Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra, which performed a movement of her orchestral suite Hakawaty (or Suite for Damascus) to a sold out international audience in Bremen, Germany, this past September.

The 33-year-old composer was born and raised in Amman, Jordan, by a Syrian mother and Palestinian-Bosnian father with a large LP collection. (“My house was full of music,” she says.) She started piano at age four, but hated her lessons, preferring to make up her own songs. “When I was in fifth grade, my mom told me, ‘If you stop taking piano lessons I will break the piano! I am not the type of mom who would allow us to have a piano as a piece of furniture.”

By 16, she decided that composition was more than just a whim. She dreamed of attending McGill University’s Schulich School of Music in Montreal, but her parents said no. It was too far away and too expensive. So Bushnaq moved to Damascus.

There she attended the Higher Institute of Music, where she learned from and performed with some of the region’s premier musicians—many of them women who’ve gone on to international success. But Bushnaq was the only one studying composition. She would also be the only Arab woman ever admitted to McGill’s prestigious composition program, where she landed a full scholarship in 2005. At McGill, she further honed her compositional style—a distillation of the influences of “a classically trained pianist who grew up in the Arab world, who has a bit of Balkan blood, and who likes to listen to jazz.”

Bushnaq, who now lives with her husband in North Carolina, has worked on the scores of several films. One of them is a documentary about a 12-year-old Syrian refugee, by the female Lebanese director Niam Itani. There’s also a psycho-thriller called The Curve, which will premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival in December, by Jordanian-Palestinian director Rifqi Assaf. (The strings on the soundtrack were recorded by Syrian musicians in Damascus.)

Lately, Bushnaq has been looking around for an orchestra to perform her Suite for Damascus in full, following on the success of the Syrian Expat concert. She remains in constant contact with friends and family back in Syria, where, despite all the chaos, the Higher Institute of Music continues to operate, and its musicians continue to perform.

“It’s sad what’s happening now,” Bushnaq told me. “But it makes me happy to know that the music scene is still going. It shows me that despite the war, people are still trying their best to live.”

Source – 

This Composer Wants You To Know Who Syrian Refugees Really Are

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, Free Press, GE, Hoffman, LAI, LG, ONA, Radius, Uncategorized, Venta | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on This Composer Wants You To Know Who Syrian Refugees Really Are