Monday, February 9, 2009

II Annual Reflections on Holocaut & Genocides

II ANNUAL REFLECTIONS ON HOLOCAUST & GENOCIDES
Sunday, January 25, 2009 - 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Unity Church, Dallas

A Muslim initiative
Program Outline & Draft Script

On the stage;
Master of Ceremonies : Imam Zia Shaikh

Mike Ghouse - Opening
Bernie Mayoff - Introduce Imam Zia Shaikh
Imam Zia Shaikh - Acknowledgements
Mike Ghouse - Purpose statement
Mike Ghouse - Silent Prayers
Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk - Signs of Genocides
Mike Ghouse - Abridged 14 minutes documentary Scream Bloody Murder
Bryan Rigg - Key Note Speaker - Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides
Mike Ghouse - Recognitions; Bernie Mayoff and Elliott Dlin
Nancy Rebal - Station II, assimilation of voices of forgiveness
Todd Collier - Benediction
Maryam Ruhullah - Refreshment Announcement

Opening by Mike Ghouse

I am pleased to welcome ya’ll to the Unity Church here in Dallas.
Organizing this event was not easy. I sincerely hope those few men and women who were anxious about the event, may find it comforting that the event is purely a humanitarian event. It is to acknowledge human suffering. God willing, we have carefully crafted this event to be a bridge building event. This event is one small step towards opening our hearts and minds towards fellow beings.

Let me quote Ruth Fishel “if we cannot stop the battles in our own minds, how can we expect to stop the battles in the world? We need to begin with ourselves and understand first our own personal conflict. Each time we are willing to look at our own issue, we come to a greater understanding of the conflicts others have.

Let me start with the Greetings; when people greet each other, there are three essential components to that – i) acknowledgment of the other ii) A desire to connect and iii) Build friendship with peace of mind.

You will be pleased with the wisdom embedded in the greetings; in a Hindu Greeting “ I would invoke the good in you to interact with the good in me” . You will find similar meaning in all greetings. In the Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions the word “Peace is used” – when you greet them, you are actually invoking the best of that person, the peacefulness of that person to interact your peacefulness. I wish, we all understood the power of the greetings. Wow! I am setting up the other to be showered in peace and meet with me. That is powerful.

Please feel free to repeat after me;

Bahai Buddhist Christian Hindu Islam
Jain Jewish Sikh Wicca Zoroastrian

May you be showered in peace, may your words and actions emanate peace. Amen

Bernie May off – intro by Mike Ghouse

Bernie Mayoff is active in a wide variety of volunteer activities in Richardson and across the Metroplex. He is a volunteer with United Way, a past president of the J. J. Pearce Homeowners Association, a member of the Richardson Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association and a graduate of the Richardson Citizen Fire Academy.

He has been a wish granter for Make-a-Wish. He has been Treasurer of Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson. Bernie co-chaired the Long Range Planning Committee of Network of Community Ministries and is a Lifeline volunteer with Jewish Family Service repairing emergency call buttons and phones for seniors and other subscribers to Lifeline services. He worked with displaced victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita following those storms. He has been a Facilitator at Dallas Dinner table and is a member of the planning team of Metroplex Breakfast Dialogues.

Bernie was a candidate for Richardson City Council in 2005 and served on the Zoning Board of Adjustment. He is a graduate of Leadership Richardson. Bernie is a member of the local Selective Service Board (the draft board) and a past president of North Texas Mensa.

Bernie retired early from IBM

Bernie is a member of Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson and Temple Shalom in Dallas. Bernie is involved in a number of interfaith and multicultural activities promoting mutual understanding and tolerance. Together with Rabbi Haas, Bernie helped Mike Ghouse with the first Dallas observance of the UN Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2005.

He is an amateur photographer and a SCUBA diver. He has had an amateur radio license since he was a teenager. He likes to read, swim and travel. Bernie and his wife Denise have been Richardson residents since 1980 and his four children attended Richardson schools. They have three grandchildren and that will become four in June.

Please welcome Bernie Mayoff.

Introduction of Imam Zia Shaikh – by Bernie Mayoff

And I am pleased to introduce, our Master of Ceremonies, Imam Zia Shaikh.
He is a founding member and Board Member of the North Texas Islamic Council, an umbrella organization representing Islamic Organizations in the North Texas Area. He is also one of the Board Members of Irving Faiths together, a group of various religious organizations, dedicated to Peace and Harmony between faiths.

He is a Hafiz –a- Qur’aan that is the title for the one who has memorized the Qur’aan. He has studied various aspect of theology including Arabic Syntax, Etymology and Grammar, Logic, Qur’anic Exegesis, Hadith Exegesis, Comparative Religions, Islamic Jurisprudence of the four main schools of thought, Foundations of Jurisprudence, Qur’an and Hadith, and other subjects. He has a Masters degree in Islamic Theology and continues to interact with scholars to further his understanding of Islam.

He is one of the instructors at Suffa Academy in the Islamic Association of North Texas, teaching subjects such as Life of the Prophet, research and Hadith studies.

He also conducts regular study circles at the Islamic Center of Irving, and is often invited to speak at colleges, universities, conferences and seminars.

He is actively involved in interfaith work, indeed he was a speaker at the first UN Holocaust memorial event in Dallas two years ago.

He has served as an Imam in the USA since 1996, and he is fluent in Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati and English.

He is also a soccer Imam, weight lifting Imam and an Imam who is fit emotionally, physically and spiritually.

He has co-authored a rebuttal article to Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian who had misquoted Qur’aan and made a movie based on misquote. He has developed power point presentations to understand the misunderstandings about Qur’aan.
Please welcome Imam Zia Shaikh.

Welcome and Acknowledgement by Imam Zia Shaikh

I am pleased that we are here together this afternoon, just 2 days before the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Death Camp that took place on January 27, 1945.

January 27th was declared by the United Nations as the International Day of Commemoration of the Holocaust and for the prevention of Genocides. It is a day for us to stand together in order to promote tolerance.

Acknowledgements

•I am please to acknowledge our supporters for this event, as I call the name of each organization, would your please stand up and wave.
Memnosyne Foundation
Dallas Peace Center
Today Marks the beginning
Universal Peace Federation
Unity Church
Cathedral of Hope

We appreciate the support and encouragement we have received from these organization.

• Volunteers: Todd Collier, Nancy Rebal, Maryam Ruhullah, John Shore
• Thanks to Anthony Chisolm for the Flower arrangements
• Thanks to Alan Keith for security arrangements
• Thanks to Constance Hargis, Reem Al-Ghonim and Rita Clarke – register
• Thanks to Maryam Ruhullah for arranging the refreshments after the program. Refreshments after the program is a courtesy of Cindy's delicatessan
• Aftab Lakhani and his crew for the Video and the photography

Nothing good ever happens in life, unless we strive for it. The world is going through difficult times now, and it is our duty to do our share and consciously create a better world. I am glad to see the Muslims taking this initiative to build bridges between the communities.
Qur'an, Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of God, is the best in conduct. God Knows and is Aware of everything you do."


Introducing Mike Ghouse – By Imam Zia Shaikh

I am pleased to introduce Mike Ghouse; who will share the purpose and effort made for this event. Indeed, he is the initiator of this event, the first one was initiated two years ago and now this event at the Unity Church, here in Dallas

He co-chairs the center for interfaith inquiry at the Memnosyne Foundation, and presides the Foundation for Pluralism. He presides the World Muslim Congress a think tank with a simple theme: Good for Muslims and good for the world and vice-Versa. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and 20+ Blogs listed at his personal website www.MikeGhouse.net Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town.

Mike's is a Neighborhood Commissioner at the City of Carrollton, and a Board Member of Dallas Peace Center and has initiated the annual events like Thanksgiving, Unity Day USA, Holocaust and Genocides and other events. He was Past President of Indian Creek HOA and North Texas Cricket Association and has been a member of several Boards.

If I have met a true pluralist – a person who has an open mind, I would have to say that it is Mike Ghouse. Mike has been written up in major news papers and has been interviewed on every Television network.

His life revolves around the mission to promote goodwill amongst peoples of different affiliations, be it religious, nationalistic, racial, and linguistic or any other uniqueness. He believes in the divinity of all religions, and certainly emphasizes that it is the individuals that are the problem in the world and NOT their religion.

He has got a tough road ahead of him, when he boldly promotes the idea that all of us are created by the same divinity, and all the goodness, all the holy scriptures are God’s words and accepting and respecting that divinity in every faith is the greatest form of worship to him.

Please welcome my friend, a fellow Muslim, Mike Ghouse

Purpose statement – Mike Ghouse

Our Mission for this event is to create an awareness of the inhumanity in all of us and discover solutions for peaceful co-existence. We need to remind ourselves frequently to do our share to make the world a better place to live. Indeed, this event would firm up a commitment within all of us to say “never again” to atrocities against other humans.

If I were to say one main purpose of this event, I would say this is it.” Learn to speak up and say never again. We encourage each one of you to practice the power of forgiveness. If we want a better world, we have to do our share.

To be a Religious is to be a peacemaker, one who seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; that is indeed the purpose of religion, every religion. In every faith, the message is similar; how to live in peace with oneself and what surrounds; life and the environment. Most people get that message and a few don’t and resort to do the opposite of peace making. Every prescribed act in any faith is programmed to build co-existence in it, most of us get it and a few don’t.

I believe the world is driven to the wall by a few individuals, as Edmund Burke had said, all it takes for the evil to persist is for good men to do nothing. A majority of the people, no matter how you slice them; by race, religion, ethnicity or any other uniqueness are good human beings who care for their families and live their own life. Individuals create chaos and individuals can also work on creating peace.

The most critical value in societies is Justice. If an individual robs, steals, or kills someone, he should be the one to be incarcerated and not his family, community, ethnicity, or his religion. Justice is served when the individual is punished and NOT others. You cannot punish one’s religion, it is an intangible. However, if we can focus on holding an individual’s responsible and punish, then Peace is guaranteed. I believe this is the solution for terrorism, isolating individuals responsible and punishing them and sparing the religion.

Our Mission at the World Muslim Congress is to work for a world of co-existence through inclusiveness and participation. As a member of diverse family of faiths, our efforts will be directed towards justice and equity to attain peace for the humankind with a firm grounding in commonly held values. We cannot have advantages at the cost of others. Such benefits are temporary and deleterious to lasting peace. We believe what is good for Muslims has got to be good for the world, and vice versa, to sustain it.

The mission of the Foundation for Pluralism is to encourage individuals to accept the otherness of other, and develop an open mind and an open heart toward their fellow beings. “If we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the seven billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.”

As Muslims, Jews, Christian, Hindus and people of faith we have to pray for the well being of every life. Both the Torah and Qur’aan say “saving a life is like saving the whole humanity” and I wish the Jews, Muslims and every one of us follows the principles of our faith. If we do, we will find peace and security.

Peace and security will come to us, when we value other’s life as we would value our own, peace and security will come to us when we create an environment around us that is conducive to peace and security. We owe it to our retirement, our children and generations to come to keep them miles away from revenge, hate and malice. No one should cherish the death of other person, as that act would amount to validation of the other persons’ revelation in our death.
May God help us bring peace (refer to the quote in peace book).

Now Let’s observe a minutes silence.

Elly and I carefully chose to observe silent prayers to accommodate and acknowledge every pain, genocide and atrocity. In your silence, I would like you to reflect upon every known genocide and massacre, and detach yourselves from the emotions, and find solutions with compassion and co-existence in mind.
Let’s begin reflecting….

Thank you.


Imam Zia introduces Mary Ann:

"Described by Chicago’s Woman Made Gallery, where she serves on the
Advisory Board, as “a prolific artist, writer and social
activist!"

Mary Ann, public speaker and award winning artist, has
also received several awards for her philanthropic and activist
efforts including being recognized by Philanthropy World Magazine
as a 2006 Honoree and The Foundation For Pluralism 2007 Award.

She was also selected out of the state of Texas to receive the 2008
Brilliantly You Award for Excellence in Philanthropy. She has
served on over 14 different boards that range from local to
international in their scope, including as a current member of the
Board of Trustees for The Interfaith Center of New York, Board of
Advisors for The Indigenous Institute of The Americas, as
President/Co-Founder of The Memnosyne Foundation and of The John
Philp Thompson Foundation for Brain Cancer Research.

Together with her husband, Joshua Frenk, Mary Ann has sponsored various human rights, arts and environmental programs both individually and via the Memnosyne Foundation."

She has given a tremendous support for this event, and given the cross roads we are at, she believes events like this are timely and will be a good step forward towards consciously creating a better world for us.

She is an inspirer and an effective speakers,
please welcome Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk.

Ten Signs of Genocide – Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk

The points of my speech will be based on the 10 stages of genocide
I first encountered in the Kagali Memorial Museum in Rwanda. Eight
of them are based on the work of Gregory H Stanton:

1. Classification - defining "us and them"
2. Symbolization - forcing groups to wear symbols
3. Dehumanization - one group denies the humanity of the other group.
4. Organization - genocide is usually an organized effort by the society that has bought into the dehumanization of a select group.
5. Polarization - moderates are eliminated to prevent protests within the ruling class.
6. Preparation - victims are separated from the rest of society
7. Extermination - mass killing
8. Denial - perpetrators attempt to hide evidence of genocide or/and blame the victims.
The additional indications the Kigali Memorial Museum identified are:
9. Hate-Propaganda - (Stanton includes this as part of #3 & 5,
Rwandans list it after #3 as its own warning sign.)
10. Unquestioning Loyalty - to ruling government (Stanton includes
this as part of #4 & 5, Rwandans list it after #4 as its own
warning sign.)

SCREAM BLOODY MURDER - ABRIDGED DOCUMENTARY
OF CHRISTIANA AMANPOUR - 14 MINUTES

Introducing the Key Note speaker – Imam Zia

Bryan Mark Rigg worked in the Private Banking Division of Credit Suisse as a Private Wealth Manager from 2006 to the end of 2008. Recently, he has set up his own firm called RIGG Wealth Management.

Before entering the financial world, he was a professor at Southern Methodist University and American Military University from 2000 to 2006.

He has published three books on the Holocaust, the Third Reich and World War II history. He earned a BA from Yale University and both an MA and PhD from Cambridge University.
He served two years as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. He lives in Dallas with his wife of 12 years and their three young children.

Please welcome Bryan Rigg

Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides - Bryan Mark Rigg


Recognitions:

There are two individuals I would like to recognize at this time and request them to join me here:

Elliott Dlin

for his commitment to promoting peace through education and tolerance in the Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex. His heart knows no prejudice and is an all inclusive, caring human being. He believes in accepting and respecting the God given uniqueness in each one of the seven billion of us.

We hereby confer the title of “Pluralist” to Elliott Dlin, on this Sunday, January 25, 2009 on the eve of the “II Annual reflections on Holocaust and Genocides”.

Bernie Mayoff

for his encouragement and support in organizing the first Holocaust Commemoration event, and his commitment to promote peace through participation and the communities of Dallas Fort Worth.

We hereby confer the title of “Pluralist” to Bernie Mayoff, on this Sunday, January 25, 2009 on the eve of the “II Annual reflections on Holocaust and Genocides”.

Vision – Mike Ghouse
From this day forward,

Let’s pledge to ourselves that no individual or a community should bear the pain alone, your suffering is mine and my suffering is yours.

Shame on me if I do not feel the pain because that dying person is Jewish, Muslim, Christian or another human… Shame on me if I let a Child die of hunger because she believes differently.

Let’s pledge that when there is a human atrocity, the least we will do is to speak up, regardless of whom it is directed at.

When we talk about One God, it is more than the number one. It is rather oneness of God, oneness of Humanity. Oneness of God is a state of conflictless-ness and accepting the intentional creation of diversity. Trillions of stars are out there in the Galaxy, each one has its own trajectory, its own space and it is a model for us to follow – that 7 billion of us can live our own life.

The real conflicts are i) Your space, spiritual, physical and emotional ii) the food that sustains you and iii) the loved ones that nurture you spiritually. All other conflicts are to be handled through a dialogue as they are not real conflicts.

My vision is for us to learn to accept the otherness of other, and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. I believe knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of another point of view.

From this day forward, let’s pray that the religious folks and the secular non-religious folks come together for the common good of humanity.

Let’s pledge to save and protect each life. It was a Jew who took the lead in stopping the genocide in Bosnia , it is the Jews who have taken up the Darfur case, and we all need to join for the common good of humankind. Let the goodness in each one of us prevail over the revenge.

We have to bring justice and hope to the Palestinians, and security to the Israelis. Thank God, quite a lot of people including many Jewish organizations are working on it. May God bless them all and encourage them to do more. Yasher Koach.

Nancy Rebal – Imam Zia to introduce
I am pleased to invite Nancy Rebal to speak about her and her vision.

Station 2 – Nancy Rebal

I am an artist. The life of my dreams finds me alone at home painting all day, every day. But after a while, I need food, I get lonely and...I need something to paint about. I need other people. The values I was raised with name me a citizen, not just a consumer, and citizenship comes not only with rights but with personal responsibility.

I am finally grown up...which, to me, means saying YES when asked to do something I am able to do that needs to be done...no matter how much I would rather be home alone painting.

Lately I have been saying YES to a path I never expected, and it keeps leading me to more YESES and more YESES. I never know a moment ahead where this path is going, but I know it is asking me to follow. And I answer YES. In 3 weeks it is leading me to Africa. I will be taking STATIONS TWO, an interactive public artwork, from Dallas to Rwanda, to appear at the International Gathering of Forgiveness in Kigali to mark the 15th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. This trip will be the first leg of STATION TWO's pilgrimage around the globe, creating the collective voice of human forgiveness, a sound never before heard.

Here's the story. I volunteered here in Dallas at the Women's World Peace Conference in the summer of 2007, for the nonprofit Truth in Translation, a nonprofit making peace through art . Diane Hosey president of TmtB asked me to create an artwork to travel with the South African play Truth in Translation. The play is the story of the translators at the post-Apartheid Hearings in South Africa. They translated stories between the victims and perpetrators. As human conduits, they themselves were traumatized, needing outlet. The play's audience too left the theatre carrying the pain. They needed catharsis. I said YES. Art could play that role.

I gathered a team of artists. Artists are people who say: “How can I look at the world in a different way” and “what can I make out of what I have here and now?” A writer, a sculptor and sound designer and I created STATIONS ONE to gather the collective INTENTION to FORGIVE. I will explain how in a moment. We were stunned at how eagerly people participated when it debuted at SMU. People wanted this. Within a week, we found ourselves in NYC presenting STATIONS ONE to Desmond Tutu. He and many many others have added their voices and written words of forgiveness to the STATION. STATIONS ONE has now traveled across the US and to Belfast Ireland and back. In sight and sound it is an amazing, candid evidence of the willingness of the human hearts to open.

A year later, late this August, I was asked to meet with Rev. Lyndon Harris and Carly Ritter in NYC. Rev. Harris is the rector of St. Paul's Chapel, the old old church that became the staging ground for rescuers of 9/11. They were feeling discouraged. In a survey Americans were asked if they wanted a Garden of Forgiveness at Ground Zero. They were very disheartened: only 2% said yes. They had seen the wonderful reception of STATIONS ONE at the Tutu Center the year before. Could the STATIONS project work with their project of creating Gardens of Forgiveness around the world.

I said YES. We have identified the issue, let's do something about it. I committed STATIONS to travel with them in February 2009 to Rwanda for the International Gathering of Forgiveness where the next Garden of Forgiveness would break ground (the first is in Beirut, Lebanon). We had work to do.

So, STATIONS TWO was conceived. STATIONS TWO has picked up the task of collecting the voice of forgiveness that STATIONS ONE had given birth to.

Here's how it works. STATIONS TWO is a cube with a small grill on each side, inside of the cube simple electronic equipment records the voices of those speaking into the grills. The voices can be heard to echo a few times, then sink, becoming a part of a large whole of recorded sound. The day's voices are transferred to a flashdrive, and labeled as the voice of that time and place. When the sampling seems complete, they will all be combined as humanity's single voice, a sound never before heard. It will be released back into the air, at a significant time and place.

This is an artistic experiment, we offer a blank slate and an idea. It is not unlike the Vietnam Wall. It simply states “Vietnam”. People are given a place to act. STATIONS states FORGIVENESS. People will react as they choose, address the issue as they are able, or not able, to do. This is an artistic experiment. People are invited to write forgiveness on the cube as well. We will gather what they offer in voice and writing. The manner of the art created will become clear as it comes into being. The possibilities are wide open.

The STATIONS TWO that is enroute to Rwanda as we speak is a 6 foot cube made of recycled milk jugs that we use as blackboards to be written on with chalk. It is not intended to be pretty or easy to approach. Real forgiveness can be hard. But when we dare to get close, we see inside: there is light. And it is only a light bulb at that. It shines above the laptop computer that is accepting our voices, our intention. Nothing more, nothing less.

The computer that is creating the voice of the intention to forgive is here tonight in the four foot wood version of STATIONS TWO. We will take voices collected tonight to Rwanda with us to join the growing voice of intention to forgive. Please join us with the spoken and written words that can only come from each of you. It is the right time to say YES. There is no better place than Dallas Texas for this sound to begin. There is no better time than now. Thank you.


Rev. Todd Collier – Imam Zia introduces

Todd currently serves as Director, Center for Interfaith Inquiry for the Memnosyne Foundation in Dallas, Texas. The Center is committed to life-preserving and life-enhancing values. It welcomes all spiritual paths that foster mutual trust, understanding and cooperation in order to work together for the common good.

Todd has a Doctorate from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA, a Master's from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ, and degrees from the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, OK, and New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, NM. After a brief career in business, Todd was ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1994. Todd served churches at Canyon Creek in Dallas; Memorial Drive in Houston; First Presbyterian, Bay City, Texas; Skidaway Island in Savannah, Georgia; and Bentwood Trail Presbyterian Church in N Dallas.

Todd’s compassion and inclusiveness are reflected in his ecumenical vision of God’s concern for all people. This is evidenced by his crowning achievement as founder of Faith in Practice, one of the largest volunteer healthcare providers in Guatemala. Based in Houston, Todd’s interfaith vision and his compassion for the poor gained the trust of skilled medical professionals who now venture forth from several U.S. cities. In a collaborative venture from the start, Faith in Practice involves over 1000 people a year who volunteer their surgical, medical, dental and needed support skills to meet the medical needs of the poor. Todd has three children and lives in Plano, Texas.

Benediction – Rev. Todd Collier

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Maryam Ruhullah – Imam Zia introduces

I am pleased to introduce Madeline Elaine States; she also goes by the name of Maryam Ruhullah. She is an accountant and an author. Her career was in the defense industry at McDonnell Douglas, which is now Boeing located in St. Louis, Missouri.

She believes that it is the commitment of individuals with social awareness; social conscience and most importantly social involvement that will help secure the values needed for world peace and inclusive freedom.

As an author, Maryam was the recipient of a Fellowship offered by the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of Taos, New Mexico. She is an officer at the Peacemakers Incorporated, a Dallas,

Writing and volunteerism is her way of contributing towards the issues that will help create a more humane and better managed world.

Please welcome Maryam Ruhullah.

# # #

Refreshment Announcement – Maryam Ruhullah

Thanks - Imam Zia & Mike

OLIVE BRANCHES

Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk came up with a great idea of passing on the real olive branches to each one of the attendees and then asking them to exchange with each other.

The pictures can be viewed at:

http://picasaweb.google.com/HolocaustandGenocides/IIAnnualReflectionOnHolocaustAndGenocides#slideshow
http://flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157613500804689/show/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CREDITS

  1. Sponsorship: Memnosyne Foundation
  2. Flowers: Anthony Chisolhm Interioris
  3. Photography: Bombay Photogrpahy
  4. Refreshements by: Cindy's Delicatessen
  5. Reception: Maryam Ruhullah
  6. Olive Branches: Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk
  7. Security - Alan Keith
  8. Registration: Constance Hargis & Reem AlGhonim
  9. Station II - Nancy Rebal
  10. Key Note Speaker - Bryan Mark RiggSigns of Genocides -
  11. Benedictions - Todd Collie
  12. Reception - Maryam Ruhullah
  13. Station II - Nancy Rebal
  14. Purpose, vision and Mission - Mike Ghouse
  15. Master of Ceremonies - Imam Zia Shaikh, Imam of the Largest Mosque in Texas

Thank you.

Mike Ghouse

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Academics reflecting on Holocaust

Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides
http://holocaustandgenocides.blogspot.com/2009/02/academics-reflecting-on-holocaust.html

Dear Dr. Farooq, Dr. Thomas and Dr. Crane;

First of all, thanks for sharing the link about "The World's Worst Massacres". Secondly, out of respect for your scholarship and genuine query, I am pleased to write a rather detailed response with quotes from some of my corrospondence.

I agree with your statement “In this world if we cannot accept the entire humanity on this equal footing, every group will consider themselves special and when they attain power they may abuse others, as in the case of Israel.” No one’s pain and suffering is less than others, and no genocide is to be up-played or down played. Killing one life is like killing the whole humanity or saving a life is like saving the whole humanity.

The idea of the program “II Annual reflections on Holocaust and Genocides” and the site that goes with it “HolocaustandGenocides.com” was simple. It is to create an awareness of the inhumanity in all of us and at the same time, discover and create solutions for peaceful co-existence. We need to remind ourselves frequently to do our share to make the world a better place to live, vow to say “never again” to human atrocities, and at this annual occasion dare to practice the power of forgiveness.

Initially we asked the public at large in a message on December 2, 2008 through extensive emails to list all the genocides around the world and we started with a few as a step towards it including;

Genocides*: Auschwitz, Macabre, Holocaust, Bosnia, Darfur, Congo, Sri Lanka, Gaza, Gujarat, Ireland, Hadita, Kashmir, Rafa, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Nanking, Armenia, Sabra, Kurds, Falun Dafa, Native Indians, Inquisitions and the ones you know.
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The following letter was sent to over 3000 Muslims on my list and posted to several groups comprising over 10,000 Muslims on December 2, 2008. You probably got one too;

II ANNUAL REFLECTIONS ON HOLOCAUST & GENOCIDES
Saturday, January 24, 2009 7:00 PM to 9:15 PM

AA,

An appeal to Muslim Leaders

I hope at least a few Muslims can see this vision of including all Genocides right along with Holocaust, something that was not done before. We cannot drop this because a few Muslims’ prejudice against Jews and have a short sighted vision.

Most of the Jews are willing to include all atrocities along with the Holocaust, which was commemorated exclusively for nearly six decades. The wise men see that, all of us have to share the burdens of the society and jointly bring about a change to prevent these from happening to the Jews, to the Muslims or to any human being. “

By sharing the pain of all inhuman acts, we are indeed aspiring to create one people, one nation and one community, a sure way to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill.
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We invited Christian Amanpour on December 11, 2008 in the following letter
Dear Christiana,

Thanks for producing the movie "Scream bloody Murder" it brought to attention the horrors of Genocide.

I am a Muslim and have made efforts to commemorate Holocaust to build bridges with the Jewish community and extending to all communities by including all Genocides. We did the first event in January 2006 and now we have expanded it to Holocaust and Genocide and your documentary captured the essence of what we want to do.

The event is Saturday after sundown called "Reflections of Holocaust and Genocides" and it is an all inclusive event, just on similar lines as your documentary. Most of the details are in the website.

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On December 17, 2008 we wrote to Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis;

The Honorable Rodney G. Ellis
Texas State Senator
Austin, Texas

Dear Senator Ellis;

I just spoke with Orianna and am pleased to invite you to address the “II ANNUAL REFLECTIONS ON HOLOCAUST & GENOCIDES” on Saturday, January 24, 2009, after Sundown 6:30 PM -9:00 PM at Double Tree Hotel on Midway in Dallas, Texas.

Your initiative on the SB160 is appreciated and we want to gather public support for the same.

PICTURE GALLERY Holocaust & Genocide pictures
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We wanted to include all genocides and wanted to have a poster board in the size of 2’x 3’ to go on the easels. We were not able to get much, while we know some, but could not get information with the limited resources we had. There was one right here in Dallas some 150 years ago, where the Caddo Indians were massacred leaving not a soul alive, we could not get any documentation on it. Indeed, there is a documentary been shown next month, where one of the American Generals had said something to the effect of killing all Indians. We sent repeated request to people to send in a 600 word essay on the genocides they knew.

We have done every thing we could, and hope next year, we can gather up information on all genocides, at least list them if we don’t have the information.

To list a few would diminish the value of the ones we would miss out; an abridged documentary of Christiana Amanpour was shown to give an example to reflect on genocides she had documented;

I am yet to post my speech; a video will be posted as well, here is a partial speech;

“Peace and security will come to us, when we value other’s life as we would value our own, peace and security will come to us when we create an environment around us that is conducive to peace and security. We owe it to our retirement, our children and generations to come to keep them miles away from revenge, hate and malice. No one should cherish the death of other person, as that act would amount to validation of the other persons’ revelation in our death.

May God help us bring peace (refer to the quote in peace book).

Now Let’s observe a minutes silence.

We carefully chose to observe silent prayers to accommodate and acknowledge every pain, genocide and atrocity. In your silence, I would like you to reflect upon every known genocide and massacre, and detach yourselves from the emotions, and find solutions with compassion and co-existence in mind. “

We wanted to include all genocides and atrocities and I would certainly request you and the members on this esteemed group to share on genocides you are familiar with. We hope next year, it will be a complete comprehensive list.

Thank you.

Mike Ghouse

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CORROSPONDENCE BELOW
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Dear Mr. Ghouse,
Salam and greetings.

There are many things that I and you commonly agree, but this is not one of them.

"Holocaust is the term used specifically to refer to the genocide of Jews in WWII" is not a justification for its continued use that way. The enormity of the massacre is beyond doubt. But that does not justify a specific name for it. Indeed, I am not sure whether you are familiar or not, but in terms of scale, there have been other genocides much bigger than the Nazi Holocaust. Please see "The World's Worst Massacres" http://www.globalwebpost.com/genocide1971/articles/general/worst_massacres.htm.

I also find no justification for separating Nazi Holocaust from all other genocides. This is clearly diminishing all other genocides. There is another reason why such specialness must not be allowed. Treat any people as special and you might face the prospect that such special status would be abused to victimize others. Unfortunately, instead of being a prospect, it has become a reality.

If I have to call upon my fellow Muslims that they should not think that their suffering in the world in the hand of others is not unique, it would be unprincipled to acknowledge that somehow others are special. In this world if we cannot accept the entire humanity on this equal footing, every group will consider themselves special and when they attain power they may abuse others, as in the case of Israel.

As I do work in the field of genocide, each genocide is special to me. There is one genocide that probably closer to my heart because I have personally experienced it. Yet, reflecting on all these genocides, there are times when I close my eyes and try to imagine the time of Nazi Holocaust and imagine myself as a Jew or a non-Aryan. As a human being I want to feel their suffering. I do the same for every people who have thus been victimized.

If we have to share the grief of humanity, and I wholeheartedly agree, then we must not grieve for one exclusive group as "special." This is logically and morally unacceptable. I would go even one step further. In light of the experience of Israel for which abuse of the Nazi Holocaust remains a key factor, treating any genocide as special is dangerous. Thus, I have to categorically disagree with the premise that there is one holocaust and the rest are genocides. This site www.holocaustandgenocides.org diminishes other genocides, even much bigger in scale and scope, by elevating genocide against the Jews to a special status. This is not the way we find ourselves in tune with the humanity, where some are more special than others.

Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq
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From: Mike Ghouse
To: SOCIOLOGY
Sent: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 1:31:48 AM
Subject: Re: A comparison that is becoming all the more compelling

Dear Farooq;

Holocaust is the term used specifically to refer to the genocide of Jews in WWII, the enormity of the massacre deserves a specific name. Whether 6 of 6 millions the pain is the same to the families who have lost the dear ones. However, the 6 million number is too large a number not to be identified distinctly.

The the term Genocides can be used for all other atrocities.

We just did our II Annual Reflections on Holocaust and Genocide, to make Genocide the problem of the world, not just the Jews. We all need to come together and share the grief of humanity and fall the barriers of ownership of pain. www.HolocaustandGenocides.org

Thank you.
Mike Ghouse

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Dear Mike,

If the term Holocaust is to be appropriated for the genocide of the Jews, what term do you want to use for the genocide of the Native American Indians or the genocide of slaves during the Slave Trade?

Estimates of the number of American Indians who died vary enormously, the highest (to my knowledge) being 100,000,000 in Stannard's 1992 book American Holocaust (note the title). See also Russell Thornton's American Indian Holocaust and Survival (1987). The problem with figures like Stannard's is that this includes deaths by all causes (including disease caused by contact with Europeans) and this obviously skews the statistics. Transmission of disease is not normally a means of inentional genocide, any more than we can blame the American Indians for the millions who have died from smoking tobacco around the world.

However, one reasonable estimate which tries to factor out causes like disease is still 20 million, though obviously over a much longer time scale than the relatively short period of time of the Jewish genocide in WW2. See http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat0.htm If the term Holocaust is to apply exclusively to the genocide of the Jews on the grounds that it refers to the unparallelled event of 6 million deaths (and therefore, in your words, "deserves a specific name" because of the "enormity" of this event), what term do we use to describe the genocide of the 20 million American Indians? Was that a more heinous genocide because more people died? How do you calculate equivalence?

As I explained in a previous posting to this list, I can see no logical reason why the term Holocaust should be appropriated for the genocide of the Jews.

I should think that the civilians (including many children) who are being regularly incinerated by American bombs in Afghanistan must regard the experience as a holocaust, in its true meaning of 'complete destruction by fire' (the sense first used by Milton in the 17th century; before then it meant a 'burnt offering').

On the native American genocide, see:

 M. D. Aletheia, The Rationalist's Manual (1897): 30,000,000 Mexicans and Peruvians were slaughtered.

 David Barrett, World Christian Trends: Conquistadors killed 15M Amerindians

 Coe, Snow and Benson, Atlas of Ancient America (1986)

Total pre-Columbian population: 40M
Mexico: Original population of 11M to 25M ("lower figure commands more support") fell to 1.25M (1625)
Peru: Pop. fell from 9M (1533) to >500,000 (early 17th C)
Brazil: Original population of 2.5M to 5.0M ("recent commentators favoring the higher") fell to 1M
 Massimo Livi-Bacci, Concise History of World Population History 2d (1996)

Mexico: Population fell from 6.3M (1548) to 1.9M (1580) to 1M (1605)
Peru: Pop. fell from 1.3M (1572) to 600,000 (1620)
Canada: from 300,000 (ca. 1600) to < href="http://www.globalwebpost.com/genocide1971/articles/general/worst_massacres.htm">http://www.globalwebpost.com/genocide1971/articles/general/worst_massacres.htm.

I also find no justification for separating Nazi Holocaust from all other genocides. This is clearly diminishing all other genocides. There is another reason why such specialness must not be allowed. Treat any people as special and you might face the prospect that such special status would be abused to victimize others. Unfortunately, instead of being a prospect, it has become a reality. If I have to call upon my fellow Muslims that they should not think that their suffering in the world in the hand of others is not unique, it would be unprincipled to acknowledge that somehow others are special. In this world if we cannot accept the entire humanity on this equal footing, every group will consider themselves special and when they attain power they may abuse others, as in the case of Israel. As I do work in the field of genocide, each genocide is special to me. There is one genocide that probably closer to my heart because I have personally experienced it. Yet, reflecting on all these genocides, there are times when I close my eyes and try to imagine the time of Nazi Holocaust and imagine myself as a Jew or a non-Aryan. As a human being I want to feel their suffering. I do the same for every people who have thus been victimized. If we have to share the grief of humanity, and I wholeheartedly agree, then we must not grieve for one exclusive group as "special." This is logically and morally unacceptable. I would go even one step further. In light of the experience of Israel for which abuse of the Nazi Holocaust remains a key factor, treating any genocide as special is dangerous. Thus, I have to categorically disagree with the premise that there is one holocaust and the rest are genocides. This site www.holocaustandgenocides.org diminishes other genocides, even much bigger in scale and scope, by elevating genocide against the Jews to a special status. This is not the way we find ourselves in tune with the humanity, where some are more special than others.

Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq

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From: Mike Ghouse
To: SOCIOLOGY_OF_ISLAM@LISTSERV.VT.EDU
Sent: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 1:31:48 AM
Subject: Re: A comparison that is becoming all the more compelling

Dear Farooq;

Holocaust is the term used specifically to refer to the genocide of Jews in WWII, the enormity of the massacre deserves a specific name. Whether 6 of 6 millions the pain is the same to the families who have lost the dear ones. However, the 6 million number is too large a number not to be identified distinctly.

The the term Genocides can be used for all other atrocities.

We just did our II Annual Reflections on Holocaust and Genocide, to make Genocide the problem of the world, not just the Jews. We all need to come together and share the grief of humanity and fall the barriers of ownership of pain. www.HolocaustandGenocides.org

Thank you.

Mike Ghouse