It is our 29th anniversary. Although the occasion is worth celebrating, talk of war has overshadowed anything else.
September 7, 1984, marks the birth-date of The Arab American News. On this day, the first word was written in the first story that would go into the first edition of a publication that would make history in this community.
Since then, we have embarked on a mission that embodies the hopes and aspirations of the Arab American community, along with their pain and the obstacles they face, both here at home, and abroad in their homelands.
Over the years, it hasn’t been easy for this newspaper to navigate through the continued and growing conflicts, violence and divisions that have engulfed the Arab World, whether it be in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia and, of course, most recently, the bloody conflict in Syria. These conflicts have had their dire effects on the community here as well.
Since its inception, The Arab American News has adopted and committed to the principle of pan-Arabism. We have stood firmly and continued to support Palestinian rights of freedom from Israeli occupation and of self-determination. We stood against the civil war in Lebanon and called for unity and reconciliation in the region. We called for an end to the war and conflict that divided Yemen, between South and North, and supported its unification. We vehemently stood against the immoral, illegal and unjustified U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and continue to be concerned about the country’s future, in light of the ongoing violence and sectarianism that are threatening Iraq’s population, unity and territorial integrity.
We were against NATO’s involvement in Libya that has produced more death, destruction and division among Libyans, destabilized the country and placed it on the verge of disintegration.
|The Arab American News building, located on Chase rd. in Dearborn.|
Now, and for the past two and half years, we have made our views known that we support democracy and reform across the Arab World, without any exception. This includes the needed reform in Syria, Bahrain and other Arab states. However, we cannot, nor will we, support the destruction and the killing of people in the name of democracy and reform.
We have stood against sectarianism and religious divisions. We have steadily condemned the spread of hate and divisiveness in our community, regardless of its source.
We continue to encourage the community at large to accept and recognize their different opinions and stands on current events that engulf the Arab World. We support working together on local and national issues that face us here, regardless of our religious or political affiliations. Civil rights, immigration reform, health and education are some of the issues that should bring us together on a common ground. Our priority as a community should be securing a place around the table to protect our interests and businesses in our cities and neighborhoods. That is why we have always encouraged our community to get involved in every election, not only as individuals, but also in blocks. We particularly encourage our youth to vote and run for public office.
While we have made noticeable progress, many challenges remain ahead. We need to build on our achievements and continue to move forward, regardless of any setbacks or obstacles.
The Arab American News will continue to advocate for our common cause, write our community’s success stories and point out the shortcomings. We will continue to promote dialogue and acceptance among each other and fight bigotry and discrimination wherever they exist.
We pledge to continue keeping our opinion pages open to all views that promote constructive and positive dialogue. In the same regard, The Arab American News will not shy away from expressing its views and editorializing on important local, national and international issues.
The past year was a painful one for The Arab American News. We lost a dear founding member and a pillar to this publication. On January 1 of this year, Marianna Kay Siblani lost her fight with a vicious and long battle with cancer, and we lost a great writer, editor and dedicated fighter.
However, amidst the most difficult and painful of events, positive developments took place this past year. Our publisher and the paper’s founder Osama Siblani, made history. He was inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame on April 21, making him the first ethnic media representative to be inducted and the only Arab American, aside from the legendary late Helen Thomas.
In addition, The Arab American News entered into a partnership with other major ethnic and minority publications to form the New Michigan Media. This partnership, which includes The Michigan Chronicle, the Latino Press, Korean and Asian Weekly and The Jewish News, intends to reach out to other communities and work with them on common issues.
Overall, it has been a difficult, but rewarding 29 years. We look toward another challenging year with hope and determination.
We thank, first and foremost, our readers, who have given us a reason to continue writing over the last three decades. We also thank our advertisers, who have allowed us to circulate our publication and improve it. Our hope is that our readers will return their generosity in kind, by supporting their businesses. And finally, we extend our appreciation to our current and former staff, whose dedication to the paper and the profession has been the driving force behind our success.
We look forward to our thirtieth year with enthusiasm and optimism.
Thank you for your support.
Leave a Reply