Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Man of Principle: Malek Jandali vs ADC

The Arab American Anti-discrimination Committee (ADC) is an organization created to safeguard the civil and human rights of Arab-Americans. This weekend is their yearly convention.  Malek Jandali, the noted composer and pianist of Homsi origin was to perform at the convention.  He was to perform his new song Watani Ana (my homeland is me), a universal call for freedom and dignity.  Although Syria is not explicitly mentioned in the lyrics, given his background, it is clear what Watan he is referring to; and yet the lyrics are gentle and non-confrontational. The ADC asked him to choose another piece to perform at the convention. He refused and when the ADC would not give in, he walked away.

The ADC's explanation for its action just does not hold any water.  They are an organization that strongly promotes the human and civil rights of Arab Americans.  They cannot claim to be apolitical and feign neutrality when it comes to human rights abuses in the Middle East because they take a clear stance in on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  What they did with Jandali is hypocritical and outrageous.

I have been a card carrying ADC member for several years now but will reconsider my membership if the ADC does not change course.  They can either limit their mission to civil rights issues in the US, or be an independent voice for human rights for all Arabs.  To achieve the latter, they will have to assert their independence from Arab regimes.

As for Malek Jandali, I salute him as a man of principle and a Syrian patriot.  In his gentle, civil way, he continues to advocate for the Syrian people at every chance that he gets.


Anonymous said...

I didn't see any clear apology to Malek Jandali nor to the American-Arab community! Also, where is the public invitation to invite Malek Jandali to perform his freedom 'song' Watani Ana?

Abu Kareem said...

Apparently, ADC just reversed its decision and Malek Jandali will open the ADC convention with Ana Watani! Wise move.