Posted on January 22, 2010 in Viewpoint with James Zogby
Allan Lichtman, Professor of History at American University evaluated President Obama’s first year in office and the political landscape of 2010. The discussion began with the election of Republican Scott Brown to the late senator Ted Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts. “It’s a huge defeat, both symbolically and substantively for Barack Obama and the democratic party,” said Lichtman. Lichtman explained that Brown’s election to the Senate will most certainly have a profound affect on Obama’s plans for passing the health care bill in the Senate. He also gave an in depth analysis of the current political climate in Congress and spoke to the issues which will soon face the Democratic Party and the President.
Bill Corcoran, President of American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), discussed the current humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and the affects it is having on the Palestinian population. Corcoran, who just returned from Gaza, explained that despite Obama’s promise of aid, the situation is “actually worse” than it was a year ago. “The limitations on what’s allowed in Gaza are approximately the same,” [as one year ago] said Corcoran. He went on to say that “not one single home has been rebuilt in the past year.”
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, Physician and peace activist reflected on last year’s “Operation Cast Lead.” In this emotionally charged segment, which brought the horrors of the Gaza war down to a personal level, Dr. Abuelaish, whose three daughters and niece were killed during “Operation Cast Lead”, spoke about Daughters For Life Foundation, which he founded in memory of his three daughters killed by a tank shell during the Gaza war. Daughters For Life promotes education and health access for women and girls in Gaza and throughout the region. When asked if he has forgiven the soldiers who shelled his house, he replied, “hate is poison” and iterated his desire to move forward and continue to be an agent of awareness. During this segment, we heard from other people affected by Israel’s Gaza offensive. One caller from the United Kingdom shared a particularly powerful story.
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