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Educational Forum on Iraq and U.S. Foreign Policy Planned at Appalachian

BOONE–Appalachian State University’s Department of Anthropology, in conjunction with High Country Citizens for Peace and Justice, is sponsoring a lecture and film series titled “Oil, Blood and Money: An Educational Forum on Iraq and U.S. Foreign Policy.”

Programs will be held between Sept. 4 and Oct. 29, and will provide access to informed policy alternatives to war, information about past and present U.S. foreign policy toward Iraq and the Middle East, and a forum for discussing issues related to U.S./Middle East relations.

Soon after Sept. 11, 2001, members of the Bush Administration initiated plans to invade Iraq and dispose Saddam Hussein as part of the U.S. “war on terrorism.”

In recent months, focus on such action has intensified. Within the past several weeks, bipartisan opposition to such military action has been expressed by a growing number of journalists, current members of Congress, past administration officials and informed citizens.

The result of this growing national debate concerning the efficacy of military action against Iraq has created an informed discussion of policy alternatives.

Headlining the series will be a number of prominent speakers:

On Sept. 10 at 5 p.m. Suzanne Pharr, director of the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tenn., will address the domestic impacts of current U.S. foreign policy. Her presentation will be on the Sanford Mall on campus.

Pharr’s presentation will follow a day of information tables, fund-raising activities, music and other activities to promote a greater understanding of the crisis in the Middle East and to promote peaceful solutions in the region. Activities on Sanford Mall will begin at 11 a.m.

Dr. Rania Masri will speak on U.S. foreign policy toward Iraq, including both historical and current contexts, on Sept.17 at 7 p.m. in the Valborg Theatre on campus. Masri is the director of the Economic and Environmental Justice Program and the Southern Peace Research and Education Center at the Institute for Southern Studies.

She is on the national board of Peace Action and is the U.N. representative of the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association.

Her writing has appeared in “Iraq Under Siege and The Struggle for Palestine”.

She has been interviewed on CNN, NPR National, Fox News,

and other national and international programs.

On Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Table Rock Room of Plemmons Student Union, two U.S. military veterans now working in peace and social venues will present their perspectives on Iraq and U.S. foreign policy.

Charles Sheehan-Miles, a Gulf War veteran, previous director of the Gulf War Veterans Resource Center and author of the novel “Prayer at Rumayla: A Novel of the Gulf War,” will speak. He will be joined by Stan Goff, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Special Forces. He is director of the N.C. Network for Popular Democracy and the author of “Hideous Dream: A Soldier’s Memoir of the U.S. Invasion of Haiti.”

Appalachian faculty members Drs. Jawad Barghothi, Renee Scherlen and David White, along with Janine Davidson, a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. foreign policy at the University of South Carolina, and Jon Cox, a Ph.D. candidate in history at UNC-Chapel Hill, will conduct a panel discussion Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union’s Table Rock Room.

Nick Wood, a member of the North Carolina Farm Labor Organizing Committee, will speak Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. A location will be announced at a later date. Wood will address the current situation of farm laborers in the state with particular reference to the domestic impacts of U.S. foreign policy on working-class Americans.

The final speakers in the series will be Tom Stern and Tema Okun who served on a 12-member delegation of the National Lawyers Guild that recently visited the West Bank areas of Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem, as well as East Jerusalem.

They will present a slide-illustrated talk on that visit.

Stern and Okun are members of the Durham-based Jews for a Just Peace.

They will speak on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m., a location yet to be announced.

Two recent documentary films also will be screened during the series.

“The Hidden Wars of Desert Storm,” a film which presents the historical context of the U.S. engagement with Iraq, differing perspectives on the Gulf War, and the plight of Gulf War veterans, will be shown three different times during September:

Sept. 4 and 9 in room 03 Edwin Duncan Hall Octagon on campus beginning at 6:30 p.m., and at the Watauga County Public Library on Sept. 16 beginning at 6:30 p.m.

A second film, “Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq,” which depicts the human effects of the 12 years of UN/US sanctions against Iraq, will be screened on Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m. in room 03 Edwin Duncan Hall on campus.

A discussion will follow each film presentation.

All events are free and open to the public.

For more information, call 262-2295 or 268-1532.