Posted on October 22, 2010 in Viewpoint with James Zogby

Geneive Abdo, director of the Iran program at the Century Foundation and editor of, discussed Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent visit to Lebanon as well as the current political landscape in the country. Ms. Abdo explained that Ahmadinejad’s visit comes amidst trouble at home for his regime.” I think that the visit was really designed more to, or was more directed to sort of rehabilitating him at home because he is suffering at home”, Adbo said. “Support that we saw in Lebanon was really to show that he has credibility among Shiite Muslims in the region”, Ms. Abdo added. Abdo also spoke about the relationship between President Ahmedinejad and supreme ruler Khomeini.


Laura Murphy, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), discussed a wide range of ACLU activities, including a brief assessment of the Obama Administrations performance relating to civil liberties and humans rights. Murphy described Obama’s performance thus far as a “vast improvement” on the previous Bush Administration’s policy. Ms. Murphy discussed the status of other controversial and important cases, explaining the roles undertaken by the ACLU in each. In a final address during her segment, Ms. Murphy stated the need to return to the basic elements of our constitution. “We really need to remind people why the United States is different”, she said. “We stand for religion liberty, how we can disagree with each other without assuring that someone is arrested because of their political viewpoints.”


Peter Fenn, president of Fenn Communications Group, a premier political and public affairs media firm, discussed the approaching mid-term elections. Mr. Fenn discussed the much anticipated losses Democrats will face in the House, and also predicted outcomes in the Senate. “The Republicans need 39 seats to take control of the house. Right now I would say they got them”, said Fenn. “The question is how many more they're going to get”, he added, “The senate is a tougher one because the Republicans have kicked away, in my view, several seats.” Mr. Fenn commented on Senate Races in Nevada and Delaware where he believes weak Republican candidates won their party’s nomination and alluded to their ultimate failure to win the senate seat in their respective states.  

Ali Mostafa, director of the UAE’s first big budget film, City of Life, discussed his new film. Written, produced and directed in the U.A.E., Mr. Mostafa explained the obstacles he had faced to get the film completed and gave viewers a glimpse of the film’s message. Mostafa explained that he did the film to address the misconceptions that Dubai, where the film takes place a “Disney Landish-type artificial place”. He also explained that his intentions where to “showcase Arabs in the people in a different light than would have usually have been seen and how they are shown in films for Hollywood”. City of Life premiered at the Arabian Sights film festival in Washington, DC.

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