FIRED FOR PROTESTING US POLICY IN IRAQ
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998
I'm sending this to all of you with the hopes that you will forward it on to others and get the word out. The story is as follows: The Fulbright program officer, Aida Dabbas--holder of both a U.S. and Jordanian passport--has been fired, effective March 31, as a result of her activities criticizing U.S. Foreign policy in the region during the recent crisis with Iraq. The Director of the Fulbright office, Alain McNamara, issued a memo to Ms. Dabbas detailing the reasons for her dismissal. Among the reasons cited were her participation in a demonstration in support of the Iraqi people which was held in downtown Amman. In addition, other activities such as circulating information on the Internet and passing out bumper stickers criticizing US and British agression in the region were mentioned. Furthermore, the memo asserted that Aida's activities caused "nervous confusion" amongst some of the American grantees. This is spurious, at best. In an article regarding her dismissal, published in the Jordan Times, one member of the Binational Fulbright Commission Board in Amman stated: "If I were a student, I would probably be concerned to see or hear my contact at the commission behaving this way." As a Fulbright Grantee, I can assert that I was not concerned. In fact, I was encouraged to learn that Aida
was vocalizing her outrage with the policies the U.S. is carrying out in Iraq. Even worse, her actions have been labelled "anti-American" by the same board member. Considering that as a young student, studying abroad, Bill Clinton participated in demonstrations protesting the role of the U.S. government in the Vietnam War, are we to also assume that the U.S. President is 'anti-American' as well? The language being utilized and the manner in which Ms. Dabbas is being treated harkens back to the days of McCarthyism in the US or the current situation whereby one almost always faces the charge of 'anti-semite' if one criticizes Israeli government policy.
While there are clearly legal matters regarding her dismissal which are currently being investigated, there are larger issues at work here.
There is the implied belief that employees of American organizations or institutions forego their right to criticize US foreign policy (i.e. their right to freedom of speech). If we as American citizens can's speak out in defense of the oppressed who are victims of the policies of our own government, who can?
forward this email to as many people as possible. And is you know of anyone who can assist Ms. Dabbas (i.e. activists, academics, Human Rights lawyers/workers, etc.) please let us know. You can reach Sent by:
4201 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 303 Washington, DC. 20008
Tel: 202/237-8312 - Fax: 202/237-8313